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The Blind Side
John Lee Hancock, director of The Rookie, scores with another sports drama, this time concerning a true football story.
"...entertaining, even moving one, and the forcefulness of her presence goes a long way in pulling the film back..."

Nov. 20, 2009 Movie Review by Kimberley Jones

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Much like the title character Precious, this rough-hewn movie overcomes the unlikely odds for its success.
" a real find and not just a looming presence and narrative device. So, too, with most of the..."

Nov. 20, 2009 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself
Tyler Perry's Madea delivers a couple of young delinquents to their only living relative, a shady nightclub singer who must rise to the occasion.
"...Case of Benjamin Button) weren't such a likable screen presence, her character would be difficult to tolerate, so screechy..."

Sept. 18, 2009 Movie Review by Kimberley Jones

Taking Woodstock
The director of Brokeback Mountain looks for peace and love in another decade and finds it at the legendary festival through the story of one key participant.
" Teichberg for the movie), Martin is a serviceable presence, but the professional comedian lacks the emotional range to..."

Aug. 28, 2009 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Valentino: The Last Emperor
The fashion designer Valentino is the subject of this intimate portrait.
"...ever-increasingly by the bottom line. Despite Tyrnauer’s dutiful camera presence, the film nevertheless exudes a sense of not having..."

April 24, 2009 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

17 Again
Tween idol Zac Efron graduates into a nonsinging and nondancing world in this body-switch movie, and the result should keep ’em coming back for more.
"...Linklater), proves he has an agreeable and kinetic screen presence, although his ability to convince us he’s truly a..."

April 17, 2009 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Profligate spending may be out of step with the times, but don't short-sell the comic charms of Isla Fisher.
"...Renée Zellweger/Kate Hudson/Sandra Bullock career-girl rom-coms is the luminous presence of Isla Fisher. With her tiny frame and massive..."

Feb. 20, 2009 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

The Secret Life of Bees
Despite the sincere coming-of-age story at the heart of this movie rife with singers-turned-actresses, there's no denying the pleasures found in the film's soulful matriarchy.
"...against the movie: The opportunity to bask in the presence of this soulful matriarchy is its own reward. Fanning..."

Oct. 17, 2008 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Nights in Rodanthe
This movie which reunites Richard Gere and Diane Lane is hardly the best chick flick around, but it’s the flick with the best chick by far.
"...three-hanky territory that is nearly redeemed by the compelling presence of Lane as a woman reborn. (Gere usually disappears..."

Sept. 26, 2008 Movie Review by Steve Davis

The House Bunny
A Playboy bunny who's been ejected from the mansion becomes a sorority house mother.
" The House Bunny, the film lacks the confident presence of someone like Reese Witherspoon to gloss over the..."

Aug. 29, 2008 Movie Review by Steve Davis

Spooky stuff crosses over from the mirror world to the real world, and it places Kiefer Sutherland in a world of hurt.
"...appears in almost every scene, is a predictably solid presence. The moment when Ben wields his gun to remove..."

Aug. 22, 2008 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

American Teen
A princess, jock, rebel, heartthrob, and geek: It could be The Breakfast Club, but American Teen is instead a documentary that ducks the consequences of its own making.
" fret over the extent to which a filmmaker’s presence altered the very nature of that which was under..."

Aug. 8, 2008 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Shutter is a shabby American remake of a Thai movie about a couple who sees mysterious images in photographs.
"...couple sees mysterious images in photographs) suffers from the presence of everyone but the ghostly Okina (also seen stateside..."

March 28, 2008 Movie Review by Marc Savlov

This Christmas
The film has the perfect formula for holiday cheer: redemption through sentimentality, salvation through schmaltz.
"...I have to ask: What could possibly explain the presence of two first-rate actors like Lindo and Elba in..."

Nov. 23, 2007 Movie Review by Josh Rosenblatt

We Own the Night
Joaquin Phoenix is dynamic, Mark Wahlberg subdued, and Robert Duvall trusty in this otherwise redundant story about brothers on opposite sides of the law.
"...seen dozens of times before, but the combined screen presence of the dynamic Phoenix, subdued Wahlberg, and trusty Duvall..."

Oct. 12, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

The Hottest State
Ethan Hawke writes and directs this story based on his own novel about a lovesick narcissist in New York City.
"...State only comes to life when it's in the presence of this duo’s mothers. Sarah’s mom (Braga) and William’s..."

Sept. 21, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Goya's Ghosts
Neither a biopic of the artist nor a historical epic, Goya's Ghosts is a timeless study of the human potential for barbarism and hypocrisy.
"...then later in the film as her daughter. Portman's presence comes with many melodramatic flourishes that particularly hobble the..."

Aug. 10, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

El Cantante
Jennifer Lopez and her real-life husband, Marc Anthony, portray the lives of salsa star Hector Lavoe and his wife, Puchi, in this biopic overstuffed with music-industry clichés.
"...erases all fears of another Gigli), but Puchi's constant presence makes the film seem like it's a common love..."

Aug. 3, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

The Valet
This flat French farce has a couple of likable characters, one or two decent jokes, and a lot of missed opportunities.
"...jokes remain flat and safe. The only really amusing presence is a perpetually sick doctor always requiring care from..."

May 18, 2007 Movie Review by Toddy Burton

Lucky You
This romantic drama is set against a Las Vegas background and stars Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore, but it rolls snake eyes all the way.
"...Roth’s screenplay. Lucky You is redeemed slightly by the presence of Duvall as Huck’s father, poker legend L.C. Cheever,..."

May 11, 2007 Movie Review by Josh Rosenblatt

Georgia Rule
Despite the presence of three acting powerhouses – Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, and Lindsay Lohan – this movie about three generations of "difficult" women never rings true.
"...Dermot Mulroney, Cary Elwes and Garrett Hedlund. Despite the presence of three acting powerhouses – Fonda, Huffman, and Lohan..."

May 11, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Reign Over Me
This Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle film is often disjointed and needlessly sentimental, though the film's whole often compensates for its sketchy parts.
"...his game is raised several notches by Cheadle’s masterful presence. Cheadle takes what could have been a role as..."

March 23, 2007 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner
Documentarian Freida Mock presents her subject as a play in three acts, but the academic and fragmented structure obscures the warmth of this playwright.
"...fragmented timeline. Yet Kushner is a warm and engaging presence, and Mock documents his life adroitly. Though clever on..."

Nov. 24, 2006 Movie Review by Marrit Ingman

Cocaine Cowboys
Documentary shows how Miami was once a sleepy seaside hamlet with a permeable border and largely unprotected coastline before the cocaine economy took over.
"...– the chief interviewee – is a likable, frank presence. There’s a bit of a structural hitch in the..."

Nov. 10, 2006 Movie Review by Marrit Ingman

Driving Lessons
A 17-year-old boy's dull summer turns more eventful when he gets a job assisting an unconventional retired actress who leads him into a series of character-defining adventures.
"...other’s best friend out of social necessity. Even the presence of the irrepressible Walters in the hammy role of..."

Nov. 7, 2006 Movie Review by Steve Davis

The jokes in this latest film from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe are about as potent as near-beer.
"...Wolfhausens. Director Chandrasekhar definitely has an oddly endearing screen presence and is easily the most likable of the group...."

Aug. 25, 2006 Movie Review by Toddy Burton

The Devil Wears Prada
A fresh and caustic take on the fashion industry is hobbled by a threadbare plot about a girl learning that it's wrong to sell her soul for designer shoes.
"...her deep insecurities. When the film is in the presence of Streep and Blunt it bubbles like a glass..."

June 30, 2006 Movie Review by Marjorie Baumgarten

One Last Thing …
A 16-year-old with terminal cancer just wants to have sex before dying in this sweet, if overly earnest feature.
"...Will & Grace) is the film’s anchor, a winning presence that consistently rises above the taint of schmaltz or..."

May 5, 2006 Movie Review by Kimberley Jones

The Sentinel
This serviceable action thriller disintegrates into an implausible mess that's barely salvaged by the presence of old pros like Michael Douglas and Kim Basinger
"...disintegrates into an implausible mess barely salvaged by the presence of old pros like Douglas and Basinger. The Sentinel..."

April 28, 2006 Movie Review by Steve Davis

The Benchwarmers
Another comedy from ex-SNLers, along with Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder and baseball's Reggie Jackson.
"...better for it. The truly frustrating element is the presence of Heder in this film. After his iconic performance..."

April 14, 2006 Movie Review by Toddy Burton

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