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Stories tagged: movies


One more night for Banff Mountain Film Festival

Top shows from the Banff Mountain Film Festival are screening at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.


‘Bruno’ fails to get beyond its crudeness

‘Bruno’ The latest mock-documentary satire from comic provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen is mostly a misfire.


Slick, cute ‘Planet 51’ falls flat

How might a kid – OK, a teenager – protect himself from that dreaded fate described in legions of sci-fi movies (including “The Fourth Kind”): the anal probe? If you …


Filmmaker wisely lets ‘Blind Side’ tell itself

The redemption- minded sports flick “The Blind Side” serves its inspiration straight-up with no twist. Writer-director John Lee Hancock wisely lets the true story of Michael Oher – the African-American …


‘An Education’ both silly and sad

England in the early 1960s was a time of new freedoms and exciting possibilities. It’s an intoxicating environment for young Jenny to enter womanhood. A bright, vivacious 16-year-old aiming for …


‘Damned United’ truly a kick

You don’t have to be a soccer expert, or even know all that much about the sport, to get sucked into the competing personalities and personal dramas of “The Damned …


‘The Beaches of Agnes’

“Imagining oneself as a child is like running backward,” says the French filmmaker Agnes Varda in her enchanting new biographical film, “The Beaches of Agnes.” And through the film, she …


Disney debuts black princess in animation

Holly Price Alford is over the moon about Disney’s first black princess. Her 8-year-old daughter is, too, but not because the princess is black. “She understands that this is a …


King of Pop’s last work

Kenny Ortega was responsible for some of Michael Jackson’s biggest concerts, including what were planned to be his comeback shows in London. But in the singer’s final days before his …


Not much bark in ‘Cirque’

With its impressive pedigree, “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” should have been a show dog. Instead it’s a mutt.


‘Amelia’ just doesn’t fly

Considering the risks Amelia Earhart took, losing her life in the call of aviation, Hilary Swank and director Mira Nair don’t put much on the line in their film biography …


Latest ‘Transformers’ marked by special defects

‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ There’s so much swirling, relentless action, indistinct robot characterizations and over-caffeinated techies loose on the special-effects machines that this film, in mere seconds, achieves incoherence.


‘Boys Are Back’ packs honesty

Like Steven Spielberg, director Scott Hicks is tuned in to those everyday moments that touch our hearts. You may well cry – I did – at “The Boys Are Back,” …


‘Lorna’s Silence’ speaks loudly

Since turning from documentaries to fiction in the mid-1990s, the Belgian filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have crafted a series of stunning if bleak dramas about Europe’s outcasts: the …


‘Thirst’ takes vampires to an even darker level

The juvenile heavy-petting of “Twilight” gives way to all-out Korean kink in “Thirst,” a macabre, darkly humorous and at times nauseating vampire tale from the director of “Old Boy,” Park …


Jonze focuses on childhood in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

The promotional materials for Spike Jonze’s new film adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are” kick off with this quote from the director: “I didn’t set out to make a …


‘Paranormal Activity’ fun, scary

Some movies are a more shared experience than others, and that’s certainly the case with “Paranormal Activity,” a micro-budget horror flick about things that go bump in the you-know-what in …


Woody Harrelson’s ‘Zombieland’ brings the laughs

When Woody Harrelson received a copy of the screenplay for “Zombieland,” he stuffed it into his duffel bag of unread scripts and promptly forgot about it. Even after his agent …


‘Whip It’ soars on girl power

Drew Barrymore has forged a persona as both an actress and producer with movies that exude a playful sense of girl power. So it only makes sense that “Whip It,” …


Honestly, ‘Lying’ just runs out of steam

“The Invention of Lying,” the new film from Ricky “The Office” Gervais, might be this year’s most subtly subversive comedy. It may well be the first mainstream atheism-based feature film, …


Review: ‘Whiteout’ more confusing than chilling

Early in “Whiteout,” a murder mystery set in a South Pole research station, a federal marshal played by Kate Beckinsale strips down and takes a shower. Why? No particular reason. …


DVD reviews: The snobby (only) side of Valentino

“Valentino: The Last Emperor” Legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani glides through this documentary in expensive suits and with the facial expression of one who has just smelled unwashed feet.


From the looks of it, ‘9’ should have been flawless

Despite their rough-hewn appearance, the resourceful rag dolls in “9” obviously were crafted with great love and care, both by the scientist who made them in the film and the …


Review: ‘Song of Sparrows’

Iranian actor Reza Naji looks a little like Judd Hirsch, and for the first half of “The Song of Sparrows” he seems to be channeling the sad-sack haplessness of any …


Review: ‘In the Loop’

If screenwriters gene-spliced “Wag the Dog” with “The West Wing” and set it in the context of Anglo-American relations, the result would be Armando Ianucci’s “In the Loop,” a scabrously …


Fall movie preview: A well-blended taste of Hollywood itself

Hollywood might be telling its own life story this fall, presenting a lineup of liars, phonies, smooth talkers, bloodsuckers and greedy old men. Granted, there are heroes in the mix, …


Review: Shallow characters doom Judge’s ‘Extract’

Ten years ago, Mike Judge satirized the absurdities of the workplace experience from the perspective of put-upon employees with “Office Space.” It didn’t do much when it came out but …


Stars carry load in ‘State of Play’

Taking cues from such recent headlines as Chandra Levy and Blackwater – not to mention the classic “All the President’s Men” – this film plays politicians and journalists against each …


Review: ‘Soul Power’ rekindles legendary concert

Timing is everything. It took “When We Were Kings,” Leon Gast’s riveting 1996 documentary about the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle,” more than 20 years to arrive in …


Tarantino offers up World War 2.0

Quentin Tarantino is about to unleash the ultimate Hollywood rewrite job: He’s changed the ending of World War II. Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” opening in theaters today, puts an end to …