Roger Ebert Movie Review RSS

Weekend Box Office: September 28-30, 2007
The Game Plan tops the box office with $23.0 million

Daily Box Office: Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The Kingdom tops Wednesday's box office with $1.1 million

Michael Clayton / **** (R)
“Michael Clayton” (R, 119 minutes) George Clooney plays a slick, efficient but weary fixer for a big law firm, Sydney Pollack is the head of he firm, Tom Wilkinson is the partner who has just stripped naked during a deposition hearing in Milwaukee, and Tilda Swinton represents the corporate client that is horrified to find such a man leading their defense. A near-perfect example of the legal/ business thriller, with the usual undercurrents of guilt and shame.

The Heartbreak Kid / ** (R)
“Heartbreak Kid” (R, 108 minutes). Farrelly Brothers; remake of Elaine May’s splendid 1972 comedy, sunk by vulgarity that breaks the fabric of the characters. Ben Stiller and Malin Akerman play newlyweds, who turn out spectacularly incompatible, while he falls in love with a babe (Michelle Monaghan) he meets on the beach. The transgressive material is badly judged; the characters become unpleasant not only to each other, but to us. Rating: Two stars.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford / ***1/2 (R)
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (R, 160 minutes). One of the founders of the cult of celebrity, the ruthless outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pit) attracts a young hero-worshipper (Casey Affleck) whose adoration shades into dangerous obsession. A big- canvas Western with an epic scope, sensationally photographed by Roger Deakins in the tradition of "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and "Days of Heaven. Directed by Andrew Dominik ("Chopper"), who depicts the criminal and the coward in a dance of death. Rating: Three and a half stars.

The Darjeeling Limited / ***1/2 (R)
“The Darjeeling Limited” (R, 91 minutes.) Three brothers have a reunion in India and take a strange and eccentric train journey in search of themselves, enlightenment, their mother, and certain obscure over-the-counter remedies guaranteed to cure sobriety. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman star in a laid-back human comedy that meanders so persuasively, it gets us meandering right along, With Amara Karan as a seductive train stewardess and Wally Wolodarsky as Wilson’s employee, who issues laminated daily schedules from his office in the baggage car. Directed by Wes Anderson (“Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Rating; Three and a half stars.

Lust, Caution / *** (NC-17)
“Lust, Caution” (NC-17, 158 minutes). Covers the years 1938-1942 in the love affair between a Chinese official (Tony Leung) who is collaborating with his country’s Japanese occupiers, and a young woman (Tang Wei) who poses as a rich merchant’s wife but is actually part of a group plotting to assassinate him. As their sexual lives grow more extreme, both are drawn away from their everyday reality and into a private world. Directed by Ang Lee; winner of the Golden Lion at Venice 2007. Rating: Three stars.

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With / *** (No rating)
"I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" (Unrated, 80 minutes.) Jeff Garlin, who plays the sidekick on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” co- produces, writes, directs and stars, as an overweight 39-year-old Second City actor who lives at home with his mom (Mina Kolb). Surrounded by other Second City alums, the character drifts along the Old Town-Wrigley Field axis, finding whimsical affection (with Bonnie Hunt) and alarming lust (with Sarah Silverman). Charming, rueful, funny, bittersweet, conversational, a small but persuasive human comedy. Rating: Three stars.

Children of Men / **** (R)
“Children of Men” (R, 108 minutes). Set in 2027, when assorted natural disasters, wars and terrorist acts have rendered most of the world ungovernable, uninhabitable, or anarchic. Britain stands as an island of relative order, held in line by a fearsome police state. It has been 18 years since earth has seen the birth of a human child. Starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the story of a struggle in defense of life and against the state. Rating; Four stars.

Into the Wild / **** (R)
“Into the Wild” (R, 150 minutes) Sean Penn’s film, based on the Jon Krakauer best-seller, stars Emile Hirsch in a courageous performance as Christopher McCandless, who embarked on an idealistic journey all alone into the Alaskan Wilderness. The film gives us the people who saw him along the way, mentored him, cautioned him. And then he has only the implacable company of nature. Builds with a fascinating dread. With Vince Vaughn, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook, Catherine Keener, Jena Malone. Rating: Four stars

Feast of Love / ** (R)
“Feast of Love” (R, 102 minutes). Morgan Freeman plays the wise and benevolent counselor who looks on as a variety of couple join, split up, and make a mess of love. All centers on a Portland coffee chop owned by Greg Kinnear, who is an unluckiest in love of all. Also starring Jane Alexander, Selma Blair, Toby Hemingway, Radha Mitchell, Stana Katic and Fred Ward. Directed by Robert Benton, who has made better films. Rating: Two stars.

Blame it on Fidel / ***1/2 (Not rated)
“Blame It on Fidel” (Unrated, 100 minutes). Told through the eyes of a 9-year-old girl in Paris, whose world goes topsy-turvy when her parents suddenly embrace radicsl politics. Anna, wonderfully plated by Nina Kervel, is, like all children, profoundly conservative—not in a political way, but by demanding continuity and predictability in her life. She doesn’t like the new dogmas and people turning up in her home. Not an angry film, however, because Anna and her parents always love one another, but a wry and observant one; directed by Julie Gavras, the daughter of the left-wing Greek filmmaker Costa Gavra. Rating: Three and a half stars

Outsourced / *** (PG-13)
“Outsourced” (PG-13, 102 minutes). A film bursting with affection for its characters and for India. Josh Hamilton plays an American exec sent o India to train a telephone order-fulfillment center for his tacky novelty company (Wisconsin cheesehead hats a specialty). The beautiful Ayesha Dharker plays an employee was is ahead of the curve; they generate amazing chemistry. Not a great movie, but maybe couldn’t be this charming if it was. There is a fundamental sweetness and innocence to it; leaves you feeling good. Rating: Three stars.

Trade / * (R)
“Trade” (R, 119 minutes). Based on fact, the story of a 13-year-old girl (Paulina Gaitan) kidnapped in Mexico City and transported to New Jersey to have her virginity auctioned on the internet. She is tracked by her 17-year-old brother (Cesar Ramos) who, improbably, joins forces with a Texas lawman (Kevin Kline) to follow and rescue the girl and another victim. The movie lingers too much on the mistreatment of the young women, and create too much false suspense, to be worthy of its heartbreaking subject matter. Rating: One star.

Great Movie: The Great Dictator (1940)
By Roger Ebert In 1938, the world's most famous movie star began to prepare a film about the monster of the 20th century. Charlie Chaplin looked a little like Adolf Hitler, in part because Hitler had chosen the same toothbrush moustache as the Little Tramp. Exploiting that resemblance, Chaplin devised a satire in which the dictator and a Jewish barber from the ghetto would be mistaken for each other. The result, released in 1940, was "The Great Dictator," Chaplin's first talking picture and the highest-grossing of his career, although it would cause him great difficulties and indirectly lead to his long exile from the United States.

Great Movie: Babel (2006)
By Roger Ebert “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” — George Bernard Shaw Even more separated are cultures that do not share languages, values, frames of reference, or physical realities. “Babel” weaves stories from Morocco, America, Mexico and Japan, all connected by the thoughtless act of a child, and demonstrates how each culture works against itself to compound the repercussions. It is the third and most powerful of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s trilogy of films in which the action is connected or influenced in invisible ways. Sometimes these are called “hyperlink films.” After “Amores Perros” (2000) and “21 Grams” (2003), it shows his mastery of the form, and it surprises us by offering human insight rather than obligatory tragedy.

Movie Answer Man: Play on, Mr. Barker, by all means!
Q. The latest blast in your war of words about video games with the British horror writer Clive Barker has been reported on the Gaming Today Web site, which relays that on a Digital Trends podcast, Barker said, "Ebert's a pompous, arrogant old man, and he's not going to stop us from making games or enjoying them or making them art." Your thoughts? Greg Nelson, Chicago A. Dear Mr. Barker: I have much to be pompous and arrogant about, having just been declared America's No. 1 pundit by Forbes magazine. But I cannot deny my advanced age, which makes me fully nine years older than you. What strikes me about your comment is its poverty of imagination. My broadside was fired on July 22. You have pondered it for more than two months, and this pathetic bleat is the best you could produce? The British were once known for their rapier wit, but I am afraid bandinage of this caliber will not get you into the Leatherhead and Dorking Debating Society, let alone the House of Lords. Heavens, Mr. Barker, I would never dream of stopping you from making video games or enjoying them, and if you can make them art, I applaud you. To show my heart is in the right place, I am accompanying this reply with the same photograph of you that I used on July 22. Your self-effacing modesty is apparent.

Roger Ebert Archive
Previous Weeks On Roger Ebert Review

Roger Ebert Article

More Web Based RSS Feeds
Craigslists | Delphi News | Drudge Report RSS Feed | Festivus | Roger Ebert Movie Review | Wikinews RSS Feed

Served @ Friday, 05-Oct-07 09:20:58 EDT By iNIC | Affiliates | Discuss | Hosting Talk | Lmdsxchange | Michigan Appraisers | Money Chat Board | Poetry Cafe