Kevin Smith, known for writing smart, clever dialogue
and directing with the visual grace of an episode
of “Married…With Children,” aims
for a more mature story in this tale of a depressed,
widowed father (Ben Affleck) who meets a woman (Liv
Tyler) who challenges him to look for love again,
seven years after his wife dies. By the way, Jennifer
Lopez plays the wife, but everyone is quick to point
out that she dies right away—before you can
Coen brothers’ latest quirky comedy is
a remake of “The Ladykillers,” the 1955
film starring Alec Guinness. Hanks, in very amusing
makeup, plays a Southern professor with an interesting
beard who must kill an old landlady in order to secure
the success of his planned Casino robbery.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s last film was “Intolerable
Cruelty,” which marked a step away from their
more interesting past work into commercial territory.
This film could determine the direction of their
Opening at the Tower
The gay romance gets a new twist when one of the
lovers is…an LDS missionary! You might be
offended, you might already be in line for tickets
and you might not really care all that much.
3.5 reels (out of four)
Opening at the Broadway
charles Chaplin’s 1936 critique on modern
technology crushing the common man might not be the
Tramp’s best work, but it’s still a great
film to see in a new, restored 35-mm print.
In his third work after the coming of sound and his
second after the innovation became standard (after
1931’s “City Lights”), Chaplin
denies the common practice and uses inner titles
for all the Tramp’s dialogue, except for a
much-anticipated gag in which he finally “speaks.” During
the rest of the film, the main voice we hear comes
over an intercom, as workers are ordered about, herded
The film contains some famous Chaplin moments, including
his trip through the gears of a machine after a parody
of the hypnotic assembly line and the chaos of a
machine that serves your meal to you—and beats
The only real problem is that the film comes off
as a series of gags centered around Chaplin’s
performance, some of which happen to critique technology.
I could come up with some metaphor to explain the
random scene in which Chaplin unknowingly almost
roller-skates off the edge of a department store
balcony—several times—but when it comes
down to it, he’s just showing off.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Die Alone” cleverly combines
bad direction, bad dialogue and bad acting with a
boring gangster story that has no defining characteristics.
Its less-than-90-minute running length feels about
twice that. To adequately deal with its multiple
storylines and have interesting characters, director
Ernest Dickerson might have benefited from more time.
DMX plays a gangster named King David who returns
to town and is killed after paying off a debt. A
white journalist (David Arquette) listens to tapes
DMX made of himself recalling his life story. Meanwhile,
Michael (Michael Ealy), who killed David out of revenge,
is on the run from his father-figure gang leader.
All of these characters are cardboard cutouts of
The characters are supposed to speak like real gangsters,
but the slang doesn’t work naturally. Meanwhile,
Dickerson uses nonsensical camera movement. Several
shots begin with the camera sideways and then rotate
up to the correct position—a movement that
would be fine if it served any purpose whatsoever.
2: Monsters Unleashed”
the suits at Warner Bros. figured that a “Scooby-Doo” movie
be as bad as the dreadful original. This could be
so, but the general problem with this franchise is
that the appeal of Scooby-Doo is that he’s
a cute cartoon dog who interacts with his cute cartoon
friends. The 3-D computer animation and live-action
actors take this away.