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Review: Cast brings 'Role Models' home

It's probably fair to say that no one goes to a Seann William Scott movie in anticipation of anything more than a few laughs and a quick exit. And on that score, "Role Models" doesn't disappoint.

Review: Jolie outstanding in Eastwood's 'Changeling'

Clint Eastwood, feminist?

Review: 'Pride and Glory' and cliches galore

Is the movie cop thriller heading for retirement?

Review: 'W.' slapdash, but surprisingly thoughtful

The commercials for Oliver Stone's latest, "W.," would have us believe the controversial director has given "Junior" -- as his father, George H.W. Bush, insists on calling him -- a roasting.

Review: 'Body of Lies' flat

Three years after his Crusades epic "Kingdom of Heaven," director Ridley Scott returns to the shifting sands of the Middle East with "Body of Lies."

Review: Hefner biography full of sex, fun

In 1953, Hugh Hefner was a young man in Chicago with an unimpressive resume and big plans. He would start a men's magazine geared toward young urbanites such as himself with lifestyle tips and racy pictures.

Review: Hathaway dazzles in 'Rachel'

Remember when actresses really lit up the screen? Anne Hathaway rekindles memories of Bette Davis and "Klute"-era Jane Fonda in Jonathan Demme's new film: barely a scene goes by without her pulling on a cigarette.

Review: 'Lucky Ones' deserves good fortune

We can laugh about it now. Last year's Iraq movies -- "Grace is Gone," "Lions for Lambs," "Redacted," "In the Valley of Elah" -- were conflicted, anguished, and disillusioned. Which must have been how the filmmakers felt when the public shrugged and went to "Transformers" instead.

Review: Gervais gives edge to 'Ghost Town'

Is Ricky Gervais movie star material?

Review: Something is rotten in 'Hamlet 2'

"Hamlet 2." Are you laughing yet?

Review: Cast brings 'Role Models' home

It's probably fair to say that no one goes to a Seann William Scott movie in anticipation of anything more than a few laughs and a quick exit. And on that score, "Role Models" doesn't disappoint.

Review: Jolie outstanding in Eastwood's 'Changeling'

Clint Eastwood, feminist?

Review: 'Pride and Glory' and cliches galore

Is the movie cop thriller heading for retirement?

Review: 'W.' slapdash, but surprisingly thoughtful

The commercials for Oliver Stone's latest, "W.," would have us believe the controversial director has given "Junior" -- as his father, George H.W. Bush, insists on calling him -- a roasting.

Review: 'Body of Lies' flat

Three years after his Crusades epic "Kingdom of Heaven," director Ridley Scott returns to the shifting sands of the Middle East with "Body of Lies."

Review: Hefner biography full of sex, fun

In 1953, Hugh Hefner was a young man in Chicago with an unimpressive resume and big plans. He would start a men's magazine geared toward young urbanites such as himself with lifestyle tips and racy pictures.

Review: Hathaway dazzles in 'Rachel'

Remember when actresses really lit up the screen? Anne Hathaway rekindles memories of Bette Davis and "Klute"-era Jane Fonda in Jonathan Demme's new film: barely a scene goes by without her pulling on a cigarette.

Review: 'Lucky Ones' deserves good fortune

We can laugh about it now. Last year's Iraq movies -- "Grace is Gone," "Lions for Lambs," "Redacted," "In the Valley of Elah" -- were conflicted, anguished, and disillusioned. Which must have been how the filmmakers felt when the public shrugged and went to "Transformers" instead.

Review: Gervais gives edge to 'Ghost Town'

Is Ricky Gervais movie star material?

Review: Something is rotten in 'Hamlet 2'

"Hamlet 2." Are you laughing yet?

Review: 'Tropic Thunder' has some strong laughs

Truly, it's been a summer for jokers -- and I'm not just talking about "The Dark Knight."

Review: 'Hancock' turns into a train wreck

Train wrecks are intrinsically spectacular, and Will Smith's new movie offers a doozy. Two of them, in fact.

Review: 'Wall-E' is a classic

The most consistent production unit in Hollywood just hit another home run.

Review: 'Pineapple Express' is a high old time

Producer Judd Apatow continues his popular assault on common decency in "Pineapple Express," an R-rated celebration of recreational drugs, anti-authoritarianism and mindless violence.

Review: 'Swing Vote' is a losing ticket

"Swing Vote" hits on a premise even the average American voter will find hard to credit: a presidential election so close, it comes down to just one state, one county, one town and finally one ballot.

Review: 'Step Brothers' full of funny stuff

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but producer Judd Apatow has another hit comedy on his hands. This time it's "Step Brothers," an astute no-brainer that's also Will Ferrell's funniest effort since "Talladega Nights."

Review: Hard to believe in 'X-Files'

The makers of the new "X-Files" movie have done themselves a disservice in coming up with the elongated title, "The X-Files: I Want to Believe." Really, it just invites a whole bunch of bad jokes which, unfortunately, are justified.

Review: Hooray for 'Hellboy II'

Will Smith's Hancock wasn't the first superhero with bad habits and a bad attitude. Hellboy, the protagonist of "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," has a bit of the devil in him: His skin is red; he has two shorn-off horns on his head, a gargantuan club fist and a long, slippery tail.

Review: What children say about children's books

Ask an adult what makes a children's book appealing, and she might talk about the colorful artwork, the clever storytelling or the lessons imparted.

Review: 'Hulk' an action-packed pleasure

Imagine Jason Bourne in stretchy pants. That's the basic idea in Marvel's relaunch for Stan Lee's Jekyll-and-Hyde character, "The Incredible Hulk."

Review: When Robert Kennedy gave his all

A few days before the 1968 California Democratic primary, Washington Post reporter Richard Harwood told his editor he wanted to stop covering Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for president.

Review: 'Panda' is bear-ly good

Ever since Robin Williams' turn as the Genie in "Aladdin," voice artists who specialize in character work for animated movies have been sidelined by celebrities, no doubt tickled to do something they can show to their children.

Review: Not so fair 'Sex'

Today's movies have never seemed less interested in figuring out what women want. That's hardly surprising when -- for the summer months at least -- they've practically written off the entire adult population.

Review: 'Indiana Jones' works but doesn't shine

It's been a long, long time since the last "last" time: When Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. rode off into the sunset in May 1989, courtesy of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," the Berlin Wall was still standing, George H.W. Bush was only four months into his presidency, and Harrison Ford was just a young whippersnapper of 46.

Review: A glowing 'Prince Caspian'

"You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember," the dwarf Trumpkin cautions the Pevensie children -- Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy -- on their return visit to the magical land they'd visited in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Review: 'Speed Racer' rich in color, poor in spirit

"Speed Racer," the Wachowski Brothers' first film as writer-directors since "The Matrix Reloaded" five years ago, is a dizzying pop-art confection.

Review: 'Iron Man' packs a terrific punch

You might attribute it to 9/11, or simply blame director Joel Schumacher, whose camp take on "Batman" derailed that franchise for several years. But, lately, Hollywood superhero movies have taken themselves awfully seriously.

Review: 'Harold and Kumar' is smokin' -- sometimes

"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," a stoner comedy that became a cult favorite on DVD, was a slacker quest movie -- as wonderfully oxymoronic as that sounds.

Review: 'Bin Laden' too much after 'Super Size Me'

Morgan Spurlock scored a breakout hit with his documentary "Super Size Me" a few years ago, mixing satire, reportage and advocacy in the tabloid style popularized by Michael Moore. Spurlock may not have finished off junk food as we know it, but at least he could claim some responsibility for highlighting the flaws of fast food.

Review: 'Street Kings' is all too by-the-book

In "Street Kings," Keanu Reeves' bad-boy cop Tom Ludlow may not play by the rules, but the film sure does.

Review: 'Leatherheads' drops the ball

We're not exactly starved for sports comedies these days. Will Ferrell, in particular, seems to be working his way through every form of competition that's been devised.

Review: The ASO sets Rumi whirling

"The Here and Now" might well be subtitled "Redeeming Rumi." As if to save us from the new-age squish of much contemporary rediscovery of the 13th-century Persian poet's work, Christopher Theofanidis' 33-minute sonic salon is an exhilarating setting bound for a Carnegie Hall debut April 5.

Review: 'Stop-Loss' can't overcome flaws

Through 2006, at least 81,000 U.S. military have been "stop-lossed" since September 11, 2001. That means they have been refused discharge and compelled to serve another tour of active duty, even though their original term has expired.

Review: 'Drillbit' surprisingly dulled

With "Drillbit Taylor," the Brat Pack meets the Frat Pack, courtesy of the House of Apatow.

Review: 'Wire' junkies get one last fix

Stringer is dead. Omar is dead. And soon, "The Wire" will be, too.

Review: '10,000 BC' should be left to rot

A mix of vast CGI spectacle and small, silly moments, the prehistoric saga "10,000 BC" is an epic in name only.

Review: 'Wire' junkies get one last fix

Stringer is dead. Omar is dead. And soon, "The Wire" will be, too.

Review: Heist movie gets the 'Job' done

There really was a "Bank Job."

Review: 'Boleyn Girl' doesn't know what it is

For filmmakers, the private life of Henry VIII is the kind of history lesson that writes itself: sex, adultery and decapitation, right there for the taking.

Review: 'Semi-Pro' delivers some laughs

Here's how devoted Will Ferrell is to his craft: That 'fro he rocks in "Semi-Pro"? It's his real hair, the product of six months of work -- or neglect, depending on your perspective.

Review: Quirky 'Rewind' a mildly good time

In the week that Blu-ray consigned HD DVD to the remainder bins of history (and standard DVD will surely follow in the foreseeable future), Michel Gondry, one of the movies' most idiosyncratic innovators, unveils a quirky, nostalgic tribute to the antique charms of VHS with "Be Kind Rewind."

Review: 'Spiderwick' is worthwhile journey

A dozen producers share the bragging rights for bringing the popular Holly Black-Tony DiTerlizzi "Spiderwick" children's fantasy books to the screen. That wouldn't necessarily be grounds for optimism, so it's a relief to report that "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is free of the elephantine designs that bogged down "The Golden Compass."

Review: 'In Bruges' much bluster, too little bite

Ten years ago, the adjective "Tarantinoesque" was an integral tool in any critic's arsenal. It seemed like every other young filmmaker was tramping the bloody, funny trail blazed by "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction"; rueful hitmen lurked around every corner.

Review: Ghostly 'Body' dead on arrival

Eva Longoria Parker gets top billing in Jeff Lowell's mediocre supernatural romantic comedy, "Over Her Dead Body," and then the movie bumps her off in the first five minutes.

Review: 'Cloverfield' something to see

Not many trailers have had the impact of the teaser for "Cloverfield," which debuted last summer attached to Michael Bay's "Transformers" bearing not so much as a title and the solitary credit "Produced by J.J. Abrams." (For some of us, it was the high point of the evening.)

Review: 'Persepolis' is glorious

Pop culture's extraordinary ability to speak across borders underpins "Persepolis," an exuberant autobiographical film and dark-horse contender for an animated feature Oscar.

Review: 'Orphanage' will give you the creeps

At a time when American horror seems transfixed by graphic sadism, the acclaimed Spanish chiller "El Orfanato" ("The Orphanage") harks back to an older tradition of psychological scares and things that go bump in the night.

Review: 'Bucket List' should have stayed in drawer

"The Bucket List," director Rob Reiner's latest, suggests dying could be the best thing that ever happens to you -- just so long as you find a lonely billionaire lying in the next bed.

Review: 'Great Debaters' solid

It could have been overly sentimental and feel-good, this movie about a pioneering black debate team in the segregated South. But Denzel Washington, as director and star, manages to find the right tone much of the time in "The Great Debaters."

Review: Fun 'Wilson's' at war -- with itself

Mike Nichols' undercover history of the liberation of Afghanistan, "Charlie Wilson's War," is so witty and light on its feet, it's a pity it pulls its punches.

Review: 'I Am Legend' a taut thriller

If anyone's going to be the last man on Earth, then Will Smith seems like an ideal candidate.

Review: 'Savages' cuts deep

Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, two of our best screen actors, get the chance to develop subtle, detailed characterizations in the engaging, sympathetic comedy "The Savages," the first film in almost 10 years from "Slums of Beverly Hills" writer-director Tamara Jenkins.

Review: 'The Mist' is bold and frightening

It's the end of the world -- again!

Review: Exciting 'Beowulf' jumps off the screen

History is repeating itself. More than 50 years ago, Hollywood embraced big-screen formats (CinemaScope, VistaVision) and 3-D to protect the movie business from television. Now, with the box office under threat from at-home viewing, industry watchers have noted spectacular returns for features released on the large-screen IMAX circuit.

Review: What a 'Country'

In "No Country for Old Men," the Coen brothers' masterly film of Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel, a professional killer lugs around an ungainly contraption, a pressurized air canister with a strap, a hose and (at the end of it) a metal prod. It's the kind of stun gun they might use in a slaughterhouse.

Review: Brilliant Washington powers 'Gangster'

The gangster is an outsider. The gangster takes all that "Land of Opportunity" stuff and shoves it in his pocket.

Review: Brilliant Washington powers 'Gangster'

The gangster is an outsider. The gangster takes all that "Land of Opportunity" stuff and shoves it in his pocket.

Review: Carell shines in fine 'Dan in Real Life'

So far as I can see, Steve Carell is a rather unremarkable fellow -- which makes him quite an unusual movie star.

Review: 'Gone Baby Gone' is good, very good

With the exception of his character turn in last year's "Hollywoodland," Ben Affleck hasn't exactly distinguished himself with his choice of roles of late. Indeed, he's become such a media punching bag there may be a temptation to hyperbolize his first directing effort, "Gone Baby Gone," based on fellow Bostonian Dennis Lehane's novel. The truth is he's done a damn good job.

Review: 'We Own the Night' owns the screen

Irony is on the outs. This fall it's fashionable to show your true colors, and moviemakers are straining to impress with the kind of moral seriousness we haven't seen in American cinema since the 1970s.

Review: 'Heartbreak Kid' has beat of humdrum

"The Heartbreak Kid" is funny enough compared to other recent movies by the Farrelly brothers, whose last four or five flicks have delivered only lackluster laughs.

Review: 'Kingdom's' brawn overwhelms brains

Perhaps it was the daily bombardment of media imagery that deterred filmmakers from confronting the Vietnam War until after U.S. troops were safely home. With Iraq it's different. The steady drip of spin and punditry conceals as much as it reveals, and Hollywood is stepping in to fill the breach.

Review: 'Jesse James' different, terrific

Hollywood's favorite outlaw, Jesse James, is usually portrayed as a folk hero.

Review: Weekend's lead player: Violence

What world are we living in? That's the question that kept coming up again and again over the course of the Toronto International Film Festival, which wraps this weekend.

Review: Weekend's lead player -- violence

What world are we living in? That's the question that kept coming up again and again over the course of the Toronto International Film Festival, which wraps this weekend.

Review: Jones, Coens, Penn highlight Toronto

Talk about feast or famine! After a summer of high-tech amusement park rides, for a film fan it can feel like it's been months since there was anything worth seeing at the movies -- which makes arriving at the Toronto International Film Festival all the more disorientating.

Review: '3:10 to Yuma' a classic ride

For a good part of the last century, and certainly throughout Hollywood's golden age, the Western was a staple in any boy's imaginative diet. The lore was so deeply engrained, it seemed to stand for America itself.

Review: Summer movies you may have missed

For four months, movie theaters have been dominated by a succession of blockbusters from the usual suspects -- Bruckheimer, Spielberg, Disney, Rowling -- supplemented by a handful of newcomers (Seth Rogen and Shia LaBeouf, welcome to the big time).

Review: 'Superbad' funniest comedy since 'Borat'

With "Superbad," producer Judd Apatow ("Knocked Up," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") has created another cockeyed hit.

Review: 'Bourne' a thrill-a-minute powerhouse

It's not easy, being Bourne again. It means a lot of miles, a lot of challenges, and all for uncertain ends. And you never know what you'll have to explain: "My fight is not with you," Matt Damon's amnesiac rogue CIA agent, evading capture in Moscow, says to a local cop in Russian before beating a nonviolent retreat.

Review: 'The Simpsons Movie' delivers

After 18 years and 400 episodes of a show that refuses to grow old, "The Simpsons" finally graduates to a movie theater near you. It doesn't take Homer long (about two minutes) to ask the obvious question: What kind of sucker pays for something he can watch at home for free?

Review: 'Hairspray' rises high

Nikki Blonsky. The name doesn't exactly sing. It's at least as flat -- and, if you'll pardon the expression, as "ethnic" -- as Tracy Turnblad, the dance-crazy Baltimore teenager Ms. Blonsky plays in "Hairspray."

Review: Dim 'Transformers' thuds with action

The most expensive toy commercial ever made, "Transformers," Michael Bay's live-action film about the surprisingly durable Hasbro product line, is long, loud and altogether less than meets the eye.

Review: Divorce yourself from 'License to Wed'

Here's how bad "License to Wed" is: Even the outtakes at the end are lame.

Review: 'Sicko' a tonic, even with flaws

America's most inspired polemicist -- and most polarizing filmmaker -- Michael Moore returns to the fray with his first movie since "Fahrenheit 9/11" broke box-office records and challenged George W. Bush's White House.

Review: New 'Die Hard' worth the action

"Live Free or Die Hard" is the sort of movie you approach like last year's "Basic Instinct 2" or "Rocky Balboa."

Review: New 'Fantastic Four' better, still bad

The filmmakers behind all these comic-book adaptations always insist they won't come back for more unless the sequels can top the originals. The "Fantastic Four" gang has managed to outdo itself the second time around -- and still make a bad movie.

Review: 'Nancy Drew' true but slight

In the new Nancy Drew feature film -- her first since 1939 -- the youthful detective celebrates her birthday, but she's careful not to reveal her age.

Review: 'Ocean's Thirteen' one to enjoy

Look up the word "caper" in the dictionary, you'll find it's a prickly shrub or a frolicsome leap, a romp or gambol -- as well as an informal word for a crime, such as a theft or a heist, usually involving deception.

Review: 'Knocked Up' a top-rank comedy

In a summer set for domination by inflated franchise movies in exhausting (and often exhausted) mega-mode, "Knocked Up" is a designated sleeper, the little movie that could -- and should -- clean up.

Review: 'Shrek' continues genial hit-or-miss ways

The monstrously popular but desperately hit-and-miss "Shrek" series continues on its merry way in its inevitable third installment, even if the ogre himself is in danger of being sidetracked altogether.

Review: '28 Weeks Later' thrillingly effective

"28 Days Later," a zombie movie on speed, pictured the United Kingdom as a desolate wasteland just a month after a homicidal virus ("Rage") entered the general population.

Review: 'Spider-Man 3' mixes highs and lows

New York's most famous webslinger finally pulls body and soul together in "Spider-Man 3," an extravagant three-ring circus of a movie from director Sam Raimi, but it's not without a struggle.

Review: 'Fracture' smoothly entertaining

"Does it bother you that I call you 'Willy'?" Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) inquires of prosecuting attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling). "Very well then: Willy ..." Hopkins teases out every ounce of absurdity he can find in the name. A boy's name, surely, not a name for a high-powered attorney?

Review: 'New' Tolkien splendidly rewarding

Six thousand years before the Fellowship of the Ring, long before anyone had even seen a Hobbit, the elves and men of Middle-earth quaked at the power of the dark lord Morgoth.

Review: 'Stranger' far from 'Perfect'

Back when Kirk Douglas and Spencer Tracy were on the job you could spot a newshound by his rolled-up sleeves, the way he wore his fedora and his two-fingered typing style (with a smoke and a flask nearby).

Review: Exciting 'Grindhouse' a wild ride

When filmmakers talk about how great the movies were back in the 1970s, they're usually thinking about "The Godfather," "Chinatown," or "Dog Day Afternoon."

Review: 'Blades of Glory' scores hilariously

They say that figure skating requires the elegance of a royal court, the grace of a ballerina, the speed of a sprinter, the balance of a tightrope walker, the endurance of a marathon runner, the coordination of a juggler, the strength of a high jumper and the rhythm of a dancer.

Review: A decent restart for 'TMNT'

When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird idly sketched perpendicular reptiles wearing ninja masks and bearing nunchaku in 1984, it was primarily for their own amusement. They gave them a name that was also a logo, and having nothing more profitable to do at the time, they inked out their first comic book, a spoofy homage to Frank Miller and Marvel Comics.

Review: 'Shooter' loses its aim

The name of the movie is "Shooter," and for a while director Antoine Fuqua is right on target with this claustrophobic tale of conspiracies, lies and double-crosses.

Review: '300' far from perfect

The fanboys are raring for this one. As of Wednesday, two days before "300" opened, the Internet Movie Database gave director Zack Snyder's historical epic a user rating of 8.6 out of 10, based on more than 7,000 votes. The breakdown reveals that 6,000 of the voters are males under the age of 29, and that more than 80 percent rated the film a perfect 10. (The figures weren't much changed as of Friday.)

Review: Fine, suspenseful 'Zodiac'

It took Hollywood only two years to produce a fictionalized account of the Zodiac killing spree that terrorized San Francisco in 1969.

Review: '23' is a bad number

Even as the great and good assemble for the annual orgy of self-congratulation that is the Oscars ceremony, you have to wonder if there has ever been a greater disconnect between the films up for the awards and the movies the studios are pumping out on a weekly basis.

Review: Cooper brilliant in OK 'Breach'

In February 2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen had been arrested for treason.

Review: 'Terabithia' warm and worthwhile

There's something endearingly quaint about the images and ideas presented in "Bridge to Terabithia," the notion that the most troubling force in a kid's life could be the fear of a bully on the school bus, and that frolicking in the woods could provide the perfect escape.

Review: 'Music and Lyrics' rarely sings

"Music and Lyrics" is a weird little hybrid of a romantic comedy that's simultaneously too fluffy and not whimsical enough.

Review: 'Hannibal' bites the big one

It only took 16 minutes for Anthony Hopkins to sear the terrifying Hannibal Lecter into the minds of moviegoers in 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs." "Silence" author Thomas Harris needed more than a decade to write the follow-up "Hannibal," and seven more to come up with "Hannibal Rising."

Review: Ignore 'Because I Said So'

"What do women want?" Mel Gibson demanded, a few seasons back.

Final 'Potter' launch on July 21

Harry Potter fans, the end is near.

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