Reviews


Evan Almighty

A Movie ReelEvan Almighty: 6.5 out of 10.

I would have made a terrible movie reviewer. I watched "Evan Almighty" with the kids and they loved it. The more they loved it, the more I liked it. They transformed a safe and predictable disappointment into a fun 95 minutes.

Evan Baxter is a watered down version of Michael Scott, only he's surrounded by much less interesting characters. Had I watched this alone or in adult company, it's a solid 4.5. Today, however, it's a sweet 6.5.

Yeah, I'm a horrible movie reviewer.

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Black Snake Moan

A Movie ReelBlack Snake Moan: 6.5 out of 10.

Where did Christina Ricci go? You see all of her in this film, but there isn't as much of her as there used to be. Where did the rest of her go?

I found this movie surprisingly watchable. It's got a dirty South flavour to it with good bluesy music and just enough charm to carry you 116 minutes. The only scenes that bored me were those with that N*Sync guy. When it's Ricci and bad mofo Sam Jackson on the screen, it's pretty good.

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Breaking and Entering

A Movie ReelBreaking and Entering: 7 out of 10.

Anthony Minghella took Jude Law from the excellent The Talented Mr. Ripley and Juliette Binoche from the exceptional The English Patient and made this surprisingly fine film. I write "surprisingly" because I had never heard of Breaking and Entering. It somehow flew so far beneath the radar I completely missed it.

It's a sharp looking movie with a cool score and a several pro-Mac statements. There are times when it feels like an ad for Apple. The acting is excellent and Mingella's screenplay is good, although confusing. I'm still not entirely sure where we ended up and what was resolved, but the message is clear. When you score a hot Swede, don't throw her out with the bath water.

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The Last King of Scotland

A Movie ReelThe Last King of Scotland: 8 out of 10.

I'm on a roll with movies lately. This was another good one with a killer performance by Forest Whitaker. The dude is damn good as Idi Amin. From Charles Jefferson in "Fast Times at Ridgement High" to this in 24 years.... nice.

For those keeping score at home, I've now rated three movies in a row a score of 8 or greater. In fact, four of the past five films I watched got such a score. You can read every review I've thrown on this site at https://www.torontomike.com/reviews/.

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Little Children

A Movie ReelLittle Children: 8 out of 10.

I'm catching up on flicks and I've seen a few good ones in a row. Last night I finished "Little Children" which stars Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson. It's very interesting with a super creepy performance by Jackie Earle Haley.

It's simply a well crafted film by Todd Field who also directed the excellent "In The Bedroom". In fact, "Little Children" reminded me of the pacing and writing in "In The Bedroom" and both films left me thinking about it all hours after I watched. That, in a nutshell, is all I hope for in a movie.

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The History Boys

A Movie ReelThe History Boys: 8.5 out of 10.

"The History Boys" flew under the radar, so it's quite possible you've never heard of this British film about boys trying to get into Oxford and Cambridge. It's my job to tell you it's awesome. It's funny, different, well acted and fulfilling.

Whenever I see Richard Griffiths I think about his role in "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear". I'm sure he'd cringe if he knew that's the role I remember him in. He's amazing in "The History Boys" as Hector and he gets to deliver most excellent lines of dialogue, like this:

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.

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Freedom Writers

A Movie ReelFreedom Writers: 5 out of 10.

I really didn't like this Hillary Swank vehicle based on the true story of Wilson High. I didn't like the similar "Dangerous Minds" either, and I think I know why. It's Morgan Freeman's fault.

Morgan Freeman starred in "Lean on Me" back in '89 and all of these movies pale by comparison. Save the time you'd commit to watching "Freedom Writers" and give "Lean on Me" another spin.

Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm.

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Pan's Labyrinth

A Movie ReelPan's Labyrinth: 8.5 out of 10.

Holy crap, that was cool. I'm not even sure how to review Guillermo del Toro's fantasy. It's visually unlike anything I've ever seen before.

It's just very cool.

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Run Granny Run

A Movie ReelRun Granny Run: 7 out of 10.

This is an HBO documentary about Doris "Granny D" Haddock's run for the US Senate. Granny D joined the race late, had a shoestring budget, faced a popular incumbent and was 94 years old.

It's a charming doc that juxtaposes Granny's sincerity and unpolished finish with the smug and swarmy Judd Gregg. Earlier today I heard Hazel McCallion on the radio going off on Stephen Harper's Conservative Party for their selfish attempt to buy our votes while municipalities go without. Hazel and Granny share the same gumption, the same spirit and the same denture cream.

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Volver

A Movie ReelVolver: 7.5 out of 10.

Pedro Almodovar has a winner here in Volver, and Penelope Cruz is fantastic in the lead. It's easy viewing for two hours even though you have to read the whole thing.

I highly recommend it.

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