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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995-2015 by, Chuck Schwartz. All Rights Reserved. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of and ©, ®, ™ their respective studios. Used by permission. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award™(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scivences.

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Seen and Not Reviewed: these are usually limited releases, documentaries or foreign films that we normally may not cover (though, given our deteriorating physical capability, some releases in the December or Summer gluts are here, too). We've been getting enough eMail inquiries that we'll be keeping the paragraph summaries in one place, here, linked from the Archives pages

In Her Shoes

We knew that In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine was going to be a heavy duty chick flick. We are pleased to report that director Curtis Hanson (he did LA Confidential) stuffed the film to the gills with some very funny jokes and situations (two sisters wind up sharing space with the grandma in a Florida retirement community) that, had the film ended fifteen minutes before it finally did, we would be trumpeting things like best of and major delight. That failure to wrap up or, perhaps, do some major cutting early on, is deadly. Take a date to this one.


The Interpreter stars Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. She, a UN interpreter who overhears a death threat to a soon to visit African despot (ruler of her home country -- a reverse of South Africa at its worst) and he, the secret service agent who aids with UN security. Both stars shine though director Sydney Pollack's film is a wee bit clunky with an ending which didn't leave our crowd cheering. There are enough moments that the past-dating crowd can settle in here. Simply, we reco the older crowd go here.


Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven stars Orlando Bloom Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson in a tale of the Third Crusade to wrest Jerusalem back from the heathen. As impressive as director Ridley Scott's visual palette is, the film crawls at a snail's pace. Wait to rent, if you want some epic viewing with lots of available time to stretch your legs.

The Legend of Zorro has Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reprising their roles from The Mask of Zorro. Add Adrian Alonso as 10 year old Zorro Jr. (sic) and some great sword fight sequences and you still have an utter stinker. Seriously. Viewers in our screening who got in for free were walking out of the theater. Legend was so painful to sit through that we couldn't bear to sit to write the review.

Lords of Dogtown

Lords of Dogtown is a history of skateboard culture created by skateboarders for the viewing pleasure of other skateboarders will bore the dickens out of anyone who isn't a skateboarder. End of review. Heath Ledger is the name star but that's no reason to lay down the ten spot.

Mission Impossible 3

Mission Impossible 3 returns Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames to the roles you know so well. High Point is Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the bad guy. As we said last week, "Only those predisposed to hate this thing could hate it. It is the best action film of the year." The message boards proved us right. Still, it's a perfect $10/10 in our book

Mr and Mrs Smith

Mr and Mrs Smith are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Both are hired killers -- one for "The Firm," the other for "The Company." Both lie to each other about their occupations in a classic loveless marriage, until word comes down that she is to kill he and he she. Heck of a time to discover you actually love your spouse of 5 or 6 years. Jolie and Pitt have great chemistry. Their loaded weapons are about all that's loaded, the script story is nonexistent. Mr & Mrs Smith is a rip off of the most despicable kind. With A-list stars, you'd think it has to be better than any reviewer can tell you it isn't, but it out right stinks. A small few in our audience

Oliver Twist

Roman Polanski's adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (finally) explains to yours Cranky why his mom kept this Dickens story far, far away from his youthful eyes. She preferred the all-is-well musical adaptation called Oliver! For those expecting the musical sans music, Oliver Twist is a slap in your face story of the hardships of the orphan boy (Barney Clark) who falls in with a gang of pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden) and overseen by Fagin (Ben Kingsley). Wait ... his life and the overseer attached (Jamie Foreman as Bill Sykes) gets much, much

the pacifier

The Pacifier stars Vin Diesel as a Navy SEAL assigned to protect a pack of kidlets whose mother (Faith Ford) is off on government business. Another foreign born nanny (Carol Kane) is his only help but this mediocre comedy is absolutely by the book. If you've got a twelve year old to park, though, this is where you should do it. The Pacifier is strictly for pre-teens.

The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man stars Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear which means, depending on your age, its either (yet another) Hilary Duff movie or one of the rare big screen appearances by Ms. Locklear. Or its a teenaged targeted flick that parents can sit in the back row for, if their kids are at the lower range of the teen demo, and still enjoy. The story is basic enough: teenkid is determined to find a man (Chris Noth) for her single mom. Everything else is just as average as can be, which means we doubt an older teengirl audience will tolerate it. If you don't have boys to concern yourself about (and if you've already been there done that with the last few weeks of releases) this is your only option. OTT, Rent.


Prime stars Meryl Streep as a Jewish psychiatrist who is shocked to discover that her 37-year old shiksa patient Uma Thurman is dating her beloved 23-year old son (played by newcomer Bryan Greenberg). Prime is supposed to be a romantic comedy and, even with a New York audience with a higher than the national average of Members of the Tribe in attendance, barely managed any kind of consistent laughter -- except for Streep's physical reaction when she realizes who Thurman is describing as (her) new lover. That's hysterically funny.


Sahara stars Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn with Delroy Lindo and William H. Macy in a story having something to do with how a Confederate ironclad winds up in the middle of an African desert. Honestly, there's so much going on here -- a perfect example of a big novel and a screen adaptation that must get everything onto t he screen -- that, short of some lovely explosions in the desert, this is nothing but a popcorn movie that is best seen on the big screen. You'll save money by renting but, it isn't bad enough that you'll be saving all that much. Teens in our audience applauded. We weren't moved enough to give either a cheer or jeer.

saint ralph

Saint Ralph whose opening has been all but invisible, is the story of a devout, just about teen, catholic boy who is told that the only thing that will bring his mom out of a coma is "a miracle". So he decides to run in, and win, the Boston Marathon. Neither a Hollywood style (big surprise ending!) or a filmstudent heart shredder (lots of ways that could go) Saint Ralph is an absolute top notch family film, as long as your kidlets have already been taught that there is more than one religion in the world. Outside of the "gimmick," and Ralph's immediate world of priestly teachers, there are no religious concerns to be found here.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants4 teen girls apart from each other for the first time ever. 4 stories of learning to be grown up for real. 4 stories in the film version of a book that thrilled female readers all around the globe. Cranky, being neither female nor teen warns all the other guys that this is a hard core chick flick. It's well written and acted but if you last more than ten minutes, you're a better man than Cranky (and of course we lasted through the whole thing. It's our job and it was painful as all get out). Men, get future credits. Women, enjoy heartily.

The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key stars Kate Hudson. More suspense than horror it is not for those of you who spend your movie time trying to figure out the third act twists. Or who want buckets of blood. The film, about a home hospice worker who stumbles upon some kind of hoodoo/ witchcraft cult (sic) isn't deep enough in characters or plot to keep you happy once you crack any part of it. That's the guy point of view. Cranky's femme friends, none of whom did anything but watch, liked it. Their reaction was positive but not enthusiastically so. That makes Skeleton Key an average dateflick.

Two for the Money

Two for the Money stars Al Pacino with Matthew McConaughey and Rene Russo. A movie not about gambling, but about the people who recommend the lines and how (you) should bet them ... too ridiculous to explain to the layman and such an absolutely dreadful, tedious and painful film to sit through that we stared at a blank screen trying to write a particularly scathing review. Sorry, folks, Two for the Money is so damned awful we decided it wasn't worth our time.