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after.life

After.Life, in which Christina Ricci is killed (maybe) in a car accident and spends the film trapped in a funeral home with funeral director Liam Neeson and grieving boyfriend Justin Long. Promoted as a psychological thriller, we suspect this one is heavier on the suspense, less so on the gore. Overall reviews were negative

backup plan

The Backup Plan stars Jennifer Lopez. Long story short: online critics were not invited to see the film until the day of screening -- and then at the same day and time as our previously rsvp'd screening for The Losers. We can't be in two places at the same time. We went where we were invited.

In this one though, a single J.Lo feels the clock ticking and opts for artificial insemination before it's too late. Then she meets Mr. Perfect. Just a day late..... obviously a rom-com dateflick

Black Waters of Echo's Pond

IF you prefer to scare yourself silly The Black Waters of Echo's Pond may be for you. You're on your own for this one, folks. We don't cover this stuff and it wasn't screened, anyhow. Horror films rarely are as you know what you're gonna get.

Brooklyn's Finest

Brooklyn's Finest stars Richard Gere as a cop facing retirement; Don Cheadle as an undercover cop questioning his loyalties and Ethan Hawke as an officer about to cross the line to get money for a sick wife. Three parallel stories never find much reason to come together or give us much reason why we should be watching the three to begin with.

Cherry

Cherry stars Kyle Gallner as a college freshman who can't take his eyes off a fellow student ... hot single mom Linda (Laura Allen) whose 14 years old daughter (Britt Robertson) gets in the middle in a very interesting way. The story has some nice twists to it but you'll never see it in a theater ... wait and rent

City of Your Final Destination

The City of Your Final Destination comes from director James Ivory. The director's name alone is enough to pique the interest of his fans.

date night

Date Night stars Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. Two top TV comedy stars in the overused couple steals a restaurant reservation and havoc ensues story. We've seen this before, and that's just from the trailer. The congeniality of the stars will drive big box office to this film unless, of course, it doesn't. . .

dear john

Gents, for every shoot-em-up you've lugged an uninterested date to, and made her sit through start to finish, there is Dear John, in which a fine young thing falls in love with a soldier. No he doesn't die. No, she doesn't die. You will,on the other hand, be pummled by your date for an explanation about what happens at the very end of the film. Be prepared to explain why guys do what it is guys do. We will say no more than that. You are warned. Ladies, this film is absolutely for you.

Death at a Funeral

Death at a Funeral is a black cast remake of Frank Oz' film of three years back. If this version is even half as funny as the original, the ticket price is money well spent. We weren't invited to see the thing. Make of it what you will

did you hear about the morgans?

Did You Hear About the Morgans? stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, with Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen. Squabbling New Yorkers in witness protection in Wyoming. So boring it was painful to sit through and pointless to write about. So...

Having enough jokes to power a 30 second television spot is not enough to justify paying for a theater ticket. Pass it by.

edge of darkness

Mel Gibson stars in Edge of Darkness. It's Mel versus a lot of emotionless white guys in suits, who all tend to look alike in a mish-mash of a story about a Boston PD Detective in search of his daughter's killer. Since everyone assumes the cop is the target, imagine the surprise when it turns out the daughter (and  her previously secretive life) wore the bullseye. The story tries so hard to be tricky it falls flat.

Greenberg

Greenberg stars Ben Stiller. It's a major change for Stiller, who usually makes dumb comedies. What happens here is a legitimate, well-made film of a lost guy who finds some kind of life when he's asked to house sit for his brother. Strangely enough, that one act give the guy a reason to live. A great film for those who hate the usual multiplex fare. A just OK sit for grown ups.


Green Zone

Green Zone stars Matt Damon as the leader of a team sent to deactivate WMDs in Iraq. poor guy stumbles across more than he counted on.

You want a terrific movie? You don't want Iraq War politics bashing you across the brow, except when they actually fit in the story of the movie? This is a great movie. This is the first great movie of the year. See it.

Harry Brown

Harry Brown stars Michael Caine as a Brit version of a character much like The Punisher. Caine lets his native accent go full blast this time out and we could barely understand a word.

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon, if you have single digits, is the best toon of the year (so far). The older you get the less jaw dropping wonderful it gets but this story, of a Viking kidlet who bonds with the dragon he's supposed to kill (to earn his manhood). It's a good sit. Cranky's movie review and Download wallpapers here

Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus comes via the genius mind of Terry Gilliam. Like most Gilliam originals, you'll need at least two views to begin to get all the stuff packed into the script or production design. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is1000 years old and has promised his daughter (Lily Cole) to the devil (Tom Waits) on her 16th birthday. Enter Heath Ledger (as Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell) and alongside Verne Troyer, hang on for the ride.

Inglourious Basterds

Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic is his first that doesn't stuff enough story or trivial details into its rather compact 2.5 hours. Brad Pitt stars but has little to do for much of the film. He leads a band of Jewish-Americans determined to kill Nazis. Period. Meanwhile a woman who escaped the Nazi extermination of her family plots to kill Nazis. As we said, there's not much here. ($6.50).

In My Sleep

In My Sleep should be seen by would be film makers as it demonstrates both the good and bad of newbie film making. A psychological murder mystery, the first half is dull as toast and the back half tries to stuff so much plot and plot twists into the story that the result is overkill. Wait and rent so you can get past the dull parts.

Invictus

Invictus stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in a Clint Eastwood film about how the game of rugby unified South Africa in the year after apartheid racial laws fell. Eastwood's film is not about an underdog athletic club pitting in-bred racism against superior opponents (though that is true). It's about nation-building. But if you know nothing about Rugby or its World Cup, and can't get through the South African accents (we plead guilty on both counts) Invictus is a lost cause.

iron man 2

Get yer Iron Man wallpapers now! 'papers from IM2and the original Iron Man film are just a click away!

The film is review proof so losing the review in the death of our old machine isn't all that bad. The film isn't as good as the first and, simply, sets up what will be an eventual movie called The Avengers about two years out. Fanboys should stay until the very very end for a nice surprise. Those unfamiliar with Marvel Comics should bring a date to explain it.

it's complicated

It's Complicated stars Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. Femme skewed date flick for those of parental age or older. Streep is 10 years divorced from Baldwin, who wants a second chance since the new wife and kid are wearing him out. Turns into  her first affair, ever, and we haven't even gotten to Steve Martin.

A good sit

joneses

The Joneses stars David Duchovny and Demi Moore as wealthy white folk who move into a community to live a lifestyle designed to make their neighbors envious enough to buy everything they see. Yeah, as in "keeping up with the". The script is all kindling and while it would pass muster in a screen writing class, the film as a whole fails to spark. This'll be a terrific rental in 6 months time

kick ass

Kick Ass is a story of a "real life" superhero who takes on the mob. Based on the best selling comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. One warning: if you have any aversions to four letter words, stay home (or at least cover your ears for ten minutes after the first scene is over). OTT, those of GenX will have a blast. It's profane and bloody and funny as [deleted]

Looking for Eric

Looking for Eric will ring some kind of bell for soccer fans post David Beckham -- the Eric of the title is some French star we've never heard of, idolized by a Brit postal worker who, with the help of his working mates, finds the meaning of life and the hand of the very first woman he ever let get away. It's better than that description but it's still a rental.

losers

When push comes to shove, The Losers (based on a DC comic that, remarkably, this fanboy hadn't heard of) is a dead on GenX dateflick ('cuz the femmes in our theater were just as enthusiastic on the way out as their dates were). Starring absolutely no one in a PG-13 rated action flick that features plenty of bullets and bosoms and a CIA undercover team framed for the murder of 25 children down Bolivia ways,  the film is stuffed with double crosses and is thankfully lacking in four letter obscenities in the script. We enjoyed The Losers over all . . . the GenX'ers were cheering and applauding by the time all was done. They also got more of the gags in the script than yours Cranky.

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones stars Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as the parents of the lovely Saoirse Ronan, unfortunately murdered by neighbor Stanley Tucci. The victim watches her family deal from an "in-between" place in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the best selling novel. Our sister adored the book, and we suspect a lot of what you bring in will affect  your reaction. We didn't hate it but neither were we moved. Susan Sarandon does a great turn as a hard drinkin' and smokin' grandma who steps in when the parental units start to crack. A dateflick, believe it or not, aimed at the ladies.

mercy

Mercy stars Scott Caan (with a small part for father James Caan) in a Scott Caan production of a Scott Caan screenplay. Directed by Patrick Hoelck. Have mercy on your wallet and go see something else.

My One and Only

My One and Only stars Renee Zellweger as a single mom (she dumps cheating hubby Kevin Bacon) who sets out cross country in 1953 America, seeking out a new sugar hubby. Not tacky but terribly ordinary. Based on the childhood of a Hollywood star, readers of a certain age should get a kick when they figure out who that star is. ($6.00)

The Other Man

The Other Man stars Liam Neeson as a man who discovers that his wife of 20+ years (Laura Linney) has had an affair with a mystery man in Milan (Antonio Banderas). This ineptly directed film tries to make a big mystery of events leading to the discovery but we'll spill one: Linney's character dies, off screen, within the first ten minutes of screen time (not story time). Trying to make a viewer figure out her disappearance is a major distraction. Knowing that plot point may make the rest of the film, one man against another, more tolerable for you potential viewers, but we doubt it.

Our Family Wedding

Our Family Wedding stars Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia as battling fathers whose children (America Ferrera and Lance Gross) are about to embark on a cross ethnic wedding -- Mexican- and African-American. The jokes pull more from the Mexican side - Catholicism offers up so much more to pull from but the over all film was an enjoyable sit



Punching the Clown

Sarah Silverman really likes Punching the Clown about a folk singer of songs that are off-kilter in the Sarah Silverman vein. Cranky likes it , too. Said singer goes to LA to find fame, fortune and everything that goes with it . . . and that last bit isn't what he expected at all. The film is funny if you're sober (so rent, eventually) and will probably be a blast if you're blasted. Not that you should ... but you stoners know who you are <g>

paper man

Paper Man with stars Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow and Kieran Culkin, is a perfectly ordinary, well made film for those who prefer the serious art house circuit sort of film. Basically a story of adults who haven't grown up finally making the decision to do so . . . With the help of their imaginary friends from childhood. Said film is so serious we found it to be flat out dull.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief wins our awards for the Most Unwielding Title of the Year (so far) and Parental Units Making Movies for Their Kids. It's a great film for boys in which the children of Greek gods save the planet from destruction by their parents. (Yes it is kidlets.) The parental units who buy the tickets and sit in the back (allowance $$ doesn't count) ... or not (unless it does. Sorry, parental units.) ... will like it, too.

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole stars Nicole Kidman. No slight to the actress, this is the film that you should AVOID AVOID AVOID unless you like sitting in unbearable "let me out of here" type pain watching couples onscreen suffer the loss of a child. Not necessarily in that order.

Kidman got an Oscar nomination. We still say AVOID.

Remember Me

Remember Me stars Robert Pattinson as an argumentative young man whose relationships with family (Pierce Brosnan, Lena Olin ) and friends (new girlfriend Emilie de Ravin) are evaluated in light of a certain September event of a couple of years ago. It is the first film, in fifteen years of reviewing, that put us to sleep.

runaways

The Runaways, in which the story of Joan Jett's (Kristen Stewart) first band is told via the autobiography of its jail bait lead singer (Dakota Fanning). True story folks -- we played this band back in our radio DJ days in the 70s. The movie is just an average sit, though.

Saint John of Las Vegas

Saint John of Las Vegas stars Steve Buscemi, Peter Dinklage Romany Malco and Sarah Silverman in the indie star of the week. A story of insurance fraud investigators, another pass or two on the script by writer/director Hue Rhodes and there may have been something to write home about. But there's not

sherloc holmes

Sherlock Holmes stars Robert Downey Jr. and  Jude Law. Terrific production design aside, whatever it is it isn't Sherlock Holmes.

What it is is terrible. It'll make a fortune, but it's terrible.

She's Out of My League

She's Out of My League is rude and crude and very funny if you're in that post high school early 20s stage where gross humor and sex jokes are all you want. We enjoyed the pretty face of star Alice Eve, who plucks an average shlub (Jay Baruchel) from the crowd because she wants a normal and predictable boyfriend. We also enjoyed at least half the jokes. But then, yours Cranky has officially entered old fart stage.

tiny furniture

For those just out of school and dealing with the new pressures of job, work, love, roommates and other adult stuff the indie Tiny Furniture is something to check out. We remember those days with little fondness but we come from a different generation.

square

The indie thriller of the week would be The Square, which involves a cheating husband, a mentally disturbed mistress and a bit of arson that goes horribly wrong. We can't tell you any more than that. We were sick as a dog when our screening came and went. We can say the review were overwhelmingly positive

lbs

For those 'toonheads out there, the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty offers a look inside 1980s Disney Animation just before the House that Walt Built remembered what it was that made it wonderful

who do you love

Who Do You Love tells the story of Leonard Chess (Alessandro Nivola), whose record label essentially coined rock 'n' roll. Much the same story as Cadillac Ranch of two years ago, this film is just a wee bit lighter on the music.

Ondine

Ondine stars Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman who hauls in a fair young thing in his nets. The film is not as sleazy as that may sound ... it is a terrific sit, a airy tale (if you will) for grown ups and a film that should be sought out. There's no review because 24 hours after seeing it, we nearly died. Just take the recommendation and find the film.

Princess Kaiulani

Princess Kaiulani tells the life story of the very last royal of Hawaii, just as the USA took control of the islands from, uh, Great Britain. We think. There is so very little story of interest to relate for this film that we're not entirely sure. There's a wee bit of romance but overall there's very little of interest here

robin hood

Robin Hood stars Russell Crowe in a mind numbing bore whose humongous battle scenes cannot make up for an utter lack of interesting story.

It's the Worst of the Year. Terminally tiresome at 2 hours 20 is this origin film which forgets that Robin Hood -- the classic stories -- were, at least, fun. Not this ponderous and dull historical drek which will sucker y'all in.

Just Wright

Just Wright stars Queen Latifah as a physical therapist for a pro b'ball player (Common). He's being pursued by her gold-digger cousin (Paula Patton) and, for the first 2/3 of the film, t'ain't a bad sit. Then it falls all to pieces.

q

We wish we could tell you what Christopher Nolan's Inception is about . . . it sure is filled with men (like star Leonardo DiCaprio) in expensive suits allegedly killing other people ... or wrecking their business ... or something, by invading the dreams of the victims. There is plenty of action but, honestly? We haven't been as bored or as under whelmed with a film since we sat through The Matrix. And, yes, all the stoners in our audience applauded this one, too.

That means Inception will make a zillion dollars before anyone figures out that the story is indecipherable in one sit. I'm sure that, once you have a DVD to rock through a half a dozen times, you'll find plenty of Easter eggs and something resembling

tourist

Screened so close to opening that we feared the worst, and riding a very fine line between ridiculously good and bad is an engaging thriller called The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. A beautiful British woman picks up a American shlub on a train and, while Russian gangsters chase the pair through the canals of Venice, all followed closely by Interpol and British police, lov*e develops. Nah (maybe) ... but 'nuff said. The Tourist is a ridiculously fun sit. Take a date. ($6.50/10)

tempest

The Tempest stars Helen Mirren in Shakespeare's drama of an exiled royal family, a magical storm, and political machinations that make everything better. Twisted to have a female royal pulling the strings may make traditionalists cringe; concentrate on the centuries out of date English and take the ride (better yet, wait to rent so you can go back and forth).

rare exports

Rare Exports is the quirkiest "Christmas-time" film we've ever had the pleasure of seeing. Way up north in Finland, Santa Claus is captured in a reindeer net and, when freed, takes revenge by kidnapping the local children. Even his elves -- all Santa look alike's -- get in on the act.Can the hunter and his son, who got this mess rolling in the first place, set all right and save Christmas? Or have the good folk of Finland been wrong about Christmas all along?

 

South of the Border

South of the Border, director Oliver Stone's documentary about the burgeoning socialist governments in South America, and how they've been "misrepresented" up here in the States might have been a much more interesting sit if it didn't look like it had been edited by a six year old. Sloppy production values wreck the film.

Morning Glory

A dateflick for us grown ups, Morning Glory stars Harrison Ford as a network evening news anchor demoted to "Daybreak," a morning show that looks a lot like a second rate Today Show. Rachel McAdams is the new exec. producer and views this as her big shot. The hassle of trying to get Ford to go his job provides most of the comic oomph (as does Diane Keaton as the co-anchor. The film is as fun as it is uneven. It'll be a better rental but, as the way-too-serious and somewhat awards-worthy films roll out in the just started Oscar wannabe season, if you're looking for something fluffy and disposable for an evening, this is it.

src=/archive10/images/unstoppable.jpg"

Unstoppable stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pines as train dudes who take down a runaway loaded with hazardous materials. Rosaria Dawson is the dispatcher trying to avert disaster. Not that disasters don't happen -- this is a Tony Scott movie -- and explosions and train wrecks supply more than enough fun. As awful as the script is, the film is a terrific sit. It is great fun and there was applause as credits rolled.

It's a movie. Capital "M". Go. Have Fun.

tiny furniture

For those just out of school and dealing with the new pressures of job, work, love, roommates and other adult stuff the indie Tiny Furniture is something to check out. We remember those days with little fondness but we come from a different generation.

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995-2016 by, Chuck Schwartz. Articles and interviews by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. 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 Sciences.