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sex and death 101

Sex and Death 101 stars Winona Ryder. Take one 20 something who gets an email list of every woman  he's  ever slept with or is ever going to sleep with and end it with the name of a sociopath killer and  you get this year's all-new all-different sex comedy. A twist at the end isn't enough to salvage this viewing experience. Rent as cheaply as possible.

shine a light

Shine a Light offers close to two hours of The Rolling Stones live in concert at New York's Beacon Theater, whose 2800 seats are barely older than the Glimmer Twins and Co. combined. Martin Scorsese directs both regular and IMAX versions of the concert (opt for the  latter) and makes you feel like you're in the front row. Close to two hours of hits with exceptional surround sound worked so well that when Jagger (went) into his usual call and response routines, our audience let loose.

sisterhood traveling pants 2

Our apologies to the cast of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 for forgetting to post our comments on their film. Even more for the female half of the dateflick equation than the first film, Pants 2 bored this breeding male silly. Maybe that's why we forgot to write anything. But we're not going to be unfair to the ladies who will eat this thing up. It's for  you. Period.


Sixty Six should comfort any British expatriates in our fine land, as a young man's bar mitzvah (it's a big event in a Jewish boys' life; at age 13 it marks an ascendance to adulthood. And you get a big party...) conflicts with the British national team's shot at the World Cup. That sort of makes it an equivalent of Miracle of a few years back, plus the religious elements. For the arthouse crowd.


Sleepwalking was produced by Charlize Theron, who has a small part in an otherwise unfocussed film; just the first of a one two punch that sent yours Cranky down for the count. Strictly arthouse in a miniscule release. That should tell you all you really need to know.

snow angels

Snow Angels is a confusing tale of kid life which becomes a lost kid mystery and then maybe a murder mystery and then again maybe a serial murder mystery lost kid whole mess a movie ideas crammed into one mess of a film. Ultimately, it's one of those films you wish you'd never paid to see in the first place. Film student geeks will rejoice! but just about everyone else (meaning: us "normal" folks) should stay away.

Soul Men

Soul Men stars Samuel  L Jackson and Bernie Mac with Sean Hayes and Isaac Hayes. Two members of a 1960s soul trio are forced to reunite when their lead singer, who found fame as a solo artist, drops dead. Said reunion involves an LA to NYC cross country drive and, excepting the four letter words, the laughs fly fast and furious. The final work from both Mac and Hayes is highly recom-mended as long as you don't mind a heaping pile of "f" words.

the spirit

The Spirit introduces Gabriel  Macht as cartoonist Will Eisner's superstar crimefighter and Samuel L Jackson as archfiend The Octopus. The clever character names and a bevy of Eisner-esque pin up beauties -- all but one flat out deadly -- are all Frank Miller holds on to as he bashes an old classic into the style over substance things that now pass for movies. Indecipherable story. Flat out terrible movie and the biggest disappointment of the week. But then, the lovely pictures --all but the actors are animated -- should leave the stoners orgasmic.

On the other hand... great visuals mean dozens and dozens and dozens of downloads -- wallpapers up the wazoo (yea!) p1  p2

Stop Loss

Stop Loss is a story which, depending on your side-of-the-aisle, will either infuriate you or make you pound your fist in anger. The story? It seems the Army has fine print in its volunteer contract that, essentially, won't let "volunteers" go at the end of their agreed upon term. It used to be called conscription but that's so last century.

street kings

Street Kings stars Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, the former as an undercover detective tempted to fall to the dark side of corruption and the latter as his commanding officer and mentor. Add Hugh Laurie as an Internal Affairs investigator who, of course, is an enemy to all cops on the force, good and bad, and you're set up for more plot twists than you'd expect. Of course, none of the characters is as they appear and none will make you care enough about their character arcs to really give a hoot about the overall movie. Dare we say it? More arthouse than popcorn flick but still, it fits snugly in our usual "dateflick" category ($5/$10).... not that the femme side of that equation can sit through it; it's tough enough for us guys.


swing vote

Swing Vote stars Kevin Costner whose sole vote will decide a presidential race between incumbent Kelsey Grammer and challenger Dennis Hopper. Both grovel, as politicians will do. A great supporting cast, including Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci and a makeup swaddled Tom Cruise rides the wave towards what will be the biggest copout ending of the year.

Our audience booed. We figured about halfway through the run, that the film was doomed. So it was.

tale of despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux is a great place to take the family - especially if you've got single digit kidlets who might have read the source as their first book. Great animation but a trio of very complicated story (about a mouse who saves a kidnapped princess, a seafaring rat stuck on land and a slopy farmhand with a big secret) get to be a bit much. Voiced by Matthew Broderick and Dustin Hoffman. OTOH we've a whole messa downloadable wallpapers for y'all.

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood won star Daniel Day Lewis the Oscar. For the few that haven't seen it, his character seeks out black gold (oil) and isn't too careful whose feet he tromps on, or whose blood he spills, to find that black gold and reap his fortune. Three hours feels like two -- a good thing. While other  critics we know feel this is a successor to Citizen Kane, we feel you should just sit and enjoy.

27 dresses

27 Dresses is the femme skewing dateflick of the week. Katherine Heigle stars as an eternal bridesmaid (27 times, thus the title) always looking for love. Though the film gets off to a rocky start, it quickly settles down  while a fairly predictable yet nonetheless popcorn sharing worthy rom-com (X-Man James Marsden co-stars as the catch). There's at least one twist ending to keep everything fun and interesting. Thus we recommend it for daters.

what happens in vegas

What Happens in Vegas is, as Ashton Kutcher put it in his teevee interviews: Two strangers in Vegas get drunk, get married and then hit a slot machine jackpot. Only after the fact do they realize that they're both greedy sots who don't particularly like each other, so they sue for the cash. A wise judge sentences the pair to live as husband and wife for six months -- it's the kind of story pitch you'd only hear in a screen writing class -- and then we're off to the races.

Well, you know what happens when you hit the jackpot in Vegas -- the wife (Cameron Diaz) wants her share of the loot. Which, if you've only been married for seventeen minutes and you're not even hung over yet -- has all the makings of a fine comedy and/or murder non-mystery <g> The script isn't all that well written but the overall flow works and the whole piece is light, fluffy, funny and quite enjoyable -- the comedy outweighs the romantic aspects and there is enough of that to make the ladies in our audience do that little clap hands and bounce in the seat thing that girls seem to do when they're really happy at a happy ending.

Oh, like you didn't know there'd be a happy ending. <g>


It's been so long since actor Mickey Rourke had a decent role to perform -- we've been writing fifteen years and he hasn't worked for just about any of it -- to do that easy to impress critics are already awarding him a statue for The Wrestler. An over the hill pro tries to "unburn" bridges to a daughter long abandoned; deludes himself into believing stripper Marisa Tomei is a real girl friend and, even worse, he thinks he's got one great match left in  him. A 20th Anniversary Rematch of the greates bout of his career. The film is a one man show. That's perfect for the arthouse and this specialty film has a performance so good y'all should hunt it down. Rourke is Oscar worthy. Cranky don't hype.


The X-Files: I Want to Believe or...

Cranky-Critic: I Wanted To Take A Nap starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, once again under the control of creator Chris Carter the film co-stars Billy Connelly as a pedophile ex-priest who has visions of a missing FBI agent. Fanboys only for this plodding, pointless, confusing, total waste of time.

Yes Man

Those expecting an incredibly stupid movie of the kind Jim Carrey used to make will be disappointed in Yes Man. Those who just want to settle in for a pretty good sit (yeah, take a date) will be happy. Those in the middle should rent and you won't be disappointed, either



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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995-2017 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.