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Latest Articles


Review: Crank: High Voltage

A heartless thrill ride
Chinese triads. Corey Haim. Porn actors on strike. REO Speedwagon. Yes, the creators of this nearly unwatchable sequel will use anything to achieve their twisted goal: to shock ADHD teenagers.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  April 21, 2009


Review: Sunshine Cleaning

Not “completely pie free,” but close
What lifts this tasty little dramedy above Sundance mediocrity is a pathos that overcomes all the "quirky" dysfunctional contrivance.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  March 18, 2009


Review: Push

If Dakota Fanning were truly clairvoyant, she might not have made this movie.
Teens with special powers? A government conspiracy?
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  February 11, 2009


Review: Chandni Chowk to China

Unoriginal, even by Bollywood's standards
Director Nikhil Advani's quirky Chinese-Indian collaboration is the widest release ever of a Bollywood film, and the first ever kung fu Bollywood comedy.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  January 13, 2009


Cadillac Records

Muddies the Waters, but in a Good Way
Cadillac Records writer/director Darnell Martin lets the music speak for itself
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  December 12, 2008



Pixarian technical wizardry and Disney schmaltz
The celebs are okay under the direction of Chris Williams and Byron Howard, but the best lines belong to animator Mark Walton as Rhino, a fanboy hamster who fogs up his plastic ball when excited.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  November 24, 2008


Pilgrims’ progress

Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies
India, 1838. The opium business is booming, and drug money fills the British Empire’s coffers, offsetting a trade imbalance created by imports of Chinese tea and silk. But now the emperor wants the drug trade stopped.  
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  October 08, 2008


Ghost Town

A fill-in-the-blanks, DOA comedy
As a comedian, Ricky Gervais is like an endangered panda: he can perform only under specific circumstances.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  September 16, 2008



A less gory and more clichéd remake
It would all be funny if it didn’t mirror the same burnt-out ideas every one else is using.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  August 20, 2008


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Empire

A flashy, ludicrous threequel
Lines like “I will crush any idea of freedom!” may or may not be intended to reflect current Chinese leadership.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  August 05, 2008


Slideshow: Found in translation

A new book looks at the golden age of international movie marketing
As movies began to gain worldwide attention, Hollywood studios tailored their marketing to specific geographic locations, allowing local distributors to create their own publicity campaigns.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  August 01, 2008


Swing Vote

Politically neutral father/daughter drama
Some clever scenes lay bare the excesses of campaign TV culture, but overall the humor is as lame as anything on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour .
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  July 30, 2008


The Love Guru

Derivative, crass, and boring
Guru Pitka is a self-help mogul with origins in Mike Myers’s now tired vision of the groovy ’60s.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  June 25, 2008


When Did You Last See Your Father?

Much more than a Lifetime Movie for Men
Director Anand Tucker's focus on compromise and memory over pre-fab, end-of-life resolutions is realistic and powerful.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  June 11, 2008



Pleasantly predictable
The Young@Heart Chorus was formed in Northampton in 1982 by whip-cracking director Bob Cilman.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  April 16, 2008


Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns

Repackaged stereotypes
Brenda is a newly jobless mother of three, and she’s getting no child support from her baby daddies.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  March 25, 2008


The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Hard to knock it
Another shy, fatherless kid in need of a space alien or a pet dragon to help him cope.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  January 03, 2008


Kite club

Simplified Runner not up to speed
In spite of being lovingly realized and creatively cast, The Kite Runner is a simplistic adaptation of a powerful, multi-layered story.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  December 12, 2007



Incompetent Jessica Alba
“Do you think my new heart will love you as much as my old one?”
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  December 05, 2007


Mr. Bean's Holiday

An uncalled-for sequel
He appears to be on a holiday of his own — from any faintly realistic notion about his audience.
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  August 22, 2007
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