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Good Luck Chuck

Director: Mark Helfrich
Cast: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler

(Lionsgate; US theatrical: 21 Sep 2007 (General release); 2007)

Review [21.Sep.2007]

10


Good Luck Chuck Mark Helfrich


Dane Cook needs to be stopped. He’s not funny. He can’t act—and even his life outside screen and stage screams has-been (the MySpace friends frenzy) and never-will-be (dating Jessica Simpson???). Yet someone thought he’d be a good match with the equally empty Jessica Alba for a high concept comedy in which the title character carries a unique curse. Sadly, it wasn’t something like malaria. Instead, Cook is a dude who can help a gal meet her true love. All she has to do is sleep with him. And you thought the viewer had it bad. Bill Gibron





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The Hearbreak Kid

Director: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
Cast: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Malin Akerman, Carlos Mencia, Rob Corddry

(Paramount Pictures; US theatrical: 5 Oct 2007 (General release); UK theatrical: 5 Oct 2007 (General release); 2007)

9


The Heartbreak Kid Peter and Bobby Farrelly


Ben Stiller looks bored. Malin Akerman amps the unnecessary insanity. Michelle Monaghan wonders how she got talked into this trash. And somewhere, Elaine May and Neil Simon are smiling - or crying… one of the two (depends on the size of the royalty check). Why anyone would want to tackle this three decades old social satire in an era where none of the commentary matters is beyond one’s intellectual capacity. To turn it into a ‘so ‘90s’ gross out goof off seems even more incomprehensible. Yet that’s what the clueless Farrelly Brothers do, and the results speak—or make that, reek - for themselves. Bill Gibron





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August Rush

Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Jamia Simone Nash, Robin William

(Warner Brothers; US theatrical: 21 Nov 2007 (General release); UK theatrical: 23 Nov 2007 (General release); 2007)

Review [25.Nov.2007]

8


August Rush Kirsten Sheridan


They say music is the language of the soul. If that’s the case, everyone involved in this soppy, saccharine project have spirits laced with Satan’s own cyanide. Ripping off Oliver Twist is one thing. Setting it within the world of star-crossed lovers, street level buskers, and compositional savants does nothing but de-fang Dickens. Then there’s the title character, a kid so open faced and optimistic that even the obvious veiled pedophilia of Robin Williams’ Fagin redux doesn’t phase him. It’s all part of a narrative numbness that allows for limited entertainment value, manipulative karmic coincidences, and maximum schmaltz. Bill Gibron





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License to Wed

Director: Ken Kwapis
Cast: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Eric Christian Olsen, Christine Taylor

(Warner Brothers; US theatrical: 3 Jul 2007 (General release); 2007)

7


License to Wed Ken Kwapis


John Krasinski and Mandy Moore may just ooze charm from every pore. Does either have skin pores? I thought about that a lot more than I thought about License to Wed. Moore and Krasinski are most charming when they play against their toothy good looks, smirking and mugging their way through petty tantrums (Moore, Saved!) and self-congratulatory pranks (The Office). Despite supporting cameos from most of the cast of said Office, this lazy romcom somehow missed that joke. But I’ve had six months to make my peace with License to Wed. 2008’s all about transference, though, with Patrick Dempsey’s “un-bridaled comedy” Made of Honor ready to stink up ‘08. Maureen Miller





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I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Director: Dennis Dugan
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Buscemi

(Universal Pictures; US theatrical: 20 Jul 2007 (General release); 2007)

6


I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Dennis Dugan


Just what the summer season needed—an Adam Sandler comedy that couldn’t decide if it was a pro-PC bit of homophobia or a gay bashing attempt at tolerance. In either case, the objectives here may have been noble, but the execution was bizarrely bigoted. And it doesn’t matter if you have your characters confessing their open-mindedness in a last act attempt at absolution—all the same-sex slamming that went on before clouds such a confession. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. This isn’t humor - it’s a hate crime. Bill Gibron





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A Mighty Heart

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Irrfan Khan, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi, Will Patton, Denis O’Hare

(Paramount Vantage; US theatrical: 22 Jun 2007 (Limited release); 2007)

Review [15.Nov.2007]

5


A Mighty Heart Michael Winterbottom


Nothing about A Mighty Heart screamed awful, or even mediocre, which is exactly the point. With director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story) directing, Dan Futterman (Capote) acting, and what’s her name in the lead, I guess I expected more flash. But A Mighty Heart was something else: lots of cuts, but low energy. More of an ellipsis than an exclamation point, and that doesn’t scream Angelina! to me. Maureen Miller





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Redacted

Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Izzy Diaz, Rob Devaney, Patrick Carroll, Kel O’Neill, Ty Jones, Daniel Stewart Sherman

(Magnolia Pictures; US theatrical: 16 Nov 2007 (Limited release); UK theatrical: 21 Mar 2008 (Limited release); 2007)

Review [16.Nov.2007]

4


Redacted Brian De Palma


Brian DePalma must have had some good intentions when he decided to Blair Witch the Iraq War via his cinematic experiment in surveillance camerawork. Too bad he picked the wrong enemy to focus on. Like many of 2007’s lame pro-peace pronouncements, the former ‘70s filmmaking icon made the soldiers his target, instead of a clueless administration or a misguided Commander in Chief. Then, to top it off, he developed a narrative that’s so hamfisted and obvious that it’s impossible to avoid the moronic message (i.e. pointless combat turns the military maniacal). In a year filled with off balanced attacks, this one was the worst—both politically and artistically. Bill Gibron





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I Know Who Killed Me

Director: Chris Sivertson
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough, Brian Geraghty, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Spencer Garrett, Gregory Itzin

(Columbia Pictures; US theatrical: 27 Jul 2007 (General release); 2007)

Review [9.Aug.2007]

3


I Know Who Killed Me Chris Sivertson


Up until the moment Britney went ballistic during a recent ‘domestic disturbance’, many would argue that her shenanigans were secondary to the total career meltdown suffered by one Lindsey Lohan. Case in point—this horrendously unappetizing thriller, which found our former child star going the stripper route in order to up her adult-oriented career cred. It didn’t work. Instead, the dark and dismal film, helmed by shoulder shrug Chris Sivertson, proved that there was no juice left in Lohan’s fading celebrity. A few trips through rehab’s revolving door, and a future in the food service industry doesn’t seem that far fetched. Bill Gibron





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Alvin and the Chipmunks

Director: Tim Hill
Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson, Jane Lynch, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney

(20th Century Fox; US theatrical: 14 Dec 2007 (General release); UK theatrical: 21 Dec 2007 (General release); 2007)

Review [14.Dec.2007]

2


Alvin and the Chipmunks Tim Hill


Squealing, singing vermin—only a pre-Beatles America could embrace such a novelty. That Ross Bagdasarian Sr.‘s rodent novelty act found purchase again in a post-punk ‘80s remains a pop culture mystery. Now similar success is happening all over again, a combination of boomers and babysitters keeping CG versions of the serenading wildlife rolling in the dough. This doesn’t mean Tim Hill’s movie is good. In fact, it’s so bereft of joy and happiness that Victorian workhouses are jealous of its grim, hopeless horrors. Of course the wee ones love it… they don’t know any better. Parents, and the producers, should. Bill Gibron





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Across the Universe

Director: Julie Taymor
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, T.V. Carpio, Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek

(Columbia Pictures; US theatrical: 14 Sep 2007 (Limited release); UK theatrical: 28 Sep 2007 (General release); 2007)

Review [21.Sep.2007]

1


Across the Universe Julie Taymor


Early on in this laughable Beatles-shlock-o-rama, director Julie Taymor seems to have wanted to make a real movie. It’s a story about a Liverpool dockworker who takes off for America to find his father, arriving in New York in full 1960s-hippie-ferment. Nothing new, and unfortunately the kid’s named Jude (can you imagine why?), but it’s harmless enough fun. But then the film begins its increasingly painful contortions to accommodate all the necessary Beatles tunes, becoming nothing more than a half-baked showreel for a director with plenty of visual sense but no feel for story. By the time one has suffered through a depressingly routine, “trippy” take on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” it’s clear that the Vegas Cirque du Soleil Beatles show would have been more fun. Chris Barsanti



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