Tag Archives: movies


Shutter was almost universally trashed by critics and moviegoers alike. The movie is nothing more than a ghost story sat in Japan. The tension builds as Ben and Jane start to realize they are being haunted and followed by a ghostly image that appears in all their photos. Shutter is decently scary, however, the script could have used a few more rewrites. We have good actors in Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor but the characters are so one dimensional.

The film falls apart in the final acts where the standard ghost story cliches make their appearance. I saw the ending coming halfway through the movie and I was dreading it like a child dreads taking a bath. I so wanted something to happen to divert us from what was sure to be a dreadful final 10 minutes of the movie, but nothing happened.

This movie would have worked brilliantly as an hour-long X-Files episode, but it fails as an hour and a half major motion picture. One positive note was the cinematography. It was shot on location in Japan and that definitely gave the film an authentic and beautiful look.

The movie is rated PG-13 for intense terror, disturbing images, sexual content and language. I am giving it one and a half stars because despite it’s poor screenplay, the actors were good and there are enough scary moments not to make the film a total wash. It could have been so much better.

2/4 stars



Toward the end of 2007, I started to hear the buzz about a movie called Juno, it wasn’t in a lot of theaters and in very few cities, but it sounded like a movie I would want to see. So after putting my detective shoes on, I got a copy of the movie and was amazed at the depth, warmth, and humor this movie throws your way in 96 minutes.

Juno, without a doubt, was the best movie of 2007! Everything from the acting, writing, soundtrack, the pieces of the puzzle come together and fit wonderfully! Young actress Ellen Page steals the show with her incredible acting abilities. This young woman was nominated for an Oscar for her portal of Juno, and I was shocked when she didn’t win. And with a supporting cast including of Michael Cera, Allison Janney, Jennifer Gardner and Jason Bateman you are sure to have a good time!

But the star of this film is Juno, from the moment you see her on the screen, she wins you over. At the young age of 16, she becomes pregnant and is faced with the ultimate question, of whether or not to keep the baby.  She calls a local abortion mill to make an appointment, however, when she gets there, she sees a friend from school protesting. After a small conversation, Juno heads into the mill. As she goes toward the door, her friend makes a plea to keep the baby, and yells out to Juno, that her baby has fingernails! As Juno is waiting for the abortionist, she notices the fingernails of everyone around her and finally understands she must have the baby.

Obviously realizing she can’t raise a baby, she looks in the local paper for couples wanting to adopt. She comes across a picture of what looks like the perfect couple and decides to give them a call.

The rest of the film unfolds like a beautiful piece of music. It’s often cliché for a critic to call a movie, an emotional rollercoaster, but this is the essence of one. You are guaranteed to laugh, cry, be upset and angry with all the twists and turns this movie will throw at you! Four out of four stars.

The Prince of Egypt

“You who I called brother. How could you have come to hate me so? Is this what you wanted? Then let my heart be hardened and never mind how high the cost may grow. This will still be so. I will never let your people go.” – Pharaoh Ramesses II

An ambitious account of the life of Moses and the great Exodus. The Prince of Egypt was DreamWorks first full-length animated film and while based on the biblical story, the film does take many dramatic liberties. However, it still stays true to the book of Exodus. The filmmakers actually place a disclaimer up front which points the viewers to the Bible to find out what actually happened (which impressed me).

The film starts in the middle of the persecution of the Hebrew people by the King of Egypt. He has ordered the execution of the first born male child of all the Hebrew people. The Pharaoh was afraid that if the male numbers grew, one day they the slaves would have enough men to overpower him and flee for freedom.

Jochebed, a Hebrew woman is afraid for her new baby boy. With her daughter Miriam she sets her son afloat inside a whicker basket in the Nile river in hopes for a better life – free from the slaughter that would find him if he were to stay.

Miriam follows the basket until it arrives at of all places the palace of the King and Queen of Egypt. The Queen finds the baby and names him Moses. She adopts him as her own. The film cuts to twenty years later and we see Moses and his adopted brother Rameses playing and causing trouble. They are the Prices of Egypt and are having a grand time. One night, Moses runs into his slave sister Miriam. She confronts Moses and tells him that he is her brother. He is upset and angry at such an accusation, until she starts to sing a lullaby that he remembers.

Moses runs away in search for answers. The Pharaoh, tells Moses it’s the truth, but that matters not because he a Prince of Egypt now. He says not to feel upset, they were only Hebrew children that were killed. Moses is taken back at the callousness in his father’s voice.

This eventually leads to Moses running away and fleeing Egypt into the desert. Here is here’s the voice of God in the Burning Bush telling him to return to Egypt and free the slaves and lead them to freedom. When Moses does finally return to confront the king, he realizes the new Pharaoh is his brother Rameses!

The filmmakers had daunting task ahead of them when they set out to make this film. The story is cherished by billions of people. Christians, Jews and Muslims all hold this story is sacred. It was banned in several Arab countries and caused a lot of controversy at the time of it’s release. The film was all most universally praised but it still contains several very dark themes. The murder of children for instance is confronted head on in the film.

The story of Moses and the great Exodus comes alive in this animated film. It’s very close to a musical, but I don’t think it’s actually classified as one. The music in the film is remarkable is probably my favorite soundtrack of all time. This is a powerful and uplifting story that will show you how miracles can happen if you believe. The scenes of Moses parting the Red Sea are worth the price of admission alone.


  • Val Kilmer as Moses
  • Ralph Fiennes as Ramesses II
  • Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti I
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Zipporah
  • Helen Mirrem as Queen Tuya
  • Jeff Goldblum as Aaron
  • Sandra Bullock as Miriam
  • Danny Glover as Jethro
  • Steve Martin as Hotep
  • Martin Short as Huy
  • Ofra Haza as Yocheved

The cast is incredible. You can see from the names above, this is nothing but top notch talent. Jeff Goldbulm was great as Aaron, the brother of Moses. Val Kilmer, the voice of Moses was also the voice used for God. He was extremely reverent and there is nothing sacrilegious at all about his portal. Steve Martin and Martin Short steal many scenes in the film as the two head priests for the Pharaoh.

Ratings and Suggestions

The Prince of Egypt is rated PG for intense depiction of thematic elements. I would recommend this film for the whole family. Even with the darker themes in the movie, it’s nothing graphic and should not stop you from showing your younger children the movie. I strong recommend the film however to adults who want a fresh (or new even) perspective on the story. This is one amazing film, which I happy give four out of four stars.

Bridge to Terabithia

I watched Bridge to Terabithia with great excitement. It came highly recommended from my good friend and fellow critic, Heather. But even in her praise for the movie, I was not ready for what I saw. I watched in stunned silence as the film ended. As I wiped away tears from my eyes, I thought about my own childhood. There’s something magical about an elementary school that’s hard to explain. However, the friendships you make, while they may not last, are almost sure to have an impact on your life for years to come.

The story revolves around a young boy named Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) and his little sister May Belle (Bailee Madson). The movie begins as we see Jess getting ready for a big race at school. Unfortunately, his mom threw his lucky sneakers out with the trash and since he comes from a poor family he’s is forced to wear his older sisters pink tennis shoes instead. Mortified at the thought, he quickly grabs a black marker and colors them in.

Later that day, as the race is set to begin the new girl in class Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) decides to run as well (much to the chagrin of the others, who thought this was a “boy’s only” race). The contest is a close one between Leslie and Jess with Leslie taking the lead and beating him at the last minute. May Belle runs over to her big brother Jess, but he is sour because he was beaten by Leslie who offers to shake hands after the race. He’s embarrassed and walks away from her. His bitterness fades away and eventually, the two of them develop a close friendship help by the fact that Leslie moved into the empty house next door to Jess.

While playing in the woods one day, the two of them create a magical world called Terabithia. Filled with magic and wonder, their world is full of prisoners being held captive by the evil, Dark Master. Jess and Leslie, with the help of dragonfly warriors, have come to set them free. As their imagination sores, so do the adventures they have in Terabithia.

In a film full of remarkable moments and scenes, I have to say I was impressed at a very potent conversation Leslie, Jess and May Belle have on their way home from church one Sunday about God and the Bible. Leslie tells them she doesn’t believe God would ever damn anyone to hell because he’s to busy making “all of this” as she points to the picturesque countryside around her.

The Bridge to Terabithia is an extraordinary movie that should be remembered as one of the best coming of age movies ever created. The amazing thing to me is how the movie so carefully focuses on the different kinds of friendships and how important those can be. You see the frustration and anger Jess can feel have towards his little sister May Belle, but at the same time how much he loves and cares about her. And then the relationship between Jess and Leslie is incredible because you feel the connection these two have towards each other is so genuine and beautiful words fail to aptly describe it.

Another thing that sets the movie apart from the rest is the music. Throughout the film, the director so wisely uses the music to set the tone and feel of the movie. Every film tries to do this, and it rarely works as wonderful as it does in Bridge to Terabithia.

One of the best movies ever made, this should be required viewing or all students in junior high or high school. Based on the award-winning novel by Katherine Paterson, the Bridge to Terabithia is a movie for all ages who cherish friendship. Turn on your imagination and be sure to keep your mind wide open, this movie gets Four out of four stars.

The Day After Tomorrow

The world is ending, global warming is real and you have 24 hours to get to Mexico!  Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the script that could have been written by Al Gore. And while the movie is pure fantasy, I did, however, find myself enjoying it.

Quaid plays Jack Hall, a climatologist who has been trying to sound the alarm of global climate change with no luck. Suddenly massive storms hit the planet, sending Earth into a second Ice Age. Hall then must race to New York, where his son is trapped in the library.

The movie is fun, and ludicrous at the same time. It’s nice eye candy and if you have some time to kill, with no other movies to watch, you should enjoy yourself with this one. One and a half stars out of four.

The Bee Movie

“What is the deal with Bees? I mean come on, why are they so small? And why… do the like honey?”

Okay, now just picture me saying that in a Seinfeld accent. Still not amused? Okay, let’s get to this review. I promise not to use too many bee jokes or one-liners, but I admit it will be hard to resist.  As every hardcore Seinfeld fan knows, most of the titles of his episodes were very simple and followed the same formula: The Contest, The Junior Mint, The Virgin, The Bubble Boy. So it was no surprise to me, that his movie was called, “The Bee Movie.”

Jerry Seinfeld plays a bumblebee named Barry Bee Benson (notice the clever alliteration) who has just finished college and is ready to head out in the bee world as a honey worker.  However, he flies outside with the other worker bees whose job it is to pollinate flowers and discovers the magic that is the human race.

Once out there his life is saved by a sweet woman named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger). He breaks a cardinal bee rule and speaks to her, and surprisingly enough, she’s not that freaked out by it. Bloome shows him all about the outside world and makes a startling discovery! Humans are making honey and selling it without prior bee permission! This enrages Barry and with the help of his new friend, decided the sue the whole human race. A hilarious courtroom drama ensues and Barry must deal with the consequences of the court’s verdict.

The Bee Movie is not for everyone. I wonder how many kids will really enjoy the movie. I know I have tried to get my three-year-old daughter to watch it a few times, and she lost interest rather quickly. I on the other hand really enjoyed the movie and I suspect many other fans of Jerry Senfiend’s comedy will enjoy the movie as well. Zellweger’s very sweet voice is soothing to listen too, and Patrick Warburton just has to speak and he makes me laugh. Three out of four stars.

The Green Mile

Based on a serial novella by Stephen King, the Green Mile is the best adaption of King’s work. The film faithfully follows the book, by using flashbacks to tell the story of John Coffee and the miraculous year of 1935. It was directed by Frank Darabont, who previously teamed with King on the Shawshank Redemption. Darabont also wrote the screenplay for the Green Mile, turning the 400 pages, six-volume tome into the brilliant three-hour movie we have today.

We are introduced to Paul Edgecombe as he awakes from a nightmare. Presumably the same nightmare he’s been having for decades. He’s haunted by his past, and the things he’s seen and done. One afternoon while watching television in the family room of the retirement home he is living in, and the old show brings back a flood of memories he wishes he could forget. He leaves the room in tears and his close friend, Elaine Connelly follows. They withdraw to a private room where he precedes to tell her the story of John Coffee and the two dead girls.

Stephen King is often labeled a “horror” writer. And sure, it’s with good reason as he is the man who brought us the Shinning and Storm of the Century. However, he has quite a knack for dramatic storytelling. Sure, the Green Mile has plenty of supernatural elements in it, however, it’s much more of a story about the men who come into contact with Coffee.

King and Darabont make several allusions to Coffee as a Christ-like figure. His name is John Coffee (J.C.). He is sacrificed for crimes he did not commit. He has an incredible ability to heal and to raise the dead. Despite all these obvious implications, the movie does not push this view on anyone, it’s only something you would notice from watching it closely.

Unfortunately for the Green Mile, 1999 was a remarkable year for films. It was nominated for several Oscars, including best picture. But as a result of the daunting competition, it lost to American Beauty.