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February 2009

Film Review - Push

PUSH still

While watching the loathsome “Push” I couldn’t help but wonder why people were so hard on last year’s satisfying actioner, “Jumper.” Certainly there was plenty of disbelief to swallow with Doug Liman’s hyperactive film, but it had a thrilling pace, top-notch special effects, and delved into a sci-fi mythology with some sympathy for the bewildered audience. The similarly plotted “Push” is opposite in every way: a ruthlessly tedious film that doesn’t make a lick of sense, is captured with cringing cinematography more at home on a skateboard accident compilation tape, and peppered with confused performances. People, give “Jumper” a second chance.

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Film Review - The Pink Panther 2

PINK PANTHER 2 still

“Pink Panther 2” is a sequel that’s not concerned with rocking the boat, dishing up the same velocity of slapstick that made the 2006 remake a modest hit, profitable enough for a second installment. This is not a motion picture worthy of disdain, but when a piece of comedy emerges from the mind of Steve Martin, shouldn’t there be more of a bite and not just a rolling succession of pratfalls and weirdly kid-unfriendly sexual innuendo? If you enjoyed the original “Pink Panther,” there’s no reason you wouldn’t like what Martin has cooked up for the sequel. Of course, if you embraced the 2006 film in a distinctly yawn-inducing way, you’ve already seen the follow-up.

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Film Review - He's Just Not That Into You

HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU still

“He’s Just Not That Into You” is a cluttered motion picture that has a lot on its mind about the state of the modern romantic union, but lacks perspective. It’s a rambling, unfair runaway snowball of a movie lacking any leadership behind the camera, instead relying on the gifts of the enormous cast, who do their best to keep this cartoon from falling apart.

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Film Review - Coraline

CORALINE still

From the director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “James and the Giant Peach” comes “Coraline,” another foray into luxurious stop-motion animation and wildly imaginative fantasy visualization. It’s a gorgeous picture to behold, but fails to absorb smoothly, for the surreal nature of the material often overwhelms basic storytelling requirements. “Coraline” is an easy film to admire, but not always to watch.

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DVD Review - Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous

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The second of pop star Jessica Simpson’s two desperate attempts to become a top-tier big screen comedienne (the other being last year’s odious “Blonde Ambition”), “Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous” (aka “Major Movie Star”) is pretty much as unremarkable and borderline unprofessional as one might imagine. A riff on “Private Benjamin,” “Valentine” is a graceless, flavorless farce built around the idea that Simpson’s dimwit routine still holds appeal and the hope that the target demo has never heard of Goldie Hawn. It’s not the worst film to escape from the Simpson Family promotional think tank (“Papa” Joe produces), but it’s a dreary, numbing comedy that has rightfully bypassed theatrical release for a quietly embarrassing DTV launch. 

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