Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 4 of 4

O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (PG-13) 1/2 George Clooney plays an escaped convict dragging his buddies across the Depression-era Deep South in search of hidden treasure and also trying to stop his wife's remarriage in this uneven but brilliantly bizarre screwball send-up of '30s folk history and Homer's ancient epic, The Odyssey. The film features a number of Coen Brothers alums, including John Goodman (standing in for the Cyclops) and John Turturro (who almost gets turned into a frog). The title comes from Sullivan's Travels, which you should also see, dammit. -- EVM

PANIC (R). William H. Macy plays a hit man seeking therapy and escape from the family business in Henry Bromell's quiet character study that's not really a thriller nor a black comedy. Macy's indelible portrait of mid-life crisis gets fine support from Donald Sutherland, Neve Campbell and especially Tracey Ullman and child actor David Dorfman. --CH

PEARL HARBOR 1/2 (PG-13). It's not that this is an awful movie; it's just an awfully impersonal one, with plenty of spectacular effects hardly justifying the cardboard characters, insipid dialogue and stone-cold direction. The film obviously hopes to be another Titanic, but the love triangle comprised of pilots Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett and nurse Kate Beckinsale couldn't possibly be duller. -- MB

SHREK 1/2 (PG). DreamWorks' fractured fairy tale both soars and suffers from its own subversive humor, as a crude, wisecracking ogre (voiced by Mike Meyers) makes a reluctant knight errant in a quest to rescue an enchanted princess (Cameron Diaz). Shrek's computer-animated charms get hexed by too much outhouse comedy, too many pop references and far too much of Eddie Murphy as a talking donkey. --CH

SPY KIDS (PG) Here's Willy Wonka: The Next Generation, full of warmth, imagination and surrealism combined with the action today's youngsters demand (though less violence than they might prefer). Robert Rodriguez's creation is about the children of retired spies Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino going into the family business to rescue their kidnapped parents. The story, action and visuals rate higher than the inconsistent acting. The heroes are fine, but the villains (Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Robert Patrick and Teri Hatcher) are all over the map instead of uniformly over the top. -- SW

THE TAILOR OF PANAMA Pierce Brosnan wickedly sullies his 007 image as a sleazy, womanizing intelligence agent who enlists a fraudulent tailor (Geoffrey Rush) to spy on Panama's ruling elites. The adaptation of John LeCarre's novel weaves a complicated pattern of broad satire, serious political commentary and knotty character study, but director John Boorman loses his grip on the different threads, offering a weak, unconvincing ending that undercuts the film's otherwise provocative originality. -- CH

TRAFFIC (R) 1/2 A well-crafted, engrossing story of the drug war as it touches characters from Tijuana to Washington, D.C., from cops and politicians to teenagers and suburban wives, Steven Soderbergh's drama moves along at a ferocious clip. Even with its large cast of newcomers and Hollywood old-guarders, this psychological action film affirms Soderbergh's talent for making good, populist dramas that exceed the usual Hollywood standards. -- FF

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? (PG-13) A billionaire (Danny DeVito) catches a thief (Martin Lawrence) robbing his mansion. To get even with him, he takes the thief's lucky charm ring, telling the cops that it's his own. Depraved of his good luck charm, and faced with a future of bad luck, the thief begins wreaking revenge on the tycoon. The story becomes a battle of wills as the thief tries to get his most treasured possession, his luck, back from a man who has everything.

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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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