2000’s

[8.0] A bunch of British people fall in love, out of love, and do lovey-dovey things in the month leading up to Christmas. Now, if you’re like me, that’s a description that will keep you from ever wanting to watch Love Actually. But since a hundred different people have insisted I watch it over the last fifteen years since it was released, I finally gave …

[8.0] Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star as a man and woman who retreat to their cabin in the woods to grieve the death of their young son. Dafoe’s character is a therapist and tries to offer techniques to help Gainsbourg’s character cope with the tragedy. But Gainsbourg spirals beyond grief and into insanity… and violence. Writer/director Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, The …

[7.5] Camp counselors engage in all kinds of shenanigans on the last day of summer camp in August, 1981. Wet Hot American Summer is a throwback to raunchy, sexy comedies of the early ’80s, elevated by a charismatic ensemble cast who all appear to be having a great time. There’s Janeane Garofalo as the camp director, a nerdy gal trying to work her wiles on …

[6.0] Carey Mulligan gives an outstanding performance in this adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir. Mulligan plays a sixteen-year-old in 1960s London, pushed by her father to study hard so she can get into Oxford. When she falls in love with a charming man nearly twice her age, she decides to let her education slide. But Prince Charming isn’t all he’s cracked up to be and …

[5.0] Forces conspire to keep Harry Potter from returning to his second year at the Hogwarts wizarding school. Apparently, the big bad Voldemoort (who we still don’t see but hear about all the time) put a monster in a mysterious ‘chamber of secrets’ at the school, and only his true heir can unlock the chamber and let the monster out. This would suck because the …

[5.0] You know the story. Poor orphaned boy gets invited to a magical wizarding school and is destined to be the main adversary for a big bad meanie who is slowly manifesting (over, like, three or four movies). What I dislike about Harry Potter, in general,┬áis how generic it is. Author J.K. Rowling has pulled just about every imaginable concept out of humanity’s collective asshole …

[4.0] Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in this latest re-telling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Kidman is a psychiatrist whose husband starts acting peculiarly. She also recognizes strange behavior in her patients and the people on the street. Eventually, with the help of Craig’s doctor character and a scientist played by Jeffrey Wright (TV’s Westworld), she discovers an epidemic has taken root across …

[7.0] Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck star in Andrew Dominik’s dramatization of the last months of famous outlaw Jesse James’ life. Pitt plays James and Affleck plays his admirer-turned-assassin, Robert Ford. The young Ford character is smitten from the outset, but ridicule from James and the other gang members slowly hardens his heart. Jealousy eventually turns him against his idol. As James, Pitt is unstable …

[4.5] About two minutes into Punch-Drunk Love, an absurdist romance from Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), you learn the movie doesn’t really take place in the real world and none of the characters are real, either. It’s all… some other version of reality. A version where Adam Sandler sells toilet plungers out of a warehouse, collects pudding to cash in on sweepstakes, has seven …

[7.5] Melissa Leo turns in a fierce, memorable performance in writer/director Courtney Hunt’s story of two women who strike up an unlikely partnership smuggling illegal immigrants to make ends meet. After a Mohawk woman from a nearby reservation steals her car to make a smuggling run, Leo decides to join the woman on her next trip. Both women hate what they’re doing, but the Mohawk …

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