26 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
No Mystery about it, this one's a winner
1 July 2006
Manhattan Murder Mystery provides a strange combination of suspense and comedy and is able to blend the two very well. Even during the most tense of scenes Woody Allen is able to provide comic relief and take the edge off the situation.

With such a dark, twisted storyline it's hard to believe that some comedy could be successfully inserted, but the comedy is more than successful in this film. With all the laughs you can expect from a Woody Allen movie and a suspenseful twisting plot, this is a movie that really can successfully crossover the two genres quite easily.

The direction of Allen is superb in the dramatic scenes, putting the audience right where it needs to be to feel the full effect of the situation. There are great performances from Woody as his usual neurotic self and Diane Keaton as his nosy but quick-witted wife who get into believable scuffles over her inquisitive nature. Alan Alda is wonderful as Allen's friend who is just as intrigued as Keaton. Anjelica Huston also plays a great part as a nonchalant writer who gets involved in the chase.

Allen is able to provide a wonderful fusion of genres in this film, I highly recommend it.

8 out of 10.
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Straight Line (1990)
No-See Mr. T
30 June 2006
Celebrated Thespian Mr. T comes to the screen as TS (Too Strong) Turner. The best thing I can say about this sorry excuse for a film is, well...stay far, far away. Mr. T's choice of clothing is comical and the use of his mohawk as an accessory is also fun. He wears it slicked back for special occasions and up for the rigors of every day life as TS Turner.

TS is faced with the dangerous gang that roams the streets doing terrifying things like yelling and throwing things during mayoral debates.

The acting is poor and the story is worse. The movie's pacing suffers and makes things drag out for way too long. It also has a very corny feel to it throughout.

I put this movie right up there in the list of the worst movies I have ever seen.

1 out of 10.
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Side Effects (I) (2005)
Decent Look at the Inside
30 June 2006
Side Effects is a movie that really suffers because of its budget. I think with more money there could have been more done to make this movie better. It basically ends up being an OK movie with a good heart and brain.

The movie plays up the ridiculousness of the American pharmaceutical business and does a good job of it. The story is really alright and I only have minor qualms with the script. The acting (aside from Heigl, who was great aside from her strange tantrum scene) is poor at best and some of the shots had me shaking my head. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of closeup shots of actor's faces in this film. I started realizing about halfway through the film how everything felt like it was zoomed in when it was just one person on screen.

The movie's got a good moral to it and I enjoyed the Madison backdrops, but with a little better funding and maybe some better editing and camera work, it really could have been a better film.

5 out of 10.
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Nacho Libre (2006)
Nacho misses his big moves
30 June 2006
Jack Black really isn't all that funny in this movie. That's all there is to it. It's got a few scenes which are pretty funny, but most of the jokes are played out and just not very funny. I wasn't expecting much from the storyline but what I got was even less. Some of the wrestling sequences are alright and are well-filmed, but as a whole I just didn't think this movie delivered.

Some scenes are overly done intentionally to get a laugh, but in many (if not all) of these scenes they just completely miss their mark. Nacho, for some reason, has a tendency to pass gas at any opportune time (and there are many in the film). I'm sure this is an example of something that is supposed to be funny, but it just doesn't work.

The story is uplifting at least, and there's a good message with Nacho trying to do his best to help out the poor orphans that he cooks for, but the movie is ultimately very passable.

4 out of 10.
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Manhattan (1979)
Woody does it again
30 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I like Woody Allen movies. With that said I found it hard to dislike much of anything in Manhattan. The cinematography is brilliant. The film is just so beautiful in it's widescreen black and white presentation that I'd hate to see it in any other format. the story is good and replicates a lot of what Allen was going through or would eventually be going through in his life. Isaac (Woody) has a relationship with a 17-year old girl, but he knows that can't last (or can it?) and wants to find something else. Enter Mary. Even though Mary is involved with Yale (who himself is married), Isaac finds her intriguing and isn't sure what to do.

Meanwhile he has quit his job as a television writer and is working on a novel that seems to be going nowhere. He needs to cut back on spending and has to move to an apartment that makes strange noises and has brown water, but Isaac loves the town as much as ever. Just like the rest of Woody's movies, great characters abound and while there isn't a ton of action in the plot, it still is a very satisfying story.

8 out of 10.
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Rockin' the Suburbs
30 June 2006
Over the Hedge is a cute movie that takes no prisoners in mocking suburbia and all that comes with it. The storyline is adequate and the voices are well done. Steve Carell's Hammy the hyperactive squirrel can be a little irritating at times but in the end is a very lovable character. He also stars in a great scene after he chugs an energy drink. Wandy Sykes is stellar as Stella the skunk.

The movie is a fun, heartwarming tale of family and togetherness. When RJ the Racoon (portrayed by Bruce Willis) steals a bear's supply of food he has a limited amount of time to re-gather all of that food or face the angry bear's wrath. When he stumbles across an unsuspecting mishmash of a family of animals he sees a golden opportunity to gain some assistance in his task.

Ripe with riffs of suburban American life, Over the Hedge delivers a good family film that is as much fun for adults as it is for kids.

7 out of 10.
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The Break-Up (2006)
Intense realism
30 June 2006
Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston's on-screen chemistry isn't really all that great. Luckily for them, that's a huge part of this movie. I'll admit that the trailers for this movie were misleading. They made the film look like a laugh-filled comedy, which it definitely is not. The film is a solid drama with great realism and some laughs mixed in. The story wanders a little at times and seems to drag at times, but it really is a compelling character study as the two leads break apart and their relationship spirals with it.

I liked the movie but I could have liked it a lot more and with all the awkward situations I'm not sure it's one I'd like to see again. The film is very realistic and is definitely worth a watch.

6 out of 10.
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Toy Story (1995)
The one that started it all
30 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Toy Story is a gem of a movie from Pixar that is still as visually impressive today as it was when it was originally released over a decade ago. Computer animation was a new thing at the time but Toy Story proved that the medium was more than a novelty act and was going to be around for a while.

Woody (Tom Hanks) is Andy's favorite toy until Buzz Lightyear, a spaceman voiced by Tim Allen, arrives on the scene. To quote Randy Newman's song from the film, strange things begin to happen to Woody when he loses popularity with the other toys and is accused of trying to kill Buzz out of jealousy. Soon things go awry for the toys when Sid, Andy's sadistic neighbor, gets a hold of Woody and Buzz. The toys have to learn to work together and forge an alliance in order to survive.

Great story and voice acting all around makes Toy Story a classic.

9 out of 10.
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Doogal (2006)
Adults and children alike should be offended by this offering
30 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes children's movies don't appeal to the adult crowd. It's a rare exception, though when a children's movie offers nothing to children. I guess if you want to see an animated movie where some strange animals serve up pop-culture references every few minutes, or one where the jokes are so shallow they have to rely on not only a flatulent moose but also a flatulent train.

The moose is a character who had me confused. His lips never move like the rest of the characters, but he does talk, and nobody can apparently hear him. I'm not sure if he's supposed to have an inner monologue or what, but it doesn't make sense.

The "all star" voice cast seems to have phoned it in on this one, with Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, and Jon Stewart delivering less than solid performances. William H. Macy is alright as Brian the snail. I'm not really sure why they decided to have Kylie Minogue (who is 38) provide the voice of a young girl, but it sure sounded off to me.

On to the plot. The animal friends have to battle an evil spring-type thing that lived in a merry-go-round but was set free when some young kids were frozen inside of it. They have to use a map to find the jewels that control the merry-go-round before the spring guy does. Somehow he is able to know the exact location of these jewels anyway, which is also very strange.

Anyway, this movie gets the dubious distinction of being without a shadow of a doubt the worst animated movie I have ever seen.

2 out of 10.
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Well, it definitely is Dumb
30 June 2006
While this film's predecessor is not exactly the height of cinematic achievement, it blows Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd right out of the water. Sure, they were able to find some guy who looks like Jim Carrey to play Lloyd, but they weren't able to make any semblance of a movie out of this mess.

Bob Saget steals the show in this movie, and he only has a maximum of two minutes of screen time. Eugene Levy is completely wasted in this film as corny joke is followed by corny joke and laughs can't even be forced to follow them.

If I had to sum this movie up in one word, it would be quite simple: Terrible.

1 out of 10.
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