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111 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show Review - cute moments, but unnecessary, 17 December 2006

The 1973 animated film "Charlotte's Web" was as much a part of my childhood as "The Care Bear Movie." As I remember (because I honestly haven't seen it over 15 years), the animated film was perfect the way it was. I can still hear the voices of the original Fern and Wilber.

So what do I think about the latest "Charlotte's Web?" It's all right. It doesn't bring anything new to light that the 1973 cartoon didn't already. Honestly, I don't know why they made it at all.

Though I have to admit, the casting of Steve Buscemi as the voice of Templeton the Rat was beyond perfect. My favorite lines of dialogue, however, came from Samuel the Sheep, voiced by the hilarious John Cleese. His sarcastic tone at meeting Wilber the Pig was wonderful ("What luck! We have an early riser, and there are things he has to say").

Skip the theater on this one and just buy the cartoon on DVD instead.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show Review - still have chills, 17 December 2006

"Shut Up & Sing" takes us back to January 2003 when the Dixie Chicks (at the height of their popularity) sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Two months later, George W. Bush declares an illegal and immoral war on Iraq. The Dixie Chicks kick off their first world tour in the midst of the largest anti-war protests in world history.

Lead singer Natalie Maines tells the audience at their London concert that she is "with them" on their view of the war and that, "We're ashamed that the President if from Texas."

Once the right-wing political talk-show hosts in the U.S. get a hold of that comment, they immediately spread a campaign of hate towards the Dixie Chicks. Their lives, music, and fans are never the same.

"Shut Up & Sing" documents the anti-Dixie Chicks fury of 2003 (including the radio stations that ban their music and the death threat targeted at Maines herself), but it also shows their historic comeback, emerging from the ashes stronger than ever, and emerging as symbols of free speech and true patriotism.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show Review - imaginative, original, believable, 17 December 2006

In the Bible, the story of the birth of baby Jesus is less than twenty sentences long. Writer Mike Rich and director Catherine Hardwicke managed to turn it into a movie that spans an hour and forty minute (bravo!). "The Nativity Story" is an imaginative, insightful, and completely realistic adaptation of this famous story.

You don't have to be Christian to enjoy this film. "The Nativity Story" is actually a love story about Mary and Joseph. Mary is portrayed as a sweet and simple teenage girl who doesn't even want to get married at first. But as the kind and selfless Joseph fights to protect his young wife and her holy child, Mary grows to love this heroic man.

My favorite characters, however, are the three wise men who provide ample comic relief. They are portrayed as scholars and mystics who follow the stars to Bethlehem in search of the Messiah.

Forget Charlie Brown and Rudolph, "The Nativity Story" is the true Christmas Story.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show review - on par with Love Actually and Bridget Jones, 17 December 2006

"The Holiday" is two movies in one. The forgettable part stars Cameron Diaz and Jude Law as two unrealistically attractive people who (surprise, surprise!) fall in love. The other part of "The Holiday," however, may be the greatest romantic comedy since "Love Actually."

Kate Winslet plays Iris, a hard-working, compassionate, and kind journalist who has spent the past three years in love with a selfish and manipulative co-worker who leads her on an uses her. When this horrible man announces that he's engaged, Iris packs up and flies to Los Angeles for Christmas. While in L.A., she meets and befriends a sweet old man who used to write movies in the golden age of Hollywood. He tells Iris, "In the movies we have the leading lady and the best friend. You're the leading lady, but you're acting like the best friend."

Iris is the greatest on-screen heroine since Bridget Jones. When she's on screen, you're either laughing or crying. And Jack Black is great, too! Honestly, you can't miss this one.

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show review - brave, real, nauseating (in a good way!), 17 November 2006

Richard Linklater did a tremendous job at turning Eric Schlosser's best-selling investigative book "Fast Food Nation" into a shocking and inspiring piece of fiction. "Fast Food Nation" (the movie) has a giant all-star cast and focuses primarily on three intersecting story lines – the corporate executive who investigates claims that there is fecal matter in their meat patties, the teenage girl who works at a fast-food restaurant but becomes an environmental activist, and the illegal Mexican immigrants who risk their lives and dignity to work in the heinous slaughter houses and meat-packing plants.

Do see this movie, but trust me when I advise you to not eat before walking into the theater. There are graphic and nauseating shots of cows getting killed, skinned, decapitated, having their limbs chopped off, having their organs pulled off, etc. It's not pretty, but it's real, and we all need to be aware of where our food comes from because we all need to be more responsible consumers.

Happy Feet (2006)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show review -- spectacular!, 16 November 2006

Neither the commercials nor the marketing do this film justice. "Happy Feet" is simply the greatest animated film since "The Lion King" (remember those Disney films that had such depth and complexity that they actually made you cry?). It's so much more than the Hollywood musical version of "March of the Penguins."

Baby Emperor penguin Mambo is born with the gift of dance. Unfortunately, dancing is looked down upon in this society, and Mambo is mocked, scorned and eventually expelled from the tribe by the heads of the Established Penguin Church.

"Happy Feet" gets quite dark and somber when Mambo is captured and forced to live in a zoo where all the animals eventually drift into a glazed dementia. But I promise that most of the film is funny, beautiful, enchanting, and a total treat from start to finish. The kids will love with cute penguins while the grown-ups will jam to the music of Queen, the Beatles, Prince, the Beach Boys, Elvis, and more! It's simply spectacular!

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show review (brilliant and surprising!), 24 October 2006

I see A LOT of movies, and very few big Hollywood studio-produced movies surprise me anymore. I can see the cheap, predictable, and formulaic story lines and twist endings a mile away. "The Prestige" is not one of those movies. Like a bad magician attempting to perform the bullet trick, I was blown away!

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are devious feuding magicians, living in turn-of-the-century London (not to be confused with another movie about a magician living in turn-of-the-century Europe, which was, honestly, crap). Jackman and Bale start off as partners, working in the same magic act. But when Bale accidentally kills Jackman's wife in a blotched magic trick, the two spend the rest of their lives trying to destroy one another.

Every twist in the plot is more mind-blowing than the one before, and the ending is nothing short of spectacular. "The Prestige" may not leave you believing in magic, but it left me believing in movie magic, and I haven't felt that in a long time.

Babel (2006/I)
73 out of 148 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show review (rare, intelligent, full or rage!), 22 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A white, American woman is accidentally shot in Morocco (a predominately Muslim country), and that tiny spark erupts a worldwide flame of fury. The American government is quick to play the "terrorism" card, and suddenly Morocco is engulfed in American State Department officials who scour the mountains for the killers.

Meanwhile, a Mexican housekeeper is forced to bring American children over the border with her, and a deaf-mute girl in Japan who's dying of loneliness and alienation has no idea that she's part of the global story of the American in Morocco.

"Babel" is a highly rare and highly intelligent film that is able to seamlessly sew together vastly different story lines, spanning multiple countries and multiple languages. The first world is shown along side the third world, and people in Mexico, Los Angeles, Morocco, and Japan all flow together into one story of angry, ignorant, masculine rage. If this truly is the state of the world, then we really are in trouble.

23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show Review (inspiring!!!), 21 October 2006

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" is anything, it's an examination of the similarities between the Nixon Administration and the national debacle that was the Vietnam War, compared to the current Bush Administration and the national debacle that is the Iraq War. The difference, of course, is that Nixon had John and Yoko Lennon to contend with. Who do we have to lead our protests and write our anthems? Michael Moore? Not good enough.

When Lennon moved to New York City in 1970, the Nixon Administration was terrified that he had the power to organize the anti-war protesters and affect the outcome of elections (particularly Nixon's 1972 run for re-election). Lennon was wiretapped and followed by the FBI (which was being used at that time to "quell decent"). The Immigration and Naturalization Service tried for five years to deport him, but he got a lawyer and fought back, and in 1976, on his birthday, on his son Sean's birthday, he learned that he and Yoko had won their case, and they could stay.

"The U.S. vs. John Lennon" makes you want to take a stand, organize a protest, demand peace, and stick it to the man!

Jesus Camp (2006)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Austin Movie Show Review (scary but important), 21 October 2006

The documentary is brilliant – it's the content that's scary as Hell! "Jesus Camp" tells the story of an Evangelical Pentecostal preacher named Becky Fischer and her mission to turn young children into martyrs for Christ. She proudly states, "I want to see kids as radically willing to lay down their lives for Christ as Muslim kids are in places like Palestine and Pakistan." She sounds like she's advocating little Christian suicide bombers!

This film examines the Evangelical Christian culture where home-schooled kids don't believe in science and aren't allowed to read "Harry Potter" because (as one mother put it), "Had it been Old Testament times, Harry Potter would have been put to death." Small children who still suck their thumbs are talking in tongues and praying over a cardboard cut-out of President Bush.

"Jesus Camp" is also a chilling study of the power of the Evangelical vote in today's political climate, and having the power to sway a presidential election gives Evangelicals the indirect power to appoint Supreme Court Justices. It's scary, but we have to know that it's out there.

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