Now Playing: Lucky You, Spider-Man 3

May 14, 2007


Lucky You

Huck (Eric Bana) is professional gambler down on his luck and seemingly gripped by a compulsive need to keep playing, even when it's clear he's losing. Living in a house with no furniture, pawning important possessions, and stealing money from a would-be girlfriend (Drew Barrymore) all point to trouble. But Huck's biggest problem – his symbolic name aside – is his card-shark father (Robert Duvall), a feelings-deficient man who taught Huck everything he knows. Will all this daddy drama resolve itself, allowing Huck to grow up and take responsibility for his own life? The movie pushes in that direction, but takes its sweet time getting there, with interminable poker matches straining viewers' patience. What seems like a full house (cool actors, acclaimed director Curtis Hanson) becomes a losing hand, missing some key storytelling cards. C-

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Barrymore is bisexual. Hanson also directed "Wonder Boys." Co-star Debra Messing starred on "Will & Grace.")

Spider-Man 3

Just as Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) acquires new confidence along with a spiffy black Spider-Man suit, trouble brews. Girlfriend MJ (Kirsten Dunst) feels neglected, best pal Harry (James Franco) holds Peter responsible for his dad's death and wants revenge, and super-villains Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace) intend to squash the Spider. The latest installment of the comic-book franchise is sheer brilliance. The action scenes on the streets and in the skies of Manhattan are spectacular, as superior special effects and superb fight choreography seamlessly mesh. This third chapter also represents an evolution of both character and actor, as Maguire delivers a deeply rendered and much more human superhero, uncovering both the dark aspects lurking beneath Parker's sunny exterior and his aching vulnerability. A

Kinsey Scale: 1 {ITAL (Maguire played a gay student in "Wonder Boys," Dunst starred in the homoerotic "Interview with the Vampire," and Franco's breakthrough role was as the iconic "James Dean." Co-stars with queer credits include J.K. Simmons, Dylan Baker, James Cromwell, and Theresa Russell.)



The many battles provide the biggest letdown; action scenes that ought to be suspenseful and exciting are instead repetitive, cliched, and dull. C-

Blades of Glory

The movie drags in spots and some of the gross-out jokes are more gross than funny, but this is one silly comedy that serves up lots of laughs. B+

Are We Done Yet?

Ice Cube soldiers through the torment, doing his best to reconcile his gangsta-rapper past with his family-comedy present, and sometimes succeeding. But in the end, the film is filled with so many tired been-there-done-that gags that its only appeal will be for easily amused families who don't get out to the movies very much. C-

Blades of Glory

The movie drags in spots and some of the gross-out jokes are more gross than funny, but this is one silly comedy that serves up lots of laughs. B+


It's a somewhat dumb-yet-efficient teen suspense jolt-fest, and the presence of the handsomely creepy David Morse is such a standard-issue example of typecasting that it's like modern movie code for "this is the bad guy, in case you hadn't already guessed." But it works on its own terms, even if the spirit of Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart is nowhere to be found. B

Perfect Stranger

Halle Berry's beauty and Bruce Willis' tawdry charm are formidable assets, not small considerations, since with suspense and logic in short supply, only their devoted fans are likely to warm to this lame mystery. C-

The Condemned

This bid to make "Stone Cold" Steve Austin the latest action hero utterly fails, since the wrestler-turned-actor lacks charisma, and there is nothing even remotely sympathetic about the human pit bull he plays. D


Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins has played this kind of creepy, too-smart killer one too many times. But the combined charisma of the two leads carries the weight of the conventional script and direction, and fills in the been-there-done-that cracks, with Ryan Gosling especially watchable as the conflicted attorney. Lowered expectations will be rewarded here. C

In the Land of Women

The film's gentle heart-tugging and somewhat sappy demeanor doesn't feel shameless or cynical, and the performances are appealing and genuine. If it's all a little cliched, the film's modest charms more than make up for it and make this a land worth visiting. B


Nicolas Cage is rarely this engaging, and Julianne Moore is excellent as a ruthless government agent. Best of all, director Lee Tamahori keeps the action moving so fast that the story's vast inconsistencies scarcely matter. B

Snow Cake

Luckily, the story takes a backseat to the acting – Alan Rickman, Carrie-Anne Moss as the neighbor who becomes equally attached to Alex, and especially Sigourney Weaver are superb, delivering vibrant performances that go a long way toward deflecting the tale's mawkish elements. B


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