Now Playing Movie Reviews

By |2007-04-12T09:00:00-04:00April 12th, 2007|Uncategorized|

April 16, 2007

Are We Done Yet?

In this oddly titled sequel to “Are We There Yet?,” Nick (Ice Cube) has married single mom Suzanne (Nia Long), and the new, blended family has moved to a fixer-upper in the rural suburbs. The house is in disrepair, there are vermin everywhere, and the kids are still brats – a series of situations that will prove hilarious for kids who were fans of the first movie, but less so for adults who’d like to escape from the ideas that home-ownership and child-rearing are one disaster after another. 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-

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Long played a lesbian in “The Broken Hearts Club,” and co-star John C. McGinley played a gay cop in “Wild Hogs.”)

Grindhouse

Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino pay homage to exploitation (“grindhouse”) flicks of yore with this deliberately cheesy double feature. In Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror,” go-go dancer Cherry (Rose McGowan) and ex-boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) battle zombies, while in Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” serial killer Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) murders with his tricked-out muscle car. Two movies for the price of one is no bargain, as tedium quickly sets in. The dialogue is atrocious, and the outsized violence is mind-numbingly boring as it piles on the action-movie cliches. Both movies promote women as heroes, but then offset those good intentions with vile, sexist mayhem. And while the original grindhouse movies often possessed inept charm, this one comes across as the soulless, cynical exercise of two talented filmmakers slumming. D

Kinsey Scale: 2 (Marley Shelton and Stacy Ferguson play lovers whose plans to meet go awry in “Planet Terror.” McGowan had a role in “The Black Dahlia,” while Rodriguez starred on “Six Feet Under.” Co-stars with queer credits include Josh Brolin, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt, Rosario Dawson, and Tracie Thoms.)

The Reaping

Ex-minister Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) lost her faith and now delights in debunking miracles, bragging that so far she is 48 for 48. But on a trip to investigate a Louisiana river seemingly filled with blood, she finds herself knee-deep in plagues and facing the idea that biblical prophecy is coming true. This would-be horror movie, with its Cliff Notes’ Christian allegory and cheesy, obvious story, offers little in the way of chills. Apart from the locusts, not even the plagues – frogs, lice, and boils among them – are impressive, victims themselves of a plague of poor special effects. There is one real mystery, and that is how the producers managed to snag top-flight talents like Swank and Stephen Rea for such an inferior project. C-

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Swank won her first Oscar for playing transgender youth Brandon Teena in “Boys Don’t Cry,” while Rea dated transsexuals in “The Crying Game” and “Breakfast on Pluto.” Co-star David Morrissey was in “Basic Instinct 2,” and co-star William Ragsdale had a recurring role on “Ellen.”)

ALSO IN THEATERS:

300

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+

I Think I Love My Wife

There are laughs in this uneasy romantic comedy, but only for those who can get past Chris Rock’s evident misogyny and a winking, prurient tone that borders on the sleazy. C-

The Last Mimzy

This messy, sci-fi/New Age lesson in alternative spirituality for older kids is saved from environmental preachiness by an “E.T.”-esque sense of wonder and fun. The message is that power lies within – and you can’t argue with that. B

The Lookout

The entire ensemble is first-rate, but the film belongs to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose subtle, sometimes heartbreaking performance is nothing short of magnificent. A-

Premonition

Sandra Bullock conveys exactly the right amount of petulance, confusion, and tentative grief the role requires, lending gravity to the outlandish proceedings. Viewers are advised to hang on and just roll with it. B

Pride

The tale follows a familiar formula, but for all the cliches, it is absolutely delightful – in no small part due to its finely drawn characters, evocative period details, Terrence Howard’s sensitive performance, and the excellent support he receives from his amiable young co-stars. B

Reign Over Me

As the grief-stricken man, Adam Sandler finally proves himself capable of serious roles, even if he does rely on his standard repertoire of physical-comedy mannerisms from time to time. And unlike most Hollywood dramas, there’s no rush to “cure” his character by the final act. Surprising and moving but not exploitative, this is Sandler’s best performance and best film to date. B+

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.