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Movies: Paper Heart

“Paper Heart” is simply too small a film to ever to be great, but an imaginative premise and quirky actress/creator could turn it into a late-summer box-office surprise. Charlyne Yi, a comic performance artist who briefly appeared in “Knocked Up,” plays herself as someone trying to document the presence of true love since she doesn’t believe it really exists. [...]

Movies: Ponyo

If “Ponyo” isn’t the best animated film of the year, it certainly becomes the sweetest in the wise old hands of legendary Hayao Miyazaki. An Oscar winner for the infinitely darker “Spirited Away,” Miyazaki released his lovely little “Ponyo” a year ago in his native Japan where it became a huge hit. [...]

Movies: District 9

Forget the “Transformers” sequel or “G.I. Joe,” the latest action-packed sci-fi thriller to hit cinema screens is the shocking and superb drama “District 9.” With its incredibly powerful story paired with some staggeringly realistic and gory special effects, producer Peter Jackson has gleefully come full circle in this return to his beloved splatter turf. [...]

Movies: A Perfect Getaway

When first viewing the previews and commercials for “A Perfect Getaway,” it looks like one of those 10-little-Indians slasher movies where a group of friends goes off to some beautiful locale and gets picked off one by one. Well, it’s not that simple, and in this case, it’s a lot more intriguing with plenty of twists and unpredictable moments. It’s not a slasher movie, it’s much smarter and way more enjoyable. I love this movie enough to pay to go see it again and see what I missed along the way. [...]

Movies: G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

Hot on the heels of the first “Transformers” sequel (this summer’s biggest blockbuster so far) comes another noisy, action-packed, mega-budgeted war flick based on a line of toys from Hasbro. These days, isn’t moviemaking all about redefining your brand and exploiting merchandising revenue? [...]

Movies: Shrink

Call it cool, mediocre, or a Hollywood insider’s version of “Crash,” but you have to respect the way Kevin Spacey dominates the screen as the “Shrink.” He’s psychiatrist to the stars Henry Carter, now spending his nights in a weed-induced stupor after days bored by industry-connected regulars, as well as his own best-selling celebrity. [...]

Movies: Departures

Here it comes, folks, the best film of 2008, albeit in the second week of August 2009. It’s “Departures,” which certainly would have headed last year’s Top 10 list from yours truly, that is, if anyone but eligible Academy Award-types actually had seen it. Of course, director Yojiro Takita’s often lovely, lyrical film stunningly beat out heavy favorite “Waltz With Bashir” for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 2008, and now everyone can finally understand why voters really got it right this time, since it is finally in selected theaters across the U. S. [...]

Movies: Cold Souls

The idea of “Cold Souls” is more enjoyable than the actual execution, and that is too bad. It’s a story about extracting souls and putting them to the side for a short while, and having an actor like Paul Giamatti play himself in this wild premise. Yeah, it’s a little like “Being John Malkovich” with a mix of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and a dash of Woody Allen’s “Sleeper,” but there’s a distinct reason for that. [...]

Movies: Julie & Julia

“Julie & Julia” is mostly a delight. Meryl Streep as Julia Child is priceless, Stanley Tucci as her ever-loving husband Paul provides perfect support, and Jane Lynch’s quick cameo as her too-tall sister Dorothy is wonderful. [...]

Movies: Funny People

“Funny People” just isn’t that funny, sad to say. Sure, it has its moments – many of which you have already seen in the commercials and the trailer – and it is actually an Adam Sandler movie that didn’t make me want to run screaming from the theater. But this way-too-long look at a nasty millionaire movie-star comedian who discovers he has a deadly illness misses the mark, being neither a good comedy nor a good drama. [...]
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