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The Next Three Days (review)

How do you manage child care while doing all the footwork required to plan your wife’s prison break? It sounds ridiculous, and it should be ridiculous up on the screen. But Russell Crowe makes it work in ways that far exceed any expectations we should honestly have for such a preposterous potboiler of a concept.

opening in the U.K. June 5: ‘Terminator Salvation,’ ‘Last Chance Harvey,’ ‘Sugar,’ more

Terminator Salvation: Robots bad. Humans good. That is all. Last Chance Harvey: The routine romantic comedy is greatly elevated by the elegant presences of Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. [trailer] Sugar: Drama about a Dominican baseball player recruited to play in the Major Leagues. I’ve got a screener of this around here somewhere that I … more…

Quantum of Solace (review)

We can only blame *Casino Royale.* The 2006 reboot of James Bond was so brilliant, so satisfying, so organically of the moment that it could only prove hard to top, and even hard to equal.

Flags of Our Fathers (review)

Half bitter and harsh, half propagandistic and hagiographic, this is the love child of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Pearl Harbor,’ too sentimental to be intellectually satisfying but too tart to serve as melodrama.

Unleashed and Crash (review)

With its clear and obvious choices — think Eddie Izzard’s ‘cake? or death?’ bit — *Unleashed* really is a fairy tale next to *Crash,* where half the time when you think you’ve got a grasp on what’s the ‘right’ thing to do and the ‘right’ way to live, you turn out to be wrong, even if the other guy is wrong, too.

best writing and direction of 2004: cut and print…

BEST DIRECTOR Lars von Trier, Dogville Ever a risktaker, Lars von Trier took one of the biggest risks onscreen in 2004 with a determinedly uncinematic film that was also unabashedly political — a breathtaking and refreshingly daring combination in an era of play-it-safe “entertainment.” Setting his cast and his scene on a bare, black-box stage, … more…

Million Dollar Baby (review)

Oh, but this is a sucker punch of a movie, harsh and sere and so thoroughly unsentimental that it seems to have active contempt for lesser movies that pander to the audience’s desire to walk out of the theater feeling good and happy and that all is right in the world. This is like winning the lottery and getting hit by a train on your way to cash in your ticket. This is not for anyone who feels the need to escape real life at the multiplex. This *is* real life, as real as film gets. You are warned.