movie film review | chris tookey
 
 

Paul Ross

 
 

News of the World, UK

 
 
   
 

Quote Whore Quotient : 132

 Quote Whore Status : 3rd
 
 Quote Whore of the Year 2001, 2003, 2004
 
 
 
   
Sweet November (2001)
Summer romance at its best.
 
 
 If there's anything worse than an unnecessary remake of a good film it's the unnecessary remake of a bad film.
 
  (Philip French, Observer)
 
 Keanu Reeves looks and sounds more robotic than ever: like Michael Portillo on Mogadon.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Reeves is embarrassingly inept, Theron irritating beyond belief.
 
 (Cosmo Landesman, Sunday Times)
 
 If it makes you cry, it will be with rage.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
High Heels and Low Lifes (2001)
This glorious, glamorous, guns ’n’ girlies romp has got the lot.
 
 Insistently crude, formulaic stuff in the currently endless Britgangster mode.
 
  (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
 
 Would-be comedy-thriller set in a tourist version of London, with few laughs and no thrills.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
Vanilla Sky (2001)
If you see one film this year, make it Vanilla Sky... A masterpiece... Downright brilliant.
 
 A talky bore that reduces the original film's pontificating - about the nature of 'reality' - to windy, fortune-cookie philosophizing.
 
  (Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City)
 
 It's really just a lot of whacked-out psychological mumbo-jumbo.
 
  (Eric D. Snider, Daily Herald)
 
 Who would have thought that Cameron Crowe had a movie as bad as Vanilla Sky in him?
 
 (Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com)
 
 A good example of what self-destructive cinematic havoc can be wrought by handing over millions of dollars to movie stars to produce their own ego trips.
 
  (Rex Reed, New York Observer)
 
 Big, cold, soulless mess of a movie that tries to be about everything - love, casual sex, friendship, dreams - but is actually about nothing in particular.
 
  (Cosmo Landesman, Sunday Times)
 
 As his character becomes increasingly angst-ridden, Cruise resorts to actorish posturing that is painful to watch, and all too reminiscent of his last flop, Eyes Wide Shut, Here, it's a challenge to keep one's eyes wide open. Crowe's pacing is off, his dialogue (unusually for him) is pretentious and inauthentic, and he blows the "twist" ending by signposting it too obviously. At the end, the audience feels uncomfortably aware that Vanilla Sky is a monument to Cruise's awe at his own beauty, wealth and magnetism. This near-unwatchable folly leaves Cruise with ego all over his face.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Pearl Harbor (2001)
It’s fantastic - everything a big budget blockbuster should be and then some. More gripping than Gladiator, more tear-jerking than Titanic and, unlike a lot of recent historical epics, honest and accurate. So this is the must-see movie of the summer. And what a movie!... It’s the kind of film David Lean would have been proud of - an event movie you’ve simply got to see. It’s sensational.
 
 The kind of crap that deserves to be slapped silly.
 
  (MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher)
 
 Three hours of dreck... a dumb, soulless behemoth that delivers the cinematic equivalent of shell shock.
 
  (David German, Associated Press)
 
 It's a mystery why, with $135 million being spent on this motion picture, a few dollars couldn't have been lavished on the screenplay. The writing (credited to Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace) isn't just mediocre - it's embarrassingly bad. This movie has more howlers than the average comedy - and all of those lines are, of course, unintentionally funny.
 
  (James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
 
 The effect of watching a Michael Bay film is indistinguishable from having a large, pointy lump of rock drop on your head... I guess we should thank Michael Bay for so bold a revisionist take on the Second World War: no longer the clash of virtuous freedom and a malevolent tyranny but a terrible bummer when a girl is trying to get her dates straight.
 
  (Anthony Lane, New Yorker)
 
 Torture! Torture! Torture! What response is there, apart from a yelp of incredulous dismay every five minutes?... What can be done about this film? I would suggest some form of civil disobedience. But maybe we should just take cover as best we can as the bombs of stupidity and dullness and silliness detonate above our heads.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 This isn't some average, boring disaster - it's a stupendous, life-enhancing disaster, a ship lost gloriously with all hands and reputations.
 
  (Peter Preston, Observer)
 
 No one expects subtlety or human interest from director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the folks who made that monument to mindlessness, Armageddon. But Pearl Harbor is staggeringly cynical, a shameless attempt to cash in on the death of thousands… There is nothing in these movie-makers' heads except the urge to make a fast buck. And the crucial question to bear in mind when watching is: does this film honour the memory of those who died at Pearl Harbor? Or does it give audiences a perverted thrill from watching them die?
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Planet of the Apes (2001)
An unmissable romp... 20th Century Fox must be chomping at the bit for a sequel. And so am I. Tim Roth deserves an Oscar for his performance as General Thade.
 
 Tim Burton has now completed his evolution into a studio monkey whose name is used as part of multi-tiered marketing materials for crap movies. And here he hits rock bottom.
 
  (Max Messier, filmcritic.com)
 
 In a joyless movie summer, yet another empty Hollywood blockbuster… Burton never seems to have a clue what he wants to do here.
 
  (Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall)
 
 A dumbed-down, screching, gibbering, banana-peeling, PG Tips-drinking festival of nonsense.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 
Mr Deeds (2002)
One of the best comedies of the year!
 
 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, a grand piece of Depression era populism from Frank Capra, is rousted from its grave and clumsily desecrated by Adam Sandler and friends.
 
  (Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel)
 
 People who just call 'em as they see 'em need only note that this remake of one of Frank Capra's most famous pictures is a perfectly dreadful film and leave it at that.
 
  (Todd McCarthy, Variety)
 
 Foul, putrid cesspool of a movie.
 
  (Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review)
 
 Lacks almost everything that made the 1936 movie an enduring classic: idealism, heart, social and political savvy, convincing romanticism, robust ensemble acting and humor.
 
  (Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune)
 
 Please don't go to see it, even out of idle curiosity - it might encourage Sandler to re-make It's a Wonderful Life.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 The awful Adam Sandler is a bad Deeds in a naughty world, nearer to Alice Cooper than to Gary.
 
  (Philip French, Observer)
 
 Not even Sandler can sink below the level of the script, which is rigorously crass and insulting.
 
  (Catherine Shoard, Sunday Telegraph)
 
 Orphanage fires are funnier.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 
 
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Brilliant.
 
 As spent screen series go, Star Trek: Nemesis is even more suggestive of a 65th class reunion mixer where only eight surviving members show up - and there's nothing to drink.
 
  (Mike Clark, USA Today)
 
 An ordeal for all save the most ardent Treksters.
 
  (Stephen Hunter, Washington Post)
 
 The dialogue is inane, the plot insipid, and with the exception of some nifty special effects at the very beginning, this has nothing whatsoever to recommend it.
 
  (Eric Lurio, Greenwich Village Gazette)
 
 This isn't just a bad Trek movie, it's also bad science-fiction, riddled with psychobabble, inconsistencies and the hoariest of cliches.
 
  (Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City)
 
 If this is indeed the swan song for the Next Generation gang, the end can't come soon enough.
 
  (Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News)
 
 This sad old clone feebly goes where far too many Star Treks have gone before… The attempts at comic relief are woeful; and special effects that might have passed muster when the series began now look sad. John Logan's script lacks clarity, surprises or suspense. Stuart Baird's direction matches it for lack of inspiration… This is for die-hard Trekkers only - and even they may need strong coffee to keep them awake.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
The Scorpion King (2002)
My favourite action film of all time... spectacular... glorious... brilliant.
 
 It tries too hard to be hyper and not hard enough to be clever
  (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
 
 A little more originality or energy wouldn't have hurt… The sword fights are perfunctory and obligatory, the villain doesn't snarl or foam at the mouth enough, and the ‘comic’ sidekicks are so clichéd that they provoke more yawns than laughs. Even the special effects aren't all that special. Three in particular - a fire ant attack, a group of angry cobras, and a sandstorm - are so obviously computer-generated that they come across as cheap and artificial.
 
  (James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
 
 You needn't expect too much in the way of originality, and there's at least one moment (as The Rock and his comedy sidekick miraculously escape from being buried alive in the desert and served as a smorgasbord for termites) when the story makes so little sense that you may wonder if the projectionist has skipped a reel.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Start celebrating! This inter-galactic masterpiece boldly goes where no sci-fi film has gone before. Nothing - not the trailers, not the previous Star Wars movies, not even your own imagination in hyper-drive - can prepare you for the sheer scale of this superb spectacle. It also sees Ewan McGregor claim the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi as his own. He is, and I never thought I’d write this sentence, even better than Sir Alec Guinness.
 
 I'm tempted to quote an evergreen Public Enemy song: don't believe the hype.
 
  (A.O. Scott, New York Times)
 
 Lucas is a toymaker and merchandising mogul who has long since lost the human touch.
 
  (Scott Von Doviak, Culturevulture.net)
 
 Attack of the Clones is a technological exercise that lacks juice and delight. The title is more appropriate than it should be.
 
  (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
 
 No one looks forward to a new Star Wars film for the dialogue or the acting, and it's just as well. George Lucas's fourth space opera - number 2 in the series - suffers from the stiffest, most cliché-ridden screenplay since Pearl Harbor.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Superb. Melon-twistingly mega-magnificent. Astonishing. Just think of your own superlatives and double 'em. Triple them even because this is the greatest sequel of all time.
 
 Vid-game action scenes coupled with dime-store philosophy do not make for compelling cinema.
 
  (Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve)
 
 Your brain will likely feel sucker-punched by the end of this obtuse shitstorm, which falls flat faster than you can say Attack of the Clones.
 
  (Stacie Hougland, Hollywood.com)
 
 An ugly, bloated, repetitive movie that builds to a punch line that should have come an hour earlier.
 
  (David Edelstein, Slate)
 
 Call it: Exposition: The Movie! Or even better: A Brief History of Strange-Looking People Explaining the Plot to Keanu Reeves.
 
 (Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly)
 
 A huge disappointment of Phantom Menace-type proportions – bloated, pretentious, confusing and occasionally downright annoying.
 
  (Matthew Turner, ViewLondon)
 
 Never have Emperor's New Clothes been more immaculately or expensively designed.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
5 stars!
 
 This is not merely one of the worst films in recent memory but it could well go down as one of the worst things ever conceived by human hands - that is, if it gave any evidence that was actually made by human beings instead of by robots hell-bent on destroying humanity by turning human minds to mush.
 
  (Peter Sobczynski, Critic Doctor)
 
 The worst movie of the year.
 
  (Chuck Schwartz, Cranky Critic)
 
 An action movie so loud, stupid and unbelievable that it will alienate proud fans of loud, stupid and unbelievable action movies.
 
  (Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star)
 
 Watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is like being trapped inside a pinball machine operated by a 6-year-old having a sugar rush.
 
  (Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter)
 
 Grim going unless you’re an exceptionally witless 13 year-old.
 
  (Catherine Shoard, Sunday Telegraph)
 
 This is basically one long, loathsome commercial for the ladette culture, which dictates that young women become as coarse, sexually exploitative and violent as the worst kind of men… This is a dumb movie that's so smug and self-satisfied in its own dumbness, everyone involved looks in need of a good slap.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
Legally Blonde 2 (2003)
Perfect bubbly Summer fun.
 
 A cinematic abomination.
 
  (James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
 
 Not only dull and unfunny, it’s appalling, and darned near offensive in its vapidity.
 
  (Leslie Katz, Culturevulture.net)
 
 A more appropriate title would be Legally Blonde 1.0: The Same Movie All Over Again, Except This Time We Forgot To Put Jokes In It.
 
  (Mark Palermo, Coast)
 
 May be the worst film I have ever seen with an actress I have previously adored: in this case, Reese Witherspoon.
 
  (Andrew Sarris, New York Observer)
 
 Rabid fans of Legally Blonde may somehow convince themselves that this odious piece of celluloid dreck isn't all that bad; more discerning viewers will leave the theater wishing to put out their own eyes with salad forks.
 
  (Dawn Taylor, Portland Tribune)
 
 
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
A horror classic. ****
 
 Kicks off as a cheap piece of retro schlock and quickly devolves into a putrid bloodbath with a thin narrative made utterly indecipherable by the first-time director's clueless approach to filmmaking,
 
  (Megan Lehmann, New York Post)
 
 Rob Zombie wrote and directed this foul retrograde horror, showcasing his adoration of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre movies, real-life serial killers, and pervy shots of blondes cuddling up to skeletons. Lovely. To quote a corpse-in-waiting: “Could we just, like, go now?”
 
 (Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph)
 
 A horribly violent, unimaginative rip-off of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. Dripping with gore, voyeuristic in its titillating shots of women terrified out of their wits, and hopelessly confused as a piece of storytelling, this repulsive shambles was presumably designed to be campy fun. It isn't.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Down With Love (2003)
The cutest film of the year... saucy, stylish and sexy... I loved it.
 
 Appallingly terrible from start to finish.
 
  (Victoria Alexander, Filmsinreview.com)
 
 Reminded me of a handsome, expensively dressed person with bad manners and no real sense of style.
 
  (Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee)
 
 It's too dull and hackneyed for the satirical spoof it intends to be, and the actors and director miss the charm and humor of the old Doris Day movies by a margin so wide it doesn't add up to a respectful homage, either.
 
  (Rex Reed, New York Observer)
 
 The film is juvenile when it should be adult, coarse when it ought to be bubbly, and upfront when witty circumspection is indicated.
 
  (Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide'S Movie Guide)
 
 This gave me a migraine so bad I virtually had to be hospitalised. The idea is to revive the udson/ Doris Day pillow talk comedy in uber-pastiche form, adding yet nore archness and irony, while subtracting any innocence or unassuming charm that might conceivably have made you feel affectionate about it in the first place... Ewan, kitted out in sharp suitings, is as attractive as a stoat in a tux.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Shot like the Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie from Hell, and acted with an archness that kills every laugh stone dead, the film makes Renee Zellweger look plain and puffy. Ewan McGregor comes across as a talentless amateur. Ugly, unfunny and utterly devoid of charm, it flopped in the States, and no wonder: it's painful to watch - a smirky turkey.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Bright Young Things (2003)
The best British period film EVER... exhilarating and hilarious. *****
 
 A very trite story of boy loses girl, boy finds girl. It is also stridently camp - not so much roaring '20s as screaming. It will take an extremely focused marketing campaign for the film to find any kind of substantial audience.
 
  (Ray Bennett, Hollywood Reporter)
 
 The “wit” is leaden and unfunny; the narrative’s progress ungainly and, in details, hard to follow; the direction stolid.
 
  (Geoff Andrew, Time Out)
 
 As satire, it’s toothless; as a love story, it’s lame.
 
  (Cosmo Landesman, Sunday Times)
 
 Stephen Fry has failed to spot that Waugh's book, set in the Roaring Twenties, was written from personal experience, and shows the first stirrings of the deep, self-lacerating guilt that was to threaten Waugh's sanity, and turn him into a hard-line Catholic. It is a book about trivial people, but not a trivial book. It is also highly specific to its period, steeped in that post-World War I feeling that life is for living, and the darker sides of life are simply too horrible to be thought about. Fry ill-advisedly, and half-heartedly, brings the action forward to the early Thirties, and then heaves the action even further forward to the Second World War without giving much sense of period, or the passing of time. Trivialising a masterpiece might not matter so much, if only this were as funny as the original. But Fry has taken an illustrious comic cast and wasted them.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
The Last Samurai (2003)
***** It’s an epic. It’s awesome. And it’s a severe case of Samurai Night Fever. This Far Eastern tale gives us the best Western since Dances With Wolves and perhaps the best historical movie since Lawrence of Arabia. Yes, it’s that good - dark, demanding, intense and intensely satisfying... Magnificent... a truly exciting and authentic masterpiece.
 
 Grandly overblown and deeply cornball.
 
  (Liam Lacey, Toronto Globe & Mail)
 
 A crock - a pandering epic that's as phony as it is condescending.
 
  (Lou Lumenick, New York Post)
 
  Narcissism and self-congratulation is [sic] never far from the surface.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Tripe. The fact that it’s reverential, stately tripe makes it all the more revolting, because it will fool some viewers that it has some merit.
 
  (Nicholas Barber, Independent on Sunday)
 
 Dishonest hokum: a hilariously boneheaded example of political correctness and celebrity self-worship… Tom Cruise is now 40, which is old enough to know better.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Paycheck (2003)
The most enjoyable thrill ride in the last 12 months. ****
 
 A snore, and worse, it’s so generic in tone, execution, and payoff that it might as well have been directed by any journeyman straight-to-video helmer out there. This is nothing like the Hong Kong master of mind-blowing action who directed the excruciatingly entertaining Hard-Boiled, and coupled with lackluster performances from Thurman and Eckhart, it’s one of the biggest letdowns of the year, a sterile piece of artlessness that lacks even Woo’s trademark ballistic ballets while treading perilously close to Steven Spielberg’s far superior Minority Report.
 
  (Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)
 
 Some day, when it's available on video, Paycheck will be great for drinking games. Every time any character does something stupid, take a shot. The participants in the game will all be drunk before the film is half over... This is a bad film, complete with lackluster acting, brainless writing, and uninspired direction.
 
  (James Berardinelli , Reelviews)
 
 The search for Ben Affleck’s career was abandoned last night due to poor weather and visibility, but will be resumed with air-sea rescue helicopters at daybreak... He’s clearly been taking his handsomeness lessons pretty frequently, and may even have a handsome coach on-set. He has got self-deprecating charm. Is there no one who can find this man a script?
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Uninvolving and devoid of inspiration. The acting ranges from mediocre to atrocious. Yet again Affleck makes such a thoroughly boring hero that you wonder why he keeps getting employed. He trundles through the proceedings with a good-humoured smirk when trying to look cool, or a baffled air, like a mastiff given two contradictory orders at once, when he's being chased or shot at. Called upon to register existential panic, he goes blank… Director John Woo looks washed up… Woo's one original idea is to make Affleck look like Cary Grant in North by Northwest - not a good scheme, since it invites profoundly unflattering comparisons.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
An hilarious half term treat for all the family... a dozen laughs a minute.
 
 This turkey unfolds like the worst-ever episode of The Brady Bunch, only without a laugh track to tell us when we're supposed to be enjoying ourselves.
 
  (Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star)
 
 You don't so much watch this witless, charmless, pointless fiasco as sit hostage, waiting for it to end.
 
  (Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
 
 A bad sitcom expanded to 98 excruciatingly unfunny minutes.
 
  (Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press)
 
 Surprisingly mean-spirited, unfunny and features possibly the most annoying ensemble of child actors in recent memory.
 
  (Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City)
 
 Not only one of the worst films of the year, it is also a perfect example of why so many foreign countries hate America so much.
 
  (Peter Sobczynski, Critic Doctor)
 
 
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Hats off to the Cat! *****
 
 The Cat in the Hat is perhaps the worst holiday movie ever made.
 
  (John Anderson, Newsday)
 
 Judging from this humorless monstrosity, the Cat team spent 10 years working on their film’s decorative appearance and a combined 10 minutes writing sleazy jokes and a catastrophic script that I wouldn’t use to line a litter box.
 
  (Sean O'Connell, Filmcritic.com)
 
 A noisy nightmare, a hugely impersonal, manufactured product. It shows not only a complete disregard for children, but also utter contempt... The Seuss books can be had for less than the price of popcorn, drinks and movie tickets; I urge you to stay home and read. Even staring at the wall is better than this.
 
  (Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner)
 
 An insult to the original and offers depressing, distressing insights into the way Hollywood regards children as mini-consumers to be exploited with cavalier disregard for the consequences. The Cat in the Hat may pose as family entertainment, but really it is an insidious form of child abuse… This film appears to have been made by people who really, really hate children and can’t wait to remove every vestige of innocence, taste and notion of self-discipline from their upbringing.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
#A1It's All About Love (2003)
A beautiful film... a near masterpiece ****
Halfway through the film, I gave up taking legitimate notes and wrote this: “What a mess this film is!”
(Eric D. Snider, Daily Herald)
There are so many things wrong with Thomas Vinterberg’s It’s All about Love that if I wrote them down, this would be a five page review that would sound like a spiteful rant. That’s ironic because at it’s heart, this film seems to be pointing an accusatory finger at “money hungry” and “loveless” Americans. I don’t mind if a film or filmmaker wants to make that statement, but I do mind if it is not made well.
(Don R. Lewis, Film Threat)
A curdled exercise in self-indulgence: stilted surrealism; ponderous decadence; stately nonsense; deadpan pretentiousness.
(Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge)
It's All About Love ranks among the most turgid and pretentious anti-American films ever made. It is surely the final nail in the coffin of FilmFour, and an unmitigated disaster for its writer-director, Thomas Vinterberg… Apparently the lovely, intelligent Claire Danes, who does nothing wrong in this movie except appear in it, saw the final cut and wept for two days. It's good to know that one actor, at least, still has a sense of guilt and shame.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Charlie (2004)
Slick and stylish... It’d be a crime to miss it.
 
 It doesn’t help that Charlie’s screenplay is a tedious compendium of clichés, informing us that Richardson loved his “muvva” and hurt only his own kind. But what sinks the film is the cast’s all-round lack of burning screen presence.
 
  (Edward Porter, Sunday Times)
 
 There’s a troubling lack of moral censure here, with an epilogue that seems to condone Richardson’s hideous reign of terror as a bit of fun.
 
  (Jason Solomons, Mail on Sunday)
 
 If only we could be sure that this was supposed to be satirical.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Grotesque and gratuitous. This is a tatty, sporadically offensive muddle of rubbish jump cuts, abysmal dialogue and one-time Walford residents making fools of themselves.
 
  (Catherine Shoard, Sunday Telegraph)
 
 A new low in British gangster movies - no mean feat, after You're Dead and Rancid Aluminium. Charlie is a brainless glorification of Sixties gang boss Charlie Richardson…Charlie was a strong believer in loyalty and family values, straight up. That must explain why Needs continues to place his trust in Adam Ross, the not noticeably talented actor brother of critics Paul and Jonathan. Adam confirms his lack of promise in Shoreditch with an equally flat performance in a minor role. News of the World reviewer Paul has responded by acclaiming this movie as "slick and stylish… it'd be a crime to miss it." No, really - bruvverly love like that brings a tear to me old mince pies… I can recall only a handful of films in which the violence was so transparently gratuitous, or as gloatingly shot. If I were a lovable Cockney criminal like our Chazza, I'd say that everyone responsible at the distributors, Entertainment, should have their feet nailed to the floor.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
50 First Dates (2004)
There’s something for everyone in this near-perfect date flick. ****
 
 This is simply not funny. A lame comedy-by-numbers that made me laugh once. Formulaic in its banality, the actors are ticking off every joke box in the business. But old people swearing just aren’t funny, talking animals are far from hilarious and even Sandler couldn’t raise a smile here.
 
  (Shebah Ronay, News of the World)
 
 A peculiarly unpleasant combination of unfunny gross-out... and glutinous schmaltz.
 
  (Jenny McCartney, Sunday Telegraph)
 
 Crude, sentimental.
 
  (Philip French, Observer)
 
 The film is let down badly by its over-reliance on foul language, smutty humour and cruel slapstick, which jar with its intermittent attempts to be cute, charming and sensitive.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
This has everything you need for a fun afternoon at the movies. In fact, it's the best family action adventure film this year.
 
 One of the lamest remakes of a classic film I've ever seen.
 
  (Jack Mathews, New York Daily News)
 
 This $110-million fiasco is the sort of movie that gives family entertainment a bad name.
 
  (Lou Lumenick, New York Post)
 
 Phony, unfunny family entertainment...packs in almost every racial and cultural stereotype in the world.
 
  (Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly)
 
 The movie equivalent of a mustache scrawled on the Mona Lisa.
 
  (William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
 
 Steve Coogan struggles to make you even smile in this clunking dud of an ill-advised remake.
 
 (Kevin O’Sullivan, Daily Mirror)
 
 Frank Coraci’s coarse direction, depressingly reminiscent of his work on Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy, ensures that the attempts at slapstick humour are relentlessly infantile; Ewen Bremner’s appearances as an accident-prone copper are especially horrible. The comic cameos are seriously unfunny - especially a scene in which serial groper Arnold Schwarzenegger ill-advisedly plays a Turkish prince with a talent for sexual harassment. The remarkably nonsensical script seems to have been assembled not only for boys between eight and eleven, but by them.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Garfield: The Movie (2004)
Very funny... Garfield is the cat’s whiskers.
 
 One of the year's cheesiest and most embarrassing movies.
 
  (Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer)
 
 So charmless, so completely devoid of laughs and feels so long - even at 85 minutes - that before it's over, you may want to claw your eyes out.
 
  (Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City)
 
 If you want 78 minutes of bad writing and boredom then do I have a movie for you!
 
 (Joshua Tyler, Cinemablend.com)
 
 It’s marginally better than The Cat in the Hat, though that’s like saying suffocation is mildly more amusing than drowning.
 
  (Sean O'Connell, Filmcritic.com)
 
 I didn’t laugh once, and it’s hard to know at whom it’s aimed, since it’s too unsophisticated for adults, and too boring for children. Garfield is a dog.
 
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 
 
Surviving Christmas (2004)
A slick satire... The laughs come with pleasing regularity.
 
 This ghastly comedy emits the subliminal whine of a sucking chest wound.
 
  (Jessica Winter, Village Voice)
 
 It's the sort of stupid swill that gets spewed out by a studio committee, slapped together without a brain, a heart, or a good idea about where to put a camera or when to cut a scene.
 
  (Wesley Morris, Boston Globe)
 
 A lame comic premise, a tiresome-bordering-on-obnoxious protagonist and a script devoid of humor is a lot to overcome for any movie, and Surviving Christmas is not the one to do it.
 
  (Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter)
 
 In this film-watching business you get used to typing out the words ‘Even for Ben Affleck...’ while suppressing the urgent need to vomit. Anyway. Even for Ben Affleck, this desperately unfunny yuletide non-comedy is a brand new low. Doing that cheese-eating grin throughout, he plays a lonely yuppie ad exec - a favourite role - who pays a blue-collar family to pretend to be his relatives over the holidays. After Gigli, Ben's friends could have gently suggested a new career. But after this, the crisis has reached the next level. Someone with veterinarian's training might need to lead grinning Ben into a deserted car park with the humane killer concealed under their tarpaulin smock.
 
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 
 Ben Affleck trying to raise a laugh is about as funny and futile as Ben Affleck trying to raise the dead... Just terrible.
 
  (Catherine Shoard, Sunday Telegraph)
 
 
 
Undercover Brother (2002)
Funkin' funny.
Agent Cody Banks (2003)
Funny, fast and furious - this junior James Bond is the business!
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
A perfect family movie... Plenty of thrills for the kids and action and in-jokes for mums and dads.
Bulletproof Monk (2003)
A romping, stomping laugh out loud action cracker. Miss it and miss out. *****
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Sweet, sexy and very, very funny... The year’s best romantic comedy... One of the sassiest, most switched-on rom-coms ever.
The Italian Job (2003)
A jaw-dropping, gob-smacking, stunning surprise.
Brother Bear (2003)
A riotous Disney romp that will be a huge hit.
Peter Pan (2003)
***** What a treat. What a classic... A magical, make-believe tour de force. Peter Pan-tastic!
A Mighty Wind (2003)
Hysterical... awesome... It truly is one of the funniest films of all time.
Along Came Polly (2003)
Rib-achingly funny.
Starsky and Hutch (2003)
Full-on, flare-filled, Afro-tastic fun.
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2003)
Licenced to thrill... Perfect Easter fun for all the family.
Gothika (2003)
A rocker-shocker with a mega-sized popcorn bucket full pf jump-out-of-your seat moments.
Imagining Argentina (2003)
Brave, brutal and beautiful... brilliant acting.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Just about the best British horror movie of all time - and certainly the funniest... a bloody belly-laughs-a-plenty belter. *****
The Terminal (2004)
Funny, warm... plenty of laughs... Ten times better than most of this year’s movies.
Beyond the Sea (2004)
Astounding. One of the best films of the year.
Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
Full of festive fun.
Alfie (2004)
With a career best from Jude Law and an embarrassment of belting birds, this plays a blinder in every position.
Queen of the Damned (2002)
At last a sequel to Interview With The Vampire. It was well worth the wait.
Old School (2003)
Filthy, funny... one of the year’s stand-out, gross-out comedies.
Big Fish (2003)
Very moving.
Open Range (2003)
Masterpiece! *****
Van Helsing (2004)
Vantastic! A must-see. *****
Troy (2004)
A masterpiece... Pitt is terrific.
The Stepford Wives (2004)
Very funny... deliciously dark send-up.
Anchorman (2004)
**** Move over, Austin Powers, There’s a new big screen love machine in town.
Jersey Girl (2004)
Cracking comedy with a cute kid and a bevy of babes. There's enough cynical squirts of lemon juice to make this a perfect night out for blokes as well as the birds. Unfolding at a fast and funny pace with a few tears on top.
Wimbledon (2004)
Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany have served up a smash.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Stand by for your jaw to hit the floor... A wow factor of a gazillion.
 
 Back to top 
Key to Symbols