Now playing

June 29, 2007|By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach | Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critics

Capsules by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimoresun.com/movies.

Evan Almighty -- is a fractured and lamentably unfunny fable about the Good Lord (Morgan Freeman) ordering a latter-day Noah, broadcaster turned congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), to build a contemporary ark. It's a colossal dud - a high-concept low comedy made by people who can't tell a pratfall from a pitfall and stumble into every one. (M.S.) PG 95 minutes D-

Knocked Up -- continues the tradition writer-director Judd Apatow started in 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Here, it's Seth Rogen, who believes life is best lived stoned and whose aspiration is to create a Web site listing every nude scene ever filmed, and still ends up with Katherine Heigl. There's a lot of hilarity leading up to and surrounding that relationship, and, in typical Apatow fashion, it's good-hearted and organic. Knocked Up offers comic relief infused with all kinds of hope - not the least of which is that there's still humor that doesn't depend on mean-spiritedness or pandering to its audience's baser instincts. (C.K.) R 129 minutes B

La Vie en Rose -- chronicles the great French singer Edith Piaf as she carries her romantic history into nightclubs, over radio and on records with a pyrotechnic artistry that lifts her listeners to a state of exaltation. As Piaf, who died at 47 in 1963, actress Marion Cotillard delivers such a galvanizing, spend-it-all performance that the character wins your heart as she tests it, toys with it and breaks it. (M.S.) PG-13 Time 140 minutes B+

Live Free or Die Hard, -- with Bruce Willis' John McClane going up against a demented computer hacker looking to bring this country to its knees by mucking up our infrastructure, is top-notch escapist entertainment. Lots of stuff gets blown up; lots of bad guys do bad things; lots of chances come for McClane to laugh in the face of death just one more time. But Willis' wiseacre Jersey attitude has vanished. McClane is still a New York cop, but he's an old, embittered New York cop. He'll still do the job, still play the reluctant hero, but there's no spring in his step. That may be a realistic portrait of the character; with all McClane has been through, it's understandable he's no longer the life of the party. But somebody in this film needs to be. (C.K.) PG-13 130 minutes B

A Mighty Heart -- has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject, the kidnapping and execution of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The most glaring flaw is that the title seems to refer to Danny's wife, Mariane (Angelina Jolie). The movie is about her bravery, perseverance and Buddhism-fueled inner calm. Jolie is good at embodying all that, and she makes the most out of her one soul-crushing shriek of anguish. But she can't keep the film from falling into a bad case of heroine worship. (M.S.) R 103 minutes C+

Ocean's Thirteen -- is about high-class thieves and con men who get together in Vegas to enact revenge on the high-profile casino owner who double-crossed one of their friends. Fans of Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve know what to expect. The rest of us, except for those blinded by the collective star power onscreen, may wanna pass. (C.K.) PG-13, 120 minutes C+

Surf's Up -- is about a surfing penguin who learns there's more to the lifestyle than just catching a wave. Beautifully animated, this faux documentary pokes fun at enough pop-culture icons to keep adults happy, while staying just silly enough to keep the kids laughing. (C.K.) PG 85 minutes B+

28 Weeks Later -- chronicles the tragically premature attempts to re-colonize England after the zombie virus that ravaged the country in the earlier film appears to have died off. (C.K.) R 99 minutes C+

Waitress -- celebrates the unhappily married Jenna (Keri Russell), a working woman with a baby on the way and a genius for making pies. It's partly a romantic comedy-drama (Nathan Fillion is a hoot as her gynecologist lover) and partly an inspired riff on artistic temperament; Jenna sees the structure of her baked goods whole, the way Einstein would envision his theories or Picasso his paintings. And Russell is magical in the role. (M.S.) PG-13 107 minutes A-

You Kill Me -- kills you softly with its smiles. This scruffy gangster comedy about an alcoholic hit man (Ben Kingsley) proves that craftiness and hip performances (especially by Tea Leoni as a wised-up career gal) can make a tasty pig-in-a-blanket out of an old, tattered sow's ear. (M.S.) R 92 minutes B

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.