Along Came a Spider

From the opening teaser sequence to the casting of Morgan Freeman as a detective tracking a criminal mastermind to the gratuitous twists at the end, Along Came a Spider spins its formulaic web like a black widow on automatic pilot. A moribund pall hangs over the whole painfully generic  ...

America, America

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American Psycho

American Psycho tips its hand very early on when the camera pans across a table that’s laden with posh dinnerware and exotic dishes. It doesn’t matter what the setting is, the meaning of this shot is always the same, and the point couldn’t be hammered home any harder if  ...

American Pimp

The Hughes Brothers are fascinated with bad guys. Their startling debut, Menace II Society, depicted inner city thug life with a visceral intensity that made Boyz N The Hood look like The Little Rascals. The follow-up, Dead Presidents, less successfully chronicled a young man's transformation from Vietnam War hero  ...

An Everlasting Piece

Filmmakers travel to Northern Ireland at great peril. It's not that they risk their lives there: who'd waste good bullets on a film crew? No, the real danger is the aesthetic paralysis that inflicts outsiders who shoot in Ireland. Directors go there looking for a dose of harsh realism,  ...

Amores Perros

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Anatomy of a Murder

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Analyze This

.. Regular readers here know that CV is not one to effuse superlatives, particularly over popular, mass market films. That may be due, in part, to the dismal state of commercial film making in recent years. Nonetheless, CV is not yet a total curmudgeon and will cheerfully praise deserving accomplishment.  ...

And Baby Makes Two

In Defense of Single-Parent Families (1997), Nancy E. Dowd Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood (1997), Jane Matttes On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America (1999), Melissa Ludtke  ...

Angela’s Ashes

Angela's Ashes is a painstakingly constructed shell with a hollow center - a biographical film that never quite finds its subject. Based on Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir about growing up in Ireland amid appalling poverty, the movie makes the odd and ultimately fatal mistake of leaving McCourt out  ...