instantwatcher.com

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

  1. Crazy Love 2007 ... though Crazy Love remains a far cry from heartening, it is more amusing than disturbing, especially given the cranky yet symbiotic couple of today. full review
  2. Zodiac 2007 The most perverse thing about Zodiac isn't that its Hollywood's umpteenth serial-killer flick, when such crimes are rare in reality. It's that Zodiac, though based on actual crimes, is one of the dullest of these films to date. full review
  3. Charlotte's Web 2006 Charlotte's Web adapts a classic, which is not to say it is one. full review
  4. Deep Water 2006 For this gripping and amazing documentary, such truth emerges not just from the facts, but also the poetry of men who redefine themselves in a risky race on small sailboats. full review
  5. Golden Door 2006 Its minutiae don't bring a lump in the throat -- just a drumming of the fingers. full review
  6. Jesus Camp 2006 Perhaps indoctrination is in the eye of the beholder. But one thing is certain: All Christians aren't the same. I'm one, and I found this film to be saddening, not heartening. full review
  7. Scoop 2006 Scoop, an amiable romp of lighthearted fun. full review
  8. The Ice Harvest 2005 The Ice Harvest is like Sin City without the bold style and crooked smile, disgorging grisly bloodbaths without drawing artful things out of them. full review
  9. Dust to Glory 2004 As dull as dust for much of its look at the Baja 1000. full review
  10. Little Black Book 2004 Starts as the playful romantic comedy, then veers into an ensemble piece about ruthless careerism before settling for melodramatic self-obsession. full review
  11. Brother Bear 2003 A lame duck of a movie. full review
  12. Holes 2003 At the least, it's original. full review
  13. Scary Movie 3 2003 Despite one of the year's best trailers, this horror-film spoof is as laugh-challenged as the woeful first sequel. full review
  14. The Sum of All Fears 2002 Toward the end Sum of All Fears morphs into a mundane '70s disaster flick. full review
  15. Tadpole 2002 Tadpole is emblematic of the witless ageism afflicting films: Young is cool, and too young is too cool. full review
  16. XXX 2002 For all its alleged youthful fire, XXX is no less subservient to Bond's tired formula of guns, girls and gadgets while brandishing a new action hero. full review
  17. The Animal 2001 A silly, stupid story with a one-joke comic premise. full review
  18. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 Its visuals are executed skillfully, it takes time to develop characters, and its voice cast has personality. But in today's context of broadened animation appeals, Atlantis seems as stale as uncirculated submarine air. full review
  19. Get Over It 2001 A breath of fresh air. full review
  20. Not Another Teen Movie 2001 A breath of fresh, frisky air, even if it does hinge on cliches. full review
  21. Riding in Cars with Boys 2001 Too much of its reality involves joyless response to circumstantial failure, and instead of being ironic or bittersweet, it's mostly bitter. full review
  22. Scream 3 2000 You're bound to scream -- perhaps real loud -- but it may be out of impatient dismay as much as Pavlovian reaction. full review
  23. The Blair Witch Project 1999 If you can handle its unconventional approach, you won't feel as if you're seeing a film so much as witnessing a living nightmare. full review
  24. Jack Frost 1998 Its sentiment is rote, its truths are culled from a trip down the aisles of a greeting-card shop. full review
  25. Scream 1996 Whatever you do, don't close your mind to such an inventive concoction. One last time, despite all your better instincts, go ahead -- open that theater door.
  26. /titles/199811 Basic is too busy changing rules and strutting its cleverness. full review
  27. /titles/199840 Needs highlights and a trim. full review
  28. /titles/199805 [Moore's] better at fingering problems than finding solutions. But though he only scratches the surface, at least he provides a strong itch to explore more. full review
  29. /titles/199812 It's Carrey who must carry this film, and he lifts Bruce Almighty to the heavens. full review
  30. /titles/197818 A landslide winner as an emotionally rewarding drama. full review
  31. /titles/198248 When taken as an old-fashioned adventure with a comic-book plot, The Core works well. But at 130 minutes it wears out its welcome, and like Earth's balky core, it sputters and stalls. full review
  32. /titles/197208 A noisy, incoherent, droning spectacle. full review
  33. /titles/198266 A buoyant coming-of-age adventure welded to an amiable wealth fantasy. full review
  34. /titles/197484 Even in its darkest moments, a heartening defiance underlies gut-wrenching calamity. full review
  35. /titles/198243 Teetering toward preaching, the film says much about courage, honor, duty and sacrifice, traits common enough in many World War II stories. full review
  36. /titles/197499 Feels as warmed over as day-old muffins in Little Red Riding Hood's basket. full review
  37. /titles/197768 Although it is a rough ride, The Hunted is also an exciting one. But no tracking skills were needed to follow its well-traveled cinematic road. full review
  38. /titles/199795 Jeepers Creepers gets down and dirty, respecting its genre enough to make it seem vibrant, fresh and, in a warped way, real. full review
  39. /titles/197481 If you enjoy the tense claustrophobia of submarine thrillers, K-19 fills the bill. full review
  40. /titles/197205 It's a predictable and preachy stab at a comedy with heart, and its subversive silliness is eclipsed by an overwrought humanity. full review
  41. /titles/199835 With colorful characters and snappy performances, Mean Girls is a rare laugh-out-loud film. full review
  42. /titles/199801 Mr. Deeds isn't bad for an Adam Sandler film, which is as backhanded as a compliment can get. full review
  43. /titles/199768 Though its tale of gold is not untarnished, The Road to El Dorado hits the buddy-movie mark. full review
  44. /titles/197490 Linklater strikes just the right power chords here. He respects rock enough to keep it real, and he has enough rein on Black to ground his wildness in warmth while avoiding easy sentiment. full review
  45. /titles/199800 Though Murphy is radiant, and her laughs are infectious, her free-spiritedness is thrust in our face like a pointy object in a 3-D movie. full review
  46. /titles/199848 Though not meant to be taken seriously, Venom is no chucklefest but rather a harrowing ordeal in the ruthlessly violent vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. full review
  47. /titles/199849 Below its surface, Water isn't about religion, politics or even India. It's about timeless and universal divides between people, when humanity is eclipsed by self-serving subjugation. full review