Favorite SP Critics

   Thanks for our salvation!

Persepolis reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Persepolis, adapted for the screen by Marjane Satrapi from her two graphic novels, is both an émigré memoir and a love song to Persepolis, the fabled ancient capital of Persia that lives now only in little Marji’s imagination. ...[more]

No Country for Old Men reviewed by T. B. Meek

First, the country of title is no country for any man — old, young or betwixt — that is unless you’re an amoral killer ridding shotgun with death or an extremely resourceful and lucky son of a gun...[more]

Assassination of Jesse James reviewed by P. Ducey

After the cessation of military hostilities in our Civil War, the war raged on, in small spasms of violence, not military campaigns, in what we now call "The Restoration"...[more]

  Knocked Up reviewed by P. Ducey

First, in the interests of full movie reviewer disclosure, I will tell you that I hated Caddyshack; I hated Clerks even worse than Caddyshack—well, I walked out halfway so I can’t fairly compare the two, but I didn’t like it. [more]

  Paris Je T'Aime reviewed by P. Ducey

Paris, je t’aime (Paris, I Love You) is an anthology film, the brainchild of producers Benbihy and Ossard, in an homage to their native city. Originally, 20 films were commissioned, one dedicated to each of the 20 Paris arrondissements (districts) but two were eventually dropped from the offering for artistic reasons... [more]

  The Astronaut Farmer reviewed by P. Ducey

The Astronaut Farmer is the first mainstream film from twin brothers and indie collaborators Mark and Mike Polish (North Fork). Astronaut Farmer is more accessible and perhaps less interesting than Sundance hit North Fork but satisfies as a family film adults can enjoy as well, if they don’t look too closely. [more]

  Lives Of Others reviewed by P. Ducey

The credo of the Stasi was simple: “To Know Everything.” And Captain Gerd Wiesler of the East German Secret Police prides himself on a painstaking devotion to that task. [more]

  The Last King Of Scotland reviewed by P. Ducey

In the early ‘70s, the world exploded in a new freewheeling culture; Idi Amin was African rock ‘n roll. “I am the father of Uganda!” he thunders to an adoring crowd after his coup puts him in power, and wild celebration erupts across the land. [more]

  Babel reviewed by Don Thompson

Babel is an important film because its director simultaneously takes on both new stylistic and thematic ground; rare enough to do one or the other, but not both at the same time. [more]

  Pirates Of The Carribean reviewed by P. Ducey

I protested only weakly when a friend of mine recently suggested the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, for our evening’s entertainment. After all, we were on vacation, it was beastly hot—and the original was entertaining, with sparkling performances by Johnny Depp and ensemble. [more]

  V for Vendetta reviewed by Rob Tanaka

Once I heard on a television review that V for Vendetta “made a hero out of a terrorist” I knew I had to go see the film. I had never read the comic classic that the movie is based on, and a reluctant fan of the Wachowski brothers, but James McTeique’s (a protégé of the Wachowskis) rendition is both artful, coherent and powerful. [more]

  Inside Man reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Spike Lee’s Inside Man proves that a movie doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to be enjoyable. This stylish The Usual Suspects-type heist film at the end provides no explanation for its elaborate scenario, but by the time we get there, we’ve had so much fun we don’t much care. [more]

  Brick reviewed by Patricia Ducey

If Dashiel Hammett or Raymond Chandler had been student filmmakers and not mature, hardboiled fiction writers, they might have produced Brick, writer-director (and local boy) Rian Johnson’s debut film. [more]

 Memoirs Of A Geisha reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Memoirs of a Geisha was directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) and written by Arthur Golden, from his novel of the same name, and scripted by Robin Swicord, veteran women’s film writer...[more]

 Match Point reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Polls show that 85 percent of the time, people go to movies to laugh. The other 15 percent of the time, I’d wager, they go to watch rich people suffer--and Woody Allen’s latest, Match Point... [more]

 Serenity reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Serenity is definitely this season’s best Friday night movie. You know the kind I mean—your brain is fried after a week of work, you meet up with friends for a glass of wine and a show—something not too deep, hopefully funny...[more]

 Capote reviewed by T. B. Meek

When I first met Bennett Miller at the Boston Film Festival back in 1998 he was a wide-eyed first-time filmmaker. The subject of his documentary, Timothy “Speed” Levitch, a hyperbolic New York City tour bus guide, happened to also to be...[more]

 War Of The Worlds reviewed by Patricia Ducey

It’s summertime, and little Dakota Fanning is in jeopardy again. The 10-year-old star of last year’s spooky thriller Hide and Seek and killer/thriller Man on Fire now takes on huge hungry…Tripods! [more]

 The Interpreter reviewed by Don Thompson

I found myself a little split regarding The Interpreter – on one hand I admired the message, on the other I was a more than a little troubled by the execution. It seems to me that films are all about moments, the culmination of those moments being the sum of the art. [more]

 Downfall reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Downfall is the fictionalized account of Hitler’s last days in the bunker adapted from the memoirs of his secretary, Traudl Junge, also the subject of a documentary, Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary completed right before she passed away in 2002. [more]

 Phantom Of The Opera reviewed by P. Ducey

In the dizzying mis-en-scene of La Belle Époque Paris, in full symphonic Dolby sound, and after countless stage performances, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-successful Phantom of the Opera has finally come to the silver screen...[more]

 Sideways reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Sideways, like Phantom, ruminates on love and un-love, but through the prism of “reality,” the personal travails of high school teacher and failed novelist Miles (Paul Giamatti). Sideways is first of all a buddy movie...[more]

 Silver City reviewed by Patricia Ducey

John Sayles’ latest film opens on a fictitious Colorado gubernatorial candidate named Dickie Pilager (Chris Cooper) filming a campaign ad at a pristine Rocky Mountain lake. The ersatz environmentalist and Dubya-like Pilager (read pillager) can’t recite his lines...[more]

 Open Water reviewed by Patricia Ducey

If you’re worn to a nub by the current political season and want to run screaming into the sea for relief, see "Open Water" first. Husband and wife team Chris Kentis and Laura Lau’s film will disabuse you of this notion. [more]

 Spiderman 2 reviewed by Patricia Ducey

He’s back! That scarlet spandexed, web-snapping, crime-wave-busting, angst ridden arachno-human Spiderman, and just in time to save the summer movie season. Heck, maybe the year. [more]

 The Terminal reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal is a sweet and unassuming fable that starts slow but steadily grows into a warmhearted romantic comedy, thanks in large part to the affecting acting of Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones and a group of talented character actors. [more]

 I'm Not Scared reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Summer is synonymous with adventure and freedom, a holiday from job and school and all manner of boundaries, a time when people shake off the shackles of every day life and get into big trouble, if only temporarily. [more]

 What The Bleep reviewed by Don Thompson

First, a little disclaimer. This film that is the subject of this review was produced/directed by a friend of mine; this friend was also the co-producer of some of my own films and plays. [more]

 The Ladykillers reviewed by Diana Takata

I have often find the Coen Brothers amusing in a sadistic kind of way, kind of like a Three Stooges episode. The Ladykillers definitely reminded me of the Stooges, complete with physical humor and idiots gone rampant... [more]

 Touching The Void reviewed by Tom Meek

In Touching the Void, a mountain climber dangles from the end of a rope while his partner, three hundred feet above, waits for the signal (a succession of quick tugs) to descend. [more]

 The Barbarian Invasions reviewed by P. Ducey

For ‘60s lore, see instead Denys Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions, deservedly garnering this year’s Best Foreign Film award, among many others. Invasions is another reminiscence based on boomer vanities... [more]

 The Dreamers reviewed by Patricia Ducey

The Dreamers is Bernardo Bertolucci’s valentine to the ‘60s, a time when both he and the world were young. The veteran Italian filmmaker (Last Tango in Paris, Besieged) sets his story in Paris in 1968... [more]

 Monster reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Serial killer movies have something for everybody. They provide nifty narrative trajectories that have stood the test of time: the pure gore fest, the morality play, or the indictment of society stories all are so familiar to moviegoers that we can all sing along. [more]

 Return Of The King reviewed by Diana Takata

Lord of The Rings: Return Of The King is, as most every human being on the face of the planet knows, the last installment of the trilogy from director Peter Jackson. Seen strictly as an entertainment, it is in many ways the most satisfying of the three films.[more]

 Lost In Translation reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Lost in Translation is a film “about nothing” that holds our attention and wins our hearts nonetheless. Writer/Director Sofia Coppola’s work eloquently turns back the veil a bit from the innermost recesses of the human heart. [more]

 Under The Tuscan Sun reviewed by E. Block

San Francisco has long offered Hollywood classical and magical movie locations. It is also a city where experimental and independent filmmaking, film festivals, and all around cinephilia thrive(s). [more]

 American Splendor reviewed by Elizabeth Block

Everywhere I go to find a good read some smarty-pants has a wildly ecstatic report on the movie adaptation of the underground anti-hero of Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical comic book series. So it’s my turn to weigh in on the already dubbed smash, American Splendor. [more]

 The Magdalene Sisters reviewed by P. Ducey

The Magdalene Sisters, written and directed by Scottish filmmaker Peter Mullan, tells the story of four young Irish women -- composites of many actual women -- who were incarcerated in Ireland’s now infamous Magdalene Laundries in the late 1960s. [more]

 Hulk reviewed by Patricia Ducey

Young scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) works with former love Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly). They remain friends even though his emotional remoteness has destroyed their relationship. But the dark forces lying just beneath his bland exterior... [more]

 Whale Rider reviewed by Annie Reid

Coastal Maori in Whangara, New Zealand, claim a line of descent from Paikea, the mythical first man, whose canoe overturned near the shore. His cries for help were answered by a whale, who carried him to shore... [more]

 Capturing the Friedmans reviewed by P. Ducey

For those of you who like your Bad Dads straight up, no CGI, and with a beer chaser, see Capturing the Friedmans, the best movie/film/documentary of my summer. [more]

 Holes reviewed by Diana Takata

The Tweens are coming and they care more about human problems than most adults. That's the underlying message of Holes, a cross between Cool Hand Luke and The Hardy Boys, an ostensible family film that pricks at many American social taboos. [more]

 The Quiet American reviewed by Diana Takata

Better known for action films such as Patriot Games and The Saint, director Phillip Noyce has turned from Hollywood blockbusters and begun making independently-minded films about deeply human subjects. [more]

 Frida reviewed by Kimberly NIchols

In the biopic Frida, Salma Hayek plays renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, first as a little girl running through town in her parochial school uniform; then as a feisty and unruly child who wears men's suits for the family portraits. [more]

 Bowling for Columbine reviewed by S. Friedman

Here are the facts: Last year there were 381 firearm homicides in Germany. There were 165 in Canada, and 39 in Japan. In the United States, there were 11, 127. [more]

 The Wilco Movie reviewed by Kimberly Nichols

It's midnight in Los Angeles and I sit in a corner movie theater that has been completely morphed and pasteurized by its shiny proximity to Hollywood -- the infamous Tower Records and the Hustler store -- and I sit pondering art. [more]

 The Four Feathers reviewed by Diana Takata

While Shekhar Kapur's Academy award winning Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchet) was about as good a English language feature debut as one could ask for, Kapur's followup The Four Feathers left me looking for something more, confused by the filmmaker's intentions. [more]

film reviews
SolPix Picks