film reviews (early summer 2005) and Keeper Alert (Hustle & Flow)

Mr and Mrs Smith (2005) directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, 2002); starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Snaprating=Cheaper, PROBLEM theme. Although the Smith's fight can be compared to the fight in War of the Roses, the steady humor and over-the-top shoot-n-blow-em-up's, make this more 'Grosse Point Blank meets Léon, The Professional' with a nod to Butch and Sundance.
Batman Begins (2005) directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, 2000); starring Christian Bale and Katie Holmes: Snaprating=Keeper , CHARACTER theme (secondary theme elements: Problem and Milieu). This is, hands-down, the best superhero-film to date. This saga incorporates over-the-top action sequences, vehicle chases, fight scenes, and witty rejoinders (with far less CGI) as if Van Helsing, Die Hard and Indiana Jones were morphed with the first Batman.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) directed by George Lucas (Star Wars, 1977); starring Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman: Star-Wars-fan Snaprating=Cheaper, all-others Snaprating=WFC, PROBLEM theme. The script was cribbed from a videogame sound-byte tech (no sentences over six words) and most scenes are CGI hand-me-downs from one of it's older, wiser, siblings or are attempts at humorous nods to films like The Fifth Element and Frankenstein.
War of the Worlds (2005) directed by Steven Spielberg (Minority Report, 2002); starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning: Snaprating=WFD, PROBLEM theme. Fans of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow may enjoy this dark, awfully edited, CGI-dominant, retread.
La Marche de l'empereur (March of the Penguins) (2005) Luc Jacquet's directorial debut; starring thousands of emperor penguins: Snaprating=WFD, MILIEU theme. Old fans of the 'Wonderful World of Disney' and younger fans of the documentary Winged Migration will enjoy this tale of Antarctic-nature's hardships and triumphs.
Hustle & Flow (2005) directed by Craig Brewer (The Poor and Hungry, 2000); starring Terrence Howard and Taryn Manning: Snaprating=Keeper, CHARACTER theme. Comparison to 8 mile is easy and simply wrong because this film has the warmth of a great script, wonderful directing (at one point, a woman's song made me tear) and superb acting, which are missing from Slim's hollow autobiography.

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