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Movie Reviews

Bruce Almighty (2003)


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Review:
Jim Carrey plays 'Bruce Nolan' a reporter who has lately been in the habit of blaming God for everything that's supposedly wrong in his life. Well, God (as played by Morgan Freeman) decides to do something about it: he gives Bruce his powers and wants to see what Bruce can do with it. What ensues is hilarious and heart-warming. In the summer of 2003, 'Matrix Reloaded' may be eye-candy for a lot of folks, but 'Bruce Almighty' is mind-candy. And I have to say that I liked 'Bruce Almighty' many times more than 'Matrix Reloaded.' Perhaps it is a reflection of society (after all Hollywood is all about business) but there are very few big-budget productions that actually have any genuine spiritual heart to it. Anything spiritual or wholesome seems to be shunned because of the fear that the movie may not make any money. Well, throw that idea out the window. 'Bruce Almight' may not be spiritual movie, in the strictest sense of the word, but it is spiritual enough in the sense that there is a genuine moral, wholesome, undercurrent running through the whole movie. While not as big a draw as 'Reloaded' or other movies, 'Bruce' still managed to draw about $171,435,525 in the US alone after three weekends. It just goes to show that if one genuinely cares about the characters, the story (spiritual or not) and the casting you can still have a blockbuster on you hands. The PG-13 rating may mean that it may not be suitable for young children, but that doesn't mean it is not family-friendly. It is most certainly heart-friendly.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year: 2003
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Finding Nemo (2003)


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Review:
In a world that is filled with increasingly dark movies, adult themes and PG-13 rated (and even R-rated) blockbusters, it is truly refreshing to see a movie that is truly something that the entire family can enjoy. When little clownfish Nemo (who is the only survivor of a family tragedy and is hampered by a bad fin aside from his dad) vigorously resists his Dad's (Albert Brook's) overprotective urges, he gets caught in a bad situation and gets separated from his dad. The distraught dad, Marlin, overcomes his fear of the ocean in his quest to find Nemo. Along the way, he meets a variety of odd, wonderful and sometimes hysterical characters, including a blue tang fish (Ellen DeGeneres) that has no recollection of what happened five minutes ago. The characters in Finding Nemo are as beautifully realized as they are comical. The animation is gorgeous to look at. At the same time, there is always the intentional and comfortable 'cartoony' look to the whole movie. Despite its G rating, some children might find one or two scenes scary. Still, this movie should make for a great family outing.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

MPAA Rating: G
Year: 2003
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The Matrix Reloaded (2003)


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Review:
This is one of the movies that I was really looking forward to seeing. The first movie was thought-provoking, had some spectactular special effects and cool action sequences. In fact, the movie probably redefined 'cool' for a new generation of kids. If the trailer for 'Reloaded' whetted your appetite for spectacular action sequences, you probably wont be disappointed. I think, however, that if action sequences are used, they should enrich the overall story. I simply do not feel that the action sequences in this movie enrich the overall story arc considerably. If anything, the movie feels like one long action video game. Sure, there is the occasional dialogue that is supposed to make one think about the nature of reality, but they are very few and far between. Now, I think there is quite an intriguing ending to the movie (involving the flesh-and-blood Neo and the mechanical Sentinels) that may very well enhance your questions about 'what is real' and 'what is not' (it may also whet your appetite for the third movie in the series). That being said, there is much to be desired; one questions the inclusion of some elements of the story: for example, the last bastion of humanity (the city of Zion) treats orgy-like festivities with a casual eye, with a 'ho-hum' attitude. A family-friendly movie, therefore, this is not. If eye-candy is the only thing you care for, this is the movie for you. Otherwise, the world has much better movies than 'Reloaded' that will enjoy.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

MPAA Rating: R
Year: 2003
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X2: X-Men United (2003)


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Review:
X2 is filled with fantastic action, characters and special effects, along with unexpected romance and a great story as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) continues his quest to find out his history, as Rogue (Anna Paquin) finds a new love, as Dr Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) struggles with her feelings for Wolverine, as a new (yet old, comic-book-wise) teleporting character called Nightcrawler livens up the X-Men team. Most of all, we continue see the underlying parables about discrimination within the X-Men universe as an evil military scientist, Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox) tries to systematically destroy every mutant that exists on earth and he has the powerful resources to accomplish this. Needless to say, both the peace-loving mutants such as the X-Men and human-hating ones such as those led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) must unite to confront this menace. X2 continues neatly from where the first X-Men movie left off. To paraphrase Patrick Stewart (who plays Professor Charles Xavier) the first movie was one long sumptuous trailer. Indeed, when you watch X2, you will understand why he said that. In the first movie, the X-Men were walking; this time around, the X-Men fly.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year: 2003
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Daredevil (2003)


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Review:
I went to watch the Daredevil movie without much expectations. Well, I do have to admit that the trailers didn't particularly catch my attention. The movie is another ballgame entirely. Like Spider-Man, Daredevil has a tragic childhood and develops super-normal powers due to an unfortunate accident (in the case of Daredevil, through a radioactive spill). While the Spider-Man movie had plenty of action, humor, fun and -- occasionally -- a touch of sensitivity, Daredevil is a darker breed. There isn't much to smile about in this movie. The romance doesn't sparkle or sizzle. So what is good about this movie? Daredevil, while a story about a comic-book hero, is a story about a comic-book hero that is fraught with flaws, mistakes, sadness and difficulties. The character lives in the real world. Furthermore, the action is good and the special effects aren't that bad either. And though all comic-book superheroes might have origin stories might feel like cliches, this story really doesn't feel like one long cliche. 'Rated PG-13 for action/violence and some sensuality.'

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year: 2003
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