STOLEN is a movie that slipped in and out of theaters before Jon Hamm was JON HAMM! The Mad Men star plays an anguished father/detective who still holds onto hope that his missing son is still alive. Ten years after his disappearance, the body of a boy is found buried at a construction site. What follows is a well-acted, punch in the gut mystery/drama that holds your attention to the end. Hamm shows us he has range beyond Don Draper and Josh Lucas is heartbreaking as another father in a similar situation. Living your life in the wake of questions unanswered, unable to let go of guilt, just a couple of things these guys go through. While some may roll their eyes at how things end up, at that point, I was really into it and thought it worked. One of my favorite sleepers of the year.  — Stormy Curry


Despite my opinion of Roman Polanski as a person, he is one heck of a director. In The Ghost Writer, he manages to create suspense with a slow but deliberate pace that eventually brings things to a boil, then an explosion. McGregor and Brosnan are top notch, the look of the movie is fantastic, the score amazing, and the ending a surprise. While it does run a bit too long and the explanation of things a bit too “eh, that’s it?”, it’s still a good film. Not a great film, but a good one. A rare movie that doesn’t follow the “rules” of test screenings and “Blockbusters 101” formulas…refreshing. — Stormy Curry


No one is keeping the 'Grindhouse” movie alive better than Robert Rodriguez. And MACHETE is a modern masterpiece of the genre. Cheesy dialogue, lots of blood spurting violence, hot babes wearing nothing or next to nothing, the '70's style porn music… it's all there. Will this win any awards? No. Are there plot holes and leaps of faith as deep and wide as the crevices in Danny Trejo's face? Yup. But it's all such a kick that you really don't care. This is Rodriguez' homage to a genre of movie that no one really cared about anymore until his wonderful “Planet Terror”. Here's hoping he keeps it going and Trejo unsheathes his Machete once again for a sequel. — Alan Yudman


Anyone looking for almost nonstop action needs to pour on the SALT. I rolled my eyes at the trailers but Angelina Jolie once again shows why she is the go to actress for action. Her tough as nails attitude and kick ass moves would scare or impress most of THE EXPENDALES. The story is simple yet twisty enough to keep you guessing, and the supporting cast is made up of ACTORS, not “stars”. And the final kill of the movie was, lack of a better word, AWESOME! Salt goes onto my list of most entertaining movies of the summer. Also a plus: the seemingly lack of CGI…real cars crash and real things go boom.
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Despite a convoluted story and obligatory action scenes, these GUYS are pretty funny. Will and Marky Mark make a good team…both doing what they do best and getting for the most part some hilarious results. Scenes with the two of them at a desk or in a car work much better than the pair runnin' and gunnin'. Michael Keaton…welcome back to comedy pal, we missed you. And the Sam Jackson/Rock pairing shows that these guys get the joke and want to play along even though they're the punchline. I only wish someone in Hollywood would cast Steve Coogan for being Steve Coogan instead of “the chap with the accent”. The story seems like an afterthought which is a shame because if it had been a bit more streamlined this one could have been classic. Still worth seeing though…and I will never look at a Prius the same way again!
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I had the all to rare occasion to go see a movie on opening night.  In this case it was George Clooney's new film, “The American”.  I had the unfortunate luck to be sitting next to a couple who simply could not keep their mouths shut.  It started in the previews and didn't end until they walked out.  They weren't yelling at the screen or talking at anything approaching high volume.  But their incessant blabbing with each other was annoying and inconsiderate.  It wasn't even that I could make out what they were saying.  It was just this low hum of babble coming from my immediate left.  The capper was the woman's comment as she got up to leave, “That's the worst movie I've ever seen!  George Clooney was awful and there was only about 10 pages of dialogue in the whole movie.”  My dear, how would you know what went on?  You never stopped talking long enough to pay attention to this subtle piece of art.

This made me think of why people do this.  Rude? To be sure, our society has become less considerate.  The proof is obvious in the way people drive, talk on their cell phones or talk in a theater during a movie!  I think it's also a problem I will call the “Living Room Issue”.  We are used to watching movies and TV in our homes where we can talk back to the screen without disturbing anyone but the people watching with us.  People, you need to remember where you are.  Despite the luxury of some modern theaters, it is NOT your living room.  So, either wait for the movie on DVD or BluRay, or shut your damn mouths and watch the movie.  Who knows, you may actually be missing something important while you are flapping your gums.  And, you might actually enjoy the movie more!! — Alan Yudman


George Clooney's latest movie is titled THE AMERICAN, but it's anything but a typical American movie. Clooney plays an assassin named Jack (or Edward depending on who he's talking to) who is tortured by recent events, seems weary of his life and has a love of butterflies. An American movie of the same genre would feature louder music, bigger bangs and screeching chases. Instead this is a quiet movie, or as quiet as a movie about a man who kills people for a living can be. Clooney doesn't say much, he doesn't have to. His feelings are written all over his face. Anton Corbijn lets his camera do the talking. There are no grand speeches, and no preaching (except from a priest). Just scenes of tension and loneliness that tell us all we need to know about “Jack's” life. There are no real big twists or reveals or gotchas. This is a movie for adults, for people who think and people who's minds haven't been blasted to mush by the latest summer blockbuster. Not the best movie of the summer, but one of Clooney's best in years. — Alan Yudman


Dead or not dead? That is the question in After.Life. Christina Ricci gets into a car a fatal (?) car accident and winds up in the hands of mortician Liam Neeson. He claims to have Sixth Sense abilities and talks Ricci through the “letting go” process. While far from a masterpiece, this suspense mystery holds your attention throughout and keeps you guessing. But when it's over it doesn't feel like all the pieces quite fit. The performances are top notch, the story compelling, and its refreshing to see an “R” rated thriller for grown ups. A solid rental.
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