State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL) is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Nick Rogers, Paul Povse
Pineapple Express (2008)
Forget the puff-puff. Pass on this protracted, problematic comedy with Hot Fuzz aspirations in which neither Seth Rogen nor the grim, leaden violence is much fun at all. James Franco, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson at least salvage the film.
Posted Aug 1, 2008
With half-formed discussions of pedophile priests, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, media manipulation, American health care and George W. Bush, one could call it Michael Moore's "The X-Files." But "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko" were considerably mor
Posted Jul 28, 2008
Fate, mythology and even racism in America are tossed in to a climax so grim it's like watching "Men in Black" morph into "Requiem for a Dream." The movie doesn't earn that drama, feeling cobbled together from earlier, less-commercial drafts.
Posted Jul 3, 2008
Affectionately aimed at both the AARP crowd and those who grew up with Indy. Temper comparisons to the trilogy and take it on its own terms as a fun ride with a rejuvenated Harrison Ford and enough great action to trump a blah finale.
Posted May 21, 2008
It's like the Little Golden Book version of "Gladiator," a mostly bloodless but mostly barbaric PG film with R-rated aspirations. Worse yet, it's even more wearisome than its predecessor - drained of magic or emotion by a plodding pace.
Posted May 16, 2008
Baby Mama (2008)
Michael McCullers is a pedestrian director, but a potent screenwriter, wittily playing to the strengths of his stars and who's-who supporting players. This comedy isn't without complications, but it's affable, breezy and buoyant.
Posted Apr 25, 2008
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
If only Jason Segel's screenwriting matched his comic presence. This is an occasionally riotous, but shapeless, romantic comedy, whose only relatable angst is that it's just marginally better than last year's "The Heartbreak Kid" remake.
Posted Apr 18, 2008
Self-assured even when it's self-aware, this is a fizzy concoction with three fingers of Billy Wilder and one of Frank Capra. It's shaken with the Coens and topped off with a splash of Ron Shelton and a cinematographical cream-soda sheen.
Posted Apr 11, 2008
Part of "21's" problem as it ups its stakes is that it's about as dangerous and sexy as a $1-minimum keno game. But it's still a mildly tantalizing timewaster about wish fulfillment told with casual confidence before a dragging finale.
Posted Mar 28, 2008
With all the vertical leap of a pygmy in a pick-up game, "Semi-Pro" is like a movie in the mind of a 10-year-old who's discovered profanity, pornography and a shoebox of blank Mad-Libs - funny only to the person coming up with it.
Posted Feb 29, 2008
The Savages (2007)
There are resonant moments of elderly vulnerability and strong acting from Hoffman and Bosco, but Linney's overly familiar exasperated-woman performance and Jenkins' been-there, done-that-better story sink "The Savages.
Posted Feb 1, 2008
Just like the original, it's too caught up in its mythological zeal and furious pacing to do much for our "Indiana" jones. A capably filmed diversion that's breathlessly wired for whiplash but instantly forgettable.
Posted Jan 21, 2008
The Orphanage (2007)
The historical details and enthralling magic of Guillermo del Toro's own productions are missing, and it's more reliant on boo scares than its somber story can support. Yet an intriguing subtext, fierce lead performance and a perfect ending make it work.
Posted Jan 21, 2008
The Bucket List (2007)
Calling it Rob Reiner's best film in 12 years doesn't mean much. Remember "Alex & Emma"? Still, this is a modestly entertaining Hollywood fairytale of facing death head-on. Its occasionally leaden story gets light, familiar notes from two legends.
Posted Jan 21, 2008
The Golden Compass (2007)
Catholic pundits are half-right in proclaiming that watching The Golden Compass could be hazardous to children. It shows that even the most lyrical and challenging literary story can become a stupid, sloppy film.
Posted Dec 7, 2007
The dots of Beowulf's epic exploits are connected in a way that could have, and should have, matched a tone of grand lust on display in John Boorman's "Excalibur." Instead, the movie's schoolboy snickers about sexuality torpedo the script's inventiveness.
Posted Nov 16, 2007
Bee Movie (2007)
Not a flawless animated adaptation of Seinfeld's sometimes-cynical, always-obsessive takes on the trivial. Even at 91 minutes, it's long, and some of its voices too shrill, but the energetic brio of its social satire stings without turning inappropriate.
Posted Nov 1, 2007
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
The real heartbreak is how comedienne Malin Akerman's considerable assets are tossed aside. She's good enough to be on the rebound soon. The rest of the film is a desperate, forgettable overlong movie that makes "Along Came Polly" look like a masterpiece.
Posted Oct 5, 2007
The Kingdom (2007)
Even in clearly diluted form, the film wrestles - or at least grapples and slaps - with questions and interpretations of the Middle East. It's passable buddy-cop formula with a better director's cut waiting for DVD.
Posted Sep 28, 2007
The Brave One (2007)
OK, Jodie, if you're making comparisons to "Taxi Driver": One's a masterpiece about the penchant for emotionally apocalyptic violence. The other is manipulative junk tapping into its star's success at kicking butt. Guess which of those is "The Brave One."
Posted Sep 14, 2007
The Nanny Diaries (2007)
Those with deep pockets sometimes have shallow hearts. The post-college lurch can be a panic zone. And the only shocker in "The Nanny Diaries" is that there's not one sprig of chest hair to be seen on a shirtless Paul Giamatti.
Posted Aug 27, 2007
The Invasion (2007)
There are no pods to be found here, other than the one off-screen into which the better judgments of most involved here must have been stuffed. If Nicole Kidman doesn't watch out, she'll awake to find her career replaced by Meg Ryan's.
Posted Aug 23, 2007
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
Oversold as a story suitable only for the big screen and lacking a raised-stakes mindset, it's still a moderately funny magnification of what's made the show tick and tickle for 18 years. Plus, it proves Illinois is home to the one true Springfield.
Posted Jul 26, 2007
A severely streamlined, stiff series low. Aside from Imelda Staunton's spirited performance and Daniel Radcliffe's typically impressive stoicism, this adaptation reduces J.K. Rowling's zesty prose to lumpy, gray porridge.
Posted Jul 11, 2007
Given the combined involvements of Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, call it a Ka-Blamblin production, filled with many jaw-dropping marvels. Eventually, this vehicle runs on fumes, but only because it revs the gas so hard and so well for so long.
Posted Jul 5, 2007
Mr. Brooks (2007)
There's an unsettling exhilaration in the way "Mr. Brooks" plows through dark waters and damns every torpedo ... except for the one that sinks it. (Its name is Demi Moore. There's the germ of a great movie, but the disease of many stupid ones.
Posted Jun 1, 2007
Sprawling and as in need of Venn diagrams for every sextuple cross as it is, "At World's End" has subtleties amid its cattywampus craziness. It's also 2007's first blockbuster worth the constantly turned crank of big-budget moviemaking.
Posted May 25, 2007
Shrek the Third (2007)
It jumps the Shrek. No wonder Donkey and Puss in Boots get pushed aside. They have to make way for big bull in this disengenous, lifeless sequel that preaches individual destiny but behaves just like the cashcow it's been groomed to be.
Posted May 17, 2007
28 Weeks Later... (2007)
This sequel has more-fluid action and harder, meaner punches but never works our nerves like a speed bag in the way of its predecessor. Plus, it's too dumb to make its topical allegories any more than cursory coincidence.
Posted May 11, 2007
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
A browbeating domino effect of more, more, more with special effects that make things easier to see but harder to care about. With great filmmaking power has come great filmmaking laziness that turned a good franchise into candy-colored crud.
Posted May 4, 2007
Anthony Hopkins again confuses villainy for vaudeville and Ryan Gosling's so-so work isn't worth riding in the rumble seat with him over a career pothole. "Fracture" makes "My Cousin Vinny" look like a masterpiece of legal suspense.
Posted Apr 20, 2007
If not perfection, "Disturbia" achieves something more than most modern thrillers - the right to describe itself in that genre and a few others. This hodgepodge homage becomes stupid and shrill in its final reel, but it's a nifty good time.
Posted Apr 13, 2007
A timed challenge for five directors to remove, impale, explode or gorily drip to the floor every body part possible. Even if Tarantino eviscerates too much momentum at the midway point, it's still a giddy, ghastly blast.
Posted Apr 11, 2007
Blades of Glory (2007)
It isn't terrible, just terribly lazy. How many comedians would play two different sex-addicted lunkheads named Chazz in two different movies? Some funny bits here and there, but Will Ferrell's sports shtick is badly glazed over.
Posted Mar 30, 2007
It has one triple-super sudden-death revenge overtime too many. But inhale this meaty, juicy thriller like you would a Thickburger - before the dripping grease congeals on your fingers and you start thinking about what you're eating.
Posted Mar 26, 2007
"Seven Days to Live" is an OK country song, packed with faith, family and fighting for what's important. Oh, wait, that's what "Premonition" should have been, instead of a preposterous thriller that wastes Sandra Bullock's time, and ours.
Posted Mar 16, 2007
To hell with historical accuracy. What's required, but lacking, is the invocation of a butt-kicking right to continuously top itself. Artful decapitations, but a too-serious head on its shoulders.
Posted Mar 9, 2007
Notes on a Scandal (2006)
A mental slasher movie with strong lead performances, but too many literary pretenses to mask that it's little more than an 80-minute buildup to a throwdown to a throwdown between Oscar-winning actresses with no real sense of the story's leverage and lust
Posted Jan 31, 2007
Freedom Writers (2007)
On its face, it looks like "Dangerous Minds 2" without a Coolio song. It's not so good that it can't wait until it shows up on CBS, but it scribbles sensibly in the margins of the well-worn inspirational-teacher drama notebook.
Posted Jan 12, 2007
Alpha Dog (2007)
Week-old weed smoke practically wafts from the screen in a film that's most engaging once it's handed over to Justin Timberlake's excellent performance. But where it thinks it's delivering gut-punches, it's too often feigning with caricatures.
Posted Jan 12, 2007
Night at the Museum (2006)
Rarely entertaining, the movie is at least instructive. The statute of limitations on loud, dumb movies with Robin Williams and computer-generated animals is 11 years. It bypasses brand-name coattails right to the level of a straight-to-DVD sequel.
Posted Dec 22, 2006
Catch a Fire (2006)
Noyce surprisingly prefers slick surface treatment to cutting into the bones-deep legacy of South Africa's racial division. Nuanced performances and gripping laments are wasted on a sleek, empty action climax.
Posted Nov 3, 2006
All The King's Men (2006)
The actors don't spar, but jab and feint into the stale air that comes with such stuffy, fossilized movies as this. Put together again more for new Oscars than new audiences, it's a handsomely shot disaster.
Posted Sep 29, 2006
Gridiron Gang (2006)
The movie constantly teeters on becoming a filmed version of a Successories calendar. But The Rock's charismatic performance and Phil Joanou's sturdy direction yank hard against heart-tugging dialogue to pull the movie back with gravity and grit.
Posted Sep 18, 2006
No one can do that cool running knee drop like Tony Jaa, but he'd better start flexing his smiling muscles more if he wants to be the next Jackie Chan. All the bone crunching makes Steven Seagal look like a restrained kitty.
Posted Sep 8, 2006
Friends don't let friends drive a great comedy premise into the ground by making it too long, humorless and flat. The drinking stories you tell your friends are funnier.
Posted Aug 28, 2006
Will Ferrell's subversive middle finger at NASCAR is tall and occasionally hilarious, but only intermittently smarter than what that gesture implies.
Posted Aug 7, 2006
It's no bummer or mind-bender, but it might as well be the "Requiem for a Dream" of Adam Sandler's rowdy resume. George Bailey never would have farted in Mr. Potter's face, so it's clearly not a wonderful life. But it's decent enough.
Posted Jun 23, 2006
Nacho Libre (2006)
Jared Hess already made the one good movie he had in him. Jack Black needs a director who can save him from character-breaking shtick. The stretchy pants of "Nacho Libre" only go so far before stretchy patience sets in.
Posted Jun 16, 2006
The voices are great, a handful of puns are funny and the last half-hour is the Pixar movie we've expected to see. But that stalling sound in the opening race of "Cars" is Pixar's first-ever sputtering-out of imagination and immersion.
Posted Jun 9, 2006