For this week of 2005 film making, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper review the following films new to U.S. and Canadian theatres:
- In Her Shoes, directed by Curtis Hansen and starring Cameron Diaz, Shirley MacLaine and Toni Collete
- Waiting …, written and directed by Rob McKittrick and starring Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, claymation animated
- Good Night, and Good Luck, written and directed by George Clooney and starring David Strathairn and Robert Downey Jr.
- Two for the Money, directed by D.J. Caruso and starring Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey.
- The Gospel, written and directed by Rob Hardy and starring Clifton Powell.
Synopsis of their thoughts:
In Her Shoes – Ebert: Thumbs up; Roeper: Thumbs up
Ebert: Says the film is “very, very well made.” The first actor he notes is Shirley MacLaine, who gives a “wonderful” performance as the grandmother to Diaz and Collette, who he said also turn in strong performances. Ebert also likes how the film didn’t sentimentalize old people, but treated them like fully fleshed out individuals.
Roeper: Great performance from Diaz who has developed a recent habit of overplaying her persona on screen. “It’s great film; it’s well done.” He said all of the subplots of the film are just as believable as the main thread of the story.
Waiting… – Ebert: Thumbs Down; Roeper: Thumbs down
Roeper: Said he was “waiting for this alleged comedy to end” so he could get on with his life. Says Reynolds was in his “Chevy Case-lite” mode (think Van Wilder). He says writer/director Rob McKittrick is obsessed with homophobic jokes. He said the really offensive part of that is that his jokes aren’t even funny.
Ebert: Says this film lends credence to his theory that any film with “three dots in the title usually aren’t very good.” He didn’t have much else to say about the film.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – Ebert: Thumbs up; Roeper: Thumbs down
Ebert: He called it “gentle, whimsical, funny and endlessly inventive” and went on to say it was as much fun for gownups as for children.
Roeper: In the first tiff with Ebert of the show, Roeper says “right here baby” and gives the claymation tale bad rating. He basically said the premise is better as a short, but as a feature lenghth product it bored him, calling it “slightly amusing.” But says to catch it on video on on pay TV, but don’t waste $10 to see it in a theatre.
Good Night, and Good Luck – Ebert: Thumbs up, Roeper: Thumbs up
Roeper: Called it one of the most insightful and intelligent movies made about the television news business. Says Straithern gave the performance of his career, portaying Edward R. Murrow. He called Clooney’s direction and set choices perfect for portraying the time in which the film is set.
Ebert: Agreed with a big thumbs up. Said the film did not get bogged down in side stories and rightfully focusing on Murrow verses McCarthyism.
Two for the Money – Ebert: Thumbs up, Roeper: Thumbs up
Ebert: “Al Pacino at the top of his form … he commands the screen with an intense and fascinating character.” He said the film works as a thriller and a portrait of three complicated and colorful people.
Roeper: Called the film note-perfect in getting the tone of hype-type cable TV shows.
The Gospel – Ebert: Thumbs up, Roeper: Thumbs down
Roeper: Said he really wished he could give the film a thumbs up for the music, but noted to many “sub-professional” touches to get a reccomendation.
Ebert: Although it is flawed, it deals with the role of the Church in African American families. “The movie as a movie shouldn’t get a thumbs up, but it gets a thumbs uo for what it represents.”
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