Thursday, July 26, 2007


Released: June 29, 2007

Reviewed: July 26, 2007

Rated: B+

Many things are debatable in this world. Pixar’s storytelling genius is not one of those concepts. Whether the story takes place under the sea (Finding Nemo), in the backyard (A Bug’s Life) or on the racetrack (Cars), the army of animation masterminds never ceases to amaze with its cartooning cleverness. This latest picture is a delightful tale of an out-of-sorts rat named Remy that’s blessed with the cooking skills of Wolfgang… yuck! A cooking rat?! That’s the thing. Rodents and kitchens don’t really have the best of history together. But this time, instead of using Raid on the critter like most humans would, the hapless Linguini decides it’s best to team up with the saffron-loving pest and create some culinary magic at one of Paris’ most beloved restaurants. It’s a silly concept, we know, but one perfectly served with a dab of wit, a touch of heart and a couple of really strong pinches of visual majesty. Ratatouille is like Fuddrucker’s. Sure, you go because the kids love it so much, but truth be told, you’re smiling the whole time there because the food ain’t half bad. -DW

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Released: January 10, 2003
Reviewed: July 11, 2007
Rated: B

The scholarly term is “color semiotics.” It’s the intentional mood-setting based solely on the adding or reducing of a particular hue. Got apprehension and sorrow? Cue the reds. Need excitement or obsession? A splash of yellow should do the trick. This well-paced cop drama is cold and blows tension like a January chill across Lake Erie; varying shades of blue are the only tones that can properly set the atmosphere. A bleak Detroit is the only U.S. metropolis capable of backdropping a world of drug abuse and a cop’s mysterious death. The underrated Ray Liotta and the overly-coifed Jason Patrick are two authorities paired to solve their comrade’s murder. Patrick’s flawed-but-functional character seemingly wants answers more than Liotta’s. But in director Joe Carnahan’s worlds (Ticker, Smokin’ Aces), things don’t always emerge the way you’d expect. Still, by the time the credits roll here, you’ll know that you’ve found an overlooked cinematic treasure—even if there isn’t any gold tinting on the screen to indicate as much. –DW

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Released: July 3, 2007

Reviewed: July 6, 2007

Rated: B

If there’s anybody in Hollywood capable of turning an obtuse, 1980s cartoon world filled with shape-shifting robots into a profitable, relevant cinematic realm today, it’s director Michael Bay. Blessed with the ability to have decent dialogue amidst worlds colliding and freeways exploding, Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon) knew today’s audience would need more than top-shelf effects to make Transformers work. To help sell the story of feuding alien groups coming to Earth to find their life force, the director entrusted his $150 million bonanza into the capable hands of Shia LaBeouf, a talented 21-year-old who wisecracks when asked and puts on his Tom Hanks acting cap when necessary. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Bay blockbuster without the requisite babe (Megan Fox), bad guy (John Turturro) and unintentional bloopers (too many continuity mishaps to name). But for something 20+ years in the making, the end result is a fantasy world of talking Chevys summer moviegoers will be thoroughly transfixed on for a couple of hours. –DW