The Upside of Anger

I don't understand why this movie is being marketed as a comedy. I mean, there are many funny moments, but the rest of the movie is so full of tension and anger that the comedy seems almost out of place. I would definitely put it in the "Drama" category. By the end of the film I thought it was pretty well-written, but it started slowly and it took me a while to warm up to it. The acting was good across the board, and this may be Kevin Costner's best performance ever. Still, so much of the film is wrapped up in Joan Allen's character's wallowing in self-pity that I couldn't completely get into it. Not to say that it was a bad movie; it just wasn't great.

Viewed: 3/25/2005 | Released: 3/10/2005 | Score: C

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Lieutenant Hornblower

By C. S. Forester

I blew through this one even faster than Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. Like the first one, this installment of the Hornblower series is a fun read, full of action and presented in a clean, straightforward style. Where Midshipman was more a collection of short stories, though, Lieutenant is a cohesive novel. I do hope the rest of this series continues to be this good.

Started: 3/20/2005 | Finished: 3/21/2005

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Kushiel's Dart

By Jacqueline Carey

I'm not entirely sure that I liked this book, but for some reason I couldn't put it down. The paperback edition is 928 pages--long, no doubt--but the plot is so sprawling that it requires such a thick book to hold it. I found the plot and characters and ideas interesting, but the writing seemed a bit too fond of fantasy clich

Started: 3/7/2005 | Finished: 3/19/2005

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I think after seeing The Incredibles it would be hard for the next animated film I saw to measure up. In terms of animation, this one was actually at least as good, if not better. The story, on the other hand, was the same one that's been used in more kids' movies than I can count. My wife and I came away with the impression that a bunch of studio execs got together saying, "How can we repackage the same movie and get people to see it again?" "I know! We'll make all the characters into robots and then get some big names for the voice acting!" If you're tired of seeing the same old formula over and over again, it's probably best to skip this one. On the other hand, if your kids are old enough for PG-rated movies and you like Robin Williams, go ahead and give Robots a shot.

Viewed: 3/11/2005 | Released: 3/10/2005 | Score: C

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Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

By C. S. Forester

I've often considered it a tragedy of my life that I'm so fascinated by boats and the ocean, given that I get so violently seasick immediately upon setting foot aboard a boat of any size in even the calmest waters. This book, thick with nautical terms and high adventure, almost makes me want to sail bad enough to try getting over my seasickness. (Almost. I still know better.) The book is organized in ten chapters, each an action-filled episode in the early career of Horatio Hornblower. There are ten other books in the series, which documents Hornblower's rise from his beginnings as a young and inexperienced midshipman to his eventual position as admiral. Fortunately for me, I received all eleven as a Christmas present. I'm looking forward to reading all about Mr. Hornblower's illustrious career.

Started: 3/1/2005 | Finished: 3/5/2005

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Be Cool

I still haven't seen most of Get Shorty, so maybe I'm not completely qualified to give Be Cool a fair review. I saw it, though, so you get my opinion anyway. Despite the fact that there were a lot of funny, clever parts, I found the movie in general a little boring. There just wasn't any sense of urgency. In most movies there's a general understanding that things will work out in the end, but that's different from a story in which everything works out at every turn for the good guys. If I gave out half-stars this would be a one-and-a-half for the clever metafilmic humor and the fun performances by Cedric the Entertainer, André 3000, and The Rock. As it is, it gets one star for not keeping me very entertained.

Viewed: 3/5/2005 | Released: 3/3/2005 | Score: D

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Juliette didn't want to see this one, so I went by myself on a Wednesday night. It was probably best that she didn't go; she probably wouldn't have cared for it. I, on the other hand, thought it was quite a fun movie. Keanu still can't act, but what I've come to realize is that he's only bad when he's talking. If you take into consideration only his physicality, he's actually OK. I know next to nothing about the comic on which the movie is based, but I found the writing to be pretty decent. The story was engaging, and if it wasn't particularly profound, so what? It's not that kind of movie.

Viewed: 3/1/2005 | Released: 2/15/2005 | Score: B

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