The Expendables 2

BB.5 (out of 5) The wonderful multipack of eighties action stars that made up The Expendables was too irrepressibly fun a concept to be denied a sequel, and their return is a most welcome sight.  After getting old pal Arnold Schwarzenegger out of trouble and saving a kidnapped billionaire from a lot of bad guys, sleepy-eyed Sylvester Stallone…

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Altman

BBBB (out of 5) Ron Mann gives a wonderful overview of the career of filmmaker Robert Altman, the American auteur who reached his height at a time when the notable artists of singular vision were coming from Europe. Altman got involved in screenwriting and directing after serving in World War II, making industrial films before a…

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Disney’s The Kid

BBBB (out of 5) Delightful comedy romp about a middle-aged image consultant with no hope (Bruce Willis) who suddenly gets a jolt in his system when he’s visited by himself as a child (Spencer Breslin).  The little tyke inspires Willis to start searching through his childhood to discover where things went wrong. With a script…

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Unbreakable

BB.5 (out of 5) M. Night Shyamalan must have thought the intensity in his previous classic thriller The Sixth Sense was the result of having everyone speak in a low hush from the depths of their stomachs, and boy does he ride it for all it is worth in his follow-up. Bruce Willis gives a very able…

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The Sixth Sense

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Surprisingly creepy thriller about a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is terrorized by his ability to see dead people walking around just as well as he sees the living. With the help of a child psychiatrist (Bruce Willis) who has his own problems with his estranged wife (Olivia Williams), the…

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Breakfast Of Champions

B.5 (out of 5) Raucously noisy adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s popular novel that has Bruce Willis giving an excellent performance in what is otherwise a really brutal mess. He plays a car salesman whose world starts coming apart when he finds the pressures of his life are just getting to be too much. Barbara Hershey is wasted…

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Mortal Thoughts

BBBB (out of 5) Riveting thriller is a rare example of genre work from director Alan Rudolph, one of his best and most interesting films. Placing the emphasis on character development, the film unfolds slowly as main character Demi Moore tells the police her version of the events leading up to the vicious murder of her…

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Planet Terror

BBBB (out of 5) The other half of the original Grindhouse double feature that has been extended and released separately on DVD. Robert Rodriguez’s zombie-themed creature feature is far superior to Tarantino’s Death Proof, quicker-paced and devoid of the smug self-awareness that made the other film so irritating. In this one, Rose McGowan is marvelous as…

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The Whole Nine Yards

BB.5 (out of 5) Lame comedy that has its peak moments but not enough to really leave an impression.  Bruce Willis is a hit man hiding out in Montreal who gets caught up in a huge mob-related foil by cuckolded husband Matthew Perry. Perry brings his Friends characterizations to the big screen in mass doses, while…

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Hudson Hawk

BB (out of 5) You’re better off watching a spoof of action movies like Hot Shots than watching a lame action film that tries to be funny and never succeeds. Bruce Willis plays an ex-con who has just been released from prison after ten years and intends to live a totally clean, straightforward life. His…

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Fast Food Nation

BBB (out of 5) A globally urgent message and a collection of superb performances can’t make a classic out of Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s non-fiction book.  Greg Kinnear plays an executive for a fictional multi-million dollar fast-food chain (with the non-subtle name Mickey’s) who has to go to his company’s meat manufacturers in Texas…

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Bandits

BBB.5 (out of 5) Brilliant characters brought to life by fine actors make this Barry Levinson comedy a must-see. Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis are two escaped convicts who literally become famous overnight as “The Sleepover Bandits”: they drop by a bank manager’s house late in the evening, then next morning force him to open up…

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