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Movie Reviews

December 11, 2008

"Australia"

2 stars (out of four)

155 minutes

Set in pre-World War II, Nicole Kidman stars as the British aristocrat who travels to confront the absent husband she suspects of philandering. PG-13 for some violence, a scene of sensuality and brief strong language. - Associated Press

Overlong and self-indulgent, this homage to epic adventure feels like a slog through the outback itself. A visually wondrous journey, one with striking visuals.




"Bolt"

2-1/2 stars

96 minutes

A scrappy, white shelter mutt named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) isn't a superhero, but he plays one on TV. When Bolt accidentally gets shipped from Hollywood to New York City, he must make that intrepid trek back home with help from friends. PG for some mild action and peril. - Associated Press

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Bolt is just begging to play ball. The movie is sweet and eager to please but, sadly, nothing terribly special: Girl finds dog, girl loses dog, girl gets dog back.




"The Day the Earth Stood Still"

1-1/2 stars

104 minutes

OPENS FRIDAY

This is a caution about our rapacious treatment of our planet. Keanu Reeves' Klaatu shows up proclaiming he represents a coalition of civilizations that are friends of the Earth. PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence. - Associated Press

Reeves scores a new high on his own personal Zen-meter, coming across as aloof and lifeless. Exciting visual-effects and devastation through computer-generated imagery.




"Four Christmases"

1-1/2 stars

88 minutes

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play a happily unmarried couple. They lie to their families about doing charity work during the holidays to avoid seeing them. Then, they get roped into seeing both sets of parents. PG-13 for some sexual humor and language. - Associated Press

Vaughn makes the movie tolerable, but this slapsticky physical comedy doesn't suit Witherspoon, and director Seth Gordon fails to make use of her talent.




"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa"

1-1/2 stars

89 minutes

A giraffe in love with a hippo, a zebra with an identity crisis, a lion desperate to win his newfound daddy's respect - marooned on the African mainland. Voice stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith return. PG for some mild crude humor. - Associated Press

Young kids will eat up this manic mess, a nonstop rush of slapstick and jabbering dialogue. The noise and mayhem will annoy, or at least bore, most parents.




"Quantum of Solace"

2 stars

106 minutes

This film picks up where "Casino Royale" left off, with Bond trying to avenge the death of the only woman he ever loved. He's also trying to pin down the mastermind behind a plot to control Bolivia's water supply. PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content. - Associated Press

Daniel Craig is sexy and masculine and formidable as he plays beautifully off of Judi Dench. They provide the movie with some much-needed substance.




"Twilight"

2 stars

121 minutes

The story of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), an introspective teen who moves from sunny Phoenix to cloudy Forks, Wash., to live with her divorced dad. She is swept up in a supernatural romance with aloof Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). PG-13 for violence and scary situations. - Associated Press

Epic star-crossed romance, melodrama, peril, an attractive young cast and an action-packed finale. But mostly, it has arguably the most passionate fan base of any literary adaptation since Harry Potter.

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