Reader Reviews: March 18th-19th 2004

By Garth Franklin Friday March 19th 2004 03:15AM

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (script) "While many will compare this to "The War of the Roses" - albeit one set in the action genre -- the film takes this adage to another level and shows a similar tone of acidic wit. "Smith" needs to stick to the genial, breezy attitude found in the script as written here (which I'd describe as tonally similar to "Ocean's Eleven" or an Elmore Leonard novel), as it won't work if the production takes itself too seriously. With Liman at the helm as director, however, I think this is almost a non-issue based on the similarities to his earlier films before that point..." (full review)

Scooby Doo 2 "SD2 manages to focus on each character and deal with their individual growth, yet still retaining that comical element so crucial to making Mystery Inc work. Flashbacks, montages, musical episodes and the classic tiptoeing have been successfully transcribed from animated drawings to the screen..." (full review)

Taking Lives ""Taking Lives" is an elaborate riff off of David Fincher's "Seven," down to the cinematography and opening credit sequence. If you can get past the familiarity and the needlessly elongated final act, "Lives" provides a solid genre entry, assisted by good performances from Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke, and a decent follow-up film for talented "Salton Sea" director D.J. Caruso..." (full review)

"Abstract speculation aside, Taking Lives is an extremely uneven and occasionally mind-bogglingly dull film on the whole. The only thing that might have saved it would have been to burn the screenplay and start from scratch. Surely the book was better..." (full review)

Dawn of the Dead "The film will satisfy even the most uptight zombie film purists. It appeals to all audiences and does so without selling out the core horror fan base. I am thankful that Hollywood is slowly realizing that there is an audience for a well made and smart horror film. Too bad we have to suffer through countless bad ones to see one good one..." (full review)

"If you're an honest to God zombie fan watch the original Dead Trilogy. Hell, watch the Evil Dead, Re-Animator, or Return of the Living Dead trilogies. Even break out a copy of the sublime cult classic Cemetery Man. Just don't be the sap that pays money to see Dawn 2004. I'd have to say the Dawn of the Dead remake is the most intellectually devoid, over produced action garbage to come out of the Hollywood machine since Bad Boys II...." (full review) "This is what they had been waiting for.  This is the excellent horror movie they've sat through hundreds of crappy horror movies hoping to see.  The movie's not perfect, but it's as close to perfect as a remake could ever get.  It's ironic that last year's remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and now this year's remake of Dawn of the Dead both turned out to be far more unique than "original" films such as 28 Days Later and Cabin Fever..." (full review) "Fast-paced editing and great use of off screen sound will keep you near the edge of your seat throughout. The effects are excellent, with just enough gore to remind you that these poor folks are fighting zombies but not so much that you have to put your popcorn down in fear of physical revulsion. Dawn of the Dead is a great horror film that can stand proudly with its historical and popular namesake..." (full review)

Eternal of the Spotless Mind "Cerebral audiences will enjoy the blurring of the lines between reality and recall, between memory and experience. Camera tricks and special effects provide the audience with a "wow, cool" jolt while emphasizing the infinite malleability of memory within the mind. Rod Serling would have loved this movie. Hopefully, audiences will, too. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind is alternately thoughtful, thought-provoking, insightful, sweet, and hopeful. At least, that's how I remember it..." (full review)

"Bolstered by a charming script by celebrated writer Charlie Kaufman, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is undone by the overheated visual acrobatics provided by director Michel Gondry. While brimming with character and warmth, Gondry directly contradicts those feelings constantly throughout the film, creating a fairly empty visual exercise as the end result. A true missed opportunity..." (full review)