From the Chicago Reader (April 1, 2005). — J.R.
Sam Fuller’s first and greatest war film (1951) is even better in its terse and minimalist power than the restored version of The Big Red One released last year. The first Hollywood movie about the Korean war, this introduced Gene Evans, the gruff star Fuller was to use many more times, as a crude, bitter, savvy sergeant who, despite his obvious racism, bonds with a South Korean war orphan. In addition to being visually and aurally brilliant, the film includes virtually unprecedented debates about America’s racial segregation and the internment of Japanese during World War II. An independent production, The Steel Helmet did so well that it immediately won Fuller a contract at 20th Century Fox. With Steve Brodie, Robert Hutton, and James Edwards. 84 min. (JR)
From the Chicago Reader (June 10, 2005). — J.R.
It seems like hardly anyone in the U.S. ever saw Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, despite its enormous success elsewhere, apparently not so much because kids had trouble with it as because of the adult suits handling it. But Roger Ebert gave this film only two and a half stars while assigning Mr. and Mrs. Smith three stars the same week (June 10, 2005), suggesting that one of us was probably wrong — or maybe just that Japanese kids and I are both helplessly out of touch with the American mainstream as defined by some grown-ups. — J.R.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Directed and Written by Hayao Miyazaki
With the voices of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer, Josh Hutcherson, and Billy Crystal
The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl in 3-D
** (Worth seeing)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written by Rodriguez and Racer Rodriguez
With Cayden Boyd, Taylor Dooley, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Jacob Davich, David Arquette, and Kristin Davis
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
no stars (Worthless)
Directed by Doug Liman
Written by Simon Kinberg
With Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, and Keith David
By Jonathan Rosenbaum
Sometimes movies earmarked for kids are a lot more nuanced, sophisticated, and mature than the ones that are allegedly for grown-ups. Read more