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Movie Reviews

Iron Man

Smart People

Iron Man (PG-13) Following a spectacular weapons demonstration, world renowned weapons manufacturer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is caught in military crossfire and is kidnapped by enemy forces. Hidden away in a rocky cave with only a captive translator and some rudimentary tools and supplies, he is coerced into building a sophisticated weapon. Using the given materials to another purpose, he manages to forge, and intricately wire, a prototype of an armored suit unlike any other known to the world. Using the shield and powers of the suit to escape, he returns to the United States with a very different view of the weapons industry.

After his return home, Tony spends most of his waking hours crafting and perfecting the suit he will be wearing under his new Marvel persona, Iron Man. The entertainment lies primarily in all of the high-tech action and robotic sequences the film offers its fans. The plot is comic book thin, as it should be. Good guys and bad guy are clearly defined and no deep thought is necessary to determine which is which. So, relax, escape and lose yourself in the hero/ adventure/ comic book tale that details the birth of Iron Man.

Mary K. Morgan is a member of the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association. View more reviews at St. Louis Film Reviews

4 out 4 Stars
2 hrs 6 mins
May 2, 2008
Action Adventure
Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gweyneth Paltrow, Jim Rhodes

Baby Mama

Smart People

Baby Mama (PG-13) Surrogate mothers are becoming almost commonplace, but there’s nothing commonplace about Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler). When Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) hears her biological clock not only ticking, but sounding its alarm, she decides to become a mother. Commited to parenthood, but unable to conceive, she turns to an unlikely source for her progeny. Angie, the surrogate is not exactly what Kate envisioned, but the pregnancy seals the deal. Not a smooth a gestation period, circumstances dictate that she and her Baby Mama spend the entire pregnancy together. With virtually nothing in common other than the fetus, the two mothers anxiously await the delivery. And it gets pretty ugly!

Several pregnancy movies of late indicate that the topic might not be as hot as the film makers believe, or else the saturation point has been reached. Both leads are worthy comedic actors and pull off the quirky, little story well, with plenty of laughs to go around the audience. Not a “Must See,” but entertaining enough to satisfy those looking for something light.

Mary K. Morgan is a member of the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association. View more reviews at St. Louis Film Reviews

3 out 4 Stars
1 hr 33 mins
April 11, 2008
Amy Poehler, Tina Fey


Smart People

21 (PG-13) When six bright, ambitious M.I.T. students need some extra cash, their math professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) is right there to help. A Blackjack wiz, as well as an academic, he institutes a clandestine, crash course in casino 101. For a long, lucky streak it’s the best of both worlds, classes during the week and lavish gambling junkets to Las Vegas on weekends. Sure, sometimes the studies have to go to the back burner, but when the takes is well on the way to seven digits, who cares?

The newest recruit to Professor Rosa’s gang of savvy gamblers is young Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), an aspiring medical student. Sucked into the vortex of glamour, money and prestige, Ben, a quick study, soon is at the top of the card counting game and his stash of cash is steadily growing. But, remember, it’s a house of cards.

Based on a true story of an escapade that made all the papers a few years ago, the film never hesitates adding an embellished Hollywood touch to reality. Well-cast and cleverly filmed by director Robert Luketic, the mood is clearly high stakes adventure. The dangerous side of the scheme is personified by the old-school casino security expert, Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne), who brutally enforces the casino’s rule against card counting. 

The troupe of students turned serious casino players is a transition that is just short of believable. Perhaps the actual participants were a tad less glamorous and the action not quite as intriguing, but it makes a good story. It remains to be seen if a movie about Blackjack, can capture the attention of a nation so focused on poker. It’s a gamble.

Mary K. Morgan is a member of the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association. View more reviews at St. Louis Film Reviews

3 out 4 Stars
2 hrs 3 mins
March 28, 2008
Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne

88 Minutes

Smart People

88 MINUTES (R) Noted forensic scientist Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) is called to the stand to testify for the prosecution in a serial murder case to convict the man accused of being “The Seattle Slasher,” Jon Forster (Neal McDonough). Dr. Gramm’s testimony seals the conviction and Forster vows, in a silent, mouthed threat, to get revenge on Gramm. Shortly afterwards, Gramm receives a threat on his cell phone that warns him that he has but 88 minutes to live. Thus begins the titular 88 minute timeframe as the movie switches to real time and the tension grows with a fresh time update every few minutes.

Also beginning with the threat are more murders with the same MO as the ones Forster is in prison for committing. The not too veiled premise is that if the murders are still occurring, then perhaps the wrong man is behind bars. The path to the truth is circuitous and sometimes following all the leads provided takes the audience down a few too many dead-ends. No one likes to be lead down the wrong path too often. Somewhat alienated, the audience is expected to hang in there for a few more minutes.

Not worst, and certainly not the best thriller of its type, “88 Minutes” did just that, killed a little time.

Mary K. Morgan is a member of the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association. View more reviews at St. Louis Film Reviews

2 out 4 Stars
1 hr 48 mins
Apr 18, 2008
Al Pacino, Alicia Witt, Amy Brenneman, Leelee Sobieski, Deborah Kara Unger

2008 Movie Reviews
Action Adventure Comedy Drama Childrens
88 Minutes
Iron Man
Baby Mama
Smart People
My Blueberry Nights
Under The Same Moon
Nimís Island

2007 Movie Reviews
Action Adventure Comedy Drama Childrens
The Bourne Ultimatum
Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer
Pirates of the Carribbean: At World's End
Rush Hour 3
Hot Fuzz
Knocked Up
Ocean's Thirteen
The Simpsons Movie
Wild Hogs
Freedom Writers
Mr. Brooks
Reign Over Me
The Hoax
The Astronaut Farmer
Bridge To Terabithia
Happily N'ever After
Last Mimzy (The)
Meet The Robinsons
Shrek The Third
Surf's Up

2006 Movie Reviews
Action Adventure Comedy Drama Childrens
A Scanner Darkly
Casino Royale
Deja Vu
The Fast and The Furious
Harsh Times
Mission Impossible 3
Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Miami Vice
Sentinel (The)
Superman Returns
X-Men: The Last Stand
American Dreamz
Boynton Beach Club (The)
Break-Up (The)
Devil Wears Prada (The)
Find Me Guilty
For Your Consideration
How To Eat Fried Worms
John Tucker Must Die
Keeping Up with The Steins
Kinky Boots
Last Kiss (The)
Little Miss Sunshine
Lonesome Jim
Nacho Libre
Night at the Museum
Running With Scissors
School For Scoundrels
Stranger Than Fiction
Talladega Nights
You, Me and Dupree
Blood Diamond
Davinci Code
Departed (The)
Flags of our Fathers
Fountain (The)
Gridiron Gang
Grudge 2 (The)
Hard Candy
Illusionist (The)
Lady in the Water
Lake House (The)
Omen (The)
Prestige (The)
Promise (The)
The Pursuit of Happyness
Queen (The)
Science of Sleep (The)
United 93
Wicker Man (The)
World Trade Center
Ant Bully (The)
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
Charlotte's Web
Garfield 2, The Tail of Two Kitties
Monster House
Open Season
Over The Hedge
Santa Claus 3
She's The Man
The Wild

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