Monday, October 09, 2006



Its title is exactly what the film lacks. Pulse is a lifeless thing weighed down by dumb dialogue, logical flaws, and amateur acting. It has some creepy imagery, but it isn't enough to lift the film from a state of utter flatness. Grade: D

Keeping M

Keeping Mum is a delightful British comedy with understated, fine performances by Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Dame Maggie Smith. Thomas and Smith are the definite standouts, though more scenes with Smith and greater development of her wickedly funny character would have been preferred. The last scene makes the film twice as amusing as it is before that shot. A misstep: though he tries, Patrick Swayze was a serious miscast in this viewer's opinion. Grade: B

Akeelah and the Bee

How good or original could a film about spelling bees be? It is easy to expect such a movie as Akeelah and the Bee, about the simple girl Akeelah Anderson who with a little expert coaching (from Laurence Fishburne) and newfound confidence makes it to the National Spelling Bee, to be inspiring. The film achieves that goal effortlessly, and the way it does is original. It has the common elements, yes (among other obstacles, a domineering mother, Angela Basset, who at first prevents Akeelah from joining the Bee), but the way Akeelah gets her groove back after a slump and the outcome of the Scripps National Spelling Bee are little things to be appreciated for elevating this film above similarly themed projects. Keke Palmer (Akeelah), Fishburne, and Bassett all give commendable performances. Grade: B+

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