" Honey, I’m home. Where’s my dinner? "
— William H. Macy, Pleasantville

MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

Futurama: Bender’s Game


Doesn’t reach the comedic heights as the first straight-to-video movie

The team behind Futurama continues to prove that their show deserved to go on. The third of four made-for-DVD movies, Futurama: Bender’s Game meanders its way through an adventure brimming with pop culture references. It’s a fun ride, especially for fans of the fantasy genre. The entertaining bonus features provide a good supplement to the movie.

Jack Goes Boating

***2010, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman’s directorial debut a decent fall drama

In Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, it takes motivation, a plan, and the help of a friend to break you out of your rut.

Rush Hour 2

***2001, Brett Ratner

Chan kicks ass and Tucker talks trash. What more could you want?

Audiences went to see the first Rush Hour because Jackie Chan kicks ass and because Chris Tucker is hilarious. We didn’t particularly care about the specifics of the buddy-picture plot, we just wanted entertainment, and we were not disappointed.

The filmmakers saw that we liked it and decided to give us some more.

Since Otar Left

***2004, Julie Bertucelli

Competently made with occasional flashes of brilliance

Set in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Since Otar Left tells of a family of women left without any menfolk.

Jour de Fête

***1948, Jacques Tati


***2009, Shane Acker

Nifty production design, a cinematic sensibility, but not quite a classic

9 is a visually impressive look at a post-apocalyptic world, but it doesn’t have quite enough punch to make it a classic.

Violet & Daisy

***1/2Geoffrey Fletcher

Violet & Daisy is a fanciful spin on the macho movie.

Another title could be Violent & Daffy, but it’s also volant and dazzling.

The Same River Twice

***2003, Robb Moss

An honest and touching examination of the process of aging

In 1978 Robb Moss made a short 16mm film called Riverdogs. It chronicled a month-long trip he spent with friends rafting naked through the Grand Canyon and camping out at embankments along the way. Despite the rush of whitewater and the carefree lifestyle captured among majestic outdoor settings, Moss, who had solar battery chargers built for the project and a raft customized for his film gear, admits to having a miserable time documenting the whole thing.

Flash forward to 1996 when Moss, who says he doesn’t shed friendships, decides to revisit and tape on mini-DV, five of the 17 rafters from Riverdogs because he “wondered if that movement — from gaudy youth to the enactment of our various adulthoods — could be the subject of a film.”

That film, The Same River Twice, had its world premiere in the documentary competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

Taxi to the Dark Side

***1/22007, Alex Gibney

You and me and our military and our government — we killed an innocent man

We — the United States of America — paid an Afghan informant to turn over 4 Afghan men. The informant told us that men were involved in a rocket attack, and we believed it. One of the men was a peasant, a taxi driver named Dilawar.

The Departed

***2006, Martin Scorsese

Another very good gangster movie from Martin Scorsese, and a faithful remake

Avid Movie Habit readers will remember a recommendation from a year ago for Infernal Affairs. It’s a Hong Kong cops-and-robbers movie with a simple but effective gimmick. The film has two heroes: an undercover cop working for a gangster, and an undercover gangster working as a cop.


***2002, Joe Carnahan

Its aggressive, unrelenting energy makes up for all the cop movie cliches

Narc is a high-stress, high-octane cop drama. It is full of clichés, but its aggressive, unrelenting energy more than makes up for them.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Spend the day with Ferris

Ferris Bueller is still a pretty “righteous dude,” but this release is not a righteous Blu.

Spider-Man 2

***1/22004, Sam Raimi

The screenplay emphasizes character development over mindless action

Picking up where the first installment left off, Spider-Man 2 avoids the sophomore slump and offers up a delightful change of pace from standard comic book movie fare.


***2004, David Gordon Green

A portrait of the rural South that engages all five senses

Mainstream audiences probably don’t know the work of David Gordon Green, and they may never know it. Nevertheless he is quietly making a name for himself with portraits of the rural South of such texture and flavor that you’d swear the movie engages all five senses.

The Cove

***Louis Psihoyos

A-team adventure needs a fifth column

Advocacy documentaries are on the rise. This year saw the release of Captialism, Food, Inc.and The Cove, just to mention a few. How much you’ll enjoy these movies ends up depending on how sympathetic you already are to the message, although the better the documentary, the less that matters.