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Movie Reviews
3:15 pm
Sat October 18, 2003

Mystic River

\"Is that our past crawling down the street?\"

Eastwood has a classic here.

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Movie Reviews
2:14 pm
Sat October 18, 2003

Casa de Los Babys

A mother in waiting.

The story could almost be a faux documentary.

John Sayles' "Casa de los Babys" is a strange film, even for the eccentric director of such art-house favorites as "Matewan" and "Lone Star." Strange because I can't tell where he's coming from: Does his film show in typically oblique Sayles' fashion the exploitation of women waiting to adopt children from Latin America? Or is it homage to the industry that delivers babies to needy gringo women?

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Movie Reviews
2:37 pm
Thu October 9, 2003

Kill Bill: Volume 1

\"Don't you just love winter?\"

An echo of Shakespeare's supreme ability to focus on a single theme

Quentin Tarantino's joy in filmmaking has been from "Pulp Fiction" at the least apparent. Now it shines in colors, ballet, beauty, and focus as never before in "Kill Bill." Uma Thurman embodies for him the ideals of grace and intelligence, vigor and violence, as she vengefully pursues murderers of her husband, child, and almost of herself, 4 years after being left for dead but awakening from a coma in a very bad mood.

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Movie Reviews
9:53 am
Thu October 9, 2003

Good Boy!

From Sirius? Get serious!

Here is a film that defines PG.

Recent research says we share with dogs about 650 million base pairs or rungs on the DNA ladder. We also share about 360 of the same genetic disorders of human illness. One of those disorders must be making mediocre movies about boys and their dogs. Perhaps that's what we mean when we say a film has "gone to the dogs."

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3:47 pm
Thu September 25, 2003

Tabfest 2003

To organize an event like Tabfest, it takes an understanding of many...an understanding that giving back and taking action for a better good is what makes our community thrive.

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Movie Reviews
4:56 pm
Fri September 19, 2003

Anything Else

\"Do you know the way to a profitable movie?\"

It's an uneven film with an uneven Woody, still better than no Woodman at all.

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Movie Reviews
11:40 am
Thu September 18, 2003

Lost in Translation

They have a long way to go.

This film translates into one of the best movies of the year.

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Movie Reviews
1:12 pm
Fri September 12, 2003

Thirteen

A Taste of Thirteen

Be prepared for an unusual, unsettling, and unforgettable movie.

If you are planning to have children, don't see this film. It is so depressingly effective you might decide against children rather than attempt to deal with a 13-year-old daughter. So difficult is Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), who is a former good girl under the influence of a worldly slut Evie (Nikki Reed, also co-writer), that she is painful to watch as she descends into the pit of drugs, sex, and adult bashing.

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Movie Reviews
12:32 pm
Fri September 12, 2003

Once upon a Time in Mexico

Depp doesn't cry; he just bleeds talent.

Rodriguez has fashioned a romance without compromising his satire.

Two Westerns this year have me in revisionist heaven: Kevin Costner's "Open Range" is a faithful rendition of the old formula with modern sensibilities; Robert Rodriguez's "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" is a surrealistic Sergio-Leone turn on revolution, heroes, violence, revenge, and redemption.

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Movie Reviews
12:58 pm
Sat September 6, 2003

American Splendor

An odd couple.

This is the right movie for anyone who loves comic books, eccentrics, and the splendor of American diversity.

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Movie Reviews
4:28 pm
Thu September 4, 2003

Magdalene Sisters

\"I'm just flirting. Is that bad, Sister?\"

I rank writer/director Peter Mullan's "Magdalene Sisters" the most violent film of 2003.

I rank writer/director Peter Mullan's "Magdalene Sisters" the most violent film of 2003. Is it my Catholic upbringing that makes me so sure? You bet! Not since seeing "Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" have I lost this much sleep about my tumultuous affair with the Pope's world.

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Movie Reviews
2:33 pm
Mon August 18, 2003

Dirty Pretty Things

\"I know there's a heart here somewhere.\"

"Dirty Pretty Things" is an example of excellent filmmaking art without artifice.


"Dirty Pretty Things" is a thriller interrupted by a love story. The immigrant Brit working class is sometimes depicted by this film's director Stephen Frears ("My Beautiful Laundrette"); the native Brits are often championed by Mike Leigh ("Secrets and Lies"). In both cases, the kitchen sink realism does not fail to wake up middle-class Anglophiles like me.

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Movie Reviews
2:16 pm
Fri August 15, 2003

Camp

\"You go for it, Girls\"

The off-stage drama has the feel of a high-school play while on-stage performance is professional and delightful.

In this "Camp" the summertime learning is supposedly about performing in musicals. A regimen of one show every 2 weeks ("Follies," "Dreamgirls," and "Promises, Promises," for example) should have schooled even the best slacker, but the shenanigans outside of rehearsal unfortunately are the more important learning focus for most of the film.

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Movie Reviews
9:42 am
Fri August 15, 2003

Le Divorce

\"Let's party for infidelity!\"

Merchant and Ivory have done much better before.

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Movie Reviews
3:11 pm
Mon August 11, 2003

Open Range

Three able actors home on the range.

Costner evokes the visual images and conventions of the genre so perfectly it seems I saw a half dozen classics at that screening.

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Movie Reviews
11:50 am
Thu August 7, 2003

Lucia, Lucia

\"How old do you think I am?\"

The men may lose her, but she finds herself.

Writers are driving me crazy: In "Adaptation" Nicolas Cage was barely sane struggling with his inspiration and incendiary companions, true or otherwise; in "Swimming Pool," Charlotte Rampling created a plausible fiction of a dangerous female border and Rampling's desire to make real the murders she wrote.

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Movie Reviews
10:46 am
Fri August 1, 2003

Jet Lag

\"This conversation is not nearly as good as the food.\"

It's second-rate romantic comedy drivel.

Light and airy, director/co-writer Daniele Thompson's "Jet Lag" tells of a famous beautician (Juliette Binoche, "English Patient") meeting a renowned chef (Jean Reno, "La Femme Nikita") at Charles de Gaulle International Airport when all flights except this fanciful film have been canceled.

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Movie Reviews
11:18 am
Mon July 28, 2003

Northfork

\"Let's pray I'm not typecast for this role.\"

It sure is fun to see how David-Lynch wanabees actually give the weirdmeister a run for his blue velvet.

There may be weird movies out there recently, but I can't think of any weirder than Mark Polish's "Northfork." A small Montana town in 1955 will be obliterated by a new dam. James Woods (an executive producer of the film), Peter Coyote, and some other dark-suited corporate types are responsible for moving the residents out before the deluge.

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Movie Reviews
12:31 pm
Wed July 23, 2003

Seabiscuit

A winners' circle of actors

See "Seabiscuit" if you want to see the best American movie this summer.

Jockey Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) quotes Shakespeare to describe his 1938 "Horse of the Year": "Though she be but little, she is fierce." Such is also the quality of a relatively "little" film, released in mid summer after larger disappointing films like "Hulk".

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Movie Reviews
10:20 am
Wed July 23, 2003

Swimming Pool

\" A little drag before the swim?\"

Rampling is proof that still waters run deep.

Not since "The Graduate" has a swimming pool carried as much motif heft as it does Francois Ozon's "Swimming Pool."

Not since the recent "Adaptation" has the art and craft of writing been so carefully and dramatically depicted as in Ozon's film.

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