Arts + Life

Movie Reviews
1:43 pm
Mon January 6, 2003

Chicago

"In this town, murder's a form of entertainment."

"They do things they never did on Broadway." Sinatra's love song to Chicago is not needed for the film "Chicago," a successful adaptation of a Broadway show recently revived but premiering over a quarter century ago. The town is gloriously painted in song and dance, imitating the legendary Bob Fosse's style and energy, and recalling the roaring times when gangsters and larcenous ladies ruled the tabloids.

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Movie Reviews
12:43 pm
Mon January 6, 2003

Rabbit Proof Fence

Director Philip Noyce captures the challenge of fighting the establishment and the Outback, but he doesn't seem to know how to make the journey interesting story telling-not much happens as the children cunningly avoid the law.

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Movie Reviews
10:29 am
Mon January 6, 2003

Catch Me If You Can

"Catch Me If You Can" reaches back into Spielberg's lyrical relationship with childhood by showing a dysfunctional family turned right by some very wrong moves,...

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Movie Reviews
4:35 pm
Mon December 16, 2002

Gangs of New York

Leo DiCaprio will win no awards as the vengeful Irish orphan, Amsterdam, but he comports himself well enough to be taken seriously as an actor.

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Movie Reviews
1:38 pm
Mon December 16, 2002

Antwone Fisher

"Antwone Fisher" is not a slice of black life -it is a sentimental journey, ...

If I see a film directed by a renowned black actor and autobiographically written by a gifted black man, then I hope for a film rich in black culture. "Antwone Fisher" is not a slice of black life - it is a sentimental journey, directed by a sentimentalist and written by a man for whom everything turned out just right, every tear jerked out with impeccable timing.

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Movie Reviews
12:04 pm
Mon December 16, 2002

Star Trek: Nemesis

..."Nemesis" turns on the idea that mankind must continue to look to the stars to carry on its mission of hope and love.

The titular bad guy of "Star Trek: Nemesis," a DNA copy of Captain Jean Luc Picard called Shinzon, wants to destroy humanity through Picard. This franchise has long mined the alter-ego, alternate-universe motifs to create havoc with its steely captains, so this one is no different.

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Movie Reviews
2:37 pm
Tue December 10, 2002

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

This is music and learning woven through some of the most exciting pop music in the 60's and 70's. You don't believe me?

As I stood a while ago in Windsor looking across the water at Detroit's hollow Renaissance Center, I thought, "A renaissance about what?" I just didn't know that Eminem would soon help reshape music out of a bleak 8 mile slum, and I had forgotten Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, James Jamerson, and Ivy Joe Hunter would be but a few musicians who had renewed that city in the name of Motown.

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Movie Reviews
9:36 am
Tue December 10, 2002

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Forget the Freud-this Potter is better than the first and first-rate fantasy.

When Prof. Dumbledore tells Harry Potter it's not ability that counts but the choices we make, I knew this series had to be more than magical cliffhangers strung together by 3 cute British private school chums. Then magically appeared other themes to me: the importance of loyalty and family, the wages of evil, disdain of class and hierarchies, and respect for worthy elders, among others.

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Movie Reviews
4:36 pm
Mon November 25, 2002

All or Nothing

Both filmmakers capture the desperation of good people on the edge of poverty who find love.

Mike Leigh has commented that his "All or Nothing" and other working class films are not documentary style although they aspire to the milieu of the documentary. He claims to heighten the reality of his characters by isolating them, for instance in their tenement where only the central characters seem to live. Leigh tries not to distract with other realities such as drug dealing or theft.

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Movie Reviews
4:27 pm
Mon November 25, 2002

Real Women Have Curves

Every woman who thinks about her weight should see this movie,...

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Movie Reviews
10:10 am
Tue November 5, 2002

8 Mile

...hip-hop is an important cultural contribution even white boys can offer.

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Movie Reviews
4:16 pm
Mon November 4, 2002

Frida

Like "Evita," "Frida" is a romantic treatment of a flawed but immensely interesting Mexican icon.

Any attempt to make a biopic of an artist is bound to be imperfect because I always want immediate access to the source of inspiration and complete art deconstruction of the artist's important pieces. Neither is possible in a film and may not be desirable.

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Movie Reviews
1:55 pm
Mon November 4, 2002

Comedian

Forget the laughs in Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian"...

Forget the laughs in Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian" because what you learn from this documentary is not how to construct a joke or how funny he can be. You learn about the pain involved in being a professional; you learn that going back to what you were before you made half a billion dollars is difficult but essential to make you better at what you are now.

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Movie Reviews
12:53 pm
Mon November 4, 2002

Far From Heaven

The 50's never looked so good or so insidious as in Todd Haynes' "Far from Heaven."

The 50's never looked so good or so insidious as in Todd Haynes' "Far from Heaven." Julienne Moore plays a stereotypically Women's-League do-good mother of 2, Cathy, whose life starts the deep descent into hell with the revelation that her husband, Frank (Dennis Quaid), is gay and she is attracted to her black gardener.

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Movie Reviews
4:32 pm
Mon October 28, 2002

Auto Focus

Sony Pictures Classics
Rated R

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Movie Reviews
2:40 pm
Mon October 28, 2002

The Truth about Charlie

The success of the film, then and now, rests with the leads, and they failed.

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Movie Reviews
12:20 pm
Mon October 28, 2002

8 Women

"8 Women" is eight women short of the brilliant turn by one woman last year, Charlotte Rampling, in Ozon's superior "Under the Sand."

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Movie Reviews
9:13 am
Mon October 28, 2002

Bowling for Columbine

The film is filled with regular people making Asses of themselves about guns.

Michael Moore ("Roger & Me") knows no shame. In this funny, flawed, and ultimately important documentary about guns in America, "Bowling for Columbine," Moore's greatest moment is when he corrals poor Charlton Heston, president of the NRA, into an interview.

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Movie Reviews
11:46 am
Thu October 10, 2002

White Oleander

Pfeiffer does her best work here...

"White Oleander," adapted from Janet Fitch's best-selling novel, is hard and edgy about the bond between single mother and daughter, letting us see the reality of a strong artistic mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) tyrannizing her gifted daughter (Alison Lohman). After murdering her lover, mom goes to prison and daughter goes on an odyssey of self discovery in foster families, reminiscent of Burt Lancaster's episodic journey in John Cheever's "The Swimmer."

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Movie Reviews
10:06 am
Thu October 10, 2002

Knockaround Guys

The story is slow, the dialogue trite, and nothing new has been added to the themes of father/son relationships and Mafia honor.

"Derivative without wit" is what I would call "Knockaround Guys." Blood, yes. Redemption--yes. Caring about anyone in this movie-No.

Four mobster sons descend on a small Montana town to locate a bag of cash meant for one of their fathers. Problem is, corrupt sheriff (Tom Noonan of "Manhunter's" Tooth-Fairy fame) plans to keep the $500K for himself and his deputy.

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