Arts + Life

Movie Reviews
1:19 pm
Wed June 8, 2005

Layer Cake

Bond-Age?

Energy and Irony.

Layer Cake is a slick caper, noir import from England with energy and

irony enough for both sides of the Atlantic. XXXX (Daniel Craig) is a very satisfied drug dealer, wealthy and in control of his little world. His initial voiceover, reminiscent of Ray Liotta's in Casino, has the bounce of a man who found his calling, from which he plans to retire.

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Movie Reviews
9:11 am
Wed June 8, 2005

Mad Hot Ballroom

Let's Dance!

It's been two glorious weeks for us award-winning teachers. Last week I reviewed the documentary Rock School, a raucous romp with teens from Philly grooving Zappa all the way to Germany. This week's Mad Hot Ballroom shows the NYC public schools competing for top honors in ballroom dancing, a required course that lets students and teachers, supplied by the American Ballroom Theater, strut their best stuff in the tango, rumba, meringue, and foxtrot.

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Movie Reviews
12:02 pm
Sat June 4, 2005

Rock School

You can use profanity . . .

Anytime I learn something new about teaching, I feel my day has been made. Don Argot's documentary, Rock School, did that for me today. I watched a gifted Paul Green take a group of 9 to 17 year olds in his Paul Green School for Rock Music in Philadelphia and make them into a band playing Black Sabbath, Santana, and a Zappa that an audience bowed to at a German Zappanele concert.

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Movie Reviews
10:19 am
Sat June 4, 2005

The Adventures of Shark Boy <br> & Lava Girl in 3-D

A fourth dimension of mediocrity.

A bung-hole stopper

Robert Rodriguez stunned the cinema world about a dozen years ago with the low budget El Mariachi, a story of mistaken identity, a lethal guitar case, and a mariachi who just wants to play his instrument. Since then, the director has not had to scrounge for money and exceeds expectations with movies as varied as Spy Kids and Sin City.

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Movie Reviews
3:05 pm
Sun May 29, 2005

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

An unusual alliance.

You'll care about each girl.

The only magic realism in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the one, one-size-fits-all pair of jeans worn by four teenage friends, whose summer adventures bring a dose of realism magical only for the insights into life, the pain and pleasure that come in from age seventeen to the end. As a coming-of-age film, this ranks with the best of them for non-condescending, adult-like perceptions, with nary a "like" in the girls' vocabulary.

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Movie Reviews
9:00 am
Sun May 29, 2005

Cinderella Man

Let's get to the real combat!

An indomitable America coming back.

"Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,

That would not let me sleep . . ." Hamlet

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Movie Reviews
4:26 pm
Sun May 22, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith

The acting is not of this world: Christensen and Portman are forgettable again.

Otherworldly

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Movie Reviews
1:44 pm
Wed May 11, 2005

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Energetic Hubris.

"Ask why" was the mantra of one of the most remarkable companies in the history of modern society: Enron. And not one, not even the venerable accounting firm of Arthur Anderson, asked that question. So the little energy company that could amassed billions of dollars through deceptive accounting practices, mainly by stating profit based on future earnings (HFV=hypothetical future value) and shipping losses to offshore shell companies.

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Movie Reviews
1:17 pm
Mon May 9, 2005

Mindhunters

You're in this movie? Have you lost your mind, Val?

A modicum of intelligence and suspense

Second-tier director Renny Harlin should have hunted for minds other than these two pedigreed writers to elevate Mindhunters from the banal to the mediocre. Or better yet, when he cast Val Kilmer for no more than a ten-minute part and Christian Slater for a bit more, all crew should have fled knowing the curse that lies under billing stars with brief parts.

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Movie Reviews
12:33 pm
Mon May 9, 2005

Dear Frankie

Dad for a day.

Balanced and focused.

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Movie Reviews
3:59 pm
Thu May 5, 2005

House of Wax

"We'll always have Paris."

Welcome to the best freak show so far in 2005.

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Movie Reviews
11:11 am
Mon May 2, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

The Art of Courtly Love

Credit the director and writer for balancing the guilt and horror among Christians, Jews, and Arabs.

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Movie Reviews
2:34 pm
Wed April 27, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Master Builder

Exhausting and entertaining.

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Movie Reviews
10:03 am
Wed April 27, 2005

Winter Solstice

Seinfeld without the humor.

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Movie Reviews
9:27 am
Wed April 20, 2005

The Interpreter

Ah, almost a two shot!

Predictable but enjoyable.

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Movie Reviews
1:32 pm
Thu April 7, 2005

The Downfall

Family Values!

Eminently worth seeing.

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Movie Reviews
11:22 am
Mon April 4, 2005

Off the Map

Off the wall family.

Eccentric and satisfying.

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Movie Reviews
11:01 am
Wed March 30, 2005

Melinda and Melinda

"You remind me of Mia Farrow!"

The best Woody in years.

Manhattan still drives Woody Allen crazy: Urbanites are prey to ambition and lust, pride and diffidence and even sound like Woody with their halting sentences, paranoid affectations, and occasionally witty lines tossed off like the dregs of their grande lattes. Melinda and Melinda is a petting zoo of needy moderns who most of all want to find love, which eludes them right up to the last cliffhanging moment.

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Movie Reviews
10:46 am
Wed March 30, 2005

Frank Miller's Sin City

Sin City, indeed.

Everything a comic book/film buff could want.

"By Jove! I've never seen anything so unreal in my life. And

earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or

truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic

invasion." Joseph Conrad's Marlow in Heart of Darkness

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Movie Reviews
2:41 pm
Tue March 29, 2005

Millions

Ah, Brother. Ah, Millions.

A tribute to a director who makes children interesting and wise and movies for everyone.

"Radix malorum cupiditas est."

("The root of evil is greed.") The Pardoner's Tale

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