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  • Issue of
  • Oct 12-18, 2005
  • Vol. 25, No. 52

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Two for the Money

    McConaughey plays Brandon Lang, whose promising football career is cut short in college by injury, reducing him to providing inside tips to low-rent gamblers via a 1-900 line. His uncanny ability to predict winners attracts the notice of Walter Abrams (Pacino), the operator of a big-league betting consultation service in New York City. Abrams seduces Brandon, offering a Faustian bargain wherein he’ll become a slick, high profile point-picking guru. As expected, Brandon is corrupted by fame and fortune, struggles with daddy issues and ends up falling from grace. But despite Pacino’s Herculean efforts to add some blustery panache, the film’s stakes are too low and the drama too simple-minded.
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  • The Scene
  • Waiting

    Filled with mostly no-names and up-and-comers, Waiting does for crappy chain restaurant staffs what Office Space did for cubicle drones. First-time writer-director Rob McKittrick — a waiter in Orlando before he finagled a $3 million deal to make this movie — has nailed the finer points of the food service industry so astutely that anyone who’s ever carried a tray through swinging doors will absolutely relate.
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  • The Scene
  • The Gospel

    The Gospel is the story of gifted young gospel singer David, who leaves his family’s church after his father, Pastor Fred Taylor (Clifton Powell), gets so caught up in church business that he can’t make it to his wife’s bedside in time to see her die. Over the next 15 years, David becomes a superstar in the world of secular music. He’s then called home when dad grows ill, and upon return he finds the church in turmoil. The Gospel represents a big stride in the cinematic portrayal of gospel music and the black church. But said stride is a misstep, thanks to a half-baked effort. Adding a few big gospel names to an incomplete product isn’t enough.
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  • The Scene
  • Masculine Feminine

    A film made for the era of James Bond and Vietnam, it’s set in Paris in 1965, where a group of self-absorbed twentysomethings half-heartedly seek the unbearable weight of being, secretly wishing to be rid of the ennui that lingers from their bourgeois upbringings. As superficial as his characters seem, Godard stuns the audience with truth by way of context, injecting otherwise aimless conversations with moments of profound simplicity and ingenious clarity.
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  • The Scene
  • Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

    In a community obsessed with gardening, the annual Giant Vegetable Competition is the most important social event on the calendar. With marauding bunnies threatening to devour their prized veggies, the locals enlist the services of Wallace and Gromit, who run a humane pest control service called Anti Pesto. This irritates to no end Elvis-haired hunter Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), a preening nitwit who has designs on Tottington and would love to do nothing more than blast away at the furry little critters. Smart, snappy and relentlessly pun-laden, Were-Rabbit is a love letter to Universal’s classic horror films, and is hands-down the best animated film Dreamworks has ever released.
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  • The Scene
  • Breaking News

    A blend of nonstop action and cynical media critique, *Breaking News* examines the thin line between criminal life and corrupt law enforcement, illustrating how both are exploited by modern entertainment. The film opens with a mind-blowing eight-minute single-take tracking shot of a full-tilt action sequence. However, the breakneck pace also robs the film of substance. Instead of examining how the media exploit and are exploited by volatile situations, the most obvious targets get hit over and over again.
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  • The Scene
  • In Her Shoes

    Based on Jennifer Weiner’s book of the same title, director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential) and screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) add weight to Weiner’s prose — which is already smarter than your average girlie book. Hanson and company create a portrait of family ties that’s as much about siblinghood in general as it is about sisterhood, and delves into shoes and shopping only as a digression. Hanson delivers a movie in which people relate to each other on a very human level — and there’s a good deal of squirming before they make it right. It’s far better stuff than just the canned sitcom-grade sarcasm and sentimentality one would expect from a story about sisters and shoe-shopping.
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  • The Scene
  • Cote d’Azur

    In the groan-inducing French sex farce Cote d’Azur, an insufferably chipper family of four retreats to an idyllic summer beach home to lounge on the sand, sing little songs to each other and fuck whoever happens to be around, of whatever gender. It’s all meant to be very funny and open and liberating —but anyone who can make it through 90 mirthless minutes of this stuff either hasn’t gotten any in a long time, or is getting too much, with the wrong people.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Heat of the moment

    A few blocks west of Tiger Stadium, in a meticulously revamped 1880s building, Slows caters to a mix of hipsters, folks from area businesses, and suburban brewheads. Slows has excellent barbecue, a Mac and cheese that’s a satisfying combination of sharp and creamy, and potato salad that could have come straight out of an Alabama picnic basket. There’s a generous list of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and soups, including chili, and gumbo with andouille and shellfish.
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