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  • Issue of
  • Oct 26 - Nov 1, 2005
  • Vol. 26, No. 2

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Doom

    Since most video games are about action and atmosphere, when it comes to adapting the concept into a big-budget motion picture, you’d better have something new up your sleeve. Doom, unfortunately, doesn’t. Screenwriters David Callaham and Wesley Strick have basically thrown Aliens, Predator and Dawn of the Dead in a blender and written something a lot less exciting than any of those films.
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  • The Scene
  • Forty Shades of Blue

    The two recent Bill Murray ennui-fests, Broken Flowers and Lost in Translation, illustrate how quietly introspective moments of passion and betrayal can have a cumulative emotional effect as devastating as the soapiest tear-jerkers. In that vein, Ira Sachs’ sophomore feature, Forty Shades of Blue, is a similarly pure, distilled vision of romantic denial, familial angst and parental neglect, directed in a haunting style. It’s everything American independent films have forgotten to be: subdued, observant and far more concerned with the characters’ inner lives than with anything they might say or do.
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  • The Scene
  • Stay

    Marc Forster is a young director who’s had an incredible string of luck, helping Halle Berry win an Oscar for the resolutely dour Monster’s Ball, and snagging top-notch talent for his restrained crowd-pleaser Finding Neverland. All of his films have at least one false moment, but never have they been as 100 percent bogus and wrong-headed as Stay, a glossy, star-packed flaming crock of shit. Blame it on Troy writer David Benioff’s silly, twist-addled script, but Forster is ultimately responsible for the pointless, showy camera angles, the lame, digitally enhanced edits, and the circa-1995 trip-hop score. His movie is like a perfume commercial attempting to make a profound statement.
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  • The Scene
  • North Country

    If it weren’t a major studio release, North Country would be the best Lifetime movie ever made. That’s not necessarily a slight. True, the film’s schematic script may be little better than the ripped-from-the-headlines issue movies shown on basic cable, and the idea of casting a slew of A-list stars as “simple folk” may smack of Hollywood condescension. But director Niki Caro infuses nearly every moment with a heartrending realism, and coaxes her cast into performances of subtle, understated grace. Even at its most Oscar-baiting moments, this is a movie that feels lived-in instead of calculated, heartfelt instead of thought-out.
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  • The Scene
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    What really sets this movie apart from the legions of clumsy ’50s drive-in flicks that ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 is its blunt, almost primal simplicity, combined with a low-budget technical skill that was, at the time, unseen in the genre. Adapting Jack Finney’s tale of “pod people” bent on human destruction — or rather, replication — Siegel and screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring strip the story down to the essential elements: the seething mistrust that sweeps across a small Southern California town, the breakdowns of family members distraught over their suddenly lobotomized relatives, and the breathless, sleepless foot-chase two lovebirds embark upon to avoid the encroaching throngs of replicants.
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  • The Scene
  • Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

    Starring Dakota Fanning, Hollywood’s most prolific 11-year-old, this a kid-and-pony show that’ll have equestrian-obsessed youngsters slumbering with visions of horses prancing in their heads for weeks. Dreamer, however, is like Seabiscuit for the SpongeBob set — extremely satisfying for horse lovers but less so for general audiences, at least for those who can tolerate unapologetic displays of can-do positive energy for 90 minutes.
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  • The Scene
  • The Nomi Song

    The Nomi Song, written and directed by Andrew Horn, is a documentary featuring home video footage, interview clips with Klaus Nomi and the requisite talking heads — band mates, journalists, friends, fans and fellow artists who jumped onto Nomi’s back as soon as they saw his incredible act. But Horn cleverly makes a concerted effort to break up the monotony by making his interviewees re-enact Nomi’s performances with paper dolls. But for all Horn’s attempts to engage us with his inventive artistic perspective, the most exquisite moments in The Nomi Song are when it functions as a straightforward music film.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Upscale, down-home

    Power breakfast — what a concept. It’s clearly designed for downtown movers and shakers to start their workdays by impressing each other over the most important meal of the day. The upscale Southern cooking is complemented by dishes that borrow eclectically, drawing on everything from Mexican and Italian (the “Santa Fe frittata”) to Creole to Manhattan (eggs Benedict). Patrons are branching out from the familiar, though, making crabcakes Benedict one of the biggest — and highest-priced — sellers, along with Frank’s Stuffed French Toast (filled with apples and cream cheese) and a housemade turkey sausage.
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Music

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