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Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Pay It Forward

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Director Mimi Leder actually makes this treacle go down easy. But this cloying, scattershot film could stand more verisimilitude, instead of falling back on the easy comfort of shallow platitudes — with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.

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Kosher sex

Author Daniel Handler mixes Jewish mythos with operatic Eros for a richly offbeat tale.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Incest and opera might be equally repulsive to some. Notions of inbreeding, immorality, and Italian overtures could undermine the comic potential in either subject. Luckily, Daniel Handler's successful sophomore effort shows that combining these oft-distasteful subjects can yield rich rewards. Opera is the form and sex is the primary...

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Wednesday, October 18, 2000

No snooze is bad snooze

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Sure, you try and review a book that’s actually meant to put you to sleep. You can’t even make all those snarky comments reviewers save for the worst kinds of yawners, like “Better than Nyquil,” “A sure sleeper” or “It fell out of my sleeping hand.” Insomniac author Ellen...

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Fight clubhouse

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

“Fight like a man,” announces the metallic, boldly straightforward box copy on the back of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Trademarked, the four-word quote spells out the theme of this Dreamcast romp very clearly: Fighting like a sissy doesn’t perspire greatness, only shameful, pitiless defeat. So with nearly flawless 3-D...

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Black skin, black masks

Spike Lee’s new salvo calls a spade a Stepin Fetchit.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

The most incendiary film yet from cultural arsonist Spike Lee is an incredibly complex look at race in 21st century America — and how television continually serves up variations of Amos and Andy instead of the reality of black life — with Damon Wayans, Michael Rapaport and Savion Glover.

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The Come Ons

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

The Come Ons provide the Cliff’s Notes for your Detroit rock history class with Motown pop songcraft, swing-your-hips ’60s girl-group lyrics tied together by the instro-punk machismo of Ann Arbor in the late ’60s and early ’70s. In the ’00s, the band sweats the soul of a hard-working, industrial...

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Best in Show

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

irector Christopher Guest follows a motley crew of contenders from across America as they converge on Philadelphia to compete in the prestigious Mayflower dog show. If you’re a fan of comic mockumentary, this is the best thing showing.

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Billy Elliot

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

In Billy Elliot, dance is life. Billy stomps out his frustrations, channeling both his rage and Fred Astaire in a rubber-soled tap that kicks the dust from the streets of his Northern England mining town. Though the film raises issues of class and gender only to leave them hanging, it’s still worthy of applause.

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The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

This intermittently entertaining documentary is the story of Ramblin' Jack Elliott (made by his daughter Aiyanna Elliott), a country-folk singer in the manner of his idol Woody Guthrie and widely considered to be the link between Guthrie and Bob Dylan.

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Beau Travail

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Director Claire Denis' follow-up feature to Nenette et Boni is a very loose adaptation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd transplanted to Djibouti, a present-day French Foreign Legion outpost in East Africa. But the only resolution to its sustained ambiguity is an enigmatic outburst at the end.

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