Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Spellbinding

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Footsteps in the Fog: Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco puts its focus in its title. Authors Jeff Kraft and Aaron Leventhal zoom in on three films by the Master of Suspense that feature the Bay Area — Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Vertigo (1958) and The Birds (1963) — and...

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Minimalist memoir

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

John D. Freyer has found a fresh answer to the existential question, "What am I going to do with all this crap?" The filmmaker and graphic designer was in graduate school in Iowa two years ago when he had an epiphany: The piles of junk he'd collected from thrift-store shopping...

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Born in blood

Martin Scorsese digs up the violent roots of our heritage.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

This panoramic historical drama, in its immensity, is a departure for Martin Scorsese, one that’s too unwieldy to be entirely successful. But if this isn't a great Scorsese movie, it's definitely a classic Daniel Day-Lewis one, and that makes it one of the best of the year — with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz.

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Adaptation

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

This painful recognition-of-self comedy written by Charlie Kaufman (who wrote one of the most twisted movies in recent memory, Being John Malkovich) stars Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman, who is writing a movie about Charlie Kaufman not being able to write a movie — with Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper.

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Singin’ in the Rain

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

A fabulous tale told in pictures bursting with colorful action, fantastic musical numbers and fantastic romance, this ironic Tinseltown satire is one of Hollywood’s greatest gifts to cinema. Today, 50 years after its original release, it’s still giving — with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor.

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Rabbit-Proof Fence

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Australian director Phillip Noyce’s heart is in his camera lens when it comes to this film’s simple premise — the governmental kidnapping of half-caste Aborigines to be trained as servants. Every scene seethes with intensity and outrage as it displays this true account of textbook colonialism — with Kenneth Branagh.

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About Schmidt

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Neither a flat-out comedy nor a straight-faced drama, this low-keyed character study balances its tone between the whimsical and the tragic. Jack Nicholson's carefully calibrated performance as a smaller-than-life man trying to find some corner of peace makes the film as good as it is, which is very good indeed.

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On Guard

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

In the spirit of Voltaire and Molière, director and co-writer Philippe de Broca (King of Hearts, 1966) volleys great wit and deadly gestures in a milieu of lush apparel, landscapes, captivating music and 18th century lacy sleeves. An impressive, swashbuckling spectacle — with Daniel Auteuil.

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Two Weeks Notice

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The bang-bang nature of the dialogue and plot keeps the energy flowing, and Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, stuck with ineffective costars so many times before, have great chemistry to go with the great material they have to work with. It’s a lovely surprise just enough removed from reality to work.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Name your poison

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Almost everybody wants to get high — and almost everybody does. It’s just a matter of degree. You might limit yourself to the brittle enthusiasm derived from morning jolts of coffee and/or stress-unraveling sips of post-work alcohol — or you might be a weekend warrior who takes the party...

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