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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

My Life Without Me

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 12:00 AM

The plot: A young, working-class mother of two is diagnosed with cancer and has two months to live. The movie: Anything but the predictable tearjerker it could have been. With Sarah Polley, Deborah Harry and Mark Ruffalo; produced by Pedro Almodovar and directed by his associate Isabel Coixet.

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Cat in the Hat

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Think Austin Powers in a cat suit. Think special-effects doo-dads. Think big. Think loud. Forget about the charm of the Dr. Seuss original. Not that the flick doesn’t get some things right, especially Dakota Fanning and Spencer Breslin as kids oscillating from trepidation to a sense of giddy adventure. With Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin and Kelly Preston.

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The Merchant of Four Seasons

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 12:00 AM

A masterful bummer as directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a giant of the 1970s New German Cinema. Hans Hirscmuller plays an ex-cop reduced to fruit-peddling in a tale is so devoid of lightness as to be nearly comical.

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Three's no charm

New French trilogy tells 7-hour story in a range of styles.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 12:00 AM

A troubled cop’s tale is told through three feature-length film in styles from comedy to noir thriller. Separately uneven and even incoherent, taken as a whole this is an impressive achievement for French writer-director Lucas Belvaux.

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Gothika

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 12:00 AM

A taut, stylish, atmospheric funhouse ride with Robert Downey Jr., Charles Dutton, Penelope Cruz and Halle Berry as a no-nonsense psychiatrist being sucked into a horrible netherworld.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Streetcar named disaster

Looking for the sense behind a senseless act.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Brazilian director Jose Padilha re-examines a tragic June 2000 bus hijacking, cutting back and forth between footage of the event and a meditation on the society that it grew out of. The lone gunman turns out to have been a quiet boy, a classic time bomb waiting to go off. It’s an impressive piece of investigative reporting and an imaginative piece of filmmaking. In Portuguese with subtitles.

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Tupac: Resurrection

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

A documentary portrait of the late rapper Tupac Shakur as a talented ball of confusion. Shakur has an incredible presence on screen, but the film is somewhat less impressive. At an hour and 45 minutes, it feels longer and still leaves points of view unexamined, questions unasked.

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Shattered Glass

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Hayden Christensen proves Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones wasn’t his fault by playing hall-of-shame journalist Stephen Glass with the right mix of supplication, enthusiasm and sorrow. Writer-director Billy Ray plays to our fascination with natural-born con men.

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Tycoon

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

In this fictional version of the rise and fall of post-Soviet businessman Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Mashkov plays a charming schemer with the ratty appeal of a young John Cassevetes. But director and co-writer Pavel Lounguine gives us a film too talky, too long and so laden with arcane references as to need not only subtitles but footnotes.

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The Singing Detective

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

As demons of the mind ravage Dan Dark and he rots in his hospital bed, the crime novelist creates B-noir flicks in his mind. The Singing Detective is an inspired re-creation of film noir, brilliantly executed, with a strong showing by Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson. Despite annoying, occasional singing and dancing, The Singing Detective is a great movie.

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