Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Definitive Diary of America’s Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The diary book format is a prestige item among rock stars; it says your fans want to suck up all your day-to-day minutiae so they can argue on your behalf that you did it first. And as any Beach Boy fan knows, you gotta argue hard to make a...

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A Kerouac for this generation

Eggers explores travel, morality, connections

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

In the past 10 years, Dave Eggers has given birth to two literary journals, a nonprofit writing center, a publishing company and a daily humor Web site, as well as a pirate costume supply store in San Francisco. The Dickensian swirl of activity might explain why it’s become easy...

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The Grudge

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The Grudge is basically one scene played out with mathematical precision and predictability over and over and over again. By the time The Grudge wraps up its barely existent story arc, you’ll wish it were you they were going to kill. As scary as a cardboard jack-o-lantern pasted on a 7-11 beer cooler door, The Grudge is nothing more than an opportunity to sit down in a darkened room for a couple of hours and contemplate your life’s unfinished work.

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Fanny And Alexander

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Ingmar Bergman’s self-proclaimed swan song, 1982’s Fanny and Alexander, is another of his autobiographical fantasies written on a larger than usual scale. The film weaves together the Bergman themes of God and sex and love and death. A fascinating film, it seems choppy in parts, no doubt because it’s been edited down from a five hour Swedish television mini-series to this three-hour-long theatrical version. But even in truncated form it’s a powerful film, filled with the simmering intensity of an old master at the peak of his powers.

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Lightning in a Bottle

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

On Feb. 7, 2003, a concert was held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall called “Salute to the Blues.” Lightning is a record of that event, and despite some customary documentary garnishing — reminiscences by some of the performers, archival footage (of Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker), scenes from rehearsals — this is essentially a concert film, in which the likes of B.B. King, Sonny Burke and Larry Johnson do their thing.

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Stage Beauty

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

This gender-bending, frilly-frocked period piece is a muddled but amusing take on theater in 17th century London. Billy Crudup plays Ned Kynaston, an actor known as the most beautiful woman on the English stage, because no woman is legally allowed to perform. All that changes when his dresser, Maria (Claire Danes), takes the stage. Crudup is dynamic as he takes Kynaston’s overinflated ego on a nosedive. While Stage Beauty may not be Oscar-worthy, at least Crudup proves he is.

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Around the Bend

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Before conveniently dying, a father writes a quirky will requiring his family to make a road trip to scatter his ashes — and reconnect with each other. It’s a sweet and well-meaning story, but generally every bit as contrived as it sounds. An ounce of such mawkishness will suffice, and Around the Bend offers at least a greasy pound. Director Jordan Robert’s debut oozes more sap than a freshly cut Christmas tree, and were it not for an incredible turn by Christopher Walken, it’d be best left forgotten.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sleazy rider

Gallo’s universally panned flick is actually killer

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Director/writer/actor/camera operator/infamous weirdo Vincent Gallo has produced a quietly powerful film, a film that’s more often than not sentimental and old-fashioned in taking its time to tell a story. The Brown Bunny is refreshing in that it lacks extraneous, maudlin dialogue and easy explanations. It’s a film that Gallo can be proud of, stunning and powerful at moments, and equally fine to his self-made Buffalo 66.

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Point of Order!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Emile De Antonio’s 1964 Point of Order! distills the televised U.S. Army-McCarthy hearings, held in the spring of 1954, into a concise and dramatic 97 minutes. The film presents in digestible form possibly the first time that television played a significant role in American politics. Aside from that it’s a hell of a story and a cogent reminder that even in the land of the free it’s possible to gain power through fear.

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Team America: World Police

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Featuring gorgeous low-tech sets and hilarious deadpan marionettes, the hyper-clichéd story of Team America is a play on the 1960s marionette TV show The Thunderbirds, courtesy the geniuses behind South Park. The puppet daredevils pursue terrorists in a twisted, rude and shamelessly parody of post-9/11 America that isn’t as effective or funny — consistently — as fans will hope for.

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