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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On a scale from 0 to 6 …

A look at the man who dissected the birds and the bees

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The man who forever changed how we talk about sex gets a thoughtful and challenging treatment in this biopic. Liam Neeson stars as Kinsey, the sexologist who believed that science must triumph over religious dogma in both the lab and the bedroom. Boasting terrific performances and timely ideas about sex, morality, and science, writer/director Bill Condon (Gods And Monsters) reminds us just how little we’ve actually traveled in our tolerance for sexual diversity and orientation.

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Finding Neverland

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Monster’s Ball director Marc Forster returns with Finding Neverland, an unexpectedly low-key look at the inspiration for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. While the movie takes the usual feel-good liberties with its true-life story, it’s the soulful performances from Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, and the young Freddie Highmore that shine through.

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Enduring Love

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Based on a novel by Ian McEwan, Enduring Love focuses on the repercussions of a freak hot-air balloon accident. College professor Joe (Daniel Craig) and his girlfriend Claire (Samantha Morton) witnessed the accident; so did a guy named Jed, a creepy Englishman that both Joe and Claire get to know far too well over the course of the film. Although blessed with a fantastic opening sequence and a host of complex characters, the film soon falls victim to a kind of pseudo-intellectual cat and mouse game.

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The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

In many ways, SpongeBob SquarePants is the rightful heir to The Ren and Stimpy Show’s “Happy Happy Joy Joy” anthem. The movie is at times gross — but try to find a 4-year-old who doesn’t crack up when SpongeBob prances around in his underpants or Patrick the starfish runs around naked. There’s even an animated fight scene on the real David Hasselhoff’s overly hairy back. The movie doesn’t push any message deeper than “kids rule” and “Hasselhoff is hairy,” but that’s more than enough to chew on for a Saturday morning.

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National Treasure

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer once again puts the preteen audience in his crosshairs with National Treasure, an adventure in which Nicolas Cage discovers a treasure map written in invisible ink on the back of, um, the Declaration of Independence. The few moviegoers who are able to suspend their disbelief will be let down by the film’s confusing action sequences and lame sense of humor.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Past imperfect

Renowned architect offers one-dimensional memoir

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Daniel Libeskind is America’s favorite disappearing architect. Since he was chosen to guide the Ground Zero reconstruction, he’s been steadily shrinking, dragged down by a fight to salvage his original design. That fight has made for great drama, replete with big personalities, vast money and intense public interest. After...

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The brilliance of being Bening

A diva’s story divinely acted

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Annette Bening gives a tour de force performance as an aging theatrical diva in this period comedy about backstage backstabbing. Julia is the reigning queen of prewar London's West End. Bored and uninspired, she starts an affair with a young American and rediscovers her muse. When he throws her over for an ambitious young starlet she plots her wicked revenge. Though the script is often chaotic and awkward, Bening delivers a theatrically luminous performance.

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After the Sunset

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Diamond thieves Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek attempt to retire to the Bahamas in director Brett Ratner’s attempt to cash in on the heist genre. Despite some nice scenery which, depending on your point of view, may or may not include the cast, nothing short of an Elmore Leonard rewrite could save this bland, lifeless crime comedy.

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This Corrosion

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Native Detroit filmmaker Mitch McCabe has tried to create a somber, thought-provoking film about death with this tale of goth kids running around the forest. The end result is SNL’s “Goth Talk” meets Blair Witch. Though it has some interesting moments, the film takes itself way to seriously — just like a goth kid.

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Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Helen Fielding's second Bridget Jones installment was a weaker novel than the first, so it follows that Edge of Reason makes for an even worse film. The plot is ludicrous, putting Bridget behind bars in a Thai prison, and the script relies too heavily on recycled jokes from the first movie, even reviving Diary's feeble Hugh Grant-Colin Firth fight scene. When the funniest moment in the sequel is a paler version of a gag in the original, you know you've been stuck with sloppy seconds. With Renee Zellweger in the title role.

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