Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Although it treads familiar ground, this film based on real life events is an original and disturbing achievement. Sean Penn plays a troubled, failed man who plots to strike back at the world by taking out Tricky Dick. An honest and painful presentation of a bizarre and bloody footnote to history that most people had never heard about until now, the film a depth not found in lesser fare.

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Are We There Yet?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Acting alongside two precocious kids in this clichéd road-trip comedy, Ice Cube shows he’s gotten so soft he’s all but melted into a drippy little puddle. Still, he doesn’t seem all that out of place in this silly little picture. His grimace always reads "stop bugging me, punks," which is perfect for his character, Nick Persons, a guy who hates children but winds up driving two kids some 300 miles to impress their single mom (Nia Long). But throw in a Lincoln Navigator full of sentimental drivel and several inspirational speeches, and you’ll be wishing this trip would end, too.

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Lord of the Dead

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

This splatter flick plays like a late night cable access production, complete with actors struggling to remember their lines, cheap puppets, jarring edits and a Casio keyboard soundtrack. The gore is cheap and plentiful, the jokes are unabashedly adolescent and the fog machine puts in overtime. If you’re a fan of the band Gwar, then Lord of the Dead just might be your idea of Citizen Kane. For everyone else, it’ll depend on how many bottles of Robitussin you’ve downed before the show.

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Art of Modern Rock: the Poster Explosion

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

It’s a good thing Willie Dixon was thoughtful enough to remind us that you “can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.” If you could, you’d run far, far away from the new coffee-table tome Art of Modern Rock: the Poster Explosion. The painfully clichéd, stiff-nippled “devil girl”...

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pose & purpose

Michigan author offers new collection of short stories

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Michigan native David Means made a literary splash with his first collection of short stories, Assorted Fire Events. Reveling in the sordid, the unseemly and the downright strange, Means matched a detached sense of the highbrow with the blood and guts of the lowbrow, while twisting the language into...

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Spit and Sweat

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

If you’ve seen this Los Angeles pop quintet on The O.C. and hoped they’d be the second coming of the Rubinoos, it’s time to grab the corsage out of the freezer and date yourself. It’s 2005 and now bands make their own concert movies and home DVDs to chronicle...

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Criminal desires

New psycho-drama treads controversial territory

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Kevin Bacon plays a man fresh out of prison after serving a 12-year term for child molestation, alternately tormented by self-loathing and determined to live a more-or-less normal life. *The Woodsman* takes a character we would normally want to look away from and asks us to consider his plight. For some, that will be way too much to ask; for others it offers an engrossing, well-handled drama.

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Elektra

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

*Alias* queen Jennifer Garner emerges from the wreckage of *Daredevil* to begin a comic book franchise of her very own. Though it won’t inspire the devotion of fans of *X-Men*, *Spiderman*, or for that matter, her TV series, *Elektra* scores points merely for being competent, action-packed, and, well, nothing like *Daredevil*.

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In Good Company

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

This week’s Dennis Quaid film finds him battling a force stronger than global warming: Topher Grace. As a corporate dinosaur and the “ninja assassin” hired to replace him, respectively, Quaid and Grace have a terrifically believable rivalry, but writer-director Paul Weitz’s follow-up to *About a Boy* ultimately feels thin and underdeveloped.

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Racing Stripes

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Despite the *Mister Ed*-meets-the-computer-age special effects, this Babe rip-off about an out-of-place zebra who dreams of being a racehorse still manages to amuse more than just the kids. Though PG-rated, it appears to target a young Barney-loving audience, oozing with gooey sentimentality and “you can do it” and “it’s OK to be different themes.” The best bits for the grownups come from the stable of B-listers (including David Spade, Steve Harvey and Snoop Dogg) who supply the voices for the supporting cast of animals.

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