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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Jong Show

A 26-year-old looks back on rich life, pens 'memoir'

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Is there any reason the precocious daughter of a feminist literary star should publish a novel at 21 and a memoir before most of us land jobs with health insurance? Moreover, is there ever a reason for anyone under AARP age to even consider writing a memoir? You might...

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American showdown

Classic Western remains relevant

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

The ultimate allegorical Western makes a return appearance for a new generation of fearmongers. The tale of a vulnerable hero (Gary Cooper) standing up to fight a pack of thugs all by himself was meant to invoke the Communist witch hunts, but it’s surprising how well it holds up as a metaphor for current events.

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Fearless Freaks: The Wondrously Improbable Story of the Flaming Lips

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

You’ll be hard pressed to find a film that captures the history and the personality of a band more honestly, or more movingly, than Fearless Freaks, director Bradley Beesley’s 14-years-in-the-making documentary on the Flaming Lips. Fearless Freaks is a genuine triumph, far less a boilerplate "band profile" than a fully developed narrative about how a handful of weirdos from Oklahoma drew the map for American indie rock, without snobbery, pretension or a labored sense of gravitas.

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Brothers

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Hollywood beauty Connie Nielsen returns to her homeland of Denmark for this tense, gut-wrenching drama. Playing a woman who thinks she’s lost her soldier husband in the war in Afghanistan, Nielsen heartbreakingly evokes a complex range of emotions that few of her previous parts have allowed her to explore.

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Layer Cake

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

California director Matthew Vaughn is clearly trying to relive the thrill of producing his best friend Guy Ritchie’s great British crime adventures, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But with this effort, Vaughn hits closer to Ritchie’s bomb Swept Away. The acting is decent, but the characters are light as air and unsympathetic, centering around a drug dealer and his entourage of shady characters. Layer Cake’s scene-setting and sound track are highly dramatic — but they’re only elaborate wrapping on an empty box.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Any self-respecting Ramones fan has already cretin-hopped to an art-house cinema to see this superlative documentary, so it’s the DVD bonuses that provide incentive to send more greenbacks to the respective estates of Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee. What you get are 10 interview excerpts that don’t tell the...

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Spinal Tap meets the turntables

A sharp, smart spoofing of the techno world

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

A sharp, dead-on satire à la Spinal Tap about a drugged-out raver DJ who turns the techno world on its ear, only to find out it’s left him deaf. The film’s title stems from the genuinely world famous DJ Pete Tong, who makes a cameo appearance as himself. But that’s probably more than you need to know about techno music or rave culture to enjoy this film. As far as "redemption through music" films, this one doesn’t miss a beat.

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3-Iron

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

A clever drifter, a battered wife, a motorcycle, stacks of carry-out menus and a 3-iron golf club are the central figures in this fascinating less-is-more film from South Korean writer-director Kim Ki-Duk. A young loner picks the locks of vacant houses and helps himself to the places for a while, delivering voyeurism at its best. The young man’s phantom existence is compromised after he rescues a battered housewife. 3-Iron is strange and sometimes witty but never forced. Even the experiments in silence aren’t gimmicky or contrived.

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Young at Heart

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

This doc by local filmmaker Sue Marx’s earned an Academy Award in 1987 Academy Award winner for best short documentary. In 30 minutes, Marx tells the striking tale of her father and his new wife, each widowed painters in their 80s when they meet. The film is simple and straightforward, almost quaint. It’s a welcome shot of old-fashioned storytelling, and the couple’s love for life, art and each other is truly inspiring.

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Unleashed

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Mixing flashy fight sequences with sentimental drama, this action film bears many thematic similarities to French filmmaker Luc Besson’s earlier (and best) film, The Professional. Jet Li plays Danny, a ferociously violent enforcer for Bob Hoskins, a vicious loan shark who raised Danny to be a rabid attack dog. After escaping, Danny falls in with a kindly blind piano tuner (Morgan Freeman) and discovers his long-lost humanity. Boasting bracing fight scenes and a well-developed moral center, it’s a flawed but welcome addition to the action film genre.

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