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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mindhunters

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

Though this film that has been scheduled and rescheduled for release half a dozen times (never a good sign), director Renny Harlin still delivers a film that’s slick, utterly brainless and far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Seven would-be FBI profilers partake in a simulated serial killer "hunt" before graduation from the academy, on a remote island. Predictably, the students discover that a real killer is among them. The film offers two hours of lowbrow, drive-in movie fun — which means six months from now, it’ll make a good rental.

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Monster-in-Law

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

Don’t call it a comeback. Jane Fonda’s first film in 15 years is an insufferable rip-off of Meet the Parents, featuring an unbelievably sexless, bohemian Jennifer Lopez as the future unwanted daughter-in-law of Fonda’s shrill, mentally unstable, aging career woman. Fonda attempts to have some fun with the role, but only the supporting Wanda Sykes succeeds in generating any real laughs.

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Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith

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

Let’s face it; you can’t get much more critic-proof than Star Wars. The last two films were lumbering and overblown bores and they still managed to make a billion dollars. Sith easily trumps them both. Sure, Anakin and Padme’s love affair has all the melodrama of a hysterical schoolgirl (and the insipid dialogue to match), but as a spectacle, the movie delivers in spades. Lucas keeps the story and action moving at a breakneck pace and the effects are nothing short of astonishing. The film’s decidedly tragic tone brings with it a Shakespearean sense of tragedy, and a last minute attempt to inject some political relevancy.

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Captain Vic

*Nation* editor stays close to his desk

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

Scheduled guest of honor at the screening of Professional Revolutionary, publisher and editorial director of The Nation Victor Navasky has a new book out, A Matter of Opinion. As the title suggests, it’s an examination of the role of the journal in contemporary society. To some extent a professional...

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

In the ring

A look at America's sport in the saddle

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Sports culture is as diverse as it is divergent. NHL hopefuls, competitive cheerleaders and freestyle BMX-icans can prosper and fail in states of mutual obliviousness. Still, it’s odd that a sport like rodeo should be considered marginal. W.K. Stratton’s Chasing the Rodeo is a memoir wrapped as a string...

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Skin deep

Crash traces the boundaries of race and class

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Writer-director Paul Haggis delivers a star-studded series of elaborate and intertwined vignettes that explore the impenetrable barriers of class and race which incite intolerance and rage. Eloquent, raw and poignant, the film manages to avoid overheated rhetoric and simple polemics. Instead it presents thrilling, scary and thought-provoking stories with dramatic gusto. Though far from perfect, it’s unlikely you’ll find a more emotionally satisfying film experience this summer.

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The Eternal Present

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Written and directed by Otto Buj of Windsor, this surreal film examines a young man named Tim who moves to an anonymous city and takes a job processing obituaries at a newspaper. When the people Tim encounter start disappearing, it becomes unclear whether the events are reality, or simply fabrications of Tim’s paranoia.

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House of Wax

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Gore-hounds take note: This remake of the classic 1953 B-horror movie may be callous, clichéd and overlong, but once it hits its stride, it’s brutal and unrelenting. The half-dozen nubile teen actors in the cast — including 24’s Elisha Cuthbert and celebrity irritant Paris Hilton — go through the usual shock-flick routines, but it’s the sickening killings and creepy set design that might make House of Wax worth a look for die-hard horror fans.

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Ladies In Lavender

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Except for its awful title, this period piece is a perfectly respectable film where little happens, but what happens is done very well. Filled with so many tasteful and expertly acted moments, one is inclined to overlook its complete lack of drama and conflict. A pair of aging sisters (Maggie Smith and Judi Dench) discovers a mysterious young man washed up on the beach. Handsome, wistful and reasonably engaging, the film finds its strength through sensitively portrayed characters and a melancholic mood.

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Kingdom of Heaven

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM

In his blood-spilling epic Kingdom of Heaven, director Ridley Scott does not do for the Crusades what he did for ancient Rome in his blood-spilling epic Gladiator. Where Gladiator was a gripping drama set inside a history lesson, Kingdom feels more like a history lesson that should have been a gripping drama, sacrificing good storytelling in favor of sociopolitical commentary. Orlando Bloom is the hero but hardly looks as if he could command a scene, let alone a small army. All told, Kingdom of Heaven comes off as a sermon — albeit a graphically violent one.

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