Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Love & betrayal

Coming-of-age film shows poise, avoids pitfalls

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Two girls from different social classes (Natalie Press and Emily Blunt) start a strangely obsessive friendship in this British coming-of-age tale. Don’t let the navel-gazing, teen-girl subject matter turn you off: Pawel Pawlikowski’s assured drama can be hypnotic, humorous, sensual and menacing, all at the same time.

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Rize

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

An alternative to gangs, Clowning and Krumping are forms of dance born in south central Los Angeles. In his new film, Dave LaChappelle captures the rise of this art form and the complicated web of Los Angeles gang life. The cultural value of these dances is akin to breakdancing, bootdancing and other forms of African rhythm. Its inherent anger and freedom could easily be dismissed as youthful, black, ghetto angst gone wild. But LaChappelle’s fluid storytelling highlights the resilience of youth who are fighting their way out of the destruction of the 1992 L.A. riots.

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Land of the Dead

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Leave it to George A. Romero – godfather of the modern zombie flick – to bring some much-needed existentialist dread back to the genre. Land of the Dead isn’t as slick as either 28 Days Later or last year’s Dawn of the Dead remake, but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in creative, sickening gore and devious political subtext.

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Herbie: Fully Loaded

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Lindsay Lohan plays against her party-girl tabloid type in this bright, cheery revival of the once-popular possessed-car franchise. This new Herbie may not be particularly witty, but it’s a fun, visually inventive fantasy that’ll keep preteens in their seats for 100 minutes or so.

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Bewitched

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

In this lame, self-referential TV remake, an egotistical actor (Will Ferrell) is cast opposite a real witch (Nicole Kidman) when he tries to remake the classic mischievous-witch sitcom. Director Nora Ephron’s showbiz spoof suffers from miscasting the leads, but it’s the would-be witty script that really sinks the film.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Playing it back

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

The piano lounge is where Robin Meloy Goldsby has spent most of her career, tinkling away at Cole Porter standards and taking requests from show tune-obsessed drunks. Her memoir Piano Girl is exuberant, keen and at times really funny. Goldsby, the daughter of a professional drummer, fell into her first...

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Smart and sprawling

Italian miniseries makes a great movie

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Despite the fact that this Italian film is six hours long, it’s wholly accessible: a family saga in the same vein as American miniseries, and novelistic in scope with a wide range of characters, emotional incidents and intriguing plot complications. For its run at the Maple Art Theatre, the film will be divided into two three-hour segments — and it’s hard to imagine how anyone could resist coming back for the second part.

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Howl’s Moving Castle

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

After the near perfection of his last film, Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki delivers another animated marvel filled with dazzling imagery and imaginative set pieces. Too bad the script is such a mess. A young girl, magically transformed into a 90-year-old woman, seeks help from the mysterious Howl, a handsome magician with mystical problems of his own. Burdened with innumerable and subplots, the film’s astonishing visual sense are almost undermined by an overcomplicated and nonsensical plot. Luckily, the filmmaker offers up enough visual delights to overcome the story’s biggest flaws.

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King of the Corner

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Character actor Peter Riegert offers up a modest, if somewhat haphazard, feature length directorial debut that capitalizes on his strengths as a performer but, like most supporting roles, falls victim to irrelevancy. Overcome by midlife malaise, an aging salesman’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, leading him into comically self-destructive adventures. Riegert is terrific and Eric Bogosian makes a hilariously memorable appearance as a low-rent rabbi. Unfortunately, the episodic and unfocused nature of the story robs the film of dramatic urgency.

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The Holy Girl

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel’s latest film is clearly influenced by the work Pedro Almodóvar (who’s an executive producer for this film). However, it boasts a dizzy, dreamlike quality that leaves the audience disoriented and, unfortunately, emotionally unmoved, in this story of a twisted love triangle involving mother and daughter.

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