Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saving Face

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

The only saving grace about this Chinese lesbian romantic comedy is the sight of two silky-haired young women making out. Unfortunately, these scenes are not shown often enough; instead, the film delivers a stream of clichés about Chinese-Americans.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Another Road Home

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Israeli filmmaker Danae Elon’s documentary about finding the Palestinian man who raised her is a very personal and rare look at the private relationships between Israelis and Palestinians, and the intimacy is tainted only by what seems to be the director’s reluctance to fully embrace her starring role in the film. Her intimate and loving portrait is satisfying to some extent, but would be far more compelling had we gotten her side of the story too.

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

One doesn’t look for impeccable logic or tightly woven plotlines in a film like this; still some attention to story craft would help. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a highly successful married couple trying to keep to their conjugal spark alive while hiding their work as assassins for rival firms. Clever verbal showdowns and an undeniable sexual chemistry generate the film’s greatest pyrotechnics. The action sequences, however, grind everything to a halt. This may be one of the few examples of a big budget action film where the stunts and effects are the least interesting part of the movie.

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High Tension

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

This imported French horror flick is taut and graphic, recalling some of better slasher pics of the ’70s, particularly John Carpenter’s Halloween. However, the dubbed dialogue and ridiculous plot twists outweigh its handful of effective terror scenes.

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The Honeymooners

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

The summer of the TV remake kicks off with this big-screen adaptation of the ’50s working-class sitcom. The new Honeymooners appropriately casts Cedric the Entertainer in the role Jackie Gleason made famous, and while the film falls a little short on laughs, the good-natured cast almost makes it worth a look.

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Dot the i

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Dot the i has been languishing on shelf somewhere since it was completed in 2003, resurrected presumably to take advantage of star Gael García Bernal’s rising fame. Director-writer Matthew Parkhill’s first and only feature is short on substance and character development. Star Gael García Bernal (Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien) is the highlight, flirting with the camera in a way that recalls a young Robert Redford. There’s a passionate love triangle that’s almost believable, but in the end, the film is punctuated with a series of twists that feels stale and contrived.

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The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Director Robert Rodriguez follows up the gritty Sin City with this bloodless — in every sense of the word — children’s picture, conceived by his 7-year-old-son. It’s a little like sitting through a 5-year-old’s description of his trip to Disney World: Incredibly cute for about 10 minutes, but breathlessly repetitive and muddled for the remaining 80. Beyond the flashy intro, it’s cheesy and repetitive for both kid and adult audiences.

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Iggy Pop! Live San Fran 1981

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Having just watched Coffee and Cigarettes for the first time and being struck by how much Iggy has come to resemble, in both appearance and speech, Sonny Bono, this opportunity to see young James in his sort-of prime doing sonic cluster-fuck versions of seminal classics like "T.V. Eye" and "1969,"...

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Bat to basics

Director Nolan goes back to Square One

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Unlike previous entries, there’s nothing glib or campy about the caped crusader this time around in director Christopher Nolan’s ambitious, dark and exhilarating take on a franchise that’s been lying dead as a doornail for half a decade. Starting from scratch, Nolan retells Bruce Wayne’s transformation into relentless defender of Gotham City’s tarnished virtue. Fortunately, the weak spots are few and far between, making Batman Begins the most consistent and rewarding Batman film since, well, the beginning.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

New wings

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Ginger Strand is a fabulous name for an author. Flight is a slightly less fabulous title for a debut novel. The pages of Flight are less fabulous still, but by no means thoughtless or poorly written, just a bit cramped, like traveling in economy with NBA players. Flight is the...

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