Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Red Eye

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

A spunky career girl (Rachel McAdams) meets a smooth-as-butter charmer (Cillian Murphy) at the check-in for an overnight flight to Miami. But once seated, it’s clear the charmer’s intentions are insidious. Director Wes Craven deftly handles the tricky tennis match of captive vs. tormentor, which works beautifully in the claustrophobic confines of the coach section, but fizzles once the plane lands. A model of efficiency clocking in at a barely 80 minutes, the film milks every second for optimum thrills.

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Supercross

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

If you’re looking to spend 90 minutes with guys named "Trip" and "Rowdy," or if, like them, you like to "live life on the edge," or if you just drink a lot of Mountain Dew, you might be the target audience for this wish-fulfillment extreme sports flick. Otherwise, this dirt bike saga on speed is best left to the 13-year-olds it was test-marketed to.

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Like so many others, this sex farce offers a litany of crude humor and foul language that would make the proverbial sailor blush; however, it’s softened by the endearing sweetness of the title character. Nerdy Andy would rather cuddle up to his pristine action figure collection than a real live woman — until his coworkers make it their mission to get Andy some booty. No one will mistake this film for high art, but it has enough sweet sentimentality to rise (ever so slightly) above the nastier entries of its kind.

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Valiant

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Pigeons and bloody wars that resulted in the loss of some 55 million lives don’t make a good fit for a kiddie flick — especially one billed as light, animated fare "from the producer of Shrek and Shrek 2." Valiant details how homing pigeons apparently saved our tails in World War II. The cast is great (Ewan McGregor, John Cleese, Tim Curry), but the historical references will go way over the tiny audience’s heads, and the suggestions of violence and war scenes are too intense for a G-rated movie.

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Bang-bang

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

To be a drummer is to live in a world where the most interesting objects ask to be struck, slapped, plucked, pummeled, bashed, brushed or otherwise engaged. It’s to live in world where clang and clatter are wonderful things, the ultimate reassurance that a world where things collide can be...

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Pop life

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

He stunk up a room but lit up a stage. Jackie Curtis was a drifting tramp, a dirty, drugged-out drag queen who straddled men, women and worlds, doubling as a high-maintenance performer, poet and playwright. Well-known as one of Andy Warhol’s most loyal cross-dressing babies at the Factory, Curtis had...

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Wanting no other

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

The title of Jack Gilbert’s fourth full-length collection of poems could also serve as Gilbert’s core and recurrent poetic motto. The promise of heaven is a proposal that Gilbert, like a cocky boxer, thumbs his nose at. Though it is true that we live in a world where “Sorrow ...

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Funny face

Bill Murray’s latest rendezvous with deadpan humor

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Jim Jarmusch’s melancholy road movie, Broken Flowers, is a deadpan love letter to Bill Murray, creating a wistful and mildly comic portrait of a man whose reluctance to grow has left him lonely and without meaning. He plays Don Johnston, an ex-lothario who visits four old flames after learning he may have a teenage son. Giving a deadpan performance that is as amusing as it is poignant, Murray communicates more with the shift of an eyebrow than most actors can with their whole bodies. Though the plot may disappoint with its open-ended conclusion, the film is filled with wry observations and fragile wisdom.

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The Beat That My Heart Skipped

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Jacques Audiard delivers a stylishly chilly re-imagination of James Toback’s 1978 film, Fingers. Darker, more ambiguous and, well, French, it bristles with intimate energy. Romain Duris stars as Tom, a crooked real estate broker and thug. Discontent with his violent life, he struggles to leave the low life behind and become a concert pianist. A flawed man in search of his heart and soul, he proves to be his own worst enemy. Engaging and suspenseful, the film rises above its art-house pretensions to deliver an affecting portrait of contradiction. How very French.

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Last Days

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:00 AM

A portrait of a drug-addled rock star — based loosely on Kurt Cobain — that’s so deliberately garbled, mundane and unromantic, it makes the “this is your brain on drugs” commercials look like trailers for a Michael Bay film.

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