Archive for November, 2003

“Calendar Girls”

November 26, 2003

“Calendar Girls” is a mildly amusing film
based upon actual events about a group
of mature women in England who, in
order to raise money, spice up the
annual fund-raising calendar by
appearing nude. Except for the script,
a lot of effort went into this production.
I would have swapped the leads
because Helen Mirren’s strong suit
is not comedy. There are funny scenes.
but instead of being light, a soap
opera sub-plot is tossed in mid-way.
What should have been a gem,
becomes a rock.

GRADE = “C-“

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Lorelie Digs “”In America””

November 25, 2003

“”In America”” tells the story of an Irish actor (Johnny, played by Paddy Considine) who illegally immigrates with his wife (Sarah, played by Samantha Morton) and two daughters (Christy and Ariel played by real-life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger) to New York City in the early 80s. The family is still grieving over the death of Frankie, who died as a toddler in Ireland.

Things are much harder than everyone anticipated. The family is broke, and has to move into an apartment filled with junkies. Johnny can no longer emote because he is dead inside from losing Frankie, so he has to drive a cab. Coming to America was supposed to help the family heal from Frankie

Jenny looks at Ron Howard’s “”The Missing””

November 25, 2003

I

Cruise Battles on in “The Last Samurai” by Andrew Haas

November 25, 2003

“”Sake….sake…sake..”” Seriously—and apologies for the above line—this quote/scene from “”The Last Samurai”” runs on a little too long and becomes a bit annoying, undercutting what should be a powerful section of the film. It’s yelled by Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) early in his recuperation after being wounded and taken captive by a group of Japanese rebels led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe). The insurgents are fighting against what they perceive as the modernization of their home country through its embrace of Western technology as well as its culture and lifestyles.

Bad scenes aside, the story begins at a Centennial celebration in San Francisco of 1876, where the disgruntled, and drunk, Capt. Algren is working as a spokesperson for the Winchester rifle folks. His days there are, to put it one way, limited, as he is a less than stellar employee, and is also still getting over his experiences from years spent in both the Civil War and fighting against Native Americans. It’s after one of his performances, one which goes badly, that his friend Sgt. Zebulah Grant (Billy Connolly) leads him to a meeting with Col. Ben Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), a former compatriot who Algren now resents, and Japanese businessman Omura (Masato Harada).At this meeting, Omura offers Capt. Algren a position as military advisor to the Japanese Imperial Army. There is a civil war in Japan where the government is fighting Katsumoto and his samurai followers, and, they are looking to the West to help modernize the Imperial forces for this conflict. Algren, after initial reluctance, agrees to help quell this rebellion overseas, just as he has already done domestically (with both the Confederacy and Native Americans). The Captain, along with Col. Bagley and Sgt. Grant, head over to Japan as advisors and discover a country that is looking to the West for consultation in diverse areas of their society, and many Japanese are even adopting Western-style dress and haircuts. The group is greeted by Simon Graham (Timothy Spall), a native Brit and translator who works with the American visitors in their dealings with the Emperor (Schinosuke Nakamura). Simon also presents Nathan with books on the samurai–the rebels

“The Missing”

November 25, 2003

“The Missing” is a miss. Sorry, Ron, but
instead of another homerun, you have a
strikeout. This western is overlong and
exhausting to watch. Better editing would
help but would not make it what most
people are expecting. Actors seen to be
going through the motions.

GRADE = “C”

“The Barbarian Invasions”

November 24, 2003

“The Barbarian Invasions” is a French-
Canadian fantasy about a dying,
hedonistic, 50-something, divorced,
small-time college professor. Writer/
director Denys Arcand attempts to cutely
putdown organizations, nationalities,
professions, (and even 9/11) while
providing lessons on how to cook/snort
heroin. Lots of sex talk but no nudity.
Editing leaves a lot to be desired.
Performances range from excellent to
laughable to catatonic.

GRADE = “C+”

A sour note: “”The Singing Detective””

November 20, 2003

If you are unfamiliar with Dennis Potter

All Aboard! Sean adores “”The Station Agent””

November 20, 2003

At 88 minutes,

“”Glass”” shatters expectations

November 20, 2003

Since its inception, politically passionate writers have sought jobs at The New Republic. Self-described as the

“”Gothika”” Does Not Disappoint, By Leslie Dey

November 20, 2003

Could a movie with a name like Gothika, starring Halle Berry stars as a psychiatrist be any good? YES. Gothika is an exciting, suspense-filled thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

The movie takes place in a Connecticut mental institution. Charles S. Dutton, Robert Downey, Jr. and Berry play psychiatrists at the facility. Dutton is married to Berry. One wonders why such a talented actor as Dutton would take on such a small role. But when he locks lips with the beautiful Berry in one of the very few scenes that he is in, it becomes crystal clear. There isn