Films Review May

AMERICAN BEAUTY (R)

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was lust. When he first saw her, she was more than the nubile 17 year-old best friend of his daughter. She was a goddess, capable of stopping time so that a moment with her would seem like eternity.


Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari discuss horticulture in Her lips were full and red, her young body tight and firm. For 42 year-old Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), Angela (Mena Suvari) was a goddess. In just one brief moment she made Lester feel alive again. Trapped in a loveless marriage and a crappy job, Lester had been going through the motions so long he forgot what it felt like to be alive. Director Sam Mendes does more than go through the motions with “American Beauty,” a dark, witty tale of the American dream gone to hell. Making what is perhaps a consummate director’s debut, Mendes paints a portrait of a family that is not only dysfunctional, but completely detached. Click title for complete review. (DreamWorks)

BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (R)

Martin Scorsese is such an important director that with each new film comes a certain amount of expectation. That is why his latest film, “Bringing Out The Dead,” is such a major disappointment. Scorsese seems like a natural to direct the big screen version of Joe Connelly’s novel about an eventful weekend in the life of a burnt out New York City paramedic. Scorsese and the “Mean Streets” of New York go hand-in-hand, and yet “Bringing Out The Dead” finds the director at his weakest. Dull and laborious, “Bringing Out The Dead” is much ado about nothing. It pretends to be another one of those “slice of life” diatribes but comes off as nothing more than two painful hours of watching Nicolas Cage go through one of his trademark benders. Click title for complete review. (Paramount)

END OF THE AFFAIR (R)

Of all of life’s romantic pleasures, to me the most erotic is passion. A lot of people mistake lust for passion. Real passion goes beyond superficial sex. It totally inhabits the individual, rendering them helpless. Real passion creates a heat wave that sears through everything else. It’s extremely difficult to capture honest passion on film, and that extends to the world of adult movies. More often than not passion is part of the act. It must be difficult, if not impossible, for an actor to create something so raw and personal. Especially in front of a camera. Director Neil Jordan comes extremely close in his remake of “The End of the Affair,” based on one of writer Graham Greene’s most personal novels. Greene’s tale of a writer in wartime London struggling through an affair with his best friend’s wife has been told before, but never with as much passion. Click title for complete review. (Columbia-TriStar)

HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS (R)

Music rights have held up release of director Floyd Mutrux’s nostalgic comedy-drama on video, but now that those rights have been cleared, everyone can once again enjoy this raucous romp. When their favorite burger joint gets ready to close up for good on Halloween Eve, the members of the local car club decide to send it out in style. The film is filled with numerous hilarious moments as different groups of characters work towards their goal. Tony Danza and his car club members prepare to send off a friend to Vietnam, while Robert Wuhl and his comrades invade a school talent show and dance. I especially liked the sub-plot involving a group of car club recruits trying to make their way to a radio station before midnight. Even though the emphasis is on comedy, the film also displays an uncommon heart. You really care about the characters and what is going to happen to them. Like “American Graffiti,” “Hollywood Knights” is about the rites of passage. The character’s know that the the times are changing, yet want one last hurrah. Set in 1965, the film features authentic period detail and an excellent soundtrack of collectible oldies. Look for Michelle Pfeiffer in her film debut. (Columbia-TriStar)

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SEDUCTION (R/UR/New Horizons)



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