Archive for September, 2004

March of the Penguins

When I was a boy, long before Bruce Springsteen sang about 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On), if we wanted to see a wildlife documentary, we had to go to the theater. Walt Disney Pictures cornered the market, and except for an occasional showing on the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night, the only way to see Charlie The Lonesome Cougar, Rascal or The Incredible Journey was at the Saturday matinee, where we would gobble down Flicks and frozen Milk Shakes. Read the rest of this entry »

Antwone Fisher

By default, movies about real people usually suffer from matters of convenience. Since it’s impossible to accommodate every detail, emotion and event of someone’s life into a two-hour film, they often have to be streamlined or combined to make the final cut.
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Silence of the Lambs

“Silence of the Lambs” is a case study of how great a film can be when all of the elements come together. Director Jonathan Demme brought years of exploitation and mainstream experience to the film, and displayed a maturity that would elevate him to the next level as a director. Read the rest of this entry »

Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The

Steve Zissou, sea-film auteur a la Jacques Cousteau, has reason to be melancholy: his partner has been eaten, perhaps by a mythic jaguar shark, his wife may be taking up with her ex-husband, a young man appears claiming Steve is his father (Steve hates fathers), his most recent films have tanked, he’s having trouble raising money for his venture to revenge his partner, and he’s attracted to a pregnant reporter who prefers the pretender. At sea, in pursuit of the shark, will he escape pirates and mutiny, forge the bonds of fatherhood, place his arm around his wife, find the monster of the deep, re-establish box office hegemony, and discover a reason to smile? Read the rest of this entry »

Exorcist: The Beginning

Father Lankester Merrin thinks that he has glimpsed the face of Evil. In the years following World War II, Merrin is relentlessly haunted by memories of the unspeakable brutality perpetrated against the innocent people of his parish during the War. In the wake of all the horror he has seen, both his faith in his fellow man and his faith in the Almighty have deserted him, and he can no longer honestly call himself a man of God Read the rest of this entry »


A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, but a chainsaw up your noise will give you a migraine. Often imitated yet never equaled, “Casablanca” endures because of its timeless elements and classic storytelling. Fifty-five years after its release and after being named number two on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films of all time, “Casablanca” arrives on DVD, and what a wonderful opportunity to snuggle up to an old friend. Read the rest of this entry »


They are the type of headlines that instantly grab your attention. You read them with morbid curiosity. Train derails, no survivors. Plane crashes on take-off. No survivors. Bus plunges off icy road. No survivors. Read the rest of this entry »

Where The Money Is

He’s been around so long that sometimes we take him for granted. Even when he’s in a bad film, I’ve never seen a bad Paul Newman performance. Although he prefers to dabble in salad dressing and popcorn, Newman is like a fine wine. He only gets better with age. Read the rest of this entry »

When Brendan Met Trudy

Brendan, a Dublin high school history teacher, lives his life like a movie. When we first meet Brendan, he’s lying face down in a rain-filled gutter. The scene looks familiar. It’s supposed to. It’s the scene that opens “Sunset Boulevard.” Read the rest of this entry »

Good Shepherd, The

CHRISTIAN SLATER plays a worldly and urbane priest who is forced to challenge his comfortable existence as an ecclesiastical spin-doctor when he comes to believe in the innocence of a young priest accused of murder. His only ally, a journalist, is also his former sweetheart. Read the rest of this entry »

The Rocky Horror Show DVD

Flashback. 1974. I was a junior in high school. I was also among those privileged to catch “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Roxy Theater on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Way too young to appreciate the freak show that made up the audience, but old enough to appreciate the freak show on stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Sinema review



This Showtime Original Movie isn’t on video yet, but you can still catch it as it plays on the cable network. A video release is due next Fall. What would you do if you had the opportunity to take a DNA test to find out if your unborn baby is healthy? Better yet, what would you do if the same test also produced evidence that the baby would be born homosexual? Read the rest of this entry »

Phone Booth

Remember the good old days when if you wanted to get someone in trouble, you would “drop a dime” on them. Thanks to the prolific rise of cellular phones, calling plans, and exuberant pay phone charges, “dropping a dime” on someone has lost all its meaning. Read the rest of this entry »

One True Thing

You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll pay $7 to see Meryl Streep kiss her butt goodbye! There isn’t any living actress on the face of this Earth who can hold a candle to Meryl Streep. She’s truly amazing. She can do anything, and that includes saving the teary-eyed chick flick “One True Thing” from slipping into maudlin. Read the rest of this entry »

Miss Congeniality 2

Since Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous is set in Las Vegas, it’s almost a safe bet to say the sequel will clean up in theaters. Like tumbling dice, the odds are against anyone hoping to repeat the success of the first roll. After all is said and done, Miss Congeniality 2 craps out. Read the rest of this entry »