Archive for September, 2005

Thank You For Smoking

Nick Naylor is a lobbyist, and he’s one of the most hated men on the face of the earth. The label doesn’t bother Nick, because he’s not only good at what he does, he’s absolutely brilliant at what he does.

Nick sells poison. He knows it, the people who buy his product know it, and the people trying to regulate him know it. Selling home kits to club baby Harp Seals would be a step up for Nick, but he’s not interested. Read the rest of this entry »

Mister Roberts

I wasn’t even a twinkle in my parent’s eyes in 1955 when “Mister Roberts” was released, so my frame of reference is a little skewed. I didn’t see the film (at least that I remembered) until the late 1970’s when we were doing the stage play. Read the rest of this entry »


Contrary to popular belief, the movie musical is not dead, but has been on life-support since the animated Disney musicals of the 90s, just waiting for the right team of artists to revive it. Director Baz Luhrmann managed to raise a pulse with “Moulin Rouge!,” but that white elephant on acid was made directly for the screen. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pledge

“The Pledge” begins with the brutal murder of a young girl in a small town. Across town, the local police help detective Jerry Black celebrate his pending retirement. With six hours left on the clock, Black requests to be part of the crime team. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Tall

The third remake in as many weeks, “Walking Tall” is a serviceable reworking of the 1973 film about real life southern sheriff Buford Pusser. Like most modern remakes, “Walking Tall” is inspired rather than based on the original, giving the filmmakers an opportunity to put their own stamp on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Spider-Man 2

Sleeker, faster, leaner, meaner and packed with features, the 2004 edition of “Spider-Man” blows the 2002 model off the road. With rare exception, sequels take a step down, but “Spider-Man 2” isn’t so much a sequel as a continuation, allowing director Sam Raimi and writer Alvin Sargent to further explore the double-edged sword that is youthful and exuberant newspaper photographer Peter Parker and his super hero alter ego Spider-Man. Read the rest of this entry »

Space Cowboys

While watching “Space Cowboys,” I kept trying to figure out which was older: the combined age of the stars or the jokes they’re forced to tell.

“Space Cowboys” is one of those movies that flies solely on the charms of its cast, and even they aren’t enough to keep this gossamer from sinking like a lead weight. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pianist

I have known musicians, pianists in particular, who are so passionate about their music that they become one with their instrument. It’s a sort of musical nirvana that completely engulfs the player, creating a bubble that separates the musician from the distractions around them. Read the rest of this entry »


When Robert Altman’s “Nashville” first graced theater screens in 1975, I wasn’t old enough to fully appreciate the effort. I was quite impressed with the musical soundtrack (which as a collector of soundtracks, I immediately went out and bought a copy), but the film’s structure and character development totally escaped me. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost Rider

Growing up around our house meant sharing the stereo, and as a child, sharing usually meant listening to what my parents were listening to. Country-western music was a favorite, and even though I didn’t like it, Johnny Cash was a personal favorite. There was something about his rendition of AGhost Riders in the Sky@ which tapped into my imagination. Read the rest of this entry »