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48 reviews in total 
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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Denzel en fuego, 30 September 2004

Redemption via revenge. Starts cynical and unsentimental but loses its teeth along the way; this compromises its moral foundation, which in the setup threatened to be formidable. What promised to be a solid genre piece becomes a muddy, plodding mess. The whole enterprise, dragged under by weight of its delusions of grandeur, becomes as fractured as its editing is frenetic.

Most amusingly, after 2+ hours of the capital as dangerous, seedy, corrupt, and terminally decadent, the first credit up is the quasi-apologetic 'MEXICO CITY: A TRULY GREAT PLACE' (or something to that extent).

Pulled Off, 2 June 2003

An opposite-field single. Gray keeps from overswinging a la Bay & Bruckheimer, going with the pitch he's served up. This incarnation of `The Italian Job' doesn't have the cache, wit, or style of the latest `Ocean's 11', but then again it doesn't have delusions of grandeur either. There's nary a scrap of fat on its bones, and the characters are drawn expressively and efficiently enough to keep it from being a soulless exercise. But an exercise it is.

It's an especially nice change to see Mr. Wahlberg appearing to have so good a time, looking so pleasant a guy; this is the wrong kind of movie to be gritting your teeth in, so he's smart to be playing it cool. More 'Judy, Judy' here than he was in `The Truth About Charlie'- which is not to say that `The Italian Job', or his role or performance within, is worthy of Cary Grant. For one, his biceps betray his effortlessness- at least fit the forearms into the regimen too, Marky. Sheesh!

Frenzy (1972)
12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
not a good evening, 30 January 2003

Not even 'lesser' Hitch, but simply a bad movie. The cinematic equivalent of a dirty-old-man. Ugly in every way: unimaginative script, static point of view, putrid clothing, ghastly hair, unlikable actors, and one truly gratuitous rape-and-strangulation scene. The director's perverse sense of humor is present, but it is not applied consistently; the movie comes alive only in its cruelty. The women fare especially badly; 'Frenzy' could be used as proof the director was a misogynist, though a better explanation to me is that perhaps beginning with his TV series and 'Psycho'- which he himself described as an exercise in thrift, an experiment to see if a television crew could shoot a passable feature -Alfred Hitchcock had pretty much abandoned art and settled for commerce. In 'Frenzy' the great master seems to be bowing to convention, trying to go with the times and give audiences what he thinks they want- in the form of unappealing nudity, nudge-nudge winks, and general nastiness. I don't begrudge an old man his rest, but I don't want to remember him tired and lazy and pandering- time to watch 'Vertigo' again!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Paved With Good Intentions, 26 July 2002

Has more pedigree than a kennel. A very earnest endeavor on the part of all concerned, and no doubt many trophies, plaques and statues will exchange hands. You can wake me when the last speech has been made.

Dramatically and thematically, "Road to Perdition" plods grimly along; it has Something Very Important To Say and is fond of saying it twice, and often three times just to be safe, for anyone who may have missed what was obvious from the start. It's high-gloss prestige junk food, a Serious Movie for people who never go further than the new release section at Blockbuster- an emotional sequel, if you will, to the Oscar-baiting films of Rob Reiner ("A Few Good Men", "Ghosts of Mississippi") and Lasse Hallstrom ("Cider House Rules", "Chocolat", "The Shipping News"). The movie is rote and plodding and impressively mounted, neat and tidy and thoroughly innocuous, lacking genuine, messy passion and respect enough for its audience to provide us with entertainment as well as instruction. A stranger's obituary- or a good episode of "The Wonder Years", for that matter -is more moving than "Road to Perdition".

But I confess, most people will probably be impressed. It does indeed do a very thorough job of presenting itself as an object to be taken seriously. But so did that kid in the back of my sophomore English class, and nobody could stand him so why does Sturm Und Drang like this get a pass? "People ask me if my father was a good man"- they do? Who on earth would put that question to anybody? I hereby declare a ban on voice-over narration for all filmmakers who aren't Terence Malick.

God himself sees through cinematographer Conrad Hall's lens, but it's all pretty pictures in search of something worthwhile on which to hang. And it certainly was nice to see Paul Newman; his scenes were good, they hinted at a more vibrant and compelling movie. Plus, it reminded me that we were out of his yummy Peach Salsa.

Swordfish (2001)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
One to be left off the resume..., 5 May 2002

This movie DEFINES gratuity. It's a jumble of uglyness, ignoring all good taste and humor. That the movie is incoherent only adds to its vileness; it is by turns crass, preposterous, laughable, and pretentious. Remember when you were a kid and it sounded like a really good idea to mix all the fountain sodas together in one cup? "Swordfish" is the cinematic equivalent, a graveyard pastiche of pointlessness.

Viewers should also be aware that, in light of recent events, "Swordfish" is particularly objectionable for certain events it depicts, and for its glib invocation (and even, arguably, condoning) of terrorism. One begins to understand how depraved we must appear to some who might see this, and 'entertainments' like it, and have no reason not to consider them as indicative of our entire culture.

To top it off, "Swordfish" is even ugly to look at, metallic and antiseptic, with as much artistry as you'd expect from a beer commercial.

Traffic (2000)
Bottlenecked, 14 March 2001

A head-turning cast, a white-hot director, an issue-driven script, a long running time. What- other than lots of recognition -does it make for? Not long enough. Feels like the "greatest hits" from a longer drama- which, not having seen the British miniseries on which it is based, I suspect it might be. Rarely do I feel that a film would be improved more by adding than removing footage, but "Traffic" would be.

Many characters' motivations are unexplained, or just inexplicable. Complications of drugs and the 'war' on them are raised, then abandoned. Name actors pop up, then disappear. Another 30 minutes or so could have helped add some definition to "Traffic"'s skeleton of ideas. Or, better yet, make a two-hour movie revolving around Mr. Del Toro's character. The other two stories aren't nearly as compelling, at least not as they're told here.

Mr. Soderbergh's direction of the actors is assured, even delightful (I'd love to see those Cheadle/Guzman outtakes!). But his photography, while gorgeous, it's also obvious in its nature. I felt I was being nudged every time the movie changed locales: oh, we're in Mexico; ok, we're back in D.C. This, and frequent shortcuts taken by the script, underestimate the patience and intelligence of the audience.

I am glad to see such a mainstream, politically-oriented, open-minded movie produced; certainly the conversation it has engendered is welcome, and we need more films like it in these respects. But, as a work of art, "Traffic" is stalled, falling short of the heady heights for which it aims.

13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
generic greeting!, 30 December 2000

Stream-of-consciousness conception, sharp writing and creative technique. There's plenty here to amuse any smart audience, but the parts add up to an (intentionally) oblique whole. The film is so playful and irrespective of convention, it's as if Soderbergh threw up his hands and said 'Screw it, I can't make the movies they want me to." Take it with his work since and you've got the most supple, witty and consistent filmmaker working in the U.S. today.

There's lots to analyze, and myriad connections to be made. But don't try to make too much sense of it... let it take you, and enjoy.

Candyman (1992)
The Candyman Can, 31 October 2000

I was mislead- Sammi Davis Jr. isn't anywhere to be found in this flick!

But seriously, folks...

Abounding with vagaries and saddled with one ending too many, this is nonetheless one of the better contemporary horror films. In particular, the racial implications and subtext resonate, lending depth to what could have been just another boogeyman gorefest. And I like how the filmmakers took pains *not* to explain every last detail, and to tell the story visually.

I caught it on broadcast TV, and I can't imagine that the graphic depictions edited out would make the movie any better- just grosser.

Poor Kasi Lemmons, at least she graduated from Trusted Black Friend to a chair behind the camera.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
My Lord, 25 September 2000

This isn't merely some overlooked, minor chiller- this is an out-and-out CLASSIC!!! I can say nothing about this it that it can't say for itself. A few years ago I had seen it, liked it, and then recently rented it again- and watched it twice in two days.

One caveat- on VHS the power of this film is diminished. Freddie Francis' widescreen cinematography is remarkable, an unsettling revelation. If you *ever* have the chance, watch it on the big screen, or laserdisc- or DVD! Don't worry about its similarities to "The Others," this is a different, and superior, film. Good as she can be, Nicole can't hold a candle to Ms. Kerr.

1 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Yawns over roars, 18 August 2000

The adulation this flick receives completely mystifies me. Dramatically, musically and artistically, it's one of Disney's least distinguished animated entries.

What it DOES have for it is Disney's slickest blend of radio-ready pop songs, celebrity voices, mumbo-jumbo eco-politics, anemic plot, pre-stuffed animals, and slapstick buffoonery. Commercial alchemy on this level is rare indeed, and try as it might the Mouse-House hasn't been able to top "The Lion King" yet.

(As for the animation itself, it's impressive but far too grounded in realism. Give me the lines and angles of "101 Dalmatians" any day.)

Spun so neatly, "The Lion King" is a cinematic confection- tasty as cotton candy and with just about as much texture.

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