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The Secret Lives of Dentists (2002)
You may feel a slight pinch
Quietly, quirky film ...though perhaps not as magical as some of Rudolph's early work. Still, capturing quite effectively the challenge, the dilemma of Love in the midst of Life, of Family, of Better & most definitely of Worse. Leary is excellently grating as the acerbic alter ego, speaking both for the Audience and Narrator when he says "I'd want to know!" This perspective however sits in sharp
contrast to the narrative path and provides the dynamic tension which sustains the story. Engaging, entertaining, and ultimately, thought-provoking.
Blood Work (2002)
Boring, Banal & Bloodless
Hard to go wrong... combining an outstanding thriller writer (Connelly) with an outstanding set of actors (Eastwood & Daniels) with an outstanding director (Eastwood)....but, sadly, it all collapses. Daniels is a poor choice for the role......Clint is, ultimately, too old for the character.....the plot twists are telegraphed....the emotional connection with any of the characters is non-existent....the love interest is unbelievable & unarticulated. Not worth even a rental.
Soul Assassin (2001)
Killing the audience with total indifference
Accomplishing what I had thought impossible, this film moves from intriguing/thriller-worthy premise to absolute schlock within 5 minutes of the opening credits. No story. No characters. No acting. Dubious cinematography (I guess it's just a Blue, Blue World). All this matched by an ending which establishes a new standard for 'lousy'. Given that it was a free rental....I want my money back.
The Musketeer (2001)
M I C, K E Y, M -- O -- U -- S -- E !!!
One of the very worst films....totally appropriate for TigerLilly overdubbing. Horrid acting, trivial plot, ridiculous action. A strong candidate for Fast Forward honors! Unfortunately it is too easy to imagine a conversation in some LA bar between two Jeff Spicoli's: "Dude, what if we combined like, The Matrix...with, like, some totally awesome sword fighting...and made, like, a movie!"
Yes, it is.
Beautiful, poetic film....artfully combining & contrasting the seeming solidity and eternal nature of Mount St. Michael with the sweeping and ethereal conversations of a poet, a physicist, and a politician as they each (and together) explore the question of existence (oranges & cherries, oh my!)
Off key & flat
Outstanding comedic premise and a cast of outstanding players....too bad they did not have a better plot, better writing, better dialogue. The ending, to what could have been a nice, little, satisfactory 'B' movie dropped it into the definitively poor category. [though I would rewatch the karaoke, 'Fast Eddie' hustling scene and the initial duet between the Braugher/Giamatti characters]
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
O Oscar, Where Art Thou?
Tremendous film, surprising, much more than I had anticipated. Each actor's performance is perfectly pitched to blend seamlessly....achieving both the harmonies of the Foggy Bottom Boys and and vision of the Coen Brothers. A brilliant comedy.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Clever idea, excellent performance, but...
not what it could have been or should have been. Unfortunately predictable from beginning to end....a British SchoolBoy Flashdance (without the catchy tunes) constructing an unbelievable character (though the lead actor did an outstanding job with limited material) dealing with an unbelievable series of artificial situations.
Pay It Forward (2000)
A waste of top-notch talent & great idea
The movie, unfortunately, felt compelled to follow the novel's lead and succeeded only in wasting the abilities of Hunt & Spacey in what is essentially no more than a Made-For-TV series of artificial & blatantly manipulative plot twists & turns. It is sadly & entirely formulaic.
What Women Want (2000)
Trite, simplistic, formulaic, and only moderately clever. What rescues this film from total oblivion: the obvious fun that Gibson had with the role (particularly the Kelly-like dance sequence) and the performance of Hunt, which was typically nuanced far beyond the demands of the script. Ultimately the movie was schizophrenically confused about what it wanted to be when it grew-up: a comedy? a dramady? a biting social commentary? Ultimately it succeeded in d) none of the above.