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7/10
Uneven...at times brilliant...many times over-indulgent and
25 October 2007
Uneven...at times brilliant...many times over-indulgent and overwrought. Weak on storytelling most of the time, this film relies on its one overpowering asset, the Beatles' music, which is undeniably compelling. Shamelessly evoking iconographic images of the time, the film has little to say about them. A light entertainment that doesn't, in the end, amount to much. Really just a longish music video. OK for that. There are definitely worse ways to spend an hour and a half. To a new generation unfamiliar with the Beatles' music it maintains the integrity of the songs while adding images that vary from poetic to silly. As a piece of cinema it does not break any new ground or have much to recommend it. The Broadway-style production numbers just seem out-of-place.
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8/10
great acting, wonderful story, music, and naked women, what's not to like?
18 March 2006
A little gem of a film. Finely done with great music, dancing, wonderful little story superbly delivered by the cast, especially Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. Solid direction from Stephen Fears. What's not to like?

This is what movie-going experience should be like. I admit, I laughed and I cried, but mostly, I just enjoyed it. The music is handled wonderfully.

I have to say that the success of the picture must be a tribute to the director and cast. The drama is handled with such delicacy and without being over-done, which would have been very easy to do. As it is, it just sits well on the mind and soul. A treat.
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Dallas 362 (2003)
A fine first film with nice performances
22 September 2003
In Scott Caan's first feature, Dallas 362, you can see the same thing as was seen in his first play ('Almost Love'), the raw elements of a budding talent. Caan, son of actor James Caan, wrote and directed the deceptively simple buddy movie and in which he also stars along with Shawn Hatosy, Jeff Goldblum, and Kelly Lynch. The film, shot on a low budget on Locations in LA, manages to create a world of its own, and one in which you finally care about these flawed characters, and without falling into any of a number of possible clich├ęs of this kind of filmmaking.

The film follows two close friends, Rusty (played by Hatosy) and Dallas (Caan), who call themselves `brothers' and are constantly becoming involved in bar fights, repeatedly being bailed out of jail by Rusty's mother, played by Kelly Lynch. Rusty wants to grow up but can't seem to break out of this pattern. Goldblum plays the mother's boyfriend who is a therapist and begins seeing Rusty as a favor to his mother. The obvious complications of this triangle come out early and are resolved in a very honest and truthful manner, and Goldblum gives a surprisingly fresh and satisfying performance.

The relationship of the friends is obvious from the beginning, and the fact that you see the problems coming makes them no less compelling. In fact, Caan has succeeded in something that is really quite difficult. As Dallas begins to dabble in ideas of larger crimes, we see coming the time when guns will come out (and they do), but even as it all happens he manages to keep the focus on the characters and not on the action. We care about what will happen to these flawed characters. This is a real strength of this film.

In fact, all of the performances are good here (including a nice turn by Val Lauren). And the film has the great virtue that it is evenly paced and not overly long. Caan manages the tricky task of working on both sides of the camera well, although this is definitely more a movie of characters and performances rather than a cinematic vision. The photography is effective for the story and shows some of the budget constraints, but it also does not call attention to itself. Undoubtedly Caan will develop as a director over time, but this is a very respectable first effort.
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