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Acting Duo Elevates "K-PAX": Also, "13 Ghosts" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 30 October 2001 18:00

Kevin Spacey in K-PAXK-PAX

Kevin Spacey has made a career out of being snidely patronizing, of being the smartest person in the room, and that’s what I adore about him; he patently refuses to be lovable, and his wicked intelligence and dry-as-sandpaper line readings give a snap to just about every role he plays. (That’s why his performance as the physically and emotionally scarred teacher in last year’s imbecilic tearjerker Pay It Forward was so disappointing; he’s not built for sentiment, and his presence in that mopey role merely exposed the film’s schmaltziness.) I guess it was inevitable that Spacey, who always comes off as knowing more than we do, would one day play an alien (or is he?) who arrives on Earth to teach us all lessons about life and love that we can’t figure out for ourselves. And so we have K-PAX, which had the potential to be excruciating but, as directed by Iain Softley and performed by a marvelous cast led by Spacey and Jeff Bridges, turns out to be thoroughly engaging; it’s a case study in how the right director and performers can redeem mostly worthless material.

 
"From Hell" Is Heaven-Sent: Also, "Riding in Cars with Boys" and "The Last Castle" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 18:00

Johnny Depp in From HellFROM HELL

You can be forgiven for assuming that From Hell, Allen and Albert Hughes’ re-telling of the Jack the Ripper saga (based on the immensely popular graphic novel), is a follow-up to Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, what with its previews focusing on a shadowy murderer, lots of fog and mist, Johnny Depp’s investigator speaking in a British accent (Cockney this time), and Heather Graham in the Christina Ricci role of the Corseted Love Interest.

 
Washington’s "Training Day" Is Mostly Act: Also, "Bandits" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 18 October 2001 18:00

Denzel Washington in Training DayTRAINING DAY

In Training Day, Denzel Washington plays a character so far against type – a ruthless, volatile inner-city detective who just might be a sociopath – that the movie’s opening 30 minutes give you a bit of a charge; you’re willing to give this umpteenth good-cop/bad-cop tale the benefit of the doubt for the chance to see Washington showboat in a larger-than-life villain role.

 
Stiller Finally Gets His Breakout Comic Role: "Zoolander," "Joy Ride," and "Serendipity" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 09 October 2001 18:00

Ben Stiller in ZoolanderZOOLANDER

Those of us who’ve been waiting, in film after film, for Ben Stiller to hit the comedic peaks he reached on his short-lived TV series The Ben Stiller Show might find Zoolander pretty irresistible.

 
A Sinking Heart Over "Atlantis": "Hearts in Atlantis" and "Don't Say a Word" PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 October 2001 18:00

Anton Yelchin and Hope Davis in Hearts in AtlantisHEARTS IN ATLANTIS

Given current events, are audiences now so hungry for nostalgic, nonthreatening entertainment that they’ll happily accept something as profoundly awful as Hearts in Atlantis? If so, you certainly can’t blame them, but Lord knows they deserve better than this mawkish Stephen King adaptation, a gooey and incoherent fable that gets more maddening as it progresses. I have friends who swear by the greatness of King’s novel (unread by me), but the film version comes off as a mixture of the feyest aspects of the mostly terrific Stand by Me (based on King’s novella The Body) and the metaphysical hokiness of King’s The Green Mile. It proves to be a nearly unbearable combination, and yet something tells me that this wimpy, unfocused film could turn into a big hit among those who believe, as its author apparently does, that America died right about the time King turned 13.

 
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