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The Billy Club: "Billy Elliot" and "Men of Honor" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 14 November 2000 18:00

Jamie Bell in Billy ElliotBILLY ELLIOT

Billy Elliot, the British coming-of-age comedy/drama that has finally opened wide after a successful art-house run, is for anyone who longs to see a strong, simple story finely detailed and exquisitely performed.

 
Sleepy and Dopey: "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and "Charlie's Angels" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 07 November 2000 18:00

Will Smith and Matt Damon in The Legend of Bagger VanceTHE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE

The Legend of Bagger Vance, Robert Redford’s golfing fable, isn’t a work of any depth, and there’s precious little intelligence on display, but it sure looks pretty – so pretty, in fact, that audiences might not realize that the movie itself is a dud. From the golden-hued cinematography of the great Michael Ballhaus to the stunning, Depression-era costuming and production design, it’s clear that the film has been made with the utmost care and a real attention to physical and aural beauty; if you didn’t understand a word of English, you might find it a masterpiece.

 
Dim and Dimmer: "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" and "Lucky Numbers" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 02 November 2000 18:00

Kim Director and Erica Leerhsen in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2

Let’s face it: There was plenty of built-in expectation with the arrival of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, and the expectation was that the film would suck. Those who loved The Blair Witch Project, as I did, would miss that film’s cinéma vérité style and simplicity, and rail on about how Book of Shadows was exactly the kind of dumbed-down splatter flick that Blair Witch rebelled against. Those who hated the original, which seems the more common response (at least among my acquaintances), would have their beliefs confirmed that the whole Blair Witch “mythology” is lame, and that we’ve been hoodwinked by marketing and Internet paranoia into making these movies hits. Wouldn’t it be great to report that this sequel had defied its skeptics and emerged as smashing entertainment?

 
“Best” and Worst: “Best in Show” and “Pay It Forward” PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 01 November 2000 06:00

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in Best in ShowBEST IN SHOW

The genius of Christopher Guest lies in his belief that nothing is funnier than mediocrity. (He's the antithesis of Peter Shaffer's Salieri in Amadeus, who saw it as a tragic failure.) In his two finest cinematic efforts, This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman, the performers examined in the "mockumentary" format - Tap's hard rockers and Guffman's thespians - were delightful because of their clueless self-satisfaction; they truly thought they were creating Art, or at least really kick-ass entertainment. And the joke blossomed every time we watched them perform their shows before audiences, because it turned out that these well-meaning hacks, while by no means terrific, weren't all that bad. They might have been lacking in talent, but their enthusiasm was infectious, and it made sense that their shows were hits. (God knows I've seen worse community-theatre productions than Guffman's Red, White, & Blaine.) Guest, who co-wrote both films and served as director for Guffman, was thereby able to poke fun at his characters and have you genuinely rooting for them at the same time.

 
Entertainment Nothing to Sneer At: "Dr. T and the Women" and "The Contender" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 October 2000 18:00

Helen Hunt and Richard Gere in Dr. T & the WomenDR. T AND THE WOMEN

Dr. T and the Women shows director Robert Altman in a sunny, happy frame of mind – for almost an hour and a half. Trouble is, the film runs a little over two hours. As the movie nears its conclusion, it starts to go sour, and you get a gnawing feeling that Altman and his screenwriter (Anne Rapp) aren’t going to know how to end their work.

 
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