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items tagged with Kevin Spacey

"David Gale" Is Bad, but Not All That Bad: "The Life of David Gale," "Old School," and "Deliver Us from Eva"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-02-26 00:00:00

Laura Linney and Kevin Spacey in The Life of David GaleTHE LIFE OF DAVID GALE

Reading the reviews for Alan Parker’s The Life of David Gale, you might assume that it’s the most staggeringly offensive cinematic release since Freddy Got Fingered. (Glenn Kenny of Premiere magazine and Roger Ebert gave the film a combined total of zero stars.) And upon realizing that the film in question boasts the considerable acting abilities of Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, and Laura Linney, not to mention direction by two-time Oscar nominee Alan Parker, you’d have every right to wonder: Can the movie be that god-awful? The short answer is: No, it’s not. Parker’s film is bad, yes, but it’s bad in typical Hollywood fashion, especially for a paranoid thriller; the plot twists are ludicrous, the dialogue, especially when dealing directly with the film’s polemic over the death penalty, is clunky, and it’s so high on its do-gooder mentality that it comes off as vaguely embarrassing. But despite what you might have read, it’s not the work of Lucifer, merely the work of talented individuals acting uncharacteristically like hacks.


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Lynch’s Latest Builds a Dream Palace: "Mulholland Dr.", "Heist," and "Life as a House"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-11-14 00:00:00

Laura Elena Harring in Mulholland Dr.MULHOLLAND DR.

We’ve all had the experience: It’s the middle of the night, and you awaken from a dream so vivid, so unreal, so funny and terrifying in equal measure, that your only thought is to go back to sleep immediately, to re-enter that astonishing dream state and keep it going.


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Acting Duo Elevates "K-PAX": Also, "13 Ghosts"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-10-31 00:00:00

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.


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“Best” and Worst: “Best in Show” and “Pay It Forward”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-11-01 12:00:00

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.


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Making a Killing: "What Lies Beneath," "The Big Kahuna," and "The In Crowd"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2000-07-26 00:00:00

Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford in What Lies BeneathWHAT LIES BENEATH

As far as I can tell, the only people who might enjoy Robert Zemeckis’ supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath are the ones that haven’t yet seen its trailer, but I’m not sure if anyone qualifies anymore. That’s not just because the omnipresent trailer gives away far too many plot twists, but seeing the preview makes watching the entire first hour of the film pointless. Movie trailers have been getting worse and worse about providing too much information; this is the first time they came close to spoiling an entire movie for me.


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