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items tagged with Thrillers

Newly Arrived Oscar Nominees Unmissable: "Far from Heaven," "The Pianist," "Dark Blue," and "Gods & Generals"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-03-05 00:00:00

Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert in Far from HeavenFAR FROM HEAVEN and THE PIANIST

While huge movie markets such as New York and L.A. had to content themselves with only one major new release this past weekend – Cradle 2 the Grave, featuring the long-awaited pairing of Jet Li and Tom Arnold – we’re being treated to the area debuts of Far from Heaven and The Pianist, two of 2002’s greatest achievements and the recipients of 11 Oscar nominations between them. Both movies are so good that it’s almost churlish to recommend one over the over – by all means see both – but if pressed, I gotta give the edge to Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.


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"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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"The Recruit" Shouldn’t Be Boring – But It Is: Also "Darkness Falls" and "Final Destination 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-02-05 00:00:00

Al Pacino and Colin Farrell in The RecruitTHE RECRUIT

In Roger Donaldson’s The Recruit, Colin Farrell plays M.I.T. graduate James Clayton, whose astonishing computer prowess catches the attention of C.I.A. agent Walter Burke (Al Pacino). Burke enlists Clayton to join the organization, bringing the young man to a top-secret, governmental compound nicknamed The Farm, where Clayton will train as a C.I.A. operative. While at The Farm – a hall-of-mirrors environment where, we’re told ad nauseum, “nothing is what it seems” – Clayton falls for fellow recruit Layla (Bridget Moynahan), who, Burke later reveals, is secretly a mole, attempting to sabotage the C.I.A. from within; Clayton’s assignment is to catch her in the act. Will Clayton’s love for Layla threaten his allegiance to the C.I.A.? Does Layla even have a secret agenda? Is Burke really who we think he is? Is anything what it seems?


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"The Hours" Among the Year’s Best: Also, "Narc" and "Just Married"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-01-22 00:00:00

Meryl Streep and Ed Harris in The HoursTHE HOURS

Stephen Daldry’s The Hours is so meticulously crafted, so assured in its conception, and so insistent on its themes and motifs that it’s bound to drive a lot of people bananas.


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Best Bets This Week Are in the Video Store: Also "Analyze That" and "Empire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-12-11 00:00:00

Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro in Analyze ThatANALYZE THAT and EMPIRE

It’s enough to make a grown movie-critic weep: You rave about Solaris, a science-fiction work that’s psychologically rich, challenging, and incredibly unusual, and you read in the paper that the audience-tracking firm Cinemascore has ranked it the most universally loathed major release in 20 years. You check out the top-10 list from the National Board of Review, the first organization to hand out year-end kudos, and realize that only one of those 10 films has (as yet) made it to the Quad Cities, and that one only stayed for a week at Moline’s Nova 6 Cinemas. And you eagerly look forward to a December weekend of new releases – surely some of those terrific-looking titles will finally appear? – and your only options are Analyze That and Empire.


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