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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 11, 2003
NEW YORK - "Maintaining his dignity through this entire maddening experience": That's how actor Adrien Brody sums up musician-composer Wladyslaw Szpilman's struggle to survive the Warsaw Ghetto, as recounted in his memoir The Pianist. It was also the challenge posed to Brody when he took the role of Szpilman in Roman Polanski's movie - a project all the more charged because Polanski barely escaped the liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto and lost his mother in Auschwitz. For the 29-year-old actor who was supposed to emerge as a star from Terrence Malick's 1998 The Thin Red Line, only to be cut from most of the picture, The Pianist has become an unexpected career breakthrough, earning him several best actor prizes, most recently from the National Society of Film Critics (which named The Pianist best picture and also honored the direction and the script)
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By Michael Sragow | December 19, 2008
Cadillac Records *** ( 3 STARS) This movie hasn't gotten the push it deserves from distributors or critics, but Darnell Martin's movie about Leonard Chess, the self-made Chicago "record man" who put Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry and Howlin' Wolf on vinyl and paid Alan Freed and other DJs to put them on the air, sends audiences out singing its praises. Whatever you feel about the contention that Chess and company created rock 'n' roll, the movie makes a great case for it: You feel present at the birth of a new American pop culture.
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By Robert W. Welkos And Susan King and Robert W. Welkos And Susan King,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | March 24, 2003
HOLLYWOOD - In an evening filled with raw emotion, stunning surprises and even a little '60s-style peace protests thrown in for good measure, Chicago, the Roaring '20s musical morality tale, won the Oscar for Best Picture last night at the 75th Academy Awards. And, though the win for the overwhelmingly popular Chicago was expected, the wins for actor Adrien Brody and director Roman Polanski for the Holocaust drama The Pianist were shockers that drew gasps and sustained applause from the stunned audience.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2008
Bolt What it's about : A dog who plays a superhero on TV thinks he is one in real life, which presents all sorts of problems when he unexpectedly finds himself in New York, a continent away from his beloved owner, Penny. Rated: PG The scoop : The script is smart, its conceit a heart-tugger in the finest of senses, and it's the first Disney effort in way too long to be more concerned with being a movie than with being a breeding ground for product tie-ins. Grade ***: 1/2 ( 3 1/2 STARS)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 12, 2007
An off-screen suicide attempt and an on-screen death betray the slightness of The Darjeeling Limited, an only intermittently amusing movie about three privileged, estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) who embark on a crackpot journey in search of spiritual enlightenment. Despite the reputation of the director and co-writer, Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), the movie is no lyrical farce but an upscale slapstick comedy-team movie. Remember the early-'60s run of Three Stooges features, such as The Three Stooges In Orbit?
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 4, 2005
For all its energy and seeming inventiveness, The Jacket doesn't really go anywhere or amount to anything - a fatal flaw in a time-travel movie designed not only to keep you guessing, but to build genuine suspense as well. Adrien Brody, still looking for that worthy follow-up to his Oscar win for The Pianist, is Jack Starks, an American soldier shot in the head while on duty in Iraq during the gulf war. He survives, but now finds himself prone to hallucinations and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow | December 19, 2008
Cadillac Records *** ( 3 STARS) This movie hasn't gotten the push it deserves from distributors or critics, but Darnell Martin's movie about Leonard Chess, the self-made Chicago "record man" who put Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry and Howlin' Wolf on vinyl and paid Alan Freed and other DJs to put them on the air, sends audiences out singing its praises. Whatever you feel about the contention that Chess and company created rock 'n' roll, the movie makes a great case for it: You feel present at the birth of a new American pop culture.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2006
The Black Dahlia What It's About: Top cops Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett try to solve the instantly infamous case of a would-be starlet whose murder seemed to sum up the sick soul of post-World War II L.A. Rated: R The Scoop: Brian De Palma, the director, imbues the imagery with an obsessive grandeur even as the narrative falls apart. But the result is still a wan, unsatisfying follow-up to the great L.A. Confidential. Grade: B- Gridiron Gang What it's about: The Rock plays the real life juvenile probation officer who molded some of the toughest residents at Camp Kilpatrick, a "last chance" facility for underage felons, into a football team.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2008
Bolt What it's about : A dog who plays a superhero on TV thinks he is one in real life, which presents all sorts of problems when he unexpectedly finds himself in New York, a continent away from his beloved owner, Penny. Rated: PG The scoop : The script is smart, its conceit a heart-tugger in the finest of senses, and it's the first Disney effort in way too long to be more concerned with being a movie than with being a breeding ground for product tie-ins. Grade ***: 1/2 ( 3 1/2 STARS)
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | July 30, 2004
Director M. Night Shyamalan is fast becoming a victim of his own successes. The Village is a neat little morality play in the guise of a thriller, the sort of thing Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone did so well. But this being a Shyamalan film - he's the guy who gave us The Sixth Sense, after all - it has to be more than that, an epic of horror and suspense with a surprise twist at the end that will leave people's mouths agape. Nothing modest about that. But The Village simply doesn't bear up to such lofty expectations.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 12, 2007
An off-screen suicide attempt and an on-screen death betray the slightness of The Darjeeling Limited, an only intermittently amusing movie about three privileged, estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) who embark on a crackpot journey in search of spiritual enlightenment. Despite the reputation of the director and co-writer, Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), the movie is no lyrical farce but an upscale slapstick comedy-team movie. Remember the early-'60s run of Three Stooges features, such as The Three Stooges In Orbit?
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2006
The Black Dahlia What It's About: Top cops Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett try to solve the instantly infamous case of a would-be starlet whose murder seemed to sum up the sick soul of post-World War II L.A. Rated: R The Scoop: Brian De Palma, the director, imbues the imagery with an obsessive grandeur even as the narrative falls apart. But the result is still a wan, unsatisfying follow-up to the great L.A. Confidential. Grade: B- Gridiron Gang What it's about: The Rock plays the real life juvenile probation officer who molded some of the toughest residents at Camp Kilpatrick, a "last chance" facility for underage felons, into a football team.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 4, 2005
For all its energy and seeming inventiveness, The Jacket doesn't really go anywhere or amount to anything - a fatal flaw in a time-travel movie designed not only to keep you guessing, but to build genuine suspense as well. Adrien Brody, still looking for that worthy follow-up to his Oscar win for The Pianist, is Jack Starks, an American soldier shot in the head while on duty in Iraq during the gulf war. He survives, but now finds himself prone to hallucinations and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | July 30, 2004
Director M. Night Shyamalan is fast becoming a victim of his own successes. The Village is a neat little morality play in the guise of a thriller, the sort of thing Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone did so well. But this being a Shyamalan film - he's the guy who gave us The Sixth Sense, after all - it has to be more than that, an epic of horror and suspense with a surprise twist at the end that will leave people's mouths agape. Nothing modest about that. But The Village simply doesn't bear up to such lofty expectations.
FEATURES
By Robert W. Welkos And Susan King and Robert W. Welkos And Susan King,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | March 24, 2003
HOLLYWOOD - In an evening filled with raw emotion, stunning surprises and even a little '60s-style peace protests thrown in for good measure, Chicago, the Roaring '20s musical morality tale, won the Oscar for Best Picture last night at the 75th Academy Awards. And, though the win for the overwhelmingly popular Chicago was expected, the wins for actor Adrien Brody and director Roman Polanski for the Holocaust drama The Pianist were shockers that drew gasps and sustained applause from the stunned audience.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 11, 2003
NEW YORK - "Maintaining his dignity through this entire maddening experience": That's how actor Adrien Brody sums up musician-composer Wladyslaw Szpilman's struggle to survive the Warsaw Ghetto, as recounted in his memoir The Pianist. It was also the challenge posed to Brody when he took the role of Szpilman in Roman Polanski's movie - a project all the more charged because Polanski barely escaped the liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto and lost his mother in Auschwitz. For the 29-year-old actor who was supposed to emerge as a star from Terrence Malick's 1998 The Thin Red Line, only to be cut from most of the picture, The Pianist has become an unexpected career breakthrough, earning him several best actor prizes, most recently from the National Society of Film Critics (which named The Pianist best picture and also honored the direction and the script)
FEATURES
January 30, 2006
Critic's Pick-- Amnesia and bad luck land a war veteran (Adrien Brody, above) in a barbaric insane asylum in The Jacket (8 p.m.-10 p.m., Cinemax).
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 8, 2006
The producers of Hollywoodland reportedly couldn't get permission to use their original title, which was Truth, Justice and the American Way. That's a shame, because not only would Superman's motto have better reflected what the movie is about -- the suspicious 1959 shooting death of actor George Reeves, TV's original Superman -- it would have given the film sorely needed focus. Hollywoodland (Focus Features) Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck. Directed by Allen Coulter. Rated R. Time 126 minutes.
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