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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | May 18, 2007
Eddie Murphy's lovable, febrile Donkey hasn't lost his kick, and Antonio Banderas' debonair Puss in Boots overflows with a ticklish feline unpredictability. But Mike Myers' Shrek and Cameron Diaz's Fiona supply the comic heart that turns Shrek the Third into a genuine slapstick fairy tale. With an original story by Andrew Adamson (who went from directing two Shreks to The Chronicles of Narnia), Shrek the Third puts a satisfying spin on the concept of Happily Ever After. It's about loosening the shackles of old scores and fears and taking your destiny into your own hands, paws or claws.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | May 18, 2007
Eddie Murphy's lovable, febrile Donkey hasn't lost his kick, and Antonio Banderas' debonair Puss in Boots overflows with a ticklish feline unpredictability. But Mike Myers' Shrek and Cameron Diaz's Fiona supply the comic heart that turns Shrek the Third into a genuine slapstick fairy tale. With an original story by Andrew Adamson (who went from directing two Shreks to The Chronicles of Narnia), Shrek the Third puts a satisfying spin on the concept of Happily Ever After. It's about loosening the shackles of old scores and fears and taking your destiny into your own hands, paws or claws.
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 7, 2006
Put the tango in To Sir, With Love, and you've got Take the Lead, a story of a dedicated teacher struggling to get through to a bunch of societal outcasts that gets by mainly on the undeniable charisma of star Antonio Banderas. The movie is based very loosely on the story of Pierre Dulaine. His seemingly quixotic determination to teach ballroom dancing to New York students led to the city's Dancing Classroom program, which has introduced thousands of kids to the rumba and waltz and was profiled in the 2005 documentary Mad Hot Ballroom.
NEWS
By MICHAEL SRAGOW | September 8, 2006
"Viva Pedro!" goes the title of a traveling salute to adult terrible Pedro Almodovar, and audiences around the globe have joined in the cheer. Almodovar has said, "If I lived like my characters, I would have been dead before I made 16 films." By now, he's made nearly a score of them. He hit his stride with Matador (1986), a marvelous black farce about a retired bullfighter with a dazzlingly attractive tutee - Antonio Banderas!
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | October 28, 2005
The makers of The Legend of Zorro, a bloated sequel to the exhilarating 1998 The Mask of Zorro, contend that it took them years to concoct a way to re-create the chemistry between Antonio Banderas' Zorro, the masked hero righting wrongs in Old California, and Catherine Zeta-Jones' Elena, his raven-haired lady fair. That's what they say. I think they dawdled until they noticed the success of Spy Kids, in which Banderas played the head of an espionage-agent family that stayed together because it slayed together.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | July 17, 1998
"The Mask of Zorro" will make filmgoers pine for the days of the Saturday matinee serial, not only because it re-creates so many classic action stunts and picturesque cliff-hangers, but because, at two and a half hours, it begs to be sliced up into little pieces.If "The Mask of Zorro" were 45 minutes shorter, it would be an unqualified must-see this summer.There's plenty right with "The Mask of Zorro," which amply lives up to the "Zorro" legacy established by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Tyrone Power in the "Mark of Zorro" films.
FEATURES
By Chris Hewitt and Chris Hewitt,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | August 27, 1999
With its elaborate costumes, manly grunting, gruesome bloodshed and hand-to-hand combat, the medieval war movie "The 13th Warrior" is like the WWF, but with horses and entrails.That's not what director John McTiernan wants us to be reminded of. He'd like us to remember "Braveheart," which, like "The 13th Warrior," combined gruesome, medieval battle scenes with the kind of macho sentimentality in which big guys climb off their deathbeds in order to get themselves butchered.The thing is, in "Braveheart," we knew who Mel Gibson was and what he was fighting for. In the often bewildering "The 13th Warrior," you never get answers to the most basic questions: Who are these Nordic warriors?
NEWS
By MICHAEL SRAGOW | September 8, 2006
"Viva Pedro!" goes the title of a traveling salute to adult terrible Pedro Almodovar, and audiences around the globe have joined in the cheer. Almodovar has said, "If I lived like my characters, I would have been dead before I made 16 films." By now, he's made nearly a score of them. He hit his stride with Matador (1986), a marvelous black farce about a retired bullfighter with a dazzlingly attractive tutee - Antonio Banderas!
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 20, 2002
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever doesn't have a plot: It has a rap sheet. The charges include vehicular mayhem, mass murder, assault with deadly weapons (handguns, long-range rifles, grenade launchers, hands and feet), kidnapping, destruction of public property - and the not-so-grand larceny of a microscopic assassination device that can be injected into a target and programmed to trigger a heart attack or aneurysm. That doohickey is what Hitchcock would have called "the MacGuffin," a central gimmick to propel the action.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | January 21, 2000
"Play It to the Bone" is Ron Shelton on autopilot. Shelton, the gifted writer-director of such sports-as-life mainstays as "Bull Durham," "White Men Can't Jump" and "Tin Cup," loves making films where the jocks do battle with words as much as with their muscles. At his best -- and films don't come much better than 1988's "Bull Durham," where Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon made baseball seem exciting, intellectual and sexy -- the results are lighthearted, character-driven valentines to the ethos of sport, propelled by literate scripts that reveal as much about the people who engage in sports as about the sports themselves.
FEATURES
By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 7, 2006
Put the tango in To Sir, With Love, and you've got Take the Lead, a story of a dedicated teacher struggling to get through to a bunch of societal outcasts that gets by mainly on the undeniable charisma of star Antonio Banderas. The movie is based very loosely on the story of Pierre Dulaine. His seemingly quixotic determination to teach ballroom dancing to New York students led to the city's Dancing Classroom program, which has introduced thousands of kids to the rumba and waltz and was profiled in the 2005 documentary Mad Hot Ballroom.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | October 28, 2005
The makers of The Legend of Zorro, a bloated sequel to the exhilarating 1998 The Mask of Zorro, contend that it took them years to concoct a way to re-create the chemistry between Antonio Banderas' Zorro, the masked hero righting wrongs in Old California, and Catherine Zeta-Jones' Elena, his raven-haired lady fair. That's what they say. I think they dawdled until they noticed the success of Spy Kids, in which Banderas played the head of an espionage-agent family that stayed together because it slayed together.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Victoria A. Brownworth and Victoria A. Brownworth,Special to the Sun | May 22, 2005
Zorro By Isabel Allende. HarperCollins, 400 pages, $25.95. Anyone who read Isabel Allende's paean to magical realism, The House of the Spirits, developed an instant affinity for the Chilean author's highly original and sensual style. Allende's subsequent work has not always matched the luminous promise of that landmark first novel, however. Her recent memoirs and historical fiction have been readable enough, but none has achieved the sheer finesse of Spirits. Viva Zorro! This is not your tired matinee idol Zorro, nor the sexy cartoon Zorro of the comics.
NEWS
By Greg Morago and Greg Morago,The Hartford Courant | October 24, 2004
Elizabeth Taylor, amid heaps of fluttery curtains and gauzy focus, walks up to the handsome gambler and nonchalantly pulls umpteen-carats of ice from her ivory earlobes. Tossing them to the table, she says to the card shark, "These have always brought me luck." It's one of the fragrance world's most enduring images -- a Hollywood icon and her breathy suggestion of dazzling indulgence. It's what has made Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds a fragrance best seller for more than a decade now. Today, however, you need more than luck to make it in the crowded arena of celebrity fragrance.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 12, 2003
From his $7,500 debut film El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez has never ceased to be a do-it-yourselfer. He takes nine credits on Once Upon a Time in Mexico, from co-producer, writer and director to production designer and visual-effects supervisor. He's also the cinematographer, the editor and the composer - or, as the movie's titles put it, he "shot, chopped and scored" it. On the set or in the editing room, he must operate like Spider-Man's Doc Ock, and it's fun to see a filmmaker proclaiming that he's had a good time.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 20, 2002
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever doesn't have a plot: It has a rap sheet. The charges include vehicular mayhem, mass murder, assault with deadly weapons (handguns, long-range rifles, grenade launchers, hands and feet), kidnapping, destruction of public property - and the not-so-grand larceny of a microscopic assassination device that can be injected into a target and programmed to trigger a heart attack or aneurysm. That doohickey is what Hitchcock would have called "the MacGuffin," a central gimmick to propel the action.
FEATURES
By Athima Chansanchai and Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF | August 3, 2001
Lonely people do strange things to find love -- or at least the facade of a happy coupling. Some men place advertisements for wives they've never met. These picture brides -- so called because they rely on photographs and letters instead of face-to-face courtship -- often find that their betrothed had circumvented the truth on his age, his looks or his wealth. Finagled by letters swelling with self-delusion and false promises, they have no choice but to accept the reality in front of them and go with it. Try to go with Original Sin though, and you're likely to catch the first boat back.
FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 21, 1995
For for the longest time, I'm wondering: "Why didn't the studio screen this?"The movie is "Never Talk to Strangers," with Rebecca De Mornay as a psychologist being stalked by a mysterious antagonist just as she's started an affair with a sexy stranger -- Antonio Banderas flashing his hot, dark eyes like melting chocolate cherries.Is he or isn't he? That's only one of the questions. Other suspects slide through the fog of her anxiety: Maybe it's nice-guy Dennis Miller, a thwarted lover who's become a "friend."
FEATURES
By Athima Chansanchai and Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF | August 3, 2001
Lonely people do strange things to find love -- or at least the facade of a happy coupling. Some men place advertisements for wives they've never met. These picture brides -- so called because they rely on photographs and letters instead of face-to-face courtship -- often find that their betrothed had circumvented the truth on his age, his looks or his wealth. Finagled by letters swelling with self-delusion and false promises, they have no choice but to accept the reality in front of them and go with it. Try to go with Original Sin though, and you're likely to catch the first boat back.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | January 21, 2000
"Play It to the Bone" is Ron Shelton on autopilot. Shelton, the gifted writer-director of such sports-as-life mainstays as "Bull Durham," "White Men Can't Jump" and "Tin Cup," loves making films where the jocks do battle with words as much as with their muscles. At his best -- and films don't come much better than 1988's "Bull Durham," where Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon made baseball seem exciting, intellectual and sexy -- the results are lighthearted, character-driven valentines to the ethos of sport, propelled by literate scripts that reveal as much about the people who engage in sports as about the sports themselves.
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