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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 23, 1998
Don't think that Bryan Singer, whose film "Apt Pupil" opens in theaters today, is sweating the sophomore slump problem. The director's last film, the 1995 indie hit "The Usual Suspects," was actually his second film. In 1992 he directed "Public Access," a creepy thriller about a stranger who turns a small town upside down. The film took honors at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993 and got the buzz going about Singer."Emotionally I'm liberated, because I had a movie like 'Public Access' ... that didn't get a distribution deal, then 'The Usual Suspects,' which had that ubiquitous success.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 27, 2006
The best comic-book movies and fantasy films have spoiled us. They've already given us a sublime comedy-drama about a lovelorn superhero in Spider-Man 2 and a religious fable with energy as well as allegory in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Compared with them, Superman Returns is slavishly reverential and morose - The Passion of the Christ from Krypton, with a sad, erratic pulse. (In its defense, it does have a subtly retro, illuminated-manuscript kind of beauty.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 23, 1998
Based on Stephen King's novella of the same name, "Apt Pupil" stars Brad Renfro as Todd Bowden, a straight-A high school student who becomes obsessed with the Holocaust, and who in his research uncovers a former Nazi (Ian McKellan) right in his own sunny California town.Todd confronts the man, whose name is Kurt Dussander, but rather than turn him in to the "authorities" (in this case a globe-trotting Nazi hunter), he demands that Dussander tell him PTC everything about his odious enterprise.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | July 14, 2000
The legions of fans who have been following the cult comic-book series "X-Men" for decades should be well pleased by its live-action version. "X-Men," the movie, has managed to shake off the page-to-screen comic-book curse and emerge not only as a stylish and respectable adaptation but also as one of the more satisfying movies of an otherwise disappointing summer. "X-Men" is definitely not highbrow entertainment, and its appeal will be strongest for young filmgoers who can still be jazzed by nifty special effects and science-fiction flights of fancy.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 27, 2006
The best comic-book movies and fantasy films have spoiled us. They've already given us a sublime comedy-drama about a lovelorn superhero in Spider-Man 2 and a religious fable with energy as well as allegory in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Compared with them, Superman Returns is slavishly reverential and morose - The Passion of the Christ from Krypton, with a sad, erratic pulse. (In its defense, it does have a subtly retro, illuminated-manuscript kind of beauty.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | March 26, 1996
Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" proved the heartiest, if not the bravest, movie of the year as it won four Oscars at last night's 68th Annual Acadmey Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson. The film, a reaffirmation of "old movie values" in a period when movies have come under more and more criticism, told the story of Scottish patriot William Wallace who, in the 13th century, led an army against the English oppressors, won several battles but ultimately was captured and executed.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | July 14, 2000
The legions of fans who have been following the cult comic-book series "X-Men" for decades should be well pleased by its live-action version. "X-Men," the movie, has managed to shake off the page-to-screen comic-book curse and emerge not only as a stylish and respectable adaptation but also as one of the more satisfying movies of an otherwise disappointing summer. "X-Men" is definitely not highbrow entertainment, and its appeal will be strongest for young filmgoers who can still be jazzed by nifty special effects and science-fiction flights of fancy.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | May 2, 2003
X2: X-Men United, the best superhero sequel since Superman II (1981), is a rarity among comic-book movies. Like the opening half of the first Batman film, it captures the feel of a first-rate comic book. It puts the pop back into Pop Art: It blows viewers away with a blast of kinetic energy. You find yourself following a blazing line of action and then catching up with the dialogue you've preserved in your head, much as you do when you thumb a comic's pages and catch up to the conversations and thought balloons.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 30, 2005
An occasional feature in which Sun writers and critics sound off about the movies. Why bother picking up the pieces? Why should we care about a story exploded into fragments - or told and retold several ways - if the characters and their conflicts don't grab us in the first place? The recent indie thriller November lasted one week at the Charles, and no wonder. It was dispiriting enough to sit through one tense scene between a guilt-ridden, adulterous photographer-teacher and a bland over-worked lawyer.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | December 25, 2008
In X- Men, Bryan Singer brought more artistry to the depiction of the Third Reich's crimes against humanity than he does in Valkyrie, which depicts the heroic attempts of a handful of German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and thus bring down the Nazi regime. The concentration-camp prologue to X-Men grounded the movie's premise that a new Holocaust could be catalyzed against mutants. The prologue to Valkyrie fails to do the same for Tom Cruise's Col. Claus von Stauffenberg.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 23, 1998
Don't think that Bryan Singer, whose film "Apt Pupil" opens in theaters today, is sweating the sophomore slump problem. The director's last film, the 1995 indie hit "The Usual Suspects," was actually his second film. In 1992 he directed "Public Access," a creepy thriller about a stranger who turns a small town upside down. The film took honors at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993 and got the buzz going about Singer."Emotionally I'm liberated, because I had a movie like 'Public Access' ... that didn't get a distribution deal, then 'The Usual Suspects,' which had that ubiquitous success.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 23, 1998
Based on Stephen King's novella of the same name, "Apt Pupil" stars Brad Renfro as Todd Bowden, a straight-A high school student who becomes obsessed with the Holocaust, and who in his research uncovers a former Nazi (Ian McKellan) right in his own sunny California town.Todd confronts the man, whose name is Kurt Dussander, but rather than turn him in to the "authorities" (in this case a globe-trotting Nazi hunter), he demands that Dussander tell him PTC everything about his odious enterprise.
FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | March 26, 1996
Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" proved the heartiest, if not the bravest, movie of the year as it won four Oscars at last night's 68th Annual Acadmey Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson. The film, a reaffirmation of "old movie values" in a period when movies have come under more and more criticism, told the story of Scottish patriot William Wallace who, in the 13th century, led an army against the English oppressors, won several battles but ultimately was captured and executed.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | September 1, 1995
Round up the usual adjectives.Try "bold." Go for "terrific." Let a "dazzling" fly. Unleash a "stunning." Send forth a "mesmerizing."That's "The Usual Suspects," which many are calling this year's "Pulp Fiction" -- untrue, by the way -- but which is really just one of this year's best movies.The dense, ironic and thoroughly engrossing caper melodrama opens today. It's not really a film noir or a film noir knock-off, as many are calling it, and it assiduously avoids the kind of arch hipness that somewhat dilutes the impact of the Tarantino work.
ENTERTAINMENT
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 12, 2006
X-Men: The Last Stand [Fox] $30 Check After X-Men director Bryan Singer switched allegiance to Superman, Brett Ratner took the reins of X-Men: The Last Stand, the third adventure based on the Marvel Comics series, in which the mutant community is in an uproar when a scientist discovers a "cure." Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return, and Kelsey Grammer climbs aboard as the furry blue Beast. Extras include several deleted scenes with three alternate endings, including one in which the Beast becomes a teacher at the mutant school.
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