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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | March 2, 2007
The writer-director of Hustle & Flow, a portrait of an artist as a pimp, goes farther out on a limb in Black Snake Moan, then saws it off behind him and does an exhilarating dance in midair. Setting a tale of passion and redemption in a small Tennessee town, Craig Brewer pulls off a full-blown folk opera in the idiom of blues. Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, a former blues singer and current farmer who becomes a walking dead man after his wife leaves him for his younger brother. (That's just about the definition of the blues.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | February 29, 2008
Penelope stars Christina Ricci as Penelope Wilhern, a blue-blood born with a pig's snout because of a curse put on the Wilhern clan when it refused to let one of her 19th-century forebears marry a servant girl. She can break the curse only when a fellow aristocrat vows to love her for life, so her mother (Catherine O'Hara) hides her away in the family manse until she's of a marriageable age. Not even the most careful preparation can keep a succession of upper-class twits from jumping out a second-story window when they finally clap eyes on her. The movie is about what happens after one of those marital petitioners (Simon Woods)
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By Roger Moore and Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL | February 26, 2005
You can't go home again. Or in the case of reunited director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, you can't Scream again. In Cursed, they made a werewolf movie and it was so messed up, they reshot half of it. They fiddled with it for more than a year, trying to recapture the magic of their Scream teaming. Christina Ricci plays a young producer with TV's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. She's giving up on trying to talk hot club-designer Jake (Joshua Jackson) into a commitment.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | March 2, 2007
The writer-director of Hustle & Flow, a portrait of an artist as a pimp, goes farther out on a limb in Black Snake Moan, then saws it off behind him and does an exhilarating dance in midair. Setting a tale of passion and redemption in a small Tennessee town, Craig Brewer pulls off a full-blown folk opera in the idiom of blues. Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, a former blues singer and current farmer who becomes a walking dead man after his wife leaves him for his younger brother. (That's just about the definition of the blues.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | February 29, 2008
Penelope stars Christina Ricci as Penelope Wilhern, a blue-blood born with a pig's snout because of a curse put on the Wilhern clan when it refused to let one of her 19th-century forebears marry a servant girl. She can break the curse only when a fellow aristocrat vows to love her for life, so her mother (Catherine O'Hara) hides her away in the family manse until she's of a marriageable age. Not even the most careful preparation can keep a succession of upper-class twits from jumping out a second-story window when they finally clap eyes on her. The movie is about what happens after one of those marital petitioners (Simon Woods)
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By Phoebe Flowers and Phoebe Flowers,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | February 26, 1999
It's New Year's Eve 1981. Do you know where the point is?If you're casting director-turned-filmmaker Risa Bramon Garcia, the answer is probably no. Garcia, who has cast everything from "Fatal Attraction" to almost every Oliver Stone movie, has thrown together a clawing litter of Hot Young Stars -- Christina Ricci, Paul Rudd, Jay Mohr, Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Love and Ben and Casey Affleck -- for "200 Cigarettes." Elvis Costello even plays himself.But all the staggeringly hip cast serves to do is bog things down.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | July 10, 1998
The question has been raised before in these very pages: Does the world really need another dysfunctional-family drama? While we're at it, does the world need another hyper-realistic contemporary drama, shot with edgy intensity, about a lowlife who finds redemption through the affection of another marginal character?The answer is usually no, but somehow the actor Vincent Gallo ("Palookaville"), who makes his writing-directing debut with "Buffalo 66," has succeeded in giving all of these cliches an unexpected sweetness, humor and cinematic style.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 14, 2001
The Man Who Cried is proof that good intentions alone do not a good movie make. Writer-director Sally Potter (Orlando, The Tango Lesson) has crafted a movie with things to say about persecution, about a woman's search for identity, about the human capacity to endure. But she's wrapped it in a story that unfolds as though it were written by Sidney Sheldon, filled with stock characters, ridiculous situations and eye-rolling plot twists. Fegele is a little Jewish girl living happily with her father in a Russian village in 1927.
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By Steven Rea and Steven Rea,Knight-Ridder | December 13, 1991
To say Scott Rudin is elated by what's going on with his movie is to understate things considerably. "I'm in awe," says the producer, whose movie. "The Addams Family," happens to have topped $70 million at the box office in 2 1/2 weeks -- and happens to have become the year's pop-cult hit."It was seen by 11 million people in its first 10 days of release," reports Rudin. "There are kids coming out of the theaters, buying another ticket and going right back in. . . ."It's really just tapped into something.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 14, 1997
Forget the cat. Darn that script!"That Darn Cat!" is a low-energy, low-laugh, low-end remake of a mid-'60s Disney comedy that wasn't very interesting anyway. So why bother? Only the marketing department knows for sure.In any event, the signal item of interest in this version is Christina Ricci as Patti, a role once played by Hayley Mills at the height of her cuteness. Ricci isn't nearly as cute, and she's in an odd spot: She's trying to make that most difficult of transitions from astonishing child actress to acceptable adult one. Mills herself didn't even make it, at least not to an adult film career at the same level as her childhood one. Will Ricci?
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By Roger Moore and Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL | February 26, 2005
You can't go home again. Or in the case of reunited director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, you can't Scream again. In Cursed, they made a werewolf movie and it was so messed up, they reshot half of it. They fiddled with it for more than a year, trying to recapture the magic of their Scream teaming. Christina Ricci plays a young producer with TV's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. She's giving up on trying to talk hot club-designer Jake (Joshua Jackson) into a commitment.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 14, 2001
The Man Who Cried is proof that good intentions alone do not a good movie make. Writer-director Sally Potter (Orlando, The Tango Lesson) has crafted a movie with things to say about persecution, about a woman's search for identity, about the human capacity to endure. But she's wrapped it in a story that unfolds as though it were written by Sidney Sheldon, filled with stock characters, ridiculous situations and eye-rolling plot twists. Fegele is a little Jewish girl living happily with her father in a Russian village in 1927.
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By Phoebe Flowers and Phoebe Flowers,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | February 26, 1999
It's New Year's Eve 1981. Do you know where the point is?If you're casting director-turned-filmmaker Risa Bramon Garcia, the answer is probably no. Garcia, who has cast everything from "Fatal Attraction" to almost every Oliver Stone movie, has thrown together a clawing litter of Hot Young Stars -- Christina Ricci, Paul Rudd, Jay Mohr, Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Love and Ben and Casey Affleck -- for "200 Cigarettes." Elvis Costello even plays himself.But all the staggeringly hip cast serves to do is bog things down.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | September 16, 1998
The definitive moment in "Pecker," John Waters' new comedy, arrives during the film's climax, a halcyon scene in the Hampden bar B.J.'s (called the Claw Machine in the movie) where Hampdenites and New York art snobs cavort with gay bar dancers and assorted oddballs."To the end of irony," a SoHo gallerist toasts earnestly."Yeah, but right next to his head is a crotch of a tea-bagger," Waters reminded a reporter during a recent visit to his North Baltimore home. (He was referring to one of the more obscure sexual rituals of the homosexual world.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | July 10, 1998
The question has been raised before in these very pages: Does the world really need another dysfunctional-family drama? While we're at it, does the world need another hyper-realistic contemporary drama, shot with edgy intensity, about a lowlife who finds redemption through the affection of another marginal character?The answer is usually no, but somehow the actor Vincent Gallo ("Palookaville"), who makes his writing-directing debut with "Buffalo 66," has succeeded in giving all of these cliches an unexpected sweetness, humor and cinematic style.
FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 14, 1997
Forget the cat. Darn that script!"That Darn Cat!" is a low-energy, low-laugh, low-end remake of a mid-'60s Disney comedy that wasn't very interesting anyway. So why bother? Only the marketing department knows for sure.In any event, the signal item of interest in this version is Christina Ricci as Patti, a role once played by Hayley Mills at the height of her cuteness. Ricci isn't nearly as cute, and she's in an odd spot: She's trying to make that most difficult of transitions from astonishing child actress to acceptable adult one. Mills herself didn't even make it, at least not to an adult film career at the same level as her childhood one. Will Ricci?
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By Lou Cedrone and Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff | December 14, 1990
MERMAIDS'' plays like a biographical remembrance, a very pleasant one. It is a largely sweet recall, but there are several instances in which director Richard Benjamin overdoes.One is a running gag in which a 15-year-old girl, who has no reason to believe so, thinks she is pregnant. Another is a near tragedy that is given far too much time, a mistake in a film that is basically comic.''Mermaids'' takes place in 1963. Cher is an itinerant free-spirited mother of two daughters whose fathers are nowhere around.
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By Chris Kridler and Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF | October 20, 1995
"Now and Then" tells twin stories. One is a delight. One is a disastrous distraction.As advertised, the movie is about four friends in two time periods: as girls, in the summer of 1970, and as women. Unfortunately, the friends-as-women story seems to exist only so that Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, Rosie O'Donnell and Rita Wilson (also known as Tom Hanks' wife) can cavort in the previews. They are on-screen for barely a fourth of the film, and even when they are, they not only don't enhance the story of themselves as girls; they weaken it.Demi Moore narrates.
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By Chris Kridler and Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF | October 20, 1995
"Now and Then" tells twin stories. One is a delight. One is a disastrous distraction.As advertised, the movie is about four friends in two time periods: as girls, in the summer of 1970, and as women. Unfortunately, the friends-as-women story seems to exist only so that Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, Rosie O'Donnell and Rita Wilson (also known as Tom Hanks' wife) can cavort in the previews. They are on-screen for barely a fourth of the film, and even when they are, they not only don't enhance the story of themselves as girls; they weaken it.Demi Moore narrates.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | November 19, 1993
"The Addams Family," of two years ago, wasn't so much a movie as a series of dreary skits which set up the occasional static recreation of great moments from the oeuvre of the brilliant New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams, who originated the macabre deadpan as a comic mode. It was OK if your taste in entertainment ran to dioramas.Of course it made a lot of money because, via an even drearier mid-1960s TV series, it was hardwired into the collective unconscious of the Big Generation spawned by the four years of artificial abstinence in World War II. It was like taking candy from a baby boomer.
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