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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | October 27, 2006
Phillip Noyce's Catch a Fire, the story of a black South African whose torture at the hands of the apartheid government transforms him from an apolitical family man to a dedicated counterrevolutionary, is both a condemnation of torture as a political tool and a tribute to the bravery that exists within everyone. Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) stars as Patrick Chamusso, who deals with life in the racially segregated South Africa of 1980 as best he can. He has a good job, working as a foreman at an oil refinery, and does whatever's necessary to placate the white government officials who use terror, intimidation and blatantly inhuman laws to retain their power (no easy feat, in a country where blacks outnumber whites more than 8-to-1)
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | September 26, 2008
Spike Lee's Tuscany-set World War II movie, Miracle at St. Anna, is overlong, awkward and unsubtle, yet at the end, when the screen went black and a bracingly clear and fervid chorus broke into the glorious spiritual "He's got the whole world in his hands," my throat tightened and I fought back tears. For all his excesses and wrong turns, Lee has made a grown-up movie with an adult sense of loss and an adult sense of hope. He may be addicted to broad flourishes, but he has the big emotions to back them up. Miracle at St. Anna mostly follows four "Buffalo Soldiers" - African-American soldiers fighting in segregated units - as they leapfrog over the rest of the Army's positions and land in a hamlet filled with terrified villagers.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 12, 2004
When he did Wag the Dog, David Mamet parodied the lengths to which modern-day politicians will go in pursuit of power. In Spartan, he's made that pursuit the stuff of nightmares. At its essence, Spartan is the story of a kidnapping, with the president's daughter as the victim. Charged with finding her is Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), a career military man of extreme toughness and force of will -- he's one of those guys who'll do anything he's ordered to do, from mop a floor to murder a civilian, and worry about the moral implications never.
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By McClatchy-Tribune | October 29, 2006
Making the good guy seem human is easy. Making the bad guy seem human is a lot harder. Especially when the bad guy is an interrogator for the white-dominated government during the days of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. It's not the kind of role one might envision for famously liberal actor Tim Robbins, who was an outspoken critic of apartheid during the same era. But then that was part of the challenge presented by the film Catch a Fire, in which Robbins' character pushes an innocent black man (Derek Luke)
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 31, 2003
Bristling biker movies from the Brando vehicle The Wild One in 1954 to Richard Rush's Hell's Angels on Wheels in 1967 drew on published studies of rebel subcultures and torn-from-the headline incidents - and brought new breeds of cyclists to the screen with cutting-edge attitudes. The Wild One, based on Frank Rooney's The Cyclists' Raid, fictionalized the incident of 4,000 bikers taking over the small town of Hollister, Calif. Rush patterned Hell's Angels on Wheels on Hunter S. Thompson's nonfiction book Hell's Angels and even used Sonny Barger as a technical adviser.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | September 26, 2008
Spike Lee's Tuscany-set World War II movie, Miracle at St. Anna, is overlong, awkward and unsubtle, yet at the end, when the screen went black and a bracingly clear and fervid chorus broke into the glorious spiritual "He's got the whole world in his hands," my throat tightened and I fought back tears. For all his excesses and wrong turns, Lee has made a grown-up movie with an adult sense of loss and an adult sense of hope. He may be addicted to broad flourishes, but he has the big emotions to back them up. Miracle at St. Anna mostly follows four "Buffalo Soldiers" - African-American soldiers fighting in segregated units - as they leapfrog over the rest of the Army's positions and land in a hamlet filled with terrified villagers.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | December 25, 2002
As a piece of sociology, Antwone Fisher is fascinating, laudable and perhaps even overdue - a movie that looks at the emotional cost paid by the offspring of absentee parents, children who grow up not knowing who they are or how they fit in. If ever a movie could get by on good intentions alone, it would be this one. And it almost makes it, thanks to its talented cast and hard-fought - if occasionally ham-fisted - honesty. There's too much going on in and around this film not to be impressed by what director Denzel Washington accomplishes with a script written by the real Antwone Fisher.
NEWS
By McClatchy-Tribune | October 29, 2006
Making the good guy seem human is easy. Making the bad guy seem human is a lot harder. Especially when the bad guy is an interrogator for the white-dominated government during the days of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. It's not the kind of role one might envision for famously liberal actor Tim Robbins, who was an outspoken critic of apartheid during the same era. But then that was part of the challenge presented by the film Catch a Fire, in which Robbins' character pushes an innocent black man (Derek Luke)
FEATURES
October 27, 2006
Catch a Fire Rating -- PG-13 What it's about -- Young African working-class man is radicalized by his encounter with the repressive state police during apartheid. The kid attractor factor -- Derek Luke, Tim Robbins, a striking setting. Good lessons/bad lessons -- Those who use terror to fight terror will reap a whirlwind. Violence -- Beatings, torture, see the rating. Language -- Some profanity. Sex -- None, discussed, though. Drugs -- None. Parents' advisory -- A South African history lesson, this is suitable for teenagers old enough to get what it's about.
FEATURES
By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 13, 2006
Texas Western College and its men's basketball coach, Don Haskins, helped open a lot of doors back in 1966 by fielding the first all-black starting lineup in an NCAA tournament championship game. So we are told in Glory Road ... and told, and told, and told. But Glory Road never shows us much of anything, either on or off the basketball court. It tells us all kinds of stuff, about the racial inequities these young players had to overcome, about the bravery they exhibited, about the relentless methods their coach used to motivate them.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | October 27, 2006
Phillip Noyce's Catch a Fire, the story of a black South African whose torture at the hands of the apartheid government transforms him from an apolitical family man to a dedicated counterrevolutionary, is both a condemnation of torture as a political tool and a tribute to the bravery that exists within everyone. Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) stars as Patrick Chamusso, who deals with life in the racially segregated South Africa of 1980 as best he can. He has a good job, working as a foreman at an oil refinery, and does whatever's necessary to placate the white government officials who use terror, intimidation and blatantly inhuman laws to retain their power (no easy feat, in a country where blacks outnumber whites more than 8-to-1)
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 12, 2004
When he did Wag the Dog, David Mamet parodied the lengths to which modern-day politicians will go in pursuit of power. In Spartan, he's made that pursuit the stuff of nightmares. At its essence, Spartan is the story of a kidnapping, with the president's daughter as the victim. Charged with finding her is Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), a career military man of extreme toughness and force of will -- he's one of those guys who'll do anything he's ordered to do, from mop a floor to murder a civilian, and worry about the moral implications never.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 31, 2003
Bristling biker movies from the Brando vehicle The Wild One in 1954 to Richard Rush's Hell's Angels on Wheels in 1967 drew on published studies of rebel subcultures and torn-from-the headline incidents - and brought new breeds of cyclists to the screen with cutting-edge attitudes. The Wild One, based on Frank Rooney's The Cyclists' Raid, fictionalized the incident of 4,000 bikers taking over the small town of Hollister, Calif. Rush patterned Hell's Angels on Wheels on Hunter S. Thompson's nonfiction book Hell's Angels and even used Sonny Barger as a technical adviser.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | December 25, 2002
As a piece of sociology, Antwone Fisher is fascinating, laudable and perhaps even overdue - a movie that looks at the emotional cost paid by the offspring of absentee parents, children who grow up not knowing who they are or how they fit in. If ever a movie could get by on good intentions alone, it would be this one. And it almost makes it, thanks to its talented cast and hard-fought - if occasionally ham-fisted - honesty. There's too much going on in and around this film not to be impressed by what director Denzel Washington accomplishes with a script written by the real Antwone Fisher.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 2008
Choke: A sex-addicted medical school dropout works as a historical re-enactor at a Colonial theme park by day and engages in fake choking scams at restaurants at night all while discovering the mysterious truth of his family. With Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston. Eagle Eye : Two Americans are unwittingly involved in an assassination plot by a mysterious woman. With Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan and Rosario Dawson. Girl Cut in Two: A TV weather girl is torn between an older, distinguished writer and a younger, less-stable man. With Ludivine Sagnier, Benoit Magimel and Francois Berleand.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Los Angeles Times | December 10, 2006
HOLLYWOOD -- The world is opening up, and it's taking Hollywood with it. Almost a year after the racially tinged Crash scored a best picture upset at the Academy Awards, deep explorations of nonwhite cultures have dominated the silver screen as have ethnic performers who have delivered penetrating portrayals. It's an expanding vision of storytelling that not only has taken audiences to Uganda, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Japan and beyond, but also into areas of minority American culture.
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