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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | July 20, 2007
Writer-director Zoe Cassavetes, the daughter of Gena Rowlands and the late actor-director John Cassavetes, has made a distinctive romantic comedy-drama called Broken English. If it lasts a month at the Charles, fans of the theater's film noir series should plan to make it a double-bill with In a Lonely Place (playing Aug. 18, 20 and 23), the 1950 romantic mystery that Cassavetes' heroine, Nora (Parker Posey), sees with a date at a Manhattan revival house. In that cult classic, Bogey plays a tormented, possibly homicidal screenwriter who tells the woman who's just fallen in love with him, "A good love scene should be about something else besides love.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | July 20, 2007
Writer-director Zoe Cassavetes, the daughter of Gena Rowlands and the late actor-director John Cassavetes, has made a distinctive romantic comedy-drama called Broken English. If it lasts a month at the Charles, fans of the theater's film noir series should plan to make it a double-bill with In a Lonely Place (playing Aug. 18, 20 and 23), the 1950 romantic mystery that Cassavetes' heroine, Nora (Parker Posey), sees with a date at a Manhattan revival house. In that cult classic, Bogey plays a tormented, possibly homicidal screenwriter who tells the woman who's just fallen in love with him, "A good love scene should be about something else besides love.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | January 22, 1999
"Playing by Heart" is "Beverly Hills 90210" for baby boomers, the kind of all-star roundup we usually associate with such camp classics as "The Poseidon Adventure" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."But "Playing by Heart" is no disaster epic, nor is it a comedy. In fact, it may best be described as a mystery: Why on earth would such talents as Gena Rowlands, Sean Connery and Ellen Burstyn, not to mention a first-rate creative team behind the camera, stoop to something this trivial?This insipid Tinseltown melodrama, told in round-robin style, was originally titled "Dancing About Architecture," which should clue filmgoers into its arty pretensions.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | August 12, 2005
Curiosity exacts a nasty price in The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson as a New Orleans hospice worker who doesn't know enough to let a locked door stay locked. Relentlessly atmospheric - the house in which 90 percent of the movie is set, one of those decaying bayou mansions surrounded by humongous live oak trees and engulfed by hanging moss, deserves a co-star credit - The Skeleton Key asks a lot of its audience. Belief must be suspended repeatedly, and a few too many haunted-house conventions are recruited to provide the requisite heebie-jeebies.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Scott Hettrick and Scott Hettrick,Los Angeles Times | December 4, 1992
BORIS AND NATASHA: THE MOVIE(Academy) Directed by Charles Martin Smith; starring Dave Thomas, Sally Kellerman, Alex Rocco, Paxton Whitehead and Andrea Martin.Few transformations of cartoon characters into live actors have worked, so one approaches this effort with a large dose of skepticism that is ultimately justified. But the remarkably faithful translation during the opening minutes convinces one that "Boris and Natasha" may be the exception to the rule. Corey Burton's narration is an uncanny evocation of William Conrad's distinctive announcing during the show's original run from 1959 to '61, particularly his delivery.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | April 17, 1998
Film critics are suckers for talking-animal flicks, and I'm no exception.As a kid, I thought Francis, the talking mule, the height of cool. I saw "Doctor Dolittle" twice. And no matter what the Oscars say, I'll take "Babe" over "Braveheart" any day.It's my pleasure to report that "Paulie," the saga of a conversational parrot who doesn't know when to shut up, is a worthy addition to the genre. You're gonna love this guy, a wisecracking, New Jersey-accented parrot with a heart of gold.Paulie is introduced as the pet and best friend of Marie (too-cute Hallie Kate Eisenberg)
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 16, 1998
As a story of two adolescent misfits who learn about life through terminal illness, "The Mighty" bears an uncanny resemblence to another current film. Like "Simon Birch," it has a lot to say about overcoming limitations, not judging others by physical appearance and loyalty.Both movies even feature a cameo star turn. Jim Carrey does the honors in "Simon Birch"; Sharon Stone glams down to play a single mother in "The Mighty."Both movies also drip with their share of rank sentimentality. But unlike "Simon Birch," "The Mighty" keeps the Hallmark moments to a minimum, supplanting glowy nostalgia with far more arresting fantasy images.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | July 9, 1992
Jim Jarmusch has two camera moves that pretty much define his work: first he turns it on and then he turns it off.That's a simplification of course; but the truth is not much more complex. Of all our filmmakers, great and small, epic and miniaturist, hack and genius, he's the least interested in "directing"; he's much more interested in "listening." The camera is a dead instrument: it never enters scenes or becomes a participant of the drama and it cuts infrequently. It simply records passively.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | August 12, 2005
Curiosity exacts a nasty price in The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson as a New Orleans hospice worker who doesn't know enough to let a locked door stay locked. Relentlessly atmospheric - the house in which 90 percent of the movie is set, one of those decaying bayou mansions surrounded by humongous live oak trees and engulfed by hanging moss, deserves a co-star credit - The Skeleton Key asks a lot of its audience. Belief must be suspended repeatedly, and a few too many haunted-house conventions are recruited to provide the requisite heebie-jeebies.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Scott Hettrick and Scott Hettrick,Los Angeles Times Syndicate | September 18, 1992
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCETouchstone Home Video (1974)Forget the woman. One wonders whether director John Cassavetes and his cinematographer were under the influence when they made this film 18 years ago.Cassavetes received much praise from movie critics and his peers for this excruciating observation of a marriage involving a woman (Gena Rowlands) teetering on the edge of sanity and her husband (Peter Falk), whose insensitivity and primitive personality all but push her over the emotional precipice.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | January 22, 1999
"Playing by Heart" is "Beverly Hills 90210" for baby boomers, the kind of all-star roundup we usually associate with such camp classics as "The Poseidon Adventure" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."But "Playing by Heart" is no disaster epic, nor is it a comedy. In fact, it may best be described as a mystery: Why on earth would such talents as Gena Rowlands, Sean Connery and Ellen Burstyn, not to mention a first-rate creative team behind the camera, stoop to something this trivial?This insipid Tinseltown melodrama, told in round-robin style, was originally titled "Dancing About Architecture," which should clue filmgoers into its arty pretensions.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 16, 1998
As a story of two adolescent misfits who learn about life through terminal illness, "The Mighty" bears an uncanny resemblence to another current film. Like "Simon Birch," it has a lot to say about overcoming limitations, not judging others by physical appearance and loyalty.Both movies even feature a cameo star turn. Jim Carrey does the honors in "Simon Birch"; Sharon Stone glams down to play a single mother in "The Mighty."Both movies also drip with their share of rank sentimentality. But unlike "Simon Birch," "The Mighty" keeps the Hallmark moments to a minimum, supplanting glowy nostalgia with far more arresting fantasy images.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | April 17, 1998
Film critics are suckers for talking-animal flicks, and I'm no exception.As a kid, I thought Francis, the talking mule, the height of cool. I saw "Doctor Dolittle" twice. And no matter what the Oscars say, I'll take "Babe" over "Braveheart" any day.It's my pleasure to report that "Paulie," the saga of a conversational parrot who doesn't know when to shut up, is a worthy addition to the genre. You're gonna love this guy, a wisecracking, New Jersey-accented parrot with a heart of gold.Paulie is introduced as the pet and best friend of Marie (too-cute Hallie Kate Eisenberg)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Scott Hettrick and Scott Hettrick,Los Angeles Times | December 4, 1992
BORIS AND NATASHA: THE MOVIE(Academy) Directed by Charles Martin Smith; starring Dave Thomas, Sally Kellerman, Alex Rocco, Paxton Whitehead and Andrea Martin.Few transformations of cartoon characters into live actors have worked, so one approaches this effort with a large dose of skepticism that is ultimately justified. But the remarkably faithful translation during the opening minutes convinces one that "Boris and Natasha" may be the exception to the rule. Corey Burton's narration is an uncanny evocation of William Conrad's distinctive announcing during the show's original run from 1959 to '61, particularly his delivery.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Scott Hettrick and Scott Hettrick,Los Angeles Times Syndicate | September 18, 1992
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCETouchstone Home Video (1974)Forget the woman. One wonders whether director John Cassavetes and his cinematographer were under the influence when they made this film 18 years ago.Cassavetes received much praise from movie critics and his peers for this excruciating observation of a marriage involving a woman (Gena Rowlands) teetering on the edge of sanity and her husband (Peter Falk), whose insensitivity and primitive personality all but push her over the emotional precipice.
FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | July 9, 1992
Jim Jarmusch has two camera moves that pretty much define his work: first he turns it on and then he turns it off.That's a simplification of course; but the truth is not much more complex. Of all our filmmakers, great and small, epic and miniaturist, hack and genius, he's the least interested in "directing"; he's much more interested in "listening." The camera is a dead instrument: it never enters scenes or becomes a participant of the drama and it cuts infrequently. It simply records passively.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW | August 19, 2007
THE LIVES OF OTHERS Sony DVD -- $26.96 When The New Yorker runs an essay on the allure of biography and headlines it "Lives of Others," you know this film has reached an ultimate of chic. But this year's Oscar-winner for best foreign film deserves more than its brilliant media and arthouse success; the film's sweeping, intricate narrative could make subtitle-readers out of pulp espionage fans. BROKEN ENGLISH Magnolia -- $26.98 "If there's any happiness to be found, it's in the arts," says Gena Rowlands in an interview on the DVD of Broken English.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 25, 2004
Ryan Gosling of the seductive sloping features and Rachel McAdams of the laughing face and fetching form make such a handsome couple in The Notebook, it's too bad the filmmakers have provided them with characters as easy to read as the labels on a soup can. Set mostly in 1940s South Carolina, The Notebook is the kind of "tasteful" romance, complete with a woody pastoral sheen, that programs young daters to lean on each other's shoulders and older couples...
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