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By Lou Cedrone | May 22, 1991
Kurt Russell says he was drawn to his new film, ''Backdraft,'' because ''there is something old-fashioned about the fire department, something very sweet. It has dignity.''Ron Howard was another inducement. Like Russell, Howard was a child star. Like Russell, Howard made the professional transition to adulthood. Howard went on to become a director, Russell continued as an actor.''I've always wanted to do a film with Ron,'' said Russell. ''We never had the opportunity to work with each other.
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By New York Times News Service | December 30, 2008
[Synapse Films] Starring Kurt Russell and Zoe Bell. Directed by Quentin Taratino. $19.95; Blu-ray $29.95. *** Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof first appeared in 2007 as a component of Grindhouse, an elaborate conceptual project that was meant to evoke a double feature at a decaying downtown movie palace, around 1978. Grindhouse flopped. When the film was released to home video, it was broken into its parts: Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez's homage to the grisly horror films of the '70s, and Death Proof, Tarantino's take on another, less-codified genre of the same period, the car chase movie.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 6, 2004
As Herb Brooks, the coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the justly favored Soviets and an eventual gold medal, Kurt Russell seizes on the role of a lifetime and gives a performance so robust and true, so acute in its depiction of a complex, brilliant character and so immense in its understated sympathy that it brings new meaning to the overused word "inspirational." Although Miracle leads with satisfying tension to the showdown with the Soviets at Lake Placid, it isn't a conventional sports movie.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN REPORTER | May 18, 2007
Baltimore native Tracie Thoms, one of the featured stars in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, is heading for the South of France Sunday to help promote the movie at this year's Cannes Film Festival. If the name Death Proof doesn't ring a bell, don't worry - the film began its life, and indeed can still be seen in theaters, as half of Grindhouse, the three-hour salute to '60s and '70s exploitation films that also includes Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror. But for Cannes, which runs through May 27, Tarantino will be showing only his half of the film, in an expanded version featuring scenes not yet available to American moviegoers.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | August 9, 1996
About halfway through "Escape from L.A." I began to contemplate an escape from the theater. No more of Kurt Russell's ersatz-Eastwood voice and minimalist, whiskery acting, no more cheesy sets plunking Hollywood and Vine down on a computer-generated field of ruin, no more wondering if poor Cliff Robertson's facelift would give way, depositing the man in his early '70s, where he belongs and should be proud to be.Best of all, no more John Carpenter, self-important...
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | March 15, 1996
Certainly the best American thriller since the double hit of "In the Line of Fire" and "The Fugitive" two summers ago, "Executive Decision" is a terrific piece of pop movie making. Has Steven Seagal finally broken through?Er, no. He's gone in 15 minutes.But Kurt Russell has finally broken through, big time.Almost unbearably tense and recalling both the low pleasures of the "Airport" films and the high pleasures of Stanley Kubrick's great "Dr. Strangelove," "Executive Decision" moves like a bat from a volcano, even if it's really not about an executive decision.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | May 12, 2006
Poseidon fails to provide even the dubious excitement of seeing a handful survive and hundreds of passengers and crew drown when a rogue wave overturns a cruise ship. Working from the broad outlines of Paul Gallico's 1969 novel and its 1972 screen adaptation, The Poseidon Adventure, director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm) proves himself the latest artistic loser in Hollywood's continuing game of Wheel of Fortune. He can't buy a decent, workable cliche from screenwriter Mark Protosevich, who must have been suffering from nonwriter's block when he took the job. Instead of archetypal characters from the 1972 version, like Gene Hackman's rogue minister, who espoused a muscular Christianity as he saved his tiny flock, Protosevich provides clumsy hybrids.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | September 19, 1992
Top Ten Reasons for Avoiding "Captain Ron."10.) Do the words lame, lamer and lamest mean anything to you?9.) Cute kids.8.) Martin Short in yet another throwaway part. Here's a horrifying sub-thought: Suppose this is all the Martin Short there is? Suppose for the rest of his career he plays mild suburban dads who find themselves mildly overmatched by circumstances, make a lot of funny noises but ultimately and sentimentally rally in the end. The movie would have been a lot funnier if he'd done everything just the same except . . . he was Ed Grimley.
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By New York Times News Service | December 30, 2008
[Synapse Films] Starring Kurt Russell and Zoe Bell. Directed by Quentin Taratino. $19.95; Blu-ray $29.95. *** Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof first appeared in 2007 as a component of Grindhouse, an elaborate conceptual project that was meant to evoke a double feature at a decaying downtown movie palace, around 1978. Grindhouse flopped. When the film was released to home video, it was broken into its parts: Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez's homage to the grisly horror films of the '70s, and Death Proof, Tarantino's take on another, less-codified genre of the same period, the car chase movie.
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By Lou Cedrone | May 24, 1991
IF ''BACKDRAFT'' were rated on its special effects alone, it would deserve a 10. Unfortunately, a movie of this sort can travel so far on special effects, then it needs plot.Ah, but those special effects! It's amazing that anyone could stage all this for the screen. It's equally amazing that no one died during the filming.Fire is treated as something of an "other presence" in this film, and it is. Ron Howard directed, and he and his crew have managed some spectacular conflagration. This is a movie in which flames are almost beautiful.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | May 12, 2006
Poseidon fails to provide even the dubious excitement of seeing a handful survive and hundreds of passengers and crew drown when a rogue wave overturns a cruise ship. Working from the broad outlines of Paul Gallico's 1969 novel and its 1972 screen adaptation, The Poseidon Adventure, director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm) proves himself the latest artistic loser in Hollywood's continuing game of Wheel of Fortune. He can't buy a decent, workable cliche from screenwriter Mark Protosevich, who must have been suffering from nonwriter's block when he took the job. Instead of archetypal characters from the 1972 version, like Gene Hackman's rogue minister, who espoused a muscular Christianity as he saved his tiny flock, Protosevich provides clumsy hybrids.
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November 11, 2005
Capsules are by critics Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach, plus wire services. Full reviews at baltimoresun.com/movies. Capote -- is a bleakly funny, profoundly unsettling depiction of Truman Capote as a young literary lion, or maybe an overgrown cub, on the scent of his Next Big Thing: a "non-fiction novel" about a Kansas murder. It begins as a deft high comedy about a cosmopolitan man of letters endearing himself to the boondocks. Then it expands into a heart-stabbing, dizzying examination of the exploitation that occurs in friendships, work relations and the connection between a journalist and his subject.
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By Greg Morago and Greg Morago,HARTFORD COURANT | August 25, 2005
Moviegoers have always had a special place in their hearts for animals. Everyone remembers Lassie and Old Yeller, Pie from National Velvet and the majestic Arabian from The Black Stallion. You can't think about the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers or Gene Autry without recalling Silver, Trigger and Champion. Then there are the animated stars of Babe, The Lion King and Finding Nemo. Call it The March of the Animals. March of the Penguins, a documentary about the annual mating ritual of emperor penguins, is the current darling of the animal-movie world, taking in $40 million in about two months (while playing on far fewer screens than the big-budget movies)
BUSINESS
December 5, 2004
Holiday home tour of Union Square set for next Sunday Fresh baked cookies and a tour of historic homes will be offered at the 19th annual Union Square Holiday Cookie Tour next week. The walking tour, which is centered on Union Square Park between the 1500 blocks of W. Lombard and Hollins streets, will feature more than 20 homes decorated for the holidays. Participants will receive a different cookie at each house as well as a booklet containing historic information about the home and cookie recipes.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 6, 2004
As Herb Brooks, the coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the justly favored Soviets and an eventual gold medal, Kurt Russell seizes on the role of a lifetime and gives a performance so robust and true, so acute in its depiction of a complex, brilliant character and so immense in its understated sympathy that it brings new meaning to the overused word "inspirational." Although Miracle leads with satisfying tension to the showdown with the Soviets at Lake Placid, it isn't a conventional sports movie.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 21, 2003
Dark Blue is one of those totally happy surprises that moves so quickly and curves so sharply that it leaves this era's hyped critical hits looking like beached whales. It never ceases to be a rabidly involving L.A. cop movie; it never loses its fierce sense of humor. But it manages to say a lot more about race and class than Changing Lanes, about depression than The Hours, about fathers and sons and their surrogates than Road to Perdition or About a Boy, and about minority reports (and police ethics)
BUSINESS
December 5, 2004
Holiday home tour of Union Square set for next Sunday Fresh baked cookies and a tour of historic homes will be offered at the 19th annual Union Square Holiday Cookie Tour next week. The walking tour, which is centered on Union Square Park between the 1500 blocks of W. Lombard and Hollins streets, will feature more than 20 homes decorated for the holidays. Participants will receive a different cookie at each house as well as a booklet containing historic information about the home and cookie recipes.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 23, 2001
An uneasy mix of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Shane," the new heist film "3000 Miles to Graceland" poses the musical question, "What if Elvis' illegitimate son was a really mean guy?" The answer: he'd kill people. A lot of people. And be pretty messy about it. In reality, as you might guess, this sophomoric film has little to do with Elvis, and everything to do with putting as much carnage as possible on screen under the guise of art, poetry, choreography, taxidermy. And it's about a director weaned on music videos, who knows all about staging action, not enough about story or plot, and nothing at all about restraint.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | December 14, 2001
Anyone watching Vanilla Sky who has seen the 1997 Spanish thriller Open Your Eyes will experience an effect painters call "pentimento." The surface has been painted over, but the original design still shows through. And for those who weren't fans of the first movie, this one will register as an instant unpleasant memory. With the blessing of the original moviemaker, Alejandro Amenabar (who went on to make The Others), writer-director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) has applied his own pop veneer to the tale of a handsome, rich young man's comeuppance.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 23, 2001
An uneasy mix of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Shane," the new heist film "3000 Miles to Graceland" poses the musical question, "What if Elvis' illegitimate son was a really mean guy?" The answer: he'd kill people. A lot of people. And be pretty messy about it. In reality, as you might guess, this sophomoric film has little to do with Elvis, and everything to do with putting as much carnage as possible on screen under the guise of art, poetry, choreography, taxidermy. And it's about a director weaned on music videos, who knows all about staging action, not enough about story or plot, and nothing at all about restraint.
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