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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | February 23, 1994
Movie directors are surely the most dynamic men in the world. Think of Cecil B. De Mille in jodhpurs with a megaphone and a riding crop. Think of John Huston laughing and fighting and drinking his way through a fabulous career. Think of Woody Allen's neurotic energy or Steven Spielberg's incredible pizazz.But when one says -- "I sit in a room and people come. I always depend on what's presented" ?That sounds like a memo from the invisible man, or the winner of the Mr. Passive-Aggressive World Championships.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | March 2, 2007
What's heartening about movies like Stephen Frears' The Queen and Martin Scorsese's The Departed is their bench strength. Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen were wonderful in The Queen, but so were their court and cabinet. An array of crack character actors supports the top names in The Departed. So it's infuriating to see directors Joel Schumacher of The Number 23 and Walt Becker of Wild Hogs trash their casts. In The Number 23, Mark Pellegrino (of Capote) and Ed Lauter (who's been doing super work since The Last American Hero in 1973)
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March 19, 1991
A solid majority of Evening Sun readers and other callers to Lou Cedrone's SUNDIAL Oscar Line believe Kevin Costner will be named Best Director for "Dances With Wolves" when the Oscars are handed out next Monday night.Sixty-seven percent of the 117 respondents in a telephone survey conducted last Tuesday chose Costner, followed by Martin Scorsese for "GoodFellas" (14 percent), Francis Ford Coppola for "Godfather Part III" (10 percent), Stephen Frears for "The Grifters" (5 percent) and Barbet Schroeder for "Reversal of Fortune" (4 percent)
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 20, 2006
In The Queen, Helen Mirren, as Queen Elizabeth II, does an exhilarating, death-defying tightrope walk in sensible shoes, and Michael Sheen, as her new Labor prime minister, Tony Blair, spots her brilliantly. It would be amazing enough simply for Mirren to adopt a stance, a mind-set, an eye-set of redoubtable discernment and rectitude when she first meets with Blair. But when the queen is with her family, Mirren adopts a brusqueness, vigor and dry humor that match the public figure in weight and plausibility.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach | April 9, 2000
TV harks back to its first Golden Age at 9 p.m. today on WJZ, Channel 13, with a live, black-and-white broadcast -- an adaptation of "Fail Safe," the 1964 Cold War drama about a potential American nuclear strike on Moscow. Sidney Lumet directed the original film in which, thanks to a faulty transmission of orders, U.S. bombers are sent to the Soviet capital -- and make it past the point of no return before horrified military leaders can stop them. The original starred Dan O'Herlihy, Walter Matthau, and Fritz Weaver, with Henry Fonda as the president who must assure Soviet leaders it's all a terrible mistake.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | March 2, 2007
What's heartening about movies like Stephen Frears' The Queen and Martin Scorsese's The Departed is their bench strength. Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen were wonderful in The Queen, but so were their court and cabinet. An array of crack character actors supports the top names in The Departed. So it's infuriating to see directors Joel Schumacher of The Number 23 and Walt Becker of Wild Hogs trash their casts. In The Number 23, Mark Pellegrino (of Capote) and Ed Lauter (who's been doing super work since The Last American Hero in 1973)
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 3, 2006
Review B+ Titillation for the hoity-toity and hoi polloi. That's what the heroine and hero of Mrs. Henderson Presents, a wealthy widow (Judi Dench) and her music-hall impresario (Bob Hoskins), offer to the theatergoing public in the 1930s and '40s, as breadlines grow and the Nazi threat erupts into the Battle of Britain. Under the guise of a fact-based period piece, that's what director Stephen Frears and writer Martin Sherman bequeath to their moviegoing public, too - a humorous bounty of flesh and fantasy.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 20, 2006
In The Queen, Helen Mirren, as Queen Elizabeth II, does an exhilarating, death-defying tightrope walk in sensible shoes, and Michael Sheen, as her new Labor prime minister, Tony Blair, spots her brilliantly. It would be amazing enough simply for Mirren to adopt a stance, a mind-set, an eye-set of redoubtable discernment and rectitude when she first meets with Blair. But when the queen is with her family, Mirren adopts a brusqueness, vigor and dry humor that match the public figure in weight and plausibility.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | August 15, 2003
Dirty Pretty Things draws us into a world no one wants to inhabit, a world where people are helpless and alone, with only their wits standing between themselves and disaster. And then it catches us pleasantly by surprise, giving its characters a nobility and sense of purpose that belie their surroundings, suggesting the veneer of civilization is both thin and porous. But most of all, director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters) and first-time screenwriter Steven Knight present viewers with a crackerjack thriller, laced with labyrinthine mysteries, moral quandaries and unspeakable evil.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | January 25, 1991
'The Grifters'Starring John Cusack, Annette Bening and Anjelica Huston.Directed by Stephen Frears.Released by Miramax.Rated R.** 1/2 Grifters are the coyotes on the great plains of crime. They hover at the edges, afraid to go after the really big kills, afraid of the implicit violence in big money stings, but nibbling, scuffling and pawing for the unattended few bucks left over.Jim Thompson is the poet-laureate of this low-rent moral twilight and Stephen Frears' version of Thompson's "The Grifters" chronicles the vicious games members of this demimonde play upon each other.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 3, 2006
Review B+ Titillation for the hoity-toity and hoi polloi. That's what the heroine and hero of Mrs. Henderson Presents, a wealthy widow (Judi Dench) and her music-hall impresario (Bob Hoskins), offer to the theatergoing public in the 1930s and '40s, as breadlines grow and the Nazi threat erupts into the Battle of Britain. Under the guise of a fact-based period piece, that's what director Stephen Frears and writer Martin Sherman bequeath to their moviegoing public, too - a humorous bounty of flesh and fantasy.
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | December 2, 2005
CINEMA SUNDAYS -- Baltimore's almost-weekly showcase of things new and cutting-edge in the world of cinema ends its fall season Sunday with Mrs. Henderson Presents. Starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, the film tells the story of a British woman who, forced to choose between using a recent inheritance for charitable purposes or for her own enjoyment, picks the latter. She purchases an aging music hall, which she soon reopens (under the guidance of a new manager) as a dance hall specializing in dancers who perform au naturel.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | August 15, 2003
Dirty Pretty Things draws us into a world no one wants to inhabit, a world where people are helpless and alone, with only their wits standing between themselves and disaster. And then it catches us pleasantly by surprise, giving its characters a nobility and sense of purpose that belie their surroundings, suggesting the veneer of civilization is both thin and porous. But most of all, director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters) and first-time screenwriter Steven Knight present viewers with a crackerjack thriller, laced with labyrinthine mysteries, moral quandaries and unspeakable evil.
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November 2, 2001
The One Rated PG-13 (Violence). Sun score: ** The One is all sound and fury, and nothing else. Save for the intriguing sci-fi premise that alternate universes exist, The One offers little but guys fighting and bullets flying, interspersed with momentary lulls. Jet Li, who normally exhibits a lot more charisma than he does here, plays a dual role. In one universe, he's Gabriel Yulaw, a megalomaniac out for power and glory. His mission: visit each alternate universe via wormholes that open up sporadically, find his alternate self, and kill him. Each time he succeeds, he becomes more powerful.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 28, 2001
Women's experiences in the movies will be the focus of a day-long Film Festival planned for the Charles next Saturday, Oct. 6. Registration for "Diverse Voices: Women In Film & Video" begins at 8:30 a.m. The day's program opens at 9 a.m. with a series of short films and videos by Washington filmmakers Christa Dickey and Rachel Max. A question-and-answer session will follow. Among the festival's highlights will be: A discussion on "The Status & Empowerment of Women In the Film & TV Industry."
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach | April 9, 2000
TV harks back to its first Golden Age at 9 p.m. today on WJZ, Channel 13, with a live, black-and-white broadcast -- an adaptation of "Fail Safe," the 1964 Cold War drama about a potential American nuclear strike on Moscow. Sidney Lumet directed the original film in which, thanks to a faulty transmission of orders, U.S. bombers are sent to the Soviet capital -- and make it past the point of no return before horrified military leaders can stop them. The original starred Dan O'Herlihy, Walter Matthau, and Fritz Weaver, with Henry Fonda as the president who must assure Soviet leaders it's all a terrible mistake.
FEATURES
By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | December 2, 2005
CINEMA SUNDAYS -- Baltimore's almost-weekly showcase of things new and cutting-edge in the world of cinema ends its fall season Sunday with Mrs. Henderson Presents. Starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, the film tells the story of a British woman who, forced to choose between using a recent inheritance for charitable purposes or for her own enjoyment, picks the latter. She purchases an aging music hall, which she soon reopens (under the guidance of a new manager) as a dance hall specializing in dancers who perform au naturel.
FEATURES
November 2, 2001
The One Rated PG-13 (Violence). Sun score: ** The One is all sound and fury, and nothing else. Save for the intriguing sci-fi premise that alternate universes exist, The One offers little but guys fighting and bullets flying, interspersed with momentary lulls. Jet Li, who normally exhibits a lot more charisma than he does here, plays a dual role. In one universe, he's Gabriel Yulaw, a megalomaniac out for power and glory. His mission: visit each alternate universe via wormholes that open up sporadically, find his alternate self, and kill him. Each time he succeeds, he becomes more powerful.
NEWS
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 18, 1996
It's been said before (by me) and it will be said again (probably by me): In the cycle of the American film industry, two months plus a few days belong to the kids, the two months being December (from Thanksgiving, say, till Christmas) and June (from, say, May 15 through July 4). But those two months pay for the other 10 months, so perhaps we grown-ups should not begrudge them their fun.That also means that down-seasons, like early fall and late spring, belong to us, more or less, which is why in the next few weeks movies with John Malkovich, Robert Redford, Liam Neeson and Steve Martin dominate the film fare, rather than the 18-to-25-year-old mod squadders so beloved by our unruly children.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | February 23, 1994
Movie directors are surely the most dynamic men in the world. Think of Cecil B. De Mille in jodhpurs with a megaphone and a riding crop. Think of John Huston laughing and fighting and drinking his way through a fabulous career. Think of Woody Allen's neurotic energy or Steven Spielberg's incredible pizazz.But when one says -- "I sit in a room and people come. I always depend on what's presented" ?That sounds like a memo from the invisible man, or the winner of the Mr. Passive-Aggressive World Championships.
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