Summer celluloid 2006

April 21, 2006 • 0
Soon the dust will settle from finals, collecting on the floors of school corridors and empty seminar rooms. In other words, summer will be upon us. As my parting gift to you, here is a list of breezy entertainment fit to calm the chaos of the sun until autumn nights return you, once more, to »

Unfortunate ‘Slevin’ is, like Hartnett, out of luck

April 14, 2006 • 0
“Lucky Number Slevin” starts out in fine form. Writer Jason Smilovic blends noir with comedy, crafting an irreverent plot surrounding seven gruesome murders, a racehorse named Seven and a mysterious guy named Slevin. The numbers alone seem to promise a damn good time, but, unfortunately, the film’s luck doesn’t last. Going for the type of »

No, thank you ‘Smoking’

April 7, 2006 • 0
A political satire that tells the plain unspun truth, “Thank You For Smoking” is the refreshing exception to the spate of recent propaganda films. Sure, it pokes fun at the government and at Hollywood (agents particularly get skewered), but, ultimately, petty humor fades as the very nature of our society comes under scrutiny. At issue »

XBOX 360 indulges every gamer’s fantasy in vivid HD TV

March 31, 2006 • 0
Eye-popping HD, widescreen gaming and wireless internet — Microsoft’s ambitious new game system, the XBOX 360, has it all. But for those fortunate few lucky enough to get their hands on one (it’s been backordered since its release over four months ago), the steep price of games ($59) coupled with the monster cost of an »

‘Man’ burgles robbery cliches

March 31, 2006 • 3
Spike Lee, heretofore the most subversive director in American cinema, has gone mainstream. His new heist film, “Inside Man,” is a major studio picture produced by Universal’s Brian Grazer (“The Cat in the Hat”), and features a cherry-picked batch of Hollywood’s top stars. Perhaps due to the many egos involved, this “joint” goes through a »

From Russia with blood

March 24, 2006 • 0
The first significant film to emerge from the bleak heartland of post-Communist Russia, Timur Bekmambetov’s “Night Watch” is an epic without a hero. Beneath a ragged narrative which purports to chronicle a literal battle between good and evil, good is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the ruins of concrete Communist tenements seem to loom around »

‘Brokeback’ to top Oscar?

March 3, 2006 • 0
For a traditionally closeted industry, Hollywood sure came out big time in 2005. In the span of one year, gay cinema burst out of its mediocre comedic backwater to become a serious mainstream force. The box office totals for “Brokeback Mountain” have been hard to ignore: $72,000,000 and growing. Now, for the first time in »

‘Matador’ imbibes Brosnan

February 10, 2006 • 0
Edgy and hilarious, Richard Shepard’s raucous vaudevillian comedy “The Matador” manages to revive a near-dead art form with just the right twist of irony to make it fresh. But don’t look too hard between laugh attacks for any meaning behind the humor; this is a case study in frivolous entertainment. A product of the “Pulp »

Homeric homo travels

February 3, 2006 • 0
“Transamerica,” the sophomore effort by filmmaker Duncan Tucker, is about as close as movies come to a character study. The plot here, a cross-country road trip, runs a distant second to the man-soon-to-be-woman who is both the subject and the driving force of the film. Bree (Felicity Huffman), as she has named herself, is a »

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January 27, 2006 • 0
Existence is given the nihilist treatment in Woody Allen’s decent, but ultimately pointless, new film “Match Point.” When the writing is on target, the movie explores some very interesting aspects of human behavior, going through an unexpected genre switch along the way. That said, most of the time “Match Point” is mired in problems: the »

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January 20, 2006 • 0
Eli Roth takes the state of commerce to its most disgusting conclusion in his new horror flick “Hostel.” A variation on Richard Connel’s classic short story of a wealthy hunter who chases down men for sport (“The Most Dangerous Game”), Roth’s film gives the rich the purchasing power to snuff out another human being. Although »

2005: a history of uber-violence

January 13, 2006 • 0
Plagued by war and Katrina, riddled with scandal and dubbed “the worst year ever” by Rolling Stone Magazine, 2005 clouded the American horizon with uncertainty and doubt. Stepping up to the challenge of articulating the nation’s pain, American cinema has been exceptionally eloquent while voicing our fears. 2005 marked a resurgence of the political movie, »