Macy can’t save ‘The Cooler’

January 30, 2004
What’s not as cool as being ice cold? The Cooler. In his recent foray into leading-man-hood, William H. Macy plays Bernie Lootz, a guy with the worst luck ever. He uses this karmic abnormality to turn a profit as a “cooler,” someone employed by old-school casinos to put gamblers’ winning streaks “on ice,” so to »

Tim Burton doesn’t quite reel in a ‘Big Fish’

January 16, 2004
Burton remains without question one of the most progressive directors working in Hollywood today. He has carved a niche for himself somewhere between the mainstream and the avant guard, in that nebulous region of cinema occupied by artists whose worldview is so unconventional that it attains popular appeal. His films consistently challenge the imagination (“Beetlejuice”), »

Wacko Jacko wrote ‘Bad’ for ‘Santa’

December 5, 2003
Seeing “Bad Santa” in full defeats all doubts raised by its trailer. The safe attitude regarding trailers should always be a skeptical one — give all of the movies a thumbs down, and let the critics waste the paper’s money. In particular, for movies campaigning within the Christmas or anti-Christmas subgenre, give them two thumbs »

Jesus waits, ‘Pac is born again

November 21, 2003
“Tupac: Resurrection” is everything you wanted to know about gangsta rap but were too afraid to ask. (As a white person, I know it can be intimidating). Directed by Lauren Lazin, the film spans the all-too-brief life of rap artist Tupac Shakur from his humble beginnings as a struggling actor in Baltimore to his meteoric »

Pro: ‘Revolutions’ will make you squeal and keep you on the edge of your seat

November 14, 2003
There is an important thing to get out of the way. This movie is not about good, Oscar acting. But the fault does not entirely rest upon Keanu or the rest of the cast. The consistent lack of emotion seems to be purposeful. Also, the script leaves the actors little to work with. At worst, »

Taiwanese film comes alive at WHC

November 7, 2003
How can you judge a nation’s cinema from nine films, a handful of lectures, and a few discussion panels? The simple answer is that you can’t. The best you can do is to gather all of the images, interpretations, and comments, and see what they amount to. Then, if you’re lucky, the picture of a »

‘Bill’ is violent, sublime

October 17, 2003
There were 10 in the party. And they should have killed 10. But they killed only nine. “The party” refers to the wedding party of The Bride. “They” refers to the elite squad of female assassins, plus Bill. It is also important to mention that Quentin Tarantino directed the film and that Uma Thurman stars »

‘Time’ runs out of plot twists

October 10, 2003
Not all films are created equal. Some are instant classics, some are soon forgotten. Some, like Carl Franklin’s “Out of Time”, can only strive to be good entertainment. There is nothing special about “Out of Time,” nor is there anything particularly bad. It amounts to typical Hollywood fare: unremarkable, uninventive, entirely predictable and altogether normal. »

Coppola family talent gene ‘Lost’

October 3, 2003
Sofia Coppola is the privileged daughter of Hollywood. Riding on the coattails of her legendary father, Francis Ford Coppola, she has enjoyed an automatic credibility unknown to other filmmakers of her generation. Her projects — such as her first, “The Virgin Suicides” — begin and end with the Coppola stamp of approval. This allows her »