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Rush Hour 2 Review


Good
I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250 million worldwide. Through its central characters, played by Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, the film provided audiences with a fresh, exciting combination of action and outrageous comedy. Although not a great film, and certainly not worthy of a sequel, director Brett Ratner admirably stitched together two immensely different characters, finding a charismatic delight in the diversity of Tucker and Chan.

Unfortunately Ratner does not find the same joy in Rush Hour 2, an occasionally amusing comedic adventure that leaves us with a profoundly annoying Chris Tucker fighting for attention while Jackie Chan fights one-dimensional Chinese villains with his bare fists. The film contains some neat action sequences, a great third act, and the most hilarious outtakes I can remember - but the clash of genres feels intrusive and awkward. I wanted more excitement, more character dimension, and a whole hell of a lot less of Chris Tucker's irritating mouth.

Continue reading: Rush Hour 2 Review

Mind The Gap Review


Very Good
Pleasantly patching the lives of five disparate characters, Eric Schaeffer's Mind the Gap is a richly textured study of simple interconnections that weave a provocative emotional terrain without ever veering too far into overly sentimental soap operatic situations.

Sam (Eric Schaeffer) is a single father who purchased an egg off the internet to fulfill his paternal needs after being left at the altar a decade before. Malissa (Elizabeth Reaser) takes care of an invalid mother who is embittered by thoughts of the life she could have had if not becoming a mother. Jody (Jill Sobule) is a soulful singer/songwriter with a pacemaker who refuses to leaves the New York borough of Queens until she gets a gig in the big city. John (Charles Parnell) is undergoing separation anxiety from his young son, who now lives in New York with his mother and a new father figure. And Herb (Alan King) is a cranky old-timer on a mission to reach the highest point in Manhattan to relive what he and his brother loved about New York's past.

Continue reading: Mind The Gap Review

Rory O'Shea Was Here Review


OK
One way to deal with disability is courageously but, as this film and its principal character demonstrate, when splashy bravura is used to mask anger, pain and unacceptance, courage may not be what's being expressed. Of course, one can always point out that the fully-abled are in no position to know or to judge the cries for help that come from being confined for life to a wheelchair. That aside, the title character of the drama takes self-assertion dangerously close to the realm of self-destruction.

The assisted living home in Dublin, known as the Carrigmore Home for the Disabled, contains a cross-section of impairments, from mild to the barely functional. In the case of Michael Connolly (Steven Robertson), who has grown up there, his cerebral palsy binds him to a wheelchair and to a speech impediment that makes verbal communication all but impossible.

Continue reading: Rory O'Shea Was Here Review

Christmas With The Kranks Review


Zero

As I write this, the time is 8:32 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, 2004, and I have just walked out on "Christmas With the Kranks" after roughly 45 minutes of mind-numbingly humorless, sit-com barrel-bottom idiocy.

An adaptation of John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas" that has been violently stripped of any semblance of humanity, this supposed comedy is about a couple called the Kranks (ha, ha, ha), played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, whose daughter won't be home for Christmas, so they choose to bow out of the festivities altogether and take a cruise. But apparently their choice amounts to a social offense of the first order in the bogus, plot-device suburbia where the movie takes place (during a transparently bogus winter). It even makes the newspaper.

Soon an army of neighbors are beating down their door like some Yuletide Gestapo, angrily demanding they put up their seasonal decorations while Curtis inexplicably cowers inside like a child.

Continue reading: Christmas With The Kranks Review

Sunshine State Review


Good

Another utterly captivating John Sayles ensemble piece with an incredible sense of a particular place and its personality, "Sunshine State" manifests the winds of change and uncertainty blowing mightily over a humble island township off the Florida panhandle that has been targeted for ravenous resort development.

Like "Lone Star," "Limbo" and other films from the iconic independent writer-director, this one transports you into the soul of its community through smaller pieces of the whole. Sayles paints a larger picture through the lives of individual denizens who are each struggling with a choice between the rich heritage of their fading pocket berg and the big money being offered by developers.

Some are rediscovering a spiritual connection to the town, like Angela Bassett, who plays a refugee from the island's black community, which made the place thrive in the 1940s before its culture began fading away with desegregation. She couldn't get away fast enough as a teenager -- although that might have been because she was pregnant and her parents were sending her away whether she liked it or not. She became an actress but never made it past infomercials. Now she has returned to visit her estranged mother (Mary Alice) for the first time with her handsome, affluent new husband (James McDaniel) on her arm.

Continue reading: Sunshine State Review

Rush Hour 2 Review


Weak

When a high-concept action-comedy becomes a hit despite slapdash scripting and single joke themes weaved into an emaciated plot, the ball starts rolling toward the inevitable: An even lamer sequel.

Thus was born the half-baked, ham-fisted "Rush Hour 2," another odd-couple buddy cop picture pairing Hong Kong detective Jackie Chan, king of the kung-fu action-comedy, with LAPD putz Chris Tucker, high-pitched hyperactive buffoon.

In the 1998 original set in Los Angeles, Chan and Tucker went against orders to rescue the daughter of the Chinese consul. This time they start their own investigation (against orders) when a bomb goes off at the U.S. embassy while Tucker is on vacation in Hong Kong. What this bombing has to do with the plot about a Triad counterfeiting ring isn't readily apparent, but the two are connected by Zhang Ziyi (the beautiful teenage heroine of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). She delivers the package bomb in the movie's opening scene and is wasted in the rest of the flick leading a gang of henchmen into ho-hum high-kicking combat with our heroes.

Continue reading: Rush Hour 2 Review

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Alan King Movies

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250...

Mind the Gap Movie Review

Mind the Gap Movie Review

Pleasantly patching the lives of five disparate characters, Eric Schaeffer's Mind the Gap is a...

Rory O'Shea Was Here Movie Review

Rory O'Shea Was Here Movie Review

One way to deal with disability is courageously but, as this film and its principal...

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Christmas With The Kranks Movie Review

Christmas With The Kranks Movie Review

As I write this, the time is 8:32 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, 2004, and...

Sunshine State Movie Review

Sunshine State Movie Review

Another utterly captivating John Sayles ensemble piece with an incredible sense of a particular place...

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

When a high-concept action-comedy becomes a hit despite slapdash scripting and single joke themes weaved...

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