Allison Burnett

Allison Burnett

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Resurrecting The Champ Review


Good
You could say that young sportswriter Erik Kernan (Josh Harnett) has a greater need for resurrection than the down-for-the-count ex-boxer he wants to write about. That's because, sadly, Kernan hasn't been able to match his dead dad's sharp writing and sterling reputation on the Denver Post. The only thing that makes his professional resurrection possible with his story idea is the passion to tell it, and he's pleading for the assignment.

When Erik first comes upon the man they call "Champ" (Samuel L. Jackson), the homeless resident has just been violently attacked by a small gang of vicious delinquents trying to prove their manhood with an act of cowardice typical of the goons and bullies in this part of town. After suffering their blows, the victim lies nearly helpless on the grounds of his minimal stakeout in a downtown alley. Once more, Champ is down, but this is the life he's accepted and adapted to with stoic resolve.

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Untraceable Review


Bad
It would be wonderful if this review of the newest cyber-torture-stalker-thriller could begin with the words "Untraceable is unwatchable," but sadly that would be a lie. Our tastes have very simply become too degraded over the years for us not to have become used to it as studios have continued to shove out purposeless dreck like this. Call it a formula inoculation, as the films keep coming, with only the slightest noticeable tweaks to their dependable structure (as necessitated by the latest spasms in popular culture that allow a soupcon of relevancy to creep in), we very simply get used to it, no matter how awful.

And awful it is. In a desperate bid to glom on to the Internet's evergreen supposed hipness, the script (a lifeless accumulation of the expected by a trio of writers who really should know better) puts us inside an FBI cyber-crime unit where flint-eyed but tender-hearted agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) tracks down the worst of the online worst. Stirring from her bank of computer monitors only to get coffee or crack wise with fellow agent Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks), Marsh is your prototypical wounded female cop with a young daughter and fretful mother at home, and a dead husband in her memory. (If her character had been male they'd have given her a bad temper and a drinking problem, but at least the sarcastic partner bit is gender neutral.) She gets put on the kind of case that (literally) only exists in the movies. Some psycho sets up a website called "Kill With Me" whose hook is that the more people view it, the quicker the subject on camera dies by some fiendish means. The first time out, it's a kitten; after that a person, and then another, and then another...

Continue reading: Untraceable Review

Feast Of Love Review


Very Good
In Godard's Contempt, Michel Piccoli explains the depth of his love for Brigitte Bardot as "totally... tenderly... tragically." The characters in Robert Benton's autumnal meditation on the meaning of love, Feast of Love, all dive into love with blinders on like Piccoli, drowning in their own respective seas of love.

Bradley (Greg Kinnear) is an affable, eternally optimistic schlimazel who runs Jitters, a tiny coffee shop in an Oregon college town, a guy that burbles out statements like, "I think love is everything; the only meaning we have to this crazy dream." Bradley is so likeable and easygoing that he is ripe to be trampled upon by the love beast and he is. Twice. First, his wife Kathryn (Selma Blair) leaves him for another woman. He then falls head over heels in love with cool-drink-of-water real-estate agent Diana (Radha Mitchell), who ends up marrying Bradley, despite her continuing to engage in carnal relations with David (Billy Burke). Bradley relates his stretch of news from the lovelorn to his friend Harry (Morgan Freeman), Harry calmly telling Bradley, "At least this time it's with a guy."

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Red Meat Review


Weak
They "go to the gym, eat red meat, and talk about girls."

And so this straight-to-DVD-after-five-years-on-the-shelf flick would be dismissed as a pale imitation of In the Company of Men, if only it weren't written and directed by a woman, Allison Burnett. And not only is she a woman, she's the very woman who wrote both Bloodsport III: Forced to Fight and Autumn in New York!*

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Autumn In New York Review


OK
No matter how shrewd, wealthy, or debonair a man can be, in a Hollywood drama, he is always humbled by love. Richard Gere is no exception to this rule, and for the second time in a year, he is typecast in yet another implausible romantic lead. Why even bother establishing his character? Like always, he's successful, powerful, and sexy, yet unable to curb his womanizing ways. Only this time it's not Julia Roberts as the flamboyant prostitute or eccentric altar ditcher, but a weepy Winona Ryder, who is half his age and happens to be dying of a rare heart disease. Sound like a winner? It isn't.

Autumn in New York, directed by Joan Chen (Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl), is the recycled love story of a man who has it all but nobody to share it with. The tacky promo, "He taught her how to live, she taught him how to love," basically explains the plot in a nutshell. Flourishing Manhattan restaurant owner Will Keane (Gere) sees something in the beauty, wit, and innocence of young Charlotte (Winona Ryder), despite the fact that he dated her deceased mother in the past. On the flip side, Charlotte has merely a year to live and is not afraid to die because she has nothing truly worth living for. The two find sustenance in one another, but as all love stories go, they endure trying times. Winona is either too young or too sick, and he can't control his libido or escape his shady past. So they're meant for one another, but how long can it last?

Continue reading: Autumn In New York Review

Allison Burnett

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Allison Burnett Movies

Untraceable Movie Review

Untraceable Movie Review

It would be wonderful if this review of the newest cyber-torture-stalker-thriller could begin with the...

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Feast Of Love Movie Review

Feast Of Love Movie Review

In Godard's Contempt, Michel Piccoli explains the depth of his love for Brigitte Bardot as...

Autumn In New York Movie Review

Autumn In New York Movie Review

No matter how shrewd, wealthy, or debonair a man can be, in a Hollywood drama,...

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