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Love, Ludlow Review

Tracking the careers of the two girls who played "Becky" on Roseanne can be a terribly fun sport. Sarah Chalke (Becky #2) wound up being a big star on TV's Scrubs, and she probably has a nice career ahead of her as a movie star. Alicia Goranson (Becky #1) left the show to go to college. She came back to TV and movies many years later, and after a few supporting appearances, now she's tiptoeing her way into leading roles.

I'm not sure it's gonna take.

Continue reading: Love, Ludlow Review

Secretary Review

Secret desires and dark, unusual fetishes make for great fiction, but few filmmakers have enough courage to tackle ideas that private. However, Steven Shainberg has more than enough audacity and he doesn't hesitate to push the envelope way beyond the norm with his new movie Secretary, a film which appropriately won a Special Jury Prize for originality at Sundance.

Secretary explodes with juicy innuendo, even from its opening moments. An extending establishing shot plays against mischievously sensual music as a woman seductively strolls through a business office performing secretarial duties. She approaches a desk, staples a few papers, pours fresh coffee into a mug, and then returns to her employer. Sounds ordinary, except that she does these things while locked inside a weird S&M device.

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The Next Big Thing Review

The art gallery world gets a decent comedic prod in this new film by writer/director brothers P.J. and Joel Posner. Set amongst the spoiled and the starving in New York, The Next Big Thing pits artistic intelligence against a pleasantly simple love story, all centering around independent favorite Chris Eigeman (The Last Days of Disco).

Eigeman is Gus, who starts out the film having the worst possible day. On his way to an important meeting, battered portfolio in hand, his wallet is swiped by a swindler escaping from subway havoc. The interview goes poorly with gallery owner Arthur Pomposello (an unrecognizable Farley Granger, of beloved Hitchcock fame) because Gus just doesn't "catch you." His shading shows talent and his composition is pleasant to look at, but he doesn't display the normal despondence and stereotypical artistic pain seen in his peers.

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Hamlet (2000) Review

A new school of acting should be constructed based on the method of Ethan Hawke. I am the first to admit that I enjoy Ethan Hawke in almost anything he does. The reason I like him so much is because he brings the essence of the brooding soul to the screen so well. Hawke plays Tortured Guy so perfectly they should give an award at the Oscars every year and call it the "E. Hawke Award for Best Brooding Performance of the Year". As a natural-born brooder, the character of Hamlet perfectly suits Hawke because the role has always been given to older guys looking to validate their dramatic acting chops. Hawke's Hamlet is the Generation X Hamlet. A Hamlet that uses his "discontent" with the world as a razor against the neck of reality.

This updated 20th century Hamlet is brought to vivid realism by independent director Michael Almereyda. Almereyda places the play in the year 2000, creating the state of Denmark as a huge conglomerate, the slain king a CEO, and Hamlet as a digital video maker. This interpretation sounds almost like it's going to be as much fun as a ten-car pileup on the expressway; you want to turn your head away from in disgust but are strangely curious about what happened.

Continue reading: Hamlet (2000) Review

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