Andrew Fierberg

Andrew Fierberg

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Broken English Review

Don't you just love Parker Posey? She's such an original talent, and it's irksome to see her do so well in a film that just doesn't cut it. Broken English plays like a tired retread of Sex and the City, with all the same preoccupations and issues but with none of the fun. Posey gives it her best shot, but she has little to work with.

Nora (Posey) is a thirty-something hotel concierge specializing in VIP guests, but her life has little glamour. When not tending to the VIPs, she's home drinking red wine, popping sleeping pills, and wondering why she can't find just one nice man. A fifth-anniversary party for her best friend Audrey (Drea DeMatteo) adds insult to injury, even as her own mom (Gena Rowlands, director Zoe Cassavetes's mother) tries to cheer her up.

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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait Of Diane Arbus Review

Diane Arbus made a name for herself by trying to make the normal look peculiar and vice versa. Many of her pictures detail "freaks" in very calm, classical poses and spaces. When Steven Shainberg got the notion to cook up a fictional story about how Arbus got her inspiration for her photographic portraits, this had to be on his mind. Somehow, this notion creates an inventive misfire.

Shainberg imagines Arbus, played by Nicole Kidman, as a faithful housewife, very self-conscious of her strange stares and off-putting manner. She's also a devoted assistant to Allan (a superb Ty Burr), her photographer husband who captures the poppy pastel colors of 1950s dresses and various appliances for catalogs. Her life gets a shock of electricity when she catches the eye of a strange neighbor named Lionel (Robert Downey Jr.). Lionel was featured in a freak show when he was younger as a dog boy, scientifically diagnosed as hypertrichosis. The relationship that builds between Arbus and her hairy friend accounts for her artistic awakening and liberation of feminine constraints.

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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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Yes Review

Rambling monologues featuring rhyming dialogue. Lead characters named "He" and "She." Camerawork aching to be lauded in Film Comment. A maid serving as a philosophical voice of reason. It's all there in Yes, Sally Potter's endless, numbing cinematic essay on... on... something.

"She" (Joan Allen) is a London-based scientist (born in Belfast, raised in America) whose open marriage to her stoic, stuffy husband (Sam Neill) is dying a slow, painful death. "He" (Simon Abkarian) is a cook from Beirut, who meets her at a party, beginning a torrid affair that puts both on a physical and emotional trek taking them to Beirut, Belfast, New York, and a groovy Cuba.

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The Eternal (1998) Review

Not exactly regarded as a pinnacle of the horror genre, The Eternal is notable for one reason only: That Christopher Walken is in it, as a blind man wearing octagonal-rimmed glasses. The movie's relatively engaging until Walken comes and goes at around the 30-minute mark: Alison Elliott is a freaky alcoholic who keeps passing out and wants to know why. Too bad the answer has something to do with mummies, druids, and an old family house that largely causes its occupants to appear in slow motion. Zzzzzz.

Oh: But watch for Jared Harris's Walken impersonation at the 42 minute mark.

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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.

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Keane Review

This intense little item from independent cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven; Claire Dolan) is an exercise in grit. For 90 minutes, this intense character study literally follows around a mourning father, William Keane (Damian Lewis), who tortures himself by wandering around New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the bleakest neighborhoods of New Jersey searching in vain for his abducted daughter. A miserable slab of what was once a human being, Keane is a wandering bitter pill who endlessly talks to himself about what he should have done, what he ought to do, and how he can find his daughter.

One admires Kerrigan's rigorous cinematic technique, which stays perched on Keane's face or right over his shoulder for most of the film's running time. It's a "you are there" aesthetic that demands the viewer identify with the camera's subject. Perhaps influenced by British filmmaker Alan Clarke (who used similar tactics to brilliant effect following around skinhead Tim Roth in Made in Britain and football hooligan Gary Oldman in The Firm), Kerrigan manages to make Keane bracing, compelling, and mostly watchable even as you realize the character is on a long, slow, tortured journey to nowhere.

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'I'm A Celebrity' Camp Evacuated Due To Serve Storms

'I'm A Celebrity' Camp Evacuated Due To Serve Storms

The I’m A Celebrity camp has had to be evacuated due to severe storms in the Australian outback...

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