Andrew Stevens

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The In-Laws (2003) Review


Excellent
Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon Gekko days of Wall Street fame, his body is certainly a little less nimble, his face a little more wrinkled, and his hair a shade too light. But the guy looks great, and he's once again an action hero. That bumps him up from "silver spoon" to "ageless wonder" in the Hollywood classification book - ever closer to the royalty of perennial good lookers Redford and Basinger.

In The In-Laws (based on the 1979 film of the same name), like most other Michael Douglas vehicles, his gaunt face is rarely off the camera. Wisely, director Andrew Fleming inserts a hilarious Albert Brooks as the perfect remedy for Douglas's self-absorption.

Continue reading: The In-Laws (2003) Review

The Caveman's Valentine Review


Excellent
After working as an actor for some time, Kasi Lemmons (The Silence of the Lambs) wrote and directed her first feature, Eve's Bayou, in 1997. She has since spent the past 4 years putting together The Caveman's Valentine, which took 10-plus producers to come to fruition. Instead of directing original material, Lemmons directs from the book by Georges Dawes Green, who adapted it for the screen.

Samuel L. Jackson (Unbreakable, Shaft) teams up with Lemmons again (he played the philandering husband in Eve's Bayou) to star as the disturbed and homeless Romulus. Thankfully, no easy explanation is ever uttered as to the nature of his psychosis. He lives partially obsessed with a fantasy world in which exotic dancers inspire his hands on the piano, and his ultimate nemesis resides in the Chrysler building.

Continue reading: The Caveman's Valentine Review

Animal Factory Review


Good
Dear Ma,

After seeing Steve Buscemi's sophomore directorial effort, Animal Factory (following 1996's Trees Lounge), I nearly reconsidered choosing film criticism as a career path. For the first hour of this film, it seemed the way to go was to become a convict. (By the way, ma, they don't call 'em inmates in the pen, they call 'em convicts.)

Continue reading: Animal Factory Review

The Fury Review


OK
Early Brian De Palma horror/thriller takes the Carrie vibe one by putting a government intrigue plot on the heads of its telekinetic teens -- which means people getting killed if they don't play nice. Kirk Douglas shines as the spy father of just such a teen (Andrew Stevens!), while across the globe, Amy Irving is just coming to terms with her powers. Of course, the feds will stop at nothing to control the powers in question. Watchable, but completely hokey (which, of course, is typical of De Palma's films altogether).

If... Dog... Rabbit... Review


Weak
Promising film starts out great then turns into yet another predictable caper-gone-awry homage to The Killing. A rather unfortunate vanity production from first-time writer/director Modine. Special award for having the worst title in the history of movies (though it is "explained" in the credits).

Continue reading: If... Dog... Rabbit... Review

Half Past Dead Review


Grim
Martin Boris Velanov is the hardest working man in show business. According to the end credits for the prison thriller Half Past Dead, Mr. Velanov works full-time (some would say "overtime") as the stand-in for Steven Seagal, a past-his-prime action hero mistakenly labeled as marketable after his last endeavor, Exit Wounds, found an audience.

By my calculations - and this is far from scientific - Seagal appears in approximately 15% of his own scenes. The rest of the time, director Don Michael Paul uses quick-cuts, (very) large shadows and wide-angle shots taken from a distance to hide the liberal use of a body double. So why use Seagal at all? Is he really a draw? An effective marketing tool?

Continue reading: Half Past Dead Review

Green Dragon Review


OK
The Vietnam War is a time and place most people have chosen either to forget or to ignore as a culturally significant event in American history. Following the days and weeks after the fall of Saigon in 1975, America took upon itself the role of big brother in welcoming the mass exodus of refugees streaming from that chaotic country into its arms. Green Dragon recounts the tale of those Vietnamese refugees' arrival in America and tackles their internal struggles in leaving behind both their beloved country and family members and facing the unknown future in an alien land.

Helming the project are brothers Timothy Lihn Bui (director/screenwriter) and Tony Bui (story/producer), previously responsible for the Harvey Keitel film Three Seasons. For Green Dragon, the film uses a refugee camp as purgatory for the Vietnamese people and constructs a vivid backdrop for examining the attitudes and actions of a displaced people forging new lives.

Continue reading: Green Dragon Review

Heist Review


OK
David Mamet is a good director. Mamet's an even better screenwriter and playwright. The guy's authored some of the best film and theatre works in the past decade -- The Verdict, House of Games, Wag the Dog, State and Main, and the guy even won a Pulitzer Prize for his play Glengarry Glen Ross. With that said, it's such a shame that his latest crime caper, Heist, falls apart by employing too many of the well-known devices of a Mamet production -- double-crossing femmes fatale, overtly memorable characters, and deceptive plot lines.

But movies like The Spanish Prisoner, Things Change, and The Winslow Boy display a roundness to Mamet's innate abilities. And it's almost a crime to witness how all of that goes awry in his latest film, Heist.

Continue reading: Heist Review

Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever Review


Unbearable
Pay good money to see Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever and you have nobody but yourself to blame. The signs, after all, shine so bright in warning you about this waste of brain cells that Stevie Wonder sent me an e-mail earlier this week telling me Ballistic would stink on ice.

Heck, even Stevie Wonder jokes are fresher than the Ballistic script. Blessed with the most ridiculous title in recent memory, Ballistic pits icy cool Antonio Banderas against smoldering hot Lucy Liu and watches the sparks fly. And fly. Then explode. And then fly some more. Liu, as rogue DIA agent Sever, kidnaps a child who's unknowingly carrying the latest invention of an unidentified shadow government. The device turns soldiers into flawless assassins. Eager to get their own hands on the device, the FBI blackmails former agent Jeremiah Ecks (Banderas) into stopping Sever and retrieving the boy.

Continue reading: Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever Review

3000 Miles To Graceland Review


Terrible
Those of you hoping to hear about a clever casino heist picture in the style of Ocean's Eleven are in for a sore disappointment. From this movie's opening frames, featuring dueling CGI-animated scorpions, it's obvious that we're in for some punk-ass director's idea of a snazzy action film.

3000 Miles to Graceland is not the realization of that dream.

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The Big Kahuna Review


Extraordinary
When one thinks of a Big Kahuna, Kevin Spacey suits that title just fine. When he walks across a room in a scene, all eyes are drawn to his presence. His subtle pose and commanding smile act as a strong gravity that draws all parties' interest. Spacey's voice carries such conviction that the most common of situations are made deep when he speaks of them. He echoes the great works of Barrymore and Grant and carries the weight of these acting giants without even a shrug of the shoulders.

The new film, The Big Kahuna, marks the first venture of Spacey's new film production company in conjunction with Andrew Stevens's new production company, Franchise Pictures. I wonder of Mr. Stevens, a veteran of late-night Cinemax, thought up the title all by himself. The only thing missing is Shannon Tweed. I guess her acting chops weren't up to par for Spacey.

Continue reading: The Big Kahuna Review

The In-Laws (2003) Review


Excellent
Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon Gekko days of Wall Street fame, his body is certainly a little less nimble, his face a little more wrinkled, and his hair a shade too light. But the guy looks great, and he's once again an action hero. That bumps him up from "silver spoon" to "ageless wonder" in the Hollywood classification book - ever closer to the royalty of perennial good lookers Redford and Basinger.

In The In-Laws (based on the 1979 film of the same name), like most other Michael Douglas vehicles, his gaunt face is rarely off the camera. Wisely, director Andrew Fleming inserts a hilarious Albert Brooks as the perfect remedy for Douglas's self-absorption.

Continue reading: The In-Laws (2003) Review

Andrew Stevens

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