Anne Kopelson

Anne Kopelson

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Twisted Review

Few cities on earth make for a better backdrop for murder mysteries than San Francisco. Its naturally spooky features - the fog-shrouded skyline, the damp city streets, and the massive bay - are all instant mood setters. It's the ultimate studio backlot. And yet, it amazes me that the thriller Twisted wastes all of the suspense and atmosphere that is so intrinsic in the San Francisco surroundings.

Ashley Judd plays newbie homicide detective Jessica Shepard, a former street beat cop whose quick rise in the department is due to her connections with the police commissioner John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson). When Shepard's parents were killed in a murder-suicide decades before, Mills (who was Shepard's father's former partner) became Shepard's surrogate father and mentor. She still struggles with the death of her family today and attends mandated counseling sessions with Dr. Melvin Frank (David Strathairn). Yet, despite the professional help, she drinks heavy doses of alcohol, sleeps with any man she finds at a bar, and fights with fellow detectives.

Continue reading: Twisted Review

Joe Somebody Review

The premise for Joe Somebody could fit on the back of a Cuban postcard. But here's the long version: Allen plays Joe Scheffer -- a poster boy for cubical bleakness -- who works as a video editor at a generic pharmaceutical company in Minnesota, who spends his days cutting together ridiculous ads for nameless health products. Joe's divorced, has an annoyingly clever pre-teen daughter, and dresses like a substitute teacher. One day, while parking his tan sedan in the "10-year associates" parking lot during family day at the office -- don't ask -- a confrontation occurs between Joe and salesman named Mark McKinney. No kids, not the guy from Kids in the Hall who crushes heads with his thumb and index finger, McKinney is played by Patrick Warburton, who stars in yet another bad movie role. After getting bitch-slapped in the most unbelievable scene in recent cinema memory, Joe retreats into a state of drunkenness, ashamed of failing in the eyes of his daughter and getting further pummeled by McKinney.

After emotional prodding by the company's "wellness director" Meg Harper (hotcake Julie Bowen), Joe is awakened from his corporate stupor and challenges McKinney to a rematch to regain his honor. In the process, Joe gains the admiration of the entire company, as everyone in the place appears somehow pissed off at him. On the road to recovery, Joe lands the promotion he always wanted, kicks ass at squash, leads fellow co-workers in karaoke, and eventually evolves into the kind of generic corporate schmuck that we all hate far worse than any big league bully.

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Eraser Review

Is it just me, or is Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent getting worse? I think it is, as is his acting ability, as well as his choice of films to star in. This time it's Eraser, a big-budget, small-plot, fair-to-middling feature that continues the testosterone-infused series that Arnie's been working on since Pumping Iron.

It's the cheeseball role to end all cheeseball roles: John Kruger (Arnie) works for the Witness Relocation Program as an "identity eraser," and he answers to no one (sorta). His charge is Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), an executive with "Cyrez," who discovers that her company is selling next generation weapons to Russkie terrorists. The FBI uses her just to get the goods on Cyrez, and it's up to Arnie to save her hide from the bad guys, which includes turncoat fellow eraser Robert Deguerin (James Caan).

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The Devil's Advocate Review

It takes a story this ridiculous to be this good. Imagine The Firm, but with the Devil. (Cue demonic laughter.) Keanu Reeves stars as a rising star of a lawyer, and Al Pacino stars as the Devil himself (sample line: "Call me dad!"). The movie plays perfectly into Pacino's penchant to overact the crap out of his part -- only this part has no limit to the attitude you can throw at it. The rest of the film is simply very well-made. Special effects, acting (particularly Charlize Theron as Keanu's sanity-vacating wife), music, set design -- it's all there. No, it ain't Oscar bait, it's just one, ahem, hell of a good time.

Don't Say A Word Review

Surrounded by hype, high hopes, and the promise of an over-the-top performance by Clueless's Brittany Murphy, Don't Say a Word looked full of promise. Hell, when I hear that "I'll never tell" whisper on the TV commercial, goose bumps run up my spine.

Alas, Word is filled with little but disappointment, a kooky mix of Girl, Interrupted and Ransom, with Michael Douglas and company collecting a paycheck to plod through a vapid and dull kidnapping thriller.

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Anne Kopelson

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