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Anthony LaPaglia Friday 2nd November 2007 PS Arts 'Express Yourself' Benefit held at Barker Hanger Santa Monica, California

Anthony Lapaglia
Anthony Lapaglia

Paperback Romance Review


OK
Unlikely, implausible, and unilaterally bizarre, Paperback Romance gives us the story of a crippled romance novelist (Carides) who falls for a jeweler of questionable moral fiber (LaPaglia) and imagines frequent dalliances between them -- before they become real. Through in an A Fish Called Wanda-like bumbled investigation and Romance gets even stranger. Some will enjoy the film, others will just be really, really confused. I mean, I'd take the mega-pretty Carides with or without the leg brace -- who wouldn't?

Continue reading: Paperback Romance Review

Analyze That Review


Weak
Analyze This was a very successful 1999 comedy starring Robert De Niro as a mob boss on the verge of a nervous breakdown and Billy Crystal as his unwilling shrink. The movie pulled off a few laughs, most notably by demonstrating De Niro's ability to turn his tough-guy movie persona on its head. Analyze That is a superfluous sequel representing little more than an opportunity to cash in on that prior success.

The new movie picks up with legendary Mob boss Paul Vitti (De Niro) nearing the end of his term in Sing Sing and Dr. Ben Sobol (Billy Crystal) dealing with the recent death of his legendary father. After a series of attempts on his life, Vitti puts on a semi-catatonic act to avoid the general prison population and save his own life. The FBI, baffled by this turn of events, brings in Sobol, his former psychiatrist, to consult on the case, ultimately releasing Vitti into Sobol's custody. Thus, the reluctant doctor is forced to once again try to mend Vitti's fractured psyche, in addition to housing him and finding him an honest job. Needless to say, this wreaks havoc with the poor doctor's already troubled personal life.

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So I Married An Axe Murderer Review


Extraordinary
Shhh. Don't tell anyone. There is a legion of us Axe Murderer fans out here. Most of us live in San Francisco, but we're really quite universal. Wayne's World? Pathetic by comparison. So I Married an Axe Murderer is easily Mike Myers' best movie -- hilarious, with Myers taking his comedy to a new level not hidden within a funky costume (as in Wayne or Austin Powers). We long for a sequel. And much to the annoyance of our friends, we quote it incessantly. Give this film another chance or we'll practice the ancient from of Scottish martial arts on your ass -- Fuk Yu!

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The Salton Sea Review


Excellent
The imagery of The Salton Sea surpasses standard noir. It's a tale of a desolate man lost in an abyss of emotional turmoil, desperately seeking redemption and revenge against unknown assailants. The film's opening shot of Val Kilmer, sitting on a barren floor surrounded by flames as he pours Miles Davis through his trumpet, delivers both the physical heat of the flames and the fiery, emotional pain of loss locked within his eyes. It's a haunting and eerily tragic moment of humanity displayed at its weakest point of existence.

The story of The Salton Sea is constructed as an updated version of a 1940s noir film. Expertly written by Tony Gayton, the film opens up with a brief history of speed, a crash course complete with 1950s housewives and Japanese kamikaze pilots. Then, the camera quickly navigates through a crazed house party and lands next to a heavily tattooed Kilmer, sitting amongst speed freaks on a four-day binge. Or maybe it's been three days. With a strong voiceover delivered by Kilmer, we learn about the double life he leads. One life is an addict and police informant known as Danny Parker, complete with numerous tats, leather pants, and skull rings on every finger. And another one, locked in his closet, is a trumpeter named Tom Van Allen, whose wife ended up dead years ago at the hands of masked men during a rest stop robbery while vacationing at the Salton Sea.

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Company Man Review


Very Good
I have to admit something before I write this review. I am a die-hard conspiracy nut who loves the outrageous claims of betrayals and back-stabbing that the CIA and other governmental agencies have been dealing out like drunken blackjack dealers at Circus Circus for the past 40 years. The only problem is that people like Oliver Stone, Chris Carter, and Christopher Hitchens have basically ripped apart all the really good conspiracy theories already.

What we really need is a satire of those good conspiracies from the 1960s. With that in mind, Company Man, a brazen new comedy by Douglas McGrath and Peter Askin, supplies that swift kick in the confidential files of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and even the Boy Scouts. It's a quick-witted, grammatically correct, and often hilarious satire aimed dead center at the conspiracy nutcases and their shining theories.

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Empire Records Review


OK
"Don't let the Man get you down." That teen angst/rebellion catchphase that everybody understands but doesn't actually mean anything is Empire Records' most cherished line of dialogue, and it also nicely captures the film's theme: Rebellion is wonderful when it doesn't mean anything. Empire is not alone. A whole spat of teen films came out in the latter half of the 1990s, trying to represent the dissonant voice of the growing "alternative" movement (e.g. grunge, Nirvana, etc.): Reality Bites being the best example. But Empire manages overcome all the rest just by the sheer number of teen film tropes and stereotypes it is able to cram into one film.

What do you do when you discover that evil capitalists are secretly planning to turn the fun, laid back, quirky independent music store you work at into a "Music Town" (e.g. Music Warehouse, Tower Records, etc.)? Why you steal the nightly deposit and take it to Atlantic City, of course. Or so confused outsider Lukas (Rory Cochrane) assumes. But after an uninspired - both visually and luck-wise - trip to the craps table, Lukas is forced to return empty handed and face the music (pun intended). However, lucky Lukas has the coolest boss in the whole world, and they get together with the rest of the Empire Records crew to fix the money problem and keep the store's capitalist pig owner and the threat of Music Town at bay.

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Winter Solstice Review


Weak
The plot in Winter Solstice is more of a subplot, never mind a feature length movie. And that's one of the many problems in writer/director Josh Sternfeld's sluggish account of a New Jersey family under stress.

Anthony LaPaglia plays Jim Winters, a widower living with his two sons, Gabe (Aaron Stanford), a hard-working young man; and Pete (Mark Webber), a teenager who can't get his act together. The three are a tight unit, but the bond between them strains when Gabe suddenly announces he's moving to Florida and Pete faces yet another stint at summer school.

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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?

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Sweet And Lowdown Review


Weak
Woody Allen loves jazz. He loves jazz so much that he regularly skips the Oscars to play clarinet with his jazz combo. He talks about jazz all the time.

I love Woody Allen, really I do. I'm probably the only living critic who enjoyed Celebrity. I love jazz, too. Every Wednesday for two years, I saw a classic jazz quartet play tunes like "All of Me," "Rosetta," and "Old Man Time" in a dank cellar bar.

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Trees Lounge Review


Very Good
Get this tagline for Trees Lounge: "A story about one man's search... for who knows what." That could describe quite well writer/director/star Steve Buscemi during his creation of this film, a quirky and melodramatic tragicomedy about... who knows what.

Buscemi plays Tommy, a regular guy in Long Island whose life is basically a series of alcoholic binges, sprinkled with failed love affairs, cheap drugs, and terminal unemployment. A parade of supporting characters (all played by Buscemi's personal friends) run in and out of his life, and everyone tries to make some sense of it all.

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One Good Cop Review


Weak
One Good Cop sure makes for one hackneyed movie. If you're ready to buy the premise that Michael Keaton loves his dead partner's three daughters sooooo much he's willing to rob a drug dealer in order to buy a house on the off-chance that having a bigger place in the Bronx will convince Child Services to let him keep them... then, well, you've got bigger problems than whether or not to watch this movie. Banal, yet harmless.

The Bank Review


Extraordinary
Australians don't have much faith in their financial institutions at all. That explains all the beer drinking and the Abba.

The Bank plays out like a tribute to the great master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, complete with a string-heavy soundtrack. The story follows an intricate game of stock speculation, personal vendettas, paranoid delusions, and computer hacking within the corporate world of financial institution Centrabank. The company has recently hit some rough spots and CEO Simon O'Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia) -- an arrogant, cold, bastard of a businessman -- spends most of his days closing branches, laying people off, and getting heat from the board. To relieve the pressure, Simon hires math genius Jim Doyle (David Wenham) to help predict the stock market gyrations and thus put the bank back in the black. Of course, Simon knows Jim's software could not only save Centrabank's bottom line but will also deliver financial omnipotence to its owner.

Continue reading: The Bank Review

Company Man Review


Weak

As a film critic, there are few things more frustrating than watching a good movie self-destruct. It's painfully disappointing to be part way through a screening and excited about recommending the picture, when it suddenly takes a turn for the worse, spoiling everything you liked about it to begin with.

The best (or rather worst) example of this phenomenon is Brian DePalma's "Snake Eyes," which was a seat-gripping espionage-angled thriller -- until the mystery was solved an hour before the credits rolled and the rest of the movie flopped around like a dying fish.

"Company Man" is an espionage-angled comedy about a hapless sissy of a 1960s grammar teacher named Allen Quimp (Douglas McGrath) who tells his social-climbing wife (Signorney Weaver) that he's really a CIA agent posing as a schoolteacher to get her off his back about finding a more prestigious job "with commuting and ulcers and briefcases!"

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Analyze That Review


Terrible

The shamefully low standards adhered to in "Analyze That" begin with the comedy's very first scene, in which a conversation is composed of two takes so conspicuously incongruous that the actors aren't even looking the same direction from second to second -- and it's almost all downhill from there.

The performances of Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal (reprising their roles as a mobster and his shrink) are apathetic schtick. The plot is the worst kind of emaciated contrivance (faking insanity, De Niro is released from prison into neurotic Crystal's custody, and havoc ensues). The jokes that aren't reheated leftovers from 1999's "Analyze This" are painfully trite (everyone checks their pockets when a cell phone rings at a funeral), painfully telegraphed (De Niro disrupts a Crystal family gathering in an open bathrobe) or just plain painful ("Maybe if you're quiet enough you can do it without waking your wife," De Niro jibes Crystal about his sex life).

Worst of all, director Harold Ramis actually tries to jerk some tears with a grieving-son story arc for Crystal's shrink and maudlin soft-focus flashbacks of a happy childhood for De Niro's mafioso. Oh, puh-leaze!

Continue reading: Analyze That Review

The Salton Sea Review


OK

A handsomely stylish, semi-punk, drug-culture updating of the wronged-man's-revenge film noir plot, "The Salton Sea" has one of the most enticingly, quintessentially film noir opening scenes I've ever seen.

Picture this: Val Kilmer, dressed as a hep cat who just finished a gig at a downtown jazz club, sits on the floor of his burning apartment. Leaning on a wall, silhouetted against the orange flames, he's playing his trumpet and bleeding -- possibly to death -- from a gunshot wound. A bag full of money lies beside him with wads of bills spilling out onto the floor beside him.

"My name is Tom Van Allen. Or Danny Parker. I honestly don't know any more," he breathes in a honeyed, genre-perfect voice-over. "You can decide -- yeah, maybe you can help me, friend. You can help me decide who I am. Avenging Angel? Judas Iscariot? Loving husband? Trumpet player? Speed freak?"

Continue reading: The Salton Sea Review

Autumn In New York Review


Weak

In "Autumn In New York," terminally tumor-bound Winona Ryder and her seriously senior lover Richard Gere have a whole conversation about what it means to be "unique" as opposed to "typical."

Oh, the irony.

An utterly typical movie lacking even a hint of uniqueness, "Autumn" is a Hallmark card redeaux of the "Love Story"-style tragic romance with a September-May twist.

Continue reading: Autumn In New York Review

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Anthony LaPaglia Movies

Annabelle 2 - Annabelle: Creation Trailer

Annabelle 2 - Annabelle: Creation Trailer

After the death of his daughter, doll maker Samuel Mullins had a crisis of self....

Big Stone Gap Trailer

Big Stone Gap Trailer

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A Month of Sundays Trailer

A Month of Sundays Trailer

Frank Mollard is a real estate agent who lacks the rather crucial quality of enthusiasm...

A Good Marriage Movie Review

A Good Marriage Movie Review

Slick and haunting, this film delves into the things that hold a marriage together in...

Mental Movie Review

Mental Movie Review

Even for a riotous Australian black comedy, this film packs in just a bit too...

Django Unchained Alternative Trailer

Django Unchained Alternative Trailer

German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of...

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Django Unchained Trailer

Django Unchained Trailer

German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of...

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Movie Review

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Movie Review

Spectacular animation and a terrific voice cast go a long way to making this soaring...

The Architect Movie Review

The Architect Movie Review

Just what it is about architects that fascinates filmmakers so? Is it the metaphorical possibilities...

The House of Mirth Movie Review

The House of Mirth Movie Review

Draw near and bear witness to Gillian Anderson, a very successful television actress (The X...

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