Bill Badalato

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Unstrung Heroes Review

Diane Keaton's directorial feature film debut is a very impressive one. Unstrung Heroes is a smart, bittersweet drama about a boy growing up in postwar suburbia. 12-year old Steven Lidz (Nathan Watt) is surrounded by his inventor father (John Turturro) and nearly-insane uncles Danny and Arthur (Seinfeld's Michael Richards and Maury Chaykin). When his mother Selma (Andie McDowell) develops cancer from her chain smoking, Steven's life begins to slowly unravel.

The pressures of Selma's illness take their toll on everyone, and Steven becomes lost in the cyclone of anger and sorrow that accompanies any tragedy like this. To find peace, Steven runs away to stay with his uncles, where he finds a new world of self-realization, living on his own terms instead of the indifferent rules set down by his father and by society.

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Broken Arrow Review

Broken Arrow is the first really big-budget film of the year, and you can tell right from the start that all the money went into one thing: blowing up helicopters.

Classic action director John Woo, redeeming himself for making a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie (Hard Target) in 1992, proves himself capable in the Hollywood arena of big explosions with this stylish story. Broken Arrow is your (very) basic action/adventure featuring an air force pilot gone mad (John Travolta), the sidekick (Christian Slater) who tries to stop him from stealing two nuclear weapons (aka broken arrows) and holding a city hostage, and the really cute park ranger (Samantha Mathis) who teams up with him to save the world.

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Men Of Honor Review

Diving movies rule!

I just can't seem to get enough of the thrill of the being submerged in hundreds of feet of water with the ever-present threat of drowning all around me. You know, that feeling of small animals crawling into my wetsuit or larger animals deciding to eat me whole. The intoxicating sensation of my lungs exploding from gas build-up in my lungs. How can you argue with that?

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Jane Austen's Mafia! Review

To my knowledge, there's never been a Godfather spoof, let alone a good one. The cryptically-titled Jane Austen's Mafia! certainly isn't going to change that, but it isn't as bad as some recent spoofs (notably Mel Brooks' last 4 or 5 movies) have been. Thanks to the natural charm of Jay Mohr, an often-funny tale of corruption, casinos (offering Go Fish), showgirls, and the Macarena unfolds. The flip side is that much of Mafia! is not funny, resorting to fart and/or vomit humor to generate cheap laughs. The spoofs range from the obvious - Godfather, GoodFellas, Casino - to the unexpected - Forrest Gump, Jaws - which generally work well. Then again, maybe my expectations are so low I didn't notice how bad they really were.

Around The World In 80 Days (2004) Review

The 50-year-old Jackie Chan has lost a step or two. This remake of the award winning 1956 classic Around the World in 80 Days is clearly just a vehicle to further his career; unfortunately it mainly showcases his age. His fight scenes are laughably choreographed and his acting comes across as forced.

Chan's problems are indicative of many others faced by this overblown $110 million mess. Even as production was finishing, a distributor had not been found. Not surprisingly, Disney eventually picked up the film. Yet, what is surprising is Disney's decision not to distribute a challenging film like Fahrenheit 9/11, but instead to release this one, a flavorless and disgraceful remake.

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