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The Darwin Awards Review

Poor Finn Taylor can't catch a break. By all reports he's the nicest guy in the world, and he typically toils for three or four years on each indie flick he directs. When they finally hit the screen they flop. His last outing, Cherish, was a bizarre story about a cop falling in love with a girl under house arrest who he's assigned to watch. I guess it wasn't bizarre enough, though. I had to reread my review of it just to fully remember what it was about. Cherish bombed with a $180,000 gross.

Four years later, Taylor drops another oddball flick on us, and the trouble is obvious before frame one. For starters, the name of the movie is The Darwin Awards, which sounds like it's going to be a documentary about those nutty people who kill themselves doing stupid things, thus earning posthumous "Darwin Awards" (as written up in a series of books of the same name) for ridding the gene pool of their DNA.

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Lucky 13 Review

I'm hard-pressed to name a more ill-advised and simply cringe-inducing motion picture than Lucky 13, a romantic comedy so far gone from both romance and comedy that putting Pauly Shore in it might have been an improvement.

Mop-topped Brad Hunt is the lead, a slacker/loser named Zach that's coming to grips with his long-term crush over Abbey (Lauren Graham, who can't save this picture with a half-hearted effort), whom he's never opened up with. She's leaving town, so Zach embarks on a voyage of self-discovery to figure out why he's been so unsuccessful with the ladies.

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Magnolia Review

Sooner or later, every director makes his Short Cuts.

Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) only waited until his third film to make his, an over-three-hour epic with at least 10 major characters in almost as many separate story lines. And thanks to those characters, every one a rich mystery burning with secrets, Magnolia is a smashing success.

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Cherish Review


Don't tell the other movie critics I said this, but once in a very great while I see an independent film I wish could have been a big budget Hollywood studio picture. Sometimes a good idea, a lot of enthusiasm and a shoestring budget just aren't enough.

Take "Cherish," for example. This creative but contrived and gimmick-driven comedy-thriller is about a geeky, socially inept young beauty (Robin Tunney), who is falsely accused of a hit-and-run and incarcerated in her own sparse and funky loft while awaiting trial, monitored by one of those electronic ankle bracelet programs.

Going stir-crazy because she's the kind of girl who can't stand to be alone (of men she says "I don't think I'd go out with so many if any one would call me back"), Tunney spends the movie trying to outwit the system that will set off an alarm at police headquarters if she wanders out of the bracelet's range.

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Brad Hunt

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