Reynolds actually acquits himself amicably in Deal, a harmless but unmemorable little movie about playin' cards: The young buck, the grizzled mentor, and the prostitute... they're all here. Reynolds is Tommy Vinson, the vet who hasn't played poker in 20 years but was a mastermind of the game back in the day. (Hard times, bad string of luck... you know how it goes.) Vinson spots genius Alex (Bret Harrison) on a televised poker tournament and, just like that, figures he can take the talented but undisciplined little puke and teach him a thing or two. Namely, Vinson's secret is all about spotting tells in other players, which he can miraculously do in a matter of seconds and from across the room -- nay, from outside the room, really. Why anyone would let Vinson hang around to spy on them remains one of the film's biggest mysteries.
Continue reading: Deal Review
Strangely, McElwee's auto-navel gazing is remarkably compelling, and not in the hysterical way that Michael Moore does it. McElwee isn't a loudmouth raconteur. He's a softspoken southerner, though he picked up a strong liberal streak during college in the northeast. As such, he's a fish out of water, and invariably his films begin with a homesick return to North Carolina, where he soon realizes that he's got nowhere he can truly call home.
Continue reading: Sherman's March Review
Hawn is partnered rather tragically here with Burt Reynolds. They play the titular best friends -- screenwriters -- who decide to get married, only to realize that romance is far more difficult than friendship. I mean, there's in-laws! An old and groping father is about as funny as Friends ever gets, as the movie's one-liners fall down flat one after another. That's probably because the film is based on the real life of writers Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson, and frankly not much amusing seems to have happened during their brief marriage.
Continue reading: Best Friends Review
Three childhood buddies, now in their early thirties, have reunited to mourn the death of a close childhood friend. Since their last encounter ten years prior, each man has taken his life in a different direction. Dan (Seth Green) is a doctor with a laundry-list of phobias, Jerry (Matthew Lillard) is an executive with a fear of commitment, and Tom (Dax Shepard) is a lying barfly who refuses to grow up and act his age.
Continue reading: Without A Paddle Review
No, it isn't high art. It isn't even Lethal Weapon, but the triple-threat of ham-fisted actors makes The Hollywood Sign something of a guilty pleasure.
Continue reading: The Hollywood Sign Review
AutoTrader.com dumps millions into a deal with ABC for Monday Night Football rights. Olympic highlights are now known as "Chevy Moments." The currency flooding the pro sports market is getting out of hand. Independent filmmakers could make 71 different Blair Witch projects for the amount of money Anheuser-Busch spent on one 30-second Super Bowl commercial.
Continue reading: The Longest Yard (2005) Review
Pups is the film in question, and it experienced a 48-hour theatrical release prior to the Columbine massacre. Pulled as soon as that debacle occured, it now makes the festival circuit... far from the indie house where it belongs. To get a sense of this bizarre film, insert the cliche of every hostage-crisis movie you've seen (Airheads and The Negotiator notwithstanding), then insert two youths making crazy demands, a pot-smoking hostage, a Gulf-War vet that the kids just tell to shut up as he spouts rhetoric on the cause of violent children, an old man who constantly tries to sneak out on his cane, and three bank tellers with abosolutely no intelligence between them, and then you have a good degree of humor in a weak film.
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Citizen Ruth is the story of Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern), a "huffer" (paint/glue/other hazardous vapor sniffer) who finds herself the unlikely center of a modern morality play. Ruth, pregnant for the fifth time and up on drug charges once again, is given a choice by an unsympathetic judge: go to jail for criminally endangering her fetus, or have an abortion and face a lighter sentence. Immediately, ires are raised and banners are crafted from both sides of the abortion issue -- with Ruth Stoops, the lowest of the low, right in the middle.
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The story -- as it exists -- concerns a troupe of British actors who descend on Venice to shoot a film version of the play The Duchess of Malfi. We follow the production with Figgis's all-seeing camera (courtesy of a documentarian following the production) -- which has a tendency to dip into slow-motion, cut the sound out, and shoot using an ultraviolet filter in the dark -- and bear witness to all manner of strange goings-on, the description of which I can't even begin to fathom putting on paper.
Continue reading: Hotel Review
The premise is simple and well-known. Young "Dirk Diggler" ("Marky" Mark Wahlberg) is a busboy discovered in a Receda nightclub by a big-time porn flick producer (Burt Reynolds, in perhaps his best role ever). Mingling with the likes of Amber Waves (Julianne Moore, my fave actress), the innocent Rollergirl (Heather Graham, who doesn't have nearly enough screen time), and other bigshots of the biz, Diggler rises (so to speak) and falls as the porn industry ruptures during the dawn of the 1980s.
Continue reading: Boogie Nights Review
The title's surely a Mystery and gives you no clues about the film - so what's it all about? Those expecting a schlocky horror flick like Lake Placid will be let down. Is it a surreal and light dramedy like Ally McBeal? That's closer. Reality: Mystery, Alaska is simply a grown-up version of The Mighty Ducks. Hey, this is a Disney film.
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The Crew works for several reasons. The clever script is reminiscent of an old Billy Wilder movie, following four "past their prime" wiseguys from Jersey who now live in the Raj Mahal Apartment House in Miami Beach. The wiseguys find themselves being evicted from their "golden paradise" by greedy landlords bent on raising rents for new beach bunnies and boys looking for beachfront property. The four mobsters, Bobby Bartellemeo (Richard Dreyfuss), Joey "Bats" Pistella (Burt Reynolds), Mike "The Brick" Donatelli (Dan Hedaya), and Tony "Mouth" Donato (Seymour Cassel) decide to hatch a scheme to plant there a dead body heisted from the morgue in order to drive out the new tenants and keep their home. This "simple plan" suddenly goes screwy, of course, and the boys become involved with a stripper named Ferris (Jennifer Tilly) who wants her stepmother killed, a paranoid Latin drug lord who's convinced a mysterious rival is out to get him, and a rat with its tail on fire.
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Sadly, all the thrills to be had in Physical Evidence are found on its cover. Put simply, it's one of the lamest and least compelling courtroom dramas ever to hit the screen. Burt Reynolds (as the ultimately stereotyped retired, alcoholic cop) is only half the problem. It's author Michael Crichton, directing would would be his last film (at least up to now), who obviously saw reason to throw in the towel after this nightmare.
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The film, starring and directed by Reynolds himself, follows a washed-up movie producer searching for $50,000 to option a kid's hot screenplay before a bigshot studio man (Benjamin Bratt) snaps it up. His comedy of errors in search of someone with some money takes him through the highs and lows of Hollywood, from rich actors (including Robert Goulet) to Armenian loan sharks. Does he get his money? Who cares!? The movie's got Ann-Margret in it!
Continue reading: The Final Hit Review
Thus imprisoned in a dusty desert lock-up where the abusive,steroid-pumped guards (all played by wrestlers or former pro football linemen)have their own pigskin league, Sandler is compelled by the nasty warden(James Cromwell) to coach a scabby team of inmates for his boys to beatup on in practice. But for some reason known only to the screenwriter,these practices never happen. Instead, the movie follows the standard BigGame plot, and Sandler (who doesn't have the body mass to be credible asa former football player) recruits and trains the biggest, meanest prisonershe can find, then leads them onto the field himself (with Reynolds' helpas another ex-NFL inmate) for a full-contact finale picked up by ESPN2for a novelty national broadcast.
Unfortunately, once he's in the hoosegow and sobered up,all the bite goes out of Sandler's QB and he is severely upstaged by thecast of crazies (Cloris Leachman is the warden's aged, sex-mad secretary,Tracey Morgan leads the transvestite cheerleading squad) and muscle-boundtoughs (Brian Bosworth, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Steve Austin, BillGoldberg, etc.). Most of these guys can barely act, but at least directorPeter Segal ("50First Dates") figures out how to use themfor laughs.
What Segal can't seem to do is get a handle on the movie'sbalance of comedy and drama, on one hand relying heavily on race-basedone-liners (ChrisRock plays the joint's resident wisecracker),while on the other trying for moments of poignancy that fall awkwardlyflat. Because "The Longest Yard" takes itself seriously at times,it's harder to forgive the occasional gigantic plot hole -- like the factthat the inmates seem to have access to any room they want in the penalcomplex, even getting into the guards' locker room and personnel files.
Continue reading: The Longest Yard Review
The spirits of moderately better racing movies like "Grand Prix" and "Days of Thunder" are buried somewhere inside "Driven" -- buried under heaps of clichés, stock characters, video game gimmickry, overly elaborate Ginsu editing, moronically contrived filler sequences, inadequate special effects and about four minutes of plot.
Set in the wound-up world of open-wheel racing, those four minutes go something like this: An irascible, crippled car owner (Burt Reynolds) hires a washed-up driver who once had a promising career (Sylvester Stallone) to help season an unfocused rookie boy-racer (Kip Pardue) so he can beat his rival (Til Schweiger), the reigning circuit champion.
Throw in a subplot in which Kip and Til (what's with these names?) vie for the affections of hottie-of-the-month (and former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model) Estella Warren and a few more sidelines about Sly's catty ex-wife (Gina Gershon) who married another racer (Cristian De La Fuente) and the pretty reporter (Stacy Edwards) he's dating now, and that pretty much takes care of everything except the racing.
Continue reading: Driven Review
Date of birth
11th February, 1936
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