Carol Heikkinen

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The Thing Called Love Review


OK
The routine story of four scrappy Nashville newcomers who hope to make it as country music stars, The Thing Called Love wouldn't hold much interest if it weren't for one important fact: a clearly deteriorating River Phoenix stars as one of the four, and this is the last film he completed before his 1993 death. Director Peter Bogdonavich was probably excited by the prospect of working with the gifted Phoenix, but the resulting film is a record of his struggle to get something -- anything -- out of the incapacitated star.

In reality, the movie centers not around Phoenix but around Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis), who lets everyone know she's "no relation" to The King but has similar musical dreams. She meets up with southern beauty queen and songwriter wannabe Linda Lue (Sandra Bullock with a rather unfortunate southern accent) and the hunky Connecticut cowboy Kyle (Dermot Mulroney), whose instrument of choice, strangely enough, is the cello. They all hang around the Bluebird Café, which hosts Nashville's most promising open mike night, the place where aspiring songwriters come to show their stuff.

Continue reading: The Thing Called Love Review

Center Stage Review


Weak
At the American Ballet Academy, there is an abundance of passion, talent and determination. Of course these things simply aren't enough when it comes to making it as a professional ballet dancer.

As the camera probes into a crowded room of ballerinas spinning and dipping, a young blond is immediately isolated from the bunch. The male choreographer's assistant notes that the girl has poor form. The choreographer retorts, "Who cares, look at her." And with that the blonde, blue-eyed Jodie is given a spot in the American Ballet Academy, the Julliard of dancing.

Continue reading: Center Stage Review

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.

Continue reading: Empire Records Review

Carol Heikkinen

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Carol Heikkinen Movies

The Thing Called Love Movie Review

The Thing Called Love Movie Review

The routine story of four scrappy Nashville newcomers who hope to make it as country...

Center Stage Movie Review

Center Stage Movie Review

At the American Ballet Academy, there is an abundance of passion, talent and determination. Of...

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