Charles Mulvehill

Charles Mulvehill

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Dolores Claiborne Review


OK
Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh have returned in a new Steven King film, Dolores Claiborne. Another departure from typical King fare, this is a tense psychological drama and character study, akin to last year's The Shawshank Redemption (also based on his work).

Set on a depressed and perpetually wet island off the coast of Maine, Dolores Claiborne (Bates) is the focus of the film. Looming in her past is a secret: she may or may not have killed her abusive husband (played in flashbacks by David Strathairn). In the present, Dolores has apparently been driven to madness by her husband and her employer Vera, the elderly woman for whom Dolores nursemaids. At the film's opening, we are presented with what appears to be Vera's death by Dolores's weathered hands.

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City Hall Review


OK
There's two things I dislike: politics and long, boring speeches. City Hall has plenty of both, and while Al Pacino is almost cool enough to make me think politics can be okay, it's got so many long speeches that I started looking for the remote control after the third or fourth one.

City Hall is a drama/thriller with most of the thrill sucked out of it. After a ridiculously convoluted opening, filled with the weak voice-over of the Deputy Mayor of New York City, Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack), we find ourselves embroiled in the world of Mayor John Pappas (Pacino). As the film opens, we find a cop and mobster killed in a shoot-out, taking with them the life of a six-year old boy.

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Harold and Maude Review


Excellent
One of the true cult classics. He's a 19 year-old kid obsessed with death, suicide, and the afterlife. She's an 80 year-old woman that "loves life." They meet at a funeral, and their adventures together begin. It's not quite a romance, not quite a buddy picture. It is, however, one of the '70s quirkiest comedies, and its bleak morbidity is uncommonly matched by its over-the-top hilarity. Bud Cort would soon become a cult icon for the next 30 years (and going).

Mickey Blue Eyes Review


Excellent
Hugh Grant hit paydirt once this summer, in Notting Hill. Can he do it again if you take away Julia Roberts? And throw in an unlikely comedy about murderous gangsters, an auction house, and a botched wedding?

Yes he can! Mickey Blue Eyes, against all odds, is nothing short of fall-down funny - on par with Notting Hill, South Park, and Austin Powers 2 as one of the best comedies of the summer.

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Proof of Life Review


Extraordinary
Good films are hard to find these days. Great films are beyond rare. Proof of Life, Russell Crowe's one-two punch of a deft kidnap and rescue thriller, is one of those rare gems. A taut drama laced with strong and subtle acting, an intelligent script, and masterful directing, together it delivers something virtually unheard of in the film industry these days, genuine motivation in a story that rings true.

Consider the strange coincidence of Russell Crowe's character in Proof of Life making the moves on a distraught wife played by Meg Ryan's character in the film -- all while the real Russell Crowe was hitching up with married woman Meg Ryan in the outside world. I haven't seen this much chemistry between actors since McQueen and MacGraw teamed up in Peckinpah's masterpiece, The Getaway.

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) Review


Good
This remake of the original Postman Always Rings Twice has long been touted as the tougher, sexier, and steamier version of the film -- but other than showing a little more blood and a lot more skin, the movies are virtually identical. Both are good movies, but the remake still feels a little unnecessary. Lana Turner did a better femme fatale than Jessica Lange, and Jack Nicholson is at least John Garfield's equal. But director Bob Rafelson doesn't do much different here at all (think Gus Van Sant's version of Psycho), which ends up leaving the original to shine all the brighter.

Dracula (1992) Review


Good
Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of the Dracula story hasn't won any praise for its claim of being true to Bram Stoker's novel (despite the aka title, Bram Stoker's Dracula), but it is a huge success in one major front: Casting. Coppola has lined up a near-perfect cast, one which is actually inspired on some fronts. For starters, Gary Oldman makes for what may be the most memorable Dracula ever (I challenge you to name another besides Bela Lugosi), and Anthony Hopkins' Van Helsing is an intriguing -- and solid -- choice. It gets even better in the smaller roles: Richard E. Grant as a physician friend of Van Helsing, Bill Campbell as a gunslinging Texan who's wooing Miss Lucy (Sadie Frost in an absurd red wig), and -- best of all -- Tom Waits as a jibbering disciple of Dracula, locked away in an asylum. And watch for Monic Bellucci as one of Dracula's brides. Altogether it's a fun movie, full of gore and special effects that were groundbreaking at the time.
Charles Mulvehill

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