Closer to an update of West Side Story than anything else, what makes this rendition of the "two star-crossed lovers" saga stand out is dialogue which is largely faithful to the text set against a post-modern backdrop frighteningly reminiscent of Los Angeles. While it's a thrill to watch (if you can avoid a headache), it's maddeningly hard to follow and considerably self-conscious. Plus there's the issue of a soundtrack that's probably sold more copies than the film did tickets.... Will this version survive the test of time? Probably not, but it will forever stand out as an amazing and powerful experiment in filmmaking.
Continue reading: William Shakespeare's Romeo Juliet (1996) Review
Did you ever notice that all those quirky (read: mundane) indies have such flashy titles? The Myth of Fingerprints, The Tao of Steve, Dream With the Fishes... this one happens to be called The Young Girl and the Monsoon. Don't be too quick to pigeonhole this particular "quirk" into a category of vapid mediocrity, though. Ryan shows a perceptive knack for small moments of familial tenderness found in unlikely places, including a Central Park boxing match between daddy and daughter that runs the gamut from rage to bliss. He arouses pathos in a Chinese restaurant sequence where Constance demands that daddy carry her to the door. Such, such are the joys of handling a teenage girl going insane on the bridge to adulthood.
Continue reading: The Young Girl And The Monsoon Review
This updated 20th century Hamlet is brought to vivid realism by independent director Michael Almereyda. Almereyda places the play in the year 2000, creating the state of Denmark as a huge conglomerate, the slain king a CEO, and Hamlet as a digital video maker. This interpretation sounds almost like it's going to be as much fun as a ten-car pileup on the expressway; you want to turn your head away from in disgust but are strangely curious about what happened.
Continue reading: Hamlet (2000) Review
They say you should never see two things being made: Sausage and legislation. Add journalism to that list. I've been in this racket long enough to know that objectivity is painfully lacking in the places you expect to find it the most. Backroom deals make strange bedfellows of interest-conflicted parties (e.g. Time-Warner owns Entertainment Weekly magazine, which reviews Warner Bros. films, etc.) So when 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Pacino) decided to do a story about the hazards of cigarettes in 1996, he found himself embroiled in controversy.
Continue reading: The Insider Review
Continue reading: Race Against Time Review
After a year's worth of post-production monkeying, "The 13th Warrior" has finally come to theaters, and its still a big mess.
The screen adaptation of an early Michael Crichton novel about 10th Century Vikings called "Eaters of the Dead," its an abbreviated and shallow epic that comes off like an over-produced and dead-serious episode of the campy cult TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess."
Antonio Banderas stars in the ethnicity roulette role of Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, an elegant Arab poet banished (as an ambassador) to northern Europe as punishment for diddling a sultan's wife. This is hurriedly explained in a slap-dash introductory voice-over that seems to substitute for at least 30 minutes of action wisely (but sloppily) pruned from film.
Continue reading: The 13th Warrior Review
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After a year's worth of post-production monkeying, "The 13th Warrior" has finally come to theaters,...