Francesca Neri

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Live Flesh Review


Very Good
Witness the increasing promise of Pedro Almodóvar, in a film that has gone largely unnoticed in his career but stands as a worthy and mostly mainstream entry into his unique style of twisted relationship movies. Live Flesh is uncommonly convoluted as a setup -- involving a love triangle between a cop that was shot and paralyzed, the man who shot him, and a girl -- but pretty straightforward in the delivery. Some of the erotic imagery is unforgettable. The film itself is less so, but still a worthwhile experience.

Continue reading: Live Flesh Review

Live Flesh Review


Very Good
Witness the increasing promise of Pedro Almodóvar, in a film that has gone largely unnoticed in his career but stands as a worthy and mostly mainstream entry into his unique style of twisted relationship movies. Live Flesh is uncommonly convoluted as a setup -- involving a love triangle between a cop that was shot and paralyzed, the man who shot him, and a girl -- but pretty straightforward in the delivery. Some of the erotic imagery is unforgettable. The film itself is less so, but still a worthwhile experience.

Continue reading: Live Flesh Review

Collateral Damage Review


Bad
I'm not one for Septemeber 11 censorship. You know what I mean, where the big, loving movie studios protect us from facing the grief and loss of that stupendous tragedy by erasing every trace of its existence from movies, television, and print. Collateral Damage, Schwarzenegger's latest, was one of the biggest victims of this recently popular sentiment. The release date was pushed back months amid rumors of revisionist editing to make the film friendlier to today's environment. Having seen Collateral Damage, I now understand why.

Collateral Damage stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a rough 'n' tough fireman, whose family is murdered in a bombing by notorious Columbian terrorist "The Wolf." Confronted with the inability and unwillingness of the U.S. government to seek justice, our fireman hero decides to take matters into his own hands and heads to Columbia to seek revenge. In one sense, this film is almost uniquely appropriate to the world's post-9/11 environment, presenting as it does such a larger than life hero, who just so happens to be a fireman, a group we are all looking to these days as real-life heroes. Yet, on the other hand, Collateral Damage is clearly the product of a different era. Blatantly and painfully pointing out our pre-9/11 ignorance, never has America's innocence been shown so clearly and by such a poorly made movie.

Continue reading: Collateral Damage Review

Collateral Damage Review


Weak

The terrorists in "Collateral Damage" must have coordinated with the movie's screenwriters when they were planning their big bombing for the finale. Their getaway vehicle for the scene is a motorcycle, which, of course, seats two. But there are three people who'd have to get away, according to their plan. How did they know in advance that one of them would be left behind? How did they know they'd only need a motorbike?

That's one of the more abstract plot holes in this Arnold Schwarzenegger action dud about an average (6'2", 250 lbs., heavy Austrian accent) American firefighter out to avenge his wife and son after they're killed in a terrorist bombing. But don't worry, there are plenty more common-sense gaffes that are far more obvious, especially the plethora of laughable security breach blunders that betray the movie's pre-Sept. 11 origins.

Quickly realizing those self-serving wonks at the CIA, FBI and State Department aren't going to get the bomber -- a cocaine-running Colombian rebel called "The Wolf" -- Arnie engineers his own one-man mission to Central America to smoke the guy out and kill him. He hikes, rides beaten-up busses and bribes poor boat fishermen to get him into rebel territory. There he poses as a mechanic to infiltrate a bad-guy stronghold, "MacGuyvers" himself a couple do-it-yourself bombs and starts blowing stuff up.

Continue reading: Collateral Damage Review

Hannibal Review


OK

The "Silence of the Lambs" sequel is finally here, and while it is certainly unsettling and appropriately ghastly (don't take a date to dinner before or after!), the film is more about the showmanship of director Ridley Scott than it is about the odious appetite of Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter.

Punctuated with some amped-up action scenes (like an early FBI shootout) and camera work that blurs and shakes like a music video almost every time Dr. Lecter has his ravenous way with one of his victims, "Hannibal" seems to lose sight of its high-IQ, psychological terror foundation whenever something hair-raising happens.

But unruffled through it all is the inimitable Anthony Hopkins, reprising with relish his chillingly calm, urbane and playfully intellectual, lip-licking portrayal of the cinema's most endearing icon of upscale fright flicks. Hopkins sashays through the picture like a cat on the prowl -- even though he's the one being hunted this time -- his eyes full of composed calculation and his mouth cleaved just enough to see his tongue running absent-mindedly over his teeth as he contemplates tasting the flesh of just about every person he encounters. (A kiss on the hand has never been creepier.)

Continue reading: Hannibal Review

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Collateral Damage Movie Review

Collateral Damage Movie Review

I'm not one for Septemeber 11 censorship. You know what I mean, where the...

Collateral Damage Movie Review

Collateral Damage Movie Review

The terrorists in "Collateral Damage" must have coordinated with the movie's screenwriters when they were...

Hannibal Movie Review

Hannibal Movie Review

The "Silence of the Lambs" sequel is finally here, and while it is certainly unsettling...

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