Gail Mutrux

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Nurse Betty Review

Neil LaBute, best known for his ultra-dark comedies In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, breaks from his traditional mold and lightens up a tad with Nurse Betty, which -- again -- isn't going to win any awards for sensitivity.

For the first time, LaBute is not directing from his own script, which might explain why, if I didn't know better, I would have sworn I was watching a Coen brothers movie. Who else would put a fantasy dancing sequence on the edge of the Grand Canyon at night?

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Donnie Brasco Review

Well, someone had to wrest the monopoly on gangster movies from the hands of Scorsese and Coppola. So why not Mike Newell, of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame, to direct it? And why not put Johnny Depp in a starring role? And Anne Heche -- you know, Ellen's girlfriend -- as his wife!? It sounds bizarre, but put this group together with Monster of Acting Pacino and Quiz Show scribe Paul Attanasio and you've got a pleasant surprise on your hands, not to mention one of the longest-running films at the box office this year. Long stuck in development because of GoodFellas, Donnie Brasco is in many ways a similar film, and in most of them better. The true story of FBI agent Joe Pistone, who in the late 70s infiltrated his way into the New York mafia to become a "made man" under the name of Donnie Brasco, Depp is surprisingly believable as an earnest father caught up in the mob mentality. Pacino shines as always, though it's not his usual character; here he's a tragic King Lear who just can't catch a break. But as for the iffy pan-and-scan job on the videotape, take a cue from the wiseguys: Fuggedaboudit.

A Cool Dry Place Review

Novelist Michael Jaffe wrote a big weepy article about how his book (Dance Real Slow) was languishing and how it would never make it to the big screen. Well, one look at this piece of crap passed off as a movie and it's obvious why: It sucks! Amazing that with a talented cast, the movie (plot: Single father.) just sits there like a stuffed monkey.

Kinsey Review

In 1948, Alfred Kinsey, a goofy-looking professor from Indiana University previously known (if at all) for his long and laborious study of gull wasps, published Sexual Behavior in the American Male, and the country was never the same. For years, Kinsey had been trekking across the country with his team of researchers, interviewing and studying thousands of people about their sexual attitudes and behavior. His book was the result of this survey, and it tried to prove to Americans - many of whom were starting to believe the Cold War propaganda of conformity being forced upon them - that their fellow citizens were much more sexually diverse (and perverse) than had ever been previously thought.

In Kinsey, writer/director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) makes all this into a divertingly fresh story about a scientific crusader who was just too honest and inquisitive for his own good. But rather than taking a straightforward biographical approach, Condon fortunately makes the film a character study of Kinsey himself, wisely placing star Liam Neeson front and center. The film opens in black and white, Neeson quizzing his researchers on how best to interview a subject for the study. He's forthright, strong-willed and oddly provocative - you'd give up your life story to this guy in about ten seconds.

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The Shape Of Things Review

Neil LaBute, you're a cruel, cruel man.

After the somewhat senseless Your Friends and Neighbors and the bafflingly bad period piece Possession, LaBute has at last returned to his roots with the kind of story that made In the Company of Men such a kick in the nuts.

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The Martian - Movie Review

The Martian - Movie Review

Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of merely OK movies, the 77-year-old casually releases his most...

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