Jeffrey Sharp

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Nicholas Nickleby Review


Good
Poor Charles Dickens. He has the good fortune to be remembered by the entire world. What high school student hasn't been forced to suffer through Great Expectations? Nowadays, one of his books (and he didn't really write that many) is turned into a movie or a mini-series every year. (2001 saw four Dickens recreations on film or TV.)

2002 will earn but a single Dickens adaptation, a motion picture of Nicholas Nickleby, perhaps Dickens' least-read work and one of his most wandering (the novel being more than 800 pages long).

Continue reading: Nicholas Nickleby Review

You Can Count On Me Review


Excellent
You Can Count on Me is a film that, in true Sundance form, mixes the familiar with the unexpected. The Best Dramatic Film winner from this year's festival has some actors we've seen before (including Matthew Broderick) and some traditional storylines (single Mom's troubles, loner returns to hometown), but first-time writer-director Ken Lonergan adds just enough unpredictable dialogue and creativity to make this movie the real deal.

The single Mom is Sammy (Laura Linney), an organized bank loan officer living in her small-town childhood home. The loner is her scraggly brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo), a troubled wanderer coming back to ask Sammy for cash. And while this seems pretty basic from the outset, Lonergan has some smart ideas up his sleeve.

Continue reading: You Can Count On Me Review

Proof (2005) Review


Bad
The Broadway hit Proof put playwright David Auburn's name on the map, earned him a shelf full of prizes (from Tony to Pulitzer), and reminded those of us who stopped paying attention that Mary-Louise Parker was a star. A movie adaptation was inevitable, though a drastic mishandling of the material was not.

Familiarity with Auburn's stage presentation may breed contempt for this version, which feels distinctly off-kilter from its first frames. Mysteries that held water longer in the theater instead land like Doc Marten's on a flimsy piece of plywood here. Director John Madden samples a chatty, analytical approach to his literal translation but gets swept up in stagy, awkward, and all-too-deliberate line readings. Much like last year's ill-conceived Phantom of the Opera, this movie has few cinematic qualities that elevate it above a tedious and emotionless play rehearsal shot on location.

Continue reading: Proof (2005) Review

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Jeffrey Sharp Movies

Nicholas Nickleby Movie Review

Nicholas Nickleby Movie Review

Poor Charles Dickens. He has the good fortune to be remembered by the entire...

You Can Count on Me Movie Review

You Can Count on Me Movie Review

You Can Count on Me is a film that, in true Sundance form, mixes the...

Proof (2005) Movie Review

Proof (2005) Movie Review

The Broadway hit Proof put playwright David Auburn's name on the map, earned him a...

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