Jeremy Leven

Jeremy Leven

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The Notebook Review


Grim
With just four films under Nick Cassavetes's belt, it's almost unfair to compare the director to his trailblazing father. In the case of The Notebook, however, it's unavoidable.

Thanks to papa John (Husbands, Gloria), the name Cassavetes has come to symbolize intrepid, no-apologies filmmaking and the unconventional human interaction within Now, 15 years after the maverick's death, his heir has traveled to the opposite pole, adapting a Nicholas Sparks novel into a standard tearjerker, filling the screen with handfuls of manipulative Hollywood clichés.

Continue reading: The Notebook Review

Don Juan Demarco Review


Good
Don Juan, the world's greatest lover...is Johnny Depp? I can believe it, after seeing Don Juan DeMarco, a new film by first-time director Jeremy Leven. With excellent flare, Leven brings us this beguiling tale of a young man who may or may not be the legendary seducer of over one thousand women.

When a distraught Don Juan is about to commit suicide because of the loss of his (most recent) love, psychiatrist Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) is brought in to bring him back to reality. This proves to be a major undertaking, as Mickler slowly begins to realize that the "delusional" Don Juan may actually be who he says he is. As his last case before retirement, Mickler is given ten days to determine whether or not to institutionalize Don Juan, and there, the journey into the man's past begins.

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The Legend of Bagger Vance Review


Excellent
Robert Redford's singular devotion to American mythology continues in The Legend of Bagger Vance, the story of a golfer who's lost his swing and the caddy who brings it back to him. "Inside each and every one of us," says Vance (Smith), "is our one true, authentic swing." It's a metaphor intended to apply to all walks of life, on the fairway or otherwise. If oversweet metaphors like this are your bag, then you're really going to like Bagger Vance.

The story opens in the present with an aged Hardy Greaves (Jack Lemmon) suffering a heart attack on a golf course. As he lies quietly smiling to himself, he muses on the frequency of his cardiovascular failures and his love of the game of golf, which meanders into a quixotic narration on the career of Rannulph Junuh (Damon). Soon the narrative fades to the past and we see Junuh at the height of his career, in the company of the enchanting Adele Invergordon (played by Charlize Theron of The Devil's Advocate fame; who, by the way, happens to represent the purest embodiment of good, wholesome sex that the film industry has to offer).

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Alex And Emma Review


Grim
We've seen enough romantic comedies to know how the formula works -- guy gets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back. Because these films are so ridiculously predictable by nature, a successful romantic comedy will have to masquerade its obvious intentions behind a story that leads us to the obligatory ending in an unconventional way. And for two thirds of director Rob Reiner's Alex and Emma, the story cleverly disguises what we perceive, and gives us every indication we're witnessing something fresh. Unfortunately, the final third reverts back to the conventional, and the film falls dramatically short of its potential.

Alex Sheldon (Luke Wilson) is a budding novelist suffering from a severe case of writer's block that is holding him back from starting his book and getting the paycheck he desperately needs. Alex's debt collectors have given him only 30 days to complete his novel, collect the money, and pay of his gambling debt. Otherwise, Alex's life story will come to an end. Almost out of options, Alex convinces stenographer Emma Dinsmore (Kate Hudson) to quickly translate his thoughts to the written word. The story Alex tells pertains to a 1920s romantic triangle between grade school tutor Adam Shipley (also played by Wilson), the beautiful French matriarch (Sophie Marceau) of Shipley's charges, and the family au pair Anna (Hudson).

Continue reading: Alex And Emma Review

Jeremy Leven

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