What if the world was a place where homosexuality was the norm, and being heterosexual was thought of as a sin? This movie focuses on two storylines. One is about a female quarterback named Jude who finds herself having feelings for a journalist named Ryan. They try to keep their relationship secret, but soon their affair becomes public knowledge and they face discrimination and bullying at every turn. The other story follows a young girl named Emily Curtis who, despite being told her whole life that relationships should only be between people of the same sex, finds herself falling for her classmate Ian Santilli. Unfortunately, some hetero-hating bullies are out to get her too.
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Jimmy Price knows his days as a doubles tennis player are nearly over, and since he's made a few enemies on the pro circuit, things start to look bleak when his latest partner drops him. With no other option, Jimmy tries to revive his career by convincing his estranged brother (and former tennis partner) Darren to give their partnership another shot. With the help of an 11-year-old named Barry, the duo enter a grand slam tournament, but are they out of their depth?
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A warm drama that drifts into light, goofy comedy, this film is too slight to be a classic, but its subtly sharp-edged script holds our interest and gives the cast something to work with. Frequently very funny, this is much more than just a story of an old man with a robotic sidekick, as it explores jagged family relationships and even features a lively caper subplot.
At the centre is Frank (Langella), who doesn't want to leave the rural home where he raised his now-adult children (Marsden and Tyler). Even as they have their own lives far away, they worry about him living alone, so his son buys him a robot assistant (voiced by Sarsgaard) whose only mission is to look after Frank's mental and physical health. Frank dismissively names it "Robot" and tries to ignore it until he realises that its prime directive allows it to help him secretly relaunch his cat-burgling career. His first target is to rescue the town library run by his old friend Jennifer (Sarandon), which is about to be turned into a high-tech social centre by a young businessman (Strong).
Director Shreier keeps the film's pace gentle, underplaying both the comedy and suspense while letting Langella indulge in an enjoyably grumpy scene-stealing performance. Frank may be losing his memory, but he is still sharp as a tack when it comes to planning a heist, especially with the help of Robot. And watching him build up the confidence to pursue Jennifer is enjoyable as well. Meanwhile, Sarsgaard nods to 2001's Hal in the way he invests Robot with deadpan humour and emotion. By comparison, none of the side characters has much to do since they haven't a clue about what Frank is up to.
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The film, written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, opens with Jenna discovering this pregnancy, and despairing over the fact that it ties her to her surly, controlling husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto). She dreams of escape plans, squirreling away tip money from her titular job and soliciting advice from her two friends and co-workers, while peevishly and secretly attending doctor's appointments with Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion). In the back of her mind, Jenna seems to know that keeping secrets and extra cash may not be enough; her escape is attempted through a series of half-measures.
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While there's not much to recommend in this indie study of pretentiousness, it's curious for the Ribisi siblings -- Marissa, the stunning redhead best known from her cameo in The Brady Bunch Movie, and her brother Giovanni, who strikes a much different character here than he's usually typecast in.
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Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to a job interview when he turns off the main highway to get around a massive pile-up that has clogged the interstate. The dirt road he finds takes him into the woods where his trip comes to a halt when he crashes into the SUV of five wannabe-campers who are stranded with a flat tire. Chris joins the dim-witted group of two couples, Carly and Scott (Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto) and Evan and Francine (Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth), and their friend Jessie (Eliza Dushku). The gang ventures deeper into the woods in search of a working phone to call for help; of course, their cell phones are out of range! Their journey eventually leads them to a log cabin where they soon discover a trio of disfigured, inbred inhabitants that have no need for a phone, but every desire for freshly killed meat.
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Track Downwas produced shortly before Mitnick's release amid much controversy. Mitnick, as you might expect, is a cause celebre among the hacker community, while he's been vilified by the corporate and legal communities. The story of his long career as a hacker was the subject of two major books -- The Fugitive Game, written mainly from Mitnick's point of view, and Takedown, written by the man who captured him. The latter book (widely dismissed by the hacker community as propaganda) got optioned by Miramax, and against all odds, the Kevin Mitnick story became a movie, starring Skeet Ulrich as Mitnick and Russell Wong as Tsutomu Shimomura, the man who "captured" Mitnick and the co-author of Takedown.
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After an opening scene in which 13-year-old Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and her friend Evie (Nikki Reed, the writer) suck gas from a can of compressed air, laugh hysterically, and slap each other senseless, Thirteen flashes back to four months earlier, in order that we can get an idea of how Tracy got this way. Tracy's family situation is nothing spectacular, what with a distant father who only occasionally pays child support and a flaky mom (Holly Hunter) who scrapes by as a hairdresser and keeps letting Brady, her former cokehead boyfriend (Jeremy Sisto), sleep over. Her life seems pretty dull and irritating, so when Tracy ditches her nerdy friends to suck up to Evie, the lead Heather in the school's hottest clique, it makes an adolescent kind of sense. But when that friendship quickly morphs into an unending stream of shoplifting and drinking, Tracy also starts lashing out at her mother and pretty much everyone else around her, except Evie, who has essentially moved herself into Tracy's bedroom.
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A frank and unnerving depiction of the peer-pressure slippery slope scaled by kids hungry for cool cache in the callous caste system of teenage social politics, "Thirteen" is a movie that rings startlingly true, thanks in no small part to co-writer Nikki Reed -- currently 15 years of age -- whose own experiences in a Los Angeles junior high served as fodder for the plot.
Told largely from the amorphous perspective of 7th grader Tracy (the compellingly natural, pubescently lovely Evan Rachel Wood), the film is a grippingly reckless joyride through impetuous shoplifting, impulsive piercings, improvised inebriation and rushed sexuality by a promising, once-ingenuous young girl who has yet to form a real sense of self.
Dying to buddy up to Evie, her school's early-blooming queen bad-girl who is lusted after by all the boys (and played by the prematurely sultry Reed herself), Tracy progressively throws caution, schoolwork, self-respect, loyalty, a close bond with her mother (Holly Hunter) and all her misgivings to the wind. A blank slate eager to be drawn upon, she falls deeply under the influence of this girl whose lifestyle of borderline depravity is itself a precarious experiment in ego-fulfillment and a byproduct of an unhinged upbringing.
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