John Calley

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Angels & Demons Trailer


Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons, this film continues where The Da Vinci Code left off. Having cleared his name and solved Jacques Saunière's mysterious messages, Langdons life returns to normal.

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The Jane Austen Book Club Review


Terrible
You need neither a deep appreciation for author Jane Austen nor an understanding of her six novels to recognize that The Jane Austen Book Club stinks.

A chick-lit-flick, Book Club is poorly directed by Robin Swicord from her own inconsistent adaptation of Karen Jay Fowler's novel about five women (and one coerced man) who use Austen's novels as a means to escape their broken lives. They cover one book a month, and we roll our eyes as their individual problems mirror the quandaries found in Austen's chapters.

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Los Angeles film premiere of 'The Jane Austen Book Club' held at ArcLight Theatre - Arrivals

John Calley Thursday 20th September 2007 Los Angeles film premiere of 'The Jane Austen Book Club' held at ArcLight Theatre - Arrivals Hollywood, California

John Calley

The Loved One Review


Extraordinary
Decades before Six Feet Under, The Loved One skewered the paradox of the funeral business in appearance-obsessed L.A. Wildly and unpredictably funny, The Loved One careens from scene to scene so quickly you may not be able to keep up with the jokes.

And what jokes they are! The very American Robert Morse stars as a British visitor to L.A., a wannabe poet who gets caught up in the machinations of a cemetary owner (Jonathan Winters) and his top mortician (Rod Steiger in the role of a lifetime). It's more cult than cemetary, and Morse soon becomes enchanted with one the cemetary's guide/beautician/chanteuse (a dippy Anajette Comer). The film haphazardly careens from subplot to subplot, eventually settling into a set piece about a kid obsessed with rockets, which Winters sees as the solution to the problem of running out of space for "loved ones" in the cemetary (aka corpses).

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Closer Review


Terrible
Love and romance are tough stuff. Leave it to Mike Nichols and his adaptation of the callous play Closer to make it even tougher.

The setup holds promise: Four characters in dreary London couple and de-couple, falling in and out of relationships over a four year span. The story is told piecemeal, as it focuses on brief events in the couples' lives, separated by months or years. It begins as American stripper Alice (Natalie Portman) meets British obituary writer Dan (Jude Law) by happenstance. A year later, Dan encounters photographer Anna (Julia Roberts), whom he immediately begins to lust after. Later, Dan plays an internet prank on dermatologist Larry (Clive Owen), which unexpectedly sends him into the arms of Anna. They marry, and Anna promptly starts an affair with Dan. Dan confesses to Alice, she becomes a stripper again. Anna confesses to Larry, and she leaves him, sending Dan to Alice for the first time. And round and round we go until everyone's had a shot at everyone else.

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The Remains of the Day Review


Excellent
What a heartbreaker. Looking back on The Remains of the Day after seven years, I find I have a new appreciation for the film. What I once felt was a hollow look at servants in pre-WWII rural England, oblivious to the world around them, devoid of any real emotion, I now see in a different light. A closer look shows all the deep and heartfelt emotion just under the surface of Anthony Hopkins, underrewarded in one of the finest roles of his career. James Fox also shines as a Nazi semi-sympathetic aristocrat who "just wants peace," and Emma Thompson dazzles as the only real backbone in the bunch. Also look for good yet smallish turns from Christopher Reeve, Ben Chaplin, and Hugh Grant.

The Loved One Review


Extraordinary
Decades before Six Feet Under, The Loved One skewered the paradox of the funeral business in appearance-obsessed L.A. Wildly and unpredictably funny, The Loved One careens from scene to scene so quickly you may not be able to keep up with the jokes. The black and white photography is stark, reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove (as is the whole film -- with Jonathan Winters in two roles), though some of the details get lost in the deep shadows. It's not out on video, so watch for it on cable. It's well worth it.

Catch-22 Review


Extraordinary
A wry and sarcastic (and thick as hell) book about the ridiculous duplicity of war? Sounds like a movie to me.

And so it did to Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, collaborators on The Graduate who conspired once again to make one of the greats of cinema. While Catch-22 has none of the cachet of other war movies (and we'll get to that...), it's by far one of the best out there, ranking with Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now as one of the greats.

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John Calley

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