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Cirque Du Soleil Accident Isn't The First On-Stage Tragedy


Cirque Du Soleil John Ritter Katey Sagal Steve Irwin Pantera

Cirque Du Soleil's performance of "Ka" was cut short on Saturday (29th June 2013) following the death of one of the troop's performers Sarah Guyard-Guillot. The 31-year-old performer seems to have slipped from her harness, during a performance in Las Vegas, and fallen around 50 feet to the stage below. 

Cirque du Soleil
An acrobatic performer during Cirque du Soleil's Alegria in Birmingham, UK, in 2012. 

Guyard-Guillot was a veteran performer. She was one of the original performers of "Ka", having been in the show since 2006. Her death is not being treated as suspicious. However, authorities are working with the Cirque in order to gain a complete picture of the events leading to Guyard-Guillot's untimely death. 

Continue reading: Cirque Du Soleil Accident Isn't The First On-Stage Tragedy

Bride Of Chucky Review


Weak
Child's Play spoofs itself with this very tongue-in-cheek installment of the "Chucky" series. Standing out in more ways than one (ahem) is Jennifer Tilly as Chucky's love interest -- first as the human that brings him back from the dead, then as the doll that Chucky forces her soul into. Plenty of "witty" repartee among the cast, with none of the guilt that you're watching a serious attempt at making a horror flick.

Bad Santa Review


Excellent
Director Terry Zwigoff launched a career with his debut film, Crumb, the disturbing yet fascinating documentary about cult comic book artist Robert Crumb. It's rumored that in order to get Crumb to agree to have a biopic, Zwigoff threatened to kill himself if Crumb refused to cooperate. Then the film festival hero went on to direct the fantastically negative, critically acclaimed Ghost World. From those dark beginnings comes Bad Santa, Zwigoff's idea of a Christmas movie, and it's nothing less than you'd expect. Finally, misanthropes have a holiday film of their very own.

In the role he was born to play, Billy Bob Thornton is the bad Santa, a.k.a. Willie Stokes, a chain-smoking, bourbon-guzzling con man who can't utter a sentence without a curse word. Willie and his little-person friend Marcus (Tony Cox) travel from city to city each holiday season, running the same scam: Willie and Marcus play Santa and elf for cut rates, and then Willie cracks the store/mall's safe on Christmas Eve, stealing enough money for them to skip town. But until the big Eve heist, Marcus has to keep the drunk, stumbling, foul-mouthed Santa from "boning" women in the dressing rooms and pissing himself in the Santa chair before passing out, so they can keep their jobs.

Continue reading: Bad Santa Review

Sink or Swim Review


OK
Also known as Hacks, which I think is a much better name. This little number went practically straight to video, despite its star-studded cast (just take a look!). Why? Because movies about making movies practically never work, and even when they do, it's hard to make yourself care. Sink or Swim tweaks the genre a little -- with Rea as a haggard writer who can't get his arms around an enormous task facing him down. When his "friends" swoop in to stab him in the back... well, it's a curious little picture, like I said.

Noises Off! Review


Good
Loads of fun, and not just because Nicollette Sheridan is in her underwear for the entire movie. Noises Off! is an uneven but very entertaining adaptation of the play, which in turn is about a play being staged with various degrees of failure, thanks to inappropriate relationships, drunkeness, and various mishaps on set. They don't make balls-out slapstick movies like this any more -- not for adults, anyway -- and you really don't think of them being directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

Continue reading: Noises Off! Review

Bride Of Chucky Review


Weak
Child's Play spoofs itself with this very tongue-in-cheek installment of the "Chucky" series. Standing out in more ways than one (ahem) is Jennifer Tilly as Chucky's love interest -- first as the human that brings him back from the dead, then as the doll that Chucky forces her soul into. Plenty of "witty" repartee among the cast, with none of the guilt that you're watching a serious attempt at making a horror flick.

Tadpole Review


Excellent
When you're young, it seems all you want is to be older - whether it's finally to be allowed to stay up late, to go out to a bar, or just to be taken seriously. In Oscar's case, it's just to be desirable.

All of Oscar Grubman's (Aaron Stanford) prep school friends - including best friend Charlie (Robert Iler of Sopranos fame) - tell him that he's a 40-year-old trapped in a 15-year-old's body. Instead of feeding on pop culture and pop music, Oscar spends his time quoting Voltaire and listening to opera. Think of him as a Max Fisher minus the bullshit. He strives to be cultured and sophisticated well beyond his years, and girls his age just don't cut the gouda.

Continue reading: Tadpole Review

Sling Blade Review


Extraordinary
Unlike most critics, I've been largely unimpressed with Billy Bob Thornton's work in the past. From One False Move to A Family Thing, I've always found his writing to lack depth and miss a true focus.

But then there's Sling Blade, and with Thornton in complete control as the writer, director, and star of the show, I do believe he's created a real gem.

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Montana Review


Grim
Bad idea: Introduce your 12 main characters in one scene in the same room. Montana commits just such a sin and never really recovers, despite a promising and talented cast. As doublecrossing gangster movies goes, Montana is pretty tepid, with a load of stereotyped characters (fat mob boss, deadly hit man, idiotic son, and gorgeous-but-brainless moll) not helping matters. Only Kyra Sedgewick's bagwoman makes any kind of impression, but really, there's a reason why you've never heard of this film.

Panic Review


OK
See if this sounds familiar: Angst-ridden hitman decides to see a shrink about his problems. The similarities with The Sopranos and Analyze This end there, though. Panic is a drama, and an overwrought one at that. While the romantic dancing between leading man Macy and ingenue Campbell are amusing, the overbearing father of Sutherland and the chilly wife of Ullman make Panic fade from memory pretty quickly. It's pretty clear why this never saw theatrical release (though I've seen worse this year).

Bad Santa Review


OK

"Bad Santa" is one hilariously crass Christmas comedy -- and most certainly not for kids.

From the comical poor taste of running the title credit over a shot of a bitter, broken-down, booze-hound mall Santa (Billy Bob Thornton) upchucking in an alley behind a bar, to the antagonism-eroding friendship he strikes up with an overweight, none-too-bright, literally snot-faced kid (Brett Kelly) who follows him from a department store, this movie is fearlessly twisted and has only the slightest hint of traditional redemption.

But man, it is funny.

Continue reading: Bad Santa Review

Panic Review


Excellent

A brilliantly observant, darkly humorous and immaculately acted movie about an average suburban father in the throes of a midlife crisis, "Panic" bears an vague, off-kilter resemblance to "American Beauty" in style and subject.

Its central character is a meek and neurotic man in his 40s (William H. Macy) whose growing fixation with a sexually conflicted nymph (Neve Campbell) half his age is turning his life upside-down. The two films share a similar dysfunctional domesticity as well, and a crisp but sparse visual elegance with just a pinch of excess color.

But Alex (Macy), the sympathetic anti-hero of "Panic," has a much bigger secret than his newfound temptation for a younger woman. Alex is a hit man -- and he's just not sure he's comfortable in that line of work anymore.

Continue reading: Panic Review

Tadpole Review


OK

Home from boarding school for Thanksgiving holiday with unruly hormones and a festering Oedipal jones for his 40-something stepmom, idiosyncratic 15-year-old Manhattan sophisticate Oscar Grubman is having a hard time coping with life.

Versed in the classics, a voracious reader of Voltaire, fluent in French and tortured by his own high expectations, he doesn't have much use for girls his own age -- even the ones that like him. But as he waits impatiently for some elusive perfect moment to reveal his desires to Dad's wife (Sigounrey Weaver), Oscar gets a little drunk one night and goes to bed with her lusty best friend (Bebe Neuwirth) instead.

Such is the framework for "Tadpole," the enticingly tart, oddball coming-of-age comedy that won helmer Gary Winick the Director's Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Continue reading: Tadpole Review

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