Jon Sheinberg

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Playing Mona Lisa Review


OK
Playing Mona Lisa follows the life of Claire Goldstein (Alicia Witt), who slowly unravels as various forces of nature turn against her. Claire's life is not unlike the movie as a whole, which starts off strong but meanders to a non-ending that is unlikely to leave anyone very satisfied.

Claire is a "brilliant" 23-year old pianist, which is apt casting for Witt, considering she is also a real-life piano prodigy. On the eve of her graduation from the San Francisco Academy of Music, Claire's life starts to come undone. First she doesn't make it into a big piano competition. Then she gets dumped, then evicted, then just plain whiny as she realizes her family (with whom she is now forced to live) is full of freaks.

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Slappy and the Stinkers Review


Grim
Your enjoyment of Slappy and the Stinkers will be directly proportional to your ability to be amused by a farting seal. In other words, if you're over the age of nine, this frantic melange of The Little Rascals, Caddyshack, and Free Willy will be of limited appeal. However, if you know someone under the age of nine, he or she will probably get a kick out of it.

The Stinkers in question are an adorable group of five seven-year-old ragamuffins who are in some sort of scholarship summer school program at an exclusive private academy. Their every move is carefully watched by nasty headmaster Morgan Brinway (B.D. Wong), an ultra persnickety and fastidious mincing prig whose idea of a music class is to lead the children through grueling rehearsals of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It's he who has nicknamed the kids Stinkers. Quite the educator.

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