Julia Chasman

Julia Chasman

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Driving Lessons Review


Weak
As with many young stars before him, Rupert Grint finally strikes out from his Harry Potter series to see if he has the chops to be anyone but Ron Weasley. Jeremy Brock's Driving Lessons offers him a more dramatic role compared to the comic-relief label that his character in the Potter films often is stamped with. It's a shame that the screenplay and filmmaking doesn't pursue the movie with the same integrity Grint attempts to instill into his character.

Ben Marshall (Grint) has been born into a house of piety. His father (Nicholas Farrell) is an English vicar and his mother (Laura Linney, of all people) preaches and speaks The Word with more holier-than-thou sentiment than her husband ever even considered. Ben's father is aloof to the fact that his wife is also being "visited" by a younger priest that works at his church. These things could be the explanation behind Ben's peculiar behavior with girls and other schoolmates, but his mother insists it's that he isn't doing enough in the community. To rectify this, Ben is somewhat forced into weed-pulling servitude to Evie Walton (Julie Walters), a washed-up theater actress who speaks with brash wit and blunt obviousness. As expected, what first starts out as awkward employer/employee relations turns into warm friendship and blossoms when Ben accompanies her to a small reading in Edinburgh, where Ben drops his V-card and, in theory, learns what life is really about.

Continue reading: Driving Lessons Review

The Invisible Circus Review


Weak
If anyone's considering checking out The Invisible Circus thinking it's Cameron Diaz's latest feature, forget it. Diaz, a burst of sunshine and energy in this hopelessly bland movie, plays a small supporting role. The weight of the story instead leans on 20-year old Jordana Brewster, a square-jawed beauty who doesn't have the skills to bring this movie out of its disorganized, poorly paced funk.

The oddly titled film, adapted from Jennifer Egan's book, tells of Phoebe (Brewster), a mid-70s San Francisco teenager who is compelled to trace the European travel path of her sister Faith (Diaz), whose trip six years earlier apparently ended in her suicide.

Continue reading: The Invisible Circus Review

Polish Wedding Review


OK
I have absolutely no idea how this film, by first-timer Connelly, got made. Take a big lecherous Italian family melodrama and replace it with a Polish family, and you've got this pretty dull pic.

Quills Review


Excellent
Come frolic with the Marquis de Sade deep in the bowels of the Charenton Asylum, where he'll tickle your fancy with lavish descriptions of bestiality, flatulence and the dimples of a fat mademoiselle's bottom.

As portrayed in Quills, based on the Obie Award-winning play by Doug Wright, the Marquis is an earthy, dirty, jolly old soul with the unquenchable desire to write his perverse dreams on paper. He's the unflinching id in the face of mediocrity and tolerance, the middle finger held like a candle to the powerful hypocrites, and the loud fart in the house of God, an affront to restrictive dogma.

Continue reading: Quills Review

25th Hour Review


Extraordinary
If you were to write a screenplay about a drug dealer who has just 24 hours of freedom left before he begins a seven-year prison sentence, what would you have him do? Repent? Fashion an elaborate escape? Have plenty of sex? That's probably why you haven't authored any Oscar-quality screenplays lately. Writer David Benioff, on the other hand, is likely to see a little golden statuette up close next year for his work on 25th Hour, a remarkable new film based on his novel of the same name.

Neither tearjerker nor suspenseful crime drama, 25th Hour is extraordinary in that it avoids all the clichés that such a premise so often invites. It is instead a carefully focused character study about a charismatic but condemned man who must come to grips with his sentence before morning. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, the felon in question. He spends his last free hours visiting his father (Brian Cox) and attending a going away party in his honor at a New York nightclub. In tow are his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) and his two childhood pals, Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- the latter of which is so perfectly cast that you can't help but chuckle the first time you see Hoffman give his usual dyspeptic sneer, signaling that he is disgusted not only with his high school English students but essentially the entire outcome of his life.

Continue reading: 25th Hour Review

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Julia Chasman Movies

Driving Lessons Movie Review

Driving Lessons Movie Review

As with many young stars before him, Rupert Grint finally strikes out from his Harry...

The Invisible Circus Movie Review

The Invisible Circus Movie Review

If anyone's considering checking out The Invisible Circus thinking it's Cameron Diaz's latest feature, forget...

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Quills Movie Review

Quills Movie Review

Come frolic with the Marquis de Sade deep in the bowels of the Charenton Asylum,...

25th Hour Movie Review

25th Hour Movie Review

If you were to write a screenplay about a drug dealer who has just 24...

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