Ken Lipper

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The Last Days (1998) Review


OK
Steven Spieberg isn't exactly known for his willingness to let go of World War II, and he executive produced this film in 1998, yet another in the long litany of Wasn't It Horrible holocaust films. Yes, it was horrible. The Last Days liberally uses archive footage of victims of Dachau, Auschwitz, and other concentration camps along with present-day testimonials from survivors about just how horrible it was. The problem, of course, is that The Last Days adds nothing new to the holocaust documentary genre of filmmaking. It's the same story, just told by different people. Sorry, Steven. Next time you visit WWII (and we're sure you will), try something new.

City Hall Review


OK
There's two things I dislike: politics and long, boring speeches. City Hall has plenty of both, and while Al Pacino is almost cool enough to make me think politics can be okay, it's got so many long speeches that I started looking for the remote control after the third or fourth one.

City Hall is a drama/thriller with most of the thrill sucked out of it. After a ridiculously convoluted opening, filled with the weak voice-over of the Deputy Mayor of New York City, Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack), we find ourselves embroiled in the world of Mayor John Pappas (Pacino). As the film opens, we find a cop and mobster killed in a shoot-out, taking with them the life of a six-year old boy.

Continue reading: City Hall Review

The Winter Guest Review


Weak
Extremely chatty, Alan Rickman's directorial debut is long in the tooth and short in everything else. While the photography of a remote Scottish fishing village is to die for, the lack of anything happening in the plot (involving eight natives from kids to the elderly and their various relationships) -- or even much music -- is a real letdown. Most notably disappointing is a shorn Emma Thompson, who spends the first third of the movie in the bathroom. Bo-ring!
Ken Lipper

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