I'm not talking about masked-psycho-with-a-chainsaw scary.That's kids' stuff. This is a slow, relentless, meticulous fear. It's thefear of uncertainty, the fear of grand-scale devastation that humanityis powerless to stop. It's a fear that fills the air like a storm and creepsup your spine in a way that's hard to shake. It is a fear not unlike whatevery American felt on September 11, 2001 -- but divorced from fact andrealigned as entertainment through the subconsciously reassuring comfortof a movie theater seat and a tub of popcorn.
It's visceral, it's psychological, and it comes more fromthe terrified performances of Tom Cruise and the remarkable Dakota Fanning(the angelic 10-year-old from "Hide& Seek" and "Manon Fire") -- as a dock-worker deadbeatdad and his daughter on the run from 100-foot alien killing machines --than from the film's hyper-realistic special effects and monsters (whicharen't that different from the ones in the shamelessly corny "Warof the Worlds" rip-off "Independence Day").
The film is worth seeing just to experience this fear,which is a testament to the power of cinema.
Continue reading: War Of The Worlds Review
Jim Carrey may be unconvincing as a TV newsman in "Bruce Almighty" -- he wears khakis and plaid shirts on the air, he needs a haircut, and he hold his microphone as if he doesn't know which end is up -- but as an everyday joe temporarily granted all the powers of God, his return to crackpot comedy is a most welcome summer movie treat.
After some angry finger-waving toward heaven over a fairly minor bout of bad luck (he's been passed over for an anchor job, he crashes his car into a lamp post and he can't seem to housebreak his dog), Bruce Nolan (Carrey) becomes God for a spell when the Big Guy (Morgan Freeman having a little fun with his noble image) gets fed up listening to him whine. God decides to show Bruce how tough the job of the Almighty really is, and humorous havoc ensues.
Of course, at first Bruce just has a ball being omnipotent. He grins impishly to himself as his live-in girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) says over breakfast, "I woke up this morning and I swear my boobs were bigger." When he comes across some muggers who beat him up the day before and demands an apology (in the most Biblical language he can muster), the leader of the gang says "You'll get your 'sorry' the day a monkey comes out of my butt."
Continue reading: Bruce Almighty Review
A warmhearted semi-romance of self-discovery, "Shall We Dance" opens so promisingly that it's a big disappointment when the picture suffers crucial missteps that throw off its entire rhythm.
Richard Gere stars as a melancholy Chicago probate lawyer whose prosaic life (established in an uncommonly affecting voice-over and a perfectly pitched montage of daily routine) gets a secret, seductive pick-me-up when he discovers a passion for ballroom dancing. Riding home on the elevated train day after day, he becomes drawn to a possible kindred spirit, a beautiful stranger (Jennifer Lopez) who seems to be forever staring sadly out a dance-studio window. One day his intuition gets the better of him. He signs up for a dance class to be near her.
As Gere's ennui is only tenuously related to his marriage (to Susan Sarandon), the film does not go the obvious direction with this attraction. But director Peter Chelsom ("Serendipity") and screenwriter Audrey Wells ("Under the Tuscan Sun") find other ways to turn this remake of a mediocre 1997 Japanese film about cultural repression into a wholly Hollywood affair.
Continue reading: Shall We Dance Review
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