Lola Glaudini

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Invincible (2006) Review


Good
Following the disappointing 1975 season that saw the team finishing 4-10, the Philadelphia Eagles needed assistance and weren't picky about where the help would come from. In a move characterized as part desperation, part publicity stunt, the Eagles organization held open tryouts in the summer of '76. They attracted hundreds of overweight, under-qualified Philly fanatics and one unassuming NFL hopeful blessed with natural abilities.Invincible tells the predominantly true story of down-on-his-luck bartender Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), who attended the Eagles' free session and impressed newly appointed head football coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear). Reports vary, and some think Papale received a personal session with Vermeil based on his already decent play for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League, but either way, Papale eventually accepted an invitation to the Eagles' training camp and half expected to be cut after the first week. To his surprise - and to his jaded teammates' constant chagrin - Papale battled for a roster spot and provided the discouraged Eagles fan base with a reason to care about the battered franchise.Papale is the classic underdog, and first-time director Ericson Core takes the necessary steps to ensure that the film's hero ascends to his proper pedestal. A former cinematographer, Core pays special attention to the streets, alleys, and grimy watering holes of Philadelphia, knowing they add as much (if not more) to Papale's character as any conventional locker room chat. The blue-collar Invincible soaks up local flavor and sweats working-class determination. By including gratuitous shots of Papale jogging through his inner-city neighborhoods, Core clearly indicates his intentions to wrestle the title of Top Overachiever from Philly's other sports son, Rocky Balboa - and he temporarily succeeds, at least until Sylvester Stallone releases the sixth and final Rocky in December.About the only person not excited by Papale's remarkable rise is Wahlberg. Though physically prepared for the scruffy film's hard-hitting football sequences, Wahlberg brings a quarter of the energy and charm to scenes shared with his goombah pals and his beer-slinging, Giants-loving bartender gal (Elizabeth Banks). These characters could have been dismissed as cogs in the motivational movie machine, but writer Brad Gann goes to great lengths to illustrate how a labor strike hits these men harder than a linebacker. Papale provided these good-natured bums with an escape from their daily hardships. Wahlberg had an opportunity to channel that energy, yet even as Papale's fortunes turn, the actor's enthusiasm stays predominantly level.Wahlberg's even keel doesn't hinder Invincible, which still manages to be extremely likable despite its conventions. About the only people bound to find fault are die-hard Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins fans, all of whom will tire almost immediately of the film's unbridled Eagles adoration.You red dudes are goin' down!

Consequence Review


Unbearable
First the bad news: Armand Assante.

Good news: Lesbian shower scene.

Continue reading: Consequence Review

Groove Review


OK
According to Groove, the economics of throwing a rave: Charge $2 a head for some 200 people to inhabit an abandoned warehouse for one night. Provide free food, water, massages, and of course, music from a parade of 5 or 6 DJs. Sounds like a losing proposition to me.

In fact, the last time I went to a rave (in 1991, when the scene was already on its way out), it cost $8. Today, it's like $20. Groove's $2 rave sounds a little phony, a little dated.

Continue reading: Groove Review

Groove Review


Weak

Made for love, not money, by an upstart filmmaker who knows and adores his subject, "Groove" is an enthusiastic, insider snapshot of the sweaty, adrenaline-driven, hyper-party atmosphere of San Francisco's red-hot rave scene.

Capturing the boundlessly euphoric spirit of this kinetic musical subculture, this Sundance buzz bin picture is a biography of one rave -- from the guerilla location scouting in empty warehouses to the mood of Ecstasy-fueled pulse electronica that becomes more and more exhilarating with each changing of the guard on the DJs' turn tables.

Writer-director-editor Greg Harrison has a little trouble maintaining the needed verve because he invites the audience into the rave experience through a handful of rather uninvolving characters with elementary story arcs. David (Hamish Linklater) is a high-strung rave virgin, dragged to the party by his live-for-pleasure brother, Colin (Denny Kirkwood). Harmony (Mackenzie Firgens) is Colin's girlfriend, to whom he proposes before making a huge romantic mistake under the influence of Ecstasy. Layla (charismatic Lola Glaudini, "NYPD Blue") is a aimless-but-intelligent beauty who inexplicably nurses David the wet blanket through his paranoid and blissful first time dropping E. They're a shallow and sometimes grave bunch, and far less fun-loving than your average raver.

Continue reading: Groove Review

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