Margot Bridger

Margot Bridger

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The Groomsmen Review


Weak
There's something oddly lovable, if not embarrassingly earnest and overdone, about Edward Burns' The Groomsmen. It's another in a long line of what has become the reprehensible pre-wedding jitters comedy, but it also doubles as a buddy comedy, the reunion type. Artistic substance? Not here, buddy. Prophetic insight? Wrong door. The Groomsmen revels in its charming simplicity.

Ed Burns, again taking mainstay as actor, director, and writer, plays Paulie, a Long Island worker who is preparing for a wedding and to become a father. His fiancée (Brittany Murphy) is wondering why he can't be nice to her anymore and he's wondering what he should expect from fatherhood and a wife. His best friend Des (a surprisingly strong Matthew Lillard) is a father of two and feels it's the only good thing he's done with his life. His brother Jimbo (Donal Logue) thinks he's making a huge mistake, and his cousin Mike (Jay Mohr, doing the lovable idiot routine) just wants to find a girl so he can be like the rest of the guys. Then there's their long lost buddy T.C. (John Leguizamo) who arrives under hushed circumstances, having not been back in Long Island for a considerable amount of time.

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Looking For Kitty Review


Grim
In the director's notes included with the DVD of Looking for Kitty, Edward Burns remarks about how easy it is to shoot a film on a low budget, using digital video, existing locations, and the like. You don't even need to write a script!

Well just because you can do these things doesn't mean you should, and sure enough Looking for Kitty is the type of movie that rank amateurs usually turn in, an undercooked affair that doesn't offer any emotional response and which could have used a whole lot of vetting from people who weren't attached to a singular idea. It's nowhere near Burns' best work. I dare use a word I try to avoid in film criticism: It's just boring.

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Ash Wednesday Review


Grim
Ed Burns is Irish. Hope that's clear. Irish people, in the world of Burns, anyway, are devout Catholics, hang out in bars constantly, and tend to become embroiled in scenarios with gangsters that end up with various members of the community shot dead. Burns' ponderation on all of this never really merited a theatrical release, and suffering through its slow silliness makes it immediately apparent why. Never mind that Elijah Wood and Rosario Dawson are the least likely couple in history, the entire plot is so absurd it borders on asinine. Turns out the "assassinated" Wood isn't really dead. He's been hiding in Ed's apartment for three years. One night he sneaks out, gets spotted, and the mafia's back on his trail. Ed's solution is to get Wood and his wife (who doesn't even know he's alive) out of town. But they don't just hop in the car. They go to endless lengths to talk about it, including dropping into a bar or two to mull over this great plan over a beer. Now that's good thinking, Ed! In the end, they all pretty much get what they deserve.

Forty Shades Of Blue Review


Excellent
"I think you hate women," a trusted colleague recently told me. She went on to say something along the lines of, "OK, maybe you don't hate women, but you certainly don't trust them." Weeks later, still considering those heavy words so lightly thrown, I thought of Ira Sachs's remarkable and challenging new film Forty Shades of Blue. The central character is the woman hanging onto the arm of her rich, older boyfriend. It's a woman's role usually subordinated while the hell-raising man gets all the laughs, glory, and screen time.

As played by Dina Korzun, I didn't understand this woman character at all. She's closed off, remote, seems not to use the mind that is her own, and puts up with all sorts of horseshit from her boorish man, Memphis music producer Alan James (Rip Torn, who tears up the screen with his raging bull persona). She looks like a fashion model, a slender little slip of a thing dressed in wonderful clothes. We learn that she is originally from Russia, and has a three-year-old child. She appears somewhat bored with her wealthy lifestyle and mansion, and -- here's the thing... she's either completely inaccessible or she doesn't use the brains in her head.

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Sidewalks Of New York Review


Good
Edward Burns' best movies rarely show the busy intersections and tall buildings of New York City. He covers the blue-collar attitude perfectly, representing a side of the Empire State most moviegoers rarely see anymore. I think that's why his first film, The Brothers McMullen, was so appreciated. It's also why I own No Looking Back, a telling look of working class malaise, on videotape.

Like a lot of other New Jersey and New York residents, Burns can't help but be tempted by the city life. In his fourth film, Sidewalks of New York, he examines three men and three women whose romantic lives intersect. It's a pleasant and amusing turn after the potent dreariness of No Looking Back. But why do I get the feeling that anyone could have directed Sidewalks? I guess it's because setting a romantic comedy in New York City seems silly, if you can't capitalize on the atmosphere. And Burns can't. Try as he may, he's still a big city outsider. And I think he's better off that way.

Continue reading: Sidewalks Of New York Review

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