Melora Walters

Melora Walters

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Wisegirls Review


Grim
Mariah Carey gives us another peek at some of the magic we saw in Glitter here in Wisegirls, a ridiculous look at three waitresses (Carey, Mira Sorvino, and Melora Walters) working in a New York Italian restaurant. Despite all the melodrama (Sorvino's got a dead boyfriend, and so on, and so on) these wisegirls are at least not totally horrific -- except, surprisingly, for Walters, who looks truly haggard here. Don't get me wrong, the movie is crap, but at least I didn't kill myself while I was watching it.

Desert Saints Review


OK
Passable little flick has Sutherland as La Femme Kiefer, a mysterious hitman who picks up a drifter girl (Melora Walters), a pathetic loser who turns out to be anything but. Against any semblance of good judgment, he takes her on as a partner... only to have her turn out to be an FBI agent on his case. Or is she??? It's a capable thriller but hardly a standout -- there's basically only one more plot twist and it's not all that unexpected. Walters is getting too old to play the hottie vixen... and come to think of it, so is Sutherland.

The Big Empty Review


OK
If any film is destined to find a cult audience on DVD, it's The Big Empty.

For starters, it's literally crawling with cult-friendly stars, including Jon Favreau (Swingers), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), Bud Cort (Harold and Maude), Jon Gries (Real Genius), Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill),and Rachael Leigh Cook (who seems to be making a living off of desert-based movies these days). Secondly, it's got message boards buzzing with fans asking a variation on one simple question: What the hell does it all mean?

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Twenty Bucks Review


Good
Check to the right... and that's only part of the cast. Movie stars great and small came out for this production, the ultimate production of a screenplay that's been floating around since the Great Depression -- seriously, it was originally written that long ago.

The story is simple: There's no real plot or central character -- aside from a $20 that makes it way from a random pickup across several days and dozens of handlers. From a homeless woman (Linda Hunt) intent on buying a lottery ticket with it to the G-string of a stripper (Melora Walters) to a pair of thieves (Christopher Lloyd and Steve Buscemi) to many more characters normal and exotic, the bill gets filthier and filthier until its ultimate demise (and rebirth, back in the hands of Hunt's street urchin).

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Boogie Nights Review


Extraordinary
Now this is some production. I'm lucky enough to live in one of the "selected cities" for Boogie Nights's limited opening (it goes wide on Oct. 31), and in all my years as a moviegoer, I think this is the first time I've seen a mirrorball in the theater put to use during a film. Outside of that, Boogie Nights may have generated the most enthusiastic audience response I've heard in ages.

The premise is simple and well-known. Young "Dirk Diggler" ("Marky" Mark Wahlberg) is a busboy discovered in a Receda nightclub by a big-time porn flick producer (Burt Reynolds, in perhaps his best role ever). Mingling with the likes of Amber Waves (Julianne Moore, my fave actress), the innocent Rollergirl (Heather Graham, who doesn't have nearly enough screen time), and other bigshots of the biz, Diggler rises (so to speak) and falls as the porn industry ruptures during the dawn of the 1980s.

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Magnolia Review


Extraordinary
Sooner or later, every director makes his Short Cuts.

Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) only waited until his third film to make his, an over-three-hour epic with at least 10 major characters in almost as many separate story lines. And thanks to those characters, every one a rich mystery burning with secrets, Magnolia is a smashing success.

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The Butterfly Effect Review


OK
Ashton Kutcher is a goofball. There are no two ways about it. From bumbling around as the clueless Kelso on That '70s Show to attacking his well-to-do friends on the ubiquitous Punk'd, this guy has made a hell of a living being wacky. Kutcher's noogie-giving persona does exude a confident charm, however, and that charm goes a long way in The Butterfly Effect, the heartthrob's first dramatic lead since he hit the cover of Tiger Beat.

With his innocent smirk and sincere delivery, Kutcher (who also executive produced) brings a fun simple honesty to this alternate-worlds thriller, and it's often necessary, as the subject matter ranges from heavy-duty to soap opera-sudsy. Kutcher is Evan Treborn, a college student who, after growing up suffering childhood blackouts, begins recalling lost memories. The effects are traumatic.

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Cold Mountain Review


Grim

From the very first words of its opening voice-over, inwhich a detectable trace of Aussie inflection invades Nicole Kidman's affectedSouthern accent, there's something amiss with "Cold Mountain,"a two-and-a-half-hour Civil War epic built around a lackluster love story,written and directed by an Englishman, starring half a dozen British actorsand shot in Romania.

Sweeping in scope, the picture's earnest intentions, periodatmosphere and cinematic beauty are above reproach as it portrays brutal,bloody, brother-against-brother battlefields and a North Carolina home-fronthamlet where prim, city-bred newcomer Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman) waitsfor the return of her soldier sweetheart while struggling to survive onher dead father's farm.

And yet, the emotional investment in the characters issomething less than sweeping. The passionless decorum of Ada's first-reelcourtship by the adoring but reticent Inman (Jude Law), the declarationof war which cuts short their time together, and the questionable castingof Kidman -- who at 36 is too old to be credible as a bashful unmarriedbelle in 1864 Dixie -- result in a lack of validity and vitality that isn'tremedied until the invigorating second-act arrival of Renee Zellweger.

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The Butterfly Effect Review


Grim

In Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's ingeniously idiosyncratic showbiz semi-farce "Adaptation" there is a running gag about a typically bogus Hollywood-thriller screenplay called "The 3," in which a preposterous, nonsensical twist ending reveals the three main characters to be different personalities in a schizophrenic's mind.

In this week's "The Butterfly Effect," a superficially chilling high-concept horror movie full of paradox-packed time-loop contortions, the entire plot depends on just such cursory twists, none of which stand up to much intellectual scrutiny.

Stoner-comedy staple Ashton Kutcher -- who, like a young Keanu Reeves, is hard to take seriously in any non-stoner role -- stars as Evan Treborn, a double-psychology major (snicker, snicker) working on an memory assimilation thesis inspired by blackouts he suffered as a child during several traumatic events.

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Magnolia Review


Good

An intricate mosaic of emotional stories intertwined by coincidence, "Magnolia" is an elegant exposé of human frailty written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who demonstrated his gift for burrowing under his characters' skins in 1997's melancholy porn industry soap opera "Boogie Nights."

He's honed that skill in the last two years, and his new multi-narrative, which features many of the same actors, is stunning and magnetic in its ability to tie you impulsively to even the most wretched of characters.

"Magnolia" takes place over the course of a single, unusually stormy (on a mythological scale) day in the San Fernando Valley and meditates on the complexities of family, and on the facades people put up to mask their insecurities, their grudges, greed and regret, their love, their selfishness and other symptoms of the human condition.

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Melora Walters

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