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Black Gold Review


Good
The history of the oil industry in Arabia is reduced to a fast-paced adventure movie in this lively project that probably should have been a TV series. It keeps us thoroughly entertained, but only manages to flesh out a couple of characters.

To bring peace between the two leading kingdoms in 1920s Arabia, Sultan Amar (Strong) allows Emir Nesib (Banderas) to raise his two sons. Younger son Auda (Rahim) grows up as a bookworm with a soft spot for Nesib's daughter Leyla (Pinto), which comes in handy when they are asked to marry to link the two kingdoms. But their fragile treaty is strained when Texans arrive and start to to drill for oil: Nesib rather likes the money, but Amar sees this as a violation of their treaty.

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The Color Purple Review


Good
Heart-wrenching and universally loved, The Color Purple isn't really about the color purple. It's about the trials and tribulations of black women in the turn-of-the-century south, and how they conquered over all the abuse, the poverty, and the lack of anything resembling a life. And it's directed by Steven Spielberg.

Whether this was Spielberg's most desperate attempt to win an Oscar (didn't work: The Color Purple received a whopping 11 Oscar nominations and won precisely zero) or a genuine kinship with the black women of the 1910s we'll never really know. But Purple is a solid enough film, though it lacks true inspiration and gets a little wandering and lost after an hour of running time (and you've still got 1 1/2 more to go!).

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Max Review


Good
Going into Max I knew nothing at all of what it was about. With such a title (and let's face it, a truly awful one at that), Max could have been a story about anything. The last thing I would ever have expected would be that it was a semi-fictionalized tale of a young Adolf Hitler after the close of WWI, when he was trying to make it as an artist.

The Max in question is Max Rothman (John Cusack), an amalgam of various art dealers and teachers who mentors the young Corporal Hitler (Noah Taylor) in the ways of art. Max himself is an artist too (an early performance artist, it seems, based on a bizarre skit seemingly inspired by Pink Floyd: The Wall) and sees potential in the young Adolf, urging him on while watching him grow more political as forces turn him in the direction he ultimately took. Their relationship is complicated by the fact that Max is a Jew (not to mention a one-armed cripple), the hatred of which becomes the centerpiece of Hitler's ideology.

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The Siege Review


Excellent
Think about this. What if the very city you live in, was bombed almost weekly by terrorists? What if there was nothing anybody could do? What if when you were walking down the street, tanks rolled by because the city was under martial law? In The Siege, those questions are addressed in a very entertaining, disturbing, and powerful way.

Earlier this year, Saving Private Ryan was so disturbing; I had to leave the theater. This is coming from someone who watches gory, bloody action movies all the time. Ryan used the most graphic violence in any movie I've ever seen to be powerful. The Siege is effective in a more intelligent way. Denzel Washington stars as FBI agent Anthony Hubbard, who seems to be affected the most by all these bombings that have been happening in New York. Soon the Arab bombings keep coming, with a body count bigger every time, the only thing left to do is send the military in, headed by General Devereaux (Bruce Willis). All Arabs are held in stadiums, innocent people are tortured, even though they don't know anything. After a while, you start to wonder. What if it were black people being treated this way? Whites? Jews?

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