Michael Corrente

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Brooklyn Rules Review


Grim
Oh, brother. Or, as they say it in Brooklyn, oh, brudda. You've seen Brooklyn Rules before. Many times before. A cliché-clogged and utterly unsurprising mash-up of A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, and even Saturday Night Fever (the Verrazano Bridge looms ominously in the background of many exterior shots), this coming-of-age tale tracks three best friends from Bay Ridge as they try to make a go of life in a Mob-run neighborhood. This town is so steeped in Mafia madness that even the most casual walk in the woods will ultimately lead to a cosa nostra killing field.

As teenagers in 1985 (cue the best-of-the-'80s soundtrack), Michael (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Carmine (Scott Caan), and Bobby (Jerry Ferrara) are veering onto different paths. Bobby is the chubby and lovable lunkhead, so stupid he fears failing the Post Office application test. Carmine is the baby goodfella, a hyper stud who takes note of the money and respect that the local bosses have and can't imagine why he shouldn't join up with their crew. And Michael is the one who wants "to get out of this hellhole." An ambitious orphan, he's stumbling through Columbia on a pre-law track and has the hots for Connecticut preppie ice queen Ellen (Mena Suvari), who finds Michael's Brooklyn background attractively "edgy."

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Outside Providence Review


Grim
The latest entry on the long list of follow-up disappointments will have to be Outside Providence, a film sort-of from the Farrelly brothers (There's Something About Mary) with practically none of its charm.

Based on an old novel by Peter Farrelly, this is the (obviously autobiographical to some extent) tale of a good-for-nothing, super-poor kid called Dunph (Hatosy) growing up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (you know, outside Providence). When he gets high and smashes the car into a police cruiser, dad somehow works a deal to get him sent to a prep school in Connecticut, where he finds himself a fish out of water.

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The Door in the Floor Review


Grim
Adapted from the first third of John Irving's sprawling novel A Widow For One Year, Tod Williams' The Door in the Floor is a high-minded piece of manipulative melodramatic bunk (with a horrible title) that rides a rising crest of pretension before splashing moviegoers down into a cold bath of self-indulgent faux tragedy. The story of an unhappy couple who welcome, with calamitous consequences, a young teen into their lives during a summer at their beachfront home, it's a disingenuous film that deals in the upper-class ennui and sorrow of The Ice Storm and Moonlight Mile, desperately clinging to an affected pose of photogenic misery but failing to even approximate reasonable human emotion or behavior.

Eccentric children's book author and womanizer Ted Cole (an adequately flaky Jeff Bridges) lost his two sons in a car accident years ago, and though he and his wife Marion (Kim Basinger) have relocated to a quaint New Hampshire town and attempted to fill the void in their lives by having daughter Ruth (Elle Fanning), they're still reeling from their family catastrophe and poised to separate. In a supremely idiotic decision, Ted hires Eddie (Jon Foster), a young student from Phillips Exeter Academy who looks just like his deceased oldest son, to be his assistant. However, the freewheeling writer - whose hipness is supposedly confirmed by his penchant for walking around naked in front of others, making erotic sketches of his mistress Mrs. Vaughn (Mimi Rogers), and listening to skanky hip-hop before watching Girls Gone Wild - makes a grave mistake by having the kid work during the day at his wife's nearby apartment. Eddie takes a masturbatory liking to Marion's bra and panties, and when he's caught in the act of self-gratification by the female object of his desire, she's all too willing to accommodate his Mrs. Robinson-patterned longings.

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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Review


Good
To say that the new Mike Hodges film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead confounds expectations doesn't even really begin to describe what this beguiling curiosity does, which shouldn't really be surprise, as Hodges is the director who's given us everything from 1998's Croupier to the Max von Sydow campfest Flash Gordon. Shot mostly in the seedier parts of Brixton (non-swinging London), I'll Sleep is just as ill-concerned with looking like a flash gangster flick - which, in some strange sense, it is - than it is with marrying its two wildly divergent plot strands.

In the first, seemingly primary story, we follow Davey Graham (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) on his none-too-taxing nightly rounds: a little coke-delivery to a fancy party, then a one-nighter with a blonde model (whom he robs), and then to home. Only he's being followed by some tuxedo-wearing rent-a-thugs and a malevolent Malcolm McDowell, who assault him in a shockingly horrific manner - it's quick and brutal, a Hodges specialty, and completely out of nowhere, like a random visit from the Devil. This leaves Davey emotionally shattered and he commits suicide not longer after.

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Michael Corrente

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