Natalie Canerday

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Tully Review


Good
There is something so inviting -- especially for those of us who live in the city -- about a film that captures the brilliance and serenity of rural life. Seeing those late-day hints of sunlight beam down upon open fields and lone houses can be one of the great cinema escapes. Tully, the debut feature from a talented filmmaker named Hilary Birmingham, gives viewers that easygoing country warmth but also delivers a fine, reserved narrative within its setting.

Based on an award-winning story by Tom McNeal, Tully is a guy-at-a-crossroads tale, told with a welcome lack of standard convention. The title character, played by able newcomer Anson Mount (Crossroads), is a young, good-looking fella admired by most of the women in his Nebraska farming town, and playing his quiet popularity for all it's worth. Tully works on his pappy's farm with his younger brother, Earl, but still finds time to get it on with a local stripper (Catherine Kellner) on the hood of her car (or his car, if available).

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Sling Blade Review


Extraordinary
Unlike most critics, I've been largely unimpressed with Billy Bob Thornton's work in the past. From One False Move to A Family Thing, I've always found his writing to lack depth and miss a true focus.

But then there's Sling Blade, and with Thornton in complete control as the writer, director, and star of the show, I do believe he's created a real gem.

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October Sky Review


Excellent

Although "October Sky" is a film with no surprises from its soundtrack of '50s rock 'n' roll standards to its triumph over adversity themes, this teen-years biography of a NASA scientist who got his start building rockets in his basement is so full of spirit and letter-perfect filmmaking that I defy anyone to watch this movie without getting a tingle in his or her heart.

Thrilling in the best sense of the word, traditional without being corny and with a script, photography and symbolism that could be the basis of a film literature textbook, "October Sky" is a classic in the making. It's just a pity it wasn't released in time for Oscar consideration.

The picture stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickman, a coal miner's son determined to break away from his assumed destiny following in his father's bleak and dangerous subterranean footsteps.

Continue reading: October Sky Review

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