Patrick Bauchau

Patrick Bauchau

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Extraordinary Measures Review


OK
The A-list cast raises this film above its unsophisticated TV-movie style, helped by the remarkable facts of the true story. The actors even manage to add nuance to the straightforward, over-sentimentalised writing and direction.

John Crowley (Fraser) is a manager at a pharmaceutical company who hears about the innovative theories of Dr Robert Stonehill (Ford) for the treatment of Pompe Disease, a variation on muscular dystrophy. John and his wife Aileen (Russell) have two wheelchair-bound children (Droeger and Velazquez) with the condition, plus an older son (Hall) without it. So they all have a special interest in Stonehill's work. But the eccentric doctor isn't so easy to get on board, mainly because he needs a lot of money to continue his research.

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Boy Culture Review


Good
One of the more literate and substantial gay-themed movies to come along in a while, Boy Culture (based on the equally intriguing novel by Matthew Rettenmund), looks at issues of sex, love, and commitment through a unique lens: the eyes of a hustler.

Our narrator, who calls himself X (Derek Magyar), is a smoldering 25-year-old Seattleite who maintains a roster of one dozen high-end clients. Deeply cynical and totally self-aware, he does the job ("It's the only thing I'm good at," he says) and banks the money while fully understanding that his work has damaged his ability to have relationships, since relationships demand feelings and reciprocity.

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A View To A Kill Review


Weak
At age 58, Roger Moore turned in his action hero togs after this final outing as Bond. A View to a Kill is at least better than Octopussy, but it's so absurd as to make for a less than perfect time. The good news: Christopher Walken is a classic (if obvious) Bond villain, determined to flood Silicon Valley so he can corner the market for microchips. There's a bit of silliness about doped horses and some questionable science behind this plan, but it's all in good fun. Tanya Roberts is a classic Bond girl. Grace Jones, well, she's something else entirely.

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Panic Room Review


Excellent
It's Home Alone for grown-ups. And just like kids ate up Macaulay Culkin and his homebound adventure, Panic Room is a real (yet creepy) crowd-pleaser for adults.

David Fincher directs this long-awaited follow-up to his groundbreaking Fight Club, with Jodie Foster in her first lead role since 1999's Anna and the King. The story is deceptively simple: Imminent divorcee Meg (Foster) is gaining a boatload of a settlement and, with her bratty, diabetic daughter Sarah (newcomer Kristen Stewart), decides to buy a cavernous, four-story brownstone in Manhattan's upper west side. The night they move in, three burglars pay a visit, searching for an alleged $3 million hidden somewhere in the house. Meg and Sarah hightail it to the secret "panic room," an impenetrable safe room off the master bedroom - only to learn that the money is secreted inside the panic room as well. A game of cat and mouse ensues - only the mice are definitively trapped in one tiny room.

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Secretary Review


Excellent
Secret desires and dark, unusual fetishes make for great fiction, but few filmmakers have enough courage to tackle ideas that private. However, Steven Shainberg has more than enough audacity and he doesn't hesitate to push the envelope way beyond the norm with his new movie Secretary, a film which appropriately won a Special Jury Prize for originality at Sundance.

Secretary explodes with juicy innuendo, even from its opening moments. An extending establishing shot plays against mischievously sensual music as a woman seductively strolls through a business office performing secretarial duties. She approaches a desk, staples a few papers, pours fresh coffee into a mug, and then returns to her employer. Sounds ordinary, except that she does these things while locked inside a weird S&M device.

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The Five Obstructions Review


Excellent
Anyone who makes art knows that creativity is born from limitations. The Five Obstructions idealizes this notion. Danish provocateur Lars von Trier makes a challenge to his old film professor (and renowned experimental filmmaker) Jørgen Leth: Remake his poetic 1967 short film The Perfect Human five times, according to arbitrary (and sometimes, in Leth's words, "satanic" or "diabolical") rules concocted by von Trier. The Five Obstructions is a documentary about Leth making those five remakes, filtered through von Trier's rules.

Ever since Breaking the Waves, von Trier has been imposing his own self-made limitations on his movies with varying levels of success. Indeed, he comes off in The Five Obstructions as the bad guy, a carefully cultivated image that's more annoying because it's so calculated. Von Trier's sadistic glee is the least interesting part of Obstructions, and Leth is the more compelling subject: an artist grappling with the art of making movies. When faced with the first obstruction-- where no clip must last more than 12 frames, the movie must be shot in Cuba, the questions posed by Leth's experimental short must be answered, and so on -- Leth creates a vivid, collage-poem where the 12 frame structure creates beautiful, dreamlike swirls of movement and daring editing jumps. When faced with Leth's stunning and beautiful completed work, von Trier seethes in mock exasperation: "The 12 frames were a gift!"

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Phenomena Review


OK
The Phenomena here must be how Jennifer Connelly's utter lack of acting ability on display in this film eventually translated to an Academy Award later in her career. Lessons? Dunno. Anyway, Dario Argento's movie is rather typical of his oeuvre and one of his better attempts. In this installment, a sleepwalking (literally) Connelly uses her odd ability to communicate with insects (yes, she can even hear them over the synth-ballad soundtrack!) to help an investigation into a serial killer who's plying his trade near her Swiss boarding school. Silly and hammy, it's redeemed by some interesting moments and a good amount of suspense, despite the fact that there's a giant monkey pushing Donald Pleasence in a wheelchair. And I'm not kidding.

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Jackpot Review


Good
This cute and harmless road movie wants to come across as edgy and Pulp Fictiony, but sideburns alone do not a tough guy make. Jon Gries (Lazlo from Real Genius) makes a rare starring appearance as a karaoke singer convinced he'll make it in the real world of music, to the point where he has abandoned his family to go on a Midwestern tour of karaoke bars in search of stardom. Plenty of amusing moments and fun to watch, but not exactly groundbreaking. And is Anthony Edwards in every movie set in the desert now?

Twin Falls Idaho Review


Good
The scene from Twin Falls Idaho that you won't forget is the fight between twins Blake and Francis. It's the most disturbing tangle of limbs since Greg "The Hammer" Valentine's patented Figure Four leg-lock in the World Wrestling Federation. Don't be fooled by this tasteless intro, however - the film moves much slower and with infinitely greater grace than the entire history of entertainment wrestling.

This dark, yet gentle love story is about the relationship between Blake and Francis Falls (Mark and Michael Polish), seen through the eyes of Penny (newcomer Michelle Hicks) the hooker. Written, starring, and directed by, The Polish brothers, Twin Falls Idaho captures a wealth of sadness and truth. The plot centers on Blake's struggle to reconcile his affection for Penny with an unshakable dedication to ailing brother Francis. Out of that turmoil comes the film's most poignant scene, as Francis desperately attempts to physically keep his brother from the one thing he knows he will never have - a woman.

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Panic Room Review


Excellent
It's Home Alone for grown-ups. And just like kids ate up Macaulay Culkin and his homebound adventure, Panic Room is a real (yet creepy) crowd-pleaser for adults.

David Fincher directs this long-awaited follow-up to his groundbreaking Fight Club, with Jodie Foster in her first lead role since 1999's Anna and the King. The story is deceptively simple: Imminent divorcee Meg (Foster) is gaining a boatload of a settlement and, with her bratty, diabetic daughter Sarah (newcomer Kristen Stewart), decides to buy a cavernous, four-story brownstone in Manhattan's upper west side. The night they move in, three burglars pay a visit, searching for an alleged $3 million hidden somewhere in the house. Meg and Sarah hightail it to the secret "panic room," an impenetrable safe room off the master bedroom - only to learn that the money is secreted inside the panic room as well. A game of cat and mouse ensues - only the mice are definitively trapped in one tiny room.

Continue reading: Panic Room Review

Secretary Review


Grim

For most people "Secretary" may be a "love it" or "hate it" movie. Let's face it -- a dark, quirky, sado-masochistic romantic comedy isn't for everyone. But for me it wasn't the subject matter that ultimately defeated the film's captivating performances and absorbingly twisted story. It was the unfulfilling, incongruous, "wait a second, did I miss something?" ending that confirmed what I suspected all along: "Secretary" only has one-half of a story arc.

The enticing Maggie Gyllenhaal (sister of Jake and his co-star in "Donnie Darko") gives a deeply immersed, credibly transitional performance as Lee Holloway, a fragile, frumpy, habitually self-mutilating psychiatric patient recently released from a mental hospital.

Back home with her drunken father and clingy, angry, victimized mother, she quickly slips into compulsive old patterns of self-abuse (she has a homemade kit full of drill bits and porcelain ballerinas with sharpened toes she digs into her thighs). But all that begins to change when she lands a secretarial job in the opulently 1970s-styled office of peculiar, soft-spoken E. Edward Gray (James Spader) -- a lawyer with an erratic temper and kinky peccadilloes.

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Twin Falls Idaho Review


OK

Literal and symbolic duplicity are only the simplest of character traits in the people that populate "Twin Falls, Idaho."

So much goes understood yet unspoken in every relationship of this densely cerebral story that as Michael and Mark Polish -- twin brothers and the movie's writers, directors and stars -- were developing the script, they must have boiled it down to its most engrossing base elements between each revision before adding back in only elements necessary to advance the plot, which is about the unique relationship between reclusive conjoined twins.

Opening in an atmosphere that recalls the dark, freak show flavor of David Cronenberg or David Lynch, "Twin Falls" finds its title characters, Blake and Francis Falls, quietly holed up from a gawking world in a seedy New York hotel room (on Idaho Street -- the title has nothing to do with the Northwestern city it's named after). The mood is bizarre as they wait for a hooker, who subsequently runs away when she sees she'd be pulling a rather macabre double duty.

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Ray Review


Weak

At the center of any good biographical feature film is a great performance, like Jamie Foxx's body-and-soul channeling of soul music's original ivory-twinkling innovator Ray Charles in "Ray." But a great performance does not make a biopic great. To rise above the kind of "true stories" that are the fodder of several assembly-line TV movies every year, a biopic needs to be like Ray Charles -- departing from formula and daring to be different.

Director Taylor Hackford (who once helmed the Chuck Berry concert film "Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll") doesn't manage that in "Ray," a film that feels more like a two-and-a-half-hour highlights reel from Charles' life. But as a primer on that man's life (musical brilliance, adultery, addiction, and lip service to lyrical controversy and segregation struggles) -- and for a film with a prefabricated story arc and little detail (Charles fathered 12 kids, only three or four of which are even mentioned in the film) -- "Ray" could be a lot worse.

At the very least it has a passionately devoted, dead-on lead actor -- Foxx not only nails the blind soul king's swaying jitterbug body language, but also seems to capture his very essence as a man and musician -- and a whole lot of fantastic, toe-tapping, heart-pumping R&B.

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