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2015 Writers Guild Awards West Coast Ceremony

Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman - Photographs of a host of stars as they arrived for the 2015 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony which were held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 14th February 2015

Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman
Paul Dooley
Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman

WGA's 101 Best Written Series

Winnie Holzman and Paul Dooley - WGA's 101 Best Written Series at the Writers Guild Theater - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 3rd June 2013

Breaking Away Review


OK
27 years after its release, my memory had managed to turn Breaking Away into "a movie about cycling," all its other details lost to time. Upon rewatching it, I realize now why that happened: Breaking Away isn't about much at all. It's a small, almost silly little movie that takes the setup of The Outsiders -- rich kids vs. working class -- and throws in some bikes. Despite a reasonably fun performance from Daniel Stern, Dennis Quaid earnest overacting sinks what could have been a quaint film about middle America.

Runaway Bride Review


Good
Julia Roberts has made a career out of being one of Hollywood's most irresistible glamour dolls. Dress her up in any role and she'll flash that wide smile, deliver her awkward laugh, and expose a peculiar giddiness, which gives her a sense of vulnerability that fans have come to adore. Ever since the Cinderella story Pretty Woman ten years ago that catapulted her career to mega-stardom, her roles have all been typecast around her good looks and charismatic personality (Steel Magnolias and My Best Friend's Wedding). Runaway Bride is no exception to the rule. However, as the old saying goes; if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Runaway Bride brings writer Garry Marshall back together with Roberts, Richard Gere, and memorable Pretty Woman costar Hector Elizondo for another unlikely love story.

Continue reading: Runaway Bride Review

Sixteen Candles Review


Good
It's difficult to explain the draw that Sixteen Candles still exerts almost two decades after its original release - and next to impossible if you're talking to someone who wasn't in high school at some point prior to 1990. On the surface, the premise is nothing spectacular: Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) has just turned sixteen, but her family is so obsessed with her older sister's wedding the next day, that they forget. Further complicating Sam's life is the fact that she's hopelessly in love with senior über-hunk Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling (who?)) - who already has the prom-queen for a girlfriend - and she's being stalked by a freshman (Anthony Michael Hall, whose character is given no other name in the credits but "The Geek.")

Sam chases after Jake, while The Geek chases after Sam. After one school dance, your standard '80s teen party - including requisite shots of piles of junk food and empty beer cans, as well as throngs of kids in brightly colored sweaters dancing badly in somebody's suburban living room - and a late night ride in a Rolls Royce driven by a kid without a license, true love will somehow manage to prevail.

Continue reading: Sixteen Candles Review

Telling Lies in America Review


Good
This '60s slice of life story comes from the unlikely pen of Joe Eszterhas, best known for neo-porn like Basic Instinct. Renfro plays Eszterhas's obvious alter-ego, an immigrant kid that's unpopular at school and has iffy luck with the ladies. He falls in with a corrupt radio DJ (Kevin Bacon) while tentatively wooing a pre-fame Calista Flockhart. The story hangs together loosely, bouyed by strong performances from the three leads.

Guinevere Review


Good
A curious May-December romance involving a bohemian San Francisco photographer (Rea) who builds a kind of teacher-lover-father-figure relationship with the far-younger Harper (Polley), whom he dubs Guinevere. Think of it as The Professional without all the killing. Turns out our shutterbug has a history of Guineveres, and soon his teeth are falling out and he's dying, and suffice it to say this is where the movie turns bizarre. Poetic, if not altogether meaningful. Jean Smart is particularly apt as Harper's prissy and snobbish mother.

Strange Brew Review


Weak
"Eh?" might be the punch that Canadians are accused of ending each sentence with, but in the case of Strange Brew, it's also the sound of my incredulous eyebrow cocking up. I missed this one when it first came around (a probably very cold winter in 1983), but remember my fellow 4th grade classmates calling each other "hoser" and me having to bring in my hockey equipment for show and tell. I'm sure at that age I would have laughed up a storm. At 29, I'm confounded. Strange Brew is as memorable as a belch and just about that funny, yet its influence has stuck around like a 20-year hangover. Without Bob and Doug McKenzie, there would be no Wayne and Garth, no Bill and Ted, and certainly no $27 million opening for Jackass. Lorne Michaels, a quadrazillionaire thanks to this his streamlining of this brand of idiocy, would be making do with pity appearances on Hollywood Squares. Strange Brew did all of this in spite of itself. It's an astounding achievement with exactly zero forethought, a movie that shook up comedic film history by falling out of bed.

"Eh?"

Continue reading: Strange Brew Review

God's Lonely Man Review


OK
I usually place no stock on Internet Movie Database user comments, but when I spied "worst movie ever" on God's Lonely Man listing, my eyebrow arched a bit.

A clear inspiration for 2000's States of Control, 1996's God's Lonely Man features a man (instead of States' woman) lost in life. He does all the drugs he can when he isn't working at an adult video store. When he gets fired, he goes mental, shoots his dealer, attempts suicide, and after failing cuts off his pinky! He then gets involved with a 15-year-old call girl before "rescuing" her from her sexually abusive stepdad and busting up a snuff film ring.

Continue reading: God's Lonely Man Review

The Underneath Review


Good
The Underneath opens with a surreally bizarre, green-tinted shot of Michael (Peter Gallagher), driving along the Austin, Texas backroads in an armored car. The coloration and the look of dread on his face are enough to make you sick to your stomach. These are also the perfect introduction to a film noir where you just know nothing is going to turn out right.

Michael is an ex-compulsive gambler, returned to his Austin hometown ostensibly to turn his life around and get a real job, but in reality having some less savory motives. His ex-wife, Rachel (Alison Elliott), is in town and attached to a local, small-time hood. When Michael tries to patch things up with Rachel, a plot suddenly (and quite inexplicably) develops between the three to rob the armored car that Michael drives. The plan is hatched, and the fun begins.

Continue reading: The Underneath Review

Madison Review


Unbearable
Four years of dust, mold, and caked-on grime have collected around Madison, a sleep-inducing yarn produced way back in 2001. Why then is MGM picking this relic off the shelves for theatrical distribution? We'll never know.

Madison is based on a true story, though not a very good one, about an underdog Indiana-based power boat racing team led by Jim McCormick (James Caviezel), his impressionable son, Mike (Jake Lloyd), and their affable crew. In 1971, faced with overwhelming odds, the Madison squad raised $50,000 and hosted the sport's year-end Gold Cup event, a televised race that brought tremendous exposure and drive to their cash-strapped mill town.

Continue reading: Madison Review

Guinevere Review


OK

"Guinevere" is a perceptive story of self-discovery, starring the supremely natural Sarah Polley ("Go," "The Sweet Hereafter") as an unmolded, insecure, 20-year-old beauty whose complex, turbulent, sexual and artistic apprentice with a much older man (Stephen Rea) uncages her creative side and her confidence, long suppressed by her dysfunctional, passionless family.

Taking the initiative for the first time in her life, Harper (Polley) abandons her familial tradition of studying law at Harvard after being tenderly seduced by a photographer at a wedding, who recognizes potential in her that no one else has ever seen.

Connie (Rea) takes Harper under his wing, offering her a home in his studio loft in exchange for nothing more -- or so he says -- than her commitment to exploring the artist within under his tutelage.

Continue reading: Guinevere Review

Insomnia Review


OK

After a hit as inventive and novel as last year's narrative-bending "Memento," following up with a remake of something as commonplace as a cop vs. killer cat-and-mouser might seem a step down for director Christopher Nolan. But "Insomnia" was an unusual story before he even got his hands on it.

The 1997 original from Norway starred Stellan Skarsgaard ("The Glass House," "Good Will Hunting") as a detective whose ongoing sleep disorder became a psychological burden while investigating the cryptic murder of a teenage girl above the Arctic Circle, during summer when the sun is up 24 hours a day.

In Nolan's remake, Al Pacino plays the cop as a graying, threadbare detective with still-sharp instincts who has been given an extra bag of metaphorical bricks to carry around: He's in Alaska helping with this murder case until the heat of an ugly Internal Affairs inquiry dies down in his native Los Angeles.

Continue reading: Insomnia Review

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