Writer-director Michael Caleo clearly fancies himself a David Mamet acolyte. Like Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last Time's plot centers on the vicious and primal world of high-pressure sales, and the dialogue comes out fast and caustic. Michael Keaton plays Ted, the top seller at a high-tech company whose product is frequently referred to but never actually defined. Ted is lonely, angry, and mean and he runs roughshod over everyone in his office, including his toothless boss, John (Daniel Stern). Ted is openly pissed off when he's directed to help orient the new guy, Jamie (Brendan Fraser). Everything changes, however, when Jamie introduces Ted to his gorgeous fiancée, Belisa (Amber Valletta). Ted takes an immediate interest in Belisa -- and his feelings only strengthen when he discovers that Belisa and Jamie aren't entirely happy together.
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In many ways, it's hard to figure out exactly why. It's not, on the surface, particularly well made. It doesn't feature an exceptional amount of skin. Nor is it even really all that funny. It even has Ted McGinley in it. But it's about nerds, and for better or worse, that's a subculture that doesn't easily let go of its icons. Especially pioneering ones, like this film.
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Well, spend a few quality minutes with The Gathering and you'll see, in short order, just how bad one of these canned atrocities can be. Despite starring Christina Ricci, this genre pic is dead from its very first frames, wholly unwatchable at any point during its running time.
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Jeff Bridges stars as Michael Faraday, and teacher at George Washington University who teaches a course on American Terrorism. Some people think that this was convenient given the plot of the film, but I think that it's a way of already instilling a sense of fear and uncertainty. In the first scene, Faraday rescues a young boy who had lit some fireworks and forgot to throw them. The boy is coincidentally the son of their neighbors, Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack, both extremely creepy and frightening). After some hunches about Oliver, Michael starts to do some investigating and what he turns up is not pretty.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.