Sean (Mark Webber) returns to his scruffy SoCal home after a year of college to find that his two no-good friends, macho foulmouthed Jason (Riley Smith) and nerdy filmmaker-wannabe Chris (Paul Dano), are right where he left them, hung over, stoned, and bored. Looking for something to do on a hot useless morning, the three drive over to the basketball courts to see about a pickup game. No sooner is the ball bouncing, however, than Jason is shot squarely in the chest by a young black boy and dies on the spot. We catch only a glimpse of the crime since we are sharing the point of view of Chris, who is flirting nearby with two skanky teenage girls who are willing to make out for his videocam.
Continue reading: Weapons Review
The premise of Graduation is stupid enough: Carl (Chris Marquette) needs $100,000 to pay for the medical treatment of his dying mother, so his posse concludes the only way to obtain this sum is to rob a bank. Gee, I wonder how else they can come up with 100 grand? The main character Polly's father (Adam Arkin) happens to be a bank owner. Perhaps he has 100 grand in his own savings, or at least a portion of it, that he can loan to Carl? Or how about a citywide fundraiser? No, even for Polly (Shannon Lucio), the high school's valedictorian, robbing her father's bank is the only logical step.
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Cuba Gooding Jr. deserves similar congratulations for his courage, not just for "playing retarded" in the titular role in Radio, but for most of what he's done since he won his own Oscar as jawboning jock Rod Tidwell in 1996's Jerry Maguire, a role in which his only devastating handicap was playing for the Arizona Cardinals. If not true fearlessness, it's hard to imagine what else can explain some of Gooding's recent script-picking decisions - Chill Factor, Instinct, Rat Race, Snow Dogs, and the execrable Boat Trip come to mind. Maybe he can't read.
Continue reading: Radio Review
"Radio" is the kind of "based on a true story," pandering feel-good movie in which nobody ever says what's on his or her mind without turning it into a momentous anecdote, and the fictional characters contrived solely for plot conflict stand out like circus clowns at a funeral.
You know the characters I mean -- the star-jock bully who picks on the hero and (gasp!) gets benched for it, the jock's callous father who subsequently reviles the coach for not sharing his twin philosophies of "boys will be boys" and "winning is everything."
There are literally scores of such clichés in this predictable story of a mentally challenged young man (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) in small-town South Carolina circa 1976, who was taken under the wing of a high school football coach (Ed Harris) and grew into a valuable member of the sideline crew and a local celebrity. But while the movie isn't all that bad in spite of this triteness, it certainly is bland. The lazy screenwriting mentality that produces such characters just isn't capable of originality or imagination.
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Harmless, sweet and sprightly -- but wholly devoid of original thought -- "New York Minute" is the surprisingly smile-inducing big-screen debut of straight-to-video 'tween-queen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who have made millions off of 8- to 12-year-old wannabes not yet versed enough in movies or culture to know a shopworn cliché when they see one.
This picture is basically more of the same, but with a slightly sharper sense of admittedly lowbrow humor that for the first time gives the bright-eyed 17-year-olds an appeal beyond their fan base of admiring little girls (and unsavory old men).
The girls, of course, play polar-opposite sisters from the New Jersey suburbs -- Ashley is uptight, conservative and studious, Mary-Kate is an innocuous punkette rebel and the (very unconvincing) drummer in a band -- who in the course of one crazy day in Manhattan come to a greater appreciation of each other's individuality.
Continue reading: New York Minute Review