Simon Fields

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El Cantante Review

¡Cómo terrible!

Leon Ichaso's El Cantante, a frenzied and paper-thin attempt to lionize beloved salsa singer Hector Lavoe (played by Marc Anthony), convinced me it's time to put the musical-biopic genre on the shelf for a few years.

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Serendipity Review

I must admit I'm going to be a bit biased in my review of the new romantic comedy Serendipity, because that also defines how I met my current girlfriend. The magic and mystery of our fated encounter is also embodied in the quirkiness and freshness of the very funny and very romantic Serendipity. I am not a big fan of the romantic comedy genre, but something drew me to this film. Maybe it was the casting of the underrated Jeremy Piven in a supporting role, and the hilarious Eugene Levy. Maybe it was my hope that John Cusack would get the redemption he justly deserves after such crap as High Fidelity, Con Air, and Pushing Tin. But maybe it was because I feel as giddy as a school kid right now with this whole romantic thing currently in my life.

The story of Serendipity is simple. Two people, John Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale, looking ever so hot), have a chance encounter over a pair of gloves -- with Buck Henry smack dab in the middle. Charmed beyond repair, these two knuckleheads grab a sundae together at a café called Serendipity, talk about that irresponsible thing called fate and the avenues it leads people down, and spend a few hours at the local ice skating rink. But with each of them already involved with other parties, Sara has John write his name and number on a $5 bill and she writes her name and number on a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. Sara declares that if this "thing" -- let's just call it love -- is destined to happen, fate will bring them together in the future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004) Review

In Shall We Dance?, Richard Gere plays a man in the throes of a mid-life crisis. This is new territory for the 55-year-old actor who's always found himself opposite considerably younger leading ladies. Here, he actually plays a man his age, and is married to someone a bit more believable. Has Gere finally grown up? Of course not! He decides taking ballroom dance lessons from a woman 20 years his junior will help out of his funk.

Gere plays Chicago lawyer John Clark, a man in a rut. Day after depressing day, it's the same routine of drawing up a few wills, running a couple miles on the treadmill, and returning home to apathetic wife Beverly (Susan Sarandon) and their two teenage children. The only highlight of his day is the fleeting moment when the "L" train passes by the beautiful but solemn looking woman in the window of Miss Mitzi's Dance School. Drawn to her, John impulsively jumps off the train and into the dance studio where he's confident that lessons will bring happiness back to his life.

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Town & Country Review

Past-their-prime actors don't die -- they pick up studio paychecks for hack projects like Town & Country. This drama/comedy/message-movie overflows with wannabe heartfelt sentiment like a three-day old colostomy bag.

Long mired in rewrites, delays, and dismal test screenings, it's easy to see why the studio gods postponed delivery of this stinking mess until the dumping grounds of spring, just before the big summer releases. We get two strong actors -- Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton -- mixed together with a few lesser actors -- Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, and Andie McDowell -- and they all get to wade through an aimless script (polished up by Buck Henry!) about infidelity, homosexuality, and dysfunctional family affairs. It would have been better served heading straight to video.

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The Mighty Review

Sentimental and mushy, yet heartwarming despite your best efforts to the contrary, The Mighty was termed by Sharon Stone as her proudest moment of 1998. Never mind she has about 5 minutes of screen time. Gillian Anderson's hooker is the real gem of the movie, which tells the tale of a friendship between a dim hulk of a boy and a crippled, yet brainy kid. As improbable as any film I've seen, but at least not awful to watch.
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