August 'Auggie' Pullman is a 10-year-old boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome which has caused facial birth defects and he's had no fewer 27 surgeries. He has been homeschooled throughout his childhood but is about to enter his first year of mainstream school at Beecher Prep. His parents are, of course, worried that he'll be the subject of bullying - no matter how much they assure him that he's special. Unfortunately, that's just what happens to him, but there are at least some school kids that are determined to build a friendship with him and make him feel welcome. Some kids are reluctant to associate with him, but after hearing some revelatory things, realise that the people they want to be are the people that will love Auggie for who he is.
Continue: Wonder Trailer
Perhaps not coincidentally, a decade back is about when the novel version of The Hottest State came out. Webber/Hawke's William is an aspiring actor, apparently, though if this aspect of the character is autobiographical, Hawke left out any details that explain how exactly he got through any auditions without clever asides or other low-key hipster gestures. William is the type of guy who talks about acting almost exclusively in terms of personal metaphors about pretending and deception, despite never appearing to act like anyone but his own insecure, talkative self. While I don't doubt that some young actors behave this way, I have a little more trouble believing they'd somehow get flown down to Mexico to star in an Alfonso Cuarón movie (the name of the fictional film's director is never mentioned, but it's briefly visible on a clapboard, just long enough to register vague disbelief, even if it is just an autobiographical in-joke -- the real-life Hawke appeared in Cuarón's version of Great Expectations).
Continue reading: The Hottest State Review
That's some dedication to your story, but it turns out that neither the original Hotchkiss nor the updated one merit that much consideration. The short is your expected coming-of-age tale: A kid named Steve hates girls, but over time (and thanks to Hotchkiss) he comes to love them, particularly a gal named Lisa.
Continue reading: Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School Review
Testosterone opens with graphic novelist Dean (David Sutcliffe) and his devastatingly good-looking Argentinean boyfriend Pablo (Antonio Sabato Jr.) leading a perfect L.A. life. But suddenly Pablo disappears, and Dean simply can't let him go. When he bumps into Pablo's mother (Sonia Braga, having a great time playing the dragon lady of Buenos Aires) at an art gallery, she informs him that Pablo has returned to Argentina, and that's the end of that.
Continue reading: Testosterone Review
Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel trudge with heavy hearts through the muck of suspense/drama/romantic comedy/love story Angel Eyes -- a film with an identity crisis that rivals Plato from Rebel with a Cause.
Continue reading: Angel Eyes Review
Played by John Leguizamo, Victor Rosa is a Latino gangsta with all the ambition of a young Godfather and all the attitude of a taller Joe Pesci. He spends his days violently whacking errant drug dealers and monitoring the sales of his own designer "street pharmaceutical" not so subtly labeled Empire -- which is exactly what Vic thinks he's building in his little bit of the South Bronx. But when his girlfriend (Delilah Cotto) announces that she's pregnant, he thinks it might be time to go legit.
Continue reading: Empire Review
Any chance that "Empire" might be all that different from other drug- dealer- trying- to- go- straight movies is lost with the opening voice-over, in which heroin mini-kingpin Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo) rattles off a dozen street life clichés in 60 seconds, starting with the line, "Damn, if I'd known then what I know now! It's all about making money, baby."
Never mind that the plot includes the hero losing his shirt and his boss's drug money in a Wall Street scam perpetrated by a savvy, Caucasian, uptown con artist. That only serves to prove that Victor is a sucker, not that his story is any different from those of drug dealers depicted in scads of other movies from the last 15 years -- October's "Paid In Full" or 1994's "Sugar Hill," for example.
Universal Pictures even admits as much in the film's press kit, which compares it "in theme and execution" to a "list of urban gangster films" but goes on to trumpet the fact that "Empire" is the first time this recycled story "has been told from the point of view of a Latino character."
Continue reading: Empire Review
"Angel Eyes" is not the cheaply manipulative woman-in-peril thriller it appears to be in its TV ads and trailers. But one can hardly blame Warner Bros. for marketing the film that way because it would be hard to sell, in 30-second spots on MTV, an emotionally layered, grown-up drama about two battered souls finding a blossoming but tentative solace together.
A fulfilling surprise from start to finish, the film stars Jennifer Lopez in her best performance since "Out of Sight" as Sharon Pogue, a tough Chicago beat cop who keeps a man alive until paramedics arrive after a horrible traffic accident in the opening scene.
All in the line of duty, she's forgotten about it a year later when a quiet, eerie stranger saves her life by coming out of the blue to tackle a street thug who ambushed her during a foot chase and was about to blow her head off.
Continue reading: Angel Eyes Review
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