Stephanie Romanov

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Last Night Review


Good
Writer-turned-director Tadjedin takes a slightly stagey approach to the theme of marital trust with this darkly provocative drama about a fateful night in a couple's relationship. It's fascinating and well-played, but too schematic to feel realistic.

After a company party, Joanna (Knightley) challenges her husband Michael (Worthington) about his feelings toward his sexy colleague Laura (Mendes).

Nothing has happened between them, but he admits that there might be some attraction. The problem is that he's travelling the following night to Philadelphia with Laura and another colleague (Gold). There, Joanna's suggestion opens him to some serious temptation. Meanwhile in New York, Joanna is surprised when a former flame from Paris, Alex (Canet), arrives for one night. And she too is faced with the chance to do something she shouldn't.

Continue reading: Last Night Review

Thirteen Days Review


Excellent
I don't often override the writers at filmcritic.com, free speech and individual preference being what they are, but every now and then I disagree with a critic so much, I am called to make a response. (And since we published this review in January 2001, the reader mail has let me know just what they thought of this bit of criticism....)

Thirteen Days is the film in question -- and unlike staff writer James Brundage I felt the film was a truly powerful one, an eye-opening dissection of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a sobering study of how close we came to annihialation during the Cold War, and a peek behind the scenes of detente. An excellent companion to another (even better) Kevin Costner vehicle, Oliver Stone's JFK, Thirteen Days is not an actor's showcase like JFK is, but rather lets its story do the telling, taking us behind the scenes as decisions with cascading consequences are made. To be sure, Roger Donaldson was likely a poor choice as director -- his arbitrary use of black and white vs. color, his heavy-handedness in glorifying Kennedy at every turn, and his preachy doomsaying all wear a bit thin. But even he can't ruin the film completely.

Continue reading: Thirteen Days Review

THE FINAL CUT Review


Weak

Good ideas are rare in Hollywood. But rarer still is the tendency to leave a good idea alone.

If a movie is smart enough to rely only on its good idea, the result is almost always a decent film, from "Speed" to "Dark City" and "Memento."

"The Final Cut" represents the opposite tendency, to tinker with something until it's dead. Here is a terrific idea: in the future, parents will have the option to purchase a "Zoe chip" that will be implanted in their unborn child. From the moment of their birth, the chip records everything as the person sees it. After their death, a "cutter" takes the hours, days, and years worth of footage and assembles it into a two-hour film that, more or less, sums up the person's life. (Fortunately for the cutters, people's memories are recorded in Cinemascope and Dolby Surround sound.)

Continue reading: THE FINAL CUT Review

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