Steve Nicolaides

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Boyz N The Hood Review


Excellent
Boyz n the Hood is a movie so fraught with cultural significance that it's hard to remember if it's any good. Upon its release, it was immediately hailed for its startling depiction of gang violence in South Central L.A. But then, in a sort of nightmarish Purple Rose of Cairo twist, the violence jumped from the screen to the audience. All around the country, at scores of theaters showing Boyz, acts of violence--shootings, stabbings, brawls--heaped gasoline on the already burning controversy surrounding the cultural influence of gangsta rap and its glorification of the gangsta lifestyle. Less than a year after Boyz' release, racial tensions boiled over and rioting swept through the very neighborhoods where the film's action is set. And while it would be absurd to claim that Boyz had anything to do with the start of the unrest, the riots made it clear that the rage and frustration depicted in the film was eerily on the money. So, more than a decade later, in a completely different racial climate, with gangsta rap now as mainstream as mac-and-cheese, does Boyz n the Hood still play? Yeah, in a very raw way, it does.

Writer-director John Singleton was only 23 when Boyz hit the big screen in 1991, and if the intervening years have brought anything into sharper focus, it's his immaturity as a writer. Boyz is a sledgehammer of a film -- powerful, but hardly subtle. Singleton centers his story on the character of Tré Styles, who's about 11 in the opening sequence. After Tré gets into a fight at school, he's taken to live with his father, Furious (Laurence Fishburne), who has a better shot at teaching him how to be a man than his mother (Angela Bassett) does. Tré's best friends are Doughboy -- a tough, pudgy, troublemaking little kid -- and Ricky -- Doughboy's good-looking, athletic younger brother. As the sequence winds to a close, Furious' paternal influence keeps Tré out of trouble while the fatherless Doughboy ends up being arrested for shoplifting.

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The School Of Rock Review


Weak
A collaboration between indie auteur director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused) and taboo-pushing screenwriter Mike White (The Good Girl) shouldn't feel so mainstream. But that's exactly how The School of Rock plays. Content with the art house cred and critical praise they've each acquired, Linklater and White hitch their wagons to leading man Jack Black in a bid for wider acceptance, though their blasé overture receives a passing grade when it had the potential to move to the head of the class.

One look at Dewey (Black) and you can figure out the problems plaguing this bloated burnout. He's broke and jobless. His heavy metal bandmates kick him out after a botched gig. And his roommate and long-time friend Ned (White, pulling double duty) threatens him with eviction unless he can provide some rent money. When a snooty prep school calls Ned with a substitute teaching position, Dewey assumes his roommate's identity and takes over a classroom of eager young minds.

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Marci X Review


Terrible
Better than having your wisdom teeth removed, sans anesthesia, and worse than just about anything that doesn't involve actual physical violence being done to your person, Marci X is a supposed comedy that starts out merely unfunny and progresses into a truly shocking level of unctuous incompetence.

Spawned by the evil pen of Paul Rudnick, Marci X is about Marci (Lisa Kudrow), the rich daughter of a billionaire media tycoon who has to rescue the family empire from a boycott against rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans, frighteningly unfunny), who's on a Death Row-esque record label owned by Marci's daddy. It all starts with Marci's dad getting a heart attack after receiving word of the boycott - led by Christine Baranski in yet another of her humorless harridan roles - and having to convalesce for a couple weeks. Marci then goes, with her three debutante friends, of course, to a Dr. S concert in order to plead with him to apologize for his profane lyrics, end the controversy, and end daddy's stress.

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The Deep End Of The Ocean Review


Very Good
I had expected the worst. I do not know what "The Deep End of the Ocean" is supposed to mean, but I figured it carried some deeply symbolic motif-laden mumbo-jumbo that novelists tend to include in their works, or else it was robbed from a dumb line of dialogue inserted merely to give a movie its name.

The title is evidently the former, though the movie is hardly the overwrought mess that I'd expected to see (for example: Message in a Bottle). Instead, The Deep End of the Ocean is a surprisingly thoughtful and laconic character study, full of nuance and genuine emotion, largely driven by Pfeiffer's unraveling character Beth. The well-known plot involves the sudden disappearance of Beth's 2 year-old son Ben, who vanishes while she is visiting Chicago. Nine agonizing years later, a kid who can only be Ben shows up -- as Sam, a neighbor's boy who wants to mow the lawn. Sure enough, it's him, but he doesn't remember his family,

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Jason Statham Loves The Mechanic's Complicated Action

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Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.

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John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

In a busy year that has seen John Krasinski star in movies and TV shows, he somehow managed to find the time to direct, produce and star in the new...

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Steve Nicolaides Movies

The School of Rock Movie Review

The School of Rock Movie Review

A collaboration between indie auteur director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused) and taboo-pushing...

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Marci X Movie Review

Marci X Movie Review

Better than having your wisdom teeth removed, sans anesthesia, and worse than just about anything...

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