Sydney Pollack

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Margaret Review


Excellent
Shot in 2005, Lonergan's film spent six years in legal and editorial limbo. It may be overlong, but it's a powerfully involving exploration of guilt and self-discovery. It's also packed with astonishingly complex characters and situations.

Lisa (Paquin) is a Manhattan teen living with her single mother Joan (Smith-Cameron), an actress starring in her breakout stage role while seeing a new man (Reno). One day Lisa distracts a bus driver (Ruffalo), who hits a woman (Janney) in the street, an accident that sends Lisa into a spiral of sublimated guilt, as she lashes out in different ways at a nice classmate (Gallagher), her teachers (Damon and Broderick) and mostly her mother. And she doesn't stop there, meddling in people's lives in her effort to achieve a sense of justice.

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Sydney Pollack Sydney Pollack died aged 73 on Monday (26May08), after a nine-month battle with cancer at his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles.

Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack

Made Of Honor Review


Weak
Tom (Patrick Dempsey) had one good idea in college. He invented the coffee collar, that cardboard ring that fits around a cup and keeps a customer's hand from burning.

Today, Tom's a self-made (and self-absorbed) millionaire who spends his evenings with random bimbos and his days with best friend Hannah (Michelle Monaghan).Though they form the perfect pair, Tom doesn't view Hannah as girlfriend material until she leaves Manhattan on a six-week business trip to Scotland. Like a lovesick pup, Tom fidgets and whines until his loved one returns. Too bad for him Hannah's baggage includes a strapping Scottish fiancée (Kevin McKidd).

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Leatherheads Review


Excellent
With his nonchalant sophistication and relaxed charm, George Clooney often gets compared to the icons of Hollywood's Golden Age, from Cary Grant to Clark Gable. But as Leatherheads demonstrates, the leading man really wants to be the next George Cukor.

A football comedy disguised as a love-triangle-laugher, Leatherheads is a snappy throwback fueled by the filmmaker's affection for a bygone era. Clooney's third directorial effort is his lightest film so far, which only means he isn't flogging the fear-mongering tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Good Night and Good Luck) or dissecting the deranged brain of a game show host who believes he's a CIA operative (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

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Michael Clayton Review


Extraordinary
Slowly but surely, George Clooney is venerating different decades from Hollywood's storied past. His Ocean's larks with Steven Soderbergh are throwbacks to the swinging '60s. He resurrected the paranoia of 1950s McCarthyism in his directorial effort Good Night, and Good Luck, then recreated a sinister, post-World War II film noir in The Good German (also with Soderbergh). Confessions of a Dangerous Mind paid goofy tribute to '70s small-screen icon Chuck Barris. Later this year, Clooney will crib comedic styles from Cary Grant's 1940s romper-stompers for the romantic farce Leatherheads.

And then there is Michael Clayton, a gripping and complicated thriller with hush-hush undertones that would fit comfortably alongside similar films from the 1970s -- think of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation or Alan J. Pakula The Parallax View, because Clayton writer-director Tony Gilroy certainly had pictures of this fabric in mind.

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Avenue Montaigne Review


Excellent
An absolute must for Francophiles and a great choice for anyone who loves a vibrant ensemble dramedy, Avenue Montaigne is a bustling delight, a slice of Parisian artistic life that will have you dialing Air France the morning after you see it.

Set in Paris's small theater district, the movie tracks the intersecting lives of a virtuoso pianist, a successful actress, and a rich old art collector, each of whom is facing a huge life change. The connections between them are facilitated by Jessica (Cécile De France), a young and innocent country girl who has arrived in the big city and taken a job at an atmospheric cafe patronized mainly by the artistic types who live and work nearby.

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Breaking And Entering Review


Weak
Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup Breaking and Entering joins a rather terminal genre of films that want to have their cake and eat it too. Balancing a fumbling love triangle and a plethora of misconceived notions on class structure, Minghella has confined himself to an intimate story that betrays his often loftier ambitions.

A string of robberies has plagued the ghetto of King's Cross in London. The thievery seems to be centered on an architecture firm that (no surprise) is trying to clean up and reconstruct the famed slum into something more suitable for London's middle-class. Headed by pretty boy Will (Jude Law) and scruffy Sandy (Martin Freeman), the company has an internal conflict on whether it was a member of the cleaning staff (that Sandy is sweet on) or outside burglars that committed the crimes. While attempting his own makeshift stakeout, Will spots the young robber and jumps out of his posh SUV to chase him. It leads him to the home of Amira (the luminous Juliette Binoche), a survivor of the horrors of Bosnia who yearns to return to Sarajevo with her son Miro (Rafi Gavron), the thief in question.

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Breaking And Entering Review


Weak
Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup Breaking and Entering joins a rather terminal genre of films that want to have their cake and eat it too. Balancing a fumbling love triangle and a plethora of misconceived notions on class structure, Minghella has confined himself to an intimate story that betrays his often loftier ambitions.A string of robberies has plagued the ghetto of King's Cross in London. The thievery seems to be centered on an architecture firm that (no surprise) is trying to clean up and reconstruct the famed slum into something more suitable for London's middle-class. Headed by pretty boy Will (Jude Law) and scruffy Sandy (Martin Freeman), the company has an internal conflict on whether it was a member of the cleaning staff (that Sandy is sweet on) or outside burglars that committed the crimes. While attempting his own makeshift stakeout, Will spots the young robber and jumps out of his posh SUV to chase him. It leads him to the home of Amira (the luminous Juliette Binoche), a survivor of the horrors of Bosnia who yearns to return to Sarajevo with her son Miro (Rafi Gavron), the thief in question.While he is away from his wife Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and borderline-autistic stepdaughter Bea (Poppy Rogers), Will takes coffee with a Russian prostitute (Vera Farmiga) while warming up for a rather awkward affair with Amira. The affair is about bourgeois guilt and escape for him, but for her it's a way of securing her son from a life in jail and keeping him away from the local coppers, led by the reliable Ray Winstone.Replacing regular cinematographer John Seal, the masterful Benoît Delhomme (The Proposition, What Time Is It There?) gives this panorama of class and relations an inebriated tone of mystique. That's half the problem: King's Cross has no real sense of danger or of any sort of differentiation of class, visually speaking. Catcalls of "better watch out" or "shouldn't be wearing those duds round here, mate" become rather pathetic signals of danger when Will chases Miro through the underbelly of the "slum." This also puts a lot of stress on Binoche and Gavron: If their surroundings don't communicate the class difference, the actors have to. Binoche has become an actress so malleable in her talents and appearance that it's often hard to categorize her. The fit, stressed mom in Michael Haneke's superb Cache has given way to a slightly chubbier, East-European-accented mother hen with drab clothing and a strongly felt love for her son and his future.Binoche is the heart of the film, and the scenery and mood matches her, ironically, up until Amira and Will's affair begins. The dazed atmosphere of the film becomes gelatinous, giving the class struggle a somewhat hollow resonance. The descents of all the characters (Liv is Scandinavian) becomes a point of order in the film's context but it's never given any sort of importance to offer the narrative a sense of intricacy. Even more so, Sandy's yearning and ultimate disappointment with his lower-class cleaning lady hints at a more developed and poignant representation of bourgeois ethos, but it's never developed past the films first 30 minutes. So, instead, the cultural clash is restricted to pale shades of white, and any sort of challenging critique of modern status and stratum is widely averted. Not quite a misdemeanor, but definitely nothing to celebrate.Is your refridgerator running?

Sketches Of Frank Gehry Review


Excellent
Sydney Pollack has made a life out of making enjoyable romantic comedies and political thrillers, but has never gotten around to making a documentary. Apparently, this is why he was asked by longtime pal Frank Gehry to do a film on him and his groundbreaking work in architecture. What's even stranger is how this little experiment becomes the most blatant expression of Pollack's talents as a director and a strikingly sincere portrait of an artist.Frank Gehry toils in anonymity from most of the world: He's an architect. In the world of architecture, he's considered somewhat of a revolutionary, the equivalent of Dylan going electric. His shapes look somewhat sloppy and uncomfortable at first glance, using strange slopes and metal to create bewildering use of light. Eventually, however, his work becomes inviting and warm in a very peculiar sort of way.Pollack openly said that he didn't want to make Sketches a film about how great Gehry is. Successfully, if awkwardly, he explores a few critics, who consider Gehry's work obtrusive and mediocre at best. There's no doubt that there is a certain amount of bias here, but it's acceptable in that Gehry seems to be his own toughest critic. In one of the first scenes, we watch him and design partner Craig Webb take a part of the roof of a building design, corrugate it, and place it on the side, immediately stating that the next morning Webb and he will come in and not feel right about it.Instinctively, Pollack stays away from Gehry's family and sticks to the man, his work, and his iconoclasm. We are given an in-depth study of his Guggenheim Museum design in Bilbao, Spain, which is considered one of the most original works in modern architecture. For the most part though, we are with Gehry and trying to understand the way he thinks. Milton Wexler, his psychologist of many years, is interviewed to allay questions of the way he constantly re-evaluates himself. With this, however, the film still has the ability to keep the mystery of artistry while still dissecting the process.Ultimately, the film works because Gehry is what everyone wishes celebrities and artists to be: down to earth. Gehry has an ego, but it is beneficial to his work. He knows he's good and therefore, he knows he can do better. His friendship with Pollack is key to understanding him as a normal person because most of the interviews are wildly unanimous in his guile and mastery of his field. Pollack, who is often seen on screen, has the ability to just talk Gehry about work as it is to them. Both of them show true passion for what they do but at the end of the day, it's still work, and Pollack finds that tone in his conversations with him; a gentle balance of love and dexterity.Reviewed as part of the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Eyes Wide Shut Review


Extraordinary
Mr. Kubrick would have been upset. I take that back. He would have been totally pissed. I'll get it out up front: Our screening was interrupted by a fire alarm, which sent the entire San Francisco press constituency outside for a full hour, and ultimately forced us to miss about five minutes of the movie, right in the middle, where it was getting juicy. Not to mention that whole digital alteration thing. Ugh.

That aside, this is one hell of a movie. A somewhat bizarre cross between A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut is the work of a meticulous craftsman -- a luscious and rich odyssey through the streets of New York, and into the minds of a couple of its residents.

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Eyes Wide Shut Review


Good

Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns out to notbe entirely about sex after all.

Instead its something even more shocking by Hollywood standards-- a complex and intimate study of a couple surviving a very big bump intheir marriage.

There is sex. Plenty of it. But more frequently there'salmost sex and fantasy sex when a small marital spat between a rich,handsome couple of nine years escalates into a confession that begets adownward spiral jealousy, obsession and, most of all, temptation.

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Sydney Pollack

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Sydney Pollack Movies

Margaret Movie Review

Margaret Movie Review

Shot in 2005, Lonergan's film spent six years in legal and editorial limbo. It may...

Michael Clayton Movie Review

Michael Clayton Movie Review

Slowly but surely, George Clooney is venerating different decades from Hollywood's storied past. His Ocean's...

Avenue Montaigne Movie Review

Avenue Montaigne Movie Review

An absolute must for Francophiles and a great choice for anyone who loves a vibrant...

Breaking And Entering Movie Review

Breaking And Entering Movie Review

Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup...

Breaking And Entering Movie Review

Breaking And Entering Movie Review

Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup...

Cold Mountain Movie Review

Cold Mountain Movie Review

Masterpiece Theater meets Mayberry in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, a stodgy and superfluous adaptation of...

Changing Lanes Movie Review

Changing Lanes Movie Review

After watching the trailer for Changing Lanes, I expected a film similar to Steven Spielberg's...

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