Vincent Guastaferro

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Spartan Review


Extraordinary
What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of Games doing directing an explosive military thriller, complete with airdrops and sniper rifles? And starring Val Kilmer? Trust me: Give Spartan ten minutes, and you'll stop asking such stupid questions.

David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.

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Sweet And Lowdown Review


Weak
Woody Allen loves jazz. He loves jazz so much that he regularly skips the Oscars to play clarinet with his jazz combo. He talks about jazz all the time.

I love Woody Allen, really I do. I'm probably the only living critic who enjoyed Celebrity. I love jazz, too. Every Wednesday for two years, I saw a classic jazz quartet play tunes like "All of Me," "Rosetta," and "Old Man Time" in a dank cellar bar.

Continue reading: Sweet And Lowdown Review

Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Review


Good
Dumbass Tommy digs up Jason's corpse and stupidly allows a lightning strike to reanimate him. He even drops off Jason's hockey mask for him. Sixth in the Friday the 13th series, the film returns to the roots of the series and largely ignores the pathetic part 5. Jason Lives is widely heralded as the very best film in the series, and I won't argue with that assessment. The gore is standard, but the sense of humor and consistently good running gags push this one to the top of the bloody heap.

Sweet & Lowdown Review


Good

Every time Woody Allen miscalculates and makes a movie as weak as last year's "Celebrity," I start to wonder if he's down for the count. I should know better.

Once again, Allen has come roaring back with "Sweet and Lowdown," a buoyant, saucy and deftly original faux documentary that purports to be about a fictitious jazz guitar legend named Emmett Ray (Sean Penn).

According to the old-timer radio jocks and jazz historians (writer-director Allen among them) that populate the movie's modern interview interludes, Emmett was a neurotic (no, really?), weasely egoist of a 1930s lounge lizard louse, whose curt and cocky facade barely masked a belly full of wild insecurities, the main one being that he was the world's second greatest jazz guitarist.

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Vincent Guastaferro Movies

Spartan Movie Review

Spartan Movie Review

What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of...

Sweet and Lowdown Movie Review

Sweet and Lowdown Movie Review

Woody Allen loves jazz. He loves jazz so much that he regularly skips the...

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Sweet & Lowdown Movie Review

Sweet & Lowdown Movie Review

Every time Woody Allen miscalculates and makes a movie as weak as last year's "Celebrity,"...

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