William O Leary

William O Leary

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Walker Review


Excellent
Following his one-two punch of cultic cinema, Repo Man and Sid & Nancy, director Alex Cox went on to make two more films that consecrated his reputation as, well, a malcontent. It was 1987 and Cox's latest film, Straight to Hell, was universally panned, not completely unfairly. But just five months later, Cox returned with Walker, an equally-batty spectacle built on the last years of the late-19th-century soldier-of-fortune William Walker and his conquest of Nicaragua. Given only a paltry release in December '87, Cox's film maudit was banished to the realm of VHS for two decades before Criterion took an interest and decked it out with all the trimmings.

Far too crazy to be fatalist, Walker strangely begins on a moment of near-defeat for the titular batshit commando (the phenomenal Ed Harris) and his madcap battalion. Saved by a sandstorm and his lawyer, Walker finds himself back in the arms of his love Ellen Martin (Marlee Matlin). The fact that Ephraim Squier (Richard Masur) holds the keys to Walker's future in politics doesn't stop Ellen from asking Squier to fornicate with swine. Soon enough, Walker is trading away his future with Ellen for a mission to Nicaragua at the behest of Squier and Cornelius Vanderbilt (Peter Boyle).

Continue reading: Walker Review

Bull Durham Review


Excellent
The first thing you notice in watching Bull Durham 14 years later (now that it has reappeared on a Special Edition DVD) is how incredibly young the players are. Costner's hairline is way up front, Sarandon is a little less wrinkled, and little Tim Robbins looks like he could be in high school.

The story, however, still feels ahead of its time, with Sarandon's femme fatale narrating a tale of how she adopts one player at her local Durham Bulls minor league baseball franchise every year -- providing him with countless years of expertise about the game and essentially screwing him silly along the way. This season, it's "Nuke" LaLoosh (Robbins), a wild pitcher who could use same taming. Also on the case is catcher "Crash" Davis (Costner), whose life lessons also help him out on the field.

Continue reading: Bull Durham Review

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous Review


Hmmm
Sandra Bullock isn't doing her underappreciated talentany favors by appearing in "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous,"a relentlessly dim-witted sequel to her 2000 hit about a tomboy FBI agentgoing undercover at a beauty pageant.

The first "MissCongeniality" was itself so hackneyed thatthe actress's Lucille-Ball-like gift for guffaws was just about its onlysaving grace, and the same fate befalls her here. Bullock's delivery ofa few choice one-liners is the sole source of laughs in this clunker, andit's amazing to see her pull them off when her character has, without explanation,turned into a vapid, shallow, egocentric Barbie doll nitwit after becomingan implausible spokesmodel for the FBI.

It seems after her exposure at the Miss United States beautypageant in the first picture, the bureau decided she could best serve hercountry by being tarted up literally in satin and bows, and paraded aroundon a waving-and-smiling publicity tour of talk shows and personal appearances.

How turning tough, awkward Sandy into a giggly bimbo snoband putting her up in four-star hotel suites is supposed to help the FBI'simage is never clear -- and neither are her reasons for doing it, let aloneallowing this ludicrous makeover to consume her personality. But havingwillingly become a ditz, she finds it hard to be taken seriously when thesoggy, nonsensical plot kicks in with the kidnapping of the even more airheadedpageant winner from "Miss Congeniality" (Heather Burns) and thepageant's MC (William Shatner) in Las Vegas.

Continue reading: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous Review

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