Maury Chaykin

Maury Chaykin

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It's A Boy Girl Thing Review


OK
It's comforting to know that, deep into the 2000s, there is still someone trying to dig a final nugget of gold from the old swapping-bodies plot device. Freaky Friday will simply never die. Never!

In this installment, it's, well, a boy girl thing. The swappers are high school seniors: Dim jock Woody (Kevin Zegers) and Yale-destined brainiac Nell (Samaire Armstrong), who've lived next door to each other all their lives and, as this type of movie dictates, now hate each other. A class field trip and an Aztec idol get the switcheroo done (the mechanics of the switch are, of course, inconsequential), but with Woody's brain in Nell's body and vice versa, how will she dazzle the regents during her final Yale interview, and how will Woody impress the talent scouts at the Homecoming football game?

Continue reading: It's A Boy Girl Thing Review

Entrapment Review


OK
It's tough to say what Entrapment will be remembered better for: Sean Connery's hairpiece, or Catherine Zeta-Jones's ass. I pick the ass, and the way it's featured in the trailers for Entrapment, I'd say the producers do too.

If only the rest of the movie was so interesting. While the idea is pretty cool: a cop and an art thief tangle in a cat and mouse game, constantly switching sides, all on the eve of the millennium... it's the execution that gets 'em every time.

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Owning Mahowny Review


Good
If there's any actor today who's blessed with being born at the right time, it's Philip Seymour Hoffman. Roly-poly, anxious, and pathetic-looking, in the '30s he'd play a bit role in noirs as a heavy. In a '50s western, he'd be the fellow in the corner of a saloon who got shot first. In an '80s teen exploitation flick, he'd be the fat fraternity pledge forced to perform some sort of humiliating rush antic. But in the Miramax era, where clinging to one last shred of dignity is a heroic character trait, Hoffman gets to be our new Brando. His role as a desperate gambling addict in Owning Mahowny is custom-made for him. It's a shame he's thrust into a film that seems more than a little desperate itself.

Based on a true story set in the early 1980s, Hoffman plays Dan Mahowny, a middle manager at a Toronto bank who finds himself swamped by gambling debts. To square matters with Frank (Maury Chakin), a bookie with a snow globe fetish, he uses his job's authority to set up fake loans and cash transfers. Hoffman doesn't play Mahowny as outwardly desperate; sitting at his desk with a loan approval form he's about to fake, he sweats and stares, but he's committed to feeding his addiction. There's a gleam of opportunity in his eyes, and you can feel him thinking: X amount of dollars means Y hours at the blackjack table in Atlantic City. Little else matters, including moral qualms.

Continue reading: Owning Mahowny Review

The Art Of War Review


Weak

Cool as dry ice, Wesley Snipes comes off a two-year action movie hiatus like a bad-ass, black-belt James Bond with some ghetto in his blood in the opening scene of "The Art of War."

Dressed to the nines for a well-heeled Y2K New Year's Eve party in Hong Kong, he's doing a little workaday blackmailing of Chinese government officials when he is spotted by security and has to kung-fu his way out of there before parachuting off a skyscraper to escape.

Somebody shoots holes in his chute, but while Wes lands safely, the movie crashes face first into the pavement.

Continue reading: The Art Of War Review

Mystery, Alaska Review


Good

"Mystery, Alaska" is a modern, good old-fashioned, American feel-good movie, about a talented hockey team in a snowbound, Arctic Circle hamlet that gets to take on the New York Rangers in an NHL publicity stunt.

It's an obliging tweak on the traditional, triumphant underdog story, used as a backdrop for a delightful character dramedy that mixes tried-and-true with mordant-and-new -- like a frozen, Frank Capra-meets-Robert Altman, ensemble sports movie.

Written by Sean O'Byrne and David E. Kelley ("The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "Lake Placid"), and directed by Jay Roach (the "Austin Powers" movies), it's hard to not get caught up in the energetic spirit of this film from the opening shot, which zooms in on a lone figure, decked out in hockey gear and skating like the wind around icy Alaskan vistas while the soundtrack pumps with drum-driven, inspired determination music.

Continue reading: Mystery, Alaska Review

What's Cooking? Review


OK

A talented ensemble cast brings an extremely authentic family dynamic to "What's Cooking?," a satisfying four-course cross-section of ethnic American clans gathering for their Thanksgiving dinners.

Conceived by director Gurinder Chadha as a celebration of diversity, the film opens with an ironic shot of an advertisement on the side of a Los Angeles bus featuring an airbrushed white-bread family carving a turkey. Chadha then moves inside the bus to show the rainbow of races living together in the area, then on into a grocery store, where she picks up her first story in which a young Mexican-American man (Douglas Spain) bumps into his exiled father (Victor Rivers) and invites him home for Thanksgiving dinner.

This doesn't sit too well with his mother (Mercedes Ruehl), who had kicked Rivers out after discovering he'd had an affair. But she's prepared to make the best of it as her huge family gathers for their traditional daylong holiday preparations, mixing turkey with a cornucopia of Latino delicacies.

Continue reading: What's Cooking? Review

Maury Chaykin

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Maury Chaykin Movies

Entrapment Movie Review

Entrapment Movie Review

It's tough to say what Entrapment will be remembered better for: Sean Connery's hairpiece, or...

Owning Mahowny Movie Review

Owning Mahowny Movie Review

If there's any actor today who's blessed with being born at the right time, it's...

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The Art Of War Movie Review

The Art Of War Movie Review

Cool as dry ice, Wesley Snipes comes off a two-year action movie hiatus like a...

Mystery, Alaska Movie Review

Mystery, Alaska Movie Review

"Mystery, Alaska" is a modern, good old-fashioned, American feel-good movie, about a talented hockey team...

What's Cooking? Movie Review

What's Cooking? Movie Review

A talented ensemble cast brings an extremely authentic family dynamic to "What's Cooking?," a satisfying...

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