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The Killing Fields Review


Excellent
People never really got the message about Cambodia that they did about Vietnam. Thanks to movies like The Killing Fields the story can be told, and in fine form. Sam Waterston plays New York Times Sydney Schanberg, who's angrily covering the war from the front lines, but the film (and the Oscar, ultimately) belongs to Haing S. Ngor, who plays Dith Pran, Schanberg's Cambodian translator and assistant. When the shit goes down, Pran can't get out of the country as easily as Schanberg, and the story he tells from the months that followed are epic and heartrending.

Beyond Rangoon Review


OK
Beyond Rangoon is absolutely typical of the way Hollywood can take a compelling story, full of genuine characters and heartfelt emotion, then hack it to tiny bits and put it back together, Frankenstein-like, into a sappy, overwrought drama that is without a soul and without a point.

The story is "based on actual events." Patricia Arquette plays Laura, an American doctor trying to find peace after the brutal murder of her husband and son. With her sister (Frances McDormand), they embark on a tour of the exotic East, including a peaceful stopover in Burma, a war-torn country ruled by military dictatorship (As they say, "In Burma, everything is illegal."). Laura's passport is lifted, and she finds herself trapped in the capital city of Rangoon, while her sister and their tour group head off to Bangkok. The Burmese pick that time to revolt, and Laura finds herself caught up in a civil war, which basically amounts to dodging bullets in the jungle while covered in mud.

Continue reading: Beyond Rangoon Review

Beaches Review


Terrible
In the history of men going to the movies, there are few horrors as singularly terrifying as the movie Beaches. With its combination of precious tragicomedy plot, copious singing, and Bette Midler, the horror trifecta is already complete. But there's plenty more: Not only is Midler heard here singing about her tits (her words), Mayim "Blossom" Bialik plays the 11-year-old version of brazen Bette. Chills don't get much colder than this.

Watching the 1989 movie today, it's not just an unabashed chick flick, it's also revealed as a plain-old Bad Movie. For starters, it's not really about anything, instead preferring to work (or not) as a collection of loose scenes that illustrate the ups and downs of two friends (Midler and Barbara Hershey) from their pre-teens to the grave. Things happen, but not much. The film's only real plot point comes in the last act (spoilers ahead if you care), when Hershey's character croaks on us, sticking Midler with her daughter.

Continue reading: Beaches Review

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