09 October 2002

About Friggin' Time

Finally caught up on a few flicks after my Burning Man adventure, the high holidays, and various activities with the new girlfriend....

Secretary: 2.75 Stars. I caught this little S&M comedy Friday afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised that the director actually got it to work. Maggie Gyllenhaal was great as the wallflower/masochist who embraces James Spader's twisted, emotionally-repressed sadism. Spader was a bit wooden, but that's partially attributable to the character he was playing. Once they had built up the relationship between them, I cringed at the thought of some sort of rosy romance blooming, and the script also rejected such a saccharine ending in favor of one which was, for lack of a better word, more realistic. There were lots of problems, but it was a solid effort in an underrepresented genre.

Sweet Home Alabama: 3 Stars. There were no surprises in this film. You knew from the opening credits (hell, from the trailer) how this movie would wrap up, and it didn't disappoint. The hallmark of quality filmmaking in the sappy romantic comedy arena, though, is making such a predictable journey seem fresh and fun. Reese Witherspoon continues her climb to Julia Roberts-level fame and paychecks with a winning performance as an Alabama country girl whose turned her back on her roots (and her lout of a husband) and become a successful fashion designer in New York. When she returns to get a divorce to marry her handsome socialite boyfriend (an all-growed up Patrick Dempsey), the lout (a scruffy Josh Lucas) has cleaned himself up a bit and is so charming you wonder how he could've been such a dick 7 years ago. Chaos, romance, and a decent southern soundtrack follows until the inevitable conclusion. Overall, a solid film. Special kudos to Ethan Embry for a consistently scene-stealing performance.

The Tuxedo: 1.5 Stars. Jackie Chan can make movies till the end of time, and I'll still go watch him, but that doesn't mean I'll see his movies twice. He's pretty much wasted in this effects-laden bomb of a film. I come to watch him kick ass, not to watch him being suspended on wires or sped up to blurring speed in his special tux. Jennifer Love Hewitt should stick to movies that highlight her charm and beauty, not make her look as ridiculous as physicist Elizabeth Shue in The Saint. All involved should be embarassed.

Eight Legged Freaks: 2 Stars. I was talking to my peeps just the other day, saying, "Whatever happened to Cool Runnings star Doug E. Doug?" Turns out he made a crappy spider flick with über-silly David Arquette and über-hottie Kari Wuhrer. While I certainly enjoy watching Arquette and Wuhrer (albeit for different reasons), this seeming homage to classic B-movie horror films falls flat from the start and never really gets up. Even future-hottie Scarlett Johannson couldn't add much to help this turkey along.

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