18 June 2002

The year of the indie film?

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys: 3.5 Stars. This is yet another wonderful independent film to come out this year, demonstrating that this may just be the year that smaller, independent films finally come into their own en masse and start to appeal to a larger audience (specifically not the goth, gay, or anti-George Lucas and James Cameron crowd). This gem focuses on the lives, both real and imaginary, of a quartet of Catholic school boys. Jena Malone is simply amazing as the object of one of the altar boy's affection, and Jodie Foster (who also produced) and Vincent D'Onofrio (son of my former high school video and drama teacher) display their considerable talent in supporting roles.

15 June 2002

Bad Identity

The Bourne Identity: 3 Stars. After all the lousy reviews I'd heard about this flick, I'd expected to see a pretty piss-poor bit of filmmaking, but Doug Liman, director of Swingers, has put together a taut, suspenseful, well-acted bit of popcorn entertainment, which is all I was hoping for. Here's hoping that Franka Potente finally gets noticed and gets a few tasty foreign-chick roles generally going to the far less talented (and less cute) Penelope Cruz.

Bad Company: 3 Stars. I think it's fair to say that my initial expectations of this were so low, that it succeeded in such a high score simply by being better than awful. On the other hand, maybe Chris Rock is finally becoming a decent actor, and maybe Joel Schumaker, under the thumb of uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, is capable of directing more than just crap. This is true popcorn filmmaking, true, but well-done, exciting, and most of all, fun. Kudos to Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon for being wholly hot.

12 June 2002

Seek You

CQ: 3 Stars. Entertaining, if sometimes uneven tale about aspiring "serious" filmmaker Jeremy Davies, his girlfriend, and the schlock sci-fi epic, Dragonfly, he's working on to pay the bills. Angela Lindvall is both stunning and luminous as Valentine and her secret-agent alter-ego, Dragonfly, and Billy Zane is, as always, fantastic as her nemesis, Mr. E.

06 June 2002

Can't sleep...

Insomnia: 4 Stars. I can't recall the last time I saw a movie with such a consistent atmosphere...although The Others comes close. Christopher Nolan proved that Memento was no fluke in this amazing, twisty tale of murder, corruption, betrayal, and sleep deprivation based on the Finnish film of the same name. In a familiar role as a seasoned cop that he could have phoned in, if he'd chosen to, Al Pacino simply shines, and Robin Williams is ├╝ber-creepy as the murderer. Pretty much a flawless suspense thriller, with amazing cinematography to boot (check out the last scene if you doubt that).

03 June 2002

Andrew W.K.

So I saw this guy in concert on Friday night. I expected, no, wanted to loathe him, but on the contrary, I really, really enjoyed the show. He's loud and lowbrow, but very entertaining. His album, I Get Wet, is now in my car as I type.
This weekend's haul.

The Importance of Being Earnest: 2.75 Stars. Somewhat disappointing version of the Oscar Wilde Play. Great performances by Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Judi Dench, and Reese Witherspoon, but the story was a bit too light (even by Oscar Wilde standards) and uneven to hold my interest. Also, it loses an extra quarter-star because of an egregious editing error.

Undercover Brother: 3 Stars. This great comedy will be a franchise-builder for (sometimes) funnyman Eddie Griffin. Lando Calrissian, er, Billy Dee Williams was hysterical as a brainwashed Colin Powell-like character. I'm just hoping that Dave Chapelle, whose work I really enjoy, is toned down for the sequel....his "Conspiracy Brother" was more than a bit grating.

The Sum of All Fears: 3.5 Stars. Easily the best Tom Clancy film since The Hunt for Red October, and it was all the more harrowing in this (pardon the cliche) Post 9/11 World. The shots of my hometown Baltimore going up in a nuclear blast were particularly disturbing, especially in how well done they were. Special kudos to Ben Affleck for showing us all that he can act, and to the casting folks for giving Liev Schrieber a chance to shine as uber-spy John Clark.