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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Original Sin (2001)

... expensive, tacky melodrama.

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One Night at McCool’s (2001)

Any movie that offers proud big bully Andrew Dice Clay as a walking joke, however self-knowing or smug, is starting at a disadvantage. Andrew Dice Clay already made that joke himself, you know, and more than a few years ago.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Osmosis Jones (2001)

Who would have guessed it? Living inside inveterate white guy Frank (Bill Murray) is a company of black folks.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

One Day in September (1999)

By tracing these failures, 'One Day in September' represents compelling links between sports (in general and specifically Olympian) and violence, as a basis for cultural exchange.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Outside Providence (1999)

Outside Providence begins in a lackluster manner, situating itself in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1974. Tim Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) just wants to party, but his overbearing, emotionally secretive father, (Alec Baldwin), is not quite hip to the idea of teenage insolence. The generation gap becomes more of a pit, when Tim manages to rear end a parked police car. A slap to the face is the result, as well as a trip to the Cornwall Prep School for Boys. Bummer.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Others (2001)

Written, directed, and scored by the young Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar, 'The Others' explores the evolving relationship between Grace and the servants, especially Mrs. Mills, as this mirrors Grace's changing perception of herself, in the world.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Nico and Dani (2001)

'Nico and Dani' is probably what 'Dawson's Creek' would be if it was directed by Almodovar.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Novocaine (2001)

Novocaine's biggest concern seems to be with the act of lying, and Frank is far from the only guilty party.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Ninth Gate (1999)

Roman Polanski and Johnny Depp. The match seems made in heaven, these two notoriously eccentric, fascinating, and difficult geniuses, plying their crafts, inspiring brilliance in one another.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Nurse Betty (2000)

It's revealing that Wesley (Chris Rock) remains locked in an ignoble self-image born of gangster and 'hood movies: eager to emulate and please his mentor, he explains his flamboyant violence by saying, 'I'm just trying to make a statement.'"

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Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)

From start to finish, the film is suffused with Eddie Murphyness, his elevated sense of himself and his desire to do 'what no one else has done before.'"

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Notting Hill (1999)

'The fame thing,' says fictional megawatt movie star Anna Scott, 'isn't really real.' And she should know, since she's played by real-life megawatt movie star Julia Roberts. The fame thing often does seem unreal to people who don't live it, so it's comforting to hear from Anna (or Julia) that it seems unreal to her as well

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Nuyorican Dream - PopMatters Film Review
)

Rather than pretending objectivity and maintaining an observational distance on its subjects' legal and environmental problems, 'Nuyorican Dream' takes a stand that is overtly political, emotional, and moral, but never moralistic.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Nurse Betty (2000)

Perhaps LaBute's willingness to let the audience close enough to his characters, both psychologically and physically, to appreciate such minor-key modulations, is the movie's biggest surprise.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Next Friday (1999)

Arriving in theaters five years later, Next Friday is the kind of sequel that will elicit much grumping from critics and other people who purport know what's good for you. The problems with the film are obvious -- like all sequels, it's designed to make money.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Ninth Gate (1999)

In The Ninth Gate, perennial provocateur Roman Polanski throws in his contribution to the millennial apocalypse/Armageddon/hell-on-earth films that have recently been such a staple of the action/adventure genre.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2000)

Jack's ultimate epiphany is in keeping with the themes that usually apply to Burton's benevolent losers.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Not One Less (1999)

Zhang Yimou's new film, Not One Less, feels like a movie that, somehow, I am 'supposed' to like, and I am not just a little bit anxiety-ridden in admitting that, really, I think it is actually somewhat dreadful.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

El Norte (The North) (1983/2000)

I first saw Gregory Nava's intensely beautiful and painful El Norte when I was sixteen or so. My mother's sister had a copy of the film and she made the entire family watch it, one by one.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Next Best Thing (2000)

I must admit, against all my better judgment, I actually rather enjoyed Madonna's new film, The Next Best Thing.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Monkeybone (2001)

In 'Monkeybone', we are given visual representation of (presumably) every man's internal struggle, between his social conscience and his unbridled testosterone frenzy.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Malena (2000)

Here the past is not dead or inert, it always influences the future... 'Malena' recognizes the futility of its own nostalgia.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Made (2001)

To aid him on his travels, Bobby (Jon Favreau) takes Ricky, his childhood friend, boxing partner (they're introduced fighting each other in some cheap venue, for piddling money), and notorious fuck-up. Ricky is played by the affable (when not bar-brawling) Vince Vaughn, who also produced 'Made', and who, in 1996, starred with Favreau in 'Swingers', the film that made them both bankable properties.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Musketeer (2001)

Instead of being innovative, 'The Musketeer' is appropriative and (save for the very clever fight scenes), straight-up insipid.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Monster’s Ball (2001)

'Monster's Ball' leans heavily on Southern Gothic torment and metaphor, as well as bizarre, if historically framed, circumstances.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Maybe Baby (2000)

Maybe Baby's sight gags are sometimes hilarious and the story is often engrossing. But the execution falls flat.

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Méliès The Magician / The Magic of Méliès (1997/2001) - PopMatters Film Review

No matter how hard he tried, Méliès could not put aside the role of conjurer.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Like many of his other works, 'Mulholland Drive' has a dream logic, whereby characters morph, metaphors are made literal, and a stylistic fluidity juxtaposes with a disjointed narrative structure.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mifune (1999)

When Kersten (Anders W. Berthelsen) courts material success in Copenhagen, he also captures his wealthy boss's daughter, Claire (Sofie Grabol).

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Moulin Rouge (2001)

I imagine that at the 'real' Moulin Rouge, the thrill wasn't just a bit of nipple and a flash of panties, but the whole entertainment package, which no doubt included exuberant 'daring' new music intended to shock and titillate the sensitivity of the bourgeoisie -- kind of like rock-and-roll or punk in our times.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Meet the Parents

The storyline develops as we know it will. Except for one thing: the primary couple is DeNiro and Stiller.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975/2001)

The social/political commentaries . . . are still relevant and imaginative, and the inventive physical and verbal humor is still the stuff that bladder accidents are made of.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Magnolia (1999)

Riding in his cruiser, LAPD Officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly) explains what his days are like. While he laments “so much violence,” he also

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Mexican (2001)

'The Mexican' follows the turbulent near-end of the relationship between hapless Mafia gopher Jerry Welbach (Brad) and his obsessive, psycho-babbling girlfriend Samantha Barzel (Julia), who reduces everything in her life to 'blame-shifting' and others' inability to express their emotions.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Modulations (1998)

Modulations looks at the hyperreal world of global rave, house, trip-hop, and experimental electronic culture, featuring a cast of the most revered DJs and producers, journalists and fans-on-the-street, stars and some lesser-known artists.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Moulin Rouge (2001)

She's the perfect drag queen, embodying the ruthless paradox of entertainment. She is the show that must go on and cannot.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Maryam (2000)

So disappointing because of the unfulfilled promise of a firm stand on news broadcasting and the media.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Magnolia (1999)

As Academy Award nomination season rolls around, I hope that Paul Thomas Anderson’s absolutely brilliant Magnolia receives the accolades that it so richly deserves.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Man on the Moon (1999)

Far be it from me to accuse Hollywood of wishful thinking. But as the closing credits for Man on the Moon roll under Andy Kaufman's (Jim Carrey's) timid gaze, it's easy to think the film has been seduced by its own notion that a life of sufficient celebrity can offer freedom from the mortality that afflicts ordinary souls.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Mummy Returns (2001)

Everything in 'The Mummy Returns' is bigger and more expensive, from its impressively enormous matte shots and massive armies composed of thousands of digitized soldiers, to its great swirling sand effects and outsized characters.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Mexican (2001)

On its good-looking surface (being well-composed and carefully lit), 'The Mexican' is a love story.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Early on in the very long Luc Besson film, The Messenger, John Malkovich (playing Charles, Dauphin of France) wishes he could be someone else. It was the one and only time that I identified with anything in the film - I wished I could watch him be someone else! Like himself in Being John Malkovich. The Messenger is an unbelievably dull movie, which is a startling achievement given that the legend of Joan of Arc lends itself pretty well to storytelling of any type.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Music of the Heart (1999)

Music of the Heart tells a terrific story of passion, music, and success. The problem with this film is that director Wes Craven is so intent on telling the story, its very seamlessness becomes a drawback. In short, this movie is too much Hollywood and not enough grit.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Men of Honor (2000)

Men of Honor opens with a scene that sets up many of its themes and interests, not the least of which is the introduction of

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Charlie is mad at this point in the film, despite and because of the fact that he's the designated 'nice' part of this self-sandwich.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Grant Gee's 1998 documentary Meeting People is Easy, which follows rock band Radiohead on their OK Computer tour, is often wildly kinetic, sometimes eerily static but always bubbling under the surface with distortion and static.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mission to Mars (2000)

The following review contains spoilers. Manifest Density From the Louisiana Purchase to the Mexican-American war, the history of the United States is punctuated often by

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The Mystery of Oberwald (Mistero di Oberwald, Il) (1980/2001)

Set in 1903, 'Oberwald' is an adaptation of a Jean Cocteau play called 'The Two-Headed Eagle'. The play and subsequent video are both premised on the kind of everyplot that evokes many common narratives at once.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Charlie's suppressed despair over the failed marriage and the humiliations he suffers as a highway patrolman coalesce into alterego Hank, who emerges David Banner style whenever Charlie encounters confrontation or conflict.

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Mr. Death:  The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

When he places an ad in the local paper to sell a used lethal injection machine, Fred Leuchter seems genuinely surprised to learn the ad has been pulled and banned from publication. To say the least, Leuchter appears out of touch with reality.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

The first Mission: Impossible film was an elaborately nonsensical piece of eye candy, little more than an excuse to outfit Tom Cruise in tight black

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Man Who Cried (2001)

...a sprawling affair, filled with bad accents (Cate Blanchett's tortured 'Russian'), tired cliches about studly horsemen and young girls' sexual awakenings, and really bad lip-syncing to Italian opera.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mission to Mars (2000)

Kurt Neumann’s 1950 Rocketship X-M may be the progenitor of space exploration films, at least if you believe the claims its video box makes for

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Mexican (2001)

On its good-looking surface (being well-composed and carefully lit), 'The Mexican' is a love story.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Memento (2001)

Imagine that, like Leonard (Guy Pearce), you find yourself in mid-run, with a scary-looking guy with a gun running nearby, and you have to figure out who's chasing whom. In practical terms, it only takes a second to realize that he's chasing you, because he fires his gun at you and heads your way.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Mansfield Park (1999)

On Mansfield Park's official Miramax website, the book upon which the film is loosely based is heralded as Jane Austen's third and most controversial novel. This claim, directed at Mansfield Park the novel, seems an attempt to re-invigorate interest in a text oftentimes considered Austen's blandest.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Monsoon Wedding (2002)

If Nair's romance of India is a bit too 'exotic' for you, there are always the worn out cliches about flowers, and beauty and love.

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The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

While Ed confides his dissatisfaction, you also get a glimpse of how he sees the world, the camera peering down at scalps or neck napes, apparently always in need of trimming or cutting or buzzing.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Miss Congeniality (2000)

Any director who imagines the slender acting talent of Benjamin Bratt (late of TV's 'Law & Order') can sustain the male lead, FBI agent and atavistic prig Eric Matthews (particularly opposite the gloriously charismatic Bullock) requires instant re-immersion in Casting 101.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Loser (2000)

With Loser, Heckerling faces the challenge of measuring up to past success in a decade that doesn't even have its own colloquialism. If in no other way but numerically, Loser functions as a reflection of the '00s.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lumumba (2001)

In 'Lumumba', the protagonist is perpetually caught between wanting to change everything all at once, and wanting to assert his own power and to establish his right to it.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Last Orders (2002)

All this reminiscing might easily turn melodramatic, but for the most part, 'Last Orders' avoids tear-jerking and grand emotional revelations.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Love & Basketball (2000)

If there is a more perfect expression of life's pains and elations than Al Green's 'Love and Happiness,' I don't know it.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Loser (2000)

All this said, I'm inclined to like Loser, because it wants so badly to do well by its college-age heroes, and there are so many movies that have exactly the opposite intention.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Legends of Rita (2000)

But with asylum also comes a false identity and a new life devoted to hiding and secrecy: Rita (Bibiana Beglau) is given a new name and personal history -- a legend -- and must forever forfeit her life as a revolutionary.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Little Vampire (2000)

The undead in Uli Edel’s The Little Vampire are really quite nice, in a refined-British-nobility kind of way. In fact, they prove to be

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lost Souls (2000)

Winona Ryder’s kohl- and shadow-blackened eyes are the most stunning special effect in Lost Souls. Her eyes are always large and gorgeous, of course,

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Love & Sex (2000)

It's somewhat refreshing to watch a male character exhibit an immature sexual insecurity in the face of a more experienced female lover, and even more refreshing -- if not downright liberating -- to watch that female character refuse to apologize for her sexual appetites.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Left Behind (2000)

These are the questions that drive Buck Williams -- who fancies himself a relentless seeker of truth -- through the rest of 'Left Behind', a Christian fundamentalist film styled as a grade-B sci-fi action thriller.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Low Down (2000)

Frank (Aidan Gillen) makes props for tv shows. It's not really what he wants to do. He's an aspiring artist in his late twenties, but so far he but doesn't have the ambition to move on. And so he survives, fashioning big clown heads and painting giant hands during the days, hanging out with his North London mates by night.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Last Castle (2001)

What makes 'The Last Castle' worth talking about is something the filmmakers could never have foreseen: the alarming timeliness of its release.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Last Night (1999)

It's December 31, 1999 and the world is about to end in just six short hours. There is no explanation for this sudden demise. The film's opening shot looks down on Patrick (played by McKellar) as he lies sprawled on the floor gazing ceiling-ward.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Little Nicky (2000)

In his latest film, Little Nicky, Adam Sandler plays the son of Satan. Nicky, odd as it seems, is remarkably true to the popular image

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The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

The image of lanky, boyishly handsome Will Smith sauntering through the misty dark toward the camera is no doubt a lovely one, but it bodes

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

It's disturbing that a movie adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's woeful tale of a Russian Chess grandmaster can be so trivialising.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)

In the hands of able actors, Shakespeare's 'taffeta phrases, silken terms, precise, three-piled hyperboles, and spruce affections' are a passport to the land of milk and honey.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Liam (2000)

Sadly, and perhaps realistically, 'Liam' never fills in its silent spaces.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Life as a House (2001)

Unfortunately, it only thinks it's American Beauty, and instead, ends up being Regarding Henry.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Last Resort (2001)

'Last Resort' is a deft and moving study of displacement and self-discovery.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Last Orders (2002)

Last Orders, based on the Graham Swift novel of the same name, is a sentimental film that traces the friendships of four elderly Londoners. The

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Ladies Man (2000)

Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) has a big dick. Or at least, this seems to be the primary idea behind this latest unfunny comedy from SNL

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lies (2000)

There are a few sure ways to pack in American audiences for a foreign film: 1) have it banned in its home country, thereby tempting those

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Limbo (1999)

Polar bears. Carved totem poles. Eskimo dolls on souvenir shop shelves. Salmon getting their heads chopped off on an assembly line. These are the images that welcome you to 'America's Last Frontier,' or more precisely, to the Juneau, Alaska of John Sayles's latest film, Limbo. As this opening sequence suggests, the frontier is less wild than it once was; nowadays, it's exploited and compromised, shaped and reshaped daily by routine and thoughtless violence.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lantana (2001)

Proves that local storytellers no longer need loveable anti-heroes and a supporting cast of offbeat simpletons to get noticed.

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The Legend of Drunken Master (Drunken Master II, or Jui Kuen II) (2000)

Jackie Chan fans won’t need convincing to go see The Legend of Drunken Master. They would never miss an opportunity to see their favorite

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

It's disturbing that a movie adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's woeful tale of a Russian Chess grandmaster can be so trivialising.

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The Lady Eve / Sullivan’s Travels (1941/2001) - PopMatters Film Review
)

One gets the feeling that Preston Sturges shot his creative wad early on, then exhausted by fighting the suits' efforts to censor his work.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lost and Delirious (2001)

Somehow, lesbianism (even girl-girl crushes or experimental sexual activities) is completely unheard of and so, much feared and mocked.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Last Castle (2001)

Robin Wright Penn appears in The Last Castle for about four minutes. She plays Rosalie, the beautiful, angry daughter of 3-star General and mostly absent

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Light It Up (1999)

In the case of Light It Up, crossing-over occurs on several levels, not the least significant being the use of a famously hard rapper like Ja Rule to pitch a movie that argues against kids being hard. The slip-the-yoke-and-change-the-joke crossing over here comes in the soundtrack's brilliant marketing moves of the soundtrack crossover.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Liberty Heights (1999)

This sign, set outside a suburban Baltimore country club in 1954, appears early in Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights, establishing at once the irony of its title (the name of a suburban Jewish neighborhood where its protagonists reside) and the film's focus on the insidious workings of prejudice, ranging from conspicuous to subtle.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

L.I.E. (2001)

PULL.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Legally Blonde (2001)

If you pay money to see it, 'Legally Blonde' presumes, you get the joke: all this foofiness is really just a way to sugar-coat Elle's steely resolve, admirable ingenuity, and fabulous moral fiber, and -- more importantly -- to indict the entrenched gender/class/race systems that put her in her place (on top, sort of).

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Lady Vengeance (2005)

Lady Vengeance offers its characters what was missing in Chan-wook Park previous vengeance films: the hope of redemption.

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Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale (2001)

'Keep the River on Your Right' is an exemplary piece of documentary filmmaking. Not only do the writer-directors narrate the life of a truly remarkable and complex individual, they also give Schneebaum much latitude in narrating his own life.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

K-PAX (2001)

K-PAX trots out all the old cliches about humanity's barbarism, intolerance, and generalicky-ness. Yeah, we know, we're all a bunch of spoiled brats.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Kingdom Come (2001)

What the film does especially well is explore the perpetual strains and stresses of family relationships, especially with the added duress of scraping by, day to day, in an economy that shows no mercy. That 'Kingdom Come' does all this through comedy makes the exploration both more and less painful.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Kikujiro (2000)

Despite this familiar story, and the ubiquitous display of angels' pictures, angels' wings, and angels' bells, the film does not unfold as a predictable sentimental tale.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

'Kiss of the Dragon' belongs to that rare breed of Hollywood film that does some justice to the talents of Hong Kong crossover stars -- in this case, Jet Li and martial arts choreographer Cory Yuen.

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The Best and Worst Films of Spring 2015

// Short Ends and Leader

"January through April is a time typically made up of award season leftovers, pre-summer spectacle, and more than a few throwaways. Here are PopMatters' choices for the best and worst of the last four months.

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