Sunday, January 1 1995
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.
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.
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).
Lady Vengeance offers its characters what was missing in Chan-wook Park previous vengeance films: the hope of redemption.
'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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
Kissing Jessica Stein suggests that love and sexual attraction are not functions of gender or even a fixed-for-life self-identification, per se.
The representative New York of Keeping the Faith lies somewhere in between the hyperreal absurdity of NYPD Blue and the boutique-chic, antiseptic Manhattan of Friends.
The directorial debut of actor Edward Norton, Keeping the Faith wastes his considerable talents and those of his co-stars on a script that cannot hold many surprises for anyone who has been to the movies in the last quarter-century.
They hold this discussion against the backdrop of a couple of dead bodies, one hanged and still dangling, the other in a cage suspended from the same scaffolding. The meaning is clear: life (and death) in this time and place kind of sucks if you're not of 'noble birth.'"
If these characters are tedious, what is most annoying about 'Jeepers Creepers' is The Creeper itself. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my slasher flick psycho killers to be decidedly human.
the imagery in 'Jackpot' is gorgeous, detailed, crisp, and just slightly heightened, in a video-grainy-grim kind of way.
A girlish figure skater glides across the ice, accompanied by a sorrowful Puccini aria. A young man (this is Julien, played by Ewan Bremner, best known in the United States as Trainspotting's hapless Spud) runs through snowy woods, his breath coming in gasps.
'Josie and the Pussycats' is 'so' witless that I cannot imagine it finding an audience even in a country that made 'Tomcats' (this has been a bad month for films with cats in the title) a top-five grosser.
Janger and co-writer Jennifer Vandever's screenplay ultimately compromises its sexual politics in order to make the film both gay- and straight-friendly. And yet, 'Just One Time' still has an underlying appeal due to its terrific ensemble cast and Janger's talent as a director, able to handle the film's occasional shifts in tone, between the more serious moments shared by Amy and Anthony, and the lighter touches of comedy, such as the guys' excursion to the gay bar.
With a final polish, 'The Journeyman' might be a feature debut as important as Robert Rodriguez's 'El Mariachi'. Kick ass.