Sunday, January 1 1995
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.
Proves that local storytellers no longer need loveable anti-heroes and a supporting cast of offbeat simpletons to get noticed.
It's disturbing that a movie adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's woeful tale of a Russian Chess grandmaster can be so trivialising.
One gets the feeling that Preston Sturges shot his creative wad early on, then exhausted by fighting the suits' efforts to censor his work.
Somehow, lesbianism (even girl-girl crushes or experimental sexual activities) is completely unheard of and so, much feared and mocked.
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.