Movie Reviews

Brother

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Takeshi Kitano’s American debut as writer-director-star (Beat Takeshi is Kitano’s acting sobriquet) is a mixed bag and a mixed blessing. Best known for his yakuza (Japanese gangster) films — Violent Cop, Boiling Point, Sonatine — Kitano, not surprisingly, chose this form with which to make his impact in America. Since Kitano is also an accomplished […]

Bringing Down The House

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Bringing Down the House is not a good movie. It’s not even an especially well-made one, which is something of a surprise, since whatever else might be said about director Adam Shankman’s The Wedding Planner and A Walk to Remember, they were solidly crafted, professional films. With rare exceptions — a brilliantly shot and edited […]

Bridget Jones’s Diary

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Fantastically fresh and funny, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a blessed reminder of just how good — and how pointed — British comedies can be. In a world seemingly overrun with truly stupid and truly tasteless attempts at humor in such rubbishy offerings as Say It Isn’t So and Tomcats (as well as the by-the-numbers blandness […]

Bride Of The Wind

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The immortal Tom Lehrer once penned these lyrics — “Alma, Alma, please tell us. All modern women are jealous. You didn’t even use Pond’s. Yet you got Gustav and Walter and Franz.” This is the concept being explored in Bruce Beresford’s Bride of the Wind. Unfortunately, despite it being a sumptuously mounted, worthy attempt, the […]

Bread And Tulips

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Silvio Soldini’s Bread and Tulips is without question the most utterly beguiling and charming romantic comedy to come along since Chocolat. It’s not quite in that league and it probably isn’t as good as its nine — count ‘em, nine — Donatello Awards (Italy’s version of the Oscar) might indicate, but it’s nonetheless a tremendously […]

Bowling For Columbine

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Funnier than most comedies, more moving than most tear-jerkers and more apt to outrage than the most frenzied Oliver Stone diatribe, Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine belongs on everyone’s must-see list. It certainly must have already been on quite a few people’s lists, judging by the enthusiastic reception it received at the Fine Arts when […]

Bounce

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My God, Gwyneth Paltrow is thin. The poor, poor woman. She appears to be made out of clothes hangers twisted into the shape of a cocktail waitress. It ain’t healthy. If she ate a peanut, you could watch it move through her body like a mouse inside a snake. Her shoulders couldn’t support the weight […]

Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

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“Video never lies, but film does.” That throwaway line uttered early in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is the key to the entire point of the movie — which is an improvement over its freakishly successful predecessor, The Blair Witch Project. The interest in the original film — generated via an Internet site and […]

Bones

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“This Halloween, unleash the Dogg,” suggests the advertising tagline for Bones, but it’s a little late for that, since “the Dogg” didn’t hit town till nearer Thanksgiving — a holiday suggestive of another animal, and one perhaps better suited to the film in question. Truth to tell, Bones isn’t as bad as it might have […]

Boat Trip

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Advance word on this cosmic shipwreck was that it was offensive because it traded in gay stereotypes. Yes, it does, but the movie’s just plain not smart enough to be genuinely offensive. It’s just tired and trite and not very funny and again raises the question: Just exactly who thinks Cuba Gooding Jr. can act? […]

Blue Crush

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I have no idea what movie the critics who are fawning over Blue Crush saw, but I’m hard-pressed to believe it’s the same 104 minutes of cliches, tedium and unconvincing effects-work I slogged my way through on Friday night. So far as I’m concerned, this water-logged variant on the Britney Spears’ atrocity, Crossroads, is in […]

Blow

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Ted Demme’s Blow — the director’s first truly “big” picture — is a film that attempts to do for drug trafficking what Boogie Nights did for pornography: that is, turn itself into an amazingly deep film about amazingly shallow people. And while the film comes close to achieving this goal, it never quite gets there. […]

Bloody Sunday

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It would take far more space than I’m given here to even begin to explain the history of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. That’s part and parcel the problem with Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday — a two-hour movie can’t begin to present more than a very simplistic view of the situation that led to the […]

Blood Work

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Toward the end of Blood Work the “mystery” killer asks the stoic Mr. Eastwood, “When did you know it was me?” to which the alert viewer is duty-bound to mutter, “About 45 minutes ago.” That’s part and parcel of what’s wrong with Blood Work. Much the same problem surfaces earlier in the film when the […]

Blast From The Past

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Through the years, as Mountain Xpress teen reporters Amanda Levesque and Claire McLendon advance in age and wisdom, we notice that their film reviews advance in humor and discernment, as well. So, look out movie moguls, you’re not going to have Amanda and Claire eating out of your hands any more. A film has got […]

Blade II

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A huge disappointment and possibly one of the most grotesquely screwed up movies of all time, Blade II flip-flops back and forth between being one of the more interesting horror films of recent vintage and one of the worst — which makes for perhaps the most frustrating movie going experience of the season, if not […]

Black Knight

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It’s not quite A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s more like Jivin’ Jamal Goes Low-Brow Medieval. Jamal (Martin Lawrence, What’s The Worst That Could Happen?)is a self-absorbed no-achiever who rightfully insists that people shouldn’t have high hopes for him. One day while at work at the down-in-the-moat Medieval World amusement park in Los […]

Black Hawk Down

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It calls itself a Ridley Scott Film, and in terms of style, panache and drive, it undeniably is — but it’s a Ridley Scott Film with the soul of Jerry “Louder, Bigger, Emptier” Bruckheimer. Black Hawk Down thinks it’s a serious work in the manner of Apocalypse Now and Full-Metal Jacket. The truth is that […]

Birthday Girl

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A pretty tame comedy-thriller that sat around gathering dust for three years, Birthday Girl now sneaks into our world with precious little fanfare, in an obvious attempt by Miramax to cash in on Nicole Kidman’s successes in Moulin Rouge! and The Others. The likelihood of the film doing much for Miramax is slim, but it’s […]

Biker Boyz

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From the windows in my home office, I can glimpse promises of the glories outdoors — a Sunday morning, cool and perfectly clear, the sun shining softly and seductively. The guy across the street is revving up his mint ’97 Softtail Harley, prepping to hammer his heart out on the motorcycle-friendly roads of Buncombe County. […]

Big Trouble

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If anyone had told me that I’d actually like a Tim Allen movie, I would have raised some pertinent questions as to whether or not said person should be allowed to walk around unsupervised … but I have to admit that I actually enjoyed this one. Maybe it has something to do with being an […]