Like characters found in other recent Gen X movies, Smith's heroes are unjustifiably hip. Chasing Amy there are two groups of characters, Jersey boys afraid of the city, and fixtures of the NYC underground. But regardless of background, every character in Chasing Amy is poised with a witty remark or comical/philosophical riff on love or life. Smith even highlights the (self)-importance of his protagonist, played by Ben Affleck, by unabashedly naming him after the coolest literary character of the twentieth century, Holden Caulfield.
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Despite the massive amounts of boob time in Heartbreakers, the film delivers all the goods of a solid comedic vehicle. Max (Weaver) and Page (Hewitt) are a mother/daughter team who swindle rich guys out of their dollars in a con involving matrimony vows, extramarital trysts, and divorce settlements. Sort of like a cross between Anywhere but Here and The Grifters. With the IRS hot on their proverbial tails, the duo team up for one last job, bilking cigarette tycoon William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman) out of his cash. Alas, during the con job, Page ends up falling in love with a local bar owner (Jason Lee), a dead body ends up in their trunk, Princess Leia shows up as a divorce attorney, and a jilted ex-husband (Ray Liotta) shows up waving a gun and advising group therapy for everyone.
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And then it happens.
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Mallrats tells the story of two mostly-losers, T.S. (Jeremy London) and Brodie (Jason Lee), who manage to lose and regain their respective girlfriends, Brandi (Claire Forlani) and Rene (Shannen Doherty), in one long day at the mall. Along the way, the pair has a series of big adventures with cops and security guards, a game show organized by Brandi's dad (Michael Rooker), comic book creator Stan Lee, and the returning characters of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself). Where all this was supposed to go, I'm not too sure. But I think it was supposed to be about relationships, and I think it was supposed to be funny.
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If you looking for a plot in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, don't bother. Smith uses the safe convention of repetition by including certain key locations of his first three films and all of their main characters -- minus Dogma. By doing this, Smith creates a familiar universe for Jay and Silent Bob to venture through and trick the audience into remembering their old favorites and ignore the throwaway script.
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The story is classic King territory. Four kids stick together like glue in Derry, New Hampshire (Stand By Me), grow up to be adults with their own demons (It), become hindered by snow (The Shining) during a hunting trip, and end up face-to-face with a higher supernatural power (The Stand). In this case, the four men have their own dangerous mental strength as a result of their lifelong friendship with Douglas "Duddits" Cavell (Donnie Wahlberg), a mentally retarded man with overpowering gifts.
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Miller sets her story, about an ailing father (Daniel Day-Lewis)and his teenage daughter (Camilla Belle), in and around an abandoned 1970shippie commune.
Father Jack and daughter Rose have lived an isolated life,farming and building tree forts, and have turned out rather odd.
Jack ordinarily spends a good deal of time railing againstan evil housing developer (Beau Bridges) who is looking to spoil the island.But for a change of pace, he impulsively invites his secret lover, Kathleen(Catherine Keener), and her two sons, chunky Rodney (Ryan McDonald) andthuggish Thaddius (Paul Dano) to move in. Although this new trio has notbeen raised in a commune, they're just as troubled as Jack and Rose, andtalk just as blandly.
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How apropos it seems that the enjoyably outrageous screwball satire "Big Trouble" should open a little more than a week after the death of Billy Wilder, whose influence is felt all over this picture's breakneck comedic pacing.
Reminiscent, if mostly in spirit, of Wilder's lesser-known "One, Two, Three" -- a fast-paced side-splitter starring James Cagney as an American business man who stumbles into Iron Curtain intrigue in 1961 Berlin -- "Big Trouble" features Tim Allen as a fired, freshly divorced newspaper columnist who narrates a lunatic tale of arms trading and assassination attempts in modern Miami.
As one of a dozen characters with equal screen time, Allen's connection to the plot is almost peripheral, but he gives great voice-over (from the zany Dave Barry book on which the film is based) that helps keep straight the cavalcade of well-cast kooks to come.
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Writer-director Cameron Crowe's fond fictionalization of his first assignmentfor Rolling Stone -- as a 15-year-old cub reporter in 1973 -- "Almost Famous" is a vividly realized labor of love and an absolute pleasure to watch.
Having gestated in Crowe's fertile mind since before "SayAnything," his 1989 directorial debut, it's a born crowd-pleaser honedinto an entertaining cinematic paragon of rock 'n' roll that boasts sharpperformances from a sublime cast, speaking page after page of Crowe's uniquebrand of intrinsically quotable, yet seemingly true-to-life dialogue.
A winning young actor named PatrickFugit -- who prior to being cast had only twoepisodes of "Touched By An Angel" on his resume -- carries themovie as William Miller, the director's mop-topped alter-ego. Like Crowehimself, William gets his start as a rock journalist by being taken underthe wing of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a jaded but passionatemusic reporter for the fanzine Creem.
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"Mumford" is a weightless comedy with old-fashioned appeal, the kind of innocuous, affable picture in which happiness is just a musical montage sequence away.
Fifty years ago, it might have been a Jimmy Stewart movie, with a few subject matter alterations. Twenty-five years ago, Dustin Hoffman could have been the lead. In 1999 though, the title role goes to Loren Dean ("Gattaca"), who plays a warmhearted con man winging it as a psychologist in a small mountain town, where his unconventional therapy methods turn around the distressed lives for a smattering of eccentric residents.
Handsome, open and amiable, he's been in town only four months and already he's everyone's friend. He's just the kind of guy strangers tell their problems to, which is why he decided to give it a go in the head shrinking game.
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Drowning in every workaholic- single- father- gets- his- priorities- straight cliché you could possibly imagine (and then some), "Jersey Girl" is so insultingly trite and treacly it actually features self-centered, single-dad widower Ben Affleck not only realizing (at the last moment) that his daughter's school talent show is more important than a job interview, but actually dashing back to the 'burbs from Manhattan to join her on stage for a song.
Granted, the duet -- which manages to be insipidly saccharine and hokey despite being a murderous number from "Sweeney Todd" -- is the performance that father and daughter had planned all along before his ego got in the way. But the very fact that it never even crosses Affleck's mind to ask about rescheduling his interview lays bare how blindly enamored writer-director Kevin Smith was with the hackneyed notion of this false dilemma.
For all the post-"Gigli" murmur about this being the another possible bomb co-starring former fiancés Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, "Jersey Girl" is actually quite romantic, amusing and well-acted up to the point when Lopez, as Affleck's beloved wife, dies in childbirth, providing the timber-souled actor a brief moment in which to show unexpected depth as he collapses in a weeping heap in the hospital hallway.
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From its cursory, I- don't- know- how- to- start- my- movie opening voice over ("...my life was totally different just a couple weeks ago...") to its feeble, listless post-credits blooper reel, there isn't a laugh to be had in "Stealing Harvard."
Another boorish movie from the I- heard- a- joke- at- a- frat- party school of screenwriting, it's about a hapless chump (Jason Lee) whose long-forgotten promise to pay for his niece's college comes back to bite him in the wallet when she's accepted to Harvard. With his life's savings ($30,000) already in escrow toward a house for a fiancée who makes him miserable (chump!), Lee turns to his dumbest, most loutish (and apparently only) friend for ideas and ends up bungling through a series of failed criminal enterprises.
The caliber of comedy that results can be summed up by noting that this friend -- a beer-swilling dolt who lives in his mother's garage -- is played by the talentless, intentionally imbecilic gross-out comic Tom Green ("Freddy Got Fingered"), who seems to be improvising his way through the movie while director Bruce McCullouch ("Dog Park," "Superstar") obediently follows with a camera. A convenience store robbery ends with a teenage clerk firing a shotgun at them. A break-in at a mansion ends with Lee in drag, spooning in bed with the man of the house, a gun-toting lonely widower. A deal with a loan shark finds him the unwitting driver of a bank robbery getaway car.
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Imagine if someone remade "The Others," this year's most incredibly chilling haunted-house movie starring Nicole Kidman, but rewrote it to include Casper the Friendly Ghost. That should give you a pretty good idea what Cameron Crowe has done with "Vanilla Sky."
In 1997, Alejandro Amenabar -- writer and director of "The Others" -- created a stunning psychological thriller called "Open Your Eyes." It was about a rich, young lothario whose mind becomes a dangerous jumble of dreams, fantasies and delusions when he is horribly disfigured in a car crash the day after getting his first taste of real love.
Filled with ingenious twists and powerful emotions, it was a stirring brain-bender that could give you the tingles at any given moment.
Continue reading: Vanilla Sky Review
Date of birth
25th April, 1970
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