Uma Thurman - Photographs of a variety of stars as they attended the 2015 FOX Winter Television Critics Association All-Star Party which was held at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 16th January 2015
Uma Thurman and Luna Thurman-Busson - Uma Thurman arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with her daughter, Luna, hiding her face as they leave the building together - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 16th January 2015
Uma Thurman - Photographs of a variety of stars as they arrived at the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards which were held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 1st December 2014
Uma Thurman - Snaps from the red carpet as an array of stars attended the 2014 Bambi Awards which recognise excellence in international media and television in Berlin, Germany - Thursday 13th November 2014
Uma Thurman - Photographs of various stars as they arrived at the Wings WorldQuest Women Of Discovery Awards Gala 2014 held at the Stephan Weiss Studio in New York City, New York, United States - Thursday 16th October 2014
Uma Thurman and Luna Thurman-Busson - Uma Thurman tries to keep her face hidden as she arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with daughter Luna - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 18th March 2014
Uma Thurman, Christian Slater, Lars Von Trier, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf - 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Nymphomaniac' - Photocall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 9th February 2014
Stellan Skarsgard, Bente Fröge, Lars Von Trier, Uma Thurman, Christian Slater and Stacy Martin - 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Nymphomaniac' - Premiere - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 9th February 2014
Lars Von Trier, Uma Thurman, Stacey Martin, Stellan Skarsgard, Christian Slater, Shia LaBeouf and Louise Vesth - Photo call for Nymphomanic Volume 1, 64th Berlin International Film Festival, (Berlinale) at the Hyatt Potsdamer Platz - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 9th February 2014
Uma Thurman - 15th Annual Warner Bros and InStyle Golden Globe Awards After Party - Arrivals held at the Oasis Courtyard at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 12th January 2014
Sam Davis is an unsuccessful children's book author, who persuades his estranged best friend Marshall to accompany him on a weekend away from Brooklyn. Marshall is all too eager to go, believing this will be a chance for him and Sam to catch up and reconnect.
Continue: Ceremony Trailer
Although, the Greek-gods premise lets the filmmakers indulge in some visually whizzy sequences that keep this rather lightweight action movie entertaining.
Percy (Lerman) is a New York teen whose mother (Keener) has never told him that his father is the god Poseidon (McKidd) and his best pal Grover (Jackson) is actually a protector satyr. When Zeus (Bean) discovers that his lightning bolt has been stolen, he blames Percy. So Percy has to learn quickly who he is so he can find the lightning thief and restore peace to feuding brothers Poseidon, Zeus and Hades (Coogan). In addition to Grover, he gets help from a professor-centaur (Brosnan) and his fellow demigod Annabeth (Daddario).
Continue reading: Percy Jackson & The Olyimpians: The Lightning Thief Review
In 1968, Brooks was at the top of his game. He was also at the very beginning of it: The Producers was his first feature film, and you can track the quality of his movies on a steady decline which stretches from the awesome Blazing Saddles (1974) to the middling Spaceballs (1987) to the awful Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Brooks' last appearance behind the camera.
Continue reading: The Producers (2005) Review
Alone and deprived of sex, New Yorker Matt (Luke Wilson) begins dating nebbish Jenny (Uma Thurman) hoping to get some frenzied lovemaking and little else. He gets more than that. Not only does he get a girlfriend, she's the city's savior. When not riding the subway and working at an art gallery, Jenny is G-Girl, the 21st century answer to Supergirl.
Continue reading: My Super Ex-Girlfriend Review
Tape is based on a play by Stephen Belber, and the playwright contributes the clunky script, full of obvious dialogue and silly posturing. With one strike already against them, the experienced, name cast (Hawke, Leonard, and Thurman) then take the problem a step further, apparently not realizing that performances need to be taken down a notch on video, as the medium tends to overexpose every movement and moment. (While Thurman's performance is good, the trio need to watch Brad Anderson's Session 9 for a good example of subtle acting on video.)
Continue reading: Tape Review
Continue reading: Les Misérables Review
Continue reading: Kiss Daddy Goodnight Review
Tim Burton's first two Batman films were all about this nerd auteur playing with a gigantic train set, so even though the stories were threadbare and superficial, at least Burton brought a highly stylized pop Gothic look. Jack Nicholson hammed it up nicely as the Joker and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman was an unforgettably sexy femme fatale who was able to hold her own in a power struggle with the caped crusader. Say what you will, the films had their moments, and even miscast Michael Keaton was an enjoyable wild card.
Continue reading: Batman & Robin Review
Editor's Note: Last year I let Sean O'Connell and Jeremiah Kipp go at it -- Tarantino style -- over the merits of Kill Bill: Volume 1. The results were classic: O'Connell loved it, Kipp despised it. With the second installment of the highly-anticipated flick, the tables are turned. Now O'Connell's got his blade sharpened, and while Kipp is hardly a convert, he at least has a few kind words for the movie. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy round two of this battle royale!
Sean O'Connell: "the thrill has been completely abandoned"Movie geeks love comparing Quentin Tarantino's work to that of other celebrated directors, but the maverick filmmaker mostly reminds me of burned-out monster rockers Guns N' Roses.
Bear with me, because the analogy makes sense. In 1987, the astonishingly successful "Appetite for Destruction" turned G&R into global superstars, in much the same way that Pulp Fiction blasted Tarantino into the Hollywood stratosphere in 1994. Pressured to follow up their iconic works, both artists immediately cranked out forgettable fluff (see "G N' R Lies" and Jackie Brown, respectively). Eventually, though, each moved on to create overstuffed two-part epics - the "Use Your Illusion" albums for Guns and now the Kill Bill flicks for Quentin - that contain ingenious individual parts but don't add up to entertaining wholes.
The drop-off in energy, style, and coherence from last year's Kill Bill: Volume 1 to its bloated, disinteresting counterpart is so drastic and extreme that you can hardly believe they come from the same director, let alone conclude the same storyline. The tonal shift swings from playfully sinister to somber and sadistic, as Uma Thurman's revenge-seeking character The Bride spends two-plus hours being whipped, beaten, stabbed, shot and buried alive, all so she can repay Bill (a confident and friendly David Carradine), her former boss and infrequent lover who tried to murder her on her wedding day.
Say what you will about Volume 1 - and many commented on the copious amounts of bloodshed and violence - but it was never dull. The thrill has been completely abandoned in Volume 2, which trades its buckets of crimson blood for pages of dry dialogue that explore the history of these characters but bring us nowhere new. Tarantino loses us in mounds of useless exposition on regret, payback, and pain. It was far easier to swallow The Bride's bitter quest for revenge than this. Tarantino's self-adored mysticism, on display when Uma trains with kung fu master Pai Mei or finally confronts Bill, doesn't quite grab us as quickly or hold us as tightly.
Back to the "Use Your Illusion" analogies, which are endless. "Illusion I," if you recall, was known for its yellow cover (like Uma's yellow track suit in Volume 1), while "Illusion II" sported a blue cover (like the blue dress Uma wears to fight Bill here). Critics largely dismissed the "Illusion" albums as massive ego trips, though fans argued that you could collect tunes from each album and make one great record. I'd argue that you could take the better elements of both Bill films and streamline them into one terrific 2.5 hour vengeance ride. What happened to Harvey "Scissorhands" Weinstein? Can't he bear to stand up to his golden child?
Guns N' Roses broke up after the "Use Your Illusion" experiment without releasing another album of significance. Time will tell if a similar fate awaits the once-gifted but woefully unshackled Tarantino.
No swordplay at the dinner table!
Jeremiah Kipp: "even the steadfast may not feel rewarded"While Kill Bill: Volume 2 does not redeem its garbage predecessor, and indeed falls into many of the same pitfalls, it almost works as a domestic tragedy played against the backdrop of samurai swords and western shoot 'em ups. If Quentin Tarantino were able to resist his gleeful bursts of eye-popping sadism and his insatiable desire to reference all his favorite B-movies, grindhouse drive-in flicks, Japanese chop-socky actioners, John Ford, Sergio Leone, and whatever else he's stored up in his oversaturated junk food mind from those years at the video store, maybe he'd actually be able to deliver a human story and an allegory for a mismatched relationship killed by a broken heart.
The first volume completely failed, narratively and thematically and as entertainment, a mere aimless shuffle of Tarantino's reference-laden funhouse. This one starts off on the wrong foot with a goofball wedding rehearsal culled straight from The Beverly Hillbillies and Hee-Haw. Immediately followed up by a shot lifted from The Searchers, those who hated Volume 1 as much as I did may be bracing themselves for another two hours plus of the same "applaud if you're winking" chicanery.
That's when David Carradine shows up as Bill, and even though the scene inevitably climaxes with his gang massacring everyone in the wedding party, there's a moment of genuine life when he faces off against The Bride (Uma Thurman), a woman he loved that left him for another, and took his baby with her. Bill's a sadist and a killer, and stays true to his nature. But before that superficial action movie posturing takes hold, we're given a glimpse at real pain: a crack-up between two tough old bastards, Bill and the Bride, who can't admit how much this hurts them.
With his wizened features and gaunt frame, Carradine is a strong iconic presence. He conjures up memories of movie lore from his east-meets-west TV-series Kung Fu. The only other east and west comparisons are those drudged up by Tarantino's movie lore; Carradine is a part of that lore but his B-movie star presence has a bona fide history behind it. Sadly, Uma Thurman cannot hope to match it, and her performance still feels wrong. She doesn't convey charisma or ferocity, only a model's petulance and an ability to pose like a Charlie's Angel. No surprise that she faces off against Daryl Hannah as one of the assassins she has to kill before getting back at Bill. It's an aged, sun-baked version of the same thing: Looks pretty, can't act.
It's unfortunate that Carradine drops out of large sections of Volume 2, because those are the passages that flounder. Assassin Budd (Michael Madsen) is a bloated trailer trash monster that briefly turns the tables on the Bride, and puts her through an ordeal of being buried alive. This is Tarantino getting his kicks on watching his heroine suffer, compounded by a flashback where Bill's former trainer, an aged Cantonese master (Chia Hui "Gordon" Liu), does some Karate Kid training with the Bride that puts her through even greater humiliations: verbal abuse, physical abuse, mental torture, and a dog's misery. By the time The Bride escapes (we know this from the start, since she says she's wiped everyone out but Bill in the suspense-killing pre-prologue monologue), only to beat the living hell out of another woman character and give her a humiliating death scene. Tarantino never gives such low-down dirty treatment to the boys, who are too cool to die so pathetically, but he gets off on watching women get flayed. "Do you think I'm sadistic?" Bill asks before shooting his Bride after the wedding reception. Maybe Quentin is projecting, and he doesn't own up to it like Sam Peckinpah did in his finer works.
But those with indomitable patience may find some reward in the final half hour of Volume 2. Admittedly, that's a tall order. There are some very good scenes with David Carradine along the way, playing his tough guy as soft spoken and genteel. (He doesn't need to play up a character everyone else has been talking about for three hours.) But he and Kill Bill really come together at the grand finale, which doesn't play out as the kamikaze swordfight one might pre-suppose. When the Bride arrives to dispatch Bill, he has a few surprises in store for her that make her stay her hand.
This is followed by the appearance of a strange truth serum that feels practically Elizabethan in its use as a story device, as the former lovers get down to the real business of showing who they are. Tarantino throws in a pop culture monologue about superheroes, particularly Superman and Clark Kent, that manages to get beyond its geek surface and into nature vs. nurture, and true faces vs. false ones. Anyone who pretends to like their day job may be able to relate, and once this gets into the dynamic of being with another person, it grows messier, more complicated, and more real.
Genre fans will be happy about those final notes, though. Bill's final exchange with the Bride ranks up there with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's climactic stare in Heat. It's an epic moment and a rare note of grace amidst the non-stop cartoon carnage (and cartoonization of rape, torture, and hatred of women) and smug hipster/movie brat shenanigans Tarantino bombarded us with -- and it's needless to have broken it up into two sections, or a serial. It's barely worth slogging through the wasteland of Kill Bill: Volume 2 to get there, and even the steadfast may not feel rewarded.
The DVD includes one deleted scene, an extensive making-of documentary, and a live performance of the song that plays over the closing credits (and DVD gives you another chance to see just how self-indulgent this movie is -- the credits are 13 minutes long!).
Aka Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
He's right, especially when describing his own meaningless sequel. Be Cool, the long-gestating follow up to Barry Sonnenfeld's hit gangster-in-paradise comedy Get Shorty, has been manufactured to the hilt to appeal to all demographics yet entertains none.
Continue reading: Be Cool Review
Everything goes well for awhile, and just as Vincent is about to realize his dream of going up as part of a space mission, the web starts to untangle. Here's where the problems of Gattaca start: you see, as a mystery, it really isn't much of one. The investigation into the murder of the mission director who may have known Vincent's secret is never very focused, and Alan Arkin's Columbo-type flatfoot seems to uncannily know where to go at every turn. By the time the investigation is over, the whole thing has felt like a put-on to waste an hour of screen time.
Continue reading: Gattaca Review
Younger aimed high when casting for his sweet screenplay and attached two marquee names to his personal endeavor. Meryl Streep dons a frumpy wig and horn-rimmed spectacles to create Lisa Metzger, a Manhattan mensch and doting psychotherapist currently treating newly divorced, statuesque blonde bombshell Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman). Following Lisa's advice to let loose a little, Rafi enters a relationship with David (Bryan Greenberg), a lower East Side painter who happens to be 14 years younger... and Lisa's son.
Continue reading: Prime Review
Editor's Note: Once in a while a film comes along that's so popular the critics start lining up months in advance, begging to review it. Kill Bill is a case in point, and Tarantino would do well to turn his camera at the gory battles among the filmcritic.com staffers, what with all the limbs and blood flying everywhere. But Bill has also become another source of strife: It's the most contentious film we've reviewed in a long while, with lovers and detractors lined up on either side of a wide DMZ. So in the spirit of the kung fu flick, which inspired Tarantino to make Bill in the first place, we present our own knock-down, drag-out battle to the death. Enjoy.
Sean O'Connell: "writes itself into the Hollywood history books"Quentin Tarantino's fourth film, Kill Bill, reminds us why we, as a collective moviegoing society, wish he'd work more often than he does. The acclaimed director rocketed to cult stardom with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, cranked out an overlong homage to film noir in Jackie Brown, and then slid off the filmmaking radar for the better part of six years.
Well, he's back, serving as the director and screenwriter of a slight story built around a botched assassination and the ensuing desire for revenge. Plot-wise, Kill Bill couldn't be simpler. The execution, though, is so massive that Tarantino split the movie into two parts, which Miramax will release months apart from each other.
Tarantino may be receiving reams of press for his risky endeavor, but Bill's real star is Uma Thurman. She plays The Bride, a wispy blonde warrior left for dead by her former boss Bill (David Carradine). Four years later, she snaps out of a coma and swears vengeance on the fiends who shot her in the head. Tarantino asks the world of his leading lady, and Thurman delivers. She rolls her natural vulnerability and newfound butt-kicking passion into a steely ball of adrenaline. The right actress for this role, she effortlessly balances the physical demands of Bill with the lyrical demands of Tarantino's wordy dialogue.
All praise heaped on Tarantino's effort comes with a warning, though. Violent beyond comparison, Bill begs you to avert your eyes from the ceaseless bloodshed, and turns your stomach with its celebrated depiction of exaggerated brutality. The ear-slicing scene of Reservoir Dogs and the hypodermic needle sequence in Fiction still don't prepare you for the carnage Bill brings to the screen.
Yet for every one minute of time you spend revolted by Bill, you spend two minutes enamored with the risks Tarantino takes. An animated sequence only contributes to the onslaught, testing the boundaries of acceptable stylish slaughter. The lengthy fight sequence at The House of Blue Leaves writes itself into the Hollywood history books. Tarantino and legendary kung-fu fight choreographer Woo-ping Yuen repeatedly take Bill ten steps beyond the point of overkill. It's frequently elegant, but enough quickly becomes enough.
Right at the point you're ready to throw in the towel and write Bill off as a shameless gore fest, though, something occurs that pulls you right back into the fold. It could be Sonny Chiba's subtle performance as a samurai master selected to mentor The Bride. It might be Chiaki Kuriyama's deliciously deadly turn as a 17-year-old assassin dressed as a schoolgirl. More than likely, though, it's a visual trick conjured up by Tarantino's imaginative brain. Bill is gorgeous, but unwatchable. It's absorbing, then vile. With an ounce of restraint, Tarantino could've had a masterpiece on his hands. It certainly whets your appetite for Volume 2, though I'm thankful I've got until February to rest, wipe the blood off my face, and mentally prepare for another round.
Can you spear me now?
Jeremiah Kipp: "the epitome of soullessness"The Miramax hype machine was working overtime on Kill Bill, breaking Quentin Tarantino's epic pastiche of revenge into two volumes. Rather than serve this quasi-retro samurai saga in one three-hour heap, Kill Bill serves itself out in portions. Kill Bill reveals Tarantino as a sham auteur ripping off Hong Kong action flicks and 1970s B-movies for their surface frills. He's the cinematic equivalent of karaoke or bad photocopies, mindlessly adopting style while forgetting the basic precepts of storytelling.
The look of Kill Bill, courtesy of Oliver Stone's ace cinematographer Robert Richardson, neatly approximates the grimy drive-in quality of the Shaw brothers and whoever else Tarantino stumbled upon in the video store and the midnight showcase. But it only serves to highlight the vapidity of Kill Bill, a movie without characters and a plot in spin-cycle. Volume 1 offers us five out of the ten chapters detailing the revenge of a gung-ho assassin named The Bride (Uma Thurman). Her former teammates, led by Bill (David Carradine, mostly absent from Volume 1), attempt to blow her away at her wedding -- and kill all the wedding guests and her fiancée in the process. They fail, and when The Bride wakes up from her coma she's ready to kick some ass.
That's pretty much all you need to know about Kill Bill. The arbitrary chapters leap back and forth in time, and could be shuffled together in any order approximating the same thing: mindless, vapid slaughter. Chapter One: This bad angel swoops in to open up a can of whoop-ass on Los Angeles housewife/psycho killah Vernita Green (Viveca A. Fox). Before we've built up any interest or sympathies, The Bride and Vernita go mad-dog-crazy, smashing up furniture (and each other) in a domestic bloodbath.
Hold the phone for one moment. QT is getting a rise out of the slaughter, but there are at least five problems to be seen right off the bat. 1) He's replicating action scenes he's seen before, and working so hard at being cool (kittenish one-liners; been-there-done-that spin kicks; surprise gunshots) that you come to realize, you shouldn't have to work at being cool. 2) Vernita's four-year-old daughter wanders into the fray, and the two fighters politely stop and wait for her to go to her room. Its fake polite, and the child actor is directed so poorly it's as though she's an automaton. Mommy might get killed, but what's on TV? That's not just stupid -- it's simplistic. 3) Uma Thurman lacks the screen presence of a charged Charles Bronson or Bruce Lee; her aquiline nose and lanky body are better suited for modeling than dealing out death. 4) QT clearly gets off on girls fighting each other, but he lacks adult sensuality in favor of a teenager's drool. 5) The outcome of the match is inconsequential, since The Bride and Vernita are both presented as unsympathetic, detached, and cold blooded.
QT obviously learned nothing from the best scenes of Jackie Brown, which weren't the shootouts. They were the slow-developing relationship between screen icons Pam Grier and Robert Forster, who brought a warmth and humanity to QT's hipster-isms. That's drained bone dry in Kill Bill. Tarantino shows how much he's familiar with other movies, without crafting one of his own: The Bride drives around a gaudy car called the "Pussy Wagon"; villainess Lucy Liu slices off an enemy's head after delivering a lengthy monologue on mob etiquette; Liu's gang includes a Japanese schoolgirl minx. And at the end of the day, big deal! Tarantino assembles a list of his favorite things, and nearly breaks his arm patting himself on the back for it. His smugness infects every scene, and Kill Bill becomes a joyless joy ride through a fan boy's world. Who wants to see a movie made by Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons?
The epitome of soullessness is The Bride battling her way through Lucy Liu's gang in the already over-appreciated "House of Blue Leaves" sequence. Notorious? Hardly. It's a padded version of the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with limbs and spurts of blood flying through the air as The Bride kills everybody. There's no recklessness to it. Everything's too prescribed, too self-aware, too cool, and therefore too aloof and detached to be actually, God forbid, fun. When Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu run through the "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" dialogue from Saturday morning cartoon commercials, it's a meaningless bit of hipster jargon that has nothing to do with anything. That's infuriating, because Kill Bill says in that moment that it's about nothing other than posing. Will audiences care, and will they line up for more flotsam and jetsam in Kill Bill Volume 2?
Don't give Harvey Weinstein, Miramax, and Quentin Tarantino the satisfaction of ripping you off. They're charging you twice as much for an incomplete movie, a soulless riff, a hipster machine coasting on the tired fumes of Tarantino's former glory. Jack Black talks about The Man in The School of Rock, saying that we should fight The Man and reclaim our independence. Well, independent film in the form of Quentin, Harvey, Miramax and Kill Bill is The Man. Don't let them sucker you.
Aka Kill Bill: Vol. 1.
The DVD offers scant extras, including two live performances by The 5, 6, 7, 8s (the trio of Japanese girls that perform at the House of Blue Leaves) and the usual making-of documentary, wherein Uma Thurman promptly misinterprets the movie by telling us it's about redemption. (Sorry Uma, it's about revenge. "Redemption" is doing something good to atone for past sins, not killing a bunch of people out of spite.) I guess you'll have to wait for the box set to get the real extras!
Vatel is the central character in a critical weekend in French history (way back in 1671). Played by Gérard Depardieu, Vatel is the chief steward at the mansion of the Prince de Condé, a now penniless French nobleman whose last-ditch effort is to invite King Louis XIV to his estate for the weekend, through a rager of a party, and win the king's favor in order to get the post as general in the upcoming war against the Dutch.
Continue reading: Vatel Review
Such is the case in The Truth About Cats & Dogs, a pleasantly funny romance that takes another twist on the Cyrano tale, by taking two very different women (Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman) and pitching them at one guy (English actor Ben Chaplin).
Continue reading: The Truth About Cats & Dogs Review
I love Woody Allen, really I do. I'm probably the only living critic who enjoyed Celebrity. I love jazz, too. Every Wednesday for two years, I saw a classic jazz quartet play tunes like "All of Me," "Rosetta," and "Old Man Time" in a dank cellar bar.
Continue reading: Sweet And Lowdown Review
Vanessa Redgrave and Edward Fox play the leads of Miss Beaumont and Major Paulo, aging British singles who vacation at a lake in 1937 Italy, just before World War II. The pair soon discover each other: She is a headstrong photographer. He is a crusty businessman who dabbles in sleight-of-hand. Clearly, they are meant for each other, and a love/hate relationship develops on the spot. As the romance progresses, the two abuse and play off each other's insecurities so well, you'd think they really were a couple. When youngsters Miss Bentley (Uma Thurman) and Vittorio enter the picture and complicate matters, the film becomes a game of sly cat and mouse, where you never know who is chasing after whom.
Continue reading: A Month By The Lake Review
This set of interlocking tales involving gangsters, boxers, druggies, and plain old joes is alternately exciting and funny -- and often both at the same time. Whether it's John Travolta's Vincent Vega doing the twist with his gangster boss's wife and later miraculously pulling her out of a drug overdose, Samuel L. Jackson reciting the Bible or picking splattered brain out of his enormous afro, Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer robbing a diner, Bruce Willis throwing a boxing match and later ending up facing a couple of oversexed hillbilly degenerates, or Ving Rhames overseeing the whole proceedings, the movie is utterly brilliant, hilarious, and thrilling. Even the little things are perfect: Tarantino has never since quite managed to recapture his masterful use of the close-up and fantastically interesting lighting choices. It's one of only a handful of films that gets better every time you watch it.
Continue reading: Pulp Fiction Review
Producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory's names have become synonymous with refined and flowery literary drawing room dramas because of their innate ability to instill such period pieces with unfettered emotions and tangible performances that transcend the corseted, courtly trappings of the genre.
You usually know what you're getting into when you see one of their pictures -- passionate romances hindered by 19th Century social mores. But that doesn't mean there aren't surprises, and in their Henry James adaptation "The Golden Bowl," the biggest surprise is Uma Thurman.
An actress known for playing most roles with an exaggerated sense of erudition whether the part calls for it or not, in this film she's entirely natural and complexly human as Charlotte Stant, a beautiful young American expatriate whose heart is thrown into turmoil by a complicated romantic roundelay.
Continue reading: The Golden Bowl Review
Another quickie guerrilla movie spawn of the digital video age, "Tape" is a real-time, three-character drama shot on the cheap in a hotel room by director Richard Linklater, who made such an awesome impact last month with the experimental animated philosophy daze of "Waking Life".
It's a movie that can work only if its characters hold you rapt for its entire run time -- and it might have done just that if said characters weren't so uniformly abrasive.
Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard play former high school buddies both in Lansing, Michigan, for a weekend. Leonard is there because he's an upstart filmmaker, convinced he's struggling for his art, whose first movie is playing the Lansing Film Festival. Hawke, a violent, drunk stoner with a chip on his shoulder, is ostensibly there as moral support, but in reality he has an entirely different agenda. He's never gotten over the fact that 10 years ago his high school girlfriend slept with Leonard. Now he has an ax to grind and a captive audience.
Continue reading: Tape Review
For an actor directing his first movie, Ethan Hawke has remarkable patience and an intrinsic knack for creating personal, intimate, candid, lingering moments between well-drawn characters in "Chelsea Walls."
This film is composed of handful of interwoven vignettes about denizens, new and old, of New York's Chelsea Hotel -- a legendary (and now somewhat unkempt) residential haunt of artists, poets and other Bohemians for more than a century. It is a film in which body language and unspoken human intercourse play a much more important role than dialogue, which often reveals its meaning only through the context of a scene.
Adapted by Nicole Burdette from her own off-Broadway play of the same name, "Chelsea Walls" opens with a pair of cops arriving at the hotel to investigate a suicide, then the camera wanders into another room to discover a pair of lovers whose passionate but ill-starred relationship has run its course. A leathery, hard-living writer (Kris Kristofferson) is trying to gently dismiss an uptown woman (Natasha Richardson) who wishes she had the will power to stop visiting, of her own accord, the musty Chelsea apartment he keeps darkened with forever drawn shades to better cope with his chronic hangovers.
Continue reading: Chelsea Walls Review
After last year's botched bout with dour World War II drama in "Windtalkers," former Hong Kong action maestro John Woo is back to the far-fetched fun that is his trademark in "Paycheck," another too-Hollywood adaptation of a Philip K. Dick science fiction thriller.
Set in a stylish, chrome-and-glass near future where Ben Affleck is an in-demand high-tech engineering genius (yeah, right) who works as a hired gun on short-term top-secret projects, the plot turns on the fact that after each job he has his memory erased back to his hire date under the guise of what you might call extreme non-disclosure agreements.
Persuaded by a rich old friend (Aaron Eckhart) who runs a huge biotech conglomerate to take on a mysterious and illicit three-year job with a mega-bucks final payoff, when Ben wakes up after this latest gig, he discovers he's divested himself of a $93 million profit and left in its stead an envelope containing 13 cryptic items (strange sunglasses, hairspray, a paper clip, a fortune cookie fortune, a watch, etc.) that begin coming in suspiciously handy as he is hunted by assassins and the FBI.
Continue reading: Paycheck Review
Date of birth
29th April, 1970
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