Alison Elliott

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The Miracle Worker (2000) Review


OK
The Miracle Worker? The real miracle worker is the guy who cast Pepsi pitch-child Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen Keller, forcing the diminuative star to stumble about with a vacant look in her eyes, smashing plates and grunting obscenely.

Believe it or not, Disney's watery version of the classic play and true story is not as bad as you'd think. While Eisenberg grates, at least she doesn't get to speak. Alison Elliott, so memorable in films like The Wings of the Dove, plays the titular worker of miracles Annie Sullivan as angry and almost mean, but in the end she is called upon to carry the picture, and she mostly does. David Strathairn's turn as Captain Keller (also angry and mean) is forgettable, but it's the small performance by Lucas Black (All the Pretty Horses) as Helen's brother that is actually the best part of the movie.

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Birth Review


Bad
Jonathan Glazer's stylish debut Sexy Beast stood out for the uncharacteristically explosive and vicious performance the director coaxed out of stately Ben Kingsley. Evidence of any such energy all but escapes Birth, Glazer's anticipated follow-up to his kinetic gangster picture. A plodding and pretentious thriller, this beyond-the-grave affair ends up being too art-house for the mainstream crowd and too mainstream for the art-house crowd. Loosely translated, that means it doesn't work for anyone.

Birth hangs its hat on a delicate premise that demands kid gloves if it seriously hopes to sustain the already shaky credibility. An elegant transition of life forces starts the film. Physician Sean dies while jogging. Simultaneously, a baby is born. Fast forward 10 years, where a cave-eyed child coincidentally named Sean (Cameron Bright) claims to Upper West Side basket case Anna (Nicole Kidman) that he is her reincarnated ex-husband. Anna's humorless fiancée (Danny Huston) scoffs at the idea. Her mother (a neglected Lauren Bacall) displays indifference. ("I never liked Sean, anyway," she articulates.) But Anna's not so quick to write the boy off.

Continue reading: Birth Review

Alison Elliott

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Birth Movie Review

Birth Movie Review

Jonathan Glazer's stylish debut Sexy Beast stood out for the uncharacteristically explosive and vicious performance...

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