Leslie Holleran

Leslie Holleran

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The Hoax Review


Very Good
Everybody loves a good con artist, a guy who can bluff his way into or out of anything. He's isn't violent, not a gangster, but a smooth-talking charmer whose poker face doesn't flinch no matter how dangerous or delicate the situation gets. Lasse Hallström's latest, The Hoax, offers a portrait of such a con artist, a real-life fabulist who makes James Frey (the disgraced "non-fiction" writer behind 2003's A Million Little Pieces) and his shenanigans look like chump change.

Richard Gere, perfectly cast, plays Clifford Irving, a down-and-out writer who in 1971 wrote (and nearly got published) a fake biography of Howard Hughes. Desperate to jump-start his career, Irving duped his editor Andrea Tate (Hope Davis) and the top dogs at McGraw-Hill into believing he was not only a friend of Hughes, the notorious recluse, but that the billionaire had tapped Irving to write his life story. Smelling a publishing sensation, McGraw-Hill offered Irving a then-record publishing deal, and the writer suddenly found himself the crown prince of the publishing world.

Continue reading: The Hoax Review

The Shipping News Review


OK
Kevin Spacey is the Spock of serious actors. He's dependable, methodical, passionless, a huge fan of saying everything by saying nothing at all. He tends to gravitate towards characters hiding some sort of fiery secret pain by denying themselves exterior displays of emotion or excitement. In certain films, this really works, thus earning Spacey a reputation as on of Hollywood's best working actors. In The Shipping News however, it bombs badly.

It's not really Spacey's fault, it's just the script. Spacey is Quoyle, a newly single father, after his slutty whore of a wife (Cate Blanchett) is killed while selling their daughter on the black market to earn spending cash for her latest biker boyfriend. Quoyle spends his time grieving and in denial and soon decides to follow a long lost aunt to the homeland of his family in Newfoundland. There, he stumbles into a job as the shipping news reporter for the local newspaper.

Continue reading: The Shipping News Review

Chocolat Review


OK
Take Footloose and Like Water for Chocolate, steep the combo in a heaping helping of corn syrup, and you'll come out with the sticky, sickly-sweet romantic cautionary tale Chocolat. The Cider House Rules director Lasse Hallström helms this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Joanne Harris, and delivers yet another pretty package of tempered social messages -- this time preaching about social tolerance instead of abortion.

Set against the idyllic backdrop of a quaint puritanical village in the French countryside, mysterious Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter, dressed in identical Red Riding Hood outfits, literally blow into town "on the North Wind." Within days, the duo brazenly opens a magical chocolaterie across the street -- gasp -- from the church, and on the first week of Lent, no less. Vianne -- who comes off as a 50's-era Erin Brockovich sporting low-cut tops and bright red stilettos -- is turning the townsfolk on to her sweets, which a la Pleasantville miraculously inspire increased sex drives, feminist awakenings, familial reconciliation and even criminal rehabilitation. Soon, the town's prudish mayor launches a campaign to drive the sin-inducing shop out of business.

Continue reading: Chocolat Review

Leslie Holleran

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Leslie Holleran Movies

The Hoax Movie Review

The Hoax Movie Review

Everybody loves a good con artist, a guy who can bluff his way into or...

The Shipping News Movie Review

The Shipping News Movie Review

Kevin Spacey is the Spock of serious actors. He's dependable, methodical, passionless, a huge...

Chocolat Movie Review

Chocolat Movie Review

Take Footloose and Like Water for Chocolate, steep the combo in a heaping helping of...

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