This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
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Sunday, 01 June 2008 |
In 1970, Anthony Shaffer’s play “Sleuth” made its debut, and delighted audiences around the world. It was turned into a movie two years later by veteran director Joseph Mankiewicz (it was his last movie), and starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. It’s a clever thriller, lots of fun to watch, with great, showy performances by the two leads. It’s not really intended to be taken any too seriously—so why did Nobel-prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter write a new screenplay? The question is hard to answer.
This new “Sleuth” also stars Michael Caine, amusingly cast as mystery writer Andrew Wyke, Olivier’s role in the first version. Jude Law, who seems to have launched this new version, is cast as Milo Trindle, Caine’s original role. As with the first movie, the most fun this film provides is to see two crafty, lively actors—both of ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 |
Kevin Costner stars as Mr. Earl Brooks who, as the movie opens, is being named Man of the Year in Portland, Oregon (though the film was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana). He runs a very successful box company, has been happily married to Emma (Marg Helgenberger) for years, and has a teenage daughter, Jane (Danielle Panabaker of “Shark”), currently at college in Palo Alto. But we soon learn that Brooks has a sardonic alter ego whom he calls Marshall (William Hurt), visible and audible to us and Mr. Brooks, but to no one else.
“The hunger has returned to Mr. Brooks’ brain,” an opening title tells us. “It never really left.” The hunger is an urge to kill, for Mr. Brooks is a serial killer working the Portland area; because he leaves behind the bloody thumbprints of his victims, he’s been dubbed ...
Saturday, 01 December 2007 |
Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) teaches American history and a course on
American terrorism at George Washington University. Faraday has
recently been widowed in a bungled FBI raid on American extremists. On
returning home one afternoon, Faraday finds a young boy, Brady Lang
(Mason Gamble) wandering in the middle of the street, dazed and
bleeding from a fireworks mishap. Faraday rushes the boy to the
emergency room and saves his life, and as a result becomes friendly
with the boy’s parents Oliver (Timothy Robbins) and Cheryl Lang (Joan
Cusack) whom he’s never before met, despite living across the street
from them. Michael’s son, Grant (Spencer Treat Clark) becomes fast
friends with Brady, and Michael’s girlfriend, Brooke (Hope Davis),
takes a quick liking to them, but when Oliver’s story about his job and
the details of his personal history don’t check out, Michael begins to
be plagued by nagging suspicions about the family across the ...
Thursday, 01 November 2007 |
In 1999, “The Sixth Sense” had moviegoers in a tizzy over its now
famous twist ending. Emphatic water cooler discussions were had and
audiences went back for repeat viewings, looking for clues as to how
they were duped. The masses loved the clever trickery so much, the film
went on to gross more than $293,000,000 domestically and garnered six
Oscar nominations. “The Usual Suspects” used a similar formula just
four years earlier with similar results. While the twist ending has
been used for years, Hollywood smelled a profitable trend and proceeded
to pump out a steady stream of formulaic movies relying on the “I
didn’t see that coming” conclusion.
That trend continues to this day, and with very few exceptions, the
films are complete garbage. Usually littering the horror and thriller
genres, these movies have a generic manufactured quality with plenty of
implausibility and predictability to boot. Sometimes the film is
actually decent and ...
Saturday, 01 September 2007 |
“Wild Things” is a jazzy thriller with a lot of laughs; it never takes
itself entirely seriously, nor should you. It’s lushly sexual, with
both straight and lesbian romances worked into the plot. It's a little
too long, leaves some unanswered questions, and probably has about two
twists too many, but it's so confidently corrupt, so sure of its
effects, and is so well-played by a nervy cast that I had a great time.
I suspect if you get off-rhythm with its bouncy beat, you might end up
sneering at it, but I sure the heck didn't. Director John McNaughton
had me in his pocket from the opening images of the Everglades—the
movie is set in sultry south Florida.
Matt Dillon plays Sam Lombardo, a well-liked guidance counselor and
sailing instructor at the high school in very posh Blue Bay -- even the
"slum" homes have swimming pools—south of Miami. Away from ...