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Theatrical (390)

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Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Friday, 12 September 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage) refuses to describe himself as a con man; he's a con artist, he insists, adding that he doesn't take money from the targets of his cons, they give it to him. Not that he really buys this, at least unconsciously, for he's a mass of tics, blinks, twitches and suffers from a long list of obsessive-compulsive disorders: he can't open a door without twisting the knob three times (and he counts the times, usually in Spanish) and shutting it three times afterward. He's also agoraphobic and a chain smoker. He's compulsively neat; he lives in a standard ranch-style house somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, and keeps it spotlessly clean, particularly the carpets (no shoes! he insists). He fishes a leaf out of the swimming pool he never uses as soon as it hits the surface. ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Friday, 05 September 2003 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
People paying to New York pop culture in the ‘90s heard of Michael Alig for two reasons. First he became famous for throwing outrageous parties for hordes of wildly dressed “club kids”; later, he became notorious as a murderer, turned in by his friend James St. James. A few years back, filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato made an Emmy-winning documentary about Alig, St. James, their scene and their downfall. Now Bailey and Barbato are back as writers/directors of a dramatized version of the history, which (like the documentary) is called “Club Monster.” It is the kind of trippy, slightly surreal but ultimately startlingly potent snapshot of an era that sticks with you. The filmmakers have captured the hectic, larger-and-more-irrational-than-life mood of the night, but what really gives “Club Monster” its rather breathtakingly bizarre kick are the lead performances of Macaulay ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.5
Friday, 15 August 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
The tremendous affection for him as a director from "Dances with Wolves" was almost wiped out by Kevin Costner's second directorial effort, "The Postman" (which isn't nearly as bad as its reputation insists). With his third outing as a director, "Open Range," Costner may regain a lot of the ground he lost. And then again, he may not. "Open Range" is a Western, slow, moody and carefully wrought, full of tiny, well-chosen details and equipped with a sturdy plot that hearkens back to many Western classics of the past. But it is also deliberately paced; many of today's viewers may consider it slow and uninvolving, but for those with a taste for the classical moviemaking style, for a film that insists on depicting its characters as fully as possible, "Open Range" may pay great rewards. It certainly did for me. It's not ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
Friday, 08 August 2003 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
“S.W.A.T.” is a by-the-book yet still exciting and enjoyable cop actioner that is so breezily cinematic and uncheesy that it comes as a bit of a surprise to recall that it is in fact based on a ‘70s TV series. About the only holdover camp factors still visible from that era are the names of one or two characters (even the considerable credible toughness of Samuel L. Jackson isn’t entirely enough to justify calling him “Hondo”) – otherwise, this is all straight-ahead stuff with the kind of physicality and strong structure that lets us take it seriously on its own terms. S.W.A.T. partners Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner) are part of a team that successfully shuts down a bank robbery in progress. Gamble, however, wings a hostage, and in the ensuing internal political scrimmage, he quits. Street ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Wednesday, 06 August 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Some movie ideas work well when dusted off and refurbished. The best version of "The Maltese Falcon," for example, was the third one (with Bogart). "Freaky Friday" has also been filmed by Disney twice before, once in 1977 with Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster, and again for television in 1995, with Shelley Long and Gabby Hoffman. This third version is, again, imaginative, funny and well-acted; it has been very carefully updated, and new issues are introduced. But the basic story remains the same: mom and her teenage daughter swap bodies for a day, much to their shock. And each learns a very great lessons from this magical event; they wind up closer than before. The movies were all adapted from the novel by Mary Rodgers; the basic idea, of course, has turned up in other movies as well. But the new ...
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