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Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Wednesday, 15 December 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
The first rule of boxing, we’re told, is “protect yourself at all times.” But though this movie deals with boxers and is rarely far from the ring, it’s not about boxing, but about relationships. And though you can try to apply that same rule to relations with other people, if you’re human, you can’t. Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) thinks he has done what’s necessary to protect himself, but he’s not the cold guy he pretends to be. That’s his salvation and, sadly, his sorrow. However, Eastwood knows, and wants us to know, that despite what happens to Frankie, he’d rather have gone through all this than not. You’ll probably feel the same way. “Million Dollar Baby” is one of the best films of Eastwood’s career as a boxer. It doesn’t have the emotional complexity of “Mystic River,” nor the shattering effect ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
Friday, 10 December 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
If you liked “Ocean’s Eleven” back in 2001, you’ll probably enjoy “Ocean’s Twelve” as well. Virtually the entire cast has been reassembled, a few guest stars are tossed in, and it’s shot on attractive European locations (rather than Las Vegas), including Amsterdam, Paris and several parts of Italy. It’s more of a goof than the first film, both a virtue and a defect. In the first movie, we were introduced to the team of experienced thieves assembled by master thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney), and followed them as they stole almost two hundred million bucks from Vegas casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). “Ocean’s Twelve” is briskly paced for most of its length, slowing down abruptly at about the 3/4 mark, but it wraps itself up smartly. The most telling flaw is that the script (this time by George Nolfi) isn’t ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.5
Friday, 03 December 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
“Closer” is not a romantic comedy—the concept of romance rarely raises its head and the film is too biting and caustic to be funny, though it’s often witty. The title is somewhat ironic, although not entirely: these four people do get closer, but never close enough. It’s based on Patrick Marber’s 1997 play; his screenplay is as tightly-focused as the play must have been—there are only four characters; no one else even has dialog (other than in passing). It covers four years in the lives of these people, but we see only the beginnings and ends of the love affairs at the center. It’s not as bitter as director Mike Nichol’s earlier “Carnal Knowledge” or as harsh as his debut movie, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”—at the end there’s a hint of a promising future for one character—but is as ...
Editor's rating: 
 1.5
Wednesday, 24 November 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Alexander
The first hour or so of “Alexander” is engrossing and beautiful, in much the style you’d want in a big-scale telling of the story of Alexander the Great. He was such an astonishing figure in history that it doesn’t require any exaggeration to make him fabulous: he WAS fabulous. By the time he was 32, he had conquered all of the world known to his contemporaries; he’d gone further East—into India—than any other Greek leader. He had conquered all of what’s now Turkey and the Middle East, defeating even the army of the Persians, which greatly outnumbered his own forces. He never lost a battle. He one of the few historical characters worthy of being called “the Great.” Historians wrote of him even when he was alive, so we actually know a bit more about him than we do other people ...
Editor's rating: 
 2.5
Friday, 19 November 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
This action-adventure with an unusually complicated backstory seems to be aimed at the same audience as “Pirates of the Caribbean.” That is to say, the family crowd; it received a relatively innocuous PG rating, and is lighter and more frothy than any Indiana Jones adventure. Trouble is that it starts out like Indiana Jones and winds up like Lara Croft: it goes from intriguing, exciting and amusing, to dully spectacular, fracturing credibility as part of this descent. Jerry Bruckheimer, not unexpectedly, produced, though it’s directed by a miscast Jon Turteltaub. He knows how comedic adventures should look, but he’s weak on timing; lots of gags just lie there due to a lack of the razor-sharp editing and precise acting timing this kind of thing requires. These requirements also elude screenwriters Jim Kouf and Cormac & Marianne Wibberly; they know that movies ...
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