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Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 07 July 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
The advertising for “King Arthur” trumpets loudly that this is, at last, the true story. Okay, maybe it is (probably not), but was anyone really yearning to see a tale of King Arthur stripped of all romance, all beauty, all mysticism and magic? This outing is set in the 5th century A.D., as the Romans are preparing to abandon Britain. The script by David Franzoni never makes clear why this—or many another event—is happening, but everyone is all upset about it. That is, except for Arthur (Clive Owen), leader of the “knights” of the Round Table. All except Arthur are Sarmatian captives yearning to return home, somewhere in Central Europe. No, I hadn’t heard of the Sarmatians before this either, but they were real, and well-known as great horsemen. We learn very late in the movie that Arthur is Roman on ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 02 July 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
“De-Lovely” is a musical biography of songwriter Cole Porter, a genius of the 20th century – especially 20th-century musical theatre – whose life would be somewhat unconventional even now (though probably for different reasons than it was in his day). Directed by Irwin Winkler and written by Jay Cocks, “De-Lovely” aims to integrate Porter’s words and music commented on his life while at the same time giving us a portrait of an unusual marriage. It’s a sometimes entertaining and good-hearted attempt, but it is flawed in several respects: it’s got an uncomfortable framing device and for a story about a man who’s in conflict between friendly love and sexual desire, it’s remarkably devoid of actual desire. We meet Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) as he’s dying in 1964. He’s visited in an empty theatre by a mysterious stranger, Gabe (Jonathan Pryce), who ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 30 June 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Two years ago, “Spider-Man” was the most eagerly-anticipated movie of the summer. It turned out to be terrific, and was a smash hit the world over. “Spider-Man 2” is even better, and very likely will be an even greater success. This is so widely expected that other studios have moved their films out of conflict with “Spidey 2.” The filmmakers took a bold approach; instead of emphasizing the action sequences and expanding on them, they have increased the emphasis on the characters. Of course there still is plenty of great action scenes with Spidey pitted against one of his most memorable foes from the comics, Doctor Octopus. There has never been a movie creature quite like Doctor Octopus: a man-sized creature moving in air with tentacles. Doc Ock is awesome. Again directed by Sam Raimi, “Spider-Man 2” has a story by Alfred ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 25 June 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Annaud has returned to that approach with “Two Brothers,” the story of a pair of tiger cubs, separated from their mother and each other, and what befalls them as they grow to young adults. This could not have been an easy movie to make; tigers are not the most trainable of cats, and while Annaud was concerned with the safety of his cast, two- and four-legged, there are some scenes which are disturbing in their fierce realism. The movie was made mostly in Southeast Asia with a large number of tigers “playing” characters in the movie; he needed cubs of several ages to play the two brothers of the title, called Kumal and Sangha by the people who raise them after they’re taken from their mother. The story is set in the early 20th century, when the world was more wild. Near ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 25 June 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 turns out to be merely one factor among many in documentarian Michael Moore’s ambitious “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which uses both footage from various sources and audio commentary that encompasses everything from the hotly debated 2000 presidential elections to President Bush’s decision proceed with a visit to a classroom full of children (shown here in video footage) even after he is informed about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center to relatively recent casualties (seen in fairly graphic footage) on both sides in Iraq. Moore has several overall points. One is that the current U.S. government, headed by President George W. Bush is (to put it very mildly) doing a bad job of running the country. Another is that the U.S. administration, headed by Bush, used the events of Sept. 11 to justify actions that have ...
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