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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 14 May 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
Peter Jackson and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy may have set an impossibly high standard for movies about epic ancient battles. On the one hand, this is unfair, and on the other, the thought is just about unavoidable in Troy, not so much because the battle scenes themselves are lacking, but rather because much of what surrounds them – while ostensibly based on history – seems somehow less naturalistic than a story involving hobbits and orcs. “Troy” opens with a scene of Greek king/general Agamemnon (Brian Cox) agreeing to avert a full-scale battle with another kingdom by letting the dispute be settled by their respective champions. This introduces us to Greek military hero Achilles (Brad Pitt), the most famous soldier in the known world. The glory-loving Agamemnon can’t bear the fact that a mere fighter is more acclaimed than ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 16 April 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
In “Vol. 1,” we saw one-time super-assassin Black Mamba, aka the Bride (Uma Thurman) get shot in the head at what appears to be her wedding (in “Vol. 2,” we learn it was the wedding rehearsal) by ex-boss/lover Bill (David Carradine). Bill brought in his whole Deadly Viper Assassination Squad – younger brother Budd (Michael Madsen), one-eyed Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), gangster chieftain O-Ren Ishiiii (Lucy Liu) and hitwoman turned housewife Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) – to shoot up the event. The Bride survives a four-year coma, wakes up and sets out on a course of revenge. In “Vol. 1,” she has a spectacular fight with Vernita and a mindblowing climactic setpiece in which she fights her way through an entire army of bodyguards to get to O-Ren. This leaves Budd, Elle and of course Bill to deal with ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 09 April 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
About 50 years ago, the Disney company set American children on fire with TV episodes, later movies, about Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, as embodied by Fess Parker. “The Alamo,” also from Disney, isn’t likely to generate the same reaction, even though the best thing about the movie is Billy Bob Thornton as a much more realistically portrayed David Crockett. (He considers “Davy Crockett” to be a glorious image he can’t really live up to.) The movie was originally scheduled to be directed by Ron Howard, but for various reasons—usually cited as budget and disagreement over approach—he abandoned the movie and it was directed instead by John Lee Hancock, whose “The Rookie” (2002) featured a great performance by Dennis Quaid. Quaid’s in “The Alamo,” too, as Sam Houston, but his performance is far from great. The same is true of ...
Friday, 02 April 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Supposedly “Home on the Range” is the last standard animated cartoon—that is, consisting of hand-made drawings, no computers involved—ever to be made by the Disney Studio. This is like Ford announcing they’re only going to be making trucks from now on: it is the end of an era. The Disney studio proved that cartoons could be done as feature films, and from 1938 until a few years ago, such movies were their principal claim to fame. The traditionally-animated “Treasure Planet” did spectacularly badly at the boxoffice while “Finding Nemo” (in computer graphics animation) became one of the biggest grossing movies in entertainment history, perhaps THE biggest. The yahoos who now run Disney decided that this proved that 2D (cartoon) animation was dead, and that CG animation was the only way to go. This is a foolish, short-sighted decision that ignores tradition ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 02 April 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
“Hellboy” is based on a comic book, but you may never have heard of it. The creation of writer-artist Michael Mignola, it’s definitely a success, and has a strong fan following. They should be delighted with the movie Guillermo del Toro has made; so should most audiences. There’s not a lot that’s new here—superhero defends the planet from supervillain out to destroy it—but as with all genre fiction, it’s not the content but the style that’s most important. And “Hellboy” has style to spare. The movie has been in the works for a long while, with del Toro (“The Devil’s Backbone,” “Blade II”) set to write and direct. The project was delayed because both he and Mignola wanted one and only one actor for the leading role: Ron Perlman. They got him, and surely anyone who sees this movie will have ...
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