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Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Friday, 07 November 2003 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
Just in time to get everybody in tune with the holiday spirit – the one that actually is about love, not loot – comes writer Richard Curtis’ directorial debut, “Love Actually.” The title is short for the opening observation that “love actually is all around,” despite popular opinion to the contrary, and Curtis makes a good case for it with whimsy, a true sense of romance, a great cast and dialogue that lives up to the past promise of his scripts for “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill.” Curtis gives us a contemporary London where everything is interconnected – part of the fun here is in discovering some of the less obvious links. The timeframe is the five weeks leading up to Christmas (with a brief epilogue). No sooner does the new Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) take office than ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
Wednesday, 05 November 2003 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
To lend credence to the title to this third and last installment in what has turned out to be a cinematic trilogy, 2000’s original “The Matrix” did indeed revolutionize virtual reality as both a science-fiction subgenre and as a visual effects format. However often it is spoofed or copied, there’s no arguing with the electrifying impact of seeing Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, suspended in time and mid-air, rotating in place and then delivering a neck-breaking kick, bullets so slowed down that they can easily be caught between the palms of Keanu Reeves’ Neo or the whole premise that the world we know is really just a framework – i.e., the Matrix – dreamed up by machines to keep humans lulled and sleeping, so that we can serve as a power source for the huge mechanical minds. The two “Matrix” sequels, “The ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
Friday, 24 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
So now we're one from the end -- Disney has only one more cartoon animation feature to release, and then they're shutting down their cartoon division for good. In other words, the format that created the studio, that established the Disney name, that has delighted the world for more than 75 years, is coming to an end. Hundreds of employees have already been fired -- and one poor guy, realizing his hard-learned skills, talent and imagination no longer have a place in the world, killed himself. While "Brother Bear" is a charming, entertaining and occasionally touching movie, it's minor stuff with a story that never quite lives up to its obvious potential. Still, it's worth seeing, especially if you have kids or are yourself an animation buff. An unusual trick of presentation, previously seen only in "Brainstorm" and "The Horse Whisperer," ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
Friday, 17 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
A few years ago, it seemed you couldn't throw a stick at a multiplex without hitting a poster for either a Steven King movie or one based on a book by John Grisham. The vogue for King movies dwindled somewhat, but Grisham adaptations faded away altogether. That is, until "Runaway Jury," a sleek, polished adaptation of one of Grisham's later novels. Of course it deals with attorneys and a prominent trial, and of course it has some surprising twists and turns. However, the result of one of the twists is that the moral underpinning of the story pretty much vanishes -- everyone in the story, except principled attorney Dustin Hoffman, is revealed as a greedy, unethical swine. This does not make for fun viewing -- it's hard to feel concerned for characters who are as cold-blooded and avaricious as these seem ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.0
Friday, 10 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
It's been a long time since Quentin Tarantino's last movie, "Jackie Brown," and to the surprise of reviewers everywhere, he's gone galloping off in an entirely new direction. Directors such as John Landis, Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg and others were inspired by the movies of their childhoods, and so is Tarantino. But he's recalling movies of the 1970s that were even more disreputable than those the earlier filmmakers were saluting. "Kill Bill" is a surprisingly graceful and loving tribute to, fond imitation of, and slight spoof of the mostly Asian action films of that period which tended to play in second-rate theaters, at drive ins and on late night TV. Those were violent movies, with plots driven by revenge and characters who were often martial-arts assassins, gangsters or both. They were tough and direct to the point of self-parody, and ...
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