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Theatrical (390)

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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 05 December 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
"The Last Samurai" clearly wants to be one of those great adventure movies that are solidly rooted in the main character, like "Dances with Wolves," "Braveheart" and "Gladiator." It even has one of the same writers as "Gladiator." It's a period piece, starting in 1876, features a central character who's confronted with harder tasks than he was expecting, and includes several spectacular battle scenes. The movie is handsomely produced, clearly very expensive (locations included Japan, New Zealand and Burbank) with masses of extras. But it's not exactly an epic; the biggest battle scene, at the end, is certainly an epic one, but most of the film is set in a scenic hillside encampment in Japan. Although the film is populous, everything really pivots on only two characters, US Army Captain Nathan Algren and noble samurai Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe, who’s excellent with ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 26 November 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
There's so much that's outstanding about "The Missing" that the weaknesses somewhat fade into the background, but most will be aware that at 135 minutes, the movie is just too damned long. Still and all, for those with a fondness for Westerns, it's a great year when two good ones are released, this and "Open Range." Furthermore, it's a serious, even grim movie; its dourness is relieved at times with salty dialog, both spoken and, when in Spanish or Chiricahua, subtitled. Tommy Lee Jones gives an especially strong performance in a period in which he usually has been appearing in less serious movies. Cate Blanchett is completely believable as Maggie Gilkeson, a single frontier wife in 1885 New Mexico. She's a tough survivor, running a small cattle ranch with the help of a couple of cowboys and her two daughters, teenaged ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 21 November 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
I expected a dreadful movie -- I find Mike Myers revolting in everything he's done to date. Like a lot of movie stars who come from sketch comedy, he hasn't shown the slightest inclination of being able to build a character. He plays a few very specific traits, and that's it. In his case, he also clearly -- all too dismayingly clearly -- is convinced that he's a comic genius. To me, the only comedian who was ever able to show that he thought he was funny and BE funny was Red Skelton. And I watched Red Skelton. Mike Myers is no Red Skelton. He's not even a Tim Conway (another comedian who telegraphs his unshakable belief that he's a riot). I found the first two Austin Powers movies to be occasionally amusing, but also dismayingly horrible. I'm fairly easygoing, and ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 21 November 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
French director Mathieu Kassovitz ("The Crimson Rivers") makes his American debut with "Gothika," the latest production from Dark Castle Entertainment. That's the company started by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis; their first two productions were remakes of William Castle movies, "House on Haunted Hill" and "13 Ghosts." This new one is not a Castle remake, but it's so hackneyed and obvious that it might as well be a remake of a movie nobody remembered. Halle Berry stars as prison psychologist Miranda Grey, who deals with inmates like Chloe (Penelope Cruz), who confuses being raped by her stepfather with a steamy affair with the devil. Miranda's husband, Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton), is the head of the psychiatric division at the prison. Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.), another psychiatrist, admires her from a respectful distance. While driving home one night in a ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 14 November 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
This lavish naval adventure is both superbly produced and unusually austere, telling a very simple story clearly and well. There's not a trace of melodrama, of the kind of plot reversals usually found in adventures, nothing other than the tale of the HMS Surprise and her pursuit of the French privateer Acheron. The voyage takes both ships down the coast of Brazil, around Cape Horn, and north in the Pacific to the Galapagos Islands. It's intensely realistic, with period details rendered as accurately as possible, and features another rich performance from Russell Crowe, here playing Jack Aubrey, captain of the Surprise. Because the story is limited just to the encounters between the two warships -- the movie opens and closes with their two major sea battles -- some audiences will be perplexed. Except for a brief meeting between the British ship ...
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