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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 24 September 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
“The Last Shot” is an amiable, even cheerful tale that never quite coalesces into a fully-developed entry. There’s too much going on, the point of view is not well established, and it’s all disappointingly bland. This is screenwriter Jeff Nathanson’s first movie as a director; he wrote “The Terminal” and “Catch Me If You Can,” but also “Speed 2” and “Rush Hour 2,” so his record is spotty. Here, his script might have been served better if it had been helmed by a more experienced director. In 1985, Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) is a veteran FBI agent willing to take big chances—he allows suspects to cut off his finger just to get firm goods on them. But he’s exiled in Houston; his brother Jack (Ray Liotta) is evidently the one holding Joe back. But he’s also the one who assigns Joe ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 24 September 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
“The Forgotten” has as its theme the power of memory and of a mother’s love. This theme could have been expressed in many ways, of course, but the filmmakers have chosen one of the most unusual—even improbable. The result is that the handsome (if too dark) movie hovers uncertainly between being remarkably good and being a total crock. Explaining just how it does this would require revealing far too many spoilers; let’s just say the story is a peculiar amalgam of an urban New York drama, “The X-Files” and “Signs.” It seems clearly one kind of movie for the first third, but turns into something else. When Julianne Moore suddenly realizes what’s really going on and suggests this idea to Dominic West, his response “I’m having a National Enquirer moment” rings true—many in the audience will feel the same way. The ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 17 September 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
In the tradition of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” (though not from the makers of those films), “Wimbledon” is a charming, cheerful and reasonably intelligent romantic comedy featuring a slightly shy Englishman who falls for a brash American woman. The twist here is that both Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) and Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst) are both professional tennis players. Peter, once ranked 11th in the world, is now a lowly 119th. He has been reduced to accepting an offer to be the on-site tennis pro at a club (albeit a very high-end establishment), so he’s surprised to find he’s made it again into the famed Wimbledon tournament. Nobody expects Peter to do well – in fact, his younger brother Carl (James McAvoy) plans to pick up some cash betting against him. Lizzie, on the other hand, is the ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 10 September 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
Despite some whopping plot coincidences and improbabilities, “Cellular” turns out to be a winning thriller. Writer Chris Morgan, working from a story by Larry Cohen, and director David R. Ellis handle serve up dire matters with a breakneck pace, yet find time for lots of grace notes, humor and affection for the characters. There actually turns out to be a perfectly plausible reason why five men break into the Martin home and kidnap wife/mother/science teacher Jessica (Kim Basinger). Jessica really has never seen these guys before in her life and truthfully swears she has no idea what they want with her. Jessica’s kidnapers don’t believe her and swear to snatch her 11-year-old son from school if she won’t aid them. The men lock Jessica in the attic of a strange house, smashing the telephone in the room. However, left alone, Jessica ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 06 August 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Michael Mann returns to the streets of L.A., which he depicted so well in “Heat,” with this very suspenseful thriller pitting an intelligent hit man against a sharp-witted cab driver. It takes place in one night from just before sundown to sunrise, and runs the gamut emotionally: it’s occasionally funny, frequently shocking, and almost always taut with tension. It reaches a climax at a Korean night club—and then sustains that climax for almost another half hour, winding up on a nearly-deserted commuter train. Mann’s earliest films, such as “Thief,” were pretentious and annoying, so clear was his devout belief that he was bringing Art to the realm of the crime movie. But from “The Last of the Mohicans” onward, his movies have been well above average (“Ali” being the weakest of the lot, and that was good, too). He’s always fancied ...
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