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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 26 March 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, clearly have chutzpah to spare: they’ve remade one of the most highly-regarded black comedies of all time, 1955’s “The Ladykillers.” And they’ve done a pretty good job of it, too. It’s not as droll as the original—droll is a hard tone to reach—and it’s kind of pokey in the middle stretches. They’re also going for a more completely comic approach than did the original, and they usually succeed. Finally, however good Tom Hanks is, he’s not as good as Alec Guinness (I suspect Hanks would agree), who in the original picture gave one of his most colorful performances, partly a brilliant impression of the great Alistair Sim, complete to wearing false teeth that resembled Sim’s. Hanks’ performance is colorful in its own way, and he also is wearing fake teeth. He never quite gets a ...
Editor's rating: 
Saturday, 20 March 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
At first, remaking a sequel, of all things, seemed like a goofy, misbegotten idea. (This does seem to be the very first remake of any sequel, ever.) On second glance, though, the original “Dawn of the Dead” was essentially a stand-alone movie; all that the audience needed to know was that in this world, corpses were returning to life and attacking the living in order to (drool, slobber) eat them. The distinguishing element of the George Romero movie—his best—was that most of it was set in a shopping mall where a few living people have barricaded themselves against the living dead. So remaking that particular sequel wasn’t as brain-dead (you should pardon the expression) an idea as it initially seemed. Maybe something marginal could be wrested out of the elementary material. The surprise is that something terrific has been wrested out of ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 19 March 2004 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
Much of the rest of the film is a flashback, in which we learn that Joel and Clementine actually knew each other before – in fact, they were lovers – but they’ve just forgotten about it. No, the relationship wasn’t a deeply unmemorable one-night stand. Clementine was so upset after an argument that she had an unorthodox procedure done to erase Joel from her mind. When Joel finds out about this, he is so distraught that he arranges to have the procedure done as well. Once it’s underway, he changes his mind and doesn’t want to lose Clementine in every single way, but can he stop the process? What the script by Charlie Kaufman, who created the story with director Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth, does very well is convince us that love is present in the first place, so that ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 12 March 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
“Secret Window” is a frustrating movie. Writer-director David Koepp skillfully plants clues to his surprise ending throughout the film. The acting is very good, and Koepp and Johnny Depp work together very well. Koepp has learned from Hitchcock and other experts in suspense thrillers and includes a good deal of humor, particularly through Depp’s quirky, inventive performance. The score by Philip Glass isn’t one of the composer’s most inventive, but it’s well-suited to the movie. The photography by Fred Murphy and the production design by Howard Cummings are expert, with great use made of scenic Canadian locations (standing in for upstate New York). But the movie stubbornly refuses to work. The central problem is that the plot, which Koepp treats as if it’s stunningly original, is all too familiar. It’s not quite the utter failure in this regard that, say, “Twisted” was, ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 12 March 2004 ,  Written by Bill Warren
IMAX films are a category unto themselves; for years, the image has been everything, taking us on travelogue-like journeys, including into space, under the sea and into towering mountain ranges. The gigantic images sweep over you, drawing you almost into the movie—especially, of course, when it’s also in 3D. Australian Simon Wincer is best known for movies featuring animals, often horses; he’s done “Phar Lap” and “Free Willy.” His work is variable; “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” wasn’t much, but “Quigley Down Under” had its charms. He’s now turned to IMAX; his “The Young Black Stallion” was released in that format last winter, and now he brings us “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience.” It’s a surprisingly detailed and informative documentary, swiftly and vividly taking us through the history of the sport of stock car racing. The great names are evoked: Richard Petty, ...
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