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Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 08 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Clint Eastwood's moody, dark movie of Dennis Lehane's novel "Mystic River" is one of his best films as a director, topped only by "Unforgiven." This new film examines the result of a childhood trauma on three boyhood friends, and the ever-widening circles of other people it affects, directly and indirectly. It's a very somber film, shot in cold, steely colors, focused clearly on the story and the characters. As usual, Eastwood does not engage in any directorial flourishes, but instead concentrates on telling a tale, and about those involved. The well-crafted script is by Brian Helgeland. Sean, Jimmy and Dave are friends, about 12, living in the same suburb in south Boston, near the Mystic River. Like everyone else in the neighborhood, they're Irish Catholic, from the lower economic class. While the boys are playing stick hockey in the street, engaging ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 03 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Richard Linklater seems on the verge of a career like that of Steven Soderbergh: you don't know what door he's coming through next. He established a reputation primarily with "Slackers" and "Dazed and Confused," then dazed and confused critics with the later releases "Tape" and, especially, "Waking Life," an animated feature about personal philosophies. Now he turns up with a movie much more conventional than anything he's made before. The story is a variation on the "great teacher" theme, combined with "loser wises up" elements. But it's a hell of a lot of fun, largely thanks to Jack Black and a schoolroom full of phenomenally talented ten-year-olds. It's not enough that every kid gives a good performance, most of them are also impressively skilled musicians, for therein lies the story. Jack Black is hard to cast; he's been in movies longer than ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 03 October 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
In case you haven't noticed, in the last 15, 20 years, a subgenre of crime novel has arisen down there in Florida. Launched by Elmore Leonard, who's set many of his novels there, the late Charles Willeford, who wrote several outstanding Florida-based crime stories, and the still-busy Carl Hiaasen and James W. Hall. Most of these novels have a similar flavor, so to speak; they take place out in the bright Florida sun, often down in the Keys; the central characters are often cops at the end of their tether, or private eyes (or semi-private eyes, like Hall's "Thorn"). The main characters are usually long-time Florida residents, and often have ties of friendship or enmity that go back a long while. The novels are full of twists and turns, unlikely characters (like Hiaasen's ex-Florida governor who lives in trees and ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 26 September 2003 ,  Written by Abbie Bernstein
“Luther” is a historical drama that is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, it deals with one of those enormous tide-turning events that everybody knows happened, though most people haven’t got the foggiest idea of how or why; for another, it is made with genuine passion that shines through even some of the more overwrought areas. Finally, thanks to cinematographer Robert Fraisse and production designer Rolf Zehetbauer, it looks fairly terrific – there are moments when we seem to be watching a Rembrandt painting brought to life. The one thing that just about everybody knows about Martin Luther is that he had an entire branch of Christianity named after him. Many people know also that he angered the Catholic Church of his day – the first part of the 17th century – by nailing a list of complaints ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 12 September 2003 ,  Written by Bill Warren
Just as Sergio Leone went from big scale to epic when he moved from the second "Dollar" movie to "Once Upon a Time in the West," so Robert Rodriguez arrives at epic scale for "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," the third in his "El Mariachi"/"Desperado" series. Or maybe it's a sequel only to "Desperado," which was more a remake of the $7,000 "El Mariachi" than a sequel. And then again maybe not. Rodriguez is clearly uninterested in linear connections between his movies, so we needn't be, either. As the title says, the movie is set in Mexico, apparently in the present. Johnny Depp is CIA Agent Sands, a figure whose goals remain mysterious even at the end; it's impossible to tell if we are to regard him as kind of a hero or sort of a villain, and that may ...
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