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Frida

Genre: Drama

Julie Taymor's FRIDA is a solidly entertaining biopic that's as easy to admire as a Grant Wood painting.

Julie Taymor's FRIDA is a solidly entertaining biopic that's as easy to admire as a Grant Wood painting, which is surprising since the movie tells the story of controversial Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. At its worst it's like a paint-by-numbers picture, but at its best...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

Supposedly, just before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes.

Supposedly, just before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. Something similar happens to aging baseball pitcher Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) in the aptly named, FOR LOVE OF THE GAME. Throwing what may well be his last game, his entire life flashes by him as he struggles with over-the-hill muscles to eke out one last valiant effort. He is "40 years old, arm weary and achy," says the game's announcer. This last game of his, perhaps, just perhaps, might even be one for the record books. Then again, maybe not. His arm gives out quickly these days, and he's been only 8-11 this season. Some people stop to smell the roses. ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

To paraphrase Joyce Kilmer's famous poem, boys are made by fools like me, but only Dr. Wells can make a copy.

To paraphrase Joyce Kilmer's famous poem, boys are made by fools like me, but only Dr. Wells can make a copy. GODSEND, a science fiction horror movie with a single idea (cloning), is directed lamely by Nick Hamm, whose last film was the equally inept THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU (internationally titled MARTHA, MEET FRANK, DANIEL AND LAURENCE). A by-the-numbers thriller, GODSEND plays like a bad TV movie that somehow attracted a good cast. Robert De Niro phones in his performance as Dr. Richard Wells, a fertility expert with a secret, monster-sized clinic in the middle of nowhere. He mysteriously shows up at the funeral of eight-year-old Adam ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

HIGH CRIMES, which reunites KISS THE GIRLS's Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.

HIGH CRIMES, which reunites KISS THE GIRLS's Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, is an entertaining mystery and thriller by director Carl Franklin (ONE FALSE MOVE). Set during a military trial that sometimes resembles a kangaroo court, the story is filled with devilish machinations and partially predictable but nonetheless satisfying twists. The plot, involving a military cover-up, isn't the most original, but the adroit cast and crew milk it for all its worth. You'll jump, you'll cheer, you'll laugh and you'll be rooting for the defense team. In short, you'll have a good time. The thriller gets in gear when Tom (James Caviezel, FREQUENCY), ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

MULAN, which we saw being developed in Disney's Florida studios.

MULAN, which we saw being developed in Disney's Florida studios, is the first Disney animated movie produced on the East Coast. The animators we talked with said that they relished the creative freedom that being so far removed from corporate headquarters afforded them. And, as in any skunkworks, the workers used their independence to build the product they most wanted - forget those suits back at headquarters. The impressive result, although not as spectacular as some of Disney's recent offerings, bodes well for this isolated, creative team. Filmed in medium blues with warm rose accents, the animation is handsome albeit not up to ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

A lifeless, mean-spirited film, it arrives DOA at your local theater today.

BEAUTIFUL isn't. A lifeless, mean-spirited film, it arrives DOA at your local theater today. Advertised as a comedy, the picture, thanks to Sally's Field's inept direction and Jon Bernstein's dull script, is, instead, a depressing drama. With beauty pageants as its subject, BEAUTIFUL should have been an easy success. Is there anything easier to satirize than beauty pageants? Last year's marvelously funny DROP DEAD GORGEOUS showed what is possible. Even if BEAUTIFUL can't rise to that level, does it have to be so painful to watch? Every performance is gratingly awful, and all the roles are badly miscast. Attractive Minnie Driver, as ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

Texas -- not that you'll care.

In Louis Morneau's BATS, these unnecessarily maligned creatures are noshing on the residents of Gallop, Texas -- not that you'll care. A direct rip-off of THE BIRDS, although without any of its suspense and with no improvements in the special effects over Hitchcock's 1963 classic, this cheap-looking movie never rises above the level of a popcorn flick. Check your brain at the door, order lots of snacks from the concession stand and eat slowly. You won't exactly be entertained, but you'll probably stay awake as you munch away. So which actors set off your casting red flags? For me they include Lou Diamond Phillips and Burt Reynolds, ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

CASA DE LOS BABYS is a preachy story about six neurotic.

John Sayles's CASA DE LOS BABYS is a preachy story about six neurotic, American women: Skipper (Daryl Hannah), Nan (Marcia Gay Harden), Gayle (Mary Steenburgen), Leslie (Lili Taylor), Jennifer (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Eileen (Susan Lynch). They are all getting cranky, having spent a couple of months in hotel rooms while waiting for the bureaucrats of some unnamed Latin American country to approve their adoption of local babies. The movie, which might work as a play, has two modes. In one, it keeps lecturing us about the pervasive poverty in this Spanish speaking country. The poorest kids steal out of necessity, and the slightly better off...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

CARANDIRU, by director Hector Babenco, is a harrowing movie, based on a true story.

CARANDIRU, by director Hector Babenco (THE KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN and IRONWEED), is a harrowing movie, based on a true story, set and filmed in a real Brazilian prison. Housing 8,000 prisoners, Carandiru was one of the largest in the world before it was recently demolished. Although intriguing, the film is way too long and is narratively all over the map, varying from a fictionalized documentary to an almost surreal soap opera and comedy. Watching the movie, you find yourself increasingly ignoring the stories -- a prisoner/medic smokes crack while sewing up a fellow prisoner with a finger almost severed by a rat bite, and another ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

The bad news about EMPIRE is that it isn't a parody.

"For everybody -- everybody! -- money is what life is all about," Vic Rosa (John Leguizamo) lectures us in voice-over in one of his many pedantic sermons. Vic compares himself to entrepreneurs past and present, including John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. Vic, a local heroin kingpin, is in charge of the drug dealing territory of the Bronx that he calls the Empire. The area is such a rich mother lode that just twenty disputed feet between it and the next gang's turf are worth twenty-thousand dollars a week in revenue. EMPIRE, written and directed by Franc Reyes, comes out with its rhetorical guns blazing, as it takes on capitalism by ...

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Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 5 years ago

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