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So bloody close ...
A peck on the cheek ...
Spend movie $$$ on lipgloss instead ...
Half of a lip is never a good thing ...
The Pianist

Let’s just say that anyone who has the balls to whine about buying a roll of duct tape needs a big slap in the face. Director Roman Polanski’s film recounts Polish-Jewish Pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman’s stumbled survival through the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Adrien Brody, as Szpilman, makes every moment of this descent into hell so palpable that it feels like we are him as he quickly goes from a privileged lifestyle to that of a hopeless, slave-like, existence. That this is one man’s story in a monstrous sea of so many other nightmares gives great chill. What truly resonates though is the starvation. Brody gets skeletal to deliver a desperate, infinite hunger that breaks him again and again. The kindness of strangers also rebounds as Szpilman keeps thin pace to survive with the help of a surprising array of allies. As poignant testament, he never loses his passion for the piano or the music that lingers at his fingertips. Though extremely sad and depressing, the twist is that walking away from this movie will make you feel overwhelmingly fortunate. P.S. Regarding that duct tape, TRUST ME, in the end it won’t mean a damn thing if you don’t have a can opener.


Based on the Marvel comic Daredevil, this is familiar movie territory by now … underdog dons a costume and fights evil … audience is mesmerized, buys tons of popcorn and the world is saved. WRONG! Since hitting the bullseye is such a big deal in this unintentional comedy, I will take aim at the biggest flaw: Mr. Ben Affleck get thee out of the painted-on, red, leather bodysuit and go home. It’s quite simply hard to watch the entire movie due to the fact that Ben, as Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil, is in nearly every scene and sporting that is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-toupee-hair and those want-to-beat-the-shite-out-of-them-smirking-lips. Although there is a lengthy opening voiceover (always a bad sign) which goes on and on AND ON to create some semblance of a setup (kid blinded in freak chemical accident, father murdered by mystery man, kid grows up to avenge all evil etc.), oddities like Matt Murdock suddenly popping up from a good night’s sleep in a coffin like tub filled with water and his penchant for diving off high rise buildings when he clearly could have just taken the stairs are not made as clear. Thank God for Jennifer Garner, as Elektra, who is absolutely fabulous…when she FINALLY appears in the most stylish white, cotton, eyelet camisole ever there is a glimmer of hope that all will be saved … but, alas, she’s not enough to keep the cringe at bay as Ben keeps hovering. Even Colin Farrell, as the unapologetic hitman Bullseye, fares better then usual. Again though, each time Colin breaks out the menacing Irish brogue it is cut short by Ben needing to be flicked off of the screen. Sadly, it is shameless how good this movie (MINUS BEN AFFLECK!!) could have been if the plot had been thickened … as it had all of the proper elements for a dark, feudal, tragic hero that lives to fight another day … see it if you are an ALIAS fan and want to support Jennifer Garner … otherwise save your ton of popcorn for a rainy day.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

God help me but I didn’t actually hate this movie … and what the hell is so wrong with a few guilty laughs at the hand of this smarmy tale anyway? Kate Hudson, as Andie Anderson, and Matthew McConaughey, as Benjamin Barry, play a couple thrown together by her fierce magazine deadline to write an article about how to lose a guy in 10 days and his avarice advertising agency bet to land and keep love in the same amount of time. Natch neither is aware of the other’s ulterior motives and the tug of war in on! Sure, sure most of the laugh out loud moments are in the trailer and yet I clearly didn’t mind that either. The jovial one upmanship of the competitive lovebirds helps the pure fluff of it not to sag into uncertain abyss. For once McConaughey is not his usual gelatinous oozing self and even Kate Hudson tames her gag inducing tendencies toward the precious for a more fun-loving glow. In short, there is a lovely chemistry that doesn’t take itself too seriously and enough interesting fashion statements by the magazine girl to keep it scintillating … Vacuous diversion at it’s very best!

The Hours

In the mood to wallow? The Hours stars Nicole Kidman as a depressed Virginia Woolf, Julianne Moore as a depressed 1950’s housewife and Meryl Streep as a depressed modern day editor. In short, they are all at the end of their tethers and with astonishing deftness the camera cuts from one to another and back again as they plunge to the edge of despair. Seemingly random moments … a bird’s funeral, a cake baking fiasco and a party planning nightmare … play out on the screen with exquisite and palpable misery. Based upon Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this film tackles hopelessness and litters the field with dark endings and backlit beginnings. No mention of THE HOURS would be complete without a nod to Kidman’s fake nose a proboscis so masterfully attached that Nicole is lost and Woolf becomes our only concern. Don’t be surprised if this Schnoz takes home the Oscar!


A flawless blend of tap and scandal, this film version of the legendary CHICAGO musical does not disappoint. Although there is plenty of squirm anticipating whether or not the Officer can shuffle ball change or if Bridget Jones can swing her fringe, both Richard Gere and Renee Zellwegger deliver the goods. The unequivocal star though is Catherine Zeta Jones whose moments on the screen seem like dripping morsels that fade too soon … she is electric, ballsy, POW as she hoofs her way to center stage. Although the over the top nature sometimes seems emotionally cold, it’s Viva the musical all the way to the last pivot turn!

About Schmidt

Jack Nicholson, in the title role of Warren Schmidt, puts those famous brows to good use as he expresses volumes with their pained flair and silent fret during this revenge of the quiet man. Schmidt is just retiring as the journey begins and it’s not pretty … a life spent inside the box and besotted to routine has left him undone …when tragedy strikes in the form of his nagging wife’s sudden death, he abruptly discovers that he is not necessary. It is this trigger that sparks one of the greatest Winnebago trips of all time. A man with a mission, Warren heads to Denver to stop his daughter Jeannie’s (Hope Davis) wedding to Randall (Dermot Mulroney) a hair-impaired (Cringe Alert!: this mullet concoction steals every scene), waterbed salesman. The revelations and relationships made along the way including that of no holds barred hot-tub soak with Randall’s mother (Kathy Bates at her naked best!) make the unraveling a treat.


Nicholas Cage pots his belly and thins his hair to portray Charlie Kaufman a frayed screenwriter who has been chosen to adapt the novel ORCHID THIEF for the big screen. As Charlie beats the hell out of his appearance and berates his feverish writing abilities, there are flashbacks to Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), author of the Orchid Thief, as she too goes in search of story and self. In Florida, she finds her orchid thief (Chris Cooper rules!) wading through the Everglades as a toothless wonder who manages to seduce and confuse. As the storylines begin to cross, all hell breaks loose. Adaptation becomes a story within a story, existentially chaotic and wicked to the core in its exposure of life’s insecurities. Great highs - Cage’s excellent performance gives the writer’s journey a tender pink fleshiness … and Great Lows – an ending that explodes like vomit onto the screen … make this film a roller coaster ride worth taking.

Gangs of New York

New York City! The stovepipe hats! See this Martin Scorsese movie for the unearthing of Daniel Day-Lewis and his beyond extraordinary performance of Bill the Butcher as he slices and dices his way through this lawless account of Manhattan’s baby steps into civilization. The Butcher rules all until Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) appears on the scene to avenge his father’s death. Cameron Diaz also gets added to the mix as love interest and pick-pocketing-prostitute. Though the makings are there for the spectacular, scenes seem to fall flat if Day-Lewis isn’t there to terrify the bloody hell out of everyone. Historical NYC as backdrop is a treat yet DiCaprio’s hairless chest does little to instill grit despite a well turned trick or two from Diaz. Again, the film flaws are worth the wading through if only to pine for more of Day-Lewis' 4 LIP Performance … the movie belongs to him and he is enough.

Catch Me if you Can

The chase is on from the stylish beginning credits to the first zoom into the doe-eyed innocence of Leonardo Dicaprio’s portrayal of true-life teen thief Frank Abagnale Jr. A troubled home life and a gift for improvisation plunge 17 year old Frank into a spree of falsely assumed professions including Teacher, Pilot, Doctor and Lawyer. Each delicious career change prompts a new level of paycheck forgery and the eventual theft of millions of dollars via his hand at artistic fraud. To add to the fun, a bevy of unsuspecting beauties are there to bed him along the way. Tom Hanks takes a backseat as the FBI investigator who must hunt the illusive prey in order to capture his pride. The dead-on set design and hopeful 1960’s time period give this film a pleasant champagne glow. Steven Spielberg directs and gets the goods from the stellar cast - Leo groupies can rejoice – he nails this part!

Talk to Her

Many marvelous images flash across the screen during this movie … haunting dance performances, an exquisite look into the costume and crisis of a female bullfighter, a glimpse into the surprisingly empathetic world of a sadly besotted stalker, tender moments with a man who weeps openly for a lost love and the intricate inclusion of the most sensational yet silly silent movie of all time. Within the rich stew of it all, the irony of Pedro Almodolvar’s latest Spanish film is that an ambiguous man’s devotion and love for a ballerina in a coma is an ode to communication. The excellent acting ensemble is superb as they use the silences between to speak volumes. Not every moment is tender and a shocking act tips the balance ... leaving an unsettling sadness to the final resolution ... but the blend of layers is masterful.

Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

This movie is enchanting, majestic and as well made as it gets but forgive me if I am the only person on the planet that is not a hobbit-head by now … it’s not cult but chore that drives me to see the next and the next. This installation is all about the male bonding moment – from hobbit and hobbit, to warrior and elf … the men in this other world are embracing and showing the love. In short, there is a whole lot less of Liv and her pointy ears and a whole lot more of Viggo and his scene stealing battle mode. The incredibly believable computer generated Gollum, a tricky schizophrenic creature who accompanies Frodo on his journey to destroy the ring, is beyond spectacular. Battle scenes are also awesome in scope. All in all, it’s a good show and at 3 hours a more than adequate setup for the climactic final piece to this trilogy puzzle.

Maid in Manhattan

With all of the talk of the excessive entourage and high maintenance of the ever-decadent Jennifer Lopez, don’t we owe it to ourselves to blow two hours watching her changing other people’s dirty bed linens? Slip away to see this movie and discover a softer less shellacked side of the infamous bronze Goddess as she rolls up her sleeves in the character of Marisa the hotel maid. Though itsy-bitsy plot is thinly veiled … who cares? It’s a New York City and glimpses of the inner workings of a fictional Park Avenue Hotel (starring The Waldorf) that entertain.


The next time George Clooney’s ass in the ONLY hype surrounding a new movie release, I’m going to pass. Steven Soderbergh’s S-L-O-W and B-O-R-I-N-G remake of SOLARIS takes place in the sci-fi future as Chris Kelvin (Clooney) struggles to overcome his wife Rheya’s (Natascha McElhone) death. Intertwined with this grief is a trip to a beleaguered spaceship where he is summoned to investigate mysterious occurrences. In no time he is aboard ship and, to his surprise, sharing a cabin with his wife. Flashbacks ensue … their relationship catalogued in sepia tone … the blossom of love … THE ASS … Rheya’s tragic death … but nothing explains how Rheya can be seemingly alive again and beside him in bed on this spaceship. Though Natascha McElhone keeps pace with her unusual beauty and striking bauble eyes, Clooney is a drip and neither the chemistry nor the story compel.


It’s Bigger! It’s Bolder! It’s Better! Harry Potter is back for another death defying year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This time the kids are older and much improved and Daniel Radcliffe, as Potter, is no longer just another John Lennon look-alike. I love this world where “friendly ghost” is not just an expression and after this installment I am all but ready to be a member of the delightfully, eccentric Weasley family. Look for explosive special effects and actors that actually make their conversations with CG creations look believable (unlike that, ahem, CLONE movie). Bonus points to Kenneth Branagh’s debut as the flagrantly vain Gilderoy Lockhart and the always-excellent Alan Rickman as professor Severus Snape (loved the dark eyeliner!). A special warning: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT load up on the beverages at the concession stand - This is a LONG-assed movie (almost 3 hrs).


News Flash - Eminem can act! Or can he? Poetic Rapper, Eminem, does not stretch range to play the part of Poetic Rapper, B. Rabbit, in this less than gritty film about one man’s struggle to dig out of life’s cruel trailer park. Other members of the cast, including a sex-oozing Brittany Murphy, seem to bounce off Eminem with little to no spark. Even Oscar winner Kim Basinger, though desperate to show her naked backside, urges us to turn away as she white-trashes the role of Rabbit’s mother with vacant glances and a sickening penchant for BINGO. There’s good music though (including a marvelous Sweet Home Alabama Rap) and enough scenes of Eminem acting out a satisfying dose of pre-rap-face-off jitters (he pukes into a toilet!) to keep us hanging on. Bottom line … it’s just not that good of a movie … but Eminem drives this acting vehicle with rocket potential. Only time will tell if he can pull off a period piece.


Tremendously lacking in clarity, this movie redeems confusion with glossy style (such beautiful lingerie!) and thriller gusto. Rebecca Romjin-Stamos helms this Brian De Palma film’s lead with an impossible body and merciful limited dialogue (good news though for the less perfect set – she sports visible pores and caked-on zit coverup in certain close-ups!). The plot is convoluted so I won’t even go there … but in the end, if you have invested attention, it thinly comes together. Props to Antonio Bandaras as the first embraceable paparazzi.


Thelma Hayek, as Frida Kahlo, gives it her bushy-eye-browed best in this portrayal of the life and times of the Mexican surrealist artist. Young Frida’s passion, which starts out with a bang of spunk, is tragically redefined over and over again as she struggles to overcome a near fatal accident that leaves her in merciless and lifelong pain. The journey to her signature artistic style is also peppered with romantic highs and lows – including a turbulent open marriage to the pleasantly, plump artist Diego Rivera (excellent -Alfred Molina). Though initially promising, the movie is patchy and gives only dangled tastes of Frida’s exquisite paintings. The intermittent mustache and the visible glue on Selma’s fake unibrow also pose distractions … yet, if you are searching for Frida Kahlo, this movie will open the door to a thirsty interest.


PUNCH-DRUNK-LOVE is absolutely fantastical! It begs that everyone's life be accompanied by full score orchestra soundtrack and superhero power boosts that only love can liberate. Adam Sandler plays, Barry, a sadly, quirky man who does more for the bright blue suit than Bozo ever could. Barry inflates his baggy pants with balloon like anguish and let's the air out when the perils of a lonely life and the nagging pounding of his seven-sadistic-sisters threaten to intoxicate. It takes the big-eyed glance of Lena, Emily Watson, to slip through Barry's neglected chasm. Together they make love a stage upon which Barry becomes the waddling, white knight of all dreams. It's funny and sad and mad and crazy and sweet. It's rage against the sliding glass door as writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a powerful punch. BONUS: Watch joyously as Philip Seymour Hoffman brings full body to his roll as phone-sex pimp!


First of all, the message is clear, we are all a bunch of filthy, tv-watching pigs. Second, going into the theater knowing absolutely nothing about this movie is the best way to see it ... otherwise the thinking-man perched on your right shoulder will not be half as scared. That said, THE RING is a stylish, dark tale of one woman's quest to uncover the mysterious mortal consequences that occur after watching a disturbing videotape. See it and squirm.


Stop wading through the hellish muck of current movie crap and see IGBY GOES DOWN! It's an explosion of young men in striped ties and starched white collars that is absolutely WORTH IT! Boarding school boy gone bad - Igby (Kieran Culkin ) is apparently fed up with his life ... as the uber wealthy are apt to always be ... with his evil mother (Susan Sarandon), nut-housed father (Bill Pullman), republican over-achiever brother (Ryan Phillipe), flamboyant Godfather (Jeff Goldblum), slut of the moment (Amanda Peet ) and bleeding heart girlfriend (Claire Danes) in tow Igby does indeed go down. ... And with his preppy passion, he takes everyone else down with him. It's a rollicking tale of drugs, debauchery, mental illness, cancer and class wars - with a military academy, luscious New York, loads of dollars and the tried and true fashion staple of opaque black pantyhose worn as pants thrown in for good measure. Kieran Culkin steals the show and begs laughter with each atrociously poignant stab at escape. Old rich never looked so good!


Love is pain ... pain is Love.    Suddenly all of the really great love stories are bypassing the white picket fence and going straight for the spank.  Lee (the fabulous Maggie Gyllanhaal), fresh from rehab, mixes haunting self-mutilation with equal parts tender geek.  Little does she know that her new job as bondage secretary for E. Edward Grey (welcome home - James Spader) will spark salvation.  As Mr. Grey snivels finishing school tips to the beleaguered Lee (be on the look out for the fashion breakthrough of the beaded hair net!), he meets her halfway.  His self-suppression feeds her self-aggression and together they melt all flaws with a heavy dose of office S&M.  Heaven help the girl who makes a typo in this alt-universe  - Is SECRETARY the sexual harassment feel good movie of the year?

By the time Ed Norton's character, in RED DRAGON, had asked "Where's the dog?", I was ready to stand up and scream "YOU'RE THE DOG!". Sadly this was less than 30 minutes into the movie - but already I knew that Ed was going to be the miscast F.B.I. agent from hell. Although a glossy film with dark settings and an excellent performance by Emily Watson as a blind every woman vixen, I remained twisted by the unintended screwball comedy that kept poking through the surface each time Ed waxed poetic with his super sleuthing ability. Ralph Fiennes plays the villain with some aplomb but quite frankly I got tired of looking at his naked ass. A prequel to SILENCE of the LAMBS, this movie does more for the older actor set then the world may have bargained for ... soon 75 year old men and women will be running for the black hair dye in hopes of being cast as tomorrow's sallow thirty year olds. Meaning, quite frankly, Anthony Hopkins you shouldn't have - but I still love you anyway.
There is a scene, in the trailer for Moonlight Mile, when Dustin Hoffman reaches down to kiss the pensive head of Jake Gyllenhaal. Dustin has a trembling-jello-face/tear-burst moment. That's what I wanted the whole movie to be like ... fraught with emotion and tugging me back and forth through a turbulent journey of loss and release. Instead, I sat down to a long show of stoicism that left me feeling nearly as reluctant to care as the snoring man who sat one row behind me. Here's the plot: Girl gets killed by crossfire in tragic diner shooting, Parents (Dustin and Susan) and the Fiance (Jake G.) she left behind join forces to mourn and contemplate the future. What I liked was the golden lit feel of the 70's small town and the simple performances of Susan Sarandon (who had a lovely loose pony-tail of sorts), and Dustin Hoffman (whose unfitting smiles had a sting and dentured look). What I LOVED was the family dog who delivered the ONE projectile laugh of the movie, the superb soundtrack and Jake G. for daring to wear his bangs combed straightdown over his forehead while still managing to be taken seriously (see Jake G. in the absolutely divine DONNIE DARKO and his evil gaze will penetrate - but Love of God don't rent BUBBLE BOY) . Also notable - new Hollywood arrival Ellen Pompeo who plays the new love interest and earns high marks for being the only one in the cast to cry a river.
Am I the only one that really LOVED Michele Pheiffer's character in this movie? A prison mom with a heart of no-nonsense colloquialisms. I found the brutal honesty and kick 'em while they're down attitude somewhat refreshing and ever so necessary for the survival of the beautiful Ingrid (Michele) and her ever evolving daughter Astrid (Alison Lohman). It's the classic tale of the mother who murders her cheating boyfriend, gets locked up for 35 to life and leaves a fatherless child to fend for herself in the evil world of foster care. A bevy of bad hair and detachment ensues with sad daughter and her foster mothers from hell. Meanwhile Ingrid, so lovely, soaks up the prison sun and remains the lithe and tan soothsayer. Honestly, I just didn't feel it for the poor chump daughter but a few choice moments in the film did manage to keep the schlock afloat, most notably Robin Wright Penn's turn as a pistol -packing-bible-mama and Patrick Fugit's boredom melting smiles.
It was me, two ten year olds and a few mother/daughter couples ... the occupancy rate as the trailers began to roll was peaking at a sad 15%. Even sadder, the two ten year olds asked me to save their seats (from whom!?!?!?) while they ran to get raisenettes. When the movie finally began to roll, I remained steadfast for Alexis Bledel, shifting in my seat for the Gilmore Girl, until the very bloody end. A simple story of a very overprotected tomboy who escapes over the fence to discover freedom from the evil corset and true love to boot. The romance, so painfully innocent, was solid and Alexis B. and Jonathan Jackson (son of a Tuck) delivered up the star-crossed-lover goods with sweet poise. However, their time together on the screen was far too brief. What dragged was the rest of the cast as they began to sink deeply into the quicksand of finding a target audience. Magical stream that delivered everlasting life to the TUCKS ... do kids really care? Oscar winner who blinks continuously after being murdered ... are adults really that stupid?

It's Reese Witherspoon doing that "America's Sweetheart" thing again . Reese plays a New Yorker who has it all including but not limited to a promising "fashion designer" career and a wedding engagement to the Mayor's son. One problem ... she has to go home to Alabama to get divorced from her childhood sweetheart before her royal wedding can take place. Mayhem and crippling southern accents follow. But, hey, it's a watchable movie and decent diversion fluff ... although I was never quite able to keep my mouth from being widely agape each time Reese appeared in yet another one of her "fashion designer" creations ... Hello? blouse with the big red bow along the collar line is not going to make the pages of Women's Wear Daily.

LOVE STORY - Rent it!

Is it wrong to watch the death of Jenny over and over again ... and especially during the Fall ... just to covet the most superb Preppy wardrobe of all time? Absolutely not! Revisit this classic for winter wardrobe how tos and join me in a knit cap revolution!

Rent It!
Where was I when this movie hit the theater? Nestled in a cocoon of no-way-in-hell perhaps? I was non-plussed to say the least ... but the man wanted to see it ... was riveted by the age old tale of good versus evil ... so I finally gave in at the video rental store. Can I just say that I totally enjoyed this movie? It wasn't as pre-fab as I thought it was going to be and the luscious tale of one man's painful anguish and his journey toward opulence, revenge and rebirth was most rewarding.
new on DVD!

It took me 3 days to watch this British miniseries (based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel), but it will take me a lifetime to stop subconsciously mimicking the dandy pout that Andrew Stevens perfected in this Maudlin drama. Jeremy Irons plays Charles Ryder the poor sap who drewels to become intertwined with the decadently rich yet decidedly religious MarchMain family. Oh the path from silly Oxford drunken binges with his new friend Sebastian Marchmain (Andrew Stevens) to the draining oblivion of way the hell too much Catholicism. I do say - It's fun though - because through it all there is the aforementioned pout and the glorious Brideshead Estate to keep spark!

new on DVD!

See this gritty western if you're in the mood for a whore-house-how-to. Julie Christie (with kinkiest hair ever!) and Warren Beatty (with gentle beard) star in this Robert Altman film about one man's vision of town and brothel. Root for Pinto Kate, 2 for 1 Lil and Almighty Alma as they kick tricks from their tents while Warren B. utters frightening phrases like: " ...if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass so much ...".

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