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Published on 22 Jun 2001 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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The Princess And The Warrior

A grim reminder of what commercial success can do to a talented director. I don’t want to overrate Tom Tykwer, the writer-director of Run Lola Run (1999), but that film showed a certain flair for expanding on some of the tricks and conceits of music videos, and it seemed an improvement on Tykwer’s heavier, more querulous Winter Sleepers (1997). This feature (2000) tries to combine the racy appeal of Run Lola Run with the more mystical ambitions of Winter Sleepers, and to my taste it fails. An obscure tale about a psychiatric nurse (Lola’s Franka Potente) trying to track down a failed robber who saved her life, it lasts 130 minutes, most of them relatively forgettable. With a better idea of what Tykwer had in mind, maybe I would have stayed interested. In German with subtitles. (JR)

Published on 18 Jun 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Sexy Beast

Does the title refer to the ex-con hero (Ray Winstone), happily retired on the Spanish Costa del Sol, or to his brutal ex-boss (Ben Kingsley), who turns up one day to browbeat him into helping with a bank heist? I don’t know, and after 91 minutes of this movie’s pile-driver aggression, I don’t care. My willingness to stay interested in the plot and be impressed by Kingsley’s show-offy performance as a staccato bully out of Harold Pinter was eventually undermined by the movie’s violent editing and violent sound, which, coming on top of the character, drove violence to the point of redundancy. The director is Jonathan Glazer, purportedly famous for commercials and musical videos and certainly unafraid to make a feature every bit as strident as these things normally are. Louis Mello and David Scinto wrote the script; with Ian McShane and Amanda Redman. (JR)

Published on 13 Jun 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Squaring the Circle

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Published on 08 Jun 2001 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Ridiculous but occasionally fun, which is more than can be said for Pearl Harbor. Don’t expect to find any recognizable human beings among the characters, but there are at least two fabulous movie starsJohn Travolta as the villain, Halle Berry as the double (or triple, or quadruple) agentand a fashionable Aussie (Hugh Jackman) as the hero, a hacker who breaks encryptions the way Schwarzenegger cracks walnuts. We also get Don Cheadle as an FBI agent and Sam Shepard as a corrupt senator. Also, this being coproduced by Joel Silver, there are all the car explosions you could hope for. The limited but unmistakable wit of Skip Woods’s screenplay hinges in part on trying to conjure up a secret organization that sounds sillier than the FBI or CIA, while Dominic Sena, the music-video specialist who brought us the Gone in Sixty Seconds remake, does a better job this time of directing absurdity in a diverting manner. 99 min. (JR)

Published on 06 Jun 2001 in Featured Texts, by admin

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