Sweet Home Alabama

BB (out of 5) Even those who love a predictable romantic comedy will find this one hopelessly hokey.  Reese Witherspoon is buoyantly charming as a Manhattan fashion designer whose JFK-Jr.-esque boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) proposes marriage to her. She readily accepts, but doesn’t mention to him that her marriage to her husband back home in Alabama (Josh…

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Ever After

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Richly enjoyable reboot of Cinderella finds Drew Barrymore as a plucky young lass living with an insensitive stepmother (Anjelica Huston) and two lazy stepsisters (Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey). This time she’s not waiting for a prince to save her, so when she finds one we’re happy she’s getting some but not actually…

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Anna And The King

BBB (out of 5) So-so effort that features a surprisingly dull Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens, the true-life Indian-born Englishwoman who journeyed to Siam in the late 19th century to teach “the modern world of science” to the many children of King Mongkut (Yun-Fat Chow). All the fascinating power-play dialogue in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical version…

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Groundhog Day

BBBB (out of 5) One of the most wonderful romantic comedies of the decade.  Bill Murray plays a rude, cynical weatherman who is given the dull assignment of travelling to a nearby small town and reporting on the groundhog day festivity. He meets the people, films the little critter running back into his hole, tries to…

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Multiplicity

BB.5 (out of 5) Michael Keaton definitely deserves a much better film to house his four excellent performances in this silly What-If comedy. He plays an overworked contractor who can’t find enough time to juggle career and family, but when a doctor introduces him to the possibility of instant cloning he is all for it. Now there’s…

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Born Yesterday (1993)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Excellent remake of the 1950 George Cukor classic is a perfect example of Melanie Griffith‘s admirable talent. She plays a Vegas showgirl who hangs off the arm of her boorish, nouveau riche boyfriend (John Goodman) and makes him look bad to their new Washington political friends with her lack of social…

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White Palace

BBB.5 (out of 5) Rich, young advertising executive James Spader stops at a local diner and orders food from a forty-something waitress (Susan Sarandon). Somehow, these people from completely different spheres of life manage to take a liking to each other, crossing generational and social barriers and falling deeply in love. Even better, the film itself…

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Living Out Loud

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Powerful film inspired by Chekhov stories from first-time director and accomplished screenwriter Richard LaGravenese. Holly Hunter superbly plays a recent divorcee who has no idea that reclaiming her own identity after her husband (Martin Donovan) leaves her for a much younger woman will be a long journey of self-discovery and painful missteps….

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Final Analysis

BB (out of 5) Tepid thriller that goes far past the climax point, with director Phil Joanou failing to indulge in the opportunity to campily recreate the conventions of Hitchcockian storytelling.  Kim Basinger is excellent as the femme fatale who enters the life of a shy, quiet and (you guessed it) squinty-eyed psychiatrist (Richard Gere) who…

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Heaven’s Prisoners

BBBB (out of 5) Entertaining murder mystery set in the lush tropical atmosphere of Florida stars Alec Baldwin in a role that was meant to become a franchise (author James Lee Burke has written a series of novels about the same character). Baldwin plays a happily married man (to Kelly Lynch) who invites trouble into his…

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High Spirits

BB (out of 5) This film could definitely use more of what it exclaims in the title, but it does have its moments. Youngsters will especially delight to the visual effects and haunted mansion setting, while adults might find it more than a bit dull.  Peter O’Toole plays the owner of a decrepit Irish castle who…

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The Crucible

BBBB (out of 5) Terrific adaptation of Arthur Miller’s groundbreaking anti-Red Scare play has lost some of its momentum now that the double meaning of the story isn’t quite as potent, but still works thanks to director Nicholas Hytner’s not concentrating on the film’s more political content and just delivering good, solid drama. Daniel Day-Lewis is…

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