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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

All the King's Men (2006)

Inflated remake of the Robert Penn Warren Pulitzer-winner, with the pseudonymous "Willie Stark" as Louisiana governor Huey Long, and Oscar-winner Sean Penn as Oscar-winner Broderick Crawford. Penn, sporting a Trotskyite haircut as the backwater populist politician ("Ain't nobody ever helped a hick 'cept a hick hisself"), speaks in an accent ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

All the Real Girls (2003)

A small-town Carolina Casanova (Paul Schneider, an unstunning facial composite of Cruise and Costner) takes a shine to one of his buddies' all-grown-up but virginal sister (Zooey Deschanel, with her druggy, draggy, warped-record delivery, turning every line into an exercise in eccentricity, an adventure in affectation): "She makes me decent." ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Bookshop (20187)

Hang a CLOSED sign in the window: it’s another film with a strong female character that’s cushioned in the safety and comfort of the recent past. Were writer/director Isabel Coixet up for a challenge, she would have fashioned a film about a feminist trying to keep a brick and mortar ... (PG)

1.0 starsScott Marks

Cairo Time (2010)

First time in the Middle East for a contented American working wife, now facing Empty Nest Syndrome with two children flown, planning to meet up with her husband in Cairo to see the pyramids together. The husband, a United Nations emissary overseeing a refugee camp in Gaza, is detained incommunicado ... (PG)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Dead Pool (1988)

Fitfully amusing Dirty Harry adventure (the fifth), with some vigorous digs at TV newscasters, film critics, heavy metal, and horror films (well, every film must feel superior to some other). The most sustained fit of amusement: a Bullitt-type chase scene over the hills of San Francisco, with the pursuer being ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Dogville (2004)

Danish director Lars von Trier follows up Dancer in the Dark with another unrecognizable portrait of America. A pedantic or facetious moral tale, it takes place in Depression-period costume on a sparse and stylized stage set, which from overhead looks like a near life-sized blueprint of a tiny town in ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Dying Gaul (2005)

Screenwriter Craig Lucas, of Longtime Companion and Prelude to a Kiss, turns director as well, bringing to the screen his own stage play, a behind-the-scenes peek into the studios and boudoirs of Hollywood: the negotiations over a labor-of-love screenplay about the death from AIDS of the writer's lover (his dream ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Easy A (2010)

Surprisingly bright teen comedy, littered with tidbits of literary and cinematic erudition, about a viral high-school rumor that transmutes a studious virgin into a “dirty skank,” a lesson in “the accelerated velocity of terminological inexactitude.” The path the story takes is not always judicious (the girl plays up her new ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Elegy (2008)

An aging but actively tomcatting Columbia professor develops an erotic obsession with a “thirty-odd-year” younger Cuban student, who, in his eyes, resembles Goya’s Maja. (Penelope Cruz, the student, actually played Goya’s Maja in Volaverunt, and here repeats the desnuda pose.) Isabel Coixet’s rendition of the Philip Roth novel, The Dying ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Friends with Benefits (2011)

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake star as physically perfect specimens, each unable to maintain a committed relationship, who decide to use each other for sex. It’s an attempt to parody romantic comedies that quickly disintegrates into precisely what it’s spoofing. This thing stank when they called it No Strings Attached. ... (R)

1.0 starsScott Marks

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

Unabashed hero worship of the "crusading" CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow, directed and co-written by George Clooney, who also plays Murrow's television producer, Fred Friendly. (In the lead role, David Strathairn has Murrow's somber countenance, speaks with his cadence, and goes through a full carton of his coffin nails.) Framed ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

High Art (1998)

Angst-laden New York story: a drip from the bathroom ceiling leads a doll-faced fledgling magazine editor to meet her upstairs neighbor, a lesbian hophead drop-out photographer in a relationship with a former Fassbinder actress. This third character, played by Patricia Clarkson, is an amusing caricature of a poor-man's Dietrich, but ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Director Craig Gillespie, of the mainstream Mr. Woodcock, indulges the monkeyshines of Ryan Gosling in the part of an antisocial Minnesota Lutheran who seeks happiness in a chaste relationship with an anatomically correct life-size sex doll. Everyone in town loves him too much, for some unapparent reason, to burst his ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Learning to Drive (2015)

Patricia Clarkson (Cairo Time) stars as a recently ditched book critic bumping up against the fact that she never learned to drive. (She had a husband for that.) Ben Kingsley (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb) co-stars as a recently arrived Sikh driving instructor/taxi ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

Married Life (2008)

Tepid adaptation of a classic John Bingham thriller, Five Roundabouts to Heaven, moved to America, but kept in the post-WWII period, and instilled with a modern condescension to the past, along with a modern irony, drollery, jadedness. The casting and playing of Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper tip off the ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

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