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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

21 Grams (2003)

The first English-language feature from Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu brings together disparate characters by the same matchmaking method of his Amores Perros: by car accident. Benicio Del Toro, a born-again ex-con, runs over the husband and two daughters of Naomi Watts, and the husband's heart is transplanted anonymously into ... (R)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

28 Days Later (2003)

In the violent prologue, a ski-masked commando team of animal-rights activists storms the Cambridge Primate Research Center to liberate the experimental chimps, heedless of the attendant's warnings ("You've no idea!") that the chimps have been "infected" with rage. Sure enough, the chimps do not exactly embrace their liberators. Twenty-eight days ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Is the title a score? -- as in, the Fast and the Furious all knotted up at two. Or is it a head count, a poll? The ex-cop from Los Angeles (Paul Walker, resuming his role from the unquantified The Fast and the Furious of two years earlier) is undeniably ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

Whatever its intrinsic interest, Nick Broomfield's (and Joan Churchill's) post-execution addendum to his 1992 documentary, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, gets a boost from its close proximity to the docudrama on the same subject, Monster. It allows you to study at length and at close range the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Alex and Emma (2003)

A novelist, needing to finish a book in thirty days to pay off a loan shark, dictates his prose to a stenographer-kibitzer, and both of them appear as characters in enactments of the text. (Dim echoes of Paris When It Sizzles, which had a better excuse for the enactments: they ... (PG-13)

0.0 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

American Splendor (2003)

A chewable bone thrown to the famished fans of Ghost World, with a protagonist closely related to the latter's Steve Buscemi in his marginal existence, his menial job, his obliviousness or out-and-out resistance to fashion, his patronage of yard sales, his esoteric record collection, his congenital negativity. One difference, of ... (R)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

And Now Ladies and Gentlemen (2003)

Plainly, if only partially, Claude Lelouch's title echoes that of his 1974 And Now My Love. The film as a whole echoes the other more faintly: two destined lovers on distant paths, a debonair British jewel thief and a soulful French cabaret singer, each as gaunt and haunted as the ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anger Management (2003)

More disappointing than most Adam Sandler comedies because the subject was more promising: temper control. You would hardly know that that's the subject from the way the humor runs to sex, private parts, bodily functions, in short the toilet. The strong supporting cast is a sign of either Sandler's growing ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Anything Else (2003)

Although centered around Jason Biggs, this is still, inimitably, a Woody Allen film. Billie Holiday on the soundtrack. Diana Krall right up there on screen (flatteringly shot against a backdrop of molten red). Allusions to Camus, Sartre, Dostoevski, Auden, Fitzgerald, etc. Usages of "polymath," "paucity," "porcine," "homunculus" (in reference here ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Après Vous (2003)

A French gâteau of cloying overelaboration, relying on its characters' inexplicable behavior to prolong its plot's instantaneous tedium. A hurrying passer-by, after hours in a public park, stops to save a would-be suicide and thereafter goes to infinite lengths to help him out, giving him a place to stay even ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Assassination Tango (2003)

Robert Duvall, directing and writing in addition to starring, indulges here his personal passion for contract killing. No, wait. That's not what the publicity said. It's his personal passion for tango dancing that he indulges. And what better, what more personal, way to express that passion than to have the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bad Boys II (2003)

Bad movie too. Two and a half hours of bang-screech-crunch-boom. With Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Jordi Mollà, and Peter Stormare; directed by Michael Bay. (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bad Santa (2003)

Sick and twisted (and goddam proud of it) Christmas comedy by Terry Zwigoff, whose Ghost World instantaneously takes on the appearance of a fluke. It was the characters, even more clearly now than before, who "made" Ghost World — them, and their literary or quasi-literary creator, the graphic novelist Daniel ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

Writer-director Denys Arcand's follow-up to his Decline of the American Empire, albeit following along at too far a distance — seventeen years — to have much meaning for those who never bothered, through follow-up viewings, to commit the predecessor to memory. It may be that this highbrow weepie — the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd