Hollywood Cinema Screenings – 2004

THE BIG BOUNCE
Awful. Still, on a cool late afternoon in January, it was completely refreshing to watch Hawaiian landscapes and the unfairly lean Sara Foster flit by in a minimum of clothing, PG-13 style. With Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman; directed by the otherwise interesting George Armitrage. (Screened 01/31)

BROKEN LIZARD’S CLUB DREAD
The comedy troupe Broken Lizard (SUPER TROOPER) stumbles badly with their sophomore outing. Their attempts to mix comedy with horror produce few laughs and even fewer scares. Jordan Ladd’s naked bouncing breasts are the only redeeming feature(s). (Screened 03/04)

DAWN OF THE DEAD
The first ten minutes of this remake are dementedly chilling. The remainder plays out like a half-remembered cable television pilot wth great gore effects — it’s all shallow cliche and mistaken “improvements” to the original, minus George A. Romero’s knowing satiric edge. (Screened 03/19)

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Even though scripter Charlie Kaufman is too clever by half, he still crafts a pleasant love story that’s twice as fascinating as most mainstream fare. With a marvelous Kate Winslet, an overreaching Jim Carrey, and inventive direction by Michele Gondry. (Screened 03/19)

EUROTRIP
Good-humored, low-brow antics as a group of young people encounter a cut-rate version of Europe. Utterly lacking significance, and funnier for it. (Screened 02/20)

HELLBOY
In retrospect, an elusively satisfying entertainment. As it plays, though, Ron Perlman lends dynamic charge to Guillermo del Toro’s vision of the comic book misfit in love with sufficient firepower for the masses and clever touches for the knowing elite. (Screened 04/09)

KILL BILL VOL. 2
Maybe it’s not exactly warm and fuzzy, but Quentin Tarantino generates oodles of positive energy from a film that should never end. It felt like being catapaulted into an alternative universe created from every exploitation movie ever made — and it was wonderful. With Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, and a reborn Darryl Hannah. (Screened 04/16)

SPARTAN
For a man known for his dialogue, David Mamet wrote precious few lines worth repeating in this suspense-less thriller. The central premise is unbelievable, and the action is unremarkable. With Val Kilmer and a wasted William H. Macy. (Screened 03/18)

TAKING LIVES
Director D. J. Caruso demonstrates a light touch in several sequences, and Angelina Jolie is quite fetching throughout. Thanks to a surfeit of ridiculous ideas, though, the film fades quickly from memory even as the final twist is unfurled. (Screened 03/19)

TOUCHING THE VOID
Mesmerizing and haunting, this docu-drama recreates an ill-fated climb in the Peruvian Alps as the climbers recount without shame their all-too-human shortcomings. A testament to friendship and fear. (Screened 02/23)

WALKING TALL
Crunchy. Plenty of fighting, a stripper heroine in mortal danger while wearing a red brassiere and blue jeans, and a mixed race family at the core. What’s not to love? The Rock will never play Hamlet (convincingly) but fills the hero role just fine. (Screened 04/09)

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