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An American In Paris

Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Writing, Best Costume ... 'nuff said.

The art, the music, and the dance almost make you forget it's a story you've seen before and hardly Gene Kelly's best musical. But still, what's not to love? Leslie Caron, "I Got Rhythm," and a ballet dream sequence that's worth the price of admisison.

Kelly is an American GI pursuning the life of an artist in Paris after the war. Caron is a young shop clerk. They fall in love, but are attached to others ..well, you know the rest. The Gershwin songs plug any holes in the plot and even 57 years later, it's 114 minutes of magic. They really don't make 'em like this anymore.

Sex and the City
I would be willing to be real money that if you took a poll of people who had seen at least one full season of the series, asking them for the 10 surprises they might suspect will happen in this feature film, at least 90% would get all 5 of the actual “surprises” in the film.

There is not a single idea in this film that was not conceived, discussed, and beaten to within an inch of its life during the run of the show on HBO. Not ONE!

Speed Racer
Between races, grown-ups can enjoy the wonderfully bright, colorful and imaginative set designs. If younger viewers lose their patience with the many expository elements, they should be reminded of the upcoming scenes with chimps and kung-fu fighting.

Samantha Who?
It was pretty much a lock that ABC would renew the Christina Applegate-as-amnesia-victim sitcom, “Samantha Who?” Popular from Week One, the series was both smart and funny.


After directing a pair of excellent dramas, George Clooney tried his hand at a period romantic comedy, with decidedly mixed results.


Redbelt takes a moralistic stance that borders on the cliché, but is saved by better-than-average action and realistic depictions of training methods.
What Happens in Vegas
As if to prove that critics can't kill bad movies, Fox's extremely clichéd and uninspired screwball comedy, What Happens in Vegas, somehow managed to score $80 million at the domestic box office, even in the face of some of the worst reviews in memory. That figure may or may not have been enough to offset the costs of making and marketing the paint-by-numbers rom-com, but there's little doubt it will do well enough in the DVD marketplace to please investors.
Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection
The best era of the movie western to date (I never give up on it) was in the '50s and '60s -- when John Ford, Howard Hawks, Anthony Mann, John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Raoul Walsh were still very active and Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah and Clint Eastwood were on the rise.
The Promotion
The Promotion is enjoyable, but the supermarket environment is underutilized as a battleground for dubious glory. Fans of The Office, Office Space, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and SNL will find familiar faces here, as well as the same sort of Dilbert-come-to-life humor.
Blessed with great performances by Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, James Woods, J.T. Walsh, David Hyde Pierce and a dozen other fine actors, Nixon took a fast and loose approach to the disgraced former president. Stone is nothing, if not a glutton for controversy, and, at times, his manipulative conceits make one almost feel sympathy for Nixon.



Snow Angels
Small towns are often romanticized and sentimentalized in the movies, turned into fantasies of good will and fond memories that sometimes make the consummately homey visions of painter Norman Rockwell look like the slashing works of a cynical satirist. David Gordon Green's Snow Angels takes the opposite course. It's nastier and more realistic, though, in the end, almost as poetic. There's a weird blend of melancholy and madness in this movie; Green plunges us into a doom-haunted, nerve-jangling family drama that suggests a soap opera veering into tabloid pathology and horror.


The Godfather
Would seeing a great film for the 20th time on a big screen with a pristine print be better? Sure. But that isn't a real option, is it? Instead, I get to see something I love, looking more like the way I first saw it on a screen (better, probably, than the beat up print I first encountered, as the movie was 8 years old by the time I was 16), with all my familiarity now drawing my eye to more than the focus of the frames I know so well..


The Big Lebowski
In their heart of hearts, most male survivors of the '60s would like to quit their jobs and live the life of Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski. What could be more liberating than waking up at any time of the day, wearing a robe until it's time to put on their least dirty aloha shirt and bowling until the cows come home.


The Fall
Fantastic and voluptuous, a fountain of wonders in the vein of a modern Arabian Nights, this second feature by the Indian-born commercial/video expert Tarsem -- his first was the grisly shocker The Cell -- borrows its brilliant remise from a Bulgarian film, Ho Ho Ho), making marvelous use of it. At an L. A. hospital, an injured stunt man named Roy (Lee Pace) beguiles a small Romanian girl, Alexandria (the fascinatingly low-key Catinca Untaru) with a tall tale in which a Bandit King and his comrades traverse gorgeous landscapes all around the world while hunting down the tyrant Odious for vengeance and a stolen princess.


Baby Mama
Sometime, in the next two months, at least, either Tina Fey or Sarah Palin is going to have to change her choice of eyewear. Watching Baby Mama for the first time, on DVD, the similarity between the 30 Rock star and the Republican vice-presidential candidate could hardly have been more distracting. It's as if Palin consciously mimicked Fey's deceptively sexy, hyper-professional persona as one that would help convince Alaskan voters that she meant business


Even if you don't like this kind of movie -- teen boy high-tech adventures wired to the max -- I think you'll have to agree that Michael Bay makes them about as well as anyone but Spielberg (an executive producer here). There's also a tongue-in-cheek jollity to the movie that makes the digitized action scenes crazy fun. And La Beouf is a perfect actor-reactor for all this nonsense; I wish I'd seen him here before that dopey Rear Window knockoff Disturbia. He makes this insane story come alive about as well as a teen star possibly could.



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