Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) HHHH (1/20)
The Aviator HHHH (2/6)
The Beautiful Country HHHH (7/30)
Finding NeverlandHHHH (2/8)
Winter Solstice HHHH (4/16)
The Last Place on Earth HHHH (4/2)
Enron: The Smartest Guys in The Room HHHH (5/25)
My Summer of Love HHHH (6/25)
Crash HHHH (7/7)
Mad Hot Ballroom HHH (7/2)
Ladies in Lavender HHH (6/12)
Sideways HHH (1/8)
Broken Flowers HHH (8/6)
Millions HHH (3/26)
In Good Company HHH (2/13)
Off the Map HHH (4/23)
Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith HHH (6/14)
The Constant Gardener HHH (10/22)
The Squid and the Whale HHH (12/3)
Beyond the Sea HHH (1/29)
Pride & Prejudice HH (12/10)
Million Dollar BabyHH (2/22)
Closer HH (1/3)
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants HH (6/4)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory HH (7/23)
The Aristocrats HH (8/25)
Palindromes H (4/30)
Batman Begins H (6/30)
A police officer (Takeshi Kaneshiro) with the help of a government agent (Andy Lau) goes undercover and rescues a blind girl (Ziyi Zhang) believed to be a member of a revolutionary group known as the Flying Daggers, only to be caught in a dangerous love triangle. The orchestration of sound by Tao Jing, cinematography by Zhao Xiaoding, score by Shigeru Umebayashi, and costumes by Emi Wada make this a stunning piece of cinema. Director Zhang Yimou makes this more fun than a Ginsu Knife convention, along with plot twists reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.
The Aviator HHHH
Director Martin Scorsese's 3-hour biopic about billionaire innovator Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is quite something to behold. From his mother's wretched lecture about quarantine to the over budgeted production of "Hells Angels" to battles with Pan Am and the US government, there's plenty of action, especially a wild flight over Beverly Hills that must be seen on the big screen. Scorsese outdoes Spielberg in the "Little Boy Lost" theme with much bravado and gusto. If you're detailed oriented, you'll notice the slight color shift as the film progresses (notice the turquoise colored peas reminiscent of the first versions of Technicolor). Cate Blanchett is superb as Katherine Hepburn, but Kate Beckinsale is less believable as Eva Gardner. Also starring Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Alec Baldwin, John C. Reilly, and the ever-ubiquitous Jude Law.
A young Vietnamese man (Damien Nguyen) flees his foster home in search of his parents. In Saigon he his reunited with his mother (Thi Kim Xuan Chau)and younger half brother (Dang Quoc Thinh Tran). After a somewhat contrieved accident, he flees with his half brother to Malaysia only to be caught and detained in prison. There he meets a young woman (Bai Ling) and sets sail for America to find his father (Nick Nolte). This is one of the most heartfelt movies I've seen in quite awhile. Just when you think Nick Nolte is going to ruin things, he turns in a stellar performance that is not to be missed. Also starring Tim Roth as a rather nefarious sea captain. Hans Petter Moland directs this stunning epic.
Finding Neverland HHHH
No, this isn't a road trip movie about searching for Michael Jackson's playground; it's about the semi-autobiographical life of playwright Sir James Mathew Barrie (Johnny Depp) who wrote "Peter Pan". After one of his plays flops, he meets a young widow Sylvia Llewellyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four sons. The most endearing is Peter (Freddie Highmore). The storytelling along with great moments of imagination will lift your spirits and yes, you too will fly. Also starring Dustin Hoffman as the doubting producer and Julie Christie as the somewhat suspicious grandmother. Marc Forster directs.
Winter Solstice HHHH
A widower (Anthony LaPaglia) comes to terms with life changes as his oldest son (Aaron Stanford) is leaving home, while his younger son (Mark Webber) is getting into trouble. Meanwhile, a new neighbor (Allison Janey) moves in down the street. Josh Sternfeld directed and wrote this hypnotic and poetic 90-minute film.
A young man (Dana Ashbrook) goes to spread the ashes of his dead mother (surprise, Phyllis Diller) only to meet up with a woman (Tisha Campbell-Martin) whose car has broken down. Without giving too much away, this is one of the better road movies. Also starring a long missed Billy Dee Williams. A job well done by writer/director James Slocum.
Another display of audacious Capitalistic hubris based on the novel by Bethany McLean and Peter Eklind. This describes the downfall of the Enron empire and subsequently the destruction of the most respected accounting firm of Arthur Andersen. When a nefarious accounting strategy known as "Mark to Marketing" is given the green light by the U.S. government, you can bet your bottom dollar things are not what they seem. Alex Gibney directs, while Peter Coyote narrates this searing documentary. Who needs al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, when you have Enron execs, Kenneth Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow creating false energy shortages and rolling blackouts in California thereby bilking millions, in one of many ways, to fund their shaky scheme?
© 2005 David Burnham
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