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  • Ali

    Ali

    ★★★★

    Not to downplay Ali's over-all importance, and the towering responsibility it would have been for any director to tackle this time in his life, but in certain respects he embodies so many characteristics of the men in Michael Mann's films. A professionalism of which the cost surrounds him, a brave tenacity against overwhelming odds, and a lethality literally within his hands.

    The difference is a much more pronounced gift of gab, and his unwillingness to use those hands to kill,…

  • Public Enemies

    Public Enemies

    ★★★★

    A noble but maybe misguided experiment in transposing the reality HD cameras gave Michael Mann in his previous two films, to a story where progress and innovation is a subtle menace to each of it's lead characters. The FBI's new mandates towards investigation under Hoover are ones Melvin Purvis finds increasingly uncomfortable to implement, and John Dillinger is left twisting in the wind by organized crime when they implement up-to-date technological methods that can disregard the outlaw.

    Johnny Depp and…

  • The Jesse Ventura Story

    The Jesse Ventura Story

    ½

    Really lame attempt on NBC's part to latch itself onto Ventura's recent status as media darling resulting from his underdog campaign and ascendancy to Governor of Minnesota, as well as the recent resurgence of professional wrestling in pop culture. Rather unfortunately on the same night this aired, Owen Hart died in a stunt gone very badly wrong that put a pall over that.

  • Destroyer

    Destroyer

    ★★★★

    I'm a sucker for this kind of drama, no matter how many times it is either reinvented or recycled. This leans more towards the latter, but the truths it tells about how we try to live with the lies we tell, specifically how it has manifested itself upon Detective Erin Bell (delivered with a haunting perfection from Nicole Kidman), is the film's major saving grace. The tension and atmosphere created by the cinematography and score sucked me in as well.

  • Twister

    Twister

    ★★★★

    Two or maybe even more stars for the end credits alone.

  • Triple Frontier

    Triple Frontier

    ★★★

    As an admirer of his earlier work, some of the choices (particularly in terms of story, and specifically the soundtrack of classic rock hits) feel above J.C. Chandor's pay grade but it is overall worthwhile for the performances and more unique aspects of his directing that come out as the story draws out further from the cliches in the 1st and 2nd acts.

  • The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story

    The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story

    ★★★

    As someone vaguely disgusted at that whole movement (I had no sisters of age who would have been screaming at their very presence), I get some smug satisfaction that his whole life was driven by ponzi scheme over ponzi scheme (with the added charges by some interviewees of some real sociopathic behavior) felt the perfect compliment to the music his company released for many years. The faces of those whose trust he betrayed who were beyond the primes of their lives however, was a more sobering look at the sheer grief this man caused.

  • Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii

    Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii

    ★★★★★

    The Pink Floyd movie could write itself. Charismatic and off-beat founder becomes acid casualty, loses the reins to the bassist/songwriter with bold visions for his music, all the while the handsome new boy wails away on his Strat, the drummer occasionally cracks a joke and the long-suffering keyboard player lives relatively in the quiet desperation they would sing about.

    My favorite moment in this film is when it cuts from the band playing through the heroic finale of "A Saucerful…

  • Unguarded

    Unguarded

    ★★★★½

    Two things I have to say about this; I really felt for his older brother and didn’t blame him at all when he almost destroyed a guy calling Chris a junkie in front of their mother. 

    And I’d be more than happy to point out the hypocrisy of the crowd at SMU, a “Christian” school, doing the same all the while inspiring Chris to kick their teams ass up and down the court that night. It illustrates the cruelty of…

  • Demonlover

    Demonlover

    ★★★½

    Deftly weaving together the one-handed typing style of 90’s “erotic” thrillers, balanced by such deeper themes of dehumanization in the workplace, with a flare for the Lynchian, Olivier Assayas brings forth a cautionary tale of how art, commerce and greed can make slaves of us all.

  • Rising Low

    Rising Low

    ★★½

    Some of Mike Gordon's more eccentric film-making is grating and unwelcome, but fortunately doesn't slow things down. It's an otherwise worthy look at the phenomena of the low end in rock music. Attempting to balance it out is the human story of Allen Woody, and what he meant for the short time he was around.

    I say attempt because it doesn't dig too deep into the issues surrounding his untimely demise. It is treated more like something unspoken, especially as…

  • Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

    Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

    ★★★★★

    A question: who would rival Arsenio Hall as all-time great hanger-on, between being so close to Magic, Prince and Eddie?

    HBO has made top-notch documentary programming since the 90’s, and their sports documentaries particularly set a bar that has only been surpassed by ESPN in more recent years. The subjects covered, interviews and Liev Schreiber’s voice-over are never less than appealing, even for sports agnostics like me.

    This particularly hits several sweet spots for me. Any narrative involving the NBA…