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Lenny Review


Good
This awkward biopic traces the troubled life of notorious comic Lenny Bruce, as embodied by Dustin Hoffman in a good but still Hoffmanesque performance. Bruce's material is still offensive, out-there, and difficult, but its timeliness (heavy on the evils of racial stereotyping and epithets) is starting to fade. Segregation? The Kennedy assassination? We're talking old school.

Continue reading: Lenny Review

Diabolique (1996) Review


Good
I've been awaiting this update of the 1955 classic French thriller with a mixture of nervous anticipation and deep-seated dread. The original Diabolique was one of the few examples of how thrillers ought to be made...and I figured Hollywood would find some way to screw up the remake. (They did, of course.)

The story is timeless. Evil boarding school principal Guy (Chazz Palmenteri) is married to ex-nun Mia (Isabelle Adjani), a nervous "child bride" with a penchant for heart medication. Guy also has at least one mistress, the cold-as-ice Nicole (Sharon Stone), and everyone knows of and quietly accepts the affair. They all work and live under the auspices of the school, and in the darkness of its halls, a plot is hatched by Mia and Nicole to do away with Guy for good. It starts to get a little hairy when, after a seemingly perfect murder is pulled off, things start to seem not-so-perfect and questions over potential witnesses and the actual life-or-death-ness of Guy begin to surface.

Continue reading: Diabolique (1996) Review

Less Than Zero Review


Terrible
I am probably one of about five people in the world who got this, but, in Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho there is a conversation that takes place in a video store relating to why the clerk should know who Jami Gertz is. Patrick Bateman mentions something about her being in a Diet Coke ad. Being an avid fan of Ellis, I know that American Psycho was written in about 1988. So, based on the fact that the adaptation of his 1985 novel Less Than Zero came out in 1987, I suppose he liked the film. I, on the other hand, did not.

I've seen better and I've seen worse, but, you know what, I think there are better ways to remember the 80s than watching Robert Downey Jr when he only acted like he was high, instead of actually being it. I know that the point of the book was to display the laisse-faire nihilism that is/was so characteristic of LA, and thus showing someone who played at being high and ended up being a regular customer of Betty Ford should be a touch of bittersweet irony, but its not.

Continue reading: Less Than Zero Review

Malcolm X Review


Excellent
Before getting distracted by side projects, Allan Houston, and self-parody, Spike Lee was a great young filmmaker, and every release was an event. From Do the Right Thing to Jungle Fever, Lee's movies addressed race from a perspective never before seen in American multiplexes, and their energy, style, and stories evoked joy and rage from their audiences.

Lee was also a star himself. Even when not behind (or, sometimes, in front of) his camera, Lee's appreciation of black radical movements drew heat from conservatives, laurels from liberals, dedication from American minority communities, and attention from everyone.

Continue reading: Malcolm X Review

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