Scott Steindorff

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Jane Got A Gun Review

Good

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp the genre in intriguing ways. The first-rate cast adds plenty of depth to the usual roles, including a strong female point-of-view from Natalie Portman, who also produced the film. But some rather simplistic thematic touches undermine the originality, and the film never quite cracks through the surface to become something meaningful.

It's set in 1871 New Mexico, where Jane (Portman) lives on a hidden ranch with her outlaw husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) and their young daughter. But Bill's been badly injured, and the notorious scoundrel Bishop (Ewan McGregor) has vowed to track him down. For help Jane turns to her ex-fiance Dan (Joel Edgerton), an angry gunslinger who has never got over being abandoned by Jane all those years ago. He agrees to help her, and of course Bill isn't too happy about this, but he's too injured to protest. And Jane is so fiercely independent that she refuses to let her history with these two men define her future.

The premise is packed with all kinds of intriguing layers, but the script continually over-explains everything with a series of flashbacks to Jane's earlier encounters with Dan, Bishop, Bishop's hotheaded brother (Boyd Holbrook) and a particularly brutal desperado (Rodrigo Santoro). Not one of these people has even a hint of morality about them, which gives the actors a chance to inject a lot of complex texture into their performances. These are tough-minded men who never stop to think about the rule of law. And Portman's Jane is steelier than all of them, a woman who makes her own hard decisions in a place that doesn't let anyone off easily. Portman is terrific in the role, even if director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) undermines her with his rather straightforward approach. Even so, her scenes with Edgerton and McGregor crackle with subtext.

Continue reading: Jane Got A Gun Review

The Lincoln Lawyer Review


Good
Enjoyably twisty but too shallow to be fully satisfying, this legal thriller lopes along at a pleasing pace through its overlong running time. But it's watchable mainly because we know there will be at least one big twist in the tale.

Mick (McConaughey) runs his successful L.A. law practice from his vintage Lincoln. He has a daughter with his public-prosecutor ex Maggie (Tomei) and works closely with his private-eye pal Frank (Macy). His new case involves the wealthy Louis (Phillippe), who claims he didn't violently assault a prostitute.

But the more Mick and Frank look into things, the fishier they get. And Mick will need to do some unorthodox things to win the case against the tenacious D.A. (Lucas) and achieve real justice.

Continue reading: The Lincoln Lawyer Review

Penelope Review


Weak
Make no mistake: Penelope is a fairy tale. I mention this at the outset because the filmmakers do too, appearing almost desperate to point it out as often and early as possible. The movie begins, for example, with a "once upon a time" title card, in case the story of a girl born with a pig's nose due to a gypsy's curse that can only be undone by true love is mistaken for another movie about Iraq.

Christina Ricci plays Penelope, the besnouted girl. Ricci is comfortable in fantasy from her work with Tim Burton and Barry Sonnenfeld (and, for that matter, Vincent Gallo), but Penelope lacks character beyond idle fairy-tale outlines, and Ricci regresses, coming off a good decade younger than she is and trading in her otherworldly spark for generic adolescence -- something she rarely did as an actual adolescent.

Continue reading: Penelope Review

Scott Steindorff Wednesday 20th February 2008 Los Angeles Premiere of 'Penelope' held at the DGA Theater Los Angeles, California

Scott Steindorff

Scott Steindorff Sunday 11th November 2007 AFI Festival 2007 closing night gala screening of 'Love In The Time Of Cholera' held at the Cinerama Dome - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Scott Steindorff
Scott Steindorff and Malgosia Bela

Scott Steindorff and Rubria Marcheens Negrao - Scott Steindorff and Rubria Marcheens Negrao Tuesday 6th November 2007 at Palms Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada

Scott Steindorff and Rubria Marcheens Negrao
Scott Steindorff and Rubria Marcheens Negrao
Scott Steindorff and Jeane Steindorff
Scott Steindorff

Turistas Review


Bad
A tradesman in the ways of directing half-naked women, director John Stockwell has his hands full in his first foray into the horror genre. Stockwell has spent most of his career constructing exercises in bromidic romance and laughs, but here he attempts to follow up Into the Blue, his insipid take on The Deep, with a much darker trip into a tropical locale.

On a bus heading to a popular tourist town in Brazil, Alex (Josh Duhamel) has been given the charge of looking after his late-teen sister Bea (Olivia Wilde) and her friend Amy (Beau Garrett). When a near-accident sends the bus careening down a mountain and leaves the passengers waiting for another one, Alex, Bea, and Amy hook up with two Brits (Desmond Askew and Max Brown) and Pru (Melissa George), a tanned-up, bilingual woman who catches Alex's eye. They all head down to a beach bar where they proceed to drink themselves silly, grind against one another and practice the ancient art of putting on a bikini without getting naked (admittedly, my technique is lagging). When the sun comes up, the group realizes they have been drugged and that someone has stolen all their belongings, including passports and airplane tickets.

Continue reading: Turistas Review

Turistas Review


Bad
A tradesman in the ways of directing half-naked women, director John Stockwell has his hands full in his first foray into the horror genre. Stockwell has spent most of his career constructing exercises in bromidic romance and laughs, but here he attempts to follow up Into the Blue, his insipid take on The Deep, with a much darker trip into a tropical locale.

On a bus heading to a popular tourist town in Brazil, Alex (Josh Duhamel) has been given the charge of looking after his late-teen sister Bea (Olivia Wilde) and her friend Amy (Beau Garrett). When a near-accident sends the bus careening down a mountain and leaves the passengers waiting for another one, Alex, Bea, and Amy hook up with two Brits (Desmond Askew and Max Brown) and Pru (Melissa George), a tanned-up, bilingual woman who catches Alex's eye. They all head down to a beach bar where they proceed to drink themselves silly, grind against one another and practice the ancient art of putting on a bikini without getting naked (admittedly, my technique is lagging). When the sun comes up, the group realizes they have been drugged and that someone has stolen all their belongings, including passports and airplane tickets.

Continue reading: Turistas Review

The Human Stain Review


Weak
Miramax makes its initial bid for Oscar gold with The Human Stain, Robert Benton's torpid adaptation of Philip Roth's acclaimed novel about race and sex and lots of other "big" issues such as the price one pays - emotionally, psychologically, professionally - for attempting to flee both the past and one's true self. Yet this lifelessly structured film feels like a puzzle with too many identical parts, each character merely another example of the film's painfully obvious moral lessons. Throw in some ridiculous miscasting and a facile Clinton-Lewinsky scandal backdrop, and what you've got is a film drunk on its own highfalutin melodrama.

Anthony Hopkins is Coleman Silk, a Classics professor at a Massachusetts university, who, because of an alleged racial epithet (he refers to delinquent African-American students as "spooks"), is not only forced into early retirement, but also into unexpected bachelorhood after his wife suddenly drops dead from the news. Coleman is an erudite Jewish man who harbors a great secret about his past, and soon his tortured life has become intertwined with kindred souls. He befriends the reclusive Nathan Zuckerman (Gary Sinise), a novelist who has retired to a remote cabin after a cancer scare has left him petrified of his own mortality. Soon afterwards, he meets a striking post office janitor named Faunia Farley (Nicole Kidman), who, because of a former marriage and a terrible accident, fervently shuns the outside world. Coleman and Faunia strike up a May-December romance, much to the chagrin of both Faunia's loco ex-husband Lester (Ed Harris) and a community whose fascination with Clinton's sexual indiscretions hints at an illogical obsession with political correctness.

Continue reading: The Human Stain Review

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Scott Steindorff Movies

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Review

The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Review

Enjoyably twisty but too shallow to be fully satisfying, this legal thriller lopes along at...

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Turistas Movie Review

Turistas Movie Review

A tradesman in the ways of directing half-naked women, director John Stockwell has his hands...

Turistas Movie Review

Turistas Movie Review

A tradesman in the ways of directing half-naked women, director John Stockwell has his hands...

The Human Stain Movie Review

The Human Stain Movie Review

Miramax makes its initial bid for Oscar gold with The Human Stain, Robert Benton's torpid...

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