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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘Talk to Me,’ ‘Spider-Man 3,’ ‘In the Land of Women,’ ‘License to Wed,’ ‘Day Watch,’ more

See it:

Talk to Me [buy it]. From my review:

I’m not grading on a curve when I tell you: See Talk to Me if you want to see two incredible actors at the very top of their game. Forget skin color: Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor are two of the best actors of my generation working today, period. I wouldn’t dare grade on a curve, not with these guys, and I hate that I even have to say that, hate that it’s necessary to point out that there aren’t enough darker-than-medium-peachy-beige actors getting good work that it’s very tempting to praise to high heavens any opportunities that they get.

See it:

Spider-Man 3 [buy it]. It’s crammed with too much stuff — too many bad guys, too much plot, way too many plot-convenient coincidences, too much wham! splat!, too many meteors from outer space carrying aggressive symbiotic lifeforms that want to suck your brain (there’s only one, but that’s too many). But that’s how comic books are.

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman [buy it]. The extraordinary Timothy Spall stars in this based-on-fact story about Britain’s last executioner, and the banal ordinariness of his life. A startling and provocative film that sticks with you long after it’s over.

Skip it:

In the Land of Women [buy it]. From my review:

And oh, Jonathan Kasdan thinks he’s cute, too, in more ways than one. All the women in his imaginary mythical “land of women” — I keep expecting, I dunno, girl-leprechauns in pink dresses or something — are madly in love with him, of course. Well, not with him, you see, but with Carter Webb, his only-in-a-movie kind of lovelorn but sensitive and artistic alter ego — actually, he’s lovelorn because he’s sensitive and artistic; it’s what makes all the girls from 8 to 88 love him, and then break his heart. He’s just too good for them, you see.

License to Wed [buy it]. From my review:

Are there lessons in how to argue constructively, how to negotiate the everyday ups-and-downs of not only sharing a bed but sharing living space? Presumably. That’s not much fun, though, so we don’t see that. Sure, we get to see Sadie and Ben have their first fight — right in Reverend Frank’s prep class! — immediately after another couple demonstrates the entirely wrong way to argue, because it’s much more hilarious, apparently, to listen to two people we don’t even know bicker and namecall. (Oh, and didn’t I say? Reverend Frank is played by Robin Williams, so be on the lookout for his riff on the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not laugh.)

Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) [buy it]. There’s a lot of cool shit onscreen in this Hollywood-style, Russian-philosophizing vampire flick, so how come it’s all so damn boring?



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