Film Clips

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  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 6:21am

Under the Tuscan Sun (PG-13) — This is an unapologetic “chick flick,” an ultimately upbeat, approaching-mid-life-journey-of-self-discovery story. Between the gorgeous Italian countryside and the metaphorical restoration of Frances’ life, you can’t help not liking Lane as she subtlety transforms the shattered and displaced Frances into a fully-realized, self-reliant woman. Supporting players Sandra Oh and Lindsay Duncan round out this pleasant diversion best shared with (girl) friends. (Reviewed Sept. 26)

Underworld (R) — For a vampire/werewolf movie, “Underworld” doesn’t have much biting at all. The plot should make sense, but the story gets distracted along the way by ultra-extended and uninspired “Matrix” style gun play and martial arts sequences. What’s even more confusing is that the studio is promoting the film as a love story between a vampire and a werewolf. That’s just not the case. There’s little time given to develop any kind of rapport, and there is no evidence of any chemistry to warrant the one “romantic” moment in the film. (Reviewed Sept. 19)

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (R) — What takes center stage is the stylish and at times tongue-in-cheek violence that often borders on the absurd. Against the colorful backdrop of Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival and a seductive mariachi soundtrack, the body count rises breathlessly. But that’s how director Robert Rodriguez intends it. It’s a great deal of fun — though probably not for the squeamish. (Reviewed Sept. 12)

Jeepers Creepers 2 (R): Creepy, suspenseful and at times (intentionally) hilarious, a ghastly winged creature with a voracious appetite wakes every 23 years to snack on as many people as it can in 23 days. The R rating really doesn’t seem justified, though; the film is not particularly gory and leaves much to the imagination. Only the rapid fire profanities from the teen cast keeps the under 17 crowd out of the theater — which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because they would seem to be the film’s primary demographic. (Reviewed Aug. 29)

The Magdalene Sisters (R) — This devastating and controversial film tells the fictionalized stories of 20th century Irish Catholic women incarcerated in Ireland’s very real Magdalene Laundries. Performances are powerful and convincing; despite the tragic subject, it is worth taking in with mothers, daughters and sisters — and sure to stimulate dialogue. (Reviewed Aug. 22)

Open Range (R) — Just when you thought the big-screen Western was dead, Kevin Costner returns with this thoughtful and poignant film. From a storytelling standpoint it’s not so different from any other recent Western tale, if not for the love affair of few words between Charlie (Costner) and Sue (Annette Bening). It’s the nuances that make “Open Range” bittersweet — and what elevates it from a run of the mill cowboy story to an ode to the end of an era in American history. (Reviewed Aug. 15)

Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (PG) — The third and final installment in a popular and creative children’s film franchise takes the series out on a memorable note with a decidedly retro invention: 3D. But the effects themselves don’t seem to be any more advanced then those from the heyday of the technology. Top-billed Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino, who reprise their roles as spy parents, are really bit players. This time, the film belongs to Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega). (Reviewed July 25)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13) — Simply put, this is an entertaining, epic pirate movie, not seen since the golden days of the swashbuckling classics “Captain Blood” and “The Crimson Pirate.” With plenty of action and adventure — and Johnny Depp as a punch-drunk pirate captain — the plot also manages to mature into a good old-fashioned ghost story. (Reviewed July 11)

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