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Audiences not entirely out of luck with latest Lohan flick

(05/16/06 9:00am)

But, perhaps more importantly, among professional film critics and moviegoers alike, Lohan's acting abilities have, for a long time, been widely debated. She certainly showed promise early on in her career: At the young age of 11, she played both the scheming preteens in "The Parent Trap" -- one with a surprisingly authentic British accent -- with startling confidence and a charisma beyond her years. And she was great in her next film, "Freaky Friday," as well, playing off horror vet Jamie Lee Curtis as a raven-haired punk princess best described as a cross between Holden Caulfield and Avril Lavigne. Things were looking up for Lohan -- her career was on the rise.

Visiting artist teaches jewelry making

(04/26/06 9:00am)

One look at Jen Townsend's "Ice Maiden" -- a startlingly detailed and beautifully designed sterling silver pendant depicting a nude woman caught in a web of ice -- and you know you're dealing with an artist of immense talent and visionary precision. The carefully shaped contours of the maiden's face, the graceful arch of her shoulders and the smooth, idealized realization of her form are captured with an intimacy and an intensity that reminds knowing viewers -- and, presumably, wearers -- of the exquisitely detailed beauty of pre-Raphaelite art.

Students represent Dartmouth at '06 Ivy Film Festival

(04/11/06 9:00am)

The Ivy Film Festival, founded by Brown University students David Peck and Justin Slosky in December 2001, began as a collaborative effort between the organizers, the Brown University Modern Culture and Media Department, the Brown Film Society and students at other Ivy League schools. In its inaugural year, the festival featured such speakers as Oliver Stone, writer/director of the Oscar-winning "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July," and Henry Bean, writer of "Internal Affairs" and the recent "Basic Instinct 2."

Malick's latest film navigates a brave 'New World'

(01/23/06 11:00am)

Terrence Malick's "The New World," his fourth film in nearly as many decades, similarly shuns the notion of cold, hard fact in favor of a new realization of the story -- a re-imagining, in a sense, of our nation's beginnings, from a virgin territory populated by shadow-like peoples to a lost paradise wrought with hunger, anger and conflict.

Golden Globes forecast potential Oscar contenders

(01/16/06 11:00am)

But to many others, of course, the Globes, which are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, have always served a more singular purpose: that is, to predict the outcome of the looming Academy Awards, or at least to illuminate the possible outcomes. It's true -- in the past, the Globes have come remarkably close to mirroring the Oscars, not only in their nominations but also in their winners. Last year, for instance, all five of the Academy's nominees for best picture -- "The Aviator," "Million Dollar Baby," "Finding Neverland," "Sideways," and "Ray" -- appeared among the films nominated at the Globes, either in the Drama category or the Comedy/Musical category. The difference was that, while the Globes honored "The Aviator" and "Sideways," the Academy went with Clint Eastwood's boxing flick -- an oddity, at least in recent years, but at least it made things exciting.

Box office slump not necessarily a bad omen for film industry

(01/05/06 11:00am)

You hear it every day -- on the news, in the paper, on TV and, hell, walking out of the theater from a 7 p.m. showing of "Memoirs of a Geisha" -- but is it really true? It's Hollywood's biggest fear, and it's the frightening conclusion that, for an entire year, studio executives and optimistic moviegoers alike have been trying to avoid. Sure, the box office has been slumping ever since about mid-spring, but people have come up with plenty of possible reasons why. "People are staying home," they have said, "because their TVs are bigger and better, wider and clearer, TiVo-equipped and ready for OnDemand. Who wants to go to a theater when you've got all that?"

Something in 'Shopgirl' adaptation gets lost in the translation

(11/14/05 11:00am)

In Anand Tucker's "Shopgirl," Los Angeles is just another lonely, rain-swept city, illuminated by neon lights and TV-projector screens, that lives and breathes with the sounds of car horns and the muffled drone of highway traffic. It's a city we see predominantly at night, when those who have a real home, in every sense of the word, return to those homes, and when those who don't keep looking. But most of all, in "Shopgirl," Los Angeles is a place of connections made and unmade, wanted and unwanted and -- to borrow from the film's imagery -- of May-December romances that blossom like roses and fall like dogwood leaves.

Wallace and Gromit make triumphant feature-length debut

(10/10/05 9:00am)

"Consistency," Oscar Wilde once said, "is the last refuge of the unimaginative." Wilde was very perceptive, I think, about a good many things: cynicism, marriage, people who are boring, women who say that they're thirty-five. But in the case of Nick Park and his crew of devoted animators at Aardman Studios, I think there's something to be said for consistency -- consistency in quality, in drawing rich characters and in maintaining, throughout all of their films, that unique brand of gag-filled, tongue-in-cheek humor that has established Wallace and Gromit as two of the most appealing characters in animation history.

25 years later, Led Zeppelin's influence can still be felt

(09/26/05 9:00am)

There's a certain element of mysticism and magic to the music of Led Zeppelin: it's an intangible quality that, even back in 1969 -- when their phenomenal self-titled debut album was released -- distinguished the band from its varied and eclectic influences, ranging from blues to British folk. Today, Robert Plant and company are widely considered the forefathers of hard rock and metal -- yes, even more so than Black Sabbath -- and their influence can still be felt today.

'Kingdom' refuses to offend, fails to impress

(05/09/05 9:00am)

In Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 2000, there's a scene in which a sweaty-haired Russell Crowe, standing over the blood and bodies of his fallen opponents, violently throws his sword into the crowd and -- with a certain virility only Australians can achieve -- roars, "Are you not entertained? Is that not why you are here?"

Scorsese's 'The Aviator' lands just short of greatness

(01/24/05 11:00am)

It was probably just a coincidence that, taking my seat in one of the Nugget's cramped-yet-comfortable theaters, I had Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" stuck in my head. It was an empty theater, you know, and they don't have trivia playing before the movie starts, so I was tapping my pencil on the back of the chair in front of me, and hummed a few of the lyrics: "I'm learning to fly but I ain't got wings/But what goes up must come down"

Oscars are still up in the air, with no frontrunner in sight

(11/23/04 11:00am)

As Oscar season comes into full swing, one can't help but notice the lack of a true frontrunner. This year we are certainly lacking a "Return of the King" or "Titanic," whose critical reception and wide appeal carried them both to record-tying sweeps of 11 awards. Indeed, 2004 may go down in Academy Awards history as somewhat of a free-for-all -- a possibility that could open the doors to more unconventional films being nominated for big awards.

I ? Huckabees: Existential comedy leaves viewers puzzled

(10/27/04 9:00am)

When the credits began to roll, the audience, of which I was an assenting part, seemed not to know what to think. The woman in front of me, her hair doused in a particularly potent perfume, shook her head with a confused smile; the man awkwardly lying in the aisle with his head propped up on a rolled-up jacket stood up dazedly, scratching his sideburns as he moved toward the exit.

Going downriver: 'Creek' a success

(10/21/04 9:00am)

One could approach "Mean Creek" as I did, with a certain set of expectations. Certainly, the advertisements and trailers for the film invoke the feeling that the independent film, being the directorial debut of Jacob Aaron Estes, will ultimately culminate in a convenient and predictably tragic climax that catalyzes the central character's coming of age. The film's rather mundane title, even, does little to abate such abject reservations.

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