January 2007

Smokin’ Aces

by Alan Rapp on January 26, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Smokin’ Aces
  • IMDB: link

smokin-aces-posterSmokin’ Aces wasn’t the total disaster I was dreading, but it is certainly far from the fun thrill ride I’d been overly hopeful for.  The pace and look of the film work, so does the cast, but when you rely on plot points that would look silly in the most amateurish comic book by depicting them as true in a real world setting, well that’s a problem – a big one.  It’s not a complete waste of time, the film has a pace and energy that serves it well, but it’s far too flawed for my tastes.

Buddy “Aces” Isreal (Jeremy Piven) is a magician and wannabe gangster who has slowly managed to weasel himself into the uper echelon of the last great mob family.  As the head of the crime syndicate (Joseph Rushkin) begins fade in his old age he puts out word he wants Israel’s heart.  A million dollar hit is put out on the magician who then contemplates giving up everything and becoming a snitch to the F.B.I., if he can live long enough.

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It seems as though the game might, indeed, be afoot. Cable seems filled with great detectives lately. Monk and Psych both premiered their season openers last Friday, the Sci-fi Channel has just launched their newest series about a wizard detective titled The Dresden Files, and John Laroquette’s McBride appears to be back on the case.  Each brings their own unique style to solve mysteries, capture the bad guy, and entertain at the same time.

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Freedom Writers

by Alan Rapp on January 5, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Freedom Writers
  • IMDB: link

The idea of an inspiring teacher actually making a difference may seem cliche; nowadays, but there’s nothing cliche about Freedom Writers. The tale of a young teacher struggling with gangs, and inner city violence, and a system which has all but given up on the very students she was hired to help learn is, simply put, a great film. There were plenty of films I thought were excellent from last year but none which hit me on such an emotionally raw level as this. Don’t miss it and don’t dismiss it; Freedom Writers just might be the best film you see this year.

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Top 11 Films of 2006

by Alan Rapp on January 4, 2007

in Top Tens & Lists

Forget all those other pansy “Top Ten Lists” you’ve seen.  Mine goes to 11!  My list for last year included films which struggled to break even and those which were financial disasters.  This year, believe it or not, there are at least two films on my list that actually made a modest profit!

This year’s list includes two directors finding their way back to greatness, three comedies including one of the best satires in many a long year, a G-Rated animated film, three documentaries, a film about 9/11, a dysfunctional family in a yellow VW bus, a man whose life may be controlled by an unseen narrator, and a rat on the Boston State Police.  So who’s #1?  Let’s just say the answer may surprise you (and possibly piss you off to no end), but my choice was, in the end, the only one I could make.

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