Saturday, November 20, 2004

Movies opening this week

National Treasure (Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, dir. John Turteltaub)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
It's not even much fun to rip on Jerry Bruckheimer movies anymore. This one is barely even trying, and Nic Cage looks really tired. Wide release

Sideways (Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, dir. Alexander Payne)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Man, I love Alexander Payne. This movie didn't quite blow me away as much as About Schmidt did, mainly because when I first saw About Schmidt I knew nearly nothing about it, and with this I'd been hearing the hype and the gushing reviews for months, and had been excited since first seeing the trailer since Payne and Giamatti were involved. So this was more a case of a slow-building appreciation, but I do think it's one of the best movies of the year. It's funny that so many of my favorite films this year - this, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Before Sunset, The Dreamers, even Spider-Man 2 in its own way - are heartfelt relationship dramas. Maybe it's something about what's in the water in Hollywood, or maybe it's just my subconscious yearning for the kind of passion that the characters in these films have, but these moving films about romance are definitely the stand-out films of the year. Pretty much every reviewer in the country has recommended seeing Sideways, so I'll only add my voice to the chorus, but it's worth saying again. And Payne is one of the top five or so American directors working today - I can't wait to see what he does next. Opened limited Oct. 22; in Las Vegas this week

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