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FOLLOWING
1998


August 30, 2001
Camera 3

From the director of MEMENTO. They are talking about re-releasing Christopher Nolan's first film, FOLLOWING. The people at Columbia had a screening for fans of MEMENTO. It was in Black and White and is very short (in a good way). It has a cast of unknowns. An unemployed writer spends his days following people around an English city. He doesn't harm them, he just tries to imagine their lives as he walks behind them. He gets bolder and soon follows the same person more than once. A man realizes he's being followed and confronts our protagonist. After a tense cup of coffee, they become partners in crime. There are twists and turns and the ending is not that predictable. Much like Memento, scars and injuries give us hints as to what the time line is for the film. We jump ahead and backwards with no warning, except a black eye, or cut lip, we can use as clues. Not nearly as slick as MEMENTO, but well-done nonetheless.


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THE MONKEY'S MASK
2000


August 29, 2001
Cinemateque At The Towne

A lesbian detective (a private dick?) is hired to find a missing novice poet in Sydney.

Mostly unknown actors, with the exception of Kelly McGillis who is brave in her portrayal of an intellectual professor who plays for both teams. Susie Porter plays the detective, a street-wise muscular woman who is instantly smitten with McGillis, even though she's a suspect. They have several pretty arousing encounters; we see each of them in all their glory. The story is definitely not dull. It's hard to dislike Porter's character--she's charming and attractive and self-depreciating. The girl that she is looking for is played by Abbie Cornish who has done mostly Australian TV up to now. She has the most incredible eyes I think I've ever seen. I look forward to her next feature. The lesbian slant upgrades this from a routine detective story to something more exciting.


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ENTROPY
1999


August 26, 2001
Cinemax

See the U2 Pop Culture Database for more information.


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DINNER WITH FRIENDS
2001


August 24, 2001
HBO

Four friends. Two marriages. One divorce.

Surprisingly well-done stage play turned film from HBO. Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell are married food critics. Toni Collette is and artist married to Greg Kinear who's a lawyer. The four are best friends until one day when Collette tearfully announces that Kinnear has left her. Emotions are brought to the surface, sides are chosen and then changed, and the married couple takes a long look at their relationship. All of the actors are good and because it's from a play they all get long scenes, full of dialogue. More poignant as MacDowell and Quaid had just been through their own break-ups. Better than expected.


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GHOST WORLD
2001


August 22, 2001
Camera 1

Accentuate The Negative.

See my full review here


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JESUS' SON
1999


August 20, 2001
HBO

An aimless young man tries to redeem himself after a life of drug addiction and petty theft.

-->Directed.....Alison Maclean [MichaelVox's Top TV Drama Of All Time: Homicide: Life On The Street; Subway Stories: Tales From The Underground; Sex And The City; Beloved]
-->Fuck Head.....Billy Crudup [Sleepers; Everyone Says I Love You; Inventing The Abbotts; Waking The Dead; Almost Famous]
-->Michelle.....Samantha Morton
-->Wayne.....Denis Leary [Strictly Business; Demolition Man; Judgment Night; Natural Born Killers; Subway Stories: Tales From The Underground; Suicide Kings; Wag The Dog; A Bug's Life]
-->Georgie.....Jack Black [MichaelVox's Favorite Sketch Show, Mr. Show; Tenacious D; Bob Roberts; Demolition Man; Bye Bye Love; Waterworld; Dead Man Walking; The Cable Guy; The Fan; Enemy Of The State; High Fidelity]
-->Mira.....Holly Hunter [MichaelVox's Top Five Favorite Actresses; Blood Simple; Raising Arizona; Broadcast News; Roe vs. Wade; Always; Miss Firecracker; Once Around; The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom; The Piano; The Firm; Copycat; Home For The Holidays; Crash; Living Out Loud; O Brother Where Art Thou?]

The cast is great and I'm a big fan of Crudup's but this film didn't capture me at any point. I wanted it to, but I was never sure if Fuck Head (his actual character name) was an idiot or just on drugs or that's the way he acted to get his way. The voiceovers are funny, but he seems more intelligent than his onscreen character. Morton is terrific as a fellow junkie who loves Fuck Head nearly unconditionally. Leary is a drunk guy who drowns his sorrows over losing his wife. Jack Black is perhaps the funniest man in America and all of his scenes (he plays a hospital orderly) are hilarious. He is much better than the material. And Holly Hunter is great in everything she does. Her small part brings a bit of life to this film but its too late by the time she shows up. There is spiritual stuff involving an Amish couple that I still don't understand. The look of the film was good to be sure. The 70s style (or lack of) was well represented. There is a scary real looking car crash. And Crudup is nothing if not charismatic. But he sort of drags along reacting to stuff as it happens. A good cast that could have done better.


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BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
1999


August 19, 2001
The Movie Channel

In New York City, an overworked ambulance driver heads towards a breakdown over the unremitting horrors of his night shift.

-->Directed…..Martin Scorsese
-->Nicolas Cage
-->Patricia Arquette
-->John Goodman
-->Ving Rhames
-->Tom Sizemore

Nightmarish tale of a weekend in the life of an alcoholic paramedic. Good cast and dreamy direction can’t make it move along any more quickly. Cage is good, Rhames is funny, Sizemore psychotic. As with all Scorsese films, the music is fantastic and loud in almost every scene. New York City has never looked meaner, although Cage seems to have no fear when junkies spray their blood on him or he gives mouth to mouth to street people. I didn’t see him with gloves on at any point. A vocation about which films aren’t usually made. We’re supposed to see how Cage’s past failures on the job reappear as ghosts as he tries to complete his duties. He just seemed a bit wacky to me. Not one of Scorsese’s best films.


10 Ebert
*** Halliwells


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TOPSY-TURVY
1999


August 18, 2001
DVD

The trials and tribulations behind Gilbert and Sullivan’s creation of The Mikado.

-->Written and Directed…..Mike Leigh [High Hopes; Life Is Sweet; Naked; Secrets And Lies]
-->William Schwenk Gilbert…..Jim Broadbent [Time Bandits; Superman IV: The Quest For Peace; Life Is Sweet; Enchanted April; The Crying Game; Bullets Over Broadway; Moulin Rouge]
-->Arthur Sullivan…..Allan Corduner [Talk Radio; Fat Man And Little Boy; Norma Jean And Marilyn; Indian Summer]

Delightful tale of Gilbert and Sullivan’s partnership and the ups and downs of a life in the theater in the 1880s. Fantastic representation of backstage life. Not unlike present day. We see rehearsals, supportive lovers, ego battles, production company politics, prima donnas, substance abuse, costuming, and choreography. A bit long at 2:40ish but the music is so fantastic that one only has to wait for the next musical interlude. Both G & S are a bit pompous as their success is already widespread when we meet them. Gilbert is married and speaks in an educated and dry manner, though he has the best lines. Sullivan enjoys the company of many women, including prostitutes, but is no less classy. At the beginning we see an opera of some kind where a man in full armor sings about each piece as he takes it off. Surely, the two have reached the bottom of their creative well. This changes when Gilbert goes to a Japanese exhibit and sees the dance and song and some custom of Japanese life. He decides to write THE MIKADO. Sullivan feels he has a great ‘real’ opera in him if only he could get away from Gilbert’s creatively-lacking librettos. Sullivan to Gilbert: ‘In 1885 it was a magic coin, before that a magic lozenge.’ Gilbert: ‘In this instance, it’s a magic potion.’ I enjoyed it a lot. The details are important and correct. The balcony fills to capacity before more than a handful of the wealthy have seated themselves in the orchestra section. A song that had been removed the night before the opening is returned to the score after a nervous, but successfully organized protest by the chorus. Both male and female actors complain about their Japanese wardrobes. Laughter. Tears. Curtain.

10 Ebert
8.75 Maltin
*** Halliwells

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MY GENERATION
2000


August 18, 2001
Starz

Documentary about the three Woodstock Music Festivals and their few similarities and many differences between a ‘free’ festival in 1969, and the completely corporate sponsored ones in 1994 and 1999.

-->Directed…..Barbara Kopple [Harlan County, USA; American Dream; MichaelVox’ Top TV Drama Homicide: Life On The Street; Wild Man Blues; Cinema Verite: Defining The Moment]

Ironic and interesting story of corporate America co-opting the Woodstock “brand name”. We see the boardroom dealings of Polygram and the different sponsors. Ben & Jerry wanted no part and their decision proved to be the smart one in hindsight. We see a Polygram suit say ‘Ben & Jerrys is becoming Ben & Jerk’s Ice Cream’ after they declined participation. Perry Farrell is seen lamenting the ‘smell of money’ at the 1994 Woodstock, then a graphic tells us that PORNO FOR PYROS was paid $150,000 for 50 minutes of work. The crowds at all three festivals are seen tearing up fences and sleeping in mud. “That sounds miserable, I’ll be at the Sheraton”—Henry Rollins. The first ‘free’ Woodstock is juxtaposed with the 1994 ($135) and 1999 ($150) concerts. Pepsi paid $5, Hagen Daz and The Wiz paid $2 million a piece. We are given a funny tour of temporary Wiz store built at Woodstock by a cynical Gen-Xer. Great camera work and as you would expect excellent music from all three festivals.


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A BRONX TALE
1993


August 17, 2001
San Jose Gypsy Cinema


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THE CONFESSION
2001


August 14, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

Shown as one of four shorts in the BOYS TO MEN compilation.

Sweet film about an elderly gay couple, one of whom is dying and wants to see a priest to confess his sins. He had a wife and family at one time. The swishier of the two doesn't want anything to do with a priest in the house. Nice and sweet.


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...LOST
2001


August 14, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

Shown as one of four shorts in the BOYS TO MEN compilation.

This film was about five minutes long. There are two model-quality buffed guys who are naked throughout. We get two penises, erections, near-insertion, and ejaculation right on screen. Not for the homophobic or bible-thumper. I believe its trying to say something about the recklessness and hopelessness of having H.I.V. and unprotected sex. At least that's what the website said.


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THE MOUNTAIN KING
2001


August 14, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

Shown as one of four shorts in the BOYS TO MEN compilation.

Guy is alone on beach so he sits down to read. Hours later a guy about his age walks up and says hi and then takes his clothes off and jumps into the sea. The first guy, fearing his acquaintance is dead runs to the water to save him, where he finds it was just a joke. Joking, naked guy invites other guy back to beach house to dry off. It turns out that scraggly guy is a hustler and the first guy is allegedly straight. They have (not unerotic) sex and the hustler demands money which hurts the john.

Well done with good music and beach house sunsets galore. Full frontal naked guy action is also on display. The ending is pretty creative. Both characters look exactly as you would think they would.


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CRUSH
2000


August 14, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

Shown as one of four shorts in the BOYS TO MEN compilation.

This was the most adorable gay-themed film I've ever seen, I think. Pubescent girl is cutting out a Teen Beat picture of her favorite dreamy actor, while across town, a big-city boy stuck at his Grandma's small-town house for the summer is cutting out the exact same picture in his room. The girl develops a understandable crush on the boy as he watches 'High School High' on television with her and knows all the stories and gossip about the actors. Meanwhile the boy is feeling an attraction towards a tall kid he sees playing football in the town park. Misunderstanding and heartbreak turn to fun and friendship. The girl is an absolute doll, but the boy is so obviously gay that you'd have to be blind not to see it. The film is funny and all the performances are good. The film sort of hinges on how the girl reacts to her new knowledge. Short, but fantastic.


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DROLE DE FELIX
THE ADVENTURES OF FELIX
2000


August 14, 2001
Towne Theater

H.I.V. positive gay man quits his job and travels from Normandy to the South of France by backroad to meet the father he's never seen.

Much better than the trailer would indicate. What is being advertised as a 'gay-man-frolicks-in-French-countryside' film is actually a much more touching story. Felix hitchhikes and walks across France and as he meets new characters a chapter heading is put on the screen separating these different interactions. He meets a 'little brother', 'grandma', 'cousin', and 'sister'. Each vignette is funny and heartwarming, especially the grandmother one. He does seem to meet the most socially progressive people as no one seems to bat an eye at his homosexuality. It is ultimately a happy film about different souls coming together for short periods of time. I liked it a lot.


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COMMITTED
2000


August 12, 2001
Starz

Woman follows her husband to Texas after he leaves her two years into their marriage.

-->Written and Directed.....Lisa Krueger [Mystery Train; Mr. and Mrs. Bridge; Benny & Joon]
-->Joline.....Heather Graham [MichaelVox Top Five; Twins; Drugstore Cowboy; Twin Peaks; Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me; Six Degrees Of Separation; Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle; Swingers; Two Girls And A Guy; Boogie Nights; Bowfinger]
-->Jay.....Casey Affleck [To Die For; Chasing Amy; Good Will Hunting; American Pie]
-->Carl.....Luke Wilson [Rushmore; Preston Tylk; Legally Blonde]
-->Neil.....Goran Visnjic [The Peacemaker; Rounders; ER]
-->T-Bo.....Mark Ruffalo [You Can Count On Me]

Free-spirited woman (Graham) runs a club in New York. She's married to her soul mate (Wilson) who is a photographer but is relegated to taking pictures of food for the newspaper instead of news. He leaves town, but she doesn't give up hope for their marriage. She believes him when he says that he just needs space to figure things out. She seems to be the most understanding woman on the planet. She stumbles upon him in El Paso, where she doesn't contact him, but sits back to make sure he's all right. Even when she sees him with another woman, she has faith for their relationship. She tells people he's in an 'emotional wheelchair' no different than if he had been hit by a car, and she wouldn't leave him if that happened so why would she now. While in El Paso she meets a southwest-centric cast including the Hispanic woman who slept with her husband, the sexy paper mache artist, and a grandfatherly medicine man.

It was enjoyable watching Graham's huge eyes filling up the entire screen. The weight of the film is on her shoulders and if we didn't believe that she is as innocent and big-hearted as she seems, the film would collapse. She seems honest and committed (hence the title) and sees only the best in people without being an idiot. The film begins to lag at the end when the title becomes literal, but along the way it certainly is fun. Great use of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire sung in Spanish.

This one was much better than I thought, but then again having Graham onscreen for most of any film would make it enjoyable.

6.25 Videohound


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STATE OF GRACE
1990


August 11, 2001
Cinemax

In New York, an undercover cop returns to the neighborhood where he grew up in order to infiltrate an Irish gang that is about to make a deal with the Mafia.

See The U2 Pop Culture Database for more information.


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TAKE IT FROM ME
2001


August 11, 2001
P.O.V.

Story of mothers trying to get off the welfare rolls. When Mayor Guliani says that 500,000 fewer people are on welfare, where did they all go? Plenty of struggle.


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THE BONE COLLECTOR
1999


August 10, 2001
Showtime

A paralyzed former detective and forensic expert works with an inexperienced female cop to catch a serial killer.

See The U2 Pop Culture Database for more information.


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THOMAS EST AMOUREUX
THOMAS IN LOVE
2000


August 7, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

In the future, an agoraphobe has all human interaction through a computer screen.

-->Directed.....Pierre-Paul Renders
-->Thomas Thomas.....Benoit Verhaert
-->Eva.....Aylin Yay
-->Melodie.....Magali Pinglaut

Like nothing we've seen before. We never see the lead actor's face. We watch the whole film from his POV. When someone calls him on the computer phone, we see their face, but never his. For eight years, Thomas Thomas has been housebound. This film takes place some time in the future. He has his every need taken care of by delivery or through the computer. All except for love. He finds himself bored with his favorite cybersex game and looks to make a more human connection, believing however that he will never again be in the same room as another person.

Creative camera work, digital film, animation all over, tatoos on everyone. It definitely sets a unique time and place. Got much better as it went on. It started with a sexual encounter with an animation partner, but soon got deeply into the isolation that everyone feels and how the computer, among other devices, makes us more and more isolated. His agoraphobia may be a natural progression of human evolution after years of e-mail and telephone 'conections'. Very well done.


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CINEMA VERITE: DEFINING THE MOMENT
1999


August 6, 2001
Sundance Channel

Documentary about the history of Cinema Verite or "Cinema Truth". Many famous documentarians are interviewed with an emphasis on Canadian filmmakers. Interesting and informative.

-->Directed.....Peter Wintonick
Interviews with:
Jennifer Fox [An American Love Story]
Barbara Kopple [Harlan County, USA; American Dream; MichaelVox's Favorite Drama of all time, Homicide: Life On The Street; Wild Man Blues]
Albert Maysles [Salesman; Gimme Shelter; When We Were Kings]
Donn A. Pennebaker [The War Room; Sessions At West 54th]


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REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
2000


August 2, 2001
DVD


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JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE
1998


July 31, 2001
Cinemateque at the Towne

A military guy falls for the sister of a terrorist who blew herself up in front of him.

-->Directed.....Hiroyuki Okiura

I must confess I've never seen anime before. I have no idea what the story was in this film. There were good guys and bad guys and in-betweens. But none of that really mattered because the movie just looked so damn cool. There are scenes involving shadows and water and wind that are so lifelike its frightening. The shading and colors were great. When the background people speak, the foreground people are out of focus as if shot in a camera with real actors. It was exciting and romantic and heartbreaking. And it was a friggin' cartoon.


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SUMMERTIME
1955


July 23, 2001
DVD

An American spinster has a holiday in Venice and becomes romantically involved.

-->Directed.....David Lean [Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, The Bridge On The River Kwai, Lawrence Of Arabia]
-->Jane Hudson.....Katharine Hepburn [The Philadelphia Story, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, On Golden Pond, Love Affair]
-->Renato Di Rossi.....Rossano Brazzi [The Barefoot Contessa]

A bit dated in its philosophies. The most important being that a woman over the age of 40, traveling alone in Venice must be a spinster who will never find a man. The other being the sheer gravity of traveling to another country to try and get laid. But for its time, it was beautiful to look at and gave a great feel for the city (which I've never visited). Hepburn is witty and smart and sarcastic and, truth be told, a bit horny. Brazzi is classy and although he runs a gift shop, he seems to have all the time in the world to enjoy coffee in a sidewalk cafe. Fun to watch.

8.75 Maltin
8.75 Videohound
*** Halliwells


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HIGH FIDELITY
2000


July 22, 2001
DVD

A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love, and other pop favorites.

-->Directed.....Stephen Frears [My Beautiful Laundrette, Prick Up Your Ears, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, Hero, Mary Reilly, Fail Safe]
-->Written.....Nick Hornby [About A Boy] and D.V. DeVincentis [Grosse Point Blank, Blade] and Steve Pink [Murder One, The Sure Thing, Bob Roberts, Grosse Point Blank] and John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg [Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, Beautiful Girls, Con Air, There's Something About Mary, The General's Daughter, Gone In Sixty Seconds]
-->Rob Gordon.....John Cusack [Class, Sixteen Candles, The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead, Stand By Me, One Crazy Summer, Broadcast News, Tapeheads, Eight Men Out, Say Anything, Fat Man And Little Boy, The Grifters, True Colors, Shadows And Fog, The Player, Map Of The Human Heart, Bob Roberts, Money For Nothing, Bullets Over Broadway, Baseball, City Hall, Grosse Point Blank, Con Air, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, The Thin Red Line, Being John Malkovich]
-->Laura.....Iben Hjejle
-->Dick.....Todd Louiso [Billy Bathgate, Scent Of A Woman, Apollo 13, Jerry Maguire, The Rock]
-->Barry.....Jack Black [MichaelVox's Five Funniest Humans, Mr. Show, One-Half of Tenacious D, Northern Exposure, The X-Files, Bob Roberts, Demolition Man, Bye Bye Love, Waterworld, Dead Man Walking, The Cable Guy, The Fan, Enemy Of The State]
-->Marie DeSalle.....Lisa Bonet [The Cosby Show, A Different World, Angel Heart, Enemy Of The State]
-->Charlie Nicholson.....Catherine Zeta-Jones [The Mask Of Zorro, Entrapment, Traffic]
-->Liz.....Joan Cusack [My Bodyguard, Class, Sixteen Candles, Broadcast News, Married To The Mob, Working Girl, Say Anything, Men Don't Leave, Hero, Corrina, Corrina, Nine Months, Grosse Point Blank, In & Out, Runaway Bride, Toy Story 2, Where The Heart Is]
-->Ian Raymond.....Tim Robbins [Network, The Sure Thing, Fraternity Vacation, Top Gun, Bull Durham, Tapeheads, Miss Firecracker, Jacob's Ladder, Cadillac Man, Jungle Fever, The Player, Bob Roberts, Short Cuts, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Shawshank Redemption, Pret-A-Porter, I.Q., Dead Man Walking]
-->Sarah.....Lili Taylor [She's Having A Baby, Mystic Pizza, Born On The Fourth Of July, Say Anything, Dogfight, Rudy, Short Cuts, Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle, Pret-A-Porter, Girls Town, Ransom, Subway Stories: Tales From The Underground]
-->Caroline.....Natasha Gregson Wagner [Daughter of Natalie Wood, Buffy The Vampire Slayer]

With a cast this talented, it has to be good, right? My second viewing was just as special as my first. I watched this time with people that didn't have the same love of music that I do, and I don't think they enjoyed it as much. Cusack is perfect in his role and everytime Jack Black is onscreen, you don't want to miss a word.

DVD had deleted scenes including one from the book that should have been included when Rob goes to buy a record collection from a scorned wife. Information on the book HIGH FIDELITY can be found here.


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EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
1990


July 21, 2001
DVD

A boy with artificial hands upsets the community in which he lives.

-->Written and Directed.....Tim Burton [Tron, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Singles, Ed Wood, Batman Forever, Sleepy Hollow]
-->Edward Scissorhands.....Johnny Depp [A Nightmare On Elm Street, Platoon, Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick Of Time, Donnie Brasco, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Before Night Falls, Chocolat]
-->Kim Boggs.....Winona Ryder [MichaelVox Top Five, Lucas, Square Dance, Beetlejuice, 1969, Heathers, Great Balls Of Fire, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, Mermaids, Night On Earth, Dracula, The House Of The Spirits, The Age Of Innocence, Little Women, Reality Bites, How To Make An American Quilt, Boys, Looking For Richard, The Crucible, Alien: Resurrection, Being John Malkovich, Girl, Interrupted]

Still gets to me after all these years. Probably Burton's most personal work. Towards the end a cop asks a shrink if Edward will be okay. The shrink says 'all those years of isolation have made him different.' Burton sees himself as Edward, unsure of how to react and interact with the world around him. Ryder and Depp were still a couple during filming. When they stare at each other and Winona says 'hold me' and Depp says 'I can't', it's absolutely heartbreaking. The music is perfect and there are great performances by Diane Wiest and Alan Arkin as well. It should be a Thanksgiving tradition.

7.5 Maltin
7.5 Videohound
5.0 Ebert
** Halliwells


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