Winter Movies

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Jan 212004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

Well, we’ve officially entered that time of the year that is

notoriously known as the period when movie studios seem to scrape

the bottom of the barrel of their films they have to release. And

while there is always the possibility that a movie will come out

and surprise audiences by actually being good, the chances are less

likely than any other time of the year.

Luckily there are some films still in theaters that were

released over winter break that are more than capable of filling

the void of good new movies for the time being. Here’s a recap of

the great, good and god-awful movie that were released while you

were gone.

The Great:

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

It is almost impossible to crown a “best” of this film trilogy,

but the third is the biggest cinematic achievement of them all.

Fantastic storytelling, great characters and creatures, epic battle

sequences and amazing special effects combine to make this easily

one of the best films of the year.

“Cold Mountain”

Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and, most notably, Rene Zellweger all

turn in award-worthy performances in this sweeping adaptation of

the prize-winning novel. The “Odyssey”-like storyline is

captivating, thrilling, and emotional.

The Good:

“Big Fish”

Although I was expecting to love Tim Burton’s newest film, I had

to settle for liking it a lot. I was pleasantly reminded of such

childhood favorites of mine as “The Never-Ending Story” and

“Labyrinth” while watching this film and it achieves the rare feat

of actually being better than the book it is based on.

“Peter Pan”

This visually lush film, reminiscent of the “Harry Potter”

movies, is a darker, scarier version of the classic children’s

story. The actors all do a great job, especially the kids playing

Peter and Wendy who look upon each other with more lust in their

eyes than any children I have ever seen.

“Along Came Polly”

Despite getting rather unfavorable critical reception, I found

this comedy endlessly appealing and often very funny. I smiled

throughout the whole film, though those turned off by bathroom

humor may tire of the film’s frequent poop and fart jokes.

“Pieces of April”

Katie Holms plays a young woman who invites her estranged

family, including her cancer-ridden mom (Patricia Clarkson in a

Golden Globe nominated performance), to her shabby, New York

apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. The only problems with this

humorous independent drama are a few overly eccentric characters

that become distracting and annoying. Tonight is the final night

that “Pieces of April” will be showing at Carmike 10.

The God-awful:

“Paycheck”

The cast, including Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman, give dull,

robotic performances in this fairly mundane “Memento” meets

“Minority Report” sci-fi action thriller.

“Mona Lisa Smile”

It had all the makings of a good film, but this female-take on

“Dead Poets Society” comes up short. The accomplished cast doesn’t

manage to make the mediocre script work.

“Stuck on You”

The most recent comedy from the Farrelly Brothers doesn’t

disappoint by being stupid; it just fails to elicit many big

laughs. Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are convincing as conjoined

twins, but the movie is too restrained, almost boring, to make it

the hilarious comedy it should have been.

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