Feb 112004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

“In America”

For whatever reason, I eagerly hoped this film would come to

town more than any film of 2003. Something about the trailer made

me know I would love it. Well, it finally came and I did.

During one stifling hot summer after the death of his son, an

Irish man migrates to America with his wife and two young daughters

in the hopes of starting anew. They arrive at a decaying New York

apartment and impressively fix it up to resemble an almost decent

place to live.

The dad, Johnny, goes in search of acting gigs and the mom,

Sarah, gets a job at a neighborhood ice cream parlor. Daughters

Christy and Ariel try to make the best of their new surroundings,

Christy with the use of her ever-present camcorder and Ariel with

her newfound interest in “E.T.”

On Halloween, Christy and Ariel come in contact with their

neighbor Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), an artist dying of AIDS. Mateo is

an angry man on the surface, but after quickly warming to Christy

and Ariel, a friendship with the family is formed.

The performances from the entire cast are phenomenal and the

cinematography is striking. Christy and Ariel, played by real-life

sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger, will steal your heart and blow you

away with their acting ability.

If you are not touched and moved by “In America,” you may be

incapable of experiencing those emotions at all. It is unfortunate

that this film did not get a larger release because it is easily

one of the best films of 2003.

4 out of 4 rams

“Bubba Ho-Tep”

Imagine if Elvis Pressley (Bruce Campbell) really wasn’t dead

but actually holed up in some nursing home in Texas after switching

places with an impersonator shortly before his “supposed” death.

Now imagine that also at this nursing home is JFK (Ossie Davis),

also still alive but now African-American after some conspiracy

dyed him black. And if that wasn’t enough, join the two together to

fight off an ancient Egyptian mummy preying on the souls of the

elderly at the rest home.

And there you have the plot of “Bubba Ho-Tep.” If you’re like

me, this sounds like a film not to be missed, however, if you had

the opposite reaction, chances are you aren’t going to have a

change of heart while watching it. This movie has “cult classic”

written all over it, and it will undoubtedly achieve that status

once it comes out on video and DVD.

Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness”) has a pretty

massive cult following already and the ingenious plot makes for a

combination that fans of movies like this should not miss. It could

have used tweaking, but its sheer audacity made me forgive it some

faults. Don’t miss your chance to see it on the big screen.

3 out of 4 rams

Now onto the mainstream movies.

 

“Miracle”

There may be no other moment in American sports history more

revered than when the USA hockey team beat the champion Soviets at

the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

That moment and the people who made it happen get full cinematic

treatment in the new drama, “Miracle.” Kurt Russell gives a very

convincing performance as Herb Brooks, whose tough coaching methods

and perseverance were as much to thank for the victory as the

players themselves. Russell has the whole cocky, gum-chomping,

aphorism-spewing, stone-faced coach routine down pat and the film

works largely due to his performance.

“Miracle” does not achieve greatness as a film but it

comfortably settles for being really good. Since the movie is based

on a true story, the climax is not as tension-filled as other

sports movies simply because you already know how it is going to

end. Seeing as I was not alive to view the game when it happened,

though, the sports action was still rather exciting and well

shot.

In our post-Sept. 11 resurgence of patriotism, the sight of

these athletes taking the ice with USA proudly stitched across

their uniforms has an undoubtedly intentional emotional impact.

“Miracle” is a good ol’ American crowd-pleaser that doesn’t try to

be or need to be anything else.

3 out of 4 rams

“Barbershop 2” (PG-13)

Calvin (Ice Cube) and his talkative group of employees are back

for more hair-cutting high jinxs in this sequel to the 2002 hit

comedy. I liked the first one, but this time around is a cut

below.

The sequel’s plot is almost identical to the original, which may

account for the fact that this retread is not nearly as

entertaining. Many scenes are more silly than genuinely funny and

the movie is unexpectedly slow at times. The characters are still

likeable, but I wish I could have revisited them in a better

movie.

2 out of 4 rams

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