hoffman_magicDustin Hoffman plays a 243 year old magic store owner who hires Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman (an accountant) to help him. Hoffman's a spry 243 year old small business owner, whose childlike sense of wonder and flights of fantasy are both comically over the top and fun to watch.

Bale is an American Psycho.Years before he was beginning Batman, Christian Bale was developing his blank, emotionless stare as an American Psycho, based on the darkly satirical '80s novel by Bret Ellis.

Martin Scorsese frightens me.  I can’t help it.  Anyone this obsessed about movies and moviemaking has to be a really frightening guy.  And being so good at it, well that’s just not human.  Either he’s a robot sent from a scary future to entertain us or he’s one really obsessive-compulsive guy bent on making sure he earns our hard-wrought dough.  I’m betting on the latter.

Okay, I don't do this very often in this column but here ya go: go see Crank, the furiously fast-paced action film by writers-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, released through Lionsgate films.  It's one of those movies for people who love seeing movies because they love movies, not just because it's based upon a comic book property, the hottest actor/actress, or yet another remake of a thirty-year old flick.  Crank is 87 minutes long, it's rated R for excellent reasons, and if you see one movie in the next few months, make it this one, even twice.

path911I don't usually review T.V. mini-series and with good reason: they're not good.  They may be great at selling advertising but on the entertainment spectrum they rate somewhere just above a Billy Mays infomercial ("and the oil just disappears!!") and just below any movie starring Rutger Hauer.  And, bear in mind, I like Rutger Hauer movies.

But in this case I'll make an exception.  I have purposely steered clear of the hype, spin, and ridiculous framing of this "television event" in order to give you my unbiased opinion.  As someone who has actually read the "9/11 Commission Report" (okay, some of it) as well as one who loves a good movie, I found the treatment fair, essentially accurate, and not a bad way in which to tell a tragic tale that desperately needs our understanding.

About as much as you could attempt to translate a complex narrative that spans cultures and decades into a 4 hour or so movie, I give director David Cunningham and writer Cyrus Nowrasteh ("The Day Reagan Was Shot") sizable kudos for their cojones grande.  It is no small accomplishment to make sense of the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, and for making this understandable in the context of a made for T.V. movie, they deserve credit.  The result is a finished  dramatic storyline -- perhaps a testament to the scrutiny they knew they'd be under -- but not a "documentary" of the events in blow-by-blow format.  Thank you for that.


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