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Reviews for the Week of 10/26:

Runaway Jury



Rated PG-13 | 127 mins


     Loosely adapted from a John Grisham novel, Gary Flederís Runaway Jury isnít as suspenseful as it is enjoyable, nor is it as chaotic as it is twisty. This picture is a mess in many ways, but its brisk, ingenious, and never boring execution will win almost every moviegoer over. Itís undeniably one of the most fun and entertaining trips Iíve had at the cinema this year. Itís overacted, overdone, and ultimately disposable, but who cares? Everyone who watches Runaway Jury will enjoy it; it works because this is all it wants to achieve.

     Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackmanís performances are surprisingly sub-par to that of John Cusackís. While the two veterans take their characters much too seriously, Cusack has a great feel for the material. I truly applauded every bit of his work in this motion picture.

     Sure, it may be flawed, but this is one hell of a popcorn movie. Thereís a lot to admire here; though desperately imperfect, Runaway Jury is insanely fabulous. Itíll keep you captivated and enthralledóif thatís not worth a recommendation, I donít know what is.


Wrong Turn



Rated R | 84 mins


     I like the slasher genre; I just donít respect it. Wrong Turn is no exception; it comes equipped with forks in the road, broken-down cars, a group of kids who split up in the middle of the woods, genetically deformed villains, and twenty foot jumps from the tops of towers that are being burned from the ground up. Sounds fun, eh? Sometimes it is, but the small amount of entertainment that Wrong Turn may bring is overpowered by its sheer awfulness. As enjoyable as watching Eliza Dushku run from mutated antagonists in the woods is, Wrong Turn was dead on arrival, simply because of its atrocious script. If you find yourself driving into Blockbuster to pick this one up, turn back while you have the chance.


Sweet Sixteen



Rated R | 106 mins


     Sweet Sixteen has one of the most respectable styles of storytelling that Iíve ever encountered. It allows the charactersí emotions and inner-conflicts to stay the main focus of the film, while still emphasizing a strong political view, in a beautiful way. Politically, I may not agree with it, but I respect the way that it portrays the opinion in which it succeeds in conveying.

     Director Ken Loach has an astonishing ability to always show and never tell in such a fashion that the audience always knows what he would like to communicate. His work isnít the highlight of Sweet Sixteen, though. Martin Compston, who plays our protagonist, Liam, is the person that holds this entire movie together. While the written material is earth-shattering and powerful in itself, Compston adds an unseen and unspoken force to Sweet Sixteen thatís particularly effective.

     Sweet Sixteen may not be one of the best films of the year, but itís certainly one of the most important. Occasionally, it may be hard to understand some of the charactersí accents, for the picture takes place in Scotland, but when itís over, youíll be glad that you watched it. Itís most definitely a must-see.


Nicholas Nickleby



Rated PG | 132 mins


     Oozing in style and marked by some great performances, this adaptation of the Dickens classic is a fabulous treat for every member of the family thatís old enough to follow it.

     The visual richness of Nicholas Nickleby is the most pleasantly surprising aspect of it; sets, costuming, and shooting locations are all predominant focuses. This one is distinct and unique, always in the top of its form. While it may become a bit longish towards the end, the true beauty of this picture always manages to shine through, and will delight everyone who chooses to take part in viewing it.

     Douglas McGrathís direction is the only aspect of Nicholas Nickleby that Iím hesitant to like. He clearly has a splendid vision and guides this picture along proficiently, but his efforts are uninspired, unlike the rest of the movie. This one mayíve been perfect if McGrathís work had been better, but on the whole, it is pretty damn great. Whether it is brilliant or not is questionable, but Nicholas Nickleby is certainly worth seeing.


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