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issue no.
  february 5
c o n t e n t s
Nasty in Pink: The Truth About Sara
RED Reviews
Bush Finds the Primary Clue Too Late

Opening This Weekend
by Jeremy Mathews

“The Big Bounce”
Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated PG-13

(out of four)

(Full review online)

“The Big Bounce” has the misfortune of being a child behind a row of giants. Film adaptations of Elmore Leonard’s novels like “Jackie Brown,” “Get Shorty” and “Out of Sight” have made it look like putting Leonard’s blend of crime, romance, comedy and clever dialogue on screen is as easy as making a bad Carrot Top film. “The Big Bounce,” however, proves the contrary, lacking the charm and energy that the previous films had, despite a solid cast.

Owen Wilson, that king of lethargic comedy, plays a small-time criminal loser named Jack who makes his way to Hawaii, which, we’re told, is the end of the line for shady drifters. (“They never make it to Tokyo.”) He befriends a judge (Morgan Freeman), who’s amused when he hits his supervisor with a baseball bat, and the mistress (Sara Foster) of a sleazy developer (Gary Sinise).

The quirky crime element is little more than unnecessarily convoluted plot twists, and with all the well-done twists and jokes from previous films in mind, this one is utterly dispensable.

“Bubba Ho-tep”
Vitagraph Films LLC
Rated R
(Not reviewed)
Opens at the Tower

So it turns out that Elvis and JFK never died, but are living in a nursing home. They are played, respectively, by Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis, who is, interestingly enough for a man playing Kennedy, black. Then the story of “Bubba Ho-tep,” based on cult-horror author Joe R. Lansdale’s short story, turns sinister when an Egyptian entity starts hunting the nursing home’s residents. This might be weird enough to be good, but it might just be weird.

“The Company”
Sony Picture Classics
Rated PG-13

Legendary director Robert Altman takes an environment-driven look at dance in “The Company,” starring Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell and James Franco. Robert Altman is awesome, even when his movies aren’t perfect, so this movie ought to be worth a view. It looks at the stressful hardships of a dance career, going beyond not having funding for a really cool project in which a dancer wears a Sensuit and makes a tree move.

“Girl With a Pearl Earring”
Lions Gate Films
Rated PG-13
(out of four)

Some good paintings have their own ways of inspiring mystery and intrigue through curious faces and conditions. “Girl with a Pearl Earring” imagines a background to the famous Vermeer painting that incorporates the social conditions of the time with an impossible romance.

Director Peter Webber works subtly to adapt Tracy Chevalier’s story of an intelligent young peasant woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who works as a maid at Vermeer’s (Colin Firth) house, among money problems and an unhappy marriage.
Johansson creates a woman who, due to the society of the time, doesn’t understand her feelings for Vermeer and wouldn’t likely act on them if she did. As she helps the master painter mix colors and compose, she discovers talents in the arts, but they’re ultimately unusable because a woman of her class, in the dogma of the time, had no business painting.

Firth and Johansson give emotionally rich, yet mute, performances that take the film beyond a standard historical genre.

“The Perfect Score”
Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13
(Not reviewed)

If you feel bad about lying on your personality test, “The Perfect Score” may make you feel better—if that’s the kind of personality you have. In this satire, six high school students band together, heist style, because they need a great score and can’t study for various reasons. Boo hoo. The cast includes newly not-Oscar-nominated Scarlett Johansson, Erika Christensen, Tyra Ferrell and Chris Evans.

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