March 21, 1999
THE BIG EIGHT Picture Kenneth Turan: "Saving Private Ryan" (Steven Spielberg, Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn, producers) Kevin Thomas: "Saving Private Ryan" * Actor Turan: Ian McKellen ("Gods and Monsters") Thomas: Tom Hanks ("Saving Private Ryan") * Actress Turan: Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth") Thomas: Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love") * Director Turan: Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan") Thomas: Steven Spielberg * Supporting Actor Turan: Billy Bob Thornton ("A Simple
January 16, 1998 |
As a depiction of a small Midwestern city undergoing a major flood during a furious rainstorm, "Hard Rain" is as convincing as James Cameron's sinking of the Titanic. This documentary-like realism, alas, only underlines the preposterousness of its plot with its torrent of contrived, credibility-defying cliffhangers. A lighter touch, a sense of not taking itself too seriously, could have helped, but this Paramount release is basically a standard action-adventure.
July 7, 2000 |
In 1974, the Emmy Award-winning writing-and-producing team of Richard Levinson and William Link made an unforgettable TV movie, "The Gun," in which they traced the history of a single handgun as it passed from person to person. Swift, economical and devastating under John Badham's terse direction, it was as entertaining as it was a powerful, implicit plea for gun-control legislation.
January 18, 1999 |
Imagine an alien life force that is electrical rather than protoplasmic in nature, and you've got the gimmick that energizes "Virus," an unpretentious, amusing thrill-a-minute sci-fi horror thriller / monster movie that plugs right into fears of a Y2K crisis.
May 4, 1998 |
Patrick Swayze is caught between the pedal and the metal in "Black Dog," a movie lacking the charm and style to raise it above a demolition derby with a country music soundtrack. Deliver a truckload of illegal guns to Newark with the FBI and double-crossing transporters on his tail or lose his wife and daughter to the really bad guys and his house to the bank. And all this without a driver's license.
December 23, 2005 |
Not since Nicole Kidman followed the Camille-like dance hall entertainer of "Moulin Rouge!" with "The Hours," in which she portrayed Virginia Woolf, no less, has a star attempted such a stretch with such success as Heath Ledger, who has gone from playing a taciturn, tormented gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain" to the title role of Disney's scintillating "Casanova" (which opens Sunday), the tireless 18th century seducer of countless beautiful women.