May 11, 2004

[2012 Update: Well, here it is… the original post of the Looking Closer blog. You’ve found it. There are posts on this blog that have earlier publication dates, but that’s because they were originally published on the Looking Closer website, which was a separate entity at the time. This was the post that launched the blog and opened up new avenues of writing for me. I’ve started the engines on a lot of journals and creative endeavors that died early… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in March 2001.] – Ready to test your imagination? Picture Jude Law as a Russian shepherd-turned-sniper. Then imagine Ed Harris as a sinister German Nazi. Yeah, Enemy at the Gates, a new film by Jean-Jacques Annaud, asks you to suspend your disbelief with all of your might. We see several familiar Hollywood stars as characters of foreign origins, in an area of the battle where the U.S. never becomes… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in 2001.] • Sometimes humans are more beastly than their pets. Christopher Guest’s new “mockumentary” about dog shows, Best in Show, revels in that fact. The nine human beings that converge on Philadelphia for the Mayflower dog competition seem themselves to represent a wide variety of breeds, grooming styles, and gaits, regardless of the quality of their dog. They all want to be validated by the success of their… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This interview was originally published July 30, 2003, at the original Looking Closer website.] – On August 19th, 2003, Over the Rhine will celebrate the release of their tenth album by making it a double. Ohio boasts two full-length discs of new material. And that most astonishing thing is that, after they have played for ten years to stellar reviews, chances are 9 out of 10 that you’re reading this and saying to yourself “Who are Over the Rhine?” Somehow… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This interview was originally published at the website for a non-profit arts organization called Promontory Artists Association in February 2000.] • Linford Detweiler has learned to take it easy. It’s a Saturday afternoon in Seattle, unusually sunny for late February, and he joins my wife Anne and me for coffee and cranberry juice at the University Plaza Hotel, his home for the weekend, far from his Cincinnati headquarters. Linford, his wife singer/songwriter Karin Bergquist, and their band––Over the Rhine––are in… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published on the original Looking Closer website on May 12, 2002.] – In Monster’s Ball, Billy Bob Thornton plays Hank, a corrections officer carrying intense racial prejudice in one hand and a sidearm in the other. Hank’s aging father Buck (Peter Doyle) constantly reinforces the family’s race-hate, calling Sonny, Hank’s son, “weak” because he befriends their black neighbors. Halle Berry plays Leticia, the wife of a convicted killer, a mother trying to raise her son right… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in 2002.] – The Dish is one of those rare movies that does not aspire to be anything but short, sweet, and good for the heart. Thus, it doesn’t arrive like an “event,” and it leaves not with the hoopla of a blockbuster but with the whisper of a rumor. Those who plan their moviegoing by the Box Office Top Ten, or by what gets advertised on television, will… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published on the original Looking Closer website on May 12, 2003.] – Noah Taylor is best known for his charming lead role in the romantic comedy Flirting, and more recently made memorable marks on Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky. Now he’s starring as the most notorious monster of the 20th century. Max dares to delve into the life of Hitler in the days before the Holocaust, and Taylor is scarier than any orc in his intense… Read more

May 11, 2004

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in 1999.] – The End of the Affair takes us back to London in wartime. There, we’re told a story in which the echoes of air raid bombings leave scars on history and hearts. At first, it might sound like the tale of a simple love triangle: The wealthy and beautiful Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore) betrays her boring husband Henry (Stephen Rea) and begins a passionate affair with an… Read more

May 11, 2004

2012 Update: I’ve just revisited Galaxy Quest and am happy to report that it holds up very well more than a decade later. It has a special place in my heart for its sense of humor, for its remarkable use of Tim Allen (an actor I can rarely tolerate), and for the way it introduced moviegoers to the talents of Sam Rockwell, who has been vital to many impressive films since then. Its special effects look increasingly shoddy, but that… Read more

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