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John Carpenter’s Vampires

John Carpenter’s Vampires

1-star

Review by Bjorn Thomson

John Carpenter’s Vampires is a vile genre piece that manages to be offensive for all the wrong reasons, and dull for all the usual ones.

Vampires possesses all the charm, humor and erotic allure of an open, suppurating sternal wound. It’s terminally unhip — a horror flick without a dash of self-deprecation, or of suspense. I’d say it’s the perfect film for serial killers; it has the same admixture of sickeningly prurient violence and violent misogyny that Bundy and company seem to thrive on.

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Film Review Index(Alphabetized), Savoy onFilm

Jack Frost (1998)

Jack Frost (1998)

1-star

Film Review by Bjorn Thomson

Jack Frost is an addle-headed TV-movie-of-the-week — the only thing remarkable about it is that it managed to obtain theatrical release (actually not altogether remarkable, considering kiddie-film precedent). It is a film with little wit, even less invention, and still less recognizably human behavior. It provides perhaps four examples of authentic-sounding dialogue. Jack Frost’s rendering of grade-school argot is impoverished: kids sometimes speak precociously, like they do in sitcoms, sometimes datedly (they spout 80s slang like it was going out of style, perhaps unaware that it has), and oftentimes mawkishly, as if they had the same bankruptcy of self-expression that Hollywood screenwriters do.

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Film Review Index(Alphabetized), Savoy onFilm

The Horse Whisperer

The Horse Whisperer

3.5-stars

Review by Linda Alvarado

films@savoymag.net

A friend stopped by my office this afternoon. He’s a manly man — the type that hunts and fishes and golfs and hates cats. The one thing we have in common is that we both like to go to the movies. When I told him that I’d been to see The Horse Whisperer, he said, “Oh yeah, me too. I figured since it had Redford and horses in it, it had to be good. But it was a chick movie.” For him there are three categories of films: Action, Comedy and Chick. Since The Horse Whisperer didn’t fit comfortably in the first two categories, it was, by default, a Chick movie.

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Film Review Index(Alphabetized), Savoy onFilm

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams

4-stars

Review by Bjorn Thomson

films@savoymag.net

Hoop Dreams (1994) is one of the greatest films of the decade, but it may be best-known for the controversy it sparked — although many critics predicted that Hoop Dreams would capture a Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, it didn’t even get the nod for Best Documentary. Tom Brokaw, who deservedly has little reputation as a crusader, was so shocked by the news that he launched an on-air tirade against the Academy, while critics unanimously condemned the omission. The Academy is still suffering from the repercussions of its great blunder, and its voting system has been criticized every year since.

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Film Review Index(Alphabetized), Savoy onFilm

He Got Game

He Got Game

2-stars

Review by Bjorn Thomson

Have you ever seen a movie that has no idea what its main characters are really like? Whether they would like red meat, cry at phone company commercials, or fart silently in a crowded elevator? The kind of film where all that you know about the characters is what you’re told outright, rather than what you’re shown through actions and beliefs which seem to flow naturally from their personalities?

He Got Game, the new film by Spike Lee, is that kind of movie. It begins by introducing us to Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), a convict with a passion for basketball. We see Jake effortlessly hitting 20-foot jumpers while presided over by a stone-faced armed guard. Jake is called off the court and summoned before the prison warden, who occupies one of those boiler room offices we only see in the movies, an office crisscrossed by ductwork, with files and junk-store cabinets strewn over the cracked concrete floor.

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