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Movie Reviews

28 Days (2000)

28daysGwen is an alcoholic in denial whose latest bender with boozer boyfriend Jasper (Dominic West) ruins the wedding of her sister (Elizabeth Perkins) and lands her in a month-long rehab program with the requisite gang of struggling drunks and junkies. Steve Buscemi aptly conveys the weary commitment of a counselor who's seen it all. Certainly no surprises here--the warring sisters will reconcile, and at least one rehabber will fail to recover--but there's ample pleasure to be found in Bullock's finely tuned performance.

Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock), a successful N.Y. journalist and ultimate party girl, loves to have a good time! Trouble is, she never can tell when she's had enough. When she borrows her sister's (Elizabeth Perkins) wedding limo and plows it into someone's front porch, the wild life she shares with her boyfriend, Jasper (Dominic West), comes to a screeching halt. She earns herself a DUI and a 28-day stretch in rehab. There, she faces an unthinkable set of rules (no cell phones!) and some strange rituals, like chanting and (gulp!) sharing her feelings. Joining up with an eccentric group of fellow rehabbers led by the inimitable Counselor Cornell (Steve Buscemi), Gwen embarks on a touching and often hilarious road to recovery where she learns that life is not always a party and that real happiness comes from within.

Our Take: Is the movie great? No! Is it worth seeing? Sure, why not? The scenes with Gwen driving the car drunk gave me flashbacks. The worst part was how she appeared to be held to a lower standard than anyone else. This would never happen in CR, right? Sorry ladies, no Keanu Reeves in this one. Whoa!

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 23:32:00

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

TbdDownbeat, explicit coming-of-age drama about promising N.Y.C. Catholic schoolboy's growing addiction to heroin. Appreciated by drama fans who enjoy riveting, powerful character portraits and dark, disturbing subject matter.

Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad; Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia; a coach (Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team; teenage sexual angst; and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon; the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals; robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie; an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then; is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity."

Our Take: Leonardo DiCaprio as a heroin addict is, in my opinion, one of his best roles. Very gritty and realistic with a scene outside his mothers apartment door that will bring flashbacks to many of us. Don't miss this.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 23:29:00

My Name Is Bill W. (1989)

NamebillwVivid lead performance highlights this drama based on the life of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson. Powerful story offers gritty but inspirational message to AA members, fans of character portraits.

A powerful, autobiographical story of an extraordinary friendship that developed into the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Our Take: This is a movie worth seeing. Both James Woods and James Garner give a powerful performance. It is interesting to see just how AA began and some of the trials they had to go throgh. The movie also serves as a reminder of how great things can happen with just a few determined people.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 23:26:00

Clean And Sober (1988)

CsGrim substance abuse drama about alcoholic in denial. A powerhouse experience for drama fans, due to its strong character development, acclaimed performances. Fans of Keaton may enjoy his unusual role.

After making his mark in several hit comedies including Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton startled critics and audiences alike with his acclaimed performance in this 1988 drama about one man's struggle against cocaine addiction. Keaton's comedic energy is transformed here into the kind of jittery intensity that's perfect for his role, suggesting a driven personality who can maintain the appearance of self-control for only so long before he crashes and burns. After a series of setbacks, Keaton's character seeks refuge in a drug rehabilitation program and must confront the truth of his own addiction at the urging of a counselor (Morgan Freeman) who's heard every lame excuse in the book from addicts struggling to quit. Kathy Baker leads a superb supporting cast as a recovering alcoholic and battered wife whose flagging self-esteem is boosted by Keaton's attention. Under the careful direction of Glenn Gordon Caron (of TV's Moonlighting fame), Keaton and Baker handle this delicate material with consummate skill and grace, turning a potentially depressing story into a moving portrait of people who must battle their inner demons step by tentative step. --Jeff Shannon

Our Take: Micheal Keaton plays an alcoholic businessman, who wants to get clean 'his' way. He enevtually learns to get humble and sober. Great acting by Morgan Freeman. Unfortunately, we don't get to see enough of him. Worth watching.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 14:36:00

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