11 May 2004

Monster’s Ball (2001)

[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

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11 May 2004

The Dish (2000)

  [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

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11 May 2004

Star Wars, Episode Two: a film forum

My coverage of reviews for Star Wars, Episode Two was originally published in the Film Forum column at Christianity Today in May 2002. • The previous Star Wars film, 1999’s Episode One: The Phantom Menace, has become the most successful of the entire series. Ironically, it is also considered one of the

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11 May 2004

The Patriot (2000)

This is an archive of one of the earliest Looking Closer reviews. I keep it as a souvenir of the early days (although I hope I’ve learned a thing or two about writing since then). • The Patriot is an ambitious epic, exhausting more for the emotional toll than for its

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11 May 2004

Max (2002)

[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

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11 May 2004

The End of the Affair (1999)

[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

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11 May 2004

The Rookie (2002)

I’m not much of a baseball fan. I’m not much of a Disney fan. But The Rookie surprised me. Not only is it the best Rated-G movie for grownups since The Straight Story… it boasts what will be remembered as one of the best performances of the year. Dennis Quaid

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11 May 2004

The Rookie (2002): guest review and film forum

The following review was contributed to Looking Closer by guest reviewer Ron Reed, and the Film Forum was published at Christianity Today. • Ron Reed: Your grandfather once told me it was okay to think about what you want to do until it was time to start doing what you

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11 May 2004

Grosse Point Blank (1997)

This review was originally published at Green Lake Reflections, my first film review website. • Grosse Point Blank is almost unclassifiable. Director George Armitage (Miami Blues) has cooked up what is bound to become a cult classic — but where will you shelve it in a video store? What is it?

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11 May 2004

Galaxy Quest (1999)

2012 Update: I’ve just revisited Galaxy Quest and am happy to report that it holds up very well more than a decade later. This movie 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),

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