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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Miami Rhapsody’ An Allenesque Comedy About Engagement, Marriage And Anxiety

While introducing herself to a new physician, Gwyn Marcus becomes overwrought and tells more than even one's own doctor has any business knowing. Her anguished private revelations rock along for a good hour and a half, accounting for a delightful new movie called "Miami Rhapsody." As played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyn is the best Woody Allen character Woody Allen never created. Clearly, this film would not exist if not for the sweeping influence of Allen's comical take on private anxieties - to say nothing of such kindred artists as Paul Mazursky and the late John Cassavetes. Writerdirector David Frankel acknowledges this debt up front by placing both Mazursky and estranged Allen cohort Mia Farrow in key roles.

Leigh Provides Bravura Performance In ‘Mrs. Parker’

Let's discuss, for a moment, the art of movie acting. And let's do so by posing a simple question. Which of the following is more worthy of praise: a performance that fits smoothly into a film's overall cinematic landscape (even if that landscape is pedestrian to a fault), or a performance that stakes out a position regardless of the landscape and holds to it without flinching?

Learning Life’s Lessons Faulk Plays Real-Life Character In New Film

1. Peter Falk plays Rocky Holeczek in "Roommates." D.B. Sweeney plays his grandson Michael. "It was the best makeup I've ever seen - spent 80 hours in the chair before they even began shooting." 2. 'Rocky's like the Babe Ruth of grandfathers. Unforgettable, opinionated and impulsive, sure, but at the same time to be that wise makes him an original.' -Peter Falk

‘Mangler’ Turns Laundry Into Bloodbath

"The Mangler" Theater: North Division Cast: Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor, Jeremy Crutchley and Vanessa Pike. Running time: 105 minutes Rated: R

Actors’ Talent Wasted In Predictable Movie

"Hideaway" should be hidden away - and probably soon will be. It wastes the classy presences of Christine Lahti and Jeff Goldblum as a couple who collide with supernatural evil equipped with upto-the-minute computer wizardry. But its psychedelic tunnels suggest outtakes from " A Space Odyssey," and its plot machinery wouldn't make an "Omen" sequel.

‘Heavenly Creatures’ A ‘Murder Story With No Villains’

The cinema of murder is a twisted universe. Add family to the mix and this depiction of real-life crime dips into dementia. From Terence Malick's superbly directed "Badlands" to the sordid trio of television miniseries made about Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher, movies about family murder (and attempted murder) range the spectrum of quality.

How Many Ways To Kill Someone? `The Hunted’ Explores Possibilities

"The Hunted" Theaters: East Sprague, Newport and Coeur d'Alene cinemas Cast: Christopher Lambert, John Lone and Joan Chen Running time: 98 minutes Rated R "Make them suffer," John Lone says in the bloody, violent "The Hunted." I think he's talking about the audience.

`Walking Dead’ Lively, But A Little Out Of Focus

"The Walking Dead" Theater: North Division cinema Cast: Directed and written by Preston A. Whitmore II, it stars Allen Payne, Eddie Griffin and Jor Morton Running time: 94 minutes Rated R What mix of motives lures young men into the military and lands them in the middle of war? Are the triggers any different for young African-American men? Those seem to be central questions asked by "The Walking Dead," which tracks the progress of a group of black Marines in Vietnam over a chaotic few days. The answers run the gamut from insightful to insipid, acute to ambiguous. Although the first half of the movie seems to be positioning itself as a commentary on the connection between racial slights in American society and the number and experiences of black men in Vietnam, the second half largely squanders that promise. "The Walking Dead" loses not only its focus but also its nerve, succumbing to a host of standardissue action-flick flourishes. It reaches out for grisly melodrama in the form of a white Marine who goes violently bonkers for poorly explained reasons, with unclear relevance. It culminates in a cliched, hurried affirmation of brotherhood amid bloodshed. To its credit, it's never dull, thanks both to the lively dialogue scripted by writer-director Preston Whitmore II, a former Detroiter enjoying an increasingly bright moviemaking career, and to equally lively performances from talented actors including Eddie Griffin and the smashingly handsome Allen Payne, both of whom appeared last year in "Jason's Lyric." But the movie never achieves the meaning or coherence to which it initially seems to aspire. Although advertisements for "The Walking Dead" tout "the untold story of the black experience in Vietnam," the movie is seldom that sweeping, definitive or authoritative. It's actually set in 1972, toward the end of the war. The characters played by Griffin and Payne are members of a Marine unit with a mission to rescue Americans at a prisoner-ofwar camp. The movie opens as they receive those orders. A chopper then wings them through the night to the middle of the jungle. As soon as they land, they are assaulted by enemy fire, and several Marines die. As the survivors trudge through dense foliage to their destination, each reveals a bit about himself and the movie flashes back to show his life immediately prior to military service. Payne's character, for example, found that when he was ready to move his wife and young child out of an impoverished neighborhood, landlords in more prosperous areas weren't willing to rent an apartment to a black family. For him, a military career meant guaranteed housing outside the ghetto. Flashbacks for other characters, however, draw increasingly indirect links between racial matters and military enlistment. There's an interesting idea here. Unfortunately, it doesn't come across directly, forcefully or consistently enough.