September 27, 2013 |
Nicholas Sparks is a poet of the bourgeois heart. A master technician who crashed onto the scene with 1996's mega-seller The Notebook , he carefully calibrates his love stories to appeal to middle-class women and men yearning for the ultimate consumerist fantasy - true love. A love so pure, it transcends crass materialism and transfigures our otherwise humdrum existence. Powerful opium, indeed. And we're hooked. The North Carolina author's first 16 novels have sold 90 million copies worldwide in more than 50 languages.
March 24, 2000 |
Nothing wrong with the syrupy romance Here on Earth that a megadose of insulin couldn't fix. Throw in a year's supply of bran muffins, too, to counteract the schmaltz. A teenage romance in the vein of Love Story, Here on Earth stars Leelee Sobieski as a wisecracking townie who catches the eye of Chris Klein, a smug preppie at a nearby private school. This unmans Josh Hartnett, her stalwart townie beau. No sooner do Samantha (Sobieski) and Kelley (Klein) lock eyes than Jasper (Hartnett)
June 27, 2008 |
Planet Earth is a dump. Literally. In the 28th century, the human race has fled to space, and apart from a few cockroaches, there are no life forms to speak of, just empty metropolises, abandoned ultra-malls and mountains of debris festering in the toxic haze of a long-ago environmental meltdown. What's a lonely robot to do? Well, in WALLE, the little rusted box with the binocular face and tank treads for feet falls in love, that's what. An adventurous shift away from the anthropomorphic madcappery of Pixar's recent animated features, WALLE, directed by Finding Nemo and Ratatouille veteran Andrew Stanton, is part love story, part eco-cautionary tale, and, for its first half, pretty much devoid of human dialogue.
January 7, 1994 |
Years ago, when "Shadowlands" star Anthony Hopkins was still making ventriloquist horror movies, I doubt anyone thought he'd become one of the most honored and revered stars of his day. Anthony Hopkins owns the '90s. The Oscar man. He won for "The Silence of the Lambs," was nominated again for "Howards End," and will likely be nominated for his roles this year in "Remains of the Day" and "Shadowlands. " Either one would do, since he plays more or less the same character - an uptight British guy who doesn't get any action until well into middle age. Based on the life of British author/educator C.S. Lewis, it casts Hopkins as the brilliant but repressed Lewis, a man who has gray hair and tenure at Oxford before he discovers the joys of romantic and sexual love.
February 6, 2012 |
Months after her husband was killed by the Nazis, an emotionally torn Kate Schmid fell in love. Hermann Hoerlin was a tall, rugged mountain climber who helped her through a crisis. But Schmid was Jewish. The man she loved was not. Yet against the backdrop of Nazi Germany, they found a way to marry when their union was forbidden by law. For years, only the bare bones of their story were known to their daughter, Bettina Hoerlin of Chestnut Hill. Then, about eight years ago, she opened a suitcase that had belonged to her parents, long dead.
January 9, 2004 |
'I always wanted to be in the movies," says Aileen Wuornos, the hard-bitten, homeless soul who turns tricks on Florida roadways, and who, in real life, was convicted of and executed for the murders of men who paid to have sex with her. Well, Wuornos has her movie: In Monster, director Patty Jenkins' "based on a true story" drama, the hooker-turned-killer is portrayed with jumpy and fierce conviction by a virtually unidentifiable Charlize Theron....
February 8, 1993 |
As love stories go, this isn't exactly "Romeo and Juliet" or "Casablanca. " Not even Rocky and, yo, Adrian. But, then, this is the 1990s so we must make do. Mike, 33, has an MBA and is a certified public accountant. He has a cool city condo, drives a '57 Thunderbird, plays golf at a suburban club and travels the country on business. And as he frankly says about himself, "I'm a good-looking, strapping, 6-4 young guy. " Despite these many qualities, he had a problem with the opposite sex. "Three years ago, I had a job that kept me zipping around the country so much I didn't really have time to meet women.
June 2, 1993 |
What can you say about a 52-year-old photographer who spends a week with a farmer's wife, falls deeply in love and never sees her again? That his tale will hit the best sellers list for 42 weeks straight. That critics will shake their heads at the popularity of a book they trashed. And that readers will ignore reviews to devour a clumsily told story packed with sure-fire fantasies. The book is a little novel called The Bridges of Madison County. Over the past nine months, it has sold 1.5 million copies.
January 10, 2013 |
Likely to be nominated for multiple Oscars on Thursday, Silver Linings Playbook offers an affectionate, true portrait of Philadelphia and the suburbs. It's arguably the best film ever made about our region. Silver Linings captures that affecting mix of grit and polish with tremendous warmth, the working-class roots and exceptional pride that are a hallmark of many neighborhoods where homes, no matter how cramped or nouveau grand, are tended like mansions. That specific sense of community extends throughout parts of the city and traverses both sides of the Delaware.
November 22, 2000 |
It's hard not to feel empowered by Nathalie Baye. She's the French Rene Russo, a fortysomething actress who just gets bolder and sexier by the minute. But French movies being what they are, Baye plays a babe in "Venus Beauty Institute" who defies logic because love has hold of her. After too many amorous defeats, Baye's Angele resorts to spontaneous diversions with cads and bounders. So when the real deal shows up, naturally she's not interested. Written and directed by Tonie Marshall, the movie is enjoyable but the slight story leaves something to be desired.