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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida • Page 61
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida • Page 61

The Miami Heraldi
Miami, Florida
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WEEKEND Twenty-One too dark for genre ByBiLLCOSFORD Herald Movie Critic In Twenty-One independent filmmaker Don Boyd gives us a glimpse of a personality so cynical about life and love that her dysfunction erodes the film like an acid drip Katie a transplanted Londoner 21 and already pretty much fed up with everything As the story begins Katie is sitting on the john and iiiii ini addressing the camera with her tale of mild woe she remains similarly unfazed for 100 minutes until the story ends in much the same way In between largely in flashback Katie recaps her sexual misadventures which include a withering flirtation with a bridegroom at his own wedding and her hot pursuit of an addict WISHING TIME: Leslie Nielsen under the beard talking to Thora Birch as Hallie in All I Want for Christmas a tale of kids who want to reunite their estranged parents 'CROSSING THE LINE' Christmas is beguiling A predictable plot is wonderfully executed (Rufus Sewell) who comes to seem the Jbest of a bad lot Boyd doubtless intended Twenty-One to play as dark comedy but Katie is so self-centered you dislike her even when laughing with her no comic nightmare merely a bad dream and there are precious few moments in the film when she seems worth the trouble But Boyd does get some nice performances from his cast including Kensit heretofore best-known as the short-lived love interest opposite Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2 Kensit is quite lovely in her chiseled icy-blonde way Here her looks seem to conspire with the script to make a character of exceptional coldness Twenty-One is funny even at its most aloof And it accomplishes the signal feat of rendering sex scenes both visually striking and utterly joyless MOVIE REVIEW ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (G) Cast: Ethan Randall Thora Birch Kevin Nealon Leslie Nielsen Lauren Bacall Harley Jane Kozak and Jamey Sheridan Director Robert Lieberman Producers: Marykay Powell and Vicky Herman Screenwriters: Thom Eberhardt and Richard Kramer Cinematographer: Robbie Greenberg Music: Bruce Broughton A Paramount Pictures release Running time 92 minutes No objectionable material Liam Neeson thinks hecoulda been a contenda but bare-knuckles boxing in Scotland is a long way from a ring with a referee 3 for all occasions sushi for every Caucasian" Winter wonderland Cinematographer Robbie Greenberg gives us a New York City (shot on Los Angeles streets and sound stages) that looks like a winter wonderland And director Robert Lieberman extracts low-key performances from his cast Young Thora Birch as Hallie manages to be cute but not oppressively so and Ethan Randall (Ethan) shows a genuine comic flair Lauren Bacall does a nice turn as the elegantly acerbic grandmother and Kevin Nealon is appropriately hissable in the largely unrewarding role of boyfriend Tony Leslie Nielsen is unrecognizable in his Santa Claus makeup The outcome is never in doubt as the movie follows the campaign to sabotage current affair and get her back in arms where she belongs Still the fun is in the little twists and turns taken in getting there I took three young co-critics with me and afterward canvassed them for their opinions Bryan 6 liked pet mouse Marlon 9 liked Hallie And Monique 14 said the kind of movie that shows never too old for Christmas never too old to believe in Santa have put it better myself By LEONARD PITTS Jr Herald Arts Writer What a charming sweet-na-tured little fable this is warm and funny but smart too All I Want For Christmas is that rare bit of family fare that tickles the tykes but entertains the older set at the same time be fooled by the posters showing two kids hanging Santa Claus upside down in a snare of tinsel and Christmas lights in an apparent extortion attempt a dumb poster that come close to capturing the spirit of the film All I Want For Christmas is about Santa Claus and wishes about believing in a miracle and giving it a kick in the seat of the pants as needed Yes the film is at times manipulative and especially toward the end far-fetched But it is such a beguiling piece of entertainment that you willingly forgive its faults and happily go along for the ride The wise kids The movie tells the tale of 13-year-old Ethan and his 7-year-old sister Hallie Their parents have divorced and worse mom is planning to marry a smarmy kid-hating businessman but the kids (wise in these matters as kids sometimes are) know that mom and dad still love each other Hallie in particular is obsessed with getting her folks back together in time for the THE CYNIC: Played by Patsy Kensit holidays' And so she gets it in her head that Santa Claus can help But she reasons you ask just any St Nick ringing a charity bell on the comer you go to a fake" she says get it You gotta go to the real Santa at The film is full of nice little touches like that: a fantasy in the mold of Miracle On 34th Street but with a little sass thrown in for good measure holiday greeting is Christmas Happy because Grandma says you be too careful in New York Ethan invites his young love interest to food samples offered free at a local store An Asian man spoons raw fish onto their plates while repeating his motto: Halle Berry is the woman in this most recent take 5 on the boy- r- meets-girl theme THE BRIDEGROOM: Played by Patrick Ryecart THE TROUBLED ADDICT: Played by Rufus Sewell.

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