Aesthetically Speaking

Film reviews: Now showing at your home via cable television

Premiere actors Stephen Dorf, Norman Reedus and Matt Dillon show you how it's done in Deuces Wild, a powerful, tragedy of gang-related, White-on-White crime. Premiere actors Stephen Dorf, Norman Reedus and Matt Dillon show you how it's done in Deuces Wild, a powerful, tragedy of gang-related, White-on-White crime. Dorf performs a role worthy of his mettle as the complex protagonist fighting to keep heroin out of the 'hood. Reedus, in flawless compliment, is evil incarnate as the determined drug-pusher. Dillon is deftly understated as the head thug in charge of them both. If this May 2002 film doesn't walk off with an armful of Oscars next year (including best director and best picture), something indeed may well be rotten in Denmark.

Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring) is a delightfully sprawling epic of sword-and-sorcery. Condensing characters and circumstance from the classic literary work, it got some purists a bit riled. There are aspects I'm not crazy about, in fact: you don't see one face of color the whole 2:58. Still, this adventure about brave Hobbit's (whatever that is) journey over hill and dale to save mankind is completely enjoyable (and I'm willing to consider the possibility that Black elves didn't exist in ancient England).

Ian McKellen shows he's still one the best actors every overshadowed by Richard Burton. And, ever in command, Christopher Lee reminds you once again of all the talent he wasted (and money he made) playing Count Dracula. The kids, by the way, are gonna love this one, thanks to state of the art special effects.

It's been a long time since Michael Caine had a starring role and may be a while until he lands another. So, if you appreciate this veteran of the screen and want him to really dig into a character, catch him in Shiner. Caine plays a sleazy boxing promoter whose son is a promising young pugilist. When the boy gets a shot at the title, Caine's character finds it not at all easy to shake his shady past and see to it a clean fight takes place. With Martin Landau in the supporting lead, this flick offers a world of fine acting and not a shred of glitzy melodrama.

Liberty Stands Still, recently added title to VOD, is quite possibly the best film of Wesley Snipes' career. Linda Fiorentino (Men In Black, Where The Money Is) takes the lead and Snipes is definitively low-key in a tight, intelligent thriller about how the long arm of the gun industry does multi-billion dollar business and destroys ordinary lives in the process. It's a profound moral indictment of America’s humanity toward Americans — and everybody else. Which makes it just the kind of quality flick that routinely gets overlooked.

December 30, 2002
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