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Dolittle

A wild whirlwind of a mess, without any coherence, without even a guiding principle.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Acting badly and kicking butt

From: Martha Woodworth, Las Vegas, NV

I was disappointed that you didn't have the courage of your convictions (or your basic instincts) to give "Basic Instinct 2" four stars. We just saw it and thought it riveting, slick, and something of an erotic cartoon. It manipulated the audience's emotions deftly; there were many "ooh's" and "ahh's" and lots of laughs. I heard one elderly woman in front of us gasp at a pivotal, orgasmic moment and cry, "How can they allow this movie to be shown?"

But I didn't notice her -- or anyone else in the theater -- getting up and leaving. We all lapped it up like a big bowl of sweet cream. Sharon Stone
(as you correctly observed) acted badly, in more ways than one. Her cheesy
American accent hit all the flat notes compared to the dulcet tones of the Brit leads, especially the exquisitely subtle Charlotte Rampling. But who cares? Her clothes were fabulous (and draped on her, beyond fabulous). The sets and the photography were stunning. The story (and the sensuality) was breathless and kept happily squirming in our seats.

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What more do the critics want? This movie was entertaining to the max. It's a travesty that it is getting such poor reviews.

"Basic Instinct 2" is not unlike "Showgirls," another movie I loved but which was trounced by the critics. Media critics seem threatened by hard-as-nails, unrepentant women. In "Showgirls" the women were (or became) street-wise, and beat the crude show-biz moguls at their own game. In "Basic Instinct 2" the Sharon Stone character is as mean and evil as any male villain. And she gets away with it. And the men she victimizes love her for it in the end. You see, it's a total mythology that men are the only ones capable of cold-blooded murder and mayhem. We need more really, really bad women in the movies. I tell you, it's exhilarating for a woman to see a female character who can really kick some ass, and smile while doing it.

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