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From Grifters to The Bell Jar

MATCHSTICKMEN Well, here it is Friday night, and Blockbuster beckons. What to rent tonight is the old refrain, and wandering about the store aimlessly in search of entertaining video fare has become the agenda de l'heure.

Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men is the pick of the week, an idiosyncratic, tear-your-heart out grifter tale that promises a great deal, and delivers more. Nicolas Cage is absolutely terrific in this engagingly quirky, keeps-you-guessing, caper puzzle comedy-drama.

Patricia Clarkson received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod for her work in the Katie Holmes indie vehicle Pieces of April (when she was much better in The Station Agent), an otherwise forgettable low-budget, quasi-charmer that came and went, to little fanfare, this past autumn.

Otherwise, there's The Missing, which I missed largely because not much good was written about the film (although generally I don't rely on the opinions of others to sway me one way or another when it comes to cinema); My Life Without Me, a tear-jerker about a cancer victim (Sarah Polley) with two months to live; the execrable Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, and the barely-released, Ryan Reynolds-starring caper flick, Foolproof.

Perhaps the sleeper of the week will prove to be Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, about which the New York Observer's Andrew Sarris wrote, "a wondrously illuminating artistic experience for its ideal audience — people like me who know a little but not much about the explosive Plath-Hughes fusion of unbridled poetic temperaments in a tauntingly prosaic world."

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at February 27, 2004 8:06 PM in Video & DVD


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