Mini Reviews (March 2003)
Indian Summer, Cradle 2 the Grave, Loves of a Blonde
Indian Summer (March 15/03)
Essentially The Big Chill for the '90s, Indian Summer features a group of thirtysomethings getting together at their childhood camp for one last time. The longtime owner, Unca Lou (Alan Arkin), is getting ready to shut the place down and has invited a select group of campers to enjoy one last week of games and gossip. There's no big plot twist or shocking character development here; writer/director Mike Binder's only concern is in presenting these various characters and allowing them to reminisce. It never really adds up to much, but with this group of actors (including Sam Raimi, of all people, as a clumsy handyman) it's generally never boring.
Cradle 2 the Grave (March 29/03)
Cradle 2 the Grave marks former cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak's third film (after Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds), and it's essentially exactly the same as the first two. Rapper DMX stars as a jewel thief with a heart-of-gold (during the heist that opens the picture, he proclaims that he steals only from criminals; well, isn't that just great) whose most recent acquisition, a bag full of black diamonds, has sparked the interest of some nefarious baddies bent on controlling the world (well, not really - but they are planning to use the diamonds to sell a weapon that could be used to control the world). There's nothing all that special or remarkable about Cradle 2 the Grave, but the film remains watchable mostly because it's an R rated action flick - a type of movie that's all-to-rare nowadays. DMX remains one of the most horrible actors out there, but at least he knows he sucks and doesn't try expressing any actual emotions (well, there is one laughably bad sequence that finds him on the verge of tears after his daughter's kidnapped). Cradle 2 the Grave is in no way even close to the action flicks of the '80s/early '90s, but if you're jonesing for some violence, this'll have to do.
Loves of a Blonde (March 30/03)
Not sure why this one has received any acclaim over the years. Directed by Milos Forman (who would certainly go on to better things), the film concerns a bored woman (the blonde of the title) who starts a relationship with a handsome musician. There's not much more to it than that. A plot? Forget about it. Presumably, the film's supposed to be a quirky and revealing slice of life - but since the central character is never developed beyond the superficial, it's impossible to care about her. And worse yet, the film opens with a half hour sequence involving some soldiers at a dance that has absolutely nothing to do with what follows.