New York City, baby.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

What's on our mind this morning? Our bank balance. Unfortunately, we aren't referring to a new band playing the early set at Mercury Lounge. But if we're calculating the sum of our worries, money accounts for a small fraction.

A far greater concern? The Oscars. Just like all previous years, we're troubled with the movies that were nominated and the actors that were recognized. Just as disturbing, the work that was overlooked. All this week our Deadly Viper Oscar Squad will be unleashing our fury:



No, Clint, we don't feel lucky. Not after sitting through your blue-collar whodunnit, which was unsatisfying from first profound and meaningful shot of a river to the last.

Why critics tripped over themselves to praise this dead-girl drama as suspenseful when the murder case could have and should have been assigned to Jerry Orbach -- now, that's a great mystery.

We half-expected to hear that Law & Order synthesizer noise after every conferral between the two lead detectives. (At the climax of an interrogation, Detective Bacon leaps back into the face of the suspect and shouts: "You're lying." Go to black. Ga-dung!)

There's also enough Irish stereotypes to make Italians reconsider their outrage at The Sopranos. And if the overdone Bawston accents aren't distracting enough, the entrance of an off-track storyline in the final few minutes is sure to mystify.

Just because Eastwood's brooding screen-telling and Sean Penn's riveting anguish often lift scenes above the deep plot fissures and cliché thuds, doesn't mean the movie can avoid eventually sinking (see river imagery) under those weights.


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