Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

THE SHIPPING NEWS (2001)

The fluke success (commercial & critical) of AMERICAN BEAUTY led to a brief delusion that Kevin Spacey was not simply a bankable leading man, but one of those rare character-actor stars (like Gene Hackman or Edward G Robinson). Hence a series of increasingly lackluster pics (commercial & critical duds), including this ghoulishly uplifting mess about a loser who ‘finds himself’ when he moves to his homestead on a wee isle in Newfoundland where every sod is a darling eccentric holding tight to a sad secret tune from their past. Bill Forsyth ’s LOCAL HERO showed how to bring this type of thing off, but Lasse Hallstrom plumbs cuteness at every plot turn. Did Annie Proulx’s novel feel so plump & sated? At least the cast is game: watch Judi Dench make like Katie Hepburn, see Cate Blanchette ‘do’ Cher, hear Spacey channel Chris Walken’s vocal patterns.

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