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Sunday, June 8, 2008

THE YARD (2000)

Over-plotted civic corruption drama apes SERPICO and THE GODFATHER, which its 2-hr running time can’t accommodate. Back in Bkln after jail, Mark Wahlberg gets in fresh trouble when best pal Joaquin Phoenix plants him for a murder rap. It all has something or other to do with James Caan’s train repair shop which isn't playing fair with the competition, but is now getting outbid & outplayed. Times change. You can't go home again. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It's that sort of storytelling. Throw in Ellen Burstyn, Charlize Theron, Faye Dunaway (surprisingly effective), Steve Lawrence (even better), and you’d think somebody would have shown up to watch. Director James Gray hits his targets, but lays it on pretty thick (and pretty dark, someone turn on a light!), & the film missed the pop/cultural Zeitgeist by a mile.

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