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Reviews for the week of January 17, 2000.

Monday:
Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars
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Although Ethan Hawke is a terrific actor, Snow Falling on Cedars remains dull.

Hawke plays Ishmael Chambers, a newspaper reporter who has quite the personal interest in his latest story: the murder trial of his former sweetheart's husband.

Ishmael and Hatsue (Youki Kudoh) had a hot romance going when they were teenagers. This included having sex inside a big Cedar tree - apparently it was the only place they had any privacy. (When Hatsue later gets married to Kazuo Miyamoto, a Japanese man- they spend their honeymoon night in the same room with her family - so much for privacy!) The relationship between Ishmael and Hatsue didn't work out because Hatsue was Japanese and her family didn't want her to get involved with Ishmael, not to mention the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor, and World War II was going strong. She had no choice but to kiss him off.

A decade or so later, a local fisherman drowns suspiciously and Kazuo is the main suspect. Much as he still resents Hatsue for dumping him, Ishmael investigates the murder in an attempt to help Kazuo get off the hook.

Here's what I thought - Ishmael murdered the fisherman, framing Kazuo, so he'd go to jail. Once Kazuo was conveniently out of the way, Ishmael - who after all those years was still obsessed with Hatsue - would get her back.

Unfortunately, it didn't end that way. The ending was bland and predictable. (Personally, I think mine was a lot better - I should have written this script.)

Audio VersionWhile I'm rewriting this movie, I'd change a few other things - I'd add more humor (Heaven knows this movie is screaming for comic relief), confuse the plot a little more, and make the background music much more exciting. (Either the soundtrack or the plot or the combination of both nearly put me to sleep.)

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Hurricane

Hurricane
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Denzel Washington is the wrongly jailed boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter in the movie Hurricane.

Rubin, a famous boxer in the 1960's, was unfairly arrested, along with his driver, for murdering three white people in a diner. An extremely prejudiced cop, detective Vincent Della Pesca (Dan Hedaya) wasted no time in forging evidence and bribed or did away with a few witnesses, in order to make Rubin look guilty.

Convicted by a jury, not exactly of his peers since the jury consisted entirely of white people, Rubin was sentenced to life in jail. While in jail, Rubin penned a book about his life and unfair imprisonment.

Almost twenty years later, Lesra (Vicellous Reon Shannon) a black high school student learning to read buys Rubin's book, and becomes convinced that Rubin is innocent. Along with his Canadian tutors, he sets out to prove it.

Denzel Washington played the role to perfection although he seemed a little too slight for some of the boxing scenes. Although Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, and Dan Hedaya are the main attractions, the rest of the cast played their scenes marvelously.

The end of Hurricane is evident to the moviegoer, the plot was a little slow at times, but overall this film is worthwhile watching.

My Rating = Three Star

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