Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Friday, January 11, 2008

    The Bucket List
    Summary: Two old dollies, one an elitist (Jack Nicholson) and the other a family man (Morgan Freeman—of course he is playing the good guy!) share a hospital room. Once diagnosed with terminal illnesses and given only a few months to live, the two create a list of adventurous, emotional and life-changing to-dos before they "kick the bucket".

    Review: While not my type of film and definitely for a mature audience, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman still deliver great acting, even though it's obvious they had no intention of working too hard. The movie grapples with death, salvation, family, friendship and risks, leaving the audience to decide—what is the most important in a lived life?

    The Bucket List has bright imagery, catty one-liners (mostly from Nicholson’s character), but still manages to have a morbid feel. With graphic surgical scenes that give the Discovery Channel a hot battle, facing death gives each scene a heavy damper. Between all the illnesses and talk of dying I walked out saying, "Lawd, I'm not feeling too good myself!" Director Rob Reiner didn’t properly balance this dark comedy with comic relief. Sophia from The Golden Girls ranting about dying and calling Blanche a slut was hilarious, but there was something missing on the list with this flick.

    Whatever the case, The Bucket List is a good movie, it's worth it to see these two legends bounce off each other. Also, this is Jack's (Sean Hayes) first film since the cancellation of Will & Grace.

    If you're looking for a new spin on the "stop and smell the roses" rhetoric, this is not the film for you. I recommend seasons 2 – 5 of The Golden Girls!

    Grade: B -

    El Orfanato

    Summary: Laura, her husband and son return to the decadent mansion where she was raised, which is now haunted by irritating little brats who were orphans. These orphan children harass Miss Laura to her last nerve and manage to snatch up her darling, and sickly, son in the process!

    Review: I love a psychological thriller and was excited to see El Orfanato (The Orphanage), which is from the acclaimed director of Pan's Labyrinth,
    Guillermo Del Toro. The film has received amazing reviews, but for me, I felt like the script needed an immediate adoption of a more compelling storyline. Yes, there were interesting plot twists such as the sickness of Laura's child, why the mansion is haunted and the film is beautifully shot. However, all of the twists never fully tie together to make a complete story—what's a wonderfully shot thriller without the thrill?

    Throughout the hour and forty minutes, the audience awaits for that big boom, which eventually falls short with doors slamming, Miss Laura screaming in the rain and those demon kids. The viewer is left with a flavorless thriller that is about as psychological as this season of Ugly Betty.

    This is a Latin film but the majority of the actors were Spaniards. My Dominican sister, who attended the screening with me, ranted, “If these were Dominicans we would’ve cut off a chicken’s head, put a Santeria spell on those bad ass kids and be done with it!”

    If you want to see evil children who harass foolish adults, I recommend The Good Son or Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed.

    Grade: C -

    The Bucket List and El Orfanato open in theaters nationwide today.

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 3 comments

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