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Saturday, September 20, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Sideways cinematronic
  director

Alexander Payne

cast

Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht

year

2004

rating rating cinematronic
  Paul Giamatti ("American Splendor") cements his status as a phenomenal character actor capable of carrying a movie with his sympathetic, layered performance as an insecure sad sack in "Sideways," director/co-screenwriter Alexander Payne's fourth feature. It's an affectionate, unsaccharine take on the buddy picture; a strong potable concocted with equal drams of drama, comedy, and romance. Miles (Giamatti) is a failed novelist and wine snob who yearns for his ex-wife. To forget his troubles and indulge in some male bonding, he takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) — a washed-up TV actor and horndog who's about to get married — on a road trip from Los Angeles to the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley. It becomes a journey of rueful discovery. The guys hook up with a sassy winery hostess (Sandra Oh) and a knowledgeable, kind, vulnerable waitress (Virginia Madsen). But the connections are hampered by self-delusion and inebriation. Already at the forefront of contemporary filmmakers, Payne brings wit, smarts, a sociopolitical point of view, a mastery of visual language, and the ability to draw the best out of his actors to every project he's done. His first three films — "Citizen Ruth," "Election" and "About Schmidt" — are each different in tone, but a certain astringent humor cuts through them all. "Sideways" — often as prickly as the others, although a little kinder and gentler — is Payne at his best.  
cinematronic
cinematronic


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