Films featuring
Jeff Daniels

Speed

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Over the years, the words “Directed by Jon De Bont” and “Starring Keanu Reeves” have not always been recipes for awesomeness (Reeves does get points for Point Break, of course), but I guess accidents can happen. Of all the films built on the Die Hard blueprint, Speed is pretty much the only one that didn’t suck even a little.

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The Lookout

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As the screenwriter of Get Shorty and Out of Sight, writer/director Scott Frank knows his way around a caper movie, which helps give him a sure hand when dealing with the bank heist elements of The Lookout, but it’s the human drama that elevates this film to more insightful level. This is a character study framed in the traditional structure of a crime story and somewhat more successful in the first element than it is in the second.

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Gettysburg

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Eighty-seven years after they founded this country with the institution of slavery still intact, the country celebrated the Fourth of July in the bloodiest way possible in any effort to resolve that question. The Turner Network’s film of the decisive Battle of Gettysburg is a rigorously faithful adaption of Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels. Perhaps they were a bit too faithful. This movie occasionally suffers from a little of what I call “The Longest Day Syndrome,” which is the tendency for characters to pontificate on the importance of the events in the film as if they were reading from, well, the pages of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels.

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Infamous

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Back in the 1990s, there was a unfortunate epidemic of duplicate projects in Hollywood, plaguing us all with competing films about volcanoes, earth-killing asteroids and Wyatt Earp. If back then you would have informed me that the next time this phenomenon surfaced, the subject would be author Truman Capote, I would have driven you to the Betty Ford clinic myself.

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Good Night, and Good Luck

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Good Night, and Good Luck didn’t tell me much I didn’t know about the showdown between Edward R. Murrow and Joseph McCarthy, but then I considered myself reasonably informed on the events in question. The real issue is whether those ten and twenty years younger than my forty-[mumble-something] will learn anything about why the current state of network television news is so pitiful and how far it has fallen.

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