Lemony Snicket: an unfortunate event.

Running thoughts on movies and their makings.
Dec. 21 2004 3:53 PM

Joel Schumacher's Symphony

Plus, Lemony Snicket, Meet the Fockers, and the very, very last word on biopics.

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As for Paz Vega, I can't tell if she's a good actress or not; I was too busy laughing at her absurd gorgeousness. Unlike many directors, Brooks doesn't try to pass the Spanish actress off as ordinary-looking or even merely attractive; no one in the movie can believe what they're seeing, and Sandler's John nearly weeps as he gazes on her. It's an open question whether her beauty unbalances Spanglish. (Oh, it probably does). But no one in the sneak-preview audience with whom I saw the film seemed to mind. At least, I took the gasps from both men and women during certain shots to be signs of approval. ... 2:10 p.m.

Oops: I goofed in saying that Gwen Stefani plays a cigarette girl who becomes Jean Harlow in The Aviator. Stefani is only onscreen for a few seconds and has a couple of lines. The cigarette girl, Thelma, is played (tremulously and very well) by Josie Maran. Sorry, Josie. The only nice thing about this mistake is that it prompted a lovely correction from Martha Plimpton, who said that "character actresses" have to stick together. Plimpton—of Running on Empty, I Shot Andy Warhol, Sleepy Time Gal, and many other movies—is a wonderful character actress, one I treasured in the '80s and early '90s and have missed seeing onscreen in the last few years. Now what I wouldn't give to see a Martha Plimpton/Josie Maran buddy movie.9:10 a.m.

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Correction, Dec. 22, 2004: The item on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera originally said that Emmy Rossum studied at the Metropolitan Opera. In fact, she sang in the Met's Children's Chorus. Return to the corrected item.

David Edelstein is Slate's film critic. You can read his reviews in "Reel Time" and in "Movies." He can be contacted at slatemovies@slate.com.