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A fine, perfectly aged movie
A review of Sideways
by Matt Mason

Alexander Payne's newest movie takes place in California, largely on a trip Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on before Jack gets married.

Director: Alexander Payne

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh

Rating: R

Release: 10-12-2004

Time: 123 minutes

Buy Movie at It's hard to imagine these two would stay together as they are practically night and day personality-wise, yet the chemistry between them surprised me and made it more than just believable, made it seem natural. And that's the kind of moviemaking done here, very natural, very engaging as Jack plays the pre-wedding bad boy while Miles plays the uptight guy holding tight to his sorrows.

But Miles at least has the light of character and is a great subject to watch as he tries to overcome himself and his somewhat amoral friend. The action stays believable yet engaging and the dialogue is fantastic, particularly in a scene where Miles and Maya (Virginia Madsen) talk about wine in a way that really opens both characters up as they end up speaking more about themselves than the wine.

It's a buddy movie in wine country with a great return of Thomas Haden Church, whom I haven't seen since the old TV show Wings, playing an actor who made it big 11 years ago and then largely disappeared. Nice casting, nice acting, nice attention to detail on this and the other aspects of the movie.

It's a great trip, well worth tagging along on.