Correct: 1165, Incorrect: 885. 57%

Reviews

Positive Reviews
kolya is one of the richest films i've seen in some time . zdenek sverak plays a confirmed old bachelor ( who's likely to remain so ) , who finds his life as a czech cellist increasingly impacted by the five-year old boy that he's taking care of . though it ends rather abruptly-- and i'm whining , 'cause i wanted to spend more time with these characters-- the acting , writing , and production values are as high as , if not higher than , comparable american dramas . this father-and-son delight-- sverak also wrote the script , while his son , jan , directed-- won a golden globe for best foreign language film and , a couple days after i saw it , walked away an oscar . in czech and russian , with english subtitles .
this three hour movie opens up with a view of singer/guitar player/musician/composer frank zappa rehearsing with his fellow band members . all the rest displays a compilation of footage , mostly from the concert at the palladium in new york city , halloween 1979 . other footage shows backstage foolishness , and amazing clay animation by bruce bickford . the performance of " titties and beer " played in this movie is very entertaining , with drummer terry bozzio supplying the voice of the devil . frank's guitar solos outdo any van halen or hendrix i've ever heard . bruce bickford's outlandish clay animation is that beyond belief with zooms , morphings , etc . and actually , it doesn't even look like clay , it looks like meat .
`strange days' chronicles the last two days of 1999 in los angeles . as the locals gear up for the new millenium , lenny nero ( ralph fiennes ) goes about his business of peddling erotic memory clips . he pines for his ex-girlfriend , faith ( juliette lewis ) , not noticing that another friend , mace ( angela bassett ) really cares for him . this film features good performances , impressive film-making technique and breath-taking crowd scenes . director kathryn bigelow knows her stuff and does not hesitate to use it . but as a whole , this is an unsatisfying movie . the problem is that the writers , james cameron and jay cocks , were too ambitious , aiming for a film with social relevance , thrills , and drama . not that ambitious film-making should be discouraged ; just that when it fails to achieve its goals , it fails badly and obviously . the film just ends up preachy , unexciting and uninvolving .
i had been expecting more of this movie than the less than thrilling twister . twister was good but had no real plot and no one to simpithize with . but twister had amazing effects and i was hoping so would volcano volcano starts with tommy lee jones at emo . he worrys about a small earthquake enough to leave his daughter at home with a baby sitter . there is one small quake then another quake . then a geologist points out to tommy that its takes a geologic event to heat millions of gallons of water in 12 hours . a few hours later large amount of ash start to fall . then . . . . it starts . the volcanic eruption . . . . i liked this movie . . . but it was not as great as i hoped . i was still good none the less . it had excellent special effects . the best view . . . the helecopters flying over the streets of volcanos . also . . . there were interesting side stories that made the plot more interesting . so . . . it was good ! !
this sometimes-tedious and often-moving documentary charts the life and times of anne frank , the young diarist and most-famous victim of adolph hitler . writer/director/producer jon blair has collected a staggering amount of historical material on both anne and the frank family . we meet miep gies , one of the family's protectors who is still alive . she recounts how she found the diary in the days after the germans captured the franks . we watch otto frank , anne's father and surviving family member , in interview footage filmed before his death . blair successfully combines these clips , footage , and other historical records to recount exactly what happened during that terrible period of european history . as narrated by kenneth branagh and with diary excepts read by glenn close , anne frank remembered retells more than just anne's story . we meet and learn about the * many * friends , family members , and acquaintances whose lives were touched by this young woman and her writings . winner of the last year's academy award for best documentary .
trees lounge is the directoral debut from one of my favorite actors , steve buscemi . he gave memorable performences in in the soup , fargo , and reservoir dogs . now he tries his hand at writing , directing and acting all in the same flick . the movie starts out awfully slow with tommy ( buscemi ) hanging around a local bar the " trees lounge " and him pestering his brother . it's obvious he a loser . but as he says " it's better i'm a loser and know i am , then being a loser and not thinking i am . " well put . the story starts to take off when his uncle dies , and tommy , not having a job , decides to drive an ice cream truck . well , the movie starts to pick up with him finding a love interest in a 17 year old girl named debbie ( chloe sevigny ) and . . . i liked this movie alot even though it did not reach my expectation . after you've seen him in fargo and reservoir dogs , you know he is capable of a better performence . i think his brother , michael , did an excellent job for his debut performence . mr . buscemi is off to a good career as a director !
today , war became a reality to me after seeing a screening of saving priivate ryan . steve spielberg goes beyond reality with his latest production . the audience is tossed about the theatre witnessing the horror of war . please keep the kids home as the r rating is for reality . tom hanks is stunning as capt john miller , set out in france during ww ii to rescue and return home a soldier , private ryan ( matt damon ) who lost three brothers in the war . spielberg at time takes us inside the heads of these individuals as they face death during the horrific battle scenes . private ryan is not for everyone , but i felt the time was right for a movie like this to be made . the movie reminds us of the sacrifices made by our ww ii fighting men and women . we must not ever forget them as many gave the ultimate sacrifice , their lives so that we may live in freedom today . for this i thank them and for steve spielberg for making a movie that i will never forget . the academy will not forget tom hanks come april 1999 , as another well deserved oscar with be in tom's posession .
martin scorsese's kundun , which chronicles roughly the first twenty years of the life of the currently exiled dalai lama , has been criticized for its lack of narrative structure . personally , i don't think it needs one : it works perfectly well as a study of tibetan buddhist culture and how communist china . scorsese views the dalai lama the way many tibetans probably do , as a larger-than-life symbol of buddhist spirituality and political leadership : the only glimpses into his head come from several interesting yet oblique dream sequences , but his portrayal is appropriate for a film that concentrates on the political and spiritual rather than the personal . the set design and cinematography are outstanding , and while scorsese occasionally seems to get carried away with the spectacle , it helps to augment the cultural contrast when the dalai lama travels to china to meet chairman mao . political art sometimes succumbs to the temptation to start shouting slogans , kundun does not : it succeeds in delivering its message in an artistically interesting way and without being overly manipulative .
let's face it : since waterworld floated by , the summer movie season has grown * very * stale . with no new eye-candy for four weeks straight , we've had to sustain ourselves on the quasi-nutritional value of cheatin' husbands , traveling chocolate salesmen , and computer- generated serial killers . sigh . thank god for desperado . the freewheeling sequel to el mariachi--director robert rodriguez's notorious $7000 debut--stars a cool antonio banderas as the returning guitarist with no name . he's a man in black with revenge on his mind , and an arsenal in his case . ( the woman he loved was killed in the first film . ) so , he spends the entire story shooting drug dealers ; sort of a tex-mex version of the punisher , if you will . there isn't much of an emotional core to desperado . rodriguez is having too much fun finding new and innovative ways to pay homage to john woo . ( and sergio leone . . . and sam peckinpah . . . ) some may wince at the body count--at least 100 graphic killings is a fair estimate--but it's all played for laughs . big , broad , hispanic laughs that , for me , recall the physical comedy of blake edwards and his pink panther films . sick , slick fun .
this british import follows the ( mis- ) adventures of a group of heroin crazed scottish youths . there is marc renton ( who narrates ) , spud ( the dim-witted one ) sick boy ( the sean connery obsessive ) , and begbee ( the violence obsessive ) . powered by a top rate , but not top name soundtrack ( iggy pop , sleeper , elastica , lou reed . . . ) the film follows renton who gets clean , gets back into heroin and gets clean again . some of the wit in this movie is sharp and pulp fiction-esque , and some is just dumb & dumber gross ( the bed sheets ) and stupid ( the bb gun ) although the film starts out on a comic note , it takes a sharp term in the middle , and becomes almost depressing . the film is based on an irving welsh novel bearing the same title . i can honestly say that this is one of the best movies i have ever seen . it is an obscure gem that has been over shadowed in the us by such movies as mission impossible and id4 . the film is hard to follow with the heavy accents of the actors . this is a very original film , as far as films go today . it definetly deserves multiple viewings ( partly because of the slang and accents ) jeremy dennison mr . orange@centuryinter . net
i have seen several ( but not that many ) woody allen movies . i didn't particulary like radio days , the purple rose of cairo , play it again , sam . i quite enjoyed manhatten murder mystery and everything . . . sex , and i loved might aphrodite . however i found bullets over broadway to be a snoozing bore . and bullets got some very raving reviews , but i didn't think i'd like . but i finally saw it ( double feature with ready to wear i think ) and hated it . since . . . i love you also seems to be getting raving reviews i wasn't sure if i'd want to see . . . thankfully i did ! people burst into singing and dancing , something i hardly ever like . but this movie is so infectious . and funny ! and entertaining ! ( and unlike evita , they only sing when they need to . ) sure some of the actors may not be great singers , but they seems to be having a great time , and so does the audience . that's all i have to say . really , if you think that is going to be a dull movie , you're probably dead . and dead people should not be forced into movie theatres . is mark leeper dead ? he said that " this is an almost ghastly misfire " . the movie is rated r , for * one * use of the word motherf * * * * * .
defending your life is an imaginative vision of the afterlife from the twisted mind of writer-director albert brooks , who also stars in the comedy . after dying in a car crash , on his birthday of all days , brooks wakes up in judgement city , a satirical rendition of purgatory where higher beings evaluate the lives of newly deceased earthlings . brooks has five days to convince two judges that he's worthy of passing on to higher plains of existence . enter rip torn as the slick lawyer who defends brooks in court against prosecutor lee grant . during his " trial , " brooks must view episodes of his life on a movie screen , and these scenes are both hysterically funny and painfully poignant . it's impossible to resist chuckling ( and cringing ) at brooks as he and torn try to explain away his cowardly behavior on earth . torn , in particular , is in vintage comic form , and he walks away with the picture . the movie also features meryl streep , appealing as the love-interest , and shirley maclaine , who pops up in a hilarious cameo . while the film is uneven , many of its gags are price less . take , for example , the food in judgement city : it's always the most delicious you've ever tasted . . . and it's also calorie-free--so chow down !
don't let the following quirks of this review , fool you into believing that this movie is anything short of an ultimate labour of love . but one can see the humour of roberto benigni when you see that ? life is beautiful , even though i'm a short , ugly looking man with an obnoxious laugh . life is beautiful even though i haven't amounted to much in life , except working out the finer intricacies of waitering . i'm a lucky sort of a guy , especially when a beautiful woman strips away my venner of superficiality to find a new age , sensitive guy with the biggest heart in the entire world underneath - life is beautiful ! i'm a jew , but life can still be beautiful . the nazis put me in a concentration camp , but life is still beautiful . i love my son very much and that's what matters , and that's what makes life beautiful . my ability to entertain somehow convinces my son that living in a concentration camp is somewhat beautiful ? i get shot for my efforts and the woman i love , but hey that's life and that's still a beautiful thing - so by jove don't give me any crap about it ! by far the movie with the biggest heart this decade and well deserves every nomination and award that it has achieved . well done , there should be more film directors and actors like you roberto benigni .
the happy bastard's 30-second review notting hill a cute romantic comedy from the writer of the hit comedy four weddings and a funeral , notting hill stars julia roberts as anna scott , a very popular actress with a $15 million asking price for movies . one day she wanders into a travel book store owned by a simple london resident ( played by hugh grant ) , and sparks somehow begin to fly . sure , there are points of turmoil , such as putting up with grant's slightly disgusting ( but very hilarious ) roommate spike , anna's pesky ex-boyfriend ( alec baldwin in a humorous cameo ) , and , on top of all that , those damn press . it's a fresh sort of complexity to see in a romantic comedy , very different from , say , a stubborn father or " not the right time " like as seen in usual flicks . roberts is terrific as the astonishingly beautiful actress , and grant is surprisingly good as the straightforward guy still trying to get a hold of what has actually happened with this girl . in short , a sweet romantic comedy that has a lot of good laughs , particularly provided by spike . one tee-shirt really says it all about him . in an attempt to turn on a woman , he shows the front of the shirt , which says : " you are the most beautiful woman in the world . " on the back ? " fancy a f * * k ? "
my fellow americans is a movie that at first glance looks to have little substance ( or a movie that we've all seen a million times ) , two lifetime rivals thrown together and then the fun begins . this is exactly what happened in this movie , but fortunately , they managed to do it in an interesting and funny way . the movie starts with a quick ( and i do mean quick ) glance of two presidents russell kramer ( jack lemmon ) and matt douglas ( james garner ) . william haney ( dan aykroyd ) and ted matthews ( john heard ) are the new president and vice president . there is a scandal that arises involving a kickback from a contractor and haney is positive that he buried that years ago . he finds a scapegoat in kramer and now everyone wants kramer and douglas dead . this movie was exceptional for many reasons . one being that they found people ( lemmon and garner ) that have good chemisty together . they worked very well as a unit and they mirrored each other perfectly , one being a ladies man and one being the old man ( i'll let you fiqure which is which ) . also , they found people that know their parts as govenment officials well . it seemed to me that garner played almost exactly the same role that he played in the distinquished gentleman ( except then he was a congressman ) . experience counts for a lot ! !
`oh behave ! felicity shagwell is one shagadellic babe . do i make your horny ? female fembots with breasts that require gun controlling . anything that resembles bananas and two balls of icecream . the nut-biting finale between mini me and austin . all that body hair is a real turn on , it's a pity more leading men don't wear it on screen . anything that vaguely resembles sausages and eggs . fat bastard . the love scene between felicity and fat bastard , that redefines sex . the wrongly implied love scene in the tent that redefines anal sex . the love scene between austin and ivana humpalot , that redefines chess and oral sex . the love scene between dr . evil and frau farbissina , that redefines weird sex . the love affair between austin and felicity , that does not happen , because his mojo goes missing . the relationship between dr evil , himself and mini me which redefines a solo love affair . the unique relationship between dr evil and his son scott www . com . zip , that says a lot about our relationship with our children nowadays . weanies , johnny , richard , dick etc . ' this movie is every bit as silly and crazy as the first . there are moments that will make your sick , which are probably best forgotten , but overall mike myers has redefined what it means to be an international spy and leading man .
robert redford's a river runs through it is not a film i watch often . it is a masterpiece -- one of the better films of recent years . until 1994 , it was my second favorite film of all time . the acting and direction is top-notch -- never sappy , always touching . a friend of mine once reported that he avoided it because " i was afraid it would just be really politically correct , and tick me off . " all i could do was tell him to go in unbiased , and enjoy . it is one of the few movies that has completely reduced me to tears . but certain memories should not often be rereleased -- in the last few shots , you have to cry . upon my first viewing i left bawling . it is not flawless -- but it is so very good , that you can't help but be effected . the opening is dangerously nolstalgic and sentimental -- watching these shots of people who have been dead so long , gives you a feeling of perspective and history observation that you will find in very few other films . martin scorsese once described the movies as a dream state -- like taking dope , and immersing yourself in an alternative world . that is what a river runs through it does . it exploits the unique power of cinema to engross you and help to forget your real self . both times i've seen it , its been hard ( again to quote scorsese ) waking up . but the dream is lovely .
i guess there are those who have never been kissed before ( a rare and dying breed ) , except if you're child ? in which case it would be called experimenting . rarer still are those who have never been kissed before they reach the twenties . hardest to believe still , is that drew barrymore has never been kissed . despite all these hard to believe tit bits , there are people out there who have never truly been kissed , and who are still waiting for that right person to give them the wet , sloppy warm feeling of tongues intermingling , reassuring them that their search for true love is over . well , this movie is about a girl waiting for the right boy to give her the kiss of her life . and it's sweet . drew barrymore who shone in ? ever after' is wonderful as ? josie , grossy' , the high school dweeb who becase a professional editor , before being assigned by her paper to return to school as an undercover reporter . it addresses the issues of how a dweeb , becomes a prom queen and finds the man of her life all in one sitting . hard to believe , but possible . there may also be those who have been kissed before , but in fact , never truly been given the kiss . so this movie can be watched by those who are waiting for true love or those who are still searching for it . either way , it is one enjoyable sit , with a fairytale ending .
in " magic town " , jimmy stewart is in peak form playing a pollster who heads to a " perfect " town to gauge their reactions on the sorts of issues that only poll-takers care about . however , as time progresses , and he finds himself falling in love with the town ( and a woman ) , he begins to see that what he's doing is wrong . the plot is standard stuff , but that's not important . in a film like this , it's the calibre of the actors that make or break it . obviously , since stewart stars , that's practically a non-issue . he's great in the film , as usual . there's just something about him that always manages to be endearing , even when he's deceiving the town folk . you're always on his side , and you desperately want to see all of his goals come to fruitition . the film was directed by a longtime frank capra script-writer , and it shows . this is the type of feel-good picture that capra is famous for . by the time " the end " shows up on screen , everything has been wrapped up very nicely . there are no loose ends , and virtually every character gets a happy ending ( those that deserve one , anyway ) . in this age of cynicism , it's refreshing to see a movie so upbeat . " magic town " is a delightfully entertaining motion picture . if you believe all old movies are slow-paced , you'd be well-advised to check this one out .
there was a huge crowd - so many over 100 people could not be admitted - at a premiere screening of " the nephew " ( first screening with a major general audience admittance ) . this was a movie premiere at the santa barbara international film festival . pierce brosnan ( 007 ) , produced his first movie with beau st . clair . it was a constantly mind-moving and personal movie with lovely scenes of ireland . chad ( hill harper , beloved ) is a cute 17 year old mixed race ( african american and irish ) nephew , who's irish mother died . he comes " back to ireland " , living with the curmudgeon uncle , tony egan ( donal mccann ) . he meets pierce brosnan's character , mr . o'brady ( or just brady ) , because he falls in love with the beautiful daughter . there are many scenes ( ah , character scenes ) to laugh at , others pull some tears . the three mentioned above were at the premiere in the flesh , with the director eugene brady . after the movie they took questions . the movie was very good , it not fantastic . the nephew has not been " picked up " in north america but has been in the rest of the world . the nephew is generation secrecy of a " titanic " proportion . let's hope the rest of america will be able to see the nephew . contact given in the program guide : " print source : irish dream source , inc . , tel : ( 310 ) 449-3411 "
in one of my many videos i have attained from the local library , casablanca was my third classic in some weeks . the others being citizen kane and vertigo ( yes , i am trying to see as many of afi's greatest movies ever made as i can ) . but , casablanca stood out from the rest for me : it was actually watchable . what most hail as the greatest american film ever , casablanca isn't so much a love story as a political frenzy with a love triangle thrown in . it seems that star humphry bogart spend about 85 percent of the movie with various leaders of the nation instead of with ingred bergman . that annoyed me , as did the ending . why didn't the plan turn around ? ! ? surprisingly , i enjoyed the film . i liked bogart's character and his acting ( not over the top as most actors in his era ) . i once read about if you had a choice to be in a movie , which one would it be , and a women said casablanca . at first i was thinking to myself " why ? " then , as i watched the film again , i understood why . the movie is very well done and the script top-notch , although i doubt i understood more than half of the political mumbo jumbo . casablanca is , in my mind , no classic ( like solaris ) , but it is a good film and stylishly shot . hey , hollywood , how about this : a remake with harrison ford and anne heche ? now that would be a classic .
bruce lee was a bigger-than-life martial artist ( and ) actor . bruce's unique character ( i . e . , self-produced sound effects , etc . ) and seemingly perfected martial art and physique were all well portrayed by the actor , james lee . the story is told from his wife linda's point of view where she put a lot of family and practical side of bruce lee's life . however , you can't help but like , whenever the fight scenes are on , what he can does with his body and that familiar bruce attitude and character . i also like the little bits of insight scenes about bruce lee's life before he became famous : scenes like bruce practicing pronunciation of english . it seemed as if he was no better than anybody else . scenes like bruce delivering chinese food as a delivery boy ridding a bike through the american college looking at the ( all-white ) students , cheerleaders , and athletes . it seemed he too wished for the american dreams and hopes . in conclusion , the movie was well made , it produced a realization of who bruce lee was , and actor james lee was so much like bruce you have to remind yourself that he is just an actor . and the fighting scenes were all excellent . so go see it and enjoy the movie . p . s . if you have seen the movie unforgiven by clint eastwood , then the feeling left after dragon was very much like the feeling you got after the unforgiven .
it is easy to label something sentimental or tear jerking when one has not experienced the heartache of losing a child ? whether that may be in life or in death . after having said that , i will also say that this movie does all of the above very well . one gets that choking sensation in the throat ( because of grief ) when one brother forgives another for a costly mistake , or when a husband hugs his wife after a long estrangement . there is no ocean , no drownings and it does not conjure up memories of yet another ? ordinary people' . in fact the only thing remotely connected to the ocean is probably tap water and the toilet flushing ( not that this literally happened in the movie ) . so what are the lessons learnt : 1 . don't take your children to class reunions . 2 . don't leave them alone in the lobby , not even for a second . michelle pfeiffer once again plays the role of a highly-strung wife and mother , a trend that started with ? a thousand acres' and ? one fine day' . my comment is that she is exceptionally fine strung in this movie , so much so that when she has a nervous break down , the veins on her temples bulge impressively . whoopi golberg also puts in an understated performance , playing a lesbian cop , with a name that makes one want to reach for a lollipop . lastly , who are the ideal companions for this sort of movie ? my grandmother comes to mind .
a costume drama set in the 1500s , england , elizabeth is a lush , romantic , political masterpiece about the upset over the crossing of a protestant queen from a respected catholic one . when the court and country are a whole after the passing of the queens , the royal family , so to speak , are upset that a protestant should be crowened , and not another catholic , plus , the new queen , elizabeth i ( cate blanchette ) , was the bastard baby of the previous queen mary's father . the persecution over catholics and protestants isn't the only majority in elizabeth . elizabeth i must face the decision to give up personal pleasures , and her lover ( joseph fiennes of shakespeare in love ) , in order to rule , successfully , the country , which she did for 40 more years . both elizabeth and shakespeare in love are set in the elizabethian era , and both feature a queen elizabeth i ( judi dench plays her in love ) , or course . yet , i found elizabeth more stimulating and involving than love , not just because elizabeth features a great deal more of elizabeth i , but because i found blanchette a more powerful , hypnotic sense for the role . elizabeth , also featuring geoffrey rush and richard attenborough , is my pick for the best picture of 1998 award . it's a dynamic , important , breathtaking film of loyalty , power , greed , and trust . shakespeare would die for the book rights .
well , i'll admit when i first heard about this film ( which was before dante's peak ) i could just smell what 'twister' had started . so now it seems that we're in a full fledged return to the '70's disaster film era . with 'twister' , 'dante's peak' , 'volcano' and soon 'flood' and james cameron's extremly expensive 'titanic' i'll say first off i enjoyed 'volcano' much more than i did 'dantes peak' . part of that is just being biased as i usually enjoy anything that tommy lee jones appears in . i've been reading a lot about the movie being 'cheezy' or 'hokey' and really didn't see or think that once during the entire film . i get bored easily and this film didn't bore me for a minute . another thing , and boy am i bitching today ! , that bothers me is when critics and such go on about " well thats not really possible . " you know what ? i couldn't give a bloody damn if it's possible or not , really i couldn't . it's a freaking movie and i don't want reality thrown in my face . i want to be able to see the impossible , the all might " what if " to many reviewers have seen one to many movies ! the special effects are the second star to this feature . they are so amazing that i found it hard sometimes to believe they were indeed fx and la was was not burning to the ground . they did an incredible job and come oscar time ( if they remember ) some notice better be thrown there way .
well , i know that stallone is 50 years old now , but in daylight he doesn't look it ! daylight is a great disaster movie . if you've seen cliffhanger , you'll know stallone's character already . a guy with a bad past , but is in the right place at the wrong time . a tunnel connecting new york and new jersey has both sides collapses when a group of robbers collide with a truck carrying * very * flammable toxic waste . a dozen or so people survive the collapses and the incinerating fireball ( and what a fire ball it was ! ) stallone , a former emergency medical service man , is chauffeuring a rich couple around , when they reach the outside of the tunnel , before the explosion . then , 30 minutes into the movie , boom ! >from here on , the plot takes a back seat , and we are treated to some of the best camera work and action staged . most all the action is plausible and will hold you at the edge of your seat . there are a few melodramatic parts here , but , they tend to work out well . there is no general antagonist in this film , but the action and suspense makes you forget all about that . daylight is a great film , i saw a non-matinee showing of it , and i thought it was worth every penny . the characterizations are mostly flat , one dimesional , but they have enough in them to get you to care for some of the characters . rob cohen ( dragonheart ) does a great job with this film .
okay , let me first say , this is a beavis and butthead movie . if you do not like beavis and butthead , do not go to see this movie ! ! ! ! ! however , if you do like them , i recommened you get out right now and go see it . the movie starts off with the boys wondering what happened to their tv . they notice that it has been stolen and they vow to find it . this wind their way through america searching for dallas ( she is a woman ) . they look for her because as they are searching for the tv , they find a drunk who wants them " to do " his wife . well , of course they think he wants them to score with her when actually he wants them to kill her . and the fun starts their . this movie is a mix of funny gags that anly beavis and butthead could pull off . it is quality entertainment that only fan of beavis and butthead would enjoy . i enjoyed this movie alot because mike judge knew how to keep pace . even when they were crawling through the desert and i thought the movie started to lag , he manages to keep the laughs coming . if you expecting changes from the show keep looking . the same character , the same voices , the same everything from the show and that's what makes it good . you might think with a movie from a tv show , you can change a few things . often times this spells disaster for films because the film makers veer away from what made the show popular in the first place !
disney's 35th animated feature-- a retooling of the olympian legend crossed with , well , the superman story-- is surprisingly soft at the center . great wit , great art , and a great villain ( james woods as hades , lord of the underworld and local lounge act ) can't quite stifle the yawns induced by a bland hero , his colorfully monotonous sidekick ( danny devito as the satyrical trainer phil ) , and a largely unremarkable soundtrack . ( none of the alan menken/david zippel tunes are particular- ly noteworthy . some lack lyrical snap . others need more memorable melodies . boring ballads we expect , but boring production numbers , too ? ) so , hercules is a bit of a long sit , but you won't stay bored . the highlights include a nifty round of animated action ( herc battling a cgi hydra ) , a steady stream of anachronisms ( " somebody call ix-i-i " ) and pop references ( " let's get ready to rumble ! " ) a la aladdin , and several long-overdue jabs at the mouse's marketing and merchandising depart- ments . while not as rock-solid as hunchback , it's a still a new world of improvement over pocohontas . directed by ron clements and john musker , with voice credits including tate donovan , susan egan , bob goldthwait , matt frewer , samantha eggar , paul shaffer , and , as lighting bolt zeus , rip torn , who's having a very good summer , also appearing in trial and error and men in black .
the happy bastard's 30-second review : american pie the summer of raunch continues to spread into theatres with this latest yuk fest , filled with sick jokes and teen dialogue aplenty . if you go expecting dawson's creek , you're in for a problem . if your expectations are lower ( and better , i might add ) , you will enjoy the hell out of american pie . the movie casts several unknowns , with the only real recognizable one being sctv's own eugene levy as a happy-go-lucky dad . the story revolves around four high school seniors who have one goal before the school year gets out- get laid . that's pretty much it . throughout the movie , little sick comic bits are sprinkled throughout , including a memorable scene involving an apple pie ( i won't give it away , but you probably know what it is ) and an internet broadcast gone horribly awry . of course , the movie has some slightly sentimental bits , but they don't drag the movie's humor content down that bad . most of the actors get their job done , but it's levy who's a hoot , a father who tries to talk sex with his son with the help of some curious " visual aids " . i couldn't stop laughing during this movie , and if you can stand all the raunch and the sex references , then american pie is for you . if you're one of those " conservative " types , well , i'll bet you're having fun at home while this , south park , and austin powers ii plays in theatres , now aren't you ?
" the fighting sullivans " contains a major plot development in the last ten minutes that every movie guide has seen fit to give away . there was no dramatic tension for me while watching the film , as i knew exactly what was going to happen . and that's the worst thing that can happen before viewing a movie . because of this , i will tread lightly so i don't ruin it for anyone reading this review , and it would be very advisable to avoid all other material regarding this film until after you have seen it . " the fighting sullivans " revolves around a family that consists of a mother , father , sister , and five brothers . the brothers are very close , despite the occasional disagreement . they are inseperable , and never stray from one another . their friendship and loyalty is the foundation of this picture . the first half of the movie follows the brothers as young children , and their various adventures . when four of them get into a fight with some local boys , the youngest sullivan , who is inside a church at the time , comes running out to assist , but not before properly exiting the chapel . if i'm being awfully vague about details , it's because what i have told you is essentially the first hour and a half . all i can say is go watch this film , because it is a fine portrait of a family that sticks together , through the good and the bad . and after you see the movie , you will understand why this review has been written the way it has .
this remake of " la cage aux folles " features a gay couple pretending to be straight in order to pull the wool over the eyes of their son's future in-laws . the couple ( robin williams and nathan lane ) are about as archetypal , or as the less kind might put it ? stereotypical , gays possible . williams owns a nightclub featuring drag queens where his partner performs as the featured star . they live above the club in what could not possibly be mistaken as a heterosexual abode . williams is excellent as should be no surprise . gene hackman as right-wing potential father-in-law is refreshing in one of his few comedic roles . the real star is lane . his attempted transformation from one of the most obviously gay men in the world to the straight-shooting uncle is hilarious . perhaps it is a personal failing on my part , but the crying and screaming drag queen faux high drama just grates on my nerves and the first few minutes of this film are filled with it . luckily ( for me at least ) , it doesn't last long and the rest of the story focuses on the relationship between the men , their son and the deception . the question of stereotypes is a touchy one . these guys personify the homophobic gay image . you can almost hear the swishing . if you think that they are supposed to be representative of every gay man in the world , you'll be outraged . but if you can accept the view is that this is a movie about gay individuals , you'll love it . your choice .
when i was asked to see this movie with a friend , my initial reaction was ? not hugh grant ! ' i was perhaps wrong to be so harsh , but after his insidious flirtation with a street hooker , i just could not picture him in any romantic lead . what makes this movie a wonderful experience is not the fact it stars hugh , but because it stars julia and carries with it a brilliantly written script . this writer richard curtis , whose exceptional first work ? four weddings and funeral' shows us that he is a master in the domain of the romantic comedy , with splashes of drama thrown in between . hugh and his hair , is almost identical to the character that made him famous in ? four weddings' . he plays an ordinary guy who is down and out on his luck . unfortunately , he is type cast in this role , but fortunately it works well for him in this movie . if only he would dither a little less . julia knows this role well . the glamorous movie star who is searching for true love . there are moments in this movie , that you almost weep for her pain felt loneliness . how sad it must be to be so wealthy and beautiful , but to have no one to share it with . the writer deals with difficult issues of love and social class on various levels . how differences in social standing can make it almost impossible for love to grow in such a harsh environment . how the media can be as cruel as it can be attentive , and how fulfilment in life and love can be found in forgiveness and sacrifice .
the first thing you notice about this movie is that it's cold . placed in minnesota and north dakota during the winter , many of the scenes take place outside with long scenes of snow-covered ground against a background of white . just what we need as bloomington struggles out of the endless long cold night . as with most coen brothers films , this features outlandish characters in nefarious schemes , each of which works out in the oddest way possible . a car salesman hires a couple of hoods to kidnap his wife so that he can collect the ransom from her father . along the way everything that can possibly go wrong does . in brief scenes of vicious violence , people get shot through the head , in the back , face , chest and various other areas of the anatomy . there is also one of the most unpleasant body disposal scenes yet seen on the screen . remarkably enough , most of the movie is played for laughs . even more remarkably , it works . the only likable person in the film is the very pregnant sheriff ( frances mcdormand ) who hunts down the killers while eating at every possible opportunity . with every good film the audience gains new knowledge . here you learn _two_ things . everyone in minnesota speaks in an annoying whining accent that would drive you crazy . and don't do violent illegal business with low-life amoral degenerate scum-sucking losers . oh yeah , if you get shot in the face , using a brightly decorated napkin to stop the bleeding just makes you look goofy .
i tried hard not like this movie without succeeding . it contains parts of bringing up baby , any hepburn/tracy film , part of the plot of war games , cary grant and rosalind russell in his girl friday , elevator shaft action , train action , and murder . it is cute , funny , suspenseful ( a little bit ) , sexy ( a little bit ) . one of the bad guys was a surprise . the pace is fast enough , there are some " action " scenes . i think that this is a reasonable family summer movie for families with older kids who have already seen maverick . julia roberts and nick nolte are fine separately and together . i really identified with the julia roberts character ( wishful thinking , i know ! ) , but i do have better hair ! her hair , a very dull dark brown , has no color . she could use some highlights . they both do fine with their roles : he's a bored columnist with the chicago chronicle and she's a hotshot " cub " reporter with the chicago globe . they have great fun trying to out scoop each other to solve one case throughout this movie . i like the one story focus . other actors include charles martin smith as roberts' boss , olympia dukakis as nolte's coworker , nora dunn also with the chronicle , and marsha mason as a congresswoman . basically this movie is reasonably fun . there is a serious mystery to solve , and i enjoyed following a fun couple solving the mystery . it is a pleasant change of pace from movies that take themselves seriously . i do give successful comedy high marks .
the start of this movie reminded me of parts from the movie stargate . people are looking around in an egyptian temple reading about some dangerous thing that is going to destroy earth in the future . after a sort of confusing bit involving fake-looking cyborg things , the movie jumps into the future and the movie improves by leaps and bounds . the basic idea behind the movie is that every once in a while ( make that every 1000 years or so ) an evil force comes to destroy earth . the things needed to defend against this menace are the four elements of nature plus the fifth element . the plot in this movie really isn't that important to the thing though . this movie has very good special effects , for the most part . the techno-ish music in the background fits the mood very well . bruce willis is an illegal taxi-cab driver in a futuristic new york city . one day a lady draped with a few bandages drops down into his trunk . this movie is about what happens . the plot twists are interesting and the movie never fails to present the viewer with a variety of different locations . also there is a fair bit of action in the film , particularly towards the end . some characters are just plain strange including a highly-energetic deejay in drag . bruce willis does his normal job of blowing things away like he always does . the movie is definitely watchable and rarely slows down . it is one of those sci-fi films where you'll be saying " cool " followed by a " what the hell ? ! ? ! " . i give the fifth element .
charlie sheen stars as zane , a radio astronomer who listens for sounds from other lifeforms . when he finally gets one , his boss destroys the tape and fires him . naturally , zane is not ready to give up , and he comes up with an ingenious way to do this himself . he is aided by a young neighborhood kid and they discover that the sound is coming from mexico . so zane goes down there to investigate , and runs into a lady studying why the temperature of the earth has dangerously risen so suddenly . zane is having marital problems at the time , and an offer by her to spend the night with him is very tempting . hearing charlie sheen deliver the line , " i guess there is something to be said for celibacy " is the funniest thing i have ever heard in a movie since matthew broderick discussed asexual reproduction in wargames . this is just the setup , and i don't want to give too much away , because a large part of the movies fun is the surprises . charlie sheen , who has had a rocky career as of late , is in top form here . he is funny , serious , and determined to accomplish his goal . sheen's absolutely terrific performance is another big plus to this movie . the story is ingeniously devised by twohy , who also wrote and directed the equally clever cable movie grand tour : disaster in time . the films major flaw is a very slow pace , and not much happens in the earlygoings . viewers may be growing restless for a while , but trust me if you stick around and keep your head in it , you will have a good time .
>from the commercials , this looks like a mild-mannered neil simonesque tale with mary tyler moore baring her bra touted as the highlight . instead it turns out to be a hilarious film running in high gear from beginning to end . the concept is deceptively pedestrian . an adult adopted son is looking for his biological parents and encounters eccentric characters along the way . the movie demonstrates just how far a good script and actors can take a mundane idea . the son and his wife take off on the search accompanied by a woman from the agency who located his parents . following one dead end lead after another , each funnier than the previous , they eventually end up in new mexico with his real biological parents : alan alda and lily tomlin . it's difficult to condense the mile-a-minute plot . seemingly hundreds of scenes jump on top of each other without giving you a chance to recover from the last one . without giving too much away , one of the better episodes involves a gay federal alcohol , tobacco and firearms agent attempting an arrest while tripping on lsd as his bi-sexual partner is upstairs licking the armpit of a woman while her husband is in the next room seducing their traveling companion . and it's all done in a fairly clean , almost ( well , maybe not exactly ) family fare manner . a grand cast ( tomlin , alda , moore , ben stiller , patricia arquette , tea leoni , george segal ) interacts in a seamless parade of laughs . drawing from a more hyper woody allen style , the film succeeds beyond expectations .
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : the matrix what's worse than y2k ? how about a fully digital future where nothing is real ? that's what computer programmer neo ( keanu reeves ) slowly learns as he enters the dangerous world that is the matrix , a movie directed by the wachowski brothers ( the guys behind the hip thriller bound ) . before you groan at the presence of reeves in the lead role , hold on . there's actually a story with depth here . it seems that a group of hackers is out to stop the system that is the matrix , led by the bald but brilliant laurence fishburne and assisted by carrie ann moss , who looks quite cool in leather , i must say . neo ( reeves ) is pretty much a key player in this fight , although he really doesn't look it at first . could this amateur be " the one " as fisburne thinks he is ? credit the wachowskis for putting together a great story that allows suspense to build , something that few special effects-laden films seem to do these days . there's plenty of effects to go around , of course , but at least there's a backbone to build them on as well . reeves is surprisingly good in his role as neo , particularly in a fight scene with fishburne that comes across as goofy , yet great . i wish the villains weren't quite so " generic " ( leftover g-men from looking for a sweet sci-fi actioner with plenty of stop-motion swooping camera angles and , of course , a motherlode of a helicopter explosion . now the wachowskis are headed into horror films with their next project . bring it on .
it's a curious thing - i've found that when willis is not called on to carry the whole movie , he's much better and so is the movie . even though , in the sixth sense he is the " name " , he doesn't have the pivotal role . that honour goes to haley osment who plays cole sear ( cute pun , seer ) a 9 year old boy who can see ghosts . if osment was cute or precious , the director going for the maudlin , this would be nothing more than a movie-of-the-week , thankfully , osment is not only better than that , but in some instances , blows everyone else off the screen in a bravura performance . we get to see his fears , vulnerabilities , strengths and intelligence which makes the sixth sense one of the best movies i've seen this year . the whole cast matches him in quality , with willis giving a fairly low key performance that matches the subject matter . one thing about this movie , its target . this isn't a sfxfest like the haunting or a gorefest , this is more what i'd call a supernatural drama , more interested in characters than in dazzling you with makeup . one caveat : there's a lovely twist in the movie , something like the usual suspects , where you end up replaying the movie in your head rethinking what you have just seen . i was extremely lucky to see it as a sneak preview in toronto , before any hype or critical reviews were out , so i went in with no biases . if anyone want to talk to about the movie before you see it , don't let them . let the director explain on his own pace and you'll enjoy the movie vastly more .
usually a movie is about something more than a soiled rug , but not the big lebowski . the new offering from the creators of 1996's critical hit fargo , is to say the least , wildly entertaining . originality has always been a strong trait in the coen brother's movies , and the big lebowski is insanely original . it begins oddly enough when jeff " the dude " lebowski ( jeff bridges ) is mistaken for a millionaire , jeff " the big " lebowski ( david huddleston ) , who's wife , bunny ( tara reid ) owes money all over town . two goons , out to collect on bunny's debt break into dude's house . they attempt to collect the money that bunny owes them and one of them urinates on his rug . the next day dude explains his situation to his bowling team ( steve buscemi & john goodman , respectively . ) he is advised to go to the big lebowski and get him to pay for the defiled rug . he does this , and shortly after gets tied up in a kidnapping caper . this is a extremely funny movie with lots of belly laugh moments . the coen brothers have assembled a great cast that play off each other perfectly . also several great supporting roles , john turturro as a child molesting bowler named jesus . the coen's script plays off perfectly and it all goes together to make it extremely entertaining . i doubt this movie will be nearly as popular as fargo , but its off the wall moments make it so far the best of 1998 . if you like anything else the coen brothers have done you will love this one , if not they give this one a try its a little different .
melvin udall is a heartless man . he spends his days inside of his spacious manhattan apartment writing romance novels . it also seems that melvin will never change . one day he dines ar his favorite restaurant , and is a little too mean to his normal waitress ( the only waittress that will serve him ) , carol ( played to perfection by a lovely and sexy helen hunt . ) she threatens not to serve him if he doesn't shut up about her asthmatic son . he does shut up . to make matters considerably worse , melvin has obsessive compulsive disorder . one day his gay artist neighbor simon ( greg kinear , of talk soup fame , in an oscar-worthy role ) 's dog threatens to dismiss himself at melvon's door . the dog meets the garbage chute . soon simon is sadly beaten by thieveing burglars , and ray ( cuba gooding , jr . ) , simon's agent , takes the dog , verdell , to melvin , so that melvin can dogsit him . and through the dog and a rather heartwrenching car trip that involves simon , carol , and himself , melvin learns to emerge from his cantakerous shell . jack nicholson gives yet another oscar-caliber performance as the film's cynical lead , and is back at work , not playing a goofy u . s . president or a comic book villian , but instead playing jack nicjolson , and playing him full force . all of this adds up to this year's funniest comedy , a creative , witty , and scathing film from james l . brooks , and brooks gets award-worthy performances from the entire cast . a winner in every aspect , and a truly delicious slice of cyncial life .
a sci fi/comedy starring jack nicholson , pierce brosnan , annette benning , glenn close , martin short and other stars . a warner bros picture the martians have landed in this hillarous tim burton movie . before entering the cinema , i was initially a little bit nervous about what this film would be like . many people were saying that this film was silly rubbish , and there was no point to it all . how wrong they were . i left this film feeling much happier than i was before i entered the cinema . the story is about martians attacking earth . using ray guns ( hooray ! ) they generally cause havoc around the u . s and other countries . nicholson plays the president who must try to stop invasion , and also taking advice from his loopy officials . but , basically , its a load of set pieces showing the martians destroying earth . the way people are killed by the ray guns is great , they is a hillarous ( and mildly disturbing scene ) involving a martian lady , a mad general who just wants to nuke the aliens away , ( and ends up getting squashed by an aliens foot ) and a gory finale involving lots of alien heads exploding . but , most of all , this film is fun . the martians are full of character , the performances are spot on , and the all star cast help make the film more enjoyable . the film is a million times better then the dire independance day , and is a real tribute to the tacky '50s invasion movies . they are is a great score by danny elfman , and lots of laughs . this has to be the best invasion i've seen for a long time .
as a devout atheist and an avowed believer in aliens , i have some idea of how ellie aroway ( jodie foster ) feels . but because my reasons for not partaking in religion are different than hers , i can't say that i do exactly . her reason is that she needs solid proof : there is no proof that god existed , so therefor she does not believe . ellie also believes in aliens , and has spent most of her life trying to prove they exist . how can she say she doesn't believe in god because of the lack of proof , and then say she believes in aliens , which are gereally less believed in than god without sounding like a hypocrite ? that's the catch-22 . when aliens from the star vega fax her some plans for a device to transport someone to them ( okay , well , they didn't really * fax * them . . . ) ellie wants to be the one to go , but because of her atheism she is denied the position . how dumb is that ? she discovers the transmitions , then she isn't allowed to go . well , because of a bomb and a psychopath ( jake busey ) , she * does * end up going , but not in the way that we would've thought . contact is based on a novel by carl sagan , who died during the filmmaking . it is the best alien movie since close encounters of the 3rd kind , and will end up being the best film of the year . its views of science and religion will no doubt aggrivate some , but will stimulate more . i'm glad at least one movie of the '90s can portray aliens in a psitive light , rather than a bunch of slimey beasts who will eat your insides and then put on your body .
the " italian hitchcock " and acknowledged master of the giallo murder-mystery dario argento again offers us a fascinating turn on the formula in pheneomena . this time the twist comes in the form of jennifer corvino ( jennifer connelly ) , a bright teenager with gift for telepathically communicating with insects . sent to a girls boarding school in switzerland , she soon learns of a series of bizarre disappearances and at least one murder that has the school's population terrified . a chance meeting with a brilliant entomologist ( donald pleasance ) leads the two of them to team up and solve the mystery with the aid of her remarkable gift . phenomena is an imaginative , original thriller . writer/director argento creates several sequences of surreal , haunting beauty here , including a masterfully shot sleepwalking episode and a striking scene when a swarm of flying insects descends on the school at jennifer's beckoning . the plot takes some wonderfully bizarre turns and the killer's identity is genuinely shocking and surprising . the director took a big gamble with a soundtrack that mixes elements as diverse as heavy metal band iron maiden , ex-rolling stone bill wyman , and argento's favourite gothic/electronic outfit goblin . but it gels surprisingly well . the film's opening music reccurs several times , an eerie and evocative score that perfectly sets the overall tone . argento fans beware : the film was released outside europe in a terribly butchered form re-titled as creepers . this deleted nearly half an hour of footage , mainly of key dialogue scenes .
the idea at the center of the devil's advocate , which is , thus far , one of the three or four best films of 1997 , is that no matter what decision is made , evil will triumph -- god is a trickster , satan is a humanist -- " the last humanist " . he appears in many guises , and seduces many men and women -- in his own words , " vanity -- by far my favorite sin " . al pacino plays this role with relish , and gets to chew some delectable lines ( " lemme givya a piece o' inside wisdom on god . . . " , " i have a million names . . . " ) , as john milton -- the devil . the main idea -- that he can appear as anyone , in any form ( in this case , a buisness man ) , harkens mainly back to terry gilliam's the time bandits . but the film , is something else , something original . part of what makes it so very good , is that it never takes itself too seriously -- it dabbles with morality , vanity , death , and child abuse , but doesn't try to become any profound study of power . this is a marvelous confection -- cocky , funny , thought provoking . it is also entertaining . there is no way you could possibly predict the ending -- it pulls back upon itself , drawing purely out of the mind's eye . the final shot is more creative , more daring , more challenging , then anything in cinema since the white sock in the coen's fargo . the central themes are fascinating ( sometimes reminiscent of james' the turn of the screw , and oates' accursed inhabitants of the house of bly ) , and the product that is built around it really wows . its nice to know that things like this are still being made .
i can sum up first strike in one word : awesome . never in my life have i seen an actor as insanely dedicated as jackie chan . for the simple reason that he has performed his own stunts in his every movie he's ever appeared in , he should be awarded greatly . the same tom and jerry formula that was used to make chan's rumble in the bronx and supercop so entertaining can be found here as well . however , first strike was probably the most exciting out of the three , for the simple reason that practice makes perfect . his last two movies were almost like practice and this one was great . like rumble , this film is about the mafia , the former kgb . now chan must do battle in the freezing arctic temperatures of the ukraine against a group of very large bad men . the trailer for the film sums it up quite well . first strike is action-packed , but the fight scenes are so fast and furious , they almost have a witty , italian-like humor to them . jackie chan is a regular comedian . well , he's no eddie murphy , but he can really crack you up . for example , he is hanging off a roof and he humorously taunts his foes to come and get him , as he claims to be the korean 007 ( that's secret agent james bond ) . even the plot to this film improved above the others , as a sort-of twisted nuclear-weapon smuggling deal is botched and jackie takes the blame . but never fear , as the chinese mafia aids him in uncovering the truth behind the incident . with some of the most high-flying stunts and side-splitting comedy , first strike is a sure-fire hit that's guaranteed to draw some major , world-wide attention . ,
your friends and neighbors is a rather bizarre film about 6 people , who hop in and out of bed with each other . written and directed by neil labute , who's first film , " in the company of men " was simply marvelous , disappoints a bit here with this one . the story involves two couples ( ben stiller & catherine keener and aaron eckhart & amy brenneman ) , an artist assistant ( nastassja kinski ) , and an egotistical women abuser ( jason patric ) . the character's names are not apparent and are not mentioned in the entire movie . each of the characters has their own sexual style and they don't seem to " merge " together well . so the group experiments behind their respective partners back . there are some hysterical scenes , one involves jason patric , aaron eckhart , and ben stiller's characters . they are all in a sauna , talking about their best " lay " , when jason patric's character makes a surprising confession . the whole scene is hilarious and exceptionally well written and acted . the enjoyed this movie , although it seemed a tad lengthy ( even though it only runs 99 min . ) . the film's cast is exceptional with oscar caliber performances by catherine keener , aaron eckhart , and jason patric . i would not recommend this film , to people who are offended by conversations that are very sexually explicit . it did seem to offend people , more than half of the people in the theater left during the film . although your friends and neighbors doesn't have the power of labute's earlier film it still manages to be somewhat entertaining and funny , while maintaining a melancholy philosophy on human relationships .
the full monty is a whole lot of fun , its wacky , witty , and original . it's written and directed by relatively unknowns , simon beaufoy and peter cattaneo , who both turned up oscar nominations . how did this movie with a budget under 10 million gross over 175 million worldwide ? its been rumored that this film may be the second most profitable movie of the year ! and to think its about male exotic dancers , and not sinking ships . six steel workers who have been recently been laid off and are all looking for jobs . inspired by the success of a chippendale's production , gaz ( robert carlyle ) decides they should all put on a strip show to make some money quickly . as the six team up to put on the show of their lives , they run into a few problems . for instance , dave ( mark addy ) is worried about his weight , horse ( paul barber ) thinks he may be inadequate , and gerald ( tom wilkinson ) is worried about his reputation and timing . so when the night of the show comes , will the men be able to do the " full monty " ? as i said before this is a fun movie , and not just that its really artistically good . the writing and direction are great . the acting is appealing , all the performances have a human quality to them , so you can relate to at least one of the characters . the full monty received four oscar nominations including best picture . which left me wondering one thing , why didn't trainspotting get a best picture nomination last year ? while the full monty is a great lighthearted comedy , it doesn't carry the social impact of the brilliant trainspotting . still , the full monty is a great film , a must see !
synopsis : an attractive mute makeup artist , working on an ultra-cheesy slasher movie in moscow , witnesses the production of a brutal snuff film and is subsequently chased by really bad russians . meanwhile , the artist's sister and boyfriend clumsily try to save her . comments : mute witness came as a surprise to me the first time i watched it . drawn by the clever artwork on the video box , i rented the film expecting a complete turkey . mute witness , however , was original , offbeat , and well-made . it's one of those cool little finds that no one seems to know about . i've subsequently found it at most video rental places i visit , and it may be seen , on occasion , on the independent film channel . the first hour of mute witness is extremely tense , as billy , the quite believable mute heroine , sees members of the russian mob brutally kill a prostitute while filming an illegal snuff film . the rest of the film takes good advantage of billy's vulnerable position as a mute foreigner in moscow being pursued by powerful criminal figures . to throw a curveball into the fray , billy's sister karen and her filmmaking beau become bizarre figures of comic relief to offset several violent sequences in what are some genuinely funny scenes . a disappointingly trite ending and occasional comic blunders are the only two things which mar this otherwise suspenseful film . look for alec guinness ( obi-wan kenobi from the first star wars trilogy ) in a small role as the evil reaper . definately check this movie out ; although , as a word of warning , it does contain several scenes of rather grisly violence which certainly aren't for the squeamish .
the word 'rest' in the title should be stressed since this is a movie that lacks any action scenes at all . what does takes place is more based on character development . the film starts right in the middle of the lives of four people : nick , beth , carol and sid . what they have done earlier is for the most part only hinted at . nick and beth have a relationship and have decided to move from enfield , arizona to butte , montana . ( and i who thought that butte was pronounced slightly different . . . ) carol is nick's ex-girlfriend and beth's best friend , sid is a joint-smoking painter that comes to repaint their house before the new tenants move in . obviously based on a stage play , the problem with the movie is that there's a lot of things left out . it's not obvious that nick and beth are in love with each other , the reason why nick was fired from his job isn't mentioned . and why nick suddenly decide to go visit his parents remain a mystery , when he hasn't seen them for many years . set in a small ( fictional ? ) town in arizona was a good move , since this makes the film focus on the four characters and not on their surroundings . the name of the city is not important , this could take place anywhere with four young people in a house discussing life and the future . particularly impressive is bridget fonda as beth who end up in bed with sid when her fiance nick leaves her . not an actress that i have found interesting earlier or seen many pictures with , but i'll keep an eye on her in the future . interesting trivia : this was rated r in the us but rated 'barntill ? ten' in sweden wich means that anyone at any age can see it .
when i first heard that romeo & juliet had been " updated " i shuddered . i thought that yet another of shakespeare's classics had been destroyed . fortunately , i was wrong . baz luhrman has directed an " in your face " , and visually stunning piece with this film . it revolves around the two rival families , who in this version each run multi-million dollar enterprises . these rival companies/families are the capulet's and the montague's . the younger generation of these two families have formed gangs , who despise one another . as the storylines goes , romeo montague ( played by leonardo dicaprio ) and juliet capulet ( claire danes ) meet at a fancy dress party , and it is love at first site . i never believed love at first site was possible until i saw this film , the scene in which romeo's eyes meet juliet's through the fish tank is one of the most memorable . of course , they cannot publicly reveal their love , for their families are arch enemies . so they marry in secret , this is where things begin to go wrong . the story , as with all good shakespeare , ends in tragedy . the cinematography is spectacular to say the least , and the soundtrack provides the perfect atmosphere in which to " lay our scene " , as the film says . there is very little to criticise . the performances are convincing , and several of the film's younger stars may find that it provides a launch for their careers . the modernisation of the script is ingenious and clever . despite the well known storyline , this latest version still manages to cause tears among many members of the audience ( especially the younger generation ) , and this is certainly a great credit to the film .
after bloody clashes and independence won , lumumba refused to pander to the belgians , who continued a condescending and paternalistic relationship with the congo . their officers , particularly general janssens ( rudi delhem ) in the force publique , the congo's army , caused rebellions , undermining lumumba , who was outraged at the rape and murder of belgian nationals . with unrest building , moise tshombe ( pascal nzonzi ) and the province of katanga , which contained 70 percent of the country's resources , proclaimed secession . lumumba replaced janssens , making mobutu a colonel , and went on a pacification tour with congolese president joseph kasa vubu ( maka kotto ) , but it was too late . 'when you want to drown a dog , you say it has rabies , ' prophesies lumumba of his own fate . peck and bonitzer do an exemplary job telling a complicated tale with a myriad of players , although they frequently succumb to cliche , particularly regarding lumumba's private life . peck's script illuminates bantu sayings like 'the hand that gives , rules' when lumumba uses it with the american ambassador . peck's direction is less assured , with many scenes unfortunately playing like standard television fare . he's served well , though , by his casting of ebouaney in the title role . ebouaney is dynamic , radiating his character's fierce passion for his people and his country . lumumba's intelligence and ability to strategize , even as he's cornered by insurmountable odds , are given life by ebouaney . peck's subject and lead actor elevate his film above its mediocre production . " lumumba " is a story that deserves to be told and ebouaney's performance makes the tragedy personally felt .
quaid stars as a man who has taken up the proffesion of dragonslayer after he feels he is betrayed by a dragon early in the movie . he runs into the last dragon in existence , and there is a genuinely amusing battle between the two which results in a standoff where quaid is in the dragons mouth , but has his sword pointed at the dragons brain . eventually , they decide to call a truce , and they work out a deal . since he is the last dragon , he will pretend to die and quaid will be able to get paid for it . their scam works at first , until they come to a town without any money . instead the town sacrifices a girl to the dragon , but of course , draco is a nice droagon , so he won't eat her . there is however a very amusing scene where draco is hitting on the young girl . of course , as you can probably tell by the plot , this is a silly movie , but it does know when to take itself seriously at the right times , unlike eddie , which was serious all the time . you could probably call this a medieval comedy , because there are more laughs here than in eddie and spy hard combined . dennis quaid makes a fine hero . pete posthlewaite provides some ghreat comedy as a monk who journeys with them . dina meyer is appealing as the sacrificed girl . but lets face it , the movie is really about the dragon , and what an amazing creation he is . connery's voice and ilm team up to provide us with a truly magnificent dragon . so , if you are going to see this movie for a strong hard core medieval epic , you are going to the wrong movie . if you are going because of the dragon , you will not be dissapointed , and you will be provided with plenty of laughs that smooth out the boring parts in the script .
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : rush hour so what's the problem with 48 hours clones these days ? they always try for the same thing that eddie murphy and nick nolte had . that was the problem that plagued these clones , not to mention the actual sequel : another 48 hours , a complete waste of film . but , at last , someone has a different take on the matter , and it's director brett rainer . rush hour features jackie chan in his first u . s . action movie , playing a chinese detective who's being flown to the us to investigate the kidnapping of the chinese consulate's daughter . of course , the fbi is upset that he'll be interfering in their investigation , and stick him with an lapd office with a big mouth- of course , that's chris tucker . what makes rush hour work so damn well is the chemistry between the energetic chan and the absolutely hilarious tucker . tucker mouths off to chan at every given opportunity ( " i'm michael jackson , you tito . " ) , and chan delivers a few zingers of his own , as well as some terrific fight scenes . the story's pretty much your average fare , but with a decent twist involving the main villain , a highly clouded figure named jun tao . at least it's entertaining , and the concept is excellently realized . a particular fight scene in a chinese office , where chan and tucker duke it out with the bad guys , is funny and energetic at the same time . and the finale's a real treat as well . . . chan delivers yet another fantastic stunt for the fans with a 10-story drop . rush hour is just the sort of film you'll get a kick out of on any night of the week . just make sure you don't look for anything culturally different and you'll be fine- drunken master ii this ain't .
usually when one is debating who the modern queen of the romantic comedy is they will bring up names like julia roberts or sandra bullock . others will mention meg ryan . but for me , it's not even close . janeane garofalo is not only the queen of the romantic comedy , she is the best comic actress in hollywood right now . and it's a good thing she's starring in the matchmaker , because without her presence the movie would be bland , unfunny , and dull . garofalo stars as marcy tizard , a top aide to boston senator john mcglory , who is suffering in the polls . in an attempt to capture the irish vote , he sends marcy on a mission to a small irish town called ballinagra in search of other mcglory's that never moved to america . unfortunately for marcy , her visit coincides with the town's annual matchmaking festival . things get off to a rocky start for marcy though . she has no hotel reservations ( for no rational reason ) and the tiny confined room ( tired old cliche' ) she has to stay in has a visitor in her bathtub . his name is sean , and marcy finds him repugnant at first , so you can obviously tell where this is headed . the movie runs into a few roadblocks . for instance , the story is very thin . none of the characters ( except the old local matchmaker ) are nearly as interesting as garofalo . some of the characters , like the political aide played by denis leary , have wandered in from a completely different movie . i think the director realized this and decided to throw in numerous shots of the beautiful irish scenery , and several close-ups of garofalo's winning smile . the strange thing is that it works . garofalo's charm and the irish scenery could carry the thinnest of stories , and it carries this one .
synopsis : in this cultural exploration , a chinese american computer engineer named fang ( peter wang ) decides to take a month-long vacation to visit his sister mrs . chao ( shen guanglan ) , her husband mr . chao ( hy xiaoguang ) , and their teenage daughter lili ( li qinqin ) in beijing after 30 years of separation . fang brings his asian american wife grace ( sharon iwai ) and his college-aged son paul ( kelvin han yee ) along , both of whom don't speak chinese . the encounter between the two families allows the audience to compare the eastern and western cultures as well as the ambitions of individual characters . opinion : sometimes a film is plot driven . sometimes it's a character sketch . a great wall ( 1986 ) can be called a culture sketch , as opposed to a character sketch because it gently compares a chinese american family to a beijing family . fang's family is thoroughly americanized . fang is an upper middle class professional who enjoys jogging and argues with his boss . his wife can't cook chinese . his son has a white girlfriend and complains of racism when fang encourages him to befriend an asian girl . meanwhile fang's beijing sister advocates absolute loyalty to the 'work unit . ' her husband is a retired official who has heard rumors of american depravity ( homosexuals running the streets ) , and her daughter lili longs for american freedoms in a youth culture where studying for college entrance exams is the most important thing in life . the two families spend a month slowly learning about each other . there is no ultimate 'answer' or final comprehensive understanding after the month-long vacation . the film is neither here nor there ; it's a neutral , meandering , gentle , portrait of life on both sides .
eric rohmer's " pauline at the beach , " is one of those small , deliberately paced , but charming foreign films in which not much happens plot wise , but a lot happens to the characters emotionally . the film takes place during a few weeks of august at the normandy coast , and centers on six different characters , primarily pauline ( amanda langlet ) , a wise beyond her years 15-year-old who has come to stay for the summer with her older cousin , marion ( arielle dombasle ) . on the first day at the beach , marion runs into an old high school flame ( fedoore atkine ) , and although he wants to rekindle their relationship , she is more interested in an older , more seductive womanizer ( pascal greggory ) , who is also secretly having an affair with a candy vendor ( rosette ) . while pauline watches as an outsider at what is happening between all of the adults , she forms a relationship of her own with a young teenage boy ( simon de la brosse ) . " pauline at the beach , " is not a film in which big dramatic things occur , and there is not a clear-cut , tidy conclusion to the story . instead , it is a picture that simply observes its characters in every day life , and the surprises come from little character details . the film is quite talky and slow moving , and so it is pretty safe to say it isn't for those who are only a fan of action movies , but is a treat for those viewers who often like to venture outside of the big-budget genre and see a good art film . this is the first film by acclaimed director eric rohmer ( 1969's " my night at mauds , " and 1971's " claire's knee " ) that i have seen , but his direction is assured and intelligent , as is the screenplay , which he also wrote . " pauline at the beach , " is a film worth seeing .
it's rather strange too have two computer animated talking ant movies come out in a single year , but that is what disney and pixar animation ; s latest film represents . while a bugs life isn't nearly as deep as it's predecessor , dreamwork's antz , it is just as funny . a bug's life centers , appropriately , around the life of an ant , named flik . flik , cutely voiced by newsradio's david foley , hates sticking too tradition and attempts too find new ways of harvesting food and other task . when one of his inventions causes the offering too be completely lost , the leaders of the colony send him out on a mission too get him out of the way . the offering is food that a vile group of grasshoppers force the ants too harvest for them . the leader of the grasshoppers is hopper , who is fiendishly voiced by oscar winner kevin spacey . when the offering is lost hopper is very upset and he vows to return shortly too retrieve double the amount of food . when the leaders of the ant colony send flik out on his mission , they never dream he will be successful , they just hope they can get him out of the way so they can harvest the extra food . flik's mission is too hire some warrior bugs too fight off the grasshoppers when they return . instead flik accidentally hires circus performing bugs , who he mistakenly assumes are warriors . when he returns with the `warriors' , the town is ecstatic until they find out the truth about their heroes . a bug's life has animation that is simply stunning . the sheer uniqueness of the day to day bug life is very imaginative . together with the great voice acting , this film is the perfect holiday family film . its main weakness is that it couldn't beat antz to the theaters , making it seem like stale material .
almost a full decade before steven spielberg's saving private ryan asked whether a film could be both " anti war " and " pro-soldier " , john irvin's hamburger hill proved it could . lost in the inundation of critical acclaim that greeted oliver stone's platoon , this excellent film was dismissed as " too militaristic " . it's hard to understand exactly why---unless irvin , in assembling his motley collection of young men who for predictable ( and often naive ) reasons " chose to show up " for the vietnam debacle , ---has refused to present us with the stone killer , drug-stoked psycho and ruthless opportunist who have become to vietnam war epics what " the polack , the hillbilly and the kid from brooklyn " became to wwii movies . hamburger hill , based on a true story , is not an easy film to watch . there is a scene that will have graying anti-war activists squirming in their seats , or moved to genuine tears . and the climactic final assault on the " hill " in question is visually confusing . gristly realities are presented in brief flashes , as if the brain dared not acknowledged what it had encountered . and in the mud and smoke officer and enlistee , veteran and " newbie " , black soldier and white , become almost indistinguishable from each other , as they do in the chaos of actual combat . the acting throughout is solid with an absolutely stellar performance rendered by courtney b . vance as doc--in a role that will have many flatly disbelieving that this is same actor they cheered as " seaman jones " in mctiernan's red october . if you've seen private ryan , you owe it to yourself to see hamburger hill--if only to determine that the all the valour and horror of spielberg's vision was as present in the ashau valley as it was at omaha beach .
synopsis : retiring detective jerry black ( nicholson ) becomes involved in the case of a murdered girl , and promises her parents that he will find the killer . he purchases a gas station on a route he believes the killer takes , and there befriends lori ( wright penn ) and her young daughter . as jerry and lori fall in love , can he do what must be done to fulfill his pledge ? review : at first , " the pledge " appears to be just another standard , if well-executed , crime drama . it is anything but ; in its final hour , it turns the corner and becomes a riveting , terrifying study of its lead character , jerry black . penn pays attention to all the trappings of the serial killer genre , but they are just window dressing . his interest here , unequivocally , is jerry , a man so haunted by his pledge that it consumes the entirety of the his existence . at first , we see this only in small hints ; some of his habits change , for instance , and he suddenly takes up smoking in a big way . but then , when jerry buys the gas station and befriends lori , the true extent of his mania draws horrifyingly into focus . nicholson is fantastic , portraying black with rare subtlety and animus ; jerry's gradual descent into obsession is like a car wreck , a thing horrible to look at but impossible to turn away from . penn coaxes good supporting performances from much of the rest of his cast , too . only eckhart disappoints as jerry's replacement , stan ; he never seems entirely convincing , too much a tool of the plot . penn's direction is astounding , each frame looking as though it is parched -- of water , perhaps , or of sanity . it all builds up to a shattering , devastating climax which lingers uncomfortably in the mind long after the house lights have come up .
is jimmy stewart the greatest actor of all-time ? it's quite possible . his career spanned over 40 years , and he acted in more movies than most actors ever could . yet , when he is talked about in the media , he is generally thought of as an actor who played one type of role : the nice guy . and that's really a shame . " the naked spur " features jimmy stewart in a role completely different than what people would expect from him . it's a western , which stewart specialized in around this period , and it casts him as a desperate man out to collect a bounty on a man who used to be his friend . before he finds that man , though , he runs into two men who agree to help him , thinking he is a sheriff . when the criminal is eventually caught , the two men discover stewart's secret , and decide they want a piece of the action too . the rest of the film is a suspenseful journey in which each man suspects the other constantly . also featured is the woman travelling with the criminal , well played by janet leigh . we're never too sure who's side she's really on until the end . leigh is an actress probably best known for her role as the " shower lady " from " psycho " , and that's unfair . she gives a strong performance as a woman who is pulled between these two men . stewart gives a performance unlike anything i've ever seen from him . he usually keeps cool no matter what occurs , but here , he gets downright hysterical at times . i think perhaps he took this role to prove to the public that he was more than just a " nice guy " . his performance borders on psychotic at times , but i loved watching every second of it . it's roles like this one that make me admire him as much as i do . he was an actor unafraid to take chances , and even ruin his public image .
most movies seem to release a third movie just so it can be called a trilogy . rocky iii seems to kind of fit in that category , but manages to be slightly unique . the rocky formula of " rocky loses fight/rocky trains/rocky wins fight " is carried out to the letter . also the 'tradition' of showing the last five minutes or so from the past rocky film is used as well . this movie begins with a series of clips showing how famous rocky ( sylvester stallone ) has become . . . even showing a brief appearance on sesame street ! ! then it moves on with rocky being in a fixed fight with thunderlips ( hulk hogan ) . a mysterious bad-ass known as clubber lang ( mr . t ) trash-talks to rocky about his stupid decision to retire from boxing and that he " pities the fool " for not coming out and fighting him outright . rocky's trainer ( burgess meredith ) tells rocky not to fight , but the italian stallion doesn't listen . naturally , he gets his ass kicked . somewhere along the line after this several things happen . rocky's longtime trainer dies , causing rocky to train with his former opponent apollo creed . rocky's wife complains to her husband that he should fight . the final fight ensues between clubber and rocky . guess who wins ? the winner's name rhymes with 'smocky' . the movie is entertaning mainly because of clubber lang's over the top performance . the dramatic aspect has been toned down considerably since rocky ii and now action seems to be the strong point of the film . which is good if you like fighting scenes . the last match is quite decent actually . if you liked the previous films , rent this one . it's well worth seeing if you are a fan of the series . but if you can't stand rocky shouting " adrianne ! ! ! " one more time , see something else .
expand the final fifteen minutes of home alone into a feature-length film and you've got baby's day out--an agreeably amusing children's comedy about a bumbling band of kid kidnappers who are unwittingly outwitted by an innocent infant . the plot tracks a trio of crooks-posed-as-photographers ( mantegna , pantoliano , haley ) who steal nine-month-old bennington august cottwell iv , aka baby bink , from his old-money home . but the plan goes awry when baby crawls out an open window and into the streets of downtown chicago ! following the path of his favorite story , called " baby's day out , " baby rides a bus and visits the zoo and winds up at a skyscraper construction site . while baby stays unscathed , the crooks fare worse for the wear . the stooges get hit by boards and dropped from roofs and , of course , suffer multiple crotch injuries . ( john wayne bobbitt should probably steer clear of this one . ) like he did in planes , trains , and automobiles , john hughes again demonstrates his mastery of the simple set-up and extended execution . here , he's aided and abetted by a director , patrick read johnson , whose choreography could rival a coen brother . best bit : baby crawling across a busy city street . baby's day out has only two emotions--awww and ouch--and the actors play them accordingly . forget the cartoon concern of lara flynn boyle or cynthia nixon , disposable as mom and nanny , respectively , the ones to watch are the ones who are wincing . joe mantegna is a great head stooge , barking lines like " that little doo-doo machine is my retirement money . " brian haley has a great scene with a gorilla , while joe pantolianto plays curly to mantegna's moe . * he * is funny . needless to say , twins adam and jacob warton are adorable beyond belief .
ingredients : pouring rain , small flooded town , damn about to burst , bad guys going after millions of dollars synopsis : at one point in the story townsperson karen asks hero tom what happened to her church . he replies something like : " the church is flooded but at least the floodwaters put out the big fire . well , the fire wasn't that bad , since , while the church was burning , looters apparently thought it was safe enough to break through all the priceless stained glass windows . " in hard rain a small town is nearly deserted due to flooding . everyone has had to evacuate because it's raining , and now floodwaters are rising so high that buildings are being submerged and the nearby dam is about to break . enter a working class smart-alecky new armored car driver named tom ( christian slater ) . suddenly his security truck carrying over three million dollars gets stuck on the flooded street and is waylaid by armed looters . tom has no choice but to grab the bag full of money , hide it , and swim for his life . this makes for an action movie full of jet skis , speedboat chases , and gun battles , as tom tries to evade and outsmart corrupt cops and armed looters until the national guard can answer his distress call . he is befriended and aided by a spunky churchgoing young woman from town named karen ( minnie driver ) . but unknown to tom and karen , the national guard never heard tom's initial distress call . will tom and karen survive the natural and manmade disasters ? opinion : don't expect thought-provoking issues or dramatics . there's not much more to this movie than hiding , running , swimming , shooting , and saving handcuffed heroes from drowning , but that's what makes it escapist and fun . relax , take your shoes off , and break out the popcorn .
susan granger's review of " big eden " ( jour de fete ) it's utopia , this tiny town tucked away in the timberland of northwestern montana , where old codgers lounge on the porch of the general store to pass the time away and the local matchmakers ( nan martin , louise fletcher ) eagerly pair off the young people , regardless of sexual preference . there's nary a homophobe or bigot around , much to the surprise of henry hart ( arye gross ) , a successful but lonely manhattan artist who returns home to care for sam ( george coe ) , the ailing grandfather who raised him . and with the simultaneous re-appearance of his best-friend from high-school and object of his unrequited love ( tim dekay ) , now divorced with two young sons , the fact of his homosexuality must be faced . to complete the triangle , there's the tall , taciturn native american ( eric schweig ) who owns the general store and lovingly yet secretly prepares gourmet meals for henry and sam . this fable about home and family is a major debut for first-time film-maker thomas bezucha ( a former designer for coach and polo/ralph lauren ) who is meticulous about minding details , using ballads like " welcome to my world " and " achin' , breakin' heart " to set up the concept of our universal longing to find a place in which we can love and be loved . in the paradise of big eden , what you are doesn't matter as much as generosity of spirit , respect and kindness . sure , the plot's implausible but it's a good-natured fantasy so allowances should be made . and rob sweeney's photography of glacier national park is spectacular ! on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " big eden " is a charming , quirky , off-beat 7 . it's a heart-warming romantic comedy about a gay man who doesn't die of aids or wind up alone at the end .
synopsis : committed to an asylum , the marquis de sade ( rush ) continues to publish pornographic literature , aided by young maid madeleine ( winslet ) . abbe coulmier ( phoenix ) , who runs the hospital , disapproves of the stories , but humours him in the hope of achieving a cure . de sade's craft and life are threatened when the emperor dispatches dr royer-collard ( michael caine ) to stop the marquis' work , permanently . review : " quills " is an exploration of the marquis de sade : his madness , his cruelty and his perversion , his obsession with sex in any form , no matter how obscene . but " quills " also details the marquis' determination : to write in spite of the obstacles put in his path , and to propagate his words to the masses . the extent to which de sade is willing to go to practise his trade is amongst the movie's most intriguing elements , as when de sade scribes a story in his own blood , or narrates a tale via of a chain of fellow inmates , cell to cell . to provide a contrast with the marquis , wright involves him with two very different characters . one is the abbe , a handsome , charming and kindly man whose desires are stymied by his oath to god . the abbe lusts for madeleine , but it is the wizened marquis who is able to have her . and then there is royer-collard , a hypocrite who in truth is as sadistic as any of the marquis' motley creations . rush is splendid as de sade , utterly inhabiting the character . kaufman's direction is fine , and he is able to bring a sense of bizarre humour to the grim proceedings . the plot itself is rather mundane and plays out unsurprisingly , but this is virtually unimportant . for two hours , " quills " acquaints us with the marquis de sade -- and , more frightening still , allows us brief insight into his scatological soul .
synopsis : in this movie , steven spielberg , one of today's finest directors , attempts to spice up the 1800s story of a long courtroom battle over the fate of prisoner cinque ( djimon hounsou ) - - a young angry man from sierra leone who was kidnapped into slavery - - and his fellow prisoners . cinque and friends have landed a ship on the shores of america after escaping spanish slave traders , but since the americans don't speak cinque's language , the black men are hauled into court to determine whether or not they are legally slaves . technically , since the international slave trade was outlawed at that time , people like cinque couldn't be kidnapped into slavery ; one had to be born a slave to be legally considered a slave . lawyers baldwin and adams ( matthew mcconaughey and anthony hopkins ) must prove cinque and the others were captured into slavery , rather than born slaves , in order to get them out of prison as free men . three lengthy court cases are portrayed with spielberg's trademark panache - - flashy beginning , lots of facial close-ups , big music , and dramatic imagery . a final speech by adams is followed by an anticlimax where subtitles show what eventually happened to the various characters . opinion : making a fictional movie is easier than making one about real life . in fiction , one invents purposeful , clear-cut good guys and bad guys , puts the fictional characters in conflict , and takes the tale to its exciting conclusion . real life , however , consists of long stretches of boredom with a few dramatic moments and characters who stand around , think thoughts and do nothing , or come and go before events are resolved . spielberg gives us a visually spicy and historically accurate real life story . djimon hounsou and anthony hopkins turn in excellent performances .
" good will hunting " is two movies in one : an independent take on the struggle of four boston pals and a traditional hollywood , " prodigy child " film complete with upbeats , downfalls , sporadically moving situations and plenty , plenty of shtick . unusually directed by gus van sant , " good will hunting " overcomes the banalities of its story by affirming the emergence of fresh , new talent . the film stars matt damon as will hunting as a mathematical , rebellious whiz kid inadvertly discovered by a college professor ( stellan skarsgard ) , who places him under psychological supervision with robin williams . in a nutshell , that's it . the core of the " good will hunting " is damon , who infuses the script ( co- written by " chasing amy's " ben affleck ) with just the right amount of warmth , sensitivity and humanity to accentuate his position as a refreshing multi- talented performer . but it's the acting that hits the mark , and damon hits all the right notes , flying over robin williams' deja-vu role ( " awakenings " was written all over this ) as a devastated shrink who has closed all contact with society due to his wife's tragic death . damon effortlessly blends the carelesness of a gregarious , confused thug with the absorbing ingeniousness of someone like einstein . his rich , complex character is the pulp of " good will hunting . " everything else pales in comparison . " good will hunting " exposes the lack of profoundness of deliberately schmaltzy storytelling , but , unlike " little man tate " or " phenomenon " , it doesn't set up its story in a black and white , point a to point b be manner , but as the saga of an extraordinary individual whose feasibility for success doesn't automatically signify he must make easy , familiar choices , like the protagonists in the aforementioned .
" a private matter " is based on the true story of sherri finkbine and the events in her life during the 1960s . after becoming pregnant ( for the fifth time ) she learns that some tranquilizers she had taken have seriously deformed her unborn child . she and her husband decide , with the help of her doctor , to have an abortion . but this is the 1960s , and abortion is illegal . her doctor has made arrangements to have the procedure performed withing the law , by claiming that the child is endangering the mother's life . everything is about to work out just fine , until sherri has the uncontrollable urge to talk about her situation with a local reporter . this sets off a media frenzy and immediately sherri is the most hated woman in the world . she and her husband are fired from their jobs , reporters are surrounding their home at all times , and most importantly , no one in the country ( and eventually other countries ) will perform the abortion . this causes emotion problems for all involved . " a private matter " is a fascinating story and it's hard to believe that this only happened 30 years or so ago . it's only flaw is that not once is there ever a satisfactory confrontation with sherri and any of her opponents . one woman passing her on the street telss her to burn in hell , and when sherri appropriately yells back , " just tell me what i'm supposed to do , " the woman has no answer . no one apparently had an answer , they just wanted to control what should have been only the choice of sherri and her husband . this is an important film , telling an important story . it's not just about not wanting another child , it's about not wanting a child who will cause severe changes in their family , none of which could be beneficial . sydney pollack served as executive producer for this made for hbo movie .
a big surprise to me . the good trailer had hinted that they pulled the impossible off , but making a blues brothers movie without jake blues ( john belushi ) is such a dumb idea i really had no hope . they replaced him just fine . not with john goodman , he didn't do much of anything , but with the brilliant actor joe morton , who can really sing . the fourth blues brother is j evan bonifant , who's ten . this was another of my fears for the film , but he's a really good dancer , and plays a mean harmonica ( although he may have been dubbed ) . things that intellectually had bothered me before , like no mission from god , everyone being richer , it not being filmed in chicago -- gave me no problems at all . i'm quite pleased that there were less car pile-ups , because they meant less music , and john landis seems to have lost interest in the whole thing . there's a few early crashes , and then one huge pile-up , but after that it all stops . it's just the music . one of my problems with the first is that cab calloway's song is so good the actually blues brothers look dull after him , but there's no problems with this . the music is all as good as ever , tons of great musicians showing up -- with the exception of johnny lang , who can't sing , all the musicians do a great job . the only real problems i had was the special effects . these were superfluous and a waste of money . since the film isn't doing very well , they could mean we have no possibility of another sequel , which i want to see . the bluegrass version of riders in the sky is even better than rawhide . -- http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/academy/8034/ remove no spam to reply . " drive carefully but recklessly " , mama , child's toy " the only excercise i take is walking behind the coffins of friends who took exercise . " peter o'toole
synopsis : shrek ( myers ) is an ogre living in contented solitude deep in the heart of a forest , until his home is invaded by fairy tale creatures fleeing the rule of the evil lord farquaad ( john lithgow ) . farquaad agrees to relocate the pests , on the condition that shrek rescues princess fiona ( diaz ) -- whom farquaad desires to wed -- from a far-off castle . grudgingly , shrek sets out , joined in his quest by an unwanted companion , donkey ( murphy ) . review : one memorable aspect of disney's " aladdin " was that it finally gave robin williams a character -- the genie -- to best take advantage of his comic talents . " shrek " does the same for eddie murphy ; ironically , though , murphy's ideal vessel turns out to be an ass . all the same , " shrek " does represent murphy's best comic outing in years , and as donkey he steals all the best lines . for instance , after getting belted with pixie dust while trying to conceal his nature as a magical creature , donkey soars into the air and scoffs , " now i'm a flying talking donkey ! " and despite its many contributors , the script for " shrek " is full of such comic gems . myers is delightful in more of a straight man role , and lithgow also gets some great moments ( watch for a hilarious repartee with the gingerbread man ) . " shrek " takes great pleasure in lampooning fairy tales and nursery rhymes of all sorts , and reserves a few delightful knocks at disney in the bargain . things do go somewhat astray during the film's middle segment , which concentrates too much on the main characters at the expense of some of the terrific fairy tale satire which is the movie's greatest strength . but even then , one can always sit back and enjoy the beautiful computer animation , whose remarkable use here represents yet another dazzling leap forward for the technology .
susan granger's review of " songcatcher " in the midst of this summer's fare of dinos revisited and romantic fiascoes , there are a few thoughtful movies - and this appalachian period drama is one . oscar nominee janet mcteer ( " tumbleweeds " ) stars as dr . lily penleric , an accomplished musicologist who , back in that pre-feminist era , was refused a full professorship at her university . determined to prove her worth , she ventures deep into the rugged mountains of north carolina , where her younger sister elna ( jane adams ) runs a school . there in bear creek , she discovers a treasure-trove of traditional scots-irish and english folk ballads , given a unique interpretation by the insular locals . excited , she sends for recording equipment and persuades vinie butler ( pat carroll ) and other self-sustaining mountain folk to share their musical heritage on her edison phonograph cylinders . their music , as she puts it , is " as much a part of life here as the air you breathe . " that's the main thrust of writer-director maggie greenwald's occasionally uneven culture-clash story , which is loosely based on olive dame campbell's foray through the blue ridge mountains in 1908 , but there's also some melodramatic romantic spice . ornery , bearded , banjo-picking aidan quinn falls for the statuesque , passionate " songcatcher , " while elna secretly engages in a lesbian relationship with a colleague ( e . katherine kerr ) . i'm ready to buy the soulful soundtrack with vocalists like emmylou harris , iris dement , taj mahal and young opera star emmy rossum who plays a pivotal role as mcteer's wide-eyed prot ? g ? . rated pg-13 , there's an intense scene of primitive childbirth . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " songcatcher " is an intelligent , extraordinary 8 , transported by the transcendent power of song .
like the great musical pieces of mozart himself , amadeus is a true work of art . it is one of those few movies of the 80's that will be known for its class , its style , and its intelligence . why is this such a good film ? there are almost too many reasons to explain . the story : court composer salieri ( f . murray abraham ) feels waves of different emotions going through his head as wolfgang amadeus mozart ( tom hulce ) comes into his life as the young genius composer . salieri feels envy , and jealousy , but at the same time is fascinated with mozart's brilliance and ingenious . we travel through mozart's life as a composer , through his struggles , his triumphs , and ultimately , his demise . the acting : abraham is magnificient as salieri ; his acting range enables him to focus on each individual emotion and express it through his speech and body language . this performance earned him a well deserved oscar . tom hulce is interesting as well as mozart , a quirky , annoying bratty kid with an annoying laugh . he's strong , but weak at the same time , and must be aided by his wife ( elizabeth berridge ) , who is good in her role , but lacks dramatic depth . jeffrey jones , in a smaller , more dignified role than such roles in stay tuned and mom and dad save the world , is cast perfectly because of his noble charm . the movie : every element of this movie works . the costumes and makeup are very memorable , as well as its stunning art direction , and unforgettable scores ( adapted from mozart's original music ) . while wolfgang amadeus mozart was a genius at music , milos forman proves with his film that he is a genius of filmmaking . this movie is a classic that will be remembered for years to come . ad2am " i almost lost my nose . . . and i like it . i like breathing through it . " -jack nicholson , chinatown
i don't know what movie the critics saw , but it wasn't this one . the popular consensus among newspaper critics was that this movie is unfunny and dreadfully boring . in my personal opinion , they couldn't be more wrong . if you were expecting airplane ! -like laughs and agatha christie-intense mystery , then yes , this movie would be a disappointment . however , if you're just looking for an enjoyable movie and a good time , this is one to see . honest , it is . this story is about a 4th network , wbn , taking to america's airwaves in 1939 . penny henderson ( mary stuart masterson ) , the station owner's secretary , must deal with her overbearing boss , an unimpressed sponsor and writers ready to quite on a moment's notice , partly due to the fact that they haven't been paid in weeks . among the mayhem , she must also deal with her soon-to-be ex-husband , roger ( brian benben ) who desperately wants her back . unfortunately , her problems only get worse as the night goes on and the body count rises without explanation . while trying to woo penny back , roger must deal with the police and try to find the killer that lurks at wbn . mary stuart masterson does well in her role as penny ( i'm trying to be unbiased so i won't tell you how amazing she looked ) , although brian benben gets most of the screen time . along with the two leads , are several recognizable faces , including corbin bernsen ( l . a . law ) , michael mckean ( laverne & shirley ) and bobcat goldthwait . the special effects are amazing , and fooled me ( which some may argue isn't very difficult to do ) in many scenes . although the movie sometimes goes overboard with the physical comedy , it more than makes up for those mistakes throughout the movie . overall , i gave it , or an , depending on what system you use . some comments collected from friends :
susan granger's review of " bread and tulips " ( first look pictures ) in this delightfully frothy italian romantic comedy , after accidentally being left behind by a tour bus while on a family vacation with her cranky husband and two cynical teenagers , rosalba ( licia maglietta ) , an unhappy housewife from pescara , finds herself - and love - in venice . for the first time in years , rosalba's on her own when she's abandoned at a highway rest area . although her philandering husband ( antonio catania ) , a plumbing-supply dealer , orders her to stay there until she's picked up , she impulsively accepts a ride to venice , a bohemian paradise which she's never visited . rosalba finds refuge and romance with fernando ( bruno ganz ) , a gruff icelandic waiter who offers her a spare room in his modest apartment and prepares breakfast for her each morning . to support herself , she gets a job working with a florist ( antonio catania ) . film-maker silvio soldini gently explores the blossoming of this bored , middle-aged , middle-class woman with warmth and affection , savoring special moments such as when rosalba starts playing the accordion again and abandons her maroon stretch pants , silver jacket and orange sneakers for a simple , new red-and-white dress with platform-soled espadrilles . the superb actors slip into their roles seamlessly , particularly luminous licia maglietta and low-key bruno ganz , along with marina massironi as her nosy massage-therapist neighbor and giuseppe massironi as the inept plumber-turned-private eye who's sent to retrieve her on orders from her frantic husband - who's discovered that his mistress has no interest in doing his laundry or cleaning the house . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " bread and tulips " is a beguiling , escapist 8 . as the summer ends , it's a magical getaway for mature audiences . .
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : i must admit , no doubt's single " new " is quite catchy . it was bouncy and energetic enough to get me to go see this new film from director doug limon , the man who had brought us the humorous swingers a little while back . the result ? a movie that's just as good as that song , really . it follows the lives of several individuals over the course of one weekend . first we hear about a grocery bagger ( sara polley ) who runs into a monetary situation problem and ends up selling bogus drugs at a rave ( with bad results , as a drug dealer feels he's been swindled by her ) ; then comes the story of an english grocery store worker ( same store ) who heads to vegas for the weekend with friends , where sex , gunplay , and stolen car trouble come into play ; then we see the story of two gay movie actors ( played by scott wolf and jay mohr ) who deal with a cop's strange insurance presentation and hitting a girl ( sara ) with their car ; and , finally , we come to another grocery worker ( katie holmes ) who has a strange fascination with said drug dealer ( the one mentioned earlier ) . really , it's all confusing to keep track of in review format , your best bet is to just , well , go . the movie features some very good acting from all angles , and limon adds the same humorous energy he had with swingers to this particular product . the dialogue is pretty snappy and the resolution is pretty well realized , not going for the sappy happy ending nor the dreaded bad ending . think of it as a , well , ending . the intertwining of stories is a particularly good element to the movie , as it's never really confusing and tells different sides of the story , like sliding doors kinda did . however , it's better suited for the younger generation who want a little spice in their flicks , which sliding doors kinda isn't .
susan granger's review of " osmosis jones " ( warner bros . ) if the farrelly brothers taught anatomy & physiology in school , no one would cut ever class . this hip , live action/animation story begins as a monkey snatches a hard-boiled egg from frank , a zookeeper ( bill murray ) , who grabs it back , drops it , then gobbles up the contaminated morsel , explaining , " if it hits and ground and you pick it up within 10 seconds , you can eat it . " like " fantastic voyage " ( 1966 ) , the pseudo-science animation then takes over when his body's immune system contacts traffic control as an ingested virus hits the digestive system : " be on the alert for illegal organisms ! " eager to right " a stomach evacuation mistake " he once made , a cocky , clever , courageous white blood cell ( chris rock ) declares , " this is a crime scene ! " and teams up with a conscientious " phi beta capsule " 12-hour cold remedy called drixenol ( david hyde pierce ) to chase down and destroy the deadly " red death " virus ( laurence fishburne ) that's determined to take frank down in 48 hours , beating ebola and e . coli to a medical record . watch out for mucus mudslides , chaos in cerebellum hall and the detritus from booger dam ( runny nose ) , along with comic turns from molly shannon and chris elliot , plus the voices of william shatner and brandy norwood . peter and bobby farrelly , along with writer mark hyman and animation directors piet kroon and tom sito , have turned their penchant for gross-out comedy , encompassing flatulence , festering sores and " popping a pimple without a permit , " into a funny , farrelly-funny family film . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " osmosis jones " is a wildly imaginative , original , explosive 7 . and perhaps , as they're laughing , kids will learn where to find their uvula , along with nuggets about nutrition and hygiene .
synopsis : bobby garfield ( yelchin ) lives in a small town with his mirthless widowed mother ( hope davis ) . bobby's world revolves around his friends , especially the spritely carol ( boorem ) . then one day , a new boarder arrives at bobby's house . ted brautigan ( hopkins ) is an enigmatic man to whom bobby takes an immediate liking . as the bond between bobby and ted deepens , bobby becomes privy to ted's great secret , an event which will change both of their lives forever . review : a small but enchanting movie , " hearts in atlantis " easily recalls another king-inspired coming-of-age film , " stand by me " , both in terms of its setting and the sentiment it conveys . " hearts " is a tribute to the magic of childhood , to those summers when the days seem neverending , and nothing means more than your closest friends . unlike " stand by me " , there is a supernatural element to " hearts " , but although it is key to the plot , it is not prominent . like " stand by me " , this is a mostly character-driven film , and as such it benefits greatly from superb casting . yelchin is very good as bobby , finding a good mix of innocence and resignation . more splendid still is boorem , whom i praised highly for her work in " along came a spider " and who is simply radiant here as carol . and then there is hopkins , who despite playing such a quiet , introspective character as ted , nonetheless commands our attention every time he is onscreen . less successful is davis , whose strident elizabeth comes across as overly cartoonish . i also found it odd that bobby and carol's other friend , sully ( whose death as an adult sets up the movie's flashback framing device ) , is paid virtually no attention . but hicks' direction is lovely without being cloying , and despite the movie's general lack of incident , it never ceases to weave its spell over the audience .
richard gere can be a commanding actor , but he's not always in great films . everything comes together here . gere is a big time chicago defense attorney who takes on a seemingly unwinable case in hopes of even more publicity . it doesn't go exactly as he expects . gere's client , aaron ( edward norton ) , is a shy stuttering tennessee boy who is accused of brutally murdering and mutilating a catholic archbishop . the evidence is stacked against him . he was caught running from the scene covered in the bishop's blood . his bloody footprints are all over the murder scene . he has a relationship with the priest . gere talks to the boy , believes that he is actually innocent and sets about finding the real killer . despite the lawyer's proclamations that he doesn't care about the guilt of his clients and that the real thrill is gambling with people's lives , he becomes involved with aaron and is determined to free him . lots of complications and twists . the prosecuting attorney is gere's former co-worker and lover . they both work each other's motives to their legal advantages and it gets messy . her boss had major economic dealings with the archbishop that went sour and seems to have crime connections . aaron gets weirder and weirder as the trial goes on . gere's case is falling apart and he is faced with about a dozen ethical dilemmas . gere is exceptional as the well-dressed reserved counselor , but just once , i wanted to see him kick back and come out of his " suit " persona . even when he loses it , you don't see very far inside . norton's aaron is convincing : he comes across as the backwoods kid misplaced in the big city . the supporting cast does a fine job of holding together the story . as with most of the effective courtroom dramas , the cinematography is crisp and rich . the story will keep you on the edge of your seat . nothing is what it seems .
susan granger's review of " legally blonde " ( m . g . m . ) it's a " pretty in pink " / " clueless " coming-of-age story for the new millennium as elle woods ( reese witherspoon ) , a perky southern california sorority queen , switches from fashion to law in order to win back her yuppy boyfriend ( matthew davis ) . the girl-power story begins as this sweetheart of delta nu is unceremoniously dumped by a bonehead who says : " if i'm going to be a senator by the time i'm 30 . . . i need to marry a jackie , not a marilyn . " determined to prove she's as smart a snobby brunette ( selma blair ) from country-club connecticut , elle not only applies to harvard law school but gets in , much to the amazement of family , friends and faculty . once there , this flaxen-haired fish-out-of-water not only survives but tenaciously thrives , befriending a local manicurist ( jennifer coolidge ) , dazzling a professor ( victor garber ) and rescuing a defendant ( ali larter ) in a celebrated boston murder trial , plus finding a more worthy beau ( luke wilson ) . in the tradition of teen-comedy film-maker john hughes and his disciple amy heckerling , there's wit , cheerfulness , a fidelity of observation and a penchant for problem-solving . first-time feature director robert luketic is blessed with reese witherspoon who's joyously incandescent in this utterly formulaic light comedy written by karen mccullah lutz and kirsten smith , based on a soon-to-be-published novel by amanda brown . the supporting cast is terrific , particularly raquel welch and holland taylor - and i particularly got a kick out of the gag of elle distributing scented resumes in pink , her signature color on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " legally blonde " is a frivolous , funny , feel-good 8 . filled with ditzy blonde ambition , it's a movie for high-school kids that their parents would be happy to have them see .
warning : anyone offended by blatant , leering machismo had better avoid this film . or lots of blood & guts , men against men and mano-et-mano stuff . in other words , it's a walter hill film ! with a john milius script ! i always picture these guys getting together and producing a movie between arm-wrestling matches . these films always contain male characters i have a very hard time identifying with , probably due to the likelihood that any meeting between them and me would result in my arm being ripped off and then my subsequent death by beating with said limb . and we got tough guys galore , here ; drug-running banditos by the dozens , all dirty and sweaty and pretty ill-tempered , overall ; a secret task force of army commandos who are in the area to cover-up ( supposedly ) any connection between the government and the drug runners ; and lots of shit-kicking texas dirt farmers who'd as soon shoot you between the eyes as look at you . in particular , we got nick nolte as one hard-ass texas ranger , powers boothe as the drug kingpin , michael ironsides as the leader of the secret army , and rip torn as the local sheriff . torn is the sympathetic figure of the group ; he smiles before shooting anyone . as to women . . . well , i've never seen jane fonda or meryl streep in a walter hill film , and at this rate , i doubt i ever will . women exist here to look good , comfort the man , and get argued over . gosh ! just like the old days . . . frankly , this is a pretty good movie , if you can accept the premise and can take the macho stuff . the cinematography is excellent , the cast of characters is broad and has texture , the script is quite good , and the film lets you keep up with what's happening yourself , without spelling it out to you . i appreciate a film that makes me have to think to keep up . finally , there's lots of sam peckinpah slow-motion shoot-ups .
susan granger's review of " hearts in atlantis " ( castle rock/warner bros . ) timing is everything , and the timing just seems right for this poignant psychological drama that combines the coming-of-age nostalgia of " stand by me " with the mystical power of " the green mile . " based on stephen king stories adapted by screenwriter william goldman and directed by scott hicks , it's set in 1960 in harwich , connecticut , where fatherless 11 year-old bobby garfield ( anton yelchin ) lives in a boarding house with his resentful , self-centered mother ( hope davis ) . he's devoted to his neighborhood friends ( mika boorem , will rothhaar ) but his pivotal relationship is with a strange , new tenant , ted brautigan ( anthony hopkins ) who opens the world of literature to him after his selfish mother refuses to buy him a birthday gift and hands him , instead , a library card . knowing he's longing for a schwinn bike , ted offers to pay him $1 a week to read him the local newspaper and keep his eyes peeled for signs of the malevolent , ominous low men who are chasing him to exploit his special powers . the story structure consists of one long flashback , framed by the present , featuring the adult bobby ( david morse ) , minimizing the supernatural elements while emphasizing the human drama hopkins' mysterious character is genteel , sensitive and benignly seductive . the only explanation is that he's a psychic who is wanted by the fbi to aid in their hunt for communists and even that seems appropriate , given the inexplicable state of the world right now . the production values and performances are solid , particularly hopkins - arguably the finest , most versatile actor of our era - and the children with whom he forges a firm bond . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " hearts in atlantis " is a wistful , enigmatic 8 , evolving with subtle power to an emotionally effective catharsis .
susan granger's review of " the closet " ( miramax films ) in this hilarious french farce , a shy , boring accountant ( daniel auteil ) named francois pignon discovers he's going to be fired from his job at a condom factory . lonely and distraught , he contemplates suicide . but then he runs into belone ( michel aumont ) , an elderly homosexual neighbor , who suggests a " sex discrimination " lawsuit to intimidate management . as evidence , belone concocts provocative photographs of pignon locked in a leather-clad embrace with another man and mails them anonymously to pignon's boss . when the racy snapshots start circulating around the factory , not only does pignon get his job back but he suddenly finds himself the focus of attention as an openly gay man . his lusty supervisor ( michele laroque ) is so intrigued that she wonders if , perhaps , she could change his sexual preferences . even his ex-wife ( alexandra vandernoot ) and indifferent teenage son ( stanislas crevillen ) drop their disdain . but not everyone is enchanted . a mucho macho co-worker felix ( gerard depardieu ) , a self-righteous homophobe , is stunned and repulsed when he's forced by the pr director ( thierry lhermite ) to grovel and court pignon's friendship or risk losing his own job . writer/director francis verber artfully milks the farcical comedy as he dissects the hypocrisy of political correctness , veering off-track only occasionally into pedophilia . daniel auteuil ( " the widow of saint-pierre " ) is delightful - particularly with a blown-up condom perched on his head , riding on a float in a gay pride parade - and gerard depardieu delivers one of his most restrained , and effective , performances . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " the closet " is a frankly sexual , adult 8 . it's so clever , in fact , that hollywood is already planning to re-make it in english , like " la cage aux folles . "
ingredients : little orphan boy , rural grandparents , mountains , native american lore synopsis : in this loving film portrayal of an idyllic and pivotal time that a young boy spends with grandpa and grandma , the self recollections of an unseen narrator focus on his world view as a tennessee orphan boy learning of his heritage through his grandparents . the setting is after the first world war , during the great depression years . a nine-year-old orphan named little tree ( joseph ashton ) is taken in and taught the wondrous ways of the woods by his caucasian moonshiner grandpa ( james cromwell ) and his native american grandma ( tantoo cardinal ) in the wilderness of the mountains of tennessee . here little tree learns an almost magical appreciation for nature and farm life - - and experiences beautiful and wondrous things such as the sunrise . everything is miraculous to a child . but it all comes crashing down for the boy when the u . s . government forcibly takes custody away from grandpa and grandma , and forces little tree to attend the notched gap boarding school , a kind of internment camp where multiracial cherokee kids are indoctrinated to dress , pray , speak , and think like white people or face solitary confinement and corporeal punishment . through his childhood experiences , little tree learns lessons about love , race , life , death , people , nature , and folk wisdom . opinion : this excellent , excellent family movie . it is one of those priceless screen gems that nobody knows about because it's not highly advertised . you won't find any formula schlock , cutesy characters , canned spirituality , sequel teasers or commercial tie ins , but you will find the education of little tree to be a refreshing , impeccably acted , original , wonderful , and touching film . take the whole family and bring a box of tissues for the tearjerkers . this one's as good as old yeller .
sometimes a movie comes along that falls somewhat askew of the rest . some people call it " original " or " artsy " or " abstract " . some people simply call it " trash " . a life less ordinary is sure to bring about mixed feelings . definitely a generation-x aimed movie , a life less ordinary has everything from claymation to profane angels to a karaoke-based musical dream sequence . whew ! anyone in their 30's or above is probably not going to grasp what can be enjoyed about this film . it's somewhat silly , it's somewhat outrageous , and it's definitely not your typical romance story , but for the right audience , it works . a lot of hype has been surrounding this film due to the fact that it comes to us from the same team that brought us trainspotting . well sorry folks , but i haven't seen trainspotting so i can't really compare . whether that works in this film's favor or not is beyond me . but i do know this : ewan mcgregor , whom i had never had the pleasure of watching , definitely charmed me . he was great ! cameron diaz's character was uneven and a bit hard to grasp . the audience may find it difficult to care about her , thus discouraging the hopes of seeing her unite with mcgregor after we are immediately sucked into caring about and identifying with him . misguided ? you bet . loveable ? you bet . a life less ordinary was a delight and even had a bonus for me when i realized it was filmed in my hometown of salt lake city , utah . this was just one more thing i didn't know about this movie when i sat down with a five dollar order of nachos and a three dollar coke . maybe not knowing the premise behind this film made for a pleasant surprise , but i think even if i had known , i would have been just as happy . a life less ordinary is quirky , eccentric , and downright charming ! not for everyone , but a definite change of pace for your typical night at the movies .
" footloose " has only one goal in mind : to reel in an audience with cheesy sentiment and feel-good antics . and i hate to admit it ; i fell for it . the movie is about a teenager ( bacon ) who moves to a small town from the big city , and discovers that dancing has been banned by the local reverend ( lithgow ) . he ends up falling for the preacher's daughter ( singer ) and showing the whole town what the magic of dance can do . as mentioned at the beginning of this review , " footloose " is an extremely hokey and predictable teen drama . there are virtually no surprises , and the writing is second-rate . so why did i enjoy it so much ? for one thing , the cast is great . kevin bacon oozes charisma in an early role . we're rooting for him right from the start , and , unlike most films of this genre , bacon doesn't play him as the " rebel without a clue " sort . yes , he does rebel , but he's also polite when he needs to be . and he never broods . the rest of the cast is equally impressive . john lithgow , seen here playing a normal guy for a change , is playing a man who would normally be a flat out villian . but lithgow plays him as a concerned father who is trying to do what he feels is best for his daughter . by the end of the film , we feel a genuine sense of love and understanding between him and the lori singer character . another nice touch is the music . we see the parents of the kids complaining that the music they listen to is filled with " sexual innuendos " , but that's not true at all . the title track , performed by kenny loggins , is upbeat and fun . during the final sequence , i was overcome with the urge to get off the couch and start dancing . of course , i soon realized that would be a little pathetic . anyway , " footloose " is a charming little surprise . don't let the premise prevent you from watching it . it sucked me in , and it'll do the same to you .
synopsis : leonard shelby ( pearce ) is a former insurance investigator on the trail of the man who killed his wife . leonard has only a few clues to the murderer's identity ; to make matters worse , he suffers from a condition which inhibits the creation of short-term memories , meaning that leonard is always forgetting what happened just minutes earlier . because of this , leonard is forced to rely on notes he leaves for himself . " memento " traces the investigation back in time from its apparent culmination . review : " memento " is the sort of movie i wish i'd written ; i can think of no higher praise than that . i am envious that nolan has concocted such a brilliant , involved , original movie as this . an instant film noir classic , " memento " is virtually flawless . the script is unlike any i have ever seen -- a notable achievement in these days of recycled hollywood homogeneity . although the idea of starting at the " conclusion " of the plotline and then moving backward in time to the " start " is not entirely new , never before have i witnessed it executed with such flair and coherence . " memento " is endlessly exciting and inventive , a rare story which keeps the viewers guessing during the film itself , and mulling over its connotations long after leaving the theatre . and it is not merely an exercise in cerebrality ; there is plenty of action and an unexpected dose of humour to keep the proceedings lively . nolan's direction is equally effective , never losing its crispness and clarity despite " memento " 's challenging gimmick . and to top everything off , all the performances rise to the occasion . pierce is terrific as the troubled leonard ; moss shows great range as enigmatic natalie ; and pantoliano's teddy achieves a splendidly affable yet sinister quality . " memento " may be the year's best screenplay , and is certainly amongst the top theatrical attractions of 2001 .
by phil curtolo mel gibson ( braveheart ) gave a gripping performance as the father of a young kidnapped boy in ron howard's ransom . gibson plays tom mullen , a wealthy business tycoon whose past actions are coming back to haunt him as a deranged psychopath , played by gary sinise ( forrest gump ) , and his band of low-life thugs kidnap his only son for $2 million . tom and his wife , kate , played by rene russo ( tin cup ) were instructed not to inform the police , but they contacted the fbi . minutes later , an elite team of agents led by delroy lindo ( broken arrow ) are in tom's house and wiring every phone . the plot sounds average , just like most other kidnap movies that you've already seen , and it was nothing more than that . that is until about half-way through the movie . suddenly , tom goes to the fox 5 news room and makes a live broadcast saying , " this is your ransom . but this is as close as you will ever get to it . instead , i am offering this money as a reward on your head , dead or alive . " at this point , the plot thickened , and the unusually slow start of the film turned into a suspense-filled action film with great stunts . the last half of the film is very well done . another thing that carries this film are the superb performances by gibson and sinise , as they collide in a game of wits over their cellular phones for most of the movie . owen gleiberman of entertainment weekly commented on the subject : " it makes you wonder what kidnappers did before cell phones . " before this movie , sinise played mostly " good guys , " first in of mice & men , then in forrest gump , and most recently , in apollo 13 . but he was surprisingly devilish and cold in his portrayal of a cop-gone-bad . gibson , of course , was just being gibson , in an oscar-worthy performance . although most of the scenes were quite predictable , ransom is a very entertaining and suspenseful film . ,
susan granger's review of " the perfect storm " ( warner bros . ) " more people die on fishing boats , per capita , than working in any other job in the u . s . . every journey a fishing boat makes can be an all-or-nothing risk . it is life at its most exhilarating and its most terrifying , " says director wolfgang petersen ( " das boot " ) . and that's just what he captures in this true story of struggle and humanity aboard a swordfishing boat , the andrea gail , sailing out of gloucester , massachusetts , in late october , 1991 . early in bill wittliff's screenplay , based on sebastian junger's best-seller , we meet the crew of six . the veteran captain ( george clooney ) is frustrated because he can't find fish on the grand banks , yet a rival skipper ( mary elizabeth mastrantonio ) brings in huge hauls . his right-hand man ( mark walhberg ) needs money to build a new life with his girl-friend ( diane lane ) . there's a devoted dad ( john c . reilly ) with an estranged wife and son , a free-spirited jamaican ( allen payne ) , a lonely guy ( john hawkes ) , and a last-minute replacement with a bad attitude ( william fichtner ) . the skipper's convinced he can change his bad luck streak in remote flemish cap , and he does . but then trouble begins . there's a rogue wave , a man overboard and the ice machine breaks - with 60 , 000 lb . of fish that could spoil . but that's minor compared with a deadly monster storm approaching which a boston meteorologist describes as " a disaster of epic proportions " that also threatens the lives of a coast guard helicopter rescue team trying to save three people stranded on a sailboat on the high seas . it's formulaic and there are cliches , but the walls of water , created by fluid dynamics simulating real-life phenomena , are awesome . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " the perfect storm " is a terrifying , suspenseful 8 . hang on for the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer !
tbwp is probably the single most profitable film ever . not surprising , considering its tiny us$100 , 000 budget , to date it has earned in excess of us$130 million . that's a shocking 100 times profit ! rumours have it that a smart internet `marketing' ploy was so successful in gaining cult-like fanatics , by word of mouth coupled with strings of excellent reviews , the film just exploded in the box-office , raking in millions on its opening weekend . shot in 16mm and video ( i suspect . ) , the film chronicles the forays of 3 students who go in search for the legendary blair witch . audiences are put in the first-person perspective in the entire mis-adventure , often wobbly and blurry at times , it takes a bit of getting used to in the beginning . this is supposed to be the material they discovered in the woods where the 3 disappeared ; edited and put onto the screen for the benefit of our audiences . tbwp is simply smart . filmed to look as if it was really a stock-shoot by a bunch of students in search of the blair witch as a school project , one may suspect ( like yours truly ) that its simply a lazy but smart approach to film-making . simply amazing in that respect , i must say . talk about impact , oh yes , tbwp does have quite a bit , in fact most audience will find it deeply disturbing . i did , especially the last bit but i'm not revealing more . you have to see it for yourself . i can't help but feel a tad cheated after knowing how commercially successful this film has become . could it be that finally , an indie-film has unwittingly found a formula for commercial appeal ? or was it all simply a ploy by the big players right from the beginning ? well , i guess the fact stays ; tbwp is highly original , clever and will most definitely leave most with something dreadful to talk and think about for weeks prior to watching this film . no gore , no special effects , i just can't get over how terribly smart this film is !
the small-scale film , in limited release , " waking ned devine " is a pleasant excursion to a time and place which allows the audience to absorb the full texture of a small town . filled with breathtaking scenery , 'characters' , and delightful music , the movie would be interesting even without a plot . the story contains several surprises which are best left unmentioned in a review . the film starts out with a sharp opening , which gives us a taste of what is to follow : country folk with an inclination for a bit of larceny . what gets things going is the fact that a winner of the lottery is apparently one of the residents in the small town ( pop 52 ) of tullymore . who that person is , and how to share in the good fortune is the mission of two longtime friends jackie ( ian bannen ) and michael ( david kelly ) . part detectives , part scalawags , they have to stay alert to the changing circumstances they face as the story unfolds . the village consists of several amusing characters . a clueless pig farmer , temporary priest , and a witch . there's also the lotto man who must be satisfied that everything is on the up-and-up . there are no hollywood touches to this film - except for the outer space introduction [ ! ] . pacing is right . towards the end , it runs a bit out of steam , but that's okay because for most of the 90 minutes we've been interested in the goings on . a mixture of laughs and ( occasional ) sentiment - all the right emotions are engaged . in one brief dream sequence - you'll know it when you see it - a fantastic combination of color and music transports the characters to a place you really hope exists . one of the key moments in the film . the music , available on cd ( london 289 460 939-2 ) follows the same arc as the movie and is well worth considering . a fine film that's for everybody except action fans . somewhat like 'the englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain , ' . . . but livelier .
damn those trailers . had it not been for the advertising of this film , which reveals far too much about its contents , i would have been glued to `under the sand' . as it is , the film retains some value , thanks to an excellent performance by charlotte rampling , and a more mature francois ozon in the director's chair . marie ( charlotte rampling ) and her husband jean ( bruno cremer ) lounge on the beach . she takes a nap while he goes for a swim . when marie wakes up , jean is nowhere to be found . she contacts authorities , but they can't find him either . did he disappear to start a new life ? was he killed by accident ? did he commit suicide ? marie still asks herself these questions a year later , and in order to move on with her life , she must find some answers . it's a fine premise , and this little movie uses it to the limit . the film moves at a leisurely pace , a bit slow , but relaxing . it's a very visual story , and you can pretty much just sit back without reading the subtitles . this is mostly thanks to the excellent camera work by antoine heberle and jeanne lapoirie , who shot the film in a dreamy haze , and the lead performance by rampling . rampling is so expressive in her portrayal of marie , you connect with her character instantly , despite that she's delusional . the scenes where she interacts with her husband , who she still believes is alive , are heartbreaking . she can't quite get over him . they've been married for twenty-five years . the other actors , particularly jacques nolot , are excellent too . the sex in the film is rather unneeded , but compared to ozon's `criminal lovers' , it's the disney channel . likely to cause some discussion afterwards , `under the sand' is a fine movie going experience . while it's hard to recommend as entertainment , it's a fine adult alternative about how we deal with loss . ozon seems to ask what you would do , and that's certainly a hard question to answer .
warning : contains what the matrix is . rated r for sci-fi violence . starring : keanu reeves , laurence fishburne , joe panteliano some may be disappointed with the matrix . i'll tell you i was . i sat there and sat there and sat there waiting for something to happen . now wait wait , i know most of you loved it , and i'm not saying i didn't like it . what i'm saying is the first half was extremely slow . now seeing the trailer it makes you think the whole entire movie is one big special effects show . don't be fooled , this movie has a big story . and big chunks of talky moments . but i will admit the special effects and the acting were above par , deserving the rating above . ok now to the story . well this may take a while . ok first of all , our world we live in now , is not the real world , actually we live inside a computer generated world known as the matrix . a man played by keanu reeves is about to find that out , when is kidnapped and almost coaxed to go into the real world . he does so , and finds out that he can do anything , be anything he wants to be . but he has to fight a 'matrix skipping' bad guy , who wants to send him back to his own world or destroy him . laurence fishburne , his guide of sorts plays his character well as does keanu reeves . but i sat in the theatre for over and hour wondering where all the special effects were . yeah there were some in the first half but not enough . the trailer for this movie was really decieving making people think that this was a special effects laden movie . now for the second half , it is explosive , and saves the movie . some of the special effects and fighting were breathtaking . the sound , the music , and all the effects were effective , and the last hour kept us entertained . but with a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes , this movie is at least 40 minutes too long . one would have wished for a better 'matrix' , but i do have to say , i did like it and i was entertained .
one of kyle mclachlan's earlier cinematic features , this movie has had an obvious influence on such films as the terminator ( 8/10 ) , species ( 7/10 ) and the more recent , fallen with denzel washington . plot : a science-fiction picture set in modern times , this thriller follows the exploits of an " entity " from outer space , who likes to inhabit human bodies , use them up until they are completely worn out , and then switch over to the next available receptacle . fbi agent ( mclachlan ) and local top cop ( nouri ) are charged with the capture of this " thing " before it's too late . critique : this fast-paced , urban equivalent of the thing ( 8/10 ) , checks in on all cylinders for ultra-violence ( god knows how many people died in this movie ) , action and an overall rock 'n roll attitude . then again , how can you go wrong with an " alien " that likes the ferraris , guns , heavy metal music and sexy girls ? ! granted , the plot isn't the most elaborate of tales ( alien bad , find alien , kill alien ) , but i can honestly say that i was never once bored during the viewing of this entire picture . i wouldn't recommend it to those who don't like car chases , murders , and bland acting , but for all the rest of you out there , those who enjoy putting away their brains every now and again , sitting back , slamming back some salsa'd nachos , and relishing in the cheeze some call film . . . have a blast ! ! two scenes to watch for are both within the first ten minutes of this gore-fest . the opening sequence is one of the most rockin' scenes to open any action movie , and the subsequent extra-terrestrial " transformation " is another eye-catcher . even the late 80's special effects were okay . followed by the hidden ii in 1994 . little known facts : this film was kyle maclachlan's first non-david lynch foray into the world of feature films . his first two movie appearances were in lynch's wretched dune ( 4/10 ) and the sensational blue velvet ( 8 . 5/10 )
disaster films have a tendency to be very formulated and very cliched . to see a disaster film with actual originality , or at least a decent plot twist , would definitely be a welcome surprise . unfortunately , folks , it's not likely . dante's peak is cliched , and at times corny , but also pretty decent . to be honest , i wasn't very interested in seeing this film , and word of mouth , as well as several reviews , didn't make it sound promising . so i was pleasantly surprised that to find that this movie wasn't bad at all . it's pretty run of the mill , but it's not something i would say is merely " ok " to watch . in case you don't know , dante's peak is about a volcano and the city which lives in it's shadow , dante's peak ( who would've guessed , eh ? ) . pierce brosnan plays the volcanologist sent to study the volcano and , perhaps more by hunch than actual scientific proof , is determined that the volcano will be arupting in the very near future . due to the lack of more substantial evidence , nobody warns the small town , and when they finally do , it's in the middle of the town meeting that the volcano finally blows . brosnan , all around good guy , will , of course , save the day . . . or at least the mayor of dante's peak ( linda hamilton ) . naturally the two will become infatuated with one another . ( if you think i just ruined a plot development , you haven't seen very many movies ! ) there's also the virtually neccessary kids and pet dog to tug at your heart strings . and of course , the kids or the dog ( at least one or the other ) will do something heroic . . . but hey , i don't want to ruin all the surprises ! if there was a part of you that was hesitating seeing dante's peak merely because it was rumored to be a waste of time , i urge you to watch it and decide for yourself . it's not brain food , but it succeeds at what it's meant to be . . . an enjoyable , suspenseful movie about the fury mother nature can unleash !
written by mark rosenthal and lawrence konner starring charlize theron , bill paxton , david paymer as reviewed by james brundage i'm beginning to get fed up . over my four years as a critic , the thing which has kept me going is the moderate balance of films . the good balances the bad . i try to see both in equal proportions . but disney's mighty joe young remake marks the fourth week in which i haven't seen a truly terrible movie . it's a backwards machismo , i suppose , the urge to see the things which you so loathe ; but i need to see a bad film every once in a while . and , you know what , mighty joe young doesn't qualify . far from being bad , mighty joe young is actually a family fun movie . it's enjoyable , appropriate , cute , cuddly , and all of those other things that i've been seeing in every movie since a bug's life . mighty joe young tracks a 2 , 000 pound gorilla in the wilds of africa that is taken to a reserve in . . . california ? . . . for safe-keeping . okay . a little unrealistic , but who ever said a kid's movie had to have the slightest hint of realism . the first half of the movie is a gorillas in the mist-esque hatred of poachers woman-of-the-wild motif . the second half is a straight up parody of king kong , awestruck onlookers and all . mark one down . i'm feeling relaxed . it is , as a point of fact , an extremely un-creative movie . but , as a vetern , i can say quite honestly that creativity doesn't count for as much as it should . so that saves mighty joe from my wrath , although my colleagues and cohorts and surely bashing this film at this very moment . this is not the film to take a girl on a date to . it's not the film for you . it's the film for you and your family . when you're right alongside your kid , all of the normal rights and wrongs slip away . the same thing happens when you watch a horror movie or an action flick . it becomes fun . all you have to do to enjoy mighty joe young is shut up and watch .
the ring is probably one of the creepiest movies i've seen in years . but then again , i've always had this phobia of asian born horror films . i remember when i was a kid i was scared as hell with those green faced , long-haired floating ghosts donning their white gownseuuugh . the ring really brings back those memories and its grips me long after the movie has ended . unlike the horror films coming from the west , i'm pretty much used to the gore and visual effects , so much so , they become rather bland nowadays . there's really no scary movie from the west for a long time . if you have something in mind , please tell me . this japanese flick is supposed to be based upon stories written by `the stephen king of japan' , which is also ( i heard ) televised over the air in japan . the film revolves around a mysterious videotape which will bring death for sure to the person who watches it , one week prior to viewing . a journalist and her husband , stupid enough , tests the so call `urban legend' and ends up having a week before she meets her doom . she and her husband then goes on a search for the origin of the videocassette , to get to the root of the whole curse with the hopes of freeing themselves . the ring plays on the senses like no other horror film today . visual subtlety , minimal music and an intriguing plot puts the audience within an aura of suspense throughout the entire film . very well done indeed , especially for a film that does not have a single trace of violence and gore . now , thats something budding horror film-maker wannabes should consider looking into . just an idea of how visually powerful the film is , it is in japanese and subtitled in chinese ; both of which , i can't understand at all ( ok , i had a friend who gave me a gist prior to watching , but he revealed very little ! ) . the twists in the plot , leading to an unforgettable climax ( will definitely leave an impression on the audience ) will have you at the edge of your seat .
this is the best british gangster film since the long good friday . jon bennet ( played by andrew howard ) is an extremely good assassin . as such he is probably an evil man but it does not worry him . he has become an unquestioning weapon . he is in the employ of a kingpin ( david calder ) far more evil than he is . but even assassins have innocent pasts . he runs into an old from school days and he is married to a mutual girl friend from school . complicating matters is that they live near where he had a recent job and their young daughter may have seen him at the crime . a big piece of what makes this film work is the depiction of the kingpin . calder is a familiar actor in britain , though not frequently seen in the us . he was seen in the world is not enough . here he creates one of the best screen villains in recent years . he is at once seductive and repellent like a beautiful venomous snake . his lair is underground , apparently in a sewer , where he lives like the king of sewer rats . it is the kingpin who pulls the strings that will control bennet's life . paul sarossy who directs spent most of his career as a cinematographer and like the kingpin's lair , he has molded images of class and style out of the darkness . by using semi-darkness and letting the colors of deep blue and black dominate every scene he makes the film visually as ominous as anything in this nether world . this is a world that is cold and unfriendly . sorossy creates a world of violence much more by what we hear than what we see . this is a film with a great deal of physical violence occurring just out of reach . we see very little but we hear a great deal more and we imagine more than that . the screenplay is by peter waddington based on the novel by neil cross , but it is sarossy's film all the way . it creates indelible images of evil . i rate it an 8 on the 0 to 10 scale and a low +3 on the -4 to +4 scale . ( i do hope they do not use the tagline " don't mess with mr . in-between . " )
niagara niagara ( r ) bob gosse's niagara niagara follows a blueprint not unlike a lot of young-lovers-on-the-road movies . wild marcy ( robin tunney ) and calm seth ( henry thomas ) meet cute , literally running into each other while shoplifting at a local store . a mere couple of scenes later , the two embark on a journey to toronto from their small , unnamed american town in pursuit of a rare doll that marcy desperately wants . along the way , true love inevitably blossoms . what sets niagara niagara apart , though , is that marcy is afflicted with tourette's syndrome , a neurological disorder that causes sudden muscle and vocal tics . tunney , displaying an acting range not hinted at in the teenage witch thriller the craft , delivers an astonishing performance that won her the best actress prize at last year's venice film festival . to term her work a tour-de-force is not to imply that she attacks the scenery ; tunney's effectiveness lies in her modulation and vulnerability , which makes her depiction of marcy's illness--which often causes her to act violently--that much more convincing and tragic . she and the nicely subtle thomas develop a sweetly innocent and beguilingly off-kilter chemistry . their journey hits a few rough spots creatively along the way , mostly the fault of writer matthew weiss . a detour involving a kindly widower ( michael parks ) who takes the couple in brings the story to a screeching halt , and the key character of a trigger-happy pharmacist ( stephen lang ) is highly unbelievable . but these missteps do not blunt the power of tunney's bravura turn , which carries niagara niagara to a level of poignance it would not have otherwise achieved . ( opens march 20 ) " i didn't know what to expect . it's like something you chase for so long , but then you don't know how to react when you get it . i still don't know how to react . " --michael jordan , on winning his first nba championship in 1991 . . . or , my thoughts after meeting him on november 21 , 1997
edward zwick's " the siege " raises more questions than it can convincingly answer or even clearly articulate . its subject is the rising threat of terrorism in american cities . denzel washington is anthony " hub " hubbard , who runs the fbi's anti-terrorism task force in new york . his investigation into arab terrorist cells intensifies when suicide bombers take out a busload of people . hub focuses on a mysterious cia operative ( annette bening ) , whose goes by both " elise " and " sharon . " as the terrorist attacks continue and the body count rises , the question of martial law is raised . enter general devereaux ( bruce willis ) , who opposes martial law at first but who , as soon as the president decides to send in the army , begins herding arab immigrants into a prison camp and attacking every link that hub uncovers in the terrorist chain . hub listens as devereaux tortures and murders a suspect . the future zwick and screenwriter lawrence wright offer is all too possible . what would happen , they ask , if terrorism became as much a fact of daily life in new york as it is in cities like beirut and belfast ? what would happen to our civil liberties if soldiers patrol our streets with machine guns ? these questions " the siege " answers in realistic detail . it implies tougher ones , though : what can be done to combat terrorism without sacrificing justice and freedom ? if we encourage terrorism abroad ( from bening's character we discover that the cia trained the bombers ) , will it inevitably come back to us ? " siege " avoids the tougher questions by endowing its hero , hub , with a uncompromising sense of clear right and wrong . this comforting fantasy of sir galahad confronting the evils of the modern world is an escape from the thought-provoking issues the movie raises . still , zwick deserves credit for at least addressing the issue with as much realism as he does where so many movies ( willis' " die hard " series , for example ) offer only a comic-book view on terrorism .
Negative Reviews
this film is extraordinarily horrendous and i'm not going to waste any more words on it .
9 : its pathetic attempt at " improving " on a shakespeare classic . 8 : its just another piece of teen fluff . 7 : kids in high school are not that witty . 6 : the wittiness is not witty enough . 5 : the comedy is not funny . 4 : the acting is poor . 3 : the music . 2 : the poster . 1 : its worse than she's all that ! 10=a classic 9=borderline classic 8=excellent 7=good 6=better than average 5=average 4=disappointing 3=poor 2=awful 1=a crap classic
claire danes , giovanni ribisi , and omar epps make a likable trio of protagonists , but they're just about the only palatable element of the mod squad , a lame-brained big-screen version of the 70s tv show . the story has all the originality of a block of wood ( well , it would if you could decipher it ) , the characters are all blank slates , and scott silver's perfunctory action sequences are as cliched as they come . by sheer force of talent , the three actors wring marginal enjoyment from the proceedings whenever they're on screen , but the mod squad is just a second-rate action picture with a first-rate cast .
a couple of criminals ( mario van peebles and loretta devine ) move into a rich family's house in hopes of conning them out of their jewels . however , someone else steals the jewels before they are able to get to them . writer mario van peebles delivers a clever script with several unexpected plot twists , but director mario van peebles undermines his own high points with haphazard camera work , editing and pacing . it felt as though the film should have been wrapping up at the hour mark , but alas there was still 35 more minutes to go . daniel baldwin ( i can't believe i'm about to type this ) gives the best performance in the film , outshining the other talented members of the cast . [r]
everything in the phantom you have seen many times before and there is nothing new presented here . wincer displays absolutely no skill in setting up an exciting action sequence . billy zane is wooden as the hero . kristy swanson is given very little to do , and does very little with it . treat williams , looking like rhett butler but sounding like mickey mouse , is one of the worst villains i have ever seen in a movie . only catherine zeta jones , as one of williams cohorts turns in a good performance . she has energy and spunk , which the movie needed much more of . oh yeah , the phantom also has a secret identity but this is so poorly played out you won't even care . about the only things i can recommend are a good performance by jones , and some colorful scenery . however , if youre looking for a fun family movie , go watch the underrated flipper . this is not a good movie .
beware of movies with the director's name in the title . take " john carpenter's ghosts of mars " ( please ) . if the carpenter brand name wasn't superglued to the title , this embarrassment would surely have bypassed theaters entirely and gone straight to its proper home on the usa network . and i would have been spared a headache . the latest from the director of " starman , " " halloween " and " escape from new york " is a lousy western all gussied up to look like a futuristic horror flick . the production is set on mars in 2176 , where humanity looks for relief from the overpopulation strangling their home world . six hundred and forty thousand people in a matriarchal society live and work at outposts all over the red planet , terra-forming to make it more hospitable for future generations . a matriarchal society . terra-forming . sounds pretty intriguing , eh ? well , don't get your hopes up .
yet another brainless teen flick , this one is about , surprise , drugs and sex . stars katie holmes and sarah polly couldn't look more bored . their characters are cardboard cut-outs of every cliched teenager out there . one thing you need to know is i really hated this movie . everything about it annoyed the hell out of me . the acting , and script , the plot , and ending . the director ( of the fluke hit swingers ) could have very well directed a bunch of no-name actors and had a watchabe film . the " big " stars of go pretty much drown the project of any originality . i felt like i was watching dawson's creek episode 200 . although the film still would have stayed at red despite its cast . the " surprise " ending was sooo predictable . since when is a male character's sudden outing of the closet considered a surprise in hollywood anymore ? ? go is dawson's creek + varsity blues - she's all that = go home and watch something else .
david schwimmer ( from the television series " friends " ) stars as a sensitive ( and slightly neurotic ) single guy who gets more than he expected from the grieving mother ( barbara hershey ) of a classmate he can't remember . hello mrs . robinson ! though quite cute as a romantic comedy , the pallbearer is paced like a funeral march . the characters act , react , and interact at half-speed , making for one * excruciatingly * long sit . ( and what's with the dreary lighting ? ) co-writer/director matt reeves brings some snap to the story's midsection ; the film briefly comes to life when our hero attempts to resolve his feelings for * another * classmate ( a very appealing gwyneth paltrow ) . by this time , though , most viewers will have either fled or fallen asleep . those tough souls who stay with it can marvel at the sleepy-eyed schwimmer , a hound dog with a head cold , who can go for over an hour without ever changing his expression .
deserves recognition for : achieving the near-impossible task of making a grander monument to self-love than steven seagal's on deadly ground . capsule review : a question : after the floating baby ruth that was waterworld , what in the @$&% were the hollywood execs who gave kevin costner the money to make another post-apocalyptic movie thinking ? in this 3 hour advertisement for his new hair weave , costner plays a nameless drifter who dons a long dead postal employee's uniform and gradually turns a nuked-out usa into an idealized hippy-dippy society . ( judging by the costuming at the end of the movie , the main accomplishment of this brave new world is in re-inventing polyester . ) when he's not pointing the camera directly at himself , director costner does have a nice visual sense , and it is undeniably fascinating to see such an unabashedly jingoistic film in the trust-no-one 90's ; but by the time the second hour rolled around , i was reduced to sitting on my hands to keep from clawing out my own eyes . mark this one " return to sender " .
supposedly based on a true story in which the british drive to build a rail bridge deep in africa grinds to a halt after a pair of lions start killing off the workers in 1898 . john patterson ( val kilmer ) , the bridge building expert set to oversee the operation , tried to rid his operation of the lions , but fails . a world renound hunter , remington ( michael douglas ) , is called in and the battle , man against lion , begins . this film has a great soundtrack , and wonderful scenery . the acting is not too bad except the characters are all so thin . we only see one side of each character . kilmer is a bridge builder and that's all we see him as . these lions kill dozens of his men and he doesn't even appear to be too upset about it . and the plot ? it's jaws , but with lions . again we're presented with an animal that behaves not at all as it should . it appears to kill men because it just likes too . why ? who knows . i guess there wouldn't be much of a story if it didn't . the problem is that there isn't much of a story even though it does .
a month ago i wrote that speed 2 was the worst film i've ever reviewed on paper . i didn't know at the time that i'd soon encounter and despise batman & robin , which has just overtaken speed 2 as the picture least worthy of your attention this summer . as directed by joel schumacher ( who now specializes in batman sequels and john grisham adaptations and isn't very good at either ) , b & r is one long excuse for a taco bell promotion . the plot , which has mr . freeze and poison ivy ( uma thurman ) planning to take over gotham city and then " the vorld " ( as an oddly ineffective schwarzenegger states ) , is weighted down by repetitive asides about the nature of trust , partnership , blah , blah , blah . but morals are not the point of this film--topping each bloated , confusing action scene with next one is . the garish art direction and overlit cinematography make this picture oddly comparable to the trashy showgirls . since when did gotham city become a giant las vegas hotel ? only george clooney comes out on top ; he underplays nicely and pretends like he's in a real movie .
deserves recognition for : making this relatively youthful critic feel extremely old and crotchety20 capsule review : this is what feel-good family entertainment has morphed into in the 90's : an hour-and-a-half commercial , disguised as an unnecessary remake , in which the defining image is that of a grown man launching a volume of green protoplasmic goo out of his ass . ( between this , rocketman , and george of the jungle , disney has recently eclipsed longtime champion troma as the studio most likely to include a fart joke in a film . ) as the absent-minded professor who invents the titular computer-generated goop , a listless robin williams manages the difficult task of making original lead fred macmurray seem sprightly . the only thing that made this film borderline tolerable for me is my newly-founded but firm belief that writer/producer john hughes is going to spend his eternal afterlife being conked in the noggin by all of the different blunt instruments he's used for comedic effect in films like this and the odious home alone series . take your kids to see boogie nights instead .
the comet-disaster flick is a disaster alright . directed by tony scott ( top gun ) , it tells the story about an asteroid the size of texas caught on a collision course with earth . and you thought that dinky little comet in deep impact was trouble . jeez . after a great opening , in which an american spaceship , plus the city of new york , are completely destroyed by a comet shower , nasa detects the said asteroid and go into a frenzy . they hire the world's best oil driller ( bruce willis ) , and send him and his crew up into space to fix our globel problem . that's like sending a mouse into a cat carrier , isn't it ? the action in armageddon are so over the top , nonstop , and too ludicrous for words , i had to sigh and hit my head with my notebook a couple of times . i was not alone . plus , to see a wonderful actor like billy bob thornton is a film like armageddon is a waste of the actor's talents . the film is just a reel to show off a bunch of snazzy fx shots . the only real reason for making this film was to somehow out-perform deep impact . producer jerry bruckheimer fails with armageddon .
in this re-make of the 1954 japanese monster film , godzilla is transformed into a " jurassic park " copy who swims from the south pacific to new york for no real reason and trashes the town . although some of the destruction is entertaining for a while , it gets old fast . the film often makes no sense ( a several-hundred foot tall beast hides in subway tunnels ) , sports second-rate effects ( the baby godzillas seem to be one computer effect multiplied on the screen ) , lame jokes ( mayor ebert and his assistant gene are never funny ) , horrendous acting ( even matthew broderick is dull ) and an unbelievable love story ( why would anyone want to get back together with maria pitillo's character ? ) . there are other elements of the film that fall flat , but going on would just be a waste of good words . only for die-hard creature feature fans , this might be fun if you could check your brain at the door . i couldn't . ( michael redman has written this column for 23 years and has seldom had a more disorienting cinematic experience than seeing both " fear and loathing " and " godzilla " in the same evening . )
" shagadellic ! " , " groovy , baby ! " " smashing ! " adorn the 1/4 page ad for this movie tabbed as " the #1 comedy in america " as of may 8th . did we attend the same movie ? ! at 87 minutes it seemed overlong , like a snl skit on steroids , and at any length it seemed unfunny . yes , the sets and costumes were an interesting exaggeration of 60s pop frills , and yes , the concept , dealing with a 60s secret agent/pop icon ( played by myers ) awakened from his cryogenic slumber to battle his arch enemy ( dr . evil , also played by myers ) in the present day , had a great deal of potential . fun costumes and scenery and potential do not a movie make so lets throw in a hefty dose of bathroom humor . don't get me wrong , i like a good " bubbles in the bathtub joke " as much as the next person , but to have this type of humor be the funniest thing about your movie is a waste of yuor talent and my money . but , the way things work these days in the movie business , all a film has to do is call itself the funniest and people will believe it . i do give this film stars because of the sets , costumes , and sadly , unmet potential .
its a stupid little movie that trys to be clever and sophisticated , yet trys a bit too hard . with the voices of woody allen , gene hackman , jennifer lopez , sylvester stallone , and sharon stone , this computer-animated yak-fest ( think toy story [1996] filled with used merchandising ) is one for the ant-eaters . the main story is the independence of a worker named z ( allen ) . he wants more to life than just digging away underground for the colony . when he finds out about ``insectopia , " a mythical place where all insects can run free , z , along with his colony's princess ( stone ) , journey out into the world to find a meaning for life . about 15 minutes into the picture , i began to wonder what the point of the film was . halfway through , i still didn't have an answer . by the end credits , i just gave up and ran out . antz is a mindless mess of poor writing and even poorer voice-overs . allen is nonchalant , while i would have guessed , if i hadn't seen her in the mighty and basic instinct , stone can't act , even in a cartoon . this film is one for the bugs : unfunny and extremely dull . hey , a bug's life may have a good time doing antz in .
say , tell me if you've seen this before : a crisis on-board a commercial airliner causes a stewardess to have to fly and land the plane herself . airport '97 anyone ? ray liotta is a psychotic serial killer being transported from new york to california on christmas eve . amazingly , on what would seemingly be a busy day of travel on one of the most flown routes , only about six other passengers are on the flight . anyway , they take off , liotta escapes and kills all the police and the pilots , and stewardess lauren holly locks herself in the cockpit to fly the plane . the story is beyond routine , the script is embarrassing ( at one point , this jumbo jet is flying completely upside down ) , the characters are worthless , and the performances are annoying . surprisingly , co-writer steven e . de souza actually wrote the first two " die hard " movies ! " turbulence " takes place at christmas time , yet the film was released a few days after the holidays . brilliant marketing , as no one cares about anything having to do with christmas after december 26th . the studio knew they had a bomb , and purposely dumped it out when the fewest number of people would see it . [r]
the thirteenth floor is a bland , obligatory exercise in genre film-making . if i hadn't recently watched the matrix and open your eyes -- both of which are similar but far superior -- i might have been a little nicer to this picture . craig bierko makes an adequate hero as douglas hall , the rich co-creator of a perfect human world simulation who is suddenly blamed for the murder of his boss ( armin mueller-stahl ) . everything that was subtle and smart about the previously mentioned films is battered over our heads in this one , and characters stare at each other for maddeningly-long periods of time and refuse to communicate on any realistic level . the acting is okay , but the film suffers from every logical flaw one could think of , and features a script ( co-penned by director josef rusnak ) loaded with cliches and stock characters . there are individual scenes and ideas that work -- i like the thought of a sentient computer program -- but none of the film's strengths are recognized to any meaningful degree . producer roland emmerich , based on this and his previous directorial efforts , seems hell-bent on bringing us the ultimate standard in mediocre science-fiction .
it's a good thing most animated sci-fi movies come from japan , because " titan a . e . " is proof that hollywood doesn't have a clue how to do it . i don't know what this film is supposed to be about . from what i can tell it's about a young man named kale who's one of the last survivors of earth in the early 31st century who unknowingly possesses the key to saving and re-generating what is left of the human race . that's a fine premise for an action-packed sci-fi animated movie , but there's no payoff . the story takes the main characters all over the galaxy in their search for a legendary ship that the evil " dredge " aliens want to destroy for no apparent reason . so in the process we get a lot of spaceship fights , fistfights , blaster fights and more double-crosses than you can shake a stick at . there's so much pointless sci-fi banter it's too much to take . the galaxy here is a total rip-off of the " star wars " universe the creators don't bother filling in the basic details which makes the story confusing , the characters unmotivated and superficial and the plot just plain boring . despite the fantastic animation and special effects , it's just not an interesting movie .
the second serial-killer thriller of the month is just awful . oh , it starts deceptively okay , with a handful of intriguing characters and some solid location work . after a baby-sitter gets gutted in the suit- ably spooky someone's-in-the-house prologue , parallel stories unfold , the first involving a texas sheriff ( r . lee emery ) , a gruesome double murder , and the arrival of a morose fbi agent ( dennis quaid ) on the eve of voting for the local lawman's reelection . the second pairs a hitch- hiker ( jared leto ) with a friendly former railroad worker ( danny glover ) . they're headed west , toward the rockies and away from the murder scene . which one is the killer ? well , it doesn't really matter , 'cause when writer/first-time director jeb stuart ( die hard ) finally spills the beans , you won't take his choice seriously anyway . the whole thing goes south about an hour in , with the tale taking hairpin turns that i certainly couldn't follow . and through the whole thing there's quaid , playing with the most intense monotony this side of steven sea- gal . i guess i'm glad that i didn't walk out-- there's some nice train stuff at the end and a fun nod to dr . strangelove .
adam sandler isn't known for appearing in deep , thought-provoking films , but he's still a really funny guy . most of his movies are successful not because of the film making behind them , but because they let sandler do what he does best without a stupid plot to drown him out . big daddy is the first film in which the story seems more important than sandler's comic performance , and it's a miserable failure . sandler plays a thirty-something loser who gets attached to an orphaned young boy ( played by cole and dylan sprouse ) . as one might expect from the synopsis , director dennis dugan resorts to the usual bag of manipulative and sentimental sequences , including a repulsive courtroom battle and a lot of teary scenes in which characters say " good-bye " to one another ; in addition , there's a ridiculous amount of disgusting toilet humor ( urine and vomit both get more screen time than sandler himself ) . there's a hilarious running joke featuring a female doctor who previously worked at hooters , and the film features passable performances from sandler , joey lauren adams ( as the love interest ) , and the two young boys , but the film on the whole is trite and disappointingly unfunny .
numerous comparisons can be made with this movie to past sci-fi , suspense thrillers . soldier is a multi ? crossbreed between the likes of terminator , aliens and offspring . the problem with such mixed genes is that the final product is a real mongrel ? not well made and should have been put down before production got off the ground . besides this , the action is mediocre when compared to the standard action flicks of this day and age . the fight scenes between jason scott lee and kurt russell seem laboured , slow and sluggish , and could have done with better choreography . russell who is usually a good actor in b-grade action flicks is unusually hampered by his character ? sergeant todd , who seems more like a sergeant toad . besides having almost no dialogue , his character appears stunted , zombie-like which is in line with his screen persona , but scores little points of empathy with the audience . this movie has not made me change my opinion about director paul anderson , whose last epic event horizon has left an unusually bitter taste in my mouth . although this movie does not come anywhere close to the strangeness of former , it is still a long way from anything considered desirable .
i've heard it called " jaws with claws " and that's a fair summation of the plot , though that tag line does little to quantify quality . director stephen hopkins ( blown away , predator 2 ) and screenwriter william goldman ( maverick , misery ) would have you believe that this is an epic historical drama about man against nature , based on what really happened in africa to the railroad workers trying to build a bridge to the 20th century . they've stacked the deck with two big stars ( val kilmer , michael douglas ) , a bigger production design , beautiful photography ( by academy award winner vilmos zsigmond ) , and a score so overblown that it makes the lion king soundtrack sound like chamber music . the movie doesn't make a lick of sense , though , either as an epic or as your basic boo-fest . in fact , some of the bits are so laughably ludicrous that you may think you've stumbled into the sequel to mystery science theater 3000 : the movie . how about the three guys with rifles , who trap a lion and then can't even hit the damned thing ? or the ham-on-wry acting of michael douglas , who chews more scenery than the animals ever do ? ? or , my favorite , lions so agile that they can even climb onto rooftops ? ! ?
for timing reasons having to do with baby sitters , we recently went to a multiplex and saw undercover blues . i would give it one half of a star for guts . anyone in a movie this bad would have to have guts . i later read a ny times review that said kathleen turner and dennis quaid had gotten so plump they looked like they had the mumps in the show . the script was the worst part . they had characters who talked with funny accents in an attempt to make you laugh . they had lots of " great " sight gags like two people trying to go in a door together and therefore bumping shoulders against the door . turner and quaid both kept smiling like some idiots on a game show . the good news is that we were smart enough to vote with our feet and left . buy some tickets and give them to your worst enemies . tell them the show is great and smile a lot . * * * * = one of the top few films of this or any year . a must see film . * * * = excellent show . look for it . * * = average movie . kind of enjoyable . * = poor show . don't waste your money . 0 = one of the worst films of this or any year . totally unbearable . review written on : september 29 , 1993 opinions expressed are mine and not meant to reflect my employer's .
terrence malick made an excellent 90 minute film adaptation of james jones' world war ii novel . unfortunately , he buried it within an overlong and overreaching 3-hour long pseudo-epic . this is a shame because the film features an outstanding performance by nick nolte . the best scene is when nick nolte's character , lt . col . tall , is forced to deal with the direct refusal by capt . staros ( elias koteas ) to execute an order . nolte's reaction and transformation may be the best work of his career . had terrence malick concentrated on the great performances of nolte and koteas as well as those by sean penn , woody harrelson , and john cusack , he could have made a truly great film . instead , malick saddled the film with plodding pacing , unnecessary flashbacks , and a voice-over narration all designed to telegraph the great philosophical underpinnings of the story . the narration was especially annoying as much of it sounded like very bad high school poetry . with a lot of editing , the core story could be transformed into a truly classic war film . hopefully , the dvd version of this film will feature options to suppress the narration , and perhaps will even provide for an alternate , shorter version of the film . i give this film .
i wish i could accurately describe the theme music for part 3 . the best way i can put it is that it's funky . i know this is an odd question , but remember the opening music of " police academy 4 : citizens on patrol " , when steve guttenberg and michael winslow perform the title song " citizens on patrol " during the opening credits ? it's just like that . anyway , part 3 takes place a day after the events of part 2 ( so technically still 1985 ) . this time , a group of horny teens ( who also bring along two aging hippie potheads for some reason ) head up to a cabin on crystal lake for a weekend of sex and weed . it turns out that one of the teens had been attacked by jason earlier in her life ( which must have been between parts 1 and 2 ) so why she has returned to crystal lake one day after a new batch of murders is beyond me . she's the lone survivor this time . part 3 was originally shown in theaters in 3-d , and from what i can tell from the video , it looks as though they may have been fairly decent effects . jason had long , wild hair when he was unmasked in part 2 . now , one day later he's completely bald . also , it being one day later , it can't be friday the 13th now can it ? oh well . steve miner is the only director who helmed more than one film in the series . [r]
the premise of the new james wong film , final destination , is that alex browning , the protagonist , prevents six of his friends from boarding a doomed airplane , thereby cheating fate . however , fate is not so easily bested , and alex's friends soon begin dying in unusual circumstances . essentially , this premise is a clever-way to make a slasher-flick without the slasher . unfortunately , this is practically the only clever thing about the film . as far as teen horror flicks go , final destination is better than many . there is enough shocking death , graphic gore , and requisite black humor to provide the essential " roller coaster " type thrill at the heart of the average horror flick . unfortunately , this film also suffers from the worst characteristics of this genre . the relationships between the main characters are tenuous and their motivations are meaningless except as excuse to set-up the next death . the scene where two of the characters break into a funeral home to view the body of their recently killed friend is suppose to be scary and dramatic but features some of the dumbest dialogue i have witnessed . if you are looking for a saturday night thriller to scare your date , this film might do the trick . other than that , wait until it goes into heavy-rotation on cable .
die hard 2 is an altogether unfortunate fiasco , inferior to the original in every respect . place the blame squarely on the shoulders of steven de souza and doug richardson , who wrote the film's pathetic screenplay . every line of dialogue reeks of either smarmy sap or forced humor . the plot is altogether implausible ; the convoluted story line involves a band of terrorists who take over dulles airport and shut down the control tower , leaving a dozen planes stranded in the air waiting to land . the film has zero credibility , and all of the characters come off as cliched , cardboard cut-outs . so much for the script . how about the action ? well , let's put it this way : director renny harlin could learn a few things from john mctiernan , who directed the original , as well as the hunt for red october and predator--all standouts for their hair-raising suspense . by contrast , harlin doesn't have a clue when it comes to choreographing action , and consequently , die hard 2 never picks up steam . die harder is impossible to take seriously even for a minute . in fact , the movie often seems deliberately campy , and it almost reaches the threshold of being so bad it's good . you do laugh , but you laugh at the film , not with it . die hard 2 should have never been cleared for takeoff .
director andrew davis reworks his fugitive formula and the results are about as exciting as his last film-- the dreadful comedy steal big , steal little-- was funny . keanu " i'd rather play music than play another action hero " reeves is the grad student on the run , who , along with his superfluous sidekick ( rachel weisz ) , has been framed for a sabotaged science experiment that vaporized eight chicago city blocks . ( the mushroom-cloud explosion is a knock-out and easily the best part of the movie . or , as one audience member succinctly summed it up : " whoa . " ) false information implicates their involvement and boy and girl are soon on the run , fleeing over open drawbridges , across icy lakes , and through the corridors of power at a top-secret , underground energy facility . aiding and abetting is the team's shady mentor , played in an excellent-but-so- what performance by morgan freeman . ( brit brian cox is also about , as the behind-the-scenes bad guy . he has some fun fiddling with a southern accent . ) unfunny , overscored , and without a single shred of suspense , chain reaction is * the * summer movie to walk out on . if you make it to the end , a mess of cross-cutting involving another imminent explosion , you'll hear somebody say " i guess it's time to go . " heed that warning .
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : the odd couple ii grumpy old men , it ain't . hell , my fellow americans , it ain't . walter matthau and jack lemmon team up again for an even more worn out vehicle than any of their films over the past few years . odd couple ii feels terribly generic , where in the first movie , made thirty one years ago , feels like a wonderful tale . that's like repackaging campbell's soup in a generic food can , really . how writer neil simon could've made such a horrible mistake in screen writing is beyond me . throughout the movie , i really didn't laugh once . honestly . i mean , there were dumb situations , yeah , like the cropduster who let these old geezers have it without any notice , but they just really didn't seem funny to me . and that car rolling off the cliff ? the only way i would've seen humor in that is if they were still in it . and the ending gets all super-mushy , too . in the final twenty minutes or so , lemmon meets a girl he thinks is the one , then loses her ; matthau talks to his son ( a wasted jonathan silverman ) about his amrriage to lemmon's daughter ; and , of course , lemmon and matthau have another roomie situation on their hands . ooh , i really gave a lot away there , i'm sure . consider it a hospitable gester , you won't waste your time renting this muck .
a big , busy boxing satire with a surprisingly paltry punch , the great white hype stars samuel l . jackson as a shameless boxing promoter whose plan to boost sagging pay-per-view revenues is to " invent " a white contender ( peter berg ) to challenge his black heavyweight " champ " ( damon wayans ) . ( the logic is that people will pay more to see black vs . white than black vs . black . ) he may be right , in an absurdly accurate way , but the film doesn't give us a reason to care . as a scathing sports spoof , hype is just that : unfunny , unfocused , and , at times , just plain pointless . as a commentary on race relations , it's even * less * effective . the dialogue is the best of this mess , lines like jon lovitz exclaiming " i cannot make caviar out of fish eggs ! " writers tony hendra and ron shelton also do good on the street slang , though we never hear enough of it . the script isn't strong enough , though , to support the aggressive camera work of director reginald hudlin ( house party ) . he comes across as absolute overkill . the great white hype * almost * turns around at the end , at the big match , when hudlin attempts an extended gag of rock-concert proportions . with costumed dwarfs , gangsta rappers , and the " champ " dressed as death , only then do we get a glimpse of the spoof that should've been .
the happy bastard's quick movie review damn that y2k bug . it's got a head start in this movie starring jamie lee curtis and another baldwin brother ( william this time ) in a story regarding a crew of a tugboat that comes across a deserted russian tech ship that has a strangeness to it when they kick the power back on . little do they know the power within . . . going for the gore and bringing on a few action sequences here and there , virus still feels very empty , like a movie going for all flash and no substance . we don't know why the crew was really out in the middle of nowhere , we don't know the origin of what took over the ship ( just that a big pink flashy thing hit the mir ) , and , of course , we don't know why donald sutherland is stumbling around drunkenly throughout . here , it's just " hey , let's chase these people around with some robots " . the acting is below average , even from the likes of curtis . you're more likely to get a kick out of her work in halloween h20 . sutherland is wasted and baldwin , well , he's acting like a baldwin , of course . the real star here are stan winston's robot design , some schnazzy cgi , and the occasional good gore shot , like picking into someone's brain . so , if robots and body parts really turn you on , here's your movie . otherwise , it's pretty much a sunken ship of a movie .
the happy bastard's quick movie review holy man more like holy crap . the film stars eddie murphy as a mystical-ish figure named g on a strange journey of some sort when he comes across two network execs ( jeff goldblum and kelly preston ) with a flat tire on their hands . somehow he ends up in their car and on their channel , a line-up of infomercial programs featuring the likes of betty white , morgan fairchild , and a slew of other celebrities and nameless figures . it's here that he seems to hit his stride , speaking of life instead and somehow boosting sales . at this point in the movie , of course , morality comes into play , particularly on goldblum , who suddenly feels he can market the magical g into megabucks to get in good with his boss ( robert loggia ) . it doesn't take long for the movie to unfold into sappy mush , with realizations taking place left and right and poor plot points . only a real zippy sequence involving frying morgan fairchild's face seems to have any interest in the movie . murphy lends nothing to his character and poor goldblum looks as if he'd rather be someplace else . some may argue that the movie has a message , but all that came across to me is that i could probably get more entertainment watching that informercial with the guy in the question mark coat . at least he has something for us to laught at . . .
this talky , terribly-plotted thriller stars alec baldwin as dave robicheaux , an ex-new orleans cop who gets ensnared in a murder- mystery after a light-plane crashes into the bayou beside his fishing boat . he and his wife annie ( kelly lynch ) rescue a little salvadorian girl ( samantha lagpacan ) from the wreckage and that's when the trouble begins . the other major players include a local drug lord ( eric roberts ) , his scheming wife ( teri hatcher ) , a soused stripper ( mary stuart masterson ) , and a shady dea agent ( vondie curtis hall ) . everyone knows everyone else and it makes for a collective that's curious but never compelling . based on the book by james lee burke , heaven's prisoners is so badly plotted that entire * scenes * seem to be missing . early on , we have no idea of why dave and annie keep the child to themselves . nor how they eluded both the coast guard and the faa . later , dave is reunited with a drug-abuser who appears seemingly clean and sober and without any explanation . huh ? the whole movie is like this , perhaps the result of some unkind cuts that happened during the eighteen months that the film sat on the shelf . whatever the reason , somebody should tell director phil joanou ( final analysis ) to recut this mess . in its present form , heaven's prisoners runs only two hours plus change , but it feels like four .
capsule : john the baptist is sent from heaven to see is the world is worth saving . he must find some sign of hope in the people of newfoundland . this is little more than a tv skit in movie form . it is watchable and apparently will be released to theaters in canada , but it is unlikely to be seen on the international market . it is diverting but hardly a serious piece of cinema . , 0 ( -4 to +4 ) minor spoilers in this review . - written and directed by john w . doyle . - john the baptist sent to st . john , newfoundland . gets an invitation to live with a family . that extraordinary hospitality for some reason does not count as a reason for hope . - script has a lot of holes . - friend who adopts john is surprisingly militant and is planning actions to destabilize wall street . - john does look middle eastern , but somehow one expects john the baptist to be more dramatic . - there is a conspiracy in the vatican riding on the result of the visit , though that result seems small compared to the end of the world . - big yucks like seeing a nun give the pope a pedicure and evil pope's aid praying to a mendes goat . - in large part a satire of life in newfoundland taking licks at things like the poor produce . the one good tomato in grocery ( by virtue of a miracle ) " must have fallen off the truck to toronto . " - based on a 20-minute short film .
the premise of turbulence is i'm sure very familiar to us all . we've seen it before in passenger 57 , executive decision , and countless other flicks that are good in there own way . you know , terrorists take over a plane , ask the police on the ground for what they what and so on . turbulence starts out with a " convict " ray liotta being accused of a crime . you think there is no way he could have done it , he's so open and kind . he is taken in and is subsequently transported on a commerical plane to la . this is already a problem . there is no way that convicts would be transported on the same commercial flight that normal passangers would be on . anyway , it is christmas eve and everyone is waiting to get to la and spend christmas eve there . well , convict one manages to stop the flight in its proverbial " tracks " and liotta , still as calm as ever , takes the other convict out . he also has eyes for lauren holly , a flight attendent , and seems to grow closer to her . " the plot stops here " i didn't like this movie because it seemed to be a rip off of every other airplane movie i've ever seen . at one point , mr . liotta looked exactly like jack nicholson in the shining ( i'm serious ! ) . it was like they stole for every other movie down to a " t " . the only reason i did not give this 0 stars is because it had some okay stunts . don't even bother !
vampire's is a rude , chauvinistic movie where women are portrayed as pawns of abuse , present only to pleasure men , feed vampires , readied to be bashed or beaten - till one's sensibilities is shocked by the low iq and mentality of this regressive movie . to make matters worse , the buffoons that go hunting vampires are all rednecks , and deserve to have their heads bitten off , if not , their bodies carved in half . the dilemma of hating the ? heroes' as much as the ? villains' , makes one wish that the ? hand of god' would suddenly appear and blast both parties into oblivion . james wood portrays jack crow , a man obsessed with killing vampires , whose soul reason for living is based on revenge ( they killed his parents ) , but this is not a good excuse for being more obnoxious than the vampires . as for adam baldwin , he is nothing more than a stooge who is ordered to beat women when the director shouts ? action' , and the script should have been reworked to avoid much offence against the female sex . as for the claims that the catholic church created ? dracula' , well that is the second most sacrilegious suggestion , outside the fact that priests and monks bear the brunt of the vampire fury , with enough blood spilt to make the inquisition look tame . an awful movie on all counts , my suggestion is to bring back buffy and bury this group of incompetent , rude vampire slayers .
we're back in blade runner territory with this one , conceptual artist robert longo's vision of a william gibson-inspired future where information is the commodity to kill for . front and center is johnny ( keanu reeves ) , a " cyber-courier " who smuggles data via a " wet-wired " implant . he's ready to quit the biz and get a portion of his long-term memory restored , but , first , he has to finish one last , dangerous job . . the pressing problem in johnny mnemonic is that keanu reeves seems to have forgotten how to play an action hero since his stint on speed . he's walking wood in a forest of stiffs that includes henry rollins , ice-t , and dina meyer . ( dolph lundgren's street preacher is in an acting category all its own . : - ) without a believable performance between them , all we can do is sit back and watch the atmosphere , which is pretty good in places . the vr sequences are way cool , but the physical fx--such as miniatures and mattes--leave a lot to be desired . watch out for those bad blue-screens ! we wouldn't mind a minute of johnny mnemonic if the action played better . too bad the debut director isn't very strong in this de- partment . his big finale is a sloppy , silly mess that runs twenty minutes too long , which is way past the time that most of our " wet- wired " processors have already shut down . bottom line : yatf ( yet another tortured future ) . skip it .
of course i knew this going in . why is it that whenever a tv-star makes a movie it's always a romantic comedy , and then they say on entertainment tonight or something , that they were " attracted to the characters . they were really original . " original ? ! let me give you a run-through of picture perfect : character a ) kate ( jennifer aniston , from tv's friends ) , a smart , beautiful , professional woman wants two things she can't have : a new job-title and the love of her co-worker kevin bacon . her boss will only give her the job if she gets married and gets a mortgage and gets a lease on a german sportscar , and kevin bacon pnly sleeps with married or involved girls . what does she do ? she invents a fiance ! then when everyone wants to meet him , she tells some poor schmoe she met at a wedding that she will pay him $1000 to pretend to be in love with her for a company dinner , and pick a fight with her at the end , thus breaking the engagement but still being able to keep her job , since the guy ends up looking like a jerk and she is the poor , defenceless female . he , of course , goes along with it . gee , i wonder if they get together in the end . i've seen more original stuff on the wb . and better stuff too . picture perfect also makes the mistake of being _wayyyyy_ too long at 100 minutes , and expecting us to like aniston's character , who comes off as a cold , spoiled bitch .
ingredients : possessed plastic dolls in love , plastic dolls having sex starring : jennifer tilly , voice of brad dourif , katherine heigl , nick stabile , john ritter synopsis : this is the fourth film in the chucky series , which debuted in the late 1980s . basically , chucky is a plastic doll that can walk and talk because it is possessed by the spirit of a slain murderer . in bride of chucky , chucky's longtime girlfriend tiffany ( jennifer tilly ) dies and her spirit inhabits a female plastic doll through voodoo . dolls tiffany and chucky get married and embark on a quest to reach a cemetery in new jersey , where a mystical gem might enable them to be humans . the dolls stow away in the back of a vehicle driven by a newly eloped couple , so in the side plot , the couple suspects each other of being a murderer . opinion : bride of chucky is an attempt at horror with humor , but doesn't succeed . somehow , chucky moaning about mid life crisis , and how he should have gotten married does not make for a very scary chucky . and tiffany harping about mid life crisis , and how she should have gotten married does not make for a very scary tiffany . the suspenseless bride of chucky relies mostly on jennifer tilly's cleavage to keep attention during the first half , and on occasional puns to keep attention during the second half . the best that can be said about bride of chucky is that it is sarcastic .
aspiring broadway composer robert ( aaron williams ) secretly carries a torch for his best friend , struggling actor marc ( michael shawn lucas ) . the problem is , marc only has eyes for " perfect 10s , " which the geeky , insecure robert certainly is not . meanwhile , marc's spoiled ( hetero ) female roommate , cynthia ( mara hobel ) , spends her days lying about their apartment and harrassing magazine editor tina brown . writer-director victor mignatti's " very romantic comedy " ( as the ad campaign states ) is supposed to be ( pardon the pun ) a gay ol' romp , but it's hard to have much fun with these annoying , self-absorbed characters and their shallow personal problems : marc and cynthia have sitcom-level domestic " crises " ( such as trying to kill bugs--how hilarious ) ; robert and marc go to acting class ( how riveting ) ; the zaftig cynthia goes on eating binges ( how original ) . but more than anything else , the three whine . constantly . marc whines about his turbulent romance with an apparent " 10 , " david ( hugh panaro ) , the hunky musician from across the way ; robert whines about not being able to find the right guy ; cynthia whines about having to find a job ( horrors ) . the terrible trio whine their way to a happy ending that is wholly undeserved . add in overly broad performances and some laughable lipsynching by panaro , and you're left with one astonishing piece of cinematic damage .
walt disney studios may have finally met its match with the lush animation in twentieth century fox's anastasia . but judging by the latest efforts from the don bluth studios , the visuals are the only thing fox has to brag about . disney's recent classics have occasionally stretched credibility in such films as pocahontas , the hunchback of notre dame , and to a lesser extent , hercules . with anastasia , fox has gone so far as to throw all facts completely out the window . some may say - so what ? it's just a kid's movie . well . . . if you have young kids , beware , as they may be noticeably frightened by the visuals of a corpse-rotting rasputin zombie , whose body parts continually fall off in a disconcertingly real way . consider yourselves warned . nevertheless , the animation is quite stunning at times . don bluth has used computer animation extensively throughout , occasionally rivalling photographic quality . and yet in other scenes , the hand-drawn material seems of the saturday-morning tv crowd , which leads me to wonder . . . was this rushed to market to combat disney ? the plot , as anyone who had read history before knows , concerns the attempt to return anastasia to her royal family after she was lost in the overthrow of the romanovs in 1916 . not that anastasia is much concerned with what really happened . as for the plot --- go rent disney's candleshoe . you'll see 60% of anastasia there .
has hollywood run out of interesting characters and plot-driven suspense thrillers that we must spend two hours watching will smith and a gritty gene hackman exchange obtuse dialogue and run around dodging fireballs ? in enemy of the state , that is exactly right . a few parts the net , and a few parts conspiracy theory , enemy is about as exciting as watching smith talk to cgi aliens in 1997's lame brained men in black . will this guy ever get a real role ? he has the bruce willis syndrome . the plot is bascially smith , playing a lawyer , getting into hot water with some high government murderers , who assassinated a powerful political figure earlier in the movie , when a tape of the killing gets into his hands . he inlists the help of an old conspirator ( hackman ) , and , at the end , er . . . you know . enemy was one of the worst films of last year . not only was it sloppy in telling its story and getting its facts straight , the acting was mediocre when it should have been energy driven , and i didn't like how smith always magically out-smarted the badies when all the other extra characters , seeming more intelligent than smith , somehow got run over by a truck . enemy came out around the same time as the superior star trek : insurrection . i know these two films are different in , well , everything , but the fact that enemy outgrossed insurrection just baffels me . somehow , quality can't overshadow quantity .
this is crap , but , honestly , what older american audience is going to be able to resist seeing jack lemmon and james garner as bicker- ing ex-presidents ? especially when their supporting players in- clude dan aykroyd as the current commander in chief , lauren bacall as a former first lady , and john heard as the dan quayle-ish vice president . yup , you're talkin' pre-sold property here and , for warner brothers , the perfect fit into their now-ritual grumpy old men holiday slot . for the non-discriminating viewer , my fellow americans is fine . the raw star power alone will have audiences applauding this atrocious political- thriller road-comedy . ( they did in mine , heaven help us . ) for the rest of us , the movie is immediately tiresome . the tone is terrible and the banter is worse . forget wit-- lemmon and garner merely exchange profanities through most of the movie . ( has anyone counted the number of first penis references ? ) sure , some of the bits are absurdly funny , including a men's room macarena joke , the appearance of an elvis impersonator on a trainload of tarheels , and an all dorothy marching band performing " over the rainbow " at a gay men's march . the get there from here , though , you have to submit to one of the most offensively overbearing musical scores of all time . judas priest , is there a single moment of silence in this film ? even the dialogue gets drowned out . what a waste .
capsule : liebes meets tod . this was a film about sex and death . a morgue attendant accidentally revives a dead woman through necrophilia and brings her into his world which is heavy on orgies . this film says something obscure about the relationship of sex and death , but imparts no insights . to make matter worse this print was poorly subtitled into english from french . 0 ( -4 to +4 ) - an attractive 18-year-old dies on a disco floor and gets sent to a morgue . one of the attendants , ben ( jean-marc barr ) is so attracted by her that he attempts necrophilia . we see him crawling away after a shock . in the middle of sex the dead teen has come back to life . - the morgue attendant was just adding a new form of sex to his collection of kinks . he was already part of a group that gets together for s/m sex . the revived teen , teresa ( elodie bouchez ) joins them . - moral dilemma of teresa's father . ben has abused his daughter's body , but in doing so has saved her life . - part of this opaque allegory is a man saved from suicide who joins in the sexual hijinx . also involved is a man in the final stages of dying of aids , a close friend of the morgue attendant . he does not get involved in the orgies . - the subtitles of our print were white , often on a white background making them often hard to read , but i don't think there was a whole lot of meaning there that was lost . - the title means " don't let me die on a sunday . "
i have never seen a man so in love with himself than george lucas . with the overt success of the three original star wars films , lucas has become , not necessarily a filmmaker , but the head cheeze at a huge toy company , with the phantom menace the new product on the shelve . only this toy was made for $115 million , but every kid wants it , and , like all other expensive toys , falls apart within an hour after playing with it . the product in question , star wars episode 1 : the phantom menace ( jeez ! ) , is pure and simple : its about the money , baby ! no one in their right mind would create such a fiasco if they knew it wouldn't make a ton of money before its fourth week of release . i come to the sw franchise as a stranger , since i have absolutely no idea why the sw movies are so popular . i find them rather boring and full of nothing but eye candy . phantom menace is like the first sw , minus 10 . nothing in the whole concept is remotely enjoyable . even the special effects seem rather bland . the story in this new one is a mindless mess . . . the acting wooden . . . and the action sequences like something out of a video game . sw : phantom menace is one of the worst films of the year so far . with a title like sw e1 : tpm , lucas has one big head on those shoulders . i thought chris carter did for releasing an x-files movie , although , that movie adaptation was an excellent way to spend two hours . pm is one long headache .
i was going to see ram shrasta on the big screen last night , but before that i stopped into my video store to rent some movies . luckily , my video guy was in the middle or recording ram shrasta ! i knew it was going to be a bad print with only half-faces and poor sound quality , but i couldn't help myself . . . i got it . well , after watching it ( it indeed was a bad print ) i was glad i didn't dish out $7 to waste three hours of my time sitting in a bad theatre watching a bad movie . this movie really sucks . it had so many inconsistencies it was driving me crazy ! ! for example , how can jackie shroff grow two feet of hair in just three or four days ? jackie shroff looked really stupid with his steven seagal ponytail . the songs are bad , the acting is bad ( especially deepti bhatnagar's ) , and the direction is the worst of all . the comedy scenes with jagdish and johnny lever just made me want to throw up . i didn't even finish the movie . . . i couldn't take it anymore . note : but if anyone out there liked aatish ( by the same director ) , i guess you'd like this movie . it's practically the same except that sanjay dutt is replaced with jackie shroff . aditya panscholi is the sidekick again . ( i was going to give it a zero , but i personally like jackie shroff , so i loosened up a little . he looked fresh , wore good clothes ( as always ) , and his performance , even though it wasn't his best , was the only saving grace of the movie )
capsule : a wild jungle woman and an 11-story gorilla are discovered in tibet and taken to hong kong where the gorilla escapes and causes havoc . this is a laughable 1977 rip off of king kong ( 1976 ) , itself a rip-off . production values are low and audiences seem to like the film mostly for derisive laughter . , high -2 ( -4 to +4 ) - directed by ho meng-hua . - this film is provided to be a sort of laughing stock to finish the festival . - an earthquake uncovers an 11-story tall gorilla in the himalayas . a hunter , chosen because he just broke up with his girl and is at loose ends , gets sent to find the ape and finds a sort of female tarzan who controls the ape . - evelyne kraft is the jungle girl in a leather bikini that she is pasted into so she always looks on the verge of bouncing out of . - gorilla actor has no idea how gorillas move and suit is terrible . nice miniature effects , however . - has almost a music video inside it of jungle girl playing with animals like chi-chi the leopard . - several places there is narrative that is nearly incoherent as if there are missing scenes and the viewer has to guess what happened in the interim . - actual location shooting in mysore . ape shown badly matted behind temple . - combining of images usually pretty bad . incompetent matching of film stocks . - stock footage frequently used . - gorilla brought to hong kong by greedy entrepreneur who really abuses the ape before it escapes and tears things up real good .
steve martin is one of the funniest men alive . if you can take that as a true statement , then your disappointment at this film will equal mine . martin can be hilarious , creating some of the best laugh-out-loud experiences that have ever taken place in movie theaters . you won't find any of them here . the old television series that this is based on has its moments of humor and wit . bilko ( and the name isn't an accident ) is the head of an army motor pool group , but his passion is his schemes . every episode involves the sergeant and his men in one or another hair-brained plan to get rich quick while outwitting the officers of the base . " mchale's navy " 's granddaddy . that's the idea behind this movie too , but the difference is that , as far-fetched and usually goofy as the television series was , it was funny . there is not one laugh in the film . the re-make retains the goofiness , but not the entertainment . everything is just too clean . it was obviously made on a hollywood back lot and looks every bit like it . it all looks brand new , even the old beat-up stuff . martin is remarkably small in what should have been a bigger than life role . in the original , phil silvers played the huckster with a heart of gold and more than a touch of sleaziness . martin's bilko is a pale imitation . the only semi-bright spot is phil hartman as bilko's arch-enemy . it's not saying much , considering martin's lackluster character , but hartman leaves him in the dust .
when the film features richard lynch in the role of chief villain , you know that you can expect nothing more than a b grade action movie . however , since this film also featured michael madsen , more than capable character actor , this time in the role of protagonist , the author of this review decided to give the film some benefit of the doubt . however , the very first scenes show clear b grade action credentials - madsen plays richard montana , tough policeman who raids a drug warehouse and make life miserable for local crime lord mario gio ( played by lynch ) . however , the raid was only partially successful , and montana is getting the rap . so , he begins his own private war against gio , trying to penetrate his organisation pretending to be corrupt . in the process , he meets gio's mistress gina zamora ( played by rosie vela ) and starts relationship with her too . although it doesn't stink like many of the similar films can , inside edge is mostly forgettable b grade action routine . nobody in this film actually puts much effort , including madsen or lynch , and this is especially case with uninspired screenwriter william tannen or director warren clarke . the only not so forgettable element in this film is presence of former supermodel rosie vela , who , apart from showing her more than impressive looks , shows some of the singing talent too . however , this isn't reason enough for viewers to spend hour and half watching a film that they would , in most likelihood , forget the next day .
the word to describe sharon stone is " wonder " . not that she _is_ a wonder , but rather that i wonder how she can be so inconsistent . she has a dynamic screen presence in " basic instinct " , turns in a surprisingly fine acting job in " casino " , but possesses neither of those here . stone teams up with private school headmaster's wife isabelle adjani to kill adjani's thoroughly unlikable husband ( chazz palminteri ) . in a comedy of errors and unexpected twists straight out of hitchcock ( as in `homage to' [read " steal from " ] ) , it turns out that someone saw them or he's not dead or maybe . . . kathy bates turns in a credible , if unspectacular , performance as an investigative police detective . her character is a bit dull but realistic , although her actions at the end are puzzling . adjani is more than satisfactory as the timid beaten spouse driven to desperation . it's stone that is a disappointment among the actors . how can she be the epitome of a femme fatale in previous films and come off as a blank in this one ? costumed in skin-tight clothes and looking down her nose at everyone , she is someone you would want to avoid because she is boring , not enticingly dangerous . even the threat ( or promise ? ) of a lesbian relationship between the conspirators is only half played out . on the positive side , there are enough unexpected plot developments to keep your interest alive . that is if you can put up with stone's cardboard cut-out character and scenes directly lifted from hitch's movies .
who knew that in 16 years eddie murphy , who made such a brash , raucous big-screen splash in _48_hrs . _ , would become . . . cuddly . the disconcerting trend begun in this summer's cutesy , largely laugh-free _doctor_dolittle_ continues with this earnest-to-a-fault dramedy . although he is top-billed , here murphy is merely support for jeff goldblum , who plays ricky hayman , the programming director at a home shopping network . sales are way down , and ricky's job hangs by a thread until he meets g ( murphy ) , a mysterious spiritual guru whom a desperate ricky puts on the air . while sales skyrocket and g becomes an overnight sensation , the reinvigorated ricky's greed grows , endangering his budding romance with a goodhearted media research consultant ( kelly preston ) . writer tom schulman has some promising ideas , satirizing home shopping and infomercials and the nature of instant celebrity . but these ideas would have more bite if stephen herek had invested any energy into the direction of the film . the sluggishly paced _holy_man_ is not only slow and overlong ( 113 minutes ) , but an unfunny bore , and murphy can do little to juice up the proceedings ; cleansed of both the attitude _and_ comic sensibility that made him a star ( g is , for the most part , a straight man ) , he is a curiously lifeless presence . goldblum is actually quite good , but it's hard for the audience to sustain much interest in his character and spiritual journey when the director doesn't seem to be much interested , either .
" american pie " alums jason biggs and mena suvari star in this summer's attempt to capitalize on the youth market looking for a comedy about young people they can relate to that combines generic hollywood cute couple-ness and zany comedy . it's about an a+ student ( biggs as " paul " ) who gets a scholarship to some college in new york city who sticks out like a sore thumb and falls for dora ( suvari ) a ditzy heroin-chic goth chick who has no ambition or self-respect whatsoever and allows herself to be pushed around just like " hick-boy " paul is . so we've got a fish-out-water formula mixed with meet-cute romantic comedy which ideally should make for a good movie . unfortunately the atrocious screenplay and boring direction by " clueless " auteur amy heckerling successfully manages to screw up everything about the film . these characters are totally unrealistic and unbelievable - it's as if everyone under age 30 is a stoned raver . there's no background or details to anyone or anything , it's just a bunch of cartoon characters running into each other . not to mention the story itself which is virtually non-existant and contains so many plotholes it's like swiss cheese . even the basic editing is bad . if you're looking for a romantic comedy stay far away from this one because it is neither romantic nor funny . i saw this in a packed cinema on opening night and the audience barely laughed at all . if you've seen the commericials you've seen all the " funny " parts ( which are all from the first five minutes ) .
lengthy and lousy are two words to describe the boring drama the english patient . great acting , music and cinematography were nice , but too many dull sub-plots and characters made the film hard to follow . ralph fiennes ( strange days , schindler's list ) gives a gripping performance as count laszlo almasy , a victim of amnesia and horrible burns after world war ii in italy . the story revolves around his past , in flashback form , making it even more confusing . anyway , he is taken in by hana ( juliette binoche , the horseman on the roof ) , a boring war-torn nurse . she was never really made into anything , until she met an indian towards the end , developing yet another sub-plot . count almasy begins to remember what happened to him as it is explained by a stranger ( willem dafoe , basquiat ) . his love ( kirstin scott thomas , mission impossible ) was severely injured in a plane crash , and eventually died in a cave . he returned to find her dead and was heart-broken . so he flew her dead body somewhere , but was shot down from the ground . don't get the wrong idea , it may sound good and the trailer may be tempting , but good is the last thing this film is . maybe if it were an hour less , it may have been tolerable , but 2 hours and 40 minutes of talking is too much to handle . the only redeeming qualities about this film are the fine acting of fiennes and dafoe and the beautiful desert cinematography . other than these , the english patient is full of worthless scenes of boredom and wastes entirely too much film . ,
i think we should , as responsible citizens , all get together and stop jim carrey from making another movie . he's changing the cinema as we know it--and for the worst . i would willingly rewatch batman and robin rather then again sit through this miserable collection of filmic moments--prologues , epilogues , etc . the premise : a lawyer can't lie for a day . ho , ho . normally a movie made from this premise would be terrible--mr . carrey suceeds in making it unwatchable . i laughed once--and i was laughing at the sight of everyone else laughing . grinding doesn't begin to describe . it pounds on your head so forcefully and so unstoppably that , if you are a normal person , you leave feeling sick . when it's not trying to be funny , it's trying to be melodramatic--but it's just annoying , stupid and sappy . at best . this movie is intended to make people laugh , yes , not to be voted best picture of all time by sight and sound . but , it fails on every possible level . it fails to be funny . it fails to be insightful . it fails to be suspensful . it fails to be fun . they should pay people to see it . it suceeds on one level--it makes me want to get down on the ground and start thanking orson welles , for having lived . if you go in with the intention of coming out alive , please make sure that you are overly fond of boob , fart , pimple and fat jokes--otherwise you will go insane . yes , literally insane . stark , raving mad . it is boring , stupid , melodramatic and in the end ugly . i reccemond it strongly . to ed wood .
arye cross and courteney cox star as a pair of bostonians who meet in a bar , go to the movies , fall in love , move in together , etc . review ====== well , if you haven't seen when harry met sally or he said , she said , or if you don't watch love & war on television , you might think this is the most inventive film to come along in ages . however , if you've seen any of these , than you have seen most of this film . this of course doesn't mean its bad . some of it is amusing , but overall , i just had to ask what's the point ? arye cross is the stereotypical single male who falls in love . kevin pollack is the stereotypical female-fearing best friend who make a lot of rather sexist and vulgar jokes , most if which weren't very funny . couteney cox is the stereotypical career-minded woman who falls in love . julie brown is the stereotypical bizarre best friend of said woman . ( notice the frequent use of the word stereotypical . this film uses a lot of formula , the plot is basically known from the opening credits . ) so what is good about the movie ? well as i said there are a few amusing moments . surprisingly , julie brown , who i usually find just plain goofy , was the best thing in the film . also there are several very funny sequences involving analysis of the human mating ritual . gee , this is really short . not much to say about the film really . it is just kind of there . watching it on video might not be a complete waste of time , but i wouldn't recommend hiring a baby sitter or spending a lot of money to see it at the theatre .
if you've seen the trailers or commercials , it's rather difficult to really figure out what this movie has in store . well , it's hard to tell after watching the movie as well . bruce willis is a resident of the future , and it is a rather bleak future . the world's population had disintigrated into a mere 200 , 000 and is no longer ruled by humans but animals . the reason ? in 1995 , an organization called the army of the 12 monkeys contaminated the world with a pure virus , thus wiping out practically the world's population in a mere month . bruce willis' character is one of the surviving few , but is enslaved by scientists , as are most of last living humans . they barter his freedom by sending him on an assignment and having him do the ultimate task : go into the past , find the leader of the army of the 12 monkeys , and kill him . well , this explanation didn't come easy . although the movie is very thought provoking of us as a people , our future and the evilo in the world , as a story it is very confusing . and dragging . i know a movie isn''t keeping my interest when i fidget in my seat or feel the need to look at my watch only to find that it's only been an hour passed . terry gilliam has a certain style that i realize many appreciate , and i haven't watched his previous work brazil , but this movie felt like it took too long to tell and yet when one realizes the end is near because it is very easy to figure out , you wish it were more complex , and not to mention that the movie is depressing is the only reason why it did invoke emotion from me .
if you have ever seen fox tv's special car chase programs , you'll have a good idea about the content of ronin , the new action " thriller " from director john frankenheimer . the film involves a mysterious briefcase , that several groups of terrorist want to get their hands on . an irish women , dierdre ( played by the truman show's natascha mcelhone ) , hires a group of mercenaries to assist her in getting the briefcase . among the people she hires are sam ( robert de niro ) , vincent ( jean reno ) , and gregor ( stellan skarsg ? rd from good will hunting ) . dierdre's groups assignment is too seize the briefcase while the current owners are transporting it . they accomplish this task , but a traitor is in the bunch and the briefcase is soon on the run again . the briefcase stays on the run , as the movie leads the viewer through several plot twists that are badly executed . the writer seemed to be attempting to make a smart action movie , but failed to understand that just because there are surprises , it doesn't add too the credibility of a senseless script . the plot twists get no reaction because they come at a time where no one cares what is going on , after the apparent climax of the film . but to add to the excitement , as i mentioned earlier , there are endless car chase scenes . they are unrealistic and fail to add anything to the story . don't get me wrong , i love car chases , but they were overdone and too long here . we never do find out what's in the briefcase , but i doubt anyone cares by the time they finish sitting through this two hour long attempted thriller .
capsule : a science fiction allegory . at the millennium a lethal contagious virus has hit taiwan . officials have cut off water and other services to the center of contagion . life there devolves and degenerates . a man in an apartment has a hole in his floor and with it harasses his downstairs neighbor . a slow but harrowing film to be missed if possible . , low -1 ( -4 to +4 ) - the taiwan virus is ravaging taiwan and the part of the city that is the center of the contagion has been evacuated of anyone who will go . one apartment building still houses people . a woman , formerly an office worker , ( yang kuei-mei ) is tormented by her upstairs neighbor ( lee kang-sheng ) who has a hole cut by a plumber in the floor and is using it as a drain . neighbor runs a small failing grocery store . - to make things more depressing , it is constantly raining hard . - upstairs neighbor vomits through , pours water , etc . a small and almost entirely one-sided war starts . allegory about callousness and selfishness . - woman is living on a pile of rolls of toilet tissue . - incongruous songs added to show downstairs neighbors dreams . these are the songs of popular taiwanese singer grace chang . - apartment is falling apart . wallpaper is separating from walls . plumbing is failing . - boredom shown by long cuts in which nothing happens . a lot of film seems to be used up . - this story might have been done much better as a ten-minute animated film . - stars are considered to be great dramatic actors by one reviewer . - this film seems longer at 95 minutes most two-hour films .
i had been looking forward to this film since i heard about it early last year , when matthew perry had just signed on . i'm big fan of perry's subtle sense of humor , and in addition , i think chris farley's on-edge , extreme acting was a riot . so naturally , when the trailer for " almost heroes " hit theaters , i almost jumped up and down . a soda in hand , the lights dimming , i was ready to be blown away by farley's final starring role and what was supposed to be matthew perry's big breakthrough . i was ready to be just amazed ; for this to be among farley's best , in spite of david spade's absence . i was ready to be laughing my head off the minute the credits ran . sadly , none of this came to pass . the humor is spotty at best , with good moments and laughable one-liners few and far between . perry and farley have no chemistry ; the role that perry was cast in seems obviously written for spade , for it's his type of humor , and not at all what perry is associated with . and the movie tries to be smart , a subject best left alone when it's a farley flick . the movie is a major dissapointment , with only a few scenes worth a first look , let alone a second . perry delivers not one humorous line the whole movie , and not surprisingly ; the only reason the movie made the top ten grossing list opening week was because it was advertised with farley . and farley's classic humor is widespread , too . almost heroes almost works , but misses the wagon-train by quite a longshot . guys , let's leave the exploring to lewis and clark , huh ? stick to " tommy boy " , and we'll all be " friends " .
movies can do the two big es very well : educate and entertain . in the best of all possible worlds , they accomplish both . on the red planet , they fail entirely . in the near future , a manned mission is sent to mars to observe primitive plant growth . this film does a remarkable job of demonstrating exactly how exciting watching algae grow would be . after some mumbo-jumbo about an ecological disaster on earth and an interminable wait to reach the fourth planet , the ship falls apart almost as fast as the movie does . the ground crew of people you couldn't care less about is trapped on the surface without food , water or air and stalked by a deadly rogue cyberdog . the one potentially interesting character ( carrie-anne moss ) spends her time alone in the orbiting ship talking to a computer . attempting to graft " 2001 " esque space mysticism with " terminator " robot horror , first time director antony hoffman can't seem to figure out what's going on . neither can we . didn't he have anyone who could step back from the shooting and make sure there was a coherent story ? couldn't he have used the money saved by only having to pay half a dozen actors to hire a scriptwriter ? there are so many mis-steps . every opportunity to create dynamic tension is thwarted by plot holes and lackluster direction . why introduce the theme of faith vs . science if the crewman who could comment on it disappears early only to die _offscreen_ ? the audience begins the film waiting for something to happen . two hours later , they're still waiting . despite our greatest hopes , there is no life on the red planet .
man , this was one wierd movie . similar to conspiracy theory in that it couldn't decide which genre it is . the first hour is your standard stock aliens clone , which nicely created an eerie atmosphere about the ship . the last half hour ? this was when the makers blew the script out the airlock and just decided - " screw it , let's just kill everybody " . from then on - forget sci-fi . . . this movie becomes 100% horror . what really dissappointed me about this movie was that it tried to scare you in entirely the wrong way . instead of using clever tricks or trying to build up to a scare - this movie just uses loud noises , sudden camera shifts and short quick bursts of gore . . . . . yawn . . . . everyone's seen it all before and knows when to expect it . the one thing that was done well was the lead up to finding out about what happened to the previous crew . there are skeletons lying around mangled and mashed , but what did this ? then finally after being painfully restored - the new crew views the video . the acting isn't too bad at all . . . . . considering what the actors had to work with anyway , as there is no complex or interesting dialogue to speak of . there was some very nice camerawork in certain sequences though , like when the hull near the bridge of the event horizon is breached and the camera pans back to follow specific objects as they bounce across the deck and are sucked out into space . this movie could have been so much better . it had a good experienced cast who deserved more to work with . there was just nothing new here that any of us haven't seen before in aliens or hellraiser .
it's not a bad thing to update old stories . it's done all the time in the oral tradition . the difficulty with this film is not that the tale has changed , it's that it's dry . the new cinderella , danielle ( drew barrymore ) is not sitting around waiting for her prince to come . she's a woman of the late twentieth century albeit situated in sixteenth century france . when her father dies , she stays on in his house even though she is mistreated by her wicked stepmother rodmilla ( anjelica huston ) . she works by day , but reads sir thomas more by firelight at night . although the story is updated , you know the plot . danielle meets prince henry ( dougray scott ) , goes to a ball disguised , is later found out and they live happily ever after . the movie is often like watching a filmed play . theater in real life is engrossing . theater on the screen is usually lifeless . there doesn't seem to be much going on . the camera can be a star of films . here it's a co-conspirator . danielle's convictions are compromised . a socialist and a feminist , she pretends to be royalty to get her man . a kind woman , her last act in the movie is one of revenge . the most enjoyable characters are the most cartoonish . the fairy godmother stand-in , leonardo da vinci ( patrick godfrey ) is fun to watch as the eccentric old man who advises danielle . huston is enjoyable in her over-the-top wickedness . in all fairness , my companion loved the film . maybe it's one of those " chick flicks " that men don't like . it is certainly a date film . nearly the entire audience was couples . oh well , maybe it's good for something .
in the series of the erotic thrillers that flooded the videoshelves in the early 1990s came this french-canadian co-production by max fischer . the movie is set in paris where its hero , struggling american author david mirkine ( judd nelson , at the time specialised in playing losers and people at the edge of sanity ) suffers a terrible writers bloc . he manages to overcome crisis after beginning romantic relationship with beautiful model anabelle ( laurence treill ) . unfortunately , she hangs out in jet set circles , which gradually makes mirkine pathologically jealous . her connection with powerful david caravan ( pierce brosnan ) would make mirkine step the line between reason and sanity and put in motion whole series of violent and tragic events . although few pseudoerotic scenes and some elements of the plot do indeed make this film an erotic thriller , drama would probably be more appropriate genre label . pacing of the film is simply too slow to thrill the viewers , and those patient enough to sit through its entirety have to wait a long time between any interesting or significant developments . low budget also becomes painfully visible , and physical attributes of laurence treill are the only thing worth watching in this film . unfortunately , this film has too little of those supposedly erotic scenes , so those who wanted to watch erotic thriller have all the reasons to feel disappointed . instead , they would have to settle with pointless , slow scenes involving nelson , brosnan and laurence treill's attempts of serious acting . all of those definitely not worth spending hour and half of someone's precious time .
this is not a simple plan about finding a plane load of money and getting away with the cash . this is more about a parable of greed , and how money can become the bane of your life . yes , there are elements of ? fargo' here ( the snow and cold ) , although not as vivid in the blood and gore department . it shows how greed can set of a chain of events leading to death and the destruction of lives . and how at the end of the day , the things that matter most are love , truth and honesty . although in one sense it may seem tedious , making a movie about the ugliness of greed ( not box office material ) , it does become tedious , not because of the morale ending , but because one expects the movie to end that way . this becomes apparent after the first murder to cover up the crime , the rest of the movie just spirals downward from there . the characters in this drama are a mixture of simple and intellectual folk , brothers and friends , who all fall prey to the avarice of money . they should have perhaps thrown in someone sensible , level headed and not affected by greed to give the party more balance . commendable is the exceptional performance of billy bob thornton , whose portrayal of the simpleton brother was masterful . bill paxton also gives a powerful performance as the greedier younger brother , whilst bridget fonda is convincing as the greediest wife , who indirectly causes the most problems . fill a room full of greedy people and several million dollars , and you will end up with a simple recipe for a blood bath . it's not a simple plan , when you shoot everyone you love for money , unless you're the menendez brothers .
" party camp , " is one of the most mindnumbingly brainless comedies i've seen in awhile . a late rip-off of the " meatballs " series , the film follows a group of young camp counselors at camp chipmunk . that's really about all that can be said about the " plot " because nothing much happens , except that the main character , wise-cracking jerry ( andrew ross ) , has the hots for a cute blonde ( kerry brennan ) , and there is a big contest in the climax . how fun ! since , " party camp , " has practically no screenplay and there is no talent at all involved , the least the makers could have done was make it raunchy and exploitative . it's not that i think exploitation is necessarily a good quality , but when you are talking about a dull turkey like this , the least that could have been done would be to fill it with a lot of mindless sex . even a psychopathic slasher at the camp would have done the trick . at least , then , it wouldn't have been such a chore to sit through . never before have i seen so many jokes fall astoundingly flat . the comedy was easy to spot , but it wasn't the least bit funny . it was groan-inducing . constantly throghout , i was asking myself if director gary graver actually thought this movie was worth anything . so what saves , " party camp , " from the dreaded zero star rating ? well , that's simple : jewel shepard , as a flighty bimbo , was admittedly fun to watch . although nothing could have saved this film from the lowest depths of motion picture trash , at least if the film had centered on shepard , she might have been able to add a little spice to an otherwise rancid , low-budget teen comedy .
what were they thinking ? nostalgia for the seventies is bad enough , but do we really need an eighties film ? robbie hart ( adam sandler ) used to want to be a rock and roll star , but in 1985 he's singing at weddings and having a good time . a romantic at heart , he loves weddings and is just about to get married to his high-school sweetie . when she leaves him waiting at the altar , his tune changes to " love stinks " . he meets waitress julia ( drew barrymore ) who is engaged to a junk-bonds salesman and you know that they are going to get together . in fact you know everything that is going to happen during this movie . sandler is somewhat adequate in his leading man role , but there is no spark . barrymore doesn't seem to be able to convey anything other than a pretty face with nothing behind it : beauty but no attitude . both characters are just there . bit parts by steve buscemi and jon lovitz steal the show . the eighties are shoved in our face . references to deloreans , madonna , " dallas " , ivana and donald , burt and loni and " miami vice " get old fast . the filmmakers must have realized that there wasn't much entertainment to the story and thought they could dazzle the audience with humorous period allusions . they're not funny and it doesn't work . with change on all fronts accelerating more and more , nostalgia appears to have a great appeal , but don't you think we could have more than 14 years before we yearn for the past . maybe we can look forward to a film next year waxing nostalgically about el nino . ( michael redman has written this column for over 23 years and he knows that nostalgia is not what it used to be . )
this is the worst movie i've viewed so far in 98 . the avengers = silly = man dressed in a bowler hat + woman wearing tight leathers > evil scientists dressed in teddy bear suits + greater evil , sir august de wynter wearing kilt . the question is what could have gone wrong with a potentially great idea with big name cast ? the same question was probably asked of last year's stinker batman and robin . i feel the production got a little too smug , the script a little to smart and direction was somehow lost in the chaos of random events that collided together to form a movie . my greatest criticism rests on the fact that there was no chemistry between emma peel and john steed ( thurman and fiennes ) ? something that was a vital element of the 60's tv serial of the same name . the dialogue goes on and on about tea and other finer british perks , but does not allow much room for character development and interaction , except to perhaps grate on the viewer's nerves . one wonders why the dynamic pair bother kissing in the end except for pure english formality . connery as sir august , does not fair better than thurman or fiennes . his dialogue is as erratic as stormy weather , mostly embarrassing and poor quality . if there is a movie you would prefer never to see , i believe the avengers would be a good choice . for one thing , you will not have to witness a product that is far inferior to the three high profile names that is associated with the title . i cannot understand how something so poorly produced could have been released , but i put it down to one of those freak happenings in nature , like lightning you can't see it coming until it hits you .
silly performances and some huge gaps in logic mar an otherwise interesting tale of an eclectic group of people stranded at " the last stop cafe and motel " due to heavy snowfall . one of the stranded is a colorado state highway patrolman ( adam beach ) who discovers a murder scene and a bag full of cash from a recent bank robbery . someone amongst the group of strangers is a bank robber and a murderer , but is it the same person or are there multiple criminals ? adam beach unfortunately was the wrong choice for the lead in this film . he doesn't play the role with enough seriousness to be believable or enough goofiness for it to be funny . his performance is stuck somewhere in the middle , and this film really needed it to be on one side or the other . rose mcgowan is cold and unpleasant to the eye as always , and jurgen prochnow . . . what on earth is he doing in this ? best performance comes from william s . taylor as a cheesy ( yet still somehow cool and confident ) wayne newton drifter type . the last stop is available on dvd from sterling home entertainment . as usual with sterling , they've filled out this dvd with extra features . the disc contains the film in its original aspect ratio of 1 . 85 : 1 , a choice of 2 . 0 dolby surround sound or 5 . 1 dolby digital surround sound , a full length audio commentary track with director mark malone , interviews with the cast and crew , the original trailer , and the usual cast and crew biographies . the film itself might not be the greatest , but sterling's effort of adding decent extra features while keeping the price affordable ( suggested retail of $19 . 95 ) makes this dvd worth the money . [r]
the rapid-fire formula that worked so well in airplane ! , the " police squad ! " television series , top secret ! , three naked gun films , and two hot shots ! movies has finally reached a desperate dead-end with spy hard . even ezio gregio's the silence of the hams is arguably funnier than this over-extended spy- and action-movie spoof . leslie nielsen stars as secret agent wd-40 , who returns from retirement to battle his old nemesis , general rancor ( a cackling andy griffith ) . the jokes fly in every direction and with hardly a hint of restraint , timing , or tact . most the movie is comprised of recycled airplane and naked gun gags , recreated movie sequences , and soggy star cameos . yeah , maybe we * do * need ray charles driving an l . a . bus bound for a speed bump , but did mr . t , hulk hogan , and dr . joyce brothers also have to appear in the same movie ? leslie nielsen plays it straight with his usual dopey flair . there is something oddly inspiring about the sight of nielsen wearing a nun's habit , even the resulting sister act spoof is silly . as are the bits directly lifted from home alone , pulp fiction , true lies , etc . etc . ( adolescent males might enjoy this mess , tho . the butt shots , breast peeks , penis pokes , flatulence gags , and related innuendo are right up beavis and butthead's alley . ) beyond the hilarious title sequence with " weird " al yankovich performing the theme song , spy hard is barely the stock that it's printed on . my recommendation : duck in while you're waiting for another movie to start . stay long enough to see the camera dart inside of weird al's nostril and then leave . you won't miss a thing .
" mission to mars " is one of those annoying movies where , in the middle of the movie , you get the sneaking suspicion that the reason the trailer looks so good is because they showcased all the best parts of the movie : all five minutes of it . " mission " * does * give you payoff ; but when it does come , it's too little , too late . " mission " has some good ideas , but they get lost in the unbearably boring delivery , dime-a-dozen dialogue , and spate of good actors wasted in cardboard-cutout roles . i'm sure the director and writers were very proud of each hallmark moment they came up with , so they stretch each dramatic moment out like silly putty until it loses all its charm . glances don't communicate any deeper emotions just because you draw them out for five hours on end . the film spends an hour on this kind of stuff , building to its climax . a lot of it is a cliched glorification of family relationships , marriage , friendship , unite we stand divided we fall kind of crap . there are some spectacular special effects sequences in this film , and i give it points for trying to stay true to the science i know ( trying is the key word here ) . the sequence with the martian demonstrating their history is oddly beautiful and touching , but as mentioned by then we're so sick of the goddamn thing we want the movie to be over . great design , good intentions , but no cigar . if you're not a die hard sci-fi , fx or jerry o'connell fan ( his character is the only one who has some semblance of character ) , don't waste your eight bucks on this . and what the hell , tim robbins died halfway through the movie , in a stupid way too . that's just unforgiveable .
synopsis : big-breasted and dim-witted sculptress britt gets really mad at her grad student boyfriend because he spends too much time on his thought-transference experiments instead of her art showings . elderly , evil scientist everett longstreet switches minds with britt's boy , in the meantime , and goes completely mental . comments : naked souls opens with a naked woman , and the movie makes no illusion that it's a sci-fi vehicle designed to show pamela anderson's , um , talents . if you are really interested in seeing anderson's talents , however , i suggest you skip over this dud and watch the infamous pam and tommy lee honeymoon sex tape , now available on home video . at least with that " movie , " you don't have to go through the painful experience of watching pamela try to pronounce multiple syllable words like " eclectic . " a premise does exist in the movie . basically , while anderson wears skimpy clothes which barely contain her talents , she practices her art -- brilliantly slapping plaster of paris on naked women . her boyfriend , meanwhile , spends 20 hours a day in a morgue trying to view the memories of dead prison inmates because this will " make a difference to humanity . " whatever . the movie fails to explain how these two hooked up . be grateful . after we meet the evil everett longstreet , lots of technobabble and mystical mumbo-jumbo get tossed about , pammy has sex replete with cheesy make-out music , and minds get transferred . never fear , though , pammy uses her sharp mental abilities ( ahem ) to save her boyfriend in the end . unfortunately , no one saves the movie . avoid this would-be sci-fi thriller , unless you're in for a good laugh or two .
salaries of hollywood top actors are getting obscenely large these days and many find this to be the main reason for skyrocketing movie budgets . actors who demand such salaries might be greedy , but in some instances they are quite justified , because many films would never be watched or even made without their participation . proof for that can be found even in the realm of low-budget movies , and one fine example is breakaway , 1995 thriller directed by sean dash and starring ( in ) famous figure skater tonya harding . face of tonya harding is most prominently featured on movie's poster , but the main star of the film is terri thompson who plays myra , attractive woman who works as a courier for gangster . one day she decides to retire , but her employers are anything but enthusiastic about that . realising that her life suddenly became worthless , myra starts running for her life , followed by professional assassins . terri thompson being the actual star of the film instead of tonya harding becomes quite understandable after the scenes that feature former figure skater . although tonya harding displays convincing martial arts abilities , her acting leaves much to be desired . on the other hand , her disappointing efforts are hardly out of place in the film that lacks originality , believable characters and situations and actually represents anything that gave b-films a bad name . martin sheen's brother joe estevez , whose character looks like he had entered from another movies' set , is the only bright spot of breakaway . unfortunately , he appears in this film too little too late to prevent viewers from realising why tonya harding's silver screen debut proved to be her last film .
the best thing about , " lake placid " is that it's only 80 minutes long and when it's over you're glad that you didn't waste more than an hour and a half of your time . it's nothing more than a bad rip-off of , " jaws " ( and i think that's being kind . ) it was written by david e . kelly ( " ally mcbeal " ) as a horror-comedy but fails at both , miserably . i was never scared and i think that i only laughed once . the crocodile even fails in comparison to the snake in , " anaconda . " the plot begins when a man is eaten in half by the giant crocodile in black lake in maine . that brings the local sheriff ( brendan gleeson ) and a fish-and-game warden ( bill pulman ) to investigate . also , a paleontologist ( bridget fonda ) from new york is sent to look at a tooth and an eccentric millionaire/crocodile lover ( oliver platt ) flies in because he wants to swim beside the beast . soon there is tension between everybody because half the people want to kill the croc and the other half want to save it . there's also an eccentric old lady ( betty white ) who lives by the lake and has a few secrets . as i mentioned before kelley and director steve minor ( h20 ) don't go for a serious approach towards the material but they also don't have anything sly or satirical or witty to say either . the betty white character is completely unfunny and none of the other characters are really that interesting , they're all basically idiots . if they had any brains the croc wouldn't have been that much of a challenge to catch and they wouldn't have put themselves in half of the situations that they did . but then again , if they were smart there wouldn't be a movie . basically , " lake placid " is best undiscovered .
as far as " mystery men " is concerned , the burning question is less " is it really as bad as it looks from the trailer ? " ( the answer there is an unequivocal " yes " ) and more " how in the name of sweet jesus did first-time director kinka usher get such a first-rate cast to act in this muck ? " " mystery men " features greg kinnear as the heavily-sponsored captain amazing and geoffrey rush as his arch nemesis ( singular ) casanova frankenstein . a veritable police lineup of hot hollywood talent plays the superhero wannabes of the title , who join forces to get c . amazing out of a tight spot when c . frankenstein puts the screws on champion city . there's william h . macy as the mild-mannered shoveler , hank azaria as the cutlery-flinging blue raja ( no knives , but a phony english accent that's just as sharp ) , ben stiller as mr . furious ( whose only power seems to be his ability to get hot under the collar ) , janeane garofalo as a crazed bowler with her father's skull interestingly preserved , wes studi as a rhetoric-spouting cowled avenger , and kel mitchell as the token ( and , adding insult to injury , invisible ! ) black guy . bringing up the rear , so to speak , is paul reubens ( yes , that's pee wee herman paul reubens ) as . . . well , let's just call him the gas man . the production design is overblown , the special effects are overdone , and the script ( based on bob burden's " dark horse " comic book series ) is overbaked . the appealing actors are uniformly good and stiller is even stellar , but they can't begin to save " mystery men " --it's just one big mess . you're better off renting the video and pressing fast-forward to get to the funny bits . i believe i counted three .
coinciding with the emerging popularity of movies that deal with anything related to serial killers , relentless , 1989 low budget thriller about lapd detective sam dietz , played by character actor leo rossi , spawned three more sequels . relentless 3 , third in the row , features sam dietz again , but this time detective , who had to catch vicious serial killer in his very first case , doesn't want to deal with similar line of work . divorced , demoralised and transferred , he reluctantly returns to his old post when los angeles becomes a hunting ground for another serial killer , and evidence indicate connection with one of dietz's old cases . to make things even more interesting , it seems that the killer deliberately stages murders in order to bring dietz to the investigation . fans of the british tv films and mini-series like prime suspect or cracker would probably see a lot of similarities relentless series of movies . they both feature vicious psychopathic killers , yet also give a lot of , usually depressive , details about chief investigator's private lives . this one isn't an exception , but similarities with british television are only in content . the execution and style is different , which makes this film mediocre piece of entertainment at best . useless , gratuitous erotica also doesn't help either , obviously making this film longer than it should be . the actors are good , though - leo rossi is fine as usual , and william forsythe plays one of more compelling villains in his career . signy coleman as dietz's love interest , is , on the other hand , quite miscast . but she won't have to worry about it in the future career , since relentless 3 wasn't supposed to be anybody's finest moment anyway .
don't let this movie fool you into believing the romantic noirs of william shakespeare . no one will truly understand the heart and soul of this man except through his work , and this movie makes a vain attempt at that . any moves to ? glamorise' his life , which hollywood has an annoying tendency to do , will only subtract from his achievement rather than expound on his greatness . this movie about his life , although well written , puts too much make-up on a man whose life was probably more pork and potatoes , rather than lobster and champagne . oh well , let's fantasise onwards an assume that he was a bit of a flirtatious play-write , who falls in love with a beautiful woman ( gwyneth paltrow ) and from her inspiration , several plays develop - ? romeo and juliet' , and ? the twelfth night' . it is easier for me to believe that he had a wet dream and that's how all his plays develop , but please spare me all of this unnecessary melodrama . but i guess my version probably wouldn't draw a crowd or make a dollar on screen . so is there any justification in romanticising the man shakespeare , when all we need to do is read his work in order to find his soul . i think not . as for the oscars were they deserved by this movie ? i think not . in many aspects ? private ryan' and ? life is beautiful' were far superior movies , but one should never assume that this should be a criteria for winning an oscar , as time and again , for reasons unexplained , an undeserving movie will win the accolade . another sore point is the fact that gwyneth won the best female lead , over a more polished cate , but i guess if you go on enough about your grandfather dying and your nephew being hospitalised - people will start feeling sorry for you .
starring kiefer sutherland ; reese witherspoon & bokeem woodbine i used to think that the conversation was the worse film i had ever seen . freeway is giving me second thoughts . freeway is a modern retelling of little red riding hood . only in the nineties , little red riding hood is a foul-mouthed juvenile delinquent played by reese witherspoon , and the big bad wolf is a serial killer ( keifer sutherland ) . to top that pathetic premise off -- reese goes to visit granny and you'll never guess who's waiting under the cover's in granny's bed . keifer sutherland is one of hollywoods most talented , yet underrated actors , and reese witherspoon is exceptionally talented and will most likely become a major star . so what are they doing in this movie ? after seeing the end result , undoubtedly they are both asking themselves the same question . you might be asking yourself why this is such a short review . the answer is quite simple -- i dont want to waste any more of my time writing or thinking about this movie than absolutely necessary . i wasted enough of my time just sitting through it . note to keifer : you wonder why you aren't a bigger star in hollywood ? because you keep making movies like this . note to reese : you were great in fear , what happened this time ? note to both : don't worry about it too much , no one saw this movie anyway . bottom line -- i'm still shaking my head . don't waste your time on this turkey . if you want to see a great keifer sutherland movie , go rent flatliners or young guns . reese witherspoon's abundant acting talents are used to their full potential in fear , a great thriller . do yourself a favor and rent one of these movies -- but stay as far away from freeway as you possibly can .
" showgirls " is the first big-budget , big-studio film to receive an nc-17 rating . and its release last year came at a time when senator bob dole and other politicans chastised the entertainment industry for promoting sex and violence . but if " showgirls " is any indication of hollywood's future , the folks in washington should focus their attack on a more dangerous threat to american values--bad moviemaking . " showgirls " is a relentlessly exploitive look at the las vegas strip scene , and the film turns out to be just as trashy as its subject matter . director paul verhoeven and writer joe eszterhas , who collaborated on another shock-value project , 1992's " basic instinct , " follow the plight of a young woman ( teen tv star elizabeth berkley ) determined to make a name for herself as a topless dancer . it's a hackneyed premise to begin with , so not surprisingly , all of the stock characters are trucked out . there's the demanding producer . the loyal friend . the bitchy competitor . lest i forget the scummy club owner . of course , any attempt at character development or a coherent storyline is just window dressing for the film's main attraction--an endless parade of full-frontal nudity . unfortunately , " showgirls " doesn't satisfy in this department . verhoeven's slam-bang , in-your-face style of direction proves neither arousing nor erotic . to make matters worse , you'll be forced to sit through the movie's clothed scenes , which don't cover up for laughable acting and some of the most absurd dialogue ever spoken in film history . verhoeven and ezsterhas deserve credit for trying to break ground , but if it's adult entertainment you want , stay home and watch the playboy channel . you'll be the wiser for it .
what do you get when you rip-off good movies like woody allen's bananas and martin scorsese's after hours ? you'd think you'd get the best of both films . instead you get woo . falling in somewhere between def jam's how to be a player ( which was awful ) and booty call ( which was ok ) , woo is yet another in the embarassing genre of showing african-americans to be nothing more than sexual buffoons . the whole film plays out as a black version of after hours , as wild woman woo ( jada pinkett smith ) goes out on a blind date with straight-laced tim ( tommy davidson ) . mayhem follows them . for some unknown reason ( read : contrived screenplay ) davidson puts up with all of woo's antics for the entire night , which include her destroying his bathroom mirror , stealing things from his house , violently questioning him ( accusing and belittling him actually ) about previous girlfriends , causing a riot in an elegant restaurant , and other various infuriating things that any normal person wouldn't tolerate . but for the sake of this bad movie ? sure , why not ? there are a few chuckles in the film , the best being the scene swiped directly from bananas . in this case , davidson is running from thugs , gets into a subway car as the doors are closing , starts to taunt the thugs , then the doors open back up again . a good joke , but a stolen one . another chuckle is provided by billy dee williams' cameo as himself . movies like woo are seemingly released every three months or so , and not one of them has ever been a hit . woo won't be one either . so why was it made ? and more importantly , isn't there anyone else besides me who thinks these films are offensive ? everyone involved should really reconsider their careers at this point . [r]
that is , unless you're one of those people who have seen the preview a thousand times on tv or in the theaters . i can tell you one thing now : they gave the entire movie away . why someone would want to base an entire movie on one premise and then give that crucial detail away in the trailers is beyond me . however , if they * hadn't * given it away , the film would've still been suprisingly devoid of suspense given its subject matter . obviously , the producers thought they could remake " the deep end of the ocean , " throw in tommy lee jones and a couple of cliches and call it an action drama . " double jeopardy " offers solid acting from ashley judd and tommy lee jones , who got first billing even though he didn't see to be on screen half as much as judd did . it also offers some genuinely funny , clever , or full-of-tension moments ( my favorite : judd waking up in the coffin ) , but none of that can salvage the film from its insanely predictable plot . half the time i'm wondering whether i'm watching one of those overhyped tv miniseries , which always turn out to be less exciting than advertised . judging by the beginning , end , and a huge chunk of the middle , i might have been watching a special hallmark presentation too . the movie's stretching for an almost two hour long film with only 30 minutes worth of material . implausible material , no less . loose interpretation of one of the amendments aside , too many times in the movie i thought , " that is * not * possible * . " that kind of stuff is excusable in popcorn movies , but not one like " double jeopardy " that tries to pass itself off as serious drama . everything seems dragged out , overplayed . when they should've kept us in the dark , they let the cat out of the bag too early .
stallone attempts to 'act' in this cop drama . the film is set in a neighbourhood pratically built by kietal , who's nephew ( played by michael rappaport ) is involved in a car crash and killing of two black youths . keital dosen't really want to get involved in anything , gets rid of rappaport , and stallone and de niro try to work out what the hell is going on . this film should be brilliant . it sounds like a great plot , the actors are first grade , and the supporting cast is good aswell , and stallone is attempting to deliver a good performance . however , it can't hold up . although the acting is fantastic ( even stallone isn't bad ) the directing and story is dull and long winded some scenes go on for too long , with nothing really happening in them . in fact , the only scenes that do work are action scenes , which i suspect stallone was trying to avoid . in this film , serious means dull . the dialogue is warbling , and basically just repeats the same points over and over , no matter who is delivering them . the plot , which has potential , is wasted , again just being cliched after a while . in fact , the only thing that does keep the film going is kietal and de niro , both delivering their usual good performances . however , stallone , although not given much to say , gives a good performance . however , it's not all that bad . as said above , the action scenes are well done . theres also a very good ending , which uses the cinemas sound system well . in fact , the last 10 minutes of this 2 hour film are one of the best endings of 1997 . if only the rest of the film was as good as the ending . cop land , then , turns out not to be a power house film , but a rather dull , and not every exciting film . hugely disappointing , and i can't really recommend it .
synopsis : wealthy cuban landowner luis ( banderas ) gets more than he bargained for when he sends away for an american bride . not only does his new wife turn out to be the beautiful julia ( jolie ) , she also harbours a secret past of dubious merit . soon , julia has absconded with both luis' fortune and his heart , and as he pursues his wife through the cuban underworld , luis begins to realise that , for him , there is no turning back . review : given the absurdism of its would-be plot , it's unlikely that " original sin " could have been turned into a reputable piece of filmmaking , regardless of writer , director or stars . this is , at its heart , b-movie junk : a lurid melodrama which appeals to neither the brain nor the heart but to the nether regions . that said , " original sin " could at least have become enjoyable junk had the filmmakers embraced its trashiness and indulged in it . instead , cristofer seems to have mistaken this for a serious production , and directs it as such . the result is a vapid , uninteresting morass of obvious crosses and double crosses , as likely to incite a yawn as a thrill . consider the initial sex scene between banderas and jolie : brightly-lit and mostly filmed from above , it looks like an excerpt from an amateur soft porn show . cristofer doesn't even manage to capture the allure of cuba ; instead of portraying his setting as a steamy , sensuous island paradise , it appears bland and lifeless . at least banderas and jolie manage to inspire some interest ; there are hints at times that they want to have more fun with the script , but aren't being given the chance . the same cannot be said of jane , whose billy is nebbish and transparent . also unwise is the jolie framing sequence , which practically gives away the film's denouement .
if the 70's nostalgia didn't make you feel old , the 80's nostalgia is bound to . one of the latter set , " the wedding singer , " seems to be written by someone who did not experience the 1980's directly but only read about them in an article in parade magazine . the wacky fashions are here . . . and the music . . . and references aplenty to celebrities and signs of the times , but it all seems tediously-and too obviously-inserted for the didn't-we-dress-funny-back-then chuckle . the plot is standard romantic comedy with nothing original : robbie ( adam sandler ) is a wedding singer ; julia ( drew barrymore ) waits tables at weddings . both are engaged ; however , robbie's fiance ( angela featherstone ) dumps him at the altar , and julia's fiance ( matthew glave ) is a skirt-chasing speculator in junk bonds . robbie and julia go through the expected ups-and-downs as they realize they were meant to be together . i'll fess up-i've never found adam sandler funny . whatever his appeal is , i've missed it . ( other comedians i don't get include pauly shore and pee wee herman-make your own judgments ) . the stupidity and artificiality of the whole project is summarized in a cameo by billy idol as himself . idol looks like hell , and the ravages of his lifestyle are barely concealed by thick makeup . he's mocked by a photo of his younger self on a rolling stone cover in the same scene . we're not supposed to notice that , and we're not supposed to notice how silly it is that billy idol suddenly appears to play fairy godmother to robbie . other cameos , by steve buscemi and jon lovitz , provide the only real laughs in the movie . lovitz is especially good , playing a rival wedding singer plotting with the mania of a bond villain to take advantage of robbie's post-break-up depression .
synopsis : original " jurassic park " survivor alan grant ( neill ) is tricked by paul and amanda kirby ( macy and leoni ) into leading an expedition to an island overrun by dinosaur , to rescue their stranded son . grant's team is picked off one by one as they encounter dinosaurs both new and familiar , and grant grows to realise that some breeds are more intelligent than he previously thought . review : there is one reason why " jurassic park iii " is better than its immediate predecessor , " the lost world : jurassic park " . the latter wasted 129 minutes of my life ; the former , only 94 . the first " park " was a marvellous film , full of awe-inspiring sights , interesting characters , and genuine thrills . its two successors have been pale imitations , amounting to hundred-million-dollar b-grade horror movies . at least this third entry realises it ; whereas " the lost world " tried to justify its existence with a ludicrous and overextended plot , " jurassic park iii " simply sticks its characters on an island with a bunch of dinosaurs and lets the mayhem begin . there is a desperate sense of deja vu presiding over this movie ; the computer-animated dinos are no longer novel or exciting , and even the first-time presence of aerial lizards scarcely improves the situation . remember that wondrous first trolley ride through the park in the original movie ? nothing in this rehash even comes close . add in execrable dialogue from screenwriters buchman , payne and taylor , and phoned-in performances by the normally capable macy and leoni , and it is difficult to recommend the film to anyone but dino enthusiasts . at least neill makes some effort to retain the dignity of his character , and there is much less gore than in " the lost world " , making this installment more suitable for children .
one-sided " doom and gloom " documentary about the possible annihilation of the human race as foretold by the bible . orson welles narrates and appears in the film in which he , along with best-selling author hal lindsey , discusses various prophecies from the bible and relates them to recent ( well for 1976 anyway ) events . the film is dated badly , as many things that are supposed to happen in the " future " never do . for example , the planets of the solar system were supposed to line up in the year 1982 and cause chaos here on earth . we're still here . the arms race between the soviets and america was supposed to kick-off the apocalypse . we're still here . some of the more ludicrous moments come when it's alluded to that people like jimmy carter and henry kissinger may actually be the antichrist ( ! ) . also , there's ten minutes of stock footage at the end of the film meant to give us an idea of what the battle for armageddon might be like . if it's anything like it's depicted as here then it's going to be incredibly boring . the late great planet earth is available on dvd from vci home video . it contains the film in standard form ( aspect ratio of 1 . 33 : 1 ) , although some moments of stock footage are letterboxed . also included are brief bios on orson welles and hal lindsey , as well as a trailer for another recent vci home video release , chariots of the gods . audio is mono dolby digital , and the video is fair to good for a film like this . i believe this is the first appearance of this film on any home video format so any condition at all is fine with me . certainly i never expected a remastered print . curiously , the menu screens on this dvd look nothing like the menu screens pictured on the back of the case . but they're menu screens . . . so who really cares ? [pg]
among multitude of erotic thrillers , that had been released in the early 1990s , woman of desire is interesting only because it was directed by robert ginty , star of the b-grade action films of the previous decade . those who tend not to be nostalgic about 1980s can find very good reason in the type of movies that made ginty the star . as director , ginty did very little to improve that impression . the protagonist of the movie is jack ( played by jeff fahey ) , yacht skipper that falls madly in love with christina ford ( played by bo derek ) . however , she has relationship with rich and powerful jonathan ashby ( steven bauer ) . one stormy night , the tragedy occurs and jack is accused of rape and murder . however , his good friend walter j . hill ( robert mitchum ) happens to be very good lawyer , so jack might even prove his innocence in the end . belonging more to the genre of courtroom drama than erotic thriller , woman of desire distinguishes itself from similar films by having almost all characters behaving like total idiots . unfortunately , this film isn't comedy and any laugh is unintentional . the characters are totally antipathetic and irritating and soon we stop caring what would happen to them . the actors that play them don't help either . that is especially the case with jeff fahey , whose jack is so stupid that even the character played by fahey in lawnmower man looks like a genius in comparison . his partner bo derek , on the other hand , shows that she didn't age enough to cease being the sex goddess , but that is small compensation for her apparent lack of acting talents . ginty , on the other hand , tries to bring some life in the movie by using many flashbacks and strange angles of shooting , but in the end it gets only irritating to the already bored and dissatisfied viewer .
synopsis : lifelong friends rafe ( affleck ) and danny ( hartnett ) join the us air force and are stationed at pearl harbor , hawaii . rafe goes to england to fight alongside british pilots and is seemingly killed in action . danny falls in love with rafe's girlfriend , evelyn ( beckinsale ) , but rafe survives and returns to confront his former friend . meanwhile , the japanese sneak attack is imminent . . . review : " pearl harbor " is a perfect example of movies as product rather than as art . it is little more than a crassly-calculated attempt to woo the masses , enticing them with big stars , big effects , and a big setting -- but no heart . it is difficult to criticise the actors , because they do everything the movie demands of them . sadly , this amounts to barely more than reciting dialogue of such sheer banality that it makes one eager to see the script randall wallace wrote with his right hand at the same time as he was writing " pearl harbor " with his left . the plot here is pure cliche , and the wartime setting simply a convenient backdrop . there is no genuine exploration of what pearl harbor meant to the united states , and no insight into its vital role in inciting that country to join world war ii . instead , there is just an assembly-line love triangle , some empty patriotic rhetoric , and a laughable attempt to placate japanese viewers via the inclusion of some reticent imperial commanders ( when one intones , " i fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant " , i nearly fell out of my seat ) . to the movie's credit , it does include a fantastic portrayal of the attack itself , an exciting and dizzying hour which plunges viewers into the war . if only the remaining two hours had been crafted with such skill , perhaps this memorial day non-event would have been worth watching .
" an intimate , character-driven drama about a troubled youth at a crossroads in his life , " read the press notes for _reach_the_rock_ . i'm not really sure what film that statement is describing because those words bear little resemblance to the slow , completely uninvolving bore i saw--at least , it certainly does not describe what goes on for most of the film . alessandro nivola plays robin fleming , a troubled , directionless 21-year-old who has a penchant for breaking storefront windows in a small town . police sergeant phil quinn ( william sadler ) takes him in , and what ensues for the first 70 minutes is a tedious series of sneak-outs and sneak-ins where robin slips out of his jail cell , breaks a window , then returns , all without quinn ever noticing . also added to the pointless proceedings is some would-be humorous shenanigans involving quinn's dimwitted deputy ernie attempting to engage in clandestine patrol car sex with his girlfriend donna ( karen sillas ) . with a half hour ( if even that long ) remaining , director william ryan and writer john hughes ( yes , john hughes of '80s youth films and _home_alone_ ) finally approach something close to a point . turns out robin still pines for his high school sweetheart lise ( brooke langton ) , who has long gone on with her life , and hughes's main concern at long last reveals itself as a tired " live in the present and for the future " message . most moviegoers , however , will likely be asleep by that time . wide awake , however , is the cast , who individually tackle their showcase dramatic scenes with energy and skill--thus revealing the _real_ purpose behind this listless enterprise : to serve as a series of acting exercises . such a glorified workshop may have its rewards for the actors , but it leaves audiences with a booby prize . ( opens october 16 )
renee zellweger stars as sonia , a young jewish wife and mother frustrated by the constraints of her hasidic community in brooklyn . her husband ( glenn fitzgerald ) is a religious scholar whose all-in-a-day's-work attitude on sex fails to tame the " fire " she feels within , as so she confesses to the rebbe ( after hearing her fiery confession , the rebbe suddenly gets frisky with his pleasantly surprised wife--and dies the next morning ) . sensing her frustration , her husband's brother ( christopher eccleston ) gives her a job in his jewelry brokering business in exchange for raw , passionless sex that just fans sonia's still-burning flame . on the job , sonia befriends ramon ( allen payne ) , a cool blast of hunky puerto rican water who does his own jewelry designs when not working as a grunt in an upscale jewelry store . can fire-taming be far be that far behind for the ever-smoldering sonia ? just about everything in writer-director boaz yakin's rings false , starting with the improbably cast zellweger , who does an adequate enough acting job but simply looks too waspy for the role . a better fit would have been julianna margulies , who outshines zellweger as sonia's take-no-crap sister-in-law . some of sonia's baby steps toward liberation , such as indulging in a non-kosher egg roll in chinatown , come off as silly . yakin attempts to spice up the proceedings with a touch of magical realism--in the form of the recurring presence of sonia's long-dead brother's ghost--make the story feel even more trite than it already is . " i didn't know what to expect . it's like something you chase for so long , but then you don't know how to react when you get it . i still don't know how to react . " --michael jordan , on winning his first nba championship in 1991 . . . or , my thoughts after meeting him on november 21 , 1997
hav plenty , as we are told in the beginning and reminded during the film , is a true story . life itself is a series of true stories , but most are not movie material . as scripted , directed , and acted by cinematic newcomer christopher scott cherot , hav plenty limps along at best . its dialog is so stilted - " you know what they say , 'no women ; no cry . ' " - that the actors are content to read the screenplay rather than invest much energy in trying to act it . in the story , lee plenty ( cherot ) is a 28-year-old author and teaching assistant . the movie , which happens mainly over the new year's holiday , consists of a series of incidents in which various single and married women try to kiss lee or take him to bed . since he consistently refuses , caroline gooden ( tammi katherine jones ) figures that he must be gay . eventually he and havilland " hav " savage ( chenoa maxwell ) get together , proving that he wasn't gay after all , just picky . sexy women can sit on his lap and ask him to go to bed with them , but he will not even kiss them . he's a man who knows his mind , which he frequently shares directly with the audience in a series of trite and overly cute monologues . filled with wealthy african-americans , the story is closest in tone to love jones , which was better . hav plenty's story doesn't go anywhere . at the end it subjects us to lee plenty's new film , which is a movie of the movie we've just seen , but with even worse acting . " remember folks that , as outrageous as this all seems , this is a true story . " hav tells the camera , but the problem is that it's not outrageous at all or even the least bit interesting . hav plenty isn't so much a bad film as it is a total waste of the audience's time . hav plenty runs 1 : 32 . it is rated r for profanity and would be fine for most teenagers .
what are we going to do with jim carrey ? viewers of television's " in living color " know this one-man cartoon from such characters as fire marshall bill . viewers also know that " in living color " is a skit-show and that a little of jim carrey goes a long way . unfortunately , this fact was forgotten by the makers of the carrey comedy ace ventura : pet detective . three writers , including carrey , worked on the slapstick story , which sends a self-styled " pet detective " on the trail of a stolen dolphin . the missing mammal belongs to the miami dolphins , who need their mascot for the upcoming superbowl . for plot porpoises , this story works as well as any three stooges short . carrey gets to do his " official " schtick as he snoops around greater miami . he leers and sneers , craning his neck to funny effect . he even does his captain kirk impersonation . again . all of this is pretty harmless stuff up until the point that you realize that the writers have absolutely no intention of focusing on anyone * other * than carrey . ( suggested alternate title--jim carrey : will do anything for a laugh . ) export it to france and you may have a hit . as it stands , ace ventura isn't even good kid's stuff . the profanity count , alone , is too high . which is ironic , since children are , probably , carrey's best audience . the film doesn't even have the goofball charm of chris elliott's recent no-brainer cabin boy . sure , carrey has his moments . but what can you say about a film whose high-points include watching carrey slink around to the theme from " mission impossible ? " ace ventura has one glaring incongruity . amid the butt-jokes and double-takes , the script takes great pains to set-up an elaborate and rather funny " crying game " gag . and , for * this * intended audience , that takes ( ahem ) cojones .
susan granger's review of " session 9 " ( usa films ) sometimes you just get more than your bargained for . . . like when boston-based hazmat elimination , run by scottish actor peter mullan and his trusty assistant , david caruso , assures a town engineer ( paul guilifoyle ) that they can remove insidious asbestos fibers from a victorian hospital facility in a week . erected in 1871 , deserted and decomposing since 1985 , the danvers mental hospital , is one of the most malevolent " locations " ever chosen for a film . the structure is so massive - with its labyrinth of rubble-strewn corridors , collapsing floors , stagnant pools of water , isolation cells , and ominous surgical chambers where experimental pre-frontal lobotomies were performed - that their task seems impossible within that time frame . and each member of their inexperienced crew ( stephan gevedon , brandon sexton iii , and josh lucas ) is coping with his own personal demons as , one by one , their minds seem to be affected by the grim areas in which they're working . the film's title is derived from salvaged reel-to-reel audio-recorded sessions involving the demonic possession of a young woman who is suffering from multiple personalities . by the time session 9 occurs so do dreadful disasters . filmmaker brad anderson obviously envisioned this as a gruesome chainsaw-massacre-type ghost story but the script lacks structure and isn't particularly scary . the conclusion is more ludicrous than convincing . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " session 9 " is a dark , gloomy 4 . silly me . . . at first , i thought that the original name of the danvers lunatic asylum bore some reference to mrs . danvers , the creepy housekeeper played by judith anderson in alfred hitchcock's truly terrifying " rebecca " that also involved a cavernous mansion called manderley .
after the huge success of " the exorcist " in 1973 a sequel was inevitable , and sadly like most horror fims that make money , the filmmakers decided to make a ridiculous sequel , that makes absolutely no sense at all , and to me was extremely pointless , wasting linda blair and max von sydow completely . needless , dumb sequel flopped in the box office , and never gained much success though it is voted as one of the worst sequels of all time , to which i agree with . to start the " story " it is four years later , and regan is being tormented by memories of what used to be , now a priest played by richard burton , is trying to figure out why this demon tried to possess regan , and now the demon somehow wants to possess her again ( maybe she was good or something ) . now they must try to stop this demon from taking over regan's body , before it is too late . some of the bad things exorcist ii has in it is : linda blair , she had no need to revive her character , and she is really terrible in this film , she brings it down to a lull , and in places it seems like it just stops in its place , and doesn't go anywhere . louise fletcher is alright for what it's worth , but she could have done a lot better than this . the direction by john boorman , is that of a confused , stylish nature that i really couldn't figure out . in fact , i had no idea what was going on in this film , the script was jumbled , the plot was jumbled , and the ending is just laugh out loud hilariosly bad . for those exorcist fans who haven't seen this one , i recommend renting it . i actually gave this one a high rating , if it were any worse it would have deserved zero pumpkins , i went easy on it however because of the fact that it has a bit of good direction , but nothing else ! im not saying i like the film now , so dont start going anywhere . bad , bad , bad movie .
it's a rare treat when a quality horror film is released in the theater . and unfortunately with man's best friend , we'll be waiting a while longer . the film stars ally sheedy and lance henrikson in a tale of bio-genetics gone wrong . sheedy plays a nosy reporter whose need for a " good " story provokes her to snoop inside of emax , a poorly guarded million dollar bio-lab that she finds herself effortlessly intruding . the result : she unleashes the experimental wonder dog named max , a german shepherd with genetic recombination allowing it to swallow like a snake , camouflage like a chameleon , climb trees like a leopard , and attack with the strength of tiger . max takes a liking to sheedy , and she finds herself protecting the animal from the cruel technological realm of emax , owned by henrikson . well , it doesn't take long before the hormonally unstable biohazard unleashes his jowls upon the unsuspecting suburban landscape which offers max juicy leg of mailman , etc . . . sheedy is a boring non-presence on the screen , tripping through the enormous plot chasms neglected by the writer/director ( i apologize for a lack of credits . i suppose i was eager to leave the theater , and in my rush , forgot to take note of the director , writer , producer , etc . . . ) . henrikson offered the only relief from the contrived narration of the script , giving his character as much development as he could considering the flat dialogue plaguing the film . the movie depends upon it's ability to impress the audience with animal special effects , but all it presents is a dog that can growl , open door handles with his paw , sit , roll over , play dead , and sick . the rest of the special effects were so poor , i found them offensive . the film attains sub-mediocrity , an unambitious film at best . horror fans might find that cujo offers a better bite .
what happens when you put martin lawrence in a fat suit in real life ? you get martin lawrence in a coma ( the comedian thought he was getting fat , so he put on numerous layers of heavy clothing and went jogging in 100 degree heat , ending up in a coma ) . so what happens when you put martin lawrence in a fat suit in the movies ? you get an audience in a coma . in big momma's house , lawrence plays a fbi agent who's a master of disguises . when a naughty , naughty man escapes from jail and seeks out his former girlfriend ( the very sexy nia long . . . the only thing worth looking at in this movie ) , she flees to georgia to stay with her rather large southern aunt " big momma " ( ella mitchell ) . the fbi follows her in order to recover the large sum of money stolen in the bank robbery that sent the naughty man to jail . however , big momma is called away on an emergency . sensing that they could lose their only chance to capture the criminal , lawrence goes undercover as big momma . and let the comedy begin ! big momma's house is the definition of a " gimmick " movie if there ever was one . the plot can basically be summed up as " martin lawrence dresses up as a fat woman " . . . and even that description is too wordy . you can just see this script plotted out on a chalkboard with martin lawrence/fat woman in the middle of the board with a big circle around it , and all sorts of clich ? d , " humorous " situations pointing to it . fat woman plays basketball ! fat woman takes a dump ! fat woman kung fu ! well they left one off the board . . . movie critic slips into coma ! paul giamatti ( private parts , the negotiator ) plays lawrence's partner and as much as i enjoy his work , even he can't inject life into this lifeless comedy . hell , the greatest performers on the planet couldn't make this material work . . . it's just that awful .
wow , a film without any redeeming qualities whatsoever . i'm amazed that someone thought this was a story that must be told on screen . many blacks in hollywood complain that they are not nominated for awards based on their race . i think first they need to concentrate their energy on themselves , and stop making movies which makes them look like nothing more than sex-crazed buffoons . even i'm offended by it . bill bellamy is a " player " which means he sleeps with a lot of women and lies to them . what a pleasant main character . one day , his friends decide that they want to find out how to be a player . why they decide this " one day " i have no idea . how many years have they been friends and why all of a sudden would they want to learn ? anyway , bellamy agrees to teach , and his wonderful lesson to his friends consists of letting them ride in his car while he rides from house to house having sex with women . this is the bulk of the film folks , guys riding from house to house , one keeps getting out to have sex , while the others sit in the car . since russell simmons is producer , and since the official title of the film is " def jam's how to be a player " , i was ready to be jumping up and down and stomping my feet and beating the person next to me because of the comedy . amazingly , aside from gilbert gottfried's 90 seconds of screen time , there was no comedy in the film for me to express myself in such a manner . instead of jokes , there's just an endless stream of profanity and naked breasts ( and naked breasts aren't so bad , but naked breasts alone don't make a good movie ) . be sure to bring along your ebonics to english dictionary as well . gilbert gottfried's character serves as one in his very brief appearance , asking for explanations as to what is being said . they should have brought him along for the entire film . [r]
plot : upon the realization that they are failing all of their classes , two roommates try to find a third roomie who will kill himself , since the school's charter automatically grants top grades to the roommates of any student who succeeds in suicide . critique : despite this film's interesting premise and dark subject matter , this movie sucks because it is unfunny , boring , and presents us with one of tom everett scott's worst acting performances . add that to a completely unsuccessful romance element , many lame and corny jokes , a long wait for the setup , and an ending that takes all the blackness out of this " black comedy " ( if you're gonna create a black comedy , don't chicken out in the end-see very bad things ( 8/10 ) for a perfect example ) , and you've got yourself a trite mtv creation worthy of its own subject matter . i barely laughed at any gags , found the bong element contrived and repetitive , and was horrified not to find any gratuitous nudity tossed anywhere in this movie ( if you're gonna make a bad college comedy , at least slap in some free t&a shots for the kids : ) . this one's not even worth the rental , fellas . skip it altogether ! little known facts about this film and its stars : during auditions for that thing you do ! , tom everett scott's first feature film role , director tom hanks was opposed to hiring tom because of the fact that scott could've passed for hanks 15 years ago . it wasn't until hanks' wife rita wilson saw the audition tape , and decided he was cute , that hanks decided to risk hiring scott . the actor who played scott cooper in this film , mark-paul gosselaar , is best known for having played the character of zack morris on tv's " saved by the bell " . his parents are dutch and named hans and paula . and who would've guessed that this is director alan cohn's first shot at directing a feature film ?
phil ( radmar jao ) has a hairy problem . his beard is growing so rapidly that he has to shave every hour . he recently met the author of a non-fiction book on lycanthropy , also referred to in the movie as werewolfism , and phil now believes that his problem is that he has become a werewolf . using enough chains and handcuffs to be a hit at a sadomasochists convention , he ties himself in at night lest his urges overcome him . and phil is just one of the many quirky characters that inhabit shopping for fangs . made on a pittance , the film features an almost exclusively asian-american cast . as directed by quentin lee and justin lin , the movie is so amateurishly bad that it could almost be a parody of indie films . jeanne chin plays katherine , a meek and soft-spoken wife , who worries that her husband is unhappy with her because she is not giving him enough sex . we know this through the endless scenes of her confessing her sins , real and imagined , to her therapist . as her husband , jim , clint jung plays a muscle man with a macho crudeness . the picture is filled with stereotypes . there's a mysterious , loud-mouthed waitress with a big , platinum blonde wig who brags to everyone she meets that she's a lesbian . she spends most of the movie putting the moves on her favorite customer , a gay guy . and the lone white with a major role , the author on werewolfism , has wildly unkempt , orangey blonde , curly hair . from its opening scene of an attempted rape at knifepoint to its easy to guess ending twist , the script rarely has anything to offer . the story is so minimally developed that it feels almost like the actors were ad-libbing . one can only hope that the directors' next film will have some substance and some credible acting . shopping for fangs runs 1 : 30 . it is rated r for sex , violence , and profanity and would be fine for older teenagers .
susan granger's review of " the watcher " ( universal ) just what we need : another lurid , trashy serial killer saga . this time , keanu reeves plays an elusive homicidal maniac who engages in a gruesome ticking-clock cat-and-mouse game with james spader , a burnt-out fbi agent who has suffered a traumatic nervous breakdown after too many years on the job with the lapd . to taunt spader , who has relocated to chicago , reeves packs up his trusty piano wire and moves too . before long , he starts mailing photographs of the lonely , unsuspecting young women who are his intended windy city victims , challenging spader , along with the chicago police department , to stop him within 24 hours before he strikes again . in the midst of this murderous frenzy , there's spader's psychologist , played by marisa tomei , who is even less convincing as a medical professional than jennifer lopez in " the cell . " writers david elliot , clay ayers and darcy meyers , along with first-time director joe charbanic ( helmer of music videos for reeves' band dogstar ) , dwell on the warped thrill of the methodology and the chase , revealing , early on , exactly whodunit since the killer says he and the cop " need each other to give meaning to our lives . " plus , as reeves explains , " we're all stacked right on top of each other , but we don't notice each other any more . " after that , it's all sound effects and tricky camera-work , along with a muddled , discordant soundtrack . james spader's acting technique can be described as 'wooden deadpan' while keanu reeves maintains his perpetually monotone 'dude' persona which sometimes works , sometimes doesn't . chris ellis , as spader's self-important colleague , is the only cast member who manages to be convincing . on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , " the watcher " is an appallingly awful , amateurish 2 . the real torture is watching it .