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RETURN TO MOVIE
(1993) ... Average: 4.3
(Chris Elliot, Ritch Brinkley, Brian Doyle Murray)
The ingredients of a timeless classic!
Three words...funny movie.
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Ah, the joys and tribulations of being a fan! I have been an
unabashed fan of Chris Elliott
(come to think of it, why would anyone be an abashed fan of Chris
Elliott?) since the halcyon days of his David Letterman period.
Furthermore, I recently had the luck to discover his early-90's sitcom,
the aptly-named Get a Life, on video. In Cabin Boy, however, the
supreme silliness and anarchic wit that have always characterized his
talent get a bit old, at least for my tastes, although I'm guessing that a
lot of other fans would disagree.
The plot is mostly an excuse to allow Chris to do his thing. His
character, a self-described "fancy lad" from an elite prep
school (where he was--big surprise!!--the class clown), he plans to sail
to Hawaii to join his father and instead finds himself on a boat full of
hardened and thoroughly unpleasant sea-dogs.
At various times, this script gives you the opportunity to watch Chris
sing out of key, babble incoherently (and no one babbles incoherently
quite like Chris), romance a pretty-but-tough stranger (played by Melora
Walters from Boogie Nights, who isn't bad), take abuse from the sea-dogs,
have thrilling adventures on the high seas, and generally enjoy himself.
Like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, all this has a kind of idiotic
energy that can be enjoyable for a while; unfortunately, like Bill and
Ted's Excellent Adventure, I thought it just got wearisome as the
silliness quotient continued to increase.
If you're wondering whether this movie is for you, here's a simple test:
There is a scene right after Chris loses his virginity (and no, I am not
giving away a big plot point here), in which our hero, an enormous smile
on his face, declares to the blue morning sky "MY PIPES ARE
CLEAN!" as typical dramatic soundtrack-music swells in the
background. If that sounds funny to you, then this is your movie; if
not, it may be best to steer clear.
Hardly Wait (PG-13, 1998) ... Average: 1.0
Love-Hewitt, Jenna Elfman, Lauren Ambrose)
Love Hewitt is a very pretty young woman. She is also a competent actress,
and has at least one extraordinary entry on her resume (the TV show Party
of Five, in case you've been on Mars). Now, of course, she is angling
for her promotion to the big-time of Hollywood; one result, tragically, is
this piece of stale doughnut that I made the mistake of inserting into my
thoroughly unprepared VCR.
The plot consists of all the usual
high-school-graduation-and-party BS that we've all seen a million times,
in movies that were just as bad. All the idiotic, tired stereotypes are
here--the nerds, the jocks, the princesses, the moronic foreign exchange
students, even the white kids trying to be black, all take insufferable
bows. (The nerd cliché is the most offensive of all; according to this
movie, anyone that surfs the internet, likes The X-Files or Star
Wars, or does not drink is a nerd, which means that nerdism afflicts
roughly 85% of the U. S. population.)
Hewitt manages to emerge with most
of her pride intact, but only because she does not really have all that
much screen time. The same cannot be said for Jenna Elfman (who has an
inexplicable small role that seems to be intended largely to expose
substantial quantities of her body) and a fine young actress named Lauren
Ambrose, who has the only interesting relationships in the film and cries
out plaintively for a better role, selected with more judgment.
this are the reason we have MST3K, and this dog is begging for it!
The Unknown Payperviewer
Can't hardly wait, is right! Can't wait to get the f*** out of
there. Talk about lame. I almost fell asleep watching
it. The only good thing about this crappy movie was Jennifer Love
Hewitt's (thingies). Oh, and I don't mind Seth Green, he was
funny. I give the one star for Jennifer's (thingies).
2000) ... Average: 3.0
(Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Lari White, Michael
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Unlike most of the rest of the world, I am not really a big fan of
Forrest Gump, the first collaboration between director Bob Zemeckis and
actor Tom Hanks. To my great surprise, I actually liked this movie
(their latest work) a lot better.
Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a hotshot young efficiency expert for Fed Ex who
travels to foreign country offices and gives pep talks to faltering
employees about the importance of time. He is called up unexpectedly
to Malaysia just as he is planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend
Jan (Helen Hunt) and ends up the only survivor of a horrific crash in the
Pacific Ocean, which lands him on a small island somewhere in the
Pacific... where he begins to experience time (and the rest of life) in a
very different way.
The message being delivered here, like most Hollywood messages, isn't
especially subtle, but it is delivered much more artfully than the norm,
making this film a great pleasure. The terrifying plane crash, and
Hanks' subsequent struggle to become used to island life, are related with
a sober realism and without lots of heavy-handed music to guide the
viewer's every emotion. With a few exceptions, even the computer graphics
look like what they're meant to look like. While many viewers might find
the island-life scenes boring, I actually found them to be the exact
opposite–I was riveted to the screen, because I desperately wanted Chuck
to survive and get back home someday. (This interest in the main
character is exactly what was absent from Forrest Gump, at least for me.)
The later developments in the plot (which I dare not describe in detail) I
actually found less interesting. This was a minor gripe, however, as
was my ambivalence about Helen Hunt's performance (she never quite nails
down her Southern accent, and sometimes seems less-than-involved with her
As a side note, much has been said about the product-placement in the
movie, particularly the omnipresence of FedEx packages, making the movie
seem a bit like one long commercial. While I would agree that this
is one of the cheesier aspects of the movie, I also liked the realism of
featuring an actual company, instead of a fake one that we would all know
was just a stand-in for the real FedEx. (To some extent, this is a
pet peeve of mine; I have never seen a movie with a fake company name that
didn't sound like exactly what it was, a movie-fake-company-name.)
It's rare that I'm so torn on my opinion of a movie. On one
hand, I can see why some people were bored by the lack of dialog of a man
stuck on a deserted island for four years all by himself. On the
other hand, I can see why others were intrigued by uniqueness of the
situation. And, I really can't make up my mind. There were
times, while Hanks' character was stuck on the island, that I was riveted
to my seat in anticipation. But, in some ways, that part did play a
little long and, perhaps, they could have cut that a little shorter and
instead added to the last part of the movie when he had finally returned
from the island. Clearly, this movie would, indeed, have been much
better if they would have offered additional insight upon his
return. What did his friends think? What was the reaction of
his family? His co-workers? You never really get that as the
movie runs out of time.
As most everyone has said about the movie, the plane crash scene was
fantastic. Extremely well done and quite intense. Excellent
special effects. I can really imagine that's exactly how it would
feel to crash into the ocean in a jet plane in the middle of a terrible
storm. It's a terrifying sequence just about worth the price of the
I'm going to go read some other reviews on the internet to figure
something out - I must be dense or wasn't paying close-enough attention
because I'm not sure I understood the significance of the package that he
never opened and then delivered at the end of the movie. Anyone?
Tom Hanks was, as always, top rate. His performance and the way the
movie was written, really made you feel his totally encompassing
helplessness. I also found it interesting, the parallels of being
stuck on a dessert island and then returning to a life where everyone
thought he was dead, only to feel like he had completely lost everything
(and everyone) that he had before getting on the plane - not unlike how he
felt while being stuck on the island for four years in the first place.
Overall, I'd recommend this movie. It was unequivocally
unique. I'd be interested to hear other viewpoints.
(Bev thought the movie was fantastic and liked the movie more than I did.)
Hohenadel (a.k.a. Catgirl)
Oh my God! Why did I pay full price to see this depressing,
long, tedious crappy movie when I could have used the $8.00 to pay some
crack head to take out my eye? It would have probably been less
I love Tom Hanks. He's one of those actors that makes me smile just
by seeing him on screen. And I did smile when he came on -- for
about 30 seconds.
Cast Away is -- in case English is NOT your primary language -- about a
castaway -- a man who ends up on an island for four years, all alone, with
little or no provisions. The movie is a long, drawn-out version of
"Murphy's Law" -- whatever can go wrong, will. 45 minutes
into the movie, I leaned over to my husband and said, "Get this guy
HOME already!" And I wasn't kidding.
Hanks' acting is fine -- for as much as he needs to act. I'm sure
his folks are proud that they paid for acting classes so he could learn to
use up 7 minutes of the movie trying to open a coconut. And that was
one of the EXCITING parts.
The first hour or so is just Hanks and the elements -- no music, little
dialogue, except him talking to his "friend" the beach ball (don't ask) and painful attempts at leaving, self-surgery and foraging for
food. The last 45 minutes is his homecoming and then the movie ends.
You would think that after all the guy has been through, the writers would
have made up a great ending. WRONG. It just ends. Ugh.
I honestly have nothing good to say about this movie. However, if
you choose to ignore this review and see Cast Away, do yourself a favor --
leave after the "Coming Attractions." They're much more
Catch Me If You Can (PG-13,
2002) ... Average: 3.5
(Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Garner, Martin
Sheen, Christopher Walken)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Conners...err, Frank Abagnale, who is a
substitute teacher, no wait, he's an air line co-pilot for United, or no,
he's a doctor, or, wait, no, now he's a lawyer. Actually, he was
really truly none of those things. What he was was the world's
greatest con-artist of our time, a master of forgery and false
impersonations, all at the ripe old age of 17 before even graduating from
high school. It's one of those stories that would have been
absolutely completely absurd and laughable and preposterous as fiction,
but as it is, this story is a true one. (I even saw a story about
the real Frank Abagnale on Dateline recently. Quite an interesting
character, and what a tale!) The things he was able to pull off are
simply amazing to consider.
The charades begin for Abagnale when he arrives at his new high school for
his first class, discovers that a substitute teacher is expected, and
without missing a beat, writes his name on the board, tells the class to
be quiet and asks what chapter they are on. He teaches for a full
week before anyone catches on. The man was a genius!
Tom Hanks is wonderful, but then Tom Hanks is just about the definition of
wonderful at this point, or rather, wonderful is the definition of Tom
Hanks. Hanks plays the stuffy obsessed FBI agent hot on elusive
Abagnale's trail for 95% of the movie.
Still, as good as the movie was - and it was good - it left me feeling
just wee-bit empty, albeit inexplicably. Enough so that I can't give
it a 4-star rating. It could have been the 2 hour and 15 minute
length, perhaps, or that we showed up at the theater at 6:59 for a 7:00
movie and had to sit in the front row. (My neck still aches.)
I think this movie would have been better if it had been trimmed to 90
minutes. There were parts that I think could have been easily
If Leonardo DiCaprio continues to make movies like this (that is, with
Tom Hanks), Titanic may become a blissful distant memory.
2000) ... Average: 3.5
(Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Marianne
Jean-Baptiste, Dylan Baker)
I see "The Cell" as a very misunderstood movie! Many people
thought it was too violent and sexually explicit but I LOVED IT!!! You
have to look behind the shocking images to WHY Carl Stargher
kills...speaking of which, Vincent D'Onofrio's performance was
brilliant. The directing was great and the imagery was
breath-taking! **** Four stars!!!
"The Cell" is a dark psychological thriller about a serial
killer (D'Onofrio) who falls into a coma soon after capturing another
victim. A group of scientists meanwhile has been performing a
revolutionary experimental technique where one person can enter "the
world" in another person's mind. Jennifer Lopez, who plays a
child psychologist who was previously working on this
"technique" for the first time with a small boy, is chosen to
enter the mind of the killer, pretty much literally, in an effort to
figure out where he has his latest victim locked up. Most of the
movie is spent as a wild - and unbelievably bizarre - ride through the
mind of this psycho.
flaw of the movie is that it almost seemed to me they had a long series of
amazing - and twisted - special effects...and the movie you have here was
built around using them. Some of the things were kind of sick - the
guy who has his nipple chain pulled off in slow motion struck me as the
most gratuitous, for example.
The things that happen "in their minds" are dreamlike sequences
- or rather nightmares - that are seemingly real to the person who is
"visiting." So, once that premise is established, all
logic goes out the window because, after all, it's not
"real" so anything can happen no matter how bizarre - and no
matter how unrealistic. That "dream-world" of sorts is
on-screen for about two-thirds of the movie. Some of the things that
happen - even outside of their "minds" - are almost
The movie did keep me entertained, I will say that much. So, in that
regard, it was a worthy rental, but all-in-all there wasn't really a lot
of substance beyond the visual splendor, if you step back and think about
it. So, the best I can give it is 3-stars.
(Funny line that I saw in another review of this movie: "The
Cell asks the provocative question, 'What goes on inside a serial
killer’s mind?,' and ends by concluding that he mostly wants to dress up
in one of Cher’s Oscar outfits.")
Lanes (PG-13, 2002) ... Average: 2.0
(Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Affleck, Toni Collette, Sydney
Pollack, William Hurt)
If you have seen the trailers for "Changing Lanes," save
your $7.50. You have already seen the best parts of the movie.
Changing Lanes is the story of an up-and-coming young lawyer (Affleck)
who, in his haste to get to a court appearance, gets into a fender bender
with an insurance agent (Jackson), equally in a hurry to get to a court
appearance. The difference is that Affleck is going to court to
screw a charitable foundation out of millions of dollars and Jackson is
going to court to try and gain custody/visitation with his two young sons.
During the chaos of trying to exchange insurance information in the middle
of the JFK, Affleck drops a very important file -- one that could possibly
make or break the outcome of the court appearance, his career and his
father-in-law's law firm. Jackson, of course, ends up with the file.
Changing Lanes goes from a movie with possibilities to a disjointed mess,
at best. Affleck and Jackson spend the rest of the movie trying to
screw each other just enough to get what they need. Ultimately, they
screw each other just to "one up" the other.
Samuel L. Jackson is a great actor who is very believable in his part as
the put-upon guy with issues who just can't seem to catch a break.
Affleck is annoying as a lawyer who's not so sure he's cut out for being
the type of lawyer he needs to be to make it in the firm, but not alter
boy enough to be a good guy.
I sincerely believe that the writers felt they had to throw in
non-essential plot twists for Affleck's character because the character
wasn't strong enough just being a jerk to Jackson. The plot twists
never really develop, nor do they ever get resolved. A stupid waste
Changing Lanes really was not a good movie. With a little effort and
focus, it could have been. As it stands, it definitely only merits a
Amy (R, 1997) ... Average: 4.5
(Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell,
Jason Mewes, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Kevin Smith's triumph, about a comic-book writer (Ben Affleck) who
falls for a colleague who happens to be a lesbian (Joey Lauren Adams).
Car-stopping scene is one of the most moving love scenes on film. Jay and
Silent Bob, of course, threaten to steal the whole thing.....
Run (G, 2000) ... Average: 4.17
(Mel Gibson, Julia Sawahla, Miranda Richardson, Tony
Haygarth, Phil Daniels)
Seriously funny and very cleverly written. In addition to the amazing claymation work by Nick Park (creator of the "Wallace and
Gromit" shorts, also recommended), it's well-written with a lot of amusing references to all those great old WWII escape movies (like
"Stalag 17," "The Great Escape," etc.). You'll even find homages to Indiana Jones and Star Trek, just to name a few!
Couldn't be more highly recommended.
Drago (a.k.a. "The Chicken")
Just read your review of Chicken Run, and I liked it even more than
you did (and not because of the title).
I rented it for the kids, of course. But what I really got a kick out of,
and what I think not too many people picked up on, was that it was, in
part, a parody of "Stalag 17" and "The Great Escape,"
both WWII concentration camp movies. Not sure if you've seen them, but if
you had, it makes Chicken Run even funnier.
A smart and charming animated film about the many foiled escapes of a
bunch of chickens - with British accents! - on a chicken farm not unlike a
concentration camp. The movie stars Ginger (played by Sawahla), the
ever-determined brains of the operation, and co-stars Rocky the rooster
(played by Mel Gibson), who promises to teach the chickens how to fly.
A team of 300 (including 40 animators) worked for over two years to
produce Chicken Run. Its use of the "claymation" type of
animation is particularly impressive, given that there are 24 frames per
second of film time, and that each character needed to be moved minutely
by hand for each new frame. There are some scenes with dozens of
characters, each with distinct facial expressions, physiques and
It's good clean fun with many successful attempts at humor to amuse both
kids and adults alike, but I can't say that it matched up with classic
animated films like Toy Story. On the other hand, Bev absolutely
loved this movie and even clapped in our living room as the credits
It's above average and for the family of many different ages, this is one
that will appeal to everyone.
Ciderhouse Rules (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 4.25
(Michael Caine, Toby McGuire, Charlize
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Definitions of home, and of family, are raised by
Lasse Halstrom's endearing latest movie. The story follows Homer Wells, an orphan in a
hospital in rural Maine (played well by Toby McGuire), from his birth to his attempt to
make it on his own in young adulthood in World War II-era America.
If McGuire and the
other actors are good, Michael Caine--playing the orphanage's resident doctor, an even
more fascinating and complex character--is astounding. In raising the question of the
extent to which Caine's character is Homer's "father" (in every sense of the word but the
biological), the film consistently enthralls, rarely settling for the easy way out in its script.
There are moments of sentimentality and some
clichés, but they are never allowed to
overwhelm us (which was a problem with the other Halstrom movie I've seen,
My Life As a Dog).
The weakest link of the project may be Charlize Therzon, who plays a young
woman who becomes Homer's friend. She's very pretty, but her acting is a bit too flat,
and her function in the script a bit too predictable. Still, this movie is entirely worth the
(A few parenthetical notes: Caine maintains a fairly convincing New
England accent throughout most of this film, which ironically makes him less charming,
since his more familiar English accent is one of the most attractive and distinctive
things about him. Also of interest is the central role that a current issue--abortion--necessarily plays in this movie. I was impressed with the way that this
was handled; while there is little doubt which side of the issue the filmmakers are on,
both sides are presented with some fairness and understanding, with the viewpoints
rooted in the characters' selves.)
The story at the start of the movie is set in an orphanage in Maine in
the ‘40’s. At that time, orphanages served not only as a place where
the orphans lived, but also as a place where mothers would go to actually
deliver their unwanted babies – and in the case of this place, abortions
as well. Michael Caine plays the resident doctor who raises one of the
orphans, Homer Wells (played by Tobey Maguire) to be his apprentice,
grooming him to one day take his place. Homer Wells – one of innocence
and naivety as he spends his entire childhood at the orphanage – grows
up brilliant, delivering babies and acting as a "big brother" of
sorts to all of the younger orphans. Longing to experience more than his
enclosed world of the orphanage, Homer decides to leave.
He begins his new life as an Apple picker, falls in love for the first
time and spends his days working with an apple picking crew that can not
even read or write. And so goes the last two thirds of the movie,
developing the many new relationships he grows into, and touching all
those that get near to him.
Cider House Rules was an interesting story with a lot of different levels,
stories and relationships. Fortunately, unlike a lot of multi-leveled
stories, the ones here weren’t so "deep" that they were
difficult to follow. Both Caine and Maguire do fine jobs with their rolls
making for a pleasing movie experience. Both characters were
"complex" but not difficult to relate to and understand. The
character development was touching, as was the naïve-boy-meets-the-world
The movie was a little slow to get moving, but all-in-all was above
average. There are times when it was a bit predictable as well, but not in
a way that annoys or detracts from the bittersweetness of Homer’s
"awakening" to the "real" world.
(Oh, and the metaphor of the beautiful ocean-smoothed piece of glass was a
nice touch, as was the point of the redundant "Cider House
Rules" posted for the migrant apple pickers. See if you catch those
two things – realizing those points is really the moral of the story!)
2005) ... Average: 4.5
(Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Bruce McGill, Ariel
Waller, Paddy Considine, Paul Giamatti)
Has Russell Crowe ever made a bad movie? I can't even think of a
mediocre movie that he's been involved. This is another classic,
must-see movie. And as icing on the cake, it's directed by Ron Howard,
another person who is anything but synonymous with mediocrity.
Crowe plays James J. Braddock, a boxer during the Depression. I have
zero interest in boxing, but this is not a boxing movie, it's more a story
about The Great Depression, and a grand triumph of perseverance over extreme
It's based on a true story, and if it wasn't it would probably come off as
somewhat hokey. But as it is, it takes a grip on you and doesn't let
go for two hours. It's a very tense movie.
It's fairly obvious that good will eventually prevail in a world where every
day is an invitation to despair, yet there is no loss of interest.
It's truly a testament to Crowe and Howard and their tremendous attention to
detail and authenticity.
In the end Crowe winds up fighting a man who appears more evil psychotic
beast than human. You know he's must to win or this wouldn't have been
a true story worth telling, but you still feel every punch as if you were
being hit. You can't help but hang on the edge of your seat wondering
what is really going to happen because it's still all so unbelievable that
Crowe and Howard manage to plant enough doubt in your mind to keep your
chained to your seat.
Paul Giamatti also plays a wonderful supporting role. I'd have to
think that having a key role in a serious movie like this one, and then
knocking it out of the park in the process, is going to land him more key
roles in the future.
This is an absolutely GREAT tremendously moving movie.
Closer (R, 1994) ... Average:
(Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive
Owen, Michael Haley, Steve Benham)
The way I felt after this movie was over was very similar to the way I
felt after I saw "Affliction" and
"Leaving Las Vegas": Melancholy and mildly depressed. If I
wanted that, I could have just turned on the news. No, Closer wasn't
about chemical addictions as the two aforementioned movies were, but it was
the same in that the story was about a bunch of miserable screwed-up people
leading their miserable screwed-up lives...and in the end? The all
live completely UNhappily ever-after.
The moral? The more you tell the truth in your relationship, the more
unhappy you'll become. Throughout the movie, Natalie Portman is the
only screwed-up person who is lying constantly throughout the movie, and she
is the only one truly in love. When does she fall out of love?
At the end of the movie when she's forced to tell the truth about an affair
that she had. What an uplifter!
I saw a lot of odd people in the theater. Not odd in the sense of how
they looked, but rather, there was a mother and her teen-aged daughter; and
a mom, dad, daughter and her boyfriend. They all looked extremely
uncomfortable while leaving the theater. Don't go see this movie
expecting a cutesy Julia Roberts-Natalie Portman chick-flick, because that
it most certainly is not. Save the fact that there is no nudity, this
a very R-rated film.
Collateral (R, 1994) ... Average:
(Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Mark
Ruffalo, Peter Berg)
This was a good movie despite the fact that my Dad felt the need to
pretty much tell me everything about the movie before I saw it. (If
you run into my Dad and he says that he just saw a really good movie,
immediately put your hands over your ears and start screaming "I'm not
listening! I'm not listening! I'm not listening!")
Jamie Foxx plays a cab driver who quickly realizes that the Tom Cruise,
passenger he is driving around from one place to another, is a contracted
hitman carrying out a series of murders. The movie is his long and
torturous night which ends with Foxx attempting to figure out how he is
going to save the fifth victim and himself.
acting is surprisingly good, and Cruise pulls off the "bad guy" roll much
better that I thought he would. In fact, there seems to be a lot of
Tom Cruise detractors out there these days, but I think you'd be surprised
how well he does in this movie.
My only real complaint about this movie that kept it from being a much
better movie was the long series of unlikely coincidences. There were
many but just to name a few:
* How many millions of people in LA, and Foxx just happens to pick up the
prosecuting attorney and the hitman in succession.
* A guy falls out of a 4th story window, and just happens to land on the
* Foxx and Cruise go to the hospital to visit Foxx's mother. Again,
how many millions of people in LA, and they happen to get on the elevator at
the same time as the criminal investigator who is on his way to the morgue.
* Dead body in the trunk, cracked windshield on the taxi, cops pull them
over and tell them his car is unsafe to drive with the broken windshield and
they must make him call to be picked up to get a new cab...oh, and open the
trunk, sir. (Why would they make him open the trunk?) Oh,
oops...another more important call just came in...we'll let you go.
* The taxi flips over a gazillion times, and as Foxx is crawling out,
Cruise's laptop just happens to still be on, and it's open, and it's laying
in front of Foxx's face and on the screen is the name and picture of the 5th
person soon to be killed.
And my other little complaint is - when Foxx gets to Pinkett-Smith's
building and then calls on a cell-phone to tell her that Cruise is in her
building about to kill her, why does he tell her to call 9-1-1? Why
wouldn't HE call 9-1-1 as soon as he got the cell phone?!?!
Still, I don't think normal people would notice those things, I'm just
picky. Bev and my Dad both absolutely loved this movie. In fact,
Bev had a nightmare that night about it. I thought it was good - a
definite worthy rental, but not great.
Constant Gardener (R,
2005) ... Average: 3.0
(Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Bill
Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite)
I bet if I had any idea what was going on this would have been a
really good movie. OK, that's a little harsh. The basic
premise was easy enough to comprehend: British diplomat marries a
much younger attractive strong-willed woman. You see that she is
murdered as the movie begins, then flash back to when they met and how
she came to meet her convictions - the hepatitis epidemic in Kenya, and
the big-time U.S. drug companies using the people of Kenya as guinea
pigs. Real time meets the opening scene about midway through the
movie. Interesting. Did she really love him, or didn't she?
Certain scenes lead you to believe she will do anything for her
righteous cause. And an actually rather interesting plot unfolds.
My problem is this: new supporting character after new supporting
character are thrown at you at lightning speed as the movie quickly goes
forward. I consider myself to be of at least average intelligence.
I couldn't keep up. If you've seen the movie, there's a scene on a
golf course about 3/4 of the way through the movie. I have no idea
who any of those men were. The fact that I all of the ancillary
faces ran together for me was annoying.
And the filming of certain scenes was equally as annoying to me.
What was with the occasional Blair Witch Project hand-held affect that
they went with every now and then? Was that to make me feel like I
was actually there with the other characters. Let me tell you,
when I'm trying to figure out why my wife was murdered, I'm not doing it
through a hand-held video camera.
2000) ... Average: 3.0
(Joan Allen, Christian Slater, Jeff Bridges, Gary
Oldman, William Petersen)
When the Vice President of the United States suddenly passes away, the
President (Jeff Bridges) nominates the Senator from Ohio - who just
happens to be a woman (Joan
Allen) - as the replacement. Strong opposition is received from both
sides, but primarily from a congressman played by Gary Oldman who digs up
information on her past to smear the attempts at getting a passing vote.
I'm having a hard time figuring out why, but I feel like I should have
thought this was a great movie, but I just didn't. It was a smart
script, an intelligent plot and a great cast. Despite a well thought-out plot, it seemed to take a little too
long to develop. Maybe that was it. I don't know.
Regardless, this was a good movie, but it lacked that little extra to call
it a killer movie.
One thing I found a little odd was the decision to portray the president
as chain-smoking, very brash, and taking advantage of his luxuries.
The result was that I spent a good deal of the movie expecting this guy to
turn out to be a low-life, when clearly that was not the intention.
The guy did, indeed, have the strength in character to select the best
candidate for VP, so why try to fool the audience into thinking something
else might be true? (And, as much as I love Jeff Bridges, I'm not
sure I cast him as the President of the United States.)
I also thought the movie would have been better served by immediately
showing the audience Joan Allen's character's noble skills and
deservedness for the job as VP. As it was, her character was pretty
1-dimensional until mid-way through the movie. For the first hour of
the movie, I really thought perhaps she WAS just chosen because she was a
woman. Maybe I enjoy being spoon-fed, but why leave any chance that
the audience will be misled that way?
Gary Oldman is fantastic in this movie. (And, for all of my friends
who know Jonathan Finglass, please see this movie and tell me if you agree
that Gary Oldman's character in "The Contender" IS Jonathan
(R, 2005) ... Average:
(Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito,
Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris)
Not so much a story, as it is just a bold and compelling microcosm of
American society's views on different people, races and religions - and
it isn't pretty. This movie left me feeling more sad for people in
general than I was before - and that's saying something since I haven't
really felt right about the world in general since 9/11.
It's a movie worth seeing. Everyone I know who's seen it says that
it really made you think about your views on other people, and gain a
little sympathy towards people unlike ourselves. Personally, it
just made me sad since I have already been haunted by my own thoughts of
why people think the way they do - I just never had anyone take it all
and put it into a movie before.
As a father of a very young daughter, the scene with the little girl
nearly brought me to my knees. If you saw the movie, you know
exactly which scene I'm talking about.
For whatever it's worth, Roger Ebert named this THE #1 BEST MOVIE OF
(PG-13, 2002) ... Average: 1.5
(Britney Spears, Anson Mount, Zoe Saldana, Taryn
Manning, Dan Aykroyd, Kim Cattrall)
(See also my review of the Mariah Carey opus "Glitter.")
OK, first let me clarify for you--as I did for the kid at
Blockbuster--that we rented these movies specifically so we could drink
& mock them. We had folks over & made snacks, & there
Anyway, the kid at Blockbuster said that "Crossroads" wasn't as
bad as it could have been, and generally I would agree. That said,
it's still pretty bad. As I know many gentlemen appreciate Britney
Spears' aesthetic appeal, that might be the only reason to see it if
you're anything but a 10-year-old girl. Be warned, however, that she
is never naked, though in her very first scene she's dancing around her
bedroom in her undies, singing along to a Madonna song.
The plot, such as it is, involves three childhood friends very improbably
reconnecting on prom night to dig up a time capsule they had buried when
they were 10 and thought they'd be friends forever. Even though the
box has only a few things in it, somehow the girls get the notion to
travel from Georgia to L.A., even though they seem not to have spoken for
the previous eight years. The motive for the L.A. trip is so that
one of them (not Britney) can try out for some record deal or something.
Guess who ultimately sings in the competition?
Not surprisingly, they let Ms. Spears sing a few times, and I imagine if
you like her music you won't mind. She quite pointedly sings
"Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" in the big finale--it's a
coming-of-age-road-trip drama, get it? What surprised me is that
they had her sing such a pokey snoozer of a song for the big dramatic
Still, there is a lot to enjoy here, if your goal is as ours was--satire.
We had a blast making fun of this movie. So even though as an actual
film it's pretty bad--and VERY predictable--as entertainment it's great,
as long as you're prepared to bring your own.
A caution to the 30-somethings out there: Dan Aykroyd plays her dad.
So much for the Wild and Crazy Guy...