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Election (R, 1999) ... Average: 2.0
(Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon)

Jena Dietrich
I felt compelled to defend this movie after reading the other reviewers' remarks. I thought it was great! Very funny! Intelligent, witty writing with a great cast. C'mon, a dark comedy starring Matthew Broderick? A winning combination. It's in my top 10 for the year.

Bev Mal
"It wasn't a great movie, but it kept me entertained."

Chris Mal
This movie sucked.  It was supposed to be funny - I laughed only when Paul, the stupid "jock", was praying to God, giving thanks and said "...and thank you for my penis which is quite large, or so they tell me..."  (I thought this was funny only because I've uttered the same prayer a number of times in the past.)

None of the main characters were really likeable.  Broderick's character cheats on his wife and is boring, his best friend cheats on his wife and is a loser, the stupid jock is a stupid jock, the stupid jock's sister is a bitter lesbian, and her best friend is mean; while Reese Witherspoon's character was excruciatingly annoying and then winds up getting away with being a bitch.  All characters wind up losing their jobs and their wives, or the election that they deserved to win.  All of which, to me, sounds a lot like real life, not comedy.  If I wanted real life, I wouldn't have rented this movie.

(no stars)

Margaret Sturt
This was the worst movie that I have ever sat through in its entirety.

 

Elf (R, 2003) ... Average: 3.5
(Katie Asner, Jon Favreau, Kyle Gass, Will Ferrell, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart, Andy Richter)

Sara (Gaughan) Austin
Very cute Christmas movie entirely safe for the whole family to watch.  Could easily be rated "G."  Definitely not akin to Ferrell's other very funny movie "Old School."  This really should have been marketed as a kid's movie, but it's fun for adults too.  Will Ferrell is hilarious, even in a totally benign and innocent movie like "Elf."

 

The Emperor's New Groove (G, 2000) ... Average: 4.0
(David Spade, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman, Patrick Warburton, Tom Jones)

The Emperor's New GrooveSara (Gaughan) Austin
For all of you Pals of Chris Mal out there who have kids, this one is really worth owning.  Super-cute and funny.  If you are a fan of David Spade or John Goodman, all the better.  Also featuring the voice talents of Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton (of "Seinfeld" and "The Tick" fame)  who is positively hilarious as Kronk, a big-hearted, dumb goon-type.  Highly recommended, rated-G fare.

 

Enemy at the Gates (R, 2001) ... Average: 3.25
(Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Ed Harris, Rachel Weisz, Bob Hoskins, Ron Pearlman)

Chris Mal
The setting of the movie is the Battle of Stalingrad, a story that is one of great significance to World War II, but one not as familiar to me as it should have been.  Specifically, the plot, based on a true story, centers on a legendary Russian
sniper named Vassili Zaitsev (played by Jude Law) whose prowess is used as propaganda to inspire his fellow Russian soldiers.  While his growing legend gains momentum and becomes larger than life, Vassili wages his own mental war pondering his future existence and his love for a woman in a local Stalingrad militia.

The gruesome mind-numbing opening scene stirred up emotions similar to those felt in the first half hour of the 5-Star Classic movie "Saving Private Ryan."  Then, we meet Vassili as he becomes an instant hero by playing dead among the hundreds of slaughtered soldiers and picks off one unsuspecting Nazi after another.  But, after that...for some reason, it just seemed to me that the remainder of the movie kind of blurred together.

Ed Harris plays a Nazi sniper brought in by the Germans to find Vassili and kill him.  Although Harris does a fine job, you don't really get to know him as anything more than a face.  The writers of the movie could have added a whole other dimension to the movie by adding some sort of link between the two men to make the viewer think.

I'm having a difficult time explaining why, but this was one of those movies where I felt I should have enjoyed it immensely, but ultimately wound up feeling empty for some reason.  This was, indeed, a decent movie, had story worth telling and a promising plot, but something was lacking to kick it up from good to great, and I really have no explanation.  Based on the fact that this movie kind of came and went from the theater without any fanfare leads me to believe everyone else felt the same way.

Rory Pfeifer

 

Entrapment (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 3.33
(Sean Connery, Katherine Zeta Jones)

Chuck Fabo
Excellent flick ... great acting ... good story line ... plots and subplots throughout.

Bev Mal

Chris Mal
Firstly, the Chris Mal ranking system automatically deducts one star for any movie which uses the Y2K computer bug as a premise for anything which this movie does, so they were behind
the 8-ball from the start.  In a way, "Entrapment" gave me some vibes of "Broken Arrow" (John Travolta) in it's all-too-frequent lack of realism.  Where "Broken Arrow" displayed scene after scene where Travolta's character would have been killed or shot, "Entrapment", a story about two high caliber 90's thieves, displayed scene after scene where our "heroes" would have been caught - sometimes escaping without much explanation.

Additionally, perhaps I'm simple when it comes to movies, but I need to have a clear-cut 100% pure good guy hero in my movies.  The child in me says people who steal are bad guys.  This movie was solely about two thieves who steal billions of dollars - in the end I found part of me routing for them to get caught.

Their grand finale heist was stealing $8 billion by gaining secret code access to a bank computer and transferring it....where?  Could this not be tracked somehow?  And why were there 1000s of security guards in this building but NONE right next to the main bank computer on the 70th floor?  And why did the computer screen have to take 5 of the 30 seconds they had to scroll up to $8,000,000,000?  Was it counting the money first?  Despite all of this, it was an OK rental, I'm just glad Bev and I didn't spend $15 to see it in the theater.

 

Erin Brockovich (R, 2000) ... Average: 3.5
(Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Cherry Jones)

Chris Mal
If it wasn't "based on a true story" I probably would have been a little skeptical that an out-of-work, high-school drop out, twice-divorced, single-parent of 3 children living in a roach infested shack in the "sticks" of California could possibly have this much affect on the world.  But, true it is, and the result is an attention grabbing movie.  As for just how true this "based on a true story" story is, I read that the movie has gotten high praise from the people portrayed in the movie as being very realistic.

Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts, is a loud/foul-mouthed but sincere and determined woman who winds up working for a small-time lawyer and uncovers the truth regarding toxic chemicals that had seeped into the water of a small community resulting in 15-years of illnesses, diseases, miscarriages, and cancers for hundreds of people.

It's your basic little-guy against seemingly immovable large corporate company lawyer-movie, but it's very well done.  The story is interesting from start to finish, all of the main characters are likeable if not loveable, and the sub-plot relationship between Brockovich and her home life adds a touching realism to the main-story.  Every role and line in the movie seems perfectly scripted.  It's a rare movie that is able to hit on every emotion from cheers to jeers, from laughter to tears - this one will hit you from start to finish.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, note that the REAL Erin Brockovich actually appears in the movie as the waitress at the diner in one of the scenes.

For all of you Julia Roberts fans, this is clearly her best work since "Pretty Woman", 20 feature films ago.  And for those of you who are fans of just LOOKING at Julia Roberts, this has got to be her all-time BEST film.  I never found her as attractive as most people do, but you could justify the enjoyment of this movie even if the sound on your TV wasn't working.

Bill DeHaven
This movie is good but save your money and see it on video. This movie is based on a true story. The basic premise of the movie is that "Erin" (Julia Roberts) is a down on her luck divorced mother of 3 who needs a job. She ends up working for a washed up lawyer and gets involved with a case of corporate negligence which caused serious illness many people in a small community. The rest you will have to see to know what happens.

The advantage of seeing this movie on the big screen is that Julia Roberts breasts are on display in every shot.

BOTTOM LINE, RENT THE VIDEO.

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (R, 2004) ... Average: 4.0
(Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson)

Mike Capilo
Unique in that Jim Carrey does not play a corny or funny role and it works.  Great cast, interesting concept and well acted.  It's worth the price.
 

Eyes Wide Shut (R, 1999) ... Average: 1.5
(Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Todd Field, Marie Richardson)

Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)

Jena Dietrich
Quite possibly the worst movie that I've ever suffered through -- excluding the "Herbie the Love Bug" collection.

Editor's note:  I spoke with Jena later about this review and she summarized it this way - "It does, in fact, suck. Sucks big rocks."