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Quest (PG, 1999) ... Average: 3.5
(Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver,
Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Sam
Sara Gaughan Austin
Very cute semi-spoof of Star Trek drivel and its fans. Good effects,
good cast. Ok for kids too. Just good fun.
Tim Allen plays the star of a hit Science Fiction TV-drama -
presumably mimicking Star Trek - whose programs have been unknowingly transmitted
to a far away galaxy. A group of aliens under attack have
intercepted the entire TV-series and believe the programs are actually
"historical documents" of a courageous crew and seek out the
Allen and his wacky crew to help.
It pokes fun at the die-hard sci-fi fans - again, obviously, this is meant
to be a good-natured shot at Star Trek's "Trekkies". I'm
guessing that if you're one of those you'll get a good kick out of that
aspect of this movie.
"Galaxy Quest" is one of those silly movies ("satirical
comedy" is the technical-term) that aims to give its audience a few
chuckles and it does not disappoint in that regard. For everything
this type of movie could possibly be, Galaxy Quest was. It's not a
legendary earth-shattering film that will go down as one of the best in
history, but it wasn't meant to be. It's good clean fun, and the
plot is surprisingly smart. A decent rental if you like this sort of
movie. (And even better if you borrow it from Rick Heffner for
I'd like to also note that Sigourney Weaver is pretty hot in this movie,
and looks 10 times better as a blond. Hehe.
Interrupted (R, 1999)
... Average: 4.1
(Wynona Ryder, Angelina Jolie,
Whoopi Goldberg, Clea DuVall, Elizabeth Moss)
This was an interesting, thoughtful, soulful movie. Before I go on, I need to say that it was not the proverbial "chick flick." Matt, my boyfriend, agreed to see it with me and enjoyed it. The movie was made in Harrisburg and that is where I went to high school. The movie is set in Boston, so I was curious how they were going to do that -- it worked. Most scenes are in a mental institution. She sits by the river in one scene -- you might think it is the Charles, but it is actually the Susquehanna. ANYWAY, now for the review . . .I can't finish. . .Chris is staring over my shoulder and he wants to play on the internet.
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Like "Dead Poets' Society," "Girl,
Interrupted" explores young people in an earlier era, grappling with
issues of peer relationships and various kinds of authority. Also like
"Dead Poets' Society," "Girl, Interrupted" is
generally well-filmed and well-acted by both smaller ensemble players and
The "girl" of the title is young Susannah Kaysen (Winona Ryder,
who also co-produced), a depressed and withdrawn child of affluence.
After a suicide attempt, she is "voluntarily" committed by her
parents and unscrupulous psychiatrist, more out of embarrassment than
caring. At the state mental health facility for young women, she is forced
to choose between acquiescence and treatment--represented by the
hospital's much-better psychiatrist (Vanessa Redgrave)-ľand rebellion,
personified by a domineering and magnetic psychopath (Angelina Jolie).
Ryder has developed considerably as an actress since her famous role in
Heathers (a part and a plot somewhat similar to the one in this movie) and
she thoroughly explores and personalizes a character who is not always
easy to deal with. She is helped by a script that packs a punch by
not idealizing mental illness or those who suffer from it, perhaps
reflecting the personal experiences related by the real Susannah Kaysen in
her book (on which this film is based).
Jolie is amazingly well cast, an excellent foil to Ryder, even if she
occasionally overacts when she is handed contrived opportunities to do so
(virtually the only fault of the film). See this.
A movie - based on a true story - about an intelligent 18-year old girl (Ryder) suffering from
depression who is thrown into a women's mental institution for attempting
suicide. The institution, filled with a varied array of people
legitimately insane, proves to be clearly inappropriate for someone with
her illness. She quickly befriends many of her fellow
patients, errantly picking up many
of their traits. Then
begins an emotional view of the struggle she
has to find her sanity and independence in an effort to demonstrate she
should no longer be institutionalized.
Angelina Jolie absolutely steals the movie as a manic, manipulative
sociopath whose moods constantly swing from the extreme end of anger to
the extreme end of mischievous. It is Ryder's relationship with
Jolie's character that is the crux of the film. Jolie's character
had to have been an extremely difficult role, but she was both fantastic
and flawless. Jolie deserves every bit of the critical acclaim she
received for her part.
Whoopi Goldberg plays the nurse at the institution. Whoopi is a fine
actress but, is it just me, or does anyone else have a hard time taking
her seriously? Maybe it's her name - I see her face, I think
"Whoopi" and it makes me feel like I should be laughing.
Doesn't matter much here since she doesn't have a very large role.
In summary, the movie was interesting and very much above average.
You definitely felt for her situation, the fear, confusion and
isolation. Her developing relationships with the others in the movie
were thought provoking. Highly Recommended.
(R, 2000) ... Average: 4.25
(Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Spencer Treat Clark, Ralf
The setting is the Roman Empire in 180 A.D.
Russell Crowe plays Maximus, one of Rome's great Roman generals and all
around good guy - loyal, noble, righteous, well-respected, infinitely charismatic,
not to mention the most dexterous man on earth. He has just fought
what he hopes is his last battle - this one the great war against the
barbarians in Germania - and
hopes to return home. His plans are turned upside-down when the
Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes over the Roman Empire. I won't give
you much more than that so as to not spoil anything for those who haven't
is an epic thrilling exciting adventure for all audiences that never
losses interest. It's hard for me to imagine anyone not finding this
movie to be completely awe-inspiring.
The writing and the story is top-notch, intelligent and totally
believable, and the acting is totally unbelievable. The
complex characters, dialog and situations all feel legitimately
authentic. You'll find yourself routing hard for Crowe by mid-movie,
while Phoenix plays a tremendously effective tragic villain that will
create churning stomach every time he appears on screen. Even the
lesser characters in the movie - Crowe's friends, Phoenix's sister and
father (Oliver Reed) - were cast brilliantly.
The battle scenes - although a little graphic - matched the realism of the
opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan," walked the fine line
masterfully by keeping it from being at all hokey, and put me on the edge
of my seat.
Those of you thinking "Naaa, I'm just not into those hokey sword and
sandals movies," trust me! Go rent this movie if you haven't
seen it on the big screen!!! There's nothing hokey about it.
This isn't "Ben Hur" or "Sparticus" for the year
2000. This is an amazing and enthralling movie that just happens to
be set during the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. A+ entertainment.
Excellent flick. Go see it on the big
screen. Russell Crowe was great.
Glen Ross (R, 1992) ... Average:
(Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin,
If you are a 100% commissioned salesperson this is a must see,
otherwise you may not like it. Adapted from a theatrical production, this
blockbuster gets to the heart of demonstrating the hard and soft sell. To
save yourself some time go right to the part where Alex Baldwin tells Jack
Lemon to, "Put that coffee down!!! Coffee is for closers!!"
Baldwin does a kickass job of telling Lemon and his cohorts just how
pathetic they are. Pacino, the smooth, soft talking winner, was the type
of salesmen who sold my parents on, like, five time-share deals in the
past six months. If you are a commissioned salesperson and your parents
don't think that you provide a legitimate service to society because you
are not a policeman, doctor, or lawyer then definitely do not let them see
(PG-13, 2001) ... Average: 0.5
(Mariah Carey, Max Beesley, Eric Benet, Vondie
Curtis-Hall, Da Brat)
(See also my review of the Britney Spears vehicle "Crossroads.")
Once again, let me clarify--we rented these movies specifically so we
could drink & mock them. In that sense, they were successful.
Quick plot synopsis (using the term loosely): Young pretty girl catches
attention of hot NYC DJ. Starts as backup to diva-type, but clearly
sings better. DJ and producer both interested in making her a star
but conflict about her career. DJ bets it all on one horse and helps
her gain fame; meanwhile they fall in love (more or less). Success
has pitfalls. Conflict between DJ and producer escalates.
Honestly, I can't even remember how it ends, since by then I didn't really
Maybe it's because it was later and we had had such sport with Britney's
movie, but even mocking "Glitter" wasn't as much fun.
Compared even to "Crossroads,"
"Glitter" is trite and predictable, with the added bonus of
being badly acted and poorly paced. It seemed at times that the
filmmakers were allowing the cast to improvise, perhaps hoping for some
spontaneous magic. The result, however, seemed instead to be odd
lingering lulls in conversation and some very dead, non-dramatic
Knowing, of course, that Mariah Carey's real life was unspooling around
the time the movie was made just makes it kinda pathetic; one almost feels
too sorry for her to enjoy making fun. The fact that it's supposed
to be semi-autobiographical makes it even worse.
If, however, you don't let such sympathies get in the way of your sarcasm,
I doubt you'll see a movie this year that's more mockable than
Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Some of you might wonder why I'm bothering to review this
strongly pro-John Kerry documentary, months after the election that it hoped
to influence is over. I happen to think that this movie is still very worth
watching, election or no election. True, Kerry, as a young volunteer Navy
officer in the 1960's, is definitely the protagonist, and the movie
certainly portrays him positively. That said, the stories it tells--the
bravery of the men who served on the "swift boats" on the rivers of Vietnam,
the perils they faced, and the later tribulations of those who joined
Vietnam Veterans Against the War--go way beyond him. Seeing this film
taught me quite a bit about the events of that period, even though I used to
have a job that put me in touch with many Vietnam veterans, and I consider
myself quite knowledgeable about that time in history. (One thing that I
hadn't seen was the debate between Kerry, as a young anti-war leader, and
John O'Neill, a fellow veteran handpicked by President Nixon to oppose him
one night on the Dick Cavett show. Kerry destroyed O'Neill so easily that
you have to wonder if O'Neill's later leadership of the deceitfully-named
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was meant as personal revenge.)
The movie isn't perfect, of course; for one thing, a few of the interviews
are cut off too early (in particular, I would have liked to hear more from
Kerry's fellow vet and former senator, Max Cleland). In addition, the
music is oddly pedestrian, especially considering that it was written by
none other than famous minimalist composer Philip Glass. The good points
more than outweigh the bad points, however. The footage of the Vietnam
Veterans Against the War protests in Washington in 1969 is especially
powerful, and brings home the tough decision Kerry faced when he
contemplated throwing his medals away as an act of antiwar protest.
All in all, this is an excellent movie to see if you want to learn more
about the Vietnam generation; if you go away from it wondering if the best
man won last year, that's fine with me, too.
in 60 Seconds (PG-13, 2000) ... Average: 2.5
(Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert
Duvall, Delroy Lindo)
OK...sue me. I like mindless, action flicks. I am an "Armageddon" fan and have seen all the "Die Hard" movies a thousand times. I'm also a sucker for Nicholas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, and, uh-oh...Angelina Jolie. By the way, if you're going to see this movie so you, too, can ogle Mrs. Billy Bob, rent
"Girl, Interrupted." Angelina is in "Gone..." about 15 minutes. Anyhoo, this is mindless entertainment with hot cars, fast chase scenes, unrealistic get-aways, and some cute banter between the characters. Cage is the big brother of Ribisi, and is called on to help his little bro get out of a bad situation. Cage sleepwalks through his part -- he's a bland, bad-guy-turned-good, everyman. Ribisi looks like he just rolled out of some after-hours club and is looking for a "hit" of anything -- the ultimate grunge. And Angelina is wearing her lips. The movie is loud, raucous, and worth the $7.00. Just don't expect to be challenged.
Mile, The (R, 1999) ... Average: 4.75
Michael Clark Duncan, David Morse)
Read the book, saw the movie!!! Stephen King is a genius!! WOW!!
was an excellent movie. Worth watching if you can stand to be depressed by
the sheer evil of the human spirit for a night or so. I saw it last night
and found myself laying in bed thinking about it for a long, long time. I
even woke up and could not get back to sleep because images from the movie
kept running through my mind. I realized that this is because there is no
cathartic moment in the film and you are left to think about it until you
come to your own conclusion about the universal truths of the movie. I'm
still pondering. . .stay tuned. (Kerry later asked that I also note there
were a lot of parts that were difficult to watch, particularly the
electric chair execution.)
Although the setting is death row, that fact is very much secondary to
the focal point of the movie. In the end you are given a lot more to
think about than the rigors of life on death row: Among the obvious are
your own mortality and what you are doing with it, IMmortality -
would it be a gift or a curse? -, and the balance of good vs. evil.
Just about every movie attempts to move its audience in some fashion - The
Green Mile is doesn't miss in this regard - there is lot to FEEL in this
movie: Pure hatred and disregard for life, the ultimate struggle that goes
through ones mind when faced with doing what is right, and the giving of
love and kindness, and the great feeling when that love is returned.
Interesting to me were the many death row "themes" or parallels
running throughout the movie - the woman with the tumor essentially living
on her own death row, and the feeling that the gift of living forever
would, in many ways, be no better than living on death row.
The movie was a bit longer than I thought it had to be and not exactly the
cheeriest, but it certainly was moving, chilling and thought-provoking.
Tom Hanks is the best of my generation. This movie and its supporting cast
will undoubtedly be rewarded with a lot of critical acclaim.
Pointe Blank (R, 1997) ... Average: 4.25
(John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, Alan
Arkin, Ann Cusack, Jenna Elfman)
This movie is a dark comedy. Why is it that any comedy which
includes death is a dark comedy? The film stars John Cusack and
Minnie Driver as former high school sweethearts separated when Cusack
mysteriously disappears on the day of the high school prom. Ten
years later he returns for the class reunion and that's when the fun
starts. Did I mention, in those ten years our hero has become a
killer for hire? The movie chronicles the events that occur when
Cusack's past and present meet in the days leading up to the reunion.
The two lives present an interesting juxtaposition as they speed toward
each other on a collision course.
Everyone, except Steve Stremba, should enjoy this movie. Steve won't
because he didn't like American Pie. Which I find disturbing, by the
way. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because nothing
is perfect, except of course Our Pal.
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
A turnoff ending, but a great deadpan John Cusack role as a contract
hitman going to his high school reunion (even that sentence is fun to