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Jackal, The (R, 1997) ... Average: 2.5
(Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora)

Chris Mal
I guess I've just never been a big fan of these action shoot-'em-up blow-'em-up type of movies.  They always seem to be filled with as many holes as they have chase scenes.

Willis plays a hired assassin paid $70,000,000 to kill someone high in the U.S. government ranks.  He is constantly changing his identity and location.  Richard Gere plays an IRA underground prisoner, utilized by the FBI because Gere's character "thinks" like Willis's character and has a "history" with Willis's character (OK, that's realistic!)

Willis's character is painted as mysterious, secretive and to have precision intelligence.  Yet, he leaves plenty of obvious clues in his path - if you have some whacked-out computer nerd build you a device for destruction, I can understand killing the kid afterwards, but why blow him away AND the kid's truck and leave the bloody remains in the field where he can be found AND leave all of the plans for the device back in the kid's shop?  That wasn't very mysterious and precise!

Then there are the obligatory scenes were Gere's character comes face to face with Willis's and none of the usual 25 FBI agents are anywhere to be found...Bev just yelled at me for always having negative reviews, so I guess I must say that while there were things about this movie I didn't like, it did hold your attention for the duration.  It's an OK rental, but I'm glad I didn't pay money to see it in a theater.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks Sidney Poitier is one of the worst actors of all time?

James and the Giant Peach (1996) ... Average: 3.0
(Paul Terry, Richard Dryfuss, Susan Sarandon, Joanna Lumley, Miriam Margolyes, Pete Postlethwaite)

Chris Mal
The person who dreamt up this story clearly found some good drugs.  James's parents are eaten by a Rogue Rhinoceros that is actually a bunch of clouds.  He's given to his evil aunts who are apparently related to Cinderella's wicked stepmother in that they doom him to a life of no-fun.  That is, until some wacky guy appears and gives him a bag of funky looking spring-like glow worms which he immediately accidentally spills.  Soon the tree out front grows a gigantic peach which houses a bunch of giant sized insects which he befriends.  James and his motley crew of insects then travel from London to New York City by attaching a bunch of sea-gulls to the peach.  Upon reaching New York City the giant peach becomes impaled on the top of the Empire State Building.  Ummmm...yeah, OK.

I watched this with my 5-year old niece and my 3-year old nephew, both of whom were sure the insects were going to eat poor James at any minute.

I'm not sure the real moral of the story.  I suppose it was something like "If you dream something, you can make it come true."  Regardless, I'm sure even the brightest of kids were more engrossed by the entertainment of it than any morals hidden in the story.

From a "grown up's" stand-point, the animation was good, not unlike the characters in "A Bug's Life."  All of the characters had fun witty personalities, and a number of clever insect puns that got me to chuckle (e.g. "Don't rush me, I've only got a hundred hands." - the centipede; and "Why, this isn't very lady-bug-like." - the ladybug who was stuck on her back; "He just committed pesticide!" - after one of the jumped off of the giant peach.)

A cute movie, I was mildly entertained and the kids didn't fall asleep and one of them even wanted to watch it again the next morning, but compared to movies like "Toy Story," I can only give this one a 3-1/2.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (R, 2001) ... Average: 3.75
(Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Chris Rock, Shannon Elizabeth, Ben Affleck, Jason Biggs,
Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, Judd Nelson, George Carlin, Jules Asner, Jon Stewart, Carrie Fisher,
Alanis Morrissette, Mark Hamill)

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

Kari Cambin
What a great film!  I went to watch it with 7 of my good friends. Its too bad that four of them were kicked out for not concealing their cans of beer when the damn ticket boy with the flashlight came in.  I was torn, should I act like I know these people and get up and leave too or should I just keep my beer under my coat and enjoy the show.  Before I knew it I was laughing my butt off and finishing my beer (it's a shame waste perfectly good alcohol).  I enjoyed it enough to volunteer to go back and see it again with my less fortunate friends who had to leave.   

John Q (PG-13, 2002) ... Average: 3.0
(Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Anne Heche, James Woods,
Eddie Griffin, Kevin Connolly, Ray Liotta, Daniel E. Smith)

Chris Mal
Let's just say that there was enough cheese in this movie to cover every last remaining cracker in the world.  There were way too many lame attempts to overdramatize everything, and the technical oversights were a little embarrassing at times.  So much so that it wasn't difficult to instantly pin-point the things that weren't realistic.  Nothing kills a drama quicker than a few "Wait, that couldn't actually happen"'s.

That said, this wasn't a bad movie, per se.  I'm probably just a stickler for details.  I figure that if you have a multi-million dollar budget you can hire someone to do a little research regarding reality.

Anyway, enough of that rant, John Q is a factory worker at the low end of the social-economic totem pole with an absolutely adorable little son who lights up the screen.  (Loved this kid as much as Denzel!)  It's clear that this is a very close knit happy family, when one day the kid collapses running from first to second.  It turns out that he has an enlarged heart.  The doctor recommends a heart transplant, but because it is considered an "optional" procedure, Denzel's insurance won't pay for the $250,000+ surgery.  In fact, they won't even put him on the waiting list for a new heart.  (After watching the extra features on the DVD, it turns out this is entirely accurate!  HMO's suck!  American health care sucks!  As progressive as our country is, how can we have a health care system so incredibly screwed up?)

So, Denzel decides to take matters into his own hands by holding everyone hostage in the emergency room.  It is very dramatic, and it does keep your attention.  You just need to tip-toe through the cheese every now and then.

Our biggest beef was with the hospital director played by Anne Heche.  Bev was our resident expert - she's a nurse.  Bev was quite annoyed by the way they portrayed the hospital's attitude.  According to Bev, there is absolutely no way that any hospital would treat people the way they were.

And what was with role of the chief of police played by Ray Liotta.  UGH!  Was it even necessary?  God I hate when movies have to insult my intelligence with the bad cop in charge who steps in to screw everything up.  It added ZERO to the movie and was so cheesy you'd have to hide it from mice.

Denzel is awesome as always.  I love that guy.  His son is a budding little star.  Wouldn't at all be a surprise to see him again down the road in other movies.

If you've seen all the other good movies at Blockbuster this is an OK rental, but I wouldn't put it at the top of your list.