Movies K

Home Injuries MPHS Class of 86 Movie Reviews Neurotic Pictures Quotes Rotisserie Comments




Pre-1999 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005





Keeping the Faith (PG-13, 2000) ... Average: 4.0
(Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman, Anne Bancroft, Milos Forman)

Chris Mal
I'm not really a big fan of this sort of film whose plot is the characters themselves for the most part, but this was put together fabulously.

It's a film about 3 people who grew up together through the 8th grade - two boys and a girl - until the girl's family moved away.  The movie picks up some 16 years later.  The boys, who have remained best friends, have grown up to be a Rabbi (Ben Stiller) and a Priest (Edward Norton).  When their old friend (Jenna Elfman), now an extremely successful businesswoman with a hectic lifestyle, returns, they are reunited in an almost magical fashion.  I say magical in that their on-screen chemistry is absolutely enchanting.  It doesn't take long for their childhood friendships to rekindle...and for both men to fall in love with her.  (I won't say much more so as to not give away the overall plot.)

The film has all of the ingredients - a great cast, a great script, great writing, great timing, just the right dose of humor, and just the right about of feel-good emotion to tug on your heart without going overboard.

Edward Norton is, as always, brilliant.  Has anyone pulled off such a diverse range of characters?  (If you haven't seen "American History X," run, don't walk, to your nearest video store RIGHT NOW.)  As icing on the cake the film is also directed by Norton.

Jenna Elfman, also, was terrific.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if she becomes one of Hollywood's brightest female stars going into the 21st century.

This is a very good film, a more than worthy rental for anyone wanting to feel good.  The film has an innocent charm that is sure to please all audiences.

Bev Mal

David Lichtenstein (As seen on Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page!)
Romantic comedies are not a genre of movie that I greatly enjoy.  In fact, there are only two films of that kinds which I've rated 4 � (out of 5) stars or higher: Tootsie (4 1/2) and The Truth About Cats and Dogs (5).  There is definitely something about the genre which seems to be almost alien to my preferences.  "Keeping the Faith" is a romantic comedy which does a bit better than most.
Movie Image
Jake Schram (Ben Stiller) is a rabbi, and Brian (Edward Norton) is his best friend and also a Catholic priest. After an absence of sixteen years, their childhood friend Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) reenters their lives. She has gone from being a comrade in arms to a beautiful woman (and a high-powered business executive).  Jake and Brian immediately (though unconsciously) begin competing for her romantic affections.

By the time we are introduced to all three main characters, it is perfectly obvious that this is to be a romantic comedy and that there will be happy endings for all; that is in the nature of the genre.  The only question is how will these characters resolve their situation.  The answer is a rather pleasant movie with perhaps a bit more comedy than romance.

The writing is very competent, but not earth-shattering.  This is not a movie that will change you forever.  It is an entertaining diversion from a life that frequently lacks the happy endings that we look for in films like this.  It is fun.  "Fun" is not good enough to reach the highest ranks on my five star scale, but there are only a few moments and characterizations which detract from the truly great.  And so, I find that this would certainly be a fine film to take a potential romantic interest of mine to see.  Any takers?

Kicking and Screaming (1995) ... Average: 4.25
(Josh Hamilton, Olivia D'Abo, Parker Posey)

Drew Gallagher
Quite possibly the best movie I have seen in recent memory. Could be I am a bit partial because I am a highly decorated English major working in insurance. 4.5 stars. Almost reached the rarified air of Cabin Boy.

Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Surely there is no fate more horrible than that of those poor souls forced to leave the peaceful isolation of their college campus and (gasp!) graduate and move into the real world. One is forced to find a job, to commit to responsibilities and people, and even--surely the ultimate indignity--to go to the grocery store to buy food. (Of course, it could be argued that not everyone even gets the chance to go to college, but that never quite makes it into the conversation....)

Kicking and Screaming
is a good movie because it gets a fair amount of amusement out of what could have been just endless bellyaching about the Campus Life Left Behind. It helps that director/scriptwriter Noah Baumbach came up with some interesting characters: Chris Eigeman (the Metropolitan veteran, who is almost as good here) is Max, a quipping veteran of many a discussion seminar. Not as cynical but more confused, his friend Grover (Josh Hamilton) is busy trying to figure out what to do with his literary and personal life now that his longtime soulmate, the brilliant Jane (Olivia D'Abo), has made a rather trendy move to Prague. Meanwhile, perpetual dweeb Otis (Carlos Jacott, who looks like a less threatening version of John Malkovich) tries to find fulfillment working at (big surprise) a video store, and Louis, the least developed of the characters (John Lehr), goes back to school in a bid to keep his not-yet-graduated girlfriend (Parker Posey).  The happiest of all seems to be perpetual student and bartender Chet (Eric Stoltz), which may say a lot.

There are a lot of genuinely funny and insightful moments, and I was generally kept entertained until the end, which I found unsatisfying and the weakest thing about the film. (I should mention that I was pretty happy with Elliott Gould playing Grover's father, who is dealing with a confusing life-transition of a different sort--divorce.) I would recommend this.


Kingdom of Heaven (R, 2005) ... Average: 3.5
(Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Edward Norton)

Mike Capilo
Character driven, weak beginning, Orlando decide.


Kiss the Girls (R, 1997) ... Average: 3.0
(Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes, Tony Goldwyn, Jay O. Sanders)

George Sevart

Chris Mal
I don't know what it is about serial killer movies - I love them...the movies, that is, not the serial killers.  But why must Morgan Freeman be in every single one of them?  (e.g. "Along Came a Spider," "Seven," etc.)  Actually, I love Morgan Freeman, and "Seven" is one of my all-time favorite unsung movies.  If you haven't seen it, go rent it!  And, of course, "Shawshank Redemption," although not a serial killer movie, is another of the all-time greats.

In this one, Freeman plays a North Carolina police detective whose niece is kidnapped by a deranged serial killer who "collects" women.  Not only do these women have to be beautiful, but they also must be highly intelligent and skilled at one thing or another.  For example, Freeman's niece is a brilliant violinist.

Ashley Judd plays a (cute) medical internist who escaped the "collection" and helps Freeman in piecing together the clues.

Yes, this movie was fun and keeps you guessing through to the end.  But, as the movie moved on there were too many times when I thought "OK, I guess we'll just overlook that since this is just a movie."  Like, when Judd was found in the river, obviously the killers lair had to be're telling me that the FBI wouldn't think to search that area?  Or, the obligatory - and frustrating - chase scene where the girl just can't get away from the killer as she's running through the woods because she keeps looking back and then because she's not watching where she's going, keeps tripping over things.  Or when the killer is in Judd's house at the very end of the movie, and instead of running after he stabs her arm, she grabs a towel and starts wrapping it first.  Can't run if I'm bleeding!  And there were a number of other things, as well.  Little things, but they all added up.

So, all-in-all, a decent rental if you like these kinds of movies.  Otherwise, I'm sure there's something better out there that you haven't seen yet.

Beverly Mal
Ruth Sevart

Kissing Jessica Stein (R, 2002) ... Average: 4.0
(Michael Mastro, Carson Elrod, Naomi Sablan, Idina Menzel, Jennifer Westfeldt)

Mike Capilo
I watched this movie based upon Tony's review.  I agree with what he said.  Stop reading this and read his.

Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt), an editor for an alternative newspaper in NYC, wants to find the right person, but has the same tough standards in her personal life that she has in her detail-oriented work.  After a long series of dating misadventures, aided and abetted by a mother (Tovah Feldshuh) that has a more than passing interest in seeing her married, she sees a personal ad with a quote from one of her favorite authors.  She goes ahead and gives the person a call, even though the ad is in the "Women Seeking Women" section.  This brings her into contact with bold gallery manager Helen (Heather Juergensen), who seems more experienced with the whole woman-woman thing--or is she?

Westfeldt and Juergensen wrote this script based on their own play "Lipshtick," about women experimenting with same-sex relationships.  The transition works well; it never occurred to me that I was watching an adapted screenplay, because I was too busy watching a fun, insightful, romantically-comic movie.

As is so often the case with "gay" movies I've seen in the past--Go Fish, Chasing Amy, Philadelphia, and others--it gets easy to forget that the characters even are gay, because so much of what happens is so universal (and is comic partly because it is universal), and because the story bears so much resemblance to similar movies past.  In fact, it gets rather tempting to think of Jennifer as the female Woody Allen--smart but neurotic, intense but self-observing--and Heather as her perfect foil, a more down-to-earth Diane Keaton.  This is not to say that the film is just a ripoff, however; if the material is not totally brand new, the humor and situations really are unique, funny, and even moving on occasion, and show real chemistry between both the characters and the real people who created them in collaboration.  (Feldshuh and Westfeldt get far beyond their characters� stereotypes, and capture the tension of trying to be yourself in a suburban community where it isn�t always easy to do so, in one especially good scene.)

Overall, this is an old story told in an original way, and that is just about all that anyone can expect in a romantic comedy.  (Before I close, mention must be made of one other supporting actor--Scott Cohen is terrific in a rather complex role, that of Jessica's ex-boyfriend/current friend/foil/nemesis/boss.  Many people know that this film was one of the first made in New York City after September 11; as my friend and fellow movie reviewer Dean Oman pointed out, the filmmakers make a point of avoiding shots of downtown NYC without the World Trade Center, and confine themselves to midtown.  While I can understand this, I hope it doesn't go on forever; sadly, September 11 and its aftermath are facts of life in New York now, as we found out when we were there two years ago.  But I digress.)


Knockaround Guys (R, 2002) ... Average: 3.0
(Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Andrew Davoli, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper)

Sue Hohenadel
I wasn't sure that I was going to like this movie -- I've had my fill of mob-related "tough guy" flicks.  I was pleasantly surprised.

"Knockaround Guys" is the story of a mob top dog's son, Matty (Pepper), who is torn between trying to make a life for himself in a "legit" job, and doing what is expected -- working for his father (Hopper) as part of the "family."  He's got major strikes against him no matter his choice -- he can't seem to land a job as soon as a potential employer finds out that his father is Benny Chains, and his father doesn't think he's "cut out" to handle business.

After being beaten down by yet another failed interview for a job, Matty convinces his "uncle" (Malkovich) to talk to his dad and give him an opportunity to do a big job.  The job is to get to Spokane, pick up a half million dollars, and bring it back to New York.  Just so happens that Matty's pal Marbles (Green) has a little prop plane and is willing to make the trip.  That's when things go horribly wrong.

The movie takes time to develop the characters and the story line -- something a lot of mob movies don't do.  There's violence -- Vin Diesel gives some corn pone in this jerkwater town the ass beating of a lifetime, but it's violence that adds to the plot.  And you really feel for Matty and his pals -- stuck between wanting to make a name for themselves and always being in the shadows of the original "Knockaround Guys."

There are some genuinely funny moments in the movie as well as some wincingly painful scenes.  The friendships between the old guys and the young kids develops in a strange way.  And Malkovich is just too bizarre with his accent that's a cross between New York, Great Britain and Western PA.

If you're looking for "Casino" or "Scarface" -- skip it.  You'll be disappointed at the lack of people getting killed with a chainsaw.  "Knockaround Guys" is just a solid movie that's worth, at the least, the price of a rental.


K-Pax (PG-13, 2001) ... Average: 4.0
(Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Alfre Woodard, Aaron Paul, Mary McCormack)

Chris Mal
K-Pax stars two of the most brilliant actors of my time - Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.  Spacey plays what the audience must decide is either just a mysterious delusional patient or what he confidently and calmly claims to be - someone from a planet named K-Pax, located 1000 light-years away.  Bridges plays a psychiatrist (Dr. Powell) who is assigned to Spacey's character (Prot).  Spacey and Bridges are right on the money, and the brilliance of their acting is entertainment in itself.
K-Pax starring brilliant actors Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges
Prot's descriptions of life on another planet awaken a sense of possibilities in the other patients.  His affect on everyone around him - including Dr. Powell - is undeniable, but just how much of it is otherworldly is left for you - and Dr. Powell - to decide as the plot thickens.  Powell becomes consumed with his strange patient and baffled that he cannot reach any conclusions using standard medical techniques, as he slowly begins to wonder if this mild-mannered seemingly harmless man could really be...from another planet.

The story is excellently written, purposely leaning the audience one way or another in what you believe to be reality or delusion in parallel with the feelings of Bridges' character.  As the concluding facts are discovered and unfold, the movie ends in dramatic fashion with a surprising, creative, entertaining and very interesting twist.

This is definitely one of the best movies of the year.  It's profound, inspirational, and speaks of love and tolerance in a time when it's desperately needed.  Very much recommended for all age groups.