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Eleven (PG, 2001) ... Average: 3.0
(George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia
Roberts, Carl Reiner,
Sydney Pollack, Andy Garcia, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck,
I've never seen the original "Ocean's 11," nor have I
ever been a huge fan of the Rat Pack. As a matter of fact, I thought
the movie was some kind of navy war movie. Duh.
Ocean's Eleven is the story of Danny Ocean (Clooney), a smooth talking,
well dressed con man who's planning to pull off one of the biggest heists
ever -- robbing three casinos for more than $150 million. As if the
money isn't enough, revenge will be just as sweet -- Ocean's ex-wife
(Roberts) is dating the guy (Garcia) who owns the casinos that are about
to get hit.
The beginning of the movie details how Ocean picks his eleven member team
(Ocean's Eleven -- get it?) of grifters, cons, explosive experts and
pickpockets for the scam. The actual heist is a little less
believable than anything you've seen in all the Mission Impossible and Die
Hard movies combined, but it's still fun to watch.
Clooney and Pitt are great in their roles. Both can deliver a line
with just enough cockiness to be cool and just enough of a smirk to make
it funny. They play well off each other, as well as the other cast
members. Although each character has a purpose, this is, by far,
George and Brad's movie. Julia Roberts is less-than-warm as Danny's
ex-wife, but she is such a presence on the screen that her bitchiness is
easily overlooked. And Andy Garcia plays one hell of a smarmy prick.
Ocean's Eleven is not an Academy Award contender, but I'm sure it wasn't
meant to be. It's fun to watch -- you can tell the "boys"
were having a hoot making it. It almost feels like you've been
invited to a frat party and the hosts just happen to be some of today's
If you're looking for a movie that doesn't make you think, has some
interesting plot twists and boasts one of the biggest casts in recent
memory, go see Ocean's Eleven. It's mindless Saturday night fun.
Brother, Where Art Thou
... Average: 4.0
(George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson,
Holly Hunter, John Goodman)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
The only film by eccentric indie filmmakers, the Coen brothers, that
I've ever seen is this one, an odd retelling of Homer's Odyssey set in the
American South in the 1930's.
George Clooney plays the protagonist, Ulysses Everett Magill (get the name
reference?), a charismatic convict leading two others on a jailbreak (Tim
Blake Nelson and John Turturro, a Coen brothers favorite). Along the
way, they meet Depression-era versions of lotus eaters, Scylla and
Charybdis, sirens, and even a cyclops (the brilliant John Goodman), not to
mention Ulysses' wife, who of course is named Penny (Holly Hunter).
All of this is surprisingly entertaining. Clooney keeps a look of
perpetual bemused puzzlement on his face for almost the entire running
time of the movie; this is actually far less annoying than it sounds.
While Clooney naturally attracts the most attention, Nelson and Turturro
bring a lot of understanding to their roles as well. I heartily
recommend this movie if you're in the mood for something offbeat, although
basic familiarity with the plot of the Odyssey will help you appreciate
(Mention should be made of the incredible music score, put together by
blues guitarist Ry Cooder, which actually provides fodder for some of the
movie's funniest moments. Also, Charles Durning is very entertaining
as a classic old-style Southern politician.)
... Average: 3.25
(Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis,
Ellen Pompeo, Artie Lange, Andy Dick, Snoop Dogg)
Sara (Gaughan) Austin
VERY funny, if somewhat dumb. When Will Ferrell shot himself with a
tranquilizer dart I almost peed in my pants, and I said something I have
never said to my husband during a rented movie before: "Rewind it! Rewind
it!" Hilarious, and not just for guys. Plus, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughan
are totally yummy.
Kind of a throwaway comedy, but Vince Vaughn makes me laugh. As do fat
black kids. A couple of laugh outloud moments but probably best served with
a few beers and the Mrs. in another room.
One Hour Photo (R, 2002)
... Average: 3.0
(Robin Williams, Connie Nielson, Michael Vartan, Dylan
Smith, Andrew A. Rolfes)
I really looked forward to seeing this movie from the moment I saw the
previews, probably just because the premise all by itself was a little
spooky. I always wondered just how much notice my pictures get when dropped
off at the local Photo-mart. Was someone examining them closely? Disecting that little slice of my life dropped off in someone else's hands?
Throw in Robin Williams, an all-time favorite, in the role of the obsessive
slightly deranged photo-shop manager, and this had the ingredients to be a
It didn't disappoint, but at the same time, it was pretty much everything
you know about it going into it. The best way that I can describe it
is that, after the movie was over, it felt like I had seen only about 60
minutes worth of film information. That didn't make it bad, it's just
exactly what you think it is. A good solid average movie. Surely worth
the rental, particularly if you like Robin Williams...but, just good solid average.
Dalmatians (G, 2000)
... Average: 2.0
(Glenn Close, Gerard Depardieu, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Evans,
This is a sequel to the original Disney classic 101 Dalmatians and picks
up after Cruella DeVil is paroled after 3 years in prison for cruelty to
animals. The rest of the story is not really interesting enough to
Good points: The parrot. That parrot thinks he's a dog and was
absolutely hysterical. Were it not for that parrot, I'm not sure
that I would give this movie even as high as a ONE. The dogs were
also really impressive. Unfortunately, the only interesting part of
this movie was spending it thinking, "Wow, how'd they get that dog
(and/or parrot) to do that."
It's very hard to come up with an appropriate rating for kids-movies, but
I think it makes most sense to base it on a combination of how entertained
the kids seemed to be plus how tolerable it is for the parents.
Kids are entertained by "things happening." It seemed like
our kids (5-year old niece and 3-year old nephew) were bored, for the most
part, except for the parts where the dogs were running around.
Between dog scenes there was too much plot development to keep their
attention. And the plot was just so silly, it was of no interest to
"grown-ups" either. Making matters worse, the plot was too
complex for a 3 and 5 year old to comprehend. Everything that was
going on was shooting so far over their heads I was hoping it would hit
the projector behind us and kill the movie. The 5-year old was more
concerned with who was going to clean up the mess the bad guys were making
when they'd break in to steal puppies, and the 3-year old was asleep - no
lie - about 20 minutes into the movie.
I guess this is proof that even sequels to children's films a usually
bad. If this movie had been created without the cushion created by
its 101 predecessor, it would have been yanked from the box-offices before
the end of the first showing.
... Average: 4.0
(Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Eric Sykes, Elaine
"The Others" is a old-fashioned goose-pimply spine-shivering
movie about a family living an old mansion on a British island just after
World War II who discover that there are others who are living in their
home, too! It plays out somewhat in the spirit of
Sixth Sense" and "seeing dead people." My 4-star
rating might be taken by some with a grain of salt since I rarely see a
scary movie that doesn't suit my taste, but this one was definitely
creepy, creepy, creepy from start to finish.
Kidman plays mother of two children who have "XP," a real
disorder that has been diagnosed in only 150 people in the U.S. at this
moment, and causes an allergic reaction whenever the person is exposed to
sunlight. Their skin does not have the ability to regenerate any
sort of sun burn, and the result is equivalent to 3rd degree burns and
skin cancer. (There is a small "extra" feature about this
on the DVD.)
The movie begins just after the hired help at the mansion has mysteriously
disappeared - no notice of their departure, without even picking up their
latest payments for work, and all of their belonging are gone. An
odd trio of servants arrive to take their place, and strange things begin
to happen! It's impossible to give much more detail without giving
away the ending which completely took me by surprise.
Kidman is excellent as usual, and the child actors were tremendous.
This is one of those movies you should see with as little advanced
information as possible. The movie creates an immediate sense that
something is lurking in the shadows. The script is very smart, and
direction and cinematography very good. A large majority of the
scares are created out of mood and suggestiveness, that proves special
affects (unless you count a bit of fog) are not a requirement to make you
jump. It cleverly teases you with small clues without giving away
the ending until it smacks you in the face at its climax.