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Ten Things I Hate About You (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 4.0
(David Krumholtz, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik)

Mike Capilo
The Taming of the Shrew meets 21st century high school.  If you know Shakespeare you will instantly recognize the plot of the movie.  Even the names of the characters are the same, in most instances.  Since I happen to be a fan of Billy Boy I loved this movie.  Some may find it a bit campy.  It has most of the typical high school movie themes.  A huge party with lots of alcohol, a prom involving punches, and the like.  If you are able to endure these situations you will find the movie amusing.  See it and enjoy!!!
 

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) ... Average: 5.0
(Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Tony Hendra,
Anjelica Huston, Howard Hesseman, Billy Crystal, Paul Schaffer, Dana Carvey)

Drew Gallagher
They should have stopped making movies after this release.  "Hello, Cleveland!"
 

The Thomas Crown Affair (R, 1968) ... Average: 4.5
(Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Yaphet Kotto, Todd Martin)

John Brian
I remember that the ending on this one was something of a surprise to me when I first saw it.  I loved the mix of chemistry between the two leading characters.  And, if for no other reasons than the sexual tension between them during the chess game, and the introduction of the song, Windmills of Your Mind, I think it deserves nearly a five rating.  Come to think of it, I probably ought to order a DVD of this from Amazon.com, before people forget about this original version and it goes out of stock.
 

The Thomas Crown Affair (R, 1999) ... Average: 3.5
(Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Dennis Leary)

Bev Mal
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo are a great pair. The story line was exciting and so was seeing Pierce Brosnan's butt. For the guys, there is a scene where Renee Russo is wearing a sheer black dress, which leaves little to the imagination. Although some people feel that this movie plot is similar to Entrapment, the acting is far superior. 
Chris Mal
Didn't I just watch this movie a week ago?  A high profile thief steals something, not for the money but purely for the rush; the two stars involved in the thievery fall in love and in the end the audience is asked to accept the fact that he is a thief, be very forgiving, want them to get away with it and live happily ever after.  Same as "Entrapment"!  "Entrapment" had Sean Connery and Katherine Zeta Jones.  "Thomas Crown Affair" has Brosnan and Russo.  Same basic premise, same basic average movie.  I gave "Entrapment" 2-1/2 stars.  This was a nudge better - Russo and Brosnan made a better couple than Connery and Jones, there was no relying on the Y2K bug as there was in "Entrapment", and relative to "Entrapment" the premise was much more realistic.
 

Three Seasons (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 4.5
(Harvey Keitel, Don Duong, Tranh Manh Cuong, Zoe Bui, Nguyen Ngoc Hiep)

Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
A young peasant woman starts working at a lotus plantation in the countryside, eventually becoming curious about the establishment's enigmatic owner. A cynical and stoic Vietnam veteran spends day after day at a downtown hotel, searching for his Amer-asian daughter. A young, homeless boy is forced to sell trinkets on the street. A sensitive rickshaw driver gives a ride to a beautiful but worldly young prostitute--and, of course, falls in love with her. These characters' various destinies do not intertwine in anything more than a casual way, but they still seem to belong together in young Vietnamese director Tony Bui's ode to the street life of Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City).

Cheesiness and tritenesses abound--the ugly person with the beautiful soul, the whore and the good man who loves her--but I didn't care about any of that, because I was too busy caring about these wonderfully human people. This was made possible mainly by believable acting; Harvey Keitel, playing the Vietnam vet, actually makes one of the weaker impressions (the script does not give him quite enough to do).

The squalor and occasional paradoxical beauty of Saigon is also well-portrayed by Bui; in fact, the city sometimes seems like another character in the movie, the way that New York is always a character in Woody Allen movies. I hate calling a movie "magical," but this one simply won't let me call it anything else. 
 

3,000 Miles to Graceland (R, 2001) ... Average: 4.0
(Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, David Arquette, Christian Slater,
Courtney Cox-Arquette, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Pollak, Ice-T, Howie Long)

Sue Hohenadel
I have walked past this movie at least a half dozen times at Hollywood Video, each time thinking, "Yuck.  An entire movie about fat, greasy, mutton chop sideburned Elvis impersonators with no life other than to leach off the songs of a dead man."  I couldn't have been more off base.

3000 Miles to Graceland"3000 Miles to Graceland" does have Elvis-wannabes in it, but they are a very minor part of the movie.  Kevin Costner looks, acts and dresses like The King, but he genuinely believes he is the illegitimate son of Elvis.  Kurt Russell looks and dresses like him, too, as do the other three guys in a group (led by Costner) who are on their way to Vegas to the annual Elvis Impersonating Contest.  At least that's what we're led to believe.

This should be the paragraph where I explain the plot of the movie, but I won't.  It has to be seen to be appreciated.

Costner is great as a bad-ass.  No remorse, no conscience, no regrets, and an unwavering "If I want it, I take it" attitude.  Kurt Russell is very good as the guy who knows what he's doing is not right, but as long as nobody gets REALLY hurt, it's ok.  And Courtney Cox Arquette is a small town single mom who becomes involved -- and entangled -- in both their lives.

"3000 Miles to Graceland" has some graphic violence, some very funny moments, and enough plot twists and turns to keep the movie suspenseful until the end.  It was one of those movies that kept me thinking that I knew what was going to happen next and then surprised me when I wasn't even close.  And the kid that plays Cox Arquette's son is a gem!

I'm not sure whether it's because I've been renting such horribly baaaad movies lately or because this really is a good movie, but I recommend renting "3000 Miles to Graceland."  It's an entertaining movie that requires just enough thought to keep it interesting until the end.
 

Toy Story 2 (G, 1999) ... Average: 4.4
(Tom Hanks, Tim Allen)

Steve King
Great Movie for the Kids. Lots of action. Better than Toy Story.
Sandy Stremba
Party in the Barbie isle was soooo cool ---- You know how I love to dance.
Bob Stout
OutMALstanding Entertainment. Good for the adults and the kids. Consider it as good or better than the first.
Bev Mal
"Just as good as the first Toy Story.  Very well done.  The animation was fantastic.  There are scenes, particularly the one where the evil toy salesman is sleeping on the couch with the corncurls, where the animation is so good that it's difficult to tell if it is 100% animation."
Chris Mal
It was cute, and probably just as good as the first movie.  But if you've already seen the first movie, this is essentially more of the same thing - which isn't a bad thing.  It's still a quality movie and was very well done.  I just found that I knew exactly what to expect.  There are a number of quality lines in the flick, particularly from Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.  Adults will enjoy it, kids will love it.
 

Traffic (R, 2000) ... Average: 3.75
(Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Quaid,
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benjamin Bratt, Salma Hayek, Amy Irving)

TrafficChris Mal
Traffic is a movie about the War on Drugs as a whole, and a long series of inter-related stories about various individuals and how their lives, jobs - or both - are influenced by this war that seemingly cannot be won.  The War on Drugs is huge and complex, and so is this movie in every possible way.  The creators of this movie were faced with a daunting tasks of tying every facet together and making it flow.

There are a lot of things about this movie that make it brilliant, from the fashion in which it was presented, to the way in which it was filmed, to its plan to create a story-line around an issue that is completely real.  The entire movie is shown in a succession of snippets - the cinematography making them all feel as if you just became a fly on the wall of the next event in the movie.  The extremely diverse set of views - from the a pair of Tijuana cops, to the undercover DEA agents, to a wealthy drug baron, to the U.S. President's U.S. Drug Czar, to his teen-aged daughter - is eventually all tied together one by one in what is really a masterful and creative piece of work.  We see where the dope begins, we see where it ends up and everyone in between is implicated.

There is no attempt to sugar-coat for the sake of a Hollywood story, preserving the feeling that you are looking out your window in the "real world."  Likewise, although the movie concludes with no answers on the solution to the end of the war - and it shouldn't - nothing is lost in the underlying story.  Despite the complexities of the movie, the preservation of an intelligent story helped avoid the feeling that you were watching a documentary.  Every scene, no matter how different from the previous, is electrifying.
Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
A stoic Mexican cop (Benecio del Toro) and his partner (Jacob Vargas) try to stay loyal to each other and their consciences as they work the streets of Tijuana. A wisecracking DEA agent (Luis Guzman) and his partner (Don Cheadle, who previously teamed with Guzman in Boogie Nights) pursue similar activities, and similar characters, on the San Diego side of the border. A naive suburban princess (Catherine Zeta-Jones) learns that her husband has been busted, and that their stately home and furnishings didn't come from wise investment decisions. A respected Cincinnati judge (Michael Douglas) is appointed to be federal drug czar, ignorant of the drug problem lurking within his own house (his teenage daughter, played one-dimensionally by Erika Christensen).

Of course, a certain powdered, illegal substance is the only thing holding these diverse lives together, and Steven Soderbergh's direction almost succeeds in making their travails into some kind of coherent whole. Some notable implausibilities don't help; the new czar complains about talking only to people "who have never left the Beltway" (never mind that almost anyone with power in DC actually comes from somewhere else). More annoyingly, how in the world did Zeta-Jones' character enjoy all that wealth without an inkling of where it came from? 

All that said, I was still impressed with Soderbergh's ability to make a movie that, like Dead Man Walking, took a definite stand on an issue without gross oversimplification or cheap-shooting, something Hollywood has not always been able to do in the past. I found that I was able to enjoy this movie (especially the camaraderie of the two sets of police partners) without agreeing with all of the filmmakers' opinions. (As it happens, I do agree with at least some of them, but that's another subject for another day. I should mention that the film has a rather interesting cinematic contrivance--all the scenes set in Mexico are filmed in grainy black-and-white, and all the north-of-the-border sequences are filmed in full color. This is quite clever when you first see it, especially when a character crosses the border and gains or loses color! I thought it got old after a while, however, and it seems to emphasize the alien-ness of our neighbor to the south, which is at odds with the theses of the film. Furthermore, my wife and I have been to Mexican border towns in our travels, and among the most stimulating things about them are their bright colors, which this film fails to capture.)
 

Training Day (R, 2001) ... Average: 3.0
(Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Tom Berenger, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Raymond J. Barry)

Chris Mal
If you like being tense for two hours, then this is your movie.  It wasn't always necessarily an edge-of-your-seat what's-going-to-happen-next tense, but just a general prolonged uncomfortable uneasiness.

Washington plays a crooked unpleasant veteran LAPD cop on a narcotics unit who escorts an eager rookie played by Hawke through his first day.  The movie is played largely from the perspective of Hawke, or at least, that is where I tended to feel I was in the movie.  And, from that vantage point, I couldn't help but feel as though I was squirming in my seat, hoping that everything would some how turn out right in the end.  It doesn't.  This isn't a feel good movie, that for sure.  If you're looking for a happy ending, look elsewhere.

As Sue noted below, it was almost a relief when the movie was over.  Not because the movie was bad, it was just unnerving and about as cynical as you can get.  In a way, that vibe was similar to the feeling I got from "Traffic."

As far as stories go, there really wasn't anything terribly special about Training Day, but it wasn't bad.  The story is carried by the acting of Washington and Hawke.  Washington received Academy Awards for his efforts, but Bev and I both thought Hawke was equally if not more deserving.

In hindsight, what I found amusing was that after so many movies where Denzel has played the "good guy" - in stark contrast, his previous movie was "Remember the Titans" - I spent this entire movie searching desperately for when the plot was going to reveal that the actions of his character were going to turn out to be good.  I found I really didn't want to believe he was 100% sinister just because of his previous roles.  In fact, I wasn't alone because my in-laws actually left the theater in the middle of the movie because they absolutely hated thinking of Denzel as a "bad guy."
Training DaySue Hohenadel
Whew.

That's how I reacted when "Training Day" was over.  That pretty much sums up the movie -- "whew -- how intense;" "whew -- that was amazing;" and, "whew -- Thank God the movie is over."

"Training Day" is the story about a renegade undercover narcotics cop (Washington) and his first-day trainee (Hawke).  The entire movie spans the rookie's first day on the job, and what a day it is.

Once again, Denzel Washington portrays his character so convincingly that it's hard to remember that he really isn't a psychotic a**hole.  But his character is.  Washington's character is a ruthless, shameless, greedy, hard-edged bastard.  I didn't want to hate him during the movie and kept looking for any redeeming qualities to keep me hanging on.  He had none.

Ethan Hawke's character is a fresh-faced, protect-and-serve Dudley Do-Right rookie that just wants to make a good impression and do a good job.  As the movie progresses, he is constantly faced with good vs. evil and right vs. wrong.  He makes questionable choices and gets into some intense situations, all the while looking for direction, approval -- anything -- from his "mentor."  He gets quite a wake-up call.

"Training Day" goes from interesting to intense.  It is not a happy movie with a happy ending.  It's actually very depressing down to its fundamental "who CAN you trust?" message.

I gave "Training Day" 2 1/2 stars because Washington's and Hawke's performances are solid.  The movie itself is relatively run-of-the-mill, with a few twists and turns but nothing that you couldn't predict about half way through the movie.  The language is rough and the violence is rougher, which makes it a rental for Mommy and Daddy after the kiddies are all tucked in.  Plus, we need to let our kids keep thinking that policemen are the good guys.  After watching "Training Day," I wish I still believed it.
 

Two Can Play That Game (R, 2001) ... Average: 4.5
(Vivica A. Fox, Morris Chestnut, Anthony Anderson, Tamala Jones, Gabrielle Union, Bobby Brown)

Steve Julian (a.k.a. Stevie Bill)
Nice fun movie about the funniness in a new girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, hot chicks, lots of laughs, and, as Wayne Beaver refers to it, the unexplainable theory of the "super d*c*" syndrome.

Great movie to watch with a beer and some good friends.  Of course what doesn't go good with beer besides police cars or no bathrooms around?
 

Two for the Money (R, 2005) ... Average: 1.5
(Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Armand Assante, Jeremy Piven)

Chris Mal
Wow, incredibly bad.  If it wasn't for the scene where Matthew McConaughey gets held down and then peed on, I would've only given this a single stinkin' star.  (I like to see people getting peed on.)  Seriously, Al Pacino, for the love of all that is good in this world...Does no one read a script before making a commitment anymore?  "You gambled on...me!"  Ugh, lame.  Exactly what was the point of this movie?  It was lost on me, and I suspect that by halfway through script, it appeared to have been lost on the filmmakers as well.

Even the sports parts were pretty lame...What football team at any level would throw a Hail Mary pass at the end of a game they are winning on the last play of the game?  (Which then causes them to beat the point spread of course.)  C'mon.

You should've seen the looks I got when I stood up and applauded loudly immediately after the lights came on.  That made it at least a little worth while.

Much more interesting than this movie is Kirsten Cheskey's purse.  It's shaped like a purse, but acts more like a waste receptacle.  She even keeps a tiny jar of peanut butter in there.  You really have to see it - the purse, not this movie.  I give it 4-1/2 stars.
 

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ... Average: 5.0
(Keir Dullea, William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter)

Tony Porco (CLICK HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
This Stanley Kubrick masterpiece has, of course, long been one of my favorite movies; in fact, it is one of my favorite works of art in any medium. Exactly why I like it is difficult to articulate, but David Lichtenstein recently challenged me to try, so I thought I would give it a shot.

One fascinating quality of the film (and something I have never heard anyone else bring up) is the division into four sections, which seem to me very much like four different movies.  While all four are linked by a common theme and build on each other, all four have very different tones and moods.

The first, "The Dawn of Man," shows the birth of invention among the first human-like hominids of millions of years ago. The untitled middle section (the best-known, because of its famous Kubrick cinematography of ships moving in space, which is still quite enthralling to watch) builds on "The Dawn of Man" quite directly, in spite of being set millions of years later.  The best, however, is the third or "Jupiter Mission" section, which can be enjoyed as a good, old-fashioned science-fiction thriller, done more artfully than most.  There is real suspense and chilling horror here, enough to keep me on the edge of my seat--and more than enough to make me wonder why people describe this movie as "boring."

The other criticism I hear frequently--that it is "hard to understand"--is usually directed at the last of the four sections, about which I can say almost nothing more.  All I can suggest to these people is this proposition: Is "hard to understand" synonymous with "lousy?"  I would submit that this movie proves that it is not.