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(PG, 2005) ... Average: 3.5
(Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett
Smith, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter)
Madagascar is an animated film featuring four bumbling animals who
find themselves shipped back to the wild after growing up for years in the
Bronx Zoo, the captive animal life of luxury. Ben Stiller plays Alex
the Lion, and Chris Rock his side-kick Marty the Zebra. They are
partnered with Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the Hippo and David Schwimmer as
Melman the hypocondriac/Girraffe and a team of escape artist Penguins.
If this had come first before all of the other animated films of the past
few years, this may have been considered a great one. Unfortunately it
stood no chance but to be compared - unfairly perhaps - to classics like
Finding Nemo and Toy Story. While Madagascar found ways to amuse
the adults with over-the-kid's-heads humor, it didn't pack enough of it to be
more than mildly entertaining, and paled in comparison to the the
Kids will still love this movie, but for adults it was good but not great -
somewhat equivalent on the meter to Shark Tales and Robots.
(PG-13, 2002) ... Average:
(Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Di
Quon, Kevin Wade)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Believe it or not, I don't have a huge problem with formula movies. I
liked Pearl Harbor, and I enjoyed
Titanic (although not as much as the rest of the world). Many of the
foreign movies that I have praised in
are arguably formula flicks just as much as anything Hollywood has ever
made, notably Fast Runner, Shadowlands, and Three Seasons (which is actually
several formulas rolled into one!)
The Jennifer Lopez vehicle Maid in Manhattan made me think about why I like
the formula movies I like, and I decided that they have most or all of these
things in common: they don't require a complete lobotomy of the higher
reasoning centers of the brain to be enjoyed, they do something of some
originality with the old clich�s, they are fun enough to watch that my
disbelief gets suspended, and (perhaps most importantly) they have good,
believable acting. Maid in Manhattan doesn't make it on most of these
criteria, especially the last one. It's not that J. Lo is even that bad an
actress; she's generally convincing as the Tough, Opinionated Single Mother
and Hard Worker who is now the Only Acceptable Version of Cinderella for
modern audiences. Ralph Fiennes, playing a politician and the (newly)
Sensitive Single Rich Guy/Prince Charming she longs for, isn't horrible
either, although he needs to keep the American accent a little more
consistently. No, the worst performances are actually a trio of Fellow
Working-Class Women, three other maids at the hotel, led by an annoying Best
Friend (Lisa Roberts). To me, they were much more like actresses playing
maids than they were like maids, which is exactly what I shouldn't be
thinking in the middle of this kind of movie.
The script didn't help matters much either, and it was particularly not
helpful to the Fellow Women. In one scene, they seemed to go from viciously
"don't get above your station" intolerant of J. Lo to supportive of her in
the space of about twenty seconds for no adequately explored reason!
Not that they were the only victims; the script doesn't quite know what to
do with the good side performers either, including the brilliant Chris
Eigeman (from Metropolitan and
Kicking and Screaming) as the hotel manager, Stanley Tucci (from Big
Night) as an irritating clich� of a political operative, and Bob Hoskins as
a butler and J. Lo's supervisor. Hoskins' character likes his
employee, but seems to want to smother her relationship, as if the writer
couldn't figure out whether to make him likable or threatening!
Good touches, including a clever ending sequence, Wayne Wang's excellent (as
usual) direction, and worthwhile child acting by the youngster playing
J.Lo's son (Tyler Posey), end up wasted on the kind of slight and trite
story that gives formula movies a bad name. Of course, I suppose I should
have known this going into the whole thing!
(I did get one classic MST3K moment from this flick; after a stressful
situation, J. Lo's character tells her [stereo]typically controlling and
henpecking mother to leave her be, so she can take a bath. I had to resist
a strong temptation to yell out "CAN I WATCH?")
(1995) ... Average: 2.75
(Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Claire Forlani,
Priscilla Barnes, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck)
They're not there to shop. They're not there to work.
They're just there. (If it wasn't for video boxes, I'd have no idea
what to write.) If you don't like stupid movies that are hilarious,
don't watch. If you do, it's a must see. If you liked
"Clerks," it's the next movie in the series, you'll love it.
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Man on Fire
(R, 2004) ... Average:
(Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken,
Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell, Mickey Rourke)
This is a hard film to rate. If you like violent, disturbing movies
check it out. If not, and I don't, this is not the movie for you. One
piece of information to note: There are some subtitles during conversations
held in Spanish, though they aren't distracting. All the actors do a good
job with their roles.
I'd suggest not much would be lost waiting for the rental.
on the Moon (R, 1999) ... Average: 2.0
(Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Courtney
Master and Commander (PG-13, 2003)
... Average: 3.0
(Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Ian Mercer, James D'Arcy,
One of my favorite actors, Russell Crowe, plays Lucky Jack Aubrey, a
captain of a British fighting ship in 1805. The oceans were
battlefields during that time period, and Aubrey and his massive ship and
crew were faced with the task of keeping the French from taking the war to
the Pacific. Just north of Brazil in the Atlantic their ship is badly
damaged, and many killed when they are surprised by an attack by a far
superior French ship. They elude their ultimate capture, and then
begin a journey to stop the French ship on its way to the Pacific.
It's a somewhat long, but despite it's length, there still did not seem to
be ample time for character development. I had a hard time following
the roles of the secondary characters, and how they related to everyone
else. There were times when I found out later that I was getting
people confused - this was not helped by the fact that many of them seemed
to look alike. Because I didn't quite understand how everyone related
and how their relationships got to the point they were at the time of the
movie, I wasn't completely moved by the inner-conflict Crowe's character was
having between his duty and his friendships, particularly that of the ship's
doctor (played by Paul Bettany.)
Bev also found that their heavy accents - although probably realistic - made
it difficult for her to follow the dialog.
Still, it wasn't a bad movie, but I would rank this towards the bottom of
Crowe's filmography. This was not at all his fault, however. The
acting was on target. The story just didn't seem to move me like all
of the other movies he's played.
The special effects are spectacular. The battle scenes, and this
massive 1800 vintage sailing gunship traversing a storm in the ocean is
worth seeing. How they filmed some of these scenes is beyond the
comprehension of my imagination.
This movie struck me as one that would have the critics raving, but not the
general public. So I was not surprised when I checked Yahoo Movies and
saw that the critics' average score was an "A-" and the Yahoo users rated it
a solid "B."
Matrix (R, 1999) ... Average:
(Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo
I paid twice to see this movie while in the local theater. And, I bought it in DVD the first day it was available. This is a first rate
Sci-Fi movie. Keanu Reeves is a hacker named Neo who follows the White Rabbit. The special effects are exceptional as witnessed by several recent Oscars for same. Laurence Fishburne is a believable, if stiff, Morpheus and Carrie-Anne Moss will keep your attention [if you like babes prancing around in tight leather]. Finally, Joe Pantoliano [US
Marshals] turns in yet one more solid supporting performance. All in all worth the time spent!
Just remember, Coppertop, that which pill you choose to swallow will always change your life!
Well, I finally watched it, so I guess now everyone has seen this
movie. I don't get it. No, the movie I did get, despite the
bizarre plot. What I didn't get was what all of the hub-bub was about.
(I like that word, "Hub-bub," by the way.) The effects were cool, but
I've seen cooler. The characters were generally all pretty morbid. The plot had a LOT of holes.
Do you think sometimes an idea can be so complex and "out there" that
there's just no way to transfer it into a tangible story? I wouldn't go so
far to say the plot was clever, just complex. It's like someone had
this neat idea, but couldn't figure out how to make it all fit together and
make a lot of sense. So instead of working it out, they covered it
with window dressing (read: affects) and overacting, and - waa-laa! - you
have "The Matrix."
It had some good points, and it wasn't a terrible movie, but much of it was
a little too contrived and forced.
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
If I *could* give this a negative numbered rating, I would. I loathed this movie!!! Too bleak. The characters
were unappealing (including the so-called "good guys" of the plot). Plot line--what
*was* the plot?!?!!!!! Totally a painful waste of 2 hours--even with watching it on DVD. You'd like this movie if you like Kung-Fu routines and
if you're a boy between the ages of 10 and 13. (I thought the Kung-Fu-like routines were
*quite* contrived.) But, hey, what do I know... someone figured that they could make money off this abomination!
Matrix: Revolutions (R, 2003) ... Average:
(Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo
Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith)
(a.k.a. E. Kim Olipac)
The word of the movie is hunger. Why, you ask...because I opened the
dictionary to a page and that was the first word I saw. If you look at the
second definition of the word it reads, "the painful sensation or state of
weakness caused by the need for food". That would be a good analogy for
this movie - it was painful and weak because the acting needed nourishment!
I think Keanu took acting lessons to get worse. And the rest of the cast
followed his lead. In the words of the narrator from the Grinch..."stink,
the Parents (PG-13,
... Average: 3.25
(Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Blythe
Danner, James Rebhorn)
Funny. Very funny.
In a way - particularly regarding the humor - this was "There's
Something About Mary?" Part II. If you thought "Mary"
was a great movie, you'll probably like this too, although I thought
"Mary" was a
much funnier. I'll be the first to admit that
I usually don't find these types of movies as funny as most people do, so
I'm probably a poor judge.
Of all of the comedies that Robert DeNiro has played (that I have seen) I
would rank this one an extremely distant third behind Analyze This and
Midnight Run, both of which are absolute classics. DeNiro, himself,
was excellent in "Meet the Parents" (is he ever NOT fantastic?),
but the movie itself was mediocre. It was an entire movie based on
poor Ben Stiller spending a weekend at his future in-laws for the first
time, where slapstick misunderstanding, and mishap after mishap goes wrong
to make his future father-in-law (DeNiro) despise him. It had a
number of genuinely hysterical lines, but between those lines you just sat
waiting for the next predictable thing to go wrong for Stiller.
The best scene is between Ben Stiller and the flight attendant at the end
of the movie.
It was cute, but definitely a better $3 rental than a $15 double-date
of Honor (R,
2000) ... Average: 3.5
(Robert DeNiro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Charlize Theron,
Michael Rapaport, Hal Holbrook, Aunjanue Ellis)
Men of Honor is a based-on-a-true-story movie about the genuinely
heroic first ever African-American U.S. Navy Master Chief diver (Cuba
Gooding) who later becomes the first U.S. Navy master diver with a prosthesis.
The story, which chronicles his life from his enlisting in the Navy in the
late '40's thru the days after he loses his leg in the '60's, weaves
deeply into the overcoming of bigotry and racism that was rampant during
this period of time. The absurdity of this kind of thinking really
smacks you in the face. Fewer injustices are more infuriating than
Thankfully good will towards all men is triumphant in the end, making this
an endearing feel-good heart-warming movie for the cold winter months,
albeit sometimes overacted, overdramatized and predictable. It's the
classic saga of overcoming obstacles.
DeNiro plays a tenured Master Chief diver and Gooding's adversary - a
brash foul-mouthed tough racist southerner with a drinking problem who
initially seeks to see Gooding's character fail before finally realizing
that he deserving. DeNiro is, as usual, brilliant. Bev and I
discussed on the way home how you can feel like you actually know some
popular actors and actresses because they are simply playing themselves in
EVERY role. This is NOT true of DeNiro who acts out yet another
complex and intriguing individual with aplomb.
A couple of things that kept this from being a better movie: The
wife (Aunjanue Ellis). They really could have cut her and every one of her
scenes out of the entire movie, and the movie would not have been any
different! She served no point except that I suppose Gooding's
character did have a wife in real life so they must've felt compelled to
squeeze her into the movie. This made the movie way longer than it
had to be. And did anyone else find it odd how she was introduced to
the movie? One scene he meets her in a library, and the next he's in
love and they're getting married. This was WAY too forced into the
script without much logic. Making matters worse, the dialog between
her and Gooding throughout the movie was poor (which is what tends to
happen when an unnecessary character is forced into a movie.)
Also, I just HATE when Hollywood overdoes a good movie by adding the
proverbial "young cocky hated-by-every-one corporate
man-in-charge" who shows up to ruin the party, so to speak.
C'mon, the movie was fine without it. I was disappointed the writers
felt the need to add that extra old-school vs. new-school bit at the end -
very clich�, very unnecessary. It's elimination would have been
another way to shorten this movie up a little.
What was with that submarine scene? That was a little hokey all-around.
There's no way that could have actually happened, could it?
All-in-all, however, an above-average movie. You'll be moved by the
hatred, uplifted by the overcoming of that hatred and inspired by the
human spirit and determination - and that is the kind of emotion
you are supposed to get from a movie like this. Recommended.
Blue Eyes (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 1.0
(Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Caan)
This was probably the worst movie that Hugh Grant has done to date.
... Average: 4.5
(Robert DeNiro, Charles Grodin, John Ashton, Dennis Farina,
I'm always surprised just how many people haven't even heard of this
movie when I mention it as one of my all-time favorites. It was
nominated by the Golden Globes in 1989 for movie of the year, while Robert
DeNiro was nominated for best actor for his role in this movie. In
fact, this movie is worth seeing just to get a glimpse of a younger Robert
Charles Grodin plays an sensitive accountant to embezzled $15 million from
the mob and gave it all to charity. DeNiro plays an ex-cop who is
now a cynical bounty hunter hired to bring Grodin
back to justice.
He begins what he believes will be a standard trip to get his captive back
from New York to L.A. To complicate maters, the FBI are also after
Grodin in an effort to get him to testify against mobster Jimmy Serrano
(played by Dennis Farina.)...AND, there's the issue of a second bounty
hunter hired by the bond bailsmen to do the same job as DeNiro...and, of
course, the mob is chasing him down because they want Grodin dead.
So, the bickering pair suffer a riotous trip across country via plane,
train and bus to avoid their pursuers.
There are plot twists galore that I won't get into so as not to ruin the
plot for anyone who hasn't seen this. Surprisingly this is NOT
simply an action packed drama - it's hysterical! It's so very rare
for a movie to be able to capture subtle humor in a drama as this one
does. This is a masterpiece. The dialog between DeNiro and
Grodin goes down in history as some of the best back-and-forth banter and
comedic timing that you'll ever see on film.
All of the film's characters are colorful and memorable and
dimensional. The interaction between them is intricate, but not so
much so that the audience gets lost. It's balanced between action,
humor and character development. It's funny yet sensitive.
It's full of action yet thoughtful. The casting is wonderful -
DeNiro and Grodin make the perfect odd-couple.
If you haven't seen this, you MUST MUST MUST rent it as soon as possible!
Million Dollar Baby (PG-13, 2004)
... Average: 4.5
(Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay
Baruchel, Christina Cox)
Possibly the best movie of 2004 as far as I'm concerned. It's
been a long time since I've seen a movie where I've felt so emotionally
connected with the characters as this. THAT is when you know you have
a great movie - when the scenes unfold and you completely forget that you
are in a theater watching a movie.
Don't be deceived into thinking this is just a movie about boxing.
Although the backdrop of the movie is indeed boxing, this is much more a
movie about people, life's constant struggles, the tremendous force of will,
the joy of a common spirit, a sense of family from the unlikeliest of
places, exasperation, inspiration, heart and courage than it is about
Clint Eastwood is absolutely brilliant, as is Hilary Swank. Both
deserve all of the accolades that they've been getting about this movie.
And Morgan Freeman is icing on the cake. (Has this guy ever been in a bad
movie? Has he ever given a poor performance?) Standing ovation
for all three of them, and for the movie as a whole as far as I'm concerned.
My only complaint is that I pretty much wanted to shoot myself after the
movie was over. An uplifter this is not. So I guess if you love
fantastic films that make you want to put a bullet into your skull, this is
your movie! Seriously though - go see this, depressing or not, this is
a must-see movie.
to Mars (PG, 2000) ... Average: 0.5
(Don Cheadle, Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell, Kim Delaney,
One of the top five worst movies I've ever seen. Unbearably slow and
Ball (R, 2001) ... Average: 2.0
(Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Peter
Boyle, P. Diddy)
OK, do I hate myself? I didn't think I hated myself, but I must
because I just rented "In the Bedroom" AND this methodical cesspool
of depression on consecutive weekends. Let's recap the fun, shall
we? In the first half of the movie alone we see: a lower class
family torn apart by the fact that their father is on death row, you see
the electrocution, you see a young kid getting berated by his mother
because he's incredibly obese, you see the young kid die because he got
hit by a car (hit and run, of course), and you see another family of
bigots whose son commits suicide because his father thinks he is
"weak." We know he thinks he is weak because that's what
he says about his son at the funeral. What a pick-me-up this was!
Like "In the Bedroom", this one also moves along
sloooooooooooooow. You could kind of see what was going to happen,
but at least it was a surprise because I couldn't see what the point was
going to end up being. Unfortunately, in the end, I saw the point,
but I didn't really care. Quite frankly, I didn't find the story all
Anyway, in summary, Halle Berry's husband is put to death early in the
movie and then struggles to continue her existence financially.
Billy Bob, meanwhile, is a correctional officer at the prison where
Berry's husband was executed. Heath Ledger plays Billy Bob's son who
also works at the prison. Ledger shoots himself after being berated
by Billy Bob for screwing up during the execution process. Later,
Berry and Billy Bob's paths cross, and Billy Bob begins to change his ways
as the two form an odd couple of lovers. Oh, how nice. Too
late for nice - I was already too depressed.
Peter Boyle plays Billy Bob's bigot father. Which came first?
This movie or "Everybody Loves Raymond"? Peter Boyle also
plays the father on "Raymond" and as best I can tell - it's the
same character! Weird. The thing is, on
"Raymond" he acts like a dim-witted jerk, but it's funny.
In this movie, he's just a jerk.
Also like "In the Bedroom," the actors and actresses in this
movie got many kudos for their performances. I guess it was well
done, but I don't see what the big deal is with acting like lower-class
simpletons full of hate. There are lots of people who do that every
day and they aren't even acting.
Inc. (G, 2001) ... Average: 3.5
(Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, James Coburn,
From the creators of "Toy Story" comes another clever tale,
this one about the world of monsters which gets its energy from a power
utility called Monsters Inc. Unlike the electric utility that powers
homes in the human world, the monster world is powered by the screams of
children. The movie stars a dynamic duo of "Sulley" (John
Goodman), a fuzzy green and purple hulking monster whose exterior hides a
heart of gold, and "Mike Wazowski" (Billy Crystal) a feisty
green bowling-ball of a monster with one gigantic eye. "Sulley"
and Mike are the leading kid-scarer duo at Monsters, Inc. where the scare
monsters go thru doors in the monster world into the bedrooms of small
children. The funny part is - or is supposed to be - the monsters
are more scared of the kids than the kids are of them.
The great part of this genre of movies for adults is the subtle adult
humor and various slap-stick lines that would go over the heads of the
kids in the audience. There are a few lines here that make you
chuckle, but as far as that goes, Monsters Inc. falls way short of the
edgy adult funny stuff compared to the likes of Shrek,
Toy Story or even
movies like Bugs Life.
I'm sure it's a great movie for kids, although again I think even kids
would find Shrek and Toy Story better. At times I just thought the
plot lacked the depth of previous successes and ran a little bit too much
like a Warner-Brothers early morning cartoon, but with 21st century
Mothman Prophecies (PG-13,
2002) ... Average: 2.25
(Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, Nesbitt
Richard Gere plays a political writer for the Washington Post whose
wife (played by Debra Messing) is in a car accident very early in the
movie. Gere is haunted by her last words and some scribblings she
made in a notebook just before she died. Two years later while on
his way to Richmond for a story, he unexplainably winds up 400 miles
off-course in a small town named "Point Pleasant" in West
Virginia, where strange things have been going on. The "strange
things" get even more strange once Gere arrives.
The story is based (presumably loosely) on real events. As I
understand it, the strange occurrences all were truly reported in a very
brief period of time in this West Virginian town in the late 60's (Of course,
this is West Virginia we're talking about - I've got to think a bunch of
redneck yahoos are reporting strange occurrences almost daily.)
And the tragic event (which I won't reveal) at the end of the movie, did
actually happen in Point Pleasant, albeit not during the same period of
time as the "strange occurrences" in the 60's. The rest of
the story and the characters are fabricated.
As they were never explained in real live, nothing is explained in this
movie either. It's just one creepy event after another, then the
tragic event, and then the movie ends without explanation. As Bev
noted, "They obviously made up the story, so why not make up an
explanation?" Actually, one of the supporting characters, an
expert on the supernatural, even states, "What you really want to
know is 'why you?' Well, we aren't supposed to know." And
you don't. So if you don't like movies with a definitive ending, this
one isn't for you. In that regard, this movie REALLY reminded me of
an episode of the X-files. I really think if you love the X-files,
you'll love this movie...well, I guess, if you would pay $3.50 to rent an
episode of the X-files.
It wasn't a great movie, but it was a worthy rental - creepy
enough that I needed to watch "Mad TV" before I went to bed to
rid myself of the creepies still in my system!
(Bev was asleep for about 30 minutes of the movie for whatever that's
The Motorcycle Diaries (R,
2004) ... Average:
(Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mia Maestro, Mercedes Moran,
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
someone please explain to me why so many people are so damn nostalgic about
Che Guevara? I mean, come on--this is a guy who, among other things,
predicted and wished for a violent race war here in America, one that would
have killed hundreds of thousands of people of every color. Needless
to say, a movie with a sympathetic portrayal of Che is a tall order for me;
that said, I was surprised at how close this movie came to sealing the deal.
It's set in 1952, the year that young Ernesto Guevara (he hadn't gotten his
nickname or his radicalism yet) and his best friend and fellow medical
student Alberto (Rodrigo de la Serna) took a motorcycle trip across South
America from their home in Argentina to a job opportunity in Venezuela. As
the two men discover the awesome beauty and horrible poverty of their home
continent, the movie does quite a job contrasting their
personalities--Ernesto, troubled by the injustice he sees and by his own
problem (a bad case of asthma), is guileless, honest, and dignified; Alberto
comes across more as funny, worldly and practical, and not surprisingly ends
up as the audience character. I'm oversimplifying a bit here--both men are a
bit more complicated than you end up expecting, and what Ernesto eventually
became is hinted at here and there--but the characterization is definitely
the movie's main strength.
I still had mixed feelings about the actor playing Ernesto, Gael Garcia
Bernal from the Mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien. He strikes me as the
Mexican Tom Cruise--great-looking and not a horrible actor, but outclassed
by those around him, and a bit too willing to coast on his star power.
Luckily, he's in a role that more or less suits him, just as Cruise was in
Rain Man (which this movie somewhat resembles), so his performance ends up
not stellar, but not too bad, either. That, combined with the great
performance of de la Serna, meant that I still enjoyed the whole thing a lot
more than I expected to, so I have to be generous rating it.
(I also can't close without mentioning the INCREDIBLE photography of South
America included throughout the film; anyone who thinks that that continent
is all or mostly rainforest is in for a surprise. As shown in this movie,
large parts of Argentina look much more like Colorado than they do the
jungle, and the Atacama Desert in northern Chile is as starkly beautiful as
any similar place in Utah or New Mexico. My favorite place shown in the film
is the city of Cuzco in Peru, which Jill and I are now hoping to visit
someday. Valparaiso, in Chile, looks intriguing as well, partly because it
has high hills and inclined planes that go to the top of them, like
Pittsburgh and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Director of Photography Eric Gautier
deserves as much credit as the actors and director for this movie's amazing
look and feel.)
2001) ... Average:
(Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo, Richard
Roxburgh, Kylie Minogue)
I'm not gay, but if I were this movie would be getting five stars.
If you don't like musicals, shiny costumes, or Ewan McGregor in anything
other than "Trainspotting" then stay really far away. But if you
want to hear Nirvana set in 19th century Paris and some really fine acting
by Nicole Kidman then rent this film. The hype and accolades are
Sara (Gaughan) Austin
Um, yeah, OK, Drew. Whatever you say. Clearly you have a
strange man-love for Ewan McGregor.
If you think you'd rather be stabbed in the eye than have to watch a movie
musical, particularly one with Nirvana songs being sung by characters from
the 19th century, then stay far, far away from this movie.
Nicole Kidman is VERY pretty, and so is Ewan McGregor, I guess. The movie
2002) ... Average: 1.5
(Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Steve Buscemi, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris,
I have no one to blame but myself for seeing this movie. I even
talked my husband and two friends into going with me. I'll miss
Adam Sandler cracks me up -- in small doses. I love his song
parodies and some of his sketches and characters on Saturday Night Live
were nothing less than hysterical, but a full-length feature film just
didn't cut it.
Mr. Deeds is the story of a small town pizza shop owner and all around
good guy who finds out that he has inherited $40 billion from an uncle he
never knew he had. Take a small town guy, throw him in big, bad New
York City, add some smarmy executives that want him to sign over his
shares of his uncle's company so they can make BIG bucks, and sprinkle
with a dash of the tabloid television journalist who just wants to get the
scoop on the new billionaire in town, and crank up the laugh meter, right?
The movie has a few funny moments (mostly seen in the trailers for the
film), but overall, it's just stupid. It's predictable and juvenile
and I should have known better. Shame on me. But, after having
sat through "Windtalkers" (at the insistence of my husband), I
would have agreed to see "Lilo and Stitch."
Save your money -- you'll get more laughs from Comedy Central's reruns of
old SNL than you will from Mr. Deeds.
The (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 3.0
(Albert Brookes, Sharon Stone, Andi
McDowell, and many cameos)
Being a fan of Albert Brooks, I gave it a shot. It was pure fluff, but
Fat Greek Wedding (PG,
2002) ... Average:
(Nia Vardalos, Gia Carides, John Corbett, Joey Fatone, Ian
Gomez, Michael Constantine)
Very funny movie; good cast, good story. The type of film with lines
that make you giggle the next day, as you fondly consider how close they hit
If you wait for the video you won't lose much. There are no special effects
that need to be seen at the theatre.
Nia Vardalos plays Toula Portokalos, a woman trapped within her Greek
heritage. As she puts it, the role of a Greek woman according to her
old-school father is to marry a Greek Orthodox Man, make lots of Greek
babies and cook Greek food all day long for the rest of her life.
Unfortunately, the homely Vardalos is now 30-years old, unmarried and still
working at the family-owned Greek restaurant as a waitress.
Soon after the movie begins, Toula begins her quest to discover her own
personal self worth, and winds up falling for Ian Miller, a tall, handsome,
semi-long haired high school teacher who is most definitely NOT Greek.
The comical meshing of their two families begins.
That's pretty much the movie in a nutshell. Warm-hearted, romantic,
uplifting. It's good for a number of smiles and an equal amount of
laughs. The story is cute, the characters are just as cute, genuine
and well cast. My guess is that non-Greek women will like this one
more than non-Greek men. Greeks and anyone with close Greek friends
will find this movie to be absolutely hysterical.
What's interesting about this movie is how it all came to fruition. It wasn't even run in
main-stream theaters when it was first released. It's a classic low-budget
film ($5M total to make!) with a little-known cast that came out of no-where
to make it big. Nia Vardalos, who plays the lead-character, inspired
by her eccentric, good-natured family and colorful childhood, actually began
wrote "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" as a play as early as 1993. Much of
it was based on her own memorable wedding, and the events leading up to it.
The play quickly became a stage hit. Rita Wilson saw the play, and
recommended it to her husband, TOM HANKS, who agreed that the play would
make a fantastic film. Vardalos faced a lot of adversity as
executives, eager to cast major stars, wanted to tinker with the script.
But she stuck to her guns, and with a paltry budget of only $5M, the gamble
paid off as word-of-mouth found audiences flocking to the film in record
Recommended. No need to run out and lay down $7.50 for it in a
theater, but it's a more than worthy rental if you're looking for something
light and refreshing.
Men (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 2.0
(Ben Stiller, Greg Kinnear, Geoffrey Rush, Janeane Garofalo)
Captain Amazing is kidnapped by the ruthless Casanova Frankenstein, it's up to a group of self-made
superheroes to save the day. (I got that from the Blockbuster box.)
The movie starts slowly, moves slowly to the midpoint and finishes poorly.
It has some funny parts, but not enough to recommend the film. Good cast, bad story line.
Mystic River (R,
2003) ... Average:
(Laura Linney, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon,
(DIRECTED BY Clint Eastwood)
I just got done watching
a few weeks ago, and the box said "Best American Movie since MYSTIC RIVER"
so we got this one too since we're apparently a glutton for dark and
This one is worth seeing, but I agree with Jill (see below). The
revealing of who did it was a slight let down, but I didn't think it
detracted from the movie as much as it would in most cases, because the
revealing of the "who did it" part was really secondary to the characters
and how they got to that point in the first place. It's a testament to
how strong the rest of the movie was, really.
If you like high-quality disturbing brilliantly-acted movies, this one's for
you. A solid 4-star film.
IMPORTANT!!!!! DO NOT READ MY COMMENTS (particularly the second
paragraph) IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING OF THE MOVIE BEFORE YOU SEE
The characterization in this movie is its #1 strength--I know some folks who
aren't fans of Kevin Bacon or Sean Penn, but these two guys, along with the
always terrific Tim Robbins, do a great job portraying the 3 adult friends
haunted by childhood secrets. Lawrence Fishburne turns in a notable
performance also as Kevin Bacon's cop partner.
My biggest pet peeve is the ending of the movie when a deaf person and his
friend are revealed as the villains of the crime. As a deaf person myself,
I resent it when Hollywood resorts to portraying deaf people as deviant, and
therefore, bad. Also, I felt that, in the context of the story, for it to
end this way was a cop-out in terms of the plot. Some would say that the
ending was an interesting twist in light of the events that unraveled as the
movie played itself out. I can see where that view comes from, but I
ultimately think the ending is a cop-out. This paragraph will make WAY more
sense when you've seen the movie. I'd be interested in what others think of