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Movie (R, 2000) ... Average: 3.25
(Shannon Elizabeth, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Carmen
Electra, Cheri Oteri)
movie was pretty much what I expected. Essentially 90 minutes of spoofing
on "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" -
slap-stick kind of stuff. A number of funny lines - my favorite was
the one where Doofy said "I told you not to interrupt me when I'm
cleaning my room!" It's a lot of "Airplane" and
"What about Mary?" type of humor which pokes fun at the
silliness of the aforementioned scary movies, all done in relatively good
taste and in good fun. If you are a big fan of that type of humor,
you are likely to be a big fan of this movie.
Overall, for me it was OK, but it's probably a better rental. I
can't recommend paying $15-double-date prices to see it in the theater and
I can't say it equaled other movies that I've given high ratings to.
It was just OK. Mildly funny. Wait till it comes out at
By the way, there is a seen where a penis comes through a hole in a
bathroom stall. (OK, scratch my comment about the movie being done
in good taste.) If that wasn't a REAL penis, it was a damn good
replica! Anyone else agree? (I might add that mine would not
have fit through that hole. Hehehehe.)
(Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett,
Marlon Brando, Jamie Harrold)
I give it a higher rating than the other two reviewers. First,
as to the suspense: I saw it as more of a point/counterpoint thing.
The slowness of the planning stages contrasted nicely with the last 30
minutes. When Rob got left hanging by Ed on that I-beam, I was
sweating right along with him. I thought the twist (which I won't
reveal) was pretty good too.
Note to Sue Hohenadel: Think you might have been a little unfair to
Brando, commenting on his hair, appearance in bathrobe, etc. Perhaps
the director wanted a sleazy edge to the character. That
would fit, and if so, then we simply saw Brando playing it off perfectly.
One criticism: I'm not sure the final ending was entirely
plausible. I don't want to give away too much here, but I'm not sure
that one character's misfortune necessarily left the other character in
complete safety. I hope that is clear but does not give too much
Yeah, what Sue said (see below.) You would think that any movie
with Robert DeNiro and Ed Norton would form an unbeatable combination, no
matter what the plot. Nope.
DeNiro plays a master safe cracking thief at the end of his thief career
who wants to finally settle down into a life as a wealthy jazz club owner
in Montreal. His mentor, played by Marlon Brando, talks him into one
last nearly impossible heist - which winds up being the heist of all
heists, the lifting of a $30,000,000 17th-century golden scepter being
stored under maximum security in the basement of the Montreal Customs
House. Brando also ropes the youthful and overly ambitious but
clever burglar played by Ed Norton to form an unlikely alliance with
DeNiro's only prior rule was "Always work alone." Oooooooo.
The typical tired dialog between the aging crook whose done it all and has
never had a partner until now and his cocky young partner ensues.
This movie reminds me so much of "Entrapment."
Both movies are about two thieves in pursuit of the ultimate prize,
overcoming one impossible obstacle after another to the point where it
becomes unrealistic instead of interesting.
But, my main beef with both movies - this one and "Entrapment" -
the audience is being asked to route for "bad guys." And
there are no good guys (except for maybe the bit part of the head janitor
who seemed like such a sweet old man, but ends up getting screwed!)
I know, I'm a strange one, but I need to have a hero in my movies, someone
overcoming odds not so that they can steal things that don't belong to
them, but overcoming odds for general good. Maybe that's not
realistic, but if I wanted realistic, I wouldn't have rented a movie in
the first place.
The end of the movie does have an interesting and surprising twist.
But, in a way, even that is tainted. You knew there had to be
something surprising about to happen as they closed in on the climax,
since the first 90 minutes rolls along with minimal suspense.
After all, the audience can conclude immediately that they are eventually
going to be successful in their heist, so if they had just gotten the
scepter and then rolled the credits, the movie would have been terribly
uninteresting. But, a movie with a good surprise twist hits you
blindsided. Although I didn't know exactly what was going to
happen in this movie, you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know
that there was some sort of twist about to come at you.
And a couple stupid questions. Is there really a network of sewer
system tunnels directly underneath the Montreal Customs House? And
is there really a man-shaft leading from the sewers to the basement where
they would store valuables? That seemed a little too convenient.
On the bright side, Ed Norton's character is awesome and saves this
movie. Norton pretends to be mentally retarded and gets a job in the
Common's building as a night time janitor. The man is absolutely
brilliant in his acting ability. This movie is worth a rental just
to see this performance. And, of course, DeNiro is always great.
Unfortunately, as far as heist movies go, although it's not a complete
bore by any means, this one is no better than mediocre.
Any movie with Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando in the
starring roles has got to be great, right? Not quite.
The Score is a movie about a wealthy jazz club owner (DeNiro) who pulls
off big money burglary jobs just for the heck of it. That has to be
the reason because the guy's got a great business, an awesome home, and a
nifty little BMW. Marlon Brando plays the character who has
"contracted" DeNiro for all the heists, and Edward Norton is the
guy who has an "in" at the place where the three are planning
their biggest hit.
The movie is slow and quite tedious. There's not a lot of action and
only minimal suspense. It picks up at bit at the end, but not enough
to carry the audience through the first hour and a half.
The good thing about The Score -- well, actually TWO good things -- is
that Robert DeNiro is in it (that goes without saying) and Edward Norton
is incredible. During the movie, Norton plays two characters -- a
normal, everyday crook and Brian, a semi-retarded, physically challenged
simpleton. Flashback to "Primal Fear" in which Norton
played a stammering, stuttering country bumpkin. The man is superb
at capturing the tics, mannerisms and nuances of people who are
"different." His portrayal of Brian, the poor disfigured
janitor, almost made his portrayal of the "normal" character
The Score is a good rental, but not really worth the price of two tickets,
popcorn, soda and Junior Mints.
And a message to Marlon Brando, in the event he cruises the
yourpalchrismal website: Lose weight, lose the "flap" over your
receding hairline, stop using your "Godfather" voice in every
movie you've made since then, and for God's sake, don't subject us to ANY
MORE SCENES in which you are sprawled out on a couch or in a silk
bathrobe! It's going to take me weeks to forget that image.
... Average: 1.5
(Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jason Alexander, Susan
Ward, Joe Viterelli, Garry Shandling)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
A very superficial young man, the eponymous Hal (Jack Black), never
seems to get anywhere with women, who are all too aware of his habit of
judging them only by their bodies. One day, his luck changes after
he is hypnotized by self-help guru Tony Robbins (Tony Robbins, who is
really funny). Unbeknownst to Hal, everyone he sees in this altered
state appears attractive--or unattractive--based on the goodness (or lack
thereof) in their personalities. It doesn't take him long to meet a
clever, caring, altruistic, and sweet woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) and fall in
love, not realizing that he is the only person who doesn't know she weighs
three hundred pounds.
It's a clever premise with a lot of potential, but the filmmakers and the
star seem determined to waste it. The script wants us to root for
Paltrow's character, but also hypocritically insists on using her (and
every other available large person) for an endless train of fat jokes that
strain credibility, taste, and basic laws of physics.
Black, meanwhile, seems to forget that he's acting and not doing standup
comedy, and spends too much of the movie doing and saying things that he
thinks are funny but aren't (at least he's as clueless as his character).
There are some moments of really good acting--Paltrow captures the
awkwardness of her character's situation, and Jason Alexander (playing
Hal's equally tiresome best friend) gets a few laughs, even though he's
really just playing George Costanza all over again.
I'm told that the Farrelly brothers, who also directed Dumb and Dumber and
There's Something About Mary, specialize in gross-out slapstick. Why
on Earth they were given this premise, which requires a bit of sensitivity
and (what a radical concept!) the occasional bit of subtle humor, is
Paltrow's characterization, and the sweetness of her best scenes, make
this almost worth watching--but not quite.
(I should mention that I really liked the ending credits, which include
stills of every crew member and an oddball coda reminiscent of Ferris
Bueller's Day Off; these are clever ideas that really deserve a better
use. If you want a much better and funnier movie with the same
judge-people-by-their-characters-not-their-appearances theme, I would
Shanghai Knights (PG-13, 2003)
... Average: 2.0
(Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aidan Gillen, Fan
Man-Fong, Tom Fisher)
The hubby and I were big fans of "Shanghai Noon," but I'm afraid the
sequel doesn't come close for entertainment value. I LOVE the Wilson
brothers---Owen, Luke, I don't care, bring 'em on, but enough already with
Owen's nose. I couldn't stop staring at it! I know it was broken (twice) when he was younger. SO
what! You've made, what, like a gazillion bucks now making mediocre movies
like this one? Get the damn thing fixed already--it's an eyesore.
Oh, and the movie--just kinda dumb. Even Jackie Chan failed to impress. I
actually recognized many of his stunts from past
movies, and I'm no Kung Fu fan. Lame.
Shark Tale (PG, 2004) ... Average:
(Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Angelina
Jolie, Renee Zellweger,
Katie Couric, Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Martin Scorsese, Peter Falk)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
movie about funny talking fishes? Yeah, I know, it sounds like an underwater
version of Shrek, and that's basically what it is--but
what's wrong with that? While it's a tall order living up to the earlier
ogre film, Shark Tale almost achieves the same level of humor and
entertainment, with a similarly digestible moral.
It all revolves around Oscar (voiced by Will Smith), a young whale-washer
(yeah, that's his job--it's kind of like being a car-washer) who wants to
move up the "reef," never quite appreciating the good counsel of his
would-be girlfriend Angie (Renee Zellweger). Meanwhile, the don of the
mafia-like family of local sharks (Robert De Niro) wonders what's wrong with
his son Lenny (Jack Black, cast brilliantly against type), who doesn't seem
eager to hunt fish in the sea like a good shark.
The cast are all hilarious, especially Smith, and the animation is
incredibly well done; I was really impressed by the facial expressions of
most of the animated characters, many of whom were more expressive than some
live-action actors I know (maybe Kevin Costner should see this movie). The
real surprise is the mature nature of some of the themes--loss of a sibling,
parental acceptance, and "selling out" versus remaining true to yourself.
Fortunately, all of these are handled well without too much
beating-over-the-head, mostly because the script and cast are so
The only real problem I had with the film is that it's so noisy and brash,
the way too many kid-oriented movies are these days. It's the kind of thing
that makes me appreciate a low-key-but-still-aimed-at-children work like
Thomas the Tank Engine (and, for all that matter, Shrek)
that much more. In addition, while most of the pop-culture references are
funny, I'd be surprised if many kids would understand them, although I
suppose they're there mostly to entertain the adults in the audience.
All that said, I still recommend this one. (By the way, those of you who
have ever read the Roger Zelazny short story "The George Business" will
recognize some resemblance to the plot of this movie. Also, I strongly
recommend not leaving until after the credits are over.)
This is good, despite what the critics want you to believe. Was
it as good as Shrek? Noooo, definitely not. Not even close - but
that's an unfair comparison. Was it as good as Finding Nemo or Toy
Story? No, but it was close, and it was as good or better than
Monsters Inc or Toy Story 2 which both were more than worthy. If you
love this kind of animated film and humor, no doubt that you'll love this
too. (And, by the way, overabundance of previews are any indication,
there will be no shortage of this kind of movie in the next 6 months!)
This was Jolie's second movie in a theater, and the first that she sat
through in its entirety.
If there was one thing Shark Tale lacks that the other movies in this genre
did not, it's a solid moral and underlying feel-good
bent (The sharks are the underwater mafia, and Will Smith plays a fish who
lies his way to fame and fortune claiming to be a shark killer.) I
think this is what the critics are complaining about, but I don't think it
distracts from the movie. Kids just like funny animation and lovable
characters, and adults like the puns and humor of which there is no
shortage. Who is going to this kind of movie to boost their morals?
Stealing the show where the two jellyfish (whose tentacles were like
dreadlocks) played by Doug E. Doug and Ziggy Marley. Hysterical.
Gotta Have It (1986) ... Average: 4.0
(Spike Lee, Tommy Redmond Hicks, Tracy Camila Johns, Rave
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
As many of you know, I am not a big fan of Spike Lee the person (just as I am not a big fan
of Woody Allen, the person). That said, I have to give credit where credit is
due, and Spike Lee the movie director is one of the best and most challenging
ones working today. This indie, his first full-length feature (1986), is a
charming romantic/tragic comedy, and it established his extraordinary relationship with two important
collaborators, cinematographer Ernest Dickerson and producer Monty Ross (both
of whom have off-beat bit parts).
While not as dramatic as Lee's later, more didactic films, I think this movie is
more consistently pleasurable. The protagonist and fulcrum of the plot is
Nola (Tracy Camilla Johns). She's a young designer and single woman who simultaneously maintains relationships
with three different men--earnest Jamie (Tommy Hicks), hilarious Mars (Lee
himself), and infuriating Greer (John
"Canada" Terrell, who was also in The Five Heartbeats) and hints at starting
one with a pretty young lesbian (Raye Dowell). The acting is a bit amateurish
(Hicks may be the best; he is seen to
better advantage in Stacey Dash's Daughters of the Dust), but Lee's cinematography of his beloved home of
Brooklyn, and his masterful interweaving of still and motion photography, is much
more than professional. Just as importantly, Lee keeps us interested by giving everyone (even his most didactic
character, the arrogant Greer) moments of insight, only getting off course near
This may not be the best or the most important film Spike Lee ever made, but it is the most fun film he
ever made--and that is no small thing. (As a side note, I should mention that
the birthday party scene is one of my favorite scenes in any movie, ever. It
is also technically unique, for reasons
that I cannot describe without giving it away.)
... Average: 4.67
(Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John
Lithgow, Vincent Cassel)
I could not agree with Chris more. He is so smart.
This is an animated comedy/fairy-tale for all ages about an Ogre named
Shrek (voice by Mike Myers) who is sent to rescue a princess (voice by
Cameron Diaz) guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. He is accompanied
by a talking blabbering donkey (voice by Eddie Murphy).
As the trailers for this movie played long before the movie hit the
theaters, you might suspect, as is the case with most movies of this
genre, that all of the good lines are found in the previews. How
wrong you'd be! I saw this movie in the theater and it was the first
comedy I've ever seen where everyone in the theater applauded upon its
conclusion and then continued laughing as the masses filed out the
doors. I must have heard a half dozen people around me commenting
just how incredibly funny it was, and I can't agree more.
Myers and Murphy steal the show - particularly Murphy who is given hysterical
line after line, and hits them all brilliantly.
Making this even more fantastic, Shrek is a movie for absolutely ALL
ages. I'm not sure what the PG rating is about unless a couple
innocent jokes about Ogre flatulence and a fire breathing dragon with eyes
for a talking donkey are dangerous to small children. There is a ton
of aged material that would go over the heads of young kids, but the
essence of the plot, the entertainment value and meaning of the story
would be lost on no one.
For those of you into the animation aspect, you will see that technology
has reached a point where it's almost becoming difficult to tell what is animation
and what isn't. The level of detail, particularly in the facial
expressions, is truly astonishing.
This was 90 minutes that absolutely flew by. Couldn't be more highly
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Shrek disappointed me at first, but I found myself enjoying it
more and more as time went on. It's a lot of fun because it does
what many good parodies do--it makes fun of a certain style of movie (or
book, or TV show, or whatever) while simultaneously giving us a solid,
likable example of whatever is being made fun of.
The story revolves around a (likeably) mean ogre named Shrek (voiced by
Mike Myers), who suddenly finds his beloved fetid swamp overflowing with
fairly-tale characters--gnomes, elves, the three blind mice, and like
critters. They're all refugees from the land of the evil lord
Farquahad (John Lithgow), who sees them as a threat to his suspiciously
Disney-like kingdom. Shrek bargains with Farquahad to get his land
back, and agrees to (what else?) rescue a beautiful princess (Cameron
Diaz) for the lord to marry.
Along the way, he picks up a sidekick, a rather verbose donkey named
Donkey (Eddie Murphy). The lead-up to the quest gets kind of
tiresome. I found the first half-hour or so of the movie extremely
grating (the pop-culture references get overdone at that point). The
ending is kind of a turnoff too, but in between, as the actual story
unfolded, I found myself rolling my eyes a lot less and laughing a lot
Myers and Diaz are both well-cast, but the real treat is Murphy, who
hasn't been this funny since 48 Hours! (I expected him to expand on
the better acting he showed in Boomerang and The Nutty Professor, but not
as a cartoon jackass!)
In addition, the animation and artwork, especially the matte paintings,
are extremely well done, although I didn't find them as lifelike as
everyone else. (Personally, I don't ask that animation be lifelike;
I just ask that it be good.)
Besides the beginning and ending, my largest pet peeve was that, amidst
all the clever poking-fun at cartoon clich�s, the film stuck fast to one
of the most enduring Disney clich�s by making Farquahad a menacing little
dwarf. If they had made him a strapping, handsome (but evil)
gentleman, that would have been really subversive. (By making the
ugly Shrek the hero, they've already taken a step in the right direction).
Overall, however, this movie is a fun experience for children and adults,
and very worth seeing in a theater if the opportunity presents itself
... Average: 3.5
(Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh,
Virginia Madsen, Marylouise Burke)
This is a love story, typical in that we root for them to get
together, however it's told in a different manner. Very funny, and twisted
in parts (seeing a naked, fat man is always disturbing) but in the end I
enjoyed the film. The ending may get to some, I liked it...but not many
others in the theater did. The actors do a good job, nice script, no Chris
Malinowski cameo so it's all the weaker for that.
This was billed as one of the greatest comedies of the year.
I think the box even quoted a reviewer as saying "Hysterical!" I
didn't laugh. I chuckled once, maybe twice, but generally this was
just a story about two guys - two guys with issues - on a trip. I
thought it was more of a semi-humorous drama than a comedy. Don't get
me wrong - BRILLIANTLY acted. Paul Giamatti is excellent, as is Thomas
Haden Church. But overall just felt like I was watching two guys on
vacation - dysfunctional as that vacation may have been.
... Average: 2.5
(Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Cherry Jones, Rory
Culkin, Abigail Breslin)
(If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading...I'm about to give it all
Was it just me, or was the entire family in this movie in slow motion much
of the time. Reactionary people these were not. I mean, c'mon,
there are aliens outside, on the roof, and upstairs trying to beat their way
through the barricaded doors and windows, and now would be a time for a nice
father-son chat about the day the son was born? I'd say, "Yeah, um, I
appreciate the sentiment, Dad, but - THERE ARE F*CKING ALIENS ON THE ROOF!
AAAAAA!" And then I'd pee myself.
Signs was directed by the same guy who directed "Sixth
Sense," so I had great expectations, particularly, as Sue said below,
after seeing the trailer to the movie. It all looked like really
creepy, intense stuff. And, well, it was...throughout most of the
movie, in fact. What you should do, however, is turn the movie off
right after they barricade themselves into their house. Do that.
Just assume everyone dies and aliens take over the world. That would
have been a better ending.
But...that wasn't the ending. In the end, we find out that these
aliens who came from probably millions of light-years away forgot all of
their weapons, and are related to the Wicked Witch of the West. That's
right, enough technology to travel space, but they came to earth without
anything but their bare hands...err, claws. AND, they melt when water
touches them. Pa-leeze!
And, like "Sixth Sense," there had to be a clever tie-in somewhere.
Mel Gibson's wife was killed in a car accident before the movie begins.
Her last words to her husband are "Tell Merrill to swing away." At the
time he sees this as simply her mind fading away and just rehashing some old
memory of his brother Merrill's days as a minor league baseball player.
But, no! As they are having a stand-off against the final weaponless
alien, and it looks like all hope is lost, Mel remembers what his wife told
him! Oh, wow! His brother Merrill is standing right next to the
bat mounted on the wall. SWING AWAY, MERRILL! SWING AWAY!
Merrill picks up the bat, and the alien just stands there and takes a
beating. Oh, and then the alien staggers and knocks over a glass of
water, which falls on him, and melts his skin off. Ouch. Ouch
for me for watching that embarrassing ending.
OK, OK, that's kind of harsh, because I must confess that - despite the
whole family seemingly being on depressants - I was totally creeped out by
the impending doom, and all of the "signs." Up until the ending when
they were forced to tie everything together - this was a decent movie. So, I'll give it 3-stars. 4-stars for the first part
of the movie, and 2-stars for the ending, and we'll split the difference.
I saw the first trailer for this movie in June and could barely contain
myself until it hit theaters. It looked intriguing, interesting and
creepy. I'm not a scary movie fan, but "Signs" looked too
good to pass up. Turns out, I was wrong and it was just stupid.
Signs is the story of Reverend Graham Hess (Gibson), his brother
(Phoenix), and Gibson's two kids all living together in a farm house in
Doylestown, PA. Graham is having a crisis of faith and has left the
church, although all the small town folk refer to him as
"Father." Phoenix is his brother -- a good guy who had
star potential in minor league baseball and never really lived up to it.
And then there's the two kids -- Morgan, the son who is far too obsessed
with life and Bo, the little girl who has some serious issues.
The movie starts interestingly enough with the Hess family finding the
"sign" in their corn field. The local sheriff shows up,
but nobody can explain how or why it happened. Seems the only ones
who might just be heading down the "aliens did it" road are the
kids. But what do they know?
The movie goes from what could have been a really creepy premise to just
plain dumb. I was expecting a lot more, especially since M. Night
Shyamalan wrote and directed the movie. Honestly, how good was
"The Sixth Sense" even if you're not a scary movie buff?
It's sad, but I think M. Night has gotten caught up in the "special
effects" trap. Instead of the implied scariness of "Sixth
Sense," this movie is an homage to "the audience must be stupid,
so let's spell it out for them with special effects" films.
There are a few funny scenes in the movie -- Joaquin Phoenix is a hoot as
the not-so-bright brother. Gibson is actually very unlikable as a
man who is struggling with his faith, his home and his life. And the
kids -- even though they are annoying with their little quirks -- are very
I recommend renting this movie as opposed to seeing it on the big screen.
Take the $7.50 and rent "The Sixth Sense" again so you can
appreciate how not to rest on your laurels.
Sense (PG-13, 1999) ... Average: 5.0
(Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia
Williams, Donnie Wahlberg)
Giancaterino (Chris' unrehabilitatable brother-in-law)
An extraordinarily well done motion picture. The director worked very
hard to make sure you don�t figure it out until the final scene.
Genuinely entertaining and intriguing all the way through but, the finale
takes it from a home run to a grand slam!
It�s a thriller, tear jerker, paranormal-altered states experience all
rolled into one. Some of Bruce Willis� best acting to date (no he does
NOT shoot or blow up anyone.)
Special thanks to my brother for lending his pre-release VHS copy to me to
watch before the rest of the world. Unfortunately, he was not as grateful
when he discovered that my kids recorded a Tele-Tubbies episode over 1/3
of the movie!
I haven't been reviewing any movies that I watched "Post
Web-Site", but this one is definitely worthy of being an exception to
the rule. This was THE best movie that I saw in 1999, and quite
possibly one of my all-time favorite movies. The very rare
Chris-Mal-FIVE-star movie, and so far the ONLY movie that I have reviewed
to get such a great honor! :o)
The story is the best. Never before have I been so surprised by an
ending. In fact, I thought the movie could have ended and still been
a 5-star movie about 30 minutes before its actual ending. A truly
fantastic, entertaining and thought-provoking plot with tremendous acting.
Haley Joel Osment who played the young boy who could "see dead
people" was just brilliant. As Bev said to me, "He's like
a little tiny man". Very well poised, and an up and coming
actor who is going to be very rich, very quickly. And it's a good
thing, too, because with a name like Haley Joel Osment, he's going to need
plenty of money to keep from getting his ass kicked in school.
Unbelievable, this movie had me from start to finish!!! By far the
best flick I have ever seen!! Two thumbs up!!
(R, 1999) ... Average: 2.63
(Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci)
Very entertaining. Also very scary in some scenes. Director took great
liberties with book of same name. (I didn't read it actually; just going
on what I was told.
What can you say about a woman who made a Faustian bargain with the devil
to get her fair share of inheritance that was allegedly wrongfully taken
from her or something like that. The deal was that the headless horseman (HH)
was to cut off the heads of all the relatives (at the woman's command)
that stood in her way of inheriting everything. The HH was killed years
earlier in the American Revolution, beheaded, and buried. (The HH did all
his killing by slicing off opponents heads, like we do today in business,
only more humanely). All he really wanted was his own head back. Guess who
had the head?? The girl who made the deal with the devil. Well, he finally
got it back and took her to hell with him at the tree portal entrance.
Good place for them both. To add a twist to the story, a detective played
by Dep was called up from the 'big city' (New York??) to see why so many
people were losing their heads and other weird things going on in Sleepy
Hollow. He had all the latest scientific crime solving gear.
Best scene in movie was when all people were in Church with HH outside the
fence trying to figure out a way to get this one guys head. He finally
speared the man through the chest at a distance of about 30 feet with a
sharp fence post when the man was by a window. The HH dragged him just
past the fence and, you guessed it, sliced off his head as if it were a
wet noodle, or something.
This is a good old fashioned
scary movie. Quintessential American folklore with decapitations galore. The Brothers Grimm would have loved it for it's gore, moral undertones, and romance. The cinematography is classic Tim Burton, dark and
foreboding. Chris Walken has no lines, yet you will not forget his character.
What are you people smoking? The only reason I would give this movie
half of a star is because I got to watch Johnny Depp for 2 hours.
Actually, not even 2 hours because I fell asleep at some point...
1998) ... Average: 3.0
(Marissa Ribisi, Giovanni Ribisi, Juliette Lewis, Michael
Sue (a.k.a. Catgirl)
I caught this little indy film on Showtime West one Saturday morning
at 5:30 a.m. when one of my darling catties woke me by making
"muffins" on my head. But enough about me and my sleep
"Some Girl" is an interesting flick about 20-somethings who like
to drink, sleep around, and get into each other's business or bed. Marisa
Ribisi is the main character -- a nice enough girl who is looking for
"Mr. Right" and gets sucked into a relationship with "Mr. I
Just Want to Get in Your Pants." Giovanni Ribisi plays her brother
(some kind of casting, huh?) in his usual quirky,
is-this-guy-on-dope-or-what, nerdy way. Juliette Lewis is the slutty, best
friend who has a gem of a beau (Rapaport) and doesn't care, and ends up
doing her best friend dirty.
It's interesting to watch how Marisa Ribisi transforms from a naive,
lovesick girl to a hateful, coming undone witch. To explain further would
cause me to give the plot away. Giovanni Ribisi has great lines and
delivers them with a smack to the senses.
Rent the movie, buy a cat that wants to nest in your hair, and watch this
movie and some un-Godly hour of the morning when you can give it your
Someone Like You (PG-13, 2001) ... Average:
(Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Catherine Dent,
Ellen Barkin, Marisa Tomei)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
I didn't like Someone Like You for the first hour or so, but
perseverance paid off, and I found myself actually being entertained near
the end. Why the bad first impression? An opening five minutes that
have to be among the most annoying in film history, narration so
sanctimonious it makes you want to scream, and a clear status as a vehicle
for the cute-but-not-very-talented Ashley Judd.
The plot doesn't help much in the beginning, either. Judd goes through the
usual romantic-comedy rituals with the Hunky New Guy at the Office (Greg
Kinnear) and pretends to philosophize about it with the Worldly Best Friend
(Marisa Tomei) and the Hunky-But-Obnoxious Womanizer (Hugh Jackman, who is
the best actor in the group). Then, she begins to write a column explaining
the Truth About Men and Women while pretending to be some sort of European
feminist/psychologist. Fortunately, it doesn't stay this predictable,
and the ending actually makes a good point, but I'm not sure it's worth
sitting through the rest of the movie to get there.
The ending saves this from a well-below-average rating. (As a side note, I
should mention that Ellen Barkin does a good job as Judd's jaded boss, and
it's nice to see that she's still working. Also, the soundtrack makes good
use of "It Must Be Love" by Madness, one of the more innocent love songs of
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (PG, 2004) ... Average:
(Tom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass, Alec Baldwin, Bill Fagerbakke,
Carolyn Lawrence, David Hasselhoff, Scarlett Johanssen)
HERE to go to Tony Porco's Movie Reviews Page)
Welcome to the wonderful undersea world of
SpongeBob SquarePants, in which our titular hero, everyone's favorite
primitive marine invertebrate (voiced by Tom Kenny) and his buddy, the
starfish Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke), have to save their crabby boss
(actually, their boss is a crab!) from the wrath of his archenemy and rival
restraunteur, the diminutive Plankton (voiced by Doug Lawrence)! Yes, this
movie is as fun to watch as that sentence was to write, although it's not
really a better intro to the whole SpongeBob thing than just watching an
episode on TV. In fact, the movie might be a bit confusing to folks who
haven't seen the TV show. It's also a bit longer than it needs to be--my
son, who is a SpongeBob fan (and who had seen the show with me before we saw
the movie), seemed a bit bored and restless by the end. Still, you could do
a lot worse for a kid's movie, although it won't be good for all parents and
kids (there's some cartoon beating-up, and a lot of threatening and
I should mention that the closing credits are absolutely gorgeous, and the
coda is really funny. Also, there is a special celebrity appearance near the
end that had me rolling on the floor (I can�t say anything more about it,
for obvious reasons). Chunks of the film combine live-action and cartoon
footage, and the combination is creative and striking, although it's not
that different from what we saw years ago in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Game (R, 2001) ... Average: 3.25
(Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack,
Stephen Dillane, Larry Bryggman)
I liked it. Good fun fluff. Brad Pitt takes his shirt
off--pretty much worth half the ticket price right there. If you
don't go see it first run, definitely make it a rental.
Warning: The following movie review is clouded by the fact that the
theater temperature had to be at least 1000 degrees the night we saw Spy
Spy Game is the story of a soon-to-be-retired CIA agent (Redford) who is
summoned on what should be his last day of work to provide information on
a CIA agent he trained (Pitt) who has been captured and scheduled for
execution in China for espionage. Got it? That's the easy
The movie begins with Pitt posing as a doctor in an effort to save someone
from a Chinese prison. All goes well until he and the prisoner are
almost through the main gate. Guards surround the ambulance, he gets
caught, and, uh-oh... thrown into the prison.
The next two hours are a series of flashbacks of how Pitt and Redford met,
how they worked, what Redford taught Pitt and how they eventually parted
ways. Interspersed with the flashbacks are real-time scenes of
Redford trying desperately to find out enough information to save Pitt
before he is put to death.
The movie has some very stereotypical characters -- the arrogant, moronic
CIA agent who thinks Redford is past his prime and uses every opportunity
to point it out, the head of the CIA who used to be a "good guy"
and is now just coasting to retirement, the beautiful rebel and, (gulp!)
terrorists. Pitt does well with his role and Redford is still fun to
The movie drags in places. There are a few plot twists and some big
explosions, but it just doesn't grab you and hold you for two hours.
Spy Game is definitely a rental.
Now, here comes the bitch. What is with the newly-renovated
Fairgrounds Mall movie theater? We got there at 6:55 for a 7:15
movie start. Plenty of time. The line for the ticket taker was
out the door, so we snagged our place in line and waited. And
waited. And waited. At 7:13, I said to my husband that we had
not moved and we had better go to the front of the line in case we were
standing in line for Monsters, Inc. or worse yet, Harry Potter. The
idiot ticket taker
our stubs and sent us in.
We found the theater where Spy Game was playing and opened the door, only
to be shooed away by another idiot ticket taker who was busy cleaning the
theater for the next showing. No problem, but it's now 7:20.
We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally, we were
allowed in the theater.
We grabbed two primo seats and hunkered down for the movie when all of a
sudden, a rush of people came in. Apparently, they had been waiting
in the non-moving ticket line (like we were SUPPOSED to) and had just been
granted access. The place was jammed. To make matters worse,
some witch asked us and the three ladies aside of us to keep moving down
because her party of six needed to sit together.
7:30 and the lights are just dimming. And, it was about 95 degrees
in the theater throughout the entire movie.
Three suggestions for the people who work at the new Fairgrounds Mall
movie theater: Regulate the temperature for the surroundings, no
matter what month it is; clean the theater BEFORE the next start time;
and, hire ticket takers who have completed the sixth grade.
One suggestion for the ass who came late and expected to find six seats
together: Buy some Jiffy Pop, rent movies and stay home with your
obnoxious family. I shouldn't have to pay $7.50 to spend two hours
with your incestuous, gene-depleted relatives.
Wars II: Attack of the Clones (PG, 2002) ... Average: 4.0
(Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen,
Christopher Lee, Frank Oz, Jimmy Smits)
The Star Wars junkie will see this no matter what I say.
The movie is well written and kept my attention throughout. However,
the actor cast as Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) could not act his
way out of an elementary school play. He detracted from the movie, I
was so busy making fun of him that I missed crucial dialog. He
sounds like he should be in a Rocky movie. "Yo, Padme I did it,
I did it."
The rest of the cast was excellent and the fight scenes well done.
Yoda's fight scene was the best. Be prepared for the end - it left
me with a lot of questions, but then again so did Bambi. I think
it's one of those movies that should be seen on the big screen.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (PG-13, 2005) ... Average: 4.0
(Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman,
Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson,
Frank Oz, Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O'Reilly, Trisha Noble, James Earl Jones)
Nice special effects, worth seeing in the theater. Mediocre acting by
Christensen and Portman, good acting by most of the others. No Jar Jar
dialogue...always a plus. The movie held my attention throughout. The
ending is well done, and ties neatly into the beginning of Star Wars IV: A
New Hope. There is even a cameo by the Milennium Falcon, but not Chris
Mal...which detracts from the movie.
Starsky & Hutch (PG-13, 2004) ... Average:
(Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn,
Carmen Electra, Amy Smart, Jason Bateman, Will Ferrell)
Another stupid 70's spoof, but as far as 70's spoofs go, it was about
as good as you could ask for. I wouldn't have rented it if Bev didn't
really want to see it, but we did...and a nap would have been just as
pleasing. You know, you feel a little better afterwards, but you don't
really remember anything, and it wasn't really that funny. There were
a few giggles. Stiller and Wilson's banter was mildly amusing, Snoop
Dogg was kinda funny, and Carmen Electra kissing another girl was a nice
touch, but other than that it was just 2 hours of meditation. Save
your $4 Blockbuster rental fee (or $8 if you are me and forget to return
just about every movie that you rent until the day after it's due), and just
take a nap.
The Station Agent (R, 2000) ... Average:
(Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale,
Michelle Williams, Paul Benjamin)
I loved this movie!!! Run, do not walk, to see this movie when it
comes out on video or DVD (or if you're fortunate enough to live in an area
where it's still playing in the theaters.)
This is an indy movie that did very well in the theaters this year. Peter
Dinklage (Finbar McBride) turns in an understated, yet brilliant,
performance as a person who loves trains and who happens to be a dwarf.
McBride inherits a train station from his best friend when he dies. He,
despite his intense desire to remain alone, is the catalyst around which the
Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) are the two people whom
Fin befriends, almost by happenstance. Fin and Olivia play off each other
well in their efforts to learn how to trust again after life has turned
against them. Joe, as the third friend, serves as much-needed, wonderful,
comic relief in the movie, but isn't bad for all that.
Unlike so many Hollywood movies, this gem of an indy, ends on a note that
feels very much like real life--the characters' lives, while improved,
aren't perfect. One gets the sense that these 3 people will remain friends
for a long time.
Incidentally, the state of New Jersey never looked more beautiful than it
does in this movie, all joking aside...
When an old friend dies and leaves Fin McBride (Peter Dinklage) a
train station in a small New Jersey town, the longtime train buff moves
there without delay. Fin hopes for some solitude, but soon his hopes are
dashed by two loquacious neighbors--Joe, an (overly) friendly young coffee
vendor (Bobby Canevale) and Olivia, an artist with a troubled recent past
(Patricia Clarkson). Not everything is likable about these two, but
something intangible distinguishes them: it never occurs to them to treat
Fin any differently because he is a dwarf.
Like many of the other movies that I've seen in recent years about
improbable relationships--Central Station,
Finding Forrester, Strawberry
and Chocolate, and even In the Heat of the Night, now that I'm thinking
about it--Thomas McCarthy's terrific film takes a slow and relaxed pace.
This ends up being quite wise, because it makes the connections seem much
more believable (it also makes a nice break from the slam-bang,
rock-video-derived camera work of many a recent Hollywood movie).
Meanwhile, Joe's wisecracks and general abrasiveness keep the movie from
getting dull, as does Dinklage's great stage presence and dignity. He
seems to make it clear from the first scene that this is his movie; with a
face like Costner and a bearing like Brando, he conclusively proves that one
needn't be tall to be commanding on screen.
Later, the script gets a bit more melodramatic and doesn't always ring true,
but the ending is truly fantastic.
I have to admit that this movie is consummately an indie film, complete with
all the trimmings: a low budget (a mere $500,000, which is chump change by
Hollywood standards), excellent acting by mostly-unknown performers, a
likeably real-life script, an unglamorous location (rural New Jersey), and
limited distribution. That may narrow its appeal to many, but it doesn't
narrow its appeal to me.
Super Size Me
(PG-13, 2004) ... Average:
(Dr. Daryl Isaacs)
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was understandably suspicious when he heard
McDonald's advertising claim that regular visits to the fast food giant can
be part of a healthy diet. He decided to test the claim on himself by
eating nothing but Mickey D's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--for a
month! He also traveled around the country (is it just me, or do people
always travel around the country when they're doing documentaries like
this?), interviewing professors, healthy-food advocates, cooks, McDonald's
customers, lobbyists, nutritionists, and politicians. The result is a
remarkably entertaining documentary, both funny and a bit frightening at the
It's at its most entertaining when we're hearing about Spurlock's strange
adventure--when he interviews the talking heads, the things they say are
often interesting, but these scenes end up being more like a TV news program
than a movie. They simply can't compete with the real story, which is
Spurlock, his system, and the happy meals that don't always leave his system
happy. (Of all the talking heads, Spurlock's girlfriend, who is ironically
a professional vegan cook, comes off as the worst, sounding pompous and
arrogant. Her presence is still a net positive, however, since she does
such an admirable job of putting up with his eccentric project as only a
loved one would.)
Like many documentaries that push a certain point, this one oversimplifies a
bit, and raises some issues without really exploring them in the depth they
deserve. We meet a man from Texas who has eaten Big Macs every day for
years, but nevertheless remains very thin, without hearing any real insight
into what makes him different. I also wonder how much home cooking (which
can be very fattening) and a lack of public transportation in most of the
country influence Americans' high levels of obesity.
Another problem: Spurlock does an admirable job questioning our culture's
insistence that women's bodies conform to an impossible, fashion-model ideal
(a scene in which Jared Fogel, the famous Subway weight-loss spokesperson,
lectures an overweight teenager on how she has to change, since the world
won't change for her, made me want to hit Fogel over the head with a hard
Subway roll), but he also shows one too many close-ups of random Americans'
All that said, this is one of the most enjoyable documentaries I've seen in
a long while (although I tend to enjoy that kind of film a lot anyway),
thanks to Spurlock's unusual story and light touch. It may end up being one
of the most successful films of all time in its genre--I am really curious
to see how it does when all is said and eaten.
November (PG-13, 2001) ... Average: 0.5
(Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Greg Germann, Lauren
Graham, Jason Isaacs, Michael Rosenbaum)