Wednesday, December 3, 2003

How To Steal a Million (1966)

Audrey Hepburn plays here the same type of airhead role that she played in "Charade", in a romantic comedy with the same delicious wit. The dialogue is the most notable thing about the movie - priceless wonderfully quotable one-liners - and while the story does advance at a snail's pace, it is somehow made interesting the whole way through. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Obviously aimed at younger audiences, with virtually no appeal to older ones. It didn't even have a solid plotline. Although with a plot like this, it would have been very hard to make it worthwhile. Pretty much every way that comes to my mind is really ridiculous. But, honestly, they could have eliminated some of the sappy sentimentality, not to mention the ridiculousness. 1 star.

Dial M For Murder (1954)

One of Hitchcock's masterpieces, it's one worth watching again and again to figure out every little plot twist. Told from an unusual aspect, mostly from that of the murderer (that gives away no great secret, don't worry, you find that out twenty minutes into the movie) it twists and turns your mind as he tries to cover up any mistakes he has made. But with the amazing cast this movie has, what else could you expect? 4 stars.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Groundhog Day (1993)

Oh, this movie was *fun*! Just fun, fun, fun all the way through! Most comedies, the gag gets old real fast and you have to either keep working on pounding the humor into the audience's head, or find new ways to play with it and make it interesting all the way through. In most recent comedies, making it interesting all the way through is too much work and they just decide, "Aw, this was funny the first time, it'll be funny the eightieth time." However, this was genuinely delightful from beginning to end, filled with quotable quotes ("What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!") and hilarious characters. This one I would love to get cleaned up on DVD and own. It's that good. 4 stars.

Freaky Friday (2003)

This shares almost no plot points with the book. The title is the same, and the concept of mother and daughter switching bodies is the same. Everything else has been changed. But somehow the atmosphere is still the same. The goofiness of the novel is still found in this movie. Very few other movies can do that- keep the atmosphere of the book. (Check out my review for Holes, the only other movie that I've found that accomplished this so perfectly.) Quite watchable, even watchable a few times. PLUS I have a soft spot for punk. A movie with so much emphasis on punk music is rare. Yay punk! :-) 3.5 stars.

Duck Soup (1933)

It's a Marx brothers movie. Is there a whole lot to say about it? These videos are good, just because of their ultimate zaniness, but watching a movie like this over and over takes a lot of the fun out of it. So when my siblings watched this movie about 12 times in a row, I got quite sick of it. The mirror scene, for example, is fantastic, but loses its humor when played multiple times. It's still good, though, I'm just tired of it. Heh. This is sometimes lauded as the best of the Marx Brothers movies... I'd definitely argue for Animal Crackers or A Night at the Opera over this one. 3 stars.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Instinct (1999)

Too many jungle bits. But the psychiatry bit was quite fascinating. 2.5 stars.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

After just having seen a live performance, I would have to say... I have no idea which is better. I liked the Adelaide from the show better--the girl in this movie just drove me nuts with her voice--but on the other hand, Marlon Brando's Sky Masterson was definitely a much more interesting character than what's-his-name in Pecatonica. They did a pretty decent job taking this movie to the big screen. They took out many of the boring songs (replacing them, however, with songs even more uninteresting) BUT my big bone to pick with them is...THEY TOOK OUT "MARRY THE MAN TODAY"!!!! How could they do that?!? That song was awesome! Grrrr.... 2.5 stars.

Funny Girl (1968)

Half the songs in this show were musical staples in my house. My mom often sings "I'm the Greatest Star" for no particular reason - there's even a story that when partially anesthized while having a tooth removed, she sang it at the top of her lungs. She has no memory of this event, but the dentist does. :-) But aside from enjoying the music (not to mention Barbra's amazing performances of them . . . I'll never cease to be amazed at her marvelous voice) it even had a moderately interesting plot. How often does *that* happen in a '50's musical, where many musicals seemed to be created by writing a bunch of songs and trying to write a show around them? The final scene, with the performance of "My Man," is a truly touching scene that had me closing my eyes and simply listening to the music. Ahhh . . . definitely worth another watch. 3.5 stars.

Finding Nemo (2003)

I will probably be cast out into the street when I say that nothing in this movie particularly struck me. Yes, the animation was superb (causing me to draw gasping breaths throughout the movie due to a combination of hydrophobia and claustrophobia kicking in), the plotline was sweet, the performances were very solid . . . So what was missing? I have no idea. But something in this movie reached out and grabbed at me. Even the comedy scenes weren't that funny to me. The most enjoyment I had was relating to Dory . . . Curse short-term memory loss! Wait . . . who was Dory again? But, seriously, there wasn't much about this movie that I *really* enjoyed. I moderately enjoyed the whole thing, but for me that's not enough to make a good movie. 3 stars.

101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003)

Plot: Being one of 101 takes its toll on Patch, who doesn't feel unique. When he's accidentally left behind on moving day, he meets his idol, Thunderbolt, who enlists him on a publicity campaign.

There were only two good things about this movie. 1) Lars' cool little hand thing that my brother can do but I can't, and 2) Patch was VERY cute in the French-dubbed version. 0.5 stars.

Back to the Future Part III (1990)

This isn't a dud, by any means, but it's not nearly as funny as the first or the second. It has a few laughable moments, but this became more of a romance than a comedy. I'll still watch it, but the first two are definitely the precious gems of the trilogy. 3 stars.

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

This one is more of a "mess-with-your-mind" comedy than the first one was. I had to watch it about three times before I figured out all the time travel explanations. Still funny, but the first one was better. 3 stars.

Back to the Future (1985)

Definitely one of the funniest family comedies out there. It has so many memorable moments, and is overall just a completely goofy movie. Gotta love this one. 4 stars.

Evita (1996)

One of the very few instances where I like the movie better than the OBC. But the OBC for Evita didn't do anything for me. Patti LuPone always sounds about 50 years old to me, Mandy Patinkin was tolerable but he just wasn't Che, and Bob Gutton, or whatever his name is, had a boring singing voice. (Well, so does Jonathan Pryce, but he just seemed to fill the role perfectly.) My only qualm about this is that they took "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from Peron's mistress and gave it to Eva. Grr. 4 stars.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

"Awwww! It's POTO!" Well, that was the thought running through my head during most of this movie. It's definitely a bizarre movie, but incredibly moving and very sweet. Definitely goes on my "Top However Many Movies" list that I'm building one of these days. 4.5 stars.

Dave (1993)

A great movie. It is one of the very few movies that I actually could watch over and over again, it's just so much fun. Much better than your typical romantic comedy. 4 stars.

Agent Cody Banks (2003)

Plot: A government agent trains Cody Banks in the ways of covert operations that require younger participants.

Back in April, I heard about this movie, and I thought, "Hmm. That could be either really stupid, or really funny." It was the latter. The key to making kids' spy movies is to not take it seriously. This makes fun of itself with every move. It's always fun to watch movies where you *know* the actors are having a blast playing their melodramatic, overhyped characters. Definitely a great movie. 3 stars.

Field of Dreams (1989)

Okay, this movie was... odd. And I was confused all the way through. But it was still fun to watch. The dialogue was funny in a lifelike way. Not just funny situations, but people just naturally joking around with each other (something that, actually, you don't see too often in today's movies). That alone made it worth watching once. 3 stars.

Fantasia 2000 (1999)

This has some great pieces of music - Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" being the best one on here. I like their interpretation of Beethoven's 5th as well. But the best part was their replay of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." That is so classic that it's worth renting either Fantasia movie just to see. 3 stars.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

An odd little movie. I think I enjoyed it. All the way through the watching I kept thinking, "Is this good or is this stupid? I can't tell yet." It definitely had some entertaining moments, but I would have to say the highlight of the whole movie was seeing Harry getting a kick out of Bedtime for Bonzo. I started going, "Oooh! I know that movie!" :-) 2.5 stars.

Funny Face (1957)

Not a very memorable movie. Even though I generally enjoy Gershwin, I only liked a song or two from this. I would never own this film... not interesting enough for that. But for a mild evening of singing and dancing... sure, I'd take it. OOH! We should have a musicals marathon and rent a bunch of musicals and watch 'em all! :-) But who would join me? Not many people. 2 stars.

Equilibrium (2002)

Awesome movie. Very Matrix-style . . . lots of mind-bending plot twists and cool martial arts bits and nifty shooting scenes. Oh, wait. Matrix didn't have any nifty shooting scenes. Just one long boring shooting scene. The shooting scenes in this *are* really cool, however. It's awesome because they're doing fancy sidesteps and stuff as they're shooting. In general, a great movie. 4 stars.

Musical Theater Person Sighting: That's Taye Diggs as the main black bad guy... and of course Christian Bale also did the musical Newsies.

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Hoosiers (1986)

Pretty good for a sports movie. Sports movies tend to bore me to death but this one actually managed to hold my attention for awhile. I was a little creeped out by the romance relationship though. I mean, he looks about thirty-five years older than her. Ick. 2.5 stars.

Holes (2003)

I've been a big fan of the book for a long time, so when I heard there was a movie in the works I was a bit leery... I was unsure whether Disney could keep the utter goofiness of the original story - but thank goodness, Louis Sachar wrote the screenplay as well, and what we ended up with was this charming, almost identical-to-the-book, children's film. It could almost be compared to a Roald Dahl story, except a bit more cheery. Way to go, movie peoples! I have more faith in the movie industry now! :-D 4.5 stars.

Hart's War (2002)

It's a war movie. Some war movies are good, some war movies are bad, some war movies are weird. This one was weird. It failed to hold my attention for very long, and to tell the truth, I didn't see much of a point to it. Maybe I'm just dense and didn't get it, but it seemed to me to be disjointed and sort of splayed everywhere. 1.5 stars.

Blue's Big Musical Movie (2000)

"Who's clues? Blue's clues!" Before I write this up, I have to say... I think Blue's Clues is the cutest kids show of all time. So I was bound to like the movie. They stretched one episode out for an hour and a half and still managed to keep it cool. Even my dad commended it (for its great song-writing scene featuring Ray Charles). If I'm going to watch a Blue's Clues video with my siblings, this would be the one to watch. 3 stars.

Bedtime For Bonzo (1951)

One of the sillier classic comedies. I never saw any of the sequels to this, but really, you couldn't get a whole lot farther than this. One of these movies goes a long way. 2.5 stars.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Plot: When Max makes an preposterous promise to his girlfriend, his chances to fulfilling it seem hopeless when he is dragged onto a cross-country trip with his embarrassing father, Goofy.

I got this not knowing if it was going to be stupid or cute. It was a little bit of both. It was incredibly corny in places but still managed to keep me laughing. 3.5 stars.

Domestic Disturbance (2001)

Ehhhh... okay. Not much as far as thrillers go, there was only a little bit of suspense that was held out all the way through. I did like how they portrayed the villain though: as a very normal person. Not some psycho who kills people because he loves to kill, or because he's bored... but a very sane gangster who wouldn't just randomly hurt anybody. And... the big shocker... the victims were actually smart in this movie! Some very smart moves in here... 3 stars.

Conspiracy Theory (1997)

This is one great movie. I'm not a huge fan of Julia Roberts, but she was great - very practical, very down-to-earth... and Mel Gibson was fantastic. That one scene where he's in the wheelchair and trying to get away had such an eerie nightmarish feel that it thoroughly freaked me out. And I did NOT see the end coming... Great build-up, great humor, great everything. 4 stars.

Cinderella 2 (2002)

Who, who, WHO agreed to make this movie? I think I am just completely against making sequels to movies so old that none of the original actors are alive. Not only did the voices sound completely different from the originals, the plot seem incredibly constrained, and the soundtrack become reduced to a pop diva sound, but they didn't even pronounce their names the same! Jacques became "Jack." Apparently becoming a princess made Cinderella much more English. 0.5 stars.

Charade (1963)

One of the greatest murder mysteries of all time. I totally did not have this figured out by the end. The humorous touches and delightful dialogue make it more than just a simple whodunnit, but that long chase scene is pretty darn cool. 4 stars.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Casablanca (1942)

This movie is truly incredible. I can't praise it enough. Just a brilliantly done movie, with amazing actors, great music, an interesting plot... Man. I love this movie. 5 stars.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

1776 (1972)

Plot: The film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. In the days leading up to July 4, 1776, Continental Congressmen John Adams and Benjamin Franklin coerce Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence as a delaying tactic as they try to persuade the American colonies to support a resolution on independence.

What a fun movie! Crammed with little-known historical facts (although at moments it's hard to tell just what is fact and what is fiction), spectacular music, and great humor, this is a spectacular musical! 4.5 stars.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

One of the greatest old comedies, I can't watch this without laughing. Just the premise is hysterical. So much of the movie rests on plot, though, I can't give anything away in this review, except . . . . you have to rent it and see it, even if you don't care for old movies. 5 stars.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Big Fat Liar (2002)

Err . . . what can I say about this movie? It had a few moments, but overall it was too ridiculous for me to really like it. Also, while it tried to present the simple moral of "Don't lie," it's doubtful whether that ever comes through clearly to the main character -- did he learn the lesson? Probably not. Will he go back to his habit of lying like crazy? Yes. 1.5 stars.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

All the President's Men (1976)

Oooh. Good movie. I knew virtually nothing about Watergate, but now I consider myself well-educated. :-) This movie had some of the most natural dialogue I have ever seen. Somehow it just felt real. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were excellent together as the two reporters who broke the story. Definitely a good movie . . . especially considering it's based on a true story. Often that signals "BLAH" loud and clear, but this was a definite exception. 4.5 stars.