Saturday, December 31, 2005

Batman Begins (2005)

Ah, the good ol' Batman franchise. For some reason I've never been enthralled by Batman, although I really SHOULD be, seeing how dark it is and how, really, Phantom-like it is. Except Erik's obviously not fighting for justice. Nor is he a billionaire playboy. But whatever. I only actually saw the first Batman movie, but when this one came out people were raving about it so I figured I'd check it out and, really, I'm very glad I did. It was action, sure, but it really was very much about the drama of the situation. Plus, hallucigenic (sp?) drugs are WAY SCARY. Whee. Christian Bale was fantastic as good ol' Batman, too. Definite kudos to him. The movie wasn't quite as dark as I expected (surprising since it was directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan - director of Memento, Insomnia, and Following, all very dark movies). Quite well-done, however. I'd recommend it, you bet. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Time To Kill (1996)

Plot: A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.

Except for the ending, which I hardly find just, this was a fairly decent movie - well-acted, melodramatic in all the right ways. I will say I groaned through most of the summation speech, thinking, "What kind of thing is that to do to a jury?" but then there was that final statement that I found very powerful. It honestly made it worth all the previous sap. This movie is also really, really long. But still . . . pretty good. 2.5 stars.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Freaky Friday (1976)

Heh. Well, this one is closer to the book than the newer one was, but it definitely has that Old Disney Movie feel. You know, where you have to suspend disbelief more than you ever had to before . . . where everything has a moral . . . where outlandish, crazy action feats are done by fourteen-year-old girls. Once you get used to that, it's actually a fairly entertaining movie, with quite a few fun moments. 2.5 stars.

City Slickers (1991)

I was nervous sitting down to watch this movie. I was terribly afraid it would turn out to be one of those "obnoxious rich dude from the city finds his heart and soul among the country people and decides to move there" movies which depress me horribly. Turned out to be nothing like that, though. He does go back to the city at the end and is very happy about it. It actually was a pretty fun movie, with several moments that made me chuckle. Not a bad viewing, all in all. 2.5 stars.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gosford Park (2001)

While I love the old-fashioned 1930's-40's British murder mysteries (i.e. Agatha Christie), this just wasn't nearly as interesting as I had thought it was going to be. It ended up being far less about the mystery and much more about just all the characters and their connections. However, as THAT it was quite interesting and quite well-done. My family and I guessed every single plot twist though, no matter how minor. 3.5 stars.

Following (1998)

From the very beginning I was interested in this movie . . . primarily because it started off as sounding way too much like something I'd do. Not the breaking and entering bit . . . but following people just to see where they went, what they did. Except hopefully it wouldn't lead to this if I did it. :-) While this wasn't as amazing as Memento, it still felt Memento-like enough that I thoroughly enjoyed the style and was just able to sit back and enjoy. It's a short little movie, just slightly over an hour, but everything fits together neatly and perfectly. Quite fun. 3.5 stars.

Bounce (2000)

Hmm. This truly is a romantic drama, not a romantic comedy. That's unusual. I'm still not sure I was truly crazy about it. I utterly don't get it in movies when both people keep secrets from each other and then when they're revealed, one of them is angry, not because of what they were lying about, but because of the FACT of the lie ("You lied to me!!") when, hello! They did the same thing! *sigh* But aside from that, it was a decent movie. Very well-done. Just not the type of movie I really care for. 2.5 stars.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bedtime Story (1932)

In the morning, I found out Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a remake. In the evening, I went to the video store and found the original, which I'd never even heard of before. Up until the very end of the movie, I was liking it significantly better than the remade version, but then . . . it ended and there was no big twist. Darn it, I liked the twist! It worked so well! So the movie lost coolness points for that. However, the rest of the time it was actually much funnier. (For example, the entire segment with Ruprecht was much funnier and much less . . . well, disgusting than the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels version.) Kudos the movie in general for being a blast to watch . . . I only wish that twist was still there. Ah, well. 3.5 stars.

Antz (1998)

I'd never actually seen this movie, and I decided it was high time I did. So . . . I rented it and watched it. My feelings on it are mixed. While it had some fun moments, it overall felt like an adult movie that was trying to be for kids and pretty much failed. (DreamWorks movies actually nearly all have that feel actually, except for the Shrek movies, which are far more charming than anything else DreamWorks has done.) I appreciate the movie's shortness - if there had been more of this I would have much less pleased with it. As it was, it was just enough for me to enjoy the viewing but definitely not want any more of it. 2.5 stars.

A Civil Action (1998)

Plot: The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyer.

Oooh, courtroom movies! Although this was less about the actual courtroom scenes than it was the struggle to actually GET the case to court in the first place. It was a pretty interesting movie, though, with a very nice ending that didn't work out the way courtroom movies usually do. Also I find as I sit down to write this review, I'm not sure what else to say about it. It was a very solid drama that I enjoyed watching, but nothing that popped out at me. Oh well. 3 stars.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Teehee. What a fun movie. I got it primarily because I hope to see the Broadway show in January of '06 and thought maybe I'd find out what the actual story is. It was quite amusing, because as I watched it I kept seeing the Broadway cast in the roles. (Talk about perfect casting. *shakes head*) This movie definitely had several moments that made me grin, and although nothing made me laugh out loud and roll on the floor giggling uncontrollably, it was thoroughly enjoyable to watch all the way through - quite an accomplishment! I'd definitely recommend this for a goofy movie. 3.5 stars.

Clueless (1995)

Ya know, every once in awhile you need to sit down and watch one of these incredibly fluffy, pointless, everyone-ends-up-happy-for-no-good-reason movies, as long as it's one that is truly entertaining and not just stupid. This one . . . truly entertaining. The characters were fun, the story was engaging, and while it was utterly fluffy and silly, I did come away from it feeling actually rather cheered. Not bad. 3.5 stars.

City of Angels (1998)

Weeeeellll... okay, Anna recommended this, and thus far I've not minded all her recommendations and I even liked a few pretty well. But this one had only one thing going for it (well, two maybe - Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, both of which I like) and a couple major strikes against it. First, it had enough theological holes in it to make me a bit uneasy, the basic message being along the lines of "love is more important than everything, even obedience to God, and everyone out there should understand and respect that". Which... yeah, as I said, made me uneasy and it made this difficult for me to watch. Secondly, it followed two romantic formulas that I really don't care for: the Love Conquers All formula and the Well, At Least We Had One Beautiful Night Together formula. (Although the second is slightly better than the first.) Pah, pah, and triple pah. Although I have to say my mom came up with a significant way of improving the movie... in that next-to-the-last scene when he eats a pear, Mom suddenly says, "Wouldn't it be terribly sad if after all this, he really, really hated pears?" which made me crack up laughing because it would put such a markedly cynical spin on it. Gah. I'm not REALLY this cynical, just as far as movies go. :-) So . . . sorry, Anna. This wasn't my type of movie. 0.5 stars.

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Plot: Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Tennessee Williams wrote a bunch of plays that are considered true classics of American drama, and maybe they are, but most of them just leave me going, "Uh?" I watched this movie in hopes that I'd like the movie more than the play, and although I must say it was very well done, I could never really get involved in the story. It seems to meander all over the place. Just when I think it's about one thing, it goes, "Oops, sorry, nope, it's about THIS!" and sends me off toward a different sideplot. Maybe that's what makes it good. I don't know. All I know is that it made ME confused -- so confused that I really felt very indifferent at the end of the movie, despite the very good acting by the entire cast. Probably someone else would get an entirely different feeling about this. 3 stars.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Cape Fear (1962)

Wow, this was very graphic for a black-and-white movie. Very verbally graphic about the sexual violence. It wouldn't be at all shocking in a movie made in the 1990's, but it really caught me off-guard in a 1961 black-and-white film. And perhaps that made it just that much more sinister, because I really liked this movie a LOT. It's one of the best, most truly scary thriller classics. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes old movies in general and thrillers in particular. Good slow buildup of psychological tension. 3.5 stars.

Evelyn (2002)

I'm not really into the custody battle movies. They tend to bug the heck out of me. Didn't mind Kramer vs. Kramer, but that was mostly because I'm a Dustin Hoffman fan in general. Pierce Brosnan is much less interesting. However the little girl in this was quite good -- not at all annoying for a child star. And the accents were fun. So while I wouldn't ever watch this again, it was tolerable for one view. 2.5 stars.

Adventures in Baby-sitting (1987)

Plot: Chris has a big night out planned when her boyfriend cancels on her. She agrees to babysit for a pre-teen girl and a pubescent boy. She's settled in for a dull night when a girlfriend calls her to say she's marooned at a downtown bus station with very seedy characters around. The three plus one of the boy's friends get into the parents station wagon for a trip to the inner city. All is well till the flat tire.

Heh... good fluff is . . . well, good. (Hmm. There's something wrong with the simplicity of that statement.) This was an entirely fluffy movie but it was well done and had several moments that made me chuckle. The outright absurdity of it was rather delightful. I particularly liked the shot in the bus station at the beginning where the creepy guy keeps grinning at Brenda and showing her he's got a gun. I just started giggling at that point. It was a little over the top in places, but it didn't get too annoying at all. And besides . . . IT'S ANTHONY RAPP! That's him as that obnoxious Darryl kid. Yup, 'at's one of my Voices right there. Honestly, that was why I got this movie. Because I'm obsessed with seeing all my Voices in as many movies as I can. (See also A Beautiful Mind and School of Rock, two other movies I got for the express purpose of seeing a Voice in there.) 3.5 stars.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hollywood Homicide (2003)

What was up with everyone panning this movie the way they did? I happened to think it was pretty good! I didn't think so at the beginning - it took me a bit to warm up to the characters. (Especially because Josh Hartnett looks like Ashton Kutcher and sounds like Keanu Reeves, two stars of whose acting talents I am not yet convinced. Kind of prejudiced me against his character from the start.) But once it got going I thoroughly enjoyed this goofy little film. A few moments even had me laughing out loud. Good solid fluffy entertainment. 3 stars.

Hitch (2005)

I've seen a plethora of pretty-darn-decent chick flicks in the past year. Either I'm going soft'n'mushy (please, not that!) or I just happen to be seeing all the good ones. This one actually managed to be good-natured and funny and I count absolutely NO obnoxious bits. I wouldn't classify this as the best chick flick of all time (hmm... what movie WOULD get that title? *thinks*), but would I recommend it to people? Sure! And since it's new, people are more likely to see it. Because people are kooky and only see movies made in the last ten years or so. I SCOFF at you people!! :-P Anyway. Enough of that. 2.5 stars.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Five Children and It (2004)

Gosh darn it. How can we mess up this book? Let me count the ways. The original book was charming, the story of five children who find a sand fairy and then get themselves in trouble by accidentally wishing for things they don't really want - like when one of them says in frustration about their baby brother, "Oh, I WISH he'd grow up!" and suddenly find themselves having to follow their 20-year-old "baby brother" around. Now that kind of stuff was fun. It is not nearly so fun when people are just stupid and wish for idiotic things. Or when those who grant the wishes deliberately skew them. Add in some random troubled-child-misses-his-father bits, a cast of mostly superfluous characters, and a sappy ending that also just doesn't make SENSE... and you've got something that rather deserves to die. 0.5 stars.

Donnie Darko (2001)

May I start off by saying that that rabbit is the SINGLE SCARIEST IMAGE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. I think I'm going to have nightmares forever from that thing. *shudder* Okay. On to the actual movie. Talk about confusing. I had sort of a vague idea of what was going on but then weird stuff happened and I was like, "Hmm, oh, okay, on second thought, I think this is happening," and then weirder stuff happened and I was like, "Um. Okay. Now I have no clue at all." At the end my dad told me what the official website says happened and, honestly, I have NO IDEA how I was supposed to get that from the movie. However... just because I didn't understand it doesn't mean at all that it wasn't a good movie. I really really liked it. It was entertaining all the way through and I did have fun trying to figure it out even though I didn't come anywhere near it. But let mejust state one more time.... that rabbit is HORRIFYING!!!!!!! Aaaahhhhhh! (My dad pointed out that actually this was the second movie we'd watched this week involving a scary rabbit. The other was Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) 4.5 stars.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hostage (2005)

The box classified it as "Die Hard meets Panic Room". I haven't seen Die Hard yet, but I can say I liked it significantly less than Panic Room. HOWEVER. This by no means means (ooh, "means means") it was a bad movie. It was just less interesting than Panic Room. It still made for fun mindless action viewing. I also was able to amuse myself by predicting how things would work out. (It wasn't entirely formula, I assure you. I couldn't predict everything right. However I did predict the deaths of two of the villains, as well as ranking them in order of evilness.) 2.5 stars.

An Ideal Husband (1999)

Yay for Oscar Wilde. Honestly. His plays are so delightfully witty. Or, at least this and Earnest are. I've never read any of his others. They might be horribly boring...but somehow I doubt it. While the storyline of this is much more serious and less outrageously funny than Earnest, it was still - really, the only word for it is "delightful" - viewing and one that I'll probably watch again in the future. Thank you, Sarah L., for recommending it to me. I'm eternally in your debt. Or something. 4 stars.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Insomnia (2002)

My father first saw this right after Memento, and therefore had some rather high expectations, and therefore didn't like it very much. This time around, though, not expecting it to be as brilliant as Memento was, he rather liked it. This was my first viewing of it and I have to say it was pretty darn good. It wasn't a typical thriller, it seemed to have some hidden depth. Nice. Although I also have to say it made me tired watching it. I'm an insomniac myself and it just felt a little TOO close to home at points there. Watching him toss and turn I kept going, "GAH! I KNOW THE FEELING!" 3 stars.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Wow, this was . . . different. Dark, but hilarious. Romantic, but not sappy. It managed a near balance between the zany and the macabre and achieved an all-around "fun to watch"ness that most comedies do NOT have. I enjoyed myself all the way through this. Kudos to everyone involved with this project. (Heh, makes it sound like they're reading this. Whatever.) 4 stars.

Go West (1940)

As far as Marx Brothers movies go, this was rather not-marvelous. Note: that's only in comparison to their other movies, it's still pretty darn entertaining. But certainly not one of the best. Glad I saw it but I wouldn't run out and buy it any time soon. 2 stars.

Glory (1989)

I'm not a big fan of war movies. The minute you choose a cute guy to root for, he dies. JUST KIDDING. That's not my approach, more like Sarah or Naomi L.'s ;-) But no, war movies aren't my thing. But as far as they go, this one wasn't bad. It was rather more touching at the end than I expected it to be, and even the actual combat scenes were somewhat interesting to watch. It's an intriguing story as well. Overall, quite a decent movie and much better than I thought it would be. 3 stars.

Compulsion (1959)

This was an interesting movie, although it was also very odd because it switched tones halfway through. The first half was more like Rope, another movie inspired by the real-life Leopold-Loebe murder case. The second half became a courtroom drama. It was still interesting to watch all the way through, it just felt like two separate movies rolled into one. Rather odd. And I must say Dean Stockwell reminds me far too much of Robert Sean Leonard. 3 stars.

Collateral (2004)

I saw this movie not knowing what to expect. I honestly didn't even have any idea what it was about, except that my father saw it and liked it, which means I'd probably at least enjoy it. And I did. Tom Cruise is FAR more interesting as a villain that he's ever been as a hero. The plot was intelligent. The characters were all intelligent. This made for a good solid thriller which, while not the best of its genre, was still great fun to sit down and watch for an evening. 4 stars.

A Mighty Wind (2003)

Plot: Mockumentary captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter.

This is the third movie by the team of people who did Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show (the first I saw and loved, the second I haven't seen). This was not nearly as funny or as interesting as Guffman, although it had its good moments. This felt more...subdued, I suppose. While the first was "typical" people acting crazy, this was famous people (who would have license to act crazy anyway) acting just a little odd. Not a worthless movie, by any means, just not as great as it could have been. 2.5 stars.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Benny and Joon (1993)

Oh, wow. This was a really good movie. In fact it's definitely my favorite of all the Anna-recommended movies so far. I was amazed by the . . . hmm. How to put it? The casualness of the movie. It was sweet without being saccharine, and funny without being over-the-top, and serious without being depressing. It tackled all of this and managed to remain very believable, despite the quirky characters. The ending was also very well-done - 'twas a nice resolution that left me happy but didn't at any point make me go, "Oh, puh-LEASE." Many cool points to this movie. 4.5 stars.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Sports movies are SO not my thing, but I'd much rather watch a soccer movie than a football movie or a baseball movie. (Hmm, that might be confusing, as this is a British film and in Britain football IS soccer. But whatever.) And as far as teenage sports movies goes, this one is intriguing. The extra element of the Indian culture is interesting. The fact that it's modern-day English instead of, say, 1960's American is interesting. The fact that it's about a teenage girl instead of a teenage guy is interesting. The fact that it's about soccer instead of, well, almost any other sport is interesting. And the fact that it's not ALL about the game, a lot of it is just about her relationship with her parents and friends, is interesting. Hmm. I wonder what word I'd use to best describe this? Eh, let's go with "interesting". :-) Not sure I'd ever want to own it, but I did enjoy my one viewing of it. Kudos for getting parent-child relationships wrapped up at the end, too. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

In the Line of Fire (1993)

I am not much for straight action movies. However, straight action movies with a psychopath involved get a little bit more interesting. So what did I think of this movie? Eh... it was just that little bit more interesting. I wouldn't ever watch it again. Plus I was a little icked out by the romantic sideplot. I mean the guy LOOKS old. *shakes head* Yech. Oh well. Action fans will probably enjoy this a heck of a lot more than I did. 1.5 stars.

Doc Hollywood (1991)

I got this expecting it to be much more interesting than it was. Which I guess always happens with these comedies where the selfish person from the big city is stranded in the country and finds peace and contentment and a soul there. I always go in to the movies thinking I'll enjoy them and come away with a sense of "Now they're trapped there forever, and people are going to set plates on their head, and they'll never get to run through the fresh-cut grass or feel the ocean breeze in their hair etc. etc. etc." So while there were some funny bits in here, most of it made me too depressed to truly enjoy it. 2 stars.

A Night at the Opera (1935)

Plot: A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

After a huge parade of Marx Brothers movies, I got this reluctantly, wondering, "Will these movie antics now be really old?" The answer, to quote John Adams of 1776: "NEVER! NEVER!" This is probably my second favorite, after Animal Crackers. Two of the most utterly classic and utterly hilarious scenes in movie history come from here - the scene where everyone's packed into Groucho's barely-big-enough-for-him-and-his-trunk room, and the scene where all the furniture between two rooms is switched around for no apparent reason. Come on. How can you not love that? I laughed long and hard all the way through this movie. May these films "be a beacon of hope to all who tread these grassy hills" (erm... this time quoting Alfred from Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed). 4 stars.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Annie (1999)

I got this because of its overabundance of musical theater people. (FIVE of 'em!!) And... I have almost no idea what I thought of it. All the musical theater people put in tremendous performances. Kathy Bates was the oddest Miss Hannigan I've ever seen. You got the feeling that deep down inside she was really a very nice person. That is DEFINITELY not supposed to happen. I suppose this is as good as any production of Annie is ever likely to get. *shrug* 2.5 stars.

Musical Theater People Sighting: WHEE!!! This movie includes in its cast... *deep breath* Audra McDonald, Victor Garber, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, and Andrea McArdle. How cool is THAT? ;-)

Home Alone (1990)

People kept telling me this was like the funniest movie ever. Fifteen minutes in, I was seriously doubting it. Nothing had yet popped up to make me smile, I was too busy being disgusted at all the characters' lack of... anything redeeming. However it DID perk up. Once the kid was on his own he became much less obnoxious, and since all the obnoxious characters were on a plane trip to France we saw very little of them, and all was well. I most definitely wouldn't classify it as one of the great comedies of the century or anything, but I suppose I'm glad I saw it this once. No, I do not intend to see the sequels. I didn't like it that much. 2.5 stars.

Animal Crackers (1930)

I think this is my favorite of all the Marx Brothers. It was filled with goofiness from beginning to end, and had several bits that just made me giggle out loud. One of those very rare movies that are just solidly funny all the way through. Now *that* is tough to pull off. I'm not sure what else to say about this, except... everyone go watch it. It rocks. 4 stars.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Classic film noir, which, when I'm in the mood for it, is quite fun. Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood for it when I watched this flick so I didn't really care for it all that much. I'm sure on another day I would have been far more interested in it. It probably was quite good, I just didn't want to watch it. 3 stars.

Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)

Plot: A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

YES! YES YES YES YES! Oh gosh I loved this movie. *grin* I'm a sucker for movies that make me cry... there aren't very many of them, but the few there are, I love. This movie is horribly sad and so very well-done that I was bawling through nearly the whole thing. I cried even more than during Savannah Smiles. Haley Joel Osment is amazing in this movie and was probably one of the most talented child actors EVER out there. (I'm intrigued to see if he stays interesting should he act in more things as a teen/adult.) Simply put, this is QUITE possibly my favorite movie I saw this year, although it horribly depressed both my parents. That scene where he's in the submarine has to be the saddest thing I have EVER seen in a movie. *deep contented sigh* Yes, I loved this movie mucho. 5 stars.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Talk about a light fluffy comedy. Actually, I've been watching a lot of those lately. Hmm. Anyway, this one was a BLAST. Twenty minutes into it, my dad turned to me and said, "This is actually a lot funnier than I thought it would be." At one point it depressed me a bit, but that's a long story I shan't get into. This movie was thoroughly enjoyable and is one of the better irresponsible-teen comedies out there. Not that I can think of any others off the top of my head that I've seen. But whatever. 4 stars.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Anatomy of a Murder (1951)

I read the book on my dad's recommendation a few months ago and absolutely loved it. It felt so wonderfully real. So when I noticed this sitting in our local video store I decided I should see it. To my delight it had been only slightly Hollywoodized and only slightly shortened. (It's a good 2 1/2 hour movie.) The atmosphere of the book was kept as was, well, nearly everything else about it. It's a fascinating look into the basic in-and-outs of how a lawyer might defend a guy who HAD committed a murder and probably belonged in jail. No real moral judgments or anything here, just the telling of this case and how it was plotted out. This was a pretty darn great movie. 4 stars.

Adam's Rib (1949)

Plot: Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

I'm not sure I entirely understood this movie. Usually I thoroughly enjoy Tracy and Hepburn. I loved them in the goofy comedy Desk Set as well as in a serious drama like Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. But this movie didn't manage to be either one. It was too goofy to be a drama but far too serious to be a comedy. I spent the entire movie unsure whether I was supposed to be feeling sad or happy. So . . . I didn't enjoy it. I was too confused by the time the credits rolled. Yeah, it had a few moments I enjoyed, but the overall movie felt too oddly mixed. 2 stars.

Face/Off (1997)

*grin* Oh, how I do love silly movies about psychotics. Erm. That sounded much odder than I thought it would. Oh, well. This movie had a thoroughly strange premise and had the potential to be either really stupid or really fantastic. It fell close-ish to the fantastic side but didn't QUITE make it all the way there. Definitely had some great moments. (Actually, when I rented it my mom and dad had a very long discussion trying to remember whether Nicolas Cage or John Travolta was the bad guy. When the movie began and it was revealed to be Nicolas Cage, I said, "Oh, good, I haven't seen him in an evil psychotic role yet," only to find twenty minutes later that ACTUALLY John Travolta will be playing the villain for most of this flick. Dang. I hoped to see more Psycho Cage. *shrug*) And goodness, that was a very long review considering that 3/4 of it was just rambling not on whether or not I LIKED the movie but... other things. Oh well. I'm writing these reviews at 4:39 a.m. because I can't sleep and have just read a 315-page book about a gorilla in my efforts to try and fall asleep. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Chain Reaction (1996)

Something about this movie just never caught on for me. It had the potential to be a silly-and-utterly-typical-but-well-made action flick. But it was only the first two attributes. I kept waiting for it to get better or more interesting, or even to involve a chain reaction, but it never did. This was two hours not completely wasted, however. I now know not to watch this movie again, and that I'd hardly recommend it to anyone. 1 star.

Friday, May 6, 2005

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Plot: After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.

Wow. I can very much see why all the hype about this movie. It was pretty phenomenal. Russell Crowe turned in a great performance, his character was very believable. I felt like I was gaining great insight into the mind of someone who deals with a problem like this. Halfway through I felt that horror realizing that... er, well, for anyone who hasn't seen it yet and somehow knows nothing about it, I shan't give away the main plot element. I shall simply conclude by saying it was a truly fascinating movie and had a somewhat very satisfactory ending. And also was a bit creepy at times, which can often be a plus. :-) 4 stars.

All About Eve (1950)

I can see why this is a classic movie. The entire cast turns in fantastic performances, the script is intriguing, the story is compelling... And yet with all that I can't find a *whole* lot to say about it. It was quite generally good, but I can't think of anything specific to say about it. No clue what that means about the movie, or about me. Maybe after another viewing I'd be able to come back and add a few more thoughts. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Identity (2003)

Most definitely the best thriller/suspense/mystery/whatever you want to call it, that I've seen so far this year. This is one brilliant movie. Although, I must warn you . . . It's not at first. At first I was watching and was all, "Erm....okayyy....this is typical slasher killer-on-the-loose movie." Except it totally isn't! I don't even know what else to say about it. It's definitely got some creepiness to it - I'm surprised my mom watched it - but is so definitely worth watching, as long as you make it all the way through. 4.5 stars.

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

I had the privilege to see this at a film festival at our community college - "classic sci-fi". This week was a double feature, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Plan 9 From Outer Space.We watched this one first and I have to say, I had a great audience to watch it with. People were yelling out comments left and right. This is a classic bad movie... The monsters don't move their legs when they walk. One monster is destroyed, the people still have no way off the island, and they all cheer like it's the end. A man's greed for oil leads him to be eaten by the crabs. The crabs swallow people's brains whole so they can now think and talk like those people. A few sailors play poker using sticks of dynamite as chips. Goodness. What else can I say about this movie? If you ever get a chance to watch it with a group of loud-mouthed mocking people, DO SO. It should be one of the most entertaining afternoons/evenings/mornings/whatever of your lifetime. 1.5 stars.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Frequency (2000)

When this first came out, several of my friends saw it and loved it, but for some reason I missed it. So now I've tracked it down and finally watched it and... er... I'm not quite sure why it was such a raved-about movie (among my acquaintances, anyway), although it was a pretty decent movie. Plot holes kept jumping out at me making me go, "Wait... wait... what?!" And I've never really been a fan of Dennis Quaid. HOWEVER... it was pretty entertaining for one viewing. I'll never watch it again, though, mostly so I can avoid that unpleasant image of the hand shriveling up. Yech. 3 stars.

Finding Neverland (2004)

Just days after seeing Shawshank, here comes my OTHER favorite movie I've seen thus far this year. This movie is pretty amazing. I'd heard it was good, figured I'd watch it and be all, "Eh... it's a biographical story, not that fascinating." I had forgotten a few things. One: That's Johnny Depp in the movie. He does a brilliant job even in not-so-brilliant movies. Secondly: It's the story of PETER PAN! One of my favorite stories of all time! And third: It involves theater, which will nearly always guarantee a good story for me. I have to admit I almost cried in this movie... no, not any of those heartfelt talks between Peter and James. No, I cried when the orphans were being led in to the theater to see Peter Pan. This truly is a magical story (much more so than that tragedy of a Peter Pan story they did in 2003). I've never liked a biographical "real life" movie so much.

Monday, March 21, 2005

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

I could see why people wouldn't like this, but I thought it was great. As I read the reviews for this, people compared it to Napoleon Dynamite in terms of "weirdness", I guess. But as Napoleon Dynamite was a weird comedy for the non-thinker, I Heart Huckabees is a weird comedy for the thinker. Of course, if you're like me and are just plain weird, then you should like them both. Huckabees remained light even in the midst of all its insane philosophical whatever-the-heck-that-was... and quotes like "You can't deal with my infinite nature, can you?" "That is so not true. Wait, what does that even mean?" keep it from looking like it's taking itself too seriously. Wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but I would recommend it to... um. I'm not sure who. But I'll think about that. 4.5 stars.

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

Mostly I got this movie so I could say I'd seen it before Sarah L. I'm such a nice person, non? But I was quite pleasantly surprised on watching this movie to find that it wasn't half bad as far as romantic comedies go. In fact, it was actually pretty good. I even laughed out loud at a few bits. The characters were likeable, the plot not too stupid/sappy, and the dialogue delightful. Rather great for a chick flick. 4.5 stars.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

I was interested in this movie the moment I hear about it. It sounded absolutely fascinating, and it was. I wasn't disappointed at all. It was an intriguing concept and, although a little hard to follow chronologically, it worked out well. Oh, and one more "however" - it had a semi-happy ending but I still came away feeling like it was a pretty bleak movie. Hmm. Weird. Oh, well. Of coures that wouldn't stop me from liking it. *Grin* 3.5 stars.

50 First Dates (2004)

Plot: Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he's finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.


Dinner At Eight (1933)

I think I missed the point of this movie. It got all these rave reviews and is on all these "greatest movies of all time" lists . . . and I simply didn't understand it. It seemed to me it introduced all the characters . . . and ended. That's it. As those words "The End" appeared on the screen, I just kept staring, thinking, "Wait. That can't be it. Nothing was resolved." It must be one of those sort of 24-hours-in-the-life-of-these-people movies, but even as one of those it didn't make any sense to me. Maybe it's one of those movies I'll understand when I'm 50. 1.5 stars.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Broken Arrow (1996)

This one was pretty interesting... I liked it a lot. And I think I accidentally just tried to burn a CD. Oops. But anyway. Both the hero and the villain were interesting. Also, there was a lot of humor along the way, which really makes a thriller/action flick interesting. I honestly think that was one of the things I didn't like about The Bourne Identity - it took itself so seriously that there was no room for humor at all. 2.5 stars.

American Graffiti (1973)

This is one of those movies that everyone loves and I find pretty boring. But it's a classic so I suppose I'm glad I saw it. Maybe I'll appreciate it some day, I just obviously can't right now. It just felt... lacking in... something. I never really cared about most of the characters, and just found myself going, "Um... okay. This is it?" Ah well. 1.5 stars.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Foolproof (2003)

Whee! Another heist movie! Okay, heist movies can be long and elaborate and only mildly interesting, or they can be fun and silly and a blast to watch. This was the latter. Sure, it was long and elaborate, but it never took itself too seriously, and you know how much I love that. For some reason this movie really bombed. People kept saying it was "trying to be Ocean's Eleven". *Rolls eyes* Come on. This was FAR more FUN than Ocean's Eleven. ...Well, I think, anyway. 3.5 stars.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

George of the Jungle (1997)

Hmm. This had to have been a Jay Ward cartoon. It's got the Jay Ward mark on it. Not as much as I'm sure the actual cartoon had (I only saw one episode once, a loooong time ago in a galaxy far, far away, i.e. North Dakota). And I have to confess I DO love that style of humor. Things got a bit too zany here at times for me and left me going, "Okay, THAT was just dumb..." and because of those many "That was just dumb" moments I couldn't put it on any type of "Great movies" list. However it was fun for the one viewing, picking out the good bits throughout and savoring those and ignoring the rest. 2 stars.

13 Going On 30 (2004)

Plot: A 13 year old girl plays a game on her 13th birthday and wakes up the next day as a 30 year old woman.

As far as silly chick flicks go, this one isn't bad. Yes, this theme has been done before. Yes, it's utterly predictable (but, hello, it's a chick flick, it HAS to be). But it was enjoyable to watch... the cast was all great... A lot of people really panned this movie but I thought it was a lot better than some of the other chick flicks that came out 2004... *Cough*Theprinceandme*coughcough*. Probably won't ever watch it again, but, hey, I've seen it once. That's all that's necessary. 3 stars.

Cellular (2004)

Oooh. The previews made it look good... and it WAS good. My two other thrillers I wanted to see (Godsend and The Forgotten) were both horribly panned, and I couldn't remember if this one was or not. So I persuaded my parents to get it so we could watch it. Turned out to be a nice intelligent movie. W00t w00t for intelligent thrillers!! Nobody in this was stupid and making me go, "YOU IDIOTS! THINK ABOUT IT!" It kept me interested in what was going on... nothing was lagging throughout the movie. And it even threw in an occasional sense of humor as a change of pace. 3 stars.

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Cinderella Story (2004)

Plot: Routinely exploited by her wicked stepmother, the downtrodden Sam Montgomery is excited about the prospect of meeting her Internet beau at the school's Halloween dance.

When I went to rent this, I said, "I want to see something light and fluffy." Yup, this is about as light and fluffy as you can get. The goofy overdone slapstick humor, the stereotypical obnoxious cheerleaders, the hot guy who really isn't all that bad, the good guy friend who I always hope she'll end up getting together with since I never like the bland lead guys in these movies... It's all there. I must say, I AM getting sick of this "Be true to yourself" theme. People who ARE true to themselves... are getting way sick of it. And if you're not true to yourself, watching 80,000 teen movies on it isn't necessarily going to help. But ah well. We shall ignore that and not mind the movie for what it is... a light-hearted "I don't want to think about life" bit of fluff. One other mention though... I don't know that our Cinderella is too badly treated. She has a computer with Internet access in her bedroom! She has her own car! She has her own cell phone! But *shrug* 1.5 stars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson's Hairbrush (2005)

People are lauding this as like the best Veggie movie ever. I have to say, I still liked King George and A Snoodle's Tale better. This was quite a fun Indiana Jones spoof, but it didn't ever really completely gel with me. The Silly Song With Larry, although amusing, wasn't nearly as ruling as some of the ones in the past, and the opening short with Junior actually bored me somewhat. (*gasp* WHAT?! A Veggie video boring? THIS CANNOT BE!) I still would probably recommend this because the Minnesota Cuke part IS great fun (if you get the DVD, make sure and watch the veggie commentary, it's great).

A Snoodle's Tale (2004)

This might be one of my favorite VeggieTales movies to date. Wait. Scratch that. This IS one of my favorites. Whether it surpasses King George and the Ducky, I'm not sure, but it's awfully close. It's the first Veggie movie in quite a while to use the ol' on-the-counter formula... Nice to see Qwerty again, not to mention hearing the theme song!

It's also the first time in awhile that a Veggie movie has had two different stories separated by the Silly Song. The first story, "Dr. Jiggle and Mr. Sly" was only so-so as far as the actual message, but had some hilarious bits... My personal favorite was a series of jokes that started when there was a close-up of Scooter opening Dr. Jiggle's door... but you see a hand turning the knob. Scooter jumps back and screams. When Larry asks him what's wrong, he replies, "THE HAND!" This happens a few more times and kept making me giggle.

The Silly Song With Larry (guest starring The Maybe-Scallion Who Sang the Puppy Song in Esther) is hilarious... Definitely one of the best ever!

And the Snoodle's tale? I have to admit, it almost made me cry. I'm not kidding. It was such a touching story and resonated so deeply with me that I found a lump in my throat and had to sniffle hard a few times to keep back the tears. This has to be one of the coolest stories the Veggies have ever made. I just might have to buy this video, it's so good. Note, this is also my longest review to date. Hmm. Way to go, Big Idea, for making a movie I could write this much about! 4.5 stars.