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Deterrence (1999)
A Riveting film highlighted by an excellent lead performance.
6 September 2000
Deterrence is one of those small little films that leaves a huge impression. Like The War at Home, a post-Vietnam war drama starring Emilio Estevez, Deterrence received a very minor release, but will end up being one of the year's best films. Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects, Grumpy Old Men) stars as the President of the United States. Pollak, however, was not elected, but was appointed Vice President and then took over after the death of the President. Forced to stay in a Colorado diner because of a blizzard, Pollak and his 2 most trusted assistants, played by Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, Playing God) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Bogus, White Man's Burden) find out about an illegal invasion into Kuwait by Sadaam Hussein's son. After some thought Pollak goes on National Television and announces a deadline for Hussein to leave or Pollak will drop a nuclear bomb on Baghdad. The whole film takes place inside this diner and relies on the tension that builds up as they get closer and closer to the deadline and as Pollak has to weigh his decision hearing arguments from both sides. The film is fascinating thanks to a strong amount of tension built up as we truly wonder what is going to happen. Hutton and Ralph are both solid as the 2 assistants, but the film belongs to Pollak and his strong lead performance. Highly recommended.
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Fantastic movie featuring brilliant performances.
22 July 2000
Reservoir Dogs is one of my favorite movies. Unlike most people I prefer this film to Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino's follow-up to Reservoir Dogs. The story line is fairly simple with a group of criminals who know nothing about each other meeting in a warehouse after a jewel heist turns violent. The criminals are the calm veteran played by Harvey Keitel (Copland, Bugsy), the dying young criminal played by Tim Roth (Rob Roy, Hoodlum), the sadistic but calm man played by Michael Madsen (Donnie Brasco, Free Willy), and the jumpy nervous guy played by Steve Buscemi (Desperado, Con Air). They are waiting for their boss well-played by Lawrence Tierney (Dillinger, Born to Kill) and his son played by Chris Penn (Deceiver, Rush Hour). As they wait what little trust there was disappears as they suspect that one of them is a rat leading to violent conflicts. There are several tough scenes to watch, especially a torture scene. The film however is very well-written and amazingly acted. Keitel, Roth, Penn, and Buscemi are all excellent. The film's best performance belongs to one of my favorite actors, Michael Madsen. Madsen delivers an unforgettable and chilling take on his sadistic character.
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The Alternate (2000)
Poor action film with one good actor (Michael Madsen) and a good premise.
16 May 2000
Watching Agent of Death aka The Alternate I had the feeling that the movie was going to suck. After all it had a good premise, fake kidnapping of the President goes bad when someone decides to make it real. It also has a cast of famous names, Eric Roberts, Ice-T, and Michael Madsen. Yet the film went direct to video, not a good sign. After watching the film, I know why it went direct to video. The screenplay is filled with terrible dialogue and bad scenes. Several times in the movie, either the bad guy (a bad performance by writer Bryan Genesse) or the hero (a bad performance by Eric Roberts) has an easy chance to kill the other one, but gives it away by talking to them. Ice-T is ok, until his character disappears from the movie right away. Out of the rubble comes the great actor Michael Madsen to save this movie. This might have worked, except they gave Madsen the terrible role of the FBI agent in charge of getting the President back. Madsen is as good as possible, but is given nothing to do. Don't watch this movie.
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A film that strikes an emotional chord.
29 March 2000
When I first heard about The Florentine, I figured it would be some violent crime thriller. After watching it I was surprised to find out that its a character-driven drama which strikes your emotions. The film has several different storylines featuring intersecting characters all of whom know each other and spend time together. As with all films with several different storylines, some are better than others. The best storyline in the film features Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Bringing Out the Dead) as the man who left town and his girfriend and has come back just before her wedding. Sizemore gives the best performance of the film. He especially brings a level of pathos to his character. The scene between him and his ex-girlfriend's caring brother, excellently portrayed by Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Donnie Brasco) is the best of the film. Other than Sizemore and Madsen, the cast includes good turns by Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan, The Locusts), James Belushi (K-9, Gang Related), Chris Penn (One Tough Cop, Rush Hour), Luke Perry (The 5th Element, Normal Life) and Hal Holbrook (Hush, The Bachelor). Highly recommended.
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Mistrial (1996 TV Movie)
Strong lead performance by Pullman in a compelling film.
16 January 2000
Bill Pullman (Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping) stars as a police officer who takes over the courtroom where an accused cop-killer is going to be let free because the evidence he collected is in-admissable. Jon Seda (Selena, Sunchaser) plays the accused cop-killer. The film gains most of its strength from the two main performances, especially Pullman's. Always a likeable actor, Pullman creates a flawed character who is in way over his head. Seda gives a very good performance also. Highly recommended.
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No Way Home (1996)
Compelling film.
8 January 2000
Tim Roth (Hoodlum, Reservoir Dogs) stars as a recently paroled prisoner who goes home to his older brother who has gotten married when he was in prison. His brother, played by James Russo (Donnie Brasco, Panther) lets him live with them which doesn't please his wife, very well-played by Deborah Kara Unger (The Game, The Hurricane). Soon Unger discovers that Roth is actually a pretty nice guy who is slow in the head, but wants to go legit. His brother continues to sell drugs and may bring Roth back into trouble. The film's main story is the relationships among these three people with the most focus on the brother's relationship. This relationship is especially compelling as you see the love, but also much strain and pain between these two that is revealed later. James Russo creates a very interesting character in the older brother. He isn't a standard bad brother, he obviously cares for Roth, but also will do whatever it takes to make his own life better. Russo is great from start to finish in the role. The always-reliable Tim Roth gives a powerful lead performance as the slow-minded and easily influenced, but nice younger brother. Roth very quickly gains sympathy while creating a compelling character. Highly recommended, but not a feel-good movie.
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Witness Protection (1999 TV Movie)
Strong look at a struggling family.
20 December 1999
Witness Protection is another fine example of HBO's strong line of original films (Mistrial, Vendetta, RKO 281). In Witness Protection, Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Bringing Out the Dead) stars as a mob man who has recently had a hit put out on him by his own boss. In order to protect himself and his family he agrees to testify against his boss and enter the witness protection program. After entering the program he soon realizes the stress this puts on his family as everyone begins to take sides against everyone else in a struggle to make it. Sizemore one of the best actors in the business gives a strong lead performance adding to his list of impressive performances. Forest Whitaker (Blown Away, Species) adds a great supporting performance as the man who leads the family into the program. Highly recommended.
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RKO 281 (1999 TV Movie)
Fascinating film over the battle of making Citizen Kane
20 November 1999
RKO 281 is an extremely well-made HBO original movie that has more than enough quality to deserve a theatrical run. Liev Schreiber (A Walk on the Moon, Scream) stars as Orson Welles a young genius who is preparing a film everyone is waiting for. It's a very private film about a publisher obviously based on William Hearst, played by James Cromwell (Babe, L.A. Confidential). After many problems during production the film is finally finished, but word gets leaked to Hearst who will do whatever it takes to keep the film from being released. The film was Citizen Kane widely regarded as the greatest American film. The film is always compelling and often fascinating. Liev Schreiber delivers a strong lead performance with several great scenes. Great support is provided by Roy Scheider (The Rainmaker, The French Connection) as a top exec at RKO, James Cromwell, and especially John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Portrait of a Lady) as the co-writer. Highly recommended.
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Vampires (1998)
Top-Notch entertainment.
16 October 1999
Vampires is one of the most entertaining films I have seen in a while. A vampire tale mixed with western film makes for great fun. James Woods (Ghosts of Mississippi, The General's Daughter) stars as Jack Crow a vampire hunter funded by the Catholic Church. He and his partner, played by Daniel Baldwin (Mulholland Falls, Trees Lounge) are hunting after a master vampire, excellently portrayed by Thomas Ian Griffith (The Karate Kid III, Excessive Force). The film has some funny lines and is very entertaining with its bloody battles and great action scenes. Sheryl Lee (Mother Night, Bliss) is good as a prostitute with a psychic link to Griffith. James Woods gives a great lead performance and Daniel Baldwin is very good as his partner. Highly Recommended.
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Three Kings (1999)
A fantastic film which blends action, comedy, and drama perfectly.
2 October 1999
Three Kings is one of those rare films that combines action, comedy, and drama without losing anything and making itself a great film. George Clooney (Out of Sight, The Peacemaker) stars as a man in the army who along with Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Big Hit), Ice Cube (Anaconda, The Player's Club), and Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malkovich) have come upon a map which they believe leads them to a fortune in stolen gold. The Gulf War is over so the men decide to go after the gold. They find it, but are convinced to stay and help out some locals who are being terrorized by Sadaam's army. The film starts off with comedy, then adds action, then the drama without losing anything it had before and still showing the horrors of war (though there are no major battles or anything). Clooney gives a strong lead performance. Ice Cube and Jonze are both solid. The film's best performance belongs to Wahlberg. Jamie Kennedy (Scream) adds some very funny moments. Highly recommended.
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Strong performances by Pfeiffer and Williams are the strong points of an OK film.
25 September 1999
The Deep end of the Ocean takes a parent's worst nightmare and puts it on screen. Michelle Pfeiffer (One Fine Day, A Thousand Acres) and Treat Williams (Deep Rising, The Phantom) are a happily married couple with three children. When Pfeiffer bring the three children to her class reunion she momentarily leaves them in a crowded room. When she comes back her middle child (her second son) is missing. At first everyone just assumed he got lost, but soon everyone realizes he is missing seriously. The film passes on nine years later, the family has moved and their child is still missing. The one day (completly unbelievable) their son just knocks on their door. It turns out he has been living only 2 blocks away from them. They get their child back from a loving father who had no idea what happened. Soon their are many conflicts and problems with this change. All this makes for an interesting, but slow and somewhat boring film. Michelle Pfeiffer is very good as the grieving mother. Jonathan Jackson (Camp Nowhere, TV's General Hospital) as the oldest child, John Kapelos (Guilty as Sin, The Relic) as the missing child's 'adoptive' father, and Ryan Merriman (Lansky, TV's The Pretender) as the found child are all good in their roles. The film's best performance comes from the underrated Treat Williams as the grieving father who remains strong to hold the family together.
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A very good psychological thriller with a great performance by Kevin Bacon.
11 September 1999
Release very recently after The Sixth Sense (a superb film) with many similar plot points, Stir of Echoes manages to be original and very good. Though not as good as The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes contains many riveting scenes and performances. Kevin Bacon (Murder in the First, The River Wild) stars as a regular guy with a wife and a young son. One night towards the end of a party his wife's sister, well-played by Illeana Douglas (Message in a Bottle, Picture Perfect), hypnotizes Bacon. Bacon wakes up feeling sick and begins having visions of different things that begin to command his mind. Soon he begins acting weird and his wife, very well-played by Kathryn Erbe (Dream with the Fishes, Kiss of Death), begins to break-down because of this and the fact her son seems to have the same problem. Kevin Dunn (Dave, Picture Perfect) is good in support as a neighbor. But what makes the film great is the performance of Kevin Bacon. Always a talented actor (should have been Oscar nominated for Murder in the First), Bacon shines here in a strong performance. Highly recommended especially if you liked The Sixth Sense.
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Better than expected.
29 August 1999
Being a Treat Williams (The Deep End of the Ocean, Deep Rising) fan, I was very disappointed to see him do a direct to HBO sequel to The Substitute (starring Tom Berenger). After seeing The Substitute 2 I was even more disappointed it was a boring action film saved only by Williams who pretty much walked through the role anyways. Now once again Williams is doing a direct to HBO sequel. And although I'm still disappointed, at least The Substitute 3 is a decent action film. Williams once again goes undercover as a teacher this time at a nice college where the football players are given almost free rein (including beating up teachers). When undercover Williams discovers a whole conspiracy involving the football team. The film is nothing great, but does provide solid entertainment and Williams is very good in the lead, this time not just walking through the role, but giving some energy.
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Brilliant and Creepy.
22 August 1999
I had heard so many positive things about The Sixth Sense that I was sure I was going to be disappointed. To my surprise the film lived up to all of the hype I had heard. Haley Joel Osment (Bogus, Forrest Gump) stars as a troubled young child who sees dead people and is constantly haunted by them. Bruce Willis (Pulp Fiction, Die Hard) plays the child psychologist who is trying to help him. The film is so much more than a ghost story its a well-written and subtle approach to what would be a child's worst nightmare. Bruce Willis (an underrated actor) gives a fine subdued performance. You won't be amazed by what you see, but his low-key approach to his character is exactly the way it should be played. And young Haley Joel Osment delivers a superb performance on a very difficult role especially at that young age. I might be going a bit overboard, but hopefully this performance will not be ignored when Oscar time comes around. Also, Olivia Williams (Rushmore, The Postman) as Willis's wife and Toni Collette (Velvet Goldmine, Muriel's Wedding) as Osment's mother are both great in support. The big surprise however is a completely unrecognizable Donnie Wahlberg (Ransom, Never 2 Big) in a powerful one-scene role. Highly recommended film.
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One Tough Cop (1998)
Decent cop drama.
19 August 1999
One Tough Cop was a film that had one of the best trailers I've ever seen. It made the film look like a fascinating and powerful police drama. The film however did not get even close to the expectations of the trailer. It wasn't bad however. Just not great. Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects, Fled) stars as a police officer whose best friends are all involved in the Mob. Despite a great record, he gets framed by Internal Affairs and has to decide between his friends or his job. Chris Penn (Deceiver, The Funeral) is very good in support as Baldwin's very much in debt partner. Gina Gershon (Face/Off, Palmetto) is ok as the love interest. But the film's biggest strength lies in Stephen Baldwin. Baldwin is one of the most underrated actors in my mind (mainly because of poor career choices), but here he delivers a strong performance that brings the film through all of its predictability. Recommended for Baldwin's performance mainly.
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Riveting thriler.
26 July 1999
Arlington Road is a film that grabs your attention from the first scene and holds it all the way until its brilliant ending. Jeff Bridges (Fearless, Wild Bill) stars as a professor on domestic terrorism whose own wife had died recently. He is living with his girlfriend and son. He meets his new neighbors, played by Tim Robbins (The Shawhshank Redemption, The Player) and Joan Cusack (In and Out, Grosse Pointe Blank). They have a son about the same age which makes them new friends. Soon however Bridges begins to suspect that Robbins isn't who he says he is. This leads Bridges on a quest to find out who he is. The film is a excellent thriller about domestic terrorism that brings up many questions at the same time it entertains you. Jeff Bridges gives a fine lead performance, occasionally over-acting but still bringing out the emotions well. Joan Cusack is very good as the wife of Tim Robbins who gives the film's best performance mixing charm and creepiness very well. Highly recommended film.
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Affliction (1997)
Tour-De force performances by both Nolte and Coburn highlight a very good character study.
7 July 1999
Affliction is a very bleak and depressing movie from legendary writer Paul Schrader (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver). Schrader also directed this mesmerizing character study. Nick Nolte (The Tin Red Line, Prince of Tides) stars as Wade Whitehouse, the local sheriff of a small town. He's not a very good man, he smokes pot, drinks booze, has a poor relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, and doesn't care much for life. He is still haunted by memories of his abusive father who still lives near by. James Coburn (Eraser, Payback) plays the father making him a chilling character in a wonderful Oscar winning performance. The one saving grace in Nolte's life is his girlfriend, well-played by Sissy Spacek (JFK, Blast from the Past). Another person in Nolte's life is his brother who lives miles away, Nolte talks to his brother over the phone and gets along with him when he comes over. Willem Dafoe (Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ) is great in a very under-written role as the brother. At the start of movie a man has died in the woods because he accidently shot himself, Nolte thinks its a conspiracy and tries to solve it. The murder mystery is not the main story of the movie, the main story is the gradual breakdown of Nolte's character. Nolte is fantastic in a wonderful performance that in my mind (from what I've seen) is the second best performance of the year (behind Edward Norton for American History X). Nolte is always convincing in a subtle performance of a man who is losing his grip on life. Highly recommended for superb performances and a well-written script, though a downer movie.
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Big Daddy (1999)
Funny and surprisingly touching.
5 July 1999
Adam Sandler (The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer) has pulled off another hit with Big Daddy. Sandler stars as a lazy law-school graduate who won't take the bar exam. One day when his roommate goes on a business trip to China a child arrives at the day with a note claiming to be his roommate's son. Sandler takes the kid for a day and after having a good time decides to keep him to impress his girlfriend who doesn't think he's trying to grow up. His girlfriend dumps him and he's stuck with the kid. Not surprisingly Sandler isn't a good father, but soon he bonds with the kid and he learns how to be a good father. This might sound like a cheesy feel-good film, but with Sandler the humor is kind of low-brow, but often hilarious. The film does also offer a few touching scenes between Sandler and the kid. Sandler's performance was very funny, but reminded me a little of Jim Carrey's performance in Liar Liar. Liar Liar if you have seen it was a regular Carrey comedy, but offered a couple of serious scenes which Carrey pulled off well. Carrey then went on to do The Truman Show and win a Golden Globe. Sandler also has a couple of serious scenes which he nails well. I'm not suggesting that Sandler is going to become a great actor (like Carrey seems headed for) but he may have the skill to do it if he wants. Leslie Mann (George of the Jungle, The Cable Guy) and Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy, A Cool Dry Place) are both good as sisters. Jon Stewart (The Faculty, Playing by Heart) is solid as Sandler's roommate. Twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse are convincing as the kid. Finally, two favorites of mine have very funny supporting roles. Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Armageddon) is good as a homeless friend of Sandler's. And Rob Schneider (Judge Dredd, Knock Off) is hilarious as an immigrant delivery man who is good friends with Sandler. Highly Recommended.
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Highlander (1986)
Good film, could have been a great film.
4 July 1999
I had read a lot of conflicting information on the film Higlander. Most of the user comments before me were positive, but many movie reviews were poor for the film which has sustained a cult following over the years. Christopher Lambert (Mortal Kombat, Knight Moves) stars as Connor MacLeod a Scottish man who should have died in battle in the 16th century. He didn't die because he is part of a rare group of immortals who can only be killed by another immortal who chops off his head. MacLeod learns this from another immortal, played by Sean Connery (The Rock, The Untouchables). The immortals live by the phrase "There can be only one" as they wait for the gathering, when just a few are left and the last one living will get the mysterious gift. The movie takes place in mainly two time frames, New York in 1986 (near the time of the gathering) and in Scotland during the mid 1500's. The flashbacks are extemely well handled and never confused me during the film. The premise of this film is one of my favorites, it's a fascinating and very original one which was handled well, but could have been done better. Lambert is good in the lead making Connor a character to cheer for. Connery is wonderful in a smaller role. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers) is great as an evil immortal. Good film, highly recommended, but could have been an epic film.
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Much better the second time.
29 June 1999
Being a fan of war movies, I decided to check out the highly acclaimed and heavily nominated film Born on the Fourth of July from director Oliver Stone (who made one of the greatest war films Platoon). After watching the film the first time, I came out disliking it, too long and boring. But I caught the film on HBO, and after seeing it a second time, my opinion has changed. It's not a great war film, but to be honest it's not as much a war film as it is the story of one man. That man is played by Tom Cruise (Rainman, Jerry Maguire). Cruise plays Ron Kovic in this real-life story. Cruise plays a young man who enlists for Vietnam and comes back paralyzed from wounds he suffered. The scenes in Vietnam are haunting and perfectly done. Cruise comes back to friends who have started normal lives, a family that has missed him, and people who yell at him for going to Vietnam. Initially, Cruise gets along with his family, but soon his views begin to change on Vietnam, he changes from pro-war to anti-war and alienates his family with some of his actions and after spending some time in Mexico he becomes one of the biggest anti-war protestors. The film is still too long, but I found myself compelled by the story so much more the second time. I am a Tom Cruise fan, not only does he make great movies, but I feel he is one of the better actors in Hollywood. This is by far his best performance. He gives an excellent performance as Ron Kovic and earned his Oscar nomination. The supporting performances are all good with special mention to Raymond J. Barry (Dead Man Walking, Sudden Death) as Cruise's father and the always great Frank Whaley (The Doors, Swimming with Sharks) as a friend who also went to Vietnam. But the supporting performance of the movie belongs to Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Tom & Viv) as a veteran at Mexico. Dafoe perfectly captures the despair of the vet who tries to drown it out with booze.
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Resurrection (1999)
Well-done copycat of Seven.
27 June 1999
Being a mild fan (are there many left?) of Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Mortal Kombat), I decided to check out Resurrection on HBO a couple of nights ago. I had to admit I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by an entertaining and somewhat thrilling copycat of the ultra-violent film Seven (a personal favorite). Lambert stars as a tough detective on the trail of a sick, but brilliant serial killer who takes a part of the body of each of his victims. The film was very well-directed and the mood was very dark. Much of the dialogue was very similar to dialogue in Seven and the killer's motives even resembled Seven's. Despite this, I enjoyed the film. Lambert gives a solid (but unspectacular) lead performance, he's a bit too wooden at times, but he has a couple of good dramatic scenes. The film's best performance belongs to Leland Orser (Alien: Resurrection, Very Bad Things). Orser (who had a small part in Seven) takes the standard partner character and makes him somewhat memorable. Also of note, NBA basketball player Rick Fox (Los Angeles Lakers) co-stars as a fellow detective. Highly recommended for fans of Seven.
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Incredible war epic with brilliant performances from De Niro and Walken.
24 June 1999
The Deer Hunter (in my mind) is the best Vietnam war film ever and the third best war film (behind Glory and The Thin Red Line). It is split up into 3 different sections, the pre-war section with a wedding and hunting scene, the war section with the famous and haunting Russian Roulette scene and the post-war section. The film is long, but not too long in that it develops the characters, puts them through hell, and then lets you see their reactions to it after its over. Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, Cape Fear) is outstanding as the natural leader of the friends. Meryl Streep (Kramer Vs. Kramer, One True Thing) is great as one of the best friends of the group. Finally, Christopher Walken (Suicide Kings, The Prophecy) gives a haunting and shattering performance as the member of the group who becomes the most messed up and can't make himself come home. Walken definitely deserved his Oscar. The rest of the cast all give fine performances especially John Savage (White Squall, Salvador). Highly recommended.
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Outrage (1998 TV Movie)
Decent made for TV movie with a fine performance by Rob Lowe.
22 June 1999
Outrage is a decent made for TV-movie. The story centers around Rob Lowe (St. Elmo's Fire, Wayne's World) a working man who one day thwarts a few teenagers attempt at robbery and becomes a victim of theirs in an attempt at terrorizing him and his wife. The film's weak elements are the non-frightening bad guys (almost laughable actually), the average at best script, and some poor supporting performances (the main bad guy especially). The film is well-directed though and makes you feel for the couple, but the film's main asset is Rob Lowe. Lowe gives a fairly strong lead performance and has several scenes where he especially shines. If Lowe keeps giving solid performances in small movies like this, maybe he can get himself some decent roles in big movies again.
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Savior (1998)
Dennis Quaid is great in a tough, but rewarding war film.
31 May 1999
Dennis Quaid (Switchback, Dragonheart) stars as a man who witnessed his wife and son blown up in a bomb attack. After seeing this he turns into a mercenary of sorts and loses all emotion. Until he comes upon a woman pregnant from a rape. Quaid feels a bit of compassion and takes her to her home after he is forced to deliver the baby himself. She is kicked out of her house and Quaid again decides to take her, this time to a refugee camp. It is on this trip that Quaid regains his feelings for life as he begins to bond with the woman and child. This description might make the film sound like a bit of a feel-good movie. It's not, their are several disturbing scenes of violence, including against chldren. Still the film is rewarding as it does give you a glimpse of some of the horrors of the middle-east and allows for you to see a man change. I have always liked Dennis Quaid and here he gives what might be his best performance. He is good, but not great as the emotionless mercenary, but once he meets the woman and baby, his performance becomes superb as the character changes. I read a couple of early Oscar reports that had his name mentioned for this movie. Although he didn't receive a nomination he probably deserved one, though not the Oscar itself (nothing could beat Edward Norton in American History X). Highly recommended.
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Friday (1995)
Appealing laid-back comedy about life in the inner city.
31 May 1999
Friday is a moderately funny movie about one day in the inner city. The film's main two characters are played by rapper/actor Ice-Cube (Boyz in Da Hood, Higher Learning) who also co-wrote it and comedian/actor Chris Tucker (Money Talks, Rush Hour). The two play best friends who spend most of the movie sitting on the porch talking. It sounds boring, but is often quite funny. A story line develops though as Tucker (a heavy drug user) owes money to the local drug dealer and in his excuse for not paying it includes Ice Cube. This causes the drug dealer to demand the money in a few hours or they are both dead. This then allows for some dramatic scenes, including a great one towards the end with Ice Cube and the local bully. Ice Cube is a very likable actor and is good as the calmer and less troublesome of the two friends. Chris Tucker, a favorite of mine, gets to do his hilarious comedy for most of the movie, but does well in a couple of short serious scenes. Good support work is turned in by Nia Long (Soul Food, Love Jones) as the neighbor which Ice Cube has a crush on, Tiny Lister Jr. (The Fifth Element, Jackie Brown) as the menancing bully, and especially from John Witherspoon (Ride, Vampire in Brooklyn) as Ice Cube's surprisingly caring father.
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