Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Fun, but something was lacking.
Based on the very popular video game, Tomb Raider plays out exactly like one of Lara Croft's digital adventures. True there is more to the movie than Lara running around the world with pistols ablazin', but there seemed to be something lacking. Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice for the flesh and blood Lara Croft though. With her dual pistols, tight clothes and long braid of hair, Jolie is ready for whatever is thrown at her. The plot deals with an ancient clock that has begun counting down on the first day of planetary alignment. The clock is the key to finding two pieces of the Triangle of Light. Once whole again, it will give its possesor the ability to move through time. So, it is up to Lara Croft to save the world, and the universe from ultimate doom. The effects and stunt work are first rate. I did enjoy the sequence where Lara is jumping around her mansion and has to fend off a horde of armed men storming her home. Probably the best visual effect, or at least my favorite, is in the Cambodian temple. A statue comes to life and naturally, goes after anyone within sight. Overall, Tomb Raider isn't a bad film. It does offer some thrills and Angelina Jolie is probably the best thing about the movie. What I felt was lacking was the sense of fun that was very prevalent in the Indiana Jones films. Those still hold up to multiple viewings, but I think one may become as bored as Lara does after watching this one more than twice.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Michael Bay's films always split people into two categories. They either like them, or hate them. One thing both parties can agree on is the fact that his films move. There is always a pan, a dolly, a zoom or some other camera trick that takes you farther than other films would. With Pearl Harbor, Bay takes you back to Dec. 7, 1941 and puts you there as the Japanese begin there attack. What leads up to the attack however, is a somewhat cliched first hour. We are introduced to Danny and Rafe, two Tennessee fly boys who have designs on the same nurse. We also are introduced to various other characters that enter into the grand scheme of things. Through this hour, we learn who they are, what they want from their lives and begin to make a connection with them. All of this may have been taken care in a little less time, but it's there on the screen, and like it or love it, it's not going anywhere. Once the attack on Pearl Harbor begins, the first hour fades into the background and you are thrust into the confusion, the horror and the insanity of the early morning attack. Planes dive in, strafing ships and people. Bombs scream through the sky and explode on their targets as the smoke gets thicker with each passing second. You witness the death of the Arizona, you watch as Dorie Miller mans a machine gun and opens fire on the attacking planes. You get caught up in the moment and you feel charged as the American forces retalliate against the Japanese. You then feel the pain and anguish as the wounded pour into the hospital and you see the fear in the faces of the nurses and doctors as they struggle to save their patients.
True there may be some historical inaccuracies, and some facts may have been left out or combined into others. Overall, Pearl Harbor achieves what it's makers set out to do. They wanted to capture the essense of what it was like to be there on that day. In that regard, they have succeeded.
Utterly charming and highly entertaining.
As Shrek opens up, you realize that you're not going to be viewing a "classic" fairy tale. With a very irreverant sense of humor, the film ventures into uncharted territories that will make you laugh uncontrollably while your kids wonder what's so funny. The story is a simple one. Shrek and Donkey have been given a task of rescuing Princess Fiona. Once this is accomplished, Lord Farquuad will remove the fairy tale refugees from Shrek's swamp. Along the way in this simple tale, our hero learns to open himself up to others, and by midway through the film you'll know the outcome. But, you will be so charmed and entertained by the story that you won't care that you figured out the ending in the middle of the film. The animation is amazing to watch, and with the field of animation, you can get away with many things that you can not do with live action. Overall, Shrek is a delightful film for all ages. Take the kids and try not to be charmed.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Outstanding and entertaining!
Action and adventure abound throughout this movie. There are grand battles, deception, romance and narrow escapes from death and that's just in the first half hour! Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are back and this time, they have more than an ancient mummy to contend with. This time around, there's evil followers of Imhotep, armies of the undead, pygmies and The Scorpion King himself. The pace never lets up. It's a roller coaster ride that takes you up, down and then spins you upside down and throws you for another roll. The stunts are great, the effects are great, and the story is also great. This is a perfect summer movie to go watch with your friends. So, go get your tickets, grab a soda and sit back and let the fun begin.
One of the best big screen epics.
I recently had the opportunity to see Ben-Hur on a 70ft screen and I have to say, if you have the chance, see it this way! The super wide vistas that is captured on film look puny on TV and even then, the whole movie is cropped to fit the screen. If you have a large screen TV, that may do the trick but it's still no match for a giant movie screen. The best example of this would be to watch the famed chariot race. Every inch of screen is used to pack in so much detail, your brain almost goes into an overload just trying to take it in. Having said that, the film still holds up after all these years. Charlton Heston is perfectly cast as the title character. Betrayed by his boyhood friend, Ben-Hur is sold into slavery and sent to die aboard the Roman galleons. During a spectacular battle, Ben-Hur rescues his Roman captor and is given a hero's welcome in Rome where is made a citizen. But, this cannot dissuade Ben-Hur from his personal vendetta against Messala. He gets his chance in the chariot race, and I have to say that the chariot race has not been matched. Ben-Hur, like Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Spartacus, is a film that needs to be seen on a large screen. That's the only way to take in the grandeur of those spectacular scenes that range from the highly intimate, to a frame that literally boasts a cast of thousands.
North by Northwest (1959)
There are certain films in existance that you can watch over and over and they will always remain fresh and vibrant as the day they were released. North By Northwest is one such film. Filled with the usual Hitchcock themes, the movie begins innocently enough when Roger Thornhill calls for a bell boy calling for a George Caplan. From there, he's whisked into a world of murder, espionage, smuggling and late night romances aboard trains. The suspense and plot build together as we, along with Thornhill, try to figure out what's happening, and try not to get killed along the way. Among the films highlights is the infamous crop duster sequence, in which Hitchcock shows you that even in the middle of nowhere, there is still danger. Cary Grant is perfectly cast as the rather quick witted Roger O. Thornhill. Eva Marie Saint is the prerequisite blonde Eve Kendall who helps Thornhill in his quest. The always wonderful James Mason is oily and sinister as Phillip Vandamm, and Martin Landau hides a hidden menace behind his slightly crooked grin. Throw in a wonderful score from Bernard Herrmann, a top notch script from Ernest Lehman and masterful direction from Alfred Hitchcock, and you have a movie that you can never grow tired of. Plus, you have to love that last shot.
A wholly unique movie going experience.
Starting with the ending and moving backward, Memento challenges us with its backwards narrative and shows us that things aren't actually what they seem. Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man without the ability to create new memories. All he knows is that someone raped and murdered his wife, and he's going to find the man and kill him. In his quest, he is aided by two characters who may know more than they let on. Joe Pantoliano's Teddy and Carrie-Anne Moss' Natalie. Both have reasons for helping Leonard, but we like Leonard, don't really know who to trust. As the action progresses backwards, we learn more about Leonard and his condition and we learn more about why things happen to Leonard. To talk about this film would detract from the fun of watching it unfold, (or is it recede?) in front of you. You think you know what happens, you think you know why Leonard did what he did, but that's only the beginning. And nothing is what it seems.
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
The other side of WWII
Enemy At The Gates gives us the view of WWII from the Russian point of view. The story takes place entirely during the German siege of Stalingrad. In first few scenes, we see just how badly Hitler wanted this city. What we are subjected to is a nightmarish scenario. Russian infantrymen are herded from train cars into boats and ferryed across the Volga river. While taking the dangerously slow trip, they are subject to fire from attacking German fighters. If they survive, they still have to fight on land, or be shot as cowards. There is little dialouge in these opening scenes and for once, I'm glad that there was no decision to put dialogue here. You can almost compare the opening to a silent film, with the images flashing across the screen and expressions of the actors faces conveying all the information you need. Once the opening chaos has died down, we begin to get to know Jude Law's Vassily, the famed sharpshooter. Law plays him well. A young man from the Urals who just happens to be a world class shot, but not to knowledgeable of the politics surrounding him. Joseph Finnes is the political officer that begins to extol the virtues of this young man and begins to make him a larger than life hero. Because of the damage inflicted by Vassily, the Germans send in their own sharpshooter. Ed Harris plays Major Konig with steely eyed reserve. His actions are carefully metered out and his silence shows his strength. What starts out as a battle between the Russians and the Germans becomes a struggle between two men who are both the best at what they do. What follows is a film that showcases great performances from Law and Harris and scenes of tension that will make you hold your breath.
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
More like 3'000 Miles to Nowhere
As I sat there viewing 3'000 Miles to Graceland, a strange feeling came over me. I was saying to myself, I want to like this movie but it's not giving me a chance. The film veers from merely outlandish, to wildly unbelievable. The plot concerns a group of cons dressed up like Elvis and robbing a casino. Of course there will be double crossing amongst these guys and then, the prize is missing and what follows is a chase across the vast western part of America. Kurt Russel and Kevin Costner do what they can with the script and Costner does look like he's enjoying himself in the role. Interesting footnote, Russel has acted alongside The King and even played him in the 1979 TV film. It's a sad thing when the end credits show more life and are more entertaining than the entire film.
15 Minutes (2001)
A good thriller
15 Minutes doesn't stop moving for a minute. It takes time to slow down, but the camera always seems to be balancing on its toes, ready to spring into action. The story concerns two men, who are here in America to collect money owed to them. One steals a camera and thus begins taping their various atrocities around NYC. All in the attempt to win the attention of the media and in doing that, become rich and famous. On the trail of these two are Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns who play members of NYPD and NYFD. The two form an unlikely partnership and slowly but surely begin to close in on the two felons. Kelsey Grammar plays a news man who will pay top dollar for the tape of the crimes. What propels this film above other similarly themed films are the performances of all the actors, especially DeNiro and Burns. Grammar is quite sleazy and smarmy, a complete departure from the good natured Frasier Crane. The action set pieces are spectacular and really do get your blood moving. The story moves along quickly to the climax that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. No joke, that's what I was doing. 15 Minutes won't win any awards for originality but it will entertain you for two hours, and that's why we go to the movies in the first place.