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Sliding Doors (1998)
What a pleasant surprise
I'd never heard of this movie, and would never have viewed it, except my daughter rented it and left it in the VCR. The first 10 minutes are enjoyable enough, but THEN the "sliding doors" come into play, and things really get interesting.
This is not a grand film with lofty aspirations, but it succeeds wonderfully as a personal story that is served up with wit and originality. That is saying a lot in this age of predictable copy-cat movies. Gwyneth Paltrow is a pleasure to watch, as are some of the scenes around London.
The Truman Show (1998)
Is that all there is?
It has so little to say and takes so long to say it, this movie give you a good idea of what watching "The (real) Truman Show" must be like. Maybe because I had heard about it before seeing it, I expected some profound insights from this movie.
My friends pretty much covered it all when they told me, "It's about a guy whose life is a TV show, and everyone knows except him." Intriguing idea. I kept waiting for more, but it never came. At least Jim Carrey is fun to watch.
The Negotiator (1998)
All the worst characteristics of big-budget action thrillers
What a total waste of good talent. Both stars, Spacey and Jackson, are good actors, but oh, what a stinker of a story, overblown beyond any semblance of reality. Commit about 3 dozen felonies to prove your innocence of a false charge, and it all turns out OK (after blowing up a building) in the end.
Only the stereotypes and cliches are more abundant than the breaking glass, gunshots, fires, and explosions.
Fathers' Day (1997)
Robin Williams and Billy Crystal together: a double-header
Yeah, the plot's kinda lame and not too believable, but the stars are able to make it a fun time. In fact, the best moments are the ones that serve not to advance the story, but allow Williams and Crystal do their trademark acts.
Billy Crystal is a master of the non-response, such as when told that he has a 15 year old son, continuing to slowly drink his coffee. Robin Williams is the improv master. It's fun to guess which lines were written in the screenplay, and which ones just came from his head full of characters.
We know everything will turn out OK in the end, but there are enough unexpected twists and turns to keep the story interesting, and some pretty funny minor characters.