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Outstanding Acting with Intense Drama
Once again, Matt Damon comes through in a well-acted, high drama motion picture that will have you feeling the anxiety of danger laden back street gambling. Rounders is a film that tells it's story so well that it leaves you feeling that you've been right at Matt Damon's side the whole way.
It's a story about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, fear, risk taking, and survival. The story is so believable, that it had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the intense card game ending.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
One of Hollywood's Greatest
The Wizard of Oz has to rank up there as one of the greatest movies in Hollywood history. This timeless classic has probably been seen by more people than any other movie. It has entertained children and adults and will continue to entertain them into the next millenium.
Unoriginal, but entertaining
Here's a quick trivia question: Take a little bit of the movies Alien, Star Trek First Contact, and Deep Rising and what do you get? Answer: The film "Virus."
This movie is like a sci-fi souffle. Not much originality, but it is successful in creating a nice edge of your seat feeling as it winds down to it's conclusion. I got a rush out of the last half hour of this film as I watched the characters succumb one by one to the evil alien machine monster from outer space.
As far as the acting goes, Donald Sutherland was horrible. Not his best acting performance. Quite possibly his worst. Jamie Lee Curtis provides a good performance as does William Baldwin. I was a little surprised, if not disappointed, to see that Jamie Lee is breaking out of her type cast bimbo, skin, and body part exposing roles of the past. Her role is similar to that of Sigorney Weaver's "Ripley" from the "Alien" genre. The rest of the characters are just fill ins as they are extinguished by the monster.
This movie offers decent entertainment value for sci-fi and horror buffs. Don't be disappointed if you've seen this story before though.
Enemy of the State (1998)
Suspenseful Entertainment to the Nth Degree
Enemy of the State is a great suspense/action thriller!!
This movie will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Will Smith delivers the goods in his best acting performance yet. Jon Voight, Gene Hackman, and the supporting cast are all superb in their various roles.
Great script, acting, and action sequences make this one of the most entertaining films of 1998. The subject matter of this film is also believable, which makes it even better.
Of course, with any film, there are a few flaws. Some of the technology used in this film is unbelievable to the point of ridiculousness.
I give this film 8 out of 10 stars. I recommend it highly.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
Now I understand why they titled this movie "The Thin Red Line." It's because there is a Thin Red Line between Boredom and Frustration.
This film is long, boring, and offers nothing that comes close to entertainment. I watched this movie with seven other friends, and none of us had a single good thing to say about it. We all shared a common agreement that this is the worst film of 1999, 1998, and maybe even the decade of the 90s.
How else can you describe a film that jumps around with little reason or explanation. There is no story here. It's just a hodge podge of various characters who have stray thoughts while we are shown cinematograpy that makes little sense. If I wanted to watch a documentary on the beautiful wildlife of the Southeast Asian Region I would have tuned in to the Discovery Channel. What does this have to do with a war movie?
I went to see what was inconceivably billed as an Academy Award Winning Film based on The Battle of Guadal Canal. What I witnessed was a long, boring, and meaningless depiction of a confused war. Nick Nolte's character had no consistency, for example. One minute he's playing hard ball with one of his subordinates. The next minute, he's trying to butter him up with promises of purple hearts, silver stars, and other bribes. The story begins with a close up of an Alligator in a swamp. OK, that really has a lot to do with a war story, right?
The early scenes are set somewhere in Southeast Asia where a couple of deserters are fraternizing with the natives. The next thing you know, they are back on a troop ship heading to the Guadal Canal. There's no transition here. One moment these guys are on the beach. The next minute, one of them is being lectured by Sgt. Sean Penn about the morals of being a good soldier. Did I miss something in between or was it just a bad edit?
For the next 2 and a half hours the film concentrates on a group of Americans trying to advance in the dense jungle of Guadal Canal. Yet, when the movie finally comes to a merciful end, you ask yourself "What Happened?"
There is no climax to the movie. This movie just goes on and on and on and on, then ends. No big ending. Rather, a cheap ending. The soldiers got to leave the war. That's it.
What is this movie about? It's about 2 and a half hours too long. Don't waste your time. I wish I hadn't.
The Twilight Zone (1959)
Rod Serling, a master Sci-Fi Storyteller
There is nothing like the original Twilight Zone Television Series which originated in 1959 and ended in 1965. Over the course of seven incredible years, Rod Serling, William Asher, and crew created a classic collection of Sci-Fi and Horror tales.
The shows had a wide variety of screen actors and plots. Some dealing with Science Fiction, some with Horror, and some with Action/Suspense. Each tale had a surprise ending which would make the viewer think twice. The main characters were usually easy to identify with. Thus, the viewer usually gets the feeling that they could in fact become part of the story. Or at the very least, possibly see a similar circumstance happen to them in their lives.
Some of my favorite episodes include:
Talkie Tina (a doll that talks and tells Telly Savalas that it wants to kill him).
The Dummy (a story that might have inspired the 1978 horror film "Magic")
A New Exhibit (a story about wax museum characters that come to life)
Patch Adams (1998)
Patch Adams is an exceptional film. Robin Williams is perfect in the role of Hunter (Patch) Adams in this, one of the best films of the Decade.
This film will have you feeling every emotion while it tells the true story of a once suicidally depressed man who changes into a fun-loving philanthropist as he works his way through medical school in the early 70s. I laughed and cried through various parts of the movie. Yet, the best part of this film is the surprising ending. That's all I'm going to tell you, because I don't want to give away anything.
This movie has a little of bit of everything for audiences of all ages. Definitely worthy of the 10 rating that I gave it. Go out and see it.
Les diaboliques (1955)
Hold your breath suspense
Les Diaboliques is one of the tightest, pure suspense movies I have ever seen. The story starts out slowly, but as it moves on, peculiar things start to happen. This movie keeps you guessing in such a way, you are riveted to your seat, hoping for a quick resolution to the suspense. Yet, as the story unfolds, the suspense deepens. The final scene of the movie had me sitting back holding my breath.
This movie does not offer cheap, pop out and scare you tactics. Rather, it makes the viewer expect things to happen that don't. You wait on the edge of your seat for the quick jump out and scare you event to take place, but instead, it sneaks up from behind you. What an effect!
Les Diaboliques is a classic film that delivers the complete suspense package. It's not surprising that many suspense movies of the modern era have tried to copy the plot. This movie is well worth renting in a video store, if you can find it.
The Haunting (1963)
In my many years of watching horror films, I have yet to find one that comes close to the terror that I experienced when I saw "The Haunting." This is the quintessential haunted house movie of all time.
The plot runs like this. A scientific researcher is interested in researching a house which has had a miserable history of driving its inhabitants crazy to determine whether or not it is actually haunted. He gathers a team of two other researchers and the nephew of the old lady who owns the house. One of the scientific researchers, played by Claire Bloom, is somewhat crazy herself. She often hears voices in her head, which of course, the movie audience gets the pleasure of witnessing. The owner's nephew is a non-believer in the supernatural and refuses to accept the fact that the house is haunted. Thus, the stage is set for this unusual group to spend the week-end inside the house to prove whether or not there is a ghost in the house.
The house is creepy at first glance. There's a locked wrought iron fence that surrounds the property. Nothing has gone in or out for 7 years with the exception of the caretakers, who are very creepy in their own right. Once inside the house, you get the feeling that the group is locked in. As the doors shut with a loud thud, the group begins to explore. It is dark inside and there are many rooms to explore. They are all warned not to wander for it is easy to get lost inside the many passageways that wind through the long corridors.
From this point on, the four researchers learn that there is a presence in the house. It is not a presence that you can see, but one you can hear and even feel. As the guests sleep at night with their bedroom doors locked, they all hear a loud rhythmic thumping sound outside their rooms. The walls move inward as if a giant force is trying to push them down. Other scary events are hallucinations which Claire Bloom experiences. On the first night, she slept the entire night while holding hands with her female roommate. The queer thing is, the next morning her roommate has no recollection of even sleeping in the same bed with Claire. This leaves you to wonder who she was actually holding hands with.
As the story unfolds, each of the guests has their own individual experience that no one else remembers. The climax is intense, not for the faint of heart.
Horror film buffs will love this movie. Rent it some night, if you dare.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Great Acting, Slow Pace
Meet Joe Black. Meet Brad Pitt, for 3 hours. This is a movie that spends three hours on a screenplay that was written and rated for two. It's a fine idea of a story. Death (Pitt) comes to take a holiday with a dying millionaire (Hopkins) and just happens to fall in love with his daughter (Claire Forlani). Meanwhile,a two-faced, untrustworthy man, who happens to be engaged to Forlani, attempts to steal the family business from Hopkins. Death, however, has come to save the day for Hopkins, only long enough so that he can bring him with him to the great beyond. It's a great plot with an excellent cast. Yet, this movie fails to deliver the goods.
The main problem that this film has is that they must have fired the editor before they took the final copy to edit. This movie is three hours long. And it's a long three hours. As a result, it flows along like a turtle who is in a hurry to get to the end of a mile long stretch. Some scenes are painfully long. I kept waiting for something to happen that would move it along, but it never came. The climax of this film (you know, the part where all of the movie's problems get solved) lasts well over an hour. I kept waiting for it to end, but it kept on going.
Many women that I've discussed this movie with think that it's the greatest movie they've ever seen. Why? Simple...Brad Pitt. I keep thinking that if they hadn't cast Brad Pitt in the lead, this movie would have been a complete failure. I like Brad Pitt, and I find that he has great acting skills and an ability to captivate his audience by his charm and good looks. His presence somehow makes this movie tolerable.
The guys in the audience will find newcomer Claire Forlani equally attractive. She offers a stunning screen presence and surprisingly good acting skills.
Hopkins, of course, is a genius of an actor. He brings credibility to this movie. Who else could play a millionaire with such style and finesse in such an honorable way. Once again, he provides a great performance.
I gave this movie a 6 for the following reasons. High marks for the exceptional acting from Hopkins, Pitt, and Forlani; and a clever idea of a script. Low marks for the slowness of its pace. All in all, it's a better than average film that is dragged down by it's length and pace.