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Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
This movie borrows heavily from the earlier Austin Powers films (notably the second one). Fans of SNL will even catch glimpses of Mike's characters from his time on that show. What remains is wall-to-wall toilet humor. Furthermore, his portrayals of Austin and especially Dr Evil are not as consistent and focused as the first two movies. If you are a die-hard fan, there is enough here to get some reasonable laughs and not feel cheated. Otherwise, stick with the first two movies.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Ok, but not great
I can't figure out why people are going gaga over this movie. From a technical standpoint, its solid. The fighting scenes are exciting and well executed. But beyond that, what is there to like? There is no social context to speak of. The characters are one-dimensional. The story itself is frusturating and uninspiring. I was hoping for something patriotic and uplifting, but got neither.
Don't be fooled by the PG rating
The PG-13 rating was created, in part, to account for movies like this that are more violent than a straight "PG" would indicate. However, this movie has inexplicably not been re-rated to PG-13 since its release. Be forewarned that it contains dark scenes and intensely violent imagery (a man getting his heart ripped out while still alive then getting lowered into lava). This film would obviously get a PG-13 rating today.
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
Why this movie doesn't quite work
The first "Babe" has a consistently mystical feel that makes the movie wonderful to watch. "Pig in the City" also creates a feeling, but it is more of a detached haze that is somewhere between enjoyment and horror. The first movie has many touching moments that generate actual emotion, while most "touching" scenes in this movie seem somewhat forced. Also, various scenes go on way to long (the dog chase, the raid, and the restaurant). It still adds up to a quality movie, but it's not the masterpiece the first movie is.
The 10th Kingdom (2000)
A very enjoyable mini-series
I found this mini-series quite entertaining. However, don't be fooled by the advertising or the title... All the promotional material featured scenes of New York scenery transforming into mountains and castles and such. It looked like it the premise would be that there was some rift from a fantasy world into our world, which would have been pretty cool. But actually, nearly all the action took place in the fantasy world, with only passing references to the "10th Kingdom". But all in all it was a solid story with an average degree of predictablilty. It was also set up for a sequel, which would definitely be worth watching.
Homicide: The Movie (2000)
Great movie for the fans of the show
For all the Homicide junkies out there, this movie was great! Every single character that ever was on the show made an appearance in the movie. It helped to resolve some (but not all) issues from the series. Unfortunately, unless you actually did watch the series, most of the enjoyment would be lost, as the movie made heavy references to every season of the show's existence. This probably would have been appropriate as a series finale as opposed to being a separate movie, but we gotta take what we can get. I hope they make more movies, and continue to feature Homicide characters on Law and Order.
Excellent addition to the Star Wars family
This movie was ok the first time I saw it, but the second time it was great. I was not prepared for the Jar Jar character, and I probably payed too much attention to him - the next time around I was prepared, and the movie was much more balanced and thoroughly entertaining. Is Phantom Menace as good as the originals? Its really impossible to say - the original Star Wars transcended the screen and became a social phenomenon. Phantom Menace can not and does not try to live up these standards - its impossible. I think people have dumped on it because they expected a mystical experience - but as with many other movies, if you actively look for it you may miss it. And don't forget that this move is part 1 of a new trilogy, who knows what Lucas has in store. Would "The Empire Strikes Back" have been considered a good movie if "Jedi" hadn't followed it? Before we reserve final judgement, lets see what George Lucas, a master storyteller, has to offer.
Seeing this movie can be dangerous business. One would think that the combination of two great stars such as Beatty + Hoffman would generally end up as entertaining. This movie must be the exception that proves this rule. Unless everything else in the video store has been rented, and your cable is broken, and you have removed all the grout from your bathroom tiles, I would avoid this movie.
Home Movies (1999)
A sophisticated and original animated show
Home Movies is one of the more sophisticated shows on television right now. It bears many similarities to the show Dr. Katz, another excellent show. How often does any show, animated or live action, deal with issues of growing up with a single parent? Its pretty rare - the pilot of Home Movies was one of the first shows I've seen that touch on this subject. The main character, Brendon, projects his hopes and fears into his rudimentary home movies. The humor is quick and easy to miss, the dialog come fast like a stream of consciousness. The animation is rudimentary, but this is obviously on purpose - the focus of this show is not the artwork but the dialog.
Too many people watch animated shows looking for obvious sight gags, contained in such shows as The Simpsons - they won't be found in this show however. The point of Home Movies is see how Brendon confronts his world - not to see a bunch of funny one liners and one time gags. This show displays a perceptiveness about life and a level of subtlety that is rarely matched. If you are tied to traditional notions of plot and artistic detail, I suggest you avoid this show because you probably wont like it. If you enjoy a departure from the norm and enjoy the finding and sharing the details of life, I heartily recommend Home Movies.
Darkwing Duck (1991)
Another Disney gem
This show was a spin-off from Ducktales, another highly successful Disney afternoon series. Darkwing Duck chronicles the adventures of Drake Mallard aka Darkwing Duck and his sidekick Launchpad McQuack (directly imported from Ducktales, my favorite character). What made this show really work though was the villains - Megavolt, Quackerjack, and my favorite, the sinister Negaduck. It never took itself too seriously, and always was a good time. Definitely worth checking out in reruns.