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Average Action Nonsense
From director Chuck Russell comes this average action nonsense, "Eraser". Arnold Schwarzenegger, as U.S. Marshall John 'The Eraser' Kruger, does get to do a lot of stunts and he carries around some fearsome hardware. Femme fatale model Vanessa Williams gets to look cute and bare her claws. The plot is obvious, as are the villains, led by a cardboard James Caan (he has been infinitely better). Also stars James Coburn, James Cromwell and Robert Pastorelli.
From the pens of Tony Puryear, Walon Green and Michael S. Chernuchin, this is pure throw away fodder for the action junkie.
Saturday, July 22, 2000 - T.V.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
From renowned action and thriller director Wolfgang Petersen, "The Perfect Storm" is an exciting real-life adventure yarn that has some real highs, even if it is slow to start.
The solid cast all do well, including George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly and William Fichtner. Some talent, such as that of Karen Allen's, is wasted somewhat.
Adapted from the novel by Sebastian Junger, the truthful ending included is a little unexpected, and has a real impact. Entertaining throughout.
Saturday, July 15, 2000 - Forest Hill Chase
Fanciful and Childlike
From director Andy Tennant, "Ever After" is a fanciful, child-like tale of the real Cinderella story that can never be taken too seriously. At face value, it is a light romp concerning an oppressed common girl who meets and falls for the prince. He of course falls for her, believing her to be a courtesan.
Drew Barrymore is no great shakes as a romantic lead, though neither does the support really shine; even though Anjelica Huston relishes her role. Sets, costumes, editing and cinematography are all okay. Still, it's fun.
Thursday, June 15, 2000 - DVD
Patch Adams (1998)
Humanity in Medicine
From "Patch Adams" own novel, and director Tom Shadyac, comes this touching story of one man's struggle to bring humanity into medicine. The humour is crass at times, but the drama, moving and true to life, won't fail to make it's mark in your heart.
Robin Williams is made for this role, of course, and he excels once again. Great support comes from Peter Coyote, Monica Potter and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
"Patch Adams" shows us how the medical profession should be, full of compassion, with a commitment to people, not diseases.
Sunday, June 11, 2000 - DVD
Hope Floats (1998)
Written by Steven Rogers, "Hope Floats" is a standard romance that tries so very hard to be a drama, but it just isn't. As I watched, I became rather annoyed with the self-indulgent character Birdee Pruitt played by Sandra Bullock, who is usually so likable.
Director Forest Whitaker would have been better served presenting this movie more like a Julia Roberts ("Pretty Woman" or "The Runaway Bride") or a Meg Ryan ("Sleepless in Seattle" or "You've Got Mail") flick. Also starred Harry Connick Junior, Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman and Michael Pare. Look for Sandra in "While You Were Sleeping" for a much more enjoyable film.
Saturday, June 10, 2000 - DVD
Intriguing but contrived
Intriguing, well-constructed sci-fi that unfortunately falls flat when it comes to providing a conclusion. Again the prevalent problem with great ideas is how to finish them. Zemeckis appears full of inspiration when it comes to innovative film making, yet he couldn't round this one out.
Based upon the novel by Carl Sagan, this pic tells the story of a young astronomer who is determined to prove the existence of intelligent life forms on other planets. Jodie Foster is compelling as always, and is well supported by Tom Skerritt, David Morse, Matthew McConaughey and John Hurt. Special Effects are excellent, and Alan Silvestri's music serves well.
A shame then about the contrived ending.
Saturday, May 13, 2000 - DVD
The Princess Bride (1987)
Fairytale Love Story
Infinitely likable tale about a fairytale love story concerning a lonely princess and her dashing hero. This unusual film is refreshingly different, being at once funny, exciting and moving. A large amount of the credit must go to William Goldman's screenplay, adapted from his own novel; and director Rob Reiner's ability to pull it all together in just the right way.
Mark Knopfler's simple theme music, Norman Garwood's production design and Adrain Biddle's cinematography all compliment proceedings.
The cast round things off, with Robin Wright making her debut alongside the debonair Cary Elwes. Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest and Wallace Shawn are all suitably malevolent while Andre the Giant has a ball. Peter Falk, Billy Crystal and Carol Kane all drop by, while Mandy Patinkin is great as master Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya.
Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - Video
Stealing Beauty (1996)
Visual Beauty from Bertolucci
Is this movie about a young girl's search for the truth about her parents? Is it about her yearning to become a woman? Or is it just about sex? I'll leave it to you to decide.
Liv Tyler is alluring as the young American who returns to Italy to delve into her mother's mysterious past. Jeremy Irons has little to do as her ailing British confidant, and extra support comes from Joseph Fiennes, Sinead Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Stefania Sandrelli, Jean Marais, D.W. Moffett and Donald McCann.
Bertolucci's film, from his own original story, gets its strength from the visual. Art direction is inspired and cinematography is picturesque. Little else uplifts.
Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - Video
Picture Perfect (1997)
From director Glenn Gordon Caron, "Picture Perfect" is a predictable, everyday romantic comedy that is lifted above the drudgery by the movie's bright cast alone.
Jennifer Aniston is a fresh, enjoyable movie newcomer. She plays well the frustrated career woman who can't get her job or her relationships sorted out. Jay Mohr is the nice guy who tapes weddings for a living and Kevin Bacon is the sleazy Sam, a guy who sticks to unavailable women to avoid commitment. Likable support from Ileana Douglas, Olympia Dukakis (though not at her best) and Kevin Dunn.
Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - Video
The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
Guy Hamilton directs systematically this clever Christie whodunit about a glamorous Hollywood actress whose big comeback is under siege from a jealous co-star and several other stars.
The plot is the real key as always and this one's not half bad. It may not fool the astutely observant, though the true motive is not revealed until the denouement. Angela Lansbury is the ideal Miss Marple, the would-be sleuth who plays Aunt Jane to Edward Fox's Scotland Yard detective.
Huge supporting cast includes Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Kim Novak, Rock Hudson, and a melodramatic Elizabeth Taylor. England in the 1950's is skilfully recreated and picturesquely lensed by Chris Challis.
Monday, April 24, 2000 - Video