Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Rundown (2003)
it was a fun movie
The Rock's newest one this weekend and found The Rundown to be quite entertaining. Sure, the plot is nothing to sneeze at but casting Christopher Walkin as the lead villain was wonderful. He has a very unique way of playing with the dialogue to make it quite funny. Seann William Scott is pretty darn hysterical and plays the second banana well. The impressive find is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's performance. The guy is getting better and better. I found his first one, The Scorpion King, to be fun but not worth collecting. This one might have to be bought though. His years of using a script and improvising in front of a multi-thousand seat auditorium has translated well to the screen and he has a sense of timing and ease in front of the cameras that has been hard won. He obviously can handle the action aspects of the movie too but (as with most action stars) I hear he wants to stretch his wings and perform other stuff. That has the potential to be fine down the line but lets see how he continues with the Action/Comedies first. Should be interesting to see how they do the Walking Tall remake. The original one was a pretty powerful movie with some seriously tense sequences.
Hopefully it won't be changed to much. Anyway, gonna have to give this one 3/4
Casa de los babys (2003)
more disappointed the more i think about it
Somewhat surprisingly and with guarded expectations I found myself drifting out to see this "independent film". Those of you who have read my reviews before will know that I tend to be more inclined to view the Hollywood smash mouth explosion movie and leave the more subtle viewing to others. I will reluctantly say that trend will still have to occur.
John Sayles wrote, directed, and edited this movie about six women dealing with an extremely trying and emotional time in their lives. The time leading up to receiving their adopted child. The movie takes place in an unnamed Latin American location and focuses on what appears to be one day in the life of these women. They are all staying at the same Hotel, the aforementioned Casa de los Babys, and are waiting anxiously for the last minute paper work demons to be vanquished. It appears that the women may have been in this location for months, rumor has it that this was supposed to be a six month time period, but really we are only left to feel their desperation during one day. We see the activities that some do to kill time as well as learn something about each of their backgrounds and what impact this adoption has had or may be having on their life here in the country as well as back home in America.
Having a beautiful little girl from Guatemala, I really wanted to like this movie. As it is I can say that it kept my interest but ultimately left me with too many unanswered questions and a feeling that I had seen "adoption lite". Sayles seems to have tried to incorporate too many different subplots within the movie. I realize that some were done to try and show the condition of the country, the dreams of people trying to better themselves, and the lives of the unwanted children on the street but these stories were poorly written and went no were. It seems that Sayles could also have been taking a swipe at foreign adoption with the repeated allegations of bribes that need take place yet in a piece of incomprehensible writing, he turns and has the one person who has offered large amounts of money to her lawyer be the first to leave with a child. This of course comes after her lawyer has muttered that she will never leave with a child. That also brings up the ending which leaves with no sense of resolution. Frankly, I found the writing to be the weakest part of the movie.
On the plus side the actresses involved all did great jobs. The cast was made up of Daryl Hannah, Mary Steenburgen, Marcia Gay Harden, Lilli Taylor, Maggie Gyllenhal, and Rita Moreno. All the actresses brought subtle nuances to their characters which told more of who they were than the script allowed one to see. Rita Moreno probably stole the show with her performance as the owner of the Casa. 2/4
It's strange and a bit sad to watch this movie now. Earlier this week the world heard that dancer/singer/actor Gregory Hines had passed on at the age of 57. In his obituary there was a comment that, while multi- talented, Hines always considered himself first and foremost, a dancer. This movie from the late 80s shows that to be true in all it's wonderful glory.
The movie opens on a man in a cell. The darkness surrounds him and he looks pained. Slowly he begins to listen to the noise around him. Before you know it the man in on his feet and dancing to the rhythms and sounds of the life in prison. The dance is one of pain but also as it goes forth brings out relaxation as anger is spent but most importantly the man begins to feel joy. Jump forward to the man, Max Washington (Gregory Hines) being released on paroll. He has just spent a few years in Sing Sing. Originally he was sentenced for Grand Theft but time was added on for Assault & Battery of a prison guard. Max returns to his old neighborhood and takes a hotel room across from a run down building which houses the "Sunny Side of the Street" tap dance studio. As time goes on we learn that was his father's studio but first you see the various classes taught on the first two levels by an old love interest, Amy (Suzzane Douglas) and her son Lewis (Savion Glover). The true joy of the building is the third floor where the old "Hoofer's" reside. Here we find a virtual who's who of the tap dance world with many of the old masters portraying themselves and of course Sammy Davis, Jr. playing Little Mo. Max is not originally totally welcomed back by everyone except for Lewis who looks up to Max as a father, which strongly portrays some of the real life feelings that occurred between Hines and Glover, and Little Mo who has some big ideas of how to get the rock and roll world interested in the tap world. Unfortunately for Mo, Max has a chip on his shoulder regarding the life his father led and the lack of finances that he grew up with. It seems that Max has another family, one in which Max was a first rate second-story man...until the night he got caught and ended in jail. The movie is one of conflict between the worlds of the alleged easy and plentiful money and the hard work, no glory, no money world of music. As much as Max hates it this is the world that is within him and continues to draw him back time and time again. Hines was a supremely talented man. He could act, he could sing, and man he could dance like no other. He expressed himself in so many ways that it almost didn't seem fair to the rest of us. Here his character of Max is full of rage and anger. He bears a lifetime of resentment at what he perceived his father's life to have been worth and he knows what he has to do to make it better. The anger is almost palpable as it floats off his body. The look in his eyes and the set of his jaws tells people that he isn't going to take any more. That same rage appears at first in his dance. He doesn't just lightly dance on the floor a la Fred Astaire. He pounds the floor and lets it feel his frustration. He attacks it with percussive beats and syncopated rhythms that make the listeners instantly step back...but then the joy appears. First it come in the way he dives across the floor and moves free for all the world and then it reaches Hines eye's and you know at that moment that all will be well for this man. The dance sequences alone in this movie are worth sitting through. Hines has most of them starting with the dance inside the jail cell but there are also moments such as the instruction at the construction site as well as the end sequence when he is working with the rock band that are almost hard to sit through. For long time fans of the genre, the "Challenge" segment is a treat as all the old greats get out and show just why they made the business what it was. Also, there is a brief flash of the style from Savion Glover's character at one moment that shows why he was a star at such a young age and gives hints as to his future success with Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk! The world has lost a great talent this week. But movies like this and Bojangles will be around for years to come and will allow fans to share one last time the joy of seeing a true talent at work in his field.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
Realistically we can skim right over the plot in just a sentence or two.
Jackie's character reunites with Owen Wilson's character to track the murderer of Jackie's father to England, meet up with Jackie's sister, and save the royal jewels of China. Pretty simple.
What saves this movie is the interaction between Chon Wang (Jackie) and Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson). The two are hilarious together. Where the Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan collaboration lags is that it seems Chris is trying to be the focus of the entire movie and steal every scene. Owen Wilson with his laid back style seems to be playing off of Jackie and enjoys being the second fiddle who ultimately gets the most attention because of that. The dialogue that he fires off is just wonderful and crisp. After reading the interview/profile on Owen Wilson in Premiere I would love to see where he finessed and changed the dialogue.
Also the physical scenes with Jackie stand out in this film. I read once that he choreographs his fights as if they were a dance and that is never more apparent than in the homage to "Singing in the Rain". I think Gene Kelly would have greatly appreciated this interesting take on his famous dance. Sad to say but I believe I was the only one in the theater laughing at that point
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
They story is basic. America Ferrera's character is graduating from high school and while her teacher, played by George Lopez, is encouraging her to go to college, her family, especially her mother, is under the belief that she should stay in her place and work in her sister's factory. We then have the generation gap and clash between America's character wanting to reach out and gain her potential and her mother wanting to put her in her place with comments on her quick tongue and her weight. Seems "Mommy Dearest" feels the only way her daughter will get ahead is to be a size 2 or less and get herself a good man. Fortunately America's character is happy with herself the way she is. I liked this one a lot. I found it to be relatively original in it's design and construction. It kept me awake (which is a big plus these days). The characters were all richly drawn out and the Hispanic heritage was ample throughout. I had seen the America Ferrera in more than one Disney Channel movie (yes, my daughter is an infant) and found her usually to be pretty good. Here, in a more grown up role she was superb. Definitely and independent worth watching.
You Can Count on Me (2000)
Run...don't walk away from this movie
Ostensibly a tale of redemption this movie is basically a waste of the audience's time. Laura Linney plays a successful single mother who receives with great joy the news that her rapscallion of a brother, Mark Ruffalo, is returning home for a visit. Laura's character has stayed and prospered relatively well in the town they grew up in and Mark's character seems to have hoboed around and spent more than one night in jail. Somehow he connects with her son and apparently has an epiphany and his character changes.
OH THE HORROR! The plot was weak, the dialogue was a joke, the characters were poorly drawn to begin with and had no moments of growth.
Oh wait, I know I said Mark's character had an epiphany but it made no sense and was never explained. The movie seemed to start in the middle of nowhere and ended with no resolution at all. Mathew Brodderick had what looked to be an interesting minor role for him and then just became a waste of camera time. SKIP THIS ONE!!!!
It was nothing special
Marvel's latest adaptation is significantly better that the ones from the 80s but a notch below the recent efforts. This is one dark movie and that is definitely in tone with some of the storylines as established in the series. The amount of violence and the actual results of the violence is significantly greater than in previous comic movies.
Ben Affleck handles his lead role fairly well. He portrays the hero who has some enhanced abilities but is bottom line just human and his body feels the pain more than everyone knows. The scene with the medicine cabinet was priceless for it's feel of truth. Michael Clark Duncan is perfect as The Kingpin, his arch-nemesis. I realize that is not accurate casting as compared with the comic but I honestly can't think of anyone else to portray him. Colin Farrell was great as Bullseye. He also wasn't completely accurate but he seemed to be having a great time with the role. Jennifer Garner is probably the weakest link. She portrays the character much as the one that obviously won her the role (Alias on television) but it is a poorly written character and has even less to do with the comic than the others.
I wasn't overjoyed by this one but I wasn't too depressed either.
I love comics
X2: X-Men United
It's that time of year that the movie industry and the public look forward to with equal amounts of trepidation and glee. It's that time of year when the birds are singing, the sun is shining, grass is growing, and all things old are new again. Yes, you got it, it's the time for sequels to hit the theater. X2 leads the pack with it's recent release. The only question is can it surpass the original or does it fall victim to the dreaded, sequelitis? Let it be known...it is GOOD!
Logan has returned from his journeys in search of his past. Nothing is really any more clear than when he left Xavier's school at the end of the original movie. Unfortunately the team is moving quickly in different directions. Storm and Jean Grey have headed to Boston tracking a possible evil mutant and the Professor and Cyclops have headed to visit their old enemy Magneto, still residing in the plastic prison he was encased in when last we saw him. Logan reluctantly agrees to stay and watch the students as the rest leave on their missions.
As Storm and Jean Grey discover the mutant in Boston known as Nightcrawler, the mansion comes under a military led attack. Some of the students are captured however the majority are able to escape due to the efforts of Logan and some of the older students. Fortunately Logan, Rogue, Bobby Drake (Iceman), and the student known as Pyro are able to meet back up with Storm and her compatriots. Unfortunately the Professor and Cyclops seem to have totally disappeared. Even more unfortunate for them, Magneto has been able to escape from his prison with the aid of Mystique and has now offered to align with the team. It seems he knows where their mutual enemy is and why he has captured the Professor. If our heros and villains are not able to work together as one team, then all of mutant kind may soon be at risk.
As a longtime fan of Marvel Comics I admit that for years I was disappointed with the attempts at translating the characters to the big screen. I approached the original X movie with some fear and was happily surprised. I didn't think the story was that great since the majority of it was taken up explaining the characters but I was happy. This movie doesn't have that problem. It has a good, thought-out plot and it moves with a quick pace that doesn't cause one to wonder how long they have been in the theater.
The biggest success I can see for this movie comes from the totally reuniting of the original cast and director. Bryan Singer returns as director and he understands the pacing which is needed. He knows the amount of exposition to deliver and when the action needs to be kicked up a notch, and when he kicks the action up a notch it is spectacular. I don't believe we ever really got to see Logan cut loose in the first movie but here, oh my goodness! I realize that their are other members of the team but this one focuses much on the arguably most popular character and it succeeds. Saying that though, we do have the introduction of many characters and hints at even others further to come. The mansion sequence was a treat for knowledgeable fans as you spent the time remembering who the students were simply from the use of their powers.
All of the actors are superb in their roles. Patrick Stewart has long been the dream of many as Professor X and he succeeds admirably. Brian Cox (the original Hannibal) plays the "main" villain, Commander Stryker, with complete self-rightous evil. The standouts are of course Hugh Jackman, Logan/Wolverine, and Ian McKellen, Magneto. The two of them have mega-charisma and the story always moves up to another level when they are on the screen.
As you can guess, I highly liked this and strongly recommend it for fans and non-fans alike. I will give this a split rating because I believe non-fans will find it good but not understand as well the attention to detail that has been given. Sure, a few things have been changed to fit the content of the screen but overall this adaptation was incredibly well done and it will most definitely be a part of the collection. 3/4 for non-fans and 4/4 for fans.
I must have missed something
I remember reading the book years ago and finding it to be pretty thrilling. I can't say as I found the same in the movie. There were some suspenseful moments but overall a great amount of tedium. The characters were strongly lacking in anything of interest most especially that portrayed by Burt Reynolds. The scenery on the other hand was fantastic. Best I can say for this one is I managed to stay awake the entire time it was on.
It's fun to see a master at work
Robin Williams seems to be a stream-of-consciousness genius. He starts the beginning of his show on Broadway in a big way and just continues non-stop for almost two hours. The silences are few with the laughter being ranked from chuckles to crying and holding your sides trying to breath. His observations on life range from things like politics, the Olympics, golf, drugs, and animals to name just a few. This isn't the movie for everyone though as the language is more than ripe throughout.
The movie reeks of a TBS/TNT movie of the week
Dean Cain, the one time Super-Man, plays Max Hooper the super-thief. He can break into any company and steal any thing for the right price. Unfortunately his latest heist ends him up in a high-rise in which someone else has set a fire to hide their own attempts to steal the product. Now the thief finds himself having to be the hero rescuing everyone in the building. Unfortunately the other thief is still in the building and the F.B.I. & C.I.A. are outside waiting for Max.
The movie is barely passable. Dean Cain is a fun actor and has done much better with more improved material but here he is saddled with a weak script and pretty poor direction.
This could have been so good...
With a cast made of people such as Stallone, Tom Berenger, Kris Kristofferson, and Charles S. Dutton, this could have been a good movie. Unfortunately it wasn't.
Stallone is a Federal Agent tracking a cop killer. Naturally the killer goes after Stallone's girlfriend and Stallone goes off the deep end. Finally his partner convinces him to enter a detox center for police officers. Unfortunately it seems the killer has tracked him there.
The movie could have been good. Stallone has the hangdog character down perfect at this point in his career and there are some very good supporting actors backing him up. My biggest problem involved the usage of the villain. The movie kind of dropped us right in the middle of the opening case and didn't explain any motivation on the background of the killer. There was no proper antagonist really thrown into this movie and the character seemed more a throw away than anything else. It's a shame really because there were some tense moments but with nothing to really play against, the movie ultimately fell flat.
I really wanted to like this movie
When I first saw the previews for this movie I have to admit I was pretty excited. It looked like a potential action blockbuster with two pretty decent actors in Wesley and Ving playing opposite each other. I really, really wanted to like it.
Guess I can't get everything I want.
Ving is the World Champion boxer imprisoned for raping a woman. In the prison we find that there is an underground boxing world run by the guards and an old mobster. The champion in this world is Wesley. Naturally the movie builds to the final conflict between the two.
The movie was, at best, bad. I kept watching hoping to see something emerge from this mess and it didn't. The plot, or what little there was, was pure cliche and a bad one at that. Neither actor really invested anything in the characters, both of which were also pure cliche. Ving's was arrogant and over the top. Wesley's was a Zen warrior.
Don't waste your time with this one. If you want to see a "bad" boxing movie then Play it to the Bone with Antonio and Woody is much more entertaining.
was just not enough to watch
Lopez plays a waitress who marries her dream guy, only to find that he is cheating on her and will beat her whenever he feels like it. She decides to bolt with her daughter and he begins stalking her. Eventually she is told there is nothing the police can do and it will be up to her...hence the title of the movie.
This is nothing more than an extremely weak adaptation of Sleeping with the Enemy. I am no Julia Roberts fan but her movie was so far superior it wasn't even funny. Billy Campbell was mildly entertaining as her husband a.k.a. the villain but that was about it. Lopez isn't that engaging of an actress and the movie is really hurt by that.
Also the editing of the movie was just atrocious. Whoever thought to put up the different titles of the various sections (similar to what you would see in a Frasier episode) was an idiot. Any time the movie began to make any attempt at building tension, it was busted up by a black screen with a new title.
Say enough is enough and don't see this one.
simply amazing movie
When I first saw the previews for this one I thought it might make an interesting rental but then I started seeing the critics rather unanimous praise of it and I thought I would check it out. I'm glad that I did.
The plot is a rather simplistic and formulaic but in this case it works straight across the board. Devon is the talented high-school drummer who is recruited to play on the drumline of a one-time top college marching band in the south. The director of the band, Dr. Lee (played in a very straight-forward manner by Orlando Jones) is under fire from the chancellor of the school to get the band back up to the number one spot. Unfortunately Dr. Lee is more interested in teaching the students about music than about entertaining the judges in contests.
All of this sets up the story for the hot-shot kid with the chip on his shoulder to face up to the challenges from the head of the drum-line as well as the conflict between Dr. Lee and Devon in their battle of old-school teaching versus new-school performing.
Simplistic right? Most definitely, but it was certainly entertaining. People might find the training sequences a little off-putting but I didn't. Having gone to a school in which the band was frequently ranked higher nationally than the football team and knowing many of the people in the band, I found much of what went on to be relatively true. The band members live a life totally different from many at the school and are "marched" through an almost military style training camp. Strange but true.
The music is incredibly enticing. The rhythmic beats rumble throughout and move all around the body making it hard for even the most jaded viewer to stay completely still during some of the scenes. Especially the final "battle". The artistry and percussion was simple awesome to view and hear.
I highly recommend this one.
My wife wanted to watch this...now I know why. The name of the movie pretty much gives away the plot so very little needs to be said about it. Wife (Diane Lane) is bored and cheats on hubby (Richard Gere) with some young french guy that you can barely understand. Nuff said.
I found this to be incredibly slow. Most of the scenes are way to long and soporific at best. The characters have next to no chemistry and there is very little about them that will cause you to be even slightly interested in them or what they are going through. "Fans" of Diane Lane may find something to entertain them but that is about all I can think of in regards to this movie.
It's Christmas time and Peter Jackson has brought us a most wonderful present with the second installment of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Is it as much of a present to fantasy fans as last years Fellowship? Most definitely.
As the first movie ended, the fellowship had been broken into three separate groups. Merry and Pippin had been captured by Uruk-Hai Orcs, Sam and Frodo had continued their journey to Mordor to destroy the ring, and the remaining members; Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn had begun pursuit of the captured hobbits. Pretty exciting way to start a movie if you ask me. The three stories are seamlessly interweaved throughout and the jumping back and forth doesn't harm the continuity of the movie in the slightest.
Sam and Frodo meet up with the most exciting CGI character in years in the presence of Gollum. Gollum is devoted towards retaining his "precious" yet through some coaxing from Frodo his original personality does surface occasionally and aid the hobbits.
Merry and Pippin's story is the slightest part of the movie. They escape from the captors when the fabled Riders of Rohan attack and find themselves saved from further injury by Treebeard the Ent. Fans of the original series will be excited to see the addition of the Ent's to the battles.
The main storyline focuses on the final three. Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn begin their quest for the captured hobbits but find they have lost the trail after the previously mentioned attack. When they meet a "lost" friend, they realize that they must turn their attentions to aiding Theodan, the King of Rohan. The grand moment of the movie centers on the Battle of Helm's Deep as the hero's attempt to defend against an army of 10,000. It was simply speaking, breathtaking.
Peter Jackson ably repeats his success in this movie. It clocks in at just about 3 hours and the time seems to truly fly as you are watching it. There aren't many slow moments at all during the filming and there is definitely the appropriate amount of development throughout.
Even though the films have been shot back to back, it seems that the actors have grown much more comfortable throughout the process. My favorites by far have to be those of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. Aragorn is the born leader of men and his companions have developed a friendship and rivalry that amuses during the battle sequences. Some of the moves that are done during this almost hour-long scene of carnage are spectacular.
The computer generated Gollum is a wonderful addition and, as voiced/acted by Andy Serkis, is almost as believable as the others. The addition of Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky) as Wormtongue is perfect. He slimes his way through all his scenes in a most disturbing manner. My only complaint casting wise is with Elijah Wood. He is doing a fine job as Frodo but for my tastes would have been better cast as an elf.
It has been a year since I read this chapter in the story and I don't remember it perfectly. I know this was a relatively well done adaptation which stands on it's own as a truly entertaining piece of filmmaking.
Van Wilder (2002)
At one time National Lampoon's movies were hysterical, now they have funny moments and this is one of those movies. Van has been attending the same college for the past 7 years. Initially it seems that he is doing it just to p**s off his father but there could be more to it than that. When his father visits he finds Van throwing the biggest party of the year and that his fellow students look upon Van with awe. Dad puts a stop to all that by refusing to pay Van's way any longer. The rest of the movie deals with Wilder finding ways to stay in school, falling in love, and realizing there is more to himself than he initially thought.
This is of course a formula movie. Unfortunately it isn't exactly a successful one. The story is relatively weak, the humor falls flat on it's face often, the acting is average (Ryan Reynolds character of Van seems very similar to his Berg of Two Guys and a Girl fame) and you really don't care about the characters that much. The movie wasn't bad; it just wasn't all that good. There were some funny moments but they were few and far between. For a good movie everyone should skip this and go to Van's father's (Tim Matheson) early work and see National Lampoon's Animal House. That was great!!! This was just average.
Die Another Day (2002)
Bond is the MAN!!!
Earlier this year, the world witnessed the awakening of a franchise entitled XXX. The movie was a smash a minute, explosion-filled attempt to steal the title from Bond. After viewing it, many of us felt Bond was going to have to "kick it up a notch" if it was to remain the king of the action films. Die Another Day kicked it up a notch and more!
After a failed mission that starts the movie with a bang ends up with Bond tortured in a North Korean prison camp, the movie skips ahead 14 months. Bond is being released from the camp in exchange for a terrorist but is not welcomed back with open arms. The C.I.A. believes he has cracked and started leaking information and his own commander, M, isn't certain what he could have revealed. Thus, Bond finds himself exchanged from one prison to another. Fortunately this one is easier to break out of and Bond is off and running trying to find the mole that set him up.
This leads him from Korea to an adventure in Cuba where he meets his newest mystery woman, Jinx, who seems to be on the same track that he is. Bond gains more information here and travels back to England to encounter millionaire Gustav Graves. Graves is a mystery himself. He came from nowhere and suddenly is the owner of the richest diamond mine in the world. He is obsessed with being the best at everything from his cars; his activities designed to get him the attention of the press, and of course his women. In fact, Graves seems to be a younger version of Bond. Ultimately Bond is called back into the service of M.I. 6 and given the assignment of tracking Graves and discovering just what secrets may be behind his Icarus project. Is it the boon to the starving world that he claims or something more sinister? Only Bond can find out and that's when things really heat up.
People are either going to love this movie or not for the simple reason that it is the ultimate formula movie. However it succeeds for that very reason. Bond fans expect to see an unbelievable opening to a movie, they yearn to see the toys that he uses, they desire to hear the quips and double entendre, they gawk at the women, and most importantly they want to see Bond destroy the seemingly invincible villain.
This movie delivers all that and more. Lee Tamahori, the director, manages the pacing of this movie from the start. He lets the line out a little until the audience is hooked and then reels them in, all the time playing the line like an expert fisherman until the audience is left breathless and in awe. The stunts come "fast and furious" throughout and one just seems to top the other. Sure many of them are silly but the coolness factor is most of what is expected and it is what you receive.
Pierce Brosnan leads an able cast throughout. This is his fourth attempt at Bond and he has gone from a stunning debut to fully fitting into this movie. He has the suave and sophisticated persona that is expected and also that edge that is needed for a man living one step from death. He handles the dialogue well and delivers the humor as expected without looking like a fool. Halle Berry debuts as Jinx, one of the most lethal Bond girls to ever set foot on the screen. How does she do? Wonderfully, she is basically the female version of Bond and is a joy to see. Toby Stephens is Gustav Graves. He seems to have fun with this role and is a perfect counterpoint to Brosnan's Bond. The rest of the familiar roles are filled again by people such as Judi Dench (M) and John Cleese (Q).
This is the 20th Bond movie released and it is a fitting tribute to the previous entries in the series. Die-hard fans will notice many references throughout to the earlier movies and this one moves the series ahead to a fitting place. Like the song says, "Nobody does it Better!"
Jason X (2001)
I couldn't believe I liked it
Some movies have to be judged entirely on their own merits. You can't watch them and expect them to be anything other than what they are and fairly comment upon them and this is one of those movies.
As the name indicates this is the 10th movie in the series and here we find Jason Voorhees, the unstoppable killing machine, being cryogenically frozen along with one of his captors. His captor is awoken hundreds of years in the future on a transport ship. Her pleas to have Voorhees dumped from the ship are ignored and before you know it Jason has thawed and is making up for lost time killing people left and right.
I have never really been a fan of this series. I saw the first one and found it confusing and have periodically seen parts of the others and found them a waste so I viewed this one with some fear. I knew a friend gave it to me but was I wasting my time? Not really. The movie is actually fairly well written. Sure the plot is overall silly but within it's own context it works. The jokes are funny and the killing scenes are new and unusual (the sleeping bag had me fall off my chair laughing). Some of the dialogue is amusing and the introduction of the android is a treat. It's not the greatest movie I have ever seen but it certainly isn't the worst and fans of the series shouldn't be at all disappointed with this entry.
Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)
I like Bon Jovi, but....
This was just on the verge of disappointing. The story builds itself around a similar plotline of the first, in that the vampire master is looking to find the mythical black cross which will allow them to walk during the day. They are opposed in this quest by the battle-hardened loner/slayer. In this case the slayer is portrayed by rocker Jon Bon Jovi. He has built an acting career around smaller, supporting roles and has done quite well in them. Unfortunately I don't think he was ready for the lead at this point. Or at least if he was he deserved a shot with a better storyline. Here the story is weak, the direction is weak,the chemistry is non-existent, and the dialogue flounders terribly. I liked the predecessor which starred James Woods and I am looking forward to purchasing Bon Jovi's newest album...can't say the same for this movie.
I Spy (2002)
Chemistry makes this movie work
I Spy is the latest remake of a 1960s television show. As to how much it actually as to do with the original other than similar names, I am not really certain. Does it succeed on it's own? Yes.
Owen Wilson is Special Agent Alexander Scott. He risks his life daily to save the world but is frequently treated by his cohorts at the mythical agency as somewhat of a foul-up in comparison to super spy, Carlos (played by Gary Cole). On Scott's latest mission he discovers the whereabouts of the stolen spy plane, the Switchblade, before loosing the pilot. Scott's agency decides to send him undercover in Budapest to retrieve the plane from the uber-villain played by Malcolm McDowell, Gundars.
It seems Gundars is a fan of boxing so the agency places Scott undercover in the camp of middleweight champion, Kelly Robinson (played by Eddie Murphy). Robinson is as fast-talking, cocky, and self absorbed as Scott is slower talking, uncertain of himself, and interested in only helping others. Naturally the two mix like oil and water yet you know before the movie is out they will have become buddies to the end.
The movie, as directed by Betty Thomas, is quite simply fun. There is no pretense as seriousness here and that would have caused the movie to fail drastically. It is frequently a take-off on the Bond series with Scott having the inferior gadgets to the super Carlos and the comic highjinks are evident throughout. While I tend not to like Owen Wilson in roles that he is responsible for writing, when he collaborates with another star the results tend to be hilarious. Putting him with Murphy was sheer genius. The two play off of each other through the entire movie and I swear that there is nobody who could have written all the dialogue floating off the screen. Sure, some of it fails but there are also sequences like that which occurs in the sewer which leaves the audience gasping for breath.
It may be a re-make but that is not a reason to turn your nose up at this fine entry into the buddy-movie genre.
Hart's War (2002)
Colin Farrell plays Lt. Hart, a p.o.w. (and law school graduate) in a German Camp. He is forced to defend one of his fellow prisoner's by the commanding officer of the prisoner's when the man is accused of murdering one of the fellow prisoners. All of the court-room drama is designed to hide the attempts by the prisoner's to do their country proud.
The pacing of the movie was well done. It rarely dragged and both the outside war scenes and the court room intrigue kept the interest level high. The movie had a multiple levels of war throughout as there was the obvious war going on outside the camp, as there was multiple ones inside the camp dealing with racism and betrayal.
Performances were excellent by all involved. Colin Farrell continues to impress and Bruce Willis, as the commanding officer of the inmates, continues to show how he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood.
Tortilla Soup (2001)
don't see this on an empty stomach
Character actor Hector Elizondo heads this story about a Hispanic family of four (widowed father and his three grown daughters) and the troubles of daily life that causes them to grow apart and then ties them together in the end. Elizondo's character is a master chef worried that he has lost his touch after the death of his wife and, as such, much of the movie revolves around him cooking. The scenery is great and the visions of the food are wonderful. The movie does drag at times but is definitely watchable (if you aren't already hungry you will be before it is over.
Le pacte des loups (2001)
In the late 18th century, a remote French village is being laid siege to by a beast. Nobody knows what it is, some think a wolf, others something demonic, but the beast has killed over and over for years and repeated attempts to find and destroy it have been futile. The King of France has finally gotten word of this and dispatches two men, Gregoire de Fronsac (a naturalist/biologist) and his enigmatic friend, Mani (an American Indian) to find and destroy the creature.
The two arrive in the village and begin their search but find impediments of all types being thrown by the villagers. Most of the resistance is thrown in the face of Mani, the "barbarian", who exhibits both amazing spiritual, medical, and physical prowess to stave off complaints. After a slaughter of the wolf pack inhabiting the woods everyone feels safe, only to have more children attacked by the creature. Fronsac and Mani track the beast to its lair only to discover a terrible secret and tragedy ensues. Then the movie really heats up!
Normally I am not a fan of foreign films but this one blew me away. I don't think I have ever seen a movie that could only be described as an action/martial-arts/romance/horror/suspense movie before and I doubt I will ever seen one again but this was well worth the wait. The storyline was well plotted and the cinematography beautiful. The fight scenes were incredibly choreographed and this was not a surprise having seen Mark Dacascos (Mani) before. Samuel Le Bihan plays Fronsac and he delivers the performance of a scientist with a secret to the hilt.
I highly advise this one.