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Great Family Movie! I was pleasantly surprised!
After seeing some reviews from people who were disappointed with this film, I went in with lowered expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised by a great addition to the series. Compared to the other Indiana Jones films, this one was by far my favorite.
It goes without saying that this film was visually much better than its predecessors because cinematic technology has advanced so much in the past two decades. The acting by everyone in this film was also much better than the previous ones, and Harrison Ford's much lower-key performance fit the older character he was playing.
The best thing about this film was the pacing. Unlike the first and third films, this one was filled with action that kept all members of my family entertained. Unlike the second film, the pieces in this one seemed to fit together better. It had a great opening sequence filled with popular 50's references, an action-packed middle, and a solid ending.
The story was interesting and not overly-religious, though I can see some people being upset that the classic adventure gets sci-fi elements mixed in.
I loved that there wasn't a Nazi in sight in this film and that the "bad guys" were the Soviets (maybe that's because I grew up in the eighties fearing a nuclear winter). The ending wrapped up everything while at the same time leaving the series open for further expansion.
There wasn't anything inappropriate for families in terms of sex, there was only very mild profanity, and the violence was much less graphic than any of the previous films (no spattering blood, ripped out hearts, or chilled monkey brains). My wife and I, and both of our girls loved it. Highly recommended.
I found this new reality show to be quite fun and enjoyable. Following the typical reality formula, they take a group of people and have them live together in a house. The group in this case is made up of models who consider themselves smart. The models compete in challenges combining their modeling and intellectual talents. In each episode, one or two models are cut based on their performance in the challenges. The last one remaining wins a prize of $100,000.
Ben Stein is amusing as always and the producers found a pretty good cast of models. The show is a bit mean spirited, but quite fun nonetheless, especially after having been subjected to so many hours of "America's Top Model" by female members of my household.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Not as good as the original
Vanilla Sky is a 2001 remake of the 1997 movie called Abre Los Ojos. I think that I didn't like this film as much as I could have because I had seen the original. This version had several main problems for me. To begin, this film added a lot of back story about the main character which just needlessly complicated the story. The original was very sharp in that respect. Additionally, this film didn't leave very much to the imagination, going into long expository at times that broke the fast-paced flow of the original. Finally, the music used in this film seemed to take center stage and some of it seemed very inappropriate for the tension of film. This isn't a bad film, but if you've seen the original before seeing this one, you may find it has many shortcomings.
I just wanted to warn other parents considering letting their young daughters watch this film. A PG rating generally implies that the movie is appropriate for anyone under 13. However, I believe the rating for this movie should be at least a PG-13. At one point, the flirtatious girl loses her virginity to a boy she has been chasing. That's not something most parents would want a child under 13 to see.
Besides that, the rest of the movie itself wasn't too bad. The stories of the other girls were strong, especially the one who was interested in making films. The one about the girl going to Greece was also good in a Romeo and Juliet way. The movie as a whole was a bit overly long, coming in at just about two hours. I just wish the director had left the soccer camp part on the cutting room floor.
Barney's Great Adventure (1998)
Fun Movie - Jazzy version of "All the Raindrops" is worth watching
The reviews for this film are horrible here on IMDb, but not many are from parents or Barney fans. For people who enjoy the Barney show on TV, this movie is a fun change of pace.
In the movie, we see different children than those on the TV show using their imagination to interact with Barney. The adventures the kids have are much more exciting, involving chariot and balloon rides. My personal favorite part is where Barney does a jazzy version of "All the Raindrops" in a fancy restaurant.
The story is well thought out and scripted, the acting and editing is far better than that seen on the show, and the whole movie has a more relaxed and professional feel to it.
If your child is ready for longer stories and is starting to get bored with the small vignettes about manners and colors presented on the Barney television show, this movie is perfect.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Overrated and Abysmal
I watched The Royal Tanenbaums on DVD the other night. I have to say that this was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. This supposed comedy/drama was painful to sit through and sometimes outright excruciating.
I really had high hopes for this movie. It was nominated last year for the best screen play. It had a cast of great stars including Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Bill Murray and Danny Glover. It was co-written by Owen Wilson, typically a very funny actor whom I loved in Shanghai Noon and Zoolander.
It was just sad. You couldn't care less about the characters and their "drama" was inane and contrived. There weren't any funny moments in this "comedy". Reservoir Dogs was a funnier movie.
I'm just thoroughly disappointed and I want my 2 hours of life back.