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The Lake House (2006)
Have I been here before?
About 8 years ago, there was a made-for-television movie entitled "The Love Letter". It starred Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Campbell Scott who, although over a century apart, find a way to send letters to each other through a mysterious post office.
Now, I have no idea which was actually written first. I realize that there are only so many ideas to be made into a movie. But, compared to "The Love Letter", this one was just sad. I know Bullock and Reeves are better actors than the impression this one would give. I may have unfairly gone into the movie wanting to compare it with "The Love Letter", but this just comes up short on so many levels.
It's almost like Bullock and Reeves were just going through the motions. And the story-line, which could have made at least a fair movie, just provided a way to painlessly kill a couple of hours, nothing more.
I hate to be this negative about any movie. But, if you feel you must see it, do yourself a favor and wait until it comes out on video and rent it. You'll save yourself a few bucks and, if it is too much to tolerate in one sitting, you can take a break in the middle of it.
The Break-Up (2006)
Not great, but better than I expected.
During the early days of "Hee-Haw", Archie Campbell delivered the unforgettable line: "Confucious say, 'He who expects nothing, ain't gonna be disappointed.'" That's the mindset I took with me when I went to see "The Break-up". Honestly, if I had had to pay full price to see the show, I would never have gone, but I had a pass which cost me next to nothing and had a couple of hours to kill - so, what the heck! Having said all of that, I was pleasantly surprised. Aniston's character was annoying - but that was the plan, I think. Honestly, I have a hard time watching her in anything. She never seems to play a role - you just see Jennifer Aniston - or your impression of her. Vince Vaughn's character was stereo-typical; but - once again - that was what was called for.
The good thing about this movie was how a first-rate supporting cast and an unconventional story-line made it into something that it might not otherwise have been. I had not really seen anything that Joey Lauren Adams was in since "Top of the Heap" (the Married With Children spin off from 1991). She is a really big part of why this movie works. Her character is so believable. Jon Favreau always makes his characters work. Judy Davis and Ann-Margaret take interesting supporting characters and make them do what they're supposed to do. Vincent D'Onofrio does an unbelievable job playing a supporting role. After seeing him on L&O-CI, that was a surprise.
Peyton Reed, I'm sure, is a very big reason for this one working. Even with great work from the supporting cast, other directors probably would not have been able to pull this one off.
Bottom line, it's not a bad movie. And that was more than I was really expecting.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Go ahead and give Hanks and Howard their Oscars.
This movie is what great movie-making is all about. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou are flawless in the film. The writers manage to make the movie both interesting and easy-to-follow for those of us who sometimes have trouble doing so.
Paul Bettany does a superb job in a role which could not have been easy to do.
And Ron Howard has created a masterpiece. The movie is visually stunning.
Now, to be fair, it should be said that those who go ready to be offended probably will be. But, having said that, I think the movie will be a big hit at Oscar time and will withstand the test of time.
Just My Luck (2006)
Ms. Lohan finally has another good movie!
Let me start by saying that I had such high hopes for Ms. Lohan when she did the remake of "The Parent Trap". I have been mostly disappointed. I've seen most of her movies since then and, although they were mostly fun to watch, they seemed to be "Look-at-me-ain't-I-great" pictures. The plots were not worthy; and the endings were disappointing.
Now, let me say that, thankfully, this one was different. Ms. Lohan does a job that she proved she could do in "Parent Trap". Chris Pine does a first-rate job as the "lovable loser". Samaire Armnstrong and Bree Turner are great as her friends. The only other thing I had seen Turner in was "Bring It On Again" where she played a real b---h. Nice to see her in another type of role. And Makenzie Vega is adorable!
My only problem with the cast is simply because I'm a big "Law & Order" fan. Tovah Feldshuh will always be the Danielle Melnick to me. A part she plays excellently. Couldn't quite accept her as a fortune teller.
The plot moves along nicely and, like I said, it finally gives Lohan a movie that is something other than a vanity piece.
It may not be around at Oscar time. But I'm sure it will be a favorite once it comes out on video.
Don't waste your time or money
As with many, if not most, remakes, this was a true disappointment. If there had been a little more attention paid to the characters, I would say that this was a *bad* take-off on the old "Love Boat" series. It does not even deserve that comparison. "Special effects for the sake of special effects" is how I would more accurately describe the "plot". To be sure, the original was not a masterpiece; but it was entertaining and had much more of a story than this.
And there were even parts of the movie which one may find offensive. The only thing I regret about saying this is that it may cause people to watch it out of curiosity.
Believe me, this one does not deserve your time or money. Unless curiosity is just eating away at you, wait until this one is shown on television.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
The television show, it is not!
When the first Mission Impossible movie came out, I went to see it, knowing that it could not possible be as good as the television show. I was right! I did not even bother going to see MI2. But I had some time on my hands this weekend, so I thought I'd go to see MI3. It was not even as good as the first; and that's pretty bad! About the only thing MI:3 has in common with the television show is the title and some of the music. And the music is recycled.
The story is nowhere as good as the plots in the television show. And, although Tom Cruise is not a bad actor, he is no Steven Hill or Peter Graves. If either of them have bothered watching the movie, they probably laughed.
I give the movie a 5 (which may be generous) because it may be a fair movie, if you are not expecting anything near the original show. But if you were a fan of the show, just be happy with some of the episodes you may find on VHS or DVD. Don't bother spending good money to watch a fair rip-off.
Stick It (2006)
Jessica Bendinger does it again!
Jessica Bendinger (formally of "Bring It On" fame) does a good job of treating a subject with respect, where others may make the film pure "sexploitation".
Jeff Bridges and Missy Peregrym do an outstanding job of playing characters that take conflict and make it work. And Vanessa Lengies - you've got to be impressed at how she can take a protagonistic character and do with it what she does. Of course, Ms. Bendinger's respect for her characters helps there, too.
Which is not to say the other characters are not well-played. Each of them does a fantastic job of moving the story along in an entertaining fashion.
What was especially interesting about this movie was the promotion (specifically the trailer). I saw the movie in a packed theater (90-95% full), with a good 3/4 of the audience pre-teen and teenaged girls. Due to the subject matter, I think this demographic was persuaded to begin with. But I'm sure that the trailer brought in a good portion of the rest of the audience. They may or may not have gotten what they expected. But I doubt that many left disappointed and I'm sure that target group was very satisfied.
Of course, this one will not bring in many awards. But I'm sure it will be a box-office winner and will do even better come video-release time. And I'm also sure that there will be a higher percentage of repeat viewers for this one than most.
United 93 (2006)
A thought-provoking look back at "that day"
This was a well-done look back at a day we will all remember. I was especially amazed how the writers/directors took some scenes that, by necessity, were chaotic, and made them make sense.
Now, to be sure, this movie was not, nor was it made to be "entertaining", but it seemed to convey the urgency of the day's events and did a good job of changing the victims from sheer numbers to understandable characters.
The "beauty" of this movie, if you want to call it that, is that it was a movie that will stick with you (my hands were sore after the movie from gripping my armrest through most of the picture).
This one should be around come Oscar time for Best Picture. Due to the nature of the film, I'm sure none of the cast members will earn any awards; but that simply means that they were doing their job. This movie was about the events and the people. It was not made to call attention to any of the actors.
I would heartily recommend this one for adults. Of course, I wouldn't want any child (or adolescent, for that matter) to relive this day unless they are really up to it.
Thanks to the Paul Greengrass for having the courage to do the movie; and thanks to the families of the victims for sharing their stories with us.
Robin Williams at almost his best
R.V. was a pleasant surprise to me. Not that I'm ever surprised by a good Robin Williams movie. Most of his are terrific. What surprised me was this was as a true ensemble movie, even with Williams in the cast.
The movie was funny, if sometimes tedious, and it ended up making a point. But, once again, with Williams aboard, it's not going to be done if it's not going to make a point. Cheryl Hines, JoJo, and Josh Hutcherson did a great job of their parts as other members of the family, even though the parts may have been a bit stereo-typical.
The "neighbors" parts were done equally well by Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth, Hunter Parrish, Alex Ferris, and Chloe Sonnenfeld. Ms. Sonnenfeld took a part that may have been easily overlooked; and, in a very quiet way, made it one that will not easily be forgotten.
I also think a lot more attention was paid to wardrobe in this film that some comparable films, making it an even bigger pleasure to watch.
All in all, it won't be around come Oscar time; but it was well worth more than the price of admission.
Do yourself a favor and go watch this one!
Sin of Innocence (1986)
One of my all-time favorites!
It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years now since this movie came out. I had the movie on VHS for a long time, lost it about 3 years ago, and recently found the movie for sale on the internet. I could watch it over and over. (I *have* watched it over and over.) Each member of the cast was excellent and I cannot imagine the characters being portrayed by anyone else. But, of course, the two main characters were what made the movie. Megan Follows and Dermot Mulroney each did a fabulous job. Mulroney did the part of the "Joe Cool" character, who wasn't really, better than anyone could imagine. And Megan Follows - I haven't seen an actress before or since who can say so much with her eyes! If you haven't seen this movie and you ever get a chance, don't pass it up!