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Funny, includes a good message, 22 July 2005

This is a movie whose message will be received well by anybody. The acting was great and the story made sense. Hugh Grant does an excellent job as Will, a 38-year-old "kid" who's never grown up. Living off the inheritance his father earned from writing an embarrassing hit, Will spends most of his time in front of the TV or computer, buying expensive luxuries, or going through dates like popcorn. So "cool" that he's "cold", he doesn't care that the world doesn't think much of him; as far as he's concerned, he doesn't need anybody to get close. On the other end of the scale, 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) is considered weird even by the least popular kids at school. He has the habit of unconsciously singing aloud, & acts & dresses odd because of his mother's (Toni Collette) decisions. He also acts much older than his age, since he has to deal w/her depression & trying to make himself invisible from bullies. When Will finds single mothers are the best dates for their lack of protest during a break-up, he joins a single parents support group & ends up meeting Marcus, whose mother tries to commit suicide. Marcus then enlists Will's help to date her, so she can get over her depression, then discovers that he's neither a divorcée nor a father. He regularly visits Will by blackmail, & as they become friends, he confesses he has a rough social life. Will begins to show a better side of himself when he helps Marcus to become cool, until his secret is discovered. Now he gets Marcus to help him land a real date when he falls in love, since he doesn't have anything else that would impress women, & along the way he learns how to be an adult. This is a bit like The Kid, but instead of having the kid show the adult how to stop being cynical, this kid teaches how to stop being shallow. The message is great, & so is the way the 2 main characters interact w/each other. I wish the language wasn't so bad, but that barely effects the movie. Enjoy the moral among the charm & laughs this has to offer.

Antz (1998)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Low as the colony, 18 July 2005

I enjoyed this movie very much when I first saw it, though I knew it wasn't my favorite. Since then, though, the fun's really worn off - more than it usually does for a prize movie. I try to base movies on their own merits and not accuse too many of copying, but I have little choice here. The truth is, if left to its own merits, Antz wouldn't have a lot to say for it. It's an obvious copy off of A Bug's Life. What do they have in common? Well, Z (Woody Allen), the main character, is miserable w/his life as a worker ant that looks like it'll go nowhere - similar to Flik's life as a grain-gatherer in A Bug's Life. The princess, Bala (Sharon Stone), feels like she's in a prison since she's destined to marry the warmongering General Mandible (Gene Hackman) - remarkably like Atta's hesitance to become queen. She decides to hit the worker ant bar just for a few minutes of fun, when she meets Z, who falls in love - until she's forced to leave him, almost certainly forever. To see her once more, Z switches place w/best friend worker-ant Weaver (Sylvester Stalone, in an appropriate portrayal) - & ends up going to war against termites. Upon his return, he resists arrest for impersonating a soldier by "taking Bala hostage" - but ends up getting them lost. While at Insectopia, the dream haven he's always longed to visit, he learns that Mandible plots to exterminate his own kind & must rescue his colony. A good movie, a very interesting plot, but I'm humiliated to think I failed to see all the obvious rip-offs here. Besides the 2 main characters' personalities from their Bug's Life counterparts, the ant colony as a whole also faced an enemy, though internal, they never bothered to rise against. Unfortunately for DreamWorks, they didn't give these characters any life the way Disney always does, so cynical Z speaks the truth when he describes them as "a bunch of losers. Mindless zombies capitulating to an oppressive system." Even few of those we meet are likable - the queen is an absolute jerk, the guard is a total fool - yet somehow, Z can't outsmart him since his mouth more often that not gets him in trouble. Though the smartest ants in the movie, he & Bala are sometimes cynics. On the other hand, I like them, as well as Weaver, Cutter, Azteca (Jennifer Lopez) & Barbatus (Danny Glover) so the movie is worthwhile. Also, having the soldier & worker ants preform actions they normally would in nature was neat (though looking at the goofs section, I doubt everyone agrees). It's sad that the writers couldn't be original. I stood up - & suffered - for Shark Tale; the only thing it had in common w/Finding Nemo was that they both were fish movies, & the writers could have watched Nemo's trailer for that movie idea. This, though, was a rip-off w/some original ideas - like cursing. No matter how much I used to like the movie, I can't forget this now.

Madagascar (2005)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good, 23 June 2005

This is better than a few Dreamworks movies but doesn't match up to some others, so it's comfortably in the middle of non-Disney animated films. At the Central Park Zoo, Alex the star lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the impulsive zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jana Pinkett Smith), & Melmann the hypochondriac giraffe (David Shwimmer) are ingenious pals who agree that life is good. Except Marty, now celebrating his 10th birthday (similar to 40 for humans), who wonders what life would be like outside the cage & is inspired to escape after seeing a group of psychotic penguins plotting to. When he actually chooses to head to a wildlife preserve in Connecticut via the Grand Central Station trains, his 3 friends follow him, rather than risking calling authorities & having him shipped off - only to find themselves, the penguins, & a group of chimps who want to party at Grand Central Station, on a boat toward Africa. The penguins escape their crates, imprison the captain, & steer the boat toward Antarctica instead - but they do it so clumsily the original 4 are knocked overboard & end up on a mysterious island void of humans. Alex, who's always been quite at home in the City, is furious at his former best friend. The 4 of them stumble upon a group of lemurs who're party animals, & welcome the group after Alex manages to scare off their old enemies, a band of vicious fusas - except Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer), who's afraid of him. Meanwhile, the New York "giants" discover life isn't always greener on the other side of the fence when Alex starts unconsciously attacking his friends out of hunger & grows claws, causing him to be banished from the lemurs' territory, while the others witness savage wildlife attacks. Ironically, this scene is 1 of the most memorable, because of Louis Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World" playing. This is a hilarious movie - the penguins steal the show & their reaction when they reach Antarctica is especially funny. I also loved how they always referred to Marty as "monochromatic" when they themselves are (I doubt anyone counts their beaks). The giant sign made of wood reading "HELP" on the beach falls apart to form another word, but I won't spoil that. The lemurs constant dance to "Move It" is funny, & the sign "Wild Street Wild" was creative. The only thing I wasn't crazy about were that a few characters weren't developed very much. Except for King Julian XIII & Maurice, & possibly Mort the Mouse Lemur, the party of lemurs isn't introduced but I guess that makes sense since they're supposed to be a crowd of 1 mind. On the other hand, it was just too strange that we knew little about Melmann or Gloria, except that he's a neurotic panicking creature who can't stand disease or nature, & she's a maternal, pleasant character. Also, the animation was superb, except when showing the characters transformed into eyed steaks - that hallucination just didn't convince me anybody was actually seeing it. Still, the movie overall was great. Definitely good & worth the time.

Hook (1991)
5 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
Good enough, 13 June 2005

This movie is not terrific, it has flaws, but it's enjoyable. The story itself is very interesting, if a bit unbelievable at times. Peter Banning (Robin Williams) is a lawyer (not shown at work) workaholic, enough so he rarely has time for his family. The 1 time we do see shove work into the background for a family life is when he makes it to his daughter Maggie's play, but shortly after fails to attend his son Jack's ball game. When among his kids he's a disciplinarian, killjoy of an adult who clearly can't remember being a kid. So how can he possibly be Peter Pan, as his grandmother-in-law Wendy Darling (Maggie Smith) claims? That's what he asks himself after someone claiming to be Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman) leaves a ransom note after kidnapping his children on a visit to Granny Wendy at Christmas. He doesn't know what to do - until a "firefly from Hell" who calls herself Tinkerbell shows up while he's having a beer. She drags him to Neverland, but he's still convinced it's a dream till he sees the kids imprisoned. Hook & his crew are shocked that the overweight American-bred man who can't fight, fly, or even stand heights, is his legendary rival. Instead of getting him to fight right away, he agrees to a 3-day wait till Peter's memory returns. Now on Neverland, Peter begins his training under the instruction of the all-American Lost Boys, who seem more like their life involves enjoying sports than playing in Neverland. Meanwhile, Hook has an inferiority complex problem, believing he can't defeat his old enemy (something senseless I can't accept), so decides to turn Peter's children against him. Maggie has unshakable loyalty to her parents - she's clearly closer to her mother, though - & when the plot fails on her, she practically disappears from the movie. Jack, on the other hand, barely tries to hide his anger & ends up supporting Hook. He even breaks Peter's watch (which Hook takes support from), joins the pirates, & forgets his father not only because of Neverland but also by Hook's plot. I enjoyed this when I watched it, but it's definitely got some holes in it. Tinkerbell has human speech here - I guess that makes more sense than the writers giving Peter a minute-long flashback of what her traditional jingle-speech means. OK, that's not the best idea, but it's nothing compared to the fact that throughout the whole movie, she expresses her love for Peter. This wouldn't be so much a problem either - there is love/jealousy in the book - but I draw the line at the fact that she becomes human for about a minute, where the love isn't hidden at all. It made no sense! The Lost Boys had similar problems - they were too American, not just in their accents & speech, but in every action - shooting hoops, skating, singing a "sound-off" tune in a running drill, & food fights shouldn't be things they do. It was confusing how, when he finally remembered about his past life, Peter Pan forgot his present 1: the fact that he grew up, his kids, everything. Then in a few moments, it all comes back to him miraculously - he even remembers why he originally went to Neverland, but the story of how he fled his family because he feared death before he could even walk was ridiculous. Everything else in the movie was decent, though some characters were shown little, including Smee (Bob Hoskins) I still found I liked his role. There were some comical scenes, including where Hook threatens to omit suicide, & some touching 1s, especially involving the Banning family & where Peter remembers he left Neverland to become a father. I wish this could have been more loyal to the British-set, clever world every1 knows, but it's a decent enough movie.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hope God took it well..., 26 April 2005

There's so much controversy over this movie, 1 can only imagine what God's opinion of it is! I'm stuck over whether I like this movie or not; it's definitely got its pros & cons. Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a New York reporter who wants something other than 2nd-rate stories, a co-worker (Steve Carrel) taunting him, & the job of trying to house-train his dog. On the other hand, my sympathy becomes limited shortly into the film since the guy does have a good life, especially his girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston), but has problems keeping it all in perspective. After he predicts getting the job as anchorman, & it's taken by the obnoxious co-worker Evan, he explodes while on camera, & is fired - just before getting beaten by a gang while protecting their victim. After getting into a fight w/Grace over their "mediocre life" & ranting to God about his problems - "You're the 1 who should be fired! The only 1 not doing his job - is YOU!" - he gets a job offer by some1 who seems determined to reach him. The guy, who claims to be God (Morgan Freeman) knows of his complaints toward him, & offers Bruce the job to see if he can indeed do it any better. After getting over the shock of his problems, & trying them out to his own advantage, Bruce gets Evan kicked off the news team & lands himself there instead. But meanwhile he's been neglecting Grace - & can't win her back, by the rule of not interfering w/free will - & the prayers he sets on e-mail are springing up on him; not even answering yes to all helps. Before long, chaos strikes!...I NEVER would have guessed. After the use of his powers for the 1st 24 hours to attack the gang who was introduced only the day before, taking clothes from shops, & toilet-training the dog, then not doing much else unusual w/them besides struggling to answer a million prayers, what's left for there to occur but havoc? I'm sure somebody else has mentioned it, but 2 of the biggest flaws not every1 picks up are that "God" appears in human form, & also, He would never give power to any1, especially a selfish guy. The plot itself is somewhat guessable, since the powers are exploited for a time, the focus goes to answering prayers & "unexpected" results, & suddenly there are a million problems to solve before Blind-Eyes knows it. Of course, the moral is good: Be the miracle instead of "begging" in prayer for everything to happen. At least that's uplifting. This is not a bad movie - I've re-watched it several times, probably for that and the funny parts. I don't find it "offensive" as some do, but it bothers me that 1ce again, even as a joker, they have crammed God into the American mold - I'm still waiting for 1 that'll work; this didn't.

8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Horrible!, 9 April 2005

I had a sense of foreboding watching ads for this, noticing it looked silly & too far removed from the book or even the cartoon. But even that didn't prepare me for when my family rented it & I was stuck watching it. I was right when I guessed it was a movie to keep away from; the whole time I sat there thinking "This isn't good, this isn't good". Usually when I love a movie I decide while watching, but it's AFTER that I say I hate it. Jim Carey wasn't to blame - like every other role I see him preform, he did very well. The zaniness he put into the Grinch matched that of other characters - the Mask, Ace Ventura, the Riddler. The problem w/the Grinch - & just about everything else - was that it was anti-Suess in a way. Instead of being comical for all, it's not anything you'd understand if you're under 10. The writers fowled up too many points from the book. The Grinch is supposed to be an enigmatic Christmas-hater who isn't in public except to steal the holiday 1 year. In this he's an obnoxious prankster who wrecks havoc everywhere. The scene where he's in the post office cackling while switching notes "This is yours and now it's his; this was his and now it's hers" made me sick. The worst 1 was when he stands on the cliff overlooking Whoville reading a list proclaiming, "I hate you...Hate...Hate...Double-hate...LOATHE!" That works fine for a wacky Carrey character, but ruins the Grinch's. Cindy becomes a main character - in the book she's mentioned 1ce; in the old cartoon she's shown most probably because she's only named person. Here she's the 1 person who feels that there's more to Christmas than $/gifts & tries to convince every1 else - even by dragging the Grinch into the picture. The audience never learns WHY he hates Christmas; he just does & it's left at that. But here we get a ludicrous story of how he mixed w/the Who kids, had a love relationship ridiculed on Christmas, & became a recluse. It's pretty stupid how after this the narrator goes "The Grinch hated Christmas, no 1 quite knows the reason" to keep the book's old line! It's almost as if the audience is supposed to give him a sympathy card & hate the townsfolk! The attempt to let him join the holiday made him a target by his old rival, the current Mayor (Jeffrey Tambor) & that's when he decides to crash the party, then "steal" Christmas. 1 change that seems small is actually a big deal - the Whos' being materialistic is 1 major change from the book & ruins the story. After "stealing" Christmas, the Grinch hears them singing joyously anyway, & realizes Christmas isn't about gifts. But since these Whos are greedy, they have to learn the lesson as if "stealing" it actually needed to be done! "Grinch" - his name here; his title is not "the Grinch" as it should be - having a romance w/a human is rotten. I just know Dr. Suess is turning in his grave at that. I'll admit this isn't 100% bad - the scenes of Max, especially dancing, the definition of potpourri & the tunnel ride are laughable; the cartoon song is thankfully still around; the cat getting vacuumed w/the gifts is embarrassingly funny. But these details only save it from getting a 0; it's beyond help. As a movie on its own, I'm sure it's another funny 1 about the real meaning of Christmas, like "The Kranks". But if you have any knowledge of the book or even the cartoon, avoid this horrible mess.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Well, it was OK, 27 March 2005

There's nothing really wrong w/this movie, but it's not as enchanting as the 1st 2 & if nothing else forces the story to an end. Jesse, 16, & Randolph are 1ce again siting whales as a job, & discover that Willy has a girlfriend, Nikki - who's pregnant! Meanwhile, 10-year-old Max gets to go "fishing" w/his father John, which is a big deal. But he falls overboard & is saved by Willy, & when he learns that John is actually an illegal whaler it upsets him - but he doesn't have the nerve to say so. Jesse's harmonica signal is discovered by John's crew, & when they realize it draws Willy they plan to exploit it to call whales. Jesse knows what danger Willy & his future family are in. When he meets Max, he pretends to be looking for work as a whaler, then reveals he knows John's work & wants to stop it, while showing Max Willy. Now Max tries to figure out whether or how to tell his father to stop hunting, while Jesse & Randolph try to get proof of his illegal actions. Really it's a good movie, but not as interesting as the others - the action is a bit slow. I take it as a warning sign that Max, not Jesse, is the 1st character shown. The friendship between Jesse & Willy is still there (of course) but not the similarity they have in families - in the 1st, they both miss theirs & share pain, in the 2nd Jesse learns his mom dies & he has a brother while Willy rejoins his family, but here Willy is about to become a father & Jesse definitely isn't. No girlfriend either - wonder why, he was interested in girls in the 2nd. The Greenwoods are mentioned 1ce but never shown, when Max describes a large family: "It's like any other family, you know", Jesse only replies "No, I don't." Except some music, Randolph's Indian culture, something I've always loved, is gone - the story isn't even told to Max, unlike Elvis. The asst, Drew, is pain & gives Jesse a hard time. This is good, but I prefer the others - I've never been a sequels fan.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Bummer, 27 March 2005

NOTE: I haven't seen 1 episode of the puppet TV series...but that only stopped me from being biased against the movie, not from disliking it. I enjoyed the actors, most of the characters were OK, the visual effects were fine. There was only 1 problem w/this movie - but it was a big 1: the plot. I worried there wouldn't be much left to get after the lengthy ads that gave so much (even minute details that were barely mentioned in the movie) away & the little bit the box added. Still, I was intrigued by a movie of rescue missions & cunning villains. Turned out I was right, they gave away WAY too much of the plot for there to be ANY major surprises left, & the movie was so guessable I was bored. Wait - not true, that wasn't the whole problem. Boredom hit w/the weirdness of events. Before I touch that, I'll sum it up: Left at home as usual, Alan Tracy gets to prove his worth when the Hood traps his father & brothers in space (by rescuing John, whose craft he launched a missile at for bait) & his friends' Fermat's & Tintin's families on Tracy Island. After escaping, the 3 must stop the Hood from using the 3 crafts still on Tracy Island as bank-robbing devices. What saves my score being lower are lines that sometimes made me laugh. I needed to - I was bored & impatient because of everything else. The Tracys are trapped through most of the movie so Alan & the others can be shown as heroes, true enough. Still, they were shoved into the background the whole time! I barely caught all the names, & only recognize John. We should have met them at the beginning to know them! The story was odd - instead of outsmarting the Hood, the heroes are discovered right away, forced to make a (extremely long) run from the Hood's gang before they can actually do anything, & are trapped at least once, in a freezer w/their families (if I forget another time, sorry - I tend to forget the plot of boring movies). The climax scene wasn't the rescue that happened too fast to be impressive; we were stuck w/battling the Hood, who was already in the process of robbing the Bank of London. The only amazing thing about that is they couldn't get there faster. Also, I didn't mind Parker or Lady Penelope (much) but was disgusted that they had to assist the rescuing/fighting process. If the movie focused on the kids as the heroes, why did they need help?! If Alan had the thought that taking on an important rescue like this would get him to be a Thunderbird (bet he did), that was a mistake - he should have held his breath for getting it next year, after he made up the days he spent daydreaming in school. The only things I didn't see coming in this movie were: the Hood was Tintin's uncle, exactly how he trapped the Tracys, the gift of telepathy & its side-effect of weakness, & of course the villain's fate at the end was a surprise. Everything else - yes, even the ending, was predictable, either by what I'd heard beforehand about the movie, or events building up to it. How can something look so exciting yet be so dull? Let me know if you can think of the answer, but just know - it's possible, this succeeded wonderfully!

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
What the heck happened?, 22 February 2005

I was disappointed when I rented this - the only reason I bought it was partly for loyalty, partly to see if I missed something, if it was any better than I thought...No, in case you're wondering; it was just as lacking the 2nd time I saw it; now I'm just waiting to give it away. A lot of things were left out of this movie that made the 1st 3 so enjoyable, not just Dean Jones. I was a little surprised that he wasn't around, since his character makes a mega-comeback in Monte Carlo, but if he was in this film it'd be a black mark on his record. Jim Douglas has retired, & leaves Herbie to his nephew Pete. He & his friend Davey doubt it'll win a race, so just plan to return home w/it. When they see how fast it can go, they change their minds & decide to race in Mexico - but get delayed 50 times. Paco, a native pickpocket who swipes their & a smuggler's wallets, is invited by Herbie to hide in the trunk. He's taken along on the ship that'll get them all to the race - but is caught. The stupid pirate-obsessed captain accuses Pete & Davy of kidnapping, & when Herbie tries to rescue Paco, he orders Herbie to be thrown overboard. After landing and escaping once more, Paco finds Herbie - & runs into the smugglers, who inform him that the wallet he returned is empty. Now he steals "Pete's" wallet which really belongs to the thieves, & is forced to escape both by fleeing w/Herbie, the captain, & a few women Pete & Davey "befriend" on the boat, to stop the smugglers from stealing goods. The bull-fight they get into along the way's a highlight in the movie - partly because there's not much else to look forward to. Herbie's name was never used; the only name he gets is "ocho" from Paco. He can't swim - it's pretty clear he's lost that ability over time; in Love Bug he skates right over water, in Rides Again he sinks before floating like a human, here he drops like a rock & barely survives. The men pretend to like the women they meet on the ship, but it's just to get support in the race, & there's no sign that they've been forgiven. Nobody except Paco & Louise (1 of the women), had no idea until near the end that they were dealing w/a car that had brains or power. It isn't proved by a race either - for all the trouble they go through to enter him in a race, it isn't shown. I don't understand why he helps Paco the thief, even if he is loving. The title confuses me - it's a reference to Herbie's being covered w/bananas as a disguise, but that was 5 minutes at the most. He was also "dressed" as a taxi w/signs all over - but that didn't amuse me. The only thing that could've made this more disloyal to the series was if they'd excluded the car Herbie. I was so bored w/this I forgot the plot & characters. A good example of a bad sequel.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Disloyal book-based movie, 7 February 2005

I was excited when I heard a trailer for this on TV when it was in theaters. But when I saw it, I was pretty disappointed. Dumas' novel was very good, richly entertaining. This kept the basic plot & characters, but its story was a shadow of the book. Sailor Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel) returns from a voyage where the captain has died after being stopped on Elba - & Napoleon gives him a letter for a friend - just in time for his wedding. Fernand (Guy Pearce) wants Mercedes as his wife, & Danglars wants the Phareon as his own ship. The 2 work a conspiracy to frame Edmond as an agent of Napoleon. Villefort knows of his innocence & is about to clear his charges - just before he learns that Napoleon's agent to whom he was sending the letter was his father. Not wishing anyone to know this, he puts Edmond out of the way - by imprisoning him in Château d'if. There, Edmond meets Faria (Richard Harris), a priest also falsely imprisoned who educates him & helps him plan to escape. He dies before they do, but tells Edmond of a hidden treasure he gives to him. Edmond escapes in Faria's burial sack, finds the treasure on Monte Cristo, & uses it to make himself a rich count who befriends Villefort, Danglars, & Fernand - baiting them into traps that lead to revenge! The book & movie have all this in common. Differences: Fernand is Edmond's "best friend" here, while in reality they're almost strangers - so there was no dueling or anything; in the book he commits suicide. Also, he's seen as the main villain, probably because he's the traitor, Villefort is almost as evil & conspires w/him, but Danglars is shoved into the background. If I didn't know the real story, I'd have wondered why he was bothering to attack Danglars. Also, Fernand was not a cheat to his wife, or indifferent to his son - & Albert WAS his son. Edmond was not a cold atheist; Faria was not a liar. When Mercedes met Edmond, there was too much tension, then sudden love. I still don't know how emotions changed so fast. Jacapo became Edmond's servant after he left the smugglers, not because he spared his life in a knife fight! Even the time where Faria met Edmond was wrong - Edmond had been there 12 years, Faria 16; here it was 7 & 11! The only thing that kept this getting "average" or below was Jacapo, Edmond's servant. He was hilarious! Humor always helps a movie - so I'm glad this had him! ALMOST a waste.

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