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505 out of 636 people found the following review useful:
Lingers for days- sucks you in., 30 November 2005

Few movies make you THINK long after they end. That's OK. Movies are supposed to entertain and most do so without requiring even one ounce of thought. It's sad that maybe some of you out there prefer movies- and life- that way. Thankfully this movie is all about thinking and feeling. This is not a chick flick. It's a human experience flick.

This film examines and lays bare the intricacies of love, life and loneliness; the claustrophobia, insomnia and disorientation of traveling to a foreign country. The loneliness that creeps in after life's normality starts to wear thin. The spark of promise that meeting someone new brings. This is what life is about and what this film so flawlessly portrays.

How many of you can relate to and have actually been that guy/girl on business, in the hotel in some foreign city, happily married yet feeling alone and beaten by life's banality? How many of us have been tempted in that very situation, to stray from the confines of moral adherence for the lure of a forbidden, if fleeting, joy? How many have felt that tingle- that spark- when a stranger smiles and you think, "you know, in another life..."? Change the time, place and all of us have been there whether we admit it or not. Maybe single people don't get this movie; maybe it's for those of us who have walked down that aisle and are wiser to the realities of life.

The characters here are true. Their dialog is true. The setting is true. It's all tirelessly fascinating because we can all relate to it and it involves us in a way that most movies do not. We find ourselves drawn to every moment these two experience together and apart. We are intrigued by the glances, nuances and words they share.

Johanssen is brilliant and beautiful as the lonely, young wife questioning her marriage. Her beauty is classic, not necessarily sexual, though she is obviously alluring in this role. Her bee-stung lips, perfect body and haunting eyes may have something to do with that. Still she's more sophisticated beauty than mindless hottie, even at 19. This is a role tailor-made for her. It could never have been Reese Witherspoon or Jessica Alba or - God forbid- Jessica Simpson, or anybody else in that realm.

Murray is simply at his best. He does "exasperated, middle-aged and depressed" better than most, with his receding hairline and frumpy body. You really believe that these two could connect in a physical and emotional way, as remote as that may seem on the surface. What other 50-something could ever be believed to be appealing to a young woman as pretty as Charlotte? That's a tough chemistry to fake and I can't think of a more perfect pair. What drives them to this attraction is what's intriguing to watch.

Go see this. Turn off your "Major Blockbuster-Tom Cruise-Action-Pop Culture Catch Phrase-Big Star" mind and tune in with a more searching self. Watch this with your soul and heart, not your eyes. If you look deeper than the surface you'll find yourself moved by the whole experience. Yes, it's THAT good.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
2000's version of Saturday Matinée fare, 30 November 2005

OK, let's can the comparisons to Jumanji. You've all read about that in other reviews. Having said that, the movie can be summed up as a modern version of those Saturday afternoon matinees in years gone by. It's a popcorn movie that would have been made by Disney in the 1960's with Fred MacMurray as the dad and Don Knott's as the astronaut.

Set your expectations correctly. This movie is targeted to 10 year-olds and that's what it is. Your life won't change after seeing it and you won't be talking about it with other adults at the book club meeting. It's a fast-moving, enjoyable film with a nice story and some typical characters. The style is particularly cool with a decidedly retro slant; especially the design of the game.

Acting is OK. Tim Robbins is wooden and the kids are smarmy (especially the younger one with the patented "look sad and confused" face). 15-year old Kristen Stewart as sister, Lisa, is beautiful and I can see her career growing into one of heavier roles in a few years. She has the eyes, cheek bones and appeal of an actress like, say, Kiera Knightly without the pretension. Though her role in this film is disposable, keep an eye on her in the future.

Thankfully, the movie's effects are not ALL CGI and it doesn't get lost in effects-for-effects-sake land. They even use puppets! Where have you gone, Ray Harryhausen?

Film makers seem to feel the need for hammering a morality lesson into kid movies and this is no exception. In this case the moral lesson is, "be kind to your siblings because they may not always be around." Yeah, OK. thanks. That is a lame 1990's-and-beyond technique that is annoying and plain dumb. Hollywood shouldn't teach us morality, they should entertain us. Just make the movie, dammit.

All in all an enjoyable, family-oriented movie that you will watch again on DVD or on TV and enjoy it even more the second time. Oh, and I wish they made a game that looked like that. I'd buy it today.

Sky Giant (1938)
Good ol' Guy's movie, 29 November 2005

You have to love the acting and dialog in these old films. The men are right out of the ideal "man's man" book and the plucky love interests are so demure and accepting. In this case the plot revolves around a tough pilot school, training only the best men for flying new and growing routes. It is 1938, after all, and aviation is still in it's pre-war baby stage. Airline service is still a thing of adventure and unknown. The school is run by a rough-and-tumble (and frequently over-acting) ex-military man, Colonel Stockton (Harry Carrey). The head pilot is debonair Stag Cahill (Richard Dix). Trouble ensues when Stockton's devil-may-care son, Ken (Chester Morris) arrives at the school and Stag has to tame him a bit. The men strike up a 1938-type friendship bond but fall in love with the same perky and fetching Meg (Joan Fontaine). The plot thickens when the two men and a third pilot from the school crash in the arctic during a mapping run for a new travel route. They say "swell" a lot and each man asks Meg to marry him after knowing her for only days (typical 1930's I suppose). A fun movie with a very pre-war feel and some great old airplanes and aerial footage. Lots of, "awww Ken...ya know I love ya but don't go back into the air..." kind of lines. A simple, formulaic, B&W pre-war love/action movie.