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Return to Me (2000)
7/10
Touching, Charming and Heart Warming
14 January 2002
A small but charming movie which was largely overlooked at the box office, but which has gained notoriety through pay-per-views and video. This film harks back to a more romantic time of film-making, helped by a wonderful Brat Pack soundtrack.

It's biggest problem is that it appears unsure of what it wishes to be. A good script from Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake, gives us a touching romance between Duchovny's recently widowed architect and the women who received his wife's heart from a transplant, played wonderfully as ever by Minnie Driver. This touching romance in the veign of Bounce, is very true to life despite the situation, but it is almost derailed by the great comic bickering between the other character's. First time director Hunt, gets great performances from veterans Loggia, Jones, O'Connor and Bronder, and from James Belushi as her husband. But the comedy pulls the film more towards being a romantic comedy than the real-life romance that the central relationship wants to be.

The idea of a widow's wife's heart being transplanted to his future love would appear to suite a Rom-Com, but with the other characters getting the best lines, it makes the Rom-Com style ending of separation and reunion sit awkwardly with the characters. It is not helped by Duchovny's performance, appearing ill at ease with comedy when it comes his way.

Having said this though, the romance coming from Hunt and Lake's script will still steal you heart, making this an essential addition to any old-romantic's video collection.
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K-911 (1999 Video)
7/10
Changed at the edges, but the core is still the same.
20 October 2000
Ten years after the first movie, James Belushi, one of the most gifted, and over looked light comedic actors of the last twenty years, returns as Detective Dooley for this movie.

If you are expecting more of the same from the first movie, you will be disappointed, but this is still a good movie. Realizing that all the Dog vs. Man battle of wills scenarios had probably been used up in the first movie, this one turns slightly more psychological in its approach as it concentrates on a criminal with a fixation with Dooley's recently deceased wife after she rejected his book, and blames Dooley for her death.

The script may not be the best, but the movie allows both Belushi and Christine Tucci to show their good acting ability, while still retaining enough of the light humour of the first movie to make it work, and the chemistry between the two stars is there for all to see.

An easy, light going movie, which, while maybe not worth a purchase unless you are a true fan of either the first movie or Belushi, definately worth a watch when it comes on TV.
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9/10
A film made with love and understanding.
29 March 2000
The film starts with a very funny and touching love story between Nicoletta Braschi and Roberto Benigni, who plays his role with a passion that humour that Chaplin would have been proud of, and a heart that Chaplin only approached in The Kid (1921).

From here the film moves on to Benigni and his son being put into a concentration camp, and his attempts to hide the truth from his son.

The film deals honestly with the Holocaust, without any graphic detail, an example that many Hollywood movies would do well to follow. However, this is not a film about the Holocaust, it is a film about the human spirit, what it can perpetrate, and the horrors it can endure.

But this film has one quality that lifts it above most Hollywood movies; it is made with one thing that Hollywood rarely uses. It is made with love.
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2/10
Carrey at his worst.
20 March 2000
The strength of the original was allowing Carrey to display his own unique brand of wild anarchic humour within a story which, while slightly ludicrous, was at least plausible, entertaining, and believeable.

This sequel fails because it looses that vital final element. While the directing allows Carrey to go a bit too far into toilet humour at times, the scene where a mechanical rhino gives birth to Carrey especially, this is half expected in a sequel to such a movie and does not ruin it entirely. Its failure is the sheer stupidity of Ventura gaining 'spiritual enlightenment' in Tibet, before being called over to Africa to meet a series of English stereotypes while trying to solve a truly implausible plot.

I still cannot believe that such respectable actors such as Simon Callow would agree to do this type of movie, something that all other Hollywood actors from the first movie avoided.

At his best, Carrey is hilariously funny, at his worst, he's like this.
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7/10
Superb throughout.
15 March 2000
The movie that first introduced a new generation to the disturbingly dark, and disturbingly funny world, of The Addams Family.

Although not as good as its successor, The Addams Family is a well made movie from start to finish. The casting is superb, giving strength to all the characters. Huston and Ricci are superb as always, Lloyd plays his traditional oddball misfit, and the late Raul Julia gives a performance so full of energy and enthusiasm, that you can tell how much fun he had making the movie.

The set design is suitably macabre, however Sonnenfeld's directing does take until the sequel to find the right balance for the movies, and release the full potential of the script. But this does not detract from your enjoyment of this truly family movie.
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5/10
Gulliver's Travels meets Monty Python.
7 March 2000
This Terry Gilliam directed movie is a visual masterpiece. With stunning cinematography, costumes and make-up, together with great casting for cameos, such as Robin Williams as The King of the Moon, and Uma Thurman as The Goddess Venus, this is a visually pleasing and well acted movie.

The only place where this movie really falls down is in the script, it attempts to be a comedy, but there are few laugh out loud moments, it attempts to be an adventure, but there are few truly exciting incidents.

Nevertheless, the acting, special effects, and costumes easily manage to keep this movie from drowning.

A pleasure for the eyes, if not for the pulse.
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6/10
Crude, rude and terribly offensive.
6 March 2000
This is one of those movies that you either love or you hate, and I am sorry to say that I hate it.

The humour and jokes are as crass and crude as the Carry On... series used towards the end, and the whole movie is so male egotisctical that it is degrading to women, and should be offensive to anybody who has a conscience concerning them.

I have liked Mike Myers' comedy in the past, and I can understand how some people would find this film amusing, but please do not insult our intelligence by any further sequels.
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The Abyss (1989)
5/10
Could have been better.
6 March 2000
With such truly fine actors as Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, this film had great potential. However, for once, James Cameron's love of special effects, actually hampered the movie.

If the movie had been treated as a psychological thriller of being trapped under the water with a dangerously unstable Navy SEAL on the loose, the stars and director would have made a superb movie, but the use of an alien species, while using stunning special effects, was simply ludicrous, and ruined the movie, especially the ridiculous ending.

Harris, Cameron and Mastrantonio can all do better than this.
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8/10
Sugary, sweet, but not sickening.
3 March 2000
Nora Ephron, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, meet up again after the success of Sleepless in Seattle, for another movie with a high saccharine content.

The chemistry between Hanks and Ryan is again superb, whether bickering as business rivals, or when falling in love over the endless void of the internet.

Hanks is the big business bookseller, who threatens, and eventually destroys, the livelihood of Ryan's children's bookstore owner.

Hanks does a pretty good job as the ruthless business man, while at the same time making you feel that, at times, he would rather have the life that Ryan's character leads, if his up-bringing and family expectations did not prevent it.

Ryan plays the character that she as honed over so many similar movies, while the other characters, such as Greg Kinnear as Ryan's boy friend, are really just window dressing, although some wonderful comic moments do come from Parker Posey, as the high flying business woman, and Hanks' partner.

A wonderful script from Ephron, which keeps the schmaltz at bay, while remaining funny and romantic throughout, and good performances from the leads make this as good as Sleepless in Seattle, though it is still not quite as good as the original Shop Around the Corner, on which it is based.
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Vice Versa (1988)
4/10
Another Hollywood Fad.
2 March 2000
Hollywood goes through periods where every studio appears to come out with a movie in the same area. Vice Versa, represents a Hollywood fad for body swap movies without the aliens.

Judge Reinhold plays this movie for all it's worth, but even with Fred Savage as his son, this is still a flat and formulaic family comedy, which cannot hold a torch to the very good Big, with Tom Hanks, which came out at around the same time.

A movie to be lost in time and forgotten, thankfully.
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Uncle Buck (1989)
8/10
The definitive John Candy comedy.
29 February 2000
This is John Candy at his absolute hilarious best as the family slob and misfit who has to babysit his brother's children for a week.

One thing that does bug me, is that subsequent re-releases of this on video, have placed Macaulay Culkin as the star of this movie. It is a wonderful early performance from him, giving a glimpse of the character he would hone to such perfection in Home Alone, but this movie should always belong to Candy, who is funny and charming in every scene he appears in.

There may be funnier performances from Candy, such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but none showcase his individual comic ability more than this.

An essential addition to any video collection, as a fitting momento to one of Hollywood's must loveable and endearing funny men.
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Quick Change (1990)
6/10
Surprisingly off-key.
22 February 2000
Bill Murray's directorial debut is, surprisingly, one of his poorer outings, as a world-class bank robber trying to get out of New York City.

In the opening sequences during the bank robbery, Murray is at his dead-pan best, and is genuinely hilarious as he orders everything from a motor-cycle, to a helicopter and monster truck as part of his hostage ransom and diversion.

However, once Murray leaves the bank, the film appears to lose direction, and at times slows down to a crawl, and causes Murray's character to come across as merely arrogant and selfish, and nowhere near the hero, rebelling against the monotony of everday life, that the script wants to portray him as.

This part of the movie is only ocassionally enlightened by a good performance as ever from Randy Quaid, and a very funny cameo from Phillip Bosco as a time obsessed bus driver. Of the other main characters, Geena Davis' talents are completely wasted, and Jason Robards is rarely allowed to show his true ability.

Generally I am a big Bill Murray fan, but he has certainly made better movies than this, which just suggest that his true talent is shown on screen, and not behind the camera.
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Patch Adams (1998)
8/10
Williams' best combination of laughter and drama for a long time.
18 February 2000
Not since Good Morning, Vietnam has there been a movie that allows Williams to show both his comedic, and dramatic talent to such good effect as this movie does.

Williams is a medical student whose theory about treating students with laughter as well as medicine is a real-life story and, as you would expect, Williams is superb when making the patients laugh.

However, the reality of schools attempting to breed the human out of students to make them doctors does make you stop and think about our prejudices, and our fear of change.

The only slight blemish on an otherwise wonderful movie, is the romance between Williams and Monica Potter, which does seem a little unrealistic, but this is only something you really think about afterwards, and does not detract from your enjoyment of the movie.

Overall, a wonderful film.
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Night Shift (1982)
7/10
Missed its target, but still a hit.
18 February 2000
Ron Howard used this movie in an attempt to give his old friend from Happy Days, Henry Winkler, a leg up in the movie business, and gave one to Michael Keaton instead.

Keaton steals this movie with a wonderful performance as a self-styled 'idea man', setting up a pimping business out of the city morgue with the financial help of Winkler who falls for one of the prostitutes in the form of Shelley Long, who has certainly been better cast.

Almost everything Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have ever written has been brilliant, we'll ignore the City Slickers sequel and The Flinstones, and this is one of their early movies which, while still hilarious, somehow didn't do that well at the box-office.

Good direction from Howard, good performances from the stars and supporting cast, and a wonderful script, make this a brilliant movie, and shows why Keaton can be such a comedic star.
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8/10
The Master of Biopics.
15 February 2000
Nobody does movie biopics as well as Richard Attenborough, as this is further proof of that fact.

Sandra Bullock is superb, and though Chris O'Donnell's performance early on is quite bland, the later scenes back in the States show an depth to the character, and a maturity to his acting.

The film chooses to avoid the debates on the horrors of war, and mostly any scenes of the kind, instead prefering to focus on the romance between Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky, which is deals with touchingly without being over sentimental, while always keeping the threat of the war in the back of your mind.

Attenborough has certainly done better biopics, anyone who has seen Chaplin or Ghandi will agree with that, but as an average biopic from Attenborough is a good biopic to anyone else, this is still an excellent and touching movie.
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Emma (1996)
6/10
Good, but not the best.
12 February 2000
This was the first movie to introduce us to Gwyneth Paltrow's perfect English accent, but this adaptation of Austen's book is memorable for no other reason.

The actors overall are by far too good looking for their parts, and the film deviats from the book in too many ways to make it very enjoyable to a true Austen fan.

Overall, Paltrow is good, and the rest is passable, but if you want to see a good adaptation of this novel, watch the UK's ITV adaptation from 1997, starring Kate Beckinsale.
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7/10
A comedy with depth.
9 February 2000
Keaton plays a mental patient with a history of violence, on a field trip to see the Yankee's play with the rest of his therapy group, a neatness freak, played superbly by Christopher Lloyd, a man who things he's Jesus Christ, and a man who only appears to talk when the television does.

Their doctor is attacked and hospitalized without their knowledge and what follows is their attempts to prove their innocence, with the help of Keaton's ex-girlfriend.

Keaton brings the depth that he has brought to almost every role he's played, Lloyd gives a very touching performance while the film maintains the comedic moments which help carry the film along.

The film draws your attention to the stress of modern city life which has driven all the patients to the edge, though at the same time showing that there is still a sane person simply hiding behind a facade of insanity, which even some of the other doctors in the movie fail to see.

Initially, quite a funny movie, on repeated viewings it shows its greater depth, which should have been more explored by the writer and director.
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6/10
Disney.
27 January 2000
This movie is what you would expect from Disney away from animation, though it is better than its usual offerings in this area.

Rick Moranis has been trying to escape this role ever since, with two inferior sequels and a Disney attraction short, he has found it almost impossible to show his undoubted talent as a comedic actor away from this franchise.

The rest of the cast is largely made up of Disney house actors who crop up in attraction shorts and other Disney movies best left forgotten while their contract runs and so do nothing more than say the lines.

Moranis' neighbour is the only other comic highlight in this movie and so this is children's fluff and, apart from the special effects, not much more.
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8/10
A surprise from Scorsese.
24 January 2000
With such a superb novel as a basis, it would take gross incompetence to ruin a movie that is based on it, and Scorsese, though not the obvious choice to direct this movie, is incapable of making a bad movie.

Scorsese's direction is ocassionally jumpy, but still superb, although the use of narration can be distracting at times.

The revelation in this movie is Pfeiffer's performance as the social outcast, which greatly outstrips that of her co-stars and shows a range in her acting that her previous movies did not allow her to show. The performance of Daniel Day-Lewis as her support and possible lover, is surprisingly uneven and below par, while Winona Ryder does well as the wife of Day-Lewis, despite not getting enough screen-time to develop the character fully.

The rest of the support cast including Miriam Margolyes and Alec McGowan, give wonderful performances, either comic or dramatic, and provide the superb backbone on which this film is built.

A movie that is beautiful from costume and set-design, to music and scenery, a triumph throughout.
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7/10
Formulaic...... but who cares!
24 January 2000
The format of the early Carry On's is continued in this 1962 outing, Sid James is the Captain of a cruise liner on his final voyage before retirement, who is landed with a load of bumbling new recruits.

While Sid James is again under used, as he was in many of his early Carry On outings, it is Kenneths Connors and Williams who shine once again. Connors especially with a touching performance as the doctor in love with one of the passengers.

This film shows why the early Carry Ons were the best.
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7/10
Early but promise.
24 January 2000
This is one of the first Carry-On films and, consequently is one of the best. The chemistry of the stars is already there and Connor's as the superstitious constable in love with a co-workers from afar, and Williams as the scientific deduction 'expert' both shine above the rest.

Sid James is surprisingly poorly used as the Sargeant supervising the chaos, but still a very funny movie throughout and one which should be included in anybody's Carry-On collection.
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7/10
The film that spawned a generation.
24 January 2000
The first ever Carry On sees the worst ever freshment platoon on National Service training, as their Commander attempts to retire with his first ever star platoon.

Kenneth Connors, as he was in all the early Carry Ons, is superb as the hypochondriac recruit, while Kenneth Williams does a beautiful send up of himself as the intellectually superior member of the platoon. Charles Hawtry does his usual role. This film also includes Bob Monkhouse and the late, great Bill Owen, though Owen's role is simply not big enough for him to shine.

This film lacks the chaos of the later films, and the presence of a Barbara Windsor or Hattie Jacques who can give as good as they get against the men but still, a very enjoyable comedy and the one we must thank, or blame, for the success and continued popularity of the Carry Ons.
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Cadillac Man (1990)
5/10
More of the same from Robin Williams
17 December 1999
This is another of those fairly early Robin Williams vehicles that appeared to be tailor made for the star to show off his undoubted comic talent, and yet somehow failed to hit the mark.

Williams is good as the car but the story never really goes anywhere, and the direction prolongs it even further.

Avoid this one, there are plenty of better Robin Williams' films around.
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6/10
Hogan's hidden writing qualities.
14 December 1999
One of the most overlooked performances in years goes to Elias Koteas as the paraplegic who introduces the 'born again' Hogan into the story of a care centre under threat of closure. It is sensitive and touching without being over sentimental or condescending.

This shows a hidden quality in Hogan's writing that Hollywood missed in his post-Crocodile Dundee movies, and is also in evidence in Lightning Jack and the part of Cuba Gooding Jnr. This movie may not have the charm of Dundee, but the comedy is there and it is certainly more thought provoking about our attitudes to the disabled.

A very good movie.
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6/10
A greatly overlooked movie.
2 December 1999
This movie is one of the best comedy westerns for a long time and gives its stars ample time to perform.

Paul Hogan plays pretty much the same character as he did in Crocodile Dundee, only with a bit more heart, as a failed outlaw trying to make a name for himself in the Wild West with one big heist. His only partner is played by Cuba Gooding Jr., in a superb early performance as a dumb black shop assistant, with shows both comedic talent, and a depth to the character that Hogan himself probably didn't know was there when he wrote it.

A series of wonderfully scenes in bars all over the West, culminate in a perfect last heist that nobody knows about, and robs Hogan of his wanted fame.

Unfortunately, the box-office showed less confidence in the movie than it's investors on the Aussie stock-market did, but do not let that deter you from a very funny movie.
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