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This is why I love Film.
Rushmore is not only the name of the movie, but it's the name of the prestigous private school that 15 year old Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) attends. He has tremendous spirit. His true talent lies in writing, for he is an accomplished playwright who directs and produces them starring his very own "Max Fischer Players" and is the Founder and or President of every club on campus. But his grades are horrible. He is put on academic probation. Things get thick when Max is inspired by a depressed millionare, Herman Blume (Bill Murray). Also, he falls in love with 1st grade teacher Ms. Cross (Olivia Williams). Max shows his true lack of social skills when he feverishly attempts at courting her, only to be in compitition with Blume. The movie is bascically a Love Triangle between a bright student who thinks he can get anything he wants, a married businessman, and a pretty school teacher. The movie is lots of fun and is an ode to loners everywhere who want to find love. It's mostly dark sorts of humor, but there's that certain tone and attitude that director Wes Anderson adds to each of his movies that is uniuqe and refreshing.
RATING: **** out of ****
Bottle Rocket (1996)
I normally hate Owen Wilson...
In anything. But man was he great in this movie. I mean it was such a good performance. This movie is director Wes Anderson's (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) feature directorial debut. It's about a group of misfit friends that decide to take up a life of crime. The group includes Anthony (Luke Wilson) just got out of the nut house and is searching for himself. Dignan (Owen Wilson, co-wrote the movie with Anderson) is the confident but bumbling ringleader who wants to be notorious but doesn't know how to execute a plan to save his life. And Bob (Robert Musgrave) the driver/look out who just wants a little recognition. The movie follows their misadventures of them robbing a bookstore, going on the lamb, Anthony falling in love with a Motel maid who instills joy back in his life, and Dignan's 'big score' that involves his former employer. The subtle humor and deliveries by the actors make the movie stand out in it's own little version comedy. The characters are losers, but lovable. You can't help but cheer them on even though what they do is illegal. I highly recommend this cool little film. It's an excellent introduction into the wonderful films of Wes Anderson.
RATING: **** out of ****
Love Actually (2003)
This movie is exactly what we need at the holiday season. Something fun and funny that touches the heart in a non sappy kind of way. "Love, Actually" is the intertwining of 9 seperate love stories. At Juliet and Peter's wedding (Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor) Pete's best friend realizes he should have told Juliet he loved her. Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his step son are trying to figure out a way for his step son to win the heart of a classmate. The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) is starting to fancy his secretary, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon). His sister, Karen (Emma Thompson) is finding out that her husband (Alan Rickman) is having a fling with his secretary. His employee, Sarah (Laura Linney) is trying to get something going with a fellow co-worker. Jaime (Colin Firth) is trying to write a novel while falling in love with his house keeper. And lastly, Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is an aging rock star trying to get his Christmas cover song to the top of the pop charts. There are a couple of subplot stories as well. The writer/directer Richard Curtis has exactly the kind of comic flare and heart that so little filmmakers try to capture. His brand of humor can please anyone. The star power in this movie can light a building, there's so much of it. It makes you all warm inside when you leave, hoping that the same thing can happen to you in real life. The film captures a charm that Britain is uniqely known for. Makes you want to pack your bags and head there for Christmas holiday. Every character is likable. So when they transition to other parts of the story, you're always left entertained. It's a classic movie going experience. Go see this film, it's gureenteed not to disappoint!
RATING: **** out ****
Notting Hill (1999)
Works on so many levels
"Notting Hill" is actually a very funny movie in it's own right. But that's not what it's about. Julia Roberts plays Anna Scott, a huge celebrity that can't get any privacy. This is perfect casting, because if you want someone to pull off acting and getting treated like a celebrity, cast a celebrity. It really makes the movie seem believable. She meets a funny Englishman named Will Thacker (Hugh Grant) and the two spark a romance. The scenes where they are supossed to be in love with each other are very convincing (at least on Roberts' end). And it didn't fall into the stereotype of a movie about a celebrity. Sure, we see the papparazzi chase her and stress her out. But the movie isn't about that. It's about the way an average ordinary man who can get the pretty popular girl, which in turn shows the audience that social status means nothing. And if you let it, love can help you find your perfect mate. At least that's what I got out of it. Writer Richard Curtis is a gift from the movie gods. His writing is so fresh and funny. He combines the 2 things that make life worth living (Comedy and Love) and puts it on the screen. It's hard to be funny. Try writing a funny screenplay! But he makes it look so easy. Britain should really import more movies state side.
RATING: *** out of ****
The School of Rock (2003)
THE SCHOOL OF ROCK is a surprise and a half. Dewey Finn (the hilarious Jack Black) is an out of work rocker who can't pay the rent and has just been thrown out of his own band. He pretends to be his friend Ned (Mike White) and becomes a substitute teacher at the prestigous Horace Green elementary school. At first, he ignores them. Then he realizes their music potential. So, he starts up a band featuring his students. Along the way, he dodges the watchful eye of Horace Green's principal Ms. Mullens (Joan Cusack) and teaches the kids self esteem. It all climaxes when the students play at the local Battle of the Bands contest and play a very catchy tune called 'SCHOOL OF ROCK'. This movie is adorable times two. The kids are very charming. Each and every one of them. And fine actors to boot. Without being cutsy pie. Jack Black is now a bonafide comedy star. His funny actions and motions are very enjoyable to watch. And the music! It's awesome. The song they play at the end is kick ass! The movie has very little if nothing wrong with it at all. It's hilarious, fun, and also tugs at the heartstrings a bit. The director Richard Linklater was an odd choice, because his movies are often obscure independent films. A family film isn't exactly what you'd expect from him. But he DOES know comedy. He manages not to make another gross or boring kid's film. It's not a family film, as much as it is a film that everyone can enjoy. Not one person I saw this movie with was bored and mostly all of them just plain loved it. As did I. This is the funniest comedy all year. And probably of the last 5 years. Go see it...NOW!
RATING: **** out of ****
Mystic River (2003)
Why does this remind me of a Stephen King story?
It really feels like one. Anyway, MYSTIC RIVER is about a small town who reacts to the horrible murder of the daughter of one of it's residents Jimmy Malcom (Sean Penn). Interestingly enough, his two childhood friends Sean (Kevin Bacon) and Dave (Tim Robbins) are both very much involved in the case. Sean is a state policeman investigating the crime with his partner Morpheous...I mean Whitey (Laurence Fishburne). And Dave is one of the prime suspects. The true wonder of this movie isn't really the plot, but the performances. Penn, Robbins, Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden (who plays Dave's wife, Celeste) are all fine actors that really make watching this movie fun. Most notably Harden's portrayal of a wife that is torn between her loyalty to her husband and her duty as a citizen to uphold the law. The movie has a great beginning and a fine ending. But the middle is a bit sloppy. It could have used some better editing to make the middle of the movie more taut. Other than that, the movie is pretty good. The mystery of who killed Jimmy's daughter is intriguing, but really makes for a tense thriller toward the 3rd act. People and critics are saying that this is the best movie of 2003. I don't really get that. It's a good movie. Just not a great movie. It isn't as good as some of my favorites of 2003, such as MATCHSTICK MEN or WHALE RIDER. Or even some of the popcorn flicks like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. But still, I recommend this. See it if just for the performances.
RATING: *** out of ****
Bringing Swashbuckling movies back
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL is truly an adventure that is worth 4 times the price of admission. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and a young blacksmith named Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) are after the fabled ship, The Black Pearl, after the dreadful crew lead by Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) kidnaps Will's main squeeze, Elizabeth Swann (played by the lovely Keira Knightley). On the way, Will learns that the Black Pearl used to belong to Jack, who lost it after Barbosa lead a mutiny against him. But, Jack is lucky, because soon after the Pearl was stolen from him, the crew had a nasty curse put upon them. Which makes them invincible, but turns them into skeletons in the moonlight. Not only that, but the crew needs the blood of a Turner (Will Turner!) to break the curse! This movie is an exciting, swashbuckling tale that doesn't fail to entertain you with eye popping battle scenes and asurbic wit. The running time is about 2 and a half hours, a bit long for a summer flick. But it doesn't bore you at all. The entire time your into the story and being dazzled by the action (and beauty of Keira Knightley). Movies like this aren't made...ever! When was the last time you saw a pirate movie? Cutthroat Island doesn't count! Anyway, this movie is one of the best of 2003 and manages to make pirates cool again.
RATING: **** out of ****
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?
Quentin Tarantino proves with "KILL BILL: VOL.1" that he really can do no wrong. Right from the opening sequence, you're strapped in and clutching the arm rest of your seat. KILL BILL is about The Bride aka Black Mamba's (Uma Thurman) odyssey of revenge. When she is beaten and left for dead by her fellow assassins on the order of her boss, Bill (David Carradine),on her wedding day, she goes into a coma only to awaken 4 years later, thirsty for vengeance. She makes a list of the people that betrayed her, and goes on a absurdly violent killing spree. The plot is very thin for this half of the show, but Tarantino promises a lot more dialog in "KILL BILL: VOL.2". The film's highlights are the way the movie unfolds. It isn't a linear story at all (with Tarantino, it never is), but it's still damn entertaining. We learn the origin of O-Shi-Ren (Lucy Liu) in a kick ass anime sequence. We see The Bride receive the weapon she will use on her quest from the man who trained her enemy. And we see the end all beat all of fight sequences in the showdown at the House of Blue Leaves, which promises to astonish and amaze. Something that I have always admired about Tarantino is his taste in music. He always seems to find the right song, be it a Japanese rock tune, or Mexican type surfer music, that fits the scene perfectly. The Nancy Sinatra song that plays over the opening credits is perfect and so is the rock song that plays during the House of Blue Leaves melee. The one problem is that the movie is way too short. Only 90 minutes. I would have preferred to see both volumes as one 3 hour long epic. But it does end on a great cliff hanger line that comes out of nowhere. I honestly can't describe with words the perfection of the fight scenes, from the screams of pain to those who've had their limbs chopped off, to the brilliant choreography. But I will say that this movie is definitely not for the faint of heart. The violence is extreme and over exaggerated. I went to see it with friends whom a few weren't used to insane violence and they cringed and covered their eyes. But me, and the others who have been desensitized, loved every blood soaked minute. A movie about vengeance has never been so intriguing. You really feel for this character and root for her as she seeks restitution from the people that took so much away from her (things I can't mention without spoiling the movie). Bill (or what is seen of him) is played very frightening and worthy of a slice from The Bride's samurai sword. All and all, this is a great movie that would probably reach the heights of perfection if seen as a whole.
RATING: ***1/2 out of ****
Matchstick Men (2003)
Get ready to pass out some Oscars...
My first thought when this film was over was 'Oh my God, I Love this movie'. The truth is, I've loved this movie sense I saw the trailer. Here's the details. Roy Waller (Nicholas Cage) is a neurotic 'Con-Artist' who's partner is Frank (Sam Rockwell). His life is turned upside down when his 14 year old daughter, Angela (played by the 24 year old Alison Lohman) comes into his life for the first time. The movie is mainly about Roy's getting used to having a daughter and juggling his career at the same time. This movie tugs at the ol' heart strings. The acting is superb. Especially the way Cage and Lohman bounce off each other. It's the stuff we go to the movies for in the first place. Ridley Scott is the director and he's not exactly known for dramadys like this. He is known for his epic action like 'Gladiator', 'Black Hawk Down' and 'Alien'. But he handles this like a pro. It's almost like Steven Soderbrough directed it. The movie is also very pretty to watch. It really gives Los Angeles it's due. I've always thought of it as a beautiful place, but never seen it correctly portrayed on film. The acting is really the highlight. Lohman is going places. Hopefully, we'll see some Oscar nominations for this movie. Even if it's for Cinematography, which was excellent. I can't really go into the specifics of why the movie was great without spoiling major plot points. All I can say that it is very character driven. But take it from me, this is a must see movie for anyone.
**** out of ****
Open Range (2003)
Hopefully this will revive the Western genre
Kevin Costner's Open Range has given me a new love. Western movies. The movie is so quaint and simple, it reminds us we don't need exploding astroids and car chases to enjoy a movie. Charlie and Boss (Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall) are cattle drivers who come across a band of cattle snatchers, who are also corrupting a small town. After their partners are attacked, Boss and Charlie take it upon themselves to liberate the town from the evil Marshall Denton Baxter (Micheal Gambon) and Sheriff Poole (James Russo). Also, Charlie is finding himself falling for the town nurse, Sue Barlow (Annette Benning). She really does have an old fashion beauty, like Mary Steenburgen had in 'Back to the Future Part III'. The whole time watching this, I wanted to go back in time, to the simpler life of the old west. Costner really paints a beautiful picture of the past. But Costner is not the star, Duvall (or Bobby D) owns this picture. He is really good as the hard ass old timer that knows how to rough a feller up. He should be nominated for an Oscar for this. He is certainly a man's actor. This movie should open the door for more good westerns, like the ones back in the 60's. Ones with A-list actors. All and all, a great epic of a movie.
**** out of ****
Better Off Dead... (1985)
One of the most creative movies of the 1980's
This movie exists on another plain of reality. The charm and soul of this picture is the fun and pure zany-ness of it. It's very much a live-action cartoon. There's not much to say about it then it's funny as hell. Savage Steve Holland should make more movies, and direct less episodes of 'Lizzie McGuire'.
*** out of ****
The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003)
Best Ending in Years
I was totally into PG2, so today I went over to the Archlight CineramaDome on Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood, CA to see the final result of 'The Battle of Shaker Heights'. The movie is about a 17 year old boy named Kelly (Shia LeBeouf) who re-enacts war battles in his spare time. He also works the night-shift at the local supermarket with his friend Sarah (Shiri Appleby) who seems to have a crush on him. The movie centers around the events that take place after Kelly meets a new friend, Bart (Eldon Henson) at one of his battles. He meets Bart's sister, Tabby (Amy Smart) and falls for her. Problem is she is 23 and engaged. The film tries to make what Kelly goes through, too melodramatic. Like everyone is getting all excited over nothing. The plot whizzes by pretty fast. You end up saying 'Well, why is Bart mad? Is that all? Seems like he's over-reacting). Alot of the movie is this, over-reacting. The script (written by Erica Beeny) could have been better served after a few more drafts. And a script doctor. The directors (Kyle Rankin & Efram Potelle) don't accomplish the task of making the movie funny. There are hardly any laughs. I remember only chuckling once, perhaps twice. But I didn't laugh. Neither did the audience I saw it with (which was pretty crowded for a 1:50pm show on a Wednesday afternoon. Don't people in Hollywood have jobs!?!) The show Project Greenlight, chronicled the making of the movie. And they rushed this movie into production (filming only took 3 weeks and editing 2 or 3) The movie defintely suffers because of it. If given more time to be developed, like other movies do, it would have been alot better. It had great potential. Not to say it was bad, it kept me entertained for an hour and a half. I was just disappointed though. It felt incomplete. But, the final shot of the movie made was worth the 11 bucks I shelled out for the ticket. When Kelly finally realizes he belongs with Sarah and walks off with her into the horizon, he jumps on her back and then she jumps on his. It was so sweet, and cute. A true portrait of young love. And the clencher was Peter Gabriel's song 'When You're Falling' playing in the background. It was a PERFECT moment, as the movie faded out. It's rather rare I love an ending so much. But anyway, Kyle & Efram are funny guys, and they should write their own stuff from now on. It's not great, its not bad. It's just OK.
RATING: ** out of ****
American Wedding (2003)
Makes me want another slice.
'American Wedding' loses alot of it's cast but it focuses on fewer characters which makes for a better movie. Jim (Jason Biggs) is getting married to band geek Michelle (Alison Hannigan). But all this means to Stifler (Seann W. Scott) is BACHOLER PARTY! Along the way we meet Michelle's younger sister Cadence (January Jones) who melts Stifler's heart and makes him more than a one-dimensional lunk head. The gags are still here, which will bring the teen audience, but also returning is the franchises ability to tell a good story that makes you care about the characters. By now, they feel like old friends. Some people think by now, they must of run out of steam. But I hope for an American Pie 4, perhaps with Jim becoming a dad. Maybe Stifler can plan the baby shower
RATING: *** out of ****
About a Boy (2002)
I love this movie
'About a Boy' is not what you'd expect from the people who brought you 'American Pie' and 'High Fidelity'. It has tremendous heart. Will (played by Hugh Grant) is a slacker who lives off royalties of his father's one hit song. Through a series of sleazy events (he joins a single parent group to meet loose chicks) he meets a boy named Marcus (Nicholas Hault) who is going through a crisis. His mom is suicidal and he realizes if she goes, he'll be all alone. So he starts hanging out with Will in an attempt to make a friend to lean on. Will takes to Marcus and becomes sort of a mentor of coolness (Marcus's mother is a hippie, so she doesn't know what's what). Eventually Will takes Marcus for granted and realizes that he is only a shell of a man, who is nothing without his friend Marcus. The movie's moral is 'No man is an Island' and that you need people in your life to make it worthwhile. From the directors of 'American Pie' and the Author of 'High Fidelity'. Hugh Grant is very charming in this and all the performances are wonderful. Stays very true to the great book, while changing the ending (which is better in the film). This a surprise movie that has become one of my favorites, because it's funny and heartwarming in a non-cornball kind of way.
**** out of ****
American Pie (1999)
Give me a slice!!
'American Pie' is one of those rare comedies that fools you into thinking it's a gross-out pointless bomb. But it isn't, it's actually filled with tremendous heart. Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are out to lose their virginity before their Senior year of High School is over. Along the way they get made fun of by Jock-Jerk Stifler (Seann William Scott) and seduced by forgien exchange students. While many gags are aimed torward teens the real stories lie in Kevin's difficulty in figuring out if he loves his girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid) or not. And Oz's shedding his Jock persona and signing up for Choir to prove to Heather (Mena Survari) how much she means to him. The ensemble cast (which includes Natasha Lyonne and Eugene Levy) also makes the movie such a joy to watch In the end, the adolecent mischief and curiousity regarding sex becomes unlikely entertainment for teens that are going through it and adults who want to remember.
RATING: *** out of ****
Hollywood Homicide (2003)
Ford is back in the saddle!
Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett (in a likeable role) are two cops who are investigating a murder at a local nightclub in (you guessed it) Hollywood, California. But they are also moonlighting as a Real Estate Agent and Yoga Instructor respectively. The movie takes a little while to get going, but after it does, its loads of fun. Ford does a good job and playing the can't-catch-a-break character of Joe Gavlian. He plays it so well that he can't help be lovable. And Hartnett's character isn't annoying, as was his previous characters. Their chemistry was never in question and if this were a perfect world, I'd like to see these two reprise their roles in a TV series. But the highlight of the film is the finale chase scene (the summer of 2003 should be nicknamed 'The summer of chase scenes'. Matrix Reloaded, Italian Job, T3, etc.). It goes from car to bike to foot, its very exciting, funny and madcap. I can't express how fun this movie is in words! But alas, the box-office didn't mirror the film's entertainment value. So adds another notch on the Harrison Ford belt of flops. But this should find life on DVD.
RATING: *** out of ****
I love films like this.
For some reason, this movie reminded me of Alec Baldwin's 'The Shadow'. I think there should be more movies about contemporary comic book characters. 'The League' isn't very true to it's source material. It adds characters and shifts roles as well as takes the plot in a different direction. The filmmakers' thought by instead of adapting the comic book, they'd take the concept of a crime fighting group consisting of classic literary characters into a direction all their own. And I liked that. Sean Connery is always wonderful, and is Alan Quartermain, famous explorer that discovered King Soloman's Mines. He is the main character here for obvious reasons. In the book it was Mina Harker played here with a delightful mysteriousness by Peta Wilson. Additions include Shane West as Agent Tom Sawyer from the U.S.A. I liked his character alot, especially his relationship with Quartermain. Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray, the immortal. I grew to like this character as well. But for reasons I can't explain without spoiling the picture. The film was good. Action on par and the excitement was tense. The wonder of this film is Dr.Jekell and Mr.Hyde played by Jason Flemying. The way Mr.Hyde was huge and brutish (like the Hulk) but still had a human face that talked intelligently made me gasp 'How did they do that!?!' And keep in mind, I NEVER do that. I'm a big film buff and have grown immune to special effect because of the knowledge I have of how they work and are executed. But that effect baffled me. While the story sags in the middle and the finale is a bit cliched, the movie is still enjoyable. Great summer movie fare.
RATING: *** out of ****
Quite possibly, the worst movie in the recent decade.
The opening credits weren't even finished by the time I deemed the movie ridiculous. It's paper thin plot revolves around a fallen angel (played by Demi Moore) that turned bad for some reason. It's never explained why she turned bad which highlights the movie's poor writing. Drew Barrymore is OBSESSED with coming off as a 'bag girl' by wearing punk band t-shirts, singing hard rock songs, and driving around in a monster truck for no apparent reason. Its pathetic. And its appalling how (if you view closely) the entire film is pieced together with gimmicks and ideas in other movies and TV shows. Most notably, when the angels show up at a dead person's house in full CSI gear while the CSI theme song blares in the background. Do they think we're stupid? The ridiculousness shows no bounds when the angels feel the need to pause in the middle of the movie and dance to MC Hammer's 'Can't touch this'. And in the most insulting scene, Demi Moore's character flies down a building and throughout the streets with no explanation on how or why she's flying while the angels are chasing her by swinging down with lights on wires a la Spider-Man. They totally ripped off the Super Hero genre, as well as every other genre that is popular nowadays. And that is something I can not forgive. McG, the director, is the definition of HACK, and has no creativity or vision. He just chose to exploit hot chicks and fast cars. I have no idea why he's still working. The film is just a huge fluff piece, with humor that only a 5 year old would laugh at. The only time I did laugh was at how juvenile and embarrassingly bad the jokes were. This is a movie to forget...Like NOW!
RATING: * out of ****
'Hulk' too big for his purple daisy dukes
I had the pleasure of seeing 'Hulk' in San Francisco, the city in which the film takes place. Now, many people thought the movie is slow, which it is, and boring, which it's not, and ultimately too brainy for average movie viewers to comprehend. The plot revolves around Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) who's character in this movie seems to go undefined, and his on/off gal pal Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly). In a freak lab accident (or so it seems), Banner is pelted with radioactive gamma rays that, when triggered by anger, transforms Banner into a giant green behemoth. The plot then unravels to show the involvement of Bruce's estranged father David (Nick Nolte). Also, Betty's father, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross (Sam Elliot) and Major Talbot (the sleek Josh Lucas), trying to find and contain Banner's destructive alter ego in hopes to replicate the formula to breed an army of Hulk-Soldiers to fight for Uncle Sam. I can't tell you much more then that without spoiling the rest of the movie. But, unlike the comic, this movie does not dwell on the exploits of the Hulk, but rather Banner's destructive and haunted past. And mostly on how the genesis of his power began. This movie is overly long at about 2 and a half hours, but the movie has merit as a movie unto it self. Bana's and especially Nolte's performances were extraordinary. Most notably in one of their final confrontations toward the end of the film. The Hulk looks very good, the CGI was wonderful. And the way the that director Ang Lee uses multi-angle sequences to pay homage to the multi-panel look of comic books was very refreshing. But in the quest to deliver a 'Greek Tragedy' of sorts, he forgot his target audience. The action movie junkies. The kids who watch cartoons on Saturday morning. This movie is too grown up for them to understand, or care about. That being said, the movie would have suffered alot less if it hadn't tried to be a thinking man's film. Finishing on a lighter note, I loved the cameo appearance of 'Hulk' creator Stan Lee and 'Incredible Hulk' TV star Lou Ferrigno as Security Guards. One hopes they will make a spin off film or TV series of their exploits
RATING: *** out of ****
When I first heard they were making 'Terminator 3' without James Cameron (the first two's co-writer and director) I immediately knew that this movie wouldn't come close to the the perfection that was 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day', a movie that in my mind is one of the greatest films ever made. So I put that out of my mind. But as the film neared release, I gained an excitement I didn't think would generate from the film. I became excited about it. It looked good. And while I didn't really think about it as the movie was being made, I had suddenly felt that this movie would be good enough to be recognized as a true edition to the franchise. Even with new writers and a new director. And my feeling paid off. While not as good as 'T2', the film is very impressive in its own right. Questions about the sequel were being answered. Like, why would more Terminators come back? Haven't we seen all there is to see? It even put new insight into the story of John Conner. I honestly didn't care what he was up to since the second movie, but now I did. Most importantly, it doesn't dwell on what the first two flicks did, which was 'Terminator chases heroes, heroes run away'. It propelled the story forward. The action was top notch and had one kick ass chase scene (every summer movie does nowadays, so it's a task to produce an exciting one). My favorite part was the T-X. The new Terminator in town, played by the beautiful Kristanna Loken, who's powers are far more advanced then previous Terminators. She played a big part in me enjoying the movie. While I'd like to highlight why, that would be spoiling it. Nick Stahl does a very convincing job at taking over the role of John Conner that was vacated by Ed Furlong. And the new addition to the pack, Kate Brewster (Clarie Danes) holds her own to make her character likeable and interesting. To be frank, I didn't think she'd have anything to bring to the table, but she proved me wrong. Overall, I was very pleased with all involved for making a worthwhile sequel, 12 years after the last movie was released! Keeping audiences interested, with such a gap in the story was a daunting task. But they delivered in spades. Even James Cameron was pleased with the result (and he hated Alien 3, he made Alien 2). So he isn't just saying that. The movie leaves open for a Terminator 4. As long as they continue to move forward with the story and not just repeat past gimmicks, I'm sure it will be good. To conclude, I love this film, and like it better than the first but not the second. I hope to see more of Kristanna in other movies...if you know what I mean
RATING: *** out of ****
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
2 Muddled 2 Enjoy
First of all, this film is not nearly as good as the original 'The Fast and the Furious', and the film's major flaws are the absence of original characters who were fun and interesting. Most notably, Vin Diesel. The thin plot centers around ex-cop Brian O'Conner (played by the very wooden Paul Walker) who is called back to infiltrate some sort of illegal operation. I'm not to sure what, because the plot was confusing. He gets to choose his partner and he selects a long lost buddy named Roman (played by the enjoyable Tyrese). This is where I'm guessing Vin Diesel would have returned. They are assisted by under cover agent Monica Clemente (played by the heavenly Eva Mendes). There is alot more racing in this one. But I'm not about the cars, I'm about the chicks. And the ladies don't get very much screen time. Which was another major flaw. Eva Mendes's character was undefined, first she's kissing Paul Walker and then suddenly the relationship is all platonic. I was like...wha? It's 100 minutes of racing and horrible acting from Paul Walker. Tyrese was fun to watch. I look forward to seeing him in other movies. As was Ludicris. John Singleton's directing was pretty good, but he didn't have much of a script to work with. As I stated before, the original is much better. Decent plot, hot chicks, all that good stuff. My advice to you is to avoid this movie like the plague.
RATING: *1/2 out of ****
Finding Nemo (2003)
The Pixar streak continues
Pixar manages to deliver another great film. 'Nemo' is about a father clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his journey to find his son, Nemo. Who was taken by a local dentist and brought to live in his fish tank. With the help of Dorry (Ellen DeGeneres) a fish with short term memory, he scowers the ocean meeting all sorts of colorful, funny, and sometimes scary creatures. As well as risking his fins over many a danger. A father's love and the peril he'd go through to find his son, also letting an offspring grow up, is the movie's ultimate point. And it is a beautiful one. The movie also manages to appeal to adult and kid alike. The movie is funny with jokes the whole family can enjoy, and any parent can tell you that that is rare. Its even good for a group of teens or adults to go see by themselves (which is rarer for a kid's film). As long as we have Pixar, we'll always have good family entertainment, or entertainment in general
RATING: **** out of ****
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Brilliant and inspiring
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is the janitor at the most prestigeous college in the country. He is also the most brilliant person there. He solves incredibly difficult equations in minutes, where it took others years to. He is well read in history, mathematics, and art. But spends his days drinking with his buddies. It is not until one of the professors (Stellan Skarsgard) discovers his genius, that his life starts to turn around for the better. But he also has alot of anger. As a part of Will's probation, he must see a shrink (Robin Williams). Will also meets a girl (Minnie Driver) that seems to be his soul mate. With the help of Sean the shrink and Will's best friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Will acknowledges his potential and his abandonment issues. This movie is very well written and acted. Most especially by Damon and Williams. It shows that even the most complex person can find solace and understanding in others, if he only opens up. The movie was nominated for 9 Academy awards, it was truly one of those special feel good movies that had a message. And has quickly become one of my favorite films.
RATING: **** out of ****
Down with Love (2003)
Enjoyable and silly
It's 1963, Barbara Novak's new book 'Down with Love' is causing a stir in households everywhere, with her views on how Love is a waste of time, but sex is ok. When hotshot columnist, Catcher Block hears about this, he decides to prove Novak wrong by getting her to fall in love with him. But it sort of blows up in his face when he starts to fall in love with her. This is all cute and romantic, but in the 3rd act it gets real silly. It does redeem itself when Catcher tries to prove he loves her. There are alot of campy jokes. Sex related in the vain of an 'Austin Powers' movie at times. But its fun to watch. David Hyde Pierce was funny in a non-frasier way. It should be a summer sleeper hit. But it wont be, its better off left a gem you find at Blockbuster.
RATING: **1/2 out of ****
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Good, albeit a little wishy washy
250,000 sentinels are drilling into the last human city of Zion, meanwhile their mainstake Neo is on a path that would lead to the salvation of the human race, or its ultimate destruction. This is the basic plot of 'Reloaded', and the movie likes to drag while expanding on the concept. But the movie does have alot of cool new characters. Like Persephone (Monica Bellucci), The Key Maker (Randall Duk Kim), Link (Harry J. Lennix), Niobe & Ghost (Jada Pinkett-Smith & Anthony Wong) and last but not least, the Marovingian (Lambert Wilson). Also I expected more from the Twins. The 'rave in Zion', I think was pretty cool. Very stylish. The action is real cool, the movie is good. But I think there should have been more plot. And more Agent Smith,the whole Agent Smith clone thing gets a little old after awhile. But its on par with big action blockbusters of our time. Maybe even better. Hopefully, 'Revolutions' will blow us away.