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Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Amusing sports comedy but language rules out younger children.
I first had the opportunity to watch this movie last year on an aircraft. It was probably just as well I didn't because half of the soundtrack would have been cut by the airline censor !
I eventually watched it yesterday on video, and found an amusing, entertaining movie with a traditional underdogs vs the big boys story line that was almost believable. Russell Crowe plays the captain of a remote Alaskan ice hockey team who gets the bad news that he has been dropped after 13 years only to find that they need him back the following scene to lead the team against the New York Rangers.
There are a lot of little sub stories, some of which work and some of which don't, but the upshot of it is that they get to play their heroes and manage to *****deleted by the censor*****.
The ensemble cast perform pretty well, and there are no major stars. However, I could not figure out what Burt Reynold's role really was, he was stuck somewhere between the doubting Thomas proved wrong and the father who reconciles with his son, but never really got to either.
On the whole worth watching for 2 hours if you can take the gratuitous swearwords which rule this film out for younger children (who probably would enjoy it), without really adding to the film. Why do they have to do this ?
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Excellent comedy kept me laughing all the way through.
This is an excellent comedy which kept me laughing all the way through consistently without the flat patches you often get in longer comedies.
The premise is not so unusual with Sandra Bullock playing an ugly duckling/Pygmalion turning into a swan, however, the performances, especially by Bullock, Caine, Shatner and Bergen make the film.
Bullock stars as the never been loved tomboy of the FBI who has to dump her coarse manners and unkempt appearance in order to go undercover at a beauty pageant. Michael Caine is the Dr Higgins figure grooming her for stardom. Shatner plays Shatner, and Bergen is the matron of the Pageant. Benjamin Bratt plays the love interest !
Bullock is excellent all the way through from uncouth to gorgeous, and is particularly stunning in her transformed self. Caine is also excellent and the interplay between these 2 and the cast in general makes for a lively pace all the way through, til the final crowning ceremony.
A thoroughly entertaining film and well worth seeing.
Vertical Limit (2000)
I went to see this movie primarily because it was filmed in New Zealand where I live, but was surprised to enjoy an excellent cliffhanger in both literally and figuratively.
The start is pretty spectacular and grips you immediately, and the film manages to hold you from then on until the final conclusion.
Some parts of the film are a bit unbelievable, but if you put them aside, it is excellent escapist entertainment. There are some good humorous touches, and the cast overall is very good, particularly Bill Paxton playing an excellent coward/baddy (again), and Scott Glenn, who I kept mistaking for David Carradine as he plays a very Caine-like part. Chris O'Donnell plays a very good hero, and Tem Morrison holds the flag for the locals as a Maori in Pakistan !
Overall, an excellent film I would thoroughly recommend.
Lake Placid (1999)
Neither funny or horrific, but over quickly.
My wife and I saw this movie on an in house TV channel whilst staying at hotel in Australia, and I am very glad we didn't pay to watch it. It is apparently a comedy/thriller but we found it neither.
The start is not too bad, but it goes downhill fast from then. Most of the cast appearing to realise what a clunker it is and act as such. The only slightly amusing part is that of the sheriff who gets the only decent lines. Bill Pulman, Oliver Platt and Bridget Fonda appear to be there only to collect the wages, and Betty White has an abysmal role as a foul mouthed old biddy which adds nothing to the film other than increasing the age of the rating.
There is little to laugh at, and very little suspense, and just when it seems like it might develop, the film is all over, one of the shortest feature films I have ever seen.