**** A Must See
*** Very Worthwhile
** Your basic average movie
My sincere apologies for not updating this page as of late. Believe me, I am still going to the movies. I have seen a number of good ones lately. Kevin Spacey for Oscar! The Green Mile gave me goose bumps! Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day--where's a good space time anomaly when you need one. Due to my time constraints, updates to this page will be far and few between. Just keep going to the movies. We have a new theater in Tucson with stadium seating so everyone has a good view. Not like the time some lady with a Marge Simpson hairdo sat right in front of me. Grrrrrr.
**** THE PHANTOM MENACE (STAR WARS EPISODE I) - The modern saga continues (6/8/99)
Time for my 2 cents on this matter. If you are a Star Wars fan, you will like this movie. If you tend to dislike science fiction anyway (most critics), you will not like this movie. You also will not like this movie if you cannot watch it through the eyes of a ten year old. This movie is for KIDS folks. Don't try to watch it looking for "The English Patient". I love the battle droids and have been looking for models of them everywhere to no avail. Am I the only one who loves these little critters. Cool. Now lets get to the racism thing. I did not see any racism in this movie, Lucas says there is no racism intended. The actors say no racism was intended. So get over it. Some people look for racism behind every door, and if you look hard enough you will probably find it. Some people are just overly sensitive about any perceived slight. The actor who plays Jar Jar Binks is black and says there was never any intention to play a racial stereotype. The racial thing aside, some people just simply didn't enjoy the Jar Jar Binks character, to the point of revulsion. I just didn't see it that way. He was hard to understand at times, but heck I have a hard time understanding British sitcoms that are exported to the U.S. Bitch about British accents if you want, but leave Jar Jar alone. I did not find the character annoying. I am sure he was intended for comic relief, he is the clown of the bunch, and that's the way I saw him. Free Jar Jar! This movie left me wanting more. Who is Sidius? What is his story. He looks and sounds suspicously like Senator Palpatine. But Palpatine eventually becomes the Emperor, so does Sidius eventually become the Emperor? Questions. Can't wait for episode II now.**** THE MUMMY - Not like your daddy's mummy (5/21/99)
Brendan Fraser is the guy to watch. He has made some excellent role choices as of late; Blast from the Past, George of the Jungle, Gods and Monsters, whoa. Can't keep up with this guy. Excellent twists on the familiar mummy theme. Special effects are first rate. A couple of surprises in the film. Very enjoyable flick. Fun. DVD candidate.**** THE MATRIX - Computer geeks wet dream (5/21/99)
People are always whining that there's nothing original in movie plots anymore. Well they haven't seen The Matrix. Keanu notwithstanding, this is a good movie. It's one of those where you are thinking right up to the end, like the movie Dark City. Action sequences are right up there with Terminator 2. Well worth watching. "Humans are a virus, and I am the cure". Love it. Definite addition to the DVD collection.** ANALYZE THIS - Gangster and Shrink humor. (5/21/99)
DeNiro is terrific. Billy Crystal is...Billy Crystal. A few yucks. DeNiro as the guilt ravaged gangster is hilarious. Billy's supposed comic highlight where he tries to act gangster-like was embarrasing. I like Billy Crystal. This wasn't his best. The best scene is early, when DeNiro is trying to close a stubborn trunk on a mob victim and he can't get it closed. He finally duck tapes it shut. Hilarious.
Gene Siskel has just died after a long bout with cancer. I will miss him. I don't believe "Siskel and Ebert" can exist without him. Ebert and ?????. Can't think of any name to plug in here that would make me happy.
**** OCTOBER SKY - Sputnik inspires boy to become NASA engineer. (2/24/99)
Siskel.... Ebert.... THUMBS UP.*** BLAST FROM THE PAST - More scene stealing from my childhood.
Siskel.... Ebert.... THUMBS UP.**** SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - Spielberg continues his quest to be the best.
Siskel....First 25 minutes is a flat out triumph. Terrific anti-war film that presents an open-eye look at war. Technically superb. THUMBS UP.** ZORRO -- The gay blade at it again.
Siskel....Liked Anthony Hopkins, didn't care for Antonio Banderas. THUMBS DOWN.*** ARMAGEDDON - More space debris.
Siskel....nonstop action and noise. Almost amusing. Michael Bay dares you to relax. Blaringly intense. WEIRD THUMBS UP.*** DR. DOLITTLE - More Eddie Murphy comedy.
Siskel.... Some gags work but the movie is ho-hum. Too much anal humor. THUMBS DOWN.*** THE X-FILES - More Mulder and Scully.
Siskel.... The movie is so good I now plan to watch the tv show. THUMBS UP.*** GODZILLA - King Kong revisited.
Siskel.... No terror in this movie. Used dialogue instead of action. The Siskel and Ebert parody was petty. THUMBS DOWN.
*** DEEP IMPACT - New York City gets swamped by a 1000 foot tidal wave.
Siskel.... Writing rescued the standard plot; Duvall and Freeman are good. Not as good as I would have liked. MARGINAL THUMBS UP.
** BLACK DOG - If you like 18-wheeling, you'll love this movie.
Siskel.... NOT REVIEWED.
** ODD COUPLE II - Should have left well enough alone.
Siskel.... Pathetic. Not a witty moment in the script. BIG THUMBS DOWN.** MY GIANT - Billy Crystal should stick with the Oscars and Comedy Relief.
Siskel.... Cheap sentimentality. Even worse than Odd Couple II. BIG THUMBS DOWN.** LOST IN SPACE - This movie coulda been a contender.
Siskel.... Boring. Standard outer space soap opera. THUMBS DOWN.**** TITANIC - The most spectacular movie since Ben Hur
Siskel.... This movie is a masterstroke of story telling. Leonard Dicaprio is absolutely transcendent and totally captivating. THUMBS UP
**** AMISTAD - Steven Spielberg doing his usual terrific work
Siskel.... An impressive, serious movie. Take your kids. STRONG THUMBS UP
**** GOOD WILL HUNTING - Screenplay written by a couple of 20-year olds
Siskel.... Emotionally uplifting. Extremely well acted BIG THUMBS UP
**** AS GOOD AS IT GETS - Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear romp it up
Siskel.... A wonderful film from James L. Brooks. Helen Hunt is delightful. A lot of heart in the story. THUMBS UP
**** INDEPENDENCE DAY - The movie of 1997
First time I saw this movie I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. Had to go back three more times to get it all in. I normally don't care too much for Jeff Goldblum but the rapport with Will Smith makes this movie more palatable and I actually liked Jeff in this one. There is just no stopping Will Smith. I love the scene where Will punches the alien in the face and says 'Welcome to Earth'. Judd Hirsch is good and I can't leave without complimenting Bill Pullman for his performance. The critics lambasted his 'president's' rallying speech near the end of the movie; they must be jaded because it was very moving to me. And besides Bill is from my hometown of Hornell, New York; probably the only famous actor to be from Hornell (actually, Bob Crane, from Hogan's Heroes fame, was also from Hornell). He returned for a hometown visit recently and from all accounts was a real down-to-earth person, who has not been perverted by fame, fortune or Hollywood. (I have this on laserdisc.)
*** THE POSTMAN - An interesting post-apocalyptic view of the future
This movie has gotten terrible press, and I don't know why. Do the critics hate Kevin Costner or what. This is a good movie. A bit long (3 hours +) and a little slow in places, but not the dog the reviewers make it out to be. The story is quite interesting; the book was good and the screenplay is well done. I love the sweeping panoramic outdoor shots which fill this movie, including the final battle scene with Costner's thousands facing the bad guy's thousands. I give Costner credit for not doing formula movies just to make money, which he obviously could. He takes chances and he has vision. (Future laserdisc purchase)
*** TOMORROW NEVER DIES - The second Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan
The critics are saying that maybe Bond has run its course. Maybe not guys, the movie has grossed over 100 M so far; not peanuts. Brosnan is the best Bond since Connery and just keeps getting better. I will never tire of the gadgets, cars, and neat spy stuff that James Bond uses, and this one is full of them. But then I'm 49 going on 14. (Future laserdisc purchase)
*** THE FULL MONTY - A low budget British import that is very funny stuff
A fun movie if you can keep up with the accents. Box office should be better for this one too, but maybe people just don't know it's out there. Even so, it will make money for the producers. At least it got nominated for a Golden Globe, but didn't have a chance against the terrific competition.
*** L.A. CONFIDENTIAL - Finally a movie the critics and I agree on
The critics like this movie, apparently more than the public based on its box office. A very 40's movie. Detectives, plot twists, and plain good acting make this a good one. The Australian actor Guy Pierce (once seen as a drag queen in 1994's 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert') is definitely a standout along with Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe. This is definitely a better movie than the box office demonstrates. This is a movie my mother would like. Won a Golden Globe for best actress in a drama.
*** BOOGIE NIGHTS - Definitely not everyone's cup of tea
The graphic shots of people performing for the porno cameras may make some people blush. Apparently they have never seen the real thing. In my audience the loudest laughs came from the senior citizens watching, including a high number of little ol ladies, bless their hearts! Burt Reynolds is just terrific as the head porno dude. When he loses his temper and blows up at his star Dirk Diggler, you can just FEEL IT! Deserves an Oscar nomination. Yes, Burt Reynolds of 'Smokey and the Bandit' fame. And Marky Mark, the boy can definitely do more than just model underwear (he models prosthetics in this movie). Just terrific stuff. This is NOT a movie my mother would like. Burt won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor, go Burt!
*** THE FIFTH ELEMENT - A Bruce Willis Sci-fi
Another movie the critics were not kind to. I loved it. Saw it three times at the theater. Chris Tucker as the crazed disc jockey is an absolute riot. Must have been on uppers for this one. Will we see more of Chris Tucker? Yes, yes, yes. (I have this on laserdisc.)
*** LIAR, LIAR - The best Jim Carrey movie
I am not a big Jim Carrey fan, never cared for Jerry Lewis either. But this movie has a LOT of laughs. The courtroom finale is a gut-buster. And the outtakes at the end are as funny as anything in the movie. I remember watching Jim Carrey on the very first episodes of the TV show 'In Living Color' and I said then that this was the guy. This was the guy out of the entire cast that was going to make it big. (See I told you so.)
*** STARSHIP TROOPERS - A sci-fi full of big bugs
I love science fiction, so I rarely see a bad one. I guess most people just don't get the satire on fascism in this one. But even if not, there are some great effects with the big bugs. I especially like the giant ones that unearth themselves and spit gallons of acid at their victims, and the bugs that spray bug spittle into space to shoot down invading space vehicles. A total biological weapon. Cool. (Future laserdisc purchase.)
*** CON-AIR and AIR FORCE ONE - Two action movies centered around airplanes
I grouped these two together because they both involve aircraft and tons of action. Together they were the best two action movies of summer, 1997. If you like aircraft, explosions and non-stop action you will like both of these. Yes Virginia, the plots are a little strained in places and Air Force One doesn't really have an escape pod but these are just movies so GET A LIFE! (I have both of these on laserdisc.)
** FLUBBER - Typical Disney non-offensive movie
Although I think Robin Williams is an actor of the first caliber, this movie certainly doesn't showcase his talents. But still, a funny little piece of fluff. The kids will love it (the $85 M box office says it all). Innocuous.
** MOUSE HUNT - More Disney fluff
Nathan Lane and the British comedian Lee Evans make a good team, in the nature of the three stooges (the mouse makes three). Lots of sight gags and slapstick ably done. The auction is fairly hilarious. I saw Lee Evans guest on Johnny Carson, oops Jay Leno, the other night and he was absolutely manic. Kind of like a British Robin Williams. I think we will see more of him.
** ALIENS IV - Sigourney Weaver butching it up again
Definitely better than III. I and II are still the best with II winning the prize for me. No really memorable roles in this one but some neat effects and who can resist Sigourney's butch act.
** HARD RAIN - Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman get all wet
More water than Titanic! I felt water logged after seeing this movie, not a single dry shot in the entire movie. Adequate action movie. I liked the jet skis cruising through the high school. And Ed Asner, where the heck did he come from? Minnie Driver again; first Good Will Hunting and now this. No sex in this one though.
As you can see I don't give too many movies a single star. I love movies and can find something worthwhile in ALMOST anything. I don't think I have seen more than 5 one-star movies in my entire life. These are typically movies that I walk out on. However, to prove there are one-star movies in my opinion I present the following.
* THE ENGLISH PATIENT - Wished he had died
Put me to sleep. Walked out with an hour to go, and this one won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Yuck. I thought I must have been the only person around with this opinion, and then who should announce her dislike of the movie? None other than Elaine Benis (aka Julia Louise Dreyfuss). Thank you Seinfeld. I am NOT ALONE!
* COCTAIL - The worst Tom Cruise movie.
Don't get me wrong. I like Tom Cruise. But he always plays the same character-- he is always loud, arrogant, cocky, pushy, over the top testosteroned. Just the kind of person in real life that turns me off. That character works for a hot jock fighter pilot, because in real life they are just like that. He is a good actor ("Born on the Fourth of July", "A Few Good Men"). But this was just one too many of same characterisations for me. Somewhere in the middle of the movie he gets on his petulant high horse and acts so immature that I couldn't bear to watch it. I stopped the tape, rewound it and took it back to the video store.
* NATURAL BORN KILLERS - Sick
This comes as close to an argument against free expression as I have ever seen. Satire or not, the violence in this movie will, or should, make you sick. I like violence in my movies as much as the next guy, but this is.....it's just too much. I watched about half an hour, became totally revulsed, and rewound it. Horribly demented flick.