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Movies by You

Feb. 4th, 2004

01:33 pm - CHARLIE ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE

Starring: Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Bernie Mac
Rating: PG-13

Stars: .75/4
The first one was fun. You just had to suspend disbelief slightly and it was an enjoyable fun film.

Full Throttle however was the biggest pile of *&^%... Maybe that's a bit strong, but from the offset, the stunts weren't even vaguely believable even in the context of the film. The effects were appalling, so much so that in many cases it looked like the angels weren't actually in the scene and were just standing in front of it. The 'dramatic' pauses in the fight scenes had exactly the opposite effect, just showing up the poor quality.

As for the plot, well, as I saw the film there were a load of scenes they decided on, such as a bit on a boat, a roof-top scene, a car bit, etc. then rather than linking them, they just cut straight between them without any concern.

For me it was just bad, it wasn't even a light-hearted bit of entertainment. I wish I could get my money back.

01:07 pm - BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

Starring: Parminder K. Nagra, Keira Knightley
Rating: PG-13
Stars: ¾

For a comedy, the film confronts some serious subjects, such as loyalty to friends and family; dealing with the expectations others have of you, while trying to be true to yourself; the role of women, in the home and in the man’s world of sports; cultural pride versus multiculturalism; and balancing traditional values and modern self-expression.
Although the Indian culture at the heart of the film may be unfamiliar, or even entirely alien, there is no mistaking the fact that what we’re seeing is something universal - the dynamics of children and parents, older generation and the young - in other words, this is a family. And ultimately, that’s what Beckham is about, family and the love that holds it together. Love resilient enough to forgive and deep enough to sacrifice for the sake of those you love. In the end, it’s that forgiveness and sacrifice of love that anyone can identify with, and will leave you loving the movie.
If you're looking for a light, fun movie you won't go wrong with this one.

01:05 pm - BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE

Starring: Michael Moore
Rating: R
Stars: 3.5/4

There are no stars, only Moore traveling the country and talking to real people. This documentary gives every viewer a reality-check on many topics including gun control, racism, U.S. history and the story of Columbine High School and its aftershock felt around the country. You may find some scenes disturbing while others are actually amusing, which is hard to believe since Moore is focusing on guns and violence.
There are many shocking moments, even footage from inside Columbine from school video cameras, and interviews with students who faced the tragedy. This movie tries to analyze our gun culture and why teenagers would take such drastic action. While it doesn't answer the questions, it raises many issues and will help you look at our country differently.

The real Beauty behind Bowling for Columbine is how the movie, while traversing multiple "Isolated" incidents, begins to paint a much larger picture. Geniously crafted, intelligent humor breaks up the serious subjects, but leaving a feeling of "should I have laughed at that?". Simple questions asked across various interviews and issues bring to life a picture without ever saying a word directly. The individual decides what they'll take away from this movie in the end. Simply put, this film will leave you contemplating what you already understand or have yet to consider about the world we live in.

01:02 pm - THE HARD WORD

Starring: Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Robert Taylor, Joel Edgerton, Damien Richardson
Rating:R

Stars: ¾
I really liked this movie, though it should have been called, in all honesty, The Australian Job. Thats's not to say it doesn't work, because it does. There's action, drama and enough humor to appeal to all tastes. I think the one thing that made this movie stand out were some of the amazing performances from the actors that played the three brothers (Guy Pearce,Damien Richardson, andJoel Edgerton).

This is a hugely enjoyable movie and well worth sitting down to.

12:43 pm - CAT IN THE HAT

Rating: PG
Starring: Mike Meyers, Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston

Score: 1/4

You can clearly tell where Dr. Seuss ends and the scriptwriters begin. Adults and parents who are fans of the book may be disappointed. Sure, there are lessons and positive points made about telling the truth, learning to have fun and staying out of mischief, but it’s hard to remember those lessons or walk away with those truths when you’re exhausted from the frenetic pace the movie maintains until the end. Although Myers completes the task and lessons are learned, it’s the process and what he teaches them along the way that I’m not so sure would earn Dr. Seuss' approval.

I think Matt Broderick (originally considered for the role) would have brought so much more life to the character...I felt like I was watching Cat in the Hat (Austin Powers 4) with the "evil laugh and gasp" that are both very apparent in the Austin movies. I thought a few of the jokes were inappropriate for kids...and I'm 24, not some 40-yr-old mom who has a problem with every little indiscretion! I was just unimpressed, not as good as I thought it would be...

As for Mike Myers as the Cat. It has some funny moments, but just as many weird or "awkward" ones. Also, he never nails down one personality/voice to use for the Cat. I thought the make up looked cool, but one minute he's Mike Myers, then George Nelson Riley, then the Coffee Talk lady, then in drag wearing a coconut bra, etc.

All the double entendres and adult jokes (they bleep out the B-word, they use an acronom that spells out the S-word, stops short of saying ass, there is a rave scene, and The Cat refers to a garden utensil as a "dirty hoe" licks it and then winks becasue he knows it's wrong to say in a kids movie --. It doesn't belong anywhere near a film supposedly based on a classic children's book. I think parents should save the admission price and just buy a nice copy of the Dr. Seuss book.

11:49 am - MYSTIC RIVER

Director: Clint Eastwood
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Judie Hoyt, Robert Lorenz
Actors: Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Rating: 3/4

This is definitely an adult murder mystery that is dark, depressing and probably not for everyone. While I appreciate a good murder mystery this isn’t as “great” a movie as the book was. While the ending is understandable, I found it to be depressing and disturbing, leaving me with mixed emotions at how justice was served. It’s not unusual for Hollywood to tackle child abuse, murder or vengeance. But this film tackles something more – it shows how one event can not only shape your life, but wreck it in an instant.

Although the central event in the plot is the brutal murder of a teenage girl, the movie focuses on its emotional aftermath. Lifelong friends become suspicious of one another. A wife doubts her husband's honesty, then his sanity. Vigilantes try to take the law into their hands, and end up making everything worse.

Sean Penn is also great as reformed ex-con Jimmy Markum. His anguished intensity has rarely been better, but it's not a one-trick pony. There's a humanity to his grieving father that's real. And his desire for vengeance is tempered by his desire to leave his unsavory past behind. Which choice he'll choose serves as one of the movie's primary conflicts.

If you're in the mood for a mature film, you won't go wrong here.

Jan. 28th, 2004

02:31 pm - LEGALLY BLONDE 2

PG-13
Starring: Reese Witherspoon
Director: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

STARS: 2.75/4

Legally Blonde 2 is much like the first one. Girl sets out to do something no one thinks she can do. Yet, even knowing that it will be so similar, it still comes off as fresh and amusing. Why mess with a formula that worked so well the first time?

True, there are parts that are cliche or overdone. And Elle is still caught up in things that might seem superficial---this time planning "THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY!!!" But she also has a heart that is willing to accept all people despite her superficial exterior. Reese is still cute and perky as the ever-hopeful Elle, and really brings the screen to life, in my opinion.

Of course, I don't know many guys who enjoyed this movie. But if you enjoyed the first one, I think you'll like the second one. It's motivating, cute, and funny--an excellent combination.

Jan. 13th, 2004

01:37 am - CORKY ROMANO

Comedy, PG-13

Starring: Chris Katan, Peter Falk, Peter Berg, Chris Penn...

Director: Rob Pritts

Stars: 2/4

Humorous. There are moments when I wanted to cry I was laughing so hard. The second time I saw the movie, I still laughed hard. The main point of the movie is to make you giggle--it succeeds.

However, some of the acting is a little... well, not the best I've seen. Even in an entirely senseless comedy, I've seen better acting. Other than Chris Katan, the humor by some of the actors can seem forced at times.

The other problem would be that the plot of course is not very original. Yet, once again, it can still make you laugh.  The script tries to throw in some warmfuzzy moments, with cutesy messages; it doesn't work.

But, overall, it makes you laugh. So if that's all you want from a movie, this might be a good try.

Jan. 12th, 2004

04:44 pm - Lord of the Rings


Title: The Lord of the Rings
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy/Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Stars: 4/4

I say 'The Lord of the Rings' as a whole instead of reviewing each individual movie, because it is all one story, and each segment does not, nor cannot, stand alone.

The films are not exact portrayals of the books. Director Peter Jackson, who co-wrote the script along with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, did from time to time excercise the right of artistic liscence. But when all three films are put together, as they are meant to be, it is clear that Jackson did what directors are taught to do: he found his vision, and he put it on the screen.

A cast comprised of names as big as Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler, and as unknown (at the time of course, for this movie has transformed all cast members into household names) as Billy Boyd and Orlando Bloom, every single performance is worthy of praise, for every actor (even Andy Serkis who acted nearly all of his character only through voice and motion capture), literally became their character, playing Tolkien's Elves, Hobbits, and other fantastical creatures in ways that make the audience forget these races are fiction. The CG staff flawlessly created montrous elephantine creatures and walking, talking, trees, that are only obviously CG because such things do not actually exist, while the make-up and costuming crews brought forth Elves beautiful beyond mortality, and Orcs grotesque beyond your worst nightmare. The camera crews combined minature sets with sound stages, and on-location shots to create an entirely new and vast world that is entirely believable. Add all of these elements together for something so overwhelming it's hard to believe it's not real.

Most importantly, however, Jackson did in his films what Tolkien did in his books: everything he put into his movies was there for a reason. At the end of The Return of the King audiences have seen one movie, over nine hours long, that answers all the questions posed in the beginning. Every place, prop, costume, and person were given details that might not ever be picked up by the camera in order to create Jackon's personal vision of what Tolkien wrote. No, he did not stick exactly to the books, but he did take over a thousand pages of text, and pull out a story and highlight themes that everyone has felt in some way or another, and gave them all the attention they needed and more to make the unbelievable absolutely believable to anyone who wants to believe.

Current Mood: calmcalm

04:11 pm - FREAKY FRIDAY

Comedy, PG

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsey Lohan

Director: Mark Waters

3/4 stars.

This was my favorite book in elementary school, so I had high standards going into it. And it met most of them. The movie stuck pretty close to the book, something many kids will probably be able to tell you. The acting was pretty good for the most part. Lindsey Lohan as the mother sometimes seemed a bit forced, but for someone who has obviously never been a mother or even reached the age of 20, it was decent.

Definitely comedic, sometimes frustrating --- but only because you see the mother & daughter's complete incompetence of being in each other's place. A thoughtful message about being in another's shoes that will be able to come across to even the youngest viewer at least somewhat.

Of course, as a Disney movie, it has a cheesey, maybe overdone ending. But not the worst cheesey ending in the world and, really, it suits the movie.

02:08 pm - THE ITALIAN JOB

Action, PG-13

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Donald Sutherland

Director: F. Gary Gray

3/4 stars.

Strangely fascinating. Wasn't interested at first, but after hearing all the hype, I decided to rent it. I'm not sure if it was the suspense or just the coolness of watching thefts being done by people who seem to know what they're doing, but I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. Drama, suspense, and even humor brought by the sidekicks mostly.

Plus if you like watching high-speed wicked cool driving, you'll see that in here as well. If you like explosives, you'll see that. If you like computer hacking wizards, there's that. Pretty much every cool criminal is in this movie, all working together and it's sweet.

Edward Norton was even pretty good as a bad guy and I haven't seen him like that very often. Of course the acting by most everyone was excellent---since you know they all are mostly big names who have been in a "few" movies here and there.

02:03 am - GIGLI

Romantic comedy, R

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez

Director: Martin Brest

1.5/4 stars, maybe 2

Okay, let me start by saying this movie is not completely horrible. Not the best flick either has done, but not horrible.

People expected it to be awful, and thus all thought it was. I went in with no expectations and came out surprisingly pleased. Of course, it's not my new favorite movie, but it was slightly entertaining.

I think the problem with this movie is that it lacks a real plot. Or at least the plot that it has does not draw in the audience much. I could almost care less what happened to Ben Affleck or Jennifer Lopez's character in the long run, whether their romance works out [in the movie] or not. It's definitely choppy, with weird interruptions in the movie that don't quite seem to fit.

The movie is more of a character study though, showing the interactions of different people in what is their everyday life. It reminded me quite a bit of an independent film, not a huge blockbuster that either actor would normally make---perhaps why it bombed at the box office. Both actors are also playing out of character by playing tough gangster "hit men" who curse and talk about sex mostly. A lot.

Yet there is something that kept me watching to the end. Maybe there really is some chemistry between the two. Maybe the plot drew me in more than I thought. But what I think it was---the character of Brian. A brain damaged young man played by Justin Bartha, the character is charming, loveable, and the main comedic touch to the movie. You do laugh at his "comedic" lines. You do enjoy watching his interactions with the world around him, with angry Larry [Ben Affleck] and toughbutsweet Ricki [Lopez]. You do end up caring what happens to him by the end of the movie. His character brings a life and light to the movie that would have been missing. He is what makes this "a watchable bad movie," to quote Entertainment Weekly.

So overall, it's not the best film I've ever seen. But also definitely not the worst. While some people hated it, I feel that it was worth the $3 I spent to rent it. Not horrible, not horrible at all.

01:58 am - UPTOWN GIRLS

Comedy - PG 13

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning

Director: Boaz Yakin

2/4 stars

Of course, this movie has little real substance, besides a "lesson" learned by Molly Gunn, Brittany Murphy's character, by the end of the movie. However, the acting is humorous---from Brittany Murphy's spoiled childish character to Dakota Fanning's neurotic portrayal of a lonely kid. The plot could use a few boosts now and then, dragging through the middle. Brittany Murphy's likeability and charm, even when being an upscale spoiled brat, is what carries this movie, with a little help by Dakota Fanning.

But, for many girls and maybe some guys, all this can be overlooked by the complete cuteness of the flick. Not a brainbuster, for sure... no one really expected it to be. Yet if you are looking for a feel-good, "warm fuzzy" movie, you'll enjoy it. Maybe it wasn't worth the $8 to see it in theaters, but as long as you like this genre, it'll probably be worth the $3 to rent it.

01:43 am - S.W.A.T.

Action, Crime, Thriller

PG-13, mostly for violence

Starring:
Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeremy Renner, LL Cool J, Josh Charles, Oliver Martinez, Ashley Scott

Director: Clark Johnson

3/4 stars

Like any action film, the characters aren't developed very much at the beginning. However, while in some films this wouldn't work, it does okay in this movie. The characters and their interactions as a team are developed just enough to make you want them to live---a crucial element of getting the audience involved.

The plot, also, excellently draws the viewer into the movie by maintaining a high level of tension for pretty much the entire second half of the ending. Beginning with some light comedy and ending with a few twists, you won't want to get up till you know what happens to the "bad guy[s]."

Finally, the acting & the script are excellent in the fact that the movie seems like hey maybe this is what life on LAPD SWAT is really like. Most action movies glorify or overdramatize whatever force the "good guys" might be on, but, with a few exceptions, this movie at least seems to be realistic.

Or, at least as realistic as a movie can be.

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