Amazon.com is also a great place to buy and has a free shipping program.
"American Beauty" - Drama with Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney. Director: Sam Mendes.
Plot Intro: Reminiscences of a dead man who looks back on a marriage that was falling apart and on the loss of male identity.
Review: Winner of Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor (Spacey), Best Director (Mendes). Bening was nominated for Best Actress. Be aware that there is some nudity.
"American Beauty" at Amazon.com."American Pie" - Comedy with Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Shannon Elizabeth, Tara Reid, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge.
Plot Intro: Four high school classmates make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.
Review: Funny, sometimes gross, teen comedy.
Warning: Some nudity.
"American Pie" at Amazon.com"Analyze This" - Comedy with Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow.
Plot Intro: A Mafioso needs psychiatric counseling after getting shot at.
Review: Robert DeNiro is great. Billy Crystal does very good as "straight man," though he gets a few scenes where he does a mini-stand-up routine. Very funny.
Warning: May be too much foul language for some.
My Review of "Analyze That" (2002) "Analyze This" at Amazon.com"Anna and the King" - Drama with Jodie Foster, Yun-Fat Chow, Ling Bai, Tom Felton.
Plot Intro: A teacher and her son from England move to Siam (Thailand) in the middle of the 19th century. She becomes the tutor of the king's children and forms a close friendship with him and his family. The British are at it again. They are attempting to overthrow the king and take over.
Review: This film is more of a politically-conscious movie than other versions. The king and his family at least are portrayed by people from Asia. And the attempt to overthrow the king is clearly portrayed. Foster can do drama, but she sure cannot do a British accent. The boy who plays her son eventually plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. Recommended.
"Anna and the King" at Amazon.com"Being John Malkovich" - Comedy with John Malkovich, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Mary Kay Place, Catherine Keener, Orson Bean. Written by Charlie Kaufman. Directed by Spike Jonze.
Plot Intro: A man discovers a small door in his office. He crawls into it and discovers that the slimy passage leads into John Malkovich's brain.
Review: Kind of weird, but at the same time entertaining. The scene when Malkovich himself goes into his own brain is inspired. The ending is perfect for the plot.
"Being John Malkovich" at Amazon.com"The Best Man" - Romantic comedy with Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut.
Plot Intro: Before he appears as best man in a wedding, an early copy of his book — most of which seems to be based on events in the lives of those at the wedding — is discovered and makes the rounds.
Review: Fun to watch.
"The Best Man" at Amazon.com"The Blair Witch Project" - Horror.
Plot Intro: Three people follow a trail into the woods in Maryland in order to film a documentary about a Blair Witch. They are never found again.
Review: A horror of a movie. I kept waiting for it to get scary. The final scene was more disturbing than scary.
Caveat: I want to make sure to let everyone know that this movie is in the list only because it had so much word of mouth and press. I will probably never watch this film again. I regret money and the two hours I spent watching it once. Can the makers of this film do one thing for me — give me back those two hours?
Rating: (That's zero stars; is it possible to give negative stars?). "Bowfinger" - Comedy with Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski.
Plot Intro: The head of an independent film company, Bowfinger (played by Steve Martin) makes a film in order to keep his troupe of actors together. They include a famous actor (played by Eddie Murphy) without getting him under contract.
Review: Hilarious. Highly recommended. No nudity. Very little foul language.
"Bowfinger" at Amazon.com"Edtv" - Romantic comedy/drama with Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Hurley, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Clint Howard. Directed by Ron Howard. AKA "Ed TV".
Plot Intro: A video store employee is chosen for a 24-7 reality show. It turns his life upside down, and he eventually wants out of the contract.
Review: An early "what if" for the reality show craze. First half has some humorous and interesting parts, but the film changes tone when it starts to move toward the point that he wants out of his contract. The way the film is resolved could be better.
"Edtv" at Amazon.com."Election" - Comedy with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.
Plot Intro: A film about a high school government election. An anal-retentive, overly goal-oriented student scares a teacher into some desperate acts.
Review: One way to look at it: a study in how a person can separate himself from his morals and standards at work and at home. Very funny at times.
Warning: Only for adults due to content and language.
"Election" at Amazon.com"Galaxy Quest" - Comedy with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver.
Plot Intro: The crew of a science fiction TV show are mistaken for the real thing by a group of aliens that are being attacked by a very aggressive group of aliens.
Review: Very humorous. Many times it is laugh out loud funny. Very well done for what it is attempting to do. The special effects are very good, too. The film was released in December, 1999, but the DVD was released in the summer of 2000. So I have the review in the sections for 1999 and 2000.
"Galaxy Quest" at Amazon.com"Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai" - Drama with Forest Whitaker.
Plot Intro: A contract killer is the target for elimination by the mafia.
Review: Kind of slow at times, but it builds towards the end.
"Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai" at Amazon.com"The Green Mile" - Drama with Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Patricia Clarkson, Bonnie Hunt.
Plot Intro: A convicted criminal on death row has an impact on all the people with whom he comes in contact.
Review: A long film with some unsavory moments has a nice ending. Duncan is great.
"The Green Mile" at Amazon.com"An Ideal Husband" - Romantic Comedy with Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett.
Plot Intro: A single man (Everett) and woman (Driver) and a married couple discover who may be the ideal husband.
Review: Very enjoyable and entertaining. Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett are worth seeing the film. The costumes, set design, and dialogue are all top notch.
"An Ideal Husband" at Amazon.com My review of 'An Ideal Husband' (1947)"The Insider" - Drama with Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Lindsay Crouse, Rip Torn.
Plot Intro: A research scientist, Jeffrey Wigand, is fired for no cause from one of the tobacco companies. He is then harassed and his family is threatened in order to coerce him to keep him quiet about what he knows about the tobacco industry. This drives him to testify as an expert witness in court. He is wooed by a producer for the CBS show "60 Minutes" to do an interview with Dan Rather. But after he is interviewed by Rather, the network pulls the plug on it being aired after receiving threats from the legal department of the tobacco company.
Review: Based on the true story of Suspenseful. Very effective. The is one film where Crowe shows that he is equal to any of the other stars on the screen. He is playing a completely different character than he has played in his other films. It is difficult to conceive why the tobacco industry treated him the way they did. Their tactics reminded me very much of how the KKK treated African-Americans in the South. Is there something in people that allows them to automatically fall into this behavior? Also, what did the tobacco industry think that he was going to do? They effectively took away all of his options. They made it plain that his life and the lives of his family were worthless whether or not he testified or was interviewed. How could he have lived the rest of his life constantly under threat? The only way to stop the threats was to take away the reason for the threats, to call the tobacco company's bluff.
"The Insider" at Amazon.com"Inspector Gadget" - With Matthew Broderick, Joely Fisher, Rupert Everett, Michelle Trachtenberg, Andy Dick, Cheri Oteri, Dabney Coleman, Rene Auberjenois, Mr. T, Richard Kiel.
Plot Intro: A security guard is nearly killed in an explosion. He is made part of a robotic experiment.
Review: A kid's cartoony version of Robocop. The cartoon is fun to watch. This movie is not. Might be fun for young children.
"Inspector Gadget" at Amazon.com"The Iron Giant" - Animated feature with voices of Jennifer Anniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, Cloris Leachman, M Emmett Walsh, John Mahoney.
Plot Intro: A huge mechanical monster is befriended by a boy in the paranoid 1950s.
Review: Excellent animated film. Excellent animation and story.
"The Iron Giant" at Amazon.com"Knotting Hill" - With Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts.
Plot Intro: A movie star accidentally walks into a London bookstore. She finds more than books.
Review: When I first viewed this film, I was annoyed at how the Roberts character acted. I've seen it a several times since then, and I've come to understand her. I was viewing "Roman Holiday" recently, and I realized that there were definite similarities in the plots. In "Roman Holiday", Peck is a reporter who acts like he isn't, and in "Knotting Hill" Grant is not a reporter who acts like he is. Both films end in a press conference. Both films are about a man who is at a lower level in society having a relationship with a woman who is considered to be at a different level. It's possible that it's kind of like how "Clueless" is an updating of "Emma". Not necessarily a remake down to every detail. I haven't seen this comparison anywhere else, though I haven't actually started to look.
"Knotting Hill" at Amazon.com"Mansfield Park" - Romantic comedy.
Plot Intro: A poor young relation is sent to live with her very rich relations. She is treated as a servant. As she grows up, she develops the ability to develop a good story and becomes a writer.
Review: One of my favorite films of the year. Humorous at times. Dramatic at others. Loosely based on a Jane Austin novel.
"Mansfield Park" at Amazon.com"Matrix" - Sci-Fi with Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Catherine-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving.
Plot Intro: Computers takeover all life on the planet except those who are fighting in an underground organization.
Review: One of the best movies of the year. Highly recommended. A fantastic last third of the movie. The real action starts when Keanu Reeves enters into the first floor of a police station/government building. The combination of eye-popping special effects/camera work and the dynamic pumping music in the background will make you want to see if over and over again. It translated surprisingly well to a non-letter boxed format. I noticed one line that was messed up. When Switch is in the car holding a gun on Neo, and Trinity is about to remove the "bug", Switch calls Neo a "coppertone" rather than a "coppertop."
Comparison of "Monsters, Inc." and the "Matrix" series My review of "Matrix Reloaded" Review of "Matrix Revolution" "Matrix" at Amazon.com"Mumford" - Romantic comedy with Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard, Mary McDonnell, Zooey Deschanel, Martin Short, Jason Ritter.
Plot Intro: A man named Mumford sets up practice as a psychiatrist in a town called Mumford.
Review: Well-written, well-acted. Very humorous and pleasant to watch.
Warning: Some nudity.
"Mumford" at Amazon.com"The Mummy" - Adventure movie with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Jonathan Hyde.
Plot Intro: A librarian hires a man to take her to a lost city of an ancient king of Egypt.
Review: Lots of special effects in this entertaining film.
"The Mummy" at Amazon.com"My Favorite Martian" - Comedy with Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn, Ray Walston.
Plot Intro: A Martian spacecraft crashes on a beach in California, and the pilot becomes a resident in the home of a newsman who was recently fired.
Review: Pretty bad. It is obvious that the actors were just taking the money.
"My Favorite Martian" at Amazon.com"Notting Hill" - Romantic Comedy with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
Plot Intro: A bookstore owner (Hugh Grant) has a chance meeting in his bookstore with a movie star (Julia Roberts) who is trying to remain incognito.
Review: The stars are work very well together. It would be great to see them do several films together (like Tracy/Hepburn). Roberts's character is particularly annoying how she treats Grant's character, especially when you notice that there are months at times between when they have contact. Romantic enough ending to overcome some (if not all) of these feelings you may have when you view the film.
"Notting Hill" at Amazon.com"October Sky" - Drama with Laura Dern.
Plot Intro: Based on a true story about 4 high school students who see the Sputnik flying overhead and get interested in building small rockets. It becomes a way out of a small mining town.
"October Sky" at Amazon.com"Payback" - Movie with Mel Gibson, Maria Bello, Kris Kristofferson, William Devane, James Coburn, Lucy Liu.
Plot Intro: A man does a job for $75,000, and he wants his money. Nobody seems to take him seriously.
Review: Very violent. One of my favorite films to watch. But it's amazing how many movies show people getting gasoline all over their hands, and then they light a cigarette, match, or lighter.
"Payback" at Amazon.com"Runaway Bride" - Romantic comedy with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Plot Intro: A woman has jilted several men at the altar. A reporter goes to her town to cover her upcoming marriage to the high school football coach.
"Runaway Bride" at Amazon.com"The Sixth Sense" - Drama/horror with Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment.
Plot Intro: More drama than horror. A kid can see dead people. A child psychiatrist gives him counseling he needs.
Review: One of the great films of the year. Many surprises throughout. The dead are given horrific makeup to show what they looked like when they died. This affects the first part of the film mostly. The last half makes it a very touching drama. Well-written and well directed. Deserving of Oscar nominations.
My review of "Unbreakable" (2000)
My review of "Signs" (2002) "The Sixth Sense" at Amazon.com"Sleepy Hollow" - Horror/comedy/mystery with Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken, and Miranda Richardson and directed by Tim Burton.
Plot Intro: A young NY City police criminal investigator wants the police department to use "modern" scientific investigation techniques and is assigned to investigate murders occurring in upstate New York.
Review: A lot of fun to watch. Enough of the Tim Burton humor to liven things up.
"Sleepy Hollow" at Amazon.com"Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace" - Sci-Fi with Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson. Plot Intro: During the age of the republic, the planet Naboo is attacked by the Federation, and the future emperor engineers the destruction of the republic. Review: Great set up for Episodes 2 and 3. Almost as good as the "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Star Wars in the computer age. Ignore the reviews. Reasons for the 3 stars: If there is one criticism I have of the film it is the acting of Natalie Portman. Her delivery is so monotone and stiff and emotion-less that it was a relief when she was in a scene without lines. And, of course, there is the annoying Jar-jar Binks.
Star Wars Timeline My review of "Episode 2: The Attack of the Clones" (2002) My review of "Episode 3: The Revenge of the Sith" (2005) My review of "Episode 4: Star Wars" (1977) My review of "Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) My review of "Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi" (1983) "Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace" at Amazon.com"Stuart Little" - Family film with Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, and Michael J. Fox as the voice of Stuart Little and Nathan Lane as the voice of Snowbell the cat.
Plot Intro: Parents of a little boy go to an orphanage to adopt a little brother for their son. They come home with Stuart Little, and endearing and intelligent mouse.
Review: Based on the classic children's book by E.B. White, with a screenplay by M. Night Shyamalan (writer-director of The Sixth Sense), the movie is thoroughly entertaining for all ages. Michael J. Fox's voice is perfect for the little mouse. Nathan Lane has the right touch of jealousy, envy, and evil yet with a good heart. Jonathan Lipnicki is always cute. My only criticism would be the use of two words by one of the alley cats. The words may have been added in order to convey the idea that the cat was a bad cat. That fact is quite apparent from the moment of the cat's appearance. It was totally unnecessary in this children's/family film.
"Stuart Little" at Amazon.com"Tarzan" - Animated Disney feature with voices of Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Nigel Hawthorne, Rosie O'Donnell.
Plot Intro: A baby is raised by apes after his parents are killed.
Review: Entertaining animated feature. Phil Collins won an Oscar for Best Song.
"Tarzan" at Amazon.com"10 Things I Hate About You" - Romantic comedy with Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles.
Plot Intro: A popular girl can't date unless her older sister goes out on a date. The problem is that her sister hates and distrusts men.
Review: Based on Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." Somewhat entertaining. Not very believable.
"10 Things I Hate About You" at Amazon.com"The Thirteenth Floor" - Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Plot Intro: A scientist who has developed a virtual world feels threatened and leaves his partner a note. The scientist is killed, and the partner must work out the mystery.
Review: Thought-provoking thriller. Leaves you wondering where virtual reality begins and ends.
"The Thirteenth Floor" at Amazon.com"Toy Story 2" - Comedy, Family film with Tom Hanks, Tim Allen.
Plot Intro: A toy collector steals Woody. Andy's other toys try to get him back.
Review: Twice as good as the first Toy Story movie in just about every way.
My review of "Toy Story" (1995) My review of "Toy Story 3" (2010) "Toy Story 2" at Amazon.com"The Winslow Boy" - Drama with Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam.
Plot Intro: A boy is accused of stealing at this school. His father goes to great lengths to defend him.
Review: Excellent film. Good performances all round.
"The Winslow Boy" at Amazon.com"The World Is Not Enough" - With Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese. Directed by Michael Apted.
Plot Intro: Bond discovers a nuclear plot related to oil pipelines and an oil heiress.
Review: Bond 21. One of Brosnan's best Bond films.
"The World Is Not Enough" at Amazon.com Bond1. My review of "Dr. No" (1962). Bond2. My review of "From Russia With Love" (1963). Bond3. My review of "Goldfinger" (1964). Bond4. My review of "Thunderball" (1965). Bond5. My review of "You Only Live Twice" (1967). Bond6. My review of "Casino Royale" (1967). Bond7. My review of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). Bond8. My review of "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971). Bond9. My review of "Live and Let Die" (1973). Bond10. My Review of "The Man With The Golden Gun" (1974). Bond11. My review of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Bond12. My review of "Moonraker" (1979). Bond13. My review of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). Bond14. My review of "Octopussy" (1983). Bond15. My review of "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Bond16. My review of "A View To A Kill" (1985). Bond17. My review of "The Living Daylights" (1987). Bond18. My review of "License to Kill" (1989). Bond19. My review of "GoldenEye" (1995). Bond20. My review of "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). Bond22. My review of "Casino Royale" (2006). Bond23. My review of "Quantum of Solace" (2008). Bond24. My review of "Skyfall" (2012).
"Antz" - Animated feature with Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Chrisopher Walken, Ann Bancroft, Dan Aykroyd, Dan Glover, Jennifer Lopez, John Mahoney.
Plot Intro: An ant is smitten with the daughter of the queen, but he doesn't fit in. The colony is threatened by a colony of termites.
Review: Woody as an ant? It fits here. Fun to watch, but I thought "a bug's life" was better.
"Antz" at Amazon.com"Armageddon" - Futuristic Drama with Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler.
Plot Intro: Bruce saves the world from a meteor. I thought "Deep Impact" was better.
Review: Good action.
"Armageddon" at Amazon.com"Babe - Pig in the City" - Comedy, Family. Also known as, "Babe 2".
Plot Intro: In order to save the farm, Mrs. Hogg takes Pig to the big city for an appearance.
Review: Sequel to "Babe" (1995). Great movie. If not as good as the first ("Babe"), it is a close second. The first movie created a small farm environment. The sequel creates a small city in great detail. The voices chosen for each character are perfect.
My review of "Babe" (1995) "Babe - Pig in the City" at Amazon.com"The Big Lebowski" - With Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, David Huddleston. Written and directed by the Coen brothers.
Plot Intro: Mistaken identity leads to adventures and misadventures of an out of work, drugged out bowler.
Review: Goodman's character kind of pushes the action along. Pretty funny. Not for everyone. Some nudity and quite a bit of foul language.
"The Big Lebowski" at Amazon.com"a bug's life" - Animated Pixar feature with Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Spacey, Phyllis Diller, David Hyde Pierce, John Ratzenberger, Roddy McDowall, Madeline Kahn, Denis Leary, Bonnie Hunt, Alex Rocco.
Plot Intro: An ant colony is troubled by a gang of grasshoppers. A little respected ant leads the resistance.
Review: Better than "Antz." Lighter. Dave Foley's voice is great for an ant that tries harder.
"a bug's life" at Amazon.com"Bulworth" - Comedy with Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Christine Baranski, Oliver Platt. Story, screenplay, and direction by Warren Beatty.
Plot Intro: A senatorial candidate is depressed and puts a contract on his own life. As a result he has no inhibitions about what he says on the campaign trail.
Review: Parts of the film are hilarious, and parts are thought-provoking. Not liberal vs. conservative so much as rich vs. poor. If you can keep that in mind, you will realize that there is some truth to its basic premise.
Warning: Strong/foul language.
"Bulworth" at Amazon.com"A Civil Action" - Drama with John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub, William H Macy, Kathleen Quinlan, Sidney Pollack, Dan Hadeya, James Gandolfini.
Plot Intro: A lawyer represents people against a company that polluted the water table and killed or injured children.
Review: Based on a true story. Good study of the American judicial system.
"A Civil Action" at Amazon.com"Dangerous Beauty" - Drama with Catherine McCormack, Jacqueline Bisset, Oliver Platt, Moira Kelly, Fred Ward, Joanna Cassidy.
Plot Intro: Chronicle of a courtesan in 16th century Venice. Based on a true story.
Review: The first part of the film is very good.
Warning: Some nudity.
"Dangerous Beauty" at Amazon.com"Dark City" - Science Fiction with Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland.
Plot Intro: A man is accused of being a serial killer and is pursued by the police and a group of aliens.
Review: A science fiction film noire. The visual effects are extremely well done. I highly recommend this film. Has some nudity though.
"Dark City" at Amazon.com"Deep Impact" - Futuristic Drama with Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski, Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni.
Plot Intro: Robert Duvall and friends save the world from a comet.
Review: A little better than "Armageddon" in my opinion.
"Deep Impact" at Amazon.com"Doctor Dolittle" - Eddie Murphy, Ossie Davis, Peter Boyle, Jeffrey Tambor, Oliver Platt. Aka "Dr. Dolittle."
Plot Intro: A veterinarian finds out he can talk to the animals.
Review: A non-musical remake of the old Disney classic. Some funny moments.
"Doctor Dolittle" at Amazon.com"Elizabeth" - Drama with Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes.
Plot Intro: Elizabeth survives suspicion during her sister's reign and develops from a party girl into the legend she became.
Review: Great film. Great costumes and set designs.
"Elizabeth" at Amazon.com"Enemy of the State" - Drama/Thriller with Will Smith, Gene Hackman.
Plot Intro: A man tries to keep one step ahead of an agency of the government that is out of control.
Review: Will Smith and Gene Hackman are very good. Fun to watch.
"Enemy of the State" at Amazon.com"Ever After" - Romantic Drama with Drew Barrymore, Angelica Houston.
Plot Intro: Portrayal of Cinderella story as if it was based on a true story.
Review: A wonderful movie. Drew Barrymore is great. If you don't like Drew Barrymore, you'll like her after seeing this film.
"Ever After" at Amazon.com"Godzilla" - SciFi thriller with Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer.
Plot Intro: The old monster gets loose in a major city.
Review: An Americanized version of the old Japanese classic. It's OK. I was never a big fan of the old Japanese films. The new monster is different from the Japanese one. Not sure if it is a real improvement.
"Godzilla" at Amazon.com"Hilary and Jackie" - Drama with Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths.
Plot Intro: Two musically talented sisters start having problems in their relationship when one of them becomes more famous.
Review: Based on a true story (though family, friends, and colleagues have disputed some of the details). Great performances. Some nudity.
"Hilary and Jackie" at Amazon.com"Home Fries" - Romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson, Catherine O'Hara, Jake Busey, Shelley Duvall.
Plot Intro: Two brothers play a trick on their father that results in his death. His young pregnant mistress. One of the brothers becomes interested in helping her.
Review: Good performances by Barrymore and Wilson are affected by the story.
"Home Fries" at Amazon.com"Hope Floats" - Romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr, Gena Rowlands, Kathy Najimy, Rosanna Arquette.
Plot Intro: A mother finds out that her husband has been unfaithful and moves back home with her mother in Texas. A local man begins to show interest, but the mother's feelings are complicated.
Review: Bullock is good — as always. There are good performances from the others as well. The movie is a light romantic story.
"Hope Floats" at Amazon.com"The Imposters" - Comedy with Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, Alfred Molina, Tony Shalhoub. Written and directed by Stanley Tucci.
Plot Intro: Two out-of-work actors hide on a cruise ship in order to hide from another actor who has threatened to kill them.
Review: A funny film in a Laurel & Hardy style.
"The Imposters" at Amazon.com"The Land Girls" - War-time drama with Catherine McCormack, Rachel Weisz.
Plot Intro: During World War 2, city women are put to work on farms where men have left to go to war.
Review: McCormack and Weisz are very good. Based on a true story.
"The Land Girls" at Amazon.com"Little Voice" - Drama with Michael Caine, Joan Blethyn, Jane Horrocks, Jim Broadbent, Ewan McGregor.
Plot Intro: A girl is discovered to have the ability to sing like famous singers (like, for example, Judy Garland).
Review: Based on a play, Horrock re-creates the part she had in the play. Good performances in a quirky story.
"Little Voice" at Amazon.com"Lock, Stock and Two Barrels" - Action film with Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Sting.
Plot Intro: The son of a pub owner gets into a poker game where he loses his father's bar to a mobster. He tried to pay back the debt to the mobster. Half a million pounds keeps getting passed around.
Review: Statham's first film. Lots of shooting, lots of dead bodies, lots of cursing, and some nudity.
"Lock, Stock and Two Barrels" at Amazon.com"The Mask of Zorro" - Light Drama-romance with Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Plot Intro: Zorro trains a new "Zorro."
Review: A lot of fun. Highly recommended. Banderas is at his best ever, and he looks like he enjoys making the film. And who wouldn't? Catherine Zeta-Jones may be the most beautiful woman in the world.
"The Mask of Zorro" at Amazon.com"Mulan" - Animated Dramedy voiced by Ming-Na, B D Wong, Gedde Wattanabe, Miguel Ferrer, Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein, Pat Morita.
Plot Intro: Enemies are invading China, and the emperor marshals his forces in defense.
Review: Very good. Excellent family film. A good film for girls, since it portrays a young girl who braves going against social limitations in order to do what she thinks is right.
"Mulan" at Amazon.com"The Negotiator" - Drama with Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, David Morse, Paul Giamatti. Directed by F. Gary Gray.
Plot Intro: A police negotiator is framed and has to take over police headquarters in order to find out who is behind it.
Review: If you like adventures, thrillers, etc. you'll like this film.
"The Negotiator" at Amazon.com"A Night at the Roxbury" - Comedy with Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Dan Hedaya, Loni Anderson, Molly Shannon, Dwayne Hickman.
Plot Intro: Two guys want to get into the hottest club in town. Then they decide they want to start their own club.
Review: Another SNL skit turned into a full-length feature. The skits on SNL were funnier.
"A Night at the Roxbury" at Amazon.com"Out of Sight" - With George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Keaton, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina, Albert Brooks, Nancy Allen, Catherine Keener, Samuel L Jackson. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
Plot Intro: A criminal and a policewoman meet from time to time and develop a relationship that they cannot resist.
Review: Based on the Elmore Leonard novel. Clooney and Lopez are great and seem to generate a certain amount of heat on screen. Keaton, Rhames, Farina, and Jackson are also very good. One of my favorites.
"Out of Sight" at Amazon.com"Patch Adams" - Dramedy with Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Jeter.
Plot Intro: An unorthodox physician starts a hospital where he can practice in his unorthodox style.
Review: Somewhat entertaining. Williams may be a little out of control for some viewers, but in this case it is still entertaining.
"Patch Adams" at Amazon.com"Paulie" - Comedy with Buddy Hackett, Gene Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub, Jay Mohr.
Plot Intro: A parrot does more than "parrot" sounds. He can actually talk and communicate his thoughts.
Review: An entertaining family movie. Hackett's voice is perfect for a parrot, and he has that great comedic timing.
"Paulie" at Amazon.com"Pi" - Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Plot Intro: A man builds a supercomputer with which he discovers the relationship of Pi to just about all of life. It is the number of God. Others find out that he has discovered it.
Review: An excellent — if quirky — film. A little understanding of mathematics may help follow the plot, but it isn't really necessary. The building of the supercomputer, the discovery of the number, his approach to madness, and the plotting of Hasidic Jews and of Wall Street types all add to the unique plot.
"Pi" at Amazon.com"Pleasantville" - Drama. Plot Intro: A brother and sister are sucked into a black and white TV show. Review: Very good. The special effects are great. Don't be surprised by the shift to a political-type message towards the end.
"Pleasantville" at Amazon.com"Primary Colors" - Political drama with John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Larry Hagman, Rob Reiner. Written by Elaine May and Joe Klein. Directed by Mike Nichols.
Plot Intro: A man runs for president in 1992.
Review: Based on the best-selling book by "Anonymous." A thinly disguised portrayal of Bill Clinton.
"Primary Colors" at Amazon.com"The Prince of Egypt" - Animated feature voiced by Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Goldblum, Sandra Bullock, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short.
Plot Intro: The story of Moses and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
Review: Relatively respectful account of the Exodus. Good for family entertainment.
"The Prince of Egypt" at Amazon.com"The Red Violin" - Drama with Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi.
Plot Intro: A violin is made by a master violin maker in the 17th century. Considered by many to be the most perfect ever made. The story follows the violin from Italy to Germany to England to Communist China to an auction in the United States.
Review: A wonderful film. A wonderful series stories and wonderful music and performances throughout.
"The Red Violin" at Amazon.com"Ronin" - Drama with Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Natasha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean. Directed by John Frankenheimer.
Plot Intro: A group comes together to steal a case with something in it.
Review: High-energy action film. Recommended.
"Ronin" at Amazon.com"Rounders" - Drama with Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, Gretchen Mol, John Malkovich, Martin Landau.
Plot Intro: A reformed gambler is recruited to get a friend out of a financial fix.
Review: Kind of slow. Kind of formulaic. Almost like a TV movie. Malkovich's character is the weakest of the main characters. Damon, Norton, Turturro, and Landau are fine. I don't know very many people with Russian accents, but they don't seem to talk like Malkovich. It took away from the film.
"Rounders" at Amazon.com"Rush Hour" - Drama with Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Chris Penn.
Plot Intro: A Hong Kong Inspector's daughter is kidnapped. He tracks them down, but he has to team with a mouthy cop to get her back.
Review: Humorous. Jackie is still amazing. Chris Tucker is an acquired taste.
"Rush Hour" at Amazon.com"Rushmore" - Comedy with Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams. Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Directed by Wes Anderson.
Plot Intro: A high school student and the father of his friend attempt to woo a high school teacher.
Review: A humorous movie about a high school student who (some may say) has too much time on his hands. The student has a very large reservoir of creativity. One of the things to watch for are the plays which the high school student writes, produces, and directs. It is very funny how they are utilized in the film.
"Rushmore" at Amazon.com"Saving Private Ryan" - War drama with Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, Paul Giamatti. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Plot Intro: A soldier's brothers are all killed. A group of soldiers is tasked with bringing him back from the front lines.
Review: Should have won the 1998 Oscar for Best Picture.
"Saving Private Ryan" at Amazon.com"Shakespeare in Love" - Costume dramedy with Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck.
Plot Intro: Shakespeare has writer's block. It is solved through his relationship with a woman. He goes on to pen "Romeo and Juliet" and "Twelfth Night."
Review: Best Picture Oscar. Great fun, great costumes, great set design.
"Shakespeare in Love" at Amazon.com"A Simple Plan" - Drama with Billy Bob Thornton, Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda.
Plot Intro: A plane crashes, and in it is a whole lot of money. The guys who discover it develop a simple plan to keep the money.
Review: Very good film.
"A Simple Plan" at Amazon.com"Six Days, Seven Nights" - Adventure dramedy with Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Plot Intro: Two people who have a hard time getting along crash onto a South Seas island. They have to learn to work together in order to survive and be rescued.
Review: Mildly entertaining.
"Six Days, Seven Nights" at Amazon.com"Sliding Doors" - Romantic fantasy with Gwynneth Paltrow, John Hannah, Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Plot Intro: A young woman's life turns out very differently depending on whether she can catch a train.
Review: Interesting examination of how our lives are made up of a series of random events.
"Sliding Doors" at Amazon.com"Small Soldiers" - Children's, young-teen's thriller. With Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, Jay Mohr, Denis Leary, Phil Hartman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ernest Borgnine, Frank Langella, Bruce Dern, Arthur Kennedy, Jim Brown, Sarah Michelle Geller, Clint Walker, Christopher Guest, Christina Ricci, Harry Shearer, Cheri Oteri.
Plot Intro: A teen working in his father's toy shop accepts shipment of some advanced toys. Turns out they are very advanced.
Review: Starts out interesting and gets more and more involved. It was better than I expected. Entertaining.
"Small Soldiers" at Amazon.com"Smoke Signals" - Directed by Chris Eyre.
Plot Intro: A young Indian and his friend go on the road to visit the grave of one of their fathers.
Review: Very good film about Native Americans told by Native Americans from a Native American point of view Recommended.
"Smoke Signals" at Amazon.com"The Spanish Prisoner" - Drama with Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott, Rebecca Pidgeon. Written and directed by David Mamet.
Plot Intro: A group works a scam.
Review: I found this film to be very good. It is always interesting to see scams in the works — even though they probably bear no relation to real ones.
"The Spanish Prisoner" at Amazon.com"Tango" - AKA "Tango, no me dejes nuncas."
Plot Intro: After his wife leaves, a movie director attempts to make a film about tango.
Review: Good foreign film from Brazil. Nominated for Best Foreign Film. Great score.
"Tango" at Amazon.com"There's Something About Mary" - Raunchy comedy with Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Chris Elliott, Matt Dillon.
Plot Intro: A man tries to find a girl he had a bad prom date with in high school.
Review: At times hilarious, at times humorous. Not for everyone. Scenes with the dog and those with Matt Dillon are worth seeing the film.
Warning: Some suggestive scenes. Some offensive language.
"There's Something About Mary" at Amazon.com"The Thin Red Line" - War Drama with Nick Nolte.
Plot Intro: Remake of film from the 60s. Soldiers in the Pacific during WW2 attempt to survive.
"The Thin Red Line" at Amazon.com"The Truman Show" - Dramedy with Jim Carrey.
Plot Intro: A man grows up, unknowingly, to adulthood inside a TV show.
Review: Should have been nominated for best picture of 1998 rather than "The Thin Red Line." Worth seeing at least twice. The second time you see it, you'll notice the nuances of the writing and acting that make it even more effective.
"The Truman Show" at Amazon.com"U.S. Marshall" - With Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Downey Jr, Wesley Snipes, Joe Pantoliano.
Plot Intro: A man is captured by police and sent to New York City, but he escapes in order to find out who betrayed him. The U.S. Marshalls are on his trail.
Review: Not as good as "The Fugitive". Adding a few more big name actors, they tried to make it flashier and more glitzy to get people into the theaters. The story is mostly formulaic.
"U.S. Marshall" at Amazon.com"Waking Ned Divine" - Foreign film (no subtitles).
Plot Intro: One man in a small town holds the winning ticket in the Irish lottery. He's dead though. The town tries to collect the prize.
Review: Filmed on Isle of Man. Very humorous. Highly recommended. The man who impersonates the dead man is very funny. Think "naked on a motorcycle." Filmed on the Isle of Man.
"Waking Ned Divine" at Amazon.com"The Waterboy" - Comedy with Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Rob Schneider.
Plot Intro: A mentally deficient man becomes a waterboy of his college team. Through a quirk of fate, he becomes the most feared linebacker in school history. Now he just has to get his coach to believe in himself.
Review: One of the better Sandler movies.
"The Waterboy" at Amazon.com"The Wedding Singer" - Romantic comedy with Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore.
Plot Intro: A wedding singer and a waitress are engaged to the wrong people. They should be together.
Review: One of the better Adam Sandler films. One in a series of relatively good Barrymore films.
My review of 50 First Dates "The Wedding Singer" at Amazon.com"What Dreams May Come" - Drama with Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Plot Intro: A couple's kids die, the husband dies, and the wife commits suicide. What happens after everyone is dead?
Review: Special effects are phenomenal. Robin Williams is very effective. You have to suspend your view of what the afterlife will be like. You have to understand that the film is dealing with a world that will not seem completely logical compared to the world we live in. Wonderful music.
"What Dreams May Come" at Amazon.com"Wild Things" - Drama/thriller with Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Robert Wagner.
Plot Intro: A teacher is accused of sexual harrassment of one of the students. One thing leads to another.
Review: Twisty plot and some good performances. A very good film. Some sexually explicit scenes and some nudity.
"Wild Things" at Amazon.com"The X-Files" - SciFi thriller with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Martin Landau, Armen Mueller-Stahl.
Plot Intro: Muldur and Scully are investigating some weird goings-on.
Review: If you liked the TV series, you'll probably like the movie. I hadn't watched too much of the series before seeing the film, and I thought it was above average.
"The X-Files" at Amazon.com"You've Got Mail" - Romantic comedy with Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Craig Kilbourne.
Plot Intro: A large bookstore opens and threatens the existence of a small bookstore down the street. The film deals with the relationship of the two owners.
Review: Remake of a James Stewart film, "Shop Around the Corner" (1940). A lot of fun.
"You've Got Mail" at Amazon.com"Zero Effect" - Drama with Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O'Neill, Kim Dickens.
Plot Intro: A man is being blackmailed, and he hires a detective to discover who is doing it and why.
Review: Once the story is understood as a modern day Sherlock Holmes story, it doesn't seem to be so odd. Stiller is fun as the annoyed sidekick. Pullman is great as the intense detective who has unusual theories about surveillance and other detective-related activities. There are other fine performances.
"Zero Effect" at Amazon.com
"Absolute Power" - Drama with Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Scott Glenn, E.G. Marshall. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Novel by David Baldacci. Screenplay by William Goldman.
Plot Intro: The president has an affair with the daughter of a powerful man. During a rendezvous, she is inadvertently killed. The crime is witnessed by a burglar who is on the run from that point on.
Review: Very good "Clint Eastwood" picture. Excellent performances from everyone involved.
"Absolute Power" at Amazon.com"Air Force One" - Drama with Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Jurgen Prochnow.
Plot Intro: The president's plane is taken over by terrorists in order to get someone out of prison.
Review: Very good action picture. Harrison Ford does a great job as president. Oldman is very good as the very intelligent terrorist leader — the kind of role he has reprised multiple times.
"Air Force One" at Amazon.com"Amistad" - Drama with Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Nigel Hawthorne, Pete Postlethwait, Stellan Skarsgård, Anna Paquin; directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Plot Intro: The slaves on an illegal slave ship mutiny but are caught off of the US coast and brought into court.
Review: A wonderful film; very moving. I can't recommend it highly enough. Should have been nominated for Best Picture Oscar. "Give us free!"
"Amistad" at Amazon.com"As Good As It Gets" - Comedy with Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Plot Intro: A famous author who is agoraphobic has to interact with a struggling waitress and a gay neighbor, his friends, and his dog. The dog is a Brussells Griffon. It steals just about every scene it is in.
Review: Excellent film. Hunt and Nicholson won Oscars.
"As Good As It Gets" at Amazon.com"Batman & Robin" - With George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Uma Thurman, Vivica A Fox, Alicia Silverstone, Elle Macpherson.
Plot Intro: Batman and Robin fight Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy.
Review: The stunts are hard to watch, since they are cartoony. Definitely not as good as the first two with Keaton and Burton. I am torn trying to figure out what the difference is. First, "Batman Forever" was a surprise it, so they went into production on the new film almost right away, and they felt they needed to go bigger, to out-do "Batman Forever". Second, it was unfortunate that Val Kilmer wasn't in "Batman & Robin". I'm not saying that George Clooney did a bad job, because Clooney is one of my favorite actors. I think changing the actor playing Batman after only one film was too much change. Third, there is too much going on. Too many characters, too many plot twists (including the near death of Arthur). Fourth, I've also come to the conclusion that the addition of the Robin character took away from the effectiveness of the series. There is a certain amount of tension and suspense when it is only Batman against the villains. The addition of Bat Girl was just one more step away from what made the early films good. Fifth, I like Tim Burton's Batman films better than Schumacher's. They are darker, as Batman movies should be.
"Batman & Robin" at Amazon.com My review of "Batman" (1989). My review of "Batman Returns" (1992). My review of "Batman Forever" (1995). My review of "Batman Begins" (2005). My review of "The Dark Knight" (2008). My review of "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)."Bean" - Comedy with Rowan Atkinson, Peter MacNicol, Burt Reynolds. Also known as "Bean: The Movie".
Plot Intro: Bean is sent to Los Angeles (from the art museum where he works) to help at the unveiling of a newly acquired painting, "Whistler's Mother."
Review: The character from the humorous British TV show is reprised in this film. I find most "Bean" episodes to be very funny, so I was interested in seeing what Atkinson would do on the big screen with 90+ minutes. While not as funny as some of the original skits, this film will please most "Bean" fans.
My review of "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (2007) "Bean" at Amazon.com"Booty Call" - Romantic comedy with Jamie Foxx, Viveca A Fox, Bernie Mac.
Plot Intro: Two men look forward to their date with two hot women.
Review: Sexually explicit dialogue. Crude language. For many, it might be easier to watch with the sound muted.
"Booty Call" at Amazon.com"Character" - Drama. Foreign. AKA "Karakter".
Plot Intro: A young man has to withstand several crises. Some of the crises are initiated by his own father. Is the father really hateful, or is he trying to build the young man's character?
Review: Won Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Dark, depressing, excellent.
"Karakter" at Amazon.com"The Comedian Harmonists" - AKA "The Harmonists". See My review of "The Harmonists" "Con Air" - Drama with Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, John Malkovich, Mykelti Williamson.
Plot Intro: An inmate gets out of prison on good behavior, and he hitches a ride home on a prisoner transport plane.
Review: Violent movie with some very disgusting characters in disgusting scenes.
"Con Air" at Amazon.com"Conspiracy Theory" - Drama with Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Patrick Stewart.
Plot Intro: A paranoid man monitors secret governmental organizations. He sends his theories to an attractive girl who works for the Justice Department. His wild theories are discounted. But one of his theories is close enough to the mark that he and the woman are chased by bad people.
Review: Mel Gibson is amazing.
"Conspiracy Theory" at Amazon.com"Contact" - Sci-Fi with Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, David Morse.
Plot Intro: Worm hole travel to a conference with aliens.
Review: Based on a novel by Carl Sagan. The special effects are great — particularly when she arrives at the end of her journey. The meeting with the alien can be moving. Loses a lot when seen full screen. Widescreen is best.
"Contact" at Amazon.com"Cop Land" - Drama with Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Peter Berg, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Rapaport, Cathy Moriarty, Annabella Sciorra.
Plot Intro: A small town in New Jersey is populated by New York police personnel. The local deaf sheriff idolizes them until he discovers the corruption.
Review: A great performance by Stallone. He gained quite a few pounds in order to play the part. And Keitel, Liotta, and DeNiro cannot give a bad performance.
"Cop Land" at Amazon.com"Deconstructing Harry" - Comedy with Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Richard Benjamin, Tobey Maguire. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A writer has writer's block, so he tends to reminisce.
Review: Another acceptable Woody Allen picture.
"Deconstructing Harry" at Amazon.com"The Devil's Own" - Drama with Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Margaret Colin, Rubén Blades, Treat Williams, Natascha McElhone. Directed by Alan J Pakula.
Plot Intro: An Irish terrorist temporarily lives in NYC under an assumed name with an Irish cop while he attempts to buy guns for the cause.
Review: Good teaming of Ford and Pitt. One of McElhone's early films.
"The Devil's Own" at Amazon.com"Fairy Tale: A True Story" - Drama with Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel, Mel Gibson.
Plot Intro: Two children take a picture in 1917 England which is thought to be of fairies. It stirs up a lot of controversy. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle confirms that the picture is real. More controversy.
Review: Based on a true story. Interesting portrayal of the events around the pictures taken by two young girls. Good family entertainment.
"Fairy Tale: A True Story" at Amazon.com"Fierce Creatures" - Comedy with John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin.
Plot Intro: A new zoo director comes in, and problems occur.
Review: The crew from "A Fish Called Wanda" had so much fun on the first film that they decided to do another one — though it's not a sequel. This film is not as good as "A Fish", but is that all that matters? Probably.
"Fierce Creatures" at Amazon.com"The Fifth Element" - Sci-Fi with Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Ian Holme.
Plot Intro: A taxi driver gets involved in helping a strange girl and ends up helping save the world.
Review: If it weren't for Chris Tucker, this would be a great film. His voice is grating. If you find him funny, you will like the film even more than I do. Worth seeing at least once for the special effects.
"The Fifth Element" at Amazon.com"4 Little Girls" - Documentary directed by Spike Lee.
Plot Intro: Four African-American girls die as the result of a church bombing in the 1960s.
Review: Excellent documentary portraying the way southern society — and possibly that of the whole country — was divided along racial lines in the 1960s. Hatred can even affect the innocent.
"4 Little Girls" at Amazon.com"The Full Monty" - Comedy with Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson.
Plot Intro: Four men who are out of work in Birmingham, England try to make a big score by doing an exotic dance in front of a club full of women.
Review: Charming film. Great soundtrack. Recommended.
"The Full Monty" at Amazon.com"G.I. Jane" - Drama with Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft, Morris Chestnut. Directed by Ridley Scott.
Plot Intro: A woman is allowed to join the Navy SEALS, because everyone expects her to fail.
Review: Demi does some amazing stuff, but the script is lacking something.
"G.I. Jane" at Amazon.com"The Game" - Drama-thriller with Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Carroll Baker.
Plot Intro: A man's life is ruined by a game. The question is when is the game over?
Review: Very effective thriller. Douglas is excellent. I just wanted to punch Sean Penn's character at the end.
"The Game" at Amazon.com"George of the Jungle" - Comedy with Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, John Cleese, Richard Roundtree.
Plot Intro: A jungle expedition runs into George, and George runs into a tree. "Watch out for that tree!"
Review: A lot of fun. Fraser is great at these cartoon characters. He's excellent in most of his other films as well.
"George of the Jungle" at Amazon.com"Good Will Hunting" - Drama with Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellen Skarsgård, Casey Affleck. Directed by Gus Van Sant. Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Plot Intro: An inner-city kid works at a college as a janitor. Problem is that he is smarter than everyone there — including the teachers.
Review: Excellent movie with very good performances all round.
"Good Will Hunting" at Amazon.com"Grosse Pointe Blank" - Comedy-thriller with John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria.
Plot Intro: A professional assassin is given a job in his hometown at the same time that his 10th year high school reunion is taking place.
Review: Cusack and Driver are very good — as always.
"Grosse Pointe Blank" at Amazon.com"The Harmonists" - Drama. AKA "The Comedian Harmonists."
Plot Intro: Before the rise of Hitler to power in Germany, a group of men form a singing group called the "Comedian Harmonists." They become one of the most popular singing groups in Germany. The problem is that some of them are Jewish.
Review: Another film portraying the terror and the pain involved in Germany before the war. Excellent.
"The Harmonists" at Amazon.com"Hercules" - Animated musical feature from Disney. Plot Intro: A boy finds out he is the son of Zeus. Review: A different style of animation for Disney. A lot of fun.
"Hercules" at Amazon.com"Jackie Brown" - Drama with Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson, Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, Robert Forster, Michael Keaton. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Based on a novel ("Rum Punch") by Elmore Leonard. Plot Intro: An aging airline stewardess is involved in money laundering for a drug dealer. She is caught and recruited to bring the drug dealer down. Review: Excellent adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. More of Leonard's novels should make it to the screen.
"Jackie Brown" at Amazon.com"Karakter" - See "Character". "L.A. Confidential" - Drama with Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito.
Plot Intro: The L.A. Police investigate a shooting.
Review: Very good film. Russell Crowe is building his career at this point. Basinger won her Best Supporting Actress award. She had a very good performance, but she wasn't on the screen very much.
"L.A. Confidential" at Amazon.com"Liar Liar" - Comedy with Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Cary Elwes, Jennifer Tilly, Amanda Donohoe, Swoozie Kurtz, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Cheri Otari.
Plot Intro: A lawyer has a problem with lying. His son makes a wish while blowing out the candles on his birthday cake that his father would no longer be able to lie.
Review: One of the better Jim Carrey vehicles. Very funny.
"Liar Liar" at Amazon.com"Life is Beautiful" - Drama. Foreign film.
Plot Intro: One man's attempt to have his family survive the Holocaust.
Review: Funny, touching. A funny movie that does not make light of the Holocaust and the suffering in WW2.
"Life is Beautiful" at Amazon.com"Lost World: Jurassic Park" - Science fiction thriller with Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Attenborough. Also known as "Jurassic Park 2." Directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Plot Intro: Apparently, the madman who began the Jurassic Park is at it again. He had a second island where he was attempting to see what would happen if the dinosaurs roamed free. Would they come to some kind of equilibrium? Other scientific questions can also be answered by the experiment. But there are also problems. How do you keep the creatures from getting loose? How do you keep people away from the island? A research scientist is hired to find out how the experiment is going. She happens to be Goldblum's character's girlfriend. He mounts an expedition to rescue her. At the same time there are others who are going to "harvest" some of the creatures for a zoo near Los Angeles.
Review: Pretty good sequel to the 1993 hit "Jurassic Park". Goldblum is great as the chaos theory mathematician.
My review of "Jurassic Park" (1993) My review of "Jurassic Park III" (2001) "Lost World: Jurassic Park" at Amazon.com"love jones" - Romantic comedy with Larenz Tate, Nia Long.
Plot Intro: A young poet attempts to woo a beautiful woman who is cynical about relationships.
Review: Very entertaining. The two stars are attractive together.
"love jones" at Amazon.com"The Man Who Knew Too Little" - Comedy with Bill Murray, Joanne Whalley, Peter Gallagher, Alfred Molina.
Plot Intro: An employee of Blockbuster in Des Moines, IA, visits his brother in London on his birthday. The brother, however, has a business dinner he is hosting, so he arranges for the visiting brother to be involved in a TV show. Unfortunately, the visiting brother gets sucked into an international spy scheme — something he never understands. In the process he meets a beautiful girl who just wants to get her letters.
Review: I love this film. I think it is Murray's best since "Groundhog Day." Joanne Whalley is beautiful. I have lost count how many times I've viewed the film. I've always wanted to know what people in England think about it. If you are from Britain and have seen it, let me know what you thought.
My review of "Groundhog Day" (1993) "The Man Who Knew Too Little" at Amazon.com"The Matchmaker" - Romantic comedy with Janeane Garofalo.
Plot Intro: An election campaign expert ends up in an Irish town at a time when they are preparing for an annual matchmaking festival.
Review: Another very pleasant Garofalo vehicle.
"The Matchmaker" at Amazon.com"Men in Black" - Science fiction comedy-thriller with Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
Plot Intro: A secret agency keep tabs on the aliens hiding out on Earth. They have to deal with a lot of crazy stuff.
Review: A lot of fun. Jones and Smith make a good team. Fiorentino is good, too, but she needed more screen time to have more impact. There just wasn't enough story to go around for everyone. D'Onofrio is amazing.
"Men In Black II" (2002). "Men in Black" at Amazon.com"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" - Mystery drama with John Cusack, Kevin Spacey. Directed by Clint Eastwood.
Plot Intro: A murder in Savannah GA is investigated.
Review: Supposedly based on a true story. You get the feeling that it could have been better.
"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" at Amazon.com"Mrs. Brown" - Drama with Judi Dench, Billy Connolly.
Plot Intro: Queen Victoria has a special relationship with one of her staff after the King dies.
Review: Very good film.
"Mrs. Brown" at Amazon.com"Mr. Nice Guy" - Martial arts film with Jackie Chan. AKA "Yatgo ho yan".
Plot Intro: A Chinese chef who has a TV show in Australia is chased when he gets involved with a reporter who filmed a drug bust.
Review: Love just about anything Jackie Chan. Good fights and some comedy. Jackie does his own stunts.
"Mr. Nice Guy" at Amazon.com"Mouse Hunt" - Comedy with Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Christopher Walken, Michael Jeter.
Plot Intro: Two men inherit a house. After they find out that it is valuable, they try to fix it up and sell it. However, there is one little thing stopping them.
Review: Cartoonish action sequences. I saw this in the theatre with some friends, and we nearly rolled on the floor laughing. For some reason, it wasn't nearly as funny on video.
"Mouse Hunt" at Amazon.com"Murder at 1600" - Drama with Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Alan Alda, Ronny Cox, Diane Baker, Tate Donovan.
Plot Intro: A murder happens at the White House, and the cover-up begins.
"Murder at 1600" at Amazon.com"My Best Friend's Wedding" - Romantic comedy with Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett, M Emmet Walsh.
Plot Intro: Two friends agree that when they reach 30, if they aren't married, they will marry each other. She gets notification that he is going to get married. She realizes that she loves him — maybe, and she tries to break up the wedding.
Review: Funny at times, and painful at times. Everett and Diaz are great.
"My Best Friend's Wedding" at Amazon.com"Out to Sea" - Comedy with Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Dyan Cannon, Gloria DeHaven, Elaine Stritch, Hal Linden, Donald O'Connor, Rue McClanahan.
Plot Intro: Two old men board a boat in order to scam old women.
Review: The last Lemmon-Matthau movie. Still pretty good.
"Out to Sea" at Amazon.com"Private Parts" - With Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, Mary McCormack.
Plot Intro: How Howie became famous. The early days of Stern in radio.
Review: Supposedly a factual account of how Howard Stern became successful.
Warning: Some nudity and foul language and adult subjects.
"Private Parts" at Amazon.com"The Rainmaker" - Drama with Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes, Jon Voigt, Mary Kay Place, Dean Stockwell, Teresa Wright, Virginia Madsen, Mickey Rourke. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the John Grisham novel.
Plot Intro: A guy fresh out of law school starts working for a shady lawyer. He ends up working on a case of medical insurance abuse that could be worth multi-millions.
Review: Great film. Damon is young enough, and the insurance executives are evil enough.
"The Rainmaker" at Amazon.com"RocketMan" - Comedy with Harland Williams, Jessica Lundy, William Sadler.
Plot Intro: A geeky guy gets his chance to go up in space.
Review: Kind of childish with low-brow humor. You may think that it's funny. Kind of in the Jerry Lewis vein.
"RocketMan" at Amazon.com"Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" - Comedy with Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming. Robin Schiff adapted his play.
Plot Intro: Two girls who were not in the most popular group in high school have to face up to all the stories they've told about their lives when they go to their tenth year reunion.
Review: Sorvino and Kudrow are very good.
"Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" at Amazon.com"Scream 2" - Thriller with Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Sarah Michelle Geller, Jamie Kennedy, Laurie Metcalf, Liev Schreiber, Portia de Rossi, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rebecca Gayheart, Tori Spelling. Directed by Wes Craven.
Plot Intro: The events of the first movie were written into a book and then turned into a movie. Bad things are happening in Woodsboro again. Copycats?
Review: Some thrills, some funny moments. The film is interesting to a certain extent because of all the young actors.
My review of "Scream" "Scream 2" at Amazon.com"Starship Troopers" - Sci-fi thriller with Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Rue McClanahan. Based on the Robert Heinlein book.
Plot Intro: A group of recruits gel together to become an effective fighting unit against an intimidating foe.
Review: Excellent special effects. If you like the movie, you should read the book. The book is, of course, better. The Troopers descend to planets in their own personal re-entry capsules, and they wear suits that are much more than anything they attempted to show in the movie — which is too bad.
"Starship Troopers" at Amazon.com"The Sweet Hereafter" - Drama with Ian Holm.
Plot Intro: There is a school bus accident. A small town must deal with the tragedy.
Review: Excellent drama.
"The Sweet Hereafter" at Amazon.com"Til There Was You" - Romantic comedy with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dylan McDermott, Karen Allen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston.
Plot Intro: After years of near meetings, two people meet and fall in love.
Review: Sweet story.
"Til There Was You" at Amazon.com"Titanic" - Drama with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart. Directed by James Cameron.
Plot Intro: The maiden voyage of the unsinkable ship.
Review: Excellent film. Won Best Picture Academy award for the year and smashed all sales records. Excellent special effects that make it look like it is really happening.
"Titanic" at Amazon.com"Tomorrow Never Dies" - James Bond adventure film with Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Pryce, Teri Hatcher, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn.
Plot Intro: A media mogul hatches a plot to start a war between China and Britain in order to expand his media empire.
Review: Bond 20. Brosnan makes a very good Bond (Connery is regarded by just about everyone as the best). Yeoh is beautiful. Hatcher is sexy. Many good performances can be found. Good action and special effects.
"Tomorrow Never Dies" at Amazon.com Bond1. My review of "Dr. No" (1962). Bond2. My review of "From Russia With Love" (1963). Bond3. My review of "Goldfinger" (1964). Bond4. My review of "Thunderball" (1965). Bond5. My review of "You Only Live Twice" (1967). Bond6. My review of "Casino Royale" (1967). Bond7. My review of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). Bond8. My review of "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971). Bond9. My review of "Live and Let Die" (1973). Bond10. My Review of "The Man With The Golden Gun" (1974). Bond11. My review of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Bond12. My review of "Moonraker" (1979). Bond13. My review of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). Bond14. My review of "Octopussy" (1983). Bond15. My review of "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Bond16. My review of "A View To A Kill" (1985). Bond17. My review of "The Living Daylights" (1987). Bond18. My review of "License to Kill" (1989). Bond19. My review of "GoldenEye" (1995). Bond21. My review of "The World Is Not Enough" (1997). Bond22. My review of "Casino Royale" (2006). Bond23. My review of "Quantum of Solace" (2008). Bond24. My review of "Skyfall" (2012)."Wag the Dog" - Political comedy with Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Kirsten Dunst, William H Macy, Woody Harrelson. Directed by Barry Levinson.
Plot Intro: The president does something scandalous during a presidential re-election campaign. The "troops" are called in to cover it up.
Review: Excellent political comedy that emphasizes that nothing that is seen in any media can really be trusted.
"Wag the Dog" at Amazon.com
"Beautiful Girls" - Romantic comedy with Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Annabeth Gish, Lauren Holly, Timothy Hutton, Mira Sorvino, Rosie O'Donnell, Natalie Portman.
Plot Intro: High school friends re-unite before their high school reunion.
Review: A good film. O'Donnell is very good, as is Portman (why couldn't she be this good in the Star Wars movies?). A film about what happens in your 20s when you face up to what your life is shaping up to be.
"Beautiful Girls" at Amazon.com"Big Night" - Comedy with Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, Liev Shreiber, Ian Holm. Stanley Tucci was co-producer, co-writer, and co-director.
Plot Intro: A restaurant is in trouble. The owner of a nearby restaurant offers to help.
Review: A very good little film. More of a character study or situation comedy movie. No action.
"Big Night" at Amazon.com"The birdcage" - Comedy with Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Calista Flockhart, Christine Baranski, Hank Azaria. Directed by Mike Nichols. Based on a French play that was made in the French movie "La Cage aux Folles."
Plot Intro: The son of two homosexuals in Miami's South Beach is going to get married to the daughter of two very conservative people.
Review: Remake of "La Cage aux Folles." Nathan Lane is brilliant. Christine Baranski is great. Williams is more of a straight man in this film. I first saw this in a theatre in Miami, and we were rolling on the floor -- figuratively speaking. It was interesting to watch it there, because the film is supposed to occur on South Beath. It doesn't seem to have the same punch on the small screen with a small group — especially since everyone would know the story.
"The birdcage" at Amazon.com "La Cage aux Folles" at Amazon.com"Brassed Off!" - Romantic comedy with Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor.
Plot Intro: A local brass band in a small British town may have to disband after the coal mine closes.
Review: Pleasant romantic comedy. Some foul language.
"Brassed Off!" at Amazon.com"Children of the Revolution" - Comedy with Judy Davis, Sam Neill, F. Murray Abraham, Geoffrey Rush.
Plot Intro: A communist woman has a child by Stalin. The child grows up to almost brings Australia to civil war.
Review: Somewhat humorous. Judy Davis is excellent.
"Children of the Revolution" at Amazon.com"Dragonheart" - Fantasy drama with Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, Pete Postlethwait, Sir John Gielgud.
Plot Intro: An evil king has a link with the last dragon in the world. A dragonslayer befriends the dragon, and they work to depose the king.
Review: Good special effects. Connery's voice is great for the dragon. Quaid is very good as the dragonslayer.
"Dragonheart" at Amazon.com"Emma" - Romantic comedy costume drama with Gwyneth Paltrow, Greta Scacchi, Toni Collette, Jeremy Northam. Based on a Jane Austen novel.
Plot Intro: A young woman plays matchmaker but gets entangled herself.
Review: Very good translation of the Jane Austin novel to the big screen. Paltrow is very good, and Northam is always good.
My review of "Clueless" (1995) "Emma" at Amazon.com "Clueless" at Amazon.com"The English Patient" - Romantic drama with Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, William Dafoe, Juliette Binoche, Colin Firth, Jurgen Prochnow.
Plot Intro: A severely injured man has a heartbreaking story behind his injuries.
Review: Sweeping photography. Best Picture Academy Award. Juliette Binoche received an Academy Award as did the director (Anthony Minghella), the director of photography (John Seale), the editor (Walter Murch), music (Gabriel Yared), costumes (Gary Jones and Ann Roth), production design (production design). Very much a "chick flick."
"The English Patient" at Amazon.com"Eraser" - Adventure film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams, James Caan, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli.
Plot Intro: A woman steals the plans for a super weapon that is planned to be sold on the black market.
Review: Very good action picture. Arnold is Arnold, and James Caan is great as is James Coburn. The photographer and director made sure that they got the best shots of Vanessa that they could (on the level of glamour shots — her makeup and her hair are always perfect), but she gets physically involved, too.
"Eraser" at Amazon.com"Everyone Says I Love You" - Musical romance with Woody Allen, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Alan Alda. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: Two people are planning to get married. Their families are different, and they sing most of the time.
Review: Drew Barrymore is as sweet as she can be, and Edward Norton is very good. Woody wanted to get a movie where the people sounded like the average person. Not sure what point he was trying to make — other than that the average person could not sing as good as those that sing for movies or on stage. (I mean, sometimes we look at stars or athletes and think, "I could do that." Most of the time we can't.) Edward Norton has said that he took singing lessons before the movie, and when he sang for the movie Woody asked him to sing it again — only worse. The point of going to movies and sporting events is to see some of the world's best, to marvel at their abilities. Viewing a movie with average (or worse) singing holds no interest for me.
"Everyone Says I Love You" at Amazon.com"Fargo" - Crime dramedy with William H Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi. Written and directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan.
Plot Intro: A car salesman wants to get rid of his wife. The police come to investigate all the craziness.
Review: McDormand is brilliant — she received the Academy Award for her performance. After listening to the Minnesota accents for a while, the film becomes more and more humorous. Then it just becomes bizarre. There are some pretty violent and gross scenes throughout — but especially at the end.
"Fargo" at Amazon.com"Feeling Minnesota" - Romantic dramedy with Keanu Reeves, Cameron Diaz, Vincent D'Onofrio, Delroy Lindo, Dan Aykroyd, Courtney Love, Tuesday Weld. Written and directed by Steven Baigelman.
Plot Intro: Two crooks fight for the same woman.
Review: Reeves and Diaz are good. Early Cameron Diaz film which makes it interesting.
"Feeling Minnesota" at Amazon.com"Flirting With Disaster" - Comedy with Ben Stiller, Téa Leoni, Patricia Arquette, Alan Alda, George Segal, Mary Tyler Moore, Lily Tomlin, Josh Brolin.
Plot Intro: A man decides to search for his birth parents.
Review: Ben Stiller is always great as the long suffering normal guy (basically the same as in "Meet My Parents" and "Zero Effect"). Leoni is beautiful with that smoky voice. Alda, Segal, and Moore are also very good.
"Flirting With Disaster" at Amazon.com"Hamlet" - Shakespeare Drama with Kenneth Branagh, Richard Attenborough, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Billy Crystal, Judi Dench, Gérard Depardieu. Screenplay by Branagh. Directed by Branagh.
Plot Intro: The Danish prince finds out about how his father died.
Review: Excellent portrayal of the classic Shakespeare play.
"Hamlet" at Amazon.com"Harriet the Spy" - Comedy with Michelle Trachtenberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Eartha Kitt. Adaptation of the Louise Fitzhugh novel.
Plot Intro: A girl keeps a journal with all of her observations of other girls, but the journal is discovered.
Review: May be good for kids.
"Harriet the Spy" at Amazon.com"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" - Animated Disney feature based on the Victor Hugo novel; with Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Kevin Kline, Jason Alexander, David Ogden Stiers.
Plot Intro: Quasimodo, the hunchback, attempts to protect Esmerelda in Medieval Paris.
Review: Excellent animated feature.
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at Amazon.com"Independence Day" - Science Fiction action picture with Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Randy Quaid, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Loggia, Viveca A Fox, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Harvey Fierstein. Written and directed by Roland Emmerich.
Plot Intro: Aliens come to takeover the Earth. The people of Earth fight back.
Review: This is basically a remake of "War of the Worlds." Good special effects. Some good scenes. Some problems with the story. A computer virus written by humans that can infect the alien ships? Give me a break!
"Independence Day" at Amazon.com"James and the Giant Peach" - Animated feature with Richard Dreyfuss, Pete Postlethwait, Susan Sarandon. Based on the book by Raold Dahl.
Plot Intro: A boy has to go live with his awful aunts when his parents die.
Review: Very good stop action film. Worth a look.
"James and the Giant Peach" at Amazon.com"Jerry Maguire" - Romantic comedy with Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr, Rene Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jay Mohr, Bonnie Hunt, Regina King. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe.
Plot Intro: A sports agent is fired. He begins his own agency. Through the process he grows up. He realizes that he is selfish and needs other people.
Review: Very good film. Cuba Gooding Jr received an Academy Award for his performance. All the performances are very good. Cruise is better than usual. I have never considered him to be a very good actor, but he does good here.
"Jerry Maguire" at Amazon.com"Kingpin" - Comedy with Randy Quaid, Woody Harrelson, Vanessa Angel, Bill Murray, Chris Elliott. Directed by the Farrelly brothers.
Plot Intro: A bowler loses an arm. Later he attempts to develop the talents of a natural.
Review: Parody of the standard sports story. Some people think this film was very funny. I did not.
"Kingpin" at Amazon.com"Long Kiss Goodnight" - Action picture with Geena Davis, Samuel L Jackson, Craig Bierko, David Morse. Directed by Renny Harlin.
Plot Intro: A woman finds out that she has blocked some memories. They start coming back after she and her family are put in danger when people who want her to be dead discover where she is.
Review: This is the second action picture of Davis that is directed by her husband, Harlin. Very good film though somewhat predictable. Geena looks like she is enjoying herself.
"Long Kiss Goodnight" at Amazon.com"Michael" - Fantasy comedy with John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Robert Pastorelli, Jean Stapleton, Teri Garr.
Plot Intro: The archangel Michael makes an appearance on earth. Reporters find out and want an interview.
Review: Sweet, funny story. Travolta is great.
"Michael" at Amazon.com"Michael Collins" - Historical drama with Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Julia Roberts. Written and directed by Neil Jordan.
Plot Intro: Based on a true story. The story of one of the people who was instrumental in gaining the independence of Ireland from British rule in the early 20th century.
Review: Very good film. Sincere performances. Julia Roberts cannot seem to grasp the ability to speak with an Irish accent, or else it just seems out of place for her to be in the film.
"Michael Collins" at Amazon.com"Mission Impossible" - Action picture with Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emanuel Béart.
Plot Intro: A man who is a member of a team of special agents is accused of being a mole and for being the reason why some died in a failed operation.
Review: An attempt to bring the very popular TV series from the 1960s to the big screen. It is a good action picture, but Jim Phelps dies. Even though Voight is no Peter Graves, I'm not sure why it was necessary to make him a villain and then kill him off. Also, it looks like Béart was taken in by the whole "collagen in the lips" fad. The result is that her beauty is completely distorted. She is extremely beautiful. If you want to see her without the injections, see her in "Manon des Sources" (1986, AKA "Manon of the Spring"), the sequel to "Jean de Florette" or "La Belle Noisseuse" (1991). Tom Cruise does OK. Not a big Cruise fan.
"Mission Impossible" at Amazon.com"Mother" - Comedy with Albert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow, Rob Morrow. Written and directed by Albert Brooks.
Plot Intro: After a couple of failed marriages, a man decides that he needs to get to the root of all of his problems — his relationship with his mother. So he moves in with her — not exactly to her liking. She resents the implication of this that he is blaming her for all of his problems.
Review: There are some good performances here. It is nice to see Debbie Reynolds back up on the big screen. (Aside from a few foreign films, some voices done for animated films, and TV shows, Reynolds had not graced the big screen since 1971.) I'm sure that some people felt that this was a typical male pattern of blaming their mother for all of their problems, so they were turned off by the film. The film does not necessarily try to portray a stereotypical male. Those people who reacted negatively to the film may not have had to deal with an overbearing parent who affected their personality from the time they were young, or they may not have had to deal with a parent who could not stop "parenting" when they got older. People have been known to grow up without now knowing how to interact with other people — let alone with those of the opposite sex. It must be said that raising children is a complicated thing usually done by people who have barely grown up themselves — if they have at all. Many times, it looks like children raising children. Parents have their good days and bad days, and the same could be said for children. The stages of the development of children serve to complicate the matters even further, since there are periods of their life when they can deal with what their parents do better than other times. Parents, without realizing it, will do things with (or to) their children that may adversely affect them for the rest of their lives. It seems to be inevitable that people grow up with emotional scars. Sometimes I think that it is amazing that any of us reach adulthood with any kind of sanity. While some people may say, "Get over it!", some people may never have the courage without the help of others to overcome these problems. In saying all of this (sorry for the sermonette), I found Brooks's character's attempt to come to grips with the emotional scars of his youth, and I found his mother's eventual acceptance of his quest as something to be respected.
"Mother" at Amazon.com"Multiplicity" - Comedy with Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Eugene Levy, Ann Cusack, Brian-Doyle Murray. Directed by Harold Ramis.
Plot Intro: A man wants to get a break from the drudgery of his daily life, so he clones himself.
Review: I really like this movie. I could watch it over and over again. The creativity of the film is on the same level as "Groundhog Day."
"Multiplicity" at Amazon.com"My Fellow Americans" - Political comedy with James Garner, Jack Lemmon, Dan Aykroyd, Wilford Brimley, Lauren Bacall, Sela Ward, Esther Rolle.
Plot Intro: There is a plot to kill the president and the ex-presidents.
Review: A good teaming of Garner and Lemmon. Both of them are getting rather old at this point, but they put forth such a good effort that the film is very entertaining.
"My Fellow Americans" at Amazon.com"The Nutty Professor" - Comedy with Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn.
Plot Intro: A professor accidentally finds a chemical potion that turns him from a fat shy man to a slim confident man.
Review: Remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis classic. Eddie is up to the task. It is a good updating of the material with the Eddie Murphy twist.
Review of "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps" (2000) "The Nutty Professor" at Amazon.com"One Fine Day" - Romantic comedy with George Clooney, Michelle Pfeiffer, Charles Durning, Ellen Greene, Robert Klein.
Plot Intro: Two divorced single parents are thrown together. At first, they see the other in terms of their previous significant other. Then they get to know each other.
Review: There is some chemistry between Clooney and Pfeiffer.
"One Fine Day" at Amazon.com"101 Dalmations" - Comedy with Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Hugh Laurie, Joan Plowright, Joely Richardson.
Plot Intro: Cruella da Vil loves fur and wants a spotted coat.
Review: A live-action remake of the Disney animated classic. Close looks like she loves the part. I am a big fan of Hugh Laurie, so it was a pleasure to see him.
"101 Dalmations" at Amazon.com"The Phantom" - Fantasy adventure action film with Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson, Treat Williams, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Casey Siemaszko, Samantha Eggar, Patrick McGoohan.
Plot Intro: The Phantom, a reclusive man, attempts to thwart an evil plan.
Review: Film based on the old radio show. Better than "The Shadow" (1994) or "The Saint" (1997).
"The Phantom" at Amazon.com"Phenomenon" - Drama with John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Duvall, Forest Whitaker, Richard Kiley.
Plot Intro: A man is struck by lightning (or is he?). He develops certain powers of mind.
Review: Very good film. Travolta is on a roll during this period. Recommended.
"Phenomenon" at Amazon.com"The Preacher's Wife" - Holiday fantasy with Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B Vance, Gregory Hines, Lionel Richie.
Plot Intro: A harried minister wants help, and he gets it from an angel. At first, he appreciates the assistance, but things change.
Review: A respectful remake of "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant and Loretta Young. The original is one of my favorite films, and no remake would ever be able to approach that quality. Cary Grant and Loretta Young are so perfect that no one can take their places in my mind.
"The Preacher's Wife" at Amazon.com"Ransom" - Drama with Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise, Delroy Lindo, Lili Taylor. Directed by Ron Howard.
Plot Intro: A man's son is kidnapped. The father decides to take things into his own hands.
Review: Very good action picture that can go along with the other Gibson picture, "Payback" (1999). "Payback" is better.
"Ransom" at Amazon.com"The Rich Man's Wife" - Thriller with Halle Berry. Written and directed by Amy Holden Jones.
Plot Intro: A woman gets married after signing a prenuptial agreement, but finds out that her husband is not a nice guy. She makes plans.
Review: Always good to see Halle.
"The Rich Man's Wife" at Amazon.com"Ridicule" - Costume Drama.
Plot Intro: A lord from a remote area of France has to learn to play the games of the court in Versailles.
Review: This is an attempt to portray what the French court was like just before the French Revolution.
"Ridicule" at Amazon.com"The Rock" - Drama with Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil.
Plot Intro: A rogue military group wants $100 million to compensate families who lost loved ones during covert operations. He threatens to attack San Francisco with deadly gas if the money isn't paid.
Review: Cage is very good as the less than enthusiastic chemical gas expert. Connery is good. The movie is somewhat formulaic, but it still is entertaining.
"The Rock" at Amazon.com"Scream" - Thriller with David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy, Drew Barrymore, Liev Schreiber. Directed by Wes Craven.
Plot Intro: A psychopathic killer is stalking a group of teens. Of course, the teens do all the wrong things — all the things they know are cliche in scary movies.
Review: The movie that spawned a couple sequels. Well-known stars are killed at the beginning.
My review of "Scream 2" (1997) "Scream" at Amazon.com"Shall We Dance?" - Romance. AKA "Shall We Dancu?" Japanese.
Plot Intro: A man decides to take up ballroom dancing after seeing the instructor.
Review: Very sweet. Some good dancing. Recommended.
"Shall We Dance?" at Amazon.com"Shine" - Drama with Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, John Gielgud, Lynne Redgrave. Scott Hicks directed and co-wrote the script.
Plot Intro: Pianist David Helfgott must survive the abuse of his childhood and the mental breakdown he had as a young man in order to become a shadow of the pianist that he might have been.
Review: A dark, painful story that is at the same time very inspiring. Great performance by Geoffrey Rush who received an Academy Award for Best Actor. Mueller-Stahl is great as the domineering, abusive father.
"Shine" at Amazon.com"Sling Blade" - Drama with Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yokum, John Ritter, Robert Duvall, J T Walsh. Based on the play by Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton adapted the script and directed the film.
Plot Intro: A mentally-challenged man who had killed his mother and her lover is released from prison. He goes back to live in his small town. He befriends a boy, and the boy's mother invites him to stay in the garage. But there are problems with the mother's abusive boyfriend.
Review: Difficult to watch due to some of the events portrayed. Thornton and Ritter are very good.
"Sling Blade" at Amazon.com"The Spitfire Grill" - Drama with Ellen Burstyn, Alison Elliott. Written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff.
Plot Intro: A girl with a secret is released from prison and finds her way to a small Maine town where she is hired as a cook at the local luncheon counter. Some of the town accepts her right away, others take a while, and still others never accept her.
Review: Very good film. Maybe a very good family film if the children are prepared for the ending.
"The Spitfire Grill" at Amazon.com"Star Trek: First Contact" - Science Fiction with Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Lavar Burton, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige. Directed by Jonathan Frakes.
Plot Intro: The Borg are going to try to go through a time warp to prevent man from developing warp speed.
Review: One of the better of the recent Star Trek movies. The story is good, and the special effects are very good.
"Star Trek: First Contact" at Amazon.com"The Substitute" - Drama with Tom Berenger, Marc Anthony, William Forsythe, Diane Venora, Ernie Hudson.
Plot Intro: A gang is terrorizing a local high school. One of the teachers gets hurt, and her friend, who happens to be in Special Forces, takes her place as a substitute.
Review: Berenger is excellent. Very violent. Fun action picture.
"The Substitute" at Amazon.com"Swingers" - With Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Heather Graham.
Plot Intro: A guy teaches his friend about the swingers scene.
Review: Good small budget picture with some early performances of now famous actors.
"Swingers" at Amazon.com"that thing you do!" - Dramedy with Tom Hanks, Liv Tyler, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Alex Rocco, Peter Scolari, Rita Wilson. Written and directed by Tom Hanks.
Plot Intro: A local band is discovered. They attempt to ride it as long as they can.
Review: A fun movie to watch without much mental effort involved. Entertaining. Good performances by some good new actors.
"that thing you do!" at Amazon.com"A Time To Kill" - Drama with Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Charles Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Patrick McGoohan, Ashley Judd. Based on the John Grisham novel.
Plot Intro: A little black girl is raped and murdered in a small southern town. The father takes revenge by shooting two of those who are responsible — after the four perpetrators are acquitted. A lawyer with a young family has to choose whether to defend him.
Review: The first book by Grisham. Now it's turned into a movie. Jackson is always good.
"A Time To Kill" at Amazon.com"Tin Cup" - Sports romantic comedy with Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson. Directed and co-written by Ron Shelton (writer/director of "Bull Durham").
Plot Intro: A former professional golfer has to get a hold of his anger in order to compete with a rival and win the girl. Can he do it?
Review: Another good teaming up of Shelton and Costner. Costner is very good in sports movies.
"Tin Cup" at Amazon.com"The Truth About Cats & Dogs" - Romantic comedy with Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin, Jamie Foxx.
Plot Intro: A veterinarian with a successful radio show gives on-air help to a commercial photographer who then wants to meet her. The vet lacks confidence and sets him up with her shallow, not-very-bright, pretty neighbor — who she barely knows. This leads to confusion, the development of the relationship between the two women, and some character growth by the pretty neighbor.
Review: One of the small films by Garofalo — all of which are watchable and entertaining.
"The Truth About Cats & Dogs" at Amazon.com"Twelfth Night: Or What You Will" - Shakespearean romantic comedy with Helena Bonham Carter, Nigel Hawthorne, Ben Kingsley.
Plot Intro: A brother and sister are in a shipwreck. They look very much alike, and one thing leads to another.
Review: One of the lighter Shakespeare plays.
"Twelfth Night: Or What You Will" at Amazon.com"Twister" - Drama with Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Script co-written by Michael Crichton. Directed by Jan de Bont.
Plot Intro: Two scientific teams compete to get closest to the worst of the tornadoes.
Review: Realistic special effects help a story that may not be very realistic. How can anyone survive (without a scratch) being in a tornado after being chained down — especially with all the debris that is being whipped around by the winds?
"Twister" at Amazon.com
"Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" - Comedy with Jim Carrey, Ian McNeice. AKA "Ace Ventura 2".
Plot Intro: A rare white bat is taken. Ace is called in.
Review: A higher budget film than the first. Not quite as good as the first.
My review of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" (1994) "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" at Amazon.com"The American President" - Romantic comedy with Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J Fox, Richard Dreyfuss. Directed by Rob Reiner.
Plot Intro: A president who is a widower has a romance.
Review: Michael Douglas and Annette Bening are very good.
"The American President" at Amazon.com"Angels and Insects" - Romantic drama with Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patsy Kensit.
Plot Intro: A young scientist in Victorian England is introduced to a family and becomes interested in the oldest daughter. He is struck by how their social organization is much the same as that of an insect colony.
Review: Kind of odd story. May be disturbing to some people. Warning: Some nudity and violence.
"Angels and Insects" at Amazon.com"Anne Frank Remembered" - Documentary voice by Kenneth Branagh, Glenn Close, Miep Gies. Directed and co-written by Jon Blair.
Plot Intro: Documentary about one of the most famous victims of Hitler's Holocaust in World War 2.
Review: Best Documentary Oscar for 1995. Excellent. Uses a lot of archival footage.
"Anne Frank Remembered" at Amazon.com"Antonia's Line" - Foreign dramedy.
Plot Intro: A woman looks back on her life.
Review: Best Foreign Language Film Oscar of 1995. Very good.
Warning: Some violence (including a rape), so the film may not be for everyone.
"Anne Frank Remembered" at Amazon.com"Apollo 13" - Drama with Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan. Directed by Ron Howard. Based on Jim Lovell's book.
Plot Intro: "Houston, we have a problem!" Astronauts are scheduled to land on the moon, but there is equipment failure. Can they return to earth?
Review: Taut drama based on the true story which very few remembered. At the time, few people understood the danger, since flights of the Apollo missions had been nearly event-free. Since the Shuttle disasters, the movie has had an appropriate amount of impact.
"Apollo 13" at Amazon.com"Babe" - Comedy with Christine Cavanaugh, Hugo Weaving, James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski.
Plot Intro: A pig wants to be a sheep pig and help his farmer out.
Review: Charming story. An instant classic. I saw this in a crowded theatre with a lot of children. The reaction of the children made the film even more charming. The mice are great as kind of a Greek chorus between scenes. It still holds up when viewed on television, but it makes no sense that they have yet to release a widescreen (letterboxed) version.
My review of "Babe 2: Pig In The City" (1998) "Babe" at Amazon.com"Batman Forever" - Action picture with Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell, Pat Hingle, Drew Barrymore, Rene Auberjonois. AKA "Batman 3".
Plot Intro: Batman faces The Riddler and Two Face.
Review: Quality of the action and story deteriorates. Kilmer is good, but Keaton was so fully nuanced as the complicated Batman that it is difficult for anyone to fill his shoes.
"Batman Forever" at Amazon.com My review of "Batman" (1989). My review of "Batman Returns" (1992). My review of "Batman & Robin" (1997). My review of "Batman Begins" (2005). My review of "The Dark Knight" (2008). My review of "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)."Beyond Rangoon" - Drama with Patricia Arquette, Frances McDormand, Victor Slezak. Directed by John Boorman.
Plot Intro: A woman loses her husband and son to murder, goes on vacation to Burma, loses her passport, and witnesses the repression of the Burmese people by the government.
Review: Based on a true story. A dramatic film.
"Beyond Rangoon" at Amazon.com"Braveheart" - Drama with Mel Gibson, Patrick McGoohan, Peter Hanly, Sophie Marceau, Angus McFadyen, Catherine McCormack. Directed by Mel Gibson. Screenplay by Randall Wallace.
Plot Intro: The story of William Wallace who led the Scottish in their attempts to gain freedom from the English at a time when the Scottish did not have a strong king.
Review: Based on a true story. Best Film Oscar of 1995. Gibson received Academy Award for directing, and John Toll received one for the photography. Wallace was nominated for the screenplay, and James Horner was nominated for the music.
"Braveheart" at Amazon.com"The Bridges of Madison County" - Romance with Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Victor Slezak. Based on the best-selling book by Robert James Waller. Plot Intro: A photographer is photographing covered bridges in Iowa. He stops at a farmhouse, and one thing leads to another.
"The Bridges of Madison County" at Amazon.com"The Brothers McMullin" - Maxine Bahns, Edward Burns. Written and directed by Edward Burns.
Plot Intro: Three Irish-American brothers have problems dealing with the opposite sex.
Review: Good film.
"The Brothers McMullin" at Amazon.com"Casper" - With Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty.
Plot Intro: A father and daughter move into a house that has a history.
Review: Somewhat entertaining. Mostly for young teens and younger.
"Casper" at Amazon.com"Circle of Friends" - With Minnie Driver, Chris O'Donnell, Colin Firth.
Plot Intro: In 1950s Ireland, two friends begin attending college.
Review: Good early film of actors who are much bigger now.
"Circle of Friends" at Amazon.com"Clueless" - Romantic comedy with Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Dan Hedaya. Written and directed by Amy Heckerling. Based on "Emma", the Jane Austen novel.
Plot Intro: A girl attempts to be a matchmaker and do a makeover, but she ends up with an internal makeover and a match herself.
Review: Sweet film. A good updating of the Jane Austen novel. Silverstone is excellent, and the rest of the cast is very good.
My review of "Emma" (1996) "Clueless" at Amazon.com "Emma" at Amazon.com"Crimson Tide" - Drama with Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, George Dzundza, Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, Steve Zahn.
Plot Intro: A young officer on a submarine organizes a mutiny to stop his captain from launching missiles before the confirmation orders are received.
Review: Very good film. Recommended.
"Crimson Tide" at Amazon.com"Cutthroat Island" - Adventure drama with Geena Davis, Matthew Modine, Frank Langella, Maury Chaykin. Directed by Renny Martin.
Plot Intro: Pirates race to find an island on which is a huge fortune.
Review: Directed by Davis's husband. Davis proves she is up to physical stuff. A fun movie to watch.
"Cutthroat Island" at Amazon.com"Desperado" - Action picture with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino.
Plot Intro: A gunslinger runs afoul with a drug runner.
Review: Kind of a reworking of "El Mariachi" (1992). Banderas and Hayek bring a real heat to the screen. Both had mainly done Spanish films (or TV) up to this point.
My review of "El Mariachi" "Desperado" at Amazon.com "El Mariachi" at Amazon.com"Devil In A Blue Dress" - Crime drama/mystery with Denzel Washington, Jennifer Beals, Maury Chaykin, Don Cheadle. Based on a Walter Mosley book.
Plot Intro: There is a scandal, and an African-American detective is hired to find a woman at the center of it.
Review: Good film. Denzel is very good as a detective. I recommend the book as well. Mosley has written a series with an African-American detective. Most, if not all, of them are very good.
"Devil In A Blue Dress" at Amazon.com"Die Hard with a Vengeance" - Action picture with Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L Jackson. Directed by John McTiernan. AKA "Die Hard III".
Plot Intro: A cop and a store owner race around to stop a madman from detonating a bomb at a public school.
Review: Very good. Villains are appropriately evil. Good guys are appropriately exhausted.
My review of "Die Hard" (1988) My review of "Die Hard II" (1990) My review of "Live Free or Die Hard" or Die Hard 4 (2007). My review of "A Good Day To Die Hard" or "Die Hard 5" (2013). "Die Hard with a Vengeance" at Amazon.com"The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Came Down a Mountain" - Romantic comedy with Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, Ian McNeice.
Plot Intro: British cartographers visit a village in Wales which is near a hill which has always been considered by the local population as the only mountain in Wales. The cartographers announce to the town that the hill is not tall enough, and the villagers try to rectify the situation.
Review: A sweet movie that is based on a true story. Grant and Fitgerald are great.
"The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Came Down a Mountain" at Amazon.com"Fair Game" - Action picture with Christie Brinkley, William Baldwin.
Plot Intro: A local lawyer in Miami is suddenly in the middle of an international attempt to steal millions.
Review: Baldwin is good, and the action is also good. However, Brinkley has a problem delivering a line in a way that sounds natural. She tends to be deadpan and monotone. The director needed to force her to say the lines until she could say them more naturally. That didn't happen. Some sexual scenes and brief nudity (Brinkley had a body-double).
"Fair Game" at Amazon.com"Forget Paris" - Romantic comedy with Billy Crystal, Debra Winger, Joe Montegna, Richard Masur, Cathy Moriarty, Bill Walton, Charles Barkley, Marv Albert.
Plot Intro: A basketball referee finds love in Paris.
Review: Pleasant story. Not sure there is any real chemistry between Crystal and Winger.
"Forget Paris" at Amazon.com"French Kiss" - Romantic comedy with Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
Plot Intro: A woman flies to Paris to confront her fiancé, but falls for a thief.
Review: Kline's character is annoying. It is annoying that Ryan's character would believe him at all after she finds out the truth.
"French Kiss" at Amazon.com"Get Shorty" - - Comedy with John Travolta, Rene Russo, Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, James Gandolfini. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; based on the Elmore Leonard novel.
Plot Intro: A loan shark goes to Las Vegas and then Hollywood to try to collect. He becomes interested in the movie business.
Review: Excellent film. Maybe the best portrayal of an Elmore Leonard story. The letterboxed version is better, funnier. I could watch this film over and over. The only negative for me was the scene where Travolta and Russo were on the balcony, and it was supposed to be sunset. It looked more like the camera had been fitted with a lens filter.
"Get Shorty" at Amazon.com"GoldenEye" - With Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Joe Don Baker, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench.
Plot Intro: James Bond must find a stolen secret weapon.
Review: Bond 19. Pierce Brosnan was born to be James Bond.
"GoldenEye" at Amazon.com Bond1. My review of "Dr. No" (1962). Bond2. My review of "From Russia With Love" (1963). Bond3. My review of "Goldfinger" (1964). Bond4. My review of "Thunderball" (1965). Bond5. My review of "You Only Live Twice" (1967). Bond6. My review of "Casino Royale" (1967). Bond7. My review of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). Bond8. My review of "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971). Bond9. My review of "Live and Let Die" (1973). Bond10. My Review of "The Man With The Golden Gun" (1974). Bond11. My review of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Bond12. My review of "Moonraker" (1979). Bond13. My review of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). Bond14. My review of "Octopussy" (1983). Bond15. My review of "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Bond16. My review of "A View To A Kill" (1985). Bond17. My review of "The Living Daylights" (1987). Bond18. My review of "License to Kill" (1989). Bond20. My review of "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). Bond21. My review of "The World Is Not Enough" (1997). Bond22. My review of "Casino Royale" (2006). Bond23. My review of "Quantum of Solace" (2008). Bond24. My review of "Skyfall" (2012)."Grumpier Old Men" - Comedy with Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margret, Sophia Loren, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollack.
Plot Intro: Two old man can't seem to get along — again.
Review: Pretty funny. Lemmon and Matthau are consistently good and make bad material better. Ann-Margret and Loren are amazing. Meredith is a scream at the end.
My review of "Grumpy Old Men" (1993) "Grumpier Old Men" at Amazon.com"Hackers" - Techno-action, sci-fi picture with Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie.
Plot Intro: Computer hackers compete to break through network security the fastest.
Review: Early Jolie film. It's OK.
"Hackers" at Amazon.com"Heat" - Crime/adventure, action picture with Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voigt, Diana Venora, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Natalie Portman. Written and directed by Michael Mann.
Plot Intro: An expert thief gets his gang together for another job, and the police try to stop them.
Review: Excellent teaming of DeNiro and Pacino. Suspense, action, and acting are all great. DeNiro is as good as ever. It is interesting to watch the one scene they have together because of the different styles.
"Heat" at Amazon.com"Home For the Holidays" - Dramedy with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg, Amy Yasbeck, Claire Danes. Directed by Jodie Foster.
Plot Intro: Another disfunctional family.
Review: Good attempt to show what some families are like.
"Home For the Holidays" at Amazon.com"The Indian in the Cupboard" - With Lindsay Crouse, Hal Scardino. Directed by Frank Oz.
Plot Intro: Toys come to life in a boy's cupboard. He learns some life lessons from them.
Review: Highly recommended for family viewing.
"The Indian in the Cupboard" at Amazon.com"Jade" - Thriller with David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palmentieri, Richard Crenna, Michael Biehn.
Plot Intro: A murder investigation gets complicated when the investigation leads to some important people in the community — some of whom are doing things that are generally not morally acceptable.
Review: Very good. A film which has some violence and sexual situations. Adults only.
"Jade" at Amazon.com"Judge Dredd" - Sci-fi action picture with Sylvester Stallone, Rob Schneider, Diane Lane, Armand Assante, Jurgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, Joan Chen.
Plot Intro: A policeman is set up for a crime he didn't commit. He has to clear himself.
Review: A good film that had potential to be better. Could be fun to watch for people who are in the mood.
"Judge Dredd" at Amazon.com"Jumanji" - Fantasy adventure with Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Grier, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bebe Neuwirth.
Plot Intro: A boy disappears while playing a board game, and he comes home after many years. He and his friend now have to finish the game.
Review: Entertaining for younger viewers.
"Jumanji" at Amazon.com"A Little Princess" - Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Adapted from the novel by Francis Hodgson Burnett.
Plot Intro: A young privileged girl goes to school.
Review: Very good film for the whole family.
"A Little Princess" at Amazon.com"Mighty Aphrodite" - Romantic comedy with Woody Allen, Mira Sorvino, F Murray Abraham, Helena Bonham Carter, David Ogden Stiers, Olympia Dukakis, Peter Weller. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A couple adopts a boy who turns out to be brilliant. The adopted father attempts to locate the parents. The mother turns out to be a call girl who is, at first brush, does not seem to be too smart.
Review: A very good Woody Allen film. The Greek chorus is a nice touch. Sorvino is excellent. She won an Oscar for her performance. She portrays the prostitute with the kind of voice that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Very funny to hear her talk of sexually related topics. Due to some of the content, this should be for adults only.
"Mighty Aphrodite" at Amazon.com"Mr. Holland's Opus" - Drama with Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H Macy, Jay Thomas, Alicia Witt.
Plot Intro: A music teacher has a son who is deaf. He becomes so involved in his students that his son doesn't get the kind of attention he needs.
Review: Very good film. Dreyfuss was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award.
"Mr. Holland's Opus" at Amazon.com"The Net" - Thriller with Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam. Directed by Irwin Winkler.
Plot Intro: A help desk technician discovers a "back door" that was made by a computer anti-virus software maker. Her life is threatened after that.
Review: Bullock is very good. The film makes you wonder what exactly is in the software we use on a day-to-day basis.
"The Net" at Amazon.com"Persuasion" - Romantic drama with Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds. Based on a Jane Austen novel.
Plot Intro: In 1813 England, an unmarried naval officer comes home to find a place to live. He runs into the girl that he once loved.
Review: This is a beautiful movie, one of my favorites. It is important to watch how the Amanda Root character is treated by her family and how she responds. The final scenes when the two lovers get together are extremely well done.
"Persuasion" at Amazon.com"Pocahontas" - Animated musical Disney feature Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, Linda Hunt.
Plot Intro: An Indian maid makes a difference.
Review: Another quality animated feature from Disney that bears no relation to actual events. I'm not sure why almost all animated features need to be musicals.
"Pocahontas" at Amazon.com"Powder" - Fantasy with Sean Patrick Flannery, Mary Steenburgen, Jeff Goldblum. Written and directed by Victor Salva.
Plot Intro: A white-skinned, hairless teen has peculiar powers which are hard for his community to accept.
Review: The character isn't a true albino, since he has pigment in his irises. "Powder" is kind of weird film. Some of the scenes are pretty laughable. There is one scene after "Powder" disappears while the other characters are standing on top of a hill looking at clouds. Then in another scene, a school administrator says, "Based on the tests you have the highest intelligence in the history of mankind. Do you understand what I'm saying?" I nearly fell off my chair. If he has the highest intelligence, of course he understands! The film was pretty weird and not very well-acted, but what could they have done with such material — except refuse to do it. If the intent of the film is to say to people that all kids need to be accepted in school and hazing should be stamped out, there must be a better way to get that point across.
"Powder" at Amazon.com"Richard III" - Updated Shakespearean drama with Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Edward Hardwicke.
Plot Intro: An updated look at the Shakespeare play about the machinations behind the rise to the throne of Richard III.
Review: This film is brilliant. It transposes the events of Richard III into the 1930s with the twist that England is ruled by fascists. The film uses the very lines of the Shakespeare play. McKellen is brilliant. The film really makes the story come to life — especially with McKellen speaking to the camera from time to time. Richard III himself is a controversial figure who may be an example of the adage, "History is written by the victors." Shakespeare wrote his play based on the view of Richard III at the time. Who knows what any of these people were really like?
"Richard III" at Amazon.com"Rob Roy" - Drama with Liam Neeson, Tim Roth, Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Eric Stoltz.
Plot Intro: In Scotland, in the 1700s, a leader of the Scots attempts to resist the English after a large sum of money is stolen.
Review: Based on the story of Rob Roy, which is the stuff of legend. Good performances by all, but they were ruined for me when Roth rapes Lange rather graphically, and I will never ever watch this film again. I am sure that events like that happened in Ireland and Scotland, since the English were certainly no saints. (They were probably worse than any film could depict.) I react strongly to rape and certain other kinds of violence. So be warned.
"Rob Roy" at Amazon.com"Rumble in the Bronx" - Drama with Jackie Chan. AKA "Hong faan kui."
Plot Intro: A man from Hong Kong visits his relatives in New York City. He has to help his relatives deal with a local gang and another more dangerous one.
Review: Lots of action. Chan did all of his own stunts. The credits include outtakes.
"Rumble in the Bronx" at Amazon.com"Sabrina" - Romantic dramedy with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormand, Greg Kinnear, Nancy Marchand, Richard Crenna, Angie Dickinson, Lauren Holly, Dana Ivey. Directed by Sydney Pollack.
Plot Intro: An executive falls in love with the daughter of the butler who has returned from Paris.
Review: A good attempt at updating the story that was originally filmed in 1954 with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.
"Sabrina" at Amazon.com"Sense and Sensibility" - Romantic costume comedy with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman. Directed by Ang Lee; screenplay by Emma Thompson - based on the Jane Austen novel.
Plot Intro: A mother and three daughters are thrown out of their home when the husband/father dies and the son inherits the estate. The son is by the man's first wife. The older two daughters are at the age where they should be meeting potential husbands.
Review: Excellent adaptation of the Jane Austen story. The storyline with Thompson and Grant is very charming. Grant seems a little out of place in this costume dramedy (he is one of my favorite actors in romantic comedies), but the quality of the production and the high quality of all of the acting makes up for that one small problem.
"Sense and Sensibility" at Amazon.com"Se7en" - Thriller with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Plot Intro: A psychotic killer attempts to illustrate the seven deadly sins.
Review: Extremely violent and graphic film. The content makes it for adults only.
"Se7en" at Amazon.com"Shanghai Triad" - With Gong Li. Directed by Zhang Yimou.
Plot Intro: A boy is taken by his uncle to work for the head of a gang, and he begins to work for the gang leader and his mistress.
Review: Very good. Gong Li is great, as always.
"Shanghai Triad" at Amazon.com"Stuart Saves His Family" - Comedy with Al Franken, Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio, Julia Sweeney, Joe Flaherty. Directed by Harold Ramis. Written by Al Franken based on his book.
Plot Intro: Stuart Smalley loses his Public Access program, so he spends his time trying to help his family recognize the need to get involved with 12-Step programs. "Because I'm good enough, and I'm smart enough, and — dog-gone-it — people like me!"
Review: Based on the Saturday Night Live skit. The film is a good attempt to bring a short SNL skit to the screen in a feature-length film (there have been worse ones). I'm a big fan of Al Franken, so for me the film was great.
"Stuart Saves His Family" at Amazon.com"To Die For" - Drama with Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Illeana Doublas, Dan Hedaya, Buck Henry. Directed by Gus Van Sant.
Plot Intro: A weather girl enlists the aid of three high school boys to kill her husband.
Review: Some of the events are based on a true story — a weird story at that. Kidman looks great, but she always does.
"To Die For" at Amazon.com"Toy Story" - Animated Pixar feature with Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Jim Varney, Don Rickles, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, Laurie Metcalf.
Plot Intro: A kid loves his Woody western doll — until he gets a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Soon his room is decorated with space-related stuff rather than the western theme that was there. Then his family has to move. This leads to an adventure for all the toys.
Review: Excellent film. Graphics are great, and the voices chosen for the characters are perfect. Highly recommended.
My review of "Toy Story 2" (1999) My review of "Toy Story 3" (2010) "Toy Story" at Amazon.com"Twelve Monkeys" - Sci-fi with Bruce Willis, David Morse, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt. Directed by Terry Gilliam.
Plot Intro: A convict is sent back in time to stop a plague that authorities thought was started by a group called the "Twelve Monkeys."
Review: Thought-provoking film about time travel. One of those quirky films that seems to work. I like just about every Bruce Willis film.
"Twelve Monkeys" at Amazon.com"2 Days In The Valley" - With Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Glenne Headly, Peter Horton, Marsha Mason, James Spader, Eric Stoltz, Charlize Theron, Keith Carradine; written and directed by John Herzfeld.
Plot Intro: Intersecting lives in the valley. Murder, kidnapping, dogs, pasta, burning cars, massage parlors.
Review: Gritty, convoluted, and violent. Somewhat like a Tarantino film. Some nudity and sex scenes. Early Charlize Theron appearance.
"2 Days In The Valley" at Amazon.com."Under Siege 2: Dark Territory" - Adventure-thriller with Steven Seagal, Eric Bogosian, Catherine Heigl, Morris Chestnut.
Plot Intro: A man who boards a train plots to takeover a secret superweapon that is rotating around earth as a satellite. He wants revenge and money. Unfortunately for him and his cohorts, he picks the train on which Steven Seagal and his daughter are traveling on their vacation.
Review: Steven Seagal is not a very good actor, but this film isn't too bad. Kind of entertaining.
"Under Siege 2: Dark Territory" at Amazon.com"The Usual Suspects" - Suspense-mystery-thriller with Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollack, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Paul Bartel.
Plot Intro: A story is woven by a lame man who is caught be the police after a waterfront explosion. What is the truth?
Review: Very good movie which (probably) fools you all the way to the end of the film.
"The Usual Suspects" at Amazon.com"A Walk In The Clouds" - Romance with Keanu Reeves, Anthony Quinn.
Plot Intro: A young man offers to help a young woman who is pregnant and going home to meet her family by posing as her husband.
Review: This movie doesn't do anything for me, but I know several women who find it to be really moving.
"A Walk In The Clouds" at Amazon.com"Waterworld" - Futuristic drama with Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Hopper. Co-directed by Kevin Costner and Kevin Reynolds.
Plot Intro: Global warming has caused all of the ice caps and glaciers to have melted, covering all of known land. A man with gills appears to save a girl with birthmark in the form of a map to dry land.
Review: The movie got a lot of bad press because of its high budget, but it's not as bad as I expected. Costner is kind of deadpan. The evil guys are caricatures. I still found the film to be entertaining.
"Waterworld" at Amazon.com"While You Were Sleeping" - Romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden.
Plot Intro: A ticket-taker for the "El"/"L" in Chicago saves the life of a man she has always idolized. His family assumes that she is his fiancée.
Review: Bullock is always fun to watch. The movie is worth a look.
"While You Were Sleeping" at Amazon.com"The Young Poisoner's Handbook" - Crime drama.
Plot Intro: An amoral teenager is interested in chemistry. He decides to experiment on some chemicals and compounds.
Review: Based on a true story of a teenager who allegedly poisoned all his family and friends and coworkers before he was caught. Bizarre, dark. Not for everyone's taste.
"The Young Poisoner's Handbook" at Amazon.com
"Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" - Comedy with Jim Carrey, Courtney Cox, Sean Young, Tone Loc, Dan Marino
Plot Intro: Someone stole/kidnapped the mascot of the Miami Dolphins. A goofy pet detective is called into the case.
Review: Carrey is either over the top or at the very least near the top. Not to anyone taste.
My review of "Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls" (1995) "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" at Amazon.com"Baby's Day Out" - Comedy with Joe Montegna, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joe Pantoliano. Written by John Hughes.
Plot Intro: A baby has a day out to visit everything that is in his favorite book.
Review: Almost too cute. Great family film.
"Baby's Day Out" at Amazon.com"Barcelona" - Romantic dramedy with Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, Mira Sorvino. Written and directed by Whit Stillman.
Plot Intro: A stuffy young man working for a corporation in Barcelona receives a surprise visit from his un-stuffy cousin who is an officer in the US Navy. The two have a hard time getting along even in the best of circumstances. They meet some locals who have little respect for anything American.
Review: Some interesting people having interesting conversations. Sorvino's second film.
"Barcelona" at Amazon.com"Bullets Over Broadway" - Comedy with John Cusack, Chazz Palmentieri, Jennifer Tilly, Dianne Wiest, Rob Reiner, Mary-Louise Parker, Harvey Fierstein. Directed and co-written by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A playwright's play is in the process of being produced.
Review: One of the better Woody Allen films of the 1990s. Wiest received an Academy Award for her performance.
"Bullets Over Broadway" at Amazon.com"Burnt By The Sun"
Plot Intro: A Russian family in Stalinist Soviet Union in the 1930s.
Review: Best Foreign Language Film Oscar of 1994.
"Burnt By The Sun" at Amazon.com"City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold" - Comedy with Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz, Jayne Meadows.
Plot Intro: Curly dies, and a map to gold is found.
Review: I've only walked out of three movies in my life. This is one of them. The humor in the script was so low and distasteful that I couldn't sit through much of the film.
My review of "City Slickers" (1991) "City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold" at Amazon.com"Clean Slate" - Comedy with Dana Carvey, Valeria Galeno, James Earl Jones, Kevin Pollack, Olivia d'Abo.
Plot Intro: A detective with short-term memory problems needs to be able to testify in court in order to put a criminal away.
Review: Pleasant comedy with Carvey. Carvey was such an inspired comedian on Saturday Night Live that it is kind of disappointing that he can only make these small films.
"Clean Slate" at Amazon.com"Clear and Present Danger" - With Harrison Ford, William Dafoe, Anne Archer. Based on the novel by Tom Clancy.
Plot Intro: Jack Ryan is assigned to work on an anti-drug project.
Review: The third of the Jack Ryan films. Very good, if you like Tom Clancy stuff.
"Clear and Present Danger" at Amazon.com"The Client" - With Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia, J.T. Walsh, William H. Macy. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Based on the novel by John Grisham.
Plot Intro: A boy seeks an attorney when he is being pressured by prosecutors to help in their attempts to bring a mob boss to justice.
Review: Good Grisham film. Grisham books are usually better than Grisham movies.
"The Client" at Amazon.com"The Crow" - Fantasy-adventure-thriller with Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson.
Plot Intro: A man who is murdered comes back to life to seek revenge.
Review: Stylistic photography. A dark film starring the son of Bruce Lee. Lee showed real promise, and it is unfortunate that he died during the production. The basics of the story are pretty common — even appearing in at least one Clint Eastwood western and in the movie "Darkman". That aside, the uniqueness of the photography and production make this a film worth seeing.
"The Crow" at Amazon.com"Crumb" - Documentary.
Plot Intro: Documentary about a comic book artist and his family.
Review: Robert Crumb drew the "Keep on Truckin'" comic and the "Fritz the Cat" cartoon in the 1970s. His personality comes through in the documentary as somewhat disturbed. This film is not to everyone's taste.
"Crumb" at Amazon.com"Drunken Master II" - Martial Arts film starring Jackie Chan. Released in 2000 with title "The Legend of Drunken Master."
Plot Intro: A practitioner of drunken boxing takes on antiquity smugglers.
Review: Jackie Chan movies are always a treat. This one is a rare treat. The fighting sequences are amazing.
"Drunken Master II" at Amazon.com"Dumb and Dumber" - With Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly. Plot Intro: Two guys travel cross country to find the woman one of them loves. Review: Low humor classic that many people like a lot. I never got into it that much.
"Dumb and Dumber" at Amazon.com"Eat Drink Man Woman" - Drama directed by Ang Lee. In Chinese with subtitles.
Plot Intro: A retired chef who is losing his sense of taste lives with his three daughters. He wishes lives for his daughters that they do not necessarily want.
Review: Excellent film with great sequences of food preparation and family conversations.
"Eat Drink Man Woman" at Amazon.com"Ed Wood" - Dramedy with Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Murray, Max Casella. Directed by Tim Burton.
Plot Intro: A man becomes a film director but meets with little success.
Review: An attempt to portray what the director Ed Wood, a director in the 1950s, and his productions were like. Wood was odd, and his movies were awful, but they were so awful that they are cult classics for many people. Landau won a Supporting Actor Academy Award.
"Ed Wood" at Amazon.com"Forrest Gump" - Comedy with Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright Penn, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Plot Intro: A boy who is handicapped mentally and physically seems to have a down-home common sense that makes him a success and thrusts him into the center of many seminal events of the 1960s and 1970s.
Review: The film won Academy Award for Best Picture. Hanks won Best Actor Academy Award. This is still a very good film after all of these years. I had not watched it for a long time, and I recently pulled it out and watched it with my wife. We were impressed how the film held up.
"Forrest Gump" at Amazon.com"Four Weddings and a Funeral" - Comedy with Hugh Grant, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, Andie MacDowell.
Plot Intro: A man and a woman have a flirtatious relationship that lasts through four weddings and a funeral.
Review: All of the cast is likeable. MacDowell's character's motivation is difficult to understand.
"Four Weddings and a Funeral" at Amazon.com"Frankenstein" - With Kenneth Branagh, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert De Niro, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm, John Cleese. Also known as "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein".
Plot Intro: A brilliant student is traumatized by the deaths of his mother and, later, his mentor. He becomes obsessed with the possibility of re-animating human bodies. Nothing good comes out of it.
Review: Good production values. I would question why each of the re-animated people needed to have so many of their parts stitched together. In particular, Frankenstein's wife who had no defect other than a missing heart.
"Frankenstein" at Amazon.com."Guarding Tess" - Romantic dramedy with Shirley MacLaine, Nicolas Cage.
Plot Intro: A former First Lady needs special handling by the Secret Service.
Review: Pleasant film. I have to admit that MacLaine is at times difficult for me to watch. I guess I like her early films better. This film is one of her more watchable later films. Nicolas Cage plays the longsuffering character in many of his films, and he does a good job with it.
"Guarding Tess" at Amazon.com"Hoop Dreams" - Documentary.
Plot Intro: Two African-American teenagers work their way through high school with hopes of college and the NBA.
Review: Excellent examination of the dreams kids have when they have a little talent. What makes the difference for some to make it and others to wish they had?
"Hoop Dreams" at Amazon.com"The Hudsucker Proxy" - Dramedy with Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Durning, John Mahoney. Written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen.
Plot Intro: As part of a scam, a naive business school graduate is chosen as president of a manufacturing company.
Review: Good film. Odd story. The photography and the production design are somewhat quirky.
"The Hudsucker Proxy" at Amazon.com"Il Postino" - AKA as "The Postman." See My review of "The Postman". "Immortal Beloved" - Drama with Gary Oldman, Isabella Rosellini, Valeria Galino, Jeroen Krabbé. Written and directed by Bernard Rose.
Plot Intro: A letter to "My Immortal Beloved" is discovered in the papers of Ludwig van Beethoven after his death. Who was Beethoven's Immortal Beloved?
Review: There have been a lot of theories about who the Immortal Beloved was, and this film gives one possible answer. The music is wonderful. Beethoven is my favorite composer, so, for me, this film stands alongside of "Amadeus" in its use of classical music. Some brief nudity near the beginning of the film.
"Immortal Beloved" at Amazon.com"It Could Happen To You" - Romantic comedy with Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, Rosie Perez, Isaac Hayes, Stanley Tucci, Red Buttons.
Plot Intro: A NYC policeman promises a share of his lottery ticket (if he wins) as a tip for a lunch. Then he wins.
Review: Based on a true story. I like this film a lot. I like Bridget Fonda in just about everything she does. She has a natural way of acting that is very believable. Nicolas Cage plays the same character most of the time, and he does a good job. Rosie Perez is the right person to play a grating, accent-laden, money-grubbing woman. It looks like she is having a great time.
"It Could Happen To You" at Amazon.com"The Legend of Drunken Master" - See My review of "Drunken Master 2". "The Lion King" - Animated Disney feature with Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane.
Plot Intro: A young lion, the heir apparent, has to learn some lessons before he can be able to rule. He doesn't always listen to his parents.
Review: An excellent animated film. It became a favorite of families. Children loved the music.
"The Lion King" at Amazon.com"The Madness of King George" - Drama with Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Rupert Graves, Amanda Donohoe.
Plot Intro: King George III has an illness that medicine of the time did not know how to treat. Did it affect his judgment during the American Revolution?
Review: Excellent film that poses the question of whether a physical illness may have played a part in how King George III treated the colonies (and everyone around him, for that matter). Nigel Hawthorne is excellent.
"The Madness of King George" at Amazon.com"The Mask" - Comic-book style comedy with Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert, Amy Yasbeck.
Plot Intro: A shy guy finds a mask in the river. He loves cartoons, so he turns into a cartoon character and robs the bank he works at.
Review: One of the better Carrey vehicles. Diaz's first film, and she looks great — better than she looked in any film since.
"The Mask" at Amazon.com"Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult" - Comedy with Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Fred Ward.
Plot Intro: Frank comes out of retirement in order to track down a terrorist.
Review: The old characters are getting tired. There are still some laughs.
My review of "Naked Gun" (1988) My review of "Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" (1991) "Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult" at Amazon.com"Nobody's Fool" - Dramedy with Paul Newman, Melanie Griffith, Bruce Willis, Jessica Tandy, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Written and directed by Robert Benton.
Plot Intro: A man who has lost his job but is near retirement needs to get his life together when his long-forgotten family (including a long-forgotten son) move back into town.
Review: Newman, Griffith, and Willis are all likeable in this film. Melanie looks great. There is some brief nudity.
"Nobody's Fool" at Amazon.com"The Postman" - AKA "Il Postino". Romantic drama with Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi, Maria Grazia Cucinotta. Foreign language with subtitles.
Plot Intro: A postman on a small Italian island befriends a visiting poet who trains him in wooing the woman he has fallen in love with.
Review: Excellent film. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. It did not win. It should have received the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Noiret is so good in the part of the postman. He died soon after the film was completed. Cucinotta is beautiful in her part.
"The Postman" at Amazon.com "Il Postino" at Amazon.com"Pulp Fiction" - Dramedy with John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Roseanna Arquette. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Plot Intro: Interwoven storylines tell the story of two hitmen, a pair of robbers, a prize fighter, a mob boss/drug dealer, and his woman — among others.
Review: Very violent film that has a dark humor. This is one of Tarantino's greatest films, but, because of the violence and the subject matter, it isn't a film for everyone's taste.
"Pulp Fiction" at Amazon.com"Quiz Show" - Drama with Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Hank Azaria, Mira Sorvino, Griffin Dunne. Directed by Robert Redford.
Plot Intro: A scandal develops when it is discovered that a quiz show wanted to guarantee entertainment at the expense of the integrity of the game.
Review: Excellent portrayal based on the events that occurred in the 1950s which led to government investigations.
"Quiz Show" at Amazon.com"The Santa Clause" - Holiday fantasy-comedy with Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold.
Plot Intro: Santa dies on a man's lawn on Christmas Eve Night. He puts on Santa's coat and finishes the night's errands. That's where the "Santa Clause" takes effect.
Review: Excellent holiday film that turns and twists the Santa story into something truly remarkable. Allen is great as Santa.
My review of "Santa Clause 2" (2002) "The Santa Clause" at Amazon.com"The Secret of Roan Inish" - Drama directed by John Sayles.
Plot Intro: A young girl visits her grandparents on an island off of the Irish coast. There is a legend that an ancestor of hers had married a selkie, a person who could turn into a seal.
Review: Charming film with a good bit of Irish culture.
"The Secret of Roan Inish" at Amazon.com"The Shadow" - Adventure movie with Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Winters.
Plot Intro: The Shadow opposes (and is opposed by) his nemesis, Shiwan Khan.
Review: This film can go along with "The Phantom" or "The Saint" — all movies based on old radio programs. I like Baldwin and Miller, so the film was fun for me. I liked "The Phantom" a little better than "The Shadow", but I liked "The Saint" a little less.
"The Shadow" at Amazon.com"The Shawshank Redemption" - Drama with Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, James Whitmore, Gil Bellows. Directed by (and screenplay by) Frank Darabont.
Plot Intro: A man is falsely accused of murdering his wife. He is convicted and sent to prison. Somehow he has to survive.
Review: Excellent film which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.
"The Shawshank Redemption" at Amazon.com"Sirens" - Dramedy with Sam Neill, Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, Elle Macpherson, Portia de Rossi.
Plot Intro: A minister and his wife visit an artist in Australia.
Review: Humorous look at a clash of culture.
Warning: Frequent nudity.
"Sirens" at Amazon.com"Speed" - Action-thriller with Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper. Directed by Jan de Bont.
Plot Intro: A man wants payment to stop the havoc he is creating with bombs.
Review: Very good action picture which shows the potential of Bullock and Reeves. Stylish photography makes the film more interesting. Kind of in the vein of "Die Hard."
"Speed" at Amazon.com"Star Trek Generations" - With Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Malcolm McDowell.
Plot Intro: The crew of the Enterprise investigate the massacre at a space outpost.
Review: A good enough effort.
"Star Trek Generations" at Amazon.com"Stargate" - Sci-fi with Kurt Russell, James Spader, Viveca Lindfors, Mili Avital, Erick Avari, Richard Kind.
Plot Intro: Discoveries in Egypt in the 1920s leads to travel to a world on the other side of the universe. Then they have to get back home.
Review: Kind of reminded me of a TV movie on the level of Battlestar Galactica.
"Stargate" at Amazon.com"True Lies" - Espionage dramedy with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere. Directed by James Cameron.
Plot Intro: A secret agent's job is so secret that even his family doesn't know what he really does. His wife thinks he is boring and sets out to spice up her life. The secret agent uses the technology at his disposal to spy on his wife. She ends up contacting someone who is out to cause trouble.
Review: Some good sequences. Schwarzenegger is very good, as are Curtis and Arnold.
"True Lies" at Amazon.com"Widows' Peak" - Dramedy with Mia Farrow, Joan Plowright, Natasha Richardson, Jim Broadbent.
Plot Intro: A woman comes to town, and the women of the town are curious to find out more about her. There are plans within plans.
Review: Even though I'm not a big fan of Farrow, this film is for me one of the best of the year. A very good twisty end makes it entertaining to watch a second time — or more.
"Widows' Peak" at Amazon.com
"Benny & Joon" - With Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn, Julianne Moore, Oliver Platt, William H Macy, Dan Hedaya.
Plot Intro: Benjamin and his sister Juniper have a complicated life since their parents died when she was very young. He has a hard time establishing relationships with women, because he feel responsible for Joon. Joon doesn't have a problem having a relationship with a young man she meets. Her complication is that she has mental problems.
Review: A very strong performance by Masterson is the center of the film. She is surrounded by strong performances by Quinn and Depp. Moore also gives a fine performance.
"Benny & Joon" at Amazon.com"Dave" - Political romantic comedy with Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, Charles Grodin, Laura Linney, Bonnie Hunt. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Plot Intro: A president uses a double in order to have some private time with his secretary. Then he dies. The chief of staff circumvents the constitution and convinces the double to take over the job "temporarily" — rather than give the job to the Vice President.
Review: Very pleasant film that is one of my favorites of the year. Langella, who used to play romantic leads when he was younger, is sufficiently evil.
"Dave" at Amazon.com"Dennis the Menace" - With Walter Matthau, Joan Plowright, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson.
Plot Intro: A little boy is an annoyance to his neighbors.
Review: A nice little family film.
"Dennis the Menace" at Amazon.com"Falling Down" - Suspense thriller with Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest.
Plot Intro: A man is on his way to work when he snaps. He leaves his car in the middle of the freeway gridlock and begins a trek toward where his ex-wife and daughter live.
Review: Good story in which Douglas's character gets to say things that a lot of people feel like saying. Duvall is excellent — as usual.
"Falling Down" at Amazon.com"Farewell, My Concubine" - Original title "Ba wang bie ji." Drama starring Gong Li (AKA Li Gong). In Chinese with subtitles.
Plot Intro: The 20th century history of China is reviewed as the film follows the story of two men who have been friends for years.
Review: Gong Li is wonderful in the film. Recommended. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
"Farewell, My Concubine" at Amazon.com"The Firm" - Suspense drama with Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jean Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris, Wilford Brimley, Holly Hunter, Gary Busey. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Based on the John Grisham novel.
Plot Intro: A newly graduated law student is recruited and hired by a firm that is into some shady practices.
Review: Cruise is OK. The movie is good. Something to watch if there is nothing better available.
"The Firm" at Amazon.com"The Fugitive" - Suspense thriller with Harrison Ford, Sela Ward, Tommy Lee Jones, Julianne Moore, Joe Pantoliano, Jeroen Krabbé.
Plot Intro: A man is wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to prison. On his way to prison there is an accident that allows him to escape. A US Marshall begins pursuit.
Review: Excellent film with the kind of suspense and action in which Ford excels. The movie is based on the popular 1960s TV series that was loosely based on the claims of a medical doctor who claimed that he had not killed his wife. (I don't remember too many of the details of that story.) The persistence of the US Marshall reminds one of the persistence of the officer in "Les Miserables" on which "The Fugitive" is somewhat based.
"The Fugitive" at Amazon.com"Gettysburg" - War drama with Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger, Patrick Gorman, Sam Elliott. Based on the book by Michael Shaara. Screenplay and direction by Ronald F Maxwell.
Plot Intro: The Army of Northern Virginia moves up into Pennsylvania in order to lure the Union army to a battlefield where they can win and make the Northern states sue for peace.
Review: The movie "Gettysburg" is one of the greatest films about the Civil War ever. I highly recommend it. Sheen is very good as Lee, Berenger is great as Longstreet, and Daniels is excellent as Chamberlain. The film is a dramatization of the events of the three-day battle in 1863 that took place at a small town in Pennsylvania — a battle that most Civil War experts believe was the turning-point of the Civil War. The southern forces led by Lee had been successful in outwitting tentative northern generals and making the northern forces fight them on their terms when the northern forces marched into Virginia. On the third day of the battle, Lee should have known that the Battle at Gettysburg was not winnable when he faced a superior sized force that had a superior strategic position. The north could afford the results of Fredericksburg and Antietam/Sharpsburg and still carry forward an aggressive initiative, but the south could not afford the results of Gettysburg. The film portrays the debate which Lee had with Longstreet which is based somewhat on the memoirs of Longstreet which he wrote long after the war. Longstreet is considered by many today to have an understanding of strategy that was far advanced of most generals of his day who were still limited by the kind of thinking found in Napoleonic strategy courses that most of them took at West Point. Lee died before he could begin to write his memoirs (though that is not to say that what Longstreet says is not true). The film was followed by the movie "Gods and Generals" in 2003 which is a prequel to "Gettysburg." Michael and Jeff Shaara have completed a three book set which are all very good: "Gods and Generals" (by Jeff; covers the time period from before the Civil War up until the days before the Battle of Gettysburg), "Killer Angels" (my Michael, Jeff's father; on which the movie "Gettysburg" is based; covers the days leading up to the battle along with the battle itself), "Last Full Measure" (by Jeff; covers the period after the Battle of Gettysburg). I highly recommend them for your reading.
My review of "Gods and Generals" (2003) A Civil War Battle Timeline My pictures of the 2001 Gettysburg Re-enactment My pictures of our 2003 Gettysburg Battlefield Tour My 2010 pictures of the Gettysburg Military Park "Gettysburg" at Amazon.com"Groundhog Day" - Romantic comedy with Bill Murray, Andie Macdowell, Chris Elliott.
Plot Intro: A weatherman from Pittsburgh finds himself having to relive Groundhog Day over and over and over.
Review: This is one of my favorite films of all time. The screenplay is very creative. One advantage of the story is that it allowed Bill Murray to adlib. Note that his character goes through the five stages of mourning: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Very well written.
My review of "The Man Who Knew Too Little" (1997) "Groundhog Day" at Amazon.com"Grumpy Old Men" - Comedy with Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollack, Ossie Davis, Buck Henry.
Plot Intro: When a beautiful woman moves into the neighborhood, two old men become even more competitive than ever in order to gain her attentions.
Review: Another classic by Matthau-Lemmon. Ann-Margret look great.
My review of "Grumpier Old Men" (1995) "Grumpy Old Men" at Amazon.com"Hot Shots Part Deux" - With Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Veleria Galino, Richard Crenna. Directed by Jim Abrahams.
Plot Intro: Topper Harley must rescue his friend, Colonel Denton Walters.
Review: In the Naked Gun vein. Satire and skewering of overdone movie themes. This time the skeweree is Rambo.
My review of "Hot Shots" (1991) "Hot Shots Part Deux" at Amazon.com"In the Line of Fire" - Action thriller with Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, John Mahoney. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
Plot Intro: The president's life is threatened, and the Secret Service must respond.
Review: Very good thriller. Eastwood looks suitably tired.
"In the Line of Fire" at Amazon.com"In the Name of the Father" - Drama with Emma Thompson, Daniel Day-Lewis.
Plot Intro: An Irish man is forced by the English to confess for a crime he didn't commit. As a result, his father is also taken to prison. He has to work extremely hard in order to free himself and his father.
Review: Based on a true story. I don't understand why law enforcement officials are willing to go to any lengths to get a confession when there is no way of knowing if the person is confessing because he is guilty or because he can't take the pressure or the torture. Powerful performances by Thompson and Day-Lewis.
"In the Name of the Father" at Amazon.com"Iron Monkey" - Martial arts film. Directed by Woo-ping Yuen. Chinese with English subtitles. Original title "Siunin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau".
Plot Intro: A doctor fights corrupt officials as a masked hero. The officials attempt to hunt him down.
Review: Re-released in the US in 2001. Excellent fight scenes.
"Iron Monkey" at Amazon.com"The Joy Luck Club" - Drama with Frances Nyuyen, Ming-Na, Tamlyn Tomita, Rosalind Chao. Screenplay by Amy Tan, based on her best-selling novel.
Plot Intro: Four women who emigrated from China have to deal with the choices they made when they were young. Now that they are somewhat wiser, they try to pass the wisdom on to their daughters who aren't necessarily listening. When the mothers review their past, they hope that it will help them in their relationships with their daughters.
Review: This film is very true to life, and because of that it may strike some as somewhat cliché. Younger viewers may not have the understanding of the older women. They have not yet had to deal with how decisions made when a person is younger may have repercussions for the rest of their lives. Older viewers, especially parents of young adults, will appreciate the regrets that the older women are having, and at the same time they will be able to appreciate the problems they older women are having in relating with the younger women — and vice versa. The film has a good story with very good performances. Recommended.
"The Joy Luck Club" at Amazon.com"Jurassic Park" - Thriller with Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern, B.D. Wong, Samuel L. Jackson. Screenplay by Michael Crichton based on his bestselling book. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Plot Intro: Two paleontologists and a mathematician are asked to inspect a new park that is being developed.
Review: Great special effects make you almost believe that the monsters are real — even though the special effects are somewhat dated now. Highly recommended.
My review of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997) - aka "Jurassic Park 2" My review of "Jurassic Park 3" (2001) "Jurassic Park" at Amazon.com"Manhattan Murder Mystery" - Comedy with Woody Allen, Alan Alda, Angelica Huston, Diane Keaton. Directed and co-written by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: People are suspicous when the neighbor's wife dies of a coronary. They begin to suggest ways that the woman's death wasn't an accident.
Review: Very good Woody Allen film.
"Manhattan Murder Mystery" at Amazon.com"Mrs. Doubtfire" - Comedy with Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Prosky, Martin Mull. Directed by Chris Columbus.
Plot Intro: A man dresses as a woman in order to have more time with his kids.
Review: Very good Robin Williams film. Williams seems to be pretty much under control here — which is a good thing.
"Mrs. Doubtfire" at Amazon.com"Much Ado About Nothing" - Shakespearean comedy with Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton. Screenplay by Kenneth Branagh, based on the Shakespeare play. Directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Plot Intro: Two young people are about to marry, and they decide to get two other people to marry each other as well.
Review: Very good cinematic portrayal of the Shakespeare play.
"Much Ado About Nothing" at Amazon.com"The Nightmare Before Christmas" - Animated feature written by Tim Burton. Directed by Henry Sellick. With Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara, Paul Reubens
Plot Intro: The head of Halloweentown takes over Christmastown without realizing what the spirit of Christmas is.
Review: Very good film full of dark humor.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" at Amazon.com"The Pelican Brief" - Drama with Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, Hume Cronyn, John Lithgow. Directed by Alan J Pakula. Based on the bestselling John Grisham novel.
Plot Intro: A law student discovers a plot.
Review: An average film. Washington's part is actually a middle-aged man in the book. The ending smile of Roberts says it all. By that I mean, poor acting, disappointing film.
"The Pelican Brief" at Amazon.com"A Perfect World" - Dramedy with Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Laura Dern. Directed by Clint Eastwood.
Plot Intro: Two escaped prisoners kidnap a young boy.
Review: Above average film that may not be to everyone's taste.
"A Perfect World" at Amazon.com"The Piano" - With Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin. Written and directed by Jane Campion.
Plot Intro: A woman, her daughter, and her piano are sent to Australia.
Review: Good movie. Nominated for Best Picture Academy Award. Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin won Academy Awards.
"The Piano" at Amazon.com"Police Story III: Supercop" - With Jackie Chan, Michelle Khan, Maggie Cheung. AKA "Jing cha gu shi III: Chao ji jing cha" and "Supercop".
Plot Intro: Chan works undercover to try to nab a Chinese drug lord.
Review: Jackie Chan films are a lot of fun.
"Police Story III: Supercop" at Amazon.com"Remains of the Day" - Drama with Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Christopher Reeve.
Plot Intro: The butler of a manor, the head of the servants, has been very loyal to the family who owned the manor. He eventually realizes that he was loyal to a man who didn't deserve the loyalty.
Review: One of the best films of the year. Portrays what the upper class lived like in the early 20th century. It gives the viewer an idea of the relationship between the landowners and the servants.
"Remains of the Day" at Amazon.com"Robin Hood - Men in Tights" - With Cary Elwes, Amy Yasbeck, Dave Chappelle, Isaac Hayes, Tracy Ullman, Patrick Stewart, Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patten, Mel Brooks. Directed by Mel Brooks.
Plot Intro: Robin Hood and his merry men.
Review: Satire and punnish humor. A few funny scenes.
"Robin Hood - Men in Tights" at Amazon.com"Ruby in Paradise" - With Ashley Judd.
Plot Intro: A young woman arrives in a town in Florida to get a fresh start.
Review: Good film. Shows that Ashley has the potential to be a good actress.
"Ruby in Paradise" at Amazon.com"The Scent of Green Papaya" - Directed by Anh Hung Tran. AKA "Mùi du du xanh" and "L'odeur de la papaye verte". Vietnamese with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: A young woman goes to live with a pianist.
Review: Excellent film. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
"The Scent of Green Papaya" at Amazon.com"Schindler's List" - Drama with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Plot Intro: During World War 2, a factory owner uses Jewish workers, and he works to save them all from the fires of the Holocaust.
Review: Best Picture Oscar of 1993. Based on a true story. Excellent film. Filmed in black and white. May be too disturbing for some.
"Schindler's List" at Amazon.com"Searching For Bobby Fischer" - Drama with Josh Pomeranc, Joe Montagna, Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, David Paymer, William H Macy, Dan Hedaya.
Plot Intro: Bobby Fischer, the world chess champion, had retired years before, and people are still looking for someone who is as brilliant. Young boys throughout the country are all candidates.
Review: Excellent film. Based on the true story of Josh Waitzkin.
"Searching For Bobby Fischer" at Amazon.com"Shadowlands" - Drama with Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger. Directed by Richard Attenborough. Based on a play written by the step son of CS Lewis.
Plot Intro: A divorced woman's son wants to meet the writer of the Chronicles of Narnia. The divorcee develops a relationship with CS Lewis that continues to deepen until they get married. Then she develops cancer.
Review: Based on events in the life of CS Lewis. Very moving. Academy Award caliber performance by Hopkins.
"Shadowlands" at Amazon.com"Sleepless in Seattle" - Romantic comedy with Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O'Donnell, Bill Pullman, Rita Wilson, Gaby Hoffman, Rob Reiner, David Hyde Pierce. Written and directed by Nora Ephron.
Plot Intro: A man is mourning his dead wife in Seattle, and a woman is not really happy with her impending marriage in Baltimore. Somehow fate will bring them together.
Review: One of my favorite films of all time. I could watch this film over and over again. Hanks and Ryan are at the peak of their careers. Many wanted them to share the screen more than they do, but the ending is perfect for me.
"Sleepless in Seattle" at Amazon.com"Splitting Heirs" - With Eric Idle, Rick Moranis, John Cleese, Barbara Hershey, Catharine Zeta-Jones. Written by Eric Idle.
Plot Intro: A duke dies and leaves his title to his son. However, there had been a baby swap which resulted in one boy mistakenly becoming duke and another being adopted by an Indian family.
Review: Kind of silly. Reminds one of comedies from decades ago.
"Splitting Heirs" at Amazon.com"Tombstone" - With Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Dana Delany, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Charleton Heston.
Plot Intro: Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday have a confrontation at the O.K. Corrall.
Review: Good dramatization of the shootout. Since it is a dramatization, it doesn't purport to be accurate.
"Tombstone" at Amazon.com"Wayne's World 2" - Comedy with Mike Myers, Dana Carvey.
Plot Intro: Wayne and his friends are at it again.
Review: Not as good as the first film.
My review of "Wayne's World" (1992) "Wayne's World 2" at Amazon.com"The Wedding Banquet" - Written and directed by Ang Lee. AKA "Hsi yen".
Plot Intro: A gay man tries to get his parents off of his back by marrying one of his tennants.
Review: Very good film by Ang Lee.
"The Wedding Banquet" at Amazon.com
"Aladdin" - Animated Disney feature with voices by Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried.
Plot Intro: A genie helps a kid in Bagdad.
Review: Very good children's film. Williams and Gottfried were great choices for their characters.
"Aladdin" at Amazon.com"Batman Returns" - Comic-book superhero action thriller with Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Pat Hingle. Directed by Tim Burton.
Plot Intro: Batman battles it out with the Penguin and the Catwoman.
Review: The second of a series. Not as good as the first.
"Batman Returns" at Amazon.com My review of "Batman" (1989). My review of "Batman Forever" (1995). My review of "Batman & Robin" (1997). My review of "Batman Begins" (2005). My review of "The Dark Knight" (2008). My review of "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)."Beethoven" - Comedy with Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones, Oliver Platt, Patricia Heaton, Stanley Tucci, David Duchovny.
Plot Intro: A family adopts a St. Bernard puppy which grows up to become a beloved member of the family. But the veterinarian has sinister plans for the dog.
Review: Grodin and Hunt are always fun. The dog has sufficient cuteness to make this a good family film.
"Beethoven" at Amazon.com"Belle époque" - Romantic foreign language film with Penelope Cruz, Miriam Diaz Aroca, Jorge Sanz. Spanish with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: A young man who has no place to live becomes friends with an older man. The older man invites him home, but he is expecting his his four daughters to come soon by train. The young man decides to stay and get to known them. Each girl takes turns falling in love with him.
Review: This is one of my favorite foreign films. There is some brief nudity and a few sexual situations. Won Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award of 1993.
"Belle époque" at Amazon.com"Bob Roberts" - Political dramedy with Tim Robbins, Alan Rickman, Gore Vidal, James Spader. Written and directed by Tim Robbins.
Plot Intro: A power-hungry, corrupt folk singer runs a crooked election campaign.
Review: The film attempts to portray a cautionary tale about what could happen in the United States if the electorate continues to be as ignorant and manipulatable as it currently is. Every democracy is only as good as the electorate is — which is dependent on accurate information of what is really going on. The corrupt politician is right-wing, and the film comes across as being from a left-wing perspective. So the film may not be to everyone's taste. IMHO, there is danger to the American system of democracy if either the extreme left or right gains too much sway. Extreme positions of any king (politics, religion, etc.) all lead to suffering of average people. The film bears some similarities to Andy Griffith's "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) where a singer becomes a potent political force with few people who can stand against him.
"Bob Roberts" at Amazon.com"Brother's Keeper" - Documentary.
Plot Intro: A documentary about two brothers who live in a remote part of New York state. One brother is found dead, and a subsequent examination finds that he did not die a natural death. The man's brother is charged with and tried for murder.
Review: Very good documentary. The film was nominated for the Best Documentary Academy Award.
"Brother's Keeper" at Amazon.com"Diggstown" - With James Woods, Louis Gossett Jr, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt, Heather Graham, Randall "Tex" Cobb. AKA "Midnight Sting".
Plot Intro: A con-man who is released from prison cons a local big-wig into making a bet on a boxing match where the con-man claims that his fighter can knock out any ten fighters who live in the town.
Review: Woods, Platt, Gossett, and Dern are very good. If you like boxing films, you will probably like this one. The film is interesting for an early appearance of Heather Graham.
"Diggstown" at Amazon.com"The Efficiency Expert" - Comedy with Anthony Hopkins, Toni Collette, Russell Crowe. AKA "Spotswood".
Plot Intro: The owner of a company decides that his company needs the help of an efficiency expert, so he hires one. Trying to influence the "corporate culture" of the company is a tall order.
Review: A fun little Australian film with early performances by Collette (her first full-length feature) and Crowe.
"The Efficiency Expert" at Amazon.com"El Mariachi" - Action film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Plot Intro: A musician entering a small town is confused with a hired killer.
Review: The film is very good considering that it was made for around $7000. Very violent. Material reworked by same director as "Desperado" — only with more money in his budget.
My review of "Desperado" (1995) "El Mariachi" at Amazon.com"Glengarry Glen Ross" - Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin. Adapted by David Mamet from his play.
Plot Intro: Real estate salesmen searching for the next sale — no matter how they get it.
Review: Very good film. Some strong language.
"Glengarry Glen Ross" at Amazon.com"Hedd Wyn" - Welsh with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: As World War I rages, a young poet in northern Wales competes for the National Eisteddfod, a prize with a tradition dating back for many years. Before the winner is announced, Wyn is sent to the front in France.
Review: Excellent. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Academy Award for 1993. I believe that the title is pronounced "Hath Won."
"Hedd Wyn" at Amazon.com"Hero" - Comedy with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Joan Cusack, Tom Arnold, Susie Cusack.
Plot Intro: A man is on trial and is defended by a public defender. He is told that he has to maintain his job and his relationship with his ex-wife and son in order to be considered for a sentence of probation. On his way to see his son, he witnesses the crash of a jetliner and somehow saves everyone on the plane. As a result, he is late to see his son and his ex-wife refuses to let him see his son anymore, and he loses his job the next day. Then a reward is offered for the person who was involved in the heroic act of saving all the people on the plane, but the actual hero is in prison.
Review: Excellent dark comedy. One of my favorite films. Hoffman should have been nominated for an Oscar.
"Hero" at Amazon.com"Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" - Comedy with Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Kieran Culkin.
Plot Intro: A family plans a trip to Florida but accidentally leaves one of the children in New York City.
Review: Somewhat entertaining. Would have been better if Culkin could have actually acted with any proficiency.
My Review of "Home Alone" (1990) "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" at Amazon.com"Honeymoon In Vegas" - Comedy with Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, James Caan, Pat Morita, Anne Bancroft, Peter Boyle, Jerry Tarkanian. Written and directed by Andrew Bergman.
Plot Intro: A man has to prove his live to his girlfriend. His problem is that he has made a promise to his mother on her deathbed.
Review: The movie is pretty funny. The highlight of the film is the skydiving Elvises.
"Honeymoon In Vegas" at Amazon.com"Howards End" - Drama with Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins. Based on an EM Forster novel.
Plot Intro: People from three different classes interact in the early 20th century.
Review: Very good film. Good performances all round.
"Howards End" at Amazon.com"Husbands and Wives" - With Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Judy Davis, Sydney Pollack, Juliette Lewis, Liam Neeson. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A couple announces that they are getting a divorce, and their friends start reassessing their relationship.
Review: Good Woody Allen movie.
"Husbands and Wives" at Amazon.com"I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore" - Romantic comedy with Jason Alexander, Nia Peeples, Eileen Brennan, Larry Storch.
Plot Intro: An average overweight guy tries to win the heart of a beautiful girl.
Review: Some people will like this film, and others will think it is a ridiculous story. I liked the characters and the performances.
"I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore" at Amazon.com"Jámon, jámon" - Foreign language romantic comedy with Penelope Cruz.
Plot Intro: The son of an underwear manufacturer finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant and wants to marry her. His mother is against it.
Review: Another early Cruz film. The title means "Ham, ham" and refers to some pigs that figure into part of the story. There is some nudity and sexual situations in the film.
"Jámon, jámon" at Amazon.com"Mr. Saturday Night" - With Billy Crystal, David Paymer, Helen Hunt. Written by Billy Crystal and Lowell Ganz. Directed by Billy Crystal.
Plot Intro: The life and times of a comedian and his brother.
Review: Good movie, but it isn't consistent all the way through.
"Mr. Saturday Night" at Amazon.com"My Cousin Vinny" - Comedy with Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Fred Gwynne.
Plot Intro: Two young men who are driving through a southern state are mistaken for two local robbers.
Review: Very good performances highlight this film. Tomei received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress with a very winning performance. This was Fred Gwynne's last film.
"My Cousin Vinny" at Amazon.com"The Player" - Dark comedy with Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher. Directed by Robert Altman.
Plot Intro: A studio executive attempts to find out who is blackmailing him so that he can eliminate him.
Review: A lot of inside jokes pepper this very good film.
"The Player" at Amazon.com"Reservoir Dogs" - With Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Laurence Tierney, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Wright. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Plot Intro: Five total strangers team up to pull a heist. They only know each other by code names. The heist goes wrong, and they try to figure out if one was working for the cops.
Review: An early attempt by Tarantino that showed some promise. Not nearly as good as "Pulp Fiction." Somewhat stage-bound, since almost all the scenes occur in a warehouse. Could have been produced as a play. That is one reason why the film doesn't quite have the power of "Pulp Fiction."
"Reservoir Dogs" at Amazon.com"A River Runs Through It" - Drama with Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Craig Sheffer. Directed by Robert Redford. Based on the book by Norman Maclean.
Plot Intro: The story of two boys growing up in Montana.
Review: Some good photography and performances highlight this film.
"A River Runs Through It" at Amazon.com"Scent of a Woman" - Dramedy with Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gabrielle Anwar. Directed by Martin Brest.
Plot Intro: A blind man hires a personal assistant and teaches him about life.
Review: Very good performances by Pacino and O'Donnell.
"Scent of a Woman" at Amazon.com"Shadows and Fog" - Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, Madonna, David Ogden Stiers, Donald Pleasance, John Cusack. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: An accountant is called on by his neighbors to help them find a murderer.
Review: Woody Allen's attempt at a horror movie with subtle humor.
"Shadows and Fog" at Amazon.com"Sister Act" - Comedy with Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy, Harvey Keitel.
Plot Intro: A singer hides from a mob boss in a convent as a sister.
Review: Some funny moments.
"Sister Act" at Amazon.com"Spotswood" - AKA "The Efficiency Expert". My review of "The Efficiency Expert" "Straight Talk" - Romantic comedy with Dolly Parton, James Woods, Griffin Dunne, Teri Hatcher.
Plot Intro: A small town girl leaves her boyfriend and moves to Chicago. She accidentally ends up as a radio host and becomes popular.
Review: Kind of predictable and there's no real spark between Parton and Woods. Parton works hard and is very likeable in her part.
"Straight Talk" at Amazon.com"Strictly Ballroom"
Plot Intro: An Australian ballroom dancer takes on a new partner.
Review: From the director of "Moulin Rouge".
"Strictly Ballroom" at Amazon.com"Un couer en Hiver" - Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart.
Plot Intro: A trio plays Ravel compositions, and they deal with their interpersonal relationships.
Review: The music is great in this. Béart is beautiful.
"Un couer en Hiver" at Amazon.com"Unforgiven" - Western with Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris.
Plot Intro: A retired killer is hired to hunt down men who beat up and abused a prostitute.
Review: Best Picture Oscar of 1992. At times the film is graphically violent and hard to watch. It is worth being able to view the climax gunfight to see what exactly happened, since it goes by very fast.
"Unforgiven" at Amazon.com"Wayne's World" - Comedy with Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Brian Doyle-Murray, Lara Flynn Boyle. Screenplay by Mike Myers.
Plot Intro: Two guys with a public access TV show try to promote their show.
Review: Very funny movie. Myers and Carvey are excellent. The Bavarian Rhapsody scene is a classic. Schwing!.
My review of "Wayne's World 2" (1993) "Wayne's World" at Amazon.com"White Men Can't Jump" - Dramedy with Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Kadeem Hardison. Written and directed by Ron Shelton.
Plot Intro: A black and a white basketball player join together in order to increase their chances of winning money.
Review: Good, entertaining. Early film for Harrelson and Snipes.
"White Men Can't Jump" at Amazon.com
"The Addams Family" - Comedy with Angelica Huston, Christina Ricci, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Dana Ivey. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Based on the writings and drawings of Charles Addams that was the basis for the 1960s TV show.
Plot Intro: Con artists attempt to con a family by passing of a man as their long lost Uncle Fester.
Review: Dark humor is the key to this movie.
"The Addams Family" at Amazon.com"Barton Fink" - With John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, Steve Buscemi. Written by Joel and Ethan Coen. Directed by Joel Coen.
Plot Intro: An intellectual playwright goes to Hollywood to write a boxing movie.
Review: Quirky Coen movie.
"Barton Fink" at Amazon.com"Beauty and the Beast" - Animated Disney feature voiced by Robbie Benson, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Jo Anne Worley.
Plot Intro: A girl finds herself in the home of a person who is under a spell/curse and who is misunderstood by the local townspeople.
Review: Another excellent Disney animated feature in a string of excellent animated offerings from Disney (including "The Lion King" and "The Little Mermaid" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"). Nominated for the Best Picture of the Year Academy Award. The makers of the film used cutting edge computer graphics software for the time period.
"Beauty and the Beast" at Amazon.com"Career Opportunities" - Romantic comedy with Frank Whalley, Jennifer Connelly, Dermot Mulroney, Kieren Mulroney. Written by John Hughes.
Plot Intro: A rich girl who is not happy at home accidentally falls asleep in a department store dressing room just before all the doors of the store are locked. The only other person in the building is the janitor, a boy she went to school with. They develop a quick friendship and decide to leave town together, but just about when they are going to leave the store is broken into.
Review: Early film of the Academy Award winning actress, Jennifer Connelly. Whalley is a natural at comedy, though he later appeared in "Pulp Fiction."
"Career Opportunities" at Amazon.com"City Slickers" - Comedy with Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Helen Slater, David Paymer.
Plot Intro: Mid-life crises are the impetus for middle-aged city men to join a cattle drive out west.
Review: Funny movie. Jack Palance won an Academy Award for Supporting Actor. Followed by an awful sequel.
My review of "City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold" (1994) "City Slickers" at Amazon.com"The Commitments" - Musical dramedy.
Plot Intro: A young man in Dublin wants to put together a soul/rhythm 'n' blues band together. He begins by holding auditions. Then he discovers a natural singer. Of course, his parents don't understand, and it is a struggle to get Dublin teens to want to sing the old standards. But then the band begins to come together.
Review: Excellent music, great script, great characters. The actors use strong Dublin/Irish accents that may require the viewer to turn on the subtitles for the DVD. But it's worth it. The lead singer, Andrew Strong, got a recording contract out of it — from what I heard. The soundtrack CDs are great.
"The Commitments" at Amazon.com"Delicatessen" - French with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: A landlord creates meals for his tenants, but what's in that dish?
Review: Quirky foreign film about cannibalism.
"Delicatessen" at Amazon.com"Delirious" - Comedy with John Candy, Emma Samms, Robert Wagner, Aaron Burr, Mariel Hemingway, Jerry Orbach, Dylan Baker.
Plot Intro: A writer for a soap opera gets a blow to the head. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the soap, and what he types on his old typewriter actually occurs. Then he wakes up.
Review: A small John Candy vehicle. Emma Samms looks great. The movie is a lot of fun. That poor horse!
"Delirious" at Amazon.com"Doc Hollywood" - Romantic comedy with Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda.
Plot Intro: A doctor is finishing up his residency and has plans to begin a practice as a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, but he has an automobile accident in a small southern town and is sentenced to do community service in the local hospital.
Review: Sweet romance between Fox and Warner. There is brief nudity near the beginning. I'm a big fan of Fonda.
"Doc Hollywood" at Amazon.com"The Doctor" - Drama with William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Elizabeth Perkins, Mandy Patinkin, Adam Arkin, Charlie Korsmo.
Plot Intro: A doctor's bedside manner shows humanity to his patients. Then he is diagnosed with cancer and is treated the same way.
Review: Very good movie. Perkins gives a great performance, and Hurt is good, too.
"The Doctor" at Amazon.com"Europa Europa" - With Julie Delpy, Marco Hofschneider.
Plot Intro: A Jewish adolescent survives the Holocaust by portraying himself as a Hitler Youth.
Review: Excellent film.
"Europa Europa" at Amazon.com"Fried Green Tomatoes" - With Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Chris O'Donnell. AKA "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe".
Plot Intro: An older woman befriends another woman in a bad marriage.
Review: A good film with some good performances.
"Fried Green Tomatoes" at Amazon.com"Hook" - Fantasy with Robin Williams, Maggie Smith, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott.
Plot Intro: Wendy is a grandmother, and Peter Pan has grown into a father and businessman. Captain Hook kidnaps Peter's children, and he is out for revenge. Tinker Bell has to help Peter get his memories of Neverland back, and she has to help him prepare to fight Hook.
Review: Basically a sequel to the Peter Pan story.
"Hook" at Amazon.com"Hot Shots!" - With Charlie Sheen, Valeria Galino, Cary Elwes. A product of Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, the makers of "Airplane!"
Plot Intro: Topper Harley saves the day.
Review: The Top Gun type movie gets skewered in this movie.
My review of "Hot Shots Part Deux" (1993) "Hot Shots!" at Amazon.com"King Ralph" - Dramedy with John Goodman, Peter O'Toole, John Hurt. Written and directed by David S Ward. Based on the novel by Emlyn Williams.
Plot Intro: An accident that kills the royal family results in the most unexpected person being heir to the British throne.
Review: You have to suspend your logic for this film. If you do you may find it entertaining.
"King Ralph" at Amazon.com"La belle noiseuse" - Drama with Emmanuelle Béart.
Plot Intro: A painter has retired, because he has not had inspiration to paint. A young woman visits with some friends, and she provides inspiration.
Review: Very good film that portrays the creative process of a painter. Béart's beauty is clearly visible.
Warning: Extensive nude scenes may put some people off.
"La belle noiseuse" at Amazon.com"Little Man Tate" - Drama with Jodie Foster, Dianne Wiest, Harry Connick Jr, David Hyde Pierce, Debi Mazar, George Plimpton. Directed by Jodie Foster.
Plot Intro: A woman who is a single parent finds out that her son is a genius. The head of an institute which works with gifted children wants to study him, but she doesn't know how to be anything but a teacher.
Review: A very nice little movie. Foster's directorial debut.
"Little Man Tate" at Amazon.com"Mediterráneo" - Foreign language film.
Plot Intro: Italian soldiers are sent to a Greek island during World War II.
Review: Best Foreign Language Oscar of 1991.
Warning: Some nudity and sexual scenes.
"Mediterráneo" at Amazon.com"My Girl" - Dramedy with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macauley Culkin, Anna Chlumsky, Griffin Dunne.
Plot Intro: A girl whose father is an undertaker and whose mother is dead gains a new friend — a boy.
Review: A nice film with a weird ending. Aykroyd shows once again that he is excellent in drama, and Curtis and Chlumsky are very good. Followed by the sequel "My Girl 2" (1994).
"My Girl" at Amazon.com"Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" - Comedy with Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, O J Simpson, George Kennedy, Robert Goulet. Written by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. Directed by Jim Abrahams.
Plot Intro: A scientist is kidnapped to stop his report about oil, coal, and nuclear (or as some people say "nucular") from coming out. Frank Drebin is on the case.
Review: Nielsen is a natural at this type of humor. I guess anyone who can sound melodramatic (like they did in dramas in the 1950s) could do this kind of humor.
My review of "Naked Gun" (1988) My review of "Naked Gun 33⅓" (1994) "Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" at Amazon.com"Only the Lonely" - Romantic dramedy with John Candy, Maureen O'Hara, Ally Sheedy, Milo O'Shea.
Plot Intro: A lonely cop falls in love with a woman who is an undertaker. Now he just has to tell his mother.
Review: Candy is very good in this drama that has some comedy in it. O'Hara is very good as the stern mother, and Sheedy is very good as the love interest who is trying to deal with the dynamic of Candy's family.
"Only the Lonely" at Amazon.com"Raise the Red Lantern" - Drama with Gong Li. Directed by Zhang Yimou.
Plot Intro: A woman is forced to marry after her father dies.
Review: Excellent drama. Gong Li is excellent.
"Raise the Red Lantern" at Amazon.com"Rambling Rose" - Drama with Robert Duvall, Diane Ladd, Laura Dern.
Plot Intro: A girl is taken in by a good family during the 1930s to prevent her from supporting herself through prostitution.
Review: Robert Duvall is just about always great. Ladd and Dern are mother-daughter in real life.
"Rambling Rose" at Amazon.com"Regarding Henry" - Drama with Harrison Ford, Annette Bening.
Plot Intro: A lawyer is shot. He survives, but it affects his short-term memory and he can't remember very much.
Review: Good performances by Ford and Bening.
"Regarding Henry" at Amazon.com"Rhapsody in August" - With Richard Gere. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. AKA "Hachi-gatsu no kyôshikyoku".
Plot Intro: Four children live with their grandmother during summer vacation.
Review: One of the last films by Kurosawa. Worth seeing just for that reason. I like Kurosawa's samurai movies the best.
"Rhapsody in August" at Amazon.com"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" - Drama with Kevin Costner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Alan Rickman.
Plot Intro: Robin returns from a crusade with a Moorish soldier to find that King Richard hasn't made it back yet and he has to deal with Richard's brother, John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Review: I was OK with the film up until the attempted rape of Maid Marion by the Sheriff. I had the same reaction to "Rob Roy". I will never watch either film again. Costner is OK. Rickman is excellent in portraying an evil man (such as in "Die Hard" or the Harry Potter series). I'm not sure what Freeman is there for.
"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" at Amazon.com"The Rocketeer" - Fantasy romantic drama starring Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino.
Plot Intro: A young pilot in the 1930s discovers a jetpack that allows him to fly without wings. The Germans want it, too.
Review: Based on some comic books. Escapist fun.
"The Rocketeer" at Amazon.com"Scenes From a Mall" - With Woody Allen, Bette Midler. Written and directed by Paul Mazursky.
Plot Intro: On their 16th anniversary, a husband confesses some of his infidelities to his wife -- at a mall.
Review: One of the few movies with Woody Allen where he didn't wrote and direct. You kind of know what you're going to get from Woody and Bette.
"Scenes From a Mall" at Amazon.com"The Silence of the Lambs" - With Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn. Directed by Jonathan Demme.
Plot Intro: A serial killer is on the loose, and an FBI agent consults with another serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, to get insights into how to capture him.
Review: Anthony Hopkins is great, and Jodie Foster at times appears to be genuinely concerned for her safety or creeped out by Hopkins's character. Good acting by all. Best Picture Oscar of 1991.
"The Silence of the Lambs" at Amazon.com"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" - With William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForrest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Kim Cattrall, Christopher Plummer. Written by Gene Roddenberry with Leonard Nimoy, and a few others.
Plot Intro: There is a plot to stop a treaty between the Klingons and the Federation, and the Enterprise is assigned to stop it.
Review: Fine work by the old crew.
"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" at Amazon.com"Terminator 2: Judgment Day" - Sci-fi with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick. Directed by James Cameron. Co-written by James Cameron.
Plot Intro: The machines send back a new terminator in order to prevent John Connor from being the leader of the human resistance.
Review: Good special effects for the time. Still an impressive film. But don't the machines know that the future already takes into account all time loops that are done in an attempt to change the future? Wouldn't the present include all of the past — no matter how it occurred? Followed by "Terminator 3" (2003).
My review of "The Terminator" (1984) - the film that started the series "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" at Amazon.com"Tous les Matins du Monde" - With Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, Guillaume Depardieu. AKA "All the Mornings of the World" or "Every Morning of the World". In French with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: A 17th century viola player finds out his wife died while he was away.
Review: One of quite a few very good Depardieu films.
"Tous les Matins du Monde" at Amazon.com"What About Bob?" - Comedy with Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty, Charlie Korsmo. Directed by Frank Oz.
Plot Intro: A psychiatric patient who is getting passed around from psychiatrist to psychiatrist latches onto a psychiatrist who just came out with his book, "Baby Steps." The psychiatrist talks with him over the phone in a very short interview and then leaves for his New England summer home where he will be interviewed by a morning TV show. The patient decides to follow.
Review: One in a series of very good small films featuring Bill Murray (including "Quick Change", "Groundhog Day", "The Man Who Knew Too Little", etc.). Some felt that Dreyfuss was a little to frantic in his ranting and raving, but I think that this is how many professionals would respond when their private family life is invaded by their professional life. A modern classic. Highly recommended.
"What About Bob?" at Amazon.com
"Akira Kurosawa's Dreams" - Written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. AKA "Yume".
Plot Intro: A plot supposedly based on actual dreams of Akira Kurosawa.
Review: One of the last films by Kurosawa. Worth viewing for that reason.
"Akira Kurosawa's Dreams" at Amazon.com"Alice" - Comedy with Mia Farrow, Joe Montegna, William Hurt, Julie Kavner. Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A wife and mother begins to have back pains, so she consults with an herbal remedy specialist. He tells her that her problems are not physical, but they are due to her extra-marital involvement. He gives her an herbal remedy that gives her certain powers.
Review: An odd little film, but then that's what you get when the film is written and directed by Woody Allen and the star of the movie is Mia Farrow. You'd have to like all things Woody to love this film. It will be entertaining for those people.
"Alice" at Amazon.com"Arachnophobia" - Thriller/horror/comedy with Jeff Daniels, John Goodman.
Plot Intro: A spider hitchhikes its way from the jungles of South America to the countryside of the United States in a coffin. It sets up a new colony that is organized like an ant colony, and it begins to prey on all creatures in the surrounding area — including humans.
Review: Sometimes scary, sometimes humorous. The film is particularly chilling in the light of all of the animals (including the bugs), diseases, and plants that have invaded the United States in recent years. Some of them are here by accidents or due to "hitchhiking" (such as the zebra mollusk), but many of them were brought in by those who have the intelligence of a pea. Humans are their own worst enemies sometimes. The starling is an early example. The ugliest bird on earth, it was brought into the U.S. by someone who must have been somewhat blind or esthetically-challenged, and the bird became a pest and pushed native birds (which are much more attractive) out of their habitat. Or take the fish that someone released in the wild that walks between lakes and eats every other fish it can find. Or how about Gambian rat that is imported as a pet that carries a pox similar to small pox. Or how about kudzu, a plant that imported for some unknown reason and that has been taking over large tracts of land. What is true in most things is that all of us are forced to live with the consequences of the actions of the most moronic of our fellow humans.
"Arachnophobia" at Amazon.com"Armor of God 2: Operation Condor" - see "Operation Condor". "Awakenings" - Drama with Robin Williams, Robert DeNiro, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Ann Meara. Directed by Penny Marshall.
Plot Intro: Patients that are in an institution and are in a catatonic state find some hope in a new drug, the effects of which last less and less with each dose.
Review: Based on the true story of events at a U.S. hospital. The movie is at times hopeful and other times very sad. Williams and DeNiro are great.
"Awakenings" at Amazon.com"Back To The Future Part 3" - Comedy/adventure with Michael J Fox, Christoper Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Lea Thompson, Thomas F Wilson, Elizabeth Shue, "ZZ Top". Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.
Plot Intro: Marty has to go back to the wild west in order to save Doc from being killed in a duel.
Review: A good finish to the trilogy — better than most final movies of a series. The appearance of "ZZ Top" at the town dance is a nice touch. I still don't understand why they changed the actress who played Marty's girlfriend after the first film. She did great and seemed to be a better match physically than Shue. But these things happen all the time. The girlfriend's part is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, and the change didn't affect the rest of the series.
My review of "Back to the Future" (1985) My review of "Back to the Future Part II" (1989) "Back To The Future Part 3" at Amazon.com"Crazy People" - With Dudley Moore, Paul Reiser, Darryl Hannah, Mercedes Ruehl, J.T. Walsh, David Paymer, Doug Yasuda.
Plot Intro: An ad man with writer's block comes up with some extremely honest ads, and for his own good he is put into a mental hospital. The ads work, and other inmates join in the ad program with their unique points of view.
Review: Kind of an odd story. Of course the ads would never work. Much of genius of ads are when they subliminally make the same points. The film ends up being a little people vs. big corporation story at the end.
"Crazy People" at Amazon.com."Cyrano de Bergerac" - With Gérard Depardieu. In French with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: A guy is shy because of his large nose, and he can't express himself to a beautiful woman. She is falling in love with his handsome friend. His friend isn't shy, but can't express himself romantically.
Review: Very good version of the story. Depardieu is excellent, as he is almost always.
My review of "Roxanne" (1987) "Cyrano de Bergerac" at Amazon.com"Dances With Wolves" - Western with Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Robert Pastorelli. Directed by Kevin Costner. Michael Blake adapted his novel into the screenplay.
Plot Intro: A Civil War veteran is exiled to a remote part of the western plains. He befriends the wolves and is called "Dances With Wolves" by the Indians whom he also befriends. The army doesn't appreciate this.
Review: Best Picture Oscar of 1990. Excellent. Very moving in parts. The film was the first to attempt to use the original Native American language (which is subtitled).
"Dances With Wolves" at Amazon.com"Darkman" - Comic-book fantasy adventure movie with Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels. Directed by Sam Raimi. Screenplay was written by Chuck Pfarrer and was based on a story by Sam Raimi.
Plot Intro: A scientist barely survives when his lab is blown up by mobsters. He seeks revenge.
Review: Dark comic-book type of action. It is as entertaining as a lot of these kinds of films, not as entertaining as others.
"Darkman" at Amazon.com"Dick Tracy" - Comic-book adventure with Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Charlie Korsmo, William Forsythe, Glenne Headly, Madonna, Charles Durning, Mandy Patinkin, Paul Sorvino, Dustin Hoffman, Dick Van Dyke, Catherine O'Hara, Estelle Parsons, James Caan. Music by Danny Elfman, songs by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Warren Beatty.
Plot Intro: Dick is in trouble in more ways than one.
Review: Slick photography, use of primary colors, bizarre makeup all go toward making this movie into a live action version of the comic strip. Kind of fun to watch. It would be better without Madonna.
"Dick Tracy" at Amazon.com"Die Hard 2" - Adventure/thriller with Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, Reginald VelJohnson, Dennis Franz. Directed by Renny Harlin.
Plot Intro: Mercenaries are hired to spring a Latin American general from the custody of the regular military. They hold all the commercial planes over Denver hostage in order to distract the authorities. John McClane figures it all out, but can he stop them?
Review: Very good follow-up to the smash hit "Die Hard", which established Willis as a bona-fide star.
My review of "Die Hard" (1988) My review of "Die Hard With A Vengeance" (1995), AKA "Die Hard 3" or "Die Harder" My review of "Live Free or Die Hard" or Die Hard 4 (2007). My review of "A Good Day To Die Hard" or "Die Hard 5" (2013). "Die Hard 2" at Amazon.com"The Freshman" - Comedy starring Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, Penelope Ann Miller, Bruno Kirby, B D Wong, Maximillian Schell. Written and directed by Andrew Bergman.
Plot Intro: A freshman in college needs to get a job to pay for his schooling. He becomes mixed up with a mobster-type who is in the import business.
Review: Very humorous film. Before the movie came out, Brando was quoted as saying that it was an awful film, but it is one of those films that grows on you. I like it more every time I watch it. Broderick, Brando, and Miller are great, and Kirby is excellent as the annoying thief who sucks Broderick's character into the web.
"The Freshman" at Amazon.com"Ghost" - Adventure/Thriller/Fantasy with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Jerry Zucker.
Plot Intro: An bank executive finds out that his co-worker is laundering money. The co-worker has him killed. From that point on, the bank executive has to work hard to save his wife.
Review: This film is schizophrenic for me. There are parts that are fun to watch, and other parts that are hard to watch. I have problems with how the after-life is portrayed, so those parts of the film strike me as weird. Uses the great song by the Righteous Brothers. Nominated for Best Picture Oscar for some reason.
"Ghost" at Amazon.com"The Godfather: Part III" - Crime drama with Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach, Joe Montegna, George Hamilton, Sofia Coppola. Written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Plot Intro: Michael tries to legitimize his businesses.
Review: Not as good as the first two films. Coppola used his daughter when another actress had to back out. Sofia hurts the film. Garcia is subdued and emotionless, as usual, until he needs to raise his voice. The first two films were so good, it is a shame that the series ended with this one. It still is above average.
My Review of "The Godfather" (1972) My Review of "The Godfather: Part II" (1974) "The Godfather: Part III" at Amazon.com"GoodFellas" - Crime drama with Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Henny Youngman. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Plot Intro: A young man wants to be a mobster. Then he has to go into the witness protection plan. He reminisces about the "good times."
Review: Very violent film with hardly a minute without some foul language. Pesci's character is particularly offensive. If the point of the film is that these are bad people who have no respect for life or any moral code, then it accomplished its objective. In spite of all of that, it is a better film overall than "The Godfather: Part III". It's hard to watch too many times.
"GoodFellas" at Amazon.com"Green Card" - Romantic comedy with Gérard Depardieu, Andie MacDowell, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Prosky. Written and directed by Peter Weir.
Plot Intro: A woman "marries" a French man in order to help him stay in the country. Her life is disrupted. Then they fall in love.
Review: Depardieu made several well-regarded French films, and this is an attempt to bring him into a Hollywood, English-language movie. He's a great actor, and MacDowell is very good. I can't really see any genuine spark between the two. But the movie can be entertaining.
"Green Card" at Amazon.com"The Grifters" - Crime dramedy with John Cusack, Angelica Huston, Annette Bening. Directed by Stephen Frears. Based on the novel by Jim Thompson.
Plot Intro: A young con artist ends up in the hospital. It affects his mother, a grifter as well.
Review: The story is based on the novel by Jim Thompson who wrote a lot of dark crime novels. The stories usually include characters that cannot trust anyone, who attempt to get away with a crime, etc. The film is rather stylish.
Warning: The film includes some nudity.
"The Grifters" at Amazon.com"Home Alone" - Comedy with Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard. Written by John Hughes. Directed by Chris Columbus.
Plot Intro: A family plans to travel to France for Christmas, but they leave their youngest (8 years old) boy home accidentally. He tries to make the most of a bad situation, but then the burglars arrive. He attempts to thwart them in every way possible.
Review: Cute film with some cartoon-like violence. Culkin is cute, but he can't act. The film includes one of the worst mothers in any movie. Apparently, the parents have no co-workers and the kids have no friends that are in the neighborhood - a sad case.
My Review of "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York" (1992) "Home Alone" at Amazon.com"The Hunt For Red October" - Drama with Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Courtney B Vance, Stellen Skarsgård. Based on the Tom Clancy novel. Directed by John McTiernan.
Plot Intro: One of the most respected commanders of the Soviet submarine fleet takes command of the newest sub. He takes the sub out for maneuvers and then begins to make for the eastern coast of the U.S. No one on either side knows what his intensions are. Is he defecting, or will he start World War III.
Review: Excellent movie based on an excellent book (Tom Clancy's first).
"The Hunt For Red October" at Amazon.com"I Love You To Death" - Comedy with Tracy Ullman, Kevin Kline, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, William Hurt, Keanu Reeves, Victoria Jackson, Heather Graham. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
Plot Intro: A woman finds out that her husband is having an affair and seeks revenge.
Review: Kline plays his part with a lot of flair, and the rest of the cast does a good job. The material isn't that good, and it affects the final result.
"I Love You To Death" at Amazon.com"Joe Versus the Volcano" - Comedy with Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Abe Vigoda, Dan Hedaya, Amanda Plummer, Ossie Davis, Carol Kane. Written and directed by John Patrick Stanley.
Plot Intro: A man who thinks he is going to die decides to offer himself up to satisfy an island god.
Review: Humorous early teaming of Hanks and Ryan. Ryan is charming as she plays several different characters. Entertaining.
"Joe Versus the Volcano" at Amazon.com"Kindergarten Cop" - Romantic comedy thriller with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Linda Hunt, Pamela Reed, Carroll Baker, Cathy Moriarty. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Plot Intro: The police are searching for the ex-husband of an elementary school teacher. In hopes that he will attempt to make contact with her, a policewoman has been chosen to go undercover in the school as a teacher, but she gets very sick and her partner, a muscled-up man, has to take her place.
Review: Lots of cute kids who have interaction with a large guy who at first "can't handle the group." Entertaining. Miller is always good to watch (she was great in "The Freshman"), and I think she should work more.
"Kindergarten Cop" at Amazon.com"Miller's Crossing" - With Albert Finney, Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi.
Plot Intro: A gang war starts when the brother of the girlfriend of the head of a mob ruins a fixed prize fight for the head of another mob. It all gets even more complicated when the brother was supposed to be killed at Miller's Crossing, but he wasn't.
Review: Finney, Byrne, Harden, and Turturro are great. They raise the level of the film.
"Miller's Crossing" at Amazon.com"Misery" - Suspense-horror with James Caan, Kathy Bates. Based on a story written by Stephen King. Directed by Rob Reiner.
Plot Intro: A writer becomes a captive in the house of one of his fans where she tries to get him to write his next book a certain way.
Review: Very good adaptation of a Stephen King book. Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.
"Misery" at Amazon.com"Mountains of the Moon" - With Patrick Bergin.
Plot Intro: The true story of the attempt to find the source of the Nile.
Review: Very good movie.
Warning: Some nudity.
"Mountains of the Moon" at Amazon.com"Operation Condor" - Martial arts film with Jackie Chan. AKA "Armor of God 2: Operation Condor" or "Feiying gaiwak" or "Longxiong hudi".
Plot Intro: A Chinese agent is called on to find Nazi gold in the desert.
Review: There are better Jackie Chan movies, but his movies are fun anyway.
"Operation Condor" at Amazon.com"Opportunity Knocks" - With Dana Carvey, Robert Loggia, Milo O'Shea.
Plot Intro: Two con-artists enter an empty house where they find that the owner will be gone for a month and the housesitter can't do the housesitting. They take advantage of the situation.
Review: Somewhat pleasant, mindless comedy.
"Opportunity Knocks" at Amazon.com"Presumed Innocent" - With Harrison Ford, Greta Scacchi, Brian Dennehy, Bonnie Bedelia, Raul Julia, Paul Winfield. Directed by Alan J. Pakula. Based on the Scott Turow bestseller.
Plot Intro: A deputy prosecutor has an affair with a woman who is later murdered. He is asked to investigate, and he finds that he is being framed for the murder.
Review: Very good lawyer movie based on a very good book.
"Presumed Innocent" at Amazon.com"Pretty Woman" - Romantic comedy with Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo, Amy Yasbeck, Alex Hyde-White. Directed by Garry Marshall.
Plot Intro: A man hires a prostitute to be his escort at social events. He doesn't expect anything else, but neither can ignore the obvious attractions between them. You know the story.
Review: The career making/changing film for Julia Roberts who has an excellent performance. Gere is excellent as well.
"Pretty Woman" at Amazon.com"Quick Change" - With Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Randy Quaid, Bill Elliott, Jason Robards, Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub.
Plot Intro: A gang of bank robbers carry out their plan.
Review: The beginning of a string of very good small comedies with Bill Murray.
"Quick Change" at Amazon.com"The Rescuers Down Under" - Animated feature with Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy, George C. Scott.
Plot Intro: Two mice attempt to rescue a boy and a golden eagle.
Review: Newhart's and Gabor's voices are perfect for animated movies. The movie is entertaining for all ages.
"The Rescuers Down Under" at Amazon.com"Reversal of Fortune" - With Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Christine Baranski, Felicity Huffman.
Plot Intro: A husband is accused of placing his wealthy wife in a brain-dead coma.
Review: Supposedly based on the true story of Claus von Bülow and his wife Sunny. Jeremy Irons is very good.
"Reversal of Fortune" at Amazon.com"RoboCop 2" - With Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy.
Plot Intro: RoboCop deals with drug traffic.
Review: I had liked the first RoboCop very much, so I went to see the sequel with one of my classmates. But the way the story of "Robocop 2" progressed just turned both of us off. We were very surprised that the movie was so bad and hard to watch.
My Review of "RoboCop" (1987) "RoboCop 2" at Amazon.com"A Shock to the System" - Pitch dark comedy with Michael Caine, Swoozie Kurtz, Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert.
Plot Intro: A man is up for promotion but is passed over for promotion for a much younger man who makes his life very hard at work. His relationship with his wife is very difficult, and he is attracted to a much younger woman who seems to appreciate him. He comes up with what he thinks is a nearly perfect way of dealing with it all.
Review: A taut murder mystery where Caine's character makes one too many mistakes. Caine is excellent.
"A Shock to the System" at Amazon.com"Tatie Danielle" - In German with English subtitles.
Plot Intro: The story of a crotchety old woman.
Review: Great fun.
"Tatie Danielle" at Amazon.com"3 Men and a Little Lady" - Comedy with Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, Nancy Travis.
Plot Intro: The mother of a little girl is planning to marry an British man even though she is in love with one of the three men who she is living with.
Review: A follow-up to the box office hit "Three Men and a Baby." It's not quite as good as the first.
My Review of "3 Men and a Baby" (1987) "3 Men and a Little Lady" at Amazon.com"Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" - With Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. AKA "¡Átame!"
Plot Intro: A fan kidnaps the actress with whom he thinks he's in love.
Review: An early film of Banderas, directed by Almodóvar.
"Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" at Amazon.com"Total Recall" - Sci-fi film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.
Plot Intro: A man has a vacation on Mars implanted in his brain, but something apparently goes wrong.
Review: "Total Recall" is a great film with top-of-the-line special effects for the time. The question that is never answered is whether any of the action (the stuff after the vacation is implanted in Schwarzenegger's character's brain) is real or part of the implanted memory. The special features on the DVD — and the movie, of course — are worth the price of the purchase.
"Total Recall" at Amazon.com"The Witches" - With Angelica Huston, Mai Zetterling. Directed by Nicolas Roeg.
Plot Intro: A boy and his grandmother are staying at a hotel where there is a convention of witches.
Review: Very entertaining family picture.
"The Witches" at Amazon.com