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The Flick Chick:
Bad films go stale, but the pleasures of good films never end. They stickify your memory like the reminders of a jam and honey sandwich. They adhere to the roof of your mind like peanut butter. Second helpings via video can be twice (or half) as satisfying as you hoped. And in among the broken crackers and cheese rinds of aged titles on TV, and Netflix, and Roku. we sometimes discover the unexpected petit four.
So here they are: the good dinners kept warm, the delicious last dollop of ice cream from the freezer . . . and a few cold leftovers. Yum!
It's hard to express how
satisfying it is to see a film so richly conceived and so tenderly
made. Whereas the heavily advertised
Something's Gotta Give
ridiculed vulnerability and affection and ladled out ersatz feeling and
a corn-syrupy happy ending,
offers plenty of broad humor treats love and grief (and
embarassment) with genuine respect.
This is a brilliant and well-made
film. Just as in Capote's writing, the reader can never quite judge the
sincerity of his words, so in this film, Hoffman's brilliant
performance leaves you wondering
Cast Away - *****
A film so well-acted that it defies description. Cast Away missed the Big Award, but pretty much all the good things said about this film are true. Tthough it's a bit late for this advice, try not to read too many reviews before you see it knowing too much beforehand may take the edge off your enjoyment of Hanks' (and Hunt's) excellent performances. (1/01)
The Cat's Meow
Sure, it's been out a while, but sometimes even the Chick slows down. Despite Peter Bognanovich's big rep, this is not a dazzling film, but it's fun for us movie buffs. It's really doubtful that William Randolph Hearst actually shot Thomas Ince, but Edward Herrmann was convincingly besotted with Kirsten Dunst (as Marion Davies), who looked 95% better than she did recently in Spider-Man and almost as cute as she looked in Interview With The Vampire all those years ago. (How come she's grown up now and Tom Cruise is still a kid, hmmm?) Eddie Izzard, who played Chaplin, did not do any Chaplinesque acrobatics, such as the Little Tramp was reputed to perform on all occasions, but the real surprise was the hitherto fatally attractive Cary Elwes ( Princess Bride? ) playing the mean guy. Oh, the heart is broken! (7/9/02/02)
Charlie Wilson's War ****
One splendid film with everything
in place: Razor sharp structure; a strong and believable storyline;
cool dialogue; Julia Roberts looking luscious;
mustached Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a tough, smart-alec professional
spy (Capote has vanished!); and Tom Hanks easing his way from hot-tub
to ballroom, from to Kabul to smoke-filled congressional offices.
Whether in the battlefield or in bed with Julia his performance is this
central gem in this superb jewel of a flick. Hate films? See this one.
Love films? See this one.
Well, that toddlin' film won a lot of awards. I do think the Zeta-Jones' hoofin' legs were worth every Oscar in the lot. And Queen Latifa's an absolute crackerjack. (Wotta solo song!) But much as I like the Rene' and willing as I am to add that any chance to look at Richard Gere's male beauty is welcome and although it was an amusing film, with some sparkle and a workmanlike try at a plot, hmmm . . . stellar? Sorry. Not quite.
Sorry romance fans, but I thought it was punko. And as unconvincing to
me as the book, although in a different way. I do believe in the
struggle between good and evil . . . and I like stories about magic, as
stories, but neither the GvE nor the enchantment jelled for me. Wonder
whether I would have liked the film better if I hadn't read the book?
HATE prizefighting. But when Ron Howard directs, and Russell Crowe
stars, well . . . even that bitter repugnance can be overcome.
Beautiful People of the world really more cruel, more deceitful, more
likely to cheat on the people who love them? Do they have more trouble
with their love affairs than normal people like you and me? (Okay,
maybe normal is too strong a word, but . . .whatever.) The gorgeous
Jude Law, the ravishing Natalie Portman, the star-person Julia Roberts,
and the not-to-be-forgotten Clive Owen try to get us to believe that an
obituary writer, a stripper, a photographer, and an MD can fall madly
in love, betray, double-cross, wound each other, and engage in stellar
lovemaking while continuing to be lovable, beautiful, and
breathtakingly desirable. Well maybe. But you try those shenannigans on
woman, Buster, and you won't find
Piqued by the reviews, Chick &
Co., went to the picture show after an extended absence, and now it is
the Chick's job to pique and persuade you to do the same. Yes, it is a
strange film/films. (Because there are five or more semi-connected
story lines, interconnected characters, and numerous interconnected
lives.) But it is also extremely beautiful and often deeply moving.
And, admittedly, confusing at times. But . . . it's
It unselfconsciously (And, yes sometimes selfconsciously) deals in
subjects like honor, and courage, and self-respect. And it's a great
Did you read the book? Great
book. And the film closely follows the storyline, though the war scenes
are much more graphically depicted. (After a lifetime of horror-packed
war movies, I feel like a battle-hardened veteran: WW-II, Nam, WW-I,
the War of 1812, the Alamo, the Battle of the Roses, Star Wars, the
Pelopennesian War, the Battle of Hastings, Troy, the Cold, and now
again the Civil . . . I've about supped full of horrors yeah,
The Corpse Bride (anime')
a neurotically timid Victorian hero (Victor) is to marry astonishingly
sheltered Sweet Young Thing (Victoria). As Victor is too nervous to
master his lines for the ceremony, he goes off into the woods to
practice. Once there, he inadvertantly drops the ring on the the
skeletal fingers of the sexy corpse of an abandoned bride (stay with me
here, because there's more of this) who claims him as her own and drags
him underground to the Land of the Dead, where they are serenaded by
more corpses in varying degrees of disintegration. Oh, did I mention
that this is sort of a musical? And although the singing skeletons were
very much like the singing skeletons in Betty-Boop-era cartoons, the
music is rather pleasant, otherwise.
Bet I know
exactly how it went: His agent called him up and said:
Some joys never grow old; the measured
artistry of Gene Hackman is one of them. Hackman's wonderfully
controlled performance is only one of the pleasures of this splendid
And as if his accomplished presence were not
enough, a startled double-take reveals that one of the antagonists,
amazingly, is a juvenile, bland-faced Harrison Ford! Need more? Try the
almost-silent brooding presence of young Robert Duval!
Cowboys and Aliens
Pard! Double-ought Seven and a very elderly Han Solo have moved out to
the Old West and acquired some horses and some sidekicks and a
beautiful humanoid alien, and they're off to do battle with a horde of
greenish simian-like extra-terrestrials who are out to gol-durn
it! STEAL ALL OUR GOLD! (And our memories. And some of our
women, of course maybe to enslave or maybe just to eat them for
supper, that was never made clear.) Of course a lot of the minor
characters must die in battle, including some non-hostile Native
Americans, many of them in the process of saving our heroes. And of
course, at the end of the film the Noble Outlaw rides off into the
sunset. (Sigh.) So many stereotypes, so little time.
singer/composers who have drowned their lives and talents in alcohol
are grist for the Hollywood mill. But Jeff Bridges is always a
sweetheart, and he does a great job in this one, although he is sort of
turning into Robert Duvall before our eyes. (Robert Duvall also has a
cameo in this film, as if to remind us that he won an Oscar some years
ago for portraying a broken-down c-w s/c [see above] in a film titled
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Okay: it was a ninja
Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Yes, Fans! This is what
a Woody Allen film is supposed to be like. It's the best since
"Everybody Says I Love You" funny, witty, charming, and even
tender in spots. The Woodman has put rubber to the road this time.
Da Vinci Code
Dopey book. Dopey movie. Not believeable. Not exciting. Even Tom Hanks couldn't save this one. (And he looked as if he were worried about it, too.) Hope he chooses better material next time. 5/06
The Day After Tomorrow
warming is a reality. No argument there. Whether, however, it's logical
for us to conclude that New York will immediately become a major deep
freeze because the Earth is getting warmer . . . ah, that's another
intensely interesting to watch an actor grow. In this film, Clooney has
taken yet another major step forward. Some time ago, in
and Good Luck
he made himself invisible unhandsome and
unimpressive, which was what the role called for but soon after
that, he became a major star, and for a while he fell into the Cary
trap and although it fit him well, he
might have become a Beloved Icon, which would have meant the end of him
as a fine actor.
The Deep End
This dazzlingly suspenseful film has no shoot-outs, no acrobatics, no plots to destroy the world. What it has is turn after unbearable turn of the vise, in combination with an emotional impact so broad and so wide that it leaves you breathless! Granted the initial premise, the story unfolds with relentless inevitability, even though no next-step is predictable. Yet it is, in part and in whole, entirely character-driven. Really interesting. See this one! (9/30/01)
Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep is handsome, suave, enigmatic, and somewhat cruel. The rest of the cast looks pretty, dresses stunningly, and reacts predictably. The story line is pretty much what you'd expect, there is little or no romance, not much suspense, but (to repeat myself) plenty of neat fashion stuff. Nice bit of fluff. (8/06)
More Film Reviews. Click the appropriate letter for films whose titles begin with . . .
A-B # C-D # E-F # G-H # I-J # K-L # M-N # O-P # Q-R # S # T-U # V-W # X-Y-Z
A few choice foreign films (subtitles)