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The Flick Chick
Hold my hand. King
King is stalking me.
running. Now I'm crying. Now I'm dancing.
understanding that speculative fiction (yeah, science fiction, you
ignorant dolt!) may not be your cuppa tea, you have to admit that a
foray into the not-yet or the never-to-be can illuminate
Not your everyday mystery-thriller. Not
your everyday mystery-thriller-slasher flick. Not even your everyday
mystery-thriller-slasher-psycho flick. Not, certainly a picture you'd
kill to see twice although John Cusack is always worth watching,
no matter what film he is playing in. (Both for competence and for
cute.) And yet . . . and yet . . . yes, this certainly is a movie you
want to see at least once. Just don't ask anybody about it before you
go. You don't want to know.
And while on the subject of Robin Williams, let's add that the video of this interesting film is also available. If you did not catch it in a theater, it's worth your evening to see it now. Although the picture belongs to Al Pacino's hooded exhaustion, it is the struggle between his and Williams' characters that makes the film what it is. Like so many recent cop-films, the narrative is dark and internal intent on resolving the moral conflicts of the two main characters rather than centering on the solution of a plot-story. No question that Pacino is a masterful actor. No question that Robin Williams is a powerful character actor, even though he made his name first in silly comedies and still plays the clown far too often.
An Inconvenient Truth
Al Gore has produced a deeply interesting and deeply troubling film. Worth seeing. Worth acting on. (06)
Sean Penn has become a great actor. No, not a great AK-tor, or a great
STAR, or even a great performer all those are different
categories. Very simply, Penn always becomes a solid, believeable
character, appropriate to the content of the film. His slightly pained,
slightly homely face becomes the face of a real person whose fate we
care about. Just as with Tom Hanks, or Robert Duvall, or Tommy Lee
Jones, or even Michael Caine (and of course there are more). When you
lay down your hard-earned razzbukniks for a Sean Penn flick, you're
assured of getting your money's worth.
In Her Shoes
irresponsible sister, one over-serious sister, several wiseacre
grandmas (one of whom is Shirley McLaine), one improbable plot, some
love poetry, and about two closets full of adorably impractical
high-heelers, add Cameron Diaz wearing very skimpy clothes and not
over-many of them, mix well, and you may come up with a delightful
evening. (Oh yes, remember to add some handsome dogs. This season, a
romantic comedy requires the same handsome-dog ratio as a weekend in
In the Bedroom
I expected a whole lot from this film
after all, how often does Sissy make herself known to us, her
adorers? (And of course, she is marvelous. And marvelously beautiful.
Goes without saying.) And after all, any film that hinges on the loss
of a beloved child is pretty much guaranteed to deliver a terrific
emotional wallop. The character of the son is shown in three full
dimensions. There is a tiny, added click at the end of the story. Tom
Wilkinson's portrayal of the anguished father and husband, was
Into the Night
this one on a recent late-night stayawake. It's a charming runaround
thriller from back in 1985 starring a wistful, often tender Jeff
Goldblum and a stupifyingly beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer. She gets him
into scrape after scrape, affixing him with those pleading baby blues
and . . . how could any sane man resist! There's even a very satisfying
(though improbable) ending. I'd forgotten how much I liked this the
first time I saw it!
I was terrified by the
prospect of seeing this beautiful film. I was terrified while watching
it. And justly so. We are treated to a young and glowing portrait of
writer Iris Murdoch brilliantly played by Cate Winslett
just at the outset of her stellar career. The film cuts back and forth
from this young Iris, bursting with vitality as she woos her shy,
stammering husband-to-be, to the mature Iris, even more brilliantly
portrayed by Judy Dench, as she faces the loss of all that she holds
most dear and becomes, at last, her own sad ghost, wandering in
Clones. There is an Evil Scientist, and large numbers of hapless
victims. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansen are competent in their
parts and are nice to look at. It's four-fifths chase scenes. What more
is there to say?
Chan and . . .
Well, of course Jackie Chan is the best thing since fireworks! Lots of silly action, superb stunts (and he does all his own) and marvelous running around, with the hero usually cast as the fall guy who wins in the end. The more recent films are mostly in English (earlier ones were subtitled only) and the action is smoother, and the plots usually are better. The best of the best, in the Chick's opinion, was the first buddy picture with Owen Wilson . . . but whatever you do, don't leave before the last credits roll. The goofball out-takes are the very best part of these films.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Even after admitting a long-term
crush on Brendan Fraser, the Chick can seriously recommend this film.
Without ever planting tongues in cheek, everyone had a rip-roaring good
time with this one. It was exciting, the Monsters were great, and . . .
well, who could hate a floor made out of diamonds. Certainly not I!
Jurassic Park III
Oh yeah, attack of the cyberdinos again. Same lush jungle. Same decrepit city-of-the-future. Same dinosaur-poop jokes. The velociraptors mostly mutter among themselves and Sam Neale looks thoroughly weary of it all, but the birdcage scene caught me up for a while, and I liked the resourcefulness of the kid. (Although would he really have recognized Sam Neale by sight, even in the unlikely event that he had read his book? Sounds like a bit of author-fantasizing is going on there.) The upshot: If you love this sort of thing, you'll love this. If not, not. (8/01)
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)