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The Flick Chick
Films with titles beginning with "M" and "N"
Been a bad day. TV dinner for dinner. No good e-mail. No calls.
Does that mean no hope? Not! There is always the hope (and the opportunity) of leaving it all behind and being swept away by a truly great film or of having a buddy over to watch and abuse and laugh at a terrible one . . . via video. So how do you know what to choose? (Tum-te-tum-tum . . . clash of symbols) The Chick knows! Looky here.
Master and Commander
Naturally, if you've read eighteen Aubrey-Maturin books (yes, neophytes, there are eighteen of them!) you've already seen the film, you already have an opinion, and whatever the Chick says, you will agree or discount it, depending on whether you thought Russell Crowe was blonde enough, shrewd enough, nautical enough, musical enough (and so forth) and whether you thought Paul Bettany was sufficiently brilliant, sensitive, saturnine, silent, and noble. Personally, the Chick has always had a real weakness for the dark, sensitive & noble types, and she felt that Bettany was a bit too pretty, and that the Maturin part suffered from having the BIG STAR taking all the limelight in the Aubrey role. Also, she felt that the storyline of Master & Commander alone was more than sufficient to carry the film, and they didn't need to use up two books in one flick. Because if they take them two at a time, there will only be enough for NINE, which would be a tragedy.
That being said, of course I loved it. Of course you should see it! (12/03)
Like Woody Allen films, but hated this one. Same reason that Closer was a bummer. All the characters were selfish, shallow, and without redeeming social characteristics. Let me know how it ended, if you get the chance. We left 2/3rds of the way through. (2/06)
Matrix I & II & III
Loved the first one, even with all the violence: Innovative plot. Excellent casting; Deeply sympathetic characters, Socko climax.
But sequels beware: one of the great laws of good writing is that you cannot use the same trick twice. And on that great law hangs the trouble with Anything II and Anything III. The rebooted Ver of this film contains lots of good old stuff and even some good new stuff great to see Keanu again, looking serious and worried and stopping bullets & becoming more and more magical every day. Good to see Morpheous and Trinity and the Oracle again, clever to have a plethora of bad guy (note the singular noun). But the City was something of a disappointment, the orgy went on far too long, and the Man in the White Suit was a disaster. Don't get me wrong. Maybe Will Smith was busy. Yes, it's understood that Sean Connery can't take ALL those parts, and that since his death George Burns has been out of the Pictures, but surely, surely they could have found somebody more convincing than that!
Nevertheless, the films are enjoyable when seen in the company of a family of ardent Matrix enthusiasts. See if you can arrange for your own viewing of it to be in such a group. It should improve your evening immensely!
Innnnteresting! The Man With No Memory: What is he forgetting? How did he know that! What has he lost? What has he regained? What happened first? Was his wife really killed? And the clues tattooed on his body . . . are they all correct or all wrong?
This excellent, tantalizing puzzle grows violent. It's not for the kids. But it's a definite treat for those of analytical mind. It kept me guessing and took most of the film before I felt I'd really picked up all the threads. And then oops!
Now that's what I like! (5/01)
Oh Wow! Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith chasing BEMs. And SUCH BEMs! And there's even a nicely-engineered plot. What could be sweeter!
Really enjoyed it, didn't mind laughing at the same jokes again, had read all the grumpy reviews, went expecting very little, and was agreeably surprised. Of course, Tommy Lee Jones and Rip Torn are splendid, Will Smith's panache and versatility are amazing, and there is also the not-offensive appearance of wotzername in skimpy underwear. Those old in affection for ancient Space Opera will be tickled by the sight of all those BEMs gathered under one roof, though it's doubtful that so many of them would be so stupid. And the guy in the backpack a real hoot. Go. Enjoy. (7/8/02/02)
Men in Black III
You must take into consideration that any film that stars both Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith is going to be a winner, even if it's the same film you saw last time. But this one is the same film plus new goodies. And real goodies, too! There is the lovely Emma Thompson in a very small love-interest role. There is a flashback of Tommie Lee Jones as a younger cheerier man. But best of all there is a very strange and charming character (Character! Right!) who sees into alternate futures. And . . . well . . . he won the Chick's heart.
So see it and see whether you agree. (5/12 )
Men Who Stare at Goats
Now, that was FUN! George Clooney was loony! McGregor (Ewan) was stewin'! Jeff Bridges was (running out of bad rhymes now) an off-kilter guru and Kevin Spacy was an intensely disagreeable corporal (never recognized him until 3/4 of the way through the movie!). To the Chick, the storyline was somewhat reminiscent of the hi-jinks in Catch-22 only without anything grim about it. And nothing particularly smutty. Just funny. And fun. And mildly crazy. And with a completely unexpected and satisfying finale. It's probably not in theaters any more, so get the DVD, settle down on the sofa and . . . enjoy.
Oh, yes, there were real goats. Lots of them. I do like goats! (11/10)
Granted, this is not exactly a new film. One of the silent grand-daddies of SF flickdom, it was produced by Fritz Lang in Germany, in 1927 (well before the Chick's D.O.B., my friends). I had seen bits and pieces over the years, but never the complete film.
Storyline: Upper class business titans live a Utopian existance while lower class worker toil underground (literally). Then beautiful & noble upper class boy meets beautiful & noble lower class girl & they fall in love and chaos results, ultimately overturning the overly stratified society with the help of a mad scientist and a beautiful but wicked robot.
Much of the film is artistically beautiful, and some of the views of the City of the Future rival the cityscapes in Star Wars. Understandably, acting and makeup conventions have changed in the past 75 years, and many of the film's glossy new ideas are trite by today's standards. But it was interesting to see how the symbolic Ubermensch/underdog images resonate to our political thought today. The "moral" of the film is that an understanding heart can mediate between the guys who give the orders and the guys who do the work. Hmmm. I wonder if that was true in Germany in 1927. I wonder if it is true today.
If you're a film buff, and you get the chance, try to see it. You'll find it interesting. (4/05)
Just a another slasher-type movie. The larger luminaries show their faces minimally. The multiple killings are far-fetched. The climax is not especially satisfying. Miss it unless you're desperate. (5/18/05)
Troubled, edgy, running for his life, trying to justify his life to his brothers, his five-year-old, and himself, our protagonist (George Clooney) stands on the knife edge, holding to his integrity with both hands as he wends his way through the staggeringly speedy, deeply textured, well written thriller. Chameleon Clooney's versatility never ceases to amaze us. This is a fine film experience that you don't want to miss. See it on DVD if you missed the original. (Reviewed 10/07)
Phillip K Dick storyline, Stephen Speilberg directing, and Tom Cruise, who may finally be learning to act a little. There are stunning SF stunts, a powerful supporting team (Max van Sydow, Collin Farrell, for starts), and some great spooky future-of-high-tech stuff for example, holograms now work, only not very well. The ads follow you around, scanning your retinas, and speaking to you by name, reeling out your most recent buying history as they hardsell. Cars run up and down the sides of buildings their visual profile front-to-back from present-day cars, so they all looked as if they were going full-bore . . . backward!
Not quite LA Confidential, but a satisfying SF film. Do it. (7/1/02)
Hair in her eyes,
falling upstairs and down, dressed in combat boots and with shirt-tail flying, do what she will, Sandra Bullock is charming.
And there is no way Michael Caine can ever manage to be less than
delightful. But it's a foolish, skimpy plot. The still-ravishing Candace Bergen is wasted. And Captain Kirk proves yet again that, much as we loved him aboard the Enterprise I, he shoulda stood in space. Yet with it all, it's a very pleasing, good-humored film, and when it appears on
late-night TV, I'll be happy to watch it again! (12/00)
Miss Congeniality II
What's not to like about this film? Sandra Bullock appears once again as slobby-but-beautiful FBI agent, Gracie Hart, snorting with laughter, beating up bad guys, and being forced by unlikely circumstances to dress up both cute and funny. This is a humorous buddy-story, rather than a humorous romantic story, like the original. The star is paired with Regina King who plays her tough-gal heart-of-gold bodyguard as they fight their way through a variety of toughs and miles of bureaucratic red tape to rescue Miss America who has been kidnapped by murderous gangsters (one of whom is a would-be arteest). Not a superior film, but plenty of fun and games, with enough action to entertain the kids, enough cheesecake to entertain the guys, and enough plot to string it together. 3/05
At one point in Smoke Signals, (one of the Chick's fave films), the protagonists (both young Native Americans) set up a memorable chant about John Wayne's teeth. Ah, that I had their skills. Some 30%-45% of this third and lame Mission Impossible is devoted to closeups of Tom Cruise's teeth. While the afore-mentioned teeth are neither "plastic nor steel" they certainly do get good play throughout. And as if there were a more powerful spotlight directed at The Grin, other characters in the film are portrayed as faded and interchangeable. One exception: Ving Rheames, unquenchable as ever, despite the fact that his dialogue is limited to exclamations such as, "I'm with you, Buddy," and "No-no, that's too dangerous!" Whatever happened to IM Force missions that had interesting characters and a plot?
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Three-sentence review: Brad Pitt is still (appropriately) to die for. Angeline Jolie is still luscious to look at. But Sorry! they are both professional assassins who kill everybody in sight, and this film has no socially redeeming aspects whatever. (Yes, big compound sentence. I cheated.) (7/05)
Mr. Margoriam's Miss-This- Emporium
It was embarassing to watch the (formerly) great actor (who remains nameless here in order to avoid humiliating him further) smirk and swiggle through this terrible mistake. And Natalie Portman should fire her agent for getting her involved with it. Miss it. Spare them. (11/07)
Monsters, Inc. - *****
Worn out by the daily grind? Glum over stock market fluctuations? Out of peace with yourself and the world? Well, have I got a solution for you! With voices supplied by Billy Crystal, John Goodman, et al, these monsters will help you forget your real-world troubles while you laugh, feel tender, and root for the goodguys against the bad guys just the way we always did in days of yore!
Yes, it's a reeeeeeeeeeeeeel winner. Not only was its lavish humor unsullied by mean jokes or bathroom jokes, not only were there great furry and slithery and weird monsters, not only was the cute stuff genuinely cute without ever being cloying, not only was there a thrilling chase (well motivated and not composed of standard interchangeable chase-parts), there was much, much more! Amazingly, the film also had an interesting plot full of suspense and pathos and a satisfying ending that was not instantly predictable. Each monster displayed a well-formed personality that relied on behavior and attitudes as well as his or her monstrousness. (Although there was plenty of monstrousness to go around. The tentacled Girlfriend Monster who had snakes for hair, for example, sported cute little rattlesnake rattles like kiss-curls at her temples, and when she got mad, not only did the snakes hiss, the rattles rattled! Hey, I've known people like that!)
In short, not to weary you with superlatives, don't let this eighteen-gold-star flicker pass you by.
Oh, and one more thing: make sure you stay for the credits. They are livened by wall-to-wall Jackie-Chan-style outtakes that had me haw-hawing so hard that my film companions ended up laughing at me! (12/16)
This is a hard film to watch. Billy Bob Thornton's tortured tough guy, Peter Boyle's grim mind-of-stone father, and Hallie Berry's toothsome, desperate heroine entwine within a dark story of guilt, passion, mixed motives, and ambivalent redemption. Brilliantly written, splendidly performed, and convincingly produced, this is a real master work. But it's not easy, and it's not for the faint of heart.(3/14/02)
Mozart's Sister (video)
What an odd film. Did you even know that Mozart even had a big sister? Who played the piano as well as he did? And was nice looking? She really did exist, and although much of the substance of the film is fictional, the predicament she faced as a creative, talented woman in the deeply chauvenistic social settings of France and Germany was only too true. The film holds you, the characters are appealing, the actors have an un-Hollywoodish beauty, and we enjoyed it.
It's in French, with subtitles. (1/13)
And if you've never seen it, you could rent worse. It's a poor-man's Indiana Jones, only
much sappier and with less ingenuity. Nevertheless it has charm, chiefly
because it stars Brendan Fraser. After various forgettable kidpix roles
and one delightful one George, in George of the Jungle,
was a large photo credit in my book he gave us a bit of really
memorable acting in Gods and Monsters. (That was a well-received
and seriously snooty-art film, for those illiterates who see only kidpix &
Been a while since I
saw Gods&M but it is my recollection that the dumb-but-beautiful
blue-collar character Fraser plays is asked to take off his shirt, and
as he starts to do so, he hesitates because he is . . . embarrassed. And
that little fragment was masterful! For one moment, the editor that sits
in the back of my brain, constantly reminding me that I'm watching a
film, was caught off guard. And what I saw was someone who was actually
squirmingly, unforgettably embarrassed! Years later, that sweet
film moment is still with me. Onthe strength of that one moment, Mr. Fraser, I hope you grow up
to be Harrison Ford! (9/00)
(10/01) Having seen a plethora of teasers for
the Heaven preserve us! sequel, I can only say that it sounded horrendous, and I waited for the video.
Well . . . . Not really, really, really bad, I guess. But give me a break, Charlie! Whatever Mr. Fraser's talents, he sure missed out on this one.
Murder by Numbers
This is a nicelittle picture. Sandra Bullock is always watchable. Ben Chaplin is appropriately attractive. Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling are very effective as the murderous teenagers. And if it never did ratchet up the fear-flick-factor to the point where my teeth hurt . . . it still provided a really pleasant evening, well worth the time and money. Sometimes you want simply to enjoy the movie without hurting your teeth, you know? (4/23)
Must Love Dogs
It was inevitable that online dating would get its day in the sun:
"Gloriously voluptuous hot number seeks same. (Must love dogs.)"
"Sweet-natured, genteel lady with the face and figure of a goddess wishes to meet debonaire charming gentleman. Object: Eternal Rapture! (Must love dogs.)"
"Nasty-minded concert violinist wishes to meet rich, healthy, handsome dude. (Must love dogs.)"
Yep, it's about the online blind date game. Also about love, heartbreak, wounded feelings, misunderstandings, lies, inappropriate truth-telling, interruptions . . . and cute dogs.
So what's new? What keeps this from being like every other movie\sitcom in history?
Well, for one, it stars John Cusack, who can do no wrong in my book. Also, there's Diane Lane (charming, despite frequent Bad Hair episodes), and Stockard Channing (who gets to look old and haggard, thanks to the artistry of movie makeup persons), Christopher Plummer, and a very talented supporting cast . . . and of course don't forget the dogs. (BTW, one of the kickers is that neither one of the film's main characters actually owns a dog.)
The writing is not sterling, but it does remind us that there is more to a relationship than the hugging & kissing part. And the film is good-humored enough to give these very capable actors a nice opportunity to romp and play. Overall: Funny enough, entertaining enough, and stylish enough to make for a very pleasant evening. (8/05)
My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding
Now just why would a tall, cute, smart, capable young man throw away his whole previous life and make an idiot of himself and live next door to his eccentric and opinionated in-laws for the sake of a woman who was not particularly charming or clever and was not even especially good looking? Only Hollywood has the answer.
(The envelope, please . . . . Thank you.) And the answer to that mystery is that they needed another female chauvinist hit, that's why. Consider: if she had been the sweet, sensitive one who had to change her religion, make herself the butt of his brothers' and sisters' jokes, be sneered at by her lover's father, and live next door to her husband's parents — would we have been up in arms, or wouldn't we?
This is not about the Greeks. Greeks are great people. They invented the theater, wooden horses, democracy, philosophy, and olive oil, and long may they wave. But friends, this is nothing but a trash-the-guy flick. Some people seem to think that bad sass for the goose is bad sass for the gander too. But fair is fair. Comprende? (8/1/02)
Oh, dark, dark, dark . . .this is a really dark film. Sean Penn is great if a little heavy. Kevin Bacon is great, if a little chill. Tim Robbins is just great! Marcia Gay Hardin, does an excellent job. By now you know the story line. Great performances. Worth seeing. But it's mighty, mighty dark.(12/03)
Night of the Vampire
Whoa! This one is way out! Malkovich is wierdly smashing, as always. And am I the only one who think he looks like Lawrence Olivier? I mean when he was the same age.
For those who have not seen it, but who are considering it, be aware that the plot and its very eerie vampire have nothing to do with the "real" Nosferatu movie, as the original Klaus Kinski version did not feature a real vampire. And to be honest, I thought Kinski was the creepier of those two similar-appearing ghouls. But it was a fun turn . . . if you happen to enjoy that sort of thing, which I do. (6/01)
The Flick Chick Reviews New Films
More Film Reviews. Click the appropriate letter for films whose titles begin with . . .
A few choice foreign films (subtitles)
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