Reviews From Sea Level
The Cider House Rules -- Its surprising that none of the presidential candidates have siezed upon this films pro-choice message. Gently acted. Completely engrossing. And complex, as John Irvings stories always are.
Notting Hill -- Beneath eye-candy. A bit of fluff, fortunately viewed on cheap Pay-Per-View.
Dogma -- We love irreverence, particularly when its got some depth.
Austin Powers -- Oh behave! The first one was, as Bruce McCroskey puts it, "wierd-o-rama." If youre a James Bond fan (or an Avengers afficionado), this stuff is just a little too strange. Less a cohesively successful film than a series of funny SNL-type bits. WWW.shut-up.com!
Runaway Bride -- Worse than Notting Hill. Why, you may ask do I see these Julia Roberts flicks? I dont really know. Its not like Im a big fan. Perhaps this deserves further analysis, but I wont bore you.
Double Jeopardy -- Ill see almost anyting Tommy Lee Jones, but this isn't at all his best work. The twisty little plot kept me interested, but only for the two hours it took to play it out.
The Thomas Crown Affair -- Proof that Pierce Brosnan is a solid actor. This remake puts his debonair side to good use, while hinting at the adventurous side thats exploited in the Bond movies. Much better than . . .
The World is Not Enough -- Its really hard to admit that the James Bond legacy may be running thin. Not bad, but not a blockbuster.
Sling Blade -- A cross between Nell and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, uh huh.
Entrapment -- Start with To Catch A Thief, stir in The Thomas Crown Affair, and extrapolate from there. Probably no coincidence that the stars of two of the three are also James Bond.
Around the World in 80 Days -- David Niven bets his fortune that he can circle the globe in 80 days. Jules Vernes story provides the framework for a first class travelog full of gratuitous tourist shots. So this is what the masses did before convenient air travel could take them to Disneyworld.
Mighty Aphrodite -- Another typical Woody Allen where hes a stud and his wife is a self-absorbed, vacuous, pretty little bitch. Get a new therapist Woody, the old one obviously hasnt moved you along.
Response from Mona Rosenthal: I saw Casino too. I loved it, but it still wasn't as good as Goodfellas. You forgot to mention the superb soundtrack.
Carrington (review from Mona Rosenthal) -- Why didn't she age? Obviously it was over the span of many years. And how did she meet those men. A wonderful blend of tragedy and humor and great acting by Jonathan and Emma. I wonder if the guy who played her husband was supposed to look like Kenneth B, or was it just coincidence?
Hanibal All the gore and none of the suspense of its predecessor, Silence of the Lambs. But when I read the book I just knew no studio would film it as written.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I dont think Im the target market for this stuff. Sure, the effects are cool, but the endless rooftop chases get a little old. And the ending is so terribly sad!
The Pillow Book Really weird and really captivating. Be prepared for split screens, subtitles, and lots of nudity. But keep an open mind, its worth it.
What Lies Beneath Harrison Ford as the villain! And he can be really creepy. Keep all the lights on and dont go near the bathtub after watching this one.
28 Days Sandra Bullocks homage to rehab. If my HMO would pay for a 30 days in such a facility Id become a party girl too.
Brigit Joness Diary If you somehow escaped reading the book, the movie version is loyal to its humor and innocence. I giggled all the way through.
American Beauty I expected depressing and got dark humor. A very smart, challenging film that Im surprised to be able to recommend.
Chocolat Ugh. There was this great little book with a mystical French/gypsy sensibility. Then came this film that fails to capture any of it.
Me, Myself, and Irene I didnt realize it was a Farrelly brothers film until well into it. Once I did, it all started to make a twisted sort of sense, and it got a lot funnier.
Soft Fruit A little known Aussie Indie (!) about family members gathering around their dying mother. The three portly sisters and their disreputable brother descend upon their parents home with children and baggage. As with any family, they squabble over everything, including caring for poor mum, who gradually declines and eventually passes.
Meet the Parents cringe-inducing situations alternate with heavily foreshadowed mishaps. Amusing, but not hysterical.
Being John Malkovich For reasons too complicated to get into, the notion of a 7.5 floor and hidden door touched a chord with me. The notion that John Malkovich would go along with this project made it all the more appealing. Its weird, but its well worth seeing.
Fargo Its such a pleasure to find smart, dark humor in a cold climate.
The Waterboy You can do it! You can sit through this absurd Adam Sandler comedy.
Finding Forrester touching, uplifting, enlightening, you get the idea. Sean Connery as the jaded recluse, Michael Pitt as the underprivileged high school student who shows him a way back into the world. Certainly worth a watch for the performances.
Cast Away I went in expecting Survivor on the big screen and came away surprised at the depth (for a big budget movie, anyway). Not nearly so much about survival skills as about loneliness. Makes you believe that four years on a deserted island can make a volleyball seem like a buddy. And the airplane crash is one of the most frightening Ive ever seen.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels four well-meaning losers who turn to crime, four nasty criminals who look a lot like the first four, four drug dealers who also look like the first two groups, four black drug dealers (thank God for differentiation!) a couple hit men, a gangster boss, and two (or is it four?) antique muskets. I got lost pretty early on and dont think I ever sorted it all out. My Brit friend Dave says it was hysterical. But he probably understood the provincial accents.
East is East Its Manchester in the 1970s and a Pakistani father is trying to raise his children with good Pakistani values. Its a losing battle. My favorite character is the young son who insists on wearing his hooded jacket all the time kind of a live action Kenny (but this kid doesnt get killed).
Charlies Angels I entered with low expectations and was delightfully surprised. With lots of respectful nods to the original TV series and updates that dont step all over the sexist concept, this silly film manages to be entertaining and inoffensive despite its 70s TV origins.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Matrix Reloaded I knew half way through the first excruciatingly tedious fight sequence that this film was going to be a huge waste of two hours of my time. And indeed, for the next 110 minutes I felt like I was riding a train wreck.