Sat, Apr 29, 2000

: Fantasia 2000

The movie itself had great animation, but ran a bit long at 80 minutes. I loved the IMAX theatre, however. A screen five stories tall and 70 feet wide combined with a 12,000 watt sound system gets my attention every time.

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Thu, Apr 27, 2000

: Analyze This

Not bad, though a little slow at times, and not consistently funny (and sometimes not funny at all). Predictable. I love Billy Crystal, though.

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Sun, Apr 23, 2000

: Dune

Gets better every time I see it. Incredible visuals and amazingly compact story for such an epic novel. It’s so compact I can see how on first viewing you think it left out tons from the book, but it really didn’t. Might be confusing to people who haven’t read the book — watch it more than once to understand all the nuances. A classic.

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: The Abyss

This was the extended DVD Special Edition — with like an hour of extra footage (as if the original wasn’t long enough). Still excellent, though most of the extra footage toward the middle wasn’t noticeable (you’d never know if the booklet didn’t tell you). But the ending was dramatically different — I liked it much better (I always thought the original had a bizarre ending), though James Cameron’s anti-war preaching (in all his films) gets a little tiresome. (As if there are people who are pro-war?)

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Sat, Apr 22, 2000

: Muriel’s Wedding

What an incredible movie! Funny, serious, bizarre — it’s got everything. Hilarious and wacky, with a surprisingly profound side. Terrific performances. A must see!

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Fri, Apr 21, 2000

: Arlington Road

Neat movie with a wonderful (non-Hollywood) ending. It’s about a guy who thinks his neighbor is a terrorist but no one believes him. A little preachy, but worth it.

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Wed, Apr 19, 2000

: Urban Legend

Fun, campy horror flick. Great if you like the genre (horror mix with humor).

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Tue, Apr 18, 2000

: To Kill a Mockingbird

One of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Amazing. I’ve started the book (I’m on page 2 now ;-). I thought this was about racism or something, and while I knew it was good, I wasn’t enthusiastic about having such a heavy subject pounded over my head. But instead this turned out to be about a six-year-old tomboy and her experiences growing up and how she sees the world. Amazing. (Sure, racism is hinted at. Her father is a lawyer and defending a black man accused of raping a white woman. But you see this from the perspective of the little girl who doesn’t really understand any of that, and it’s quite profound and different. I wish I’d read this 20 years ago.)

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Fri, Apr 14, 2000

: Hurlyburly

Bizarre, talky movie. Well done, but the dialog’s obviously from a play — it’s much to dense for a film. You’d have to see this one several times to keep up with it. I found the characters difficult to comprehend. On the one hand they’re pretty dumb (their lives are crap), but then they turn around and spout profound philosophy. Bizarre but interesting. DVD commentary from the play’s author, David Rabe, helps a lot.

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: Ravenous

Neat little horror flick. It’s about people who learn to eat humans and find they can’t stop. It’s got a rather serious, ominous tone, then goes campy. A bit of a mix, but fun. Sets and period costumes and performances are great.

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Thu, Apr 13, 2000

: The Rage: Carrie 2

Lame. Not even 1% of the original. Got lots of reading down while watching.

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: Election

Funny film, easy to confuse with Rushmore, but ultimately too light. Fun, but not great.

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: Playing God

I can see why this failed. Rather distasteful, confusing, and ultimately uninteresting. Supposedly we’re supposed to feel compassion for a doctor who’s lost his license being forced to work for a criminal, but who really cares?

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: The Deer Hunter

Very different film from what I expected. I almost turned if off during the 45-minute wedding sequence, but stuck with it. Then suddenly we’re in Vietnam, and things were surprisingly interesting (I’m not a war movie fan). The ending and the character stuff and performances were tops. I don’t know that I need to this again, however. Maybe just fast forward through the slow parts.

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Wed, Apr 12, 2000

: Kiss the Girls (film)

I wanted to see this again after reading the book recently, and it’s better on second viewing. I didn’t like it that much the first time — I thought it was confusing and a bit trivial. There are parts of the book that are much better, but the ending of the film is far better than the book’s lame ending. Not bad, but just trimmed and sanitized too much compared to the book.

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Sun, Apr 09, 2000

: Varsity Blues

Okay film; interesting American sports psychology. I liked the conflict between the mean coach and players, but ultimately it does nothing with the criticism.

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Fri, Apr 07, 2000

: Big Daddy

Very funny silly film, like most of Adam Sandler’s stuff. Goes for the cheesy, easy jokes sometimes, and it’s a bit crude in places (especially inappropriate for such a young kid), but overall a good flick.

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Tue, Apr 04, 2000

: Eyes Wide Shut

Author: ? (novel), ?, and Stanley Kubrick

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Not at all what I expected. The reviews and advertising didn’t really explain this. It was much lower key than I expected, and the celebrated stars, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman didn’t even have very many scenes together. Tom was surprisingly good, though his ability to express subtle emotion consists mostly of a direct, intense stare: interpret from it what you will. Kidman was great, especially in a few key scenes, but she felt like a minor character. The story itself wasn’t bad; a bit bizarre, a bit hokey, a bit dull. There was a childish overemphasis on sexuality: overpronunciation of the word “naked” or the f-word, like ten-year-olds giggling over their first look at a dirty magazine. Overall I got the impression that the people that made the film seemed to think they had something remarkable on their hands but were too close to the work to realize it was nothing but an ordinary tale of a husband and wife squabbling. Throughout I kept thinking, “What I am missing?” because it felt like things were supposed to be important and yet they weren’t. Maybe in a year or two this will have more import; we’ll see.

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Sun, Apr 02, 2000

: The Battleship Potemkin

This is one of those films you always hear about but have never seen. I’m glad I did. It’s a little slow, and the silent movie stuff gets hokey and old after a while, but certain portions of the drama are absolutely as contemporary as anything you’ve ever seen. The classic “baby carriage” scene was a bit of a let down — I’ve seen so many remakes and mockeries that it wasn’t as poweful as it should have been. Overall, an amazing film; astonishing that it was made in 1925!

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: The Man in the Iron Mask

I thought this was supposed to be a lame modernization of a classic novel, one of those films where they cast a lot of big name stars and the whole thing stinks. It turned out to be a serious, well-done movie. The writing was good, most of the acting was spot on (the casting was excellent), and the story terrific. But there were portions that confused me, either because I don’t know that much about the characters or their time period; I found certain scenes to be rather staged and overdramatic as a result. (Like the ending, where the bad guys suddenly change sides. Their motivation was not well explained.) Cool flick. Might get old on a second viewing (once you know the plot); have to wait and see.

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Sat, Apr 01, 2000

: Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Author: James Cameron and William Wisher

Director: James Cameron

I got this on DVD and had to watch it to test out my 5.1 surround sound system. Just as good as always, and the sound really puts this one over the top. One of the best films of all time.

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