Movies in Brief - Winter 2003

JANUARY

Intolerable Cruelty - I've got my ticket!

The Ladykillers(2004) - I've got my ticket!

Aaron Loves Angela and Zuma Beach - still at the beginning and end of the Maltin guide for the past 20 years.

Mikey - If I remember correctly, this may be the only movie with the Black Angus Steakhouse guy in it!!

Memoirs of an Invisible Man - Now, why can't Hollow Man be more like this movie?

The Jerk - precursor to Forrest Gump.

True Lies - You do not have time to tango, buddy!  I must confess I don't know how much more of this 'Everything looks blue at night' visual schema I can take.

Deuces Wild - This may be a first: a film they're not even going to bother releasing on video.

Boiling Point - Dennis Hopper as Conan O'Brien.

The Sandlot - Way, way too slick.  But at least we know who to blame for mini-malls.

Miami Rhapsody - Sarah Jessica Parker does an impeccable Woody Allen impersonation.

Airheads - Dog Day Afternoon meets Spinal Tap.

Fire Down Below - Steven Seagal battles his greatest nemesis yet: a bad case of heartburn!

Memento - I didn't like it that much.

Freebie and the Bean - pre-cursor to Lethal Weapon 3.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Almost at the $200 million mark.  But they had to spend $100 million to get it!  By the way, just so's you know, they're planning a sitcom based on the movie, and whatever it ends up being called, Mr. Zwick will be available to direct the first episodes.

Red Planet - Good drama, great special effects, smart script.  Some comedic moments, but not many, and in a way I appreciate that.

MAX on Set: Half Past Dead - Sorry, still don't want to see it.  Don Michael Paul film or no.

The Puppet Masters - Déjà vu for Donald Sutherland.

Blackout - O Happy Day!  Philip Kaufman is back in the saddle.  He was ahead of his time.  If he made Rising Sun today (massive re-writes and all), no one would bat an eye.

Gerry - There is no joy in Affleck-ville, Mighty Casey has struck out.

Cabin Boy - Gilliam-Lite.  Where did Adam Sandler succeed where Chris Elliott failed?

Goodbye Lover - Stylish enough, but consider the source: the script was co-written by the Toy Story scriptsmiths Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, so even though it's a bad movie, just try and imagine that Woody and the gang are playing the parts when you watch.

Highlander - There can be only four... no, wait, five, and three TV series (1,2,3).  And don't forget this one!

Town & Country - How did Charles Grodin get out of this one?

"Just The Ten Of Us" - White Trash's last stand.

Assassination - Cheesy Is Every Step.  In a world without Secret Service protocol, this movie exists.  With a British First Lady to boot!

Joe Versus The Volcano - Strange, funny movie.

Black Hawk Down - Everybody's in this movie!  Just one of the six movies that year for Josh(ua) Hartnett.  I think Spy Game was filming just down the street.

Bachelor Party - The movie that Tom Hanks wishes his brother made.  Oh, wait...

Immediate Family - A couple years ago on MTV or VH1 there was a filmed sketch poking fun at the hot new trend in Obligatory Movie Scenes: a group of women in movies like Dancing at Lughansa will just start dancing.  Apparently, this is the only way Movie Women have fun and/or express themselves.  Immediate Family's an early example.

Burning Man: The Burning Sensation - Documentary about the Burning Man.  Haven't seen it, but ah, Burning Man's time has all too quickly passed.  It's too commercial now.  (official site here)

Snowboard Academy - Ernest Goes Skiing.

Mississippi Burning - Trent Lott's favorite movie, although he doesn't like the ending.

Real Genius - Fun movie.  Val Kilmer reminded me of Groucho Marx.

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York - In memory of all the stunt doubles for Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci who surely must've perished in the making of this movie.

City Slickers 2: The Legend of Bagger Vance Curly's Gold - That must've been an interesting pre-production conference when they were trying to pick a director.  "Let's see, who can we get?  I know!  How about the director of LEONARD PART SIX?!!!!"

Clearcut - Very of the time it was made in.  Basically, Freddy Krueger as a Native American (named Arthur!), and the Elm Street kids as a slew of anti-environment types.  I'm really not interested enough to go back and see it again.

Coyote Ugly - Rather awkward application of the Token Englishman.

The Ninth Gate - Illustrates the old adage 'It ain't over until the lady in the wheelchair gives you the stump.'

Darkness Falls - It kinda looks like a TV movie, and then I saw the proof!  Consider one of the movie's alternate titles: "The Tooth Fairy: The Ghost of Matilda Dixon"

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - As we find out all too late, Jeffrey Jones took the role for professional AND personal reasons.

Bad Boys II - They're back.  And this time, it's ideological.  It occurs to me that Martin Lawrence is cornering the cop buddy picture genre: Blue Streak, Bad Boys, National Security, for example.  ...I think that's it.

Blue Streak 2 - There's more!

Dark Blue - Just from the trailer I wasn't terribly impressed.  They should've given some of the credits behind the camera.

Kill Bill - Crouching Quentin, Hidden Uma?

The Good Thief - Good grief, Nick Nolte looks like Robert Davi!

A Guy Thing - The best movie to come along since Just Married.

Miller's Crossing - Someone wrote online that they've made a drinking game out of this movie.  Every time an Italian character says "Jesus, Tom!" they drink down an Italian beer, either Peroni or Moretti, and every time an Irish character says "Jesus, Tom!" they drink a Guinness or a Harps.

The Naked Man - This film has some really funny moments in it.  Unfortunately it falls under the theory that a film that's PRODUCED by a great director (Ethan Coen) usually isn't as good.  Spielberg and Zemeckis come to mind.  Coppola's probably got some too.

The Apostle - I've happened to catch this same part a couple times where Billy Bob (avec some baby fat!) brings his bulldozer to destroy the church.  The radio reporter says "This may be the first live conversion we've ever broadcast."  True enough, but Billy Bob's character was three quarters of the way there already!

Life as a House - Melodrama where I found myself nitpicking every line of dialogue: is it plausible?  Even the lines I should've liked didn't work.  Maybe if I saw the whole thing...

Pirates of the Caribbean?  Are they serious?

Stand By Me - Well, at least Ray Brower didn't get typecast.

The Guru - Looks genuinely weird!  Hopefully, not in too Hollywood of a way, though.

Drive - Not bad cable fare, and not just because Brittany Murphy is in it.  Perhaps what Hell's Kitchen is to Angelina Jolie, this film is to Brittany Murphy, for those of you studying for the S.A.T.'s.

Kung Pow! Enter The Fist - Interesting tone for a comedy.  A high tech 'What's Up, Tiger Lily?'  This could end up being shown on IFC on the technicality that it was an independent production, because it was a big studio's small film they didn't care about.

...never mind, there's a sequel in the mist.

The Associate - Ted Danson / Whoopi Goldberg Friar's Club Roast Debacle - The Movie.  Cute finale, though! (That's the only part I saw...)

 

FEBRUARY

What a bad way to start the month!

Cool World - Not so cool.  Poorly chosen title; if they called it 'Lame World', that would've at least been funny.  Surprisingly profane for a PG-13 movie.

    -Cliché Watch: principal characters named Frank and Jack.  Good movie names.

    -On the other hand, a sequel couldn't get any worse.  What if Gabriel Byrne, Brad Pitt and Kim Basinger all got back together and made themselves executive producers?

Mulholland Drive - I've seen enough!  Kinda like Pulp Fiction meets Slacker, strained through a Twin Peaks kinda filter.  Something about the writing made me think that it was about two-thirds of a state-of-the-art script.

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre - Entertaining enough, but Paul Frees as narrator?

Pink Cadillac - File under: S for Sure Are An Awful Lot Of Guns Going Off For A Comedy.  However, the part where Clint winces from the chawing tobacco is just about priceless.  And, Jim Carrey's cameo is actually integrated into the script!  Also, I think Cliff from the IHOP commercials is in it. (unofficial web site)  Okay, I've said too much.

The Caveman's Valentine - I'm concerned about Anthony Michael Hall.  With this movie and Six Degrees of Separation, is he doomed to be typecast as the rich white guy who befriends the poor black guy?

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days - The best movie of all time since 10 Things I Hate About You.

Donnie Darko - A mood piece, to be sure.  The story structure, however, reminded me of this one episode of the Twilight Zone...

Clerks - I wasn't paying attention.  Is Dante Hicks a sellout?

Old School - A bit of a step down for Juliette Lewis; she must be vying for the part of the love interest in the next Adam Sandler movie.

Fever Pitch- Nick Hornby is the next Roddy Doyle.  Or is he the new T. Coraghessan Boyle?

Agent Cody Banks - Spy Kids plus cleavage.

Cradle 2 The Grave - It's actually a prequel to Romeo Must Die.

The Hours - Nicole Kidman got an Oscar nomination, so follow that nose!

MARCH

I think it's about time Hollywood gave us "Jackie Chan Meets Jet Li".

Matewan - A moving, powerful film. 

Christine - Keith Gordon keeps this film and Back To School off his resumé.  Also notable for using George Thorogood's 'Bad To The Bone', along with T2 and Problem Child.

Problem Child - Ahead of its time, but still not a good date movie.  Early role for Kramer.

The Hanoi Hilton - A stinker from writer/director Lionel "I Hate Stanley Kramer" Chetwynd.

Bringing Down The HouseSteve Martin does Bulworth.

The Core - Sort of an internal Armageddon.

Batman Returns - The only movie where you'll hear the line "Get in the duck!  Now!".

The Jewel of the Nile - Well, what did you expect from director Lewis Teague?

The Rocketeer - Wouldn't his legs get burned?

Dreamcatcher - The Shining meets The X-Files?

The Birdcage - Fine film about the lengths people will go for the ones they love, although the son was more of a jerk than he needed to be, tipping the emotional scales too far out of balance.  AMC is showing it and has Gumped out some of the more gratuitous nudity with digital hot pants.

Boat Trip - Damnation!  I've been duped.  I thought this was the sequel to Road Trip!

The Last Castle - Latest incarnation of Braveheart and Kelly's Heroes, or whatever.  As I watched I couldn't help but think to myself, this film must have a rabid cult following.

The Pianist - Dig those Oscars, man!

Basic - Not about the computer language.

 

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