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Breathing Lessons (1994 TV Movie)
The Nagging woman and the one man who can put up with her.
20 July 2005
What a disgrace! I was checking this out hoping it would be an undiscovered James Garner gem and what a stinker it turned out to be! The production quality was fine, but the plot was undeniably lame and I can honestly say that I am only a couple hours older and a lot dumber now. The movie really had no redeeming qualities and if this kind of stuff keeps coming out, it will give Hallmark a bad name. For those of you who insist on knowing what it was about, it's about nothing, and in this case, it's not a good thing. We are subjected to watching one old ornery woman who is one of the dumbest creatures ever to roam the earth, who happens to be married to a real sweetheart who is probably the only person alive that could put up with her. She drags him through one mess after another, gets him into one embarrassing situation after another, and is proud of herself the whole time. Then the movie ends. What a relief that was! Not worth the time it would take to watch it, so do yourself a favor and skip this one, you'll be glad you did if you knew how bad this one really is.
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The Event (2003)
Emotionally draining and compelling, all at the same time.
20 January 2003
Oh wow. The normal words used to describe movies just don't apply here. In most regards, this defies all conventional logic used in the movies and is by no means, a typical movie. I caught this one at its premier at the Sundance Film Festival and was not very well prepared for what I was about to see.

The Event refers to the assisted suicide of a young man Matt (Don McKellar). Matt has AIDS and has just about run the course of conventional treatments. There are about to be no cocktails left and nothing to look forward to but a long and painful death. Matt has been living with AIDS for seven years now and doesn't want to go out that way. If he's got to go out, he's going out on his own terms: his way and at his time. So he enlists the help of several friends, rounding up as many potent prescription drugs as they can get their hands on. Then a party is thrown to celebrate his departure from earth, and to have one last fling before dying. And then it's time to get it over with and Matt is assisted with his suicide.

Now all of that is all that Nick (Parker Posey) has to work with. She works as a lawyer for the state of New York and has received notice that Matt did not die of natural causes. It's up to her to find out who helped Matt kill himself, and the more she learns about the event, the more it impacts her (as well as the viewer).

And what we are left with is a movie with a cause. This is all about the AIDS epidemic and how it affects everyone, one person at a time. Now I personally haven't known anyone with AIDS, or anyone who was helped in committing suicide, but I found myself emotionally worn out when the credits started rolling. I however, was the exception to the rule, and continually heard one sniffling sound after another (from the rest of the audience) and knew that this was a movie with some emotional kick to it. This is not a feel good movie; this is not a comedy that you can simply walk away from. This one is going to linger in the back (and probably even the front) of your mind for quite some time. It has some exceptionally powerful themes and images, and is a credit to the art of movie directing. Thom Fitzgerald is one of the undiscovered directors of his day, and he proves that you don't need unlimited budget or special effects to make a really powerful movie. He simply shows us life in all its painful glory and doesn't try to sugar coat it for anybody. He takes a growing social problem and makes sure we don't forget just how much it is affecting the world, and he makes it look easy.

Part of the reason he was so successful was because of the talented acting core he had to work with. Don McKellar doesn't usually come to mind when you think of outstanding actors, but he sure delivered a fine performance here. Olympia Dukakis plays Lila, Matt's mother, and if she isn't wonderful to watch, then nobody ever has been. She plays the mother that isn't concerned about the negative aspects of her son or his life, she just loves her kid. She shows the true beauty of motherhood and unconditional love in a way that few women have ever done on film. And finally there is the lovely and erotic Sarah Polley. I don't care what she's in, I just have a hard time taking my eyes off her. She seems to command my attention wherever she is on screen, and she always rewards the attention when it is given.

I had a chance to speak with her after the show was over, and I was really impressed with her. She doesn't seem to be stuck on herself and is a rather humble little thing. As good as she can be, she could have already made a household name for herself, and she hasn't let that get in her way. She sticks to the independent movies because she can make the movies with a purpose. She can do what she enjoys and feel good about it at the end of the day, because she's not in it solely for the money. As an actress, she has the ability to impact the lives of millions and she seems to take that responsibility seriously. She doesn't do the fluff that makes you rich, she only does what she believes in. And speaking of which, just about everyone involved in the movie said the only reason they took it was because they had someone close to them go through the same thing. Olympia Dukakis said that she had been to two such events and was forever changed by them. And that my friends, is the power of independent movies. They aren't made for the money, but to share the ideas contained in them. And this one has some pretty potent ideas. The other thing that really impressed me was how the director handled the situation with 9/11. The movie was filmed shortly thereafter and he included a nice little scene showing how it affected the characters in the movie. It was just a quick little scene, but I was surprised at how much it meant to me and how much I was thinking about it after the movie had already ended.
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A sequel to all other Kevin Smith movies, but not as good as any of them!
19 August 2001
One of these days, somebody needs to give Kevin Smith an award of some sort for bringing the fun back into movies. When that day comes, I would be the first in line to support it, but it definitely wouldn't be for movies like this. I suppose that if you keep making movies long enough, a really bad one is doomed to happen, but Kevin Smith should know better than this, and it's pretty sad to see something this stupid come from such a creative mind. While the plot involves Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) traveling to Hollywood to keep a new movie about them from being made, it seemed like the plot was more of an elaborate excuse to throw in all of the old characters from Smith's previous movies. Don't get me wrong now, Smith has had some great characters in the past, but cramming them all into one movie just isn't the right way to go about creating another good movie. Smith used just about every bad movie technique ever conceived of, except copying the fight scene from the Matrix, and it gets a little depressing at times.

Perhaps the most ironic portion of the entire movie is that Jay and Silent Bob get very upset when they learn that people all over the world are writing nasty things about them on the internet. If they thought there were a lot of bad things going around before, I can't wait to see what people are saying about them after this gets seen by a few people. This is really one case where it seemed that Smith needed to make another movie but had no real good ideas for one. He relied far too heavily on old characters instead of creating new ones, and far too much on Jason Mewes' potty mouth to carry them through a tough scene. Instead of creating another memorable scene for the ages, he often relied on stupid one-liners or a celebrity cameo by one of his old friends. There were quite a few funny moments scattered throughout the movie, but it didn't have quite the same feeling that Clerks or Dogma had going for them. That said, it definitely made me want to watch Clerks again, and there was a very classic scene from Good Will Hunting 2, but there just wasn't enough to justify a whole movie. I would like to say that Smith did an excellent of job of getting Ali Larter, Eliza Dushku and Shannon Elizabeth into tight leather, which would make for some excellent wallpaper on your computer. For that we can be eternally grateful, but again, there just wasn't enough for a whole movie. It was nice seeing Jason Biggs "talk" about his American Pie days, seeing what Scooby Doo has been up to lately, seeing Mark Hamill in a new role, and Shannon Elizabeth being referred to as "Booboo Kitty F-ck," but there were just way too many things done wrong to compete with Smith's earlier work. If you are new to the Jay and Silent Bob movies, this is definitely not the place to start as it feels more like a sequel to all of their other movies, rather than a movie of it's own. If you absolutely love Kevin Smith, then you will easily find enough to keep you laughing, but it's nowhere near as good as his older stuff.
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Tomcats (2001)
It's not as bad as you've been hearing.
16 August 2001
This movie has been getting one bad rap after another since it was released, and after finally seeing it, I'm still trying to figure out why. Most of the pieces are in place for at least a decent movie, and it's a little strange that this movie has done so poorly in the box office while other movies such as American Pie 2 have done so well. The cast is pretty decent, highlighted by Jake Busey, Jerry O'Connell and Shannon Elizabeth, and the writing and directing weren't THAT bad. The story is that of Michael Delaney (O'Connell). He loses big in Vegas and has to come up with a lot of money very quickly, and the only way to do it is to collect on an old bet. When younger, a group of his friends made a bet and all began contributing to the pot. The last one to be married would win the pot, and by this time, the pot has gotten quite large. The two remaining bachelors are Michael and his good friend Kyle, and since Kyle is rich and has a very active sex life, Michael thinks nothing of cheating his friend out of the bet. The only thing to do, to save his hide from the Vegas loan sharks, is set Kyle up to be married before his loan comes due. He finds an old friend of Kyle's, Natalie Parker (Shannon Elizabeth) and convinces her to help him win the bet. Together they must convince the bachelor who never wants to marry, to do just that.

I know the plot sounds kind of lame, but the telling of the story wasn't all that bad, and there were plenty of laughs interspersed throughout the movie to keep you entertained. The acting wasn't what you might call impressive, but Shannon Elizabeth sure makes it hard to take your eyes off her and will easily please her growing fan base. It's not the greatest sex comedy ever made, but it was easily better than most of the reviews it was receiving.

I think the one thing that doomed this movie was the amount of sexual content contained in it. It was definitely enough to get an R Rating, but not nearly enough to please the American Pie crowd. Had they toned the movie down and gotten a PG13 Rating, I think the movie would have done better, because expectations wouldn't have been so high and more of the audience it was geared towards would have been able to watch it. But I also think the movie would have done better had there been more sexual content. While the crowds weren't flocking in droves to see this, the ones that did would have been happier with the results. When you see a sex comedy, you expect to see a lot of sex and a lot of comedy, and this just didn't have it. This was more of the soft R Rated material and that had to disappoint a lot of the people who saw it. The producers and director would have done much better to either go for broke with the R Rating, or cut it down enough to get the PG13, but they really hurt themselves by staying in the middle of the road.

That said, I enjoyed watching Tomcats. I wasn't convinced that it was going to be a bad movie, and I was pretty happy with the results. There were enough things there to keep me entertained and I had a good time. If you are expecting American Pie 1.5, then this won't satisfy you, because it's just not up to those standards. If you are just looking for a funny movie to keep you laughing for a couple of hours, then you might want to take a chance on this one, but don't believe the hype, it's not THAT bad.
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Shame on you Spielberg. (possible spoiler)
3 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
When this movie was initially released, I had thought that the producers really dropped the ball on this one, because they didn't begin heavily advertising this until shortly before it began showing in theaters. What I didn't know at that time was that this was not the movie I was expecting it to be. I knew it had Haley Joel Osment and that he was a robot boy who looked amazingly real, but that's about it. I had no idea that the movie began on that premise and was then going to diverge onto every tangent they came across. With that in mind, the producers did everyone a great favor by not promoting this more heavily. Had they done so, this would have been the second Pearl Harbor of the year, the movie where everyone was expecting cinematic brilliance and got crap. Instead, we just got another rotten movie by Steven Spielberg.

The story begins like a fairly normal movie, with a family in the midst of a crisis. Henry and Monica Swinton (Sam Robards and Frances O'Connor) have a son in a coma and things don't look good for his recovery. Monica isn't handling things well, and when Henry is presented with an opportunity at work, to be the first to have a new robot child, he jumps at the chance to help save Monica's sanity. David (Haley Joel Osment) becomes their new son, and things go rather smoothly until their real child awakes from his coma. Now there are two kids in the family, and competition ensues for the love of their mother. When David reads the story of Pinocchio and learns of the fake boy being made real, he makes it his quest to do the same. The rest of the movie is David's journey to become a real boy, so that he too, can win the love of his mother.

Now I know it sounds rather noble and all, but it isn't. The writers had some great chances to make some great social commentary, or create a movie that could really jerk at your heart strings, but they chose another route. They chose to diverge on every weird tangent they could come across, and the result is disastrous. The only thing good about this movie is the potential it unleashed with this kind of story, but it never even came close to realizing it. The best thing that could ever come out of this movie is if David Fincher were to come along and make another movie of a similar nature, that actually lived up to what it could have been.

I had heard over and over again that the ending was really out there, but because I liked the weird kind of stuff, I would probably like this one. I rushed out in a frenzy to watch this, and man was I disappointed. This isn't a weird ending, this is a totally stupid ending and one that you are totally unprepared for and makes no sense at all. I have no problem with a movie with an ending that just comes out of nowhere, but with this kind of ending, the movie had no purpose other than to waste two hours of your time. In the immortal lines of Billy Madison, "we were all dumber for having" watched this movie.

The acting was all fine and good, but the story was just awful. It was like they had a good idea for a movie, but had no idea on where to go with it, so they just picked the strangest scenario that someone could think up. The movie was a big disappointment and gave nothing more than a really cool teddy bear, and a glimpse or two of what could have been one hell of an awesome movie. My advice is not to bother, because it's not nearly as good as you think it will be.
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This is why Alfred Hitchcock was Alfred Hitchcock!
26 June 2001
While time has dimmed this movie, it didn't bother the suspense at all. From start to finish, this will keep you on your toes. I hate old movies, but I absolutely loved this one. Don't let the age scare you away from this one, it's really that good.
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Rear Window (1954)
You've got to be kidding!
13 June 2001
Perhaps I am just a modern movie junkie, but I was pretty excited about this movie, and it just can't deliver. If you don't mind sitting through 2 hours of monotony just to get 10 good minutes of suspense then go right ahead. I've had more enjoyable times watching ants kill a spider than I had during the first two hours of this movie. The couple minutes of suspense at the end of the movie were great, but you pay a heavy price to see it. Is this really the best Hitchcock could do???
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It's not everything you've heard.
19 March 2001
I was a bit surprised after learning that Gillian Anderson was in this movie, and that it was supposed to be pretty good, that I found myself not really enjoying it. I like Gillian Anderson movies, and I enjoy watching her on screen, but I couldn't say either of those things about this particular one. The House of Mirth is a period piece, set in 1905 and involves a nauseating amount of characters, all with a different personal agenda, and all with different cards to play. But while there are several characters, the plot basically revolves around Lily Bart (Gillian Anderson), a well to do, good looking woman. There aren't many things worse in the world than a woman who knows how good looking she is, and she does, and she uses it to her advantage. Lily gets away with things that other women can't, until it eventually catches up with her. She loses her money and her good name because of few little indiscretions, and is left with some decisions to make. She must decide how to play her cards, knowing that they will affect her life and the lives of several of the other players.

I'll be the first to admit that this is a rather brief and strange plot summary of the movie, but I just can't see it any other way. Some might characterize this as the love that was never meant to be, as seen in Shakespeare in Love, and others might see the attempts of a woman to control her own destiny, as in Dangerous Beauty. I'll admit that I saw aspects of both of those movies here, but I really saw a movie about one woman deciding if she wants to destroy the lives of others just to raise her own. I looked at this as more of a poker game of life rather than a love story, and perhaps that might explain why I wasn't as impressed as many of the other critics who saw this.

As far as the rest of the movie goes, nothing really stands out. The acting is decent, and the writing was fairly good, but I did have one glaring problem to report about both. When dealing with period based movies, there has to be a line drawn between representing things as they were, and representing things that can be understood by today's society. Shakespeare in Love did an excellent job in drawing that line as to highlight the best of both worlds. The dialogue and accents in that movie weren't 100% Shakespearean, but it helped relate things to the current audiences that wouldn't understand it if it were. The House of Mirth didn't draw that line so well. I've no doubt that this is a very accurate picture of what society must have been like during the early 1900's, but that doesn't mean I could follow it. The dialogue and accents here are good, but it's really quite hard to follow the plot and innuendos of the characters when they aren't speaking the same language as you do. In those regards, Terence Davies, the writer and director, failed miserably. I guess you could look at it in the perspective of such other movies as the Insider or Traffic. Both of those movies went for the real heart of what they were showing, the critics loved them, the Oscar Committees nominated them, but they were a bit hard to watch at times. They focused more on the content and making them original, rather than making the movie enjoyable for the masses, and they aren't very entertaining movies as a result. That's exactly what I saw in this case. The critics will love it, but quite a few of the people who see this, and are honest with themselves, will probably be checking their watches a lot, and wondering if their car is safe in the parking lot. As far as movies go, it's not a bad one, but it is long, and it does get boring at times.
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An absolute must see for Fraser or Judd fans!!!
2 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers

Everybody is always looking for one of those really sweet movies that nobody has heard about, and after wading through hundreds of rotten movies, I've finally found one! The first hour of the movie or so had me convinced that this wasn't going to be any different than any of the others, but the last half hour was some of the finest footage ever put to film!

The story begins with Darkly Noon (Brendan Fraser) wounded and wandering through the woods. He is found by one of the local townsfolk and taken to recuperate with Callie (Ashley Judd) and her boyfriend Clay (Viggo Mortensen). While staying with Callie and Clay, Darkly soon learns that Callie is quite attractive with her exceptionally artificial blonde hairdo, unshaved armpits and skimpy outfits. He starts to lust after her but has problems reconciling that with his deeply ingrained religious beliefs. Up until that point, the movie is pretty boring and standard stuff. It's when Darkly loses touch with reality that it starts getting interesting. He begins to get in touch with his psychotic side and then some of the weirdest stuff you'll ever see begins to happen!

In some ways, I feel bad in explaining about Darkly's psychotic break, but the movie just isn't worth watching if you don't have a reason. The first hour of this movie just isn't too compelling, and there really isn't much of a reason to watch it other than to set things up for the last half hour. In those regards, it is very similar to Home Alone. The first hour sucks and then it gets interesting. The main difference is that the last few minutes here are so compelling, so utterly twisted, that you can't help but watch. This was some pretty strange stuff here, and while the budget wasn't the same as other movies such as "The Cell," it worked miracles in creating equally bizaare visual imagery. If you don't mind sitting through an hour of fairly average movie, the last few minutes will pay off some huge dividends. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary, and anyone who can find it. It's a very limited release, and I had to search high and low to find this, so good luck.
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The 1st 20 and last 10 minutes are great, but the middle stinks!
14 February 2001
This is precisely what happens when you get a wild conglomeration of ideas and characters and throw them all together if only to see what happens. In all actuality, this isn't as much of a movie as it is a science project caught on camera. Christina Ricci plays Dedee Truitt, a young girl who leaves home to go live with her step brother in Indiana. She's not exactly a kind hearted person, and the first 20 minutes of the movie serve only to describe her thoughts and attitudes on life and other people. After only a minute or two, it doesn't take any intuitive powers of perception to realize that she's a bitch; the enjoyment comes at watching her say everything you wish you were creative enough to think of yourself. As though that weren't entertaining enough, she leaves town and the movie takes a turn for the worse. She moves to Indiana with her gay step brother and decides she's ready for sex, so she converts his boyfriend back into being straight! That doesn't go over too well when Dedee announces that she's pregnant and the boyfriend is the father. The movie takes another turn when they run off to California to have the baby. There is quite a bit more of scenery changing that occurs, but the basic plot of the movie is how several different people think about sex and relationships, how they interact with each other, and how Dedee's exploits serve to change some of their thought patterns.

Trust me on this one, it sounds a whole lot better than it actually is. The first 20 minutes border on the hysterical and you could fall off your chair from laughing so hard if the mood was right. The last 10 minutes were pretty good as well, when Dedee finally figures everything out and order is finally restored to everyone's lives. The problem is really the hour in between the beginning and ending. It sucks. I'd say that it progresses like a soap opera, but I don't want to give any soap operas a bad name. It runs pretty much like everyone is just going through the motions with their roles, nobody is very interesting anymore, and it's pretty boring to sit through. By the way, if you are planning to watch this for one of the actors or actresses involved, don't bother because nobody is very good here. The story dominates the actors, and nobody is going to be so emotionally compelling that it is a must see performance. Every once in awhile, there is a nice conversation where a couple of the characters have something really important to say about life, sex, or relationships, but the tidbits are so small that to wade through that whole hour for them is going to be a big waste of your time.

In actuality, the perfect scenario to view this would be while suffering from a severe case of diarrhea. You could start the movie at your leisure, get through the first few minutes, and then go clean up shop. By the time you got back, you could see one of the nice tidbits scattered intermittently through the middle of the movie, and just in time to go worship the porcelain idol once again. When worship services were over, you could make it back for the last 10 minutes, someone could explain to you what you missed, and you would have beaten the system by diarrhea! You could see all of the great stuff this movie had to offer, and there is some good stuff, your friends would have to sit through the whole thing to keep explaining it to you when you were there, and you would miss out on all of the boredom this has to offer while you were taking care of bigger and better things! How great is that! I guess if that doesn't appeal to you or if circumstances don't allow it, you could just do something else while the movie is playing. It's an excellent movie to clean house to, or make cookies or what have you, but don't give this your undivided attention. I'd recommend watching it, but have a backup plan to keep you busy, because the movie won't.
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Twenty Bucks (1993)
One of the most creative scripts ever written!
2 February 2001
If you ever decide to doubt the power that one incredible idea can do for a movie, you have desperately got to see this! Twenty Bucks is one of the most creative ideas ever made into a movie and will definitely earn a few laughs for the writing alone. While there is no one main character here, the story revolves around a twenty dollar bill. The movie opens as the money enters circulation, and ends when it is mangled and ready to be burned. The life of the money is the story of the movie, and it's just delightful! As it changes hands from one person to the next, it has a profound impact on some people, and no impact on others. At times, it appears that it is a good luck charm, and at others a curse sent from God. Steve Buscemi, Brendan Fraser, Gladys Knight, Elizabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, and William H. Macy all get their hands on the money, and there are several others as well.

Apparently, this screenplay was written several years ago by Andre Bohem and nothing was ever done with it. After quite a long period of time, Andre's son Leslie got ahold of the script and modernized it a bit, and the end result is magnificent! While there aren't any acting performances here that are going to melt your hearts, each star is really enjoyable to watch in one way or another. The casting director did a fantastic job of lining up so many recognizable faces, and I found it hilarious that the stripper at the bachelor party (Melora Walters), also played the funeral director near the end of the movie! I knew I had seen her face somewhere before and couldn't see it until I saw the credits. When I realized they were the same person, I busted out laughing, and yet was still able to see the incredible irony of the whole situation.

If you are watching this because you like one of the actors, then you very well could be disappointed by what you see. No one of the actors here has a tremendous amount of screen time, but all are quite good to watch. If you just want to see something different than the normal hollywood crap, then this is absolutely perfect!
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Rushmore (1998)
The trailer is actually better than the movie itself!
24 January 2001
I never thought I'd see the day where a movie trailer could actually be better than the movie itself, but here it is! Rushmore is only an hour and a half long, but it feels more like three and a half hours. I'll be the first to admit that there were a few mildly entertaining things to be found in this movie, but they were all in the trailer. If I wanted to sit for hours and hours and get only a little tidbit every now and then, I'd go fishing with no bait. This is one heck of a long ride, and for what you get out of it, it's just not worth it.

Rushmore is the story of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a student at Rushmore Academy. He is involved in several activities around campus, but his grades are suffering, and so are his relationships with others. He is on the verge of being expelled from Rushmore when Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) enter his life. Herman is the father of two students at Rushmore and he really enjoys watching Max at work. When Max and Herman both meet Rosemary, they both like what they see, and the race is on to win her affection.

I'm at a loss for words on the acting and directing in this case. Jason Schwartman was really quite good in this role, and we'll definitely be seeing more of him in the future. Bill Murray was pretty good in this role as well, and Olivia Williams wasn't bad either. The directing is pretty clear cut; there is nothing flashy or overdone. The problem is that while the main idea behind the movie isn't a terrible one, the writing is just awful. There are a few funny things here and there, but for the most part, this is about as boring as anything I've seen all year. This could easily put a few people to sleep, so don't watch it when even remotely tired. In fact, if you really want to see this, just download the trailer. The funny parts are actually more enjoyable out of context, and you won't have to sift through the rest of the crap to get to them, the producers have already done that for you with the trailer. The only time I would recommend watching this is if it were free. If it's on cable or at a friend's house or something, maybe this isn't such a bad risk. You might like it better than I did, but I pretty much hated it and think most other people will as well.
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Chicago Cab (1997)
An hour and a half of cab rides, tons of fun!
24 January 2001
If you have ever wanted to know more about cab drivers, then this is an excellent movie to watch, for informational purposes only. I can just hear it now, "Wait, just wait a second! Why don't we follow a cab driver through his entire day! Cabbies are funny, and so are the people they meet, and they only talk to each other for just a couple of minutes, so the other actors should be cheap! Harry, you take care of production, Joan, you've got materials, Brian, you go round up some actors and we'll all meet back here tomorrow to start filming!"

The first 90% of the movie could not have been any worse had that very thing happened. At least with no planning whatsoever, there is always the element of surprise to be found. Some of Jim Carrey's movies have stuff added as they go along and they always do well at the box offices. The problem here is that the first 90% is pretty well scripted out, and it pretty much sucks. Paul Dillon plays the cab driver in Chicago who is working all day. We pretty much see what he sees. People get in and out of his car and he drives all around town. He talks to those people for a few seconds and then we get some more people.

I'll admit, there were a couple of funny bits here and there. A religious family tries to talk the cab driver into going to church with them, he takes a pregnant lady and her husband to the hospital, breaks up a rich businessman from his girlfriend, a poor girlfriend from her boyfriend and takes a rape victim home. I guess the moral of the movie is that a Cab Driver is more than a Cab Driver and has a larger sphere of influence over the lives of his passengers than you might originally think. For some people, he's just a means of getting from here to there, but for others, his very ordinary words help change the direction of their lives.

The last passenger of the day is used to try make sense of the rest of the movie, and to a small extent it succeeds. It had a bit of that deathbed repentance feel to it where the good majority of the movie sucks and then at the very end, it tries to make it all better in just one or two changes. I wasn't too impressed with the movie as a whole, but there were a few bits and pieces worth watching again. As far as the actors go, Paul Dillon is it. John Cusack, Gillian Anderson and Julianne Moore are all in this, for about 30 seconds each, but don't watch this for any of them or you will most certainly be disappointed. I will give the other people invovled some credit that it's not your ordinary movie they have produced here, but it wasn't a very good one either. There just wasn't enough material to keep you going for an hour and a half. It was a decent effort, but it failed none the same.
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God's Army (2000)
An in depth look at the Mormon Missionaries.
23 January 2001
Considering that 95% of all movies are the same old crap, it's a nice breath of fresh air when something new comes along. God's Army is the story of a Mormon missionary as he begins his mission in Los Angeles. Elder Brandon Allen (Matthew Brown) is from Kansas and a little unsure of what he is doing as a missionary. His companion is Elder Dalton (Richard Dutcher) who is teaching him the ropes. The two elders have to learn how to work together, and how to work with God, in order to help share the salvation that Jesus Christ offers his children. Some of the stuff that happens to them is pretty common, and some of it isn't. For the most part, it is generally accurate in its depictions of the Mormon missionaries, but some of it is a bit drawn out for the dramatic interest.

God's Army was marketed mainly to the LDS markets in the Western United States, so if you don't live there, you might have a hard time locating a copy of this one. If you have any interest in learning more about the Mormon missionaries or what they do, then this isn't a terrible movie. If you are a member of the LDS church, then this will be a pretty enjoyable movie. However, if you don't belong in either of those two categories, then you probably aren't going to like this movie very much. It deals with some highly spiritual topics in a fashion suited towards the LDS religion, and is all about sharing that gospel with the people in Los Angeles. It doesn't contain anything offensive to other religions, but it probably won't be too enjoyable to someone who isn't interested in learning more about the Mormon Religion. If you don't mind learning about other religions or just want to watch something different, anything different, then it's not a bad one to check out; but while the movie wasn't produced or sanctioned by the LDS Church, it does have quite a bit of that propaganda feel to it, so consider yourselves warned.
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Decent movie with a killer ending!
23 January 2001
Every once in awhile, somebody gets a really great idea for a movie and then just squanders it like a couple of bucks in a casino. This is pretty low budget material, and was probably just a project that the camp worked on over the summer. Kevin Hiltzik could have made something extra special here but never quite got it right. Sleepaway Camp is the story of a girl at a Summer Camp. Angela (Felissa Rose) is really shy and doesn't participate in any of the games and doesn't even talk to anyone except one or two people. The other problem is that people are getting murdered at the camp. Naturally when people are getting murdered, the camp continues as normal, which is good because that allows the killing spree to continue unhindered as well. One of the camp leaders knows who is responsible for the killing and is going to put a stop to it, but how many people are going to die before it ends?

All things considered, this really isn't that bad of a movie. Most of the actors involved were the kids at the summer camp and they are all pretty good. The film quality is terrible though, and if there is one person involved in this movie that is due for a horribly painful death, it's whoever was in charge of the lighting. This movie might have the worst lighting ever put to film; just about everyone has the lights shining right in their faces during every scene. It's as distracting as it is painful to watch and it's too bad because it really wrecked an otherwise decent movie. The basic idea behind the movie is a good one, but the writing that delivers the idea is pretty poor. There is quite a bit of substandard material to sit through, but if you can make it, the ending is one of the best I've seen. You have to give Hiltzik credit for this one because the ending is up there with the "Sixth Sense" as far as blowing you away. If you are in the mood to try something a little out of the ordinary, check this one out if you can find it.
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Red Planet (2000)
And I thought Mission to Mars was bad!
14 November 2000
This one just left me with my head shaking. As the closing credits started rolling, I knew that I had been cheated and that one had been put over on me. I think the best way to describe my thoughts about this movie is that if I could add, modify or delete one thing, I would put a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that it sucks, and that the audience would be best served by walking out and theater hopping to another movie, any other movie. The movie theater would obviously not be too happy about it, but if you bought a few bucks of c**p in the concession line I'm sure they would be willing to look the other way a time or two. The problem is that with such a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, most people probably wouldn't believe it and wouldn't do anything about it, but if the disclaimer came at the end of the movie, by then everyone would know it already, and it would be too late to switch movies or ask for a refund. The movie theaters frown upon giving out refunds for rotten movies as they would quickly go bankrupt. What to do?

The story here is a simple one. Earth is on the verge of destruction because of human's misuse for centuries. With only a few years left of earth remaining viable for humans to live on, a crew is sent to Mars. Probes had been sent to Mars to bombard its surface with algae which would grow from the CO2 on Mars to produce oxygen. Then perhaps humans would be able to inhabit Mars at some future time. The crew being sent is there to find out how the algae is doing and verify if humans will be able to move to Mars.

This movie was just plain awful. I still don't understand what we need all of these space movies for, but Hollywood keeps making them as if we care. This latest version of space exploration could possibly be the worst yet. Most space movies aren't very good, but if you are dead set on seeing one, go check out "Rocketman." It's not the most realistic of space movies, but aside from Apollo 13, it is probably the most enjoyable. In Red Planet, there is just nothing here at all. The acting is pretty bad and you will be hard pressed to find a worse screenplay out there. I don't understand why Kilmer wanted to be a part of this, and Moss doesn't belong here either. This should never have been made, let alone mass marketed to the public. Red Planet is an excellent straight to video production that will hopefully just go away or fade into the reservoir of rotten movies. With the exception of a couple of cool special effects and Carrie-Anne Moss with no clothes on and showing as much as possible without getting an R Rating, there is nothing worth watching here. Just do yourself a favor and never see this at all. Don't pay full price, don't pay discounted price, don't rent it, and if someone else does, just kindly excuse yourself from the room to vomit.
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What a waste of talent and movie making capabilities!
6 November 2000
I'm guessing that the only people interested in watching this movie, or even the only people who have even heard about it, are those who like one of the actors in it. There is absolutely no other reason to go anywhere near it unless you really like one of the people that made it. This movie is just plain awful, and I just don't understand why so many big names would take part in this kind of c**p. The story is as terrible as it is pointless, and the viewer is left to wonder what is going on. Beautiful Girls is about Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton), a piano bar player in New York City, who returns home for a week for a high school reunion. He has lots of decisions in his life to make, and so do his friends. There are lots of relationship problems between many of the characters, and some new characters are introduced only to add to those problems as the movie develops. Overall, it's just a terrible blend of characters and tremendous waste of talent and space. It's one of the slowest paced movies you will ever come across and could easily put a meth addict in dreamland in only a few minutes.

The only reason I came across this was because of Mira Sorvino, and while she does look good here, it's still a rotten movie that has no redeeming value whatsoever. There are a lot of big names here, so don't be fooled into thinking that it's probably a decent movie, because it's not. Don't talk yourself into seeing this because you like one of the characters either. Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Mira Sorvino, Lauren Holly, Uma Thurman, Annabeth Gish, Natalie Portman and Rosie O'Donnell are no reason to see this movie. If you go see this because one of those people are in this, you will be disappointed. There are no nude scenes here, so don't count on that saving this either. Only O'Donnell has at least one scene that's even mildly entertaining, and it doesn't make the movie worth watching, so don't bother. Stay away from this one, stay as far away from it as you can.
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Paranoid (I) (2000)
Gives movies a bad name!
8 October 2000
This is one of the worst "movies" you'll ever see. There is a very good reason that it went straight to video, because it's just plain awful. I wouldn't recommend this to someone I really hated, I don't hate anyone that badly. The story is as terrible as the directing, and only the acting is worse. Alba is just awful here and will set new lows in movie performances that will make Luke Skywalker look like a god. The movie's plot isn't worth mentioning because after the first few minutes you won't care. It's about 90 minutes but seems like the Titanic revisited. Don't see this for Alba, just don't see it and do yourself a favor.
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