The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
A badly-drawn cartoon turned into a badly-acted movie by Robert DeNiro.
Alice et Martin
Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Almaric play Alice and Martin, a pair of complicated people in a complicated relationship. Exploring power dynamic through sensuality, age, and class, this 1998 Andre Techine film is beautiful, if a little depressing.
The Art of War
Wesley Snipes stars as the brother with 1000 faces in this yawny espionage thriller.
Autumn in New York
An aging playboy, Richard Gere, falls for the younger and terminally ill Winona Ryder, leaving us terminally ill in the process.
Big Momma's House
Martin Lawrence is back, and he's got a big old prosthetic ass. Where do I sign?
Bless the Child
In spite of Basinger's annoying navel gazing, there are some gripping plot twists and pretty cool special effects to boot.
* Blood Simple
A vulgar tale of small town thieves and liars, Blood Simple is gloriously corrupt, full of iconic small town caricatures including a fantastically baroque M. Emmet Walsh in what is his best screen role to date.
A Boy and His Dog
It's the year 2024 and (once again!) the world has been creamed by apocalypse. Don "Nash Bridges" Johnson and his telepathic dog (?!) stumble upon an impotent colony. Hilarity ensues when they try to get his sperm.
* Bring it On
High school cheerleaders must endure endless practices and bikini waxes to compete in the national championships! See review this issue.
Brother on the Run
Terry Carter (Col. Tigh from Battlestar Galactica!) stars as the brother in question on the run from the Man!
* But I'm a Cheerleader
Director Jamie Babbitt's feature debut may be a bit forced, but Natasha Lyonne as a cheerleader thought to be lesbian, is both believable and charming. Lyonne is sent to a homosexual rehabilitation camp run by RuPaul and Cathy Moriarty, and learns the valuable lesson that sexual orientation isn't as cut and dried as one might think. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
Cecil B. Demented
A lunatic guerilla film maker and his cronies kidnap a Hollywood starlet and force her to act in their movie. Directed by John Waters.
* The Cell
Viewed conceptually, this film is remarkable. Unfortunately, Lopez and her co-star Vince Vaughn remain true to the same, paper-thin characters they always play; beautiful, compassionate, out to save the world, blah, blah, blah. But the movie is undoubtedly worth seeing anyway-just think of them as background. (Katia Dunn)
* Chicken Run
Chicken Run is about chickens trying to escape. It is very funny and exciting; each chicken has a great sense of humor and is weird. (Sam Lachow & Maggie Brown)
* The Color of Paradise
The Color of Paradise has much of the patience, sincerity, and simplicity that made Iranian films so popular in the past few years. It's also one of the most beautifully photographed movies you'll ever see. Sadly, none of this makes up for the film's tendency to tug at the heartstrings so crudely you'd think it was trying to break them. (Bruce Reid)
The Coyote Ugly Saloon is more than just a bar: It is a bar with attitude, a bar with sass. It is a wild world of ruthless, sexually empowered women bartenders. It is a subculture in itself, one that lets Violet (Picabo Perabo), the small town girl in the big city, find herself. No surprises, not too much depth, just good, old-fashioned Americana rehashed with flare (and flesh) for the modern world. (Frank Bures)
Four retired gangsters plan one last heist to raise money for a new colostomy bag.
Jack (the very beautiful Clive Owen), reluctantly takes a job as a croupier/dealer at a casino, and almost instantly becomes addicted--not to gambling, but to watching people lose. (Sean Nelson)
Eyes of Tammy Faye
A documentary on the rise and fall of former evangelist, druggie, and eyeliner addict, Tammy Faye Baker.
The Five Senses
Like trying to separate taste from smell, the characters of this film blend into one intimate experience. A cake maker, a masseuse, a mother of a missing child, and the freakish teenager who lost the young girl: all of these female characters proceed as an amalgamation. The film is exciting with surprises, a quality that fits nicely with its title. Something is vacant at the very center, though, and I suspect it's the uniting element of the senses: unconsciousness. Then, the story finishes by resolving itself too poignantly. (Paula Gilovich)
War hero General Maximus (Russell Crowe) is stripped of his position by a scheming, new Caesar (Joaquin Phoenix). Escaping too late to save his family, Maximus falls into the hands of a slaver (the late Oliver Reed), and with the help of a former love and his rough-but-likable gladiator pals, seeks his revenge by finding glory within the Coliseum. (Tom Spurgeon)
Forget that crappy-ass film with Matthew Broderick! This is the real Japanese-style shit! Godzilla can't get a good millennium's sleep without some asshole monster waking him up. This time a floating rock washes up which contains a UFO which also happens to contain a monster named Gora! Gora gets all in Godzilla's shit, which forces Big G to burn Gora's ass off with his atomic ray. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
* High Fidelity
A romantic comedy for guys: John Cusack plays the cynically introspective Rob Gordon, the owner of a small record store. For various reasons, he has shit luck with women. Basically, he's a jerk, but he's not altogether clueless about his jerkiness. He struggles and obsesses and makes lists that he thinks define his life, but he's no closer to understanding women than he was in the fifth grade--which happens to be when he got dumped for the first time. (Kathleen Wilson)
The last chance. The ultimate evil. The final battle. (Hey! That's what they said LAST time!!)
The Hollow Man
Kevin Bacon stars as a scientist who discovers a serum for turning invisible. Which reminds me, a really good question to ask someone when you're just starting to date them is "Would you rather be able to fly, or turn invisible?" If they say "fly," then they're a keeper. People who wanna turn invisible are always sneaking around and getting in your shit. Never trust people who want to be invisible. Especially if it's Kevin Bacon.
Sterling adaptation of the 1992 story collection by Denis Johnson.
Bruce Willis stars alongside the ugliest kid we've ever seen in our lives.
Me, Myself and Irene
Jim Carrey, who is a great physical actor and occasionally very funny in this movie, succumbs to the temptation to rely on the ghastliness of his face rather than the sincerity of his feelings. (D.K.. Holm)
It's World War II, and eight virile Italian soldiers are stuck on a small Greek island. Luckily, they have more than enough sun, food, and lucious villagers to go around. Winner of the 1991 Best Foreign Film award.
* Mission: Impossible 2
I loved this movie. I loved the giddy sense of hyperbole and spectacle that coursed through the whole enterprise. It may not last too long after the credits roll, but pleasures like this aren't meant to. Otherwise, they wouldn't need to make part three. (Sean Nelson)
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
Eddie Murphy returns (Why? Why? WHY??) as Sherman Klump in this sequel to the remake of the Jerry Lewis classic. This time, the apparently brainwashed Janet Jackson is pulled into the mire as Sherman's scientist girlfriend who helps him defeat his alter ego, the ultra-suave Buddy Love.
A middling Sundance entry, a too-low-key caper item about a body shop operator (Christopher Walken, Walken-ish as always) who doesn't want to return to his days as a safecracker. Complications ensue when a long-lost Irish cousin (Peter McDonald) turns up, thinking Walken's a high-line criminal. With Cyndi Lauper,. Donal Logue, and gratefully, later in the telling, Tom Noonan shows up as an even more dunderheaded thug.
The Original Kings of Comedy
Another of Spike Lee's so-called "jointz," this one being a documentary which shows stand-up comics Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac in action.
Okay, remember that episode of The Simpsons where Mel Gibson remade Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and ended up impaling the President on a flagpole or some such silliness? Well, now he's gone and made a three-hour movie that's just like that, but without the irony or humor. It's set in a colonial America where slaves and owners get along pretty darn well, the British are a bunch of baby-killing, dog-kicking hooligans, and the one French guy around makes Gerard Depardieu sound like Peter Jennings (don't worry, there's no sign of the Native Americans in this heartwarming saga). Did I mention that the movie justifies killing wounded soldiers and teaching your kids to fight in war, as long as it's for something you really believe in? And another thing-hey, leggo, I'm not done yet! There's this part where Mel- (Marc Mohan)
A Perfect Storm
Plot: Fishermen fight storm in hopes of getting home to some pussy. Protagonists: Marky Mark, Dr. Ross, Happy's competitor in Happy Gilmore, a few guys who are in every other movie, some no-names. Villains: Hurricane Grace, backed by two other vengeful storms. The money-grubbing boat owner. Perks: Awesome special effects: 50-foot sea swells, water rescues, hurricane clouds etc. Downers: Canned dialogue, excessive machismo, totally stupid ending. Recommendation: If you're looking for a marijuana freak-out, smoke some and head to this flick. If you're looking for an Academy Award Nominee, forget it. (Katie Shimer)
A comedy based on the 1987 pro football strike, starring Keanu Reeves as a scabby (sorry) scab quarterback.
One of the great heist films of all time-filmed in beautiful French-o-Vision! See review this issue.
We've seen this movie before: A British fishing village, a lot of friendly villagers, the local pub, and a big plan that involves flouting the law in a relatively benign way but leads to an extended situation comedy. In Saving Grace, the situation involves a widowed, middle-aged woman who cultivates pot to escape financial ruin. The town turns a blind eye because they love her dearly. She travels to London to sell her stash (phenomenal amounts of high-grade bud) and the plan falls apart. Before it's over, the movie, too, falls apart. This is a cute, light comedy with the humor based on contrast--a nice woman selling drugs, a responsible hippie dealer who has to pick his daughter up at flute lessons before Dungeons and Dragons night, and a career criminal who is nothing but kind. (Monica Drake)
Though I can't say Scary Movie was particularly witty, or even clever, the cast performs their over-the-top slapstick with such good-natured intentions, it's hard not to be swept up in the fun. Sure, there are the requisite off-color jokes directed at gays, potheads, teen sex, and the mentally challenged, but unlike the Farrelly brothers (Something About Mary, Kingpin), Wayans delivers punchlines as a nudge in the ribs rather than a slap across the face. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
Director Richard Linklater's improvised classic about directionless young adults in Austin, Texas.
Small Time Crooks
Woody Allen's 2000 entry is one of his unambitious, hoping-only-to-amuse movies. Too bad it's unoriginal, not very amusing, and a near waste of some of this world's greatest comic talent.
Three old retired Air Force pilots want one last ride into outer space. Christ! Isn't it bad enough that these old farts always get the beautiful young chicks in the movies? And now they want to go into space, too? Forget it, Grandpa! It's off to the nursing home for you!
What says "sunshine" more perfectly than the history of Hungarian Jews in the 20th century? And who says "sunshine" more beautifully than Ralph Fiennes? The irrepressible Fiennes vieux takes on three sequential roles in this epic (that's one hour per role) account of one poor family's travails through three generations of Europe's now famous anti-Semitic hi-jinx. A total downer.
The Tao of Steve
The Tao of Steve: 101 ways to bag a babe and keep her coming back for more. Dex, a fat intellectual slob, formulates and follows his plan for sexual success, insisting to his friends that the number one way too attract women is to ignore them. Through the magic of make-believe, this tactic works. The pot smoking, jelly-belly has a harem of women sending him the booty call. What is his secret? What is the attraction? Could it be the charming afterglow from his morning bong hit? Is it the crushing weight of his huge gut? No one knows or cares, because in real life Dex is just one of the many loser pot-heads who moves about in packs, not in couples. (Karrin Ellertson)
A new animated feature from the Bluth studios. The Earth has been blown to shit, and it's up to a cocky, smart-mouthed teenager to find a spaceship filled with survivors and lead them to a new Earth (presumably one that doesn't have fuck-wit cartoons like this one). Voice characterizations by Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore and ... Tone Loc?!? Waitasecond, we take it all back!
* The Virgin Suicides
The most consistent element of The Virgin Suicides is a steady stream of images that echo the feminine-hygiene commercials of the 1970s. Considering the material--five teenage sisters growing up in a repressive home and headed for funerals rather than graduations--the lightness of touch is surprising. But to juxtapose suicide with buoyant innocence might be uniquely appropriate; if the film has a message, it seems to be that a mythologized purity of youth can't survive into adulthood. (Monica Drake)
What Lies Beneath
It's official! Director Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump) is a washed-up hack. In this latest Sixth Sense ripoff, Zemeckis doesn't even bother trying to come up with any new ideas to bring to the screen, choosing instead to ape what Brian DePalma has been doing for years--aping Alfred Hitchcock. Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford sink to new acting lows, and while the film still somehow manages to be occasionally entertaining, the jump-out-and-scare-the-shit-out-of-ya shocks can't make up for the waste of time and money. Pass! (Wm. Steven Humprey)
Peter Cohen's debut movie goes something like this: Beavis and Butthead have grown out of their acne stage, taken swank jobs in New York, picked out Banana Republic wardrobes and are now dating. The starting point for the skimpy narrative of the film is a Saturday morning coffeehouse meeting where four male buddies compare notes about their latest escapades. Anyone hear the distant echoes of Friends, Seinfield, and Sex in the City? Inevitably, they fall for the same perfect woman. The build-up to the finale--who will she chose? Will we see her breasts?--is about as satisfying as a clumsy lover. (Phil Busse)
Winterbottom is one of the most prolific of new directors, and his choices of material and approaches are profligate as well. He's shooting a Gold Rush political adventure right now, and a couple of other features since his alternately savvy and sappy Welcome to Sarajevo has gone straight to video in the US Wonderland finds Winterbottom working in Super 16mm handheld, slinging the frame around as he follows intriguing actors like Ian Hart, Gina McKee, and Molly Parker through a London-set roundelay of not-that-intriguing, circumstance-befouled yuppie romance. Michael Nyman's insistent score weighs intensely on the general clutter. (Ray Pride)
This movie is all fine and dandy, but there's one area where I got beef: Where the Hell is Psylocke? You know, Betsy Braddock, super-tuff ninja lady, psychic knife. What, were her extrasensory powers too ambiguous for the special F/X dudes to translate to the big screen? Yeah? Well, I got one thing to say: SYNERGY! If fucking Hasbro could animate the life of Jem (complete with holograms and flashing earrings) back in the '80s, surely the creators of X-Men could've put a piddly ole psychic knife in a computer and churned out something cool. I'll stick to the video game, thanks.