Here are some memorable quotes from movies, in no particular order of difficulty or release date. You might want to use them for a trivia game.
“I’m the King of the World!” – Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic (1997)
“Show me the money!” – Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire (1996)
“I’ll have some of what she’s having.” – Woman in restaurant referring to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989)
“Well, I ain’t sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!” – Humphrey Bogart to Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen (1951)
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” – Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (1987)
“If I give you another face lift you are going to be able to blink your lips!” – Plastic surgeon to Goldie Hawn in First Wives’ Club (1996)
“You had me at Hello.” – Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire (1996)
“They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!” – Mel Gibson in Braveheart (1995)
“Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.” – Andie MacDowell, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
“Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” – Bill Pullman in Independence Day (1996)
“But you ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.” – Tom Hanks to Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump (1994)
“Leave the gun; take the cannolis.” – Tom Hanks to Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail (1998), referring to The Godfather
“Truth is appearance, but appearance isn’t always truth.” – Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow (1999)
“Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.” – Clark Gable to Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind (1939)
“You can be my wingman any time.” – Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)
“Ditto.” – Patrick Swayze’s response to “I love you” from Demi Moore in Ghost (1990)
“Do they teach lawyers to apologize? ‘Cause you suck at it!” – Julia Roberts to Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich (2000)
“The early bird gathers no moss! The rolling stone catches the worm!” – Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998)
“I‘m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to lover her.” – Julia Roberts to Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
“Yeah, I called her up, she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention.” – Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber (1994)
“To be normal, to drink Coca-Cola and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken is to be in a conspiracy against yourself.” – Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory (1997)
“Buongiorno, Principessa!” – Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful (1997)
“I like Mass better in Latin. It’s nicer when you don’t know what they’re saying.” – Glynis Johns in While You Were Sleeping (1995)
“You mean you were diagnosed with something called a brain cloud and didn’t ask for a second opinion?” – Meg Ryan to Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
“Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Sally Field to Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994)
“Villainy wears many masks, none of which are more dangerous than virtue.” – Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow (1999)
“The complete lack of humility for nature that’s being displayed here is staggering.” – Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (1993)
“Sucking all the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.” – Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)
“I believe there oughtta be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.” – Kevin Costner in Bull Durham (1988)
“You a politician, or does lyin’ just run in your family?” – Mary Stuart Masterson in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
“Seeing as how the VP is a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the QT? ‘Cause if it leaks to the VC, he could end up a MIA, and then we’d all be put on KP.” – Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Read Carol’s movie reviews and ratings. Watch for more reviews to come…
RATINGS: ***** must see | **** pretty good | *** rainy day | ** why bother | * beats death | 0 must miss
A.I. (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) ***
I’m sure Steven Spielberg will be campaigning for at least a nomination for special effects or sets or something, because it cost a lot of money to make, and there’s no way he’ll get it back without an Oscar nod. The best thing about it is Haley Joe Osment. The next best thing is the animatronic Teddy Bear. For the rest, it was started by Stanley Kubrick and then finished by Spielberg, and you can really tell that from the disjointed rambling story that doesn’t seem to know where it’s going or when–if ever!–it’s gonna end. There are better ways to spend 2.5 hours, believe me. I don’t know anybody I would recommend to see this movie.
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES *****
Billy Bob Thornton has directed a winner, with real characters, excellent casting (Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz, Henry Thomas, and Lucas Black), excellent music, perfect photography, and two hours of a great story adapted from Cormack McCarthy’s book. I’m sure the portrayal of Mexican “justice” is accurate. Violence, some sex, and foul language, but if you can stand all that, you must see this one!
ALMOST FAMOUS *****
Take the family–especially the teenagers. It’s based on a true story about when the writer went on tour with a band. It says a lot about character and values and the performances are excellent. Go see it!
ALONG CAME A SPIDER ****
I’m tempted to give this 5 stars, but the language and violence stops me. This is a very good mystery, with some extras about technology I must learn about! Morgan Freeman gives another captivating performance as he reprises his role as Dr. Alex Cross, forensic scientist-profiler with the D.C.P.D. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie–and never guessed some of the twists and turns it takes.
AMERICAN BEAUTY 0
I wish they’d lose every copy of this film. All those Oscars for a horrible waste of time for people like me who’d like to be inspired, or have a good feeling at the end, or lose some of my own cares and worries vicariously. If you like good movies, you must miss this one. If you like off-the-wall weirdoes, then by all means, see it and join the Hollywood idiots who praise it.
AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS ****
Both men and women will like this movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones is perfectly cast as the spoiled witch-with-a-b. Julia Roberts is the good girl. John Cusack is just terrific, whatever he does. PG-13 is the correct rating. Nothing super-terrific in any category, but it’s a nice, enjoyable couple of hours. And it’s nice seeing Julia Roberts fat, too.
AVIATOR, THE *****
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes in his early years of making history in aviation and movies and even master his Texas accent. He deserves an Oscar but will probably lose to Jamie Foxx. But if Cate Blanchett does not win for her riveting portrayal of Katherine Hepburn, something’s wrong. She has her nailed. It was nice to get some insight about what made HH so weird in his later years before his burial in Houston. There’s nothing really risque or violent, so I think you can safely take all family members over 12.
Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willlis play prison escapees in a bank-robbing career who find and both fall in love with the same girl, played by Cate Blanchett. It’s very funny, with quirky humor that may make you want to see it again to catch the lines you miss the first time.
BEAUTIFUL MIND, A *****
Russell Crowe and Ron Howard deserve all kudos for this one. It’s so-o-o-o-o well done in every aspect. And I love true stories, so that makes it all the better. Some bad language, so I guess it’s not for the kiddoes or anybody offended by that, but other than that, it’s fantastic and should win Best Picture for 2001.
BEST IN SHOW *****
Terrific comedy about the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Forget the dogs: this is about the OWNERS. You’ll have a lot of laughs and I promise you’ll see somebody you know, even if the actors are unknowns or barely known.
BILLY ELLIOT *****
An English film about a real family that’s messed up like so many around the world. Billy is a kid who, for no particular reason, wants to be a ballet dancer-but he’s all boy and not gay. His macho father and macho older brother are the last in the world to be supportive of any “man” in their family having anything to do with ballet. Does Billy turn them around? Yes. You’ve gotta see it to find out how. Terrific!
BLACKHAWK DOWN ***
Pretty good camera work and editing, but you can still tell the background was helped greatly by computers. Way too realistic in its blood and gore. But it really, really made me angry with our bureaucrats in D.C.!
BLAST FROM THE PAST *****
Where has this sleeper been? Was it made straight for video? It’s a terrific movie, one that you can see with the kids, and will bring back many memories of furniture, hairstyles, and clothing from the ’60s. Excellent performances by Sissy Spacek and Christopher Walken, followed closely by Alicia Silverstone and Brendan Fraser. You might find it playing on one of the premium channels, but do yourself a favor and go rent it, because you might want to rewind a couple of times.
In spite of the language, I recommend this to everybody for the great Johnny Depp performance in this true story of how a kid from Massachusetts made it to the middle of the Medellin Cartel. The other great aspect of it is that Crime Doesn’t Pay. Penelope Cruz plays a real bitch.
BLOW DRY ****
Thoroughly enjoyable movie (unless you happen to be homophobic). Great hair styles, some really good lines, and all in all, a nice getaway escape movie. Good performances by all.
BRIDGE JONES’S DIARY *****
This is a terrific movie, and Renee Zellweger’s British accent is nearly perfect. There are some cleverly funny lines that are easy to miss, so pay attention. Colin Firth plays [another] Mr. Darcy deliciously, and I love Hugh Grant, no matter what anybody says about him. A delightful movie. The only problem is that the F-word is used about two thousand times too many. But how exciting that they got the possessive correct!!!!!!
BRING IT ON **
For all the good reviews this turkey’s gotten, I expected much better.
BOURNE IDENTITY, THE ****
Matt Damon’s excellent performance and the beautiful locales make this almost worth five stars. If it weren’t a remake of a TV miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain several years ago, it would definitely be a Must See. Good twists and turns, well paces. Mystery buffs will really like it.
CAST AWAY *****
A Tom Hanks tour de force. He’s a FedEx manager whose plane goes down in the South Pacific and he’s the only survivor on a small island inhabited by no one. Makes you wonder just what you would do in his stead. Once again, his acting is unflawed. This is a serious movie, about what the human is capable of doing and more especially about our relationships and how they enter, leave, and affect our lives.
CATS and DOGS ****
I chuckled all the way through this movie. It’s not animated, but some of the animals are animatronics, although I couldn’t tell. If you love pets, you’ll love this movie. If you don’t love pets, shame on you. Go see a monster movie. I really liked Cats and Dogs
Wow! I’m always looking for a movie that makes you feel good when it’s over. This is one. Juliette Binoche is better than I’ve seen her, and when we finally get to see Johnny Depp, he’s as delicious as the chocolate in the movie! It’s set in a small French village, and when Juliette’s character comes to town and opens a Chocolaterie, she MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Go see for yourself. Wonderful music, too.
CIDER HOUSE RULES ****
Worth seeing because it got the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. If you hate abortion, don’t see it. If you want to see Michael Caine in one of his best roles, see it. I don’t think it deserved all the high praise it got.
CLAIM, THE ****
Sweeping vistas on the big screen make this film worth seeing. The story is good; the music is very good. Setting is just past the biggest part of the Gold Rush. You’ll like the performance of Wes Bentley, who was about the only nondysfunctional character in the horrible “American Beauty.”
I’m going out on a limb here and saying that this is a Must Miss. I know many who liked it, but it’s a piece of crap, to be blunt. I guess psychologist-types might be interested, because it is a look at relationships. But it has no redeeming feature. Nothing to make you want to see it again. Julia Roberts should not have done this picture. Clive Owen is great, of course, but he can be great in a movie with something good about it, and let also-rans do this kind of garbage.
THE CONTENDER ****
Great actors create great characters, and this movie has plenty. Don’t try to figure out if a character is based on, or even similar to, a real person. They’re not. They’re each their own characters and all the actors–Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Chris Slater, and Sam Elliott–do extremely well at delineating their characters and making them become real. Gary Oldman was Exec. Producer, so his $ was on the line. Jeff Bridges turns in another stellar performance as the President, and Joan Allen will probably be nominated for something. Forget Democrats and forget Republicans, because what this movie does is give us what I believe to be an accurate picture of behind-the-scenes D.C. and who does what. It also makes us, individually, think about our values and what we stand for and what would we stand for if our values mean life or death. R for language and some fleeting nudity.
COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO * * * * *
Can I give this six or seven stars? Yes!!! It’s a must see, for all ages. This is the best one yet of all the remakes of this Victor Hugo classic story. Go see it soonest.
THE CREW 0
This could have been a terrific movie, and Richard Dreyfus was okay, but don’t waste your time.
THE CROUPIER ****
The story is excellent, the acting way above average, and it is gripping with twists and turns. The nudity and sleaziness keeps me from labeling it a Must See. If that doesn’t bother you, then you Must See it!
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON *****
Beautiful, mystical, and magical. You may not like subtitles, but the martial arts and defiance of the laws of nature are enough to hold you spellbound. Besides, it’s a wonderful story. Go see it–but do it on the big screen and don’t wait for the video. LOVE those cave dwellings! Makes even a city-lover like me want to head for the desert.
DANCER IN THE DARK ****
I’m sure history will record this as an important movie. It won awards at Cannes 2000. If you’re patient through the tedious slowness, the erratic camera work, the poor cinematography, and the weird music (mostly written by the star, Björk, a fine actress), you’ll find the story and characters most compelling. But be warned: do not see this movie to be entertained.
DISH, THE *****
Based on a true story, this is set in Parkes, Australia, in July 1969. Parkes is home to what was then the world’s largest radio telescope, and it happens to be the one through which we all watched that famous Armstrong step onto the moon. A wonderful movie, starring Sam Neill, with some good character studies. Don’t miss this one.
DRAGONFLY * * * *
Kevin Costner’s a very serious ER doctor in Chicago, who has lost his doctor-wife in a bus accident in the Venezuelan jungles. Her body’s never found, so there’s no closure for him. Thought provoking ingredient is that he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. Beautiful location shots, which happen to have been on Kauai. Kathy Bates is a good addition.
DR. T AND THE WOMEN ****
I really enjoyed this movie, especially Lyle Lovett’s music! I kept wondering why it carries an R rating, until we got to the final scene. There, in glowing color, just as the delivering physician sees it, is a live birth! You see the head beginning to come through and you see the cord following the baby. Don’t take the kids! I was also very uncomfortable seeing what the vain plastic surgery has done to Farrah Fawcett and Lee Grant. It was almost as if the camera was trying to avoid looking, as well. But the movie is definitely one most women will want to see.
ENEMY AT THE GATES *****
Excellent movie based on a true story with the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII as its backdrop. There’s a good bit of violence, and I don’t recommend it to our wonderful war veterans, but it is a great drama between good guy Jude Law and bad guy Ed Harris. And there’s this really, really sexy scene that leaves most to the imagination–as it should be.
FAMILY MAN ****
Clever concept of Nicolas Cage and Tia Leone (real-life wife of David Duchovny) living through a “what if things had been different” and clever winding up and denouement as well. Set in New York and New Jersey (love films shot in NY!), it’s almost a “Must See,” but some may want to wait for the video with all the competition out there this 2000 Christmas Season. See if you can find the flick flub in the scene at the bowling alley.
FINDING FORRESTER *****
Everybody should see this movie. It will give you something to take away with you and remember and grow from. It’s about the development of a relationship and it’s about how inconsequential race is when it comes to human beings. Sean Connery is fantastic as a curmudgeonly writer in the Bronx. You can tell he believed in the movie enough to be a producer and put his money on the line. It’s 2.5 hours, but worth every minute! And in the last couple of minutes we get to see a BIG star who’s not even credited.
GET CARTER *
Stallone’s new flick is an improvement over his past offerings, as far as his work goes. He’s a brute with a heart who is unbeatable, even when way outnumbered. His character is way cool, but the flick is way violent. The R rating is not only for the violence but language and sex to a lesser degree. It was good to see Mickey Rourke again, but he must have used Burt Reynolds’ plastic surgeon: borders on malpractice, in my opinion.
Russell Crowe where have you been all my life? And he can act. Was this historically accurate? Who cares? Just look under those men’s skirts (Braveheart, too). Awesomespecial effects in recreating the Coliseum!
GOLDEN BOWL, THE ****
I thoroughly enjoyed this period piece adapted from a Henry James novel (but not nearly so slow and plodding as his work generally is). The costumes should get an Oscar nod; the locations and castles were breathtaking. Nick Nolte is billionaire widower who is devoted to his daughter. The father and daughter find mates to marry, and later discover that their mates were once an item themselves.
GONE WITH THE WIND *****
Boy, do I yearn for the Old South! Don’t be fooled by those who would rewrite history.
GREEN MILE *****
Yes, it’s three hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s three Stephen King stories bound up into one movie and it’s well done. I especially enjoyed the metaphysical aspects of it. I think you will like the acting and the super characters. They really need to find an award for that mouse.
HART’S WAR * * * *
Excellent drama set in a WW2 Nazi stalag. Perfectly-paced tension, good acting–especially by Bruce Willis (who is not Hart!). I recommend it to history buffs and to Willis buffs.
I liked this movie very much. From the trailer, I thought it would be slapstick, but there are some clever lines and some really clever cons in this Mother-Daughter adventure starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt, respectively, with some additional emoting by Ray Liotta.
HEARTS IN ATLANTIS *****
Anthony Hopkins could read the telephone book and be award-winning superb! This is a wonderful, beautiful movie that kids need to see with their parents or grandparents. It’s about friendship, and memories, and doing right, and moral values, and a whole lot of meaningful stuff.
Too bad this wonderful movie will probably not last long in the theaters, because it’s too wholesome. It’s a story about a man (played by Tony Goldwyn) who comes to a little town and changes everybody’s lives for the better. The allegorical references are terrific!
K19 THE WIDOWMAKER *****
Man, I love true stories. This one’s paced perfectly, keeps you on the edge of your seat but not too uncomfortable, and Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson are just the best! Go see it and take your friends.
KNIGHT’S TALE, A *****
Had no idea this movie would be this much fun! Surprises abound, good lines, good story and medieval costumes and settings. And the music–well, you’ll just have to experience that for yourself. Oh, and the horses should be given some kind of award, too!
Kevin Spacey plays a perceived spaced-out lunatic who thinks he’s from the planet K-Pax, which is near the Lyra constellation. There’s some good astronomy stuff in this movie, and excellent performances by Spacey and by Jeff Bridges, the NY psychiatrist assigned to his case. And when you go see it, be sure to stay all the way past the closing credits, where you may find the answer to the burning question of Is he or Isn’t he?
LAST CASTLE, THE ***
I liked this movie, mostly because I like Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, and they were both just great. Forget the critics who say the plot’s not believable. Just suspend disbelief, as we do for most movies, and enjoy it.
LEFT BEHIND *****
This is a Must See because of its nation-sweeping significance. Left Behind was the first in a series of eight (so far) Christian books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, and I think every one has been a bestseller. Last fall this movie was released on video tape and feedback was requested to see if it should be released widely. The response must have been positive, because it’s now in theaters. I’m not saying the acting is great (but Kirk Cameron is a cutie), nor the writing (book authors’ names nowhere in sight on the film), but it’s an important film, an important series, and anybody who is anybody knows about it. So there.
LEGALLY BLOND *****
From flat-out funny to tongue-in-cheek stuff, this movie is a real winner! Reese Witherspoon, who is a relative newcomer to the movie industry, does a super job and is just perfect for the part of this cute chick who finagles her way into Harvard Law School. Go see it when you’re down, and you’ll laugh your troubles away, at least for a couple of hours.
THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE *****
All ages will love this, but especially golfers and especially older people. It’s a period piece with great nostalgic costumes and scenery. Matt Damon is super. There’s something magical about this movie. Go see it, and take the family.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL *****
Who says subtitles are tedious? Not in this movie. If you missed all the hullabaloo when it was in the theaters, and if you missed it when it hit the discount theaters, and if you missed it when it was on Pay-Per-View, and you missed it when it was on premium cable channels, by all means, go out and rent it. Better yet–buy it. You’ll want to watch it again. And you’ll want your grandchildren to watch it. You must not miss this movie.
LUZHIN DEFENCE, THE *****
Outstanding everything in this movie: performances, European castle settings, period costumes, and story. It’s just great. John Turturro proves his extreme talent many times over. Love story set against a world chess match. If you liked Roxanne, you’ll love this one more than I did.
MEET THE PARENTS *****
Funny, funny, funny. A couple of side-splitters, and chuckles all the way through. Robert DeNiro is father of the bride-to-be, and Ben Stiller (son of Jerry and Anne Meara) is the one who needs to pass inspection before marrying DeNiro’s daughter. Of course he does everything wrong. And you know when you see an urn of DeNiro’s mother’s ashes what is surely going to happen. Worse still, DeNiro is CIA, so Stiller gets away with nothing though he tries hard. Especially recommended for anybody who has a wedding looming in the family’s future somewhere.
MEMENTO 0 stars
If you want to spend two hours being aggravated, then by all means, see this movie. If you want to either be entertained or escape, then forget it and forgo this movie. I like Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss, but they should have said “no” to this stinker that spends the entire time stuck on rewind.
MEN OF HONOR *****
You’ll have to put up with foul language from Robert DeNiro’s character, but it’s totally in character for him to do it. True story of a hero played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., whose middle name may be Adversity, but his first name is COURAGE. Outstanding.
MINORITY REPORT ***
This movie held my attention well for the first hour, because it’s a good adaptation of an old sci-fi short story. But I hid my eyes on more than one occasion, because it was just too gory and too violent. I screamed out and grabbed my husband twice, when I was frightened big-time. It’s a long, dark movie, not a happy one, and the last 90 minutes it just falls apart.
MISS CONGENIALITY ****
Surprisingly better than I had expected. Sandra Bullock can carry a movie! Benjamin Bratt is fine to look at (easy to see what Julia Roberts sees in him). Candy Bergen has a great line. It’s a good escape movie. I saw it after it had been running at first-run theaters for a month, and it was sold out. That says something to anyone who’s listening.
MONSTER’S BALL ***
Really, really graphic sex, graphic violence, and hard-hitting racial bias undertones, but it’s definitely a thought-provoking movie, and Billy Bob Thornton does another terrific job. It’s not a movie you’d be proud to watch with your parents, and it doesn’t have a feel-good ending. But those in power in LA-LA Land are giving it a bunch of kudos, so I guess they think it’s an accurate portrayal of some of us Southerners.
MOULIN ROUGE ***
Why, oh why, did they have to mess up this remake? The sets, costumes, and makeup are all fantastic, but they are ruined with dizzying camera work. And the modern music unnerves this period piece terribly. It’s comical, but just out of place. Nicole Kidman is beautiful, but she can’t sing. Ewan McGregor saves this movie from being a “beats death” rating in my book. Look for the flick flub about 15 minutes from the end of the film.
NATIONAL TREASURE *****
Great for the entire family. A mystery with clues that lead to other clues and wonderful historical tidbits and locations along the way. The clues to the Treasure begin on the back of the original Declaration of Independence. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
NURSE BETTY ****
I missed this one on the big screen, mainly because it got bad reviews. Again, those self-described experts were wrong. There are some really good laugh-out-loud scenes. R rated for violence and language, and it’s too bad, because the violence especially really didn’t need to be so graphic. Clever, clever story line. I liked it.
OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? *****
Finally, the Coen brothers have made a movie I like! Funny, laugh-out-loud, and clever, too. It’s a loose take-off on Homer’s Odyssey, so be sure to look for the similarities. Funny, funny. You might also want to get the sound track after it’s over. This movie will become a classic.
OTHERS, THE ***
I don’t know what all the hoopla’s about with this movie. It’s slow and plodding. At least it does show that Nicole Kidman can act a little bit, and there is a little quirk at the end, but ho hum.
THE PATRIOT *****
Wow! Please take every American you know to see this film. Forget whether it’s true or not. I’m sure all of this happened at some time or another in our early history. Mel Gibson is fantastic, the story is fantastic, and you’ll be proud to be an American. If you don’t appreciate what we have here, and what it cost to get it, think again.
PEARL HARBOR ****
I enjoyed this movie and my friend thought it one of the best movies ever. The critics are wrong in their panning of this movie. It is not a love story; it is a good story full of historical facts that the young people of today need to know. It evokes emotion, which is what any movie worth the price of its ticket should do. Go see it and don’t take somebody else’s words for it.
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE (2004) *****
This is a Must See only if you like the music. If you’re an anal idiot like some reviewers I’ve read, you’ll think it’s goofy that lines are sung instead of spoken. This movie is about The Music. And Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer, produced it, so you know it’s perfect. And it is. The costumes, sets, and performances are all stellar, but The Music is the greatest. I was mesmerized so much that I went back the next day and saw it again! When available, I’ll buy it.
PAY IT FORWARD *****
Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment. What a trio to play these great characters. A movie about relationships and values and doing good without attaching expectation of reward. “Pay it forward” is the opposite of “pay it back.” Don’t miss this movie.
THE PLEDGE ****
Good murder mystery with a great performance by Jack Nicholson and some interesting cameos (Harry Dean Stanton, Vanessa Redgrave, and others). The ending is quirky, and it will certainly generate some conversation! I almost made this a Must See. Let me know what you think.
Great acting, great writing, great info about abstract impressionist art, especially from the title character, Jackson Pollock. Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden deserve their Oscar nominations. If you know somebody with a drinking problem, take them to see this movie!!!
This is probably the best biopic ever. Well written, superbly acted, and a pace that never falters. Jamie Foxx will surely get the Oscar for his perfect portrayal of Ray Charles. The sound track is just fabulous, but the insight into the man is unforgettable.
PLANET OF THE APES **** (The remake)
I wouldn’t call this a great movie, but I enjoyed it a lot, despite some lags in action. The most fun part was trying to guess who was underneath all that makeup, which will surely get Rick Baker another Oscar nod. I didn’t see the original movie, but my companion did, and he said the first one was much better.
PROOF OF LIFE *****
Goo-oo-oo-ood Movie! Some rough language, and some blood, but not too bad. Riveting action, mystery, drama, and fantastic direction (Taylor Hackford), with some super time-saving cross-cutting that doesn’t get the viewer confused. By all means, stay all the way through the ending credits for some great scenery (filmed in Ecuador). And Russell Crowe? He just keeps getting better, better, and better. Whatahunk! Meg Ryan holds her own, as does David Morse. 2:25 hours flies by.
REMEMBER THE TITANS *****
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie I can recommend to everybody. This is one! Take the entire family. It’s not just about football; it’s about life, overcoming prejudice, and character. Can’t get too much of that these days. Denzel Washington is outstanding, as usual, and so is Will Patton. And the team! Wow! We’re gonna see more of them, I’m sure. The screenplay is just about perfect, and the music is way cool. Love those true stories! It’s a Must See for all ages.
RETURN TO ME *****
Wonderful story, clever concept, good acting by David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. Bonnie Hunt, who also wrote the story and screenplay and directed it, plays her ever-present gal-pal role and is super once again. I put this as a “Don’t Miss” because there’s nothing offensive in it and everybody can see it. I’m always on the lookout for these kinds, which seldom come out of La-La-Land.
ROAD TO PERDITION, THE*****
Tom Hanks and Paul Newman! The only improvement on this combination would be to add John Wayne. Everything about this movie is just great, and I hope they remember at Oscar time. The music, sets, set decoration, costumes, locations, writing, and acting are all just the best. The only thing I can find to fault this movie is the violence, but when the subject is organized crime . . . .? Parallel study of the father-son relationship is really meaningful. GO SEE IT and send all your friends and enemies.
ROOKIE, THE *****
Take everybody you know to see this movie about baseball, Texas, and moral values. Houston-born-and-bred Dennis Quaid does a fine job in the title role based on a true story of recent vintage. A must see.
RUSH HOUR 2 ***
Jackie Chan is a great guy and he’s fun to watch. Chris Tucker is over-the-top funny. They’re very good together. But this one is not nearly as good as the original. And believe me, there will be a Rush Hour 3. Love those outtakes at the end.
SAVING GRACE *****
Fantastic! It’s very funny, has great characters, and you feel good when you walk out. Can’t get much better than that. Thank goodness it’s getting some wide release now from the art houses.
SECOND-HAND LIONS *****
Great for the entire family. Good story and good performances about a boy (Oscar-winner Haley Joel Osment) whose good-for-not-much mother leaves him with two old geezers (Oscar-winners Robert Duvall and Michael Caine) for the summer. Great yarn! You just must see it–and see it again.
This is a wonderful little love story about things we all wonder about from time to time: is there some magical force that makes things happen in spite of ourselves? John Cusack is terrific, and Kate Beckinsale is perfect for him. Go see it (and even the guys will like it!) and enjoy.
If you go to movies to be entertained, and especially if you go for laughter, by all means, go see this one. It’s an animated film, but you don’t need a throw-down kid to get in. Plenty of adults are going–even alone–to see it and are glad they did. Eddie Murphy is hilarious as the voice of the donkey in this Beauty-and-the-Beast borrower. Other voices are Mike Meyers, John Lithgow, Cameron Diaz , and Ben Kingsley. Many of the funniest lines are way over the heads of kids. Listen carefully. It’s a hoot.
Wow! What a story, what a script, what great characters, and what breathtaking scenery in the mountains of North Carolina in the early 1900s. Accurate portrayal of mountaineers and their lifestyle, behind the story of a music professor (Janet McTeer) who goes to the Blue Ridge Mountains to study folk music. Aidan Quinn’s blue eyes are mesmerizing. Unfortunately, this one may not make it to the mass markets, so catch it at your artsy theaters while you can get the big-screen pluses. If you miss it, you may want to purchase the video when it comes out and see it several times. I know I will.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU *****
I made an extra special effort to see this movie, because I strongly suspected that those who call themselves movie critics were wrong, and they are. This is a very enjoyable movie, it’s well paced, and we have a new Hunk Alert in Hugh Jackman. The movie is about things men and women go through all the time, and there’s a lot to think about and ponder over. And Ashley Judd’s skinny little body is just too, too. Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin are excellent, and I wonder why they’re not getting bigger roles? There’s a little nudity, so maybe don’t take the wee ones, but the teens in the theater when I saw it were loving it–and so were the guys, even the adult males. And the song is good, too.
SPY KIDS ***
There’s not many movies for the kids that the adults can tolerate, but this is one. Looking at Antonio Banderas makes the time pass fast. Other than that, it’s pretty much of a yawn, but the kids will love it.
STATE & MAIN ****
The professional critics said this was side-splitting hilarious from start to finish, and–as usual–they lied. There are some grins, and we have a nice smorgasbord of stars, but it’s not a great movie. It’s a nice story about a movie crew going to a small town to film. And it’s probably fairly realistic. And there are a few chuckles.
SWEET NOVEMBER ***
Writing trouble on this movie! The last act seems to have been written by a different person. It’s much better than the plodding first two-thirds. Hard for me to accept Keanu Reeves as a romantic lead–with a lady, no less! Charlize Theron is good in this recycled tear-jerker.
High-tech stuff with a plentiful supply of violence. We finally get to see enough of Hugh Jackman, and Travolta is a stunning villain, as always. Halle Berry is thrown in as a reason to go topless, I suppose. I wish I had waited for the video. Can’t say that I recommend you spend your $7 on it.
TAILOR OF PANAMA ***
The Panama scenery is beautiful and Pierce Brosnan is beautiful and Geoffrey Rush’s performance is beautiful. Screenplay is bad. Definitely a rainy-day movie.
THE MAN WHO CRIED ****
Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Cate Blanchett, and Christina Ricci dominate the screen and our emotions in this WWII-background movie about love relationships and persecution of the Jews. Especially strong is the story about love between father and daughter. Beautiful music and great performances make this almost a must-see (couple of sex scenes give this its R rating).
THIRTEEN DAYS *****
I’ve been waiting for someone to make a great movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and finally it’s here. Bruce Greenwood should be nominated for his sharp portrayal of JFK. The screenplay was written from JFK’s tapes, and it’s excellent. Plan on 2 hrs., 40 minutes.
TOPSY TURVY *****
Oscar for Best Costume Design was well deserved. About Gilbert & Sullivan, and the music is great. You could get a lot of housework done just by having this movie on in the background. If you’re not a redneck, or a redneckette, you’ll love it.
I MUST make this a MUST SEE because of eyes that need to be opened. You will NOT feel good after seeing this movie. But you might get your head out of the sand if it’s in it. The movie is filmed to look like a documentary. It follows three story lines, which are easy to follow, due to Director Soderbergh’s genius in filming them in different colors. Look for lots of familiar faces–including D.C. personae. And it deserves its R rating. But this is real life, and it’s about a war against drugs that doesn’t have a chance of winning. What are we going to do about it?
Forget comparisons to “The Sixth Sense.” Same director, but not same anything else. This movie is slow, plodding, and has lackluster performances. Worse yet: the ending sets it up for a sequel!!! Deliver us all from this commercial crap.
VERTICAL LIMIT *****
If you can stand suspense and heart-stopping action, you must see this film–as many are doing for second, third, and fourth times. Chris O’Donnell and Scott Glenn (he can do ANYthing!) have great chemistry, and I’m sure O’Donnell learned a lot from working this close to that grand master, Glenn. Remember to breathe during the movie.
WEDDING PLANNER ****
For some, this will be a 5-star Must See movie. It was cleverly comic, with some surprising deviations from formula and some wonderful moments that were completely unexpected. Matthew McConnaughey is just superb. I’m so proud he’s a Texan. The guys will like Jennifer Lopez. There are some laugh-out-loud parts that are fun. Set in San Francisco for all those who left their heart out there. Some foul language that doesn’t add anything to it. I saw it the first morning showing of its opening weekend, and it was full. Looks to be another long-running one. For the strict movie critics, there are some definite second-act problems and you just must suspend disbelief with some of the technical stuff. I liked it a lot.
WE WERE SOLDIERS *****
This rating is for all but Vietnam veterans. Its reality would probably be too much, and I’ve told my Vietnam veteran friends, “Definitely do NOT go see it.” It’s a beautiful story, well acted, with well-drawn characters. Mel Gibson’s character is really fine. (Based on a true story.) With its March release, it will probably be forgotten by the time next year’s Oscar nominations roll around, but it should be in there.
WHAT WOMEN WANT *****
This movie is Just Right. It has Just the Right amount of comedy, Just the Right amount of drama, and Just the Right amount of deep-thought philosophical stuff, such as relationships. I liked it better than “As Good As It Gets,” and you know that one walked away with several Oscars. Mel Gibson proves he’s loaded with talent, and the chemistry with Helen Hunt is good. Some neat little cameos by Bette Midler and a few others whose names you’ll try to remember. Don’t miss this movie!
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME ***
I know, I know, they’re touting Laura Linney for an Oscar nod, and it is probably deserved. Also good acting by Mark Ruffalo and Rory Culkin. But you WON’T feel better after seeing this movie. Good character study, yes; good writing, yet; entertainment, no.