January 23, 2004
By Lisa Yapp
ON THE SCREEN
LORD OF THE RINGS- RETURN OF THE KING If you thought Part 2 was long -Part 3 is longer!! Still great but see it at home with a pause button! Viggo “Mumbleson” at his best! Highly Recommended
THE STATION AGENT Get out your schedule and see this film before the train leaves the station! One of the best screenplays this year! Highly Recommended – it will wet your whistle!
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE The nude scenes in this love story for aging baby boomers won’t make you want to pop Viagra. But, it’s very funny. Highly Recommended –especially for the young. See what nature has in store for you!!
PETER PAN It’s hard not to crow over the amazing special effects that brought out my inner child! But, I missed Mary Martin and those great tunes! Highly Recommended – If you think you can fly imagine what your kids think?
MONA LISA SMILE From the Director of Four Weddings and a Funeral this film is “ Four Students and a Firing”. Were Wellesley girls in the 50’s all Stepford Wives? Still Julia Robert’s smile will warm your heart when the storyline goes cold. Recommended – for the great cast.
COLD MOUNTAIN Take it from someone who hated the book – this film is awesome! Director Anthony Minghella (THE ENGLISH PATIENT) makes an anti-war film that isn’t about war but about the lives affected off the battlefield. Highly Recommended – Bet our troops won’t be seeing it.
THE LAST SAMURAI If you liked the battle scenes in GLORY then check out this film from Director Ed Zwick. The sword fights will have you moaning, groaning and creaming in your Yohji Yamamotos even if the plot is closer to SHOGUN than RAN. Highly recommended – just remember it ain’t art – it’s entertainment.
BIG FISH Tim Burton may reel in some Oscar nominations for this quirky fish tale that twangs at our heartstrings. Highly Recommended –totally fresh!
THE COOLER Poor Alec Baldwin. Hollywood has cooled on him. Maybe his acting in this film will heat up his career but this film left me chilly. Save for a rental
21 GRAMS Intriguing. This film jumps from past to present and scene-to-scene and back again. But it’s hard to take. There’s an underlying feeling of self-pity that sucks you in despite the pain, the misery, the affectation, the pending doom. Recommended with caution.
THE MISSING Directed by Ron Howard about a frontier woman searching for her missing daughter. Also missing is the suspense, the originality, the pacing. MISS IT
LOVE ACTUALLY This isn’t a “Hugh Grant” film. It’s an ensemble of actors that find or don’t find love-actually. There are a couple of things you won’t buy but for the most part it’s all good fun. See it.
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS This film might be an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. A wealthy son goes the distance to make his estranged Father’s pending death a positive experience. We should all be so lucky! In French. I’d skip it. Though my friend loved it!
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD You’d assume a movie about preparing, fighting then recovering from battle would be boring. But, it isn’t. Russell Crowe makes some unobvious choices and the blond kid nearly steals the film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – An epic floating in a league of it’s own.
SHATTERED GLASS The story of the New Republic journalist who conned his friends and editors by making up his stories. Shows you how a little charm and a smile can go along way in building a career. Recommended
THE HUMAN STAIN The Human Stain strains from bad casting. Anthony Hopkins as an old man has a different color eyes and different accent from the actor who plays him as a college kid. And it gets weirder from there. SAVE FOR VIDEO or wait for the remake.
IN AMERICA Jim Sheridan, (My Left Foot) has directed this movie written with his two daughters about coming from Ireland to New York where the little troupe finds it’s a hard knock life. Yet, because their kids see the good in people, the family finds the shamrock in the crack vile without having to sniff the contents. Tearful, touching, corny – I liked it but – Rent it.
MYSTIC RIVER This movie moves as slowly as a 73 year-old cowboy walking across the desert. Maybe that’s because Clint Eastwood directed. Everything washes downstream of Sean Penn’s performance. The film sorta captures the low class feel of Chelsea/Charleston but the reality is so much more. The ending is a wash-out. RECOMMENDED if you really need to get out of the house.
PIECES OF APRIL Made for only $200,000 this film about a girl who invites her dysfunctional family to Thanksgiving dinner has plenty of spice. Rent it – but keep the Rolaids handy.
VERONICA GUERIN Cate Blanchett, plays an unlikable Irish journalist who walks the Dublin Streets with an obnoxious swagger and a death wish. Her co-workers hate her and when the fraternal pack turns its back, it usually a sign the person is a self-serving weasel. Skip it.
KILL BILL The Worst Damn Martial Arts Movie Period! Uma Thurman kills members of her old gang, The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. But Director Quentin Tarantino rolls snake eyes! KILL BILL is a crime.
LOST IN TRANSLATION This is the kind of film critics love. The kind I usually hate where something gets lost in translation. But, it’s pretty flawless and very funny. Even Bill Murray rises above his usual annoying. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS A bunch of exhausted immigrants in London are desperate for a way-out of their miserable minimum wage lives. But, their solution is gross! Not a thriller –more of a stomach churner. RECOMMENDED for business travelers who worry about being slipped a mickey.
ON VHS OR DVD
MATCHSTICK MEN The ride begins when a grifter with Tourette’s syndrome (Nicolas Cage) reunites with his long lost daughter. This twisted road takes a surprise turn that completely blindsided me. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – some sparks.
THE MAGDALENE SISTERS Young girls have to wash their sins away in a prison/laundry run by a group of nuns that make the pedophilic priest, John Geoghan, seem like a good guy. If the Catholic Church were a stock I would short it. If you think it’s gotten its just desserts go see this film because the sex abuse scandal is just appetizers! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED but beware it can really scrub the rosy glow off a good mood.
PARTY MONSTER Nine years ago Macaulay Culkin, the highest paid child star of all time, quit the business. Since then, he hasn’t been taking acting class. Culkin plays flamboyant club kid Michael Alig, like Pinocchio on heroin. RENT IT for Halloween costume ideas only.
ALEX AND EMMA Luke Wilson plays a guy with gambling debt writing about a guy with a gambling debt. Maybe director, Rob Reiner had the same problem which is why he made this one? BOYCOTT
THE MEDALLION It’s Jackie Chan as a superhero. He can’t die but you’ll wish this rip-off of the Golden Child meets The Highlander would. Skip it -Gone faster than a flying sidekick.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN The first movie ever made inspired by an amusement ride is too scary for kids and too stupid for adults. Rent it for Johnny Depp.
SWIMMING POOL It would take the CSI team to find the plot in this twisted mystery. Did they forget to shoot the final scene and then hodgepodge together an ending? Skip it or see it with a smarter person than me.
TERMINATOR –RISE OF THE MACHINES If you rise above the plot, you’ll like the action scenes even though there’s nothing new. The cyborg assassin is a blonde woman in an outfit borrowed from Carrie Ann Moss’s Matrix closet. Recommended cause we can’t rise above our lack of taste.
LEGALLY BLONDE 2 – Reese Witherspoon somehow makes us love her despite her having stolen ten bucks out of our pocket. SKIP it. The worst.
FREAK FRIDAY Oh come on! Shut-up! How can something this stupid end up so smart? Highly Recommended
THE GOOD THIEF Neil Jordan (Crying Game) directed blubber-mouthed Nick Nolte in a story that is as impossible to understand as it is to pronounce the name of the female lead, Nutsa Kukhianidze. SKIP IT – crime doesn’t pay.
DOWN WITH LOVE Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger play Doris Day/Rock Hudson types in a parody of movies from the 60’s. Lots of kitschy clever Technicolor acting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED I’m down with this!
LAUREL CANYON Why do I have to figure out what happened? I rented it. I watched it. Isn’t that enough? Rent it – and let me know how it ends.
CAMP High school drama queens find happiness at a performing arts camp where they can worship in peace at the church of Stephen Sondheim. It would work better as a TV series. Recommended – bravo but no standing ovation.
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD The 1983 classic re-released with upgraded color and sound. Watching Errol Flynn prance around with his sword in his tights ain’t shabby. Recommended – This knockout is the real terminator.
THE BOY FROM OZ Hugh Jackman is oz-some as Peter Allen! He sings. He dances. He acts. Who would have thought that Wolverine (X-MEN) would be leading the Hollywood pack in terms of talent? The show isn’t perfect but there is much more to like than dislike. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS A great revival of the original but I wish Seymour would feed this Audrey to the plant sooner. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you have never seen it.
TAKE ME OUT A well written play that doesn’t throw any curves about a Derek Jeter type baseball player who is gay. The naked shower scene scored a homerun with me! RECOMMENDED
KIKI & HERB -COUP DE THEATRE It would take a bunch more herbs to “kiki” this show up a notch. SKIP IT