Archive for May, 2000

The Bride of Frankenstein

How do you top a classic like “Frankenstein”? That was the problem plaguing director James Whale, whose classic set new standards for horror films. Even though Universal Pictures issued a call for a sequel immediately after “Frankenstein” opened, it took Whale several years to commit. You can’t blame him. Expectations were so high that unless he hit upon the right formula, it might have ended his career. Read the rest of this entry »

Cradle 2 The Grave

In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the villagers gave the good doctor a lot of crap about digging up the dead and piecing them back together to create a new life form. The same could be said about the great Polish cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak (The Verdict, Prince of the City, Prizzi’s Honor), whose three films as a director feel like the opening lyrics to “The Patty Duke Show”: They look alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike. Unfortunately, “Cradle 2 The Grave,” like “Romeo Must Die” and “Exit Wounds,” really doesn’t have much to say. Read the rest of this entry »

Films Review May

AMERICAN BEAUTY (R)

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was lust. When he first saw her, she was more than the nubile 17 year-old best friend of his daughter. She was a goddess, capable of stopping time so that a moment with her would seem like eternity. Read the rest of this entry »

West Side Story

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Oops, wrong musical. Still, the question still applies for “West Side Story.” Maria (Natalie Wood) is the demure PR (that’s Puerto Rican in 1950’s slang) who falls for former bad boy from across the tracks Tony (Richard Beymer). Actually, it’s Tony who falls head over heels for Maria, but like Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, fate will keep them apart. You see, Tony is a member (actually a retired member) of the Jets, the local street gang. Read the rest of this entry »

Hollow Man

Elisabeth Shue is Linda Foster, a scientist who is working on a serum to make people invisible. When another scientist tries the serum and becomes invisible his colleagues figure another way to bring him back to the normal world. Read the rest of this entry »

Reindeer Games

After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (James Frain) are finally going to be paroled. After hearing endless stories during his incarceration of Nick’s romantic correspondence to a woman named Ashley he has never met (Charlize Theron), Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. When Nick is killed during a prison riot, Rudy decides to assume Nick’s identity upon release from prison and meet up with the unknown woman Read the rest of this entry »

The Station Agent

One of the pleasures of reviewing movies is stumbling across a small film with a big heart like “The Station Agent,” a festival favorite that is slowly but surely finding favor in limited release. It’s doubtful “The Station Agent” will be a breakout hit, but its celebration of the simple things in life will surely affect anyone who sees it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Towering Inferno

Ross Hunter’s “Airport” set the standard. Gather a bunch of stars (or pseudo-stars) and throw them into the middle of a calamity. Since “Airport” was such a big hit (at the time, it was Universal’s highest-grossing film), it was only a matter of time before the rest of Hollywood would take notice. Read the rest of this entry »

Anger Management

The formula for “Anger Management” is so foolproof that the only way the filmmakers could screw it up is to add Madonna to the cast. I knew from watching the audience’s reaction to the coming attraction trailer that it was going to be a big hit.
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Films Review June

FLYPAPER (R)

A millions dollars provides the catalyst for three separate storylines in director Klaus Hoch’s look at one really hot day in Los Angeles. The cast is game, but the director tries too hard to make the film unique, providing for some unintentional laughs. Read the rest of this entry »

Films Review July

BLOWBACK (R)

Tired direct-to-video thriller stars Mario Van Peebles as a police inspector on the trail of a serial killer named Claude Whitman (James Remar). Since Whitman’s handiwork involves religious trappings, it falls on former divinity student-turned-cop Morrell (Peebles) to find Whitman and stop him. Read the rest of this entry »

Gladiator

Forget snowboarding and base jumping. Today’s thrill seeker’s think they invented extreme sports. Far from it. That honor would go to the gladiators of ancient Rome, who were trained with one goal in mind: kill or be killed. As if life in ancient Rome wasn’t harsh and decadent enough, imagine being enslaved and forced into brutal combat for the amusement of the masses. Read the rest of this entry »

The Blair Witch Project

Here’s something out of the ordinary. A trio of filmmakers investigate a myth with the hopes of turning their footage into a documentary. The trio seek out the cast members of “The Facts of Life,” who has disappeared from the television landscape without a trace. They attempt to find out whether or not star Lisa Whelchel was like the character she played on the series. Read the rest of this entry »