Archive for August, 1999

Billy Jack

I was never a big “Billy Jack” fan (as a matter of fact, my review of the re-release of the film back in the late 70’s caused me to leave the daily I was working at), but my brother was, so I was destined to see the film (hey, he could drive at the time, I couldn’t). He was into all of that karate and Kung Fu stuff at the time (thank you Bruce Lee), so he really got a kick (literally) when Billy Jack would slap people on the side of their face with his foot. Read the rest of this entry »

Films Review September


Director Thomas Vinterberg’s deliciously dark drama about a birthday celebration that is marred by the revelation of a family secret. Vinterberg uses natural lighting and sound to good effect to tell his story about how a 60th birthday celebration of a family patriarch turns into game of show and tell. Read the rest of this entry »


After scoring cult success with “Maniac,” director William Lustig tackled the “Death Wish” formula with “Vigilante.” It’s been sixteen years since its release, and “Vigilante” definitely shows its age. Robert Forster (“Jackie Brown”) stars as a family man who turns his back on his friends (including Fred Williamson) when they form a vigilante squad to rid the streets of gangs. Read the rest of this entry »


Director-writer David Cronenberg has guts, and he isn’t afraid to show them. From his early films (“They Came from Within”) to his later films (“Scanners”), Cronenberg has show a propensity for exposing his actor’s innards. People pits up parasites, their heads explode, and in “Videodrome,” they become human VCRs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Truman Show

America’s insatiable appetite for television has been fodder for Hollywood for generations, but never has the picture been as bright nor as sharp as it is in “The Truman Show,” a wonderfully realized dramatic comedy from director Peter Weir. There is a lot to admire in “The Truman Show,” from it’s clever and very human screenplay by Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”), to an amazing dramatic star turn from rubber-faced comic Jim Carrey. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mummy

You know the drill…high priest gets his hand caught in the cookie jar, finds himself being wrapped up for the holidays, only to be resurrected 3,700 years later by a long, long descendant. Hey, it happens all the time, but it happened first on the big screen in “The Mummy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Affliction DVD

Director Paul Schrader’s latest film is painted against a snow white backdrop, like one of those empty canvases with only a dot on it that hang in a museum. The bleak background helps put the emphasis on the dot, magnifying it to the point of distraction. That’s what Schrader has done in adapting Russell Banks novel for the screen. Set during a cold, frigid winter in New Hampshire, “Affliction” ignites the screen with powerful performances and a lit fuse of a screenplay that never lets up. Read the rest of this entry »


There’s something askew with this romantic drama that seems blind to the truth of its subject. Val Kilmer is fine (if not overly done) as Virgil, a blind masseur who at the urge of his new girlfriend Amy (Mira Sorvino), undergoes an operation that restores his sight. In this “Charley” wannabe by director Irwin Winkler, you just know that the operation will be a success, and that Kilmer will see everything that he has ben missing, only to lose it again when the effects of the operation wear off. Read the rest of this entry »

Batman Begins

When something is broken beyond repair, the only thing to do is go back and start at the beginning. Welcome to Batman Begins, a fascinating recreation of a franchise which began with good intentions and ended up becoming a bat-tastrophe. Under Tim Burton’s direction, 1989’s Batman was a radical left-turn from the campy 1960’s television series. Read the rest of this entry »

As Good As It Gets

The last time director James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson got together, they created magic and each won an Academy Award. The film was “Terms of Endearment.” That same magic is at work in “As Good As It Gets,” a wonderful collaboration of great material, outstanding performances, and perfect direction. Nicholson is superb as the obsessive-compulsive romance novelist who hates everyone he meets. Helen Hunt is endearing as the waitress who opens his heart, while Greg Kinnear finally hits pay-dirt as Nicholson’s gay artist neighbor whose pet pooch plays a major part in his therapy.
Read the rest of this entry »