Written by: Ben Ramsey Directed by: Che-Kirk Wong Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Avery Brooks, Christina Applegate, Bokeem Woodbine
My Advice: Wait and rent it.
In a word: “John Woo’s Grosse Pointe Blank.” Too simplistic? Perhaps, but this is actually a very enjoyable film for the reason that it doesn’t take itself very seriously, even when the bullets are flying. Wahlberg is a hard-working hitman who is deadlier than E. coli on the job but goes home to Maalox moments with his fiancee (Applegate) and lady-on-the-side (Lela Rochon). Wahlberg plays both sides of his character, Marvin, very well: the killer and the whipped homebody. He wants everyone to like him, for pity’s sake, and you end up liking him despite the fact he’s a major weanie.
Written and Directed by: James Cameron Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton
My Advice: Don’t Miss It.
To take the space to try to convey to you all of the things that Cameron did right with this film would basically wipe out my alloted server storage. I could tell you about the incredible editing job that moves you from one time period to another with eerie seamlessness. I could tell you about the cunning way Cameron introduces you to the tragedy and then makes you watch it unfold, step by step. I could tell you about all the different things that the ship is going to be declared to represent in the next few weeks. But I won’t. I’ll tell you instead that it’s brilliant. It’s the best Cameron I’ve seen. The acting is superbly done. DiCaprio and Winslet are two of the most solid young actors we have around, and their relationship was so natural it was scary. Even the normal places where the film might go wrong–the frame story, the fact you know the ending, the sheer schmaltz of trying to show humanity at its lowest and highest–it all works. Do yourself a favor and see on the big screen in a theatre with a great sound system. That about sums it up. Read More
Written by: Nicholas Klein, from a story by Nicholas Klein and Wim Wenders Directed by: Wim Wenders Starring: Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell, Gabriel Byrne, Traci Lind, Pruitt Taylor Vince
My Advice: Wait for MST3K.
Let me try to synopsisize this thing for you. Bill Pullman is a movie producer who doesn’t have time for his wife (MacDowell) and who almost gets killed by two hitmen for some reason but are spotted by Gabriel Byrne who sits in an observatory watching the entire L.A. basin when he’s not boffing his housekeeper (Marisol Padilla SÃ¡nchez) or delivering pizza to his dad (Sam Fuller) and then killer satellites (or something even more sinister) save Pullman from sure death while on the side his wife starts boffing a rap star (K. Todd Freeman). Oh, and throw in some fair performance poetry (Nicole Parker) and something about an actress who wants you to define everything (Lind) and the detective who loves her (Vince). Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson Written by Philip Eisner Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, Richard T. Jones
My Advice: Matinee.
Okay, let me say this right out of the starting gate. I eat pepperoni pizza and watch Dawn of the Dead at the same time, okay? I am not one to let myself get overly disturbed by a film; the last instance of that was Jacob’s Ladder. But this film left me completely and utterly unable to sleep. This has never happened before. So I look at this film with a great deal of respect, despite its flaws.
Plot: A superhightech spaceship disappears and then reappears seven years later, and a team is sent to investigate. First, let’s get some things out of the way that are obvious problems: Some of the laws of physics are not just broken but sneered at. Also, somewhere along the line Eisner thought to himself, “Cenobite.” There is a question about a particular recording and how far-fetched it is that everyone’s forgotten how to speak Latin other than one guy on a spaceship. But there’s a lot of other things that make you think those things later: A harrowing sequence in an airlock, a really messed up clue of what happened to the ship’s original crew, and the production design with a ship sure to please any black-eyelined leather-wearing goth.
Written by: Akiva Goldsman Directed by: Joel Schumacher Starring: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone
My Advice: Wait for MST3K
What a marvelous study in what not to do. I won’t even begin to waste your time synopsizing this thing. I only hope textbooks someday use this piece of shite as a nice negative example of filmmaking. Don’t get me wrong, there are some kudos to hand out. Clooney would make a fine Bruce Wayne/Batman–if he was in another film that actually had decent dialogue. O’Donnell would make a fine Robin, even with the dialogue–if he were ten years younger. Schwarzenegger would make a great Mr. Freeze (the moments he spends pining over his wife are the best in the entire film)–if he didn’t spew out really crappy one-liners everytime he opened his blue glowing mouth. Uma Thurman did exactly what Schumacher asked for–act like an idiot, so she gets the points even though her hairstyle was a cross between the Mother character in Pink Floyd The Wall and Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd. Alicia Silverstone doesn’t fool me for one minute–she’s twelve. Michael Gough comes out of this smelling like roses, since he’s been the only consistently good thing in all four films, despite being turned into Alfred Headroom at one point. He also gets bonus points for his character becoming terminally ill in a desperate attempt not to be in the fifth film. John Glover is mildly amusing as Jason Woodrue, although he’d be in much better shape in another movie altogether. I’ll give a dollar to anyone who can convince me that Vivica Fox and Elle Macpherson served any purpose in this film whatsoever. And am I the only one who noticed that Uzi Gal (creator of the gun) was a cop in this? Qwa?