Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Book of Eli (2010)

The story begins in post-apocalyptic 2043. A wanderer named Eli has been traveling west for thirty years reading a very special book that holds the secrets to saving mankind. He walks to a village that is run by a mobster named Carnegie. When Eli decides to stay for the night, Carnegie tells his lover Claudia to send her daughter Solara to find out about the book; which is coincidentally the same one that Carnegie has been looking for so he can have the power to rule the world. Eli escapes and Solara follows him on his journey, while Carnegie rounds up his posse to track them down to get the vital book back. An interesting apocalyptic western; both Washington and Oldman give great and memorable performances. Starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, Tom Waits, 8/10

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller is a high school wise guy who's popular and has a pretty girlfriend. He dislikes school so much he decides to skip and pretends he's sick. So while everyone else is in school, he goes over to his friend Cameron's house to borrow his father's classic Ferrari so they can pick up Ferris' girlfriend. However not everyone believes him; including his sister who is frustrated because Ferris gets away with everything. Also the school principal, who's just dying to catch Ferris and hold him back another year. Ferris, Cameron and Sloane have lots of fun; eating lunch at a fancy restaurant, seeing priceless works of art, and Ferris even sings in a parade on a float. All seems great until they rack up too many miles on the Ferrari and then it crashes out of a window. Ferris runs back home but does he make it before his parents get there? You'll have to see it to find out. This movie is very funny, and Ferris is a great character that you'll instantly love. Starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stein, Kristy Swanson 8/10

Jingle All the Way (1996)

Arnie plays Howard Langston, a neglectful workaholic father who will do anything to make his spoiled son Jamie happy, so he decides to get him the hottest action figure on the market, a Turbo Man for Christmas. So Howard goes on a search through town to find the action figure, but since it's days before Christmas, the stores are packed and running out of stock. Along the way Howard competes with a rival searcher, a deranged postal worker named Myron, as well as con-artist Santas, the cops and every parent in town who's dying to get their hands on the doll. Not only that but his son is wondering why his father is never around, and his next door neighbor tries to hit on his wife. Pretty funny but silly at times. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Robert Conrad, Martin Mull, James Belushi, Harvey Korman, Jake Lloyd 6/10

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pretty in Pink (1986)

Molly Ringwald plays Andie Walsh; a poor and unpopular high school teenager, who meets Blane McDonnagh, one of the rich kids from her school when he stops in at the record store she works at. She is immediately smitten and even more excited when he asks her out. So they go out on a date and despite their differences in the social class, they fall in love. But it isn't easy; especially when Andie's best friend Duckie has had a life-long crush on her and Blane's stuck-up friend Steff tells him that he's wasting his time with her. One of writer John Hughes' best teen films about young love. Starring Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader 7/10

The Santa Clause (1994)

Allen plays Scott Calvin; a neglectful, divorced dad that accidentally kills Santa by scaring him off the roof of his house while he's delivering Christmas presents. His son, Charlie begs for him to put on the suit and deliver the goods himself. So reluctantly, Scott does just that, but realizes that in doing so he's bound by "The Clause" which states that if you put on the suit, you assume all the responsibilities of Santa. Scott also realizes that he begins to turn into the man emotionally and physically. A magical story with great characters. Starring Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz, Peter Boyle 6/10

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Buffy Summers has a great life; shopping with her friends, cheer-leading, and dating the captain of the basketball team. But she has no idea that she is "the chosen one", the slayer of vampires. Until a man named Merrick approaches her one day and tells her that it is her calling. Buffy of course doesn't take it seriously; all she wants to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. But once strange things start to happen does she start to realize it's true; and figures out that the dreams she's been having is also part of it. While training to be a slayer, she abandons her friends, and becomes friends with Pike, who also suspects that something weird is going on in the town. Together they set out on a mission to defeat the vampires and Lothos, the Vampire King that wants to turn Buffy into one. Fun movie; Kristy Swanson is terrific and memorable in the title role. Starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens, Hilary Swank, Michele Abrams, Paris Vaughan, David Arquette, Randall Batiknoff, Candy Clark 7/10

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Return to Me (2000)

Bob Rueland is a building contractor living in Chicago with his wife Elizabeth, who is an animal psychologist specializing in great apes. They're young and in love until one night after they attend a gala in which his wife is hoping to fund a new gorilla exhibit at the zoo, she's injured and dies in a fatal car accident. Bob survives and mourns his wife's death. Meanwhile, Grace Briggs, a waitress at a local Italian-Irish restaurant which her grandfather is the owner, is fighting for her life because she needs a new heart. The family and friends are overjoyed when they find out that Grace will finally get a replacement heart, which just so happens to be the heart of Bob's wife. After Grace's operation is a success, both she and Bob go on with their lives. But one evening fate steps in when Bob goes along on a double date and he just so happens to go to the same Irish-Italian restaurant. Although Grace and Bob meet, becomes friends and eventually fall in love, they don't find out until later that it's his dead wife whose heart she has. A sweet, touching and hilarious romantic comedy. Starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Carroll O'Connor, Robert Loggia, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Grier, Joely Richardson, James Belushi 7/10

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pleasantville (1998)

Maguire and Witherspoon play teens David and Jennifer; brother and sister who live in the 90's. While David is the single and lonely type, Jennifer is more aggressive and outgoing. One night David plans to watch the 1950's sitcom Pleasantville marathon on tv, but Jennifer wants to watch something else. They have a fight and their remote control breaks. So a mysterious tv repairman gives them a new remote control. But this one isn't a normal remote control. It ends up putting both David and his sister into the old 50's show and they realize just how different it is to their world: Everything is pleasant; the families are wholesome, everything and everybody is in black and white, and the town is picture perfect. While David wants to leave and not alter anything, Jennifer spends time in the town and does whatever she wants. As they are in Pleasantville, their influence start to change things around them; the black and white begins turning into color and the people are disturbed by the changes. A fascinating and brilliant story. Starring Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts, Jane Kaczmarek, Paul Walker 8/10

Speed (1994)

Reeves plays Jack Traven, a young S.W.A.T cop in the Los Angeles police department. Along with his partner Harry Temple, whose also a cop they try to stop a psychotic bomber named Howard Payne, a retired Atlanta bomb squad explosives expert who rigs an elevator that is full of people to drop into the basement if he doesn't get three million dollars. But they do manage to get the people out before the elevator drops by hooking it to a crane wire. But that doesn't stop him. After Jack witnesses a bus that suddenly explodes, he is contacted by the same lunatic. He tells him there's a bomb on a bus and if the bus goes over fifty miles an hour, it'll blow up. So Jack does the only thing he can do; try and get on the bus and warn the driver to stay above that speed. But it's not easy task in L.A. traffic and when an accident injures the driver, a young passenger named Annie is forced to take over behind the wheel so the bus won't explode. Intense film; with a great villain and non-stop action that'll leave you breathless. Starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels, Alan Ruck 7/10

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Bill Gambini and Stanley Rothenstein are two friends from New York University who've received scholarships to UCLA. They decide to take a little road trip to Alabama for vacation. They go to the local convenience store to pick up some food and snacks. Not long after they get stopped by the cops and are arrested. Apparently, they get mistaken for two other men who have robbed the same convenience store and shot the clerk. And in the south, the punishment for first degree murder is the death penalty. They can't afford to get a lawyer, but luckily they find one in the family; Bill's brash cousin Vinny. Vincent Laguardia Gambini and his loud mouth fiancee, Mona Lisa Vito drive down to Alabama. But unfortunately Vinny is inexperienced in being a trial lawyer or any kind for that matter because he's failed the bar several times. But Vinny tries his best in defending his clients to the best of his ability. However, he has a lot to deal with; battling with a no-nonsense judge, noisy hotels and Mona Lisa who wants to desperately get married. Will Bill and Stan keep Vinny on or go with the public defender?
Joe Pesci is terrific in his best comedic role; so is Marisa Tomei who won an Oscar for her performance. Starring Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Maria Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith, Austin Pendleton, Bruce McGill 7/10

Friday, August 20, 2010

Scarface (1983)

It's 1980 Miami, Fidel Castro opens the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, he sends 125,000 Cuban refugees to reunite with their relatives in the United States. Tony Montana is one of them who wants the American dream; to be rich, get a beautiful girl and wants the world and everything in it. But far from it when he and his friend Manny Ray arrive. They start in menial jobs working as dishwashers until they are soon hired by Omar Suarez to pay money to a group of Colombians. When the job goes wrong, they take the money and leave. Soon afterward, Tony meets drug kingpin Frank Lopez and falls for his boss's girl Elvira. Tony and Manny resort to selling cocaine to dealers around the world when trying to be legitimate is unsuccessful. Tony rises fast in the drug world, and as he becomes richer and richer his paranoia begins to jeopardize his empire. Not only that but he breaks the cardinal rule; don't get high on your own supply. The violent and brutal remake of the 1932 film of the same name. Starring Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham 8/10

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Miss Marker (1934)

The story of a little girl named Marthy Jane who is left as a marker for a twenty-dollar bet that her father makes on a horse. Although Sorrowful Jones the bookie doesn't take markers, he accepts this one until her father comes back. But when the horse doesn't win the race the father bumps himself off, leaving the little girl without anyone to look after her. The bookie who doesn't know what to do with the young girl decides to take her to his place to stay until he figures out whether or not to hand her over to the cops. "Marky" as she is affectionately called, wins over the hearts of both the bookie and all his pals, including cabaret singer Bangles Carson, whom Sorrowful has been crazy about despite her being with Steve, his tough boss. Shirley Temple is simply adorable in one of her most memorable films. Starring Adolphe Menjou, Dorothy Dell, Charles Bickford, Shirley Temple 8/10

Tootsie (1982)

Michael Dorsey is an unemployed actor, desperate to find a job in New York City. George Fields, his agent tells him that no one hire him because of his bad reputation. Until he finds out that there's auditions for a role on Southwest General, a daytime soap opera. So Michael dresses up in full female garb and becomes the feisty and sophisticated Dorothy Michaels, and in doing so he wins the role. His roommate and his agent are the only two who know Dorothy's true identity. As Michael plays the new administrator of the hospital on the show, the ratings go up and all seems great until he ends up falling in love and becoming friends with Julie Nichols, the beautiful leading actress of the series. So Michael is torn; if he shows his true feelings to her he's in danger of losing her friendship. A wonderfully hysterical comedy; Dustin Hoffman is brilliant at playing two very different and complex roles. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack, Geena Davis 8/10

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996)

DiCaprio plays Romeo and Danes plays Juliet, the star-crossed lovers who meet when Juliet's father holds a party at his mansion. They instantly fall in love until they realize that they're families are sworn enemies, fighting a violent war in the modern day suburb of Verona Beach. Adding to their conflict is Dave Paris, the dashing eligible bachelor whom Juliet's mother Gloria wants Juliet to court with and Tybalt, Juliet's vicious cousin who is out for revenge. A terrific and intense film; Shakespeare's famous play gets a hip update in this remake of the 1968 version. The two leads are fantastic as the doomed lovers, as well as the supporting cast. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Brian Dennehy, Paul Rudd, Jesse Bradford, M. Emmet Walsh, Jamie Kennedy, Dash Mihok, Diane Venora, Christina Pickles 7/10

The Miracle Worker (1962)

The story of Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf since birth. When she grows older, her family is afraid that she'll be taken away to an institution, so they ask for help from the Perkins Institute, a school for the blind. They send over Annie Sullivan, who has had operations on her eyes because she was once blind herself to be Helen's tutor. But it isn't easy, especially since Helen has been spoiled by her parents and doesn't know how to act civilized. Annie has her work cut out for her, struggling to teach Helen discipline, even something as simple as using a spoon to eat. But she doesn't give up. She feels the only way to get through to Helen is to take her from the house to a place where she can be the only one around to teach her. So Annie finds a little house in the woods that is perfect. Despite their objections, the Keller's pack up her things and brings the inquisitive Helen to the little house. An amazing film; both Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke are sensational in this moving and powerful piece of art. Starring Anne Bancroft, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson, Andrew Pine, Kathleen Comegys, Patty Duke 9/10

Monday, August 16, 2010

Little Women (1994)

The story of the March sisters: dependable and mature oldest sister Meg, sweet and fragile Beth, tomboyish and opinionated Jo, and spoiled Amy, the youngest. They live in Concord, Massachusetts in post Civil War America. While their father is in the war, they live in their house with their mother Marmee, putting on pretend theatrical plays. Each have their own talents; Jo loves to write, Amy loves to draw, Beth loves to play the piano and Meg loves to sew. When Theodore Laurence (affectionately referred to as Laurie) moves in next door, the sisters become fascinated with him and soon let him join their circle; even adding him to their theatrical society. A wonderful and moving coming-of-age story; the entire cast is extraordinary, the music is terrific and the locations are amazingly beautiful. Based on Louisa May Alcott's novel. Starring Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, John Neville, Mary Wickes, Susan Sarandon 8/10

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite is a dorky, unpopular guy who just wants to fit in at his high school. He lives in Idaho with his daredevil grandmother and his geeky brother Kip, who surfs chat rooms for ladies. He eventually becomes friends with Deb, the girl who shows up selling friendship bracelets. When the new kid in town named Pedro starts to go to Napoleon's school, he becomes friends with him too because he thinks Pedro is pretty cool; he's from Mexico, he owns a nice bike and he's the only one in the school with a mustache. But not all the people around him he gets along with; like Uncle Rico who's still nostalgic about his football jock days and wants to ruin Napoleon's life. When Pedro decides to run for class president, Napoleon helps him out and gets his chance to show his talents. Both funny and original; Jon Heder is hilarious as the title character. Starring Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Diedrich Bader, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Haylie Duff 7/10

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Home Alone (1990)

It's Christmas time and the McAllister family is preparing to take a trip to Paris, France. When eight year old Kevin McAllister gets into a fight with his older brother Buzz, his mother punishes him by sending him sleep upstairs on the third floor. During the night a tree limb falls on the electrical wires and knocks out the power. The next morning the electric company is outside trying to fix it, but since the alarm didn't go off, the family gets up later than usual. While running around like crazy trying to get everything and everyone in order, the family accidentally leaves Kevin behind. His mother Kate eventually realizes this and frantically tries to find someone to check on him, but there's no one home because they're all traveling for the holidays. But Kevin has a grand old time, having pizza all to himself and eating junk food while watching violent movies. Then Kevin finds that two bumbling burglars Harry and Marv plan to rob his house on Christmas Eve. So it's up to Kevin to defend the house by rigging up all sorts of booby traps for them. Meanwhile Kate stays at the airport, hoping to get a flight back to Chicago but gets frustrated because they're all gone when a clarinet player Gus Polinski, who is on his way to Milwaukee with his polka buddies offers her a ride back home. One of my favorite Christmas films; both hilarious and endearing. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Catherine O'Hara, Hillary Wolf, John Candy 7/10

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Johnny Depp plays the title character, a shy, awkward and gentle young man who has scissors for hands because his inventor died before getting the chance to give him hands. He lives in a castle on top of a hill all by himself. Until one day a nice lady who is an Avon representative named Peg stops by, and she takes him home to stay with her family. But life isn't easy for Edward, who tries to adjust to his new life. However soon he shows that he has talents; cutting hair and trimming hedges into different shapes and figures. He makes a great impression on the community and ends up falling in love with Kim, Peg's daughter. When Kim's boyfriend finds out Edward can also pick locks he makes him break into his father's house but unfortunately Edward gets framed as the culprit. The neighbors start to feel differently towards him except for Kim, who starts to understand his situation. A wonderfully heart-warming tale. Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price 8/10

Sunday, August 8, 2010

25th Hour (2002)

Montgomery Brogan (named after movie star Montgomery Clift) lives in New York and used to be a drug dealer, but got caught when DEA agents visited his apartment and found drugs hidden in the sofa cushions. Now he's supposed to go to jail for seven years. But before he does, he wants to spend one last day of freedom partying and having fun with his two best friends Jacob Elinsky and Frank Slaughtery and his girlfriend Naturelle Riviera. A fine cast and a compelling story; Edward Norton is fantastic in this story based on David Benoff's novel. Starring Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox 8/10

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Graduate (1967)

Benjamin Braddock has just finished college and returns to his home in California. His parents throw him a Homecoming Party, expecting great things from him. But overwhelmed by his parent's expectations, he's not quite sure what to do with his future. The wife of his father's business partner, Mrs. Robinson asks him to drive her home the same night and being the only two people in the house, she tries to seduce him. They start having an affair, secretly meeting up in hotel rooms. But Benjamin thinks it's risky and is afraid of getting caught. His father encourages him to take out the Robinsons' teenage daughter, Elaine and despite Mrs. Robinsons' warning to stay away from her, Benjamin spends time with her and soon falls in love with her. So he breaks it off with the mother to pursue the daughter. But when Elaine finds out that Ben has been sleeping with her mother, she doesn't want to see him anymore. However, Ben doesn't give up and is determined to get her back, even if that means driving a great distance, running out of gas, and going on foot to the church to stop her from marrying someone else.
One of my favorite of Dustin Hoffman's films; he is utterly amazing in his breakthrough role; the music from Simon and Garfunkel is outstanding. Starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson, Norman Fell 9/10

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Fifth Element (1997)

Bruce Willis plays Korben Dallas, a cab driver in New York in the year 2259. He was a former space soldier but has since retired. Then one morning when he least suspects it, something crashes into his cab. It is a young woman by the name of "Leeloo". What he doesn't realize until later is that she is the fifth element, a supreme being, the ultimate weapon against evil to save the Earth. She needs his help so he tracks down a priest named Vito Cornelius, who is trying to find the Elemental Stones needed to power the weapon against evil. But a corrupted businessman named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg is also looking for the stones as well and will stop at nothing to obtain them. This film is awesome fun; Willis is terrific, Oldman plays the villain to perfection and Milla Jovovich is beautiful. Starring Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Brion James, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister 8/10