Friday, April 29, 2011

History of the World Part 1 (1981)

Mel Brooks' uproarious spoof on a variety of histories of the world; The Dawn of Man, The Stone Age, The Old Testament, The Roman Empire, The Spanish Inquisition, and The French Revolution, with Brooks playing multiple roles as Moses in The Old Testament, Comicus the stand-up philosopher in the Roman Empire, King Louis XVI in the French Revolution, and Friar Tomas de Torquemada in the Spanish Inquisition. Hilarious fun with a terrific cast of characters; among my favorites are Dom DeLuise as the Emperor Caesar, Harvey Korman as the Count De Monet and Gregory Hines as Josephus, the tap-dancing slave. Memorable highlights include the song and dance number of The Spanish Inquisition, and a teaser trailer for History of the World Part II, which promises to feature Hitler on Ice, a Viking funeral, and Jews in Space. Starring Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Gregory Hines, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Ron Carey, Pamela Stephenson, Sid Caesar, John Hurt 7/10

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Autumn in New York (2000)

Will Keane is a 48-year old restaurant owner, who has a fear of commitment. So when he falls for Charlotte Fielding, a young free-spirited person who's celebrating her birthday at his restaurant, he thinks it will just be another simple and fast romance. But he soon discovers it's anything but, seeing as how he is twice her age, and that she is sick with heart problems. Will falls in love with Charlotte and doesn't give up in trying to help Charlotte with her illness. The acting is average, but it is a touching, sad and heartbreaking story that teaches us a lesson on how valuable life is and to make the most out of it. Starring Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Elaine Stritch, Vera Farmiga, Sam Trammell 7/10

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where the Heart Is (2000)

Novalee Nation is seventeen year old and pregnant who goes off to travel to California with her loser boyfriend. When she tells him to stop at Wal-Mart so she can use the bathroom and replace her shoes, afterward she leaves the store to see that he has left her stranded. She meets a woman named Sister Thelma Husband who mistakes her for one of her relatives, then gives her a Buckeye Tree. But when Novalee goes back to Wal-Mart because she feels sick, she discovers the store is closed and dark, so she stays there without anyone realizing it. She goes to the library to read up about the tree where she meets Forney Hull who's there caring for her sister, the librarian. After Novalee has her baby (which Forney assists with delivering in the store and is deemed The Wal-Mart baby) she meets up with Sister and she takes Novalee in to help with the baby. Novalee also befriends her nurse Lexie Coop. Sweet and touching; Natalie Portman is absolutely wonderful, she is the glue that holds the film together. Based on the best-selling novel by Billie Letts. Starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, James Frain, Keith David 8/10

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anywhere But Here (1999)

Adele August, along with her daughter Ann, leaves Bay City and her family to travel to Beverly Hills, California. But Ann hates the move and her new life because she doesn't want to be away from her family. She can't stand her mother and her vibrant personality so she plans to move away from her, and go far away to college on the east coast. However her mother insists for her to be an actress. Despite Adele's mistakes and flaws, in the end she just wants what's best for Ann. Both Sarandon and Portman are terrific and absolutely believable as mother and daughter; some funny moments and some heartbreaking, a great coming of age story. Starring Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Bonnie Bedelia, Shawn Hatosy, Hart Bochner, John Diehl 7/10

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five high school students; the rich girl Claire, the brain Brian, the athlete Andrew, the basket-case Allison, and the criminal John have to spend their Saturday in detention. The principal, Richard Vernon wants them to write an essay on who they think they are. So they think they're in for a long and boring day. They think they are five very different people from different cliques. But as the day goes on, they start interacting and eventually they reveal to each other their fears and secrets and realize that they are not all that different from one another. Touching and memorable performances from all five of our lead characters, this film is both humorous and heartbreaking. One of John Hughes' most influential films on the pressures of adolescent life. Starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy 8/10

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The French Connection (1971)

Hackman and Scheider play Popeye Doyle and Buddy Russo, New York detectives who try to stop the progress of a heroin shipment that is coming from France. So they begin trailing the suspects, two nationals that are their "French Connection". Hackman and Scheider make an awesome pair; exciting, thrilling and gritty with one of the best car chases ever filmed. Starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi 9/10

French Connection II (1975)

In the sequel to the 1971 hit, this time around New York Narcotics Detective Jimmy Popeye Doyle is in Marseilles, France to try and find the elusive drug kingpin Alain Charnier that got away in the first one, along with the help of Inspector Henri Barthélémy. But he ends up being kidnapped, and is injected with heroin. He is eventually set free, but in an addicted state. So Barthélémy immediately puts him into quarantine and Popeye goes through a long and terrible cold turkey withdrawal. But even that does not stop him from trying with determination to catch Charnier. An average sequel; Hackman is still terrific but the film lacks the same fire that the original had. Starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Bernard Fresson, Philippe Léotard, Ed Lauter 7/10

Monday, April 11, 2011

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Robin of Locksley, an English nobleman leaves his home to join the Third Crusade with Richard the Lionheart but is imprisoned in Jerusalem with his comrade Peter. But Robin manages to escape with the help of his Moorish friend Azeem. But Peter ends up dying while fleeing and tells Robin to swear to protect his sister Marian for him. Robin keeps his promise and he returns to England along with Azeem, who is indebted to Robin for saving his life and won't leave Robin's side until he has saved his. But when Robin arrives back home, he finds his father has been murdered, his home in ruins, and the Sheriff of Nottingham ruling over the townspeople. Robin and Azeem encounter outlaws in Sherwood Forest and together with Friar Tuck and Little John, rebel against the Sheriff and his men. Thrilling and fun; although Costner's performance of an Englishman with an American accent leaves much to be desired, it is the incomparable Alan Rickman as the ruthless Sheriff that steals the show. Starring Kevin Costner, Alan Rickman, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Christian Slater, Brian Blessed, Michael Wincott, Sean Connery 8/10

Felon (2008)

Wade Porter is family man who plans to have his own company and marry his girlfriend Laura so they can be a family with their son Michael. But one night when he finds a burglar in his house, he accidentally kills him and is arrested for murder. He's brought to trial and gets three years in prison, however when an incident occurs on the bus, Wade is framed and sent to the maximum security wing, run by the corrupt Lieutenant Jackson. Wade's cell mate is John Smith, who is in prison for life after taking revenge for the death of his family. John befriends Wade, and gives him advice; to protect his family at all costs, even if that means killing again. An intense and frighteningly realistic film; Dorff is impressive and Kilmer is extraordinary. Starring Stephen Dorff, Harold Perrineau, Marisol Nichols, Anne Archer, Sam Shepard, Val Kilmer 7/10

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Color of Night (1994)

Bill Capa is a psychologist who he falls into a depression after one of his patients commits suicide right in front of his eyes. After seeing her in a green dress surrounded by a pool of blood he suffers from psychosomatic color blindness, and he can't see the color red. Hoping to restart his life, he travels to L.A. and stays with a friend named Bob Moore, a fellow therapist and best-selling author. He brings Bill along to a group therapy session where he meets some of his patients. One night Bill's friend is savagely murdered, so it's up to Bill to find his killer. While continuing to live in Bob's house, and takes over the group therapy. Bill gets into a fender bender one day with a girl named Rose and soon after they have a very hot affair. But she mysteriously comes and goes when he least expects it, and doesn't tell him a thing about herself. Willis and March have desirable chemistry in this tense and erotic thriller. Starring Bruce Willis, Jane March, Leslie Ann Warren, Ruben Blades, Scott Bakula 6/10