Number 1000!!! – Friday, October 28th - Larry H. publishes his one thousandth movie review 1997-2022
Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2002 (40)       First  Prev  Next          Sort by Title:  Asc   Desc    Sort by Date:  Asc   Desc
Dates are United States release dates
Red Dragon
September 30, 2002
We were having a giant breakfast at IHOP when I realized that I had to hurry to make the 11:50 AM showing of "Red Dragon." I left the check with Monique H. for her to pay. She knew that I was going to the movies so we had come in separate cars. She asked loving "...why do you want to go see that movie; it will just make you sit on the edge of your seat." That's why I love her so.

About fifteen minutes into this film, I tried to move my left arm and discovered that it was "asleep." That's because I was so mesmerized by the opening scenes that I forgot to move. One's arm going to sleep is worse than sitting on the edge of your seat. The story and suspense never let up. I was entranced by the acting as well as the diabolical acts of Hannibal Lecter and the new serial killer- the Tooth Fairy.

The performances by this cast were nothing short of Hall of Fame. Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lecter is as good as ever even though he is younger circa early 1980's. Other nomination caliber performanceswere: Edward Norton as the Clarice/FBI agent smart guy gonna catch the killer Will Graham; Ralph "The English Patient" Fiennes as the Tooth Fairy; Harvey "Mr. Wolfe" Keitel as Will's former boss at the FBI; Emily Watson plays a blind woman who gets involved with the Tooth Fairy; Mary-Louise Parker as Will's wife; Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a tabloid reporter.

When I watch one of these movies, I do not try to figure out the killers next move etc; if it comes to me, then ok. I'm just along for the ride and the emotional rearranging. Director Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner has hit the big time with this flick. Wait till you see his next movie. I don't know what his next movie will be, but somebody will give him mega bucks. Probably already working on it. Screenwriter Ted "Silence of the Lambs" Tally is a genius and Thomas Harris who wrote the original novel is in need of some serious therapy. The nominations will abound. Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 95. Larry H.
The Four Feathers
eptember 20, 2002
I took a chance on this one. My instincts are good. Before the movie started and after parking in my assigned spot at Loew's, I ordered buttered popcorn. So much butter that I had to eat it like a lizard which is fun in a reptile kinda way. Also need to make this update because a few folks have asked to go to the movies with me lately. Not gonna happen; ok, you can go, but you can't sit by me.

Circa 1884, the British rule a fourth of the world and there is a Muslin rebellion in the Sudan so the Brits send their best and brightest officers off to war to correct this attack on the crown. These red coats take fighting for one's county very serious and failure to step forward, especially as an officer, during a time of combat is extreme cowardice and brings shame on the officer and his family. Of course our hero Harry (Heath Ledger) decides that he will resign his commission in the Army rather than go to the Sudan to fight. He explains that he is "...mostly scared" when pressed for a reason. There is a tradition in Britain of giving a coward a "white feather" to dramatize cowardice; Harry receives four white feathers - three from fellow officers and one from his new fiancé Ethne (Kate I'm Goldie's Girl Hudson).

Harry leaves Britain a disgrace and goes to the Sudan as a civilian. Why? That's what the movie is all about and it is a great story. I'm dying to give you details because I was intensely intrigued and interested in the unfolding plot. Hint: Harry tries to do right but he is so conflicted he nearly dies numerous times. But for his guardian angel Abou (Djimon Hounsou) saving his bacon several times, he would not be so lucky.

This is a war flick with rifles, pistols, swords, horses, camels, sand, bayonets, throats cut, torture, prejudice of all kinds, and big religious clashes between Christians and Muslims. I conjured up thoughts of "Lawrence of Arabia," "The English Patient," and World War II and the Vietnam War. However, this "coward" would not have gonenorth to Canada, but would have gone to ....I don't know. Note: atfirst I thought Harry looked like John Walker Lindh and then I started thinking he looked like Jesus. Whoa!

When watching this movie, do not give up because it starts slowly. The classic themes of war bad, courage good, and forbidden love are well done. I do not know Heath Ledger, but he is one of my early favorites for a Best Actor nomination. Ditto for Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou, but I know his work. Other nominations: costume and cinematography. Rock 'n Roll

Grade 93. Larry H.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
February 22, 2002
I laughed a lot. I got goose pimples and cried at the wedding reception. I must be getting old. I loved this movie. It's the "Full Monty" of '02. The star is Nia Vardalos (Toula) who is thirty years old and still not married. Not good for a Greek girl from Chicago who lives at home with her overbearing, outrageous parents. But they love her; if she would just get married. Her dad is very worried that she has not married because he reminds her constantly that she is "looking old." Toula is frustrated and scared because she knows the Greek credo forwomen is "...marry a Greek boy, have lots of babies, and cook..." Shedecides to get contacts, change her hair and stop looking like an ugly duckling.

Then Toula meets Mr. Right and his name is Ian Miller (John Corbett). That's a problem because you guessed it - there's never been a Greek boy named Ian. What's a girl to do. Her whole extended family is counting on her to finally get married to a Greek and start having some Greekbabies. But true love is a powerful animal.

Here is an example of this clever screenplay and the laugh-out-loudhumor: after meeting Ian and giving in to the temptation to at least date a non-Greek, she tells her family she is taking a pottery class so she can spend some time with him. Her dad (Michael Constantine) is ok with her studying pottery because "...the Greeks invented pottery." He explains to Toula that there are only two kinds of people: those that are Greek and those that wish they were Greek. And you say "...hey, Larry H., only a Greek person could write this script." And you would be correct movie breath; the writer is none other than the star Nia Vardalos who is an alum from "Second City."

The movie has already grossed $100+ million. And I'm real happy for the producers because they need the money. Two of the producers are Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. Gotta love America! The other two stars are Toula's mother and aunt played by Lainie Kazan and Andrea Martin. The cast is marvelous. If you are saying "...I do not know Nia Vardalos...what's she look like?" Not to worry; you'll see her at the Academy Awards next spring. Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 93. Larry H.
One Hour Photo
August 21, 2002
I've got to see a little happier movie. This is two movies in row that are real downers. There are zero light moments in this one. I'm trying to make a stupid little joke about popcorn or my parking spot, but I'm too bummed. Here's one high note: Robin Williams will get serious consideration for a nomination and the movie is a must see for movie freaks.

But be warned, this movie is CREEPY. Williams plays Cy "the photo guy" Parrish who works in the photo finishing department of a suburban store named SavMart. Cy lives alone, eats alone, watches TV alone and has no life outside his obsession with his job and in particular the photosover the years of the Yorkin family - Nina, Will, and Jake age 9. Cylives his life through the apparent "happy" photos of the Yorkin family. He fantasizes that he really is the Yorkins' "Uncle" Cy.Footnote: beware of men that refer to themselves as "uncle."

In a voice-over, Cy says "People take pictures of the happy moments of their lives. No one ever takes a photo of something they want to forget." Something happens in the Yorkin family that causes Cy to feel compelled to inject himself into the situation so he can make it right. And the story gets really creepy. Director and writer Mark Romanek weaves a multi-layered story that has a compelling ending and a critical angle of American suburbanites.

Another footnote: when you see this movie, please try to remember that my personal "photo guy" is named Deepak. Just a hint - this movie has a piece of "Psycho" and a pinch of "American Beauty." Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 91. Larry H.
City By The Sea
September 6, 2002
And I thought they were talking about Galveston. This city by the sea is Long Beach, New York, "about 30 minutes" from Manhattan where Robert "Bobby" De Niro is Lt. Vincent LaMarca NYPD. He is past retirement time, but stays on as a cop because he is divorced, lives alone, and not much going on his life except a cozy relationship with Frances "Fargo" McDormand who lives one floor below.

The movie opens with the introduction of De Niro's son who we find as a pitiful junkie that gets in trouble with one of the local pushers and the plot thickens. The web is complicated because the "trouble" of the son naturally falls into the lap of daddy the cop which brings up all the abandonment issues for De Niro, his son, and De Niro's father who "abandoned" him if you count going to the electric chair as abandonment. Will the cycle stop? There are some pretty heavy/dark aspects of this story, but I think I might require my sixteen year old to see this movie so he will never get a divorce or do drugs. The audience giggled once, but only once.

James Franco turned in an exceptional performance as the mixed up drug addict and McDormand was her steady self. She also was looking kinda cute. De Niro's partner was played by George Dzundza who also teamed up with him in "The Deer Hunter."

This movie gets five bonus points because of Bobby Ne Niro. The suspense and story were nothing to get excited about, but Bobby is one of the great actors of all time. Few people can call him "Bobby" but since I'm in the biz, it's ok. You should not try it though. I know some of Bobby's secrets that he does not like to share with just everyone. He had a conversation with God. It went something like this, and I am paraphrasing: Heavenly Father, I desperately want to be an actor, please help. Yes, my son, I will help you. I will give you a face, a face full of expression and wrinkles, ...er no... something better than wrinkles, I will give you grooves in your face and a mole (not too big) on your upper right cheek and penetrating eyes and hair to match...and then you must do the rest. Yes, my Father, I accept this gift.

I had to skip down to the next paragraph to conclude these remarks because I got all teary eyed just sharing that story about Bobby and could not end with the lighthearted....Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 87. Larry H.
Signs
July 29, 2002
I arrived at this movie with medium to low expectations. I usually don't buy into "...maybe some aliens from outer space made these signs in our corn field or maybe it's just a hoax like it was several years back." Low expectations can be a payoff.

This was a stunning movie that was well written and masterfully directed by M. Night "The Sixth Sense" Shyamalan. Folks that rip Shyamalan or either stupid or jealous. Hey, I don't think we need to get in to name calling. I'm just telling you, Dude, that to call his work Hitchcockian is not a stretch. The boy is good. I call him "boy" partially because I like to call people boy which gives me a feeling of superiority and because I think Night (that's what we call him in the biz) is around thirty two. The movie has a pinch of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Jurassic Park," "Jaws," "Body Snatchers," "Pyscho/The Birds," and "War of the Worlds."

Mel Gibson is a former preacher turned farmer after his wife dies and he is so angry at God that he no longer prays. His very complex younger brother Joaquin Phoenix moves in to help him raise the two kids played by Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin. The kids were outstanding. Ditto for Phoenix and to some degree Gibson. These four characters are the heroes and most of the intense action occurs when these family members are learning about and struggling with the dilemma and the cause of the "signs."

This is a scary suspenseful show. I got the feeling that Shyamalan had a very tight agenda and divulged bits of information when he thought we were ready and not a second sooner. Not unlike that other guy that talked funny and his first name started with Alfred. This movie has a shot at some nominations. Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 93. Larry H.
Larry H. is in the nation's capital with the wife and boy. We took a planned break from the activities to see the opening day third installment of "Austin Powers in Goldmember." You have not been to all the theatres of the world until attending a movie at Union Station in DC. Melting pot? That theatre is more of a melting pot than folks that hang around the Statute of Liberty. Standing in line (it was asellout) was the rich and powerful wannabees, congressional staffers, gangstas, old, young, and foreigners. We arrived early and the two guys in front of us were comparing passports, the college kids behind us were talking trash, and my favorite was the dude sitting by himself in the middle of the row with a vacant seat on either side of him who refused to move when a couple showed up near the beginning of the movie and were forced to choose to sit on each side of this lonely guy. As the couple approached the lonely guy, I nudged Eric H. to make sure he saw what I believed to be a standoff; I was right: the dude never budged and the couple obligingly sat down without a whimper. What a country!

Austin Powers 3 is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I laughed numerous times until I had tears in my eyes, breathing problems, and peculiar things in my nose. I love doing that. It helps if one has the mentality of a twelve year old boy. Ok, I know I qualify even though occasionally I slip into the maturity of a twenty year old, but not often. Michael Myers is a comedic genius -writing and acting. He resurrects shagadellic Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard and this new character Goldmember. Seems that Goldmember, who is an unattractive Dutch disco maven, met with an unfortunate smelting accident and lost his privates. Not to worry - Goldmember's member was reconstructed with gold. That's enough of the plot; it's not important. If you liked the first two AP movies, you'll love this one, too. Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 94. Larry H.
K-19 The Widowmaker
July 19, 2002
This is Comrade Larry H. 1961. The Commies are trying to keep up with the latest deployment of nuclear rockets via submarine by the USA and they are moving too fast. An accident is sure to happen. And it does. And Comrade Harrison Ford is the Soviet captain that must cope with this almost-gonna-start-WWIII crisis if the sub blows up/melts down. Comrade Liam Neeson is also on the Russian sub helping Comrade Ford make everything right for the motherland so the Americans will not do something stupid.

I usually write my comments about movies within a half hour of seeing the flick. Last Friday July 19th, I came back to my office to follow my customary routine and scribble down some of my thoughts and send them out to some of you people via email. But, alas, my ISP/DSL was down so I postponed the event until now: Monday July 22nd. I did not care much for this movie and do not have much to say about it because it has been three days and what little I can remember about the characters etc, I am too nonplused to conjure up the energy to comment. Other than to say that I was tired of everyone referring to each other as "Comrade."

But I have a trivia question. What movie character uttered these immortal words - "...get in my belly." Hint: he was a very large fellow.

I will be in Washington DC this coming Friday and I plan to see Austin Powers 3 on Friday. If George W. wants to speak to me while I'm in town, he can wait until after I've seen Dr. Evil and Mini Me and the boys try to kill AP. I have a life size poster (talking) of Austin Powers in my garage. Oh, Behave! Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 76. Larry H.
Road to Perdition
July 12, 2002
This is the first movie of the year that will be a player for Oscar. The cast/acting was outstanding. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) got the max from his actors. My only complaint with Mendes is that he allowed a couple of dips in the action and emotion in the middle of the movie that broke my concentration and connection with the story and its characters. Accordingly, the movie is first class; not great.

This is Tom Hanks' movie. If ever there was a father-son movie, this is it. However, my son can not go to this movie without me because it is rated R. I plan to take him (Eric H. age 16) if he will stoop to being seen with me in public. It is rated R because of violence and cussing; no sex.

The setting is an unnamed city not too far from Chicago in the winter of 1931. Hanks is an enforcer for the local Irish Mafia headed up by Paul "Cool Hand Luke" Newman. Newman has a son (Daniel Craig) who is jealous of his father's relationship with Hanks character Mike Sullivan. Hanks also has a 12 year old son (Liam Aiken) who becomes involved in the mix when he witnesses something that he should not have seen. Jude Law plays a quirky hit man of hit men. Seems he likes to take photos of his victims while posing as a photo journalist. Nice twist; his hat/derby is memorable as well. Stanley Tucci plays an Italian Mafioso and also turns in a stellar performance.

This screenplay by David Self is well done if you blame the "dips" on Mendes. When the story causes the audience to relate to a murderer who repeatedly kills because the victims/bad guys really deserve it, then you have the mark of a complicated story with classically conflicted characters.

I am a Hanks fan so I try not to be prejudice in his favor, but the boy can act. I would like to have seen Newman on the screen more, but there was not room for him and Hanks even though there is at least one scene where they share the screen which reminded me that these were two guys who deserve the title of "movie star." Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 93. Larry H.
Men in Black II
July 3, 2002
I was so psyched for this movie. Been countin' the days. What a dud! As sequels go - can you say "Rocky VI"? It was painful. The ads tout "Same Planet. New Scum". Should have said "Same Shtick Scum Dumb." And so are you, if you go see this movie without seeing some of the other movies that are now playing. Ok, I know you want to see this reset of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Smith). If you disagree, let me know. I never went to sleep, but I was groggy.

This movie was not the fault of Tommy Lee and Will; I'm glad because they are two of my boys. But datgum it was disappointing and a retread of the original. A wisecracking dog named Frank was the highlight. The villian was a skank named Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) who ran around in her all-together a la Victoria Secret and even she was a bust. Pun intended.

I suppose I must assigned the blame to Director Barry Sonnenfeld and Executive Producer Stephen Spielberg. If those two boys can screw up, I guess there's hope for the rest of us. Happy Fourth of July. Rock 'n Roll.

Grade 70. Larry H.
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