Larry H's Movie Reviews for 1998 (64)
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August 28, 1998. Loew's Theatres. "54" stars Mike Myers and Neve Campbell. That's it for the good news. The backdrop for this movie is Studio 54 in the late 70's. I apologize for my attendance at this movie, but it started at 12:30 pm and that time was convenient for me. I read a synopsis of this flick - "A fictional story about a 19 year old kid from Jersey who becomes a star bartender." Yikes, can you stand the suspense? This could have been named "Disco Duck" or "Disco Doofus" or better yet "Dork Does Disco." It is a cross between "Boogie Nights" and "Dance Fever" and that's being very kind. I am reminded of the Mike Myers line when he played Wayne Campbell in "Wayne's World" when contemplating if I will ever see this movie again - "Yeah, right, when monkeys fly out of my butt." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 65W Larry H.
"Ever After: A Cinderella Story" is the full name of the film, but it should be named "The" Cinderella Story rather than "A" Cinderella Story. This is a winner and a "Date Flick" which is a challenging task. Tell us what a "Date Flick" is, Larry H. No problem - its a "Chick Flick" that people from Mars can enjoy and get credit for sensitivity, tenderness, and romance while not complaining and exhibiting enthusiastic interest in a movie with a strong leading lady. Guaranteed - try it.
The film follows the basic Cinderella story, yet improves the plot and the character development and contact between the prince and the common servant girl. Drew Barrymore's Danielle/Cinderella is funny, witty, intelligent, articulate, caring, passionate with a capital P, clever, fun-loving, energetic, simple dignified beauty, and cooks and sews all of her own clothes...... what prince wouldn't want an eighteen year old girl like that! Well, Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) has a choice to marry a princess from Spain per a contract arranged by his father, the King of France, and some local lady. No servants need apply. Unless you are Danielle who has to go undercover as a courtier wearing a stolen dress in order to convince the royalty to save a peasant friend of hers. While in this ruse, Danielle bumps into the prince and of course he is quite smitten by her but he does not know who she is and she gives a fake name to cover her tracks. But Prince Henry is resourceful and the hunt begins to find his "match". Of course, the Big Ball is coming up soon and the decision must be made by midnight or..... I can't tell too much. There are no pumpkin carriages or mice/footmen because this is "The" Cinderella story involving real humans that lived in 16th Century France. There is a slipper, but it's not made of glass.
Anjelica Huston is the dreaded stepmother "Rodmilla" and plays the part to perfection. She is able to combine hatred and cruelty which is synonymous with her character while salvaging some empathy from the audience. For this she will be nominated. Drew has had a rough time in Hollywood, but she, too, will be nominated and the two ladies with the famous last names will cut a fine figure at the Academy Awards next spring. The movie will receive 4-6 nominations. The most likely winner will be Costume Designer Jenny Beavan.
Even the Step Sisters were magnificent. During the show the younger one reminded me of Monica Lewinsky and then I found out her name was actually Melanie Lynskey. I don't make this stuff up, folks. Periodically, Leonardo Da Vinci played a pivotal part in the story which allowed the writers to weave his painting and inventions into the fabric of this frolicking romance.
There are many Hollywood actresses that are peeved that such a great part eluded them. Barrymore saves peasants sold into servitude, climbs trees in her under garments, throws rocks with spear-like accuracy, skillfully wields a sword and dagger, swims in her clothes, cries, loves, and is described by the Prince as "....you have more conviction in one memory than I've had in my entire life." The cinematography is spectacular! Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 92. Larry H.
August 14, 1998. As I walked toward Loew's theatre from my anointed parking spot around 12:35 pm, the wind was howling and rain falling. Heat index must have been only in the mid 80's. Thought I was in the Twilight Zone. For you people that do not live in the greater Texas Gulf Coast area, please be reminded that its been hotter than ....Cooter Brown.
"The Avengers" is the big screen version of the old TV series. If you liked the TV show maybe you have a shot at liking this flick. I was not a fan of the TV series, but I thought I would take a chance on this movie because of its stars and the "pickins were slim" this Friday. Ralph Fiennes is the derby-wearing-umbrella-carrying secret agent John Steed and his secret agent partner is Dr. Emma Peel played by Uma "Pulp Fiction" Thurman. Both work for The Ministry which is some kind of top secret British intellectual group of spies that would rather drink tea than blow up bombs or shoot someone. What wussies! The code names for the top dogs are "Mother" who is a man and "Father" who is a woman - go figure. The bad guy, I think, was August Wynter (Sean Connery) who has a diabolical plot to control the weather. "Holy tornado, BATMAN!" Robin did not utter that line but I expected someone to blurt it out all the same. Lame. Shame.
I did not doze off until about 15 minutes into the film, so perhaps you should ask others about this spy thriller. While I was conscious, here are some of the lines that caught my fancy: "You don't have to call me Dr. Peel, you can just call me Mrs. Peel." " Its a simple matter of protons and ions." "A man with an umbrella is a man praying for rain."
This movie was kept under raps and not reviewed by your local newspaper critics because the studio was smart and did not want the word to get out and chance losing the audience that would naturally go see a film with Fiennes, Thurman, and Connery. Good move. But they did not fool Larry H. and now you have been warned.
This sad little tale of silliness was not funny or interesting or silly now that I think about it. It was Public Broadcasting System presents "Pink Panther... Batman... and The Three Stooges"
Highlights: 1. Uma's a fox 2. Movie is 91 minutes 3. I did not stay till the end.
Rock 'n Roll
Grade 65 SW. Larry H.
I am standing in line to buy a ticket at Loew's at The Fountains inside the big lobby and the song "Summer Love" is playing real loud and Olivia, John and the Cast of "Grease" are rockin' and I'm be-bopping in that style where you know you have uncontrollable happy feet and hope you aren't making too big of a scene. I bought my ticket and had to go to the latrine, so I go in a stall and now I can hear the song even better and I feel like I am in the bleachers with the boys and I can feel my leather coat and greasy hair, and I am really rockin and groovin'. And then I come out of the stall and the song is over, and I have to act like a normal person lest I call attention to myself in a somewhat dubious setting. I hand my ticket to Martin and he directs me to Theatre #17 and quietly take my seat near the aisle fully prepared to enjoy a Brian De Palma film.
I like Nicholas Cage and Gary "Lt. Dan" Sinise but once again we learn that good acting cannot save a poor script and disjointed characters and story line. Championship fight is going on at a big hotel in Atlantic City and the Secretary of Defense is shot right under the noses of local cop Rick Santoro (Cage) and Navy Commander Kevin Dunne (Sinise) who are at the fight to protect the Secretary. Now how can such a thing happen? Don't know - don't care. Carla Gugino is the goofy female lead and she's cute. That's good.
It's a typical De Palma high-intensity-action-blood-loud-quick scenery changes-odd camera angles film and Brian should not give up directing and producing. I could sense during the movie that there was some talent floating around in the film, I just couldn't put my finger on it nor did I find the whole mess interesting. Sinise did have a big silencer on his Navy issue Beretta which could shoot very quietly and cause maximum blood loss.
I suppose that Cage's buds/agent came to him and said, "Hey, Nickie, you are practically a De Palma Clone. You can go all hyper and run around with blood on your face and take bribes and never tell where the girl is hidden and you'll be a macho hero and it won't matter if the story is stupid and a hurricane named "Jezebel" is blowing in the background during the entire flick. You can pull this off. It'll be great." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 75. Larry H.
Friday July 31, 1998 at Loew's Theatres at the Fountains. Well, at least its Friday and I am back on my regular schedule which is something to be thankful for because the movie was a big disappointment. Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey are great actors but cannot save a poorly written script and a stupid, predictable plot. SLJ is Danny Roman, an expert hostage negotiator, who is framed for murder by some crooked cops so Lt. Roman turns the tables and takes some hostages of his own so he can clear his good name and solve the murder mystery. The only mystery involving this flick was whether I would stay until the end of this 132-minute-big-budget flop. Kevin comes on the scene to "negotiate with the negotiator" and gets enmeshed in this silliness which reaches an unbelievable conclusion, but I was not offended because I did not care. Yes, the God Bomb Theory did kick in.
Good cops, bad cops, bombs, helicopters, fires, loud sounds, and a lot cool guns. I did not like this movie and that's nonnegotiable. Rock 'n Roll
Grade 72. Larry H.
Speilberg. Fear. Sadness. Blood. Honor. Bravery. Cowardice. Intensity. Realism.
This film is about war as presented by Steven Speilberg. There is certainly a story about saving the fourth son of a family who has already lost three in World War II, but the gut wrenching depiction of the tragedy and horror of war is the fabric of this movie. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and seven soldiers are superbly played with the appropriate amount of bonding and character development as they set out to bring Private Ryan home to safety. "Why does he get to go home.... I got a mother, Sarg's got a mother....". "He better be worth it" is the general consensus of the this squad of eight that has the confusing task of saving Pvt. Ryan behind enemy lines at a time when they, like everyone else, also want to go home and get out of the hell that has caught them and will not let them escape.
This movie's opening battle scene of the landing on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, could only be produced by Spielberg. The crying and pain and bullets to the heads of US soldiers who were mowed down as they bravely landed on the beaches of Normandy is tremendously sad and frightful. Spielberg, as he did in "Shindler's List," does not spare the viewer any amount of realism - a soldier lying on his back on the beach with both hands holding his intestines as other soldiers race by in an a desperate attempt to reach safety sets the tone early. Its bloody.
I've heard Spielberg say in interviews that the key to making a movie is "....it never stops beginning..." The film covers one week of the war. Captain Miller is the classic hero/leader that does not want his task but will rise to the occasion without seeming to care if the plan works or not. To insure that Spielberg's Capt. Miller is human and vulnerable, he cast Tom Hanks who plays the part with a periodic, uncontrollable tremor in is right hand and a moral compass that spins. Matt Damon plays Pvt. Ryan and was cast before "Good Will Hunting" made him a star so his role is smaller than the box-office-sensitive Spielberg would have liked had he known. Damon is good anyway.
The movie is 169 minutes. Never boring or slow, but a long time to experience this event. So, unless you are physically and emotionally fit, do not go. As the closing credits began, the audience responded in a measured, patriotic, and respectful applause. I will not see this film again for a long time. I've had enough. The Academy will reward this film handsomely. Rock 'n Roll
Grade 94. Larry H.
This is a kid flick. Do not go see this movie without a pre-teen. Fortunately, I have one on staff so we caught this flick on the way home from the factory on Monday July 20th at AMC. Popcorn and Gummi-bears and Mr. Pibb. Animation 1998 style. Two nervous nerds trying to save their jobs develop a platoon of commando "toys" that walk, talk, and think becuase they have a military chip implanted called "X 1000". "....now all we need is an enemy ..." for the commandos to kill and mame and we got a hot seller. So the nerds' company Globotech and its CEO Denis Leary develop the products including a hapless group of "Gorgonites" that are programmed to hide from the commandos and get their pitiful self blown up by the commandos led by Major Chip Hazard (voice by Tommy Lee Jones). Things get out of hand and Alan the young teenager and his "girlfriend" get emeshed with the creatures and before long there are mass quantities of bombs, fires, and general attacks by the commandos vs. Gordonites and all humans that appear to be friendly. The show is only 109 minutes. You can do it. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 82. Larry H.
The first 15-20 minutes of the movie were so exciting and fun that I got chills and had an almost uncontrollable urge to stand up in my seat and scream "Go Zorro - you the Man". The opening scene that I refer to is when Anthony Hopkins' Zorro is young in 1821 when the Spanish and Mexicans are pushing and shoving for control of California and the sword is mightier than ..... anything anybody's got if his name ain't Zorro. The Z Man can kill and thwart many men and soldiers in an instant; chandeliers fall, walls fall, statues fall, all in the nick of time to save Zorro from being trapped by far superior numbers. But Zorro is clever, quick and resourceful with using his surroundings as well as his sword to beat the Spanish and save the peasants who desperately need a hero. He has the talent and tricks of Tarzan AND Batman.
Fast forward 20 years, old Zorro has been in jail. His wife has been murdered and the local villain Governor/Don Raphael has stolen his daughter Elena. Man, we told you not to tug on Zorro's sword - now didn't we. But nooooo. You just had to keep jerking the peasants and up pops a new and younger candidate to be Zorro. So Don Diego (Hopkins) is old, but he trains Antonio Banderas who is a quick learner in this Zorro stuff albeit Banderas is a bit foolish and rambunctious. This new Zorro has a sense of humor that must have been indicative of that crazy generation that was coming of age in circa 1841. The first thing the young Zorro does is steal a horse - a big black steed worthy of his outfit (black hat, shirt, pants, and mask) and the horse the original Z Man had named Tornado.
This film could have been named "Son of Zorro....Zorro II.....Zorro Rides Again.... The Return of Zorro... " but Producer Spielberg and team chose the classier title and to emphasize the passing of the baton.... I mean mask. Banderas and Hopkins were wonderful and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena not only wins the beautiful skin contest, but she brings much passion and depth to a character that could have been easily overshadowed by the sword-wielding men. The Bad Guys are aptly portrayed and there is even a blond Captain named "Harrison Love." Now there's a name for a Zorro flick. Everyone except Captain Love has black hair and olive complexion. You people from Venus will like Banderas, oh duh, and Mr. Hopkins delivers his usual intensity, intellect, and intimidation factor. All the local big landowners/dictators were affectionately referred to as "Don". From now on... I want to be called "Don Larry H." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 89. Don Larry H.
July 15, 1998, at Loews Theatre #10 which is one of the small theatres,but "Something About Mary" is showing on two screens on this its firstofficial opening day. One of my law school buds was in town from SanAntonio so I let him go with me with the standard conditions that hecould not sit next to me. Rusty graduated #1 in our class at St. MarysLaw School so he quickly catches on and agreed to the terms; I evenshowed him my favorite parking place/pole. Someone had parked in myspot so I hope he doesn't think that I am not really successful andimportant.
This flick was the most fun I've had in a long time at a movie that is atotal piece of crap and offers little if any redeeming social valueespecially if you have lost the ability to think like a teenager.Fortunately, I have not lost that ability and am still honing some ofthe finer nuances of silliness and slapstick. Example: young man getshis unit caught in his zipper while in the bathroom at Mary's house onprom night and the big discussion is ".... is it his frank or beans..."that are in this precarious position. "... We have a bleeder here,"yells one of the paramedics. The story begins to crescendo early andreaches mediocrity and holds that level until the very end. Ben Stilleris the young man that has been in love with the dreamy Mary played byCameron Diaz since high school. Ted (Ben) hires a sleazy privateinvestigator to find Mary thirteen years after high school. The PI iswonderfully played my Matt Dillon who sports a mustache that would causeenvy by Schnieder on TV's "One Day At a Time." All three of the starsand supporting cast are charming and likeable and save this movie andmake it very funny - sometimes. But when its funny, its real funny.Ben Stiller is the son of George Constanza's TV father so he comes fromgood stock. Diaz and Dillon are real life lovers and they seemed to behaving fun in their roles. The stars career will get a boost from thisgig.
Love, shame, fun, pimples, hives, humiliation, sacrifice, lies,kindness, deciet, doublecross, and more love. One of the nice touches ofhumor and music was to have the ongoing-out-of-nowhere appearances of asinging guitar player and his spaced-out drummer a la Stubby Kaye andNat King Cole in "Water Hole No. 3" and "Cat Ballou." This movie hascult possibilities. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H. (DOB: July 16, 1950)
July 10, 1998. I have been in a legal seminar for two days and Inoticed that we had an hour and half for lunch on Friday. So guess whatI did. I have been anxiously waiting for LW4 for months. I haveenjoyed LW1-3 and like all the shoot 'em up action. Great guns.Gibson's Berretta 92 FS even has a laser attached to it this time.Chris Rock shows up as a wise-talking, kiss-up cop that carries a ColtGold Cup. Glover still carries a frumpy revolver. LW4 is out of themold of the first three, but I was very disappointed. Gibson and Gloverappeared to have lost that charm that made us play along with theirsilliness in deadly situations and have fun doing it. It did not helpmy attitude when an anti-gun poster and slogans showed up in the policesquad room with the classic red circle with a line through "NRA".Director Richard Donner was making a political statement by allowingthis poster to be seen in several camera angles and he can kiss myfoot. About an hour into this flick, I walked out very sad and returnedto my seminar. Darn. Rock ' n Roll.
69W. Larry H.