Larry H's Movie Reviews for 1997 (33)
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January 17, 1998 Saturday at AMC First Colony Theatre #2. Audience -2. Start time 11:15am. This is the last official movie for 1997 for Larry H. The First Annual Sugar Awards will be coming out shortly. Please note that I was unable to attend a movie yesterday due to illness. I've been sick for over a week and I am not happy about it, but I am better, thank you. Not well enough to make this morningís pistol match in Friendswood, but well enough to participate in an indoor sport. That's why I am a 2-sport guy. Many of you people only have one sport. But I have an outdoor sport (shooting) and an indoor sport (movie going); What a Country!
"The Boxer" is Daniel Day-Lewis and the whole IRA complicated Protestant, Catholic, Belfast, Brits, we hate you and we will never give up, but we might try for a peace settlement but you gotta let the IRA soldiers out of prison - never gonna happen - oh yeah then a lot of innocent people will die - so be it. The Boxer has just gotten out of a14 year prison sentence for his past IRA involvement, but now he would rather fight in the ring than in the streets. Some of the locals think that such a "neutral" act as boxing against a Protestant is treason and the tension and love interest become very complicated and contrived with Daniel Day-Lewis semi-innocently involved and in the center of controversy. Fear, courage, revenge, hatred, love, historical, forbidden fruit, blood, bombs, guns, cops v. citizens, generational distrust, loyalty, betrayal.
Daniel Day-Lewis is the Euro Dustin Hoffman. His acting is monumental and honed to near perfection. His screen presence is awesome. He's got it. Some are now saying that I look a lot like Daniel Day-Lewis (not Brad Pitt). Both of us are tall and Irish with long arms and......hmmmmm. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 89. Larry H.
Christmas Eve 1997. The Fountains. Seating capacity 100. Very intimate setting. So I thought I'd catch a light-hearted movie while Monique and Eric were out doing some last minute stuff. Starring Tim ďTool Man" Allen and Kirstie "Cheers and some other sitcom that escapes me" Alley, and Wayne "I've been in more movies in the last several years than Sienfeld and Allen put together/aka Newman" Knight. Well I hit the jackpot for "light-hearted" and you can add "dumb as a board", but I enjoyed every one of the 94 minutes. I do not know who to give the credit to: Director Bryan Spicer, the writers, or the actors, but this silly, farcical movie works for me.
You know the drill - a socialite couple is ripped off by their accountant "Bob" (Wayne Knight) and the IRS comes after them with guns loaded, so Brad and Caroline do the only sensible thing they could do; go underground and rediscover themselves and love while working like slaves/pigs in an Amish community. Hard work and tilling the soil is always good for what ails ya. Don't get me wrong - I did not discover some hidden meaning in this film and now I want to reveal it to you. This film is about Tim and Kirstie being cute and endearing. Good casting. Twice I got goose pimples and teared up 2 or 3 times. I was shocked at my emotional investment in the story, but it happened so I have to fess up. Which means one of two things: either I am a sap and/or the movie is well done. This movie never tries to be anything other than " let's make some money off a couple TV stars so the masses will come see it" so we can make more movies with other TV stars and we will all live happily ever after. I can dig it.
Soon this movie will be on video and the wife will say "hey, I'd like to stay home tonight and rent a really funny, silly movie - I just want to laugh and be entertained and not have to think." And you reply,"....don't worry, Pumpkin, just wait right here and I will go to Blockbuster and be back in a jiff." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 89. Larry H.
Sunday afternoon December 21,1997, at the same AMC theatre that I saw ďAs Good As It Gets" three days ago. I am writing this review within thirty minutes of seeing the film, as is my custom, and I am still overwhelmed by the experience and feel inadequate to capture the essence of the story, but that will not stop me. "Titanic" is first and foremost a love story. The young lovers are Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), a 17 year old aristocrat, and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio),an artist from Wisconsin who has $10 in his pocket and barely gets on the ship due to a lucky hand of poker. The narrator of the film is Rose at age 101 as she tells her story to a modern day exploration crew that has been searching the "Titanic" with the subs that we have all seen on TV. The backdrop of the love story is the compelling human drama of the ship that "couldn't sink" superbly captured by writer, director, and producer James Cameron.
This movie is a combination of "Love Story" and "Shindler's List".
I am tired from the emotional ride (194 minutes) of the movie, so I am not going to try to improve on my description in the previous sentence. Nominations will abound. Best Picture. Merry Christmas. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 95+. Larry H.
December 18, 1997 Grand Opening of AMC 24 First Colony/Sugar Land.6:30-8:00pm. After I paid $25.00, it was all the food (steak from Outback Steakhouse) soft drinks and popcorn one could eat. Much of the money for tickets was for the Fort Bend ISD Education Foundation. AMC has built a magnificent theatre with all the updated stuff including stadium seating with orthopedic supports for the lower back. The chairs do not rock as they do at The Fountains. While I watched the movie I could continually smell the new carpet and chairs. Very pleasant. There was a big turnout from the community and itís the first time I ever went to a movie and saw 150 folks that I knew. After the opening speeches and ceremonies ("ticket tearing"), about 15 movies began at8:00pm. Everybody took off to the theater of their choice.
A big crowd packed in for "As Good As It Gets". Starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Jack is Back! He plays the central character of Melvin Udall, a writer, who suffers from classic symptoms of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. His character will be the 90's measurement for bigotry and obnoxious behavior. He hooks up with Carol/Helen Hunt because she is the only waitress that will tolerate his rude and insensitive behavior at the neighborhood New York restaurant. Melvin eats there regularly, but he also insults Jewish, women, and Black customers and brings his own sealed white plastic eating utensils because of germs. His "fag" neighbor is Simon (Kinnear) who's friend and protector is Cuba Gooding Jr. Melvin has no friends because he is mean and a loner, but he desperately wants love and companionship just like normal folks. This movie is all about love and compassion as developed between Melvin, Carol, and Simon. The operative word is "developed". Director James L. Brooks who also co-wrote the screenplay allows us to get to know the soft spots and hot buttons on these characters and it dishes out just the right amount of romance, sadness, tears, sweat, laughter, fear, rejection, and reconciliation.
The acting and dialogue are superb. Melvin's mannerisms and facial expression are presented by a Hall of Fame artist that has once again shown us that given the right part Jack Nicholson is still the man. Watch how Jack uses his hands while having dinner with Carol and utters the soon to be memorable line of "You make me want to be a better man."Notice his right thumb when he's on the phone. Its classic Jack("Pritzi's Honor").Nobody on the big screen can match Jack's hair, teeth, eyes, forehead, nose, and yes his sunglasses. If there was not a Jack Nicholson, we would need to invent one. Melvin would not step on a crack in the sidewalk or on a floor and the gyrations that he goes through to keep from "breaking his mother's back" are legend.
I laughed fifty times if I laughed once. This is a very emotional story. Carol is a single parent that has an asthmatic child that is subject to a trip to the ER 5-6 times a month. I do not like "Mad About You" and did not like Ms. Hunt in "Twister". I loved her in this movie. And not just because she takes off all her clothes for a very sensual scene on the side of the bathtub, but because she exhibited a range of feeling and depth that is usually reserved for a Meryl Streep. Helen will get serious consideration for a nomination.
Greg and Cuba are perfect for their parts: hard bodies and pretty faces. Simon is an artist and suffers serious injuries that require help from everyone, yet he maintains his dignity and "shares" with us a tale of woe as a child. Simon is an appropriate catalyst for Melvin and Carol.
Many nominations are on the horizon for AGAIG including best actor, screenplay, director, and movie. I can't wait to go see it again. Rock'n Roll
Grade 95+. Larry H.
December 12, 1997. Opening Day at The Fountains/Loew's. Eric, age 11,has been planning this day of going to HA3 for months. Having seen "Amistad" earlier in the day, I am game-ready. Eric loved the story and "tricks and traps" used to fend and foil the band of bad guys and gal that were chasing Alex to retrieve the "chip". Director John Hughes updates his gags and keeps on ticking. Well done. Good kids show.†Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 84. Larry H.
December 12, 1997, at The Fountains, opening day for "Armistad" directed by Steven Speilberg. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew McConaughey. Music by John Williams. Produced and distributed by Speilberg's Dreamworks. Speilberg is a genius. He has no equals. He's done it again. This movie is monumental. "Roots" slide over and make room for this based on fact story that begins in 1839 on a slave ship owned by Spain the 'La Amistad" that is overtaken via mutiny by the slave from ..... Well that's part of the mystery, so we will wait on that verdict. McConaughey plays a lawyer who demonstrates the courage and conviction that made me want to be an attorney when I grow up. His character as an unknown and unsuccessful barrister Roger Baldwin and the interaction with the leader/chief of the slaves during the litigation phase is a thing of beauty. Spielberg's use of captions is used sparingly to allow us to share the frustration in the language and culture barriers. The music and choirs throughout the movie are emotional. There are enough wonderful, intriguing characters and themes in the story to fascinate and entertain everyone. Anger, blood, sadness, triumph, fraud, murder, cruelty, love, respect, courage, intelligence, desperation, Christians, North v. South, politics, civil war, integrity, and irony and shock is rampant.
The new star will be the leader of the slaves who may be a surprise nomination. In one scene in the courtroom, the "Chief" raises goose pimples with the cry of "Give us Free". Hopkins as John Quincy Adams is spectacular in his scene before the US Supreme Court and probably will get yet another nomination. Freeman is solid. This film and Speilberg will get many nominations and has overtaken "Midnight in the Garden" as the front runner as Best Movie. Rock 'n Roll
Note: Going to the VIP Grand Opening of the neighborhood AMC 24 next Thur Dec 18th.
Grade 95+ . Larry H.
I have known Peter Fonda since "Easy Rider". Peter Fonda is a friend of mine. And you are no Peter Fonda. Sure, Peter and I have been through a lot since the 60's, but we are recovering now and enjoying movies. Sometimes Me and Peter and Jack just sit around talking trash about the good ole days. But, hey, I digress.
Ulee is an old, hardheaded fart that walks with a limp because of a bad knee. His "gold" is the honey from his bees that must be moved periodically to maximize their production. Such training was handed down through the generations from grandfather to father etc. All of Ulee's family is in need of "deep group therapy". But Ulee doesn't like help from outside the fam, not even from the local Sheriff. Prison, bad guys with Smith & Wesson .38 special 2" shoved under Ulee's chin, drug induced daughter-in-law gone comatose on "roofies" (which is the current bad drug of the day for date rape etc) two angry and sad grandchildren and a neighbor/doctor. Pamela Richardson, the mother on "Home Improvement" is the doctor/good Samaritan with a twinkle in her eye for Ulee. Ms. Richardson will get other parts because she was a bright spot in this movie.
Ulee, my friend Peter, will get a nomination for his performance. The Academy is getting older and they, too, are a friend of Peter's. Peter has learned the art of "less is better" and he limps and cleans his glasses (repeatedly) convincingly. He is an ugly Clint Eastwood. He is his father (Hank) sitting on the porch suffering from the "almost big one" in "On Golden Pond:. Forgive me for the reference to my friend "Hank", but I just call 'em as I see 'em. Itís the glasses.
Grade 86. Larry H.
Loew's Theatre at the Fountains. Opening day. $8-10 million first weekend $122 million first year excluding oversees sales is my prediction.
Starring: Mel I've got wild eyes and a large head Gibson. as Jerry.
Julia I've got big lips and you don't Roberts as Alice.
Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. You sure got yourself in a fine mess now. There are more "spooks" and "counter spooks" in this flick than your average suspense/conspiracy plot. Pay attention so you will know who to root for. The movie's recipe is: one part "Charly"; one part "Three Days of the Condor"; and one part Love. At times Mel over-does it, but his Jerry is a pretty out of control kind a guy. CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and a few other initials that I did not catch. Everybody is in on it. That Jerry is as slippery as Tony Curtis as Houndini and "they" cannot get a handle on him or his mind. Julia hangs in there and helps us help Jerry which is all we ever want to do when we watch a movie like this: take care of our hero so we can feel good about this whole mess.
Patrick Stewart will replace Jack Nicholson as the actor with the "best cut on the nose since Chinatown". Director Richard Donner uses reflections in windows, mirrors, water, and all kinds of glass to communicate an image and thought simultaneously. Well done. Plot and action are fast- paced and I cared a lot about Jerry and Alice. Caring about the characters is my hallmark in evaluating a movie and the measure and abundance of love is always the tie that binds. W got love in this story. Lots of it. English Patient kind of love without sex.
The odds are 3 to 2 that Mel will get a nomination. His acting was solid and borderline brilliant at times, but the Academy is gaga over handicaps and our boy Jerry suffers from "dementia" which may well be the new ribbon/cause worn at the big show next March. Cliff Robertson won their hearts in "Charly" in a similar fashion that Mel portrays Jerry - a loving, bumbling, embarrassing, mistreated experiment that went haywire.
Grade 93. Larry H.
Wolfgang Petersen has hit a homerun as the director and producer of this soon to be major hit. Itís fun, suspenseful, action packed, bloody, loving ,patriotic, caring, sad, scary, vengeful, and artistic. Gary Oldman is perhaps the best bad guy of the 90s, his portrayal as the head bad guy was superb and sets up the plot and opportunity for our hero Harrison Ford to be a cross between Audie Murphy and Arnold Schwartzennegger. What a country! The use of cellular phones and intercom systems will be copied by other directors for twenty years.
The venerable Glenn Close plays a solid Vice President with just the right amount of tension offered by the Secretary of Defense played by our old friend Dean Stockwell, who did a good job and we are glad he has a job. William H. who ever heard of him before "Fargo" Macy contributes to the action in that understated persona that is his trademark. The First Lady, Wendy Crewson, is the new Katherine Ross a la "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Rugged good looks look good on her.
If blood makes you queasy, stay at home. Story is believable even though at times I thought I was watching "Star Wars". Once again the guns were awesome. We need more close ups of the guns though, and there will be more close-up shots of the shots when I am the director.
This kind of flick does not usually get any nominations because itís a formula and mall film, but the academy may have to come off their high horse and consider Wolfgang Petersen and Gary Oldham.
Grade 92. Larry H. PS. I want an Air Force One cap. Hello?
"Cop Land" opened today/Friday August 15th, 1997. I saw it at theatre#17 at Loews.
Seating capacity: 681 (23 in attendance)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone as Sheriff Freddie
Harvey Keitel as Ray the crooked cop tied into the Mafia
Robert "Bobby" DeNiro as an Internal Affairs cop from NYPD
Ray Liotta as a cokehead cop
What a waste of talent! This was supposed to be Sly's coming out party as a serious actor. OK, so he came out a little bit. He tried and did not overact, which must have been powerful tempting for him, so we give him a B-. Advice - go back where you belong and do not get on the screen anywhere near Bobby and Harvey ever again. Now get out of here.
Bobby (his friends call him "Bobby") is still the king (no offense Elvis, which by the way, Elvis is not dead) and Harvey K. is playing another "Mr Wolfe" character as a fixer of problems; he had better luck in "Pulp Fiction" than he did in C L in the problem solving area. Harvey and Bobby are the only bright spots in the movie. Sly plays sallow moving, hard of hearing sheriff that doesn't say much. Oh duh. As sheriff, he is a dupe to the dopes. Also has a nasty cut on his nose to make him "believable". Director/writer James Mangold must take us as big of a chump as Sheriff Freddie. Whatís with the "cuts on the nose" lately on the big screen? Two weeks in a row we have had to endure these bloody rips on the snozolla. I don't get it.
The movie ended much to my liking except too many of these bozos lived. The guns were acceptable except Sheriff Freddie even carried a chump revolver when we all know cool cops only carry automatics, so I give Mangold a plus for that uncool prop for Sheriff Freddie. There are no good guys. As close as we can come to a good guy(s) is guilty of petty theft, drunk driving, lying, adultery, bombing, murder (accidentally),and cocaine addiction. "Where have all the flowers gone?"
This movie does for cops what Kramer's attorney Jackie does for lawyers. The preceding sentence is too much of a stretch for this piece, but I just had to work in Kramer and Jackie because last night they were so funny on "Sienfeld" that I thought the wife would have to call 911.
Picky detail that irked me: Sheriff Freddie shoots right, smokes and writes right handed, but his watch is on his right wrist. Reason: Sly is left handed in real life and normally wears his watch on his right wrist. Wake up Mr. Mangold. Ray the cokehead smokes left handed and his watch is on his right wrist appropriately. Please note that Ray shoots right handed because Hollywood does not like left handed people. I am left handed and I am gettin' ticked off writing this and I am seriously considering bringing a lawsuit against all the right handed majority for discrimination and back pay or is that payback?
Grade 79 Larry H.