Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2001 (49)
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Time short. Must type fast. Saw movie on Friday. Now Saturday A.M.. Must go shopping with Monique. Oh boy! Christmas slow. Been good; many gifts.
Jim Carrey good; not great. Very Capraesque. More than a Capra movie. Sappy. This is what sap wants to be when it grows up. Sugar coated patriotism. Nice story; everyone happy. Most of the time. Martin Landau cry; Larry H. cry. Carrey can't remember name. Town "adopts" him. Circa 1951 - post W.W.II attitude - 62 hometown boys killed in war; need Carrey's character to "...just walk into town." Rebuild local theatre "The Majestic." Everyone loves movies!
James Whitmore's character is very old with crinkly face. Came late; had to sit near very old woman ("Granny") with crinkly face. Fifteen minutes into movie Granny rips an eight point burp. Followed by about a four pointer. She never changes her expression or stops eating popcorn. Larry H. becomes emotional because sadness on screen, but Granny make Larry H. laugh. Granny now violently shaking popcorn to spread salt. Wonder if Granny about to make other noises. Larry H. laughing now.
Go see movie because "It's A Wonderful Life." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H.
I successfully left the courtroom unusually quick this fine Wednesday morning and I took that as a sign from God to go to the opening day movie starting at 10:30 am at No DP Loew's. While I appreciate the suggestion by my many of you people to smuggle in a flask of DP, I decline. At least they still sell milk duds and popcorn.
I was first introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, Hobbits and the like in the early sixties when one of the smart kids (Karl K.) gave a fascinating book report to his fellow elementary students. The subject matter of good and evil and swords, monsters, and arrows was so intriguing that I still remember parts of his report. I must not be the only one who remembers because much to my surprise there were 100+ folks already in theatre #16 when I arrived early at 10:25 am. Who are these people? Don't these adults have real jobs? I had a pass from God; surely these people were just playing hooky to see a story that had previously captured their youthful imaginations.
The ring has the power to "rule them all." The first fifteen minutes of the film covers 3000+ years as a quick background on the importance of the ring and the ultimate evil result if Sauron, the Dark Lord, reacquires the ring. Our young hero Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) begrudgingly takes possession of the ring and attempts to return it to the land of Mordor. The real story is about the trek by Frodo and his "fellowship" to return the ring to Mordor without giving up the ring to Evil. And I mean Evil with a capital E. These bad guys are "evildoers." Hobbits, on the other hand, are fun-loving folk who are short with hairy ankles and feet. But they are cute in an Elijah Wood kinda way. There is also an assortment of elves, goblins, and fire-breathing Ark-of-the-Covenant type monsters
The now famous good wizard Gandalf was superbly played by Ian Mckellen. His beard and costume were vivid and powerful as were the those of the other characters This is a beautiful movie. We are treated to large quantities of information in this almost three hour movie; $100 million worth of information and much of that money was obviously spent on set design and special effects. And the sound track will become a classic.
Supposedly the producers have the remaining two installments/movies already in the can at an additional $200 million. During this movie I decided that I would sell all of my Enron stock and buy New Line Cinema shares. They are going to make a mint. When I left the theatre at 1:35 pm there was a line of 75 people waiting in the hallway eager to take over for the next showing. Many of this next group were high school students that looked like they knew how to read.
Elijah Wood has sealed his career forever with his sterling performance. And the rest of the cast of Ian Holm, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, and Orland Bloom were excellent. Memo to my bow hunting friends: The Bloom character, Legolas, is the greatest archer on earth...er in Middle Earth.
At about the two hour mark, the action and my empathy with the characters was so intense that my hands started sweating out of shear fear of monsters and heights. The cinematography and editing are dynamite! Director and co-screenwriter Peter Jackson is my new hero and I am confident that he should make plans to rent a fancy tux for the big show next spring. The nominations will be in excess of six. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 94. Larry H.
Before I tell you this is a "must see" movie, let me tell you some sad news. Loew's at the Fountains is now selling Mr. Pibb instead of Dr. Pepper. My life is over as we know it. When informed of this little tidbit while ordering my usual popcorn and DP, I might have copped a 'tude and said something caddy about Loew's being no better than AMC and their exclusive contract with Mr. Pibb. Man, I'm gettin' steamed just typing this. There're not going to have me to kick around much longer - what with the soon-to-be searches of my person and now this. If I build a quaint little theatre down the road, will you people come? We'll have DP and BBQ. You know I've always wanted my own theatre; the timing might be right! When you talk to folks on the street about this movie, they will invariably tell you that they can't tell you much about the story or it will ruin it for you. And they are correct. But I can tell you that it is an emotionally riveting story that never stops beginning (one of my favorite movie compliments.) Note: explicit sex scenes and some nudity; director/writer plays mind games.
Tom Cruise stars as a rich playboy and all the young women swoon at his very presence. Not much of a stretch there, huh? Wrong academy award breath. Cruise is spectacular in this part. His love interests are Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz. Both of these women turn in outstanding performances because of their characters' interplay with Cruise. Cruise dominates the story and the scenes, but his co-stars Jason Lee and Kurt Russell also shine because of him
Cameron Crowe as director and screenwriter will be nominated as well as some if not all of his cast. This is a story that is ideal for the big screen and the lure of movie magic flashbacks. If you have been complaining that this has been a weak year for movies, be patient my son, the time has arrived for the exciting period when all the biggies start to appear in a theatre near you so they can qualify for the Academy Awards. This period lasts from today (December 14th) until January 18th. As a reminder, any movie that opens at least in New York and LA by December 31st qualifies for the awards. I think the academy should add Sugar Land to that list, but what do I know, I can't even get a decent Dr. Pepper. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 92. Larry H.
This is a loose remake of the Frank Sinatra/Rat Pack movie of the 60's. This time Danny Ocean is played by George "I'm the Cutest" Clooney and his first lieutenant is Brad Big Bucks Aniston-Pitt and the love interest is Julia "Big Lips Brockovich" Roberts. The other cast members are: Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Casey "Graveytrain" Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott "M.A.S.H." Gould, Bernie "Who?" Mac, Carl "I'm Old" Reiner, and Don Cheadle. What a wonderful cast! Too bad the movie isn't.
This flick is markedly mediocre. The plot is simple: Ocean gets out of prison and gets ten other guys (Ocean's Eleven) to help rob three Las Vegas casinos. It's a mild cross between Mission Impossible and The Magnificent Seven. I say "mild" because everything about this movie is bland. The music should only be heard in an elevator not a star-studded big budget Steven Soderbergh production. This movie should have been named "Ocean's Six" because it's about five units shy of a full deck of MGM Grand certified blackjack cards. If you are a woman, tell your significant other that he must see this really cool action-packed movie that has bombs and stuff so he will take you to a movie and a dinner and then you can drool at this eye candy-hunkfest. If you are a regular human, go Christmas shopping. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 79. Larry H.
The "Spy Game" is lame. Robert Redford and Brad Pitt teamed up for this movie for the most honorable of intentions: they wanted to have a Hair Off to see who would be the reigning Hair King. You decide; I do not care.
Brad was sitting around the house about 18 months ago discussing life with Jennifer "Rachel" Anniston-Pitt and the conversation went something like this: "Brad, you are such a hunk and we just had that million dollar wedding and all... and I think what you need to do now is star in a movie with Bob Redford and then your career will be set...and they will quit saying those mean things about your acting ability...and I am confident that you can win the Hair Off." And Brad said "...yeah, you're right, Pumpkin, this spy movie could be the one... and you are a hunk-babe yourself."
Did I mention that this movie is Pitt-iful. Poor Rachel. I know she was trying to look out for her boy, but I have to blame her somewhat because she is smarter that he is and she should have known that this movie would be a stinker. Redford! I don't know what the heck he was thinking; he needs to call Paul Newman and try to hook up with him to see if they can do a movie about two nice guy train robbers and get BJ Thomas to sing the theme song. Ah, rats, that's already been done.
Redford and Pitt work for the CIA circa 1975-1991. Redford is retiring from being a spook after 30 years with The Company and darn the luck on his last day Pitt goes and gets himself captured and arrested by the Chinese. Some political problems and Brad Baby is set to be executed at 8:00 am the next day. So, Redford's character is tasked to trick the CIA so Brad will be saved. What pray tell will possibly happen? The suspense was killing me...and boring me. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 70. Larry H.
It's 8:30 am November 16th and I am at Loew's Theatre #2. I know that's early, but I got to the office at about 7:40 am and decided "what the heck," I've done some work already - must be time to go to the show; I know it's Friday. Loew's has a Harry Potter showing every 30 minutes and theatre #1 next door had one starting at 9:00 am. Our crowd was about 28 hardy souls. A surprising amount of school age kids. How do you get out of school to see a movie at 8:30 am on the Friday before Thanksgiving?
Yesterday I was not sure I was going to see this movie; told a friend "I don't do voodoo!" That friend, Raleigh J., admitted that he had read all the books and was expecting great things from the movie. Such anticipation and enthusiasm coming from a middle-aged, beer drinkin', East Texas huntin' home boy surprised me. So I started thinking that perhaps I would go. My friend, Charlie C., a card-carrying bench-jumping Christian told me it would be ok since these things were just fantasy. When I realized that they were opening the gates at 8:30 am, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to catch a flick so early. Seemed like I was beatin' the system. So off I went.
This is a kids movie plain and simple. Sure Harry Potter is a full blooded 24 carat wizard who is accepted into the premier school "Hogwarts" exclusively for witches and wizards, but the story is about kids learning about life - loyalty, friendship, courage, fear, battle, good and evil and yes even love. Harry has been orphaned and left to live with his hateful aunt and uncle; he escapes this terrible plight by going to Hogwarts. Before going to Hogwarts he must buy school supplies; you know the usual stuff - a magical wand etc.
The movie is very artfully produced with first rate special effects with music by John Williams. This story is reminiscent of Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, The Hardy Boys with a heavy dose of Star Wars. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is excellent displaying the innocence of The Beaver, the cuteness of Opie Taylor, and the sharp mind of Doogie Howser, M.D. But I did not like any character in the movie. As a general rule, I do not like kids movie. But the kids of America will like it and it will make a ton of money. When I returned to my car at 11:20 am, parked next to me were four school buses from neighboring Stafford school district which caused me to comment out loud "lordy, they're busing 'em in." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 76. Larry H.
It's Friday November 9th, opening day for "Heist." I arrived on time to see the first showing at my favorite theatre - Loew's at The Fountains. As I was buying my ticket I looked to my right and saw the manager seated behind the counter near the concession stand typing on his computer. He likes me a lot and gives me a nod whenever he sees me. A sure sign of friendship if ever there was one. Since he is on my way to theatre #12, I stop and inquire in my nicest and most skeptical voice, "hey, how ya doing, I heard a rumor on the internet that Loew's was going to start searching people for pocket knives and guns...any truth to that?" I just love to mention that I heard something on the internet because we all know that the internet is full of it, but something told me that maybe this rumor had roots. The manager, while hanging his head hounddog-like, said "...yeah, we're just waiting on the memo..." I was stunned and said in my most official kiss-my-foot attitude, "you have got to be kidding...I don't like that at all...I am adamantly opposed to that." He retorted "...well, we are only going to spot search people." I don't know what I said after that. It took me thirty minutes to shake it off during the movie before I could fully concentrate on the flick. Anger diminishes my movie-watching skills. You can tell that I'm completely calm now.
I am willing to give up my parking spot which was appropriately reserved for me today. I hope it is not the last time I park at Loew's, but it might be. Bummer.
This terrorist trash has gone too far. Loew's theatres in Stafford, TX. I ain't happy.
I will try to tell you about "Heist." Ah, fahgettaboutit. I can't. The movie is pretty good. Go see it if you liked "Mission Impossible," the TV show not the movie and "The Sting." Gene Hackman at age 71 appears to have made a deal with the devil; the boy still looks pretty good. Danny Devito is good as a second rate hood. Well written with more twists than a bowl full of pretzels. I know that is a trite analogy, but for a guy that is "completely calm," I'm a little on edge. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H.
This is a Billy Bob Jolie-Thornton Coen Brothers movie so I had to see it even though I had to travel to the inner city of Houston for the "exclusive" showing of "The Man Who Wasn't There" at Landmark's River Oaks. I drove around for over five minutes looking for a parking place (none was reserved for me) in this metropolitan theatre (3 theatre "complex") that was built over 50 years ago and luckily ended up parking within 25 feet of the front door. When I parked I could see the face of the ticket booth clerk and I turned to my dog and said "...hey, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore." When I paid for my ticket, the clerk struggled to make the "automatic" ticket come out of the dispenser, but finally he got down on his knees and opened the side panel door and stared helplessly into the obviously jammed apparatus. The "clerk" was over forty, a tad disheveled and had his cap on backwards He got back in his chair and without missing a beat, tore off an apparent generic ticket stub and gave it to me and grunted that the movie was "upstairs." The movie was in the main theatre downstairs, but I appreciated his attempt to point me in the right direction.
Billy Bob plays Ed Crane, a barber in 1940's California. He does not like being a barber in a 200 square foot shop owned by his brother-in-law. There are three barber chairs with foot stools, but only two barbers. Ed is married to Doris (France "Fargo" McDormand) who is doing the hoochie goochie with her boss Big Dave (James Gandoifini) who is married to the owner of Nerdlingers department store. The movie is in black and white which can be cool.
Ed does not mind being "second chair" in a small barber shop; he minds being a barber. Ed does not talk much which is convenient since everyone enjoys talking to him and sharing their dirty little secrets. Ed chain smokes non filter cigarettes in a slow methodical manner. Ed does everything slowly and methodically. It's as though Ed is not there! But Ed gets in lots of trouble.
Billy Bob's Ed has the dimwitted look of Boo Radley, the rugged good looks of James Dean and the fashion eye of an out-of-work aluminum siding salesman. This movie is pure Coenesque meaning the story written by the brothers revels in existing as far out on the edge as possible and still attract mainstream. Excuse me, River Oaks as an "exclusive" showing in not exactly blockbuster material. This movie should be shown to college classes and let them analyze it and tell the rest of us about the greatness of the film and the Coen Brothers. For me, I could hardly stay awake. But for Billy Bob, I would have walked. This movie should be seen on a rainy Sunday afternoon on video. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 76. Larry H
I know if Prot (long "o") was from outer space and I ain't tellin'. Kevin "Spacey" changed his last name to "Spacey" just for this movie. That's a lie, but it would have been a good story were it true. Spacey plays Prot the K-PAXian who is in a New York mental institution helping the other loonies with their therapy and the meaning of life all the while claiming to be from the planet K-PAX (all caps) which is about 100,000 light years from earth. Prot is 330+ earth years old. But he looks like Kevin Spacey. Now how can that be?
The shrink that is tending to Prot is Jeff "Starman" Bridges, one of Lloyd's boys and an early favorite to be voted in the Robert Redford Hair Hall of Fame. Bridges' character has a good heart and wants to help Prot with his "delusions" of being from outer space. Prot claims he his leaving soon to return to K-PAX and must finish his report before he leaves. And he tells the other patients in the institution that "only one" of them can go to K-PAX with him. They are very jazzed up at the notion of "leaving" with Prot and vie for his approval much to the consternation of the hospital staff.
Spacey's acting is superb yet again. His body language and costume are worth the ticket. Perpectual three-day growth and sunglasses. The story is suspenseful and kept the audience wondering if Prot was for real or just yanking everybody. Bridges is quite adequate and lends needed credibility to this flick. The audience laughed in all the right places which is a sure sign of a good movie. Notice the lighting throughout the movie.
Now it is time to complain. I saw this movie last Friday night on opening day and am just now getting around to writing this review on the following Thursday, November 1st. My timing has been pitiful. My friend Dianne W. warned me about going to First Colony AMC on a Friday night, but I was desperate and even took Monique H. who sat by me and talked. Obviously her previous probation period was meaningless. I plan to go to the movies tomorrow around noon and get back on my routine. Wish me luck. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 92. Larry H.
Robert Redford has been out of commission for a while at least on the acting front. In anticipation of this prison/military movie I added Milk Duds to my regular diet of popcorn and Dr. Pepper. That's a sweet combo. Mix the duds with the popcorn in the same mouth full. It will set you free and just when you don't think you can take anymore, then take a big hit of DP. Man, can things get any better. Got my assigned parking spot. If you doubt the authenticity of my "assigned" parking spot at Loew's, please check the web page at http://www.larryharrison.com.
In 1998, I wrote about Redford's last movie "The Horse Whisperer" by describing him as "...he's 61... but his hair is only 30." That was a good line back in '98 so I thought I would share it with you again. Quoting one's own reviews from one's own web page makes one a genuine wannabe movie reviewer thank you very much. This time around, Redford is 65 and his hair is still only 30; how does he do it? And for you over-forty girls out there, the boy has a couple of shots with his shirt off and he still looks good. Not as cute as The Sundance Kid, but still leading man material.
When his shirt is off in The Last Castle, which is a prison for soldiers convicted of crimes worthy of the Dirty Dozen, we see that his back is badly scarred from torture he received as a POW in Vietnam. Redford's Lt. General (three stars) Eugene Irwin also fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia. He is a war hero thrown into prison with run of the mill military felons. The prison is run by a commandant that rules with an iron hand and a lead brain. Killing a few inmates is acceptable to this idiot colonel if they get out of hand. Mr. Irwin, as he is referred to in the prison, does not like what he sees and organizes the prisoners into an uprising. Could have been a compelling story, but it's not.
The director tried to invoke patriotism which would have been a fortuitous plot, but this movie was not patriotic, it was pathetic. Shame on you Robert Redford. The action was slow, dialog uninteresting, and the story line was sappy and silly. But the Milk Duds were awesome. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 74. Larry H