Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2002 (40)
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Dates are United States release dates
This is one of the greatest stupid movies of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Liked all the characters and if you promise not to tell anyone, I will admit that I got goose pimples twice and teary-eyed toward the end. Is this a romantic chick flick? You bet. All women should see this movie and about half the men.
I went to see this movie because the "Christmas" movies don't start until December 18th and besides... I had to see J-Lo. This is the classic Cinderella/Sabrina syndrome: poor girl hooks up with rich, handsome politician (er..prince). J-Lo is a maid in a four star hotel and Ray "Mr. Sensitive" Fiennes is running for US Senator. There are a series of cleverly written misunderstandings and before you know it J-Lo the maid is taking a walk in the park in a $5,000.00 outfit with Mr. Nice Guy Playboy who is not sure who she is; he thinks she is staying at the same hotel where he is staying. Actually calls her by the "wrong" name most of the movie. Oh well, we can accept a little white lie in the name of love.
J-Lo's son is splendidly played by a ten year old boy who is a cross between Opie and Doogie Howser, M.D. Stanley Tucci as the politician's campaign aid and Bob Hoskins as a floor butler at the Beresford hotel are excellent. Much of the movie is about J-Lo's character Marisa Ventura's social and economic plight while maintaining her dignity and beauty. Director Wayne Wang had the right mix of fun and heartbreak without muffling Ms. Lopez. (Note: Wayne Wang should win some sort of directorial award if for no other reason, he might have the coolest name ever invented.)
Jennifer Lopez is BIG. And I am not talking about her butt or her boyfriend Ben. She is a super superstar and this movie will make her even bigger if that's possible. Go see this movie soon so we can all stay focused on the upcoming movies. I need some money quickly because I plan to go to many movies in the coming weeks. I love America. Rock 'n Roll.
Executive Producer Billy Crystal came to me two years ago and mentioned he could use a couple of extra bucks as venture capital for his sequel "Analyze That." My mutual funds and Enron stock had not been doing so good, so I said to Billy, "...ok, but I gotta know that it's gonna be a winner and all that..." and Billy said "...fagetaboutit...I've got Bobby DeNiro and that Friends chick, the blonde one, and Harold Ramis is co-writing and directing...it's a can't miss...trust me..." "Put me down for two large" I bellowed in my best Sugar Land Mafia wannabe imitation. You,...you're good, you.
If Billy paid DeNiro his normal fee, my investment is in trouble. There are some funny one-liners, but the story is dumb. DeNiro's Paul Vitti is getting out of prison after serving 2 1/2 years in the hole because he is acting crazy and catatonic while singing tunes from "West Side Story', gets released to Crystal's character who is a psychiatrist (same as "Analyze This")and then goes back to being a mobster who cries every time the murder of his father is mentioned. Who cares...is this lame or what. We might have to give Harold Ramis some weed to get him back on track. I don't want to encourage the use of illicit drugs, but it breaks my heart to see such a waste of talent and if drugs can be used for medicinal purposes, then dat gummit, we should at least consider it. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 71. Larry H.
I know this is the day before Thanksgiving and I'm suppose to be thankful for my bountiful year, answered prayers, great family, and good health, but giving thanks under these circumstances can be quitechallenging: had to go to AMC not Loews, had to catch a 2:10 flick rather than noon, no reserved parking space, and coke-popcorn-Butterfinger (mini) not milk duds. Life is difficult.
I'm typing this at home on my new superduper laptop with wireless DSL connection; I normally write this piece at the office on Friday afternoon. I feel a little out of this world and that is where "Solaris" is located. The exact location is never revealed. Actually, very little in the way of detail and background of the main characters is shared with the audience other than George Clooney, a psychologist, is requested to go into outer space to help the crew at a space station near Solaris. We find out the bits of the mystery through Clooney's character. Seems there are some unaccounted for "people" on the space station and the crew is at various levels of insanity or dead.
Here is what the movie was not: scary, suspenseful, dramatic, funny, and interesting. Other than that it was a pretty solid story. I've been in the business for years and my sources tell me that Director/Writer Steven Soderbergh went to Clooney and had this exchange: "...hey, George, have I got a great script for you or what...haven't we made a lot of money on our other movies and this will be no different...it will be different but intriguing with very little dialogue... and issues of life, death, salvation, etc...but, Steven, will I have to be nude in any scenes?...well, Georgie, there is this one scene where we will have a close-up of your buttocks...why? because we did some polling and we feel that we need to show more of you, if you know what I mean...frontal? no, only backal...butt crack? Yeah, about 6-8 inches...ok, but you better be right on this, Steven."
One of the highlights of the movie was when a lady's cell phone started ringing and it rang long enough that I could almost recognize the catchy little tune. I only have five words for Soderbergh "you suck; I hate you." Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 69. Larry H.
I thought about going to the basement at Greenway Plaza to see "Far From Heaven" but that seemed like too much trouble and considered seeing the new Kevin Kline movie, but it was not showing at a convenient time. Until December 18th et seq when the real movies come out, we need to give these old standards a chance.
There are no surprises from an entertainment standpoint with this movie; if you like James Bond movies, you will like this one. The action is nonstop and the skanks are galore. The stage begins in North Korea (the bad guys) moves to Hong Kong, Cuba, London, Iceland...well you get the idea. The world is in trouble unless Bond...James Bond 007 saves us all and makes whoopee with Halle Berry who plays the part of Jinx. Jinx will probably result in a spinoff/sequel, but it will be a turnoff. Even with Ms. Goodbody Berry in it. Halle, go home and polish your Oscar and don't do anymore female Bond wannabee movies. Pierce Brosnan, do as many Bond movies as you can before they turn you out to pasture because you have reached your highest and best use.
Even though the Sig pistols and space age gadgets are fun and watching an explosion every 2.7 minutes is appealing, I still can't wait for the big boys to come on the screen in the next several weeks: Jack, Meryl, Billy, Bobby, Tom, and Leo. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 80. Larry H.
Someone must have thrown some voodoo dust on me as I walked into theatre #2 because shortly upon my arrival I became very sleepy. What a bust! This movie was pitiful and completely uninteresting and redundant. I did not like Harry or any of the characters this time. When Harry got in a sword (wand) fight with his nemesis, I was hoping that they would simultaneously turn each other into frogs and hop off the screen. Chamber of Secrets? Not a clue; I boogied. Let me count the ways this movie sucked.
I will now try to write something positive. Oh, here's one. There were 5-6 kids in the lobby dressed up in Harry Potter costumes. Little boogers should've been in school instead of watching this witchcraft Tom Foolery. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 65 W. Larry H.
I took a chance on this one. I knew little about it, but that little movie guy in the recesses of my brain encouraged me to give it a whirl. What a pleasant surprise. This movie will make Salma Hayek a movie star.
Hayek plays Frida Kahlo who was a world famous Mexican "artist and cultural icon who lived life to extreme." The movie is adapted from the novel by Hayden Herrera. We are first introduced to young Frida when she is a pesky college girl in 1922 Mexico City. Her character and the story span the next thirty years. The story, as are most great movies, is a love story.
She marries a well known, older Mexican artist - Diego Rivera played superbly by Alfred Molina. He explains to her that he has already been divorced twice but he will always remain "loyal" to her even though he admits with a straight face that his medical doctor has diagnosed him as "physiologically incapable of fidelity." Frida thinks she can overcome and cope with this marriage proposition because she is a mix of the hard drinking, smoking, barfly character of Karen Allen in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Madonna's Evita and Madonna.
Frida is severely injured in a trolley car accident as a young woman which gives her insights for her portraits of "loneliness and pain." The movie is about her struggling career, a failed marriage, international travel and fame, sadness, physical pain, and a really fun, bawdy girl. It's rated R.
Hayek's performance is magnificent. Supposedly, she resembles Kohla and looks comfortable donning the makeup to enhance the character's eyebrows that meet in the middle which I think is appropriately described as a "unibrow." That whole eyebrow thing took some getting use to; I'm not sure I ever did relax - I kept wanting to shout "hey, you wanta pluck a couple of those brow hairs so we can pay attention to the movie?" But I did not for fear it would disturb the other five people in attendance.
The script is wonderful and I am confident that the cast took less than their normal fee just so they could be a part of a meaningful movie - Antonio Banderas and Ashley Judd as artists, Edward Norton as Nelson Rockefeller, and Geoffrey Rush as Leon Trotsky. Yes, there is an ongoing backdrop of Communism of the '30's. This movie is not for everyone, but I was thrilled to see it especially since I went O for 2 last week. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 92. Larry H.
As I settled into my seat just as the movie was beginning, I was feeling rather smug for my strategic movie watching skills had carried the day yet again. Sure, I just walked out on Jerry Seinfeld, but I was about to see an updated version of the old TV show starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. This time the two young and semi-hip secret agents were trying to avert the capture of a stealth airplane in Uzbekistan.
Eddie Murphy and Owen "Nose" Wilson are two of my favorites. But so is Jerry S. and that's why I walked out of theatre #11, after about 25 minutes, with my tail between my legs and feeling slightly groggy. Two pitiful movies in one afternoon is more than one boy should have to endure. And endure I did not. I walked out with a major 'tude.
Last week I bought a Sony Mini DV camcorder, and as soon as I can figure out how to run it, I'm gonna make a movie about my life in Sugar Land and release it in local theatres as an alternative to the current crap. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 69 W. Larry H.
Mother Superior, I have sinned. What have you done, My Son? I walked out on Jerry Seinfeld. Say it ain't so. About thirty minutes into this documedy, I realized that I had not laughed; not once. This "movie" is merely Jerry's take on what it takes to be a stand up comedian by showing behind the scenes discussions among guys in the biz mixed with some onstage routines. You know the drill, "...oh it's soooo hard doing 20 minutes of comedy in front of a live audience..." If I want to see a documentary I'll watch the Discovery Channel.
I decided that I would walk as soon as I finished my popcorn, Coke, and Milk Duds. Then go out into Loew's hallway and search for a timely movie for a smooth transition. Maybe I can even catch that movie with Eddie Murphy and that guy with the nose. It was my second choice movie anyway.
As I walked out of theatre #2, I looked immediately across the hall at theatre #11 and lo and behold "I Spy" was starting in 20 minutes. I figured that God was rewarding me for my clean living.
I can see "Seinfeld" four times this evening at home. Rock 'n Roll.
NR W. Larry H.
I went to the 11:10 am flick at Cinemark on the toll way. I needed an early show because I'm on my way to the Bay City Lions Club Rice Festival to hook up with David H. who is the Chairman this year. He and I have been going to the Rice Festival since we were little boys circa 1958. David mailed me a pass to get in the gate and an armband to ride all the rides for free; I'm good to go.
David H. and Larry H. aren't exactly Wise Guys like the KnockaroundGuys, but we had to shake down a few folks in our day. This movieintroduces us to the Generation X mobsters in "late November 1987 Brooklyn." These young turks, I mean Italians, had a seemingly simple job of delivering a bag of money ($500 Large) to make things right. The lead young goomba is Matty (Barry Pepper) who is not really cut out for the mob world, but he convinces his underboss father Barry "Chains" Demaret (Dennis Hopper) to let him take charge of delivering the money. Things backfire and the money ends up in the hands of two dirty cops in Mibaux, Montana. Matty gathers up his posse which includes Taylor (Vin "XXX" Diesel) and Johnny Marbles (Seth Green) with the idea of retrieving the money for the old man. Here's the mix: multiple guns, bad guys vs. bad guys, greed and deceit, in a town in Montana that is smaller than Bay City. As Uncle Teddy (John Malkovich) explained if the money is not recovered "... then we are facing the Three R's - the roof, the river, or the revolver." Most of the movie takes place in Mibaux with a special blend of suspense, subtle humor, and blood.
This is an ok movie, but if you liked "Sweet Home Alabama" then don't go see this movie. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H.
The movies this week were a little weak so I took the advice of a couple of you people (female) and went to this movie because I wanted a sure thing. Reese Witherspoon is from Pigeon Creek, Alabama, but now is a successful clothes designer in New York. She has not been back to her hometown for over seven years. She gets engaged to a rich New York politico who gives her a giant diamond ring. Problem: she is still "married" to her hometown beau - her "soul mate since she was ten." She goes back to Alabama to "divorce" her husband and get things tidied up so she can marry the rich yankee.
She sees all her old high school friends and her parents for the first time in years. I am getting tired just relating this pitiful story. The best line of the movie prior to exiting by Larry H. was mumbled by her father (Fred Ward) to her mother (Mary Kay Place) "...Momma, go get that baloney cake outta the icebox." The movie went downhill from there.
This is why I go see movies on opening day. I am the one that should be telling you people which movies to go see, not the other way around. Reese Witherspoon has a nice chin, but she could not save this lamo screenplay. I stayed a full 55 minutes before I walked out and I am embarrassed I did not leave earlier. I hope nobody saw me in that place. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 69W. Larry H.