Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2003 (40)
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I've been missing; went on a five day trip mostly in the Hill Country. Spent a lot of quality time with Monique H. and Eric H. As we were coming home the day after Thanksgiving on I-10 we crossed that famous waterway "Woman Hollering Creek." I think I know the guy that came up with that name... but I certainly do not know any women (personally)that would qualify for such a handle.
It felt good to get back to a theatre today even if it is a Saturday afternoon. I had seen the previews of this movie only and quickly concluded that if Tommy Lee is playing an Indian with a scowl on his face, it must be good.
New Mexico 1885. Tommy Lee Jones returns for unknown reasons after being estranged from his daughter Maggie (Cate Blanchett) for twenty years. Maggie is a single mom raising two girls in a harsh environment on the snowy plains. She is a "healer" and is very resentful of TLJ who has lived as an Indian with the long hair and the clothes. We do not learn of his true background until the story develops.
Renegade Indians kidnap Maggie's teenage daughter for sale in Mexico and Tommy Lee the Indian and Cate Blanchett with the determination of a momma lion are forced to make peace because the local authorities and military are no help. Maggie's youngest daughter Dot (Jenna Boyd) insists that she be allowed to go along to recovery Lilly (Evan Rachel Wood). I had flashbacks of John Wayne in "Big Jake" but that movie is tame compared to this Ron "Opie" Howard film.
This drama is full of violence, torture, suspense, love, hate, fear, harshness, the will to survive, and Christianity vs. witchcraft. My hands starting sweating in the first thirty minutes; I would take a few deep breaths during a "slow" part of the movie and then Opie would start back in again with the emotional action that kept me glued to my chair. The sweating and gasping for air continued throughout the movie. I saw others squirming in their seats and taking deep breaths so I wasn't the only wimp.
Cate Blanchett turned in an Oscar type performance as the strong woman who is up for the fight caused by men. Tommy Lee might have done a great job, but I can not be trusted because I am such a huge fan of Tommy Lee. This is a superb film by my childhood friend Ron Howard. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 95. Larry H.
Next week, the Larry H. family will be headin' to the Hill Country a la the Griswolds and I hope to see a movie or two during the trip. As I am driving the fam in our SUV, I hope the "Girl in the Ferrari" does not pull along side trying to entice me. I've noticed the Christie Brinkley-types have been stalking me lately. I told Monique H. to be ready lest she be caught off guard during the vacation.
Meanwhile, I slipped away during the noon hour to catch the latest Mike Myers film "The Cat in the Hat." I've never read the Dr. Seuss book (225 words), but I figured that if Austin Powers/Wayne Campbell is in it, then I should attend.
I think the movie/story is about kids learning how to have fun. Myers does a good job of cat comedy, but I laughed the most when Alec Baldwin's character was on the screen. Baldwin plays a snaky, two-faced salesman in love with the kids' hot momma. All the characters are a tad charming and the set design and special effects are ...let me think of just the right word..."adequate."
This is a kids' movie; do not be fooled. There were a total of three humans in attendance in theatre #16 at Loew's at The Fountains. A third of us walked out after about 40 minutes. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade NR W. Larry H.
Some of you people think that I just sit around the office on Fridays waiting till noon with my feet propped up on my desk counting my money and telling other people what to do. So.
I didn't want to see "Matrix 3" or whatever it's called even though Tyson J. thinks that I'm a movie wimp just because I'm not a Matrix freak. Takes one to know one. I'll show Tyson; I'll go see a sweet holiday movie that's the exact opposite of "The Matrix Revolutions."
And derned if somebody driving a big-butted SUV didn't take my parking spot so I couldn't park my SUV in my appointed slot. If you are wondering which spot is assigned to me, please refer to my web page at larryharrison.com. I bought my ticket which is now the outrageous price of $6.00 matinee! I got my usual popcorn and soft drink but this time I added those chocolate covered raisins. Pretty good combo.
Ok, so there's this elf named Buddy (Will Farrell) who is really a human but is adopted by Bob Newhart who is really an elf who works for Ed Asner who really is the real Santa Claus. I know he is the real deal because I saw his sleigh and it is powered by a Clausometer fueled by Christmas spirit. Buddy is over six feet tall and he fits in as one of Santa's helpers about as well as Rudolph did before Santa recognized his special talents. Unfortunately, Buddy does not have any decipherable talents so his adopted father strongly suggests that he leave the North Pole and walk to New York City to hook up with his real dad.
His real dad is a shady children's book publisher whose office is in the Empire State building. Buddy's dad is played by James "Sonny Corleone" Caan who now walks slightly stooped over which I believe was caused by that terrible machine gunning episode that occurred in '72. Buddy and Dad do not hit it off at first primarily because Buddy runs around NYC in a green elf outfit singing cheerful songs, playing games, and eating candy. DNA tests confirm that Buddy is in fact the son nobody knew about.
About midway through this wannabe holiday classic, I began to doze and then I snapped out of it just before I began making noises... lest Tyson was right. After that brief interlude, I became even more determined to finish this movie along with the other three people in the theatre. During the last ten minutes of this flick, I actually became "verklept" a couple of times. Ok, so I'm a movie wimp! Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 80. Larry H.
I had great difficulty in making a decision about my Friday movie. At first I was going to see "Radio" and then switched to "The Gospel of John." But both movies got bumped due to scheduling. Between the office and a trip to my gunsmith, my Friday became unraveled so I decided at the last minute to see "Mystic River."
About thirty minutes before show time, my dear sister Suzanne B. drops by the office to share her good cheer and encouraged me to see "Mystic River" and declared in that tone of voice that only a sister can muster "...and Sean Penn's gonna win the Best Actor award...just you wait and see...Clint can make it happen." I hate it when my little sister has seen a movie before I've even had the chance and thinks she knows everything. She's a pretty shrewd lady and she was right about this movie and Sean Penn.
"Mystic River" is a masterpiece. The screenplay is adapted from Dennis Lehane's book. I was totally emotionally engaged in the opening minutes and my focus did not change. I had to stop eating popcorn and milkduds due to emotional upset. I was able to get a grip midway through the movie and finish my popcorn but it took some effort.
The movie begins with a flashback about three decades when three young boys are playing in the street when one of them is taken off in a car by two men and sexually molested for four days then returned to the neighborhood. The three boys' relationship is never the same. Their lives become entangled in adulthood when the daughter of one of them (Sean Penn) is murdered. One of the last people to see the 19 year old girl alive is Dave (Tim Robbins) and therefore the childhood friend becomes an early suspect. The third little boy, Sean, (Kevin Bacon) is the Massachusetts State Policeman that investigates the case.
While these three leading men were superb in their roles, the supporting cast of Laurence Fishburne (Sean's partner), Laura Linney (Penn's wife), and Marcia Gay Harden (Robbins wife) were noteworthy. It was a great cast and some of them will not get nominated because there were too many outstanding performances. All credit is due Clint Eastwood. He's even credited with "Music by Clint Eastwood"...what's up with that? I know Clint can't sing; I've recently heard him attempt to knock out a few tunes from "Paint Your Wagon" and it was painful, remember? Footnote: Eli "The Ugly" Wallach plays a minor role as a liquor store owner. "The Good" must've enjoyed directing his old friend from the Spaghetti Western days.
If you people have not seen this movie, then stop procrastinating and go, but you need to either take a friend for support or take inventory of your spiritual condition to ensure your fitness for the endeavor. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 95. Larry H.
Uma Thurman is the baddest of the bad. Uma, who played Mrs. Wallace in "Pulp Fiction," once again teams up with Quentin Tarantino. QT is the writer-director and the movie is appropriately Tarantinoesque - discombobulated and super violent. There is more blood spilled on the screen than any movie ever. We are expected to forgive the violence because the blood sprays out of the arteries when a limb is severed rather than a slow natural gush.
Uma's character is Black Mambo, an assassin of monumental killing skills especially with a samurai sword or she can bite your lip off if necessary. She is a very talented professional and is hell bent on seeking revenge against those who done her wrong. Those bad people are a group of women led by Bill. Kill Bill
The women assassins are Daryl Hannah (with a patch over one eye), Vivica A. Fox and Lucy Liu. I liked Ms. Liu the most.
This is volume 1 because Tarantino claims the audience can not stand 3 hours of this intensity and violence so we will see volume 2 in February 2004. When I sensed that this volume was about to end, I was glad and quite content to wait until February. I think this will again be an important and influential film, but it ain't no Pulp Fiction. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 88. Larry H.
If you can't complain about the weather then what can you complain about. But on this fine October 3rd the sky is clear; the low is about 60 with a high around 84. I guess I need something else to complain about. "Take my wife...please." I know that was cheap but I felt desperate.
I went to this movie because the word on the street is that my boy Bill Murray turned in a great performance. There can only be a great performance if I say so. And I say so. Billy Boy's portrayal of an aging movie star in Tokyo to make a cheesy whiskey commercial is spectacular. If he does not get a nomination it will be a crime against Nature.
Murray's character is Bob Harris; a lonely man in a strange culture who bumps into a young married woman (Scarlett Johansson) who is equally alone and lonely. Tokyo and the Japanese culture are not just a backdrop for this movie but is very much the fabric and an important setting for these wayward souls. This is the epitome of forbidden love: both are married and want to maintain family loyalty...and there is a huge age difference.
Director Sofia Coppola (Francis's girl) skillfully guides us through the stages of caring and love between Bob and Charlotte. But Coppola shields the audience from Hollywood clichés while presenting an intriguing plot that made me pay attention because I was not sure of the ending and the ultimate outcome of this budding romance. Or is it a romance at all. A subtle touch on the shoulder, brief hand holding, and quick stares are our Coppola clues. Sofia has escaped from daddy's giant shadow.
As is usually the case, this female co-star matches Murray's understated Bob with her own memorable performance. I guess her momma didn't name her Scarlett for nothing.
Grade 90. Larry H.
This movie was painful. I wanted to walk out about mid-way but could not muster the courage. That little know-it-all man in the back of my proverbial brain said for me to stick it out till the finish. I did and I'm glad I saw the end but I was thrilled when it was over.
If I wasn't getting the big bucks for my efforts, I wouldn't bother with commenting but you people need to be warned. So here is the warning:DON'T GO SEE THIS STUPID MOVIE.
Ok, I admit it had its clever moments but overall the story was unbelievable and exasperating. Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore are a cute young couple looking to buy just the right house/apartment but can only afford a duplex in Brooklyn with a rent controlled tenant upstairs. That tenant is an irritating old lady from Ireland that causes havoc in the lives of Ben and Drew. And I couldn't care less and prayed that God would send down a bomb and blow them all up; hence the God Bomb Theory. I suppose the flaw in the God Bomb Theory is that if God did send down a bomb, it might take me out, too. Never thought of that until now. Darn the luck.
I've had a good day: Fort Bend County Fair parade this morning, then to the movies and I'm going to my niece/cheerleader's football game tonight. The whole family is meeting for Mexican food before the game in West Columbia. Gotta love America! Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 72. Larry H.
I was feeling good and now I feel better. This was a feel-good movie. I also feel good about my timing. I told my crack staff that I was going to lunch and it might take awhile. I know it's only Wednesday but I've been busy the last two Fridays and had developed a resentment: went to a memorial service for a high school friend on one Friday and my little brother had a heart cath last Friday. I requested John H. to get the doctors to move along rapidly so I could get credit for visiting him in the hospital and still make my Friday movie. He tried but the whole "operation" took too long and alas foiled again. Brother John is doing just fine and will probably out live us all; thanks for asking.
Michael Caine and Robert Duvall are two old codgers living out their lives in rural Texas circa 1959 after having lived an adventurous life in North Africa. The brothers Garth (Caine) and Hub (Duvall) are believed to have "millions hidden away" which brings out the crazy relatives and salesmen hoping to get some of their money. There is also speculation that they were bank robbers. Their skill with shotguns only adds to the tale.
The brothers' floozy niece drops off her kid (Haley Joel Osment) for a "short visit" with instructions to attempt to find the mysterious money. The kid/Walter has never lived in the country and doesn't know a pig from Shinola. But he is endearing and we know that Caine and Duvall are charming so the chemistry is right. The movie is primarily about the relationship among these three. The old geezers admit up front that we "...don't nothing about kids." They eat mostly red meat, no veggies, shoot fish with their 12 gauge shotguns, and buy a "used" lion so they can turn it loose and shoot it.
Garth tells Walter about their Lawrence of Arabia/Zorro past life in North Africa that began with abduction into the French Foreign Legion in 1914, a rich evil sheik with one eye, and a beautiful princess named Jasmine. It's a wild story but fun. And it feels good and it's simple. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 89. Larry H.
Movies are still weak these days but I thought little Dickie Roberts starring David Spade had promise. I had to go to AMC which is a bad omen but I had no choice due to scheduling and Monique H. Admission: I bought a MR. Pibb and almost liked it. But it ain't a DP so don't go all soft drink on me.
Dickie/Spade is a has-been child actor from a wacky sitcom from the '70's. Grownup Dickie works as a parking attendant and is dying to make a comeback so he can "have some love" not the money. His agent and emotional support is Jon Lovitz who plays a character that Jon Lovitz would play on SNL so you get the picture.
The premise is that Dickie did not have a childhood so he is not "normal" per Rob Reiner the movie director who is casting a part in a new movie "ideal for Dickie." Dickie plays poker with other child star losers and bad mouths current movie stars. Dickie gets the brainy idea to hire a normal family in the burbs to allow him to live with them and gain a childhood experience. Are you with me on this? He hires the fam and most of the movie is about Dickie learning about life from a child's perspective so he can get the part in the movie and live happily ever after.
The first third of the movie was very funny; the middle third was a yawner and the final third was funny and had some charm. Who should see this movie? A) My two sisters Ellie May and Susie May (we call them the May sisters) who are 40 something and dearly loved all the campy sitcoms of the '70s. B) Teenagers C) Fans of Leif Garrett, Danny Bonaduce, Corey Feldman, Emmanuel Lewis, Alyssa Milano, Dustin Diamond, Barry Williams etc.
Do not leave too quickly after the movie, all the child stars currently alive (Wally, Arnold, Marsha) sing a song a la "We Are the World" and it is pretty interesting. This movie has cult possibilities. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 85. Larry H.
We need more wind in our movie sails; me thinks the current movies (save Open Range) sucketh. I beg your pardon but Johnny Depp's pirating has caused me to speaketh in old English and quite stupidly sayeth I.
This movie is based on a Disney tale of a fair maiden (sometimes calledMissy) and her dueling lovers with Depp causing havoc by jumping ships and sides every fifteen minutes. There are a lot of Scallywags and the undead, or the already dead as they prefer, in the mix.
At one point in the movie, I thought my dream was about to come true: the two rival ships and their crews were squared off and firing cannons into the hulls of the ships at point bland range and I took that as the ultimate answer to the "God Bomb Theory" but alas most survived and the movie continued.
I recommend this movie to 25 year old single people. It could be a good date movie. I am not sure because...well I think you know. Personally I do not care if you ever see this movie. I saw it because I wasdesperate and it started at a convenient time... and it's Friday.
This is as good a time as ever to reveal to you people some of my upcoming plans. I am going to be a race car driver. Probably NASCAR. I have been watching some races and I think I'm ready. I need a sponsor. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 75. Larry H.