Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2006 (48)
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I've made some mistakes in my life. Today I ordered Sprite instead of my usual Mr. Pibb and when I shook the popcorn salt shaker too much came out and I ruined my popcorn. Unfortunately, I did not give up trying to eat the salt with my popcorn until it almost made me sick. Some people never learn.
If you've heard that this is a movie about two gay cowboys you are mostly right. The screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Dianna Ossana delves into the forbidden love of two young men that are herding sheep (not cows) on Brokeback Mountain in 1963 Wyoming when they engage in an intense sexual relationship. And then things get complicated. Two young, rugged cowboys in 1963 and in Wyoming no less are not suppose to act that way. And they knew it and suffered greatly for fear of being discovered.
After their first encounter on Brokeback Mountain, they attempt to start "normal" lives by marrying and having children even though they have periodic secret rendezvous by going on overnight "fishing" excursions. The story continues for over 20 years. I liked both of these guys, understood their frustration, bewilderment, and sadness, but I was not rooting for them. I blame Director Ang Lee for letting the deeper character development and texture of the relationship slip away into a meaningless and meandering plot. This will be a much ballyhooed movie and Hollywood will reward it with numerous nominations, but if you think you will not like this movie because of the homosexual content, then don't take the plunge. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 86. Larry H.
I went to see this movie because I'd heard that George Clooney was a possible nomination for Best Actor in his role as a CIA operative in the Middle East who spoke Farsi and Arabic. I think Clooney is one of the great actors of our time, but unfortunately is overlooked because he's handsome. And for those of us who are punished for our good looks...well, that's just not fair.
This geopolitical mystery tackles the oil industry, the Middle East, and even throws in a hunting trip to Texas. It jumps from one country to the next quicker than a rain.
Another thing: who said two middle-aged ladies out on the town this fine late Saturday afternoon could sit right next to me and whisper throughout the movie? I started to give them a big "hush up" but I was scared of them. I think we all know the rule: nobody sits by Larry H. These two obviously did not get the memo and at one point the blond (bleached) even touched me; I'm sure it was an accident but puh-leeze.
Ok, back to the movie: it was complicated and requires much focus to keep up with a very complicated plot and many characters, but I recommend you wait for the DVD. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 81. Larry H.
I'm in crisis mode; I'm mad as heck and I'm gonna take it some more - they can't beat me! As God as my witness, I will continue to go to the movies...next week.
It all started around mid-morning when I realized that I needed a movie start time around noon - not too far before or after. That's routine for me but I only had one choice at Loew's Theatres: "Family Stone". I quickly tried to google it but the phone rang and I never really got to find out about the movie. Now it's almost noon and I gotta pull the trigger, so I dropped what I was doing and took off for Loew's. I sat down in theatre #8 with my Mr. Pibb and popcorn around 12:10 pm. Two thoughts occurred to me:
1. This is a small theatre (capacity 100) and I definitely need to get one of these when I grow up so I can have my peeps over to watch a movie and pop some corn; maybe listen to some tunes.
2. Why am I the only man in this theatre? There are five women who seem very happy waiting for the movie to begin.
3. Ok, three thoughts: why are all the trailers for the coming attractions about love stories, Woody Allen, and such? Uh-oh.
The movie finally started at exactly 12:30 pm; 30 minutes after the advertised time! And I'm already thinking this could be the fastest "walk" I've ever been involved in. During the opening credits, I became disgusted with the syrupy music and pondered leaving before it started. But I held strong. For about six minutes. As I left, I seriously considered stopping at the bottom of the stairs and looking toward the other five patrons and making some sort of gesture, but being as I'm a professional moviegoer, I merely tucked tail and vanished into the dark.
But also being the glutton that I am, I had the brainy idea that since it was so early I would merely check out the other nine theatres nearby and pop in to catch my movie fix. As I sauntered down Loew's long hall with movies on both sides, I carefully read the titles as they "crawled" across the signage above each entry. I never slowed down. There are mighty slim pickin's at the movies these days. I suppose there will be Academy Award nominations announced January 31st @ 7:30 am CST, but I don't have much feel for the frontrunners this year. Keep the faith, Baby! Rock 'n roll.
Grade: 65W Larry H.
This is an independent film about the connection made in the 1950's between Christian missionaries and the Waodani Tribe of the eastern rainforest of Ecuador. Sadly, the initial contact by five male missionaries results in their brutal deaths. The Waodani warriors were very suspicious of the "foreigners" and speared them to death.
The story is told through the recollection of the son (Steve) of one of the missionaries (Nate Saint) who was killed. Nate and the other men had guns with them but refrained from shooting at their Waodani attackers and merely used the guns to scare them. Nate explained to his young son, Steve, before he flew into the rainforest for the last time that "...we can't kill them because they are not ready for heaven and we are."
Director Jim Hanon does not spare any of the gory details of the deaths of these heroic men. These warriors had the fighting heart of a Mohican and the courage of a lion. And they settled all of their disputes by spearing; there were no negotiations or arbitrations. You crossed a Waodani; you got the sharp end of a spear which was a sign of strength to them. They were super violent and killed each other, too.
But the Waodani Tribe had a god and the wives of the slain missionaries and others continued the work to communicate love and forgiveness over the years and to carry the message to them that their God "...had a son."
The screenplay was taken "from a true story," but the genius was its skillful telling - writing credits by Bill Ewing, Bert Gravigan, and Hanon. Jim Hanon has made a classic which will slowly build into a huge audience. I was emotionally gripped and stunned throughout the movie. The passion and grace of both sides is memorable. The leader of the Waodoni Tribe ("Mincayani") was played by Louie Leonardo, originally from the Dominican Republic, who did a magnificent job of portraying the hate, anger, confusion, and ultimately softness of a great warrior. Don't let this wonderful film slip by you. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 94. Larry H.
I've had my first cup of coffee this fine Saturday morning and now I'm ready to report my Friday goings-on. I dutifully bought my ticket at the Loew's ticket counter at The Fountains with my gift card from my lawyer buddy Gwen R. and approached the concession stand to purchase my God-given right to popcorn and soft drink when I thought I heard the young man behind the counter say "...welcome to AMC." I was in a hurry so I didn't flinch. Then I took a deep breath, and with a slight tilt of the head, inquired "...what did you just say?" And lo and behold he said it again "...welcome to AMC."
As you well know, I'm not one to call attention to myself so I conjured up the energy to speak in a voice that only 20-30 people could have heard and said rapidly "...AMC...did they buy Loew's?...when did this happen...I didn't know about it...when was the memo?...who's in charge here...I demand to see the manager (a long time acquaintance)...doesn't anybody know who I am?...the young man with a sly smile replied "...yeah, AMC bought 'em out about two months ago but this is the first day we've started saying 'welcome to AMC' and with the changes that have already occurred I'm not so sure it's good." Oh, the wisdom from babes. Of course, it's not good. My two worlds have collided; I was bewildered.
Not to be defeated, I marched off to theatre #3 to watch this movie about the 1966 NCAA basketball championship that starred the first all-black starting line-up. I was a sophomore in high school; March Madness had not kicked in yet, but since I was a star on the second team of the Junior Varsity, I was fully aware of the monumental victory over Coach Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats by the little known Texas Western team from El Paso. Josh Lucas plays Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins who was the only coach in the mid-sixties with the guts to recruit and rely on black players (7) on a college team. I think this is an "A" movie and the A stands for average. I gotta go now; need to write my congressman. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 85. Larry H.
I tried to see this movie last Friday, but Loew's aka AMC and the real AMC did not have the film available for showing even though it was listed in their advertisements. Unfortunately, I went to both theatres, but was rejected each time as I stepped forward to buy my ticket. Must have been a communist plot!
This is George "Pretty Boy" Clooney's movie about the 1950's on-air feud between CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, chairman of the Senate Committee on Un-American Activities. McCarthy was convinced that the government was infiltrated by Communists and that he was destined to out them at all costs.
The movie is shot in Black and White and easily moves between the movie sets and the actual footage from the 1950's that were also B&W. Clooney has made a masterful movie that captures the essences of the opposing forces of independent journalism, government power, and the conscience of the relatively new TV industry.
The acting by David Strathairn is deserving of his nomination as Best Actor and Clooney has sealed his reputation as a great moviemaker, but I didn't enjoy the movie not a little bit. It was just too documentary-esque for me. I want to be entertained when I go to the movies not lulled into near unconsciousness due to boredom. The story about McCarthyism and the suffering by wrongly accused innocent Americans needs to be told, but not on my watch. Clooney's movie garnered six nominations including Best Picture. It will be interesting to see if Hollywood gives some of the big prizes to Clooney et al or did this movie slipped in the back door as a nominee in a very weak year. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 73. Larry H.
A very weird Saturday. Yesteday, I went to the following places: Skeeter's (breakfast), Academy, Toys R Us, Star Furniture, Randall's, Ninfa's (dinner), Conn's, The Stein Mart, Office Max, and finally to AMC Loew's Theatres at the Fountains for an eight o'clock showing of Steve Martin's "The Pink Panther." And there was one constant in all of those shenanigans: Monique H.!
You know I don't like going to the movies with the masses, but if Monique H. wants to go out Saturday night for a dinner and a movie, I'm in. We live closer to AMC First Colony, but Dianne W. warned me about going to movies on Saturday night when the teenagers are on the prowl, so we went to my old stomping grounds. And I had to sit by someone (ugh); the theatre was crowded.
And the laughter was deafening. Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau is a riot. His stupid accent is classic. Monique H. and I both came out of the movie trying to outdo the other while speaking Steve Martin French. I won of course with my rendition of "damburgdert." (Hamburger)
The plot has not changed much from the original Blake Edwards movies - Clouseau is chosen by the Chief Inspector (Kevin Kline) to lead an investigation of the murder of a famous French soccer coach who was killed with a poison dart to the "occipital lobe." Clouseau is suppose to fail so the chief can step in and win the French Medal of Honor.
The compulsory foxy chick is played by none other than the foxiest of chicks - Beyonce Knowles. This is all you need to know. If you want to watch slapstick humor from start to finish, then this movie is for you. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H.
This is the second Saturday in a row that Monique H. has surprised me with "...hey, let's go to movie then out to eat." I think she's up to something
Our new routine has her buying the tickets while I get the popcorn and drinks. One can do both at the same time in Loew's unlike stupid AMC where one has to wait in line in the freezing cold. I think that's one of the reasons AMC bought out Loew's so they could learn how to build a nice theatre. Heck, they should have just hired me. But I digress
When we got settled into our seats, the trailers were running and I was enjoying them since we were early. Then I felt something tapping, tapping, tapping on my left forearm as I was reaching for another handful of popcorn. I knew it could not be Monique H. as she is very aware of the rules of no touching and heaven forbid someone would try to talk once in the theatre. But, there it was, one of her long index fingers almost poking in her effort to get my attention so she could share something. I tried to answer her quietly and let it go. And darn if it didn't happen four more times. I don't want to go on and on about this, but she just recently came off probation; you might remember some time ago she acted pretty badly at a show and I had to sit her down for six months. If she didn't make me laugh all the time, I'd have to...think I'll just skip to the movie.
Harrison Ford stars as VP of Security of a bank in Seattle and some bad guys kidnap his family so he will perform some computer tricks and miraculously transfer $100 million into the bad guys Grand Cayman account. Yawn. Who cares? I didn't like Ford, his family or the bad guys. But I did like Fords' bank assistant who was none other than Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) from the TV series "24". She had that same goofy look and quirky smile that she has perfected as the computer nerd on "24." She had a lot of face time on the big screen and I trust it will be good for her career.
Speaking of careers, Harrison Ford needs to be careful that he does not become a has-been. But he can still attract the more mature audience. I told Monique on the way out of the theatre "...that group is from the original Star Wars generation...not one teenager." As Johnny M. told me about this movie earlier this week, "...if you can believe that Harrison Ford can beat up a bunch of 25 year old men, then it's a pretty good movie." Not. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 79. Larry H.
I've made a big mistake and I want to correct it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is now my vote for Best Actor and Catherine Keener for Best Supporting Actress Honorable Mention. I've been trying to see "Capote" for weeks, but it's showing in only three theatres in the greater Houston area, so finding a convenient time has been challenging. I promised myself that I would definitely see it yesterday (Saturday) but it was raining so I had to go home and take a nap. But this morning Monique H. and I went to early church and went to the 11:10 am show at Greenway Plaza.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (you have to say all three names each time) was outstanding as the whiny, misunderstood Truman Capote. The movie is primarily about Capote's firsthand research of the brutal murders of a Kansas family of four in November 1959 and his relationship with the criminals that committed the murders and the resulting best seller "In Cold Blood." His interviews of murderer Perry Smith and Capote's reactions created a deeply conflicted and complex character superbly captured by soon-to-be Best Actor and Executive Producer Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Philip Seymour Hoffman did not merely rely on Capote's flamboyant clothes and shrill voice with a slightly noticeable Southern lisp, but added his own texture to a severely self-absorbed egomaniac that betrayed even his friends. This Capote was not particularly likeable but he sure wasn't boring. Catherine Keener, as his childhood friend the legendary author Harper Lee, was steady and believable, but she, too, suffered Capote's rejection and betrayal. When the eccentric author had the audacity to question the success of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" as he slowing blew smoke out of his mouth and nose, I wanted to slap him. And that is great acting.
The movie almost attains greatness, but will have to suffice with a "very good." However, the skill of Director Bennett Miller coupled with the lighting, music, and editing of this film made it a memorable experience. If you do not see this movie before the Oscars are presented on March 5th, you will be surprised about the hoopla, except now you know because Larry H. just told you. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 93. Larry H.
I'd heard that "Eight Below," the movie about the dogs in trouble, was a very good flick so I was planning to see it, but it didn't start until 1:20 pm and I was ready to go by noon. So I got the brainy idea to watch "Failure to Launch" for an hour or so and then I figured I'd walk out because it sounded like a stupid movie about a 35 year old (Matthew McConaughey) that refused to move out of his parents' (former quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates) house. And the obligatory love interest was Sex in the City's Sarah Jessica Parker who is hired by McConaughey's parents to get him to move out of the house so they could enjoy their retirement years in peace and alone.
I never made it to the dog movie. This darn flick surprised me. I liked all the characters and thoroughly enjoyed this silly love story. It was charming, loveable, interesting, funny, and one gets to see Terry Bradshaw's bare butt 2-3 times. He walks around his "naked room" upstairs while he feeds his fish. Every man ought to have a naked room. The audience laughed loud and often.
I had not seen SJP in a while and my first impression reminded me of the old horse joke: "hey, why the long face?" I know that's tacky but it's true. My second impression was: excuse me...isn't Eric H. coming home today for Spring Break? Suppose he never leaves? I guess I'd have to hire a good lookin' babe to coax him back to school or to move to some other abode. Just a thought, Monique H., don't get yourself all twisted. Boomerang Kids!
If you want to see a good lighthearted picture with zero redeeming value, this is for you. Your neighbors will be going; the crowd was very large today at noon. McConaughey and Parker are big box office draws. We have a hit. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 88. Larry H.