Larry H's Movie Reviews for 2007 (53)
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D'oh. I got up before breakfast; drank some coffee and took a walk in the local woods before sunrise - I ain't scared of no 'skeeters. They don't like my blood; can you blame 'em?
I've been working sort of hard lately and missed going to the movies the last two Fridays so on this fine, muggy Saturday morning I say to Monique H. "hey, I think I'm going to see Homer at Loews at 10:00 am; she never batted an eye - what a loving woman!
I arrived uncharacteristically early and took my aisle seat with about 75 other hearty souls from little kids to grandma. Around 10:05 I noticed that the trailers had not even started and the there was no light in the little projection room at the top of the theatre. By 10:11 a father and his two teenage sons sitting near me started openly discussing the late start of the movie; they had been energetically talking trash to each other and taking turns picking on the younger "Daniel" the fifteen year old. Conversations were popping up all over the theatre by 10:15 and still no movie.
Folks were getting restless and leaving to check on the status of the movie; the dad and sons are trying to coax each other into going to complain to Loew's manager. After being badgered by the his seventeen year old brother, Daniel finally gives in and walks down the aisle to gather information. Dad then congratulates older brother on getting Daniel to take an unwanted leap of faith and declares him to be a "jedi" for getting his little brother to do something he didn't want to do.
It's now 10:22 and we are getting various reports that are verbally shared with the entire crowd that: "...they said there are technical difficulties...no way, man, that just means that nobody knows how to fix it...I got the right info - the projectionist has not shown up yet - look, there's still no light on up there behind the glass windows." And now I'm thinking the projectionist got liquored up last night and we might have a long wait. The crowd is becoming unruly; cell phones come out; folks are standing up looking around and everyone is talking...except me. I was the only one in the theatre that did not have someone with them. Kids, do not sit near someone like me. 10:26 and no movie: The seventeen year old is now hollering to a couple of fifteen year old knuckleheads sitting directly beneath the windows: "hey, why don't you knock on the window to see if you can get somebody's attention." Being the mental giants that they were, they started beatinng on the window with vigor.
10:29 - over half the crowd has left or is unaccounted for; 10:30 - folks are talking to each other all over the theatre and some are re-urging the kncukleheads to beat on the window and report to the rest of us if they can see anyone in the projectionist's room. We've got a low-grade mutiny developoing and I'm laughing so hard at the teenagers that I now hope the movie doesn't start for a while so I can see where this is going.
10:31 - a two year old is now running from side to side banging on chairs and squealing with glee; his mother can not keep up with him. As his mother gets closer and about to snatch him, the seventeen year old hollows to the two year old "...run, Little Dude, she's coming."
10:33 - the trailers begin...but the picture is so out of focus that we can not read words or distinguish characters. The hard cores are still hoping for the best and/or discussing leaving to see "Harry Potter" that starts at 10:45...allegedly. I'm still having a good time at the "movies" but the fuzzy picture finally runs us all out of the theatre. 10:46 - the few that are left have given up. There is chaos throughout Loew's complex and a long line at the ticket counter for refunds. I decide the line is too long and I'll just get my money some other day. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade: ??? Larry H.
It's a cloudy, dreary Saturday afternoon. Good weather for an inside sport and it just so happens that I excel at one inside sport: movie going. I could have gone to "Freedom Writers" starring Hilary Skank, but I needed some laughter in my life so I went to this movie starring Ben Stiller and directed by one of the new Spielberg might-bees Shawn Levy. Levy is one of those that graduated from Yale at age 20 and became an accomplished actor, writer, director, and producer which means he has the brains and the bucks to make it happen. I plan to pay attention to his career.
Stiller plays Larry Daley who takes a job as a night shift security guard at a New York museum. I don't know why the name "Larry" was chosen as the name of this hapless, unemployed divorcee as there is nothing funny about the name "Larry." Just kidding; we all know that folks named Larry are funny and good looking.
This museum has a slight twist. Each night all of the historical characters on display from Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) to a cowboy named Jedidiah (Owen Wilson) to Attila the Hun and a variety of animals come alive. And I mean "alive" as in-character: flinging arrows, building fires, shootin' and riding horses. And two of the great actors of all time co-star: Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney who has been dead for 20 years.
If you want a light-hearted feel-good movie, then this is the one for you. The crowd ranged from the old to infants sitting in momma's lap. Levy should make a ton of money. I went to this movie immediately after eating a big lunch with Monique and Eric H. so I was not hungry upon arrival. But not to be short changed, I bought my popcorn, Mr. Pibb, and milk duds "to go" and ate them on the way home. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 85. Larry H.
I quickly parked in my spot at AMC's Loews at the Fountains. I'd noticed that there were only a few cars in the parking lot which is unusual for a holiday. It was raining and 37 degrees so I ran as fast I could toward the entry doors. As I was approaching the theatre, a young man hollered "Sir! Sir!" That's never a good sign. "We do not have any power...would you like to have a movie list of later times?" Dang! Now, I'm out in the freezing cold and nowhere to go on this fine MLK holiday. But wait; there's another showing of "Freedom Writers" at First Colony AMC in 35 minutes. And that was the highlight of my movie experience.
This movie is dull and predictable about a white teacher who finally gets the "warring teenagers" of Long Beach CA circa 1994 to stop fighting the world long enough to learn something. I was not interested in any of the characters and didn't care what happened. I did not walk out because it was too cold and rainy and I didn't want anybody to think I was insensitive to the plight of downtrodden teenagers that live in a violent world that solves problems with bullets. Hillary Swank was acceptable as the high school English teacher but her husband (Dr. McDreamy) was a dud. The screenplay was weak and editing unimaginative. I am now sitting at home warm and cozy waiting on Jack Bauer to save the world at seven tonight. Jack Bauer for President! Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 72. Larry H.
This movie is from the Japanese perspective which is primarily from caves and tunnels dug by them on the Island of Iwo Jima as they readied for the ensuing battle with the Americans - the Good Guys. This is Clint "Hang 'Em High" Eastwood's attempt at showing all sides of a battle and that war is hell and that soldiers who die for their country are brave and admirable no matter the county. I get that, but I do not think Clint did a good job at making the Japanese experience interesting or compelling.
The movie was way too long (141 minutes) and made the same point over and over: the Japanese are people, too, with feelings and families. God bless 'em; now let's move on with some entertaining character development, suspense, and action. Sorry, but this is no 1970 "Tora! Tora! Tora!" Clint bumped up against "entertaining" but couldn't close the deal as far as I was concerned.
And I don't care how much a story or director humanizes the "enemy;" they are still the enemy and I was pulling for the Americans and when I saw our overwhelming fleet about to invade the outmanned and scared Japanese troops, I had a thought: "hey, should of thought of that before you bombed Pearl Harbor you sneak-attack piece of .... I did not jump up and start cheering for the Americans as they hit the beaches because I decided that it would be rude to cause a disruption in the theatre. If I see this movie again in a theatre I will. I'm getting worked up again just thinking about it.
My take is that most in the audience did not share my emotional disconnect with the Japanese. I don't care. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 74. Larry H.
I went to this movie because I didn't want Helen Mirren to get a nomination for playing Queen Elizabeth without seeing it before the nominations are announced Tuesday morning. I didn't know much about the movie. I was surprised how good it turned out and how much Monique H. and I enjoyed it this cold and rainy Saturday afternoon.
I typically don't pay much attention to the Royals much less the queen, but I was riveted to the "action" and conflict forced onto the staid and resentful Queen when Lady Diana Spenser died in 1997 in the fateful car crash in Paris. The reaction or lack thereof by the Royal Family and the queen's torment in the week after Di's death is the main setting of this story. Queen Elizabeth was shocked and caught off guard at the world's adulation and deep mourning for Princess Diana at a time when she was suppose to be out of their lives, but ironically she was thrust back into Buckingham Palace in her death.
I will be surprise if Helen Mirren is not nominated; her performance was memorable and dynamic. The audience is treated to the behind-the-scenes lives of the queen and the Royal Family so I hope it was an accurate portray. I felt like I was sneaking a peek into forbidden territory which included their forty thousand acre country estate. Michael Sheen ably co-stars as Prime Minister Tony Blair who is credited with helping the Royals finally understand the deep emotional reaction at the death of the "People's Princess."
This movie had a skillfully timed ending and left the audience wanting more; over half of them remained seated during the rolling of the credits which is a sure sign of approval. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 90. Larry H.
I've been trying to see this movie for days so I could check out the Best Actor nomination of Forest Whitaker who according to Oscar "buzz" had the inside track to win. Now I know why. Whitaker becomes Idi Amin the strong-man dictator that took power in a coup in Uganda. I knew from the first appearance of Whitaker's General/President Amin that we had a winner.
The movie begins through the eyes of a young Scotish physcian (James McAvoy) that arrives in Uganda as a do-gooder on the day that Amin takes over from the current regime. From a chance meeting, the young Scot becomes Amin's personal doctor so we are kept close to the action through this fictional doctor and get an up-close charactarization of the much publicized peculiar habits of Amin that run anywhere from cannabalism to mass murder depending on the source.
Whitaker is intimdating to all around him and I felt it, too. When Whitaker was on the screen, his presence was overwhelming. The movie was only so-so and at times slow moving and overly attempted to delve into the psyche of Amin, but Whitaker will long be remembered for his performance and it will be a surprise if he does not win. The movie is rated R for lots of reasons not the least of which is gruesome scenes. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 84. Larry H.
Monique H. and I saw this movie Saturday night after we ate a lovely meal at Ninfa's. Nothing like dinner and a movie.
This movie is very weird. As starters, it's set in England with an all-British cast and I'm not that fond of the Brits. And the plot is so British: a young pretty, married high school art teacher (Kate Blanchett) has an affair with one of her 15 year old male students and they are caught in the act by an old "battle-axe" spinster teacher (Judi Dench) who then attempts to emotionally blackmail the art teacher into having an affair with her.
As bizarre as that sounds, the story was surprisingly interesting and suspenseful and the acting was outstanding. I saw this movie as a compromise with Monique H. which is a poor way to choose a movie but sometimes necessary for a successful dinner and date. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 86. Larry H.
"Catch and Release" is a chick flick that I saw with Monique H. last Saturday night February 3rd. I didn't want to see this movie but Monique H. did so we compromised and saw "Catch and Release."
And I liked it more than she did; go figure. The complicated emotional character development was very well done. The big winners of the movie: Jennifer Garner, Timothy "Pretty Boy" Olyphant, and Kevin "Clerks" Smith. Since the weather will be cold and rainy this coming weekend, you might consider this one. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 86. Larry H.
Hugh Grant is the "Music" and Drew Barrymore is the "Lyrics." Grant plays a washed-up singer from the 80's that now plays State Fairs and amusement parks if he's lucky. Barrymore plays a perky, cute, ditzy intellectual (big stretch) that is the substitute plant lady who comes to Grant's apartment to adminster plant care and within minutes endures herself to him as a potential lyricist. Never mind that she's never written a song because this is magic time and we need some quick love. And quick music; Grant has two days to write a song for a sexy teen idol that is more provcative than Madonna. He's desperate for a lyriscist and money and since he's only a piano man, the match is made in heaven... or is it.
Did I really care if these two got together? Yes! And that's the simple formula for a successful fluff movie or any movie for that matter. The script is clever and quick while the acting was above average. Monique H. and I had been partying all afternoon with Italian dinner and shopping (am I a sap or what?) and we topped it off with this Valentine's Day movie at 4:45 pm at Loew's.
If you need to take your chick to a flick and not get caught napping, then this is the date movie for you. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 88. Larry H.
I'm in a hurry because Monique H. just called my office and told me to get home so I gotta go. Good thing I walked out of this movie so I was here to take her call. But being the trooper that I am, I intend to share my thoughts with you about this movie before I go home and begin my weekend tasks.
Don't go see this piece of trash! It's not a movie; it's an extended episode of "Reno 911" from Comedy Central gone bad. I did not doze off more than a few minutes. Why you bother to see such trash, Larry H., you ask. To protect and serve, Sir, so that others do not have to go where I've been. Rock 'n Roll.
Grade 69W. Larry H.