Movie Pre-Judgments (2003)
by Rusty W. Spell

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26 Dec 2003

Cheaper by the Dozen -- If you're interested in the premise, just read the book. The movie is the usual family schlock.

Cold Mountain -- I begged the guy sitting next to me to kill me while watching this.

The Company -- Imagine a smarter, classier Fame. Malcolm McDowell is good as the crazy ballet director who's always spouting off Yoda lines about dance. In the end, I don't like it much, but there's nothing wrong with it.

House of Sand and Fog -- Managed to be interesting in spite of itself, though it's not something you absolutely need to see. Watch it on a somber night.

Monster -- Sort of a dismal and not very well-made movie about a serial killing prostitute. They try their best to get you to side with her, but it doesn't quite work. Maybe people should just stop making serial killer movies? Yes, they should.

Paycheck -- Isn't this just a remake of The Bourne Identity? It's a little less good, but still actiony enough for actiony Woo fans.

Peter Pan -- Certainly better than the Disney cartoon, this live-action version could be a little better, but then again couldn't everything (except The Lord of the Rings, of course)? Seems to have captured the tone of the book more than most presentations.

The Young Black Stallion -- For all the pre-teen girls of the world, a horse movie. Awaken your senses, young ladies. Not a bad movie, as horse movies go.

19 Dec 2003

Calendar Girls -- Old women pose nude for a calendar to raise money (and old men's penises!). It's a bit too sweet, but it's not terribly horrible.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara -- The only thing to come close to that hobbit movie opening this week. I'm a complete loon for Errol Morris, and this is his first movie since Mr. Death. Just seeing his name makes me tear up a bit. This movie is absolutely great stuff. You will actually get at least 2% more smart just by watching it. How does he do it? I don't know, but he does, and I luv him. Luv, I tell you.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King -- Don't plan on enjoying any other movies for a while after watching this. Others will just seem so... regular. Go ahead and start looking forward to the DVD edition of this movie coming out next November, cause nothing in the meantime will come close. (And, not that I care about these things, but it seems to me that those dorks at the Academy have been seeing if giving a popular fantasy movie is "safe" or not. This year, they will probably deem it safe. Peter Jackson should then just take the One Oscar to Mount Doom and destroy it so that we don't have to hear about the evil Academy Awards anymore.) Yes, so, go see it in the theaters. You can weep if you like.

Mona Lisa Smile -- All the hot young things of the modern pictureshows (Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhall, and soon-to-be-hot young things), Julie Roberts, and Topher Grace get together to do a female version of Dead Poets Society. That's not a good thing, in case you were wondering. You won't even get much of a chance to drool, since they'll all be in the attire of those damned repressed 1950s.

12 Dec 2003

Big Fish -- Instead of making big-budget disasters (Mars Attacks!, Planet of the Apes), Tim Burton decided to make a low-key mediocre movie. Kind of a non-mentally-challenged Forrest Gump. Let's just go ahead and say Tim Burton had a good run back in the 80s and early 90s.

Girl with a Pearl Earring -- Not my personal cup of tea, but this is a pretty good movie. Scarlett Johansson keeps proving that she's about the most talented actor her age (and among the most talented of any age).

Love Don't Cost a Thing -- This is a "black" remake of Can't Buy Me Love, kind of like The Wiz. As a southerner, I'm sometimes annoyed by the way that the movies sell a stupid image of us to the rest of the world (including ourselves, who sometimes believe it), and as a black person I'm annoyed by this kind of movie that sells a stupid image of black people to the rest of the world (including ourselves, who sometimes believe it). It's "love don't cost a thing" instead of "love doesn't cost a thing" because black people are bad with grammar--get it? Watch for Steve Harvey and his "ain't that the truth?" antics.

Something's Gotta Give -- It's like What Women Want with an even more senior citizen vibe. If you're a lady over 60, this might be the one for you.

The Statement -- With Norman Jewison and Michael Caine, it's hard to go wrong. Pretty good stuff all around.

Stuck On You -- Funnier than Shallow Hal, less funny than There's Something About Mary. It's actually okay if you give up on the Farrelly brothers at this point. They're still too busy being sweet.

5 Dec 2003

Honey -- Oh, Jessica Alba... I'm not even particularly a fan, but I feel bad for you. Honey, honey, honey...

The Last Samurai -- About what you'd expect.

28 Nov 2003

Bad Santa -- It's a little kiddie-poo for the guy that brought us Crumb and Ghost World, but it's decent-enough kiddie poo. Not as good as Elf, but Billy Bob Thornton does a decent job, considering what he's working with. Watch it next Christmas around the TV.

The Haunted Mansion -- Not horrible, as far as Disney kids' stuff goes. Eddie Murphy decides to family it up again, and the jazzin' around on the screen should keep anyone under eleven interested. I'm still waiting for the Tiki Room movie.

The Missing -- A slightly better than usual (though still average) Ron Howard movie. Tommy Lee Jones brightens things up a bit.

Timeline -- Eh, it's cool enough. You can rent it.

The Triplets of Belleville -- If you're not animating in the Disney mold, you're often leaning toward Bakshi. That's what this one does. It's a standard sort of non-Disney/non-family cartoon, if that makes sense. Not horrible, not great.

21 Nov 2003

The Barbarian Invasions -- Someone will love this movie. But I didn't, and you probably won't either.

The Cat in the Hat -- We watched Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas and we asked ourselves, "Can anything be worse than this?" We now have our answer. I'm going to avoid thinking about this movie anymore because my stomach really, really hurts right now.

Gothica -- About the same creep level and style as The Ring. In other words, no big deal.

21 Grams -- You know those movies where everyone's all serious and the direction is all serious and grey and it's all serious and serious and stuff? Yeah.

14 Nov 2003

Looney Tunes: Back In Action -- Somehow Space Jam was a not-too-bad movie in spite of itself. This one is less lucky, but it's still pretty watchable stuff. But is anyone else annoyed by the distracting shadows they put on the Looney Tunes these days? I know they're supposed to be interacting in the 3-D world, but the shadows look more like a turkey glaze.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World -- Goofy movie that's going to make a billion dollars. If you like big splashy (literally) adventure movies, you should be fine with this. Myself, I'm "steering" clear (two puns!).

7 Nov 2003

Elf -- What things like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat should be. This is pretty funny stuff. Take the kids!

Elephant -- Gus Van Sant is a pretty interesting guy. He's hit or miss, but he seems to be at least interesting lately, and that's better than just going through the motions. Elephant is a pretty original movie--not a spectacular one, but a pretty nice one. Recommended.

Love Actually -- I like Hugh Grant, but charm can only go so far. You need a good movie to go with it.

The Matrix Revolutions -- You all know I don't like these dumb movies. Go find religion or whatever the hell these movies are supposed to be if you want to.

31 Oct 2003

Die, Mommie, Die! -- Good that someone's doing something kinda different, but why does replication of old stuff always have to be kitchy and winking? Can't we not be postmodern for a change?

The Human Stain -- Always kinda fun to see Anthony Hopkins act, even if this movie is semi-dull.

Shattered Glass -- Young Darth Vader proves that he can act just fine when directed by someone worried less about his eyeline with a nonexistent computer-animation. Not a great movie, one of them journalist gets in trouble deals, but not horrible.

24 Oct 2003

Beyond Borders -- If you need a good nap...

Brother Bear -- At some point, the term "family entertainment" became synonymous with "schlock." This one is less shitty than Lilo and Stitch or Mulan or something, but most people should pretty much be done with these movies by age 17, tops. Adults without kids can quit going to see them now. At least Brother Bear is one of the last surviving ink-and-painters (not that I'm old fashioned) and the McKenzie Brothers play mooses.

In the Cut -- Meg Ryan tries to shed cutesy typecast with a crappy movie. You know, one of them "sexy, gritty" ones.

Radio -- Cuba Gooding Jr. playing someone mentally disabled: I smell Oscar! A cross between a self-help seminar and a save the children commercial, complete with Bear Bryant hat. Avoid unless you haven't got enough sap for the year.

Scary Movie 3 -- Not as funny as the first, but funnier than the second. It's mid-funny.

The Singing Detective -- You'll be wondering whether you actually like this movie or not for years to come. Possibly you'll watch it every time it comes on television.

17 Oct 2003

Pieces of April -- We needed one more movie in the genre of "families don't get along at Thanksgiving and young people can't cook though they really want to impress and get along with their parents" movies. Oh wait, no we don't. This sucks.

Runaway Jury -- They've called it the best Grisham movie since The Firm, but that's not fair to this movie since The Firm sucked. This one is fine. Not the greatest movie ever made, but pretty good for what it is, and it has a nice cast.

Sylvia -- For all those teenage girls who can't get enough Sylvia Plath, here's her love story with Ted. About what you'd expect.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- Oh, I get it. That's funny.

Veronica Guerin -- I can't think of anything bad to say about this movie, other than it's just another movie in a world of many movies.

Wonderland -- After Boogie Nights, something like this seems almost pointless, but Val Kilmer and co. manage to pull of something a little less than crappy in spite of themselves.

10 Oct 2003

Dopamine -- A dumb movie for people who are still interesting in debating things like whether love is "real" or "chemical," as if there's a difference. Underneath that stupid argument is a second vacant movie. At least two layers of dull thought.

Girls Will Be Girls -- Somewhere just below Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and just above that movie where Patrick Swayze dresses like a woman.

Good Boy! -- Although it's one of the best in the genre of talking dogs movies, it's still a talking dog movie. And we're still using "Who Let the Dogs Out?" to promote it. I suppose if you're a kid you can watch this.

The House of the Dead -- Better than, say, House of 1,000 Corpses, but worse than, say, Citizen Kane. Just trying to put things into perspective here.

Intolerable Cruelty -- The Coen Brothers dabble in the genre of bad romantic comedy. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it's just... bad romantic comedy. Not their best movie, but not bad at all. My advice is to watch this movie and save Kill Bill for when there's not as huge a crowd.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 -- Beautiful. You'll need to see this as soon as possible, of course. Tarantino does not disappoint. The colors alone in this movie will bleed inside your head for years. Stay tuned for Volume 2 coming soon.

Mystic River -- For Clint Eastwood, a pretty good movie. It seems like one of the better Twin Peaks ripoffs that came out in the early 90s. Worth renting one night.

The Station Agent -- Congrats on giving a little person a role that's more than just being tiny. The best since Warwick Davis in Willow. Peter Dinklage has a very powerful presence: mostly in the eyes and eyebrows, but also in a sort of overall darkness... which translates nicely into comedy here. Well worth seeing.

3 Oct 2003

Out of Time -- I'm more or less bored by Denzel Washington half the time, and I can say the same about this movie. Or maybe I'm just upset because I was expecting a screen adaptation of the R.E.M. album.

School of Rock -- Jack Black's pretty funny in this movie. The trick to Jack Black movies is to just let him run and be funny. I guess, though, that Richard Linklater has decided to just make normal movies from now on, since his "artier" stuff has bit lately.

26 Sep 2003

Duplex -- Danny DeVito should quit jazzing around with the camera, first of all. Just point and shoot, Taxiboy. Second, I guess this movie is okay, but... wait, no, it's not okay.

My Life Without Me -- A sort of paint-by-numbers aboveaverageartierthanmost film, pretty good but not amazing.

The Rundown -- You know, some people love this stuff, so I'm not gonna make fun.

Under the Tuscan Sun -- Sometimes people get together and spend millions of dollars to bore us.

19 Sep 2003

Anything Else -- Woody Allen basically as pretty good movies and great movies. This is a pretty good one. Every cast member glows pretty well. The most memorable teen film you'll see this year. At least rent it.

Bubba Ho-tep -- Okay, the bad news. This movie isn't quite as cool as its stars and premise make it out to be. In fact, it's trying a little too hard to be cool and hip. But... it's still a decently fun movie, which is still decently cool anyway. You should at least rent it one night. Sometimes when you think of it you'll hate it, and sometimes you'll think it's not bad.

Cold Creek Manor -- Basically mediocre haunted house movie. We've seen it before.

The Fighting Temptations -- When I'm embarrassed for Beyonce as an actor, something is wrong. Goofy in the worst way.

Lost In Translation -- Score another one for Sofia Coppola! This is Bill Murray's best role since Rushmore, and features the wonderful Scarlett Johansson. Throw in Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Farris and you've got more "not stupid" young actors than you can shake a stick at. Great movie, great soundtrack, pretty funny, pretty sweet. Go see it when you can.

Secondhand Lions -- You almost can't go wrong with Robert Duvall and Michael Caine as actors, and lil' Haley Joel Osment is proving he has the potential to grow into an adult actor (wait, he was already an adult actor). However... this movie just isn't very good. Kind of kiddie and goofy. Sorry.

Underworld -- Do yourself a favor and give into the sexiness and fun of a hot vampire (who's in love with a werewolf) who can fight and shoot guns all sexily and crazily. A fun movie to watch in the theater or crank up on your home theater system.

12 Sep 2003

Cabin Fever -- Pretty typical stuff all around. Not much worth looking at.

Desperado II: Once Upon a Time In Mexico -- When you see this, you'll realize why Spy Kids 3-D was so crappy: Rodriguez spent all of his time on this. The Sexy Spaniard is back with even Sexier Salma, this time with Johnny Depp and the one and only Willem Dafoe. Greatness all around.

Dummy -- A romantic comedy about a guy who's interested in being a ventriloquist. And it's even better than it sounds. Worth renting one night.

Matchstick Men -- Nicolas Cage throws himself around this movie kind of like he did in Adaptation. I guess it was okay then, but this one kind of makes you sick of him, and I always kind of liked Nicolas Cage. Still, the movie has nothing really wrong with it, and it's fun enough to watch. So rent it one night if you can't find anything better.

5 Sep 2003

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star -- Happy Madisons Productions -- Adam Sandler's thing -- sometimes puts out funny stuff when Sandler himself is involved, but the other movies from David Spade and Rob Schneider are more or less goofy poop. This is one of those. Somewhere on the level of Joe Dirt. Feel free to watch it twenty times on HBO.

Home Room -- More preaching and speculating about school shootings. Passable, but dull.

The Order -- Ten minutes into it, you wonder why you decided to watch it. You keep watching, it picks up a little more (though not enough to really keep watching) until finally you settle into a "Eh, I don't hate it" opinion. Four years later, you have the urge to see it again. But don't see it again. You can watch it once if you want to.

Shaolin Soccer -- You might not think initially that a movie about kids playing kung-fu soccer is a good idea, but it turns out it was a great idea. This is a really fun and just overall cool movie. See it at the theaters or rent it.

29 Aug 2003

The Battle of Shaker Heights -- Yeah, it's one of those Project Greenlight movies, but it's not too bad. It's slightly more intelligent than your average goofy teen comedy.

Civil Brand -- A women-in-prison movie minus the sexiness. If you see this in the theaters, it will look very funny seeing something on a large screen that you normally see on the TV at one in the morning when absolutely nothing else is on and you're feeling kind of sick. Lots of soup.

Jeepers Creepers 2 -- I'm a little surprise this one got a sequel, but here it is. I think most horror movies are about a stupid and pointless and nonsenseful as this one, so if you like most horror movies, you're fine with this one too. Slightly better than Critters, slightly worse than The Faculty.

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands -- You could probably just wait for that other "once upon a time in..." movie, but this one isn't too bad. Actually, no, you won't like it much. Sure, it's not bad, but life's too short. Go bowling instead.

22 Aug 2003

Marci X -- One of those movies that make fun of both white people and black people by showing how neither of them actually are. You won't like this.

The Medallion -- If you like them flying-around Hong Kong movies and/or Jackie Chan, this should be fine for you.

My Boss's Daughter -- It's got Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid, which tells you about as much as you need to know. Let's just say neither of them are exactly branching out just now.

15 Aug 2003

American Splendor -- Not as cool as, say, Crumb. It's not horrible and it's not great. It's sort of worth seeing... maybe. I dunno. Just rent Crumb again if you can't decide.

Freddy vs. Jason -- If you liked all or even most of the Freddy and Jason movies (and not many did, I suppose), then there will be nothing much wrong with this movie. If you sort of just like the idea of Freddy vs. Jason (as I do), then the movie doesn't really deliver all that the premise has the potential for. It turns out to be just another stupid "horror" (though not much is scary) movie more than, say, a smart postmodern and fun look at these two evil icons. Still, it's worth renting one night with some friends, maybe after watching some of the "better" of the heroes' movies. Or some of the worst. I might suggest Jason X or Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

Grind -- Still slightly-fringy-yet-more-popular-than-ever activity gets movie made about it, sort of. Not for skater fans, but probably okay for pre-teens.

Open Range -- Kevin Costner, the worst A-list actor in movies, makes another sure-wish-movies-were-big-and-like-in-the-olden-times movie that almost completely stinks.

Uptown Girls -- The girls are cute, even Brittany "annoying lately" Murphy. This movie mostly works if you're somewhere between the ages of the two ladies in the movie. Nothing to run screaming from, but not anything for most people to see either.

8 Aug 2003

Freaky Friday -- Do we need an updated version of Freaky Friday? Clearly not. We probably didn't need the first one either, but it's too late for that. Kids might still like it. Kids liked the first one. I did.

Le Divorce -- It's not the best Merchant-Ivory film, but it is Merchant-Ivory, so it's worth seeing. The goodness of Naomi Watts almost makes up for the general annoyingness of Kate Hudson (she's not so bad either). Something to rent.

S.W.A.T. -- Another bad boys blowing things up movie. Worse than most, if you can imagine that.

1 Aug 2003

American Pie: The Wedding -- Not sure what the point of this movie is. The first one was a goofy sexcapades comedy, the second was a typical sequel, and this one... is just sort of a sweetened, toned-down movie about semi-adults. Not really anything for the original crowd, or any other crowd.

Gigli -- Not to be confused with Gigi. Jennifer Lopez is a bitch. Ben Affleck is a cool guy who happens to currently suck for being with this bitch. This movie sucks and it would have sucked if anyone else had been in it. Avoid, please.

The Secret Lives of Dentists -- It covers some of the usual stuff ("perfect" suburban life in turmoil, getting bad advice from hallucinations), but overall this manages to be a different-enough and pretty good movie. Rent it one night.

25 Jul 2003

Buffalo Soldiers -- Because of the 9-11, this has been pushed back for almost two years, but really it's not like it's M*A*S*H or anything, or heck even Stripes--it just happens to be set in the army without making any real bold statements about it. Really it's just another goofy romantic comedy with the crazy dad as the main romantic obstacle.

Camp -- If you don't get enough shit watching American Idol, you could always watch these guys singing and acting in this crappy movie.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life -- Not as sloppy and ugly as the first one, but just about as vacant. I like fun action movies as much as or more than the next guy, but this isn't a fun action movie. Somewhere someone went wrong with this franchise.

Masked & Anonymous -- This movie has a number of really cool people in it (including, you know, Bob Dylan), but really other than watching all these really cool people (and some interesting musical performances by Dylan), there's not that much going on. Go see if if you're a die-hard Dylan fan, and don't look back.

Mondays in the Sun -- Or Los Lunes al Sol, this is one of those movies that's basically made to win awards, which doesn't mean it's good.

Seabiscuit -- Kind of dull. Sorry, Toby Maguire fans, but your boy picks dull movies sometimes.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over -- Okay, so I'm a sucker for gimmicks, and 3-D has always been a decent gimmick. I also think that Rodriguez has made a perfect blend of action and kiddie stuff with these Spy Kids movies, and this one is about as much of a treat as the first two. Go see it in the theater. You'll get free glasses if nothing else.

18 Jul 2003

Bad Boys II -- Okay, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence on the screen together has a certain charm. If the first one was fine for you, this one should be too.

Dirty Pretty Things -- It's not the best thing Stephen Frears has ever done, but it's worth watching.

The Embalmer -- Or L'Imbalsamatore. It looks nice and pretty most of the time, though kind of fizzles out (from what was never much bubbling to begin with). One of those movies that relies on the "creepiness" of the main characters occupation to carry the movie, hiding just another usual plot.

Garage Days -- One of those silly little rock and roll movies about people trying to make it big. This one is a little better than most, but most are really bad, you see.

How To Deal -- Mandy Moore might be the best of the teen queen actors, but that's not saying much. See it if you're twelve.

Km. 0 - Kilometer Zero -- Oh, you know, one of those movies about people talking about sleeping around and saying witty things. In Spain.

11 Jul 2003

A Housekeeper -- Also known as Une Femme de Menage, this movie is about an old dude who falls for his sexy (and yes she is very sexy) housekeeper. Okay as far as these romantic comedies go. Better than, say, Maid In Manhattan. Or even Who's the Boss.

I Capture the Castle -- You've seen this before. British, pretty, love, literary, etc. etc. etc. Not bad, not great.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen -- The premise of the movie is good, but it's not much interesting beyond it. In fact, it's more or less wasted. I'm not really suggesting you don't see it, but I'd see some of the other summer blockbusters (if that's what you're up for) before hitting this one.

Northfork -- It looks good, a very pretty movie. And the actors are pretty great; you can tell they wanted to be in it. So why don't I especially like the movie? I dunno, but I don't.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl -- Since this is based on the now-PC Disney ride, you won't see any pirates behaving especially badly (chasing women, etc.). This is mostly a movie for kids, even though it might creep them out (leaving this for, I suppose, twelve-year-olds). It's not bad, but it's not great. Johnny Depp is cool.

4 Jul 2003

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde -- Did we need a sequel to the third-rate Clueless rip-off? No, we did not.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas -- Dreamworks, a company who had a simple idea: to make animated features which were just as vacuous as Disney's. So far, they've come through for us. Watch this or rent Mulan--it's all the same poop.

Swimming Pool -- Another movie about a writer frustrated with her work who "just wants to go somewhere and finish her book!"

27 Jun 2003

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle -- I was an absolute sucker for Charlie's Angels, and I'm a sucker for this one too. If you don't like huge fun movies, stay home, but if you love smart candy, then go see this in the theater. Bright, poppy, hot, funny, sexy, wild, actiony, goofy, pretty, perfect. (And it has Crispin Glover again!)

The Hard Word -- I slept through this one. I saw it again to try and be objective, and I fell asleep again.

28 Days Later -- Danny Boyle has a tendency to surprise us with how interesting (if not quite "good") his movies can be given their overall premise (take The Beach for example). This is his take on the end of the world. Anyone doing a shot of one guy alone on a deserted planet is going to be creepy, but Boyle does it slightly better anyway. In the end, not the greatest thing ever, but worth renting.

20 Jun 2003

Alex and Emma -- Rob Reiner can create works of genius (This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride) and he can create crap (Ghosts of Mississippi, North). This one is more like crap: mushy crap at that.

From Justin To Kelly -- Kids from eleven to thirteen are going to love this just fine, as well as some twisted adults who like American Idol just a little too much. Everyone else would be safe to stay away. Though the movie is still better than, say, Alex and Emma.

The Hulk -- Not as careful or loving as Spiderman, this movie makes the otherwise delicate director Ang Lee look downright sloppy... though there are several moments here and there that make up for it, but it feels as if he snuck those in. It feels like it originally wanted to be a blockbuster with taste and a heart, but then eventually just turned into a big, dumb, green flick. Go see it or rent it anyway, since it's still not horrible (comparatively).

The Legend of Suriothai -- A movie so epic and pretty and sweeping that it makes you think for several minutes that it's actually good. But it's not. The only thing that really separates this from other nondescript epics is that it's from Thailand.

13 Jun 2003

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd -- It's kind of fun to watch these kids pretend to be the original actors (they do a good job), though that novelty wears off after a while. If the script were slightly funnier/edgier, this could have gone somewhere, at least into cult classic status, but as it is it's only about half there. Still kind of worth watching though. You even have my permission to see it in the theater.

The Heart of Me -- At first glance, this might just seem like another British period piece with Helene Bonham Carter, but if you're like me, you'll actually find yourself thinking about it long after you've seen it. Not exactly a fun night at the movies, so maybe it's best saved for a cozy night at the house.

Hollywood Homicide -- One of those old guy gets teamed with young guy movies ("That's it, I'm driving the car!" etc.) which only manages to be even remotely worth watching because of Harrison Ford (not that he's always great, but he's so much superior to this script that he makes himself look even better than he is). This might be something you find yourself watching on HBO over and over, wondering to yourself why.

Jet Lag -- Also known as Decalage Horaire, this French movie is probably too truly romantic (as opposed to the romantic comedies we're now used to) for us Americans to like it much--and that includes me.

Rugrats Go Wild! -- It's the Rugrats and The Wild Thornberries in one movie. Bliss for pre-schoolers and hell for adults.

6 Jun 2003

The Eye -- The Ring meets The Sixth Sense when Hong Kong gal can see dead people. Tom Cruise has decided he wants to be the guy to bring everything to America, since he wants to remake this movie. Not horrible, but not great. Better than The Ring and Open Your Eyes/Vanilla Sky.

2 Fast 2 Furious -- As if the first one weren't pointless enough, this sequel doesn't even have the main "star" (such as he was).

30 May 2003

Finding Nemo -- Pixar in general does a much better job of making movies than regular ol' Disney cell animation, but in the end both are just kids' movies. However, these are movies you shouldn't be embarrassed for your kids to see (unlike, say, Lilo and Stitch). Not much for grownups, but if you got kiddies, this'll do fine.

The Italian Job -- Edward Norton stars in another movie not worthy of his talent (like most of them--Fight Club was probably the only worthy one). A pretty forgettable movie.

23 May 2003

Bruce Almighty -- Jim Carey returns to the funny (and somewhat to the high concept of The Truman Show) in a movie where he has the power of God. It's actually good stuff: not only funny good, but good good. Something about it is just fun to watch. Go see it in the theater or rent it.

Manic -- Even though it's got good performances from Don Cheadle and the lovely Zooey Deschanel, it comes across as too much of an MTV afterschool special to be that great. Depressingly dull in the end.

16 May 2003

Down with Love -- There was another great-to-look-at but dull jazzy Technicolor movie starring Ewan McGregor called Moulin Rouge. This one isn't as bad as that disaster, but -- like it -- it is just another run of the mill romantic comedy that flashes crazy lights at you to distract you from that fact.

Euro Pudding -- Also known as L'Auberge Espagnol, this is one of those "put unlike people in a house together" movies (normally reserved for TV), in that case various Europeans. Better than The Real World, but not too much.

The Matrix Reloaded -- Everyone's going to see this movie no matter what I say, so go ahead and see it. The first one, to me, was kind of a dull movie that had the unfortunate side effect of spawning duller movies like it (how long will slow motion bullets and flying around be cool?). This one's even more stupid. Do whatever, I don't care.

Pokemon Heroes -- Poke-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sweet Sixteen -- One of those "gritty" movies about teenagers not wearing shirts that let us know youngsters are restless and wild. Go rent Kids or something instead if you want a better version.

9 May 2003

Daddy Day Care -- Eddie Murphy makes another one of these movies.

Man on the Train -- This French movie (there they call it L'Homme du Train, you see) is okay. It's the usual faire of two guys from different lifestyles (criminal, poet) wanting to trade places. It's not horrible, it's not great.

Only the Strong Survive -- It's always a treat to watch your favorite singers singing and talking, so if you like the Stax soul music, then you'll like this for that reason... although as far as documentaries go, this isn't exactly the best.

The Shape of Things -- Neil Labute saves himself after that Nurse Betty thing (and somewhat that Possession thing) he tried to pull off after doing two brilliant movies (In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors), though this one isn't quite as good as those two. Also, it's a little too much of a "comment" movie at times, but that doesn't overshadow the goodness. The very cool Paul Rudd is the star. Go see it in the theater or at least rent it as soon as it comes out.

2 May 2003

Blue Car -- It's not the most boring movie ever made, but it's not on any most exciting lists either. You've seen most of this before.

The Dancer Upstairs -- This isn't a bad movie. It's not everyone's cup of tea (not really mine either), but it's actually kinda good. Rent it if political drama romance type movies appeal to you.

The Lizzie McGuire Movie -- The cute Hilary Duff in a harmless movie for pre-teens.

Owning Mahowny -- Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the best and most interesting actors today. Throw in John Hurt and a pretty interesting script, and you've got a pretty decent little movie. It's not something to rush out and see, but definitely one to rent.

X-Men 2 -- I didn't see what was so good about the first one, and this one is just as mediocre. See it if you liked the first, I guess.

25 Apr 2003

City of Ghosts -- Matt Dillon directs his first movie, which is pretty forgettable. It's got some nice Cambodian pop music, but that's about it.

Confidence -- Sure, it's got Dustin Hoffman, but otherwise not really worth watching.

A Decade Under the Influence -- Everyone should know by now that the 70s was a pretty amazing decade for movies, but just in case you don't, this documentary nicely reminds you. Essentially it's a TV-ish effort (by the Independent Film Channel--in fact, it'll be showing soon in more full form on that channel), but it's not a bad job as far as "weren't we cool" interview documentaries go. Features most of the big-wigs.

House of Fools -- This is actually a pretty and pretty decent little movie. It's not the greatest thing ever, but you're not exactly wasting your time watching it. And it's got Bryan Adams playing himself, so...

Identity -- You know how sometimes you're in the mood for renting a pretty cool thriller that has some pretty cool people in it, something you can watch in the dark? This is the one you should get.

It Runs in the Family -- Too many Douglases. Probably needs to be avoided. Not horrible, but not noteworthy.

People I Know -- Al Pacino is fun to watch in even the dullest movies, and this is one of the dullest movies. So, watch for Al if you like Al. Or don't watch at all: either will do.

The Real Cancun -- Just as TV's version of spring break and the "real world" and all that garbage is repulsive, so is this--but on a bigger screen.

18 Apr 2003

Bulletproof Monk -- Another one of those flying around action superhero comic book Hong Kong blah blah blah.

Chasing Papi -- One of those stupid one guy with three gals who find out and get even with him deals.

Holes -- Something's just not right about this kiddie movie. I mean, it's not bad -- it's not Problem Child or anything -- but it isn't great.

Malibu's Most Wanted -- One of those "it sure is funny when white guys act black" movies. Attempts to introduce a new catch phrase into American society, which will sadly probably actually catch on. Try not to watch this.

A Mighty Wind -- Christopher Guest and the crew from Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show create another hilarious, intelligent movie, this time about folk singers during the folk movement. The obsession with losers in the spotlight are here again, with jokes like, "The records were great, but they weren't made with a hole in the middle." This one is certainly better and funnier than Best in Show and at least the equal (if not better) of Waiting for Guffman. Fans of the 60s recreations in Spinal Tap will especially enjoy this movie. Go see it in the theater. Buy it when it comes out. Laugh, laugh, laugh.

The Travelling Birds -- If you're in the mood for lovely visuals, go see this. It's a documentary about migrating birds (also known as Winged Migration, or Le Peuple Migrateur if you're French). You might even want to see it in the theater if you can swing it, since this would look really pretty on the big screen.

The Young Unknowns -- One of those trying-to-be-hip-and-serious movies that ends up just being boring. I'm yawning just thinking about it.

11 Apr 2003

Anger Management -- Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in a movie about angry people? What a casting move. Oh wait... Seriously, though, this is probably going to be pretty great, with these two very different but very good actors banging heads. Go see it in the theater, or at least rent it. Or I'll get mad.

Better Luck Tomorrow -- Better than most MTV movies, but still just kind of mediocre.

Ghosts of the Abyss -- James Cameron milks his Titanic (and, I guess, The Abyss) success just a little more with this kind of interesting / kind of stupid documentary about him going to the bottom of the ocean to see the Titanic. You don't have to like Titanic to like this (I don't), but you probably won't like this much anyway, since it's even more dull than you might suspect. Rent it if you're just not in the mood for a real movie some night.

House of 1000 Corpses -- Rob Zombie directs a horror movie. Listen to the description: "After a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere during a storm, a group of kids find refuge in an old, abandoned house." We've been given these pansy-ass "psychological" horror movies for several years now, and it's about time someone gives us a good, fun, and actually scary (dammit!) picture. This is bound to be the biggest cult film in a long time, maybe the best horror movie like this since The Evil Dead. I'm more excited about this than anything that's been released yet this year, seriously. Go see it. Bring someone to grab. Eat popcorn if you want, go nuts.

Marion Bridge -- One of those movies where the characters weep over each other for an hour or two. Yawn.

Stevie -- Steve James (Hoop Dreams) makes a great documentary that everyone who wants to see what a real documentary looks like should see. It ain't just zoom-ins on black and white photos, folks. A little disturbing and a little funny (like Crumb, though less so on both counts). See it in the theater or rent it.

XX/XY -- Not horrible, not great. One of those relationship movies that makes you think for about two minutes until you get tired of doing so and instead just get bored.

4 Apr 2003

Cowboy Bebop The Movie: Knockin' On Heaven's Door -- This is simple: if you like the TV cartoon, you'll like this. If you don't care for this sort of thing, don't bother with it. Look how simple.

DisFunktional Family -- Comedy movies are weird. For the most part, they may as well be shot on video and shown on televisions, since direction doesn't do much to the comedy itself. Eddie Griffin does okay for himself in this one though, since it's also a semi-documentary. If you like Eddie Griffin, you should be fine. It's funny enough. Rent it if you get in an odd mood for stand up on film.

The Guys -- Jesus, another case of someone desperately trying to tell us that 9-11 was sad, complete with sweeping weepy strings. Stop it already. Please.

Phone Booth -- The worst phone booth movie since Whoopie Goldberg's Jumping Jack Flash. If you think that being watching someone trapped in a phone booth could be interesting, go see it. Otherwise, it might be more interesting to just sit in a phone booth yourself for an hour and a half.

28 Mar 2003

Basic -- Vince and Jules return for this Die Hard guy directed piece of boringness.

Boat Trip -- Kinda like Overboard, only with a boat. Wait...

The Core -- It's Jules Verne for the 21st Century! Or maybe it's just another boring disaster movie.

Head of State -- Chris Rock directs his first movie, playing the role of Chris Rock, in what should be called The New Chris Rock Movie. An opportunity is wasted when Bernie Mack plays Chris Rock's running mate rather than the obvious choice, Sinbad. Heck, if you like Chris Rock a lot, you won't be terribly disappointed.

21 Mar 2003

Dreamcatcher -- That guy who helped write some Star Wars movies directs this decent Steven King novel-based movie that seems like a not-as-good version of The Thing. It's maybe the best horror movie released, um, this month, but still not that great. If you're hankering for horror, go see it or rent it. Otherwise, don't.

Piglet's Big Movie -- Any current Disney film should be avoided, and any sequel-ish Disney movie should be doubly avoided. Please tell your kids that A.A. Milne wrote the Pooh books, and maybe one day they'll direct a non-Disney version of the stories (though the first go-round of shorts was fine).

A View from the Top -- This is one of those movies that tries tries tries, but just fails fails fails. Poor lovely Gwyneth Paltrow means well. Of course, Mike Meyers is quickly becoming the devil as he demonstrates he can be just as un-funny as he used to be funny (goofy eyes and teeth doesn't equal comedy, Mr. Meyers--go watch Wayne's World or something). Basically an insulting movie to above-average intelligences everywhere.

14 Mar 2003

Agent Cody Banks -- If you're between that nine and twelve bracket that the Disney Channel plays to (ah, remember when they used to show old Disney movies and 1988 "Welcome to Epcot" videos? those were the days), then this is a smart enough little movie for you. Adults need not apply, but it's not something you should forbid your kids from watching. You have my permission to let them see this one, and I don't grant that opportunity very often, so take advantage. Give them some movie money and your blessing.

The Hunted -- Tommy Lee Jones is on the hunt again in this movie that's only slightly less goofy than "The Most Dangerous Game," that short story you kind of liked in junior high.

Spun -- Starring Jason Schwartzman, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Patrick Fugit, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Debbie Harry, Larry Drake, and Ron Jeremy... but don't let that fool you. Maybe if this had been made ten or fifteen years ago, this sex/drugs/etc./etc./boring movie would have made some people stand up and notice, but how many times do we have to see people sniffing drugs, shooting needles, and artistically screwing before we get tired of it? Me, I'm done. Watch it if you still think that old film trick of people's heads spinning in time lapse is still a good idea.

7 Mar 2003

Bringing Down the House -- A white guy (Steve Martin, who even has white hair!) gets together with a black girl (Queen Latifah, no less!). What can be more funny than that? Whahahahahahahahahahahaha! (See it if you're a Eugene Levy completist.)

Tears of the Sun -- Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... Oh, I'm sorry. Did you say something?

21 Feb 2003

Gods and Generals -- If you liked Gettysburg, then you'll probably like this prequel just fine. It's basically a slightly-above-average Civil War picture. We still make war pictures around these parts, lots of them. Go see or rent if you feel the need.

Old School -- You'll be surprised at how funny this movie is when you see it. Where Road Trip was a barely-above-average college comedy, this one is a few more notches up. I'm not saying it's the best thing ever, or the funniest, but if you want a funny movie, this is one of the best to see.

14 Feb 2003

Daredevil -- A pretty forgettable superhero movie. You might like it a little, but you won't like it much. See it or rent it if you want some mild action.

The Jungle Book 2 -- These Disney sequels are always horrible ideas. I can almost tolerate the ones that go straight to video, since I don't have a problem with making a quick dollar off the stupid kids, but making one for the theaters makes it at least seem like Disney is trying to make quality, which clearly they are not. This is horrible, horrible, wrong crap and no one should see it, and I shouldn't even acknowledge its existence here.

Willard -- A remake of the 1971 movie of the same title, this one stars Crispin Glover as yet another Psycho-type weirdo (with Mother to blame) who gets his revenge on the "normal" people by siccing his pet rats on them. Although Crispin Glover is always a thrill to watch, the movie is pretty ridiculous and too self-serious by half... though not a bad thing to pop on one night as a double feature with, say, Parents.

7 Feb 2003

Deliver Us from Eva -- Yeah, I don't think you want to see this one.

How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days -- Kate Hudson shows off her usual sunny self, which manages to be more annoying than good. Typical date movie crap, so go see it if you like that stuff.

Shanghai Noon 2 -- Well, you know, it's not a great movie or anything, and neither was the first, but these guys are funny enough. Go see it if you especially like either of them, or rent it. Or ignore it, whichever.

31 Jan 2003

Final Destination 2 -- The first movie was a dull piece of... suspense? We'll stick with that word for now. This one is even more stupid and pointless, if that's possible. Hoorah for writers who don't have much imagination past the premise. Rent it one night if you can remember the first one.

The Recruit -- Al Pacino puts it on auto-pilot while Colin Farrell tries to match up. He does, but it doesn't matter anyway since this movie is so typical that you wonder why it's even released.

24 Jan 2003

Darkness Falls -- Oddly forgettable, even though it's actually a pretty good movie as far as these types of horrors go. This movie is more popularly known as "That movie with Anya from Buffy in it."

17 Jan 2003

A Guy Thing -- Don't let charming Jason Lee fool you. This is another typical Julia Stiles vehicle. If for some reason you like her, rent it. If not, stay away.

Kangaroo Jack -- Oh Jesus God no. Don't let your kids see this. Don't you go see it either.

National Security -- Ma'in Lawrence does Big Mama minus the fat suit and plus a gun. No deeper than that. Avoid? Yes, do.

10 Jan 2003

Adaptation -- Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich was perfect in its premise, but failed to live up to that premise. Adaptation has a similarly-interesting premise, and does a slightly-better job. See it on the big screen, whether it's deserving of it or not.

Just Married -- Ashton Kutcher is a funny guy, and he gets to prove it every now and then in this movie (though not nearly as much as he does in That 70s Show). Not a bad little movie, funny enough to rent on video one night.

25th Hour -- It has Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman, so of course everyone should see it for the joy of them, but as far as the movie goes, it -- like most Spike Lee joints that try to be slightly epic -- strain under their own weight, and it really shows. It's not bad, but it's not the best put-together movie either. See it at the theater, why not.

3 Jan 2003

Nicholas Nickelby -- "Hallo, let's do a bland Dickens moving picture, shall we? Americans love costumes, accents, and the like." "Jolly good, yes. We'll make them think they should like it because it seems rather educational." "Though we all know it's rubbish." "Yes, right-o! Jolly good." Avoid. Or rent, see if I care. Show it in class. Make your students hate you.

Copyright 2003 We Like Media.
You may email Rusty W. Spell.