Movies Reviewed, 2002

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Office Space - a movie that anyone who works and has a sense of humor should like. well done up and down. did everything it was supposed to and did it well. A-.

Fight Club - a really good film that requires thought on more than just the literal level. everyone who blasts this film as being gratutiously violent isn't able to view film as metaphor. if you take everything literally then stay away. the peformances are good, the themes are important, and the direction is unique and effective. A-.

Se7en - this is a better film than fight club. sure the performances are superb, the screenplay is phenomenal, and the characters are both empathetic and symbolic. but beyond even that the direction is really first class. just look for the way fincher uses all the senses throughout the film. he encorporates all five senses on an almost subconscious level to make the audience feel even closer to the experience of the characters. for example the sense of smell....when brad pitt lays down to take an nap while waiting for the computer to come up with a fingerprint match he lays his head down next to an ashtray and then, being opposed to the smell, moves the ashtray away. this attention to detail is the rule, rather than the expception, throughout the film. A+.
Monster's Ball - when the highlight of a film is seeing someone's tits you know you've wasted your time. halle berry was good, but not fantastic. jodie foster was better in panic room and she didn't even get nominated for an academy award. the movie really just failed to make a connection with me. i felt bad for one character and he died half way through the movie. everyone else was either dispicable or uninteresting. i'm not insensitive - this movie just didn't have any life to it. it's too bad too, because the director obviously has a fair amount of talent. D+.

Iron Monkey - better than crouching tiger, hidden dragon. the fights were good, the story was good enough, and the finale was awesome. B.

A Christmas Story - the consummate christmas movie. the camera work is deceptively good, the style is lively, independent and fits perfectly with the feel/tone of the film, and the narrative command is perfect. from beginning to end this movie breathes like few films, especially of this kind, do. every performance is flawless and it appeals to people of all ages. the end both confirms the reality of the world (one that grownups know all too well) and fits with one that kids, too, can appreciate - the broken toy on christmas day feeling. a fantastic film deserving of no less than an A+. this one has withstood the test of time.

Man Bites Dog - this movie is hilarious, but chances are you won't think so. you either laugh at this movie and take it as a satire/critique or picket in front of any theater showing it and take it as awful and exploitative. B.
Hidden Fortress - a good road film, but wasn't great upon first viewing. i've heard that the visual style of this film is what sets it apart, but i'm not a film major so i don't know if i'm even able to comment on that. there certainly were some good shots, but like i said - not great. mifune's character was less comic than the other roles i've seen him play. the two peasants seemed to be the focus thematically and also provided comic relief. i don't think kurosawa has ever had an actor who hasn't played a part well. B.

Election - a truly fantastic film. just perfectly made and executed across the board...this doesn't mean you have to like it, but the film-making is top notch. personally i love the sense of humor, the characters, the underlying messages, etc. A.
Mad Max - from what i remember i think i like the road warrior more, but this one is still worthy of its praise. the ending is rad and so is the beginning...the middle doesn't get too boring and actually does a good job of shaping mel gibson's character. really, though, this movie is merely a prelude to road warrior. 1979!? aged very well...both the film and mel. B.
Evil Dead 2 - this one didn't take itself seriously for even a second, but i think that's why it's so great. bruce campbell gives a fantastic over the top performance and the direction/camera work is deceivingly good. given the tone and subject matter it would be easy to write off evil dead 1 and 2, but campbell's performances and raimi's undeniably gifted direction make them cult classics. A-.
Austin Powers in Goldmember- has its moments for sure, but isn't as consistent or fresh as the first two. hopefully this is the last of the series. B-.

Mr. Deeds - you gotta like adam sandler if you're going to even give this movie a try. don't expect anything great here, but it will kill time effectively. C+.
Magnificent Seven- not nearly the film that it was based upon (seven samurai)...doesn't have the artistic genius, the characters aren't nearly as vibrant or likable (mifune's counterpart in this version is laughable), and just isn't as good a movie. maybe it's a mistake to compare it to what many people call the best film of all-time, but they made that decision by remaking - not me. yul brynner and steve mcqueen give pretty good performances, but other than that the movie doesn't have nearly the gusto of it's predecessor. it's surprising that the ensemble doesn't seem to have much character considering who sturges had to work with and the fact that he did a great job later with the great escape. C.
Seven Samurai - well i've finally seen the movie that is often referred to as the best of all-time. undoubtedly a fine example of cinematic mastery, but that doesn't mean much without injecting some humanity into the picture. having watched this only one time i don't think i'll be able to say anything that hasn't already been said about this film so i'll just tell you what i thought...mifune's performance was spectacular. i know i'm a late bloomer, but kurosawa and mifune are rapidly climbing the ranks in my book. he really is a master actor. seeing the magnificent seven right after i saw this gave me a good dose of perspective...sure seven samurai is an hour and a half longer than the magnificent seven, but so much more is done in that time. though, kurosawa doesn't really need very much time to characterize a person or place (think the opening scene of yojimbo with the dog walking through the town holding a human hand in its picture worth literally a thousand words) because he's that good. at any rate the 3.5 hours was far more gratifying and fulfilling than the 2 hours that the magnificent seven offered. the samurai are so much harder, likable, and heroic than the gunmen in the magnificent seven. i couldn't help but think that these guys were the ultimate badasses throughout the the same time they were more human than we typically expect our heroes to be. i'll need to see this movie again in the near future. A-.

Bamboozled - probably spike lee's second best film...possibly his best. there's a lot going on and he doesn't make it easy for you to settle down and take sides...there are multiple dimensions to the characters within the film and that is appropriate considering the subject matter. the first half of the film sets up the last half for a slight disappointment (in my opinion), but that's more because the first half was so good rather than the second half being bad. very good ensemble acting, great cinematography and style. a winner. B+.

War Room - documentary about the behind the scenes battle to get governor clinton elected president in 1992. does a really good job of showing a lot about what goes into manufacturing a candidate's image and politicking in today's media-centric world. fascinating and well done. B+.

Black Knight - it isn't high art, but it's pretty good entertainment. has a few black culture references which, for whatever reason, i liked to see. martin lawrence is a pretty funny fellow. C+.

Spaceballs - not as funny as some will have you believe. it's mel brooks so there is some comic intelligence involved, but it just doesn't have the snap or bite that something like the producers has. rick moranis was good, but the other characters were either marginal or not seen enough. C.

Wild Strawberries - a fine film indeed, but not a masterpiece upon first viewing. don't get me wrong - this is a finely crafted film on all sorts of levels...the plot, characterization, acting, use dreams and metaphor were all well done. certainly a great piece of craftsmanship and although it did strike me emotionally it didn't have the unclassifiable magic that something like magnolia does. B+.

Sanjuro - the best sequel ever? yojimbo is a great film, but, and i'm going out on a limb here, i think that sanjuro is better. even though it was my first time watching this movie i feel i gleaned more from it, on all sorts of levels, than i did watching yojimbo two or three times. both films have the ability to function as both "high and low" art at the same time. "high and low" in quotes because that's another kurosawa film i plan on seeing...i'm so clever. seriously though this film really does succeed in both entertaining its viewers and challenging how we think about the traditional roles of a hero. the conclusion in this film is more substantial than that of yojimbo. this marks only the third kurosawa film i've seen (rashomon, sanjuro, and yojimbo), but it's pretty evident already that this guy has earned the respect he has gotten over the years. i love both the fact and way that he deals with the psychology of all the's infinitely interesting and easy to see why he is studied so much. very recommendable film. A.

George Washington - i've been wanting to watch this one for a long time because it looked good, criterion made the dvd for it, and because it's gotten good reviews. it certainly had style and it felt like it was going somewhere and that there was going to be an emotional connection somewhere along the line, but i never connected with it. from a cinematography perspective it was interesting, the characters were odd, but overall it just didn't do it for me. listened to some of the commentary hoping for insight and that led nowhere. very similar, in its feel and effect, to gummo. C+.

Spartacus - about as epic as they come. a good film with some real moments, but didn't amaze me all that much. charles laughton was very good, as was kirk douglas. the film, to me, is almost as much about politics as it is about one man's search for freedom. definitely a fine film, but didn't bring me to tears like kubrick has done many times before. B+.

Executive Decision - not horrible. C.

Naqoyqatsi - this is what one visitor wrote: "This is one great film. I waited more than 3 years to see this film. The special effects were beyond explanation. They are very impressive and well done. I like the use of when a b/w negative image is shown and shifted into different colors. There was a great scene with a zoom of a mandlebrot fractal. A good example of an original special effect was the morphing of different paintings. A famous painting morphs into another famous painting, and that into another famous painting, etc. We also see wax dummies of famous people, George W Bush, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. Abraham Lincoln, Sitting Bull, and others. I hope to see more films like this be made."
beyond the pretty colors and neat people on the big tv this film tries to show us life as war. as was the case with the first time i saw koyaanisqatsi i was initially disappointed by the film. my major gripe was that too much of the film was fabricated, rather than captured like the previous films did. it was less of a documentary and more of a manufactured statement. perhaps one could say that this manufacturing of images, rather than capturing them, fits in with the theme of the film, but to me it detracted from the film more than it added to it. initially i also felt that the images were sometimes frivolous, excessive, needless and just not in line with the idea of life as war or civilized violence. though this may hold merit, i don't think that that matters so much. though ever image is chosen by its creators, not every image has to fit precisely into the's often more about a feel, than it is about each image representing a number and the sum of those images creating a given end number. my advice is to not overthink things the first time you watch it and watch it at least twice.
the music wasn't as inspired as koyaanisqatsi, but was better than powaqqatsi. the cresendos weren't as powerful and there weren't as many which made the ending all the more important - and thus, for me, less fulfilling. koyaanisqatsi had a much better sense of pacing.
in sum, the baby was cute and the waves were cool. B.

Sound And Fury - documentary about two sides of a deaf family, both thinking about cochlear implants for one of their deaf children. it certainly opens up a new world to the viewer, which is what you hope a documentary film will do, but i didn't connect with any of the people on an emotional level - which is what the good documentaries do. a lot of it was about how we define our identity and the pride we take in who we are....that's probably why i didn't really relate to many of the characters. identity and pride don't really hold that much weight with me so their tough decisions just didn't seem that tough to me. overall educational, but not entertaining. C+.

Jackass - if you like the show then you'll like the movie, otherwise steer clear. B-.

King of Masks - fine chinese film that has the feel of a greek tragedy, only the protagonist is a street performer. touches upon a few issues of chinese culture like androgyny being revered, passing on traditions, and the emphasis on having a male heir. both the acting and story were good. recommendable. B.

Bowling For Columbine - as good as the first time. A.
Femme Fatale - watch a good dose of film noir before watching this one. pays homage to double indemnity in the first shot and uses that as a launching pad to modernize film noir, only to completely turn its major tenets on their collective head. it follows the woman, rather than the man, it defies the notion of a hopeless and dark world and it does a great job of telling the story without dialogue. i liked this movie a lot because of what role it might play in the future of film. it defied a lot of the conventions of film noir, while embracing them throughout the majority of it. depalma adds another very good film to his resume. B+.

The Ring - very well done horror film. to me it relies a lot on the initial viewing of the video - if you aren't put into the same shoes as the character watching it, that is - if you are not terrified by it, then you will likely not feel invested throughout the film. i'm not easily scared by films, but this one did it so despite any plot holes it might have it gets a thumbs up from me. B.

Don't Look Back - shows that bob dylan is nothing more than a highly talented run of the mill beatnik. his ideas aren't revolutionary or well-formed, but when this was filmed he was a young guy discovering the world and popularity. not all that well filmed, but it was a running camera in the right place at the right time. more interesting than dylan himself, i found, were those who were around him. wish it had focused on them a bit more...their motivations for being there, what they think of him, etc. overrated on the whole. C+.

Powaqqatsi - not nearly the film/music fusion that the first one was. let me rephrase - they were fused well, but the film and music weren't nearly as good as they were in koyaanisqatsi. better picture and the images are more vivid, but not as moving and the theme didn't strike me to the same extent that koyaanisqatsi did. B-.

Punch-Drunk Love - one of the best love stories of all-time from a guy on the short list of quality directors in the mainstream today. adam sandler gets, and nails, a lifetime performance. ambitious, well-balanced, great and unusual soundtrack, fantastic. A.
Abandon - it's kind of a wannabe american psycho only without the great script, acting, and comedic element. so it pretty much sucked. oh and i missed the one part where katie holmes gets down to her bra and panties so there really wasn't anything redeeming about this movie. F.

Pop & Me -
Straw Dogs -

Koyaanisqatsi - A-.

Bowling For Columbine - much more focused than his other films and even his books. moore's best artistic effort to date. i won't elaborate. just watch this movie - take my word for it. A.

Spaceman - the next cult b movie classic. it really nails the tone and theme of a good b movie. if you have interest in movies like evil dead or the toxic avenger you should give this one a shot. B+.

The Tuxedo - the whole premise of the movie is flawed - jackie chan is fantastic when he is grounded in reality so there is no good reason to give him a suit that makes him do all sorts of unreal stunts. further they didn't take advantage of his ability to do crazy things as a result of the tux so it ended up being a total failure (from a fight choreography standpoint). the rest of the movie was just awful in theory and execution. D-.

The Wind Will Carry Us - very nicely photographed film that functions as a two hour symbolic story of how kiarostami thinks we live our life. the protagonist comes into the villiage on a winding road not knowing exactly where he is or where he is going. when he gets there he essentially waits for death (though not his own) and spends his time idle and seemingly floating along like a leaf in the wind. it's a tough movie to get through but the photography and acting help; and when all is said and done it's a worthwhile film. gets better as you think about it afterwards. to me a sort of "before the law" on film. B.

Joy Ride - a funny movie with not a horrible ending. steve zahn is great and the others don't blow it. B-.

42 up - every bit as good as 35up, actually a bit better. check this series out. B.
Blair Witch Project - an indie great. just well done. B+.

Amistad - a bit cliche, a bit speilbergian, but overall a compelling story with some good acting. C+.
History of the World Part I - it's funny, it's smart, but really isn't great. C+

Signs - it's no "sixth sense," but it's good. has some corny moments which definitely detract from the whole product, but overall is an engaging thriller. C+.

There's Something About Mary - A+.
Stop Making Sense - leornard maltin said it's one of the best rock movies of all time. C.

Fast, Cheap, And Out Of Control - a really cool idea with some good moments and good footage. could have used more editing. overall worth the time. B.

One Hour Photo - nicely filmed and well acted by williams. does some interesting things, but i'm to tired to talk about em. B-.

Life as a House - it's a movie your mom would like, but it actually worked for me too. isn't as sappy as the usual hollywood aging parent romance flick. B-.

Big Lebowski - it's a classic. A-.

Mo Better Blues- spike lee is always able to bring out good performances in his actors, and this is no exception. what he isn't able to do this time is make the issues of the film relate in a larger context. the movie touches on racial issues, a bit on gender issues, and the integrity of music, but it doesn't really expound upon them. despite being over two hours long it doesn't seem to get much down, it could have benefitted from some good editing and more focus. certainly not lee's best effort. C.
Koyaanisqatsi - not as technically ingenious as "man with a movie camera," but probably benefits from that. this hits you on a more visceral level. as an aside, reggio said that "los olvidados" was a major spiritual landmark in his life. this film does a fantastic job of fusing music with imagery. i don't know what else to say. i think everyone will experience the film differently and that's part of the point - the movie is a journey in a way unlike most films so you kinda have to make your own decisions on how it has affected you. for me it brings life into greater focus, the minutae of life mean less because the film so thoroughly gets across the big picture. it reaffirms my belief that humanity is a plague, but in the close ups of people on the street it makes me feel apart of humanity in a way that daily life doesn't and can't. the final episode of the trilogy "naqoyqatsi" is produced by stephen soderbergh and features some music work by yo-yo ma. i broke down and watched the trailer and it looks like it could be great. can't wait to see it. A.

The Natural - man oh man, the first 20 minutes of this movie had me thinking that this was going to be tedious and cliche, but it took a turn for the better. there were some notable flaws, but it was inspired and worth watching overall. B-.

Bicycle Thief - touching film which didn't hold back for the sake of a happy ending (though most viewers would have liked to see one). also a landmark film, but that doesn't really matter to me because i try not to buy into canonization. B+.

Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan - pretty straightforward star trek. B.
American Pie 2 - semi-funny. it's a teen comedy so don't expect anything great. C.

Back to the Future - a classic. A.

Pope of Greenwich Villiage - very good performances from rooney and roberts. the story is solid, the comic relief is nice, but overall not a masterpiece. C+.
Bedazzled - not all bad. hurley is super hot, frasier is funny. C+.

Steamboat Bill Jr. -

Blue Crush - it's not bad enough that i saw this movie now i need to actually waste time reviewing it? the girls are good looking, the camera work in the surfing scenes was actually really good, but it had an awful romance subplot and lame characters. D.

City By The Sea - the first forty minutes of this movie were pretty tedious, but the last hour made it worth the time. three really good actors in this one made the movie a memorable one. B-.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding - funny from start to finish. might not be everyone's kind of humor, but it works for me. B.

Max Keeble's Big Move - it is what it is. C-.
Silence of the Lambs - simply a must see film. the acting is great, the directing is great, the whole think just oozes of greatness. A.
Mulholland Drive - i hated lost highway when i saw it in the theaters, but, to be fair, that was long ago. mulholland drive was the same thing, but better all around. it wasn't as dark, it wasn't as annoying, and once i learned the pretty simple explanation to its plot i was allowed to genuinely like this movie. lynch is a demanding director and i have to admit that i didn't really understand what happened in this film when i watched it, but having been given the one line answer to its mystery everything fell into place and it suddenly became a much better film. spoiler the answer that clarified it for me was: pre blue box was diane's dream and post blue box was her reality. B.

American Psycho - you'll like it or hate it. B.
Yojimbo- a great japanese film in the western style of film. lots of stuff here, lots of it i'm probably missing, a classic. A.

John Q. - this movie succedes because of the first couple scene and the acting within them. denzel washington is gold as usual. B.

Ocean's Eleven - good solid hollywood entertainment. this is what big time casts can be about...180 million bucks in the box office and it still manages to be thoughtful, funny, slick and well-acted. add to that a good soundtrack by david holmes and a soderbergh touch and you've got a good film. B+.
The Producers - priceless performances form mostel and wilder, plus a killer screenplay. you can't go wrong here. A-.
Midnight Cowboy - a very strong film. what can you say about a movie like this? A.

Some Like It Hot - not all that spectacular. earliest movie i can remember that made funny the idea of men going undercover as women. the most recent foray into this would be "sorority boys" which i found to be more funny, for my tastes, but then again this movie is almost 50 years old. C.

Searchers - better this time than the first two times i saw it (and fell asleep). wayne's character is definitely one worth noting - a lot more layered and difficult to figure than the typical movie character, especially for this time and genre. granted the plot wasn't intended to be the focus of the film, but i felt that the story did drag a bit in the second half of the film. beautifully filmed, well-acted by wayne, and full of allegorical meaning i'm sure. by fifties standards it should receive an A, but for me, in the new millennium, it garners only a B.
Usual Suspects - this is the first movie i remember in the streak of surprise ending movies of the late nineties. it also basically introduced, to the popular audience, spacey and del toro.  A-.

Sum Of All Fears - good solid entertainment; if hollywood made more films like this i think i'd be has enough thoughtful substance to stand up as a useful piece of art, and enough star power and explosions to please casual filmgoers. B.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - epic. this is one of those cases where the original source material (the books) has influenced film (star wars, the never ending story, etc.) to a great extent and then those films have in turned influenced the film which refers back to the original source's a very interesting situation. it's like being influenced by your kids in your old age. this is the new epic in film, which isn't so new otherwise. successful in everyway that a fantasy/adventure film should be. A.
Super Troopers - funny. A.

The Graduate - litterally fantastic in the best possible way. this story transcends reality and works on an allegorical level that few stories can. basically a perfect movie. at the very end when ben is storming into the church and there are those few loud strums on the acoustic guitar they should have had the who's "baba o'reilly"...that really was what they were looking for, unfortunately the movie was made in 1967 and the song was made in 1971. watch that scene and you'll know what i'm talking about. the cinematography was especially good, the acting was great, the screenplay was awesome. A+.
Blood Work - a good movie on the whole, had me interested in the mystery portion of the film for pretty much the whole time. wasn't spectacular in any way, but didn't disappoint. B-.

Kiss Of The Dragon - very solid action flick in all ways. B+.

L.I.E. - it's tough to get kids who can of them in this film could, but the others weren't so hot. very similar to "our lady of the assasins" and "bully." not as good as the former and better than the latter. i expected great things from this one, but was disappointed on the whole. i'm not entirely sure what it was lacking, but it wasn't all there. brian cox was good. C+.

Full Frontal - just not that good. has the look of something more than it really is. it's almost as if it was done by a film student as opposed to an academy award winning director. has good comic moments, but they didn't really move the movie forward or allow comic relief, rather they were just there. blah. C-.

Dogtown And Z-Boys - good retrospective look at the beginning of true skater culture, specifically the z-boys of santa monica who were at the cutting edge of skating in the mid-70s. B.

08/06/02 - soup to nuts a fantastic documentary about a startup "dotcom" company and the people behind it. ignore anything you hear about this being a "fly on the wall" look at the dotcom revolution, or the innerworkings of an upstart business - anyone who says that missed the point - all that business world stuff is secondary and merely provides an (albeit very interesting) historical backdrop for the unfolding of realtionships. without saying too much i'll say that the ending demonstrated true vision and in the spirit of the rest of the film. this is why you watch movies. first time i've seen this, but it still earns an A.

Bubble Boy - doesn't really have anything to contribute to your life. nonetheless it's not offensive so i'll give it a C-.

Austin Powers: Goldmember - not as funny as the second which wasn't as funny as the first, but still more funny than 90% of the other crap out there. B.

Minority Report - this spielberg film didn't completely restore my faith in his talent, but i will watch the next film he directs. i didn't leave a.i. feeling the same way. the first half of the movie really grabbed me and had me excited about what i was watching. without giving anything away i felt that the movie should have ended 20 minutes before it did (just as was true with a.i.); the only difference is that in a.i. everything up to my proposed ending point had been resolved sufficiently, whereas in minority report there was legitimate reason to continue. in general i felt that the last 20 minutes of the film failed, at times it turned excessively corny, pulled out some cliche plot techniques reminiscent of a matlock episode, and didn't live up to the potential that the first part of the film showed. i did feel it was a thought provoking film, but the ending didn't allow me to leave the theater thinking about the questions it posed, but instead about how flat it fell in its waning minutes. C+.

Kids - this is what's real and it makes you feel that. A.

K-19: The Widowmaker - "chernobyl under the sea" as melanie put it. indeed it does have flashes of disney triteness. the problem with all submarine films is that they all must be compared to "das boot" which is undoubtedly the greatest submarine film of all-time. in no way does k-19 compare; there are moments when it attempts to emulate das boot - the beginning when they are loading supplies onto the sub is one such moment. in short this film fails both as a submarine film and as a film. it too often states the obvious rather than allowing the audience to make its own conclusions ("you made yourself a hero" harrison ford proclaims after one of the many lifeless side characters puts his life on the line for the crew). kathryn bigelow (the director) and keanu reeves should heed the same advice - sometimes less is more. oh well. with this cast you'd think the acting would be a lot better, i think bigelow is just a bad director. C-.
"[About her 1995 film, "Strange Days"] "If you hold a mirror up to society, and you don't like what you see, you can't fault the mirror. It's a mirror. I think that on the eve of the millennium, a point in time only four years from now, the clock is ticking, the same social issues and racial tensions still exist, the environment still needs reexamination so you don't forget it when the lights come up. "Strange Days" is provocative. Without revealing too much, I would say that it feels like we are driving toward a highly chaotic, explosive, volatile, Armageddon-like ending. Obviously, the riot footage came out of the LA riots. I mean, I was there. I experienced that. I was part of the cleanup afterwards, so I was very aware of the environment. I mean, it really affected me. It was etched indelibly on my psyche. So obviously some of the imagery came from that. I don't like violence. I am very interested, however, in truth. And violence is a fact of our lives, a part of the social context in which we live. But other elements of the movie are love and hope and redemption. Our main character throws up after seeing this hideous experience. The toughest decision was not wanting to shy away from anything, trying to keep the truth of the moment, of the social environment. It's not that I condone violence. I don't. It's an indictment. I would say the film is cautionary, a wake-up call, and that I think is always valuable.""
thank goodness we have her to provide THE mirror to society. how brazen of her to think that she can perfectly portray reality in an objective way. it's funny that in the same quote she unknowingly acknowledges how tainted her point of view really is - "Obviously, the riot footage came out of the LA riots. I mean, I was there. I experienced that. I was part of the cleanup afterwards, so I was very aware of the environment. I mean, it really affected me. It was etched indelibly on my psyche." i may have found the first director whose movies i will try to completely avoid in the future.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - clever, funny, almost as good as the first. A-.

Baraka - C+.

Born On The 4th of July - C+.

Mr. Deeds - adam sandler s funny. if you agree then watch this movie, if you've always thought of him as a mindless frat boy then save yourself the time. B.

Man With The Movie Camera - watched commentary.
Man With The Movie Camera - a superb experiment in film, a sort of ancestor of koyaanisqatsi (on dvd in september). it's made even better by the dvd commentary. if you watch this film then do yourself the favor of listening to the commentary that comes with the dvd version. not a movie that's going to entertain you all that much, isn't going to make you laugh or cry, but it does have the ability to grab you and it's so amazingly dense it's unreal. as a film it's an A, but overall it's a B+.

Men of Honor - absolutely subpar performances from cuba gooding and robert deniro (probably the worst performance i've seen by deniro). the script just wasn't there and the directing wasn't there to save it from mediocrity. C-.
Road To Perdition - definitely a solid sophmore effort from sam mendes. wasn't as thoroughly enjoyable as american beauty, but it did keep me interested from beginning to end. newman, hanks and the kid all did a very good job with their characters and the movie relied a lot upon those performances so it's good they came through. the ending was like the one in american beauty in that it had the ability to be both depressing and hopeful at the same time. likely to be nominated for an oscar. B.

Waking Ned Devine - cute and funny film. it doesn't leave you laughing on the floor clutching your gut, but it is good for a few laughs and is worth the time. B-.

Following - definitely a recommendable film. only 70 minutes long, but does plenty within that time. the acting is very good, the screenplay is wonderful (as you might expect from chris nolan), and all around it's a good precursor to memento. B+.

Windtalkers - has the great john woo action sequences, comic relief, a couple good performances, but all those things suffered from the bigger picture. the flag waving wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, but still detracted from the film. in the first portion of the film (prior to the meat of the war portion of the film) there were a couple scenes with flag waving and i had hoped that those would be lost later in the film as a sort of message that war quickly clues people in about the truth behind jingoism. sadly the final five minutes reinforced the earlier even though the characters were depicted as having grown, the direction of the film did not - it still held onto the all too familiar precepts laid by 90% of its predecessors in the war film genre. C.

Men In Black II - didn't really want to see this movie, but it was the only movie my sister would agree to watch. it wasn't bad, it wasn't particularly good. has some comic moments, the actions sequences were par, the sfx were good. won't leave a lasting impression. C.

Sexy Beast - it was funny, it was witty, but it didn't grab me like i thought it could. B-.
Uncle Buck - fantastic. A.

Waking The Dead- C+.

Repo Man - i'm not sure how some films get cult followings. it's obviously a "b" film that exceeded expectations when it first came out, but when it turns into a cult classic then there's a different mentality going in. has its moments, but mostly forgettable. C-.

Roger And Me - if you haven't seen these movies then your life isn't complete. A+.
The Big One - if you haven't seen these movies then your life isn't complete. A+.

Wall Street - it's oliver stone, it's about wall street, it's pretty good. B-.
Kurt & Courtney - more of a movie about courtney than about kurt cobain. she's a hideous person and probably for good reason (her father is pretty sleazy). a reason isn't an excuse though and i think the only reason she's tried to change herself is in order to make her image more palitable for hollywood. luckily she's devoid of talent so she won't last long. oh don't need talent to make it in hollywood? oh well. the movie is pretty well done on the whole. B-.

Terminator 2 - 11 years since this has been made? great movie. A.
Bourne Identity - directed like a john woo film. the action scenes were good, the love story wasn't strained, it was just good. B.
Spanish Prisoner - david mamet likes use too many one-liners, in heist it was amazingly distracting, but it wasn't too bad in this one. overall a good movie, but david mamet gets on my nerves. C+.

Star Wars Episode II - a video game and nothing more. the story had potential, but the storytelling sucked - i've played video games with more story to them. D.

Fat Man And Little Boy - C.

Ghost World - from the same director who brought us "crumb"...look for the r. crumb art work on one of the LPs in the movie. after the first five minutes of this movie i was prepared to be utterly bored by a poorly done, extended version of "daria" the mtv show. fortunately the characters actually grew throughout the film from sarcastic teenagers to whatever it is that comes after that - the point being that they changed and that alone made this movie different and worthwhile. steve buscemi made the movie even better than that by adding true emotion to the film. i wasn't blown away by the film, but it did live up to the accolades i had heard it receive. B.

Dancer In The Dark - like "idiots" (also directed by von trier) there was untapped potential in this movie. in both cases i felt like i could have really liked the movie, but ultimately something was missing. this is the better and more ambitious film and i felt it more, but not as much as necessary -this film requires a great deal of emotional involvement. kudos to bjork, she was really great in it. C+.

Angels & Insects - see this movie. really well crafted story. i don't want to go into the plot or give anything away, so i'll just leave it at that. B+.

Hearts Of Darkness - a very good look into the making of "apocalypse now" (and movies in general). made me realize even more what kind of overrated actor brando is. oh well. B.

The First Year - this was as depressing as it was inspiring. not fantasically shot or told, but documentaries don't need to be - especially when the subject matter is so good. B+.
Lumière et Compagnie - a group of the greatest directors of contemporary times assemble to make a short film using an original Lumiere camera. a good idea, but only a few of the directors seemed to actually try anything inventive. i was pleased with the short interviews which were spliced in between the shorts, but the shorts were the original draw for me so i was overall disappointed. C.

Amityville Horror- pretty average for the most part, though it had its moments. a cross between the exorcist and the shining, but not nearly as good as either. the ending was wack. C-.

General - a bloody good film. you can't beat a good cops and robbers movie...a good balance of comic relief and drama to keep the film going. well-acted by the most important people. B+.

Idiots - has more potential as a comedy than as a drama with poignant ending (which is what it attempted to be). it's about a group of people who pretend to be mentally retarded in a supposed attempt to find a different part of themselves and come to grips with that part that society supresses. the characters weren't sympathetic at all which is why the ending fell on its face a bit and the symbolism of "finding your inner idiot" was a bit retarded, pardon the pun. it could have been a lot better, it just really failed to be as deep as it seemed to try. C-.
Pet Sematary - watched the first 30 minutes or so of the film when it was first released (i was 10) and it was the first (and only) film i walked out on. i was too scared to watch the rest of it. 13 years later i revisit the infamous movie... not the most frightening movie of all time, but it does have its share of horrorific moments. a cross between "monkey's paw" and king's "the shining." C.

Buffalo '66 - a really good film in a lot of's both really funny (though i'm not entirely sure it's supposed to be - i might have a really messed up sense of humor) and very touching at the same time. has a definite indie style, but doesn't take it too far. a good story with a great ensemble cast and vincent gallo did a good job directing it. B+.

Menace II Society - roger ebert says it's one of the most powerful films he's ever seen and, for once, i have to agree with him. as good as boyz in the hood is, this one is twice the film. A.

Chopper - has moments of real horror and moments of true comedy, it's not often that you find a movie that can do both as well as this one did. since it was based upon a series of books it could have gone on for a lot longer with diminishing effect, but it didn't and that was a good thing. well-acted and filmed quite well. the director uses a few different techniques (filters and rapid motion among them) sparingly, but in all the right makes for a film with its own style, but not overly stylistic (like guy richie). B.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - had potential, but fell short in the end. well filmed and acted obviously, but the story just fell flat and didn't satisfy . C+.

Changing Lanes - a lot like "falling down." thoroughly enjoying despite the ending faltering slightly (though it could have been far far worse it could have been a bit better). B-.

Meet The Parents - super funny movie. B+. a sequel is in the making....
Manufacturing Consent - gives you a pretty good idea of who noam chomsky is and what his ideas are, but it had a lot more potential. granted it's hard to take hundreds of hours of footage and make sense of it all, but i felt that it had more promise than it delivered. not very concise, but that's okay. i want to watch this again. i also want an updated version. B.
Atomic Cafe - funny and disturbing. really a must see documentary. A-.

Best In Show - the best of the three christopher guest films i've seen. B.
Get On The Bus - good story well done all around. unfortunately the dvd director commentary is minimal. brings forth a lot of good issues - something you can always count on spike lee to do. what i liked about 'do the right thing,' though, is that it made you wade through all of that stuff on your own - this film made it easier for the audience to accept the nicely packaged ending speech.

Sum Of All Fears - well-written and acted. the ending was inevitable, but that doesn't mean that the movie lacked balls...sure the world was saved from complete annihilation, but....i don't want to ruin it, but i will say that the movie wasn't all peachy hollywood drivel. this movie worked well on lots of levels and didn't mearly capitalize on the post-911 and india/pakistan situations. i liked it. B.

Bully - lacked in execution, which was the last thing i expected from the director of kids. the characters didn't have the same realism that "kids" did, which is strange since bully was based on a true story and kids wasn't. the ending was pretty good in execution, but couldn't make up for the first half where i didn't really find myself into the characters at all. C.

Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie - good movie, not great. if you need a solid plot then you might not like this one. better than vanilla sky. C+.

Insomnia - it was no "memento," but it was still a pretty good movie on the whole. it disappointed me, but that's the nature of expectations...pacino was, of course, very good. the ending came up a little lame. C+.

Gummo - has less of a story than kids does which makes it a little less rewarding, but it's still a good reality check. most will find it depressing and disturbing. B.

Spiderman - not fantastic, but not horrible. the begining was better than the end. C+.
Thin Line Between Love And Hate - the end was better than the begining. a cross between fatal attraction and menace II society. C.

Contender- politics are nasty. the end of this movie got a little cheesy, but the rest was pretty decent. C.

Amelie - overrated. a foreign version of forest gump. points for style, but that's about it. it's funny how there's that thin line between being cute and being a psycho stalker who tries to play god. C. number 10 on the top 250? what the fuck is wrong with people? oh well.

Clockstoppers - nothing in this movie worth much of your time. number two (from star trek the next generation) directed this lame story and did a pretty good job with it, but that can't stop the fact that he had so little to work with. D.

Royal Tenenbaums - a fine soundtrack. a very good movie, but it lacks the electric eccentricity that rushmore had. rushmore was really alive and produces more laughs, this one was funny and had classic characters, but didn't exceed at the same level. still it stands on its own. B.

To Kill A Mockingbird - a little dated, but overall i think this is deserving of its classic status. i didn't like berstein's score all that much, but i'm just nit-picking. the cast did a really good job, especially peck. definitely a layered story, probably good for study. was genuinely moved at times, this movie is probably even better the second time. B-.

Requiem For A Dream - some movies are much more about the journey than the destination, this is one of them. granted all movies are both a journey and a destination, but some films really take you away into a different place and this one does it splendidly. it wasn't the most amazing film of all time and aronofsky recycled a lot of techniques he used in pi, but it still stands on its own and is worth the emotional investment. the dvd has a good interview with the writer which you should check out if you get the chance. B+. p.s. naturallly the soundtrack rocks deez nuts (clint mansell and the kronos

Summer Of Sam - spike lee is a pretty great director...he gives you a lot to think about which makes his films better each time you watch them. summer of sam certainly isn't his best film, but it's still worth watching. B.

Fire - quality film about struggling with sexuality and tradition in indian culture. solid filmmaking all around. worth the time spent. B-.

Midnight Express - good movie on the whole, but drags a little in the middle. movies based on true stories are usually pretty good and prison movies are also usually entertaining...this combined the two for a solid effort. B-.

Hollow Man - better than one might think. special effects were really good and the rest of the film was at least up to par. C+.
Blade Runner (director's cut) - a mostly over-rated movie. definitely a solid sci-fi film and worthy of being a classic, but doesn't beat either the aliens or terminator movies. apparently the director's cut fleshes out the love portion of the film more than the original, and that was one bone of contention i had with the was a bit slow and relied more upon atmosphere than i prefer. B-.

Donnie Darko - definitely worth checking out. not widely known, but will be soon enough. good acting, good story, good film making, good soundtrack, a solid film start to finish. B.
Pallbearer- surprisingly good. relevant for twenty-somethings like myself. i like. B-.

Crossroads - not as bad as it could have been, which actually worked to its detriment. had the movie been worse it would have been so bad it would have been good (ala coyote ugly), but it was good enough to not enter that realm and for that reason was less entertaining. watch the first 3 minutes wherein britney dances to a madonna song in her underwear, then turn it off. D.

Swordfish - pretty good genre film. ending was supposed to be good, but wasn't all that great. definitely could have been better, definitely could have been worse. halle berry is hot. C+.

It Happened One Night - pretty much a run of the mill screwball comedy. nothing really fantastic here, but i don't get that excited by this genre of film anyway. it feels like if you've seen one then you've seen them all. i can't remember the differences between this one and "his girl friday" or "the philadelphia story..." C.

Boys Don't Cry - more about living with white trash than living with the fact that you're gay. swank was really good. it's funny how real life can be so predictable sometimes.  B-.

The Pledge - it's a wannabe. why do people like this movie so much? C-.

Storytelling - weaker than happiness and welcome to the dollhouse, but still a good film. mike schank has a small speaking role which makes the movie even more worthwhile. seemed to be more overtly moral than his previous two films, but that's just my opinion. recommendable. B.

Freddy Got Fingered - holds up to multiple viewings. B+.

Swimming With Sharks - spacey was, of course, great. the ending was good. humor was decent. no strong desire to see this movie again, but it's worth one viewing. C+.

O - whoever wrote this story is pretty great. in all seriousness though, shakespeare was kind of a good story writer. the movie makes good on the whole. C+.

La Femme Nikita - very good classic action film...has substance too. B.
Best In Show - the best of the three christopher guest films i've seen. B.

Primal Fear - B-. ed norton is pretty great.

Novocaine - certainly wasn't the best steve martin film of all-time, but then again how can you beat the jerk and planes, trains...? good on the whole, though didn't have any scenes with uproarious laughter. some portions of it didn't seem well produced...think i saw a cameraman in the first third of the movie, some sound issues, and the picture wasn't fantastic in a couple scenes. still, though, it should have gotten wider release. B-.

Waking Life - it's a deeply philosophical movie without (in my opinion) seeming pretentious or strained. has no real plot of which to speak, but still kept me interested until the end. perhaps the lack of a plot and the feel that it was more a series of vignettes was what kept me entertained; or maybe it's just that it was able to keep me thinking on all sorts of different levels. all this without mention of the first noticeable difference...the animation much in the same style as the beastie boys video for "shadrach," which was of course directed by the great nathaniel hornblower. very well done and very ambitious, kudos to linklater and his animation staff. got me to both think and act - a latter is a hard thing for anything to get me to do. not for those who prefer to live without questions. i'm going to buy this movie. A-. as a side note, this is the first movie i've seen on my computer.

His Girl Friday - not a particularly hilarious movie, but definitely has some moments. very much in the tradition of a "bringing up baby" or many of the other comedies i've seen around this time period. if you don't like films from this time period this one won't change your mind, but if you do then you'll notice this is one of the better films of its kind. i liked the politician based humor the was also the most timeless portion of the movie. the entire movie has only 4 or 5 different sets which led me to believe it was written for the stage, this was later confirmed by the apt commentary (thanks to the dvd format) from a film expert named mccarthy.  C+.

Freddy Got Fingered - really really funny, but most of you won't like it. i think you'll either love it or hate it. B+.

Joe Dirt - not as bad as you'd think. C.
Cast Away - the island scenes were really great, but everything else hinged upon helen hunt and that stupid love story so...C+.

Frailty - not sure what i think about this movie. it could have been better, but at times i was a little freaked out. a bit eerie, but not the truly horrific horror film i was hoping for. C.

Thin Blue Line- this is investigative reporting, not that story on 20/20 you saw last week. good documentary that'll leave you feeling depressed about the world we live in. philip glass provides the score which means you can count on it being great. B.

Mean Machine - english people aren't very funny or good at making movies in general. C-.

Big Trouble - C+.

Se7en - just an amazing film all around. three of the great actors of my generation coming together in the final half hour or so of the film in one of the most memorable endings in film history. fincher does an amazing job creating the dark and dreary atmosphere...not until the final portion of the film do we see any sunlight and that's, ironically, the darkest part of the film. everything sets up perfectly for the final line: "hemingway once wrote that the world is a fine place and worth fighting for. i agree with the second part." the characters that freeman and pitt create are so intensely real that, even after repeated viewings, i can't help but experience the film with the characters...which of course makes the ending all the more powerful. despite the darkness of the city, the crimes being investigated, and the issues addressed throughout, the film keeps things balanced with the occasional (and effective) use of comic relief. loved it from the first viewing to my latest...A+.

Monsters Inc. - cute movie with some genuinely funny moments, but didn't really do it for me. sadly, i'm not sure if i'm able to enjoy those kinds of movies anymore. well done, certainly has star power and is technically funny, but in the end just didn't do it for me. C-.
Haiku Tunnel - had a feel to it that made me think people who are into "they might be giants," dungeons & dragons, and comic books would really enjoy this movie. jeffrey more, from high school, would have probably really liked this movie. this isn't to say that if you don't particularily like those things (like me) that you wouldn't enjoy this movie, but i think those with an affinity to the aforementioned things would especially like this movie. maybe because the main character (who also co-wrote and directed the movie) seems like the kind of guy who would be into those things... at any rate, the movie was witty and funny, but wasn't as great as "office space." C+.

Barry Lyndon - throughout the film it seemed as though there wasn't a goal or purpose to the story...usually this would be the kind of thing that would bother me, but considering the protagonist's propensity to simply float through life accepting whatever fate hands him i think it fit very well. in terms of acting, set production, and cinematography the film did a fantastic job. also did a good job of dealing with the time period, having watched it i feel as though i know the time period better than before. i really enjoyed the both moved along the story well and provided some comic relief. despite all this i felt it lacked the bite and grab that kubrick films usually have - i occasionally found myself really getting into the movie, but not enough given the 3 hour length. i should see this again. B.

Blade II - more or less what one would game/comic book plot, themes, and action sequences. if you dig there's something there, but it's mostly just an action flick with, what i thought were, distinctly american fight scenes. they obviously borrowed from asian cinema, but i felt that it was done in a way to give the action scenes a more american feel to them. not much to discuss on the whole. wasn't boring, but didn't really excite the mind either. C.

Panic Room - didn't think that fincher could pull it off, but he did. engaging throughout its entirety. good comic relief. just well done all around. movies like this show me that there is an appreciable difference between good and bad movie making. though this film may not be as philosophical as a fight club or as dark and intense as se7en, it still pleases throughout. i compare this movie to soderbergh's "ocean's eleven." both by talented directors, both less serious (in terms of film as a medium for social commentary) than their previous efforts, but both thoroughly enjoyable and worth one's time. B+.

Texas Rangers - an utterly ridiculous waste of time and money. F.
The Insider - worthy of its nominations. well made film on all fronts. B+.

Rosemary's Baby - probably really terrifying for women, but it didn't really do it for me. psychological horror films are tricky in that's a lot tougher to get the audience into the mindset of the person on the screen who is supposed to be in a terrifying situation than it is to have a cat jump out of nowhere. granted the latter gets old real fast, but the former is harder to accomplish. this one didn't succeed for me. C.
Out Cold - say it isn't so! F+.
Death To Smoochy - well acted and written, but didn't really grab me. it just lacked something, though i recognized its merit i wasn't able to get into it. C. after reading the review i think i agree with what the reviewer said...a better job of articulating my feelings than i can do.
Audition - japanese horror film about a man and his relationship with a young woman...i'll leave it at that. this one really got into my head. really well done horror film that freaked me out more than anything else i've seen in recent memory. the ending is really terrifying, but not altogether comprehensible. kind of a mix of david lynch and basic instinct or something. B+.

Say It Isn't So - follows the basic farrelly brothers formula (it was produced by them) and doesn't take it much further than that. the first half hour is better than i would have thought, but it drops off after that. C-.

All The Right Moves - whatever. D+.

Smoke Signals - pretty good journey movie. has some decent comic relief, solid acting, well put together, but didn't really capture me. B-.
The Closet - it's a different kind of humor those crazy europeans have, but it does the trick. i say this in jest of course, but the humor is different from 'american' humor. it's a good story and it's put together pretty well also. B-.

Bring It On - i'm not sure why i watched this movie...i think at first it captured me because of its extreme stupidity, later on i think it was more about my boredom. the ending could have been worse and considering the subject matter of this movie the movie as a whole could have been far worse. D+.
The Mexican - i'm not sure why i watched this movie...brad pitt and james gandolfini help it not suck entirely. C-.

Sorority Boys - harland williams was funny. had some good parts in terms of examining gender (whether it meant to do so or not), but was overall a t and a teen movie which lacked creativity. C-.

Amadeus - excellent score...not only because it's mozart, but because it's well edited and well incorporated into the film. really makes me want to get into mozart's music. a powerful and well done film, but not one i'm likely to watch often. B+.

35 up - good idea for a documentary...every seven years they film a group of english people and see what they've been up to since the last installment. this is the fifth such installment and it speaks to all sorts of things...the differences of class, differences between the british and americans, the human spirit, etc. i liked the idea more than the execution. i didn't really get emotionally involved with the characters, perhaps had they chosen fewer people to study it would have been more effective in that respect. not fantastic, but intriguing and intimate enough for me to want to see 42 up. B.

Easy Rider - a really fantastic road film which embodies all the themes thereof, and does it with style and class. good soundtrack, solid acting, trippy and effective directing, dynamite ending. this is quality film making. if you like this then watch "vanishing point" next. A-.

Session 9 - a solid and genuinely terrifying horror film. the perceived enemy is always the worst. B.

Rat Race - entertaining road movie. one really really funny scene with jon lovitz. ending is kinda jacked by the smash mouth cameo. sucky bands have a tendency to ruin films. oh well. C+.

Jay And Silent Bob - i think you're likely to really enjoy this one or think it's really sophomoric and stupid/base humor. i'm of the former kind...i even think this movie is steathily witty and smart. it's self-referential, irreverant, and very aware all the while not taking things too seriously and keeping the humor flowing. i think this is kevin smith's most entertaining film, though not as important as clerks. B.
Hurricane  - a better story than movie. inspirational at times, corny at others, denzel was, naturally, very good, but i don't think i'll find myself seeking this movie out again. good to see once though. B-.

M*A*S*H - doesn't really get funny until about 35 minutes into the movie. it's more or less the animal house of war movies, complete with donald sutherland. not entirely pc in its treatment of women and blacks. C+.

American Beauty - has some really powerful moments which make the movie great instead of just really good. like great escape and paths of glory it has a depressing ending when taken as a whole, but also has the slighest spike of hope at the very end to provide some balance. in great escape after "the 50" are executed steve mcqueen returns to the pow camp and throws his baseball against the cooler wall providing some good vibes amongst the mostly negative ending. in paths of glory the 3 soldiers are executed and things at the administrative level remain the same despite douglas' best efforts to the otherwise. but at the very end the german singer (played by kubrick's wife) calms a crowd of soldiers and signifies the hope and innocence outside of war. in american beauty spacey's character is killed, but he says in his narration he makes death (and life) seem so precious. movies like that are really great...they take you on this voyage of ups and downs and in the case of the previous three (and others) they have that rare ability to string you along the whole way. with a minute left in paths of glory i was thinking to myself "this world sucks, there's no justice, i hate life." but in the last minute kubrick was able to restore my hope for humanity and the world. though american beauty doesn't succeed at the same level that paths of glory does, it still shines. A.

Last Of The Mohicans - james fenimore cooper can eat my feces. michael mann just moved down a notch in my book. really not much substance to this movie. it's basically another useless romance story. oh, and if you ever decide to make a movie wherein indians are going to war, please do not have them hollering and yipping like monkeys - i seriously doubt that's realistic. D.

Time Machine - not that good overall. had some good moments - some of the sequences were genuinely scary and the time lapse stuff was good, but lacked elsewhere. C-.

Dude, Where's My Car? - submoronic semi-trippy look at a very odd day in the life of two stoners - you fill in the blanks. F.
Heat - two of the best actors of all-time are only icing on the cake for this fantastic story and film. evocative. A-.
Dark Days - an extraordinary documentary about people who are viewed as far below ordinary. really something special. A.

American Movie: The Making of Northwestern - A+.

The Great Escape - fantastic. A.

Super Troopers - just as good the second time around. A.

Das Boot - the best submarine film of all time. better than i remembered it being. everything about the movie makes you feel as if you are there. a must see film and preferably with surround sound. the directors cut is 216 minutes long though so it's not a movie i'd watch once a month like american movie or there's something about mary. A.

Austin Powers- very funny and witty movie laden with pop culture references. a study in comedy. A.

What's The Worst That Could Happen? - quite funny, but not as funny as i had remembered. i think black knight is better. B.

French Exit - has it's witty moments and humorous to an extent, but overall comes up short and unoriginal. C-.
Super Troopers - one of the funniest movies i've seen in quite a long time. it's one of those that wasn't released widely at first, but, like memento, gained enough support to be released nationwide. it's a sophomoric humor, but done really well. the love story doesn't get in the way at all, the characters are all well defined and well portrayed by their respective actors. i laughed quite hard. A.

Faculty - pretty stupid, but you know that. D-.

Karate Kid  - this movie is classic. besides some corny stuff here and there (esp. the music) this movie is great. tackles themes like growing up, crazy vietnam vets, cross-class dating, culture differences, what makes a "home," and good old fashioned good vs. evil. A-.

My First Mister - good balance of drama and comedy. both leads do a good job. humor that you don't find in most films, especially the mainstream...that's not to say it's completely original, but it still does its job. B.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo - funny....not funny ha ha ha, but funny har har - there's a big difference. good enough to keep one's brain lost for 90 minutes, but not thoroughly entertained. C-.

Taxi Driver - absolutely a first class film. deniro is 100% believable, the directing and production of the film completes the picture and its themes quite well. from the shots of street people to the lighting, scorsese has captured the perfect setting for this dark tale of lonliness. travis bickle is, sadly, the kind of guy i can relate to and just about everything in the movie reinforces his character. i'd like to make a movie like this. A+.

Lord of The Rings - really good, drew me in almost right did drag on a bit, but this was forgivable because the story was good enough to capture my emotions. some really good action sequences made the slow moments all the more worthwhile; i'd like to see this again. B+.

Black Hawk Down - owes a lot to saving private ryan in terms of the way the action scenes were shot. obviously not an objective look so be prepared for that. good overall. B-.

Rushmore - a fantastic film...the soundtrack, the acting, the characters, the sets, the costumes, everything fit, 'everything in its right place' (to coin a phrase). A.

Family Man - nick cage is good in most movies he does. it's a bit touchy feely in the usual way so if you're averse to this then don't watch it. don cheadle is good as always. C+.
Count Of Monte Cristo - a very very good story (i've never read the book). i like the clash of the classes and all the little (or big) points that are made by the classes of the characters who interact. for example, the old man who was imprisoned was once of more noble ilk and ended up helping the lowly protagonist learn everything from philosophy and economics to sword combat. at the same time there seemed to be a definite anti-bourgeois theme to the film. interesting, too, how the count had to ultimately become a count in order to see his revenge through the proper way. as for the movie...done well enough. had some slow or corny points, but was overall well done. B-.
Orange County - jack black is really funny. good supporting cast...john lithgow, ben stiller makes a cameo, and some others all doing a good job. straight forward comedy, nothing to be amazed by, but worth 90 minutes of my time and zero of my bucks (ahh, the joys of having once worked at a theater). B-.
Pay It Forward - corny, but you knew that. as well acted as you could expect. did a pretty good job with the script it had...i mean with the ending and the whole plot in general it's hard not to come off as being corny and weepy. could inspire some, but not me. C-.

Proof Of Life - overall without worth. D.
Unbreakable - good movie with a really good ending. left me wanting more. B+.

Down To Earth - decent enough remake of "heaven can wait" with warren beatty (which was actually a remake of "here comes mr. jordan"). i like "heaven can wait" more than this one, but it wasn't a useless remake.C+.

There's Something About Mary - one of the greatest comedies ever made. A+.

State And Main- funny movie, well done, entertaining enough to spend 100 minutes watching it. up.

Berkeley In The Sixties - a good look at the student movement against vietnam and civil rights violations in berkeley, in the sixties - hence the name; duh. doesn't try to be objective and that's good, rather it tries to give the students (now officially turned old people) a chance to reflect upon the time and give their insight into why they did what they did and what good/bad it has done in the long term. i liked it. up.

Matrix - granted keanu reeves is a no good hack of an actor. granted having a woman as a powerful protagonist is old hat in hong kong flicks. granted the fight scenes aren't as great as some earlier hong kong flicks. but when all is said and done this film delivers. i'm not saying it doesn't get corny at times - because it does, but i am saying that it's a good movie and certainly better than most action flicks in recent times. it's cinematography is good enough to compare to crouching tiger, hidden dragon (though in a different way) and it's deeper philosophically than crouching tiger could ever hope to be. it doesn't let the love story get in the way of the momentum of the film, like crouching tiger did; the soundtrack is better and overall i feel more fulfilled  watching this movie than most action flicks. if you want to think it is fodder for thought. if you just want to watch people kicking some ass then it's great for that as well. people who knock this movie don't know what good movies are about. up.

Royal Tenenbaums - wes anderson makes unique films with unique characters, living spaces and costumes. funny goodness. up.

Keeping The Faith- shows directorial promise, but doesn't entertain as much as i would have liked. a bit soppy and touchy feely, but a good movie overall with effective comic relief. i'm interested in seeing what norton decides to direct next. up.

Fight Club - very good on lots of different levels...funny, good twist at the end, well produced and filmed, very good script, great acting, and  philosophically deep. up.

Big Momma's House - martin lawrence is funny no matter what he's doing. up.
Pi - great in the same way as memento. up.

grading scale:
A+ 4.3
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F+ 0.3
F 0.0
F- -0.3