This section will be an archive of older reviews and good movies to rent, but I will add to this only as fast as I have time to stay home and rent movies, and as movies go out of the theaters.

Deconstructing Harry- four stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
Woody Allen outdoes himself once again, with a great, funny movie that pushes movie direction a little farther. The movie bounces from the main character's life to his fictionalized characters' lives (which parallel his own). The whole effect comes across as a refreshing alternative to the typical flashback sequences in most movies. Woody Allen's character is pretty creepy and you wonder how much Woody himself shares with his onscreen persona, but to take your mind off that, there is plenty to laugh at. The huge cast is top-notch and turns in great performances all around. - M.H. (1.2.97)

G A T T A C A - four and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
I was so surprised to find myself loving this movie. The trailers portray it as film of the future that preys on the public's fear and ignorance of current genetic research, so I thought I would be seeing pseudo-science that would look good in a movie, but this film was far from that.
The film had a retro-future look and feel of a 70's sci-fi movie (like Logan's Run or 2001). The world of Gattaca is spartan and septic, and dialogue is almost non-existent. This sets up a mood of a cold future void of any warm-and-fuzzy relationships among citizens. Moviegoers that don't have a fondness or patience for sci-fi will probably find it slightly boring. The narration is very light and doesn't dominate the tale, and the characters are very well-developed without a lot of verbal interaction. It's great sci-fi with a good message. Great writing and one of the best sci-fi movies I have seen in a long time. - M.H. (10.29.97)

Boogie Nights- three and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
This was an ambitious project by a new writer/director. The performances from the actors were great, Marky Mark can definitely act and I thought that this was one of Burt Reynolds' best roles ever. The cinematography was excellent, lots of continuous shooting with beautiful pans around large rooms filled with people. The script was a tale of the people and pseudo families that developed in the porn industry of the late 70's. The career of Dirk Diggler pays homage to John Holmes' and follows pretty much the same path. Instant fame and stardom, several years at the top and then the following decline. The foreshadowing of the character's fate was a little too strong, and the story definitely dragged in spots, but otherwise an interesting story. - M.H. (11.1.97)

L.A. Confidential - four and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
Another well-written movie starring Kevin Spacey (one of my all-time faves is Usual Suspects). Great mystery told with a good, even pace. Great work from every actor in this movie, along with great period wardrobe and sets. This is a must-see and may make it on your all-time list. - M.H. (9.21.97)

7 years in Tibet- four stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
I hate to say it, but Brad Pitt wasn't all that bad in this movie. He played it well, and I know the studio must have been furious that the final cut of the movie didn't include his bare ass. I love climbing and know the plight of Tibet fairly well, so I was actually impressed with the storytelling of this movie. The tale is told with a steady hand, not too sentimentally. I liked everything except the very end of this film, and thought is was a good all-around effort to tell an important story. - M.H. (10.17.07)

Life Less Ordinary - three stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
When I went into the theater, I was thinking I would be seeing Excess Baggage II, and it was a similar tale, but with a unusual twist. The premise of angels trying to get the pair together was weird and funny, but what set this movie apart was the twisted dark humor than ran as an undercurrent throughout the film. Holly Hunter was a great angel-that-would-never-die, and her scenes of being shot, run over, etc., were great horror-movie pans. If you want to see an atypical "we all know the guy will get the girl" that will make you laugh, check it out. - M.H. (10.26.97)

Excess Baggage- two and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
It probably doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks of this movie, you just want to go stare at Alicia Silverstone anyway, so I guess in that regard the movie doesn't disappoint. She looks great but everything else about the movie was just ho-hum. The plot was slightly interesting, but it took too long to spell out the simple story. Chris Walken was in this too and he did a great job, he's a great weird/good/bad guy. - M.H. (8.31.97)

Men In Black- three stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
There were some great special effects and computer graphics work in this movie, but the story was pretty simple. This movie looked like it was supposed to be somewhere between Independence Day and Mars Attacks!, but I don't think it quite hit the mark. There was too little background on the main characters, so when the audience is supposed to sympathize with the characters, it doesn't really work. Once again in a Hollywood film, the only female role in the movie was basically put there to look pretty and show off the actress' legs, which insults half of the movie-going population. It was funny in many parts, and great to look at, but probably won't make it as a monster hit. If you have the time and like cool special effects, go see it. - M.H. (7.2.97)

Ulee's Gold - three stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
I heard a lot of hype about this movie just before it came out. "One of the year's ten best" was thrown out there. It was pretty good, although really, really slow, but it wasn't one the best movies I have seen this year. I would put Marvin's Room above this film. The acting was great, and the story was interesting, but it took so long to unfold, and it was too simple of a story in the first place. The symbolism of the bees and beekeeping was great, but that wasn't enough to make this an epic film. Go see it if you're in the mood for something quiet and slow (but still pretty good). - M.H. (6.27.97)

Con Air - three and a half stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
This was a very enjoyable movie. Malkovich was awesome, probably too likealbe for a villan, Nicholas Cage was good too (although the accent was pretty lame). Steve Buscemi made a great cameo, and although the plot had holes the size of an airliner in it, the action was entertaining, a thrill ride from start to finish. -M.H. (6.23.97)

Austin Powers - three and a half stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
I love Mike Myer's brand of goofy comedy and this movie really delivered. It poked fun at all the old James Bond movies and 60's TV shows in really hilarious ways. I was laughing the entire time. Elizabeth Hurley was awesome too. Try to catch this one. - M.H. (6.14.97)

Lost World - one star (of five) - $ (of 3)
Holy shit! I assumed Speilberg had learned a lesson after Jurassic Park; you can't expect a movie to be a classic epic when it has little-to-no plot. Jurassic Park was great to look at, but pretty empty inside. I have to confess that I just finished reading the book, which was great, and was looking forward to a good adaptation (although I knew Jurassic Park blew that part completely). The screenplay shared about 10% of the book's content, pretty much just the character's names and a detail here and there. The movie's premise was ridiculous and once again Jeff Goldbloom plays chaos-researcher Ian Malcom as the astute commander of the obvious ("I think this expedition is a bad idea"). I was expecting at least some great computer-generated views of the island's valleys with several herds moving at once, but the special effects were limited to cheeseball horror-movie action shots. I swear their stunt budget must have rivaled their special effects budget. The addition of the renegade group of dino-exploiters (complete with a Great White Hunter fresh off safari, gimme a fucking break!) turned the movie into a Congo redo. Once everyone got together, it was one stupid person getting maimed and eaten after another. The filmakers were really pandering to the date-movie genre, a real boyfriend-grabbing scream-fest. Then to further insult the moviegoer's intelligence, they took a T. Rex to San Diego to romp among the people in a pathetic imitation of a Godzilla flick. Of course, the voice of reason (Jeff Goldbloom's character) saves the day, but by then you're fumbling for your car keys wondering why you waited in line for two hours when you could have been getting a root canal. Don't waste your valuable time or money. - M.H. (5.23.97)

Chasing Amy - four and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$$ (of 3)
This is Kevin Smith's third movie, and maybe his best (perhaps he has something personal to say?). It has the biting humor of Clerks, but with mature interaction between the characters. While Clerks was aimed at the early-twenties crowd, Mallrats at a slightly younger audience, this picture is geared towards an audience growing up and dealing with adult problems. Kevin Smith continues to insert outrageous colorful dialogue among characters that is unequalled in Hollywood pictures, but there are also some pearls of wisdom mixed in with the humor. Beneath it all, there is a great tale of a man grappling with his lover's past (something every man has to deal with at some point in his life). The cast was great, especially Joey Lauren Adams, in a well-written female role (you don't see those everyday). If you didn't like Clerks or are easily offended, you probably will be too hung up on the "colorful banter" to see the true gem of a story inside. But if you have an open mind and like original humor, run to the theater to see this, you will be laughing your ass off the whole time. -M.H. (4.20.97)

The Fifth Element - three stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
Ok, so this movie has a hard to follow story and is pretty campy. It's Die Hard in Space and it borrows from Blade Runner constantly, but it deserves a look for simply showing another view of the future. I love good computer graphics work, and this movie has some great computer-generated sequences. The plot has more holes than swiss cheese, but if you can bring yourself to ignore the stupidity of most of the characters and situations, it's a tad amusing. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously (come on, Gary Oldman having a Texas accent?), which makes it quite enjoyable. Its a goofy, fun, formula ride into a future filled with cool stuff, try to get to the movies to catch this one. - M.H. (5.10.97)

Volcano - two and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
As a scientist, I knew I would have to suspend my disbelief andral herds moving at once, but thrned in soils and geology classes, but the movie's premise was still pretty far-fetched. I was laughing out loud picturing the screenwriters trying to think of new ways to put Tommy Lee Jones's character in the center of the action in every single scene. The action sequences were pretty exciting, but totally unbelievable. Sorry, I knew they built and destroyed one of the largest sets in movie history, but this movie is pretty typical disaster-type fare, and doesn't live up to it's incredible hype. -M.H. (4.26.97)

Anaconda - two stars (of five) - $ (of 3)
"It was like those cheesy pirrahna movies in the late 70s that starts with a big group of people wandering into the amazon - the bafoonish and half-witted, of course, all die early and painful deaths - The only difference between these movies and Anaconda is that those pirrahna movies had a certain degree of believability in them, in that those tiny fish actually do exist, and that they actually do love meat. 70 ft snakes probably don't. Its an ideal movie to go with a bunch of people late at night, slam a bunch of beers in the parking lot, and watch for the giggle factor - its a pretty easy movie to make fun of. (Jon Voight's portugese accent is enough for about 20 min of verbal criticizm - you keep expecting him to say "My name is Inego Montoya - you killed my father - prepare to die." - but he doesn't. Come to think of it, you'd probably be better off getting drunk and verbally thrashing it on video (which is still pretty hard to fathom, since there are so many other movies out there on video that are so much better.)" - Guest reviewer Magnus Kim (4.26.97)

The Saint - three stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
This movie was quite hyped, and I don't think it lived up to its billing. It seemed like Mission Impossible with a Jerry Maguire lovestory attached to it. The action sequences were quite good, accented with great music, but the lovestory with the scientist slowed things down too much. Overall, OK, but not anything worth leaving the lab for. -M.H. (4.4.97)

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag - two stars (of five) - $ (of 3)
If the premise of the movie seems at all familiar, that's probably because it is. Half of the movie was a rehash of Weekend at Bernie's (the main character even looks like Andrew McCarthy), and the rest was trying to be a typical gangster movie. Very funny in parts, but boring and stupid for the most part. Joe Pesci and David Spade were very comical, but really not worth a student's time or money. -M.H. (4.18.97)

Grosse Pointe Blank - two and 1/2 stars (of five) - $$ (of 3)
I was hoping for something truly great from this movie and I was left empty-handed. Original premise, extremely funny in parts, but the majority of the movie moved like molasses. I guess I was expecting too much. Using violence as comic relief was new and funny, but the long lead up to the big reunion was too long, and the love story ending seemed tacked on. Even the way John Cusack's character deals with his nemesis at the end seems lame too. Bottom line, it was alright, but not great. -M.H. (4.11.97)

Flirting with Disaster - four stars (of five) - $$$
This is one movie I was sorry to have missed in the theaters. I used to love the seldom-seen Ben Stiller Show, and I have always been a big fan of his comedy. He was great and the other stars in the movie were funny too. Alan Alda and Carol Burnett were incredibly amusing, and much to the delight of my roomate, Téa Leoni played a very attractive young woman (quite a stretch for her). - M.H. (4.4.97)

Feeling Minnesota - one star (of five) - $
For some reason, I wanted to see this movie really badly when it played in art-houses about six months ago, but after seeing it on video, I can't see why. This movie was terrible from start to finish, stupid premise, lame characters, and boring as well. Don't waste your time with this one. - M.H. (5.10.97)

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Last updated: 07/05/98 12:12 AM
by Matthew Haughey
Copyright 1997