Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Movie Review – BASEketball

BASEketball

Directed by David Zucker

Starring Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Vaughn, and Ernest Borgnine

I’m sure we’ve all heard the credentials for this movie by now: “From the director of The Naked Gun and starring the creators of South Park.” Being a fan of both, this movie instantly made my “must-see” list of movies for the summer. And let me say, this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.

The plot is simple enough: Coop and Reemer (Parker and Stone, respectively) are two lovable, goofy slackers. In their driveway, they invent a game called BASEketball (a nifty blend of basketball and baseball). The game is an instant hit with the whole neighborhood! Enter a Texas millionaire (Borgnine), and soon the National BASEketball League is formed, with Coop and Reemer star players, and the game sweeps the nation! Unfortunately, our Texas millionaire dies, leaving it to Coop and Reemer to keep the sport pure (in the NBL, it is illegal to trade players, move teams, and have players endorse products). Enter the villains (Vaughn, McCarthy) who want to change these rules and drive Coop and Reemer apart. Yasmine Bleeth plays the head of the Dream Come True Foundation, and Coop’s girlfriend.

That’s the plot. This movie is so funny, at times I was laughing so hard I was crying! As it is with comedies of this kind, though, there aren’t enough jokes to keep you laughing straight from beginning to end, but there are enough. Great set-pieces are the locker room scene, the entire opening shot, and the championship game. But, the best is when our heros go to the hospital to cheer up one of the sick and injured kids in the Dream Come True Foundation. Who knew those heart-paddle thingies could put out that much voltage? This movie is funny, period. Oh, and those lingerie clad cheerleaders aren’t bad either.

3 Nibs

Movie Review – Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, and Tom Sizemore

When every other movie critic started calling this the greatest war movie ever made, that was the first indication that I had to go see this. Secondly, it’s Spielberg, the one whom many have declared the modern day God of movies. Thirdly, Tom Hanks, who is currently revered as the greatest actor of our time. Mix all these elements together, throw in Matt Damon for the pre-teen girls, and you get Saving Private Ryan.

For those who’ve been living in a cave and this is the first website you’ve been to, the plot is a little something like this: shortly after the D-Day invasion, it’s discovered that three of the four Ryan boys have been killed in action. The fourth, James Ryan (Damon) was a paratrooper who was last seen somewhere behind enemy lines. So, the Chief of Staff gives the order that the last Ryan boy is to be brought home to his mother. Enter Capt. John Miller (Hanks), who is selected to lead a squad of men behind enemy lines to find Ryan and take him home. What follows is a trek through the German-occupied French countryside in which the squad questions the logic of risking eight people for one. And when Ryan is found, he refuses to leave his post until his mission is complete.

This is one of the best movies ever made. The opening sequence, recreating the D-Day invasion, is amazing and sure to go down in movie history. In fact, every battle scene in the movie seems frighteningly real. Hanks gives another Oscar-worthy performance as a private man trying to cope with his surroundings. There are no appropriate words I can think of to describe this film. It is an experience, in every sense of the word. Spielberg once again shows why he is a God. Believe me, it will be remembered come Oscar time. Go see it while you can.

5 Nibs

Movie Review – The Mask of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro

Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stuart Wilson

Directed by Martin Campbell

Who doesn’t like Zorro? An acknowledged inspiration for Batman, this is one of the first, true super-heros. So, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to do a 90’s version of his tale. And, you can tell when the summer is dragging on when your Dad wants to go see a summer blockbuster. My Dad couldn’t wait to see Mask of Zorro with me.

The movie opens with the old Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) going on one last ride. At the end of this ride, Zorro is arrested, his wife is killed, and his only daughter is kidnaped by his old enemy, the Don Raphael (Stuart Wilson). Fast forward 20 years. Old Zorro escapes from prison. Raphael returns to California with a diabolical plot: buy California from Santa Anna using gold from a mine filled with wrongly imprisoned innocents. Along the way, we meet Andreas Muenerto (Antonio Banderas), whose only brother was killed by the head of Raphael’s army. With the old Zorro wanting revenge on Raphael, and Andreas wanting revenge for his brother’s death, they team up to turn Andreas into the new Zorro. Along the way, new Zorro falls in love with old Zorro’s daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom Raphael has raised as his own.

The Mask of Zorro is one of the best movies this summer. Filled with one great sword fight after another, and brimming with stunts, this is one fast-paced, exciting film. It’s two hours long, but seems a lot shorter. Also, this film is a lot funnier than you’d expect. It has a great sense of humor about it. For example, Andreas may pick up on the swordsmanship of Zorro, but he just can’t ride his horse! And an exciting climax, taking place at the mine, where both old and new Zorros finally have their revenge. If you like any kind of action film, then you must see this! My personal favorite scene: when the new Zorro uses his newly learned abilities to go get himself a horse. It’s funny, action-packed, and a just a good time.

4 Nibs

Movie Review – Armageddon

Armageddon

Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, and one huge Asteroid

Directed by Michael Bay

Bear with me. It’s been more than a month since I’ve seen this film, so I have to struggle to remember details. It was a couple days after my birthday. There I was in the darkened theater. It was your typical weekday matinee. Only about 6 people. And all I knew about this film was that Entertainment Tonight predicted it to be the big #1 movie of the summer. And, being a devout physics student, I had to see if half of these scientific inaccuracies were true.

I’m sure we all know the plot by now. An asteroid the size of Texas is heading towards earth, and NASA’s solution is to send a crew of deep drillers to land on the asteroid, drill to it’s center, and plant a nuclear bomb to split the asteroid in two. Bruce Willis plays the leader of the top drilling team in the world. Ben Affleck is his right-hand-man/protégé. Liv Tyler is Bruce’s daughter, whom Ben has the hots for. We follow these guys from when they learn they are the world’s last hope, through their training, to those last hurried minutes on the surface of the asteroid. There’s the tension between Bruce and Ben because Bruce doesn’t want Ben dating Liv. And I’ll tell you, as a physics student, I was so caught up in the plot I didn’t care about the scientific inaccuracies.

This movie just plain kicks butt in all respects! The special effects rock! The score is rocking! And it’s from the people who gave us The Rock and Con Air, so you know it will deliver. Bruce Willis has always been the action hero in my books ever since I first saw Die Hard. I mean, this movie even has a plot. You’ll even get misty-eyed when one of our heros has to make that heroic sacrifice. I loved it just as much as I loved Godzilla. This is one summer blockbuster that is guaranteed not to disappoint. Go see it today!

4 Nibs

Movie Review – The X-Files

The X-Files

Directed by Rob Bowman

Starring David Duchovney, Gillian Anderson, Martin Landau

OK, I was a little worried going into this film. Although I am an X-Phile, I had fallen behind on keeping up with the conspiracy. But, be aware, that this film does cover its bases pretty well, and I wasn’t that lost. Like Godzilla, this was a movie I was looking forward to ever since I saw those first trailers a few months ago. And when rumors started flying of Scully doing a topless scene, well then I knew I had to be there!

The film, picking up where this season’s finale left off, has Mulder and Scully searching for a bomb in Dallas, seeing as to how the X-Files have been destroyed. The bomb naturally goes off, and now we find Scully and Mulder under investigation for not finding it in time. While drowning his sorrows in a bar, Mulder meets Dr. Alan Kutsweil (Landau), who reveals that the bomb was part of Mulder’s conspiracy. And thus the race for the truth begins. Now, being a fan of the TV show, I knew I was instantly going to like this film. My only fears were that it was going to be like Star Trek: Generations. Sure, it was movie, but it felt like just a two-parter. The X-Files was not like that. It managed to pull off being a big screen epic. And true, not all of our questions about the conspiracy are answered. But hey, they had to save something for next season, right?

So, what questions are answered? We know what the bees are for. We know how the black ooze fits in. We find out a little more about the Syndicate’s Agenda. We don’t find out where Mulder’s sister is. Do Mulder and Scully kiss? Hey, if you haven’t seen it, I’m not telling! And the final confrontation at the alien fortress in Antarctica is spectacular! There have been some complaints about the animatronic alien, but he stays in the shadows most of the time. I just hope that they can keep this momentum going all next season! Oh, and Scully doesn’t have a topless scene.

3.5 Nibs

Movie Review – Mulan

Mulan

Starring the voice of Ming-Na Wen, B.D. Wong, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer and Pat Morita

Directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft

This film was my annual birthday film. I see a movie every year on my birthday, and this year I picked Mulan. You’ve got to love the Disney animated film. They represent the idealization of society! Every woman is babe, every man is a hunk, and everyone has a goofy sidekick! You instantly know who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. I mean, if I could live in any fantasy world I would pick Disney animated movies.

I will admit, I was a little worried when I first heard of the plot of Mulan. A woman who disguises herself as a man so she can join the army. Therefore, her ailing father won’t have to. How could this be a musical? Well, Disney pulls their usual charm, and it is indeed a musical. When we first meet Mulan, she’s getting ready to go meet the village matchmaker, and she soon discovers she wants much more to life than simply being a wife. When Shan-Yu and the Huns breach the great wall, the call goes out for one man from each family to join the army. Mulan has no brothers, so her ailing father joins, and so then she disguises herself as a man and takes off to join the army! In order to look out for Mulan, her ancestors send Mushu, a midget dragon who can be a full-blown guardian again if he brings Mulan home alive. Oh, and somewhere along the way Mulan falls in love with her captain, Shang.

That’s pretty much the plot. As with the ususal Disney animated film, the animation is beautiful! The songs, well, they aren’t as good as they could have been. Disney has had trouble doing a decent soundtrack since The Lion King. Mushu, however, with the voice of Eddie Murphy, is the funniest sidekick since the Genie in Aladdin. Every scene he’s in will have you laughing out loud. The best scene, however, is this skinny-dipping scene where Mulan tries to disguise her womanhood while swimming with three other soldiers! The only drawback to this film is the songs. Why can’t Disney have the courage to do a non-musical? But hey, I bought the soundtrack, so I should quit whining. It is Disney’s best animated film since Lion King.

3.5 Nibs

Movie Review – The Truman Show

The Truman Show

Directed by Peter Wier

Written by Argh! I can never remember, I’m going to quit doing this

Starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris

A lot of people have been raving about this film, so naturally I had to go see it. Of course, we had all heard the doubts about weather Jim Carrey could do dramatic work or not. We were also fairly aware of the premise at this point: Jim plays Truman Burbank, a man who was legally adopted by a corporation, and raised inside a giant TV studio where his family and friends are nothing but actors, and he is the only real thing in his world. And of course, things begin to unravel.

I was really looking forward to this movie, and it delivered. Jim Carrey can do drama. Calling him the next Tom Hanks is a bit much, but Jim is good. I also really liked how this movie was set up. For the first half, it is as though we are actually watching The Truman Show. We see Truman and his made-up world the way Truman’s audience does. Then, when we are allowed behind the scenes, we get to meet Cristof (Ed Harris), the show’s creator and director. What I liked about Harris’ performance was, even though he was sick and twisted enough to do this to Truman, he really did care about Truman.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you the end the way my sister did. Let’s just say that Truman’s flight to freedom is one of the most inspirational movie scenes in a while. This is definitely a great movie, and I hope it will be remembered come Oscar time.

4 Nibs

Movie Review – Godzilla

Godzilla

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Written by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, and 2 other guys who’s names escape me

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Maria Pittilo, and Godzilla

First of all, let me just say that I saw this after the backlash started about how much it sucks and that it has no plot. This “negative hype” made me want to see if it was really that bad. I had been waiting for this movie ever since I first heard that an American studio picked up the rights. I wet myself when I saw that first trailer in front of Men in Black. And, when I heard that the people who made Independence Day were making it, that just made me want to see it that much more. I loved ID4. So, needless to say, I was really looking forward to this movie.

It delivered. This is just the kind of movie I was expecting. This is the general plot: a giant, fire-breathing lizard created by French nuclear tests is sighted in the South Pacific. This thing, dubbed “Godzilla” by the American press, begins nesting in New York City. It’s about to give birth to a bunch of babies that threaten to overtake the planet. Our crack team of people to stop this thing consists of: Nick (Broderick), a biologist who specializes in radioactive mutations, Philippe(Reno), a French secret agent sent to stop the thing, and two intrepid reporters, Audrey and Animal (Pitillo and Azaria), covering the story. But, the real star is Godzilla.

He trashes New York like nobody’s business. The scene where Apache helicopters are chasing him through the streets of New York is a visual effects masterpiece. And, when the babies hatch and start chasing our heros through Madison Square Garden; it’s just beautiful. There are homages to Jurassic Park of course, the babies are very raptor-ish, but this film rocks. This is just what to expect from summer entertainment. Good, mindless fun that gets you out of the sun. Despite what the press says, I loved it.

4 Nibs

Movie Review – Deep Impact

Deep Impact

Directed by Mimi Leder

Written by a group of people who I can’t remember (my apologies)!

Starring Tea Leoni, Elijia Wood, Robert Duvall, and Morgan Freeman

I was always kind of ho-hum about this movie. I wasn’t too eager to see it, but then, I didn’t object to seeing it. So, when visiting my grandparents in Red Deer and getting kind of bored, I wasn’t too objectionable when my sister said “Let’s go see it!” So, I went and saw it.

This is generally how the plot goes. A comet is sighted heading towards earth, threatening to wipe out all life as we know it. There are 3 stories: the personal struggles of Tea Leoni, the reporter who revealed the comet to the world; the personal struggles of Elijia Wood, the boy genius who discovered the comet, and the personal struggles of Robert Duvall, the head astronaut leading the mission to try and stop the comet. Morgan Freeman is the President of the USA, in charge of everything. And I emphasize personal struggles. This is not a sci-fi/action fest like I was hoping for. This was very much a drama. And not a very good drama.

I’m not sure how to describe it. Just watching the characters on screen going through their personal struggles, I felt as though something were missing. We know these are all good actors. But, something just wasn’t there. It rang hollow, so to speak. Someone described it as “a warmed over TV movie,” and that’s about how I feel about it. But, when the comet hits (yes, it does hit, sorry if I spoiled the end), there are fabulous special effects. When the mission to stop the comet actually lands on the comet, it’s just spectacular. All in all, it was good, but it could have been great.

3 Nibs (I really liked the special effects)