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Lew's Movie Reviews

(Yes, typos and all -Mark)
Anaconda (Quickie)
Blade (Quickie)
Deep Impact (Full)
Fallen (Quickie)
Godzilla (Full)
Saving Private Ryan (Quickie)
Shindler's List (Quickie)
The Thin Red Line (Quickie)
Titanic (Quickie)
The Truman Show (Full)
X-Files, Fight the Future (Full)

Summary of all movies


The Thin Red Line

     Thinking of seeing The Thin Red Line. Don't. It is long and dull. Someone once said "War is days of incomprehensable boredom broken up by moment of utter terror." That quote describes this movie to a tee. I understand what they were trying to do and it was a noble effort. Problem is, to the degree they did it, the idea doesn't convert to a watchable movie. Of the thirty people who were in the theater I was about the 10th to walk out. First movie I ever walked out on. It's sad really. They movie is a good history, the acting is fine, the characters are realistic, and many truths of war presented. It's just to boring. By the way I walked out at the two and a half hour mark.

I pretty much agree with Lew; although, I did actually watch all of it. It a was a good movie, but definitely don't go expecting a non-stop action army movie. Probably protrays it more realistically than many though.


Fallen

     Yes I'm sure most of you have already seen it, but I'm slow sometimes. Wow! It sucks you in and keeps you. The actors all get roles they've played many times before and this helps give a sense of realism. You feel like a bunch of normal people are getting dragged in way over their heads. The plot is strong and the moral of the story is. Well not to give anything away, but it's a little scary. I don't give a lot of tens, but this one qualifies. Emotion is high, effects do what they're supposed to, acting is fine. One thing about a ten, sometimes it is hard to quantify what makes it a ten. If you haven't seen it, go.


Anaconda

     Stop laughing. The movie's a five with a bonus point for being gutsy enough to use, hmm, "unfortunate" special effects. In another couple years this type of movie will be everywhere again, because pasting in special computer animation will be flawless. Remember the goofy Jabba the Hutt scene in the remastered Star Wars, same thing.
     Other than that it was a pure low budget monster movie. At least their was a plot, and only most of the characters were completely stupid. The fact the "babies" were of different breeds of snakes was kind of lame, but the bad guy is a man with a plan. Lastly, like any cheap monster movie, only the bad guys are ugly.


Saving Private Ryan

     Well it could have been a ten. The budget and the plot gave it a shot, but I can only give it an eight. It was not the emotional gut-wrencher the previews promised. That hurt a bit. The went instead in the direction of heroism and duty. King and country and all that spangled stuff. Except in the opening scenes and few brief moments their after, I wasn't embrace by the movie. That pulled it down to a nine. It loses another point due to poor editing. Many of the scenes didn't fit together well and many of the effects in the second half of the movie are jumpy. In a few places there are obvious stunt dummies used.
     That said, go see it as soon as possible. The first 20 minutes or so of the movie are incredible. To the best of my knowledge they captured the feel of the D-Day landings and the days that followed perfectly. Our generation needs a smack in the head to remind us what our grandparents went through to get us here, and this is it. At least it was for me.


Titanic

     Ya, I saw it. Well most of it. I give it an eight, with a warming. It is a spectacular romance. There are moments of awe. It is not an action movie. Guys want to nap through the first 6 hours to catch the boat sinking will be disappointed. Guys who want to see crazed, panicked crowds fighting for life boats will be disappointed. If you want to cuddle up and see a pretty good movie it's not bad, but you might as well see the whole thing. Actually, I think I enjoyed the earlier part of the movie more than the wreck.
     Disclaimer. This is not my kind of movie. I am trying to be impartial to that and failing badly. No, no I can't do it. The eight is revoked do to lack of interest. The true me arises from the pits of blandness Titanic is a 6. No more, no less.


Shindler's List

     Speaking of being a bit slow. Not much to say here really. It's a good movie if you feel like getting really depressed. I couldn't even start to tell you how accurate it is, except, of course, for the basic premise. Shindler is a very interesting character as well for anyone just wanting to see a story about a not so nice guy put into a horrendous circumstance.
     I give an eight. In my mind this kind of movie starts at a six. A good dose of emotion (mostly depression) gives it a point, the style (black and white format, and long time span covered) gives it about half a point and the prologue kicks it on up to the eight.


Blade

     For me a martial arts action movie starts at five and goes from there on its own. Now it is hard to loose ground, because a good body count and plenty of fighting is all it needs. Moving up the ladder is hard as well. Most of these movies are cheap and ill-conceived clones.
     Blade did some climbing. Good actors help. As corny as Wesly Snipes can be he makes a good dark hero. Having a plot helps, most of these movies don't. Blade surprised me with a strong plot that they managed to stick to. Special effects can help any movie. Blade broke new ground as far as I'm concerned. For the most part, the effects melded neatly into well directed scenes to make Blade one of the best movies of it's genre, I give it an 8.


X-Files, Fight the Future
6-19-98

Beginning Comments

     First Impression - First off I am not a X-file the series watcher. I have seen the last few minutes of a few episodes before Deep Space Nine and I think I saw one a few years ago about a were-wolf or something. Now we can move on.
     The Movie was real good. For all those who like James Bond movies or who were hoping for more out of Mission Unlikely this is a must see. It is an excellent mystery thriller.
     I not so sure I can recommend seeing it in the theatre. It drew and I suppose will continue to draw a really mixed crowd. The usual nerds were there, of course, but there were old people too. Not that I have a problem with old people, its just weird to see them at a movie I'm interested in. There were African-Americans (no big deal), Indians (not the local ones), Asians of all makes and models, small groups of women, and about every other stereotype you could imagine. Of the groups I mentioned none were the problem. The problem was the middle-aged women (we'll call them housewives) who were never properly prepared for a modern movie.
     They seemed amazed and terrified at the spectacular effects and at the same time blissfully ignorant of movie etiquette. I don't mind a little enthusiasm. I've loved cheering on the good guys in many movies. These folks were just weird. Oh well no time to rant.

Now, the details.
Plot With several seasons of history it is not surprising this movie had one hell of an intricate plot. Well actually it is. Hollywood has screwed up everything else for years. Anyway it has a very good plot. I do not recommend stupid people see it. If you've been sent this e-mail your not stupid, but you knew that. If you're reading this on Head's web-site, well, make your own judgement. As a guideline: if you had trouble with Mission Impossible's plot give up now, you'll be a Jerry Springer fan forever. (hmmm another rant). A, hmm oh ya good solid plot. You don't need to be a series fan to follow it.
Theme Hurrah! We have a plot. Don't give up and count on your friends, what could be better.
Special Effects They appeared, as they were required. This must have been a cheap movie to make because it was not an affects movie. However, when they needed them they were there.
Acting The advantage of TV to movie jumps is the actors know their characters. Supporting actors did an adequate job.
Emotion The nature of the audience made it hard to get lost in the movie. However, I cared about the characters and wanted the bad guys dead. No misty eyes.
Body count Countable, about 10 to 15. Some pretty good death scenes.
Date rating Oh ya.
Sound Track Not much more to say than it did it's job. Which it all it can be asked to do. A movie that does more with a score (heh rhymes) it a rarity.
Cinematography Look everyone a new category, sorry Head. In case I have veered from the real theatre definition, I mean camera angles and scene flow. Does that make sense? Very good. Any thriller has to be at least average here, X-files was above average.
Comedy Relief Very good and usually well placed. This one respect they could have done better on. I've noticed a lot of movies lately try to hard to make the audience laugh. Just as importantly their keeping the good emotions, like sorrow and anger, away. This is not good.
Opps I didn't notice any logic errors.
Kid's and Parent issues
Language A lot of S bombs but no deadly f'ers. As always it's up to the Parent.
Nudity No sex. No good kissing no nothing. They flirt with sexuality a little but it's really a non-factor.

Rating

The Number - 7

Final Comments

     So why a 7? I guess the question would be why not higher. It lacked spectacle I suppose. Everything was above average, but nothing was amazing. To get above a 7 you've got to be exquisite somewhere and they couldn't do it. Still a real good show though. Hey another rhyme.


The Truman Show
6-18-98

Beginning Comments

     First Impression - In a word, perverse. Once again I have some mixed emotions, but I don't think they got exactly what they wanted and that made for some large problems. I have a feeling this is going to be another "Volcano", with few agreeing. Oh well, here we go.

Now, the details.
Plot It takes about 5 minutes to figure out were the movies going. Sorry to disappoint, but don't expect much in the way of surprises.
Theme This movie does get points for having a theme. I'm just not sure exactly what it is. People will accept whatever world they're given, but you can make your own way if you want to bad enough. Or. People will accept whatever world they're given and the rest aren't any better.
Special Effects I hope they were intentionally dull. No reason to see this movie on the big screen. Black and White antenna will get the point across. In other words high tech cool stuff straight from the 50's.
Acting Jim Kerry definitely saves the show. His supporting cast sucks, funny since they're playing actors. Also, funny the actors who play the director and technicians do a much better job. You know if I'm going to keep this up I need to start paying attention to actor's names.
Emotion Now it a comedy, now it's a drama, funny, serious, funny, serious, who cares its just another movie. They laughs ruined any chance of sucking me in. I have a suspicion though that many people will be and they will love it.
Body count Negative one
Date rating I don't claim to understand women, but I have a suspicion that your average lady will enjoy the movie more than I did. O.K. for a first date, or for when your wanting to see if she has a brain. Movie can stir up some neat issues.
Sound Track Totally depersonalizing. The way they handle the soundtrack is cute, but that's all it is.
Comedy Relief See emotion. It is funny. In fact it is downright belly laugh embarrass yourself funny at times. I think they were on to something there.
Opps I have to question were some of the camera angles came from at time. If you see it that will make sense.
Kid's and Parent issues
Language I don't recall any obscenities.
Nudity None

Rating

The Number - 5

Final Comments

     So why a 5. At mid-movie The Truman Show had a solid seven going. Unfortunately, all those building blocks they had presented us just didn't build anything. The end was so predictable I'm still waiting for someone at the theatre to call and tell us they turned it off early. One building block was the acting. I think they intentionally made the acting bad, but it just doesn't work. I can not explain my reasoning in a less than 500 words and I don't feel like writing an essay. The movie is funny if you let it be and Jim is great. I suggest getting a second opinion.

     Ha.. I just figured it out. All movies with any fanciful aspect and any attempt to be serious have one critical task to perform. I believe The Truman Show qualifies in both aspects. That task is to make the audience believe it can happen. Even if the chance is remote we must believe it is possible. This show fails.


Godzilla
5-20-1998

Beginning Comments

Hi Folks

     I have never been so mad at a movie that I enjoyed so much. I'm so angered I'm considering boycotting Columbia tri-star movies for a year or two, but I probably won't. I would love to tell you it was horrible and not to go see it, but that would not be true. Godzilla is a really good big lizard movie. However, it bares very little of the magic possessed by the first 17 movies.

     True Godzilla fans (and I know there are not many of you) this movie is raping your hero. It is taking his name and putting it on a super effect spectacular '70's disaster movie, for the sole purpose of taking your money. I would love nothing more for no one reading this to go, so my 6.50 is not wasted. I will try to be fair.

Now the details
Plot By any standard the plot is a little goofy and stretches all bounds of reason. But It doesn't necessarily need one. It does not get in the way of the special effects comedy it is.

Godzilla fans - the movie avoids the major, but somehow inconsequential, plots of real Godzilla movies. There are no alien invasions, no major issues to debate, just a lot of action and laughs.

Theme Here in lies the problem. Godzilla is a force of nature he acts as a guardian of mother earth. "Big lizard goes to New York" merely flirts with real issues. In a limited way it promotes stealing, conspiracy, distrust of government, and general lawbreaking. Of course, most media does and no one seems to notice, so what the hell.
Special Effects Grumble?Grumble..? O.K. the lizard looks cool!!!!. The effects are very good. (although the thing is a little small). New York getting smashed is neat to, but the real Godzilla could have done better! By the way they cheesed out on his radiation breath.
Acting When it boils right down to it the movie was a comedy. The pro's might disagree, but I don't see much to comedy acting. You just say the joke and give funny looks. This is the one thing they got right incidentally. Godzilla is supposed to be a comedy and the acting is supposed to suck.
Emotion Grrrrrrrr. Honestly, no. Maybe if you look at the big lizard as the bad guy you could get mad at him and really route for the bad guys; I mean the heroes to win.
Body count Good kids movie. You really don't see anybody die although a few hundred or so are probably supposed to have.
Date rating Singles only. Few women will really like it.
Sound Track They made a noble effort. In most places the scores are very dramatic and add to the feel of the movie. In places though they tried to play with volume, like Contact and Volcano did. It really turned out like an old horror flick. You could predict the action by the music.
Comedy Relief When I say the movie was a comedy I don't mean it had a funny plot. Their was just constant funny stuff going on. Funny lines, funny situations, funny looks, and so on.
Opps Just the plot. Really, nothing jumped out at me. It was very fanciful so the really couldn't be factually wrong. I didn't notice any self-repairing windshields or anything.
Kid's and Parent issues
Language No the producers obviously want the movie accessible to kids who don't know who Godzilla is.
Nudity None. In fact there is very little kissing.

Rating

As a big lizard flick I give it a 7. As a Godzilla movie it gets 4 at best.

Final Comments

So why an 7 - It is worth seeing in the theatre if you're a traitor to all that is sacred on monster island. The special effects are very good and there's a lot of it. Also, it is very funny throughout.

So why a 4 - It is not the new look that got me if that's what your thinking. I new the days of a man in a lizard suit were over and that's fine. Godzilla has a sense of humor and justice. He is not a particularly smart being. These things are innate to him. The makers of this movie chose to use the name to draw in the faithful. If you look carefully, you can see the scraps of the real Godzilla. My belief is this movie started out a lot different, but Hollywood was to cowardly to do it right.


Deep Impact
5-13-1998

Beginning Comments

Hi Folks

     Everyone knows I like to analyze the hell out of things so no excuses. This may become a regular feature since I really love to analyze movies. I will not give away endings or major events. I hate having movies spoiled to.

Now, the details.
Plot Believable, followable and not entirely predictable. Their is a definite point to the movie and the two subplots are well-defined as well. (both love stories, for the ladies).
Theme This was not a movie with any strong theme, but few do anymore. (I'm defining theme as kind of a "moral to the story") Certainly no bad lessons.
Special Effects Top notch. If you have a small TV some of the scenes just won't be the same.
Acting Very good. Good actors doesn't always mean good acting, but this batch did a great job. (a the lead girls a babe).
Emotion In the beginning they fail a little to make you care, but toward the end most will get a little teary eyed. he, hmm not me of course.
Body count Millions, However, their is no gore.
Date rating 3rd date, She'll enjoy it. Just not as much as you.
Sound Track Doesn't add or detract.
Comedy Relief Believe it or not their was none. That's real rare these days. The only laughter in the movie was the nervous kind. Now their are some humorous part, it's just the characters don't think they're funny.
Opps Their are a couple things that don't make sense if you let yourself think about it, but nothing major.
Kid's and Parent issues
Language I didn't notice a lot of abusive language, but I didn't really look for it. For those, I prefer a movie with no "foul" words. I like something I can watch with Mom.
Nudity I don't remember any. Certainly nothing major.

Rating

     Deep impact was a really, really good movie. I give it an 8 by my personal scale (its one to ten, ten being high and rare). If I included fractions it would probably round up to a nine.

     In general an 8 means the movie has a few real flaws and may not evoke an emotional response (at least out of me). However, it was overall a solid production and if you regularly go to the theater anyway, definitely go to this one.

Final Comments

So why an 8. The lack of early emotional response, the oppses, and the fact I kept getting the idea they had left out scenes. It still flows fine I just have a feeling the cut out about half an hour somewhere. The lack of theme in a save the world movie is a little bit of a let down too.


Recent Ratings

Just for comparison, here are some recent ratings

Movie Title Rating
Contact 10
Fallen 10
Volcano 9 (I know, many have disagreed)
Regarding Henry 9
Air Force One 8
Blade 8
Saving Private Ryan 8
Shindler's List 8
Star Ship Troopers 7 (8 if there's a sequel)
Tarzan 7 (great kids movie)
Anaconda 6
Lost in Space 6
Titanic 6 (I don't care, it's my review.)
The Truman Show 5
Godzilla 4
Batman and Robin 1

A What?

A five - Don't spend money on it. See it when convenient. There are some real problems with the movie, but it is still watchable and even enjoyable if your in the right frame of mind.

The eight -- In general an 8 means the movie has a few real flaws and may not evoke an emotional response (at least out of me). However, it was overall a solid production and if you regularly go to the theater anyway, definitely go to this one.

A few extra notes

     First of all Volcano was a great movie. It establishes the Volcano as an evil foe to be heroically defeated. It establishes the lead guy emergency dude (another actor name, hmm) as that hero. The movie is a classic struggle of good vs. evil and the triumph of the human spirit. It stands for unity of man regardless of race or gender. It teaches us valuable lessons about racism and selfishness, as well as, self-sacrifice and the power of the mind.
     I defy all challengers how would dare belittle this monumental epic.

Keep in mind I only go to see movies I think are going to be at least 7's.

Copyright © 1998, - Used with permission.


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