Archives for posts with tag: movie reviews

It starts out like a cliché rom-com variation in which a spurned wife goes to war against the woman who replaced her. You expect hijinks to ensue and the mismatched moms in “Stepmom” (1998) to eventually unite against some type of greater evil, with hilariously heartwarming results. However, the greater evil is cancer, an uneasy truce suffices for teamwork, sadness befalls everyone, and there’s lots of speeches that sound like they were edited by a committee of Hallmark-approved psychologists. It’s a box-of-Kleenex, pint-of-ice-cream tearjerker that will make you happy it ruined your night, if you’re into these kinds of movies.

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It features robots battling reptile-looking alien thingys, but “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (2018) feels more like a St. Bernard – big, sloppy and lovable. Just like in the original, this sequel unloads a fusillade of clichés along with impressive weaponry. This time there’s even a subplot resembling “Top Gun” meets “Mickey Mouse Club.” There’s still ridiculous amounts of destruction (with very few dead bodies – unless the bodies will move the plot along) and attempts to save the world, but just like in the original, this film winks at you every once in a while, letting you know it’s in on the joke.

There’s no quiet like the quiet following a winter storm. I’ve lived through ice storms in the Northeast. They’re not pleasant. Neither is “The Ice Storm,” director Ang Lee’s 1997 meditation on 1970s mores. Groovy, earth-toned freedom is stripped to its decadent core. Then the forces of nature have their way, leaving emptiness. This might be one of the most perfectly cast films ever, from Kevin Kline’s waspy obliviousness to the fumbling, freckle-faced innocence of various teenage boys. And then there’s Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver, teaching us the difference between the ice that numbs and the ice that burns.

When I picked up a copy of “The Hurricane Heist” (2018), the first thing I thought of was “Sharknado.” But while “Sharknado” was totally committed to being the B-est of all B movies, this film is trying to be a caper flick, a disaster flick and God knows what else (What the hell is Ben Cross from “Chariots of Fire” doing as an Alabama sheriff?). So we get preposterous science, melodrama worthy of an animated graphic novel, a plot as worn out as the discarded paper money being stolen, absolutely cheesy special effects and not nearly enough B movie joy.

If Sandra Bullock weren’t so darn adorable, “Two if by Sea” (1996) would have been a total suckfest. This romantic/caper/comedy/somethingorother follows a template: Underprivileged Girl With Big Dreams is somehow romantically entangled with Loser Smalltime Crook. They spend half the movie bickering and she becomes attracted to Man Who is Fool’s Gold. Smalltime Crook does something noble, Fool’s Gold turns out to be a d-bag, you see every turn of the plot coming from a mile away, The End. There’s no Happily Ever After because you know Smalltime will do something stupid again five minutes after the movie is over.

It’s a mediocre film, but in a larger sense, it’s good that Clint Eastwood made “The 15:17 to Paris” (2018). It’s good to tell this story to a wide audience. Most young people don’t sit around on porches or at barbershops or the local diner and listen to older, wiser folk pass along wisdom, so if it takes a movie about three young adult American tourists who stepped into the breach and helped thwart a terrorist attack on a train to teach kids it takes more than snarky Twitter comments to make the world a better place, so be it.

Woody Allen is the writer/director/star of “The Mighty Aphrodite” (1995), which means it’s basically 95 minutes of him talking and talking and talking. And there’s a Greek chorus, which probably sounded better in theory than it ended up on screen. The movie did win an Oscar. More specifically, Mira Sorvino won an Oscar for best supporting actress. She plays a B-list porn actress who is the father to Woody’s adopted son (don’t ask). I watched a godawful bootleg of this film on a weeknight after I had been out drinking. I wish I could have seen Ms. Sorvino more clearly.