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Index

12 Angry Men
--
2001: A Space Odyssey
--
Braveheart
--
Hope Floats
--
Hulk
--
Joseph: King of Dreams
--
Kermit's Swamp Years: The Real Story Behind Kermit the Frog's Early Years
--
Lost in Translation
--
Matrix Reloaded, The
--
Matrix, The
--
Medallion, The
--
Operation Dumbo Drop
--
Paycheck
--
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
--
Princess Bride, The
--
Radioland Murders
--
Signs
--
Sixth Sense, The
--
Star Wars: Episode I - Phantom Menace
--
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
--
Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back
--
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
--
Sweet Home Alabama
--
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
--
Waiting For Guffman
--
X-Men
--
X2: X-Men United
--

12 Angry Men [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
Year: 1957
Rated: Unrated
Big Names: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, Jack Warden, John Fielder (I), Jack Klugman
I Rate It: ****-

Even though I was required to watch this movie for a Team Dynamics graduate course, I found it to be both provocative and entertaining. The interplay of each juror's experience, culture, and background create a very interesting film, with many of the issues discussed being applicable even today. This cast of stars does an excellent job of playing their roles, and makes even a (mostly) one room set seem interesting.




2001: A Space Odyssey [IMDB]
Year: 1968
Rated: G
Big Names: Stanley Kubrick, Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
I Rate It: **---

2 hours and 19 minutes. That's how long this movie was. 15 minutes. That's about how long it would take for a character in this movie to perform any single action. This film is hailed as a top movie (#22 on the AFI's top 100 movies list), but I just didn't get it... I guess maybe I'm not artsy enough? Alright... well, I'll read some reviews and explanations and perhaps post an update, but for the present moment I feel like I've wasted 2 hours and 19 minutes of my time...
Update: Okay, I've read a number of reviews of the movie and have come to the following conclusions:
  • Yes, the effects are quite stunning for the period, and rather good for today
  • The alien monolith which lands near the apemen either accelerates or induces their intelligence, until they are able to build a machine which will take their place (perhaps a machine similar to the monolith).
  • The scenes are still drawn out
  • The final scene makes no real sense, and brings no closure to the movie
  • This is not a good "date movie", and is really not a good movie for anyone who doesn't like to be confused at the end.




  • Braveheart [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1995
    Rated: R (for brutal medieval warfare)
    Big Names: Mel Gibson, James Cosmo, Brendan Gleeson
    I Rate It: *****

    A modern-day classic telling the story of William Wallace and his struggle to free Scotland. Great acting, great effects, and a good plot. The runtime of 177 minutes is definitely not overkill. I saw the "Making Of" for this movie about a week after I saw it, and was even more impressed.




    Hope Floats [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1998
    Rated: PG-13 (for thematic elements)
    Big Names: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands
    I Rate It: ***--

    As far as girl-movies-I'm-forced-to-watch go, this one was pretty good. Sandra Bullock pulls off a fair acting job as she's faced with the troubles of moving back home with her daughter after her husband cheats on her. No surprises, really. I originally gave this movie 4 stars, but after writing this review and realizing that this movie didn't really do anything for me, I gave it 3. Go figure.




    Hulk [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity)
    Big Names: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliot, Josh Lucas, Nick Notle
    I Rate It: ***--

    I though I'd like this movie better, but I couldn't get past the unrealistic animation and questionable storyline (well, at least it left me asking questions...). The cinematic comic book style is neat, and some of the effects are top notch, but The Hulk himself just isn't believable. I probably wouldn't watch it again.




    Joseph: King of Dreams [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2000
    Rated: NR
    Big Names: Ben Affleck, Mark Hamill
    I Rate It: ****-

    From the same people who brought you Prince of Egypt comes another familiar story from the Bible, that of Joseph. Although I haven't had chance to reread the actual story, this movie seemed fairly accurate, and definitely got the main points across. It was put together well. My only major concern is the similarity between this movie and the aforementioned Prince of Egypt.
    On a side note, I was unaware Mark Hamill was even in this movie, but after looking at the IMDb file on him, it appears he does lots of voices for cartoons. Go figure.




    Kermit's Swamp Years: The Real Story Behind Kermit the Frog's Early Years [IMDB]
    Year: 2002
    Rated: G
    Big Names: Steve Whitmore (Kermit, others), Bill Barretta (Croaker, others), Joey Mazzarino (Goggles, others), Cree Summer (Pilgrim, others)
    I Rate It: ***--

    Well, the whole reason we rented this movie in the first place is because we had a free rental at Blockbuster -- but only for the "Blockbuster favorites" and other "NON-New Releases". So after walking through ALL of said movies, we came up with this. After seeing other Muppet productions after Jim Henson's passing, I really didn't have very high expectations. However, the movie was entertaining, and had some funny little bits in it. It is definitely intended for a child audience, and the final "chase" scene pops into my head as a shining example of this. But, as new movies starring the Muppets are sparse, watching this movie was a little like meeting up with an old friend.




    Lost in Translation [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: R (for some sexual content)
    Big Names: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
    I Rate It: **---

    To start out, let me disclose that I am not a big fan of slow movies. I couldn't stand that movie with nebula making people's residual memories come to life. Solaris, that's it. I had a hard time staying awake during 2001: Space Oddesy. Go ahead and call me shallow, but I like movies with plots. I didn't like Lost in Translation. I'll say this -- it was an interesting movie. I enjoyed the look at Tokyo from the eyes of a visitor, and the scenes were all set up well. I just couldn't get into the movie itself, and I really can't see myself recommending it.




    Matrix Reloaded, The [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: Rated R for sci-fi violence and some sexuality.
    Big Names: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
    I Rate It: ****-

    The Matrix Reloaded has some spectacular effects, amazing fight scenes, and an interesting premise. It is not better than the original... it is, however, pretty good for a sequel. The inclusion of some unnecessary and drawn-out sexual scenes taints the achievements of other aspects of the movie. One of the fight scenes is ridiculously long (in my opinion). There's definitely more emphasis on relationships in this sequel, but still plenty of intense action sequences.




    Matrix, The [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1999
    Rated: R (sci-fi violence and brief language)
    Big Names: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
    I Rate It: *****

    Frankly, this is one of my favorites. I own it, which, being as cheap as I am, says a lot. In a surprising turn of events, Keanu Reeves actually does a decent job of acting in this movie. The soundtrack bumps, and the action is top notch. The introduction of the wrap-around freeze shot also makes this movie one not to miss.




    Medallion, The [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: PG-13 (for action violence and some sexual humor)
    Big Names: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, John Rhys-Davies
    I Rate It: **---

    This movie was sub-par. While Jackie Chan still brings very entertaining fight scenes, they just don't make up for the poor writing, so-so effects, and overall lousy finished product. Now, I've seen some early Chan movies, and they were bad. But I could forgive that -- it was the 80's and early 90's, the voices were dubbed -- I could live with that. But Jackie, you're better than that now, right? Didn't you do a great job in Rush Hour? Anyway, back to this movie... the story is old, the "love story" is forced, and it's really not very fun to sit through, unless you skip to the fight scenes.




    Operation Dumbo Drop [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1995
    Rated: PG (for war action and language)
    Big Names: Danny Glover, Ray Liotta, Denis Leary
    I Rate It: ***--

    So... how good can a movie about airlifting an elephant be? Actually, I thought it was pretty good. Classic Disney stylings can be seen throughout. The acting is pretty good, and the plot is as advertised... Hey, it's not The Matrix, but it's a good waste-an-hour-and-a-half-of-your-life movie. Does that make any sense?




    Paycheck [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: PG-13 (for intense action violence and brief language)
    Big Names: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti
    I Rate It: ***--

    This movie probably could have been good. But it wasn't. If you've seen The Bourne Identity, Minority Report, and _____(oh man, I had a really good one and I forgot it), you've pretty much seen Paycheck. Oh wait, add a little ridiculously poor dialogue in there -- now you've seen it. The actors are constantly and unnecessarily stating things that the audience should have picked up on from inferences in the movie. You never really like the main character (Ben Affleck -- I never really like him anyway), and the whole background of his relationship with Uma Thurman is cut out. If I was strapped into a chair with my eyes taped open, and forced to watch this movie again, I could probably do it. But I wouldn't watch it again on purpose.




    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: PG-13 (action/adventure violence)
    Big Names: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Geoffrey Rush
    I Rate It: *****

    Pirates of the Caribbean was, above all, entertaining -- and in the end, isn't that the goal of film-watching? The leading actors did a spectacular job in their roles, including Johnny Depp's (expectedly) strange depiction of Capt. Jack Sparrow. There was really only one blatent downside to the movie -- the predictable plot. Still, the action, acting, and effects more than made up for it.




    Princess Bride, The [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1987
    Rated: PG
    Big Names: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Fred Savage, Andre the Giant, etc., etc., etc.
    I Rate It: *****

    This is probably my favorite movie of all time. I have never seen a movie that incorporates action, comedy, romance, and drama as well as this one. The acting is great, the mood is wonderful... I really just can't say enough good things about this movie. One summer my friends and I watched it almost every night... I can quote nearly the whole movie. It's #99 overall user rated on IMDb. Plus, hey, it's got Andre the Giant in it. Sidenote: I've also read the book the movie is based on... it's almost an exact match, actually, down to the premise of the story being read to a child. I would definitely recommend reading it.




    Radioland Murders [IMDB]
    Year: 1994
    Rated: PG
    Big Names: George Lucas (writer), George Burns (small part), others
    I Rate It: ***--

    Set in the hayday of radio, this quick-paced movie presents a murder mystery at a new radio theatre/station. The acting is good, the plot is so/so, and the overall feeling is "Why". It wasn't bad, but I can't recommend this film as representative of George Lucas's abilities. Decency: Mild swearing, very brief frontal nudity




    Signs [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13 (for some frightening moments)
    Big Names: M. Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, Cherry Jones
    I Rate It: *****

    M. Night Shyamalan, the talented writer of such suprising plots as Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, delivers another chair-gripping suspense thriller in Signs. Mel Gibson does a great job in his role as a disenchanted former priest, angry at God for his wife's death. The combination of a religious theme and an alien attack theme is actually performed fairly well. While not offering the same "what the heck happened at the end?!?" aspect of his previous movies, Signs shines in its own way.




    Sixth Sense, The [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1999
    Rated: PG-13 (for intense thematic material and violent images)
    Big Names: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment
    I Rate It: *****

    This movie incorporates great acting, intense drama, and a surprising plot twist. I'm not a big fan of scary movies, but the terror instilled by this one intrigued me. Again, the actors do a wonderful job, and complement the script perfectly. At the time of this writing, this movie is #34 on IMDB's top user-rated movies list.




    Star Wars: Episode I - Phantom Menace [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1999
    Rated: PG (for sci-fi action/violence)
    Big Names: George Lucas (writer/director), Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, others
    I Rate It: *****

    I love Star Wars. All of them. I wonder what George Lucas must have thought while making a movie that was guaranteed to be a hit and destined to become a classic? Anyway, this is a great movie, and though the constant drivel of Jar Jar Binks can get annoying at times, there is a great blend of action and drama. Mr. Lucas has done it again. I can't wait for Episodes 2 and 3... (so hurry up!)




    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1977
    Rated: PG (sci-fi violence and brief mild language)
    Big Names: George Lucas (writer/director), Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, others
    I Rate It: *****

    Well, here's the one that started it all. Sure, the actings not the best I've seen, and some of the special effects leave a little to be desired, but this movie was definitely far ahead of its time. It's still a top-notch movie, even by today's standards. (New Title 1980, Rereleased 1997)




    Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1980
    Rated: PG (sci-fi action violence)
    Big Names: George Lucas (writer/director), Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, others
    I Rate It: *****

    As part of the Star Wars series, this movie automatically gets five stars. Um... yep. (Rereleased 1997)




    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 1983
    Rated: PG
    Big Names: George Lucas (writer/director), Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, others
    I Rate It: *****

    Currently the last (6th) movie of the Star Wars series. A fitting finish. (Rereleased 1997)




    Sweet Home Alabama [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13 (for some language/sexual references)
    Big Names: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, Fred Ward, Jean Smart
    I Rate It: ****-

    Although this movie will be filed in the "chick flick" category, it was entertaining. The genre of Romantic Comedy fits it well, as there are many funny moments. The plot is a little weak or incomplete in places, but the comedic moments ordinarily make up for it. The ending was a tad predictable, but I guess you only have so many choices in a lover's triangle storyline...




    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2005
    Rated: PG (for thematic elements, action and mild language)
    Big Names: Stephen Fry, Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel
    I Rate It: ****-

    While I'm don't really think this was a great movie, I enjoyed watching it as a fan of the books and radio show. Zaphod reminded me a little too much of Owen Wilson, but most of the actors did a decent job. Of course, there are differences between the books and the movie, but there were differences between the radio scripts and the books, too. So there. Anyway, it's fun to watch as a supplement to the books, and I recommend that anyone who watches the movie reads the books either before or after... they're quite funny.




    Waiting For Guffman [IMDB]
    Year: 1996
    Rated: R (brief strong language)
    Big Names: Christopher Guest, Fred Willard
    I Rate It: ****-

    Prime Conditions For Watching: With a group of close friends late at night This movie is odd. There, I said it. If watched in the right conditions, it can be hilarious. If not, it can come off as a rather stupid movie with no point. This movie shows an untalented group of actors preparing to put on a play about their town, and is presented from a documentary/interview point of view. There are definitely some quoteable lines here. Just watch it already. But with close friends. And late at night.




    X-Men [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2000
    Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence)
    Big Names: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry
    I Rate It: ***--

    The first time I saw this movie (in the theater), I enjoyed it. The second time (on DVD), I began to notice some annoyances. The third and fourth times, many parts of the movie seemed poorly constructed. Halle Berry talks funny throughout the movie (which is thankfully corrected in the sequel), much of the acting and scripting is poor, some of the effects are sub-par, and there is lack of displaying mutant powers in fight scenes. While it's fun to watch simply because it's an X-Men movie, it barely stands on its own.




    X2: X-Men United [IMDB] [CASpotlight]
    Year: 2003
    Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality and brief language)
    Big Names: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry
    I Rate It: *****

    In my opinion (and it is my review, so that's all that really matters...) this sequel is waaay better than the original movie. The acting is better, the scripting is better, Halle Berry doesn't talk funny, the effects are better, and there's more fighting with powers. Nightcrawler shows up, and Pyro and Iceman get some more screentime this episode. The end gives a hint of a character in the next episode for those familiar with the comic or cartoon.




    Created entirely by djmjr.
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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.