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Teen Movie Critic

Reviews for the week starting on July 3, 1995

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Here are four films on video and/or laserdisc.

Interview With the Vampire (1994)

Interview With the Vampire
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I'm not a big Anne Rice fan, except for the Vampire Chronicles. The story is about an angst-ridden vampire named Louis (Brad Pitt) who wants to tell his life story to an interviewer (Christian Slater, who took the part after the death of River Phoenix, who was first cast). The cast, sets and story are simply perfect. There was a lot of controversy about the film's star, Tom Cruise, whether or not he would make a good Lestat, Louis' teacher, or would simply ruin the film and leave out the homosexual undertones.

I think that Cruise played him to a T, as did Pitt as Louis, who seems to be the more sensitive and sensible of the two. However, the real star of the film is Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, the child vampire. She outshines her two co-stars and is everything that I envisioned in Claudia. The film has the right touch of humor and is a good period piece. I should give you a warning first. This film has a lot of blood. It doesn't bother me, but if it does bother you, don't rent it. Otherwise, it's a definite must-see.

My Rating = Four Stars


Road To Wellville (1994)

Road To Wellville
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The story here takes place at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1907, run by the man that is now known as the worlds greatest quack, John Kellog (Anthony Hopkins). A young couple (Matthew Broderick and Bridget Fonda) come to the sanitarium to get some much needed rest and exercise. The humor is rather scattershot throughout the entire film. It's too much like Keystone Cops slapstick. Plus, the bowel humor gets to be a little annoying, as does the totally unfunny performance by Dana Carvey as Hopkins adopted son who looks like a survivor from Auschwitz. The only redeeming factor is that it has good sets. In fact, the settings are far funnier than the actors. This is a film you definitely want to miss when your at the video store.

My Rating = One Star


Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
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Of the two monster films reviewed this week, "Interview" comes off better than this. It is yet another remake of the classic novel and film of the same name. The story is basically the same. Frankenstein (Director-Actor Kenneth Branagh) brings a creature, stitched from separate human organs, back to life. He abandons the creature (Robert De Niro) after he figures it was a mistake to have made it and goes off to marry his distant cousin (Helena Bonham Carter). However, the monster starts to learn of how he was created and decides to track Frankenstein down. The entire story is told in flashback by Branagh on board a ship in the Arctic, where the monster has finally tracked him.

The film has its ups and downs. Thankfully, more ups than downs. One of the downs is that the romance between Branagh and Carter is treated more like a soap opera than an actual love affair. Another down is that the film's story goes by way too quickly, as if they're trying to hurry everything to the end. Still, the performances by Branagh and De Niro are good. De Niro plays the part of the monster quite well. A creature tormented by the world as an ugly evil being when he's only a lonely man searching for a friend or companion. The makeup job they did on De niro is excellent, capturing a creature that was truly stitched together. The lab sets are good too.

The film isn't a total disappointment. It has a good supporting cast such as Tom Hulce ("Amadeus") as Frankenstein's best friend, John Cleese in a surprising non-comic turn as Frankenstein's teacher and Aidan Quinn as the captain of the Arctic expedition. You should rent the old "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff and this version. Then you should compare them and see what you find. I prefer the old one to this one, though the new version does have a interesting plot that stays pretty close to the old story. Judge for yourselves.

My Rating = Three Stars


Reality Bites (1994)

Reality Bites
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Yet another product of the Generation X fad. Believe me when I say that it's just a fad. It's not going to last very much longer. The story is as follows. Winona Ryder plays a college grad who is making a documentary about life after college. She is also going through a relationship crisis. She has to chose between an ultra-cool musician (Ethan Hawke) and a young businessman (actor-director Ben Stiller) who happens to be interested in her documentary. I must say that this is lame-o central. The time span which Gen-X was born was between 1965 and 1980. I was born just a year before 1980, making me at least some part of Gen-X, but this movie doesn't have any relation to my life or any of my friends lives (some of my friends are closer to the age group in this film, and they couldn't relate to it at all).

Ryder is good, but you have to wonder why she would chose such an asshole like Hawke over Stiller, who turns out to be a nice guy. Janeane Garafolo is the only stand-out as Ryder's best friend. She seems to get all the good lines. My point is this. I think that this was almost totally unrealistic. The basic message is simple. The youth of Gen-X doesn't like the world they're getting. Don't stop those presses. Most people of Gen-X, Baby Busters, whatever biased word you'd like to use, aren't people with short attention spans, working in Burger King. Most are just hard working people who have the same hopes and dreams as the Baby Boomers did. Reality Bites sure doesn't show such hope. All it shows is that you can rebel against your Dad by overspending on his gas card.

My Rating = Two Stars


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