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Teen Movie Critic

Reviews for the week starting on October 2, 1995

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MOVIES ON VIDEO

Here are four movies on video and/or laserdisc.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction
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The best film made in 1994, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction is a series of strange incidents that happen to a rather sleazy group of people in L.A. The film revolves around three major stories. The first one is about a dimwitted hit-man, named Vincent (John Travolta, in his comeback performance), who has to take his boss' wife out on the town. She's a complete cocaine fiend, who is a bit too wild for Vincent's slow-motion heroin world. Not so coincidentally, things go wrong. Big time!

The second story deals with a boxer (Bruce Willis), who is on the run from Vincent's boss, Marcellus (Ving Rhames), after he throws a fight that he was supposed to lose for Rhames. However, even with hit-men around every corner, he still goes back to his apartment to get his most prized possession, his father's gold watch. It is this watch which leads into a deadly confrontation with Rhames and two sadist rednecks.

The third and final tale is a continuation of the opening scene. Vincent and his partner Jules (A stunning performance by Samuel L. Jackson) accidently kill a guy they had in their car. The situation escalates into a major crisis, when they bring the body to Jackson's other partner (director Tarantino). His partner's wife is coming home any minute. So they call in a pro (Harvey Keitel) to help dispose of the body. After all this, the segment continues in a confrontation between the two hit-men and two young lovers (Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth) robbing the very restaurant they're eating in.

It would be a crime if I told you how all of these stories end. However, I will tell you that each of the characters (Willis, Travolta, Jackson, etc.) are forced into situations which cause them to make redemption for all the cruel things that have happened in their live. The acting is exceptional, with kudos going to Jackson, as the philosophical Jules; Thurman, as the party crazed gun moll; Willis as the boxer; even Tarantino, in the small role as Jimmy, a guy who isn't too happy about his partner bringing a dead body to his house.

Though this was robbed of six of the seven Oscars it was nominated for, it won a deserved trophy for Tarantino's screenplay. Pulp Fiction has been called, by many people, one of the best black comedies of all time, right up there with Dr. Strangelove. Here is a film that will live in your memory, long after you've finished watching it.

My Rating = Four Stars

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La Femme Nikita (1990)

Femme Nikita, La
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This film has an interesting premise. A young french girl (Anne Parillaud) turns from street punk to government assassin, after she is captured by a secret agency. She eventually, after her metamorphosis, leaves the agency to live a normal life. She does get called upon once in a while to kill specific people. She meets a handsome young man named Marco, whom she falls in love with, and wants simply to be left alone by the agency. Unfortunately, it's hard for her to change so easily. She almost gets killed when one of her assassin jobs goes wrong, and her homicidal partner (The Professional's Jean Reno) starts killing everyone.

Luc Besson is a very good director. He seems to be influenced by some of the Hong Kong action films, involving mind-boggling action and plenty of killing. Parillaud is quite good as Nikita, as she changes from a dirty, homely street punk to a beautiful, seductive assassin. You will find plenty of action that is just as good as any Sylvester Stallone movie.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Point of No Return (1993)

Point of No Return
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A scene-for-scene remake of La Femme Nikita, this one doesn't come off quite as well as its predecessor. The story is the same, so I'm not going to get into describing it again. This time, the Nikita character is portrayed by Bridget Fonda. The problems start with the complete lack of feeling among many of the characters. They seem to lack any other emotion besides anger. It only picks up after Fonda meets the handsome young man (Dermot Mulroney), and even then, there is very little passion. The action is good, but the film itself is basically another Hollywood formulaic production. The only two really good actors in this are Fonda (who takes to the Nikita role quite nicely), and Harvey Keitel as a cleaner (an assassin sent to clean up other assassin's screw-ups), who adds real grit to a film totally lacking of it anywhere else.

My Rating = Two Stars

Rent


Thelma and Louise (1991)

Thelma and Louise
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One of the most excellent road movies ever made, and definitely a feminist film. Controversial and a huge topic of discussion at the time of it's release, none of this hurt the film one bit. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis play the title characters, who decide to take a vacation away from there dreary lives. However, Davis leaves without telling her sexist-chauvinist husband (Christopher McDonald). The two stop at a country western bar, where Davis is almost raped by one of the local boys. Sarandon saves her by shooting the guy. After that, the two of them are on the run from the cops and the FBI.

The two leads are excellent in their Oscar nominated roles. The best of the supporting roles are Harvey Keitel as a fed and the only person who has sympathy for the two women, even though he is forced to chase them across the South, and Brad Pitt, as a young hustler, who gives Davis a one-night stand. The film does not paint a good picture of men. Most are either crude, nasty, sexist, slime, or just plain stupid. That is for sure the reason why most men didn't like this film. However, I liked it, because it's about damn time somebody showed what men can really be like.

This movie doesn't mean to say that ALL men are bad. It's just showing the dark and sinister things SOME men do. It's also extremely underrated by many critics. Well, Thelma and Louise will get at least one high rating from one critic.

My Rating = Four Stars

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