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Review of the day for the week of January 12, 1998.

Monday:
Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old Lace
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Arsenic and Old Lace an old black and white murder mystery provides entertainment , (Psycho, was eons better!) yet lacks the ingenuity of many modern movies.

Mortimer Brewster(Cary Grant), the famous bachelor, decides to get married, and before embarking on his honeymoon to Niagara Falls, he stops by to see his two old aunts. Not to mention their crazy butler who thinks he's a soldier. Well, bodies start popping up, and I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say that his aunts - don't read any further unless you want a big clue as to who the killer is - have some Dr. Kevorkian-like tendencies.

The plot is a little sketchy, and the movie is done in a comedic fashion, rather than as a horror or murder mystery movie, but if you try hard enough, you can follow it, and may get a few laughs.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Tuesday:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer a half comedy, half-horror movie is quite entertaining, if ridiculous. Based on the premise of a Clueless reminiscent high school girl becoming a vampire slayer, you can't expect too much originality from the story, but it held my attention.

Buffy, a rich, snobby blond, is solicited to become a vampire slayer when a creepy old guy appears after her cheerleading practice. Although she scoffs at his claims that it is her "birth right" to hunt and kill vampires, she follows him to a cemetery. Hello? She just goes to a deserted cemetery with a stranger? Well, hey, it's a movie about vampires, it isn't supposed to be realistic.

Once Buffy meets the vampires and kills a couple, she really gets the hang of it. She agrees to be trained, and learns karate, which you almost expect her to need for protection against the creepy strange guy, rather than from vampires!

For a brainless, funny movie, rent Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Wag the Dog

Wag the Dog
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Wag the Dog is a typically amusing political comedy - not too bright, but Pretty Darn Funny when you think about it. What's amazing is the fact that it survives without using a single joke about Bill Clinton, which is exactly what most movies of this type thrive on.

You never actually see the president in this movie, nor is he even named, so he might as well have been President Clinton. Just days before the election, the unnamed president, who is hoping for re-election, is accused of molesting a thirteen- year- old girl. What a scandal - how is this going to affect the election? The president needs to distract everyone from the scandal until after the election - and what better way to do that than to have a war?

Not a real war, the appearance of a war, according to Washington's best spin doctor, Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro) who is immediately hired to fix the scandal. Brean, in turn, hires a famous Hollywood producer, Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) and before you know it, according to CNN and live footage, America is going to war with Albania!

Things keep getting more and more complicated, as often happens in comedies, and pretty soon it looks like the United States may have a real war with Albania! The only thing that worries me about this movie is just how realistic it might be - does the government really do that kind of stuff?

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
The American President

The American President
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You don't have to be a big Michael Douglas fan to enjoy The American President, a rather ridiculous movie about - what else- an American President.

The president, Andrew Shephard, (Michael Douglas) is a widower, who's planning to run for re-election when he meets a woman who works for an Environmental Conservation Agency. He decides to ask her out on a date - that's right, the President , during a mad run for re-election no less, asks a woman out on a date - but when he calls, of course she doesn't believe he's the President. When he finally convinces her, she agrees to have dinner with him, at the White House, of course, and romance develops.

It's pretty obvious from the beginning where the plot is headed and how it's going to end, but this movie is fun to watch anyway. There are some amusing scenes where the president tries to convince people who he is- over the phone- and the acting is genuinely believable.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
Houseguest

Houseguest
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Houseguest is one of the last good Sinbad movies made before he apparently turned to such stale and bleak movie concoctions as First Kid and Good Burger. This one is actually worth watching.

Sinbad stars as Kevin Franklin, who is running from a bunch of mobsters and decides to pose as a stranger's houseguest. After a few days, Kevin gets the hang of things, and learns that the person he is posing as is a dentist. Of course this leads to Kevin's being asked to perform an impromptu dental operation, which he does with the skill of...well, the skill of a very bad dentist!

Sticky situation after sticky situation follows, and the mobsters are gaining on Kevin as he becomes fast friends with his new benefactors. Meanwhile, he solves the family's problems like a professional, and buys a lottery ticket that could be worth something - if he can get away from the mobsters alive!

Although it gets a little on the dopey side during a few scenes, Houseguest remains highly entertaining. A great performance by Sinbad makes this comedy a must-have at the video store.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Firestorm

Firestorm
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Pyromaniacs, rejoice, Firestorm is the perfect movie for you. It's also a pretty good bet for those who prefer fast paced action movies. Although I'm not a huge fan of "action" movies, this well-plotted film certainly held my attention, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it was done.

A group of "smokejumpers", or firefighters who jump out of planes and into the middle of forest fires, are called to the scene of a crime - a forest fire set by a group of escaping convicts who were sent into the woods to do community service. A nearby birdwatcher trying to escape from the fire winds up a hostage. Then you have your typical movie hero, a big, beefy firefighter who's in charge of the other smokejumpers. And there's a subplot about a smokejumper whose career was ended when he injured his leg helping to save a little girl from a fire.

The acting was, for the most part, well done, and the rather silly ending fit wrong with the serious premise of the movie, but other than that, it was a wonderful film.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
See no Evil, Hear no Evil

See no Evil, Hear no Evil
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See No Evil, Hear No Evil deserves points, at least for originality - you've got a blind guy and a deaf guy running from the law - and they are trying to catch the criminals who set them up. What could be a better foundation for a comedy?

The blind man, Wally (Richard Pryor), meets up with the deaf man, David (Gene Wilder), and they decide to go into business together. Suddenly, Wally's bookie gets murdered, and David and Wally are the only witnesses. David didn't hear the shot fired, but he saw the woman who did it - from the back. Wally, who was outside at the time, heard the shot, but of course he didn't see anything. Now they are held responsible for the murder, but cleverly manage to break out of jail.

In one funny scene, Wally tries to drive a car during a high-speed chase, and you can imagine how hysterical it is. Then David, who is handcuffed, tries to switch seats with Wally so he can drive. Wally climbs over David, obstructing his view, and David yells, "I can't see!" "Neither can I!" retorts Wally, and they continue to swerve all over the road.

Rent this hilarious comedy for a good laugh and some great acting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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