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Review of the day for the week of January 19, 1998.

Monday:
The Naked Gun

The Naked Gun
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Leslie Nielson is, as always, hilariously ridiculous in this laughably idiotic comedy. Nielson plays Frank Drebin, a policeman who has to clear the name of his longtime partner and friend Nordberg (played by O.J. Simpson - funny seeing him as a cop!).

Nordberg has been accused of smuggling drugs, although he was actually injured trying to apprehend the smugglers. He now lies unconscious in a hospital bed, and Frank tries to comfort Nordberg's hysterical wife by saying, "It's all right, I'm sure he'll be fine...but I wouldn't wait too long to fill out that organ donor card for him!"

Naturally, this is really helpful, and Frank continues on in this manner, cracking one-liners that make you crack up - and he keeps trying to catch the criminals with one half-witted stunt after another. There is a subplot about his girlfriend dumping him for another man, and he subsequently falls in love with his suspect's secretary. Nielson is one of the finest comedy actors around, but the plot deserves a lot of credit too. You have to wonder if the writers are complete idiots though, to be able to think up such stupid stuff! I laughed straight through this movie and plan to rent the sequel.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks
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Dana Carvey, best known for his comic genius in Wayne's World, returns in Opportunity Knocks an hilarious comedy.

Carvey plays a con man/burglar who, while robbing a house with his partner, discovers that the owner, David, is away for two months and the house is empty. His partner splits, and Carvey decides to stick around for a while, but doesn't plan on posing as someone else. Yes, he has to pose as David's genius friend, the house sitter. He is greeted with a warm reception from David's parents, and moves in on David's sister. Unfortunately, he begins to genuinely like the family and his long-absent conscience finally kicks in. But is it too late?

In one hysterically funny scene, Carvey tries to explain to David's sister that he's not who they think he is. She thinks he's asking her to marry him, and now they're engaged!

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Rhinestone

Rhinestone
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And I thought Sylvester Stallone was out of place in Copland as a depressed sheriff! In Rhinestone, Stallone plays a New York cab driver who becomes a country singer at the urging of his new girlfriend Jake (Dolly Parton). Jake has made a bet with her boss at a country music bar that she can turn any average person into a "Rhinestone cowboy", and Stallone just happens to be the first "average guy" she spots.

When he doesn't seem to be getting the hang of country singing, she takes him back to her home in a small Tennesee town, where he tries to perform what looks like a lousy impression of Elvis. Naturally no one is impressed, and Jake doesn't have time to turn him into a cowboy.

There are a few amusing scenes, most of which involve Stallone attempting to fit in with "country people", but the plot is sketchy and unrealistic. At least in Copland, Stallone showed he had some acting talent. In this movie, he looks like an average guy that someone pulled off the street and tried to turn into an actor.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
Amistad

Amistad
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Amistad, a three and a half hour saga is perhaps not the best movie ever. The story and acting were credible, but the movie was just too lengthy to hold my attention the whole way through.

Based on a true story, Amistad is about the revolt of the slave ship Amistad. A group of illegally acquired slaves are forced onto a boat bound for America. Cruelly mistreated, they decide to revolt and take over the Amistad. When they wind up in America, however, it becomes a legal battle, at a time when the North and South are already arguing the issue of slavery and the Civil War is not far away. Several abolitionists are determined to free the slaves, with the help of a brilliant young lawyer (whose services are considered expensive at $2.50 a day, imagine that!). There is an unnecessary subplot about John Quincy Adams, who never quite lived up to the image of his great father, John Adams.

Not much of a history buff, I would've enjoyed the movie more if it was shorter, and if several tedious court room scenes had been eliminated, and if they had made their "points" quicker.

Although several highly dramatic and emotional scenes were extremely well acted, there was too much pointless filler in between.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
That Thing You Do

That Thing You Do
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"That thing" that Tom Everett Scott does in That Thing You Do - play his drums and look cool - is the entire basis of this movie. Scott portrays a drummer in a 60's garage band called the Wonders. One of their songs, That Thing You Do, has impressed hundreds of people, and has the potential to become a big hit. Tom Hanks - not bad looking himself - plays a record producer who scouts the Wonders and signs them to a contract. Soon they are touring the country and are a smash hit. But are they doomed to be the "One-hit Wonders", never to have another hit? Only time - and the end of the movie - will tell.

There is a subplot about Faye, the lead singer's girlfriend, getting her heart broken and falling for Scott.

The acting is commendable, but what really makes this movie enjoyable is the music. Who wouldn't enjoy a movie with such a catchy tune? This movie came out a few years ago, and they're still playing That Thing You Do on the radio today, despite the fact that it sounds like a 60's song.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Trapped in Paradise

Trapped in Paradise
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Trapped in Paradise is a delightful change from Nicholas Cage's usually serious roles. In this comedy, Cage plays one of three screwball brothers. Dana Carvey plays another, who happens to be a kleptomaniac. Jon Lovitz, much better here than in his "High School High" performance, plays the third, a compulsive liar. Lovitz and Carvey are recently paroled, and are not supposed to leave the state, but they convince Cage that they have to find the daughter of another inmate and ask her to visit her father. So off they head to Pennsylvania.

Well, they get sidetracked robbing a bank, and do a pretty lousy job. Before they know it, half the town has been dragged into the bank to witness the robbery, because they had to get the vault key from a man in a restaurant across the street. They continue to make more stupid mistakes, and the movie never ceases to be entertaining. Perhaps this isn't the most sincere acting job on the part of any of the actors, but hey, it's a comedy. What counts is that it's funny.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Fallen

Fallen
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Denzel Washington stars as John Hobbs, a cop fighting the forces of evil in Fallen a spooky and chilling, if not completely original, film.

Fallen angels, or evil spirits, pass from person to person by touch. A vicious killer was last inhabited by these evil spirits, and after he is sentenced to death, (thanks to Washington), he vows revenge. Washington digs up old police records, and talks to a mysterious young woman named Greta, in his search for the truth. Why are these recent murders so strangely similar? The killer draws closer and closer to Washington every second, endangering him and his family.

This film was wonderfully creepy, and the only problem was the theme song that each killer sang (Time is On my Side). I couldn't get that song out of my head when I came out of the theatre. I kept humming it and waiting for someone to bump into me and turn me into a crazed killer.

My Rating = Three Stars

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