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Review of the day for the week of February 9, 1998.

Monday:
Working Girl

Working Girl
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Harrison Ford is surprisingly young in this eighties comedy about - you guessed it- a Working Girl.

That would be Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) a rather unsuccessful secretary. When she goes to work for Katherine Parker, her new female boss (Sigourney Weaver) she thinks she may finally get somewhere with her career. When Parker is laid up in the hospital (conveniently out of town), Tess decides to forget her instructions and all but takes over Parker's job. As it turns out, Parker already stole one of Tess' ideas, so they're pretty much even now. While at a party, Tess meets Ford's character, Jack Trainer, whom she doesn't realize is her new business associate, so she gets drunk and winds up spending the night at his apartment. To her embarrassment, she finds out who he is the next day! Meanwhile, no one knows that she is really Parker's secretary and has no place handling Parker's business accounts.

Having never seen Weaver in a non-Alien role before, I was impressed at her acting in this somewhat more down to earth, if still unrealistic, comedy. Ford and Griffith are also entertaining and the plot is laughable.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Tuesday:
The Replacement Killers

The Replacement Killers
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After being disappointed by Mira Sorvino's last film, Mimic - a slime-dominated science-fiction thriller with equally low amounts of plot and appeal - The Replacement Killers proved tastefully done and better showcased Sorvino's talent.

Sorvino co-stars as Meg Coburn with Chinese actor Yun Fat Chow, as John Lee, an assassin who refuses to kill a cop's son. Forced to flee the country to China (it never mentions what county he's in to start with), he needs a fake passport. That's where Sorvino comes in - having begun a life of crime as a teen, her character now specializes in creating such passports. When Yun-Fat's character shows up (with the assassins directly behind him), she winds up smack in the middle. Soon, they are both trying to protect the child he was supposed to kill, and many unbelievable but engaging action scenes occur. And, of course, they fall for each other, as always happens in such movies.

The Replacement Killers is a well-plotted film and the acting is superb. (Hopefully Sorvino has abandoned cheesy sci-fi flicks for good!) I would have liked to know more about what corrupted her character at such a young age, but I guess you can't expect an action movie to be too deep. It was highly entertaining, and will probably be especially appealing to Jackie Chan fans.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump
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Forrest Gump is the notoriously stupid yet successful character that so many people enjoy watching. Splendidly portrayed by Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump never fails to be entertaining in his many assorted adventures.

Forrest gets into college mainly because he can run so fast that the football team wants him. He just doesn't know to stop running once the game is won! Later he goes to Vietnam, and, when given a medal by the President proceeds to show him his wound - on his butt, no less! Still later, he becomes a ping pong champion, and even starts a shrimp company for a friend who died in Vietnam. He eventually meets up with the now crippled and bitter lieutenant whose life he saved in the war. Through all this, he never forgets his childhood sweetheart, Jenny, who breezes in and out of life periodically.

This movie deserves kudos for originality, and Tom Hanks' acting is brilliant. This is, in fact, probably Hanks' best movie, and the other actors give magnificent performances as well.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Thursday:
Blues Brothers 2000

Blues Brothers 2000
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It's awful when a movie starts out with tremendous potential for hilarity then drops the comedic ball and goes off in a completely different direction. And that is exactly what happens in Blues Brothers 2000.

When criminal Elroy Blue Dan Aykroid, hero of the first Blues Brothers film, is finally released from jail, he discovers that his brother - and partner - has died. Elroy still gets their famous band back together, taking on John Goodman as a new lead singer. Another new member of the band is a cigarette-smoking ten-year-old pickpocket, whom Elroy is supposed to be mentoring. For about the first forty-five minutes, their slapstick comedy keeps you laughing. Then, for the final half of the movie, they play blues music almost non-stop, along with many other real-life famous singers, which became annoying.

I enjoy most movie musicals, such as Grease and Evita, but I just don't like blues music. Not everyone in the all-star cast is a blues singer - for example, there's country singer Travis Tritt - but none of them happened to be my favorite singers either. If you ask me, what this movie needs is some Aerosmith and Van Halen!

As to how it compares to the original Blues Brothers movie, I saw the first one years ago and can't honestly recollect enough to fairly compare the two movies, but I've heard a lot of people say they prefer the first movie.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Twins

Twins
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Danny Devito and Arnold Swarzennegger, the two most differently sized and shaped actors in Hollywood, are paired up as twins - yes, twins - in the movie, Twins.

Devito, in case you don't know, is short and portly, and plays a debt ridden criminal with a lot of people after him. Just in time, his long lost (and very wealthy) twin shows up and conveniently gets him released from jail. (It's too bad he can't get rid of the rest of the people after Devito.) Predictably, he meets Devito's girlfriend's sister, and they fall for each other.

Devito is, as usual, sardonically amusing, although his movie characters all seem similar lately, so if you didn't like him in other movies, you probably won't like him in this one. I find Devito to be amusing, for the most part, so I enjoyed him in Twins. Swarzennegger, is, of course, great to look at, and he shows his acting talent here too. It's interesting to see him in a non-action hero role (although he does have a few muscle-flexing scenes in this film).

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Kundun

Kundun
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Reminiscent of but not quite as remarkable as Seven Years in Tibet, this lovely drama is based on a true story, yet remains tremendously entertaining.

In Tibet, the Dalai Lama, or the country's leader, is chosen by deciding whom the now- dead previous Dalai Lama reincarnated as. That's a story in itself - what a wacky form of government! Anyway, this story chronicles the early years of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. At two years old, he is recognized as the reincarnation, or Kundun. Subsequently, he is taken from his family to live in a palace in the nation's capital where he will learn how to be a Dalai Lama. Meanwhile, China keeps attempting to invade Tibet, whose army is much smaller, and no match for the Chinese. Eventually, Kundun will have to make important decisions regarding the Chinese.

As I mentioned earlier, this movie reminds me of last year's Seven Years in Tibet, except, of course, that it doesn't have Brad Pitt. It is almost as captivating, although it does get slow in a few places. The acting is commendable, considering the ages of the children who play Kundun at various stage of his childhood.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Jaws

Jaws
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Jaws might have been a huge movie years ago, and it just isn't as captivating as modern thrillers, with their superior special effects and more complicated plots, but it's still engaging - to a point.

It becomes apparent to the police chief of an island town that a shark is on the loose - something rare near their location. First a local girl goes skinny-dipping and her body later washes up on shore, badly mutilated by - what else? - a shark. Later, a little boy is killed in the water as well, and a shark expert is called in. Despite the warnings from the Police Chief and the shark expert, the Mayor decides to keep the beaches open for the Fourth of July weekend, the biggest weekend of the summer. After all, they can't lose customers and money over something as minor as a man-eating shark, can they?

It's hardly a surprise what happens next: the shark shows up and threatens to ruin the big weekend anyway. Even the police chief's son may be the next victim, so they're in a mad rush to catch and kill the shark. And you know how movies like that always end.

The acting is pretty cliche - people screaming, "Help! A shark!" in overly dramatic tones. The background music is more annoying than frightening, and the movie only held my attention for about the first forty-five minutes.

My Rating = Two Stars

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