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Reviews for the week of February 28, 2000.

Monday:
Pitch Black

Pitch Black
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Pitch Black is one of those cheesy, B-grade sci-fi movies that responsible movie-makers are supposed to send straight to the video store. Unfortunately, this one ended up on the big screen.

This film is a mess. A group of no-name, barely competent actors plays some stranded space travelers on a long-abandoned planet. Soon, they discover the reason for the planet's human vacancy: flying pseudo-vampire-bat monsters that gobble up people. The alien-bug-bat creatures apparently have only one weakness - light kills them.

By some great and unlucky coincidence, this happens right at the time of a total eclipse, which means complete darkness. Such an eclipse only happens 22 years (as the planet has three suns) but the space travelers had to crash down just as the eclipse was starting. What luck. Have you ever heard a more contrived plot?

Audio VersionPersonally, I had more sympathy for the bat-monster things than the people. I'm allergic to the sun and I hated to see those bats get scorched. Ouch. The characters were so annoying and uninteresting that I enjoyed watching them get eaten. Not that the fake blood and special effects were terribly convincing.

My Rating = One Star

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Friday:
Hanging Up

Hanging Up
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Hanging Up is more drama and less comedy than I expected. However, it is basically an absorbing film, if sluggish at times.

Meg Ryan plays Eve, a middle sister who seems to handle all the family's problems by herself. (Her mother, long divorced from Eve's father, wants nothing to do with her ex-husband or her daughters; Eve's two sisters, Georgia (Diane Keaton) and Madelyn (Lisa Kudrow) are too busy to help (or so they say).

The latest problem is that Eve's father (Walter Matthau) has suffered a stroke, and may be dying. Eve visits him at the hospital while her sisters are busy with their lives; she resents them for letting her do all the work.

Hanging Up has some laughable moments, yet I was hoping for more comedy and less crying. Hanging Up features some great actors who portray their various roles admirably, but most of the characters lacked depth. Actually, my favorite character was Madelyn's big dog, who makes a mess of Eve's house.

Hanging Up is heavy on the blubbery emotional scenes, and it will definitely be more interesting to women than men. (It's what you'd call a chick flick and will be more interesting to people with siblings.)

If you're looking for a really uproarious comedy, there are better bets than Hanging Up. But if you're looking for a sappy and rather predictable family story, you'll sink back and enjoy Hanging Up.

My Rating = Two Stars

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