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Review of the day for the week of March 2, 1998.

Monday:
My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny
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My Cousin Vinny is a witty example of why you should never trust your relatives - especially relatives who happen to be lawyers.

Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Witfield) are travelling cross-country and stop at a convenience store for food. Bill accidentally forgets to pay for a can of tuna, and they get arrested. However, it's not because of the tuna - the store clerk was shot shortly after they left, and they are the prime suspects. Not knowing this and assuming that they were arrested for shoplifting, they confess!

And it gets better. Bill calls home and his mom informs him that cousin Vinny is a lawyer; he'll help. Some lawyer - it took Vinny six tries just to pass his bar exam. (And he's never actually argued a case in court.) Cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci) and his New Yorker fiance (Marisa Tomei) make quite an impression on this little town!

The acting is believable enough for a comedy, and the plot is extremely well written. The many funny scenes keep you laughing, and this screwball comedy is definitely worth renting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
The Mirror has Two Faces

The Mirror has Two Faces
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Besides the fact that I didn't see quite enough of hunky Pierce Brosnan, I found the movie The Mirror has Two Faces very entertaining. I'll admit, it was the first time I ever saw a Barbra Streisand film , and I left with a good impression.

Streisand plays the ugly-duckling college professor, Rose, who doesn't believe you need sex to have a happy marriage. Through her sisters' meddling, she meets another college professor ( male ) who agrees with her, and they get married. After a few months, Rose gets sick of him.

Deciding her theory was wrong, Rose leaves him, and with the help of her meddlesome mother - excellently portrayed by Lauren Bacall, Rose does a "total" makeover. Her next move is stealing her sister's husband (Brosnan), who had originally dated Rose, but then decided he preferred her attractive sister. Now that Rose is extremely attractive as well, Bronson wastes no time leaving Rose's sister. Suddenly, Rose decides she doesn't like him any more either, and walks out on him - and from the look on his face, probably becomes the first woman ever to do so. While this occurs, Rose's college professor husband is in Europe, missing her terribly. Will they get back together? Go straight to the video store, and rent this movie immediately.

It was a fun movie.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Men in Black

Men in Black
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Men in Black is one of those movies that you need a sense of humor to enjoy. You also have to be able to overlook the ridiculous plot, cheesy special effects ( I couldn't decide if the stupid-looking aliens were insects, swamp creatures, or what!....) - and the occasional bit of corny dialogue to enjoy it. If you're like me, and think that sounds like fun, you should see it.

This movie saunters along at its own pace, no piling on too much action all at once, but there's never a dull moment in it either. Will Smith stars as an NYPD cop being introduced to the "Men in Black" program - a group of men which monitors extraterrestials - most of whom happen to be big celebs. ( Incidentally, this movie proves itself sexist by having scores of men and one woman on the team.) Anyway, Tommy Lee Jones is training Smith. This results in some funny scenes with skeptic Smith and deadpan believer Jones. Not to mention that Smith makes fun of his weapon, a gun which would more easily fit into an action figure doll's hand; then he nearly blows up the whole city of New York the first time he fires it. (You'd think Jones could have warned him.) And, oh yeah, to beat traffic in order to save the world, they cruise upside down through a tunnel in a car that looks like a twin to Batman's batmobile.

If you are the type of person who can laugh at stupid stuff, you'll love this movie, too, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for "sticks-in-the-mud" who demand credibility from the movies!

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
Gold Diggers - The Secret of Bear Mountain

Gold Diggers - The Secret of Bear Mountain, a family movie, stars Anna Chlumsky as Jody Salerno, and Christina Ricci as Beth Easton. Jody, a 13 year old girl, lives in a small town with her drunkard stepdad who beats both her and her drink-loving mother. Because of him, Jody spends much time alone in the woods, dreaming of finding old Molly Morgan's hidden gold.

Jody meets Beth Easten, a teenage city slicker who has recently moved to the "sticks", and they become friends. Jody teaches Beth the legend of Bear Mountain, and they hunt for the treasure together. Unfortunately, while they're hiking toward a cave that "supposedly" shelters Molly Morgan's gold, a rockslide occurs inside the mountain. Beth is pinned under a rock and can't get free. The odds are against Jody saving Beth's life, so will she?

It's a movie about friendship - and what two teenage girls will do for each other!

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
Senseless

Senseless
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Here's something I noticed about all nutty-professor-with-a-guinea-pig type movies: the magic potion is always a glow-in-the-dark liquid, and the guinea pig is always an imbecile to begin with.

So begins Senseless, an idiotic film about a college student named Darryl (Marlon Wayans). In an attempt to pay his way through college and help support his poor family, Darryl tries to make money in every possible way. He even donates blood several times (in one day!) under different names - until he collapses from blood loss.

Then a college professor hires him to try an experimental new drug designed to enhance the senses. If Darryl completes the experiment, he receives $3,000. Giddy with the prospect of having so much money he exclaims, "For three thousand dollars you can inject me with the Ebola virus!"

Once his senses are magnified, he has an advantage over everyone else (including a rival student played by Martin Short, who is way too old to be portraying a college student)- or does he? It turns out that this is rather irritating, and Darryl winds up in one bad situation after another. This is the kind of mindless comedy that either makes you laugh or puts you in the insane asylum. If you are mentally unstable, don't risk it. Otherwise, see Senseless and enjoy it!

My Rating = Two Stars

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Saturday:
Bird on a Wire

Bird on a Wire
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Bird on a Wire, a finely enacted and highly engaging thriller, stars Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn.

Gibson plays Rick Jarmin, a middle-aged man in the FBI Witness Protection Program. After his testimony landed several criminals in jail, the government relocated him, and subsequently changed his total identity. Fifteen years later, he's working as a greasy mechanic when Marianne Graves, a woman from his past, stops by to have her gas tank filled. Of course she recognizes him, but he manages to convince her she's got the wrong person (he was supposed to have died in a plane crash).

Immediately, Jarmin calls his FBI contact, (who has since been replaced), talks to his new contact and requests to be relocated once again. However, his new FBI contact lies to him, informing him that he is in no danger from the criminals, who have, in fact, been released from jail and are once again on his trail. When Marianne returns to the gas station, she is just in time to get involved in an attack on Rick, and helps him escape.

Gibson's acting is excellent, and the story is intriguing. Bird on a Wire, an earlier movie, is just as outstanding as Ransom, one of his latest films.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Forget Paris

Forget Paris
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Billy Crystal, a wonderful comedian, is almost as comical in Forget Paris as he was in the two side-splitting City Slickers movies (City Slickers and The Legend of Curly's Gold).

Crystal plays Mickey Gordon, a basketball referee who travels to Paris to bury his father. Somehow the airline loses the coffin, but he meets airline executive Ellen (Debra Winger), and falls in love with her. However, he has to return to his job after a few days, but they keep in touch, and eventually he asks her to marry him. To which she responds, "I already am married." That was a surprise!

She decides to divorce her husband and marry Gordon, but isn't very happy in America. She convinces him to quit his job and get hired as a car salesman-which makes her happy, but him miserable.

Mickey's friend narrates the story, as he is telling it to his fiance. The crazy things that happen to Mickey as well as Crystal's usual dry wit combine to make this a facetious movie, and I enjoyed numerous laughs.

My Rating = Three Stars

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