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Review of the day for the week of March 23, 1998.

Monday:
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
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I loved Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. It's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen!

In pursuit of a rare, but stolen, albino bat belonging to the Wachati tribe, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) travels to Africa to find the bat. (The Wachati's princess (Sophie Okonedo) needs the bat to prevent war between the tribes.) When Ace meets the chief of the Wachati tribe, the chief spits on him and so does the chief's son. (Spitting is the tribal way of greeting people politely, and showing that they like them.) Ace quickly responds, saying, " Let me show how much I like YOU." Soon, they all come out of the cave covered with spit. "It's the mucus that binds, " says Ace.

This movie has many other boisterous scenes - one involving Ace's barfing into a bird's beak. But I won't spoil it for you. Go rent this most hysterical movie today, and see all of Jim Carrey's dumb stunts.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Tuesday:
Tom and Huck

Tom and Huck
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Walt Disney's Tom and Huck is thoroughly enjoyable.

Tom Sawyer (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is a raucus, trouble-making youngster who lives with his Aunt Polly and cousin Sam. His friend, a wild boy named Huck Finn (Brad Renfro ), lives out in the woods. One night, they sneak out to the cemetery with a dead cat - to get rid of warts, of course, and they witness a cruel, malicious murder. Quickly, Tom and Huck run away so the murderer won't find and kill them. Soon the murderer is searching all over town - for them. Although Muff (Michael McShane) the town drunk is innocent, he's wrongly accused of committing the murder. Tom wants to help him by telling what they witnessed, but Huck thinks it's too risky. This isn't a dry, historical story - it's amusing, entertaining, and has especially believable scenery.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
The Fugitive

The Fugitive
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Having recently seen The Fugitive's sequel, U.S. Marshals, (and to see U.S. Marshals is to hate it), I was surprisingly impressed by the original movie.

Harrison Ford is wealthy Dr. Richard Kimble, wrongly accused of murdering his wife. Sentenced to death, he is transported to a new jail cell with several real murderers - by bus. When one of them tries to escape, the bus crashes and burns, but Ford makes it out alive, and saves several other people. Seeing his own chance to escape, he makes a run for it, doing an impeccably good job of eluding authorities.

Which is where Tommy Lee Jones comes in, playing Sam Gerard, the U.S. Marshal who never changes his expression. Not that this isn't entertaining - just the idea of Tommy Lee Jones smiling is almost incomprehensible. Still, he manages to do a pretty good acting job, without even using his facial muscles. Amazing.

Both Ford's and Jones' strong performances made this movie highly entertaining.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
Primary Colors

Primary Colors
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Here's the latest movie trend, as I see it: political comedies. It started with the immensely popular (and rightly so) Wag the Dog starring Dustin Hoffman. That hasn't even left theatres yet and we've got another: Primary Colors starring remarkably capable actor John Travolta.

Obviously aided by the recent Clinton scandal (and supposedly based loosely on his road to the presidency) the movie chronicles the presidential campaign of fictional southern governor Jack Stanton. Naturally Stanton has a close rival, and the two resort to mudslinging - and apparently there's an awful lot of mud to sling in Stanton's direction. A woman comes forward claiming to have had an affair with him. Stanton's campaign manager, Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), and amusing staff member Libby Holden (Kathy Bates) manage to disprove the woman's accusations. (Stanton's wife, played by Emma Thompson, apparently never doubted him.) Later on, however, a worse accusation is made privately - Stanton's teenage, African-American babysitter claims he got her pregnant.

What can I say? Travolta is such an incredibly diverse and amazingly convincing actor, that he truly becomes President Clinton.

Primary Colors is extremely well scripted. At several points, a scene provoked the audience to laugh so uproariously I couldn't hear the next ten seconds of dialogue!

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
Daylight

Daylight
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Sylvester Stallone's film Daylight, while not a box-office hit, is exciting. Stallone plays Kit Latura, who is the only hope of roughly a dozen people trapped in the tunnel linking New Jersey and Manhattan. A chemical explosion in the tunnel sealed off both ends and traps them underground. A snooty know-it-all thinks he can escape via a mid-river passage, but boy is he wrong! He only succeeds in letting water leak into the tunnel, so now the trapped people can get hypothermia or drown as well as suffocate in the closed-off tunnel. That's when Kit shows up. A former paramedic, who cost other paramedics their lives while trying to save them, Kit has always felt that he needed to make up for it. Now, he gets his chance. Entering the tunnel through an unstable ventilation fan (major suspense!) he reaches the victims, and becomes trapped himself. Now he faces the huge problem of getting everyone - including himself - out. The plot, gripping and suspenseful, coupled with Stallone's superb acting, makes this a thriller worth renting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Twister

Twister
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The movie Twister will truly blow you away.

Helen Hunt portrays Jo, a scientist who is a Tornado Chaser. Jo's husband, Bill, who is desperately trying to get her signature on divorce papers, is temporarily helping her chase tornadoes. So far, no one has successfully positioned a tornado-analyzing device (naturally, their device is named Dorothy), containing thousands of little information-collecting devices, inside a tornado. In order to achieve this, Jo and Bill must chase the tornado, get into its path to position "Dorothy" then escape before the tornado strikes them.

And let's not forget that they are travelling with Bill's new fiancee - a sex therapist, who really doesn't belong in the story. How Jo unloads her so fast is unrealistic, and so was the fact that she looked almost happy when she informed Bill that they were "through".

The rest of the movie, including the special effects was terrific. Will Jo and Bill accomplish their mission? It doesn't really matter - the movie is too good to miss.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Tremors

Tremors
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Since I enjoyed the recent film Deep Rising a fellow movie critic suggested I rent Tremors, another slimy-monsters-coming-out-of-the-ground-and-eating-people film. Tremors is even more ridiculously funny than Deep Rising, although the special effects can't compete (Tremors was made several years ago and special effects today are far superior).

Another difference is that Tremors isn't just a straight sci-fi movie - it's a combination sci-fi and cowboy western, which makes for an unusually interesting setting. Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) are two stereotypical "dumb ol' country boys". Their hick accents and absolutely idiotic remarks are boisterously entertaining, which keeps you amused until the monsters show up. (At one point, Valentine says, "We plan ahead so we don't actually have to do anything right now.")

Then Valentine, Fred, and the other citizens of their small western town realize that they're trapped and surrounded by the aforementioned slimy monsters that come out of the ground. A scientist in training is studying seismographs nearby and joins them when she realizes the problem. Now all they have to figure out is how to escape the desert valley without becoming lunch. Meanwhile, the scientist quickly becomes a romantic interest for Valentine.

Tremors is terribly cheesy and cliche, but that's what makes it entertaining. I laughed all the way through and definitely recommend it as a good comedy - just don't expect a big scare.

My Rating = Three Stars

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