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Review of the day for the week of March 30, 1998.

Monday:
Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy
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Jackie Chan's movie, Mr. Nice Guy, isn't terribly original - it's the same karate chopping and laughable slapstick you see in all his movies - but it is quite captivating.

Although I'm not a big fan of action/martial arts movies, Mr. Nice GuyMr. Nice Guy, a martial arts expert who works as a chef because he doesn't like the danger involved in being a cop like his close friend Victor. One day he accidentally gets mixed up with a TV reporter who stole an incriminating tape of some drug lords. She drops the tape in his car while he's helping her make an escape, and when she leaves without it the drug lords are after him.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Jackie performs unbelievable stunt after unbelievable stunt, but his acting is also quite adroit. The supporting cast is proficient, and the mixture of action and comedy proves very pleasing.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
True Lies

True Lies
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True Lies is a thrilling and comical action movie starring Arnold Swarzennegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold.

The premise is rather foolish - despite being married for many years, Harry Tasker's (Arnold Swarzennegger) wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) doesn't know he's an international spy. No, he has her convinced he's a sales rep for a computer company, and goes out of his way to be as boring as possible. Lately he's been busy with a new case and his wife is getting lonely so she starts meeting a mysterious man (Bill Paxton) for lunch. He claims to be a spy, and the danger and excitement attract her - little does she know it's a lie, and her own husband is in that line of work! Of course Harry becomes jealous when he finds out, and even has his wife kidnapped so she can be questioned! Meanwhile he has to keep working on his case, and his whole family may be endangered.

Some of the stunts are really unbelievable - like a horse riding an elevator and jumping from roof to roof. But Swarzennegger's acting is persuasive, and the other actors are agreeable as well. The plot definitely holds your attention and the special effects are marvelous.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Another Stakeout

Another Stakeout
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This is one sequel that's actually better than its predecessor, Stakeout. Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez co-star with Rosie O'Donnell in Another Stakeout, the sequel to the somewhat amusing comedy Stakeout.

Dreyfuss and Estevez are cops, and, as in the first movie, they're on a stakeout. Dreyfuss is insulted to learn that he will be posing as Estevez's father, since he doesn't think he looks that old. Worse yet, an annoying lawyer (Rosie O'Donnell) assigned to the case will be accompanying them - as Dreyfuss's wife! She insists on bringing too much luggage - including her equally annoying dog - and hinders the two cops in every way, which results in some very laughable dialogue. Meanwhile, Dreyfuss's girlfriend gives him the ultimatum: marry her or move out.

They should have skipped the first movie and just made this one. It has a finer plot, more interesting characters, and more comical scenes.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
The Newton Boys

The Newton Boys
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Although I usually don't like westerns, I thoroughly enjoyed The Newton Boys. Perhaps I can attribute that to the fact that it stars two of my favorite Hollywood hunks, Matthew McConaughey (Willis Newton) and Ethan Hawke (Jess Newton), two bank robbers in the early nineteen hundreds (the film was based on a true story). With a third brother and some friends, they are the most successful bank robbers of all time, collecting millions from banks. Willis is the brains of the operation, but has time to romance a mysterious woman (Julianna Marguiles, pretty far from her ER role) who claims her husband is dead (Willis later found out he isn't, and that they are, in fact, still married).

The Newton boys' mistakes are quite amusing, and the movie makes a great comedy. Not to mention that McConaughey and Hawke are definitely something to look at. I'm still trying to decide which one is better looking. McConaughey's portrayal of Willis is spectacular - he has just the right smooth charm and gets just the right fiendish gleam in his eye at all the right moments. Marguiles is very convincing in her supporting role as his girlfriend Louise.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
Jumpin' Jack Flash

Jumpin' Jack Flash
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Jumpin' Jack Flash is a smashing spy comedy starring terrific comic actress Whoopi Goldberg.

Goldberg drolly portrays Terry Doolittle, an aptly named bank employee who chit chats with other bank employees across the country via a computer transfer network that struck me as an early version of the Internet. While working late, she is contacted by a man who simply calls himself Jumpin' Jack Flash, and appeals to her for help, claiming to be a spy trapped in Europe. At first she thinks he's a practical joker, especially when an embarrassing visit with the British consulate reveals that she was given incorrect information. Or were they just lying to her? Jack swears they were, and the situation soon becomes serious - she meets a man on the wharf and witnesses his murder. Later, at the police station, she cusses out a police officer that doesn't take her seriously, and a nosy but supposedly concerned coworker has to drag her away screaming. "It's an illness," he explains as she continues to shout obscenities, "People can't stop swearing and they don't even know they're doing it."

In yet another hilarious scene, Terry dresses up as Tina Turner in order to get into an international ball and snoop around. The cleverly written movie continues in this manner, and never becomes dull for a moment.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Saturday:
The First Wives' Club

The First Wives' Club is an hilarious movie.

The First Wives' Club
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When a close friend kills herself after losing her husband to a younger woman, three divorced, disgruntled, and very middle - aged women decide to wreak revenge on their ex-husbands. Elise Ellis (Goldie Hawn), a movie star, is mad that her husband, who she helped break into the movie business, has stabbed her in the back and left her for a younger woman. Annie's (Diane Keaton) husband actually leaves her for their therapist - also much younger- and Bette Midler's character is left for another younger woman who keeps her skinny figure by being an all too realistic bulimic. (If you ask me, anyone who pigs out then forces herself to barf so she won't get fat deserves a bad stomach flu.) To get back at their husbands, they form the "First Wives' Club", and help each other pay back their ex's. Elise tricks her ex's new girlfriend into believing she is a friend and the new girlfriend drops a few dark secrets - like the fact that she is only sixteen. Elise uses this information to blackmail her husband.

Midler's character finds out from a not-so-saintly, but very religious uncle that her ex, Morty, got started in business suspiciously. The First Wives Club breaks into Morty's apartment and digs up some old books that could get him audited. Proceeding to kidnap Morty, they blackmail him as well.

Last, Annie sends her lesbian daughter to work at her husband's firm to dig up some information that may haunt him, too.

Together, the First Wives Club not only gets back at their husbands, but does some good for humanity, and they have an hysterically, funny time. See the First Wives Club and laugh, laugh, laugh.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Sunday:
Grease

Grease
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I'd viewed Grease on video many times - and loved it- but the move theatre experience was remarkably better. The audience was cheering and clapping, and it was the most audience participation I've seen since the enthusiastic opening of Scream 2.

Of course, the older people came to see it again on its twenty- year anniversary, but it was just as big a hit with the younger crowd who, like me, had only seen it on video. The sound quality is much better, and the theatre was packed.

The plot is basically high school life and romance in the seventies - sexy John Travolta (who has put on a few pounds in the last twenty years, but still holds charm as an actor) stars as Danny Zuko, and Olivia Newton-John stars opposite as his girlfriend, Sandy. There are equally interesting subplots about their friends and classmates - all superbly acted, or sung

As a musical, it has many songs that are still popular today. At several points, they audience applauded wildly for such songs, and especially for Grease Lightning which was doubly entertaining because you also get to watch Travolta dance.

This movie attracts all generations, and is bound to be an even bigger hit now than it was in 1978.

My Rating = Four Stars

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