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Review of the day for the week of April 27, 1998.

Monday:
She-Devil

She-Devil
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Sarcastic and witty Roseanne Barr stars in She-Devil a boisterously entertaining comedy about a she-devil.

Barr plays overweight Ruth, who attends a big dinner party with her accountant husband (Ed Begley, Jr.) and meets famous romance novelist Mary Fisher (Meryl Streep). She clumsily spills wine on Fisher, and her husband feels so badly about it that he offers to drive Fisher home.

As Ruth later reflects, while waiting up for him, "Mary Fisher is pretty, rich, and thin. Fortunately, I can trust my husband." Actually she can't, and is smart enough to know it. When he leaves her for Fisher (after an amusing dinner table scene with his parents) she decides to get revenge. First, she burns down their house (now that's bordering on psychotic!) and, then sends their two children to live with him in Fisher's immaculate mansion. Finally she sets out to destroy his career, and inadvertently creates one for herself, and many other women.

She-Devil is terrifically funny and well acted. While it's a little extreme at times (such as when she burns the house down) and certainly isn't realistic, it's still engaging, and definitely worth renting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Major League: Back to the Minors

Major League: Back to the Minors
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I've seen this plot so many times: A guy is hired to coach a terrible baseball team (or basketball, or football, or hockey, etc.), and, despite the players' obvious lack of skill and talent, still manages to whip them into shape just in time to beat the "unbeatable" egotistical rivals.

The movie I happen to be talking about at the moment is Major League: Back to the Minors. The guy hired to coach the lousy team is Gus Cantrell (Scott Bakula) who was in the first two Major League movies. Some sort of voodoo doctor from the earlier movies also appears in this film. Then there's the rest of the team: A player originally trained as a ballet dancer; your typical idiot with a baseball bat; and a wisecracking snob who won't listen to the coach. Of course Gus winds up agreeing to let his extremely minor league team play the major Minnesota Twins, and you know what happens then.

Baseball fans may enjoy this movie , but if you're not a baseball fan, don't waste your time or money.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Wednesday:
Mary Reilly

Mary Reilly
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Mary Reilly, loosely based on the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, contains no big surprises, but is nonetheless entertaining.

Of course, anyone who's read the book knows the plot - and the end - but it manages to hold your attention anyway. Julia Roberts is Mary Reilly, the servant of Dr. Jekyll (John Malkovich). True to the book, some strange things become apparent about Dr. Jekyll: bloody handkerchiefs (well, he IS a doctor, but still, this IS a horror flick) and strange midnight trips out. The servants all gossip about him, but no one knows his dark secrets. Mary is sent on confidential errands to deliver messages for Dr. Jekyll.

Malkovich does an excellent job of acting creepy and mysterious, and Roberts is convincing as the timid maid. While not the best horror flick ever made, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is definitely worth renting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
The Ice Cream Man

The Ice Cream Man is an excellent movie if all you want to do is sit down and watch a comically bloody and gloriously gory horror flick for eighty-five minutes. There's not much to this movie but blood, gore, and a somewhat original plot, but it's still good dumb fun.

The ice cream man is your typical horror movie psychotic. He murders kids and animals and mixes blood and eyeballs into his ice cream (ewwwwww!). But on the outside, he seems like a pathetic, misunderstood, nice guy. At times you almost feel sorry for this poor guy - until he kills someone's dog or something. Also, he keeps having flashbacks to his time spent at the funny farm - one annoyingly nice doctor keeps saying, "There are no bad days. Every day is a happy, happy, happy day!" Meanwhile some local kids decide to get evidence that the ice cream man is a murderer because the police don't believe them.

If you're looking for a brainless mess of blood, guts, and cheesy dialogue, this is the film to rent. I thoroughly enjoyed its lack of credibility and wacky premise.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Tarzan and the Lost City

Tarzan and the Lost City
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There's not much I can say about Tarzan and the Lost City. It's your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill lousy movie.

In case you hadn't already guessed, Tarzan is about the wild jungle man, Tarzan, turned civilized. After having a vision that an old friend deep in the jungle needs him, he leaves his hurt fiance high and dry just a week before their wedding and heads to the jungle. Of course she follows him, and a guy named Ravens takes an interest in her even though he knows they are engaged. He winds up chasing both of them into the jungle, where Tarzan wants to stop him from entering a famous "lost city". A poisonous snake bites Tarzan and a shape - shifting voodoo doctor heals him and saves his life. Give me a break. This movie doesn't even attempt to create any realism or credibility; there's just not enough plot to interest the moviegoer.

All I can say is that I wish I'd had a voodoo doctor to heal the terrible eyestrain this dreadfully tepid movie gave me.

My Rating = One Star

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Saturday:
Flipper

Flipper
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If you want a surprise ending to a cool flick, skip the movie Flipper based on the television series from the 60's. The plot is simply repetitious. Fourteen year-old Sandy Ricks, (Elijah Wood) a city boy, is sent to visit his uncle on a remote island. It's no fun until a dolphin named FLipper, finds him. Sandy soon saves Flipper's life, and then - what a big surprise! - Flipper saves Sandy's life in return. Wow.

For entertainment, I'd rather watch "Barney" than watch this movie again - and believe me, I can't stand Barney. Quite frankly, I left to "go to the bathroom" when I didn't have to go!

My Rating = One Star

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Sunday:
Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back
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The "Empire" apparently didn't strike back hard enough for me. Call me weird, but none of the Star Wars movies appeal to me - Empire Strikes Back included. A bunch of ugly alien monsters, a beautiful princess, and two brave male heroes have it out on the silver screen - way out in space. You know what? I think that's sexist and old fashioned. Why is Luke Skywalker always saving Princess Leia's life? Why can't it be vice versa? And why do those Star Wars movies have to have sadistically happy endings? And someone please, please bring me some aspirin: not only are moviegoers forced to swallow that , but also with the return of R2D2 and C3PO - the two most annoying hunks of scrap metal I've ever seen or heard , it makes this movie dreadful.

The characters were totally unrealistic; the plot old fashioned and silly; the entire movie was a waste of time, talent and energy.

My Rating = One Star

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