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Review of the day for the week of August 18, 1997.

Monday:
My Fellow Americans

My Fellow Americans
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My fellow Americans, I recommened that you see My Fellow Americans with Jack Lemmon and James Gardner. It's an hilarious film about two ex-presidents who are wrongfully blamed for a White House scandal - involving tax-payer's money, of course - known as the Olympia scandal. Longtime rivals, the two men are suddenly running for their lives - together! Along the way, they get in many funny, sticky situations, and of course, many arguments. But, as the movie wears on, they seem to accept each other a little bit more - in fact, they seem to become friends - well, sort of. Anyway, will they be blamed for the scandal, or will they find evidence that they are innocent and that the current president is really the guilty one? See this funny movie to enjoy the great talents of both James Gardner and Jack Lemmon.

I didn't stop laughing from the minute the movie started until the last big laugh at the end. It was a big Ha! Ha!

My Rating = Four Stars

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Tuesday:
Evita

Evita
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Ever watched a two-hour+ long music video? That's basically what the new box office hit, Evita, is - the longest music video ever filmed.

Oh, well, I like music videos.

Watching Evita I was very impressed, although my mom and dad weren't. Mom walked out and disappeared, but dad stayed. Yet, he kept leaning over and whispering, "You really like this movie? You really want to stay?"

Of course I did. Maybe my mom and dad weren't impressed because they already knew the story of Eva Peron, but I didn't - I didn't even know she was a real person.

Madonna portrays Eva (Evita) Peron, a poverty stricken Argentine in the 1920s and 30s. By marrying the politician Colonel Peron, Eva overcomes her poor background and rises to power in Argentina. Meanwhile, handsome Antonio Banderas portrays the common man - the waiter, the servant, the film operator. Eva promises the common people - like Banderas- "a new Argentina". Although she does set up a charity fund and helps some people, she really doesn't do all that she promises. If it weren't for Banderas' singing about the real Eva, you'd come off with the impression that Eva was some sort of saint. Was she?

I loved the movie. Madonna and Banderas are both excellent - and the movie is very insightful. The entire movie is a musical - every line is sung, not spoken - and you must pay careful attention to the words of the songs in order to fully understand it. (Most kids under ten are just not going to have the attention span for it. Even my dad - and I won't tell you his age, but as you've already figured out, it's obviously older than ten! - didn't seem to have the patience to listen to the entire movie as he kept getting up to use the bathroom.) Still, if you have the patience to decipher the Argentinian accents and listen to every word of every song, it's worth it. I found Eva's story fascinating. The music made it fun and gave the movie a new twist. In fact, the story might have been boring without the music. Sorry, Mom and Dad, I give it four stars.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Wednesday:
Race the Sun

Race the Sun
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In Race the Sun a group of unlikely high school students "from the poorer side of town" in Hawaii build a solar car - just for a local race. Unexpectedly, they win the local race - and go on to an international race in Australia. They encounter many problems as they run the grueling seven day race across the huge continent of Australia - including bad, oh so bad, sportmanship from their competitors, drinking and personal problems of one of their own drivers, jealousy between the students, the teacher's (Halle Berry) problems with her ex, extremely hot temperatures, - and more. A collaboration of problems! Most important, will they win the big race?

Race the Sun kept me "on the edge of my seat"... It is especially good for moviegoers who like races and movies about winning/losing - and being a good sport, no matter what. And, by the way, Mom & Dad, unlike other true stories, it wasn't boring!

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
Sgt. Bilko

Sgt. Bilko
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Sgt. Bilko is my kind of movie! It's hilarious, exciting, captivating, and is the closest you can get to a Jim Carrey movie, besides a Jim Carrey movie. Additionally, there is very little cursing - so you can take kids to it, and you won't have to cover their ears.

Steve Martin does an incredible job of portraying a scheming, conniving, money-making gambler, who not only is a sergeant in the U.S. Army, but is in charge of Ft. Baxter's motor pool. Dan Akroyd's character, Colonel Hall, was a little weak, and almost too stupid to qualify as a real person- let alone the Colonel that he portrays. The average six-year old definitely has more brains than the Colonel.

Naturally Sgt. Bilko runs his gambling operation at Ft. Baxter - in the motor pool - where they are supposed to be "repairing" cars. This was very unrealistic, but still mighty funny - especially when they have to hide a horse in a hurry. Besides the gambling operation, Sgt. Bilko has an old arch enemy after him. And a project that Sgt. Bilko has been working on could get him sent to ice-cold Greenland, if it's discovered. Also, Sgt. Bilko is continually jilting his attractive girlfriend, Rita, which is a game that Rita is quickly tiring of. She gives Bilko 30 days to marry her, or their relationship is over. Rita, is, in my opinion, a total airhead for sticking around for seven long years waiting for a gambling idiot to marry her - when she easily could have traveled with a much nicer guy.

So, go see Sgt. Bilko for a total lack of reality, but a whole lot of laughs.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element
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The Fifth Element is a movie for people who like special effects cheesier than concession stand nachos. The aliens look like plastic action figures; the vehicles look like matchbox cars; the weapons look like water pistols. And this is supposed to be the year 2259 A.D.? Even in the "unenlightened nineties", the movie industry can do better than that.

The plot, although vague, certainly isn't going to win any awards for originality. The beginning is a too-long scene involving the action figure aliens, who have come to earth to warn a few scientists of the evil coming in three hundred years. Sound familiar?

Three hundred years later, Bruce Willis is a pathetic taxi-driver (his taxi floats!). For no apparent reason, (he is good-looking, if you like the rugged, muscular type) he has terrible luck with women. Then he runs into a woman who is apparently some sort of goddess-on-earth come to save the world from evil. Boom! Major romance. It's obvious where this movie's going from that point on. The rest of the movie is pointlessly violent; the cheesy special effects continue, and it becomes unbearably long...

If you like futuristic movies about good guys and bad guys kicking each other's you-know-whats, you should see it. I just prefer movies with less "Bang! You're dead!"

My Rating = One Star

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Saturday:
Event Horizon

Event Horizion
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Event Horizon is the kind of deliciously juicy, spooky movie that raises your blood pressure (and probably your cholesterol too, since most people munch more greasy buttered popcorn in suspenseful movies) but that's beside the point. I loved this movie and it rates up there with the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula and all those other highly acclaimed horror movies - only this one's even better!

Seven rescuers are on a rescue mission (what else could it be?) in hopes of finding the crew of an abandoned spaceship named Event Horizon that has been missing in outerspace - way past Neptune, no less - for seven years. When they locate Event Horizon, on board they find some spooky, evil presences - ghosts? monsters? WHAT are they?

Horror after horror befalls the rescuers, and the strange doctor who joined the rescue team becomes more malevolent as the movie continues.

The special effects and background music make this movie as gleefully spooky - and totally gory as a Stephen King novel. I recommend it.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Sunday:
Steel

Steel
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OK. When I paid at the box office I was informed that Steel had taken in less than a hundred dollars the day before. Upon walking into the theatre, I saw all of four people, not counting myself. I did not let this sway my opinion ; still, Steel stinks.

Shaquille O'Neal plays James Henry Irons (give me a break), a superstrong weapons expert in the military. He introduces a new, peaceful method of warfare : a gun that shoots out infrasonic sound waves (below the range of human hearing)that can bring down buildings and stun people, but causes no bodily harm. An over ambitious colleague sets the gun at maximum power, which it was not supposed to be tested at yet, and, promptly brings down the house-literally. Irons' girlfriend, Sparky, is trapped under a rock and paralyzed. As a result, she becomes depressed, despite Irons' attempts to cheer her up. Meanwhile, the weapon is secretly put out on the streets. Irons sets out to get it off the streets, and stop violence and crime in general.

By the time it reached that point my dad was snoring and he snores pretty loud, or I would have been asleep, too.

I understand that Shaquille O'Neal fans and younger kids might enjoy this movie more than I did; let them. This movie is just not for me.

My Rating = Two Stars

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