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Review of the day for the week of September 29, 1997.

Monday:
Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire
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Mrs. Doubtfire is a nutty comedy in which Robin Williams dresses up as a woman and one ridiculous scene soon follows another.

After his divorce, Daniel (Robin Williams), hardly ever sees his kids. His ex-wife (Sally Fields) is awarded sole custody of their three children, but poor Daniel only gets one visit per week. Unable to spend so much time away from his kids, devoted dad Daniel disguises himself as an elderly woman and tricks his ex-wife into giving him a job as his kids' nanny. In one hilarious scene, Daniel runs from room to room, taking turns being Mrs. Doubtfire and himself. In another, he enters the women's room as Mrs. Doubtfire and exits as himself - a thirtyish year old man. In yet another he tries to cook a meal and winds up not only making a huge mess, but burns his blouse and silicon-filled bra. He also finds sneaky ways to drive his ex wife's new boyfriend (sexy Pierce Brosnan) away.

Eventually, his two older kids find out who he is, but promise not to tell. Meanwhile, as Mrs. Doubtfire, he has an exciting career opportunity (he's an actor).

See this amusing family movie for lots of laughs.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
The Peacemaker

Peacemaker
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I don't see why they called this movie Peacemaker. A better title would have been "People Fighting Each Other with Bombs and Guns".

To prevent an international war in the former U.S.S.R., Lieutenant Tom Devoe (George Clooney, tries to confiscate ten stolen nuclear warheads. Naturally, he's not working alone, but is assisted by beautiful Dr.Kelly (Nicole Kidman), a White House aid. (Incidentally, this movie does have some sexist overtones because DeVoe does most of the fighting and Kelly does most of the shrieking and acting helpless.) Anyway, there is much violence and blood shed, during the midst of which a twisted and disgruntled Russian music teacher makes off with one of the warheads and heads to New York to bomb the city.

While the movie does have a lot of action, I found these scenes tedious, repetitive, and so obviously fake, that it was genuinely difficult to "get into" the "Peacemaker".

My Rating = Two Stars

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Wednesday:
Soul Food

Soul Food
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Soul Food, a movie about family feuds and Sunday dinners, is pleasingly candid and funny, yet it also has its serious scenes.

Ahmad (Brandon Hammond) wants to keep his family together after Mama Joe (Irma Hall), his grandmother, has a stroke and falls into a coma. But, all his relatives do is fight, and fight. His mother(Vivica Fox) and Aunt Teri (Vanessa L. Williams) argue constantly because his mother stole his father from Teri years ago. In the meantime, no one is particularly fond of Aunt Bird's (Nia Long) new husband, Lem, (Mekhi Phifer) because he served a prison sentence for robbery. When Teri mistakenly thinks Lem beat Bird up, she sends their cousin to beat Lem up, and Lem gets arrested again during the ensuing bar brawl. Then Teri finds out that her husband, Miles, (Michael Beach) is having an affair with her cousin, Faith, (Gina Ravera), who no one liked anyway.

Still with me? Although it sounds confusing, the movie continues without a lag to its somewhat unrealistic ending.

The acting was excellent, and there's enough depth, and charm in this "family-feuding" movie to make it impressive.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Thursday:
City Slickers

City Slickers
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In this laughably dense comedy, outstanding comedian, Billy Crystal, stars as "city slicker", Mickey, who's on vacation at a dude ranch with his buddies, Ed and Jack. Their mission: to herd cattle, and "find themselves." For Mickey, this means figuring out what wrong with his seemingly good life (he's married, has two children, and a decent, if boring, job). On the cattle drive, things start to go wrong. Their leader, Curly, (Jack Palance) dies suddenly. Two other experienced cowboys - the only ones who can safely lead them back to civilization- dump the group and head back to town. Mickey and most of the group wish to forget the cattle and try to find their way back alone. Ed and Jack, however, wish to do the heroic thing and stick with the cattle. Eventually, they convince Crystal to join them, and they're off.

In one hilarious scene, Mickey has to help Curly deliver a calf (which he promptly names Norman). In another scene, he tries to brew coffee in a small, battery-operated brewer and scares the cattle into a stampede. More and more comical scenes follow and the movie never hits a lull in action or comedy.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
Kiss the Girls

Kiss the Girls
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This electrifyingly, suspenseful movie will be one of this fall's best thrillers.

Ashley Judd stars as Kate McTiernan, a young doctor who is abducted(from her own home, no less) by a psychotic serial killer who keeps his "kidnapped women" chained in an underground slave quarter where he stores them in individual rooms, and does whatever he wants to them. McTiernan manages to escape, therefore becoming an enormous aid to the forensic psychologist and detective, Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) whose niece, Naomi Cross, has been kidnapped by the same maniac.

Some scenes were so intense that no one in the audience moved, much less breathed, and the theatre was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. In one such scene, McTiernan realizes someone is in her house and creeps around in the dark looking for him. She watches, transfixed, as a closet door handle slowly rattles - then a hand shoots out and grabs her from behind. The audience gasped out loud! (Me, too.)

Don't take kids under twelve to this frightening movie, or older kids who scare easily. Not only is it intense, but it's the sort of movie that will rattle you enough that you'll be looking over your shoulder breathlessly as you walk to your car. And, don't go alone.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Saturday:
Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays
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This screwball comedy, Home for the Holidays, about wacky and annoying relatives reminded me of a few of my own (who will remain nameless for obvious reasons).

Claudia, a single woman in her early thirties, isn't having a good Thanksgiving. She makes out with her boss (right after he fires her), then drives to the airport with her sixteen-year old daughter, Kitt, who informs her she's going to have sex with her boyfriend. A not so happy flyer, Claudia loses her coat in the airport. Greeted by her tacky mother, and father who argue nonstop, Claudia's crummy Thanksgiving continues. Later, at her parents' home, she meets her awful relatives, and a laughable dinner table scene occurs.

Brother Tom accidentally flings a turkey onto sister Joanne's dress. Furious, Joanne reveals that Tom is gay, and married to Claudia's old boyfriend Jack. Kooky Aunt Gladys confesses that she once kissed Claudia's father, angering her mother, who, also angry about Tom being gay, leaves the table mad. (Get it?).

Rent this endlessly funny flick for a barrel of laughs and a great holiday movie.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Sunday:
The Edge

The Edge
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Although I'd expected that The Edge would keep me on "the edge" of my seat, it just didn't happen.

Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins), a billionaire and avid reader, is on a photo shoot at a remote Antarctic Island, with his beautiful, model wife, Mickey (Elle MacPherson), who is quite obviously having an affair with her photographer Steve (Alec Baldwin). In the pursuit of a "great photo", Charles, Steve, and Steve's assistant, James, embark on an unexpected plane ride (along with two pilots), and when the plane goes down, (The pilot had been warned to watch for flocks of birds, but didn't!) only Charles, Steve, and James survive the crash. Hence, they are left with only their wits to survive on (At one point they have to kill a grizzly bear with wooden spears! I thought that scene would never end; it was so lengthy!).

I soon realized that "The Edge" was more of a character portrayal than a suspense story. It shows how two men would react in a perilous situation, but billionaire Charles Morse just didn't appeal to me.

Neither did "The Edge".

My Rating = Two Stars

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