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Review of the day for the week of November 3, 1997.

Monday:
Alien 3

Alien 3
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I know a guy who refused to see this third movie in the Alien saga because - don't read any further if you don't want to know how it ends - its heroine Ellen Ripley dies in it. I thought that was acceptable if the plot was as good as the first two, but this movie just couldn't meet the standards of its predecessors, Alien or Aliens. Ellen Ripley's suicide detracted too much from the movie, the plot was less than creative, and it quickly became a total disappointment.

After defeating horrible alien monsters in the second movie, Ellen Ripley drifts around in space, in a deep hypersleep. Her ship crashes on a planet used for an all-male prison colony, and she is stuck there until a rescue crew arrives for her. Forced to shave her head and wear men's clothing, she reminded me a little of Demi Moore in G.I. Jane (a much better pick, by the way). While there, she begins to suspect that the aliens aren't really dead after all, especially when one of the inmates dies in what is thought to be an accident. Then she discovers that there's an alien growing inside her - yes, inside her body, ewwwwww! - which of course leads to her suicide - but not before she takes a last stab at getting the aliens.

I can only hope that the fourth movie, due out in November, 1997, will be more like the first movie, Alien which was by far the best.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Tuesday:
Joe's Apartment

Joe's Apartment
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Forget that the film, Joe's Apartment, is completely moronic and could only have been written by a complete nincompoop - it's hysterical. Just be sure to turn off your brain before you turn on your VCR so you can enjoy it.

Joe, a small-town Iowa boy, moves to New York City after college, and immediately gets mugged several times. Searching for a cheap apartment, he finally manages to wheedle his way into a rent-controlled dump by posing as the late last tenant's son. Because he is such a slob - I mean, he is totally disgusting - the roaches co-inhabiting his apartment love him - and because they are talking roaches, they tell him so, and decide to become follow him everywhere, which gets him fired from quite a few jobs. (In one scene, he delivers a pizza that is crawling with roaches! EWWWW!!!) Not to mention that the roaches also scare off his love interest, Lilly.

Rent this entertaining, if ludicrous, film only if you know how to disengage all intelligent thinking for the duration of the movie (which is only 81 minutes long).

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Father of the Bride Part II

Father of the Bride Part II
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Father of the Bride, Part II, a senselessly witty comedy, will provide some good laughs, even if it isn't the most brilliant movie to hit the silver screen.

George Banks (Steve Martin) is a little unnerved when his daughter announces she's pregnant - he doesn't consider himself old enough to be a grandparent. Trying to prove that he's still young, he gets a new haircut, sells his house, and seduces his wife on the kitchen floor. So she gets pregnant and now he's going to be having a baby and a grandbaby at almost the same time. George is horrified!

Also included, is the not-so-entertaining return of Frank (Martin Short) and his assistant (i.e., the two most irritating caterers on the silver screen). Their fake accents and constant yammering got on my nerves so much that I was tempted to fast-forward through their scenes.

Despite this minor annoyance, the movie is engaging, especially the scene where George faints upon finding out his wife is pregnant.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
Apollo 13

Apollo 13
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This truly thrilling thriller, Apollo 13 is played out in a sequence of zestfully dramatic scenes and never once failed to keep me breathless.

Tom Hanks plays Jim Lovell, one of the three astronauts chosen to fly to the moon via Apollo 13. Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) make up the rest of the team and off they go!

But problems arise. A malfunction occurs in the ship and their lives hang in the balance (hence the famous line "Houston, we have a problem,"). Now they must forego their visit to the moon and just concentrate on making it back to earth alive in an ill-working LEM with limited oxygen, and built to support only two men, not three.

I have only one minor complaint about this movie. Tom Hanks is far more handsome in jeans than in a spacesuit! Rent Apollo 13 today for a breathless two hours.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
Red Corner

Red Corner
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Red Corner, which is about China's foreign policies might make you feel proud to be an American, but offers little else in the way of entertainment. While the acting was convincing (especially on the parts of Bai Ling and Richard Gere), it still couldn't make up for the weak plot and lame action scenes. And the ending - as well as the entire course of the movie - was painfully obvious from about fifteen minutes into the movie, which is exactly where I lost interest.

Gere plays businessman Jack Moore, whose satellite company is trying to close a big deal with Chinese bigshots, some of whom do not welcome western entertainment. One night he invites a model up to his hotel room; the next morning he wakes up accused of her murder, as her body was found still in his room, and he was the only suspect. He was also pretty darn drunk, so no one expects him to remember whether he killed her or not, although he swears he's innocent. From there on out, the story drags on about Chinese laws and policies for foreigners. Bai Ling is his appointed attorney (American attorneys can't practice in China) and she informs him that to plead innocent is an almost certain death penalty in China. The movie continues with the question of "Who killed her?" looming overhead, the answer pathetically obvious. The fast Chinese dialect and hard-to-hear translations don't make it any more fun.

My Rating = One Star

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Saturday:
Grizzly Mountain

Grizzly Mountain
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Grizzly Mountain, a delightful children's movie is sure to please young audiences under ten years old, because of it especially warm animal scenes.

However, I was bored.

A young family takes a trip to the mountains. Two children, Nicole and Dylan, with their parent's permission, go exploring. Upon entering a cave they are sent back in time about a hundred and twenty five years. They soon meet up with an old man named Jeremiah(Don Hagarty), a tribe of Indians (Jeremiah's friends), and Jeremiah's pet bear, Jack. Jeremiah is busy trying to keep his mountain from being blasted by dynamite to make way for a new railroad and his Indian friends are only trying to save their homes on the mountain. Nicole and Dylan also offer to help, and meanwhile try to find a way back to the present - and their parents.

Although I did enjoy the wildlife scenes - the bear who acted on cue, and the well trained golden eagle, the only thing that saved this movie from being a chore to watch was a three-stooge trio of ridiculously stupid men. They supplied the laughs.

Nicole and Dylan didn't impress me; I've seen younger child actors give more convincing performances; Don Hagarty was well cast in his role as Jeremiah.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Sunday:
Switchback

Switchback
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Switchback is your typical, serial murder mystery movie: a fair amount of blood and gore, a twisting but not too complicated plot with a not-too-apparent ending, and satisfactory acting. Definitely not the most horrifyingly fascinating thriller to hit the silver screen, but it'll do.

FBI agent Frank LaCrosse is searching for his kidnapped son, whose abductor is a known murderer with quite a record. He has sent clippings of newspaper articles chronicling his murders to LaCrosse, and despite every attempt of LaCrosse's to locate him, the vicious murderer remains at large.

Meanwhile, a young disgruntled ex-doctor who couldn't take the stress of losing a patient is heading across the country, not really looking for anything in particular, just doing some soul-searching. He hitches a ride with a very likable African-American, who secretly has a very creepy side.

Switchback is engrossing, will hold your attention, worth your time and money, but you may find yourself looking over your shoulder on the way out of the theater. Lock you car before you go in.

My Rating = Two Stars

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