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

Monday:
The Good Son

The Good Son
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One of Macauley Culkin's last decent films, The Good Son has a fresh and unique plot. His acting, and that of the other actors, is excellent and convincing.

After his mother's death, Mark (Elijah Wood) is left with his aunt, uncle, and cousins while his father closes an important business deal in Tokyo. While Mark soon befriends his cousin Connie, he also begins to suspect that something is seriously wrong with cousin Henry (Culkin), whose hobbies include killing dogs, causing major freeway accidents, trying to kill his sister, and smoking in a cemetery. What a model child.

Creepy as an actor in a horror movie (which this wasn't really intended to be), Culkin displays his enormous acting talent in The Good Son. In the Home Alone movies Culkin was admirable at giving that angelic smile and scaring the criminals silly with juvenile pranks, but in The Good Son his depiction of Henry's madness is absolute dramatic acting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Carrie

Carrie
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While it strayed pretty far from the novel by Stephen King, this movie was still delightfully horrific and well plotted.

Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is a high school girl who is constantly teased and tormented by her classmates. In the opening scene, she gets her first period in the girls' shower and her classmates throw tampons at her. Strangely, this supposedly traumatic scene was actually kind of amusing. Anyway, Carrie's classmates are always mean to her, and her religious fanatic mother is even worse. Carrie, fortunately, is not defenseless - she secretly possesses telekinetic powers.

When a well-meaning classmate forces her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom, Carrie is reluctant to go, and her mother is horrified at the prospect. Finally, Carrie defies her mother and attends the prom, where she and Tommy are elected prom King and Queen. And then another classmate's evil prank sets Carrie off to go on a wild killing spree!

The acting by Sissy Spacek with terrifically believable; this gloriously bloody film is completely captivating, and well worth renting.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Wednesday:
Bean

Bean
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I have half a mind to sue Bean's production company for brain damage. After watching this ludicrously deranged display of insanity, I felt like I'd been hit over the head with a frying pan and forced to do algebra for hours. In short, I felt drained of all intelligence.

When I saw the opening scene, where kooky British Dr.Bean (Rowan Atkinson) uses an electric razor on every area of his face, including his forehead, nose, and tongue, I was ready to walk out, but felt I wouldn't be doing my duty as a film critic, so I reluctantly stayed. (This is an awful film - especially for little kids - they could get dangerous ideas, like trying to shave their tongues with dad's razor, and be seriously injured.

The plot: Dr.Bean, the most annoying employee at the London National Art Gallery, is sent to America to unveil "Whistler's Mother" which has recently been purchased by the Grierson Gallery in Los Angeles. When he arrives, he creates chaos everywhere he goes - from the airport to an amusement park - straining the marriage of art historian and curator of the Grierson Gallery, David Langley (Peter Macnicol) who naively lets Bean stay at his own home. In one unbearably uncouth scene, Bean tries to stuff a turkey, loses his watch inside it, and winds up with the turkey on his head.

Another difficult scene to watch was: Left alone with the American masterpiece, "Whistler's Mother", Bean utterly, senselessly, and most stupidly destroys the priceless masterpiece.

And they call this entertainment.

My Rating = One Star

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Thursday:
Mad City

Mad City
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Mad City is the most creative, unique movie I have seen since G.I.Jane.

John Travolta stars as Sam Bailey, a working class citizen with kids, bills, and now, no job. In a desperate attempt to get his job back, he brings a gun to talk with his former boss, Ms. Banks, at the Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, a slightly disgraced news reporter named Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) who came to do a story on the Museum's money woes, watches from his hiding place in the men's room. Suddenly, with an accidentally fired shot from Sam's gun, his ex-partner and friend, fellow security guard Cliff Winters is wounded, and suddenly Sam is in charge of a most unplanned hostage situation. A group of passing school kids, their teacher, and Ms. Banks become Sam's hostages). Brackett is discovered, and manipulates his way into the story of the century, advising Sam on how to get public opinion on his side, and do an unheard of live interview with Sam during the hostage situation.

This film-especially the tragic ending-really makes you think about the impact the media has on our lives, and the credible performances by Travolta, and Hoffman give the story truth.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers
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Starship Troopers has little coherence, less plot, and barely adequate special effects, which not only don't make up for the lack of plot, but actually make the movie worse.

Apparently, sometime in the future earthlings became aware of a dangerous alien race of giant bugs, the arachnids, living on another planet. When the arachnids send a meteor to earth and destroy the city of Buenos Aires, several college students who joined the world Federation's "Force", or army, go to war against the arachnids. Romances occur between a few of the force members, the main characters. Most of the movie is slime, gunfire, and swearing from then on, as the humans battle the arachnids. It was so predictable, I saw the end coming almost before the movie began!

The worst is all the cliche lines said in this movie, such as "Don't die on me," and "It sucked his brains out". Such unoriginal scripting made me think that the writer must have had "his brains sucked out!"

Unless you're a big fan of lousy movies, don't waste your time or money.

My Rating = One Star

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Saturday:
Eyes of an Angel

Eyes of an Angel
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Made during John Travolta's descent in popularity during the early eighties, the Eyes of an Angel is appropriately performed, although the plot is less than exceptional, and it suffers a little in keeping a lively pace.

Travolta plays Bobby, a single father on the run with his little girl after stealing money. In Chicago, his daughter finds a fierce looking but gentle dog who is entered in cruel dog fights, where the loser usually winds up killed or seriously wounded. Traveling on, chased by gangsters, they are followed quite a long way by the dog - and his owner. The dog is in danger of being entered in more races if he is found, and Bobby and his daughter could lose their lives as well.

This movie is a good bet for kids, especially those who are particularly fond of animals, although there is some bad language. Dog lovers might also enjoy it, but people more interested in gruesome horror movies or well-depicted musicals (like me) might find it rather tedious and boring.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Sunday:
Fairytale: A True Story

Fairytale: A True Story
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I was literally falling asleep during this movie. Yes, I know, it's a lovely family movie that little kids will delight in, but I'm not a little kid and I yawned my way through it.

As for it being a true story - well that's only partly true. There were two little girls in the early nineteen hundreds who claimed to photograph fairies, so you could say that that much was true. However, no one has ever been able to prove or disprove the credibility of the photos, so it is not necessarily true that the fairies existed. (I don't believe in fairies, but again, this is aimed at small children).

It is a great family movie; family movies aren't my thing. I hated it, but I still recommend it for small children.

My Rating = Two Stars

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