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Review of the day for the week of December 22, 1997.

Monday:
Mouse Hunt

Mouse Hunt
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This movie would have bored me out of my skull if it weren't for one thing: I like mice. Call me a traitor to my fat cat, but I think they're cute, and if my aforementioned cat wouldn't make lunch of them, I'd get a couple as pets.

The story is pretty ridiculous, the plot barely existent. A couple brothers inherit from their recently deceased father a wreck of a house (which they later discover to be worth millions). While investigating their grand inheritance, they run into quite a problem: you guessed it, the mouse. These two rather hefty gentleman simply cannot get that mouse, hard as they may try. And they do try. They bring in an unsuccessful cat, and - how cruel - an equally unsuccessful exterminator. The mouse just keeps outwitting these witless dummies.

Little kids won't notice plot discrepancies and will enjoy this movie, and so will animal lovers of all ages. (I'm so glad Hollywood finally got away from the Free Willy thing when making animal movies!)

My Rating = Two Stars

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Tuesday:
Titanic

Titanic
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I viewed Titanic for one reason: Leonardo DiCaprio. Even with DiCaprio in a starring role, I wasn't crazy about the idea of sitting through a three hour and fifteen minute history lesson, which was how I saw it.

Okay, I was wrong. This is the most captivating historical-event based drama since Evita (although while I'm comparing them, I will say that Evita was a little better). While DiCaprio is definitely something to look at, the plot holds its own (and your attention), and the scenery and special effects are commendable.

DiCaprio plays Jack Dawson, a poor boy on the disaster-bound Titanic - but of course, he doesn't know it's disaster-bound, the ship's supposed to be unsinkable - who lusts after Rose (Kate Winslet), a rich young woman with an even richer fiance. As it turns out, she is miserably unhappy, and tries to kill herself by throwing herself off the great Titanic, but Jack stops her, and they fall for each other.

As it turns out, Rose may just drown after all, but not by another suicide attempt. The very next night, the Titanic hits an iceberg in the midst of a big blowup between Rose, Jack, and her fiance, who finds out about their affair, and is furious. In a fit of jealousy, he frames Jack to look like the thief of a priceless jewel.

And the band plays on. Literally. Even as the ship is sinking, the band plays sad symphonies on the deck. Meanwhile, people desperately try to get off the boat, but there aren't enough lifeboats. This having happened in 1912, it was "women and children first" - and of course, first class citizens first. Rose gives up a spot on a lifeboat to stay with Jack, whether they survive or not.

I'm not big on romance movies - they all end the same way! - but this one actually had a not-so-obvious ending, and was extremely well-acted. Everyone with half a brain cell knows that the Titanic is going to go down, but you don't know which characters are going to survive, so it leaves you something to wonder about. My only problem is that the movie was too lengthy, but that can be forgiven because it was highly engaging.

I have a feeling that this movie is going to be almost as big an event as the actual sinking of the ship was! I can tell my grandchildren, "I was there when the Titanic movie opened...."

My Rating = Four Stars

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Wednesday:
The Ref

The Ref
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This is one of those movies where you keep exclaiming, "I know someone exactly like that," or "I did the same thing!" It's about how your family can drive you crazy - or worse.

A criminal is minding his own business, kidnapping a couple, when he realizes he's made a terrible mistake. Even though their lives may be in danger, they still bicker constantly about the littlest things. (This is preceded by an hilarious scene in a marriage counselor's office.) When the criminal forces them to take him home, their rebellious teenage son Jesse, and a variety of other relatives, each individually entertaining, show up, and the criminal pretends to be the couple's counselor. Before you know it, everyone is screaming insults at each other. (I was laughing hysterically.)

And, oh yes, a drunk neighbor gets mad, and joins in the brawl. And Jesse is quite the little criminal himself, hiding stolen money under a loose floorboard. In fact, he wants to join up with the criminal holding him hostage!

Rent this hilarious holiday movie for the holidays - it beats It's a Wonderful Life.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Thursday:
9 to 5

Nine to Five
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Nine to Five is a hilarious movie, despite some character flaws, an obviously challenged cast, and a flimsy plot.

Three unrealistically dumb women work as secretaries in an office, where their "sexist, egotistical, hypocritical bigot" of a boss, Mr. Hart (Dabney Coleman), treats them unfairly. Together they jokingly fantasize about the best way to do him in - Violet (Lily Tomlin), favors putting rat poison in his coffee, Dora Lee (Dolly Parton) wants to cattle-rope him western style; shy, timid mouse Carol (Jane Fonda) dreams of shooting him.

Well wouldn't you know it, the next day Violet accidentally does put rat poison in Hart's coffee; after he takes a sip, he falls over in his chair and bangs his head. When rushed to the hospital, it is decided that he only has a bump on his head, but Violet, Dora Lee, and Carol misunderstand, and think that he is dead. Violet poses as a doctor and steals what she believes to be Hart's body, which turns out to be the wrong one. Things continue in that manner, never making much sense, but providing enough entertainment value.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
Loose Cannons

Loose Cannons
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Dan Aykroid should take "acting-like-a-crazy-person" lessons from Jack Nicholson, who did an excellent job of portraying an obsessive-compulsive personality in As Good as it Gets. Aykroid is supposed to have multiple personalities in Loose Cannon, a "stupid spy" movie, and while he does do quite a lot of acting nutty, he comes off like a complete idiot, rather than like someone with a serious mental problem.

Aykroid plays Gene Hackman's new partner on the cop beat (it's supposed to be a secret that his police chief uncle pulled some strings and got him on the force), and naturally annoys Hackman - especially when Hackman is forced to move in with Aykroid and work on a case with him. Despite the fact that he goes around acting like someone with a single digit IQ, Aykroid is supposed to have a "genius, analytical mind", and does expertly assess some situations. Yeah, right.

This movie offers some minor amusement value, and if you're into mind-numbingly idiotic comedy (think George of the Jungle with stronger language and more violence) it might entertain you.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Saturday:
Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies
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What is it about British actors that makes them so sexy? The accent? Maybe it's the James Bond thing, although Pierce Brosnan is certainly a better Bond than Sean Connery.

Our nineties version of Bond has several advanced gadgets to play with - a brand new BMW designed to do almost anything, and a multi-purpose mobile phone which can be used as a remote control for the car.

Bond smoothly maneuvers his way out of dangerous situations without messing up his hair, and of course, he never loses his cool.

Not even when he runs into an old flame (Teri Hatcher, pretty far from her X-files role) who is now married to the villain, Bond's new nemesis. This wacko actually plans to cause war between the U.S. and China so his big media conglomerate can get the scoop first! And Bond has a new love interest in this movie: a Chinese female spy (and karate expert, she manages to chop-chop her way out of some sticky situations) whom he winds up working with, by the hardest.

Scene after unrealistic scene keeps you entertained, although at some points Brosnan seems to have his movie heroes confused - he's acting more like Superman than James Bond. I mean, he falls halfway down a huge skyscraper, kicks his way through a glass window, and doesn't get any injuries? But, hey, action movies weren't meant to be realistic, and watching Pierce Brosnan as James Bond is especially diverting.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Space Jam

Space Jam
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The "kid's" movie, Space Jam, makes you want to jam cottonballs into your ears and fly into deep space to escape. Sure, it's a safe movie for little kids - no foul language or violence - but does that make it entertaining? Anyone over eight years old is liable to be miserablely bored.

The story is about basketball/baseball player Michael Jordan's kidnapping by Loony Tunes. Yeah, right! (Kids my age (13) will also be disgusted by the lack of ingenuity on the part of the screenplay writers. WHERE do they come up with this stuff?) The Loony Tunes need Jordan to help win a basketball game against a camaraderie of terminally stupid, little creatures from outer space. If that doesn't make you want to hurl your buttered popcorn , wait till you hear the best part: The stupid space creatures steal the talent of five other NBA players by sneaking into a basketball on the court and turning into giants who now totally outclass the Loony Tunes.

Rent this for your young children - but leave the room quickly.

By the way, it's also gender based - boys who idoliize Michael Jordan are going to be much more interested in this movie than most girls will be.

Unless you have a little one begging to see it,skip it.

My Rating = One Star

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