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

Monday:
Snow White: A Tale of Terror

Snow White: : I saw the G-rated Disney version of this children's fairy tale when I was three, and although I have only a very vague recollection of it, my mother swears the poison-apple bit scared me so much that I refused to eat an apple for months.

Snow White: A Tale of Terror, this R-rated horror movie version didn't scare me anywhere near as much, but it certainly offers much more in entertainment value!

Sigourney Weaver, one of the best horror movie actresses around, stars as beautiful Snow White's wicked stepmother of course - and she's really wicked! Time and time again, she jealously and savagely attempts to murder Snow White - to no avail. At one point, Snow White escapes to the woods and is found by some dwarves - and you should see these dwarves! Forget Sleepy and Sneezy and Dopey and all the rest - these dwarves are tough biker-type guys (this takes place in the sixteenth century, yet they wear leather jackets) and only one of them is an actual dwarf. Snow White falls for one of them nonetheless, quickly forgetting her boyfriend back at home - and her wicked stepmother, who still wants to kill her.

Weaver was somewhat better in the Alien movies, but she's creepy enough in this movie, and I was thoroughly entertained.

I was expecting a little bit more blood and gore too, but sometimes subtle can be spookier.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Mr. Magoo

Mr. Magoo
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Mr. Magoo has one thing working in its favor: Lesley Nielson. Without him, this movie would have been your typical kiddie comedy: boring for anyone over the age of ten.

Nielson plays Mr. Magoo, a half-blind old man who refuses to see a new eye doctor (apparently his is a quack who doesn't prescribe eyeglasses). Because of his near-blindness, he is always mistaking something or someone for something else entirely. Naturally, he causes quite a commotion, cutting electrical cords instead of ribbons, and the like. In fact, he even mistakes a precious, priceless jewel that happens to fall into his fishing tackle box for a worthless object that his dog can fetch!

Bad guys come after him, but he unknowingly outwits them, and they don't get the jewel! Finally, two bickering agents enlist his nephew's help (one agent is from the FBI, the other the CIA, and both are worthless idiots). Magoo winds up in Brazil, dressed up like a woman and tumbling over Niagara-sized waterfalls with the gem in his bra.

Don't ask. Just see the movie.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Rosewood

Rosewood
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Long movies can seem short, if they're interesting - and some long movies can seem even longer if they're not!

That's the story with Rosewood, a lengthy so-called drama (based on a true story) set in the early nineteen - hundreds. After a white woman is beaten by her husband, she runs out into the town screaming hysterically that she was raped and beaten by a black man. The already prejudiced town then goes on a manhunt, beating and killing innocent African-Americans, causing others to flee the town before they too are wrongly accused and killed. The number of African-Americans killed becomes astronomical, with only one white man inclined to help them.

There are several subplots, including romances, a second wife trying to make her new stepsons like her, and so on, nothing too diverting. But the movie drags itself along at roughly the pace of a very old horse.

I expected Rosewood to be something like the more engaging Ghosts of the Mississippi (another story based on truth), which it certainly wasn't.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
The Postman

The Postman
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Kevin Costner spends all too much time making movies about the desolate fate of the world. First there was Waterworld (1995), a pathetic excuse for a futuristic movie. Now there's The Postman, a three and a half-hour saga that has the year 2013 looking like 1913.

Costner rides around on a horse, and says, "I'm rich," when he manages to find some old cigarettes in a machine. Captured and forced to serve in a tyrant's army (the U.S. government has fallen apart, and there is general chaos all around), he manages to escape, and hides out in an old postal vehicle. That's where he finds the mailbag of fifteen-year old letters that never got delivered, and later, to save his life, decides to deliver them. People love getting their mail again, and soon there are many newly established postal routes. But of course his old friend the tyrant hates this, and it becomes excruciatingly apparent that this is going to turn into a war movie. It is even more excruciatingly apparent which side is going to win, and how everything is going to turn out.

This is nothing but a disguised war movie, designed to inspire feelings of patriotism and unity in its viewers. Gag me. All it in inspired me to do was walk out, which I refrained from doing only because I felt it was my duty as a movie critic to see it through. Also, my dad loved the movie, and I would have had to stand out in the hall for the last hour of the movie, waiting for him. Of course, even that would have been more engaging than the movie!

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
An American Werewolf in Paris

An American Werewolf in Paris
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An American Werewolf in Paris is really a mockery of a serious horror movie, but that in itself makes it remarkably entertaining. The characters dance through this movie mimicking every monster movie you've ever seen, and make this much more of a comedy than a horror flick.

Handsome Tom Everett Scott stars as the American Werewolf in Paris. After climbing the Eiffel Tower one night, with the intention of bungee-jumping from it (like security wouldn't stop you from doing that!), he saves the life of a beautiful girl who is about to jump - without a bungee cord. In the process of saving the suicidal girl, he falls off the tower, but is miraculously saved by his bungee cord. When he snaps back up, he hits his head on a pillar, and is knocked unconscious. He wakes up in a hospital and desperately wants to find the girl whose life he saved. Bad idea - in the process, he is attacked by a werewolf, and naturally becomes one himself. Now he can hunt humans with his newly located new girlfriend.

It's a dog's life - well, a wolf's, actually, if you want to get technical. Several undead spirits chase them, as well as some evil fellow werewolves. At one point, before he becomes fully aware of what has happened to him, he eats an almost raw, bloody steak, licking his fingers and making disgusting noises. This had me howling with laughter, no pun intended. Later, while making out with a girl on top of a gravestone, he begins turning into a werewolf. Talk about not impressing a date! Once the transformation is complete, he kills her, and then is haunted by her (she's one of the undead spirits mentioned above).

For a howling good time (pardon the pun again, they just keep popping up!), see An American Werewolf in Paris.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Saturday:
Wings of the Dove

Wings of the Dove
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This is one of those moralistic movies that wittingly shows you what can happen when a rich person becomes terminally ill - and all her so-called friends are after her money.

Not everyone is completely corrupt - there is one loyal friend, a servant of the sick girl (Milly), who isn't after her money. Then there's Milly's best friend, Kate, and Kate's true love, whom she can't marry because he's too poor, and her rich aunt forbids her to see him. Milly also falls for Kate's boyrfriend, but of course Kate isn't jealous - she has a plan! Milly will fall in love with Kate's boyfriend (whom she instructs to seduce Milly) and leave him all her money, then once she's out of the picture, Kate can marry him.

And, oh yes, you're supposed to believe that Kate actually feels great sympathy for Milly and doesn't want to lose her friend. Although the acting was convincingly marvelous, I just couldn't swallow that.

Kate does pretty much get what she deserves - her boyfriend actually falls for Milly, and that, of course, causes problems in his relationship with Kate!

Well-plotted and splendidly acted, this original movie kept me thoroughly entertained, and I left the theatre with plans to read the book.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
The Langoliers

The Langoliers
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I read most of The Langoliers by Stephen King (what a genius!) before I saw the movie version, and surprisingly only a few things were changed, leaving most of King's original brilliant material in the movie, The Langoliers.

Imagine yourself waking up on a large jet with about ten other people - but before you fell asleep, the plane was filled to its capacity of a couple hundred. Even the pilot is gone! How did this happen? Where'd everybody go?

That's pretty much the scenario in The Langoliers, when a school teacher, a blind girl in need of an operation, a pilot who is a passenger for once, a terribly irritating businessman, and several others find themselves alone on their jet plane. Fortunately, the pilot manages to land the plane - in a strangely deserted airport. The plot gets much more complex and detailed later on (between the two tapes, the movie is six hours long, but it seems like much less).

A marvelous rental movie - especially if you have lots of time to kill, enjoyably.

My Rating = Three Stars

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