June 2002 Archives

The Big Red One

I just watched The Big Red One off cable. I remember having seen this movie long ago and so I wanted to see it again and see what I thought about it now.

I find it interesting that the level of violence in a war movie only garners a PG rating. While certainly not as graphic Saving Private Ryan or other modern movies, it is still surprising.

The story was an interesting overview of the Second World War in Europe. It stretched from the invasion of North Africa to Sicily to the Italian mainland to D-Day to Belgium to a concentration in Czechoslovakia.

The most surprising aspect of the movie was that one of the stars of the movie was none other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

I think one of the better anti-war statements ever made in film is the following lines:
[The troop stops before a memorial]
Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put the names of all our guys who got killed?
The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
Johnson: But the names are the same.
The Sergeant: They always are.

On my scale of 1-100, I rate this movie a 68.

Minority Report

We went to see Minority Report at the theater yesterday. This movie has been getting a lot of hype. Specifically there is quit a bit of discussion about what the right balance of security versus individual liberty.

This certainly is timely given the current methods being used in the war on terrorism. With that in mind I did not find this movie as thought provoking as many that see it as an important metaphor for the issues of the modern day.

As a sci-fi action film though I found it very interesting and exciting. Tom Cruise makes for a decent action hero and Spielberg is perhaps the most consistently rewarding director to have made movies in the last 30 years.

I loved that although set 50 years in the future, efforts had been made to make the setting seem like plausible advances from the present. After discussing this with Kathy, though I did come to one conclusion about what I found to be unrealistic. The major unbelievable development was the utterly fascinating highway system. While I found them believable as a future development of transportation infrastructure, I think 50 years is much to short a time to have as developed system as was shown.

I was also a fan of the future computer interface, though I am not sure that it is really that much better than current interfaces.

Definitely a movie worth seeing. On my scale of 1-100, I rate it an 86.

Apocalypse Now Redux

We watched Apocalypse Now Redux off cable. This is the 2001 rerelease of Apocalypse Now with the addition of several scenes that were cut from the movie before its original release.

Personally, I have seen the orginal version too many times. As a result I think the new version was too long and less focused than the original. I also think that it was even more ambitious than the original.

All in all, I was disappointed with this movie only because I had such a high regard for the original version. On my scale of 1-100, I rate this version a 71.


Watched Supernova off cable. This movie had passed through the theaters so quickly I had extremely low expectations for it. It only made it onto my viewing list because it was science fiction. I have a weak spot for sci-fi.

The movie can be summarized as an action movie in a sci-fi framework. I thought the framework was interesting. I thought the special effects were good, though not spectacular. The movie is weakest when it gives in to action, but the plot isn't complex enough to avoid it.

By far this movie was much better than I expected. On my scale of 1-100, I rate it a 65.


We went to see THE BOURNE IDENTITY on Wednesday.

All in all this was a good action movie. I enjoyed it, though it reinforced my boredom with hand-to-hand combat. I liked the car chase quite a bit, though I wonder if that was product placement to have the hero driving a Cooper Mini.

In the end, forgettable.

On my scale of 1-100, I rate it a 70.

The Others

While in Atlanta, we got to see The Others on DVD. This movie received rave reviews all around our group. This was a supernatural thriller that I found amazingly compelling. I thought the acting was strong throughout.

Interestingly, part way through the movie I thought I could guess what the payoff explanation of all the occurrences would be. I also thought that the level of expectation the movie had built to was going to make the payoff a bit anti-climatic. I am happy to say that I was wrong on both counts.

Set in an isolated house in the 1940's, it deals with a mother of 2 children with a medical condition that makes them allergic to light. While she longs for the return of her husband from the war, they all experience phenomenon that defy easy explanation.

If you see this film, I would love to discuss it with you.

On my scale from 1-100, I rate this film a 90.

The Anniversary Party

While visiting some of our best friends in Atlanta we had a chance to see The Anniversary Party on DVD. I had a higher opinion of the movie than everyone else, though all expressed positive thoughts.

This is an actor’s movie. What little plot it had was designed to create space for the wonderful and wide-ranging acting.

To summarize the movie quickly, the entire movie takes place in 24 hours surrounding the anniversary party for the 2 main characters. They are trying to patch up their marriage after a time of separation. He is getting ready to direct a movie based on his novel. She is an actress that most people assume that the main character in the novel is based upon. Amongst the many items adding tension to the movie is the fact that he has cast a younger actress in that part in his new movie and this actress has been invited to the party.

There are several other plotlines that weave through this movie. I thought they were all partially responsible for the success of the movie, but I found this on the most compelling.

Its most fascinating aspect was that the younger actress role would often be conceived as someone of clearly lesser intelligence and/or talent who got the part, simply because of extreme ageism. This turns out not be the case. The result is a much stronger movie.

Some may not like this movie, because of either the drug use or simply how far removed the lives of these characters are from their own. I choose to see the universal in these characters. As such I thought it was very good. On my rating scale of 1-100, I rate it an 87.


Just today saw Pollock off cable. Very strong acting performances were rewarded by the Academy in nominations and one Oscar. I have a very limited knowledge of modern art, but I found this potrait of Jackson Pollock to be very interesting. As with any movie, I am sure those who are very familiar with his life story may find serious flaws, but I feel slightly more knowledgable for having seen it.

Watching the movie brought to mind again, the question of can one be a true genius without being at least partially crazy? Or is it just that someone redefining the boundaries is by their very nature outside of the boundaries of their time?

It certainly seems from this movie, Pollock succeeded despite some real personal demons. Not fast paced, but certainly interesting. On my scale from 1-100, I rate this movie a 77.


Went to see THE SUM OF ALL FEARS at the theater. This movie was mildly entertaining while viewing. If you enjoy spy movies, then you won't find it a waste of time, but you also won't put it into your top ten list.

Personally, as an avid reader of Tom Clancy's books, I had the most fun imagining how thouroughly this movie destroys the timeline that runs through the books. All of the previous movies actually made some attempt to stick to the timeline. It was also interesting to see Alec Baldwin who became Harrison Ford is now Ben Affleck. Also to see that James Earl Jones is now Morgan Freeman, and William Dafoe is now Lieb Schrieber.

If you are very sensitive to scenes of destruction after Sept. 11th, I would recommend skipping this movie. With that in mind, I was disappointed with the special effects. I had seen warnings similar to my own, that lead me to believe that I was going to see very intense scenes of destruction. If you have seen a trailer, then I think you have seen almost 40% of the scenes so you may also be underwhelmed.

On my scale from 1-100, I give the movie a go see it if you want to see a movie and nothing better is showing rating of 69.

The Tao of Steve

Watched the Tao of Steve off cable. I thought it was funny and pleasant. Definately an adults only movie, because of the language and main topic. The movie revolves around Dex, a man who as a college grad with a degree in philosophy develops a philosophy for success with women that revolves around the great Steve's of pop culture.

The movie is well acted and the dialoge is very funny in that way that movies can be where instant recall of an appropriate reference to ideas of both pop culture or esoterica is alway available. My favorite was when Dex compares the American slacker to the Tibetan monk. He sums up his defense of the slacker by saying that everyone acts like something is cooler, just because it happens in a foreign country.

On a scale of 1-100, I give it a solid 81.

Dr. Dolittle 2

Saw Dr. Dolittle 2 off cable. It had its moments, but with a little reflection I have decided that there wasn't much to it. If you like animal humor, then it isn't a waste of time, but I can't imagine anyone needing to see it more than once. My rating on a scale of 1-100 is 65.

About A Boy

Saw About A Boy yesterday. I liked it a lot. I thought it had a good heart and a fun perspective. I also admit that Hugh Grant is like Julia Roberts to me. I wish I could dislike them, but I find them charming/appealing. If you dislike Hugh, you won't enjoy this movie. Otherwise, I think you will find it fun. On a scale of 1-100, I rate this movie an 87.

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