Monday, March 18, 2002

Review – Crimson Tide

Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman square off in this movie about a bright, young executive officer aboard a missile sub captained by a crabby, old-school skipper (I expect you can figure out who played whom). Unrest in the former Soviet Union takes the world to the brink of nuclear war, and our heroes end up pitted against each other when a garbled message creates confusion about whether or not the sub has been ordered to launch an attack against a Russian base. Though I admit to being a big fan of sub movies, this one pushed the limit of the good will I automatically extend to representatives of the genre. The macho posturing was excessive, even for a war movie. The bickering back and forth between the two leads – which eventually devolves into mutinies, counter-mutinies and the like – simply takes up too much screen time, leaving little room for action sequences or character development that might have helped make this a better movie. Verdict: mildly amusing

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Review – Star Trek: Generations

This movie’s the transition point between the original series and the Next Generation (though of course the latter had existed as a TV series for some time before the film came out). Sadly, the emphasis is fairly heavily on the new crew, with William Shatner proving to be the only character from the old cast who spends more than a minute or two on screen. Malcolm McDowell puts in a guest appearance as a mad scientist willing to sacrifice an entire solar system (including a planet with millions of inhabitants) in order to propel himself into some kind of nirvana dimension. Fans of the shows (especially the new one) will probably enjoy this outing, inasmuch as it plays like a longer version of your average episode. See if desperate

Saturday, March 9, 2002

Review – The Creeping Flesh

For the most part this is pretty much what you’d expect from an old Christopher Lee / Peter Cushing horror flick. Cushing plays a scientist who ends up with a skeleton of some sort of monster. Inconveniently enough for him, the skeleton turns out to be 1. evil incarnate and 2. not completely dead. Apparently a blood mixture restores the title substance to the old bones, turning them into a big, lumbering lump of oatmeal-esque demon. At the very beginning of the movie our hero is painting a picture of the monster that actually seems like it might be scary. Sadly, the promise goes unfulfilled. Mildly amusing

Review - The Family Man

I love watching actors who make seven digits per picture pretend that people who have to work for a living are actually much happier than their wealthy counterparts. Nicolas Cage stars as a successful Wall Street deal-maker who has no idea how unhappy he really is until Clarence-the-Angel-redone-as-a-homeless-black-guy magically transforms him into a tire salesman with a wife – his old college girlfriend – and two kids. Though things are naturally awkward at first, our hero eventually comes to understand the merits of simple domesticity over high finance. I’m not quite cynical enough to disbelieve the basic thesis, and I concede that the story features a few amusing scenes and even a touching moment or two. It’s just a little hard to swallow a multi-million dollar product about how the best things in life are free. Mildly amusing

Review – Dungeons and Dragons

Here’s today’s zen koan: does computer-generated scenery have a flavor? If so, journeyman ham Jeremy Irons should be able to fill us in on the taste sensation. Honestly, what does this guy do? Does he call his agent and demand progressively more and more humiliating roles? If so, his poor rep must really have been beating the bushes after booking Irons into Adrian Slime’s version of Lolita. But this one might actually do the trick. D&D players should feel right at home with the characters, situations and story. Thus I guess they’ve done a solid job appealing to the most obvious target audience. Beyond that, however, this production offers little to the non-fan beyond some entertaining effects work and some so-inept-it’s-entertaining film-making. See if desperate