Monday, October 18, 2004

Review – The Bad News Bears

Anyone who played Little League baseball in the 70s is pretty much morally obliged to like this movie. Even if you didn’t, there are still plenty of entertaining moments in this tale of a down-and-out pool cleaner (Walter Matthau) who takes on the job of coaching a ball team full of misfits and losers. Along the way the story takes the de rigeur side-trips into serious exploration of the competitive nature of youth sports, but fortunately even these are usually delivered with the movie’s sarcastic sense of humor. Certainly this is a creature of its time; if nothing else, ten-year-olds with filthy mouths were a little more risqué in 1975 than they are now. But as kid flicks go, this is still one of the better ones. Worth seeing

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Review – Cold Creek Manor

This movie left me bitterly disappointed, and I blame the marketing campaign at least in part for letting me down. The ads for this clunker made it look like a haunted house picture of some kind, but instead it turned out to be sort of a Cape Fear thing in which a happy family is menaced by a ne’er-do-well with a not-entirely-justified grudge against them. Trouble is, I (generally at least) like the kind of movie I thought I was going to get. And worse, I hate the kind of movie this turned out to be. The gaggle of former-A-list actors didn’t help matters much. By the time our ex-con antagonist has murdered the girl’s horse and left it floating in the pool, this production had worn out what little welcome it might otherwise have enjoyed. Wish I’d skipped it

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Review – Extreme Ops

Snowboarding thrill-seekers in the Alps shooting an ad for something or another. Serbian war criminal in the Alps along with his gang fleeing from the scene after faking his own death. The two groups collide. Result uninteresting. I can’t say the movie was disappointing, because it delivered pretty much exactly what it promised: lots of elaborate downhill stunts, some expensive pyrotechnics, a feeble excuse for a plot, and not much else. See if desperate

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Review – Big Fish

This should play in a double bill with What Dreams May Come as a special treat for people who have too much happiness but not enough beauty in their lives. Tim Burton’s visual style is all over this movie, and when the focus is on the young Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) the story is charming if often a bit on the silly side. However, the bracketing story finds an aged Bloom (Albert Finney) on his deathbed while his adult son (Billy Crudup) struggles to come to grips with his father’s refusal to deal in reality. The message about the importance of fantasy – or at least the importance of telling a good story – is well made. It’s just sort of a depressing way to get the point across. Mildly amusing