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Mary Reilly

Horrifying and accomplishes what R.L. Stevenson didn't
I've never read the book "Mary Reilly", but I've read "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The story is told in second person, props to Stevenson for attempting a horror story this way, but it just doesn't work.

So here is now "Mary Reilly". This movie is terrifying. John Malkovich as Jekyll and Hyde was perfect casting. Jekyll is a doctor whom everyone around him loves, and he creates a serum that can bring out the real him, the side that nobody else can see. Having the story told through the eyes of a housemaid who actually sees the transformation, and has to live with both characters is far more effective than having a lawyer who only hears stories about what happens from other people tell the story.

I was surprised that Julia Roberts was able to play a character of this depth so well. I know she is a very capable actress, but never before had she played someone who was so beaten down, and I think she pulled it off.

Not Another Teen Movie

Everything The Scary Movie Trilogy Lacked
These kids attend John Hughes High. Brilliant! This movie hit what is wrong with most teen-angst films from the 80s on. Almost every single one has a Pygmalion-esquire plot line where the geeky girl (sometimes boy) is made over so they can fit in with the elite group of rich and popular kids. They've addressed all the clichés, and how unlike high school these movies really are. Think about it, to be popular means to be liked by a lot of people. And who likes the snotty brat who thinks she is prettier than everyone else? I attended several different high schools around the U.S., and these girls exist, but they don't get named prom queen.

The completely nude foreign exchange student is the only part that is a little uncomfortable to stomach (oh, the old lady lesbian kiss *shudders*) But the idea behind the character is hilarious. I wish they kept the line in the movie where Janey Briggs asks why her accent kept changing.

The guy who kept slow clapping at the wrong time, and Molly Ringwald saying "F***ing teenagers" made the entire movie. If you love or hate teen movies, this is one you HAVE to watch.

Samantha: An American Girl Holiday

Bland and not really what it could be.
First of all, I have always been more of a fan of Kirsten, and have been all the way back when there were only three American Girls to love. I've never been much interested in an over privileged little girl preaching on behalf of the lower classes, which in short is Samantha. So you combine the preachy quality of Samantha with a poorly written script, and mediocre actors like Mia Farrow and Jordan Bridges, you get Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.

Was anyone else annoyed by how Samantha's bangs were cut uneven throughout the entire movie? This isn't an important criticism I know, but just something that bugged me.

In conclusion, this movie doesn't stand well on its own. You would have to like Samantha to enjoy this movie. It is just sort of there. It isn't "classic holiday movie" material, and is forgettable. Overall I was very disappointed in this movie.

Toy Soldiers

Great Action Film And Superior To The Book
Quick summary of the book: Boy, Billy Tepper, about 12 years old is school's main trouble maker, and if he gets kicked out of one more school he'll be sent off to boarding school. His upscale boy's school in Switzerland (or somewhere like it) gets taken over by Arab terrorists, why I'm not really sure. Billy has no friends, and likes to use his laptop to hack into his school's database. He, with the help of two teachers thwarts the terrorists' plans, and save the entire school. The book wasn't bad, but was sooooooo cliché.

Now about the movie; they switched Arab terrorists to Cuban terrorists, and make Billy about 17 and the leader of his group of friends. They like to get into trouble, but normal teenage stuff. This movie was believable. Maybe not realistic, but the characters are real. You can watch Billy, Joey, and the rest of the guys and see real kids acting out the way they did (or at least wanting to).

Great action scenes. Not everything goes as planned for either side. Overthrowing the terrorists was messy, and good guys did get hurt. I won't say who, but it is heart wrenching (I know, I use that word a lot). Sean Astin is excellent. As a teenager he usually played the dopey best friend. This movie proved once again that he could play the leading man, kid, whatever. The only performance that may have upstaged his was Wil Wheaton's, who played the only son of a New Jersey mafia man. He hated his father, and everything he stood for. (A far cry from Wesley Crusher) Usually this genre of film is one I watch for the soul purpose of making fun; but not Toy Soldiers. The story line flows, the dialogue is usually believable. I can't think of a single moment where I found myself shouting at the TV "Oh that would so not happen" Great movie that should be in everyone's collection.

The Italian Job

Slow Moving, Boring, and Terrible Ending.
Most seem to love this movie, so maybe it's my age or something else but I hated it. The story was not well told at all, I had to force myself to stay awake just to make it to the ending.

To summarize, Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) wants to rip off a security truck carrying 4 mill. in gold bouillon. There were so many characters that were involved in the heist, but we didn't really get to see what they did. We were just expected to take for granted that these people were the best at there jobs and not actually shown it.

Benny Hill made a guest appearance, as the computer genius, but at the beginning of the heist he manages to get himself arrested and we don't see him for the rest of the movie. Charlie Croker goes through a lot of trouble to get this guy on the team, and his disappearance isn't even noticed when it happens. That didn't sit well with me at all. It seems Benny Hill was only added for his name, and to add some comedy; but failed miserably to do so.

The ending. Oh dear the ending. I get that they were trying to be brilliant with the whole anticlimax thing (Did they succeed or not? We're not going to tell you because that wouldn't be artistic) Personally I think that's just pretentious garbage that even if the rest of the movie was done well I would still hate it. Any movie in this genre needs an ending or else it makes the viewer, at least this viewer, feel as though they just wasted two hours of their life.

I normally love movies of this kind, especially those made in the sixties and seventies. And I looovvveee Michael Caine's work. But this one should be left alone. It was terrible.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Fails To Live Up To The Actual Show...
I was fortunate enough to see the Donny Osmond in the role of Joseph when it was on stage. I was blown away. The musical is campy and fun.

What I like about the movie was that it starred a predominately British cast. Since that is where it got it start I thought that was only fitting. Where casting went wrong was bringing in huge names like Joan Collins and Richard Attenborough. They just seemed to be there to prove that they could be. They didn't really sing (or well), and they didn't contribute anything except for their names in the title credits.

I also felt that sets took away from the musical numbers. Perfect example is the "Close Every Door To Me Scene". The Circular Jail Cell felt wrong, and the power of that song was almost completely lost.

Overall I was very disappointed in this adaptation of the rock opera. Webber could have done a much better job.

The Wild Thornberrys Movie

As Good As The TV Show
The underlying theme in this movie is about family. You have the two parent engrossed in their work, an older sister who is incredibly self-involved, a disapproving grandmother, and a little sister who is left to her own devices to amuse herself. But even though everyone is so different, they come together to do what is best for their family. Okay, so little Eliza's ability to speak with animals helps out a lot.

I enjoy the TV show, and I thought that the movie was a perfect extension of that. This movie is great for kids, and has talented talents like Tim Curry, Lyn Redgrave, and Flea (okay so that is an odd one to add to the mix) to appease the adults. But the story itself is one that is beautifully written, and told. It was worth the money to see it in the theater.

Masters of the Universe

A Classic For All Those Children of the Eighties
What we have here is a campy movie about our world colliding with one that has superheroes, and adventure. Meg Foster as Evil-Lyn, and Frank Langella as Skeletor, were perfect casting. It has all the ingredients of a Fantasy/Science Fiction film for the day. Special effects, dudes in loin cloths, and Billy Barty. What more could you want?

Okay, so forget that it is supposed to be about He-Man. This movie doesn't come close to the old cartoons. And "Star Wars of the 80's" it is not. (I have the original VHS case and one of the movie reviews on the film case says that.)

This movie is one of those that are so bad they are good.


Light Entertaining Movie
Like so many others have said, this movie is "Toy Soldiers" meets "Home Alone" The way Ozzie takes care of this group of terrorists is more slapstick than violent. (But don't get me wrong, it still has its share of violence.) I think in some ways the character Ozzie seems more like the Billy Tepper of the book "Toy Soldiers" than Sean Astin did.

It's a silly movie, and if you take it for that, a really good one. I enjoy this when I'm in the mood for action without the heart-pounding drama and blood. With the exception of Patrick Stewart, the cast is filled with then unknown actors. I've enjoyed Vincent Kartheiser in this, and everything I have seen him in since.

Peter Pan

The Best Peter Pan adaptation: EVER!
I have always been a bit obsessed with the story of Peter Pan, both the book and the play. The Disney movies and the musical always seemed to miss the heart and true tragedy of the character Peter. Not this film. Where there are some discrepancies between the film and the story, I can actually live with them. The changes work better. (And I normally abhor when filmmakers take "creative liberties" with already perfect stories. HEAR ME PETER JACKSON!)

The choice for Tinkerbell was perfect. Because they used a real person they were able to show her facial expressions, and whoever that actress was, I loved her as the insufferable tink.

I am of the opinion that if J.M. Barrie were alive today and saw this movie he would love it just as much.

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