Movies of Summer, 1997


Quick Reviews of Summer Movies (summer of '97)

Thanks to the tireless efforts of my good friend and bus-home buddy Bella, this summer's Tuesday Night Movie Club has seen almost every decent movie (and some not-so-decent ones) there was to see this summer. Below, in roughly chronolgical order are some quicky opinions on them.

  • Grosse Point Blank See the review in my Favorite Movies review.
     
  • Chasing Amy See the review in my Favorite Movies review.
     
  • The Fifth Element Overall a good film, with a lot of memorable moments and a couple of groaners. Fairly decent science-fantasy plot about a cosmic evil trying to exterminate all life and the travails of the one being in the universe who can combat it with the help of her friends.
    Likes: Milla Jovovich and Bruce Willis (who's da man? he's da man!). Jean-Paul Gaultier's costumes and Moebius' visuals. Killer soundtrack.
    Dislikes: Ending "figure-it-out" sequence (geez, how many times have we seen that?) The fact that the cool arabic-inspired chase music isn't on the soundtrack
     
  • Lost World Sequel to Jurassic Park, and it falls flat on its face.
    Likes: Well, it's got dinosaurs, and it can still deliver some of the thrills and chills of the original.
    Dislikes: No "awe-and-wonder", just "dinosaurs are all scary, get me outta here", and that's even taking into account Junior T-Rex. Definately disliked the T-rex reaches the mainland scene. Big time suspension-of-disbelief buster.
     
  • Addicted to Love A stalker/revenge romantic comedy, of all things. If Meg Ryan wasn't so damn cute and vulnerable and convincing, and if Matthew Broderick wasn't capable of being such a nice guy, this movie would've died messily. But they weren't and so it didn't, and the movie works.
    Likes: Meg Ryan. All the freakin' way. Remind me never to cross a girl like her (though why the hell would I ever break up with a girl like her?)
    Dislikes: A wee bit on the saccharine side. Or, in the immortal words of Paul-who-is-also-rick: "too much treacle".
     
  • Intimate Relations Strange little "insular english town with insular english town mores" movie, and the relationships between a manipulative old woman, her pubescent daughter, and the new guest lodger.
    Likes: Definately a thinking movie, and the struggle and conflict are convincingly (if disturbingly) well-portrayed.
    Dislikes: I'm not much of an afficionado of "winter-spring" sexual matches, and I was distinctly uncomfortable throughout the movie, though that is one of the points that the movie is trying to get across, that this kind of stuff isn't comforting. Still, I disliked being discomfitted in this fashion.
     
  • Con-Air Good-guy done wrong, gotta-save-the-day and come back to my family kinda movie.
    Likes: Nick Cage. Kick ass! Gives depth to his heroes (like Stanley in The Rock and his portrayal of John Travolta's character stuck in Castor Troy's body in Face-off).
    Dislikes: Pretty two-dimensional. Straight shoot-em-up, with a few twists. Also the timing was off, with strange comedic moments in what should have been serious ones, and vice versa.
     
  • Batman and Robin Dreck. Absolute dreck. The franshise died after the first one, I tell ya.
    Likes: Uma Thurman. Yes, yes, yes you delightful vamp.
    Dislikes: Inappropriate comedy, half-assed portrayal of advanced technology with modern terminology (what, the batcomputer's AI uses a Windows 95 interface? and it's supposed to be intelligent?), and Alicia Silverstone's too-easy assumption of the batgirl mantle (at least Chris O'Donnell's becoming Robin took a fair chunk of the last movie).
     
  • Face-Off Absolutely freakin' brilliant. John Woo is the action god, double-handguns a-blazin'!
    Likes: Travolta playing Cage playing Travolta and vice versa. Cage rules, as I've said before, and Travolta's a wonderfully wicked bad guy. Good dialogue. Nasty action sequences. The over-the-rainbow bit in the firefight. The flying coats, the doves in slow motion.
    Dislikes: Overly neat resolution: not only is everything returned back to normal, but everything is returned to a pre-normal, idyllic state. Too blecchy, too neat. A hard movie should have a hard ending.
     
  • Hercules Surprisingly funny, touching and witty, for a Disney film.
    Likes:Megara, Herc Merchandise, and Paul Schaffer as Mercury.
    Dislikes: The complete mangling of the Hercules mythos in order to prettify and tone down the story for "sensitive american audiences". Phaugh.
     
  • Men in Black There is no such thing as not seeing this movie enough times. Keep seeing it. It gets better ever time. And it was brilliant to begin with.
    Likes:Of course, gotta go with Will Smith; da man's da bomb. Tommy Lee Jones. The testing sequence. Linda Fiorentino (oh god, brainy and legs that don't quit).
    Dislikes:Absolutely none. Well, maybe one. Too Damn Short! It's got sequel possibilities, though!
     
  • The Saint Modern re-take of the old 60's classic show, which itself was a re-take of an earlier radio series.
    Likes: Of course, Val Kilmer. The man is a convincing chameleon. The cool cell-phone e-mail thingy he carried. And Elizabeth Shue. Seems to be a veritable biblical plague of brainy cuties this summer.
    Dislikes: Ragged ending; uneven ride. Ups and downs, and false denouments detract from the overall quality.
     
  • Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion Bubble-gum airheads pose as successful executives for their reunion in order to impress the people who looked down on them in high school.
    Likes: Hits close to home about high-school cliques and how we want to be seen. Convincing in that fashion. Janeane Garofalo. Mira Sorvino.
    Dislikes: Weird-ass three-person dancing scene. Lots of awkward, slow moments.
     
  • Nothing to Lose Loving husband comes home early, finds wife in bed with boss, gets bummed, drives around and buddies up with a would-be two-bit carjacker in order to take revenge on his boss and score a lot of cash.
    Likes: Tim Robbins as the straight man; he makes you root for him. Martin Lawrence. Rebecca Gayheart as the curly-haired receptionist (definate 9 on the cute-o-meter). Roller-coaster storyline.
    Dislikes:Nothing in particular; just a few minor points here or there (the movie, despite it's plot twists, is a little on the predictable side, but this isn't necessarily bad).
     
  • The Grizzly Project Canadian scientist's up-close and personal encounter with a grizzly leads him through various trials to develop a grizzly-proof suit of armour, enabling him to approach them up close and survive.
    Likes: Kooky scientist guy (Troy) reminds me of most of my friends.
    Dislikes: Kooky scientist guy also reminds me of me. Bummer.
     
  • Event Horizon Horror on board a spaceship that has returned after a seven-year journey elsewhere.
    Likes: Victorian/Gothic touches to the technology. Gripping. Good thriller.
    Dislikes: Too much use of loud noises in quiet situations to cause a "jump in your seat" effect. Lack of truly frightening main villain. Boring (non-frightening) death scenes.
     
  • Conspiracy Theory A great movie about almost one apparantly average conspiracy nut whose self-pulished newsletter, also called Conspiracy Theory, happens to contain an article which is absolutely true and gets some people nervous.
    Likes: Mel Gibson as the protective, conspiracy-fearing loonie. Really convincing. Julia Roberts, for the strong role and the fact that she looked really good in this film. The various "real-life" conspiracy bits, like the black helicopters, beer bottles on your doorknobs, and why you should try not to buy Catcher in the Rye if you don't want to be tracked by THEM.
    Dislikes:The fact that it's never clearly stated which conspiracy in the newsletter is the real one. Just a minor point, though.
     
  • Copland Sleepy little town called Garrisson, NJ, across the George Washington Bridge from New York City is home to a lot of NYC cops and their families; a killing and a cover-up causes IA to come looking in Garrisson, but they have no jurisdiction in this town, so they ask the sherriff of Garrisson to help them crack the case. A tension movie, not a shoot-em-up.
    Likes: Lots of little subtleties and points about cop life. The characters. The actors (deNiro! Keitel! Liotta! and, well, even Stallone).
    Dislikes: None, really.
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