What Lies Beneath (2000) – Movie Review

What Lies Beneath

Written by: Clark Gregg, story by Clark Gregg & Sarah Kernochan
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid, James Remar, Miranda Otto

My Advice: Wait for MST3K.

The Spencers (Ford and Pfeiffer) have just sent their only daughter (Katherine Towne) off to college, and now they’re trying to cope with an empty nest. Well, Mrs. S is; Mr. S is engrossed in his research studies. Things get a bit complex as strange phenomena begin to occur in their house–only apparent to Mrs. S though. Either she’s going nutso or there is something in their house–but if she’s still sane, then what is this entity and, most importantly, what does it want with her?

Now you know I’ve never been one to write reviews that contain spoilers, and I’m not about to start here. But still, the primary problem with this film is that the trailers, the synopsis released by DreamWorks–everything the studio has put out goes ahead and tells you that the spirit in the house is a girl that Mr. S had an affair with. So with that knowledge, what’s the point of the first hour of the film? It consists of a Hitch-schlockian red herring that we already know is false. So what could have been at least intriguing is instead a real waste of time. And of course, when I say “first hour” that strongly implies that there is a second hour. There is–and you can feel every minute of it.

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X-Men (2000) – Movie Review

X-Men movie poster

Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by David Hayter, story by Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer
Starring Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen

My Advice: Don’t miss it.

There’s a war brewing, and the lines are being drawn. Mankind is evolving to the next step, and that step happens to be “mutants,” people with superhuman abilities. Trouble is, mankind isn’t too keen on their brethren being able to do these neato things, and the general populace becomes afraid and belligerent, as they are wont to do. Among the mutants, there are two factions. Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart) believes in getting past the ignorance of humanity and preaches tolerance. Erik Lensherr, also known as Magneto (McKellen), thinks Xavier is suffering from a major delusion and that humanity and tolerance are mutually exclusive.

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Scary Movie (2000) – Movie Review

Scary Movie poster

Written by: Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Buddy Johnson, Aaron Seltzer, Marlon Wayans & Shawn Wayans
Directed by: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Starring: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Shawn Wayans, Shannon Elizabeth, Dave Sheridan

My Advice: Matinee

Life has gone a little nuts at B.A. Corpse High School. It seems that a young lady by the name of Drew (Carmen Electra) has been murdered. Now news vulture Gail (Cheri Oteri), author of You’re Dead, I’m Rich is all over the place, stoner Randy (Marlon Wayans) is wondering where the hell he is, and Cindy (Faris) wondering if everything might be connected to a little automotive incident they all had a year previous. Then there’s guy with a scary mask running around with a knife, hmmm….

Sound familiar? Yes, it’s true. After so many teen slasher flicks flying around the past few years, it was only a matter of time before somebody decided to attempt a spoof–let’s just thank the gods that the Wayans Brothers got to it before Mel Brooks or Leslie Nielsen. Because let’s face it–the original Scream film was a spoof of an entire genre–is it possible to effectively spoof a spoof? The answer is, thankfully, yes.

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The Patriot (2000) – Movie Review

The Patriot movie poster art

Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Robert Rodat
Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper

My Advice: Don’t Miss It.

Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a man with a past, and it’s one he does not wish to revisit. In his past, he was a warrior of great renown, but now he’s a widower with seven children to care for. This might not be such a big deal, but he’s in an American colony in 1776–and war is kicking up all around him. To make matters worse, his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) is convinced his father is hiding behind his children–and desperately wants to enlist in the Continental Army. When Gabriel gets into more than a spot of trouble and starts to drag the family down with him, Benjamin has to step up and try to keep the entire thing from coming down around their ears.

I would like to say to Devlin and Emmerich that they have hereby been forgiven for Godzilla. Yes, this movie is just that good. Gibson gives the caliber of performance he thought he did in Braveheart. And indeed, there will be many (and have been many) who compare this film to that earlier outing, which Nick over at CHUD brilliantly termed “Death Wish in a kilt.” But Patriot succeeds where Braveheart stumbles. The first film was a revenge flick, like Nick says, pure and simple. Every cry of “FREEDOM!” stank of bullshit. This film goes with the premise that there are more important things than revenge, and you can actually see Benjamin making the choice periodically through the film. Other characters are constantly reminding him, “Revenge is one thing, but keep your mind on the cause.” It works, and Gibson has been cleansed of the sin of that bad kilt flick.

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Chicken Run (2000) – Movie Review

Chicken Run movie poster

Written by: Karey Kirkpatrick with additional dialogue by Mark Burton & John O’Farrell, based on a story by Peter Lord & Nick Park
Directed by: Peter Lord & Nick Park
Starring: Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson, Benjamin Whitrow, Tony Haygarth

My Advice: Don’t miss it.

Ginger (Sawalha) is a chicken with a dream. She wants to escape from the farm she is kept captive in, her egg-laying abilities and those of her comrades exploited by the Tweedys (Richardson and Haygarth). She has all of these marvelous plans for escape–but she insists on getting the rest of the farm’s population out as well. Suffice to say, it’s one disappointment after another. That is, until one day, a rooster from America named Rocky (Gibson), literally drops in on the farm–and he inspires Ginger to think that perhaps there is a way out after all.

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Shaft (2000) – Movie Review

Shaft (2000)

Written by: Richard Price, Shane Salerno & John Singleton, based on the 1971 movie written by John D.F. Black & Ernest Tidyman and the novel by Ernest Tidyman
Directed by: John Singleton
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Vanessa Williams, Richard Roundtree

My Advice: Rent it.

Police detective John Shaft (Jackson) walks onto a pretty heinous crime scene. Racist uberbastard Walter (Bale) has just caved in the skull of a young black man who talked back to Walter’s tauntings in a bar. Open and shut case, yes? Well, not quite. Walter’s the son of a VIP rich real estate mogul, and can afford lawyers and bail out the ying yang. And hey, there weren’t any witnesses…or were there?

This is a film where if you decide to take it too seriously, you will be seriously disappointed. It’s pretty much just a vehicle for Samuel “Badass” Jackson to work his magic–and work it he does. When he’s not pistol whipping drug peddlers he’s breaking the nose of Christian Bale’s character–and the fun, winking aspects of the movie (along with the action sequences) work really well. Bale himself is suitably malevolent and Wright is acting up a storm as Peoples Hernandez, the second villain of the piece–it’s just a shame that he seemed to drown in his own accent at times. Williams does reasonably well as Shaft’s police backup and Busta Rhymes does not annoy in the role of the wise-cracking driver. As for Richard Roundtree? Even as Uncle Shaft, he’s still the man.

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Battlefield Earth (2000) – Movie Review

Battlefield Earth movie poster

Written by: Corey Mandell, based on the novel by L. Ron Hubbard
Directed by: Roger Christian
Starring: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates, Richard Tyson

My Advice: Wait for MST3K. On the other hand, Don’t Miss It.

Welcome to the year 3000. It seems that a thousand years ago, a race of aliens known as Psychlos showed up and literally bombed the human race back to the Stone Age. Now, Johnnie (Pepper), lives in the caves with his tribe and dreams of a better life for his people. Despite the protests of his girlfriend, Daryl Hannah (Coates), he decides to go out into the world and see what there is to see–but there’s a problem. The problem is nine feet tall–Terl (Travolta), the Psychlo chief of security. He’s got a job for the industrious Johnnie, and the young “man-animal” could turn it to his advantage and take back the planet–or wind up getting everybody killed.

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Gladiator (2000) – Movie Review

Gladiator movie poster

Written by: David H. Franzoni, John Logan & William Nicholson
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Connie Nielson, Richard Harris

My Advice: Don’t miss it.

Maximus (Crowe) is not an Autobot, he’s in actuality a Roman general, who is running out of non-Roman ass to kick on the European continent. He’s anxious to return to his wife and child and put his military career behind him. However, his emperor, Marcus Aurelius (Harris), calls upon him to undertake an important mission to bring Rome back to greatness–but this task will put Maximus directly at odds with Marcus’ own son, Commodus (Phoenix). And let me tell you, if there’s one thing you did not do in the Roman Empire, it’s get in the way of someone vying for the title of Caesar.

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Romeo Must Die (2000) – Movie Review

Romeo Must Die poster

Written by: Eric Bernt & John Jarrell, based on a story by Mitchell Kapner
Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Starring: Jet Li, Aaliyah, Delroy Lindo, Isaiah Washington, Russell Wong

My Advice: Wait and rent it.

Po (Jon Kit Lee) is asking for trouble. You see, he’s the son of Ch’u (Henry O), an Asian warlord who has relocated to the United States. That, and apparently he’s just running amok, going into clubs, picking fights–like I said, he’s asking for it. And sure enough, if you ask for it long enough, you get it. Once Po has gotten it, the obvious ones to blame are the O’Day family, led by Isaak (Lindo). But while this war between two crime organizations escalates, a wild card gets thrown into the mix: namely Han (Li), who simply wants to know who truly had his brother Po killed.

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The Tigger Movie (2000) – Movie Review

Tigger Movie poster

Written & Directed by: Jun Falkenstein
Starring: Jim Cummings, Nikita Hopkins, Ken Sansom, John Fielder, Peter Cullen

My Advice: Matinee

Okay, I’m eight years old again. I’m going to see Disney‘s latest installment of Winnie the Pooh films, The Tigger Movie. Pretty cool right? Well, in a word, yeah: it was pretty cool indeed. Or as I would have said at the age of eight, “that’s pretty trippy.” So there I sit with my best friend in the whole world, who at the age of twenty-eight is actually my fiancee and best friend in the whole world, all eager for the movie to start. Here is what I saw.

The movie starts with a nice little intro of live action, in obviously what is Christopher Robin’s (Tom Attenborough) room, and goes into the beginning of a classic Pooh movie. Its right here that things start to change, and it stops being a Pooh movie and becomes, ahem… (pause for dramatic effect) The Tigger Movie. See that’s one of the things that you have to understand, this movie comes with more action than the typical Pooh movie. It has some excitement. I actually saw where a reviewer in a local paper complained that it wasn’t like the other Pooh movies. Gee, maybe that’s why they called it The Tigger Movie.

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