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October Sky Review

This true story (well, based on one anyway) tells the tale of Homer Hickam, a go-nowhere coal miner's son who, in the late 1950s, decides to take up amateur rocketry for no discernable reason. Secretly, this is a movie about overcoming adversity and fatherly love, and the sentiment is heaped on so high you can't help but shed a tear. Stand By Me meets The Right Stuff.

Waterworld Review

In the future, the polar ice caps have melted, the world is covered by water, and everyone is left to fend for themselves as scavengers in a grim reality. This is Waterworld, and you'll be glad to know: even in this harsh realm, the women still shave their legs.

The most expensive movie ever made (the final word is $172 million), Waterworld will be a true monument in Kevin Costner's career. Unfortunately, this film isn't going to have quite the effect something like Dances with Wolves had. The bottom line is Waterworld is a marginal film: always extravagant, sometimes entertaining, often preachy and dull--a pure formula picture.

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Die Hard 2 Review

Die Hard had it all: a sympathetic hero, a wonderfully serpentine villain, kick-ass fight scenes and shootouts (which are really hard to make entertaining, in the glut of routine action flicks that overflow our video racks), an enjoyably quirky supporting cast of character actors, and dialogue you could really sink your teeth into. ("I wanted this to be professional. Efficient, adroit, cooperative, not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life.") This flick was so pervasive, we had to endure a slew of rip-offs: Die Hard at sea, Die Hard on an ocean liner, Die Hard in a friggin' library! OK, so they never did one in a library, but that would be pretty funny, wouldn't it? [Indeed they did do it in a library: Masterminds. -Ed.]

What a pity that Die Hard 2: Die Harder (based on the novel 58 Minutes) falls into the trap of being just another Die Hard in Washington's Dulles Airport. I mean, it's kinda funny that John McClane (Bruce Willis, having a good ol' time) acknowledges his pathetic luck. Not this shit again! He's waiting for his wife's plane to land when terrorists seize control of the airport, crashing a plane just to prove that they'll stop at nothing. Yes, they will stop at nothing! Insert an evil laugh here, and throw in a moustache twirl, why dontcha?

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Field Of Dreams Review

Briefly, the plot of Field of Dreams: A thirty-something man hears voices from a Higher Power, abandons his ties to his family, wanders the earth gathering a passel of believers, suffers the mocking laughter of his townspeople but soon redeems himself, and, finally, is reconciled with his father. Say what you want about Kevin Costner, but you can't say he never played Jesus Christ.

In the '90s, Costner's messianic ambitions - his belief that his aw-shucks Everyman demanded an epic canvas to match his bank account - produced some of the worst films ever made. But his attitude works perfectly in 1989's Field of Dreams (based on the book Shoeless Joe) because the setting is appropriately modest; if we could never buy him as a post-apocalyptic savior, he's just fine as a middle-class hero. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a rat-race refugee who's moved his wife Anni (Amy Madigan) and daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann) to a farmhouse in Iowa. One evening, alone amongst the corn, Ray hears a voice tell him, "If you build it, they will come." A vision of a baseball field is presented before him, and he immediately sets to work re-creating it, believing that it might help him better understand his late father, from whom he was long estranged.

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The Girl Next Door (2004) Review

It's been said that opposites attract, and in The Girl Next Door, those opposites just happen to be a high school student body president and a porn star. Interesting combination; I guess love has no boundaries. Though their relationship may stretch the limits of the old saying, they're drawn to each other partially because each one desires a bit of the other's life.

Matthew (Emile Hirsch) is at the top of his class, has recently been accepted to Georgetown University, and is readying himself for a career in politics. He's also preparing to deliver a speech (on morality, ironically) that could earn him a prestigious scholarship. Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) wants a break from her job in the Los Angeles porn industry, and is housesitting for her aunt who lives next door to Matthew. She's also hiding out from her producer, ex-boyfriend Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) who nets $30,000 for each film she makes. Matthew wants to be cool like the school jocks that cut class and ditch school; Danielle wants to get the college education she never had and live a normal, suburban existence. They're perfect for each other, right?

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The Rocketeer Review

The poor man's Indiana Jones, complete with Nazi subterfuge and heroine in distress. This paean to the cliffhangers of yore never really finds its footing, unfortunately. It's a rather tired story about a lost jet pack and the daredevil (Bill Campbell -- who hasn't had a starring role since) who finds it, and so on and so forth. Very straightforward, the mystery doesn't go very far and the love story (with Jennifer Connelly) is totally stillborn. The clever use of historical figures like Howard Hughes and W.C. Fields is really the film's only highlight.
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