Mr. Holland is, of all things, a lowly high school band teacher, and the film follows 30 years of his life, from 1965 to the present. Mr. Holland, in his first year of teaching, finds himself turning into that very thing which he detests, a dry and boring instructor who isn't getting through to the kids, so he decides to make a few changes in his teaching style to get the students involved and interested. Using all manner of unorthodox teaching methods, Mr. Holland eventually breaks through and becomes the darling of John F. Kennedy High School, and we see the profound effect he really does have on a number of his students.
Continue reading: Mr. Holland's Opus Review
At least one of the seven credited writers of the sequel-for-sequel's-sake holiday kiddie flick "The Santa Clause 2" clearly felt obliged to try to remedy the picture's contemptibly contrived premise by writing some really funny dialogue. And at least for-hire director Michael Lembeck (a sitcom vet making his screen debut) managed to infuse the movie with a fun, touching, sweet spirit.
But these acts are akin to Christmas miracles, coming as they do under the burden of a plot -- scratch that, a gimmick -- that revolves around finding even more fine print on the calling card of a dead St. Nick, which turned divorced suburban dad Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) into Santa Claus in the original family comedy from 1994.
It seems the elves waited eight years to inform their new Santa that he has until this Christmas to find a Mrs. Claus -- or else. "The de-Santafication process has already begun," frets head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz) as he shoos Scott off to find a wife. Meanwhile cherubic techie-elf Curtis (played by Spencer Breslin, one of those child actors who runs all his lines together without taking a breath or showing a hint of inflection) clones a big, rubbery toy Santa automaton (played by Allen in heavy prosthetic makeup) to stand in for Scott (unconvincingly) so the other elves won't learn of his predicament and panic at his absence.
Continue reading: The Santa Clause 2 Review
"This could be your 'Sixth Sense,'" someone probably told Kevin Costner when pitching him the concept for the beyond-the-grave chiller "Dragonfly" -- "could" being the operative word. Just how spine-tingling this movie seems will depend entirely on how attune you are to its sometimes heavy-handed foreshadowing.
It wouldn't be fair to give away any of the clues to the movie's conclusion in this review because while, in retrospect, the equation is as simple as 2 + 2, for the better part of the film the formula is obscured by allusionary symbolism that is sometimes quite effective and other times downright obtuse. Figure it out when the director wants you to -- a few minutes before the end, of course -- and you'll get those tingles. Catch on too early to the big red flags and you'll have nothing to do but note the movie's many other shortcomings.
Costner plays Dr. Joe Darrow, an emergency room surgeon whose life is turned upside-down when his saintly pediatrician wife (Susanna Thompson from TV's "Once and Again") is killed in a bus accident while on a humanitarian mission in the jungles of Venezuela.
Continue reading: Dragonfly Review