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Foxy Brown Review


Good
Pam Grier's most notorious role as the title character in Foxy Brown is a cult classic that's best enjoyed with your tongue firmly in cheek and your political correctness gene locked out in the backyard. Stilted acting, absurd sexual shenanigans, and enough hair and wardrobe changes to keep a dozen costumers busy all combine to create a memorable and quite silly moviegoing experience. Plot is minimal: Foxy is looking for revenge when her boyfriend gets shot. And what Foxy wants, she gets. Meanwhile, we get a "whole lotta woman," and not much else.

The Adventures Of Pluto Nash Review


Bad
The year is 2080 and not a damn thing has changed - wannabes still roam the universe looking for a gig, clubs still try to make a small budget look like a big one, and most movies still suck... this one in particular.

Eddie Murphy is, you guessed it, Pluto Nash... present club owner and former smuggler extraordinaire. As it starts, Pluto has been out of prison a week, already saving the lives of Polish accordion players in kilts, negotiating bookies into lending him millions of dollars, and turning the worst bar on the moon into the satellite's hottest nightclub. Cut to seven years later and Pluto's club is hot, the jokes aren't, and a charming wannabe singer comes into the club looking for work, about five minutes before it gets blown up, leaving only Pluto, the singer, and an antiquated security robot named Bruno (Randy Quaid).

Continue reading: The Adventures Of Pluto Nash Review

Holy Smoke Review


Essential
It's so comforting to see a talented actor recover from the precarious heights of mass-market success. After Titanic, I was perfectly prepared to condemn Kate Winslet to the same pit of has-been obscurity Leonardo DiCaprio belongs in. Fortunately, Winslet didn't sink with the ship.

Holy Smoke is the entrancing story of two zealots on a collision course with fate. Ruth, played by Winslet, is a young Australian who finds what she believes to be the path to enlightenment through the influence of a Guru while on holiday in India. When Mum (Julie Hamilton) gets word, she cooks up a plot to lure Ruth home and hires top cult deprogrammer PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel) to bring her daughter to reason.

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Jackie Brown Review


Very Good
In many ways, this is the anti-Tarantino movie.

Jackie Brown is a potboiler, and a fairly good one at that, but those looking for slam-bang Tarantino action like that seen in Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs will be disappointed, and sorely so.

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Love The Hard Way Review


Good
That shiny Best Actor Oscar notwithstanding, the jury's still out on Adrien Brody's capabilities as an actor. Setting aside The Pianist, what do we have? A solid but small role in Summer of Sam as an anxious '70s punk. A solid but small role in The Thin Red Line as an anxious World War II soldier. A solid but small role in Liberty Heights as an anxious Baltimore Jew. And a journeyman job in his lead in Bread and Roses, where he played an anxious union organizer. All nice enough work, and Lord knows we need somebody to play those anxious roles now that Woody Allen and Bob Balaban are getting on in years. But as an actor, he deserves no more praise than any other young actor who's landed a few good parts -- Brendan Fraser, say, or Philip Seymour Hoffman. Brody is brilliant at playing the wounded man, and in the ear of burly mushmouths like Vin Diesel, that's daring. But it's not necessarily a great acting career.

Love the Hard Way isn't going to settle the matter. As Jack Grace, he's a conflicted, embittered, and, yes, anxious young man who commits small-time crimes in New York City hotel rooms. He and his partner Charlie (Jon Seda) use strippers and acting student to play prostitutes; dressed as cops, Jack and Charlie collar the johns and loot their wallets. It's a cheap life he's got, and Brody is sharp enough to play Jack as a guy who knows it. When he slips on his snazzy snakeskin jacket, he looks like he's trying too hard, and when he says he doesn't care for books or intellectuals, he's lying. His private office - which happens to be a pallet in a storage space - serves as his sanctuary, where he works on novelizing his own life and reading the works of Charles Bukowski and Ezra Pound, first editions of which he buys from a fence.

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The Package Review


Good
A capable and decent thriller, The Package has that familiar old Gene Hackman crusty military character that we've all grown to love. The conspiracy/nuclear disarmament plot is really outdated now, but a little paranoia can go a long way in a flick like this.

On The Edge (1985) Review


Good
For 100 years, the Dipsea has been one of running's most grueling races -- seven miles along unpaved forest trails from inland to the Pacific Ocean in Mill Valley, California, going up and down two mountains en route.

On the Edge uses the Dipsea (here called the Cielo Sea) as the backdrop for this sports fable, and it's a far cry from films like Chariots of Fire. Bruce Dern (himself a real runner) stars as Wes Holman, a disgraced athlete who blew the whistle on amateur payola and ended up taking the fall for it. Despite external pressures and being a little out of shape, Holman trains for the race, the reasons and motivations of which form the core of the movie.

Continue reading: On The Edge (1985) Review

Ghosts Of Mars Review


Terrible
America loves convenience. After all, we're the culture that invented the cell phone, the 24-hour ATM, and my most beloved, the remote control. Yet perhaps this time, with Ghosts of Mars, we have taken our love of convenience to far.

Ghosts of Mars stars Natasha Henstridge as a tough as nails, pill-poppin', Martian cop, sent with her squadron to retrieve "Demolition" Williams (Ice Cube) from a remote mining town for trial back home. When she and her comrades, appropriately dubbed "The Commander," "The Rookies," and the guy with the cool accent discover the town's residents slaughtered, they are forced to team up with Williams to escape from the remaining residents' head-chopping, alien-possessed clutches.

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Snow Day Review


Very Good
It's tough for a Texas boy to relate to the concept of a snow day. We had the occasional sleet day or hurricane day, sure, but snow? Whether you live in the tundra or not, I'm sure everyone can relate to the real story of Snow Day, the tale of a boy who pines for the school beauty, a girl far above his station with whom he never has a shot.

Maybe we can relate a little too well. This story has literally been done to death (it feels practically like a remake of 1995's Angus), but at least Snow Day is reasonably funny along the way. Thanks to the movie's "fresh new stars," Snow Day feels newer than it should. And thanks to leading kids Mark Webber (Drive Me Crazy) and Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek), the movie has a lot of charm and heart.

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Holy Smoke Review


OK

A dingy, daffy, Australian-flavored comedy about conviction, faith and self-awareness, "Holy Smoke" stars Kate Winslet as a young woman seduced by Eastern religion while traveling in India and Harvey Keitel as the American deprogrammer retained by her panicked, sheltered, suburbanite parents to snap her out of a perceived fog of cult influence.

Directed by Jane Campion ("The Piano," "Portrait of a Lady") with a cheeky bent of absurdist humor, the first act tracks the heroine's fragile, twittering mum (Julie Hamilton) on a trip to India to retrieve her Guru-gripped daughter on the false pretense that her father has had a stroke.

After much conflict (on Kate's part) and consternation (mom's reaction to pretty much everything around her), she returns home, still swathed in a sari and "om"-ing to her heart's content -- only to discover she's been duped. Ruth (Winslet) is escorted to a remote outback cabin where P.J. Waters (Keitel), a cocksure "exit counselor" in snake skin boots and starched jeans, waits to poke holes in her metaphysical hot air balloon.

Continue reading: Holy Smoke Review

Bones Review


OK

Before its last-reel nosedive into bullpucky about a parallel world of the dead, the hip-hop horror flick "Bones" is gutsy, stylish and inventive.

Building on the foundation of a haunted house plot, director Ernest Dickerson mixes great B-movie goosebumps with a revenge fantasy that takes aim at how drug culture has overrun black neighborhoods turning them into ghettos.

He introduces a trio of young urban entrepreneurs who plan to renovate a long-abandoned, ominously cathedral-like brownstone in a bad neighborhood, opening it as a nightclub when they're done. But we know from the get-go that the deck is stacked against them. In the movie's opening scene, two white-bread frat boys looking to score dope get dragged into the place and gored by a red-eyed demon dog that the whole 'hood likes to pretend doesn't exist.

Continue reading: Bones Review

Jawbreaker Review


Zero

Like the recent teen flick mishap "She'sAll That," "Jawbreaker" is anotherone of those high school movies that presumes a nerd's wildest dream isbe to become shallow and popular, and that said nerd would do just aboutanything -- even become an accessory to murder -- to see that dream cometrue.

The premise here is that when a SoCal teen wallflower (JudyEvans Greer) stumbles on the campus vanity princess squad covering up theiraccidental murder of another popular girl, the cold-blooded triad buy hersilence with a make-over and an introduction into their clique.

Continue reading: Jawbreaker Review

Snow Day Review


Weak

Somehow, the kid movie genre made it all the way to 2000 without a feature about rugrats running rampant in celebration of snow-closed schools. It's such a great idea that it's hard to imagine nobody thought of it before.

Alas, nobody did. So now enter "Snow Day," a production of kiddie cable network Nickelodeon, in which a band of neighborhood children resolve once and for all to defeat their most wicked adversary -- the sinister Snow Plow Man (Chris Elliott), who takes great glee clearing the roads so efficiently that the kids never get two days off in a row.

This winter, the kids (lead by young Zena Grey, "The Bone Collector") vow to do whatever it takes -- snowball fights, dirty tricks, laying traps, playing chicken with the giant plow and even kidnapping the plow man's scary pet bird -- to get that second snow day.

Continue reading: Snow Day Review

In Too Deep Review


OK

Not a bad idea, making a ghetto gangland rehash of "Donnie Brasco," that surprisingly powerful Johnny Depp-Al Pacino picture from 1997 about an FBI man deep undercover in the mob.

A story about a cop losing himself in the ambitious, low-level mafioso character he creates as his cover, that flick followed its hero's discovery of the gray areas between right and wrong, and watched his loyalty split between duty and friendship as he immersed himself in mob life.

"In Too Deep" is a strikingly similar yarn, set within a powerful Cincinnati street gang run by a bad-ass cocaine kingpin who calls himself God (LL Cool J). The cop, played here by Omar Epps ("The Mod Squad"), is plucked straight out of the academy for this infiltration assignment, based on his background as a street tough and the fact that he's new to Cinci, so there's no one to blow his cover.

Continue reading: In Too Deep Review

Ghosts Of Mars Review


Weak

There's a definite B-movie appeal to the ham-fisted acting, high body count and heavy metal soundtrack of John Carpenter's sci-fi/action/horror flick "Ghost of Mars."

The man has been making roguishly chintzy movies for a living since 1974's space-faring spoof "Dark Star," and he's good at it. But give Carpenter an A-movie budget and a script devoid of camp value, and you just don't get what you paid for.

Here's a high-concept story about long-dormant ethereal Martians taking over the bodies of human colonists and going on killing sprees en masse, and there's not a tongue-in-cheek laugh to be had in the whole picture. Instead, there's a lot of testosterone posturing, heavy artillery fire and a burdensome flashback-within-flashback narrative that follows a police unit dispatched to a remote "Mad Max"-like mining outpost to bring back a supposedly savage criminal played by the permanently furrow-browed Ice Cube.

Continue reading: Ghosts Of Mars Review

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Pam Grier Movies

The Man With the Iron Fists Movie Review

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Rapper-turned-actor-turned-filmmaker RZA is clearly influenced by cohorts Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth as he indulges...

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'The Man with the Iron Fists' tells the tale of a blacksmith in the 1800s...

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Larry Crowne Movie Review

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A painfully squishy centre completely undoes this rom-com, although it's difficult to know what might...

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Larry Crowne is one of the best employees at the local big-box store where he...

Just Wright Trailer

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Sometims the girl just doesn't get her dream guy, and for Leslie this has always...

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The Adventures of Pluto Nash Movie Review

The Adventures of Pluto Nash Movie Review

The year is 2080 and not a damn thing has changed - wannabes still roam...

Bones Movie Review

Bones Movie Review

In this cheesy flick, rapper extraordinaire Snoop Dogg simply barks up the wrong tree....

Holy Smoke Movie Review

Holy Smoke Movie Review

It's so comforting to see a talented actor recover from the precarious heights of mass-market...

Jackie Brown Movie Review

Jackie Brown Movie Review

In many ways, this is the anti-Tarantino movie.Jackie Brown is a potboiler, and a fairly...

Love the Hard Way Movie Review

Love the Hard Way Movie Review

That shiny Best Actor Oscar notwithstanding, the jury's still out on Adrien Brody's capabilities as...

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