Thursday Night Movie Club
Titles N through P

- friday, 11/26/04
jon turteltaub's "national treasure" (nicolas cage, sean bean, jon voight, harvey keitel, christopher plummer, diane kruger, and justin bartha).  good rousing treasure-hunting fun, with nic and his sidekicks searching for an ancient hoard of incalculable value, hidden by the founding parents (trying to be politically correct here) of the USA, all the while being chased by the FBI and a british bad guy.  I have my doubts about the accuracy of the historical references used, but the clever and obscure clues, and nic's ability to bring a certain earnest mania to even the most ridiculous concepts, make it a lot of fun.  critics who panned this flick obviously took it too seriously. it's a Disney movie, for chrissakes!

- thursday, 7/30/98
"the negotiator" (dir: f. gary gray, starring samuel l. jackson, kevin spacey, j.t. walsh, david morse, ron rifkin, paul giamatti, siobhan fallon, and john spenser).  taught and gripping drama with mesmerizing performances from jackson and spacey, and great supporting players too.  interesting blend of original and upredictable main story line with cliched and predictable vignettes, kind of like it was making fun of the cop movie genre that it was transcending.  also good use of chicago downtown location.

- friday, 8/27/99
rented michael curtiz' "night and day" from 1946 (cary grant, alexis smith, montey woolley, eve arden, mary martin, alan hale, jane wyman); a dubious bio-pic of cole porter, made according to strictest formula, but chock full of great porter tunes performed by a poupourri of talent.  saw it many years ago on TV, it still delights.

- thursday, 3/8/07
joel schumacher's "the number 23" (jim carrey and virginia madsen).  this movie has gotten very mixed (i.e., bad) reviews, but i enjoyed it a lot. it features carrey and madsen both in multiple roles. carrey plays it straight, and is a pretty decent dramatic actor. madsen, as usual, is wonderful but underused.  carrey starts out as an ordinary schmoe (who happens to be a dog catcher!), who comes across a strange book called "the number 23." the book is about a man who is obsessed with the number, and finds it everywhere. carrey is fascinated by the parallels between the character in the book and his own life, and soon finds himself obsessing about the mysterious number 23 as well. the obsession becomes darker and more dangerous as time goes on. we watch his life and his sanity crumble before our eyes.  the movie goes back and forth between carrey's character's real life , and the plot of the book, and they become more and more intertwined. at one point, i wasn't sure what was "real" and what was in his head, and was worried that the movie would cop out and not take a stand. but in the end, all is resolved (not necessarily in a happy way, but in a logical way) and you know exactly what happened. no "cheating" by the filmmakers.  if you aren't afraid of seeing a movie that got lousy reviews, and like a sort of twilight zone, x-files type plot, you might enjoy this one.

- sunday, 2/11/01
the coen brothers' "o brother, where art thou?" (george clooney, john turturro, tim blake nelson, john goodman, holly hunter, chris thomas king, charles durning, michael badalucco, daniel "seinfeld's kruger" von bargen).  the coen's continue their formula of taking a well known actor that they haven't used before and casting him as their lead, then surrounding him by all their usual supporting players, and placing them into an interesting little chunk of americana.  like "the big lebowski", this one doesn't add up to much in the end, but is basically just a series of cute little vingettes.  however, it was much more fun than TBL, without being nearly as satisfying as their more story-oriented flicks (raising arizona, fargo, etc.).  the story is about three chain-gang escapees in mississippi during the depression, trying to retrieve a treasure and evade recapture at the same time, and the merry mixups and oddball characters that they cross paths with along the way.  some of the bits were really funny, some were pretty gross (and funny).  many references to homer's "the odyssey" to make you feel literate, but it was hardly "based on" it as the early press seemed to indicate.

thursday, 12/12/01
steven soderbergh's "ocean's 11" (george clooney, brad pitt, matt damon, elliott gould, carl reiner, andy garcia, julia roberts, don cheadle, bernie mac). lightweight fun; all style and no substance, and not that much style, either.  some clever plot twists, some snappy patter, but not much else.

- thursday, 12/16/04
steven soderbergh's "ocean's twelve" (george clooney, brad pitt, matt damon, catherine zeta-jones, andy garcia, scott can, casey affleck, bernie mac, don cheadle, carl reiner, elliott gould, robbie coltrane, albert finney, topher grace, bruce willis, vincint cassel, and julia roberts).  I thought that "ocean's eleven" from a few years ago was a completely unnecessary and useless remake.  this is an even more unnecessary and unenjoyable sequel.  it is sort of posited as a "caper flick", but doesn't have any of the true elements of a caper flick, like a logical plot!  really just a bunch of photo-ops for a cadre of pretty-boys to try to look cool, and fail.  I especially hated how they found it necessary to shoe-horn in all the characters from the previous flick, if they were needed by the story or not.  the only remotely worthwhile part of the entire production was CZJ, who was as beautiful as usual.

- thursday, 9/18/03
robert rodriguez's "once upon a time in mexico" (antonio banderas, johnny depp, eva mendes, cheech marin, ruben blades, willem dafoe, pedro armendariz jr., salma hayek, and mickey rourke).  third flick in the "el mariachi trilogy" by rodriguez.  bigger, badder, and bolder than ever, with even more violence and mayhem than the first two flicks.  totally played for fun without a serious bone in its body.  even the opening credits were tongue in cheek ("a robert rodriguez flick" and "shot, chopped and scored by robert rodriguez").  antonio is back as the shemp-howard-coiffed musician-turned-killer, seeking vengeance against anyone and everyone.  depp plays a hilariously corrupt CIA agent with an endless supply of novelty T-shirts, who doesn't even slow down for minor inconveniences like getting his eyes gouged out.  more sub-plots than you can possibly follow, but that's okay, as the plot isn't really the point.  the joyful violence and quirky characters and odd kinetic camera work and strangely evocative feelings are what make this movie enjoyable.  oh, and eva mendes.  to think that I thought salma hayek was a mexican cutie!  yowza!!

- thursday, 9/5/02
mark romanek's "one hour photo" (robin williams, erin daniels, gary cole, connie nielson, will yorkin, eriq lasalle).  the normally nausea-inducing williams does a rare good job of acting as a creepy photo processor at a walmart-like megastore, who first admires, then gradually starts stalking, a normal family that always brings him their treasured memories.  the movie was good at getting gradually creepier and creepier, so you almost start squirming in your seat.

- thursday, 5/10/01
harald zwart's "one night at mccool's" (matt dillon, paul reiser, liv tyler, andrew dice clay, john goodman, reba mcentire, michael douglas, and andrew dice clay).  i haven't enjoyed a movie this much in a long, long time.  a very dark comedy with a fresh spin on an old concept: the femme fatale who plays men for fools to get her way, but the story is told from three different perspectives, one for each of the main dupes, as told to their respective confidants.  overall, the story unfolds, and the audience figures out what is going on, even though all the information is filtered through the characters' personal viewpoints and fantasies.  in the meantime, it is a hilarious, multi-faceted tale of hopes and dreams, betrayals and snow-globes, love and infatuation and other crimes and misdemeanors.  everyone eventually gets their come-uppance.  andrew dice clay is hilarious in dual cameo roles and gets the best line of the film (the "village people" line).

- friday, 6/18/04
rented on DVD, brian helgeland's "the order" (heath ledger, shannyn sossamon, mark addy, benno furmann, and peter weller).  this movie got horrible reviews, but I really enjoyed it.  a renegade priest, searching for the truth, finds a truth that the Church abhors: the existence of a "sin eater" who can get you to heaven WITHOUT the help of the church.  clearly a power struggle and source of turmoil for all involved.  good eerie cinematography, good acting, some clever dialogue, and clever and quirky concepts made this a very thought-provoking flick.  also, nice to see three of the stars from "a knights tale" together again!

- saturday, 7/19/03
saturday night home alone watching tv, saw larry cohen's 1996 "original gangstas" (fred williamson, jim brown, pam grier, paul winfield, isabel sanford, richard roundtree, robert forster, charles napier) on UPN.  man, I felt like I had the ghost of quentin tarantino sitting beside me watching this flick.  it is sort of a parody of 1970s blaxploitation movies; or is it an homage? or a return to the genre?  hard to say.  basically, a light-weight bit of fluff with non-scary violence as old-school tough-guys show the young turks, who have take over the town of gary indiana, how to really kick some booty.  if you're in the right mood, it is great stuff!

- thursday, 8/16/01
michael cristofer's "original sin" (antonio banderas, angelina jolie, thomas jane, jack thompson, pedro armendáriz jr.).  antonio banderas and angelina jolie play a deadly game of cat and mouse....  not really, but i always wanted to start a review that way, and it's kind of true.  antonio proves yet again that he can play a man as stupid as a bag of hammers, yet you forgive him and root for him anyway.  angelina plays the manipulative vixen that the audience sees through immediately, as they are supposed to.  add in a campy, melodramatic story, a fair amount of murder and mayhem, a turn of the (last) century steamy cuban setting, and plenty of soft-core sex, and you have a pretty fun movie.

- saturday, 7/2/05
howard hughes' "the outlaw" (jack beutel, jane russell, thomas mitchell, walter huston).  got this DVD for free at circuit city when I bought a battery!  but it was mighty good.  released in 1943, it is mighty primitive, even by the standards of the day, but still tells a very clean, lean, pared-down story of love and strategy and betrayal in the old west.  I somehow doubt that pat garrett, billy the kid, and doc holliday ever really all met, especially in the highly dubious seinfeld-esque situations depicted here, but the movie is still highly recommended for students of film, westerns, and story-telling.  walter huston is an excellent doc holliday, almost up there with val kilmer!

- thursday, 6/8/06
tim Johnson and karey kirkpatrick's "over the hedge" (bruce willis, garry shandling, steve carell, william shatner, nick nolte, thomas haden church, eugene levy, catherine o'hara, and others).  not quite pixar-quality entertainment, but I still thought this flick was quite good.  a bunch of animals try to forage for food in a newly-built housing subdivision, which gives ample opportunity for satire on suburban life.  and the conniving raccoon learns a thing or two about friendship.  awwww.

- thursday, 5/9/02
david fincher's "panic room" (jodie foster, kristen stewart, forest whitaker, jared leto, dwight yoakam, patrick bauchau, ian buchanan).  this could be the first great movie of the year.  great story and script, lots of great tension, lots of subtle humor, and lots of that patented david fincher camera work (through keyholes and walls and coffee pot handles, swooping around the townhouse, etc.) that made "fight club" so visually stimulating.  three burglars break into a house, and the mother and daughter living there hide in the inviolable "panic room".  but what the burglars want is IN the panic room!  what follows is basically a long, complex game of cat-and-mouse, with the roles switching frequently.  the three burglars kept reminding me of the three stooges, in a way that was humorous and menacing at the same time.  one note: this wasn't really a comedy, but the humor was still there and irresistible.

- thursday, 9/16/04
paul abascal's "paparazzi" (tom sizemore, cole hauser, robin tunney, dennis farina, daniel baldwin, chris rock, clyde kusatsu, and totally gratuitous cameos by vince vaughn, matthew mcconaughey, and mel gibson himself!).  quite entertaining revenge yarn of a suddenly-famous action star whose life is shattered by some out-of-control photographers.  he gets them back by being cleverer and meaner than they are.  you aren't really sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but hey, it's only a movie!  dennis farina channels Columbo as he tries to figure out why the paparazzi are getting systematically bumped off, and tom sizemore is his usual wonderfully manic self as the lead terrorizer.  some funny cameos, and jokes making fun of the film industry, add to the fun.  since mel gibson produced this film, I couldn't help but see many parallels with the original "mad max" plot.

- thursday, 3/4/04
mel gibson's "the passion of the christ" (james caviezel, monica bellucci, maia morgenstern, mattia sbragia, hristo shopov).  a movie that was at once incredibly beautiful and incredibly horrible, and I'm sure that is exactly what was intended.  mel gibson is becoming one of my favorite directors.  if he never acts again (and I love his acting) it will be a blessing, if he devotes his time to directing movies like this.  I don't think I've ever seen a more violent movie, or one where the violence had more of a purpose.  it depicts the last day of jesus's life, in excruciating detail, and shows us villains galore.  nobody is spared any guilt: romans, jews, and even the apostles.  the imagery is still haunting me.  I loved the androgynous, eyebrow-free satan (complete with nostril maggots), the constantly moving camera, the dirt and the blood and the dust, the crushing weight of the cross, the rotting donkey corpse, the red-tinged skies, and the agonizing soulful faces.  totally haunting.

- thursday, 7/6/00
roland emmerich's "the patriot" (mel gibson, heath ledger, joely richardson, jason isaacs, tom wilkinson, rene auberjonois, adam {not a brother} baldwin); a long, rousing, and disturbingly violent patriotic look at how the militia saved the revolution.  mel is great with his shemp howard haircut and no-holds-barred attitude toward killing redcoats (even enlisting his young sons to help when necessary). thank god clinton and gore weren't in charge in those days, or none of the common folks would have had guns to help the cause.  anyway, lots of head-loppings, face to face battles, and period costumes really brought home to me the actual immediacy of the revolutionary era battle tactics, and the way the war was actually fought in our own front yards, not in far away jungles.  the flick was long, but mesmerising, and never dragged.  reminiscent of "braveheart" (if not nearly as good as that masterpiece), it never dissapoints.  also, being directed and produced by the same team as "independence day" (emmerich and dean devlin), you could see the parallels in style and theme, if not in story or detail.  although it had the same writer as the awful "saving private ryan", it was infinitely better at making you care about the characters and the direction of the story.  go, continentals!  (for larry's somewhat dissenting view, click here.)

- thursday, 1/15/04
john woo's "paycheck" (ben affleck, uma thurmon, aaron eckhart, paul giamatti, and joe morton).  a strangely non-woo-ish thriller about an engineer who is hired to invent "something", and paid handsomely for it, but on the deal that his memory is wiped at the end of the project.  he comes out of it all to find that he has forfeited his paycheck for an oddball collection of office supplies, and such.  why?  he reasons that he was leaving himself a "message" and proceeds to figure it out, save the world, and get the girl.  but where was all the slow-motion, operatic violence that woo is so good at?  there was action and mayhem, but he seemed to be phoning this one in.  still, it was entertaining, and it's always good to see the "anti-tom-cruise" affleck with his handsome, but always humble, demeanor.

- thursday, 5/31/01
michael bay's "pearl harbor" (ben affleck, josh hartnett, kate beckinsale, cuba gooding jr., tom sizemore, jon voight, alec baldwin, ted mcginley, mako, dan aykroyd).  this flick doesn't deserve either the hype or the revulsion it seems to be getting.  it's basically just an old-fashioned war movie with modern hi-tech special effects.  the story is melodramatic and corny, the battle scenes are good and exciting.  the main problem is that it's just too damn long!  oh yeah, the plot:  two childhood buddies grow up to fall in love with the same woman, but the love triangle is neatly solved when the japanese attack pearl harbor.  the entire third hour is really a totally different story that could easily have been left out.  none of the characters or actors really stand out, except for tom sizemore (as a gleefully maniacal soldier) and jon voight (as FDR, the president who made america the great socialist country it is today).  the casting of alec "hollywood liberal pinhead deluxe" baldwin as a fierce soldier was really tough to swallow!  ted mcginley (from "married with children") was listed in the credits, but i didn't spot him.  just as well; i had trouble buying dan aykroyd in his serious role!  overall, i kept comparing this film to "from here to eternity" in my mind, and finding it wanting.  i really needed to see burt lancaster on the roof with an anti-aircraft gun on his hip!

- monday, 7/3/00
wolfgang peterson's "the perfect storm" (george clooney, mark wahlberg, mary elizabeth mastrantonio, john. c. reilly), very intense tale of deep sea fishermen out of massachusetts who need to balance their economic requirements against their safety issues, especially in the light of their loved ones back on shore.  of course it turns into a battle of man against the elements, with great effects and great manly struggles against nature.  lots of grunting, hollering, blowing and billowing, great "how-to" shots regarding the fishing industry, and plenty of high-tech effects.  a very good ride, but it did NOT make we want to go on a fishing trip any time soon!  also reinforced my opinion that george clooney is the john wayne of the new millennium.  (for larry's review, and his fishing trip info, click here.)

- monday, 9/1/03
rented at home - don coscarelli's "phantasm" from 1979 (michael baldwin, bill thornbury, reggie banister, angus scrimm).  this might well have been the film that spawned the phrase "so bad it's good", because it is a hoot, despite really bad writing, acting, and directing.  somehow the clichés, the seventies-era clothes and haircuts, and the total lack of logic and motivation all come together to provide some bizarre but fun horror moments.  basically, two dimwitted brothers and their equally dimwitted friend decide to take on a shape-shifting, body-snatching, alien mortician (the infamous "tall man"), his monk-hooded dwarf slaves, and his flying steel blood-draining billiard balls.  it kind of reminded me of david lynch, minus the talent.  but I liked it!

- thursday, 4/17/03
joel schumacher's "phone booth" (colin farrell, forest whitaker, kiefer sutherland).  a total tour de force, and very well done.  basically, a random innocent guy (well, mostly innocent) is trapped in a phone booth between a sniper who is threatening to kill him, and the cops who think he is a killer himself.  an allegory for one's conscience?  or just a good tense drama?  whatever works for you.  you might think this concept could not possibly sustain an entire movie, but somehow it does.

- saturday, 8/1/98
"pi" (directed by darren aronofsky, starring sean gullette, mark margolis, ben shenkman, and pamela hart).  compared by several critics to "eraserhead", it was a gritty, paranoid, atmospheric tale of an obsessed mathematician (how many of those do you get to see?), shot in glorious high-contrast, high-grain black and white, with lots of pain and fades to white.  the story was riddled with jews and math references, and stuck with me for quite awhile.  stylistically, it was actually the opposite of eraserhead, being frantic and in constant motion as opposed to painfully still and full of pregnant pauses.

- friday, 7/25/03
gore verbinski's "pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl" (johnny depp, geoffrey rush, orlando bloom, keira knightly, and jonathan pryce).  what a great, fun flick!  imagine taking every pirate cliché you can think of (well, except for the totally obvious ones like the eye patch, peg-leg, and hook-hand) and constructing a coherent, fascinating plot out of those very elements.  clichés that WERE used include: buried treasure, caribbean islands, an ancient curse, kidnapped maidens, pirates with earrings and tattoos, walking the plank, parrots, rum, the provincial governor's daughter, cannon fights at sea, mutinies, stuffy fiancés, a wooden eye, noble lower class suitors, and more.  johnny depp was awesome as the effeminate swashbuckling pirate captain that was somehow much more manly than the stiff-upper-lip british aristocrats; and orlando bloom channels a later-day errol flynn.  toss in a ghost story, lots of running gags, and a total tongue-in-cheek attitude, and this movie was a consummate winner.  larry and I were chuckling to ourselves constantly.  I'm hoping for a sequel or five!  oh, and one other thing: stay till the end of the credits, or you'll miss a major plot point.  what, you didn't stay?  serves you right.  how many times do I have to tell you??

- friday, 7/7/06
gore verbinski's "pirates of the caribbean: dead man's chest" (johnny depp, orlando bloom, keira knightley, jack davenport, bill nighy, johathan pryce,stellan skarsgard, tia dalma, and geoffrey rush).  excellent flick, even better than the first one!  exciting, funny, full of action and great special effects, and very well paced.  davy jones's crew of undead sailors, and the cracken, were great effects.  and the escape from the cannibals, and the big "wheel duel" near the end, were hilarious and thrilling at the same time.
          the plot: a big-wig with the east india trading company wants to rule the world (why are the capitalists always the bad guys?) and needs jack sparrow's special compass to accomplish his goals (we don't find out why until much later). to get it, he imprisons elizabeth, and tells will that he will have her put to death unless will can bring him sparrow's compass. meanwhile, sparrow needs the compass himself to find the dead man's chest, which will help him avoid paying a very nasty debt (his soul) to the abominable davy jones. got all that? not like the plot really matters much in the end, especially as it DOESN'T end, but just sets up the next sequel.
          and I'm sure I don't need to remind you to stay for the damn credits!  like the first installment, the post-credit scene gives you some vital information.

- thursday, 2/24/00
david n. twohy's "pitch black" (radha mitchell, cole houser, vin diesel, keith david).  a pretty interesting science fiction flick about people stranded on a strange planet which only RARELY goes completely dark, due to multiple suns.  naturally, one of the rare blackouts is imminent, and it brings forth some really creepy creatures.  nice atmosphere, eerie landscapes and visuals, creepy effects, good ensemble of interesting characters, and nice suspense as they are killed off one by one.

- thursday, 8/2/01
tim burton's "planet of the apes" (mark wahlberg, tim roth, helena bonham carter, michael clarke duncan, david warner, paul giamatti, estella warren, kris kristofferson, charleton heston).  although they billed this as a "re-imaging" of the original, i'd call it just a remake, and a totally unnecessary one at that.  some details made it marginally different from the original version, but there really was nothing new, concept-wise.  the costumes were great of course, as was the dark and erie look, in the usual tim burton style. (several scenes actually reminded me of the look and feel of "wizard of oz", especially the flying monkeys.)  unfortunately, the best parts of the film were the references to and quotes from the original version!  one left-handed compliment:  tim roth's ape character was so well realized and acted that he made all the other apes, good though they were, look fake by comparison.  and i can't figure out where he hid that huge shnoz of his inside that flat-faced makeup!  oh yeah, the plot: modern day astronaut gets catapulted into the future, lands on a planet where apes are the dominant species, and helps the humans fight their way out of subjugation.

- thursday, 1/6/05
robert zemeckis's "the polar express" (tom hanks, nona gaye, eddie deezen, peter scolari, steven tyler).  very strange movie about a boy on the verge of no longer believing in santa, who is whisked away to the north pole on a magical train, and finds out that all the stories are true after all.  the film is completely computer generated with all motion-capture characters (like gollum).  the look is very dark and the pacing is eerie.  I'd say it is probably too scary for kids, but too juvenile for adults.  fortunately, that makes it perfect for me!

- thursday, 3/13/03
gregory "mars" callahan's "poolhall junkies" (mars callahan, chazz palminteri, christopher walken, rick schroder, rod steiger, alison eastwood).  small, indie-type film about young pool hustlers.  very likeable, with cute gags, interesting characters, fun dialog, and stylish direction, but somehow it seemed like just so much fluff.  a pleasant and inoffensive diversion.

- saturday, 8/2/03
rob reiner's "the princess bride" (cary elwes, mandy patinkin, chris sarandon, christopher guest, wallace shawn, andre the giant, fred savage, peter falk, robin wright penn, peter cook, billy crystal, carol kane) rented at home.  when I first saw this movie in the theaters in 1987, I remember thinking that it was okay, if a bit too silly, and too slowly paced by a novice director.  much like a steve martin film, I found that I had much more fun discussing it and quoting it with friends later, than I did while actually watching it.  but, it seems to have developed a cult following since then, so I figured it deserved a second look.  well, I should learn to trust my instincts.  I had exactly the same reaction now, in 2003, as I did in 1987.  interesting, clever, and eminently quotable, but still kinda too silly and too slow for my taste.  also, I suspect that the people who really LOVE this movie have never seen the films that it is paying homage too, like "captain blood" and "the sea hawk".  check them out, please!

- sunday, 6/25/06
rented: susan stroman's "the producers" (nathan lane, matthew broderick, uma thurman, will ferrell, gary beach, roger bart, michael mckean, david huddleston, jon lovitz, and richard kind).  pretty lame.  the musical numbers within the show they produced ("springtime for hitler") were quite good, but the musical numbers by lane and broderick were really bad, not to mention WAY too homo-erotic for my taste. maybe they were better on stage. uma's character had no place in the story and was only a distraction.

- saturday, 12/30/00
taylor hackford's "proof of life" (russell crowe, meg ryan, david morse, david caruso, anthony heald). basic story: meg's engineer of a husband is kindnapped in a banana republic, russell has to get him out, whatever it takes. the result is a very intense militaristic type thriller, with lots of behind the scenes "how do they do it" kind of stuff about the alleged "K and R" (kidnap and rescue) industry.  flawless and unpreposessing direction by hackford made it the kind of high-quality flick that achieves every thrill and emotion that it goes for, but without you ever feeling like you're being manipulated (hear that, spielberg?).  although it was billed in the previews as a kind of triangular love story, that aspect was barely noticable on screen.

- friday, 6/17/05
gregory widen's "the prophecy" from 1995 (christopher walken, elias koteas, chicago's very own virginia madsen, eric stoltz, amanda plummer, steve hytner, and viggo "aragorn" mortensen).  in this movie, some angels are good, some are evil, but all are powerful, and mankind had better watch out!  elias and virginia find themselves caught up in the middle of this angelic war, and must save themselves, not to mention the rest of the world.  a bit of pseudo-catholic mysticism, a dollop of violence, some nice special effects, and you end up with a decent rental flick.  viggo makes a great lucifer in a small but chilling role.  trivia: this movie features no less than THREE actors from "pulp fiction", which came out the previous year!

- thursday, 4/29/04
jonathan hensleigh's "the punisher" (thomas jane, john travolta, will patton, laura harring, roy scheider, rebecca romijn-stamos, and john pinette).  this should have been a pretty good, grisly, violent revenge yarn of the type that hollywood can crank out with its eyes closed.  but they screwed it up.  not only was it silly, badly written, and badly put together, but thomas jane has all the charisma and excitement of a sock puppet!  maybe if roy scheider had been the punisher, instead of the punisher's dad, it would have been worth watching.

- thursday, 4/29/99
mike newell's "pushing tin" (john cusack, billy bob thornton, angelina jolie, cate blanchett).  decent story, interesting characters and ideas, but nothing that sticks with you.  I can barely remember what it was about!  air traffic controllers, or something like that.

TEACH a man to fish, and he drinks for a lifetime...
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Miscellaneous Ramblings
Movies of the Year
Random Quotes
Thursday Night Toast
Hall Of Fame
Underappreciated Movies
Truly Trivial Trivia
Stay for the Credits, Dammit!!!