CAST AWAY (***1/2)- Tom Hanks plays a Federal Express employee who gets stranded on an uninhabited desert island when his plane crashes into the ocean. There's also a romance involving Helen Hunt, and a volley ball named Wilson. What more do you want to know about this movie? There's hardly any soundtrack. The acting is pretty good, considering that there is almost no dialogue while the guy is on the island. He gets hurt a lot. And he grows a beard. Hmm... yeah, that's about it. The plane crash is pretty neat, pretty scary. A lot of the ocean scenes look like they were taken right out of "The Perfect Storm". The ending is kind of lame, if you ask me. The worst part is when he gets rescued, and instead of showing us what happens when he first sees another human being after many years, we get a shot of him on an airplane, clean shaven, and a subtitle reading "Four Weeks Later". How dissappointing. There was one pretty moving scene, which I don't want to give away in case you see the movie, but it ends up with Tom Hanks crying and saying "I'm sorry". I thought that part was sad. Anyway, this movie clearly had a really good idea behind it... I just wish they had done more with it.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS (****1/2)- when I first heard about this movie, I had my doubts. I thought it would be "Cyote Ugly" but with fighting instead of bartending. In actuality, however, it is more like "Cyote Ugly" meets "The Matrix" meets "Austin Powers"... in other words, it is an awesome action movie with plenty of humor and attractive young women. The special effects are awesome, the acting is appropriately campy, and even the writing isn't too bad. The plot is pretty basic (something about a villian trying to steal a new piece of computer technology) but really, that isn't the point of the movie at all. Tom Green makes an appearance as Chad, the crazy captain of a dilapidated boat. Bill Murray (one of my favorites) and the guy who played Dr. Frankenfurter in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (I'm forgetting his name right now. Tim something) also have pretty big parts. And check out the guy who plays the "Thin Man". That's the same guy who was in Back to the Future as the dorky dad! Pretty cool, huh? As you can tell, I really liked this movie. It is well worth the eight bucks you pay at the theatre. Just don't think about it too much afterwords.
CHASING AMY (***)-this is a film from one of my favorite writers/directors Kevin Smith. In it, Ben Affleck plays a comic book illustrator who falls in love with a lesbian, and the problems that ensue. It has pretty much the same cast from "Clerks" and "Mallrats". Matt Damon is in one scene for like two seconds, and of course Jay and Silent Bob make an apperance. Silent Bob (played by Kevin Smith himself, if you didn't know) has a much bigger speaking part in this movie than he does in the other movies. Anyway, this is an ok film, but if you want a Kevin Smith movie you should go for Clerks, Dogma, or Mallrats. This is the worst of the bunch.
CHOCOLAT(****)- a delightful little fairy tale set in a quaint French village during the early 1950's about a mysterious wandering chocolate maker and her illegitamate daughter. It also has Johnny Depp as a gypsy who lives on a boat, and Judy Dench as an unconventional grandmother. The acting is quite good, as is the story. I was kind of into the criticism of organized religion, but the short sermon at the end was also good. The thing I thought was especially cool about this movie, though, was that it had a pretty clear moral to it. A lot of movies these days, you watch them and then you walk out of the theatre exactly the same as when you walked in, just eight bucks poorer. This film, though, attempts to teach the audience about a number of things, especially tolerance and acceptance of other people. But it dosen't do it in such a corny way. I don't know. I just thought it was neat. Check it out.
CLERKS(***1/2)- Yet another Kevin Smith movie. This is a hilarious, character driven film about two average convienience store workers. Horrendous acting, but great none the less. Lots of bad words, so cover your ears, kiddies.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (***1/2)- a very popular movie by a very influential director. "A Clockwork Orange" is the story of a young man growing up in the not-so-distant future (somewhere in time and space, la la la) named Alex (played very well by Malcom McDowell). Alex's favorite past times include beating up homeless people, raping women, stealing money, drinking drug-laced milk, and listening to Beethoven. He enjoys these hobbies for some time, but then, one day, he is caught and taken to prison. There they preform a new type of "tratment" on him which involves clamping his eyes open and forcing him to watch violent movies. When he is released back into the world he is incapable of being violent, and essentially at the mercy of a world just as cruel as he once was. Interesting stuff. Anyway, the film is directed by Stanley Kubrick (who made a multitude of remarkable movies, including "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Full Metal Jacket", and "Paths of Glory") and based on a book by another guy. The movie is visually beautiful, and expertly shot. The use of music is quite notable, especailly for the time this movie was released. And, despite the violence and stuff, much of the movie is quite funny. Apparently the future is full of all kinds of fallic art pieces. But, despite looking and sounding nice, the movie does have its down sides. The plot hits a major lull about half way through, for example, and never really regains the speed and intensity it has in the beginning. There are some other aspects of the plot that don't really make much sense. Perhaps this is the nature of the story in general, but personally, I thought they could have been better explained. In any case, though, you should probably see this movie just because it was so influential and controversial (it was actually banned in England because kids started imitating Alex and his friends in the movie, beating up people and whatnot). Make sure to look closley in the music store scene... there's a copy of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" soundtrack near Alex's leg when he stands at the counter.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (***1/2)- written and directed by Steven "Jurassic Park" Spielberg, and starring Richard "Mr. Holland's Opus" Dryfuss, this is a movie about what would happen if aliens came to earth. So what would happen? Well, for one thing, people would start building mountains out of mashed potatoes. The aliens in this movie are apparently from the planet Disco because they've got all sorts of crazy colored lights and music and stuff. It's a groovy invasion, baby!
CRADLE WILL ROCK (****1/2)-wow, what a great movie. Set in 1937, "Cradle Will Rock" has to do with the communist scare, and how it affected American theatre. A great cast including Bill Murray, Susan Sarandon, Joan and John Cusack, and Jack Black (he was the loud, funny employee in High Fedelity, if you didn't know). Very well directed, and overall a great film. There were a few things that I thought were a little weird or unexplained, but they hardly mar the overall movie.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (****1/2)-you must, must, must see this movie in the theatre while you still have time. I don't even know how to explain it. It is like a fable, or a fairy tale set in ancient China. The sets, costumes, cinematography, acting, writing... all outstanding. One of the best and most interesting parts about this movie is that it does not take itself too seriously. A lot of movies these days seem to be trying to make everything look very realistic. In "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" however, the stunts and action sequences are unbelievably fantastic. Characters fly over rooftops, balance on swaying bamboo branches, run up walls, and dive off of enormous waterfalls. They are the types of things which could not be done in real life, and that makes them so much more fun to watch. On another topic, the scenery in this movie is amazing. I am now under the impression that China is the most beautiful country in the entire world. The sweeping shots of vast deserts and snowy mountain ranges... the intricate city streets and wonderful architecture. Ugh... I am being so sappy I think I'm going to puke. But, honestly, this movie is really great, and I highly, highly suggest it.
CROUPIER (****)- this was a great movie, but I think I need to see it again. The acting and writing was all top notch, and the whole plot was very entertaining and interesting. There were some questions I had which I think may have been left unanswered, but I'm not sure. Like I said, I need to watch it again.
CUTTHROAT ISLAND (**)- this movie is similar to Staship Troopers in that they are both so bad you think it must be on purpose, but you can't really tell. The thing that makes this movie worse than Starship Troopers, though, is that it is not nearly as violent and dosen't have cool special effects. I mean, sure there are a lot of fights with pirates and stuff, but you never get to see a huge bug rip a guy in half like you do in "Troopers". I'm not sure, but I think the guy who plays one of the main characters is the same guy from The Princess Bride.

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