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Carl's Topic of the Day

Tues., May 9, 2000


If you find yourself wondering which films are worthy of your attention at the box office, here are those that have my highest recommendations:


The quality of a movie like this comes once, maybe twice a year. Last year's most highly recommended films were The Matrix and The Sixth Sense. This year so far is Gladiator. No doubt many people will be attracted to this film because of Russell Crowe's appeal as the enslaved former Roman general crusading to fulfill the dying wishes of his beloved former Caesar. Very rarely does an epic like this come along that is satisfying in so many aspects, a film where every single piece of dialogue, every shot, and every set is geared perfectly towards telling the story. The gladiator matches will lure you, Crowe's mission will move you, and the whole film will just amaze you to the point that makes you wonder why this movie has not been made before. I still am dying to see this one again.


Dennis Quaid has finally found the right vehicle to get his career back where it needs to be with this film. The movie's premise stems on the notion that every now and then there are sun storms so strong that make it possible to speak with someone over a ham radio 30 years in the past. Quaid lives in baseball-loving 1969 when one summer night he begins speaking with his son (jim Caviezel) from 1999. As soon as they realize what is happening, Caviezel warns his father about the accident that kills him, and through Quaid following the advice of his son, they alter the future and Caviezel now obtains memories and emotions of growing up with his father. But with this alteration, they turn the table enough that a serial killer takes the lives of more people than he did in the unaltered life, including that of Quaid's wife. So now Caviezel (who is a policeman in 1999) is trying to help his father catch the killer before he is able to take any more victims. But it seems that everything they try to do in the past makes things worse for both Quaid in the past and Caviezel in the future. This gripping thriller will hold you until you feel you can't take any more, with an ending that will just leave you treasuring your family and only hoping for the best. Hands down, the best family film of the year.


This film directed by Bonnie Hunt is the kind of romatic comedy/tragedy that will just pull everything from your heart strings–and then pull some more. David Duchovny plays a widowed husband while Minnie Driver plays a sickly woman until she gets a heart transplant that brings her new life. Only Minnie Driver is kept alive with the heart of Duchovny's late wife. The heartbroken Duchovny finally crosses paths with Driver a year after losing his wife, and begins to be touched by Driver and the effect his wife's heart has on her. They romance and finally get to the point of intimacy, but Driver stumbles upon evidence that she was the recipient of Duchuvny's late wife's heart, and it is something that she has extreme trouble handling. She loves him, but doesn't feel comfortable with the news she has discovered. Ultimately the two find each other again and return to the point that they were at before, which will just make you feel great to be alive and in love. Definitely a film to take your significant other to.


I can't remember hardly any of the actors from this film, plainly because I saw it a few months ago when it opened. It's not the best movie in the world, nor did it blow away box office records, but this is definitely one of the best science fiction films that has surfaced recently. Directed by David Twohy, who wrote The Fugitive and wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller The Arrival, Pitch Black is about a band of space travelers who crash land on a desert planet that has no signs of life except creatures that hide in the darkness. While the plot of the film is not filled with complicated twists, the premise is set up just enough to make the viewer have to reevaluate the characters' situation and look to extraordinary means in order to survive. Plain and simple, the planet enters a period of total darkness that enables the creatures hiding in the caves to come out and devour every bit of food that exists, which leaves the characters up a creek without any oars. The unknowns do an incredible job of playing their parts while the idea of the film is developed enough that it does provide insightful ironies that might be absent if anyone other than Twohy wrote and directed it. If you love sci-fi, you will definitely love this movie!

-Carl Sticht

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