Okay, you got out of your seat, stretched your legs, maybe went to the john, then got some more popcorn and a box of BonBons…so now let’s get back to Ron’s 3-Star movie reviews…this is the grand finale. I know you will be exhausted by the last flick’s flicker, but remember to please be careful when you leave. Don’t trip over all that trash on the floor and make sure you take small children and lover(s) by the hand….Thanks, and come again!
Love Actually = Follow 8 couples, in various stages of love, during the month before Christmas. This film is a rare example of how many stars truly can make a very good picture. Written well, acted better. Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, etc. But watch for the Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman stories. Humorous genius.
Manhunter = An FBI investigator (your first time seeing William Peterson?) returns to duty to find a serial killer. “Helping” him is a former opponent, Dr. Lecter –seen in his big screen debut (Brian Cox). Joan Allen and Dennis Farina are on board here doing their usual fine work. Excellent film with a slam bang ending.
Midnight Run = A gem! A bail jumper (Charles Grodin) who stole from the Mob has to be found and returned to L A by a bounty hunter (Robert DiNiro). A cross-country, buddy-making movie with both actors giving GREAT performances. Logical thinking, speaks like he wrote everything down first Grodin vs. DiNiro’s world weary, profanity spewing, get his man no matter the cost bounty hunter. Laughs in (almost) every scene. Humor comes from the mis-matched personalities interacting, not stale one-liners. Perfectly drawn characters produced by actors in great form. Plus, Dennis Farina at his gangsterish best. Comical sparks fly continuously, with a large dollop of profanity from DiNiro. One sensitive moment when DiNiro must visit his former wife for money during the journey: feelings at their rawest and truest. A remarkable scene. An exceptional film.
Miracle on 34th Street = IMO, the best Christmas movie you can see. OK, along with A Christmas Story. Edmund Gwynn (at 71) wins an Oscar playing the real (?) Santa Claus and a very young Natalie Wood finds a house simply by saying: “I believe, I believe” (in Santa). I wish house hunting were that easy. If you haven’t seen it, put in on your “To Do” list.
The Professional = Leon, a professional cleaner (ie, assassin), watches the family next door killed. He takes in their remaining daughter (Natalie Portman’s first film) to save her life. The murderers return and Leon tries to protect her. Violent story, tender relationship between Portman and Jean Reno, a marvelous actor. He is also in Ronin.
Ronin = A former CIA agent (Robert DiNiro) and people with similar backgrounds (eg, Jean Reno) try to find a mysterious package desired by the IRA. Great story, buddy film for DiNiro and Reno, violence, and finest car chases ever on film. Yes, a guy movie.
The Shootist = John Wayne’s last film, and one of his best. A famous gun fighter (ie, shootist) has cancer and must decide how to reach his end. Many men want his reputation. The end still packs a surprise. Watch opening credits for a blending of the gun fighter’s and Wayne’s own film history. Wonderful touch.
Starman = In the 1970s, the United States sent probes into space. One contained a recorded message inviting anyone who receives it to visit Earth. The offer is taken. Entering Earth’s atmosphere, the visitor’s craft is shot down. The alien survives and takes human form, but must learn how his new body moves and speaks. A human (Karen Allen) agrees to help him survive long enough to be rescued. A cross-country chase ensues. Our atmosphere will kill him in 3 days if those chasing him do not do so first. At the film’s end, you are in tears because of the absence of a life form who became more human while escaping those who tried to kill him. As the visitor, Jeff Bridges earned his first Oscar nomination for a creative and completely original performance not to be forgotten.
The Sure Thing = A college freshman (early John Cusack) is promised, by a friend who lives on the West Coast, the certainty of a date if he visits. To share expenses, he travels with a couple and a young woman from English class. Adventures ensue and when he arrives, he finds he has to make a choice between his “sure thing” and the woman he has come to….
Top Hat = If you see only one Fred Astaire + Ginger Rogers film, I’m sorry. You’ll miss many treats. But if you do see only one, see Top Hat. It was their biggest money-maker. The Plot: don’t worry about it. There are 8 dance numbers, including: Cheek to Cheek, and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails. Fred was great, and Ginger did what he did, backwards and in high heels.
Tremors = An isolated small town is under siege by monsters. A monster-comedy film, if such exists, with as many laughs as chills. The monsters are large, powerful worms who grasp their victims from below. The cast, B-actors then, make the most of their screen time showing fear, ingenuity, courage, and even a little “G” rated romance. Fun for all ages.
True Romance = A Tarantino script; great dialogue plus the usual gunplay and blood letting; can True romance conquer all (drug dealers, pimps, gangsters, Hollywood) –just about; Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette find love and danger; watch for Christopher Walken-Dennis Hopper’s verbal battle: acting doesn’t get better.