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John "MovieAddict" (UK)

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Analyze That (Widescreen) [Import]
Analyze That (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by village_music_world-usa
Price: CDN$ 0.42
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Analyze This, That, and the Other Thing..., June 2 2003
"Analyze That" is proof the critics can be wrong. Which probably means you shouldn't be listening to me, either. But you are, oh well. I guess I'll have to review the movie, now.
The Boss and The Shrink are back in therapy: Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) has been locked up in Sing-Sing for 850 days. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) has just lost his father. That's when he gets the call from Vitti. Vitti gives him the low-down: Someone is trying to kill Vitti in jail. Sobel hangs up, Vitti gets mad, so he fakes crazy, and Sobel gets called in (since he is Vitti's psychiatrist). Sobel believes Vitti is cuckoo in the slammer, as he sees him singing tunes from "West Side Story" (one of the funniest parts in the film). So Vitti is released into the custody of Ben Sobel. But on the ride to Sobel's house, Vitti snaps out of it, only to reveal that he is not crazy, but, in fact, quite well. Now Vitti must start a new life and get a real job - that involves working "from 9 to 5!" - and find out who is trying to kill him...and why.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but "Analyze That" is funnier than "Analyze This." Maybe it's just me, but I found it quite funny. I didn't think it was a "rip-off" sequel, there for "no artistic reason." Sure, it's a sequel. Of course it's not going to be an Oscar-winner for originality; I don't ask for that in a comedy. Honestly, can you think of any sequel (other than the rare "Godfather Part II" film) that is as good as the original in terms of reasons for being there? All I know is that I think "Analyze That" had some very funny moments. Take, for instance, the scenes where Vitti is trying to get a new job. He becomes a car salesman for a day, and leads around a couple, showing them a nice car. "Look at that trunk - you could fit three bodies in there!" he says. When they say they're going to think about it: "What's there to think about? You've been busting my b@lls for the last hour over this thing, asking me all these stupid questions, taking it for a test drive...so why don't you buy it?"
Scenes like these are hilarious. And while there are somewhat long sequences without any laughs, the laugh-out-loud scenes more than make up for those lacking.
The only thing about this film that makes me drop the rating a notch is the execution of the last half hour. Just like the first movie, they set up a ridiculous "action" ending, that isn't action at all. Its ending is overlong and goes way too long without any laughs.
But that is the only thing I didn't like about the movie. De Niro and Crystal have a real chemistry, even more so here than in the first film. De Niro steals the scenes he is in, and Crystal steals the scenes he is in, and when they are both on screen, you're not sure who to look at.
I find Robert De Niro's latest journeys into comedy quite funny. He made a few comedies here and there in the past, but in the last three years he's coughed out some funny movies. "Analyze This," "Meet the Parents," "Analyze That," and to a certain degree (it was okay), "Showtime."
Perhaps I am confused. Maybe I need to see the first again. But having seen the original about twice, and "Analyze That" once, I can honestly say that I laughed more in "Analyze That" than I did watching "Analyze This." And if that's not a good sequel, I don't know what is.
Here's to "Analyze This, That, and the Other Thing"!

Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen, 3 Discs)
Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen, 3 Discs)
DVD ~ Michael J. Fox
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 66.43
24 used & new from CDN$ 16.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly one of the best comedies ever..., June 2 2003
Time travel films have had some major impacts on the film industry over the years, but even more so on American culture. You can look back to some of the earliest films and detect a hint of sci-fi / time travel in them; just take a look at H.G. Well's "The Time Machine." However, I think the biggest and best time travel film ever made is the 1985 hit "Back to the Future." Here is the plot summary:
It is 1985. Marty McFly (a young Michael J. Fox) lives in the small town Hill Valley, located in the middle of nowhere, and is friends with the town eccentric, Professor Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd) who, unknown to Marty, has just built a time machine after thirty years of ideas. A time machine that runs off plutonium.
After some unfortunate incidents occur, Marty accidentally travels thirty years back in time using the time machine, which is made "out of a Delorean!" - to 1955! Now, his only hope of getting "back to the future" is to hunt down the inventor of the machine: Doc Brown. Only a few problems; not only has Professor Brown not invented the time machine at this point in time, but Marty has also interfered with the past - by accidentally keeping his parents (Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover) from meeting, therefore disrupting the space-time continuum and keeping Marty from being born! (Also, keep in mind that his parents are his age in 1955.)
"Back to the Future" could be called a very controversial film. After all, after traveling to 1955, Marty's mother develops a crush on him. I would call that pretty controversial. However, unlike some other films, the controversy is not the only thing "Back to the Future" has going for it. There are many things that make this movie great. I'll analyze the plot first; not only does it have fun with the notion of time travel, but it sets a character that we care about in situations that we want him to be in. Let me expand on this...
I get tired when time travel films have a great premise, but get mixed up in boring subplots and fail to play with ideas they could have. A lot of people love "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." I'll admit that was a good time travel film, but "Back to the Future" plays with the actual notion of time travel much, much more, and by doing so creates some major laughs and "thinking" moments.
"Back to the Future" also has a great sense of direction. [...].
Produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, "Back to the Future" gets 5/5 stars from me - it has originality, humor, great actors, an excellent plot, and mind-boggling "what ifs." it has to be one of my favorite movies, and if you see it, it might become one of your favorites, also.

About Schmidt (Widescreen) [Import]
About Schmidt (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Price: CDN$ 4.99
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best film of 2002..., June 2 2003
"About Schmidt" is a quirky, offbeat comedy about a man and his journey to find meaning to his life. Its name is true; "About Schmidt" is about...well...a man named Schmidt.
Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is your average Joe. Or, in this case, your average Warren. He lives a normal life. He has just retired at the age of sixty-seven, and he now stays at home with his wife, who Schmidt states he is growing tired of. He's tired of having to do everything his wife, Helen, tells him to do. He's tired of her cutting him off when he's talking. He's tired of the way she sits down. He's tired of the way she pulls out the keys to the car before they're even out the door. And he's tired of having to sit down when he goes to the bathroom.
In a letter to Ntugu (his new "adopted" sponsor child), Warren spills his beans about life. That same day he comes home from mailing a letter to Ntugu, to find his wife, dead on the floor. We learn later that she died from a blood clot in her brain.
Left on his own, Warren realizes how good his wife was, and how much he misses her. But then he finds out that twenty-five to thirty years ago she had an affair with an old friend of his, and in one of the most subtley funny moments in the film, dumps off her old belongings at a donation center.
Warren, still missing his wife but truly bitter at what she did, eventually decides to go visit his daughter in the south, and packs up the 35-foot-long Winnebago with everything he needs. His daughter, who is about to be married to a complete loser, has different ideas, and tells Warren once he is on the road that it would be best if they stick to the plan and he comes down two days before the wedding. Left with about a week before the wedding, Warren takes a road trip back down memory lane. He visits his old childhood home - which is now a tire store. "This is where the bedroom would've been," he tells a clerk, who looks on in awe.
After that, Warren one way or another ends up eating dinner with a couple from the RV park he's staying in. When the husband goes out to get more beer, the woman says that she sees a sad, sad man in Warren. Afraid and angry.
Once Warren arrives for the wedding, he realizes that his daughter is happy with the man she is about to marry, no matter how much of a loser he is. And in a scene that could have been played for laughs but wasn't (which is good in this case, making deep characters instead of flimsy ones), Warren makes a toast to his daughter and her new husband.
And then Warren goes home. It's the end of the movie already. Not much has happened, and Warren tells Ntugu that his life has no point. His life has no meaning. Why go on? But then he gets a letter, and in the sense of "It's a Wonderful Life," Warren sees the meaning in his life.
"About Schmidt" isn't for everyone. People that cannot tolerate slow-moving films should not see this. Those that cannot appreciate characters that are deep, but yet still funny, should not see this movie. If people want a Jack Nicholson movie played just for laughs, with your average characters, I recommend "Anger Management." But if you want a classic example of fine storytelling, see "About Schmidt."
The characters are funny, but not outrageous. They are not there to make us laugh. They are there to preach something, much like in "It's a Wonderful Life." But they do make us laugh, in the little quirks of life. Things we all do. The first forty minutes of this movie is an absolute hoot, and those forty minutes are probably funnier than any movie you'll see this year. But not outwardly funny; like I said, this isn't an Adam Sandler movie. This is a realistic movie with realistic characters doing real things that are funny. It's a self-parody for all the viewers. The little quirks all the different characters have will either a) remind you of someone you know, or b) remind you of yourself.
Jack Nicholson is an absolute stand-out in this movie. I can't see anyone else playing him quite as well as Nicholson. And I must admit that I've never been a real fan of Jack, either. But when he is on screen in this film, we see a sad, lonely, angry and afraid old man who is wondering through life, living each day, but not for any apparent reason.
Alexander Payne has crafted a wonderful life-parody/drama here. I didn't expect this much from "About Schmidt," but I sure did get more than I bargained for. And in this case, what I didn't bargain for was better than what I did.

Goodfellas
Goodfellas
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 9.98
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An Offer You Can't Refuse..., March 31 2003
This review is from: Goodfellas (DVD)
"As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster." -- Henry Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1955.
Gangsters are all around us. Everyone knows it, not everyone wants to accept it. "Goodfellas"--based on true events--exploits the life of gangsters, chronicling the events through the eyes of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who gets involved with the mafia at a young age and continues his "career" throughout the film.
As he gets older, he marries and has children, but still works for the organized crime family, under mafia boss Paul Sorvino; and he is friends with Jimmy (Robert De Niro), a calm, steady gangster, and Tommy (Joe Pesci), a wild man with serious mental problems.
Eventually Henry's life goes down the gutter, leading to Henry starting to take and deal drugs, that leads to other unfortunate incidents that will be ruined if I type any more about them.
"Goodfellas" is one of the best films I have ever seen. There really is no plot per say, as you can see above, other than following the true life story of a gangster. But what makes the film is a witty script, intelligent, deep, and for the most part likable characters; a great director, great actors; the list goes on.
Robert De Niro isn't in this movie a whole lot--I'd estimate an hour and a half out of the three or so hours the film is. But when he's on screen he gives a terrific performance.
Joe Pesci is in this movie about as much as De Niro, maybe a bit more or less. But when he's on screen there's no doubting he's on screen--he's very hard to miss. A short, deranged, loud-mouthed man with something wrong in his head. Someone makes an insult toward him and he shoots them, and then laughs. It's quite disturbing. I am a huge fan of Pesci, and I tend to love his characters, but he really makes you feel sick towards his character in "Goodfellas," while at the same time taking a strange liking to him. That just goes to show how good of an actor Pesci is.
Ray Liotta is perfect as Henry Hill. I can't think of a better actor to play him. He captures a sense of innocence yet at the same time a feeling of violence. I love the scene where he walks over to a man's house with a regular expression on his face. "What do you want, ...." the man asks. Liotta continues walking, takes out a gun, and starts to continually beat the man in the skull with the butt of his gun. As Henry walks back to his car, his face is disturbing and his expression stays with you for a long, long time.
Martin Scorsese, one of the most overlooked directors when it comes to Oscars and other such awards, beautifully directs this gangster epic; with some of his latest films being slight flops ("Gangs of New York"--I haven't seen it yet, but I heard it's average), I think another gangster film is in store for the future.
"Goodfellas" has got everything you go to the movies for: Witty dialogue, great, three-dimensional characters; excellent directing style, and some great actors. "Goodfellas" is an offer you can't refuse.
By the way, I think it is appropriate to put a bit of a disclaimer on this review: I would not recommend "Goodfellas" to those that have a problem with violence and/or language, and "Goodfellas" is definitely not one for your kids to watch--it contains extremely strong, pervasive language, and a great deal of strong, realistic violence. I only put this because I am sick of parents taking children to see R-rated films that are not appropriate for children. And this is definitely one of them.
Anyway, "Goodfellas" has to be one of the best films I've ever seen--a true modern classic that will be remembered for what it is: One of the greatest tales told on screen.
5/5 Stars -

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