2001 Film Journal[Return to Film Reviews Main]
What Women Want(1/3/01) Cinema Center 8, Omaha (***)
Jesus Christ Superstar (1/6/01) DVD (***1/2) I think the music is better than the direction, Iím afraid.
Thirteen Days (1/13/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Good and gripping, but the stylization kind of got in the way of the story and was unnecessary.
Donít Drink the Water (1/13/01) Video (***) Woody Allen made-for-TV version of his play from the 60ís. His early writing style sorta shows in places. The one thing that was a little distracting was the use of extremely lengthy shots.
But Iím a Cheerleader (1/13/01) Video (***) Nice lesbian comedy.
Traffic (1/21/01) Century Cinema 16 (***1/2) Really good movie about drugs.
Chariots of Fire (1/26/01) DVD (***1/2) I canít believe Iíd never seen this academy-award-winning movie. Well, now I have! Itís amazing how fresh it looks, even though itís twenty years old.
What Women Want (1/31/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) I went to see it a second time with Josephine Ngo. I thought sheíd enjoy it and she did.
White Palace (2/2/01) Video (***1/2) I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2/7/01) AMC 20, Santa Clara (***1/2) Really great! Went to see it with Josephine Ngo.
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (2/9/01) Video (**1/2) Good enough, I suppose. The main interest is the vintage special effects.
Finding Forrester (2/10/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Good. Kind of funny the bit with Sean Connery watching Jeopardy.
Hannah and Her Sisters (2/10/01) Video (***1/2) Nearly perfect Woody Allen Movie.
Hannibal (2/11/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Weird and gross. I had a hard time understanding much of the dialogue.
Erin Brockovich (2/15/01) DVD (***1/2) Much better than I expected.
Adamís Rib (2/17/01) DVD (***) I just love Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn!
Shadow of the Vampire (2/18/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Okay, but I had a hard time getting into the characters.
The Sweet Hereafter (2/20/01) Video (***) Good movie. The tone of it really got to me somehow. However afterwards I was somewhat dissatisfied.
Sleuth (2/24/01) Video (***) Generally good flick, although I easily surmised that the detective was Michael Caine in disguise.
Swing Kids (2/25/01) Video (***) Iíd heard this was a good movie, but it was much better than Iíd expected.
The Mexican (3/1/01) PDI screening, Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) I went with Don Glass and Josephine. Tanya was also there, dammit.
Gladiator (3/2/01) DVD (***1/2) Okay, okay, I finally got to see this. It was much better than Iíd expected. I really liked it. Am I rooting for it to win best picture? I donít know yet.
The Conversation (3/3/01) Video (**1/2) Okay. I had a hard time following it.
15 Minutes (3/9/01) Century Cinema 16 (***)
Lost in Space (3/10/01) DVD (***)
Wonder Boys (3/16/01) Video (***1/2) I was really surprised by how intelligent the script was. It was a real pleasure at times.
Enemy At the Gates (3/17/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) I originally hadnít planned on going to this movie, but when Laura said she was going to it I thought it might be good. It was. It was described as "Saving Private Ryan meets High Noon" and I donít think thatís too far off.
Toy Story II (3/21/01) Video (****) Watched it while I was sick.
Ghost in the Shell (3/22/01) Video (**1/2) I didnít know what to expect. The plot was so convoluted and talky that I got bored with it pretty early on. Not even the animated breasts made it any more interesting to me. Well, maybe just a little.
Back to the Future Part II (3/24/01) Video (****) Watched it while I was sick.
Back to the Future Part III (3/25/01) Video (****) Watched it while I was sick.
On Golden Pond (4/13/01) Video (***) Kind of a weird choice for me, huh? I donít think Iíve watched this movie since sometime in the early eighties. Actually, the last time I remember seeing it was at Aunt Sallyís old house on Ballas road.
Bridget Jonesí Diary (4/14/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) I went to see it in part because it got a pretty freaking high review from Robert Ebert and because Iíve always liked Renee Zellwegger, but I didnít really enjoy it all that much.
The Barefoot Contessa (4/15/01) Video (**1/2) Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart were both pretty durn good, but Iím afraid that for me after awhile I just plain got bored with the plot.
***SHREK*** (4/19/01) Sony Cineon, San Francisco (********) My very first cast and crew screening. It was all crew and no cast, of course. Josephine went with me as my date. I almost missed seeing my name in the credits because I was looking for everybody elseís name. God, so many people I worked with. Tanya was supposed to go to the screening and reception, but I didnít see her at any point in the evening. The reception was nice but it got increasingly crowded. We left on the 11:00 bus, the first bus, because it was a long drive and Josephine had to drive down to San Jose. In a way the whole thing was a little bit of a letdown. My expectations were higher than whatever. I found myself being extremely critical of the movie throughout.
Ragtime (4/20/01) Video (**1/2) Directed by Milos Foreman. The last movie James Cagney made, I think. I thought it started out as kind of a milieu and ended up focusing on one story, a story I wasnít all that interested in while ultimately ignoring the other stories. Maybe I should just read the book.
Freddy Got Fingered (4/21/01) Century Cinema 16 (*) Tom Green. What a fucking mess this movie was. It was fascinating to watch, though. There were a couple of scenes where I really had a hard time watching the screen. Why did I go to it? I went because I like Tom Green. For whatever reason, I like the guy and sometimes find him really funny.
Spy Kids (4/22/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Yeah, much better than I thought it would be. I wouldnít have gone if it hadnít been for Bart Caughlinís favorable review.
Blow (4/29/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) In spite of luke warm reviews, I actually enjoyed it and found it somewhat engaging. Unfortunately the sound cut out a couple of times during the show.
***SHREK*** (5/5/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) It was the friends and family screening. I took Robert and Jenna Coshland as my guests. I enjoyed it as a film a lot more this time around. Afterwards we had Chinese food on Castro Street.
Billy Elliot (5/10/01) Video (***) Pretty good. I was surprised by all the cursing, however.
Cube (5/11/01) Video (***) Very interesting and engaging. The primary "cool factor" was related to its use of minimal sets. An interesting independent film.
The Mummy Returns (5/12/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) This movie has been getting trashed in the press, but once again I went in with limited expectations and it wasnít nearly as bad as I thought. I thought it was actually pretty darn fun.
Baseketball (5/13/01) Video (***) Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the guys behind South Park star in a comedy thatís not too terribly stupid and doesnít suck.
***SHREK*** (5/19/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) Seeing it in a theater for the third time, this is the first time Iíve seen it with a "real" audience. Audience reaction was pretty good, but in my view not stellar. They applauded at the end. How much will it make this weekend? I wonderÖ
***SHREK*** (5/20/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) Fourth time. When I went to the theater there was a HUGE line for the first show!!! Incredible!
The Emperorís New Groove (5/24/01) DVD (***) Really snappy animation. The story was a bit uneven, however. It made me wanna draw!
***SHREK*** (5/27/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) Fifth timeís a charm!
Slap Shot (5/27/01) Video (**1/2) Paul Newman says, "fuck" a lot.
Alladin (5/27/01) Video (***1/2) Inspired by David Burgessís presentation at PDI, I wanted to re-watch Alladin, mostly for the Genie scenes.
The Lion King (6/1/01) Video (***1/2) The highest-grossing animated film of all time, and I guess I can see why. The movie just plain works.
***SHREK*** (6/3/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) Sixth time. But whoís counting?
Evolution (6/7/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) Free PDI screening. Ivan Rietman rehashes Ghostbusters.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (6/9/01) DVD (****) Wow. Seeing it on DVD it looks so absolutely fantastic. It really hasnít dated. Watching it makes me want to make movies!
***SHREK*** (6/10/01) Century Cinema 16 (********) Seventh time. Went with mom this time.
Evolution (6/11/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) Mom wanted to see it. Itís not an awful, awful, awful movie.
Moulin Rouge (6/13/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Went with mom during her stay. It was okay and visually quite rich, but somehow I still got bored. I guess that even with all the visual pyrotechnics that Iím still a sucker for story.
Cast Away (6/13/01) Video (***) Rented this because I thought Mom might want to see it. She had to keep her eyes shut during the airplane crash sequence, however.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (6/17/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) Was this a waste of money? Mostly I went to see Angelina Jolieís boobs bounce around for an hour and a half. None of the characters were appealing in any way aside from Angelina Jolieís boobs bouncing around.
The Great Mouse Detective (6/21/01) Video (***) (Momís visit) Pretty standard Disney fare. Every cliché in the book!
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (6/22/01) Video (***1/2) (Momís visit) It had actually been a long time since Iíd watched this movie.
Space Cowboys (6/23/01) DVD (***) (Momís visit) Iím not sure why this movie got such a bad rap when it came out. I did enjoy it, dangit.
Youíve Got Mail (6/23/01) TV (TNT) (***) Pretty enjoyable, although I think the 3rd act was dragged out a bit too long. Perhaps Nora Ephron should join Ivan Reitman in the "imitating yourself is pathetic" club.
Atlantis (6/24/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) (Momís visit) At times it almost didnít seem like a Disney movie. It wasnít bad but it was no Shrek.
The Tao of Steve (6/28/01) Video (***) Boy, this movie was a tough one for me. I liked a lot of things about it but at times the writing really bothered me because it lacked a certain finesse and subtlety that's the hallmark of professional writing. I felt like it was a script I might have written. And the directing was sort of the same thing. It was generally good for an independent film and there was still a lot of really good stuff in it.
1941 -- The Director's Cut (6/28/01) Video (**) This is the 2.5 hour version of a comedy that just wasn't funny. What was the key to it's un-funniness, I wonder? None of the characters were appealing. Could that be it?
AI: Artificial Intelligence (6/30/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) Boy, this is a hard movie to review. Basically I loved the beginning of the film, but then at a certain point it took a turn into a kind of screwed-up direction. By the end I was just waiting for it to be over.
Mumford (6/30/01) Video (***1/2) I really, really love this movie. I guess in a way itís a kind of cliché: a man moves back to a small town filled with oddballs. But even with the cliches I think there were enough original elements to really make it work.
Buck Privates (7/1/01) Video (***) It has been so long since Iíve watched an Abbott and Costello movie. When was the last time I watched Buck Privates, I wonder? I wanna learn how to take a fall like Lou Costello!
Funny Face (7/2/01) DVD (***) I'd never seen this Fred Astaire / Audrey Hepburn classic from Paramount before and thought it would cheer me up. I got a little bored with it and never did fully buy into the musical reality. Also, I found Astaire's character to be so blatantly sexist at times that it was a real turn-off.
The Faculty (7/4/01) DVD (***) Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Iíd always wondered how it was. I was in the mood for something dumb but not too dumb and it delivered. Maybe it does follow more than a few cliches, but it was still entertaining as hell.
Sunset Boulevard (7/7/01) Video (****) Pretty God-damned good movie all the way around. Wow! I canít believe it had been so long since I last saw it.
Jurassic Park III (7/21/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Pretty okay Dino flick. It was nice seeing Sebastianís name in the credits!
Soylent Green (7/21/01) Video (*1/2) Iíd never seen this "classic" and it was my "free" Blockbusters classic movie rental. What is it with Charleton Heston and these post-apocalyptic movies, anyhow?
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (7/22/01) DVD (***) Coen Brothers version of The Odyssey by Homer set in the depression. Iíve always been a sucker for the Woody Guthrie time period. I liked it for the most part.
The Big Sleep (7/28/01) Stanford Theater (****) My first visit to the Stanford theater for a DOUBLE FEATURE, but it wonít be my last! What a trip to see this great movie on the big screen for the first time in my life. It was really a great experience. Hereís a sense memory for ya: The woman who sat down right next to me was wearing Obsession perfume.
Casablanca (7/28/01) Stanford Theater (****) The second half of the double-bill. I watched this one from the balcony.
The Score (7/29/01) Cinema Center 16 (***) Really good caper movie. Nice twists and turns all the way around.
Beat the Devil (8/2/01) DVD (***) Kinda weird, kinda offbeat. Aging Bogey.
Planet of the Apes (8/4/01) Cinema Center 16 (***) Generally watchable. Interesting twists and cameos. Just ultimately not quite satisfying.
Akira (8/4/01) DVD (***1/2) In-fucking-credible animation.
Unbreakable (8/10/01) DVD (***) Rented and watched it with Tanya.
Americaís Sweethearts (8/11/01) Cinema Center 16 (***) Better than I expected. It was light and genuinely funny.
Laura (8/11/01) Stanford Theater (***1/2) David Raskin, the composer of the haunting theme from Laura was at the Stanford Theater and did a little talking and then did some Q&A with the audience.
The Bad and the Beautiful (8/11/01) Stanford Theater (***) Truthfully, I had a splitting headache and I was getting tired. It was one of those 3-stories-in-a-single-story movies. I still stuck with it, though. Kirk Douglas was just great.
Pollock (8/12/01) Video (***1/2) Gripping. When the end came I didnít expect it. I loved the Tom Waits song at the end.
2001: A Space Oddessey (Video) 8/31/01 (***) This movie must've really freaked people out when it was initially released. I hadn't watched it in years and years and I wanted to see if I was still bored with it. I was, definitely. The long, long shots just made me feel incredibly edgy. That and I didn't really get the point of the movie, I suppose.
Witness (Video) 9/1/01 (***) I actually found this movie to be a little clunkier at points than I remembered it.
Chocolat (Video) 9/2/01 (***) A charming movie and beautifully directed by Lasse Hallstrom, one of my favorite directors. Yet somehow I never fully embraced the characters or cared about them.
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (Video) 9/2/01 (***) I went to see this with Cole Harris. It was better than I had feared, considering the incredibly sloppy "Small Time Crooks." I thought it actually had a lot of pretty good lines and Helen Hunt did a superb job.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Century Cinema 16) 9/9/01 (**1/2)
Miss Congeniality (9/12/01) **1/2 (DVD) Pretty formulaic and forgettable. Not a whole lot going for it, really. It was rated PG-13, so there wasn't even any real sexiness. It was a non-movie. I don't know if it's ironic or not, but the distinction of this movie is that I started watching it before the World Trade Center attack and finished watching it the day afterwards.
Taking of Pelham One Two Three (9/12/01) ***1/2 (Video) You know how you walk by an old movie hundreds of times and one day you stop and pick it up and turn it over and say, "Hey, this sounds interesting." Well, I liked this movie. I found it to be especially gripping and it was a little strange considering the setting (NYC) and in light of recent events.
The Family Man (9/13/01) *** (Video) I was actually really touched by this movie, and I found Tea Lioni to be abso-fucking-lutely adorable. It sounds sappy, but afterwards I did a lot of thinking about my life and the choices I've made and it made me a little sad.
The Others (9/15/01) *** (Century Cinema 16) I liked the movie but it really pissed me off that I couldn't hear half the dialogue. Sometimes it really sucks to be hearing impaired. The movie began and ended with the characters speaking in these damn whispering tones.
Eyes Wide Shut (9/15/01) *** (DVD) Interesting movie. Interesting use of cinematic nudity. I thought the movie had a really cool look.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (9/16/01) *** (DVD) Watched it with Cole Harris. This is a damn weird movie. I thought I'd seen this in college, but now I'm wondering if the last time I actually watched the whole damn long thing was when I was a kid, seeing it as the 3rd movie at the drive-in. I was struck by the strange story structure and the beautiful cinematography. With the rambliing storyline, it was kind of like a picaresque. There was also a lot of anti-war sentiment in it. My main criticism of it is that there were times when it moved too slowly.
The Big Sleep (9/21/01) DVD (****) I bought this DVD at Fry's and it actually has two different versions of the movie! It's so cool!
Flatliners (9/23/01) DVD (***) Weird stylization. Mediocre dialogue at points, but still somehow interesting.
My Life as a Dog (9/24/01) DVD (****) I really love this movie. It's so warm and tender and simple. It's one of those movies where I'm transported to another world, one I wouldn't mind spending some time in.
Quills (9/27/01) DVD (***) Tanya came over and we watched this together. The Maquis De Sade dialogue is pretty explicit at points and so it was a weird movie to watch with one's ex-wife. I liked it a lot, though, and I found the moral implications of the movie to be mentally challenging.
Hearts in Atlantis (9/30/01) Century Cinema 16 (***1/2)
Dr. Strangelove (9/30/01) DVD (***)
Serendipity (10/6/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Sappy but cute in places. I was a little pissed off at the theater, however. The projector was "low" and so was the sound, so I had a hard time hearing the dialogue.
Where the Heart Is (10/6/01) DVD (***) Faithful adaptation of the Oprah book club book, which I read a couple of years ago. It was really pretty well done, although sometimes it's interesting how things in books don't play quite differently on the screen.
Zoolander (10/7/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Funny but dumb.
The Spanish Prisoner (10/7/01) DVD (***) Gripping. Interesting characters. Lots and lots of plot twists. One interesting viewing note: I almost didn't get to see the end of the movie. There must have been a scratch on the DVD and the end was totally messed up. I was pretty unhappy and finally gave up and went to eject the disc and then remembered it was a 2-sided disc. And so I watched the end on the "full screen" version.
Batman (10/11/01) DVD (***) Okay, a sentimental favorite. It was my birthday request from Tanya. She came over and we watched it together. Iím surprised she could stand it.
Bandits (10/14/01) Century Cinema 16 (***1/2) Thoroughly enjoyable, well-written, great, interesting characters and situations. Directed by Barry Levinson.
From Hell (10/15/01) AMC Mercado, Santa Clara (***) I got free tix by standing in line at Lee's Comics. I met Tanya at the theater and so this is the second movie we've seen together in two days. The movie itself was stylish and interesting enough. I didn't think much of Heather Graham's performance. My movie experience was probably affected by the fact we were so close (fourth row) to the enormous screen.
The Last Castle (10/18/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) I'm tempted to give this movie **1/2. I thought the first half was better than the second half. I liked seeing Robert Redford, but it didn't really seem like he was doing a hell of a lot of acting.
Ghost World (10/21/01) Town 3, San Jose (***) Went with Robert C. Good, entertaining flick based on a comic book. Directed by the director of Crumb. I thought the dialogue was good, but the directing could've been tighter. Also some of the performances were marginal.
The Phantom Menace (10/21/01) DVD (***) Not all that bad, just not all that good. I'm still glad I bought the DVD what with all the special features and whatnot.
Mulholland Drive (10/22/01) San Jose (***) Weird. Really fucking weird. What was it with those little old people who crawled under the door? Was that necessary?
The Apartment (9/25/01) DVD (****) Great God-damned film. One of my favorite movies of all time!
Riding in Cars With Boys (9/26/01) Century Cinema 16 (**1/2) I liked moments of this movie, but there were elements that touched a little too close to home for me personally and ultimately I thought Drew Barrymore's character was pretty damn unsympathetic and unpleasant.
Repo Man (9/26/01) DVD (***1/2) I hadn't watched it for about ten years and it still holds up!
K-Pax (9/27/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Pretty good but perhaps not great movie. The thing that detracted from it for me was the superficiality of the "lovable mental patients." They were way too flat. It could've been smarter.
Capricorn 1 (10/31/01) DVD (**1/2) There were more than a few plot points that had me shaking my head in unsuspended disbelief. Whatever.
Shrek (11/5/01) DVD (****) I started watching the movie not meaning to watch the whole thing but I kinda got sucked into it.
The Man Who Wasnít There (11/9/01) San Jose (***1/2) The story is okay, but the thing that stands out in this movie is the cinematography. This film has some of the best lighting I have ever seen in a movie. I want to get a copy of this movie for that reason if for none other.
Godspell (11/15/01) DVD (****) Watched it with Tanya. She came over and she'd never seen it before. I still cry during the makeup-removing scene.
Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone (11/24/01) Century Cinema 16 (***) Pretty good. Pretty faithful to the book. I guess there just wasnít anything all that new to me. I thought it was okay, but there were no real surprises.
Amelie (12/1/01) Century Cinema 16 (***1/2) As Eric Vignola promised, it was indeed charming. I guess I got a wee bit bored, but all in all I enjoyed it quite a bit. I wish Iíd gone to see it with someone instead of on my own, but oh well.
Legally Blonde (12/7/01) DVD (***) Pretty enjoyable. Frustratingly formulaic.
JFK- Special Edition (12/7/01) VHS (****) Sick. 17 extra minutes of material. To be honest, I kept floating in and out of consciousness while watching it.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (12/7/01) DVD (***) Sick. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Hmmm. Not bad, really. Young Jeff Goldblum.
Arthur (12/8/01) DVD (***) Iím still sick.
Groundhog Day (12/8/01) Video (****) Sick. This movie really ought to go in my list of all time faves in spite of myself.
Day of the Jackal (12/??/01) DVD (***)
List of Adrian Messenger (12/??/01) DVD (***) Gimmicky, but good.
Galaxy Quest (12/19/01) DVD (***1/2) I don't know what it is about this movie. It's just what it is, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Why is that? In terms of pure entertainment, it's almost up there with the "Back to the Future" films for me. Not quite, but pretty close. Maybe it's the high geek factor. Maybe it's because the story structure is so damn smooth. I sure as hell don't know.