Hairspray (2007)

BBBB (out of 5) A teenager in the 1960s decides to fight racial segregation and is met with serious threats to her future; sounds like an update of Mississippi Burning until you add big hair, rocking tunes and John Travolta in a dress. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky plays the youngster in question, Tracy, in this wonderful…

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Swordfish

BB (out of 5) Listless, boring action adventure about a computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) recruited by a top-secret government official (John Travolta), who plans to siphon out money from various government projects in order to perform terrifying terrorist attacks on America and therefore increase the White House’s involvement in anti-terrorist funding.  The action is weary,…

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Ladder 49

BB (out of 5) Painfully cliché-riddled drama about firefighters that makes the lamentable Backdraft suddenly look so much better. The action takes place in a local firehouse chock full of grunting Irish Catholic firemen who eat sloppily and sing karaoke badly so that we know what brutish, straight jocks they really are. John Travolta is completely…

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The Taking Of Pelham 123

BBBB (out of 5) Tony Scott remakes Robert Aldrich’s 1974 thriller with Denzel Washington and John Travolta filling in for Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, and somehow the hack director who always over-edits and over-photographs his movies manages to not screw it up. Washington plays a desk jockey for New York’s subway traffic control who has…

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Be Cool

BBB.5 (out of 5) Being cool is the one thing you don’t need to tell John Travolta to be, especially not in the one role that has suited him more than any other he’s ever played. Finding a script worthy of Barry Sonnenfeld’s magnificent Get Shorty, however, is another challenge.  In this continuation to the great 1995…

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Basic

BBB (out of 5) A former army bigwhig and current DEA investigator (John Travolta) arrives on a Panama army base to interrogate a recruit (Brian Van Holt). The recruit was one of six soldiers who were on a training mission in the jungle with a ruthless leader (Samuel L. Jackson) until four of them turned…

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Lucky Numbers

B (out of 5) Truly awful Nora Ephron comedy about a financially troubled weather man (John Travolta) who decides along with his slutty, foul-mouthed girlfriend (Lisa Kudrow) to fix the state lottery. Unluckily for them, others find out about the scheme and try to break in on the sharing of the loot, many of them…

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Domestic Disturbance

BB.5 (out of 5) John Travolta and wife Teri Polo have divorced amicably and without much ado regarding custody of their pre-teen son (Matt O’Leary), but the boy is still showing signs of angst over their split. Now that mom is remarrying a business tycoon (Vince Vaughn) recently moved to their small eastern seaboard town, the son’s…

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