13 Going On 30

BBBB (out of 5) It’s 1987, and 13 year-old Jenna Rink is desperate to fit in with the cool kids at school. She even goes as far as alienating her geeky best friend Matt at her birthday party in order to impress ‘in-crowd’ ringleader Lucy. When she’s sprinkled with some birthday wishing dust and announces…

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Teaching Mrs. Tingle

BB.5 (out of 5) A group of students take their mean-ass teacher (Helen Mirren) hostage in her own home when she won’t negotiate with them for a better grade.  As the authority figure in the room, Mirren has no end of fun chewing up the scenery around her, but the initially inviting premise ends up…

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Hope Floats

BBB (out of 5) Nice little drama about a Texan beauty queen (Sandra Bullock) who returns home to her mother after her best friend (Rosanne Arquette) reveals on a talk show that she’s been having an affair with Bullock’s husband. Now she has to rebuild her life from scratch and raise her daughter (Mae Whitman)…

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Miss Congeniality

BBBB (out of 5) Sandra Bullock makes a decent comedy look like a million bucks with her exceptionally appealing personality. She plays the rough-around-the-edges FBI agent who is assigned the job of going undercover at a beauty pageant when the police start receiving bomb threats from an anonymous psycho. Benjamin Bratt brings his usual lack…

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Mother And Child

BB.5 (out of 5) The multi-strand narrative begins with a teenager giving birth after getting into trouble with her high school boyfriend.  We then fast-forward to thirty seven years later, where a lonely and bitter health care worker (Annette Bening) lives with her mother and writes a diary to the baby she gave up for…

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I Am Sam

BBB (out of 5) Sean Penn plays a mentally challenged Starbucks employee who winds up with a baby daughter and has to take care of her. When the child reaches the age of seven, Penn finds himself in a courtroom defending his right to raise the girl even though he is of relatively equal mental…

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White Oleander

BBB (out of 5) Janet Fitch’s best-selling novel reaches the big screen with unexceptional results, making for the second time that Michelle Pfeiffer has adapted an Oprah book selection for the big screen (the first time was The Deep End of the Ocean).  Pfeiffer plays a headstrong, charismatic visual artist whose cutthroat moralizing gets her…

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Mad Money

B (out of 5) Diane Keaton plays an upper middle-class wife whose husband (Ted Danson) is downsized by the recession and spends months unable to get another job. Swimming in debt and in danger of losing her beautiful house, Keaton gets the only job she can, as a janitor for the federal reserve bank and while…

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Bad Girls

BB.5 (out of 5) Silly Revlon western does everything possible to ruin the fun that the four strong women leads are obviously having. Drew Barrymore, Andie MacDowell, Mary Stuart Masterson and Madeleine Stowe are four ladies in the wild, wild west who are on the run from the law when one of them kills a popular citizen…

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A Dangerous Woman

BB (out of 5) A great deal of publicity preceded this film, mainly pushing Debra Winger for awards consideration; ultimately the film made little impact and she got all her nominations for Shadowlands that year instead. She’s effective as a mentally challenged woman who lives with her patient aunt (Barbara Hershey) and is known for always being completely honest. Her…

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The Deep End Of The Ocean

BB.5 (out of 5) Based on the bestseller (and Oprah Book the Month selection) by Jacquelyn Mitchard, this film is so adequate and appropriate in all the right spots that some audience members might not even remember it after they’ve seen it. Michelle Pfeiffer plays a mother of two who attends her high school reunion and…

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What Lies Beneath

BBBB (out of 5) Rip-roaring good fun from Robert Zemeckis.  Michelle Pfeiffer lives an idyllic life in the suburbs in a giant house with her husband (Harrison Ford), but succumbs to melancholy when her only daughter moves away to college. Hearing funny noises and seeing odd occurrences in her home when she’s alone, Pfeiffer chalks it…

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