The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

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Ghost

BBB.5 (out of 5) Audiences always love a good romance, and when it’s spiced up by a nifty murder mystery and some supernatural plot elements, it’s not possible to believe that you have anything but a winner. This extremely enjoyable melodrama was released to ecstatic audience response, and along with Pretty Woman ruled the box…

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The Substance Of Fire

BBBB (out of 5) Sterling drama stars an excellent Ron Rifkin as a Holocaust survivor now entering his twilight years and enjoying the success of his profitable Manhattan publishing firm. Having hired his estranged son (Tony Goldwyn) to help him pull the business out of a temporary slump, the two butt heads when Rifkin decides he…

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The 6th Day

BB (out of 5) Arnold Schwarzenegger looks tired and bored in this lame retread of all the most popular science-fiction movies, mostly his own; plot elements from Total Recall, Terminator 2 and The Running Man are liberally borrowed. This film looks, talks and plays cheap, and the powerful cast (Michael Rapaport, Robert Duvall, Wendy Crewson) does…

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Bounce

BB (out of 5) Idiotic romance that insults its viewers and degrades the images of the actors involved. Ben Affleck gives a surprisingly bad performance as a man who must confront a widow after her husband dies on a plane crash that he was supposed to be on (he and Mr. Dead Guy had switched…

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Gaby: A True Story

BBB.5 (out of 5) Soapy but still touching story of a physically challenged young woman who does everything she can to live a perfectly confident life. Rachel Chagall is excellent in a true story as Gabriela Brimmer, a woman afflicted by cerebral palsy but taught by her nurse (Norma Aleandro) to read and to write, leading…

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The Pelican Brief

BB.5 (out of 5) Excessively long film version of John Grisham’s popular bestseller. This time the lawyer-in-distress plot revolves around a young law student (Julia Roberts) who ruminates on the recent assassination of two key senators and writes her theory about who she thinks did it in a file she calls “The Pelican Brief”. Finding…

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Someone Like You…

BBB (out of 5) Ashley Judd plays an assistant to a go-getter television host (Ellen Barkin) who falls in love with a new co-worker (Greg Kinnear) and embarks upon the best relationship of her life. After selling her apartment to move in with him, she discovers that it’s all over and the only place she…

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A Walk On The Moon

BBBB (out of 5) Marvelous directorial debut by actor Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) about a stifled New York housewife (Diane Lane) who has an affair with a sexy hippie (Viggo Mortensen) while spending the summer of 1969 in the Catskills with her family. The historic moon landing by Neil Armstrong provides the perfect backdrop for a…

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Abandon

BBB (out of 5) From among the pool of films aimed at teen audiences, this dark thriller rests comfortably above the average. It stars KittyKat Holmes as a cute, warm and fuzzy college student who gets excellent grades and is working very hard to get herself a job in the posh world of high finance….

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Nixon

BB.5 (out of 5) Oliver Stone, who previously directed the marvelous JFK, fails to invest this biography of president Richard Nixon’s troubled political career with the same amount of paranoid energy and enthusiasm. This dry, talky film goes listlessly from one meeting to another until finally climaxing with the Watergate scandal and then regressing back…

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Kiss The Girls

BB.5 (out of 5) Routine thriller has Ashley Judd escape the clutches of a serial killer and help a detective (a stalwart Morgan Freeman), who is himself investigating the disappearance of his beloved niece, catch him. Figuring out who is the culprit becomes a pretty easy game of reduction for the audience, but its more stylish…

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