Coach Carter

In 1999, sports store owner Ken Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, took over as basketball coach at Richmond High School in California. He led the team with strength, taught the young men discipline with dignity and made them champions. But the team had to sign contracts to attend class, sit in the front of the class and keep up their GPA’s. When they failed to keep their end of the bargain, Carter cancelled games and locked the gym. Not once, but until the school board called off the lock o … [Read more...]

Meet the Fockers

  When Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) says, “I'm going to be Pamela Martha Focker! Yes, I know how that sounds!” it pretty much says it all about this sequel to the money-making machine, the 2000 Meet the Parents.   By now just about everyone who wanted to has seen this film starring Robert DeNero, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Blythe Danner, has done so. Pam and Greg (Stiller) accompany his parents, the Focker’s (DeNero and Danner), to Florida in an armored deluxe mobile ho … [Read more...]

In Good Company

Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 51-year old family man and ad executive for a national sports magazine. He is enjoying his success when a huge multinational media corporation buys the magazine and he is replaced by an upwardly mobile and successful executive from the cell phone division of the corporation, 26-year old, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace). Though Dan is not “let go” (the euphemism the corporation used instead of the offensive word “fired”), he is dismayed by the changes and wants to leav … [Read more...]

Are We There Yet?

When sports memorabilia seller Nick Persons (Ice Cube) spots the lovely divorcee Suzanne (Nia Long) standing outside the party store where she works in downtown Portland, OR, he is smitten. He has just picked up his new late-model Lincoln SUV and is feeling good indeed. But he finds out from his colleague Marty (Jay Mohr) that she has two kids and loses interest. But on the way home, Suzanne’s car breaks down and Nick stops to help her. This leads to Nick bringing Suzanne to and from work as her … [Read more...]

Golden Globes 2005: Who I think will win (and who I want to win)

Golden Globes 2005: Who I think will win (see below for the list of those I would like to see win) Best Motion Picture Drama Million Dollar Baby Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Sideways Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Jamie Foxx, Ray  Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Annette Bening, Being Julia Best Supporting Actor … [Read more...]

HOTEL RWANDA: Most Significant Film of 2004

Hotel Rwanda is certainly the most significant film of 2004. I want to single it out for its witness to courage and the power of one person and his family, to step forward and do what needs to be done to save the lives of others - sharing the same risk of death. Don Cheadle's performance as hotel mamager Paul Rusesabaginais is Oscar worthy, and it would not surprise me if Sophie Okonedo as his wife Tatiana gets a nomination as well. When the world refused to help and looked the other way, Paul … [Read more...]

Racing Stripes

When a baby zebra falls off the back of a circus truck in rural Kentucky, Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), a former horse trainer, picks him up from the road and takes him to his farm. His 16-year old daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere) names him “Stripes” (voice of Frankie Muniz) and he joins the farm animal community as a little beast who is just a little different. His time in the pasture is spent well.  Everyday he races the mail truck down the lane to the delight of the mail carrier. St … [Read more...]

My Top 12 for 2004

Let me begin by saying that 2004 was not a great year for the movies – at least not like 2003. However, some of the 88 films I saw this year (out of 250 top earning movies released in the US) do rise to the top.   My criteria for the top 12 are   -         excellence in filmmaking -         how well the film tells a story -         t … [Read more...]

Hero/Ying xiong

I just watched Hero on DVD. Although it was first released in 2002, was in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in 2003 (I was on the ecumenical jury there, and this is the one film that I missed because of scheduling), Hero only made it to US theaters in 2004. The story is not difficult to follow. In ancient times, before China was united, an assassin, No Name (Jet Li) appears before the King of Qin (please check for the names of the actors). We think at first that No Name is … [Read more...]

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou with underwhelming relish. Zissou is supposed to be a kind of Jacques Cousteau, or a National Geographic oceanographer filmmaker or something, but he’s actually a grass-smoking aquatic fraud in the midst of a midlife crisis that may have begun at least thirty years previously. At least.   When his best friend and partner (? we never see him) is killed by the Jaguar shark (?), Steve pledges to go and find the shark and kill him. When he is asked why, he says, “ … [Read more...]