Blitzenspeicher at the Movies

   

Classic Cinema for Cultured Connoisseurs

Die Erste Page

Achtung! Zee titles in zee opening index below are in alphabetical arrangement to accomodate wimpies. Stout-hearted Prussians will instead rely on their wits and the scrollbar, augmenting with the "CLICK FOR MORE MOVIES" button at the bottom of each page. In the absence of full commitment from Count Blitzenspeicher to abandon live stage entertainment for movies, we have been fortunate to secure, from the Dark Diaper Film Institute, a steady supply of surplus movie reviews from the talented pens of none other than the imcomparable Dark Diaper and the ravishingly incisive Caped Vixen themselves. As people of stature seldom venture out into the jostling indelicacy of public screenings, reviews of previously-shown pictures are apropos for our typical patrons.  In a bow to the Haus of Blitzenspeicher, the Diaper Duo has graciously consented to allow us to substitute our torpedo rating system for their usual diaper pins.   Last update October 14, 2000.


One Rating
Point

One-half Rating
Point

One-half Rating
Point

Unnecessarily
Graphic or
Violent

One-half Rating
Point

Immoral Lifestyling,
Gratuitous Sexual
Content or Profanity

8MM
13th Floor, The
Affliction
Almost Heroes
Analyze This
Anna and the King
Any Given Sunday
Apostle, The
Arlington Road
Armageddon (Disney film, comment)
At First Sight
A Thin Red Line
Avengers, The
Babe:  Pig in the City
Bachelor, The
Blast from the Past
Bowfinger
Brokedown Palace
Cruel Intentions
Deep Blue Sea
Deep End of the Ocean
Deep Impact
Doctor Dolittle
Dudley DoRight
Elizabeth
Entrapment
ERIN BROCKOVICH
Ever After
Eye of the Beholder
Eyes Wide Shut
Felicia's Journey
Galaxy Quest
General's Daughter, The
Girl Interrupted
Godzilla
Green Mile, The
Haunting, The
Here On Earth
Hope Floats
Hanging Up

Hurricane
Inspector Gadget - Not a review
Iron Giant, The
JACK FROST
Legend of 1900
Les Miserables

Lethal Weapon 4
Lost and Found
Lost in Space
Madeline
Major League, Back to  the Minors
MATRIX, THE
Mercury Rising
Message In A Bottle
Messenger, The
Mr. Nice Guy
MUMMY, The
Muppets From Space

My Dog Skip
Negotiator,The
Never Been Kissed
Newton Boys, The
THE NINTH GATE
Notting Hill
October Sky
Out of Sight
Out of Towners, The
PATCH ADAMS
PAYBACK
Perfect Murder, A
PUSHING TIN
Quest for Camelot
Ride With the Devil
Ronin
Rugrats, The Movie
Saving Private Ryan

Shooting Fish
Sleepy Hollow
Snow Falling On Cedars
Spy Who Shagged Me, The
STAR TREK:  INSURRECTION
STAR WARS: Episode 1
STEPMOM
Supernova
Thirteen Days
Tarzan and the Lost City
There's Something about Mary
Thomas Crown Affair, The
True Crime
Truman Show, The
Twilight
Twin Dragons
U.S.Marshals
Universal Soldier:
The Return
Varsity Blues
What Dreams May Come
What Planet Are You From?
Whatever It Takes
Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Wild, Wild West
Winslow Boy, The
Wonder Boys
World is Not Enough, The
X Files
You've Got Mail
Zorro, The Mask of
Cruel Intentions  This is a truly perverse little movie. It's a marvel of dry wit about two spoiled, really bent, conniving brats and the insidious havoc they slyly contrive for others. It's prankish and hurtful stuff but these two are like children about it and rarely judge the potential for harm. They're too wrapped up in their "hobby," which both share with equal relish.

The direction and acting are flawless. As a result, the movie flows with perfect balance and deliciously wicked and twisted humor. The protagonists and "victims" couldn't have been better cast and the screenwriting is marvelously deft. As the movie nears conclusion, it broadens with the bloom of awakening love and a quite unexpected and satisfying blush of conscience and blossoming maturity.

Kathryn (Sara Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) are two unbriddled miscreants, sort of societal skin rash cultures, who enjoy sabotaging, taunting, manipulating, or otherwise buggering others who have, in some way, become an unintentional focus of their attention.

This is a comical testament to the warping effects of too much money and too little to do. Sebastian is like a dog in heat chasing all of the foxes in Manhattan. His goal is to debauch and humiliate as many girls of proper social standing as there are within the range of his classic Jaguar. The current preoccupation of his step sister, Kathryn is to set-up the painfully-sheltered "bloom of innocence" who became the unwitting new love interest of Kathryn's erstwhile boyfriend.

Together, they mastermind and deploy their nefarious intrigues from the lofty and pampering vantage point of their gilded base camp (their parents' HUGE, baronial, 5th Avenue townhouse.) It seems that the townhouse is their exclusive playpen during vacations from prep school, since their parents are always "at liberty" elsewhere. I guess they just phone-in their parental affection.

Alas, Kathryn is ultimately revealed to be the sibling with the most incorrigible flaws, as her ultimate goal has always been to get it over on Sebastian! He, meanwhile, ascends to a higher level of consciousness in more ways than one.

Due to drug use, some nudity, a hint of mast*rbat!on, and foul language this is not suitable fare for a number of categories of homo sapien. You may be one of them. Obviously this is not for anyone under 18. Do not take a bus load of the mentally incompetent to see it. It IS a very funny movie throughout and has some humane and tender awakenings near the end that put the polish on the movie. It just simply goes beyond the sophomoric when it could have easily stopped there. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to DEMAND morality from people in positions of influence! I wish that its purveyors had simply been bitten by the modesty bug. That may be too much to ask of Hoooeywood.

8MM
Eight Millimeter gets my award for The Most Repugnant Exploitation Film of the Moment. Ironically, it is also a movie drenched with classic, sophisticated movie-making nuances... elements of style that are surfacing anew, to varying degrees, in some of the new films of the past several years. So we have the "classic touch" cloaking the crude and offensive. Regarding the latter, Vixen exclaimed, as we strolled to our waiting carriage, that she "closed (her) eyes" often during the show and "didn't want to see those types of images later" in her mind, adding "That's what eyelids are for."

Dressed in the gown of an engrossing and powerful murder mystery, a classic clash between the flawed hero and the truly bad badness, this movie hopes to promote the unlikely conclusion that, despite spending at least one-half of its runtime on starkly repulsive imagery, conduct, speech and circumstances, it still somehow rises above its preoccupation. A gratuitous and unworthy feint, if so intended.

Also unworthy is Nicholas Cage, who seems to be gravitating more-and-more toward this type of disturbing medium. I used to think that he did it because he needed exposure to build his recognition... something like that. The fact that he now has good box office recognition and is still drawn to this smut as his form of expression is enough to tell me that I was wrong. He obviously, given the power to choose, is at home in this type of sick, maladjusted exploitation film. Give that boy a flourish of the bizarre and he clutches it as if it were a Rubens... and I don't mean the sandwich or the sexual deviant. The latter would, however, be right at home (letting Pee Wee out to play in a darkened theater, say... in FLORIDA. Anyone remember??)

The story line deals with a small-time P.I. named Tom Welles (Cage) who, in opening moments, is seen wrapping up a case for a U.S. Senator. I guess this was thrown in to establish an aura of credibility and savoir faire for Cage's character, since it had no connection with the rest of the movie except that a newspaper on the Senator's table referenced Welles' next client's husband.

That next client is the rich dowager Christian, recently widowed. Mrs. Christian has found a raunchy 8MM film in her husband's private safe. It portrays the bloody "snuff" of a young girl by an S and M impresario, named "Machine," who complements his outfit with a fetching black leather hood and silvery knife.

(Machine later turns out to be just a baby-faced mama's boy with geeky glasses who maims and murders simply to balance out the normalcy that life inflicts on him. For added irony, Machine lives next to a graveyard. Also, his mother goes to church religiously, an obvious warning about prolonged exposure to God-fearing people.)

The film has left Mrs. Christian all-a-twitter. She worries about the husband's connection with the film and his reputation. But, to her credit, her main concern is for the girl who appears to have been murdered. She wants Welles to investigate, in hopes that the girl was only acting and was not really harmed. Welles screens the movie and realizes the awful likelihood that the movie is a genuine snuff. But, in curious self-denial, he rejects the notion for both himself and for Mrs. Christian, and accepts the case.

His wife Amy (Catherine Keener) and their baby seem to have mastered the paradox of being faithful, long-suffering, ideal, and incidental; as Welles waltzes in and out, between home-base and hades. To Amy this is a trivial inconvenience and the kid barely notices. (Tom could be out lassoing roosters in Mexico for weeks, just as long as he phones home regularly.) They share an unwaveringly loyal, but totally listless love. It's spelled U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E.

Money is no object with Mrs. Christian unquestioningly bankrolling everything. So, Welles flashes cash on everybody in the porno underground who even smells like a good lead and employs whatever means and methods are necessary to find out stuff. Along the way, he connects with erstwhile guitarist, veiled litterateur, porno peddler Max "California."

Welles offers Max some one-time fat bucks to tour-guide his sewer safari in search of snuff movie mavens. But Max, sensing opportunity, a glint of vulnerability in his patron, and a glint of more gold to be had, soon worms his way in as Welles' sort-of sidekick. Basically he's a dash of comic relief and the movie's vehicle for exploring Welles and his bare thread of observable compassion.

After meandering amongst the underbelly of human degradation spanning all ethnic groups, they seize upon a very expensive find and go back to Max's pad to evaluate their booty. No, I didn't say "bootie." There, male bonding hits a high note as they scan several gruesome looking bondage tapes.

As if to excuse himself for CHOOSING to be a youthful porno hustler, Max turns to Welles and confides "What choices have I got?" He follows with the question "What the he!l are YOU doing here?" I was starting to wonder the same about Vixen and me; though, at that point, still hoping the film would climb to redemption. Cage's Welles answers (also, unwittingly, for himself and the flick) "Good question."

The tapes turn out not to be true snuffers, but only poor fakes with the same girl stabbed to death in both of them... a physical impossibility. But, Welles soon uncovers a hot link to the genuine article. The remainder of the film is a submarine dive into some hefty evil... worse than you have a right to expect. But, after a lengthy orgasm of sheer bedlam, during which Max becomes the sadistic toy of satan's three children (Dino, Eddy, and Machine) the nightmare and depravity flee away in the skirts of deposed evil.

In the closing scenes, Welles is portrayed as just your suburban "every man" with his rake, quietly trying to tidy up the yard... and his mind. But OH! has this boy got TORMENT. Nobly, he broods alone; though his wife, ever near, knows he's licking wounds. She oozes simpatico from a nearby window.

Not to worry! Life has its little inurements. Even though the wealthy Mrs. C has committed suicide after hearing the results of Welles' investigation, a letter arrives as he's raking. It's from the murder victim's mother. She thanks him for some cash (left to her by Mrs. Christian as a final gesture before she popped her cork) and for everything that he, Welles, had done (violently, even ritualistically, murdering several of the scoundrels and burning up Eddie Poole.) Isn't fictional living swell? Even Helter-Skelter can have a near story book ending.

We've noticed that this movie got an "R" rating. Genuinely, it has earned every bit of an "X." Do not take any rational individuals to see this. And, of course, AVOID the irrational ones. Obviously this is NOT proper fodder for postal workers or ANY non-adults.

OCTOBER SKY
(special by Caped Vixen)  
Expectant we watched for hours - straining to see Sputnik. Then a small moving light passed gradually over our heads and the world was never again the same. Thus, my childhood came rolling back as I watched this film. And rightly so, because this movie recalls uplifting moments in real lives.

In a coal mining town deep in the hills of West Virginia, Homer Hickam (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) stares at Sputnik in childlike wonder and a fire is kindled to build rockets. Freshly lusting to shoot rockets into space he vaults beyond unspoken social barriers and befriends the school geek, while about them the lunchroom explodes in horror.

His close friends see his indomitable enthusiasm and catch the fever. They're hooked! Their teacher, Miss Riley, played by Laura Dern, supplies the icing on the cake. Drooling over the possibility that some of her students might actually go on to become something grander than miners, she suggests they channel their energies toward the upcoming Science Fair where they could win scholarships to college.

As you watch, a boyish flight of fancy grows into tangible stuff and, one by one, everyone in town catches lift-off fever. And a dying coal town gains a new reason to cheer.

This is a sweet film (true story), so incredibly delicious to watch. Struggle, tenacity, perseverance it's all here along with a multitude of loudly exploding rocketry attempts. Explosions surround Homer at home too when his rough hewn, mining-boss dad just does not get Homer's obsession. Never mind the fact that his dad is equally wrapped up in his own job at the mine.

The ageless family struggle to be valued while doing something absurdly different plays to the heart of every teenager (and former teen) trying for the impossible.

This is a truly marvelous story so take everybody with two legs. As a friend said, "You can even take your grandmother!" Don't miss this sweet gem of a film, it's the stuff of life. Stick around at the end for real home movies of a bunch of the actual people portrayed in this film. This is a SPECIAL treat.

Analyze This
I sorta liked "This." It's the kinda show that entertains all-the-way-around. You know what I mean goombah? No you DON'T! No YOU don't!

The food was excellent. The service? Well, let's just say the counter was all mobbed up... Ya know? No YOU DON'T know! I ordered les M&Ms arachide, Vixen had les M&Ms ordinaire. It went down easy with some nectar délicieux des dieux de la carbonation. Only the best for me an' my gal. The type you don't burp too much from.

And we had some of our usual people with us... ASSOCIATES. We was all chewin', havin' a good time and the lights went down. Here's what then transpired. It wasn't pretty stuff!

There was this made guy, Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro)... a Godfather, you might say. But he was getting this... uh... PERFORMANCE ANXIETY. He's got these dumb stiffs workin' on his payroll that can't seem to get NOTHING right. One ah them gives this Vitti guy a card from the shrink that ran into their car earlier.

Vitti is havin' these feelin's like his ticker's giving out. But it wasn't that. It was this ting Doc Sobol (Billy Crystal) calls "panic attacks." But you know that ain't MANLY. So, Paul Vitti says "NO! I AIN'T HAVING NO PANIC ATTACKS!" But this Sobol guy turns it around on him and gets him see he is. I felt like pluggin that wus outta' solidarity with Pauly.

Soon dis Vitti is takin' up all ah the Doc's time with his... NEUROSES. Ya know? NO YOU DON'T! I have ta say that I laughed till I cried. BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT. Well summa his ASSOCIATES get wind that he's seein' a shrink... for himself. That don't sit too well wid summa dees guys. They question what will happen if someone finds out. Maybe they oughta plug this Doc. And, whattas he think. Vitti tell 'em NO, an' he keeps on with tha Doc.

Meanwhile this Doc's trying ta get married with this new woman in his life (Lisa Kudrow.) This woman is NOT NORMAL. She don't give a man no space. It ain't natural. He don't want no space neither. But Pauly, he needs summa that space for his NEUROSES. An' he can't bother that a coupla wise guys get bumped durin' tha wedding. IT HAPPENS! Don't make a big deal.

An this Doc Sobol's got HIS OWN problems, let me tell you. His pops is this publicity-freek out writin' all these books and livin' tha big life, you know? Stickin' it to his kid that he's this big Upper East Side Doc who knows all these big names, you know? NO YOU DON'T! And he's got this ego as big as the Hindenburg! So, tha Doc's got HIS OWN neuroses from that. And dis guy's s'posedta be helping tha Godfather out.

Then the Doc's gotta sit in for Mr. Vitti at the first big council of all tha fam'lies in twenty years and play his consigliari. But he don't even know how ta pronounce tha name. Bada-bing, bada-boom!

Yo-o-u GOTTA see dis one. It's one for tha record books; but, there are some compromises in tast, shall we say. So don't bring no carpet rats. And no POSTAL TYPES and NO PUNKS UNDER 18! But YOU, you and your ASSOCIATES... YOU COME! It'll be good for you. Kinda like Aunt Louisa's pasta. But tha words... they might make her blush. You KNOW WHAT I MEAN? Yes YOU DO-O-O-o!!

AFFLICTION
This movie comes lurching at you like a plastered bear after a barrel of whiskey. It wants to hang all over you with it's hot, stinking breath; weigh you down and maul you and it never staggers higher than a crouch.

Nick Nolte plays Wade Whitehouse, a man lost in a cloud of failure, disappointment, simmering resentment and lifelong paternal abuse. He's a man given to impetuous reaction instead of even shallow reasoning and his life reflects the wounds from all of this.

When someone dies in a hunting accident, Wade comes to believe that it is a murder and pursues it with all of the borderline dementia he can muster. His brother Rolfe, played spectacularly by Willem Dafoe, is an unwitting disservice masquerading as a sounding board.

Like Wade, almost every character in the movie is self-destructive in some way. They are either abusive, abused, enabling, victimized, emotionally depleted, or obtuse.

The most petrifying performance comes from James Coburn (the elder Whitehouse) who is as harsh and vitriolic as Hitler after sucking a green lemon; but it's really worse than that, because he is betraying those closest to him with his hair-raising cruelty.

Sissy Spacek plays Wade's limp girlfriend, aptly named Margie Fogg, who has a hard time recognizing the time bomb she's attached to until the very last minute.

This movie is completely punishing because everybody is so completely convincing. There is no nudity, but this is a tour-de-force of unredeemable disfunction, repleat with convulsive waves of coarse speech, spewed hatrid, a senseless death and the walking dead, thoughtlessness, and the jagged edges of insanity. You have to be hard up for great performances to go to this. This could definitely scar kids emotionally. And, if you go, DON'T take your postman.  This story truly rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

BLAST FROM THE PAST
(Special by Caped Vixen)
The nukes are coming, the nukes are coming! Convinced that the Cuban Missle Crisis has brought on the "Big One", genius Calvin (Christopher Walken) hustles his very pregnant wife (Sissy Spacek) into their just-like-the-home-above bomb shelter for the next 35 years. Their boy, Adam (Brendan Fraser), grows up a model person of impeccable manners and old-fashioned musical tastes (Perry Como).

When the time locks open, Calvin goes top-side to find a very different San Fernando Valley, complete with derelicts, hookers and porn shops.

Running low on everything, Adam is sent to bring back a massive amount of supplies and since he's curious, well, a nice girl from Pasadena too.

Eve (Alicia Silverstone) is all street-wise and cynical and definitely not buying this "gosh aw-shucks" stuff coming from Adam. They finally settle on her "helping" him find a good woman and get the needed supplies. His vast education (his genius father was his teacher) and ball room dancing skills attract more than a few women at a night club and Eve realizes that she, too, is drawn to this strange "puppy" of a man.

Romance with these two sparkles. The high contrast between the sweeter times of middle America and the current day trashiness of neglected urban slums is stark and powerful. The nowaday cautiousness slapped awake by the gentle trusting of an innocent should alert us to hold onto the good and the true, not demean it, as is so common in the media.

Good fare for most of the family, with silly sight gags and no nudity but some strong lanuguage. A refreshing "Blast from the Past".

PAYBACK
This movie had the kind of muscle you find on a prize fighter. It was tough all the way through, tough as gristle. Even the words were a slugfest. Tight gripping drama and hard violence were the warp and woof of this gritty, edge-of-the-seat thriller.

As hard-hard-hitting as this flick is, it manages to level the K.O.'s with an undercurrent of sentiment and compassion; and a wonderful blend of ironic, moronic, and clever humor. Mel Gibson is a practical joker and I can't imagine him in a movie without such a touch.

Porter (Gibson) is a street-wise player hip to the seamy side of life and game for high-stakes action until he is double-crossed. After he and his sometimes-cohort Val score a successful gambit against Chinese couriers for a money-laundering operation, always-over-the-top Val has a little surprise waiting for his "pal"... a sort of life-terminating pot hole in the road of life. Porter and his wife Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger) were to get half the take, but things turn nasty after the getaway. Val's mommy never taught him to share. He is beast-quality evil. (Antichrist level, really.) He takes the whole caboodle, leaving Porter oozing and counting his corpuscles... AND looking for some PAYBACK!

Failing the expectations of his death, he returns to find his wife hopelessly wacky on the junk. She performs the ultimate act of betrayal by suringing away the last spark of her life as he catches a few needed winks on the couch.

Now, its time to get serious. When the teenypunk drug dealer supplying his wife shows up, he gives him some "regret" and what he uncovers during this "father and son"-like "discussion" opens the way to Val and his underworld chums. If Val didn't enjoy pain so much, you'd wish him a big basket of it!.

Val is the stale mayonaise in a seamy sandwich of crime. The REAL ingredients are the Hughey, Louie, and Dewey of the syndicate: Carter (William Devane), Fairfax (the masterful and insuperable James Coburn), and -- at the pinnacle -- Bronson (Kris Kristofferson.)

I am usually under-impressed with both Devane and Kristofferson, but they both were absolutely splendid in this film. As was practically everyone else. Only the painful, sadistic agony expressed by Andrew Cooper as he hangs by his feet enduring sharply-endearing love taps with a mousetrap on his tongue was rather under par. But, playing opposite the menacing and kinky humor of Lucy Alexis Liu (as sadomasochistic courtesan "Pearl"), it must be hard to summons your full potential. Give the boy a hand for trying.

Like any good action suspense, the pace picks up quickly from the start and never diminishes. It hurtles along building palpable momentum with every scene, mixing good plot twists, hairy-chested music, and starkly tough action.

Though world-wise, tough, and capable of troubling savagery, Gibson's violence is always justifiable, weighed, and proportional within the pathological vernacular of his world. You could say it is rational within that context. And, unlike his sadistic adversaries, he retains a solid, though oxidized, thread of humanity, loyalty, and heroism that are his edge in this ticklish and treacherous game.

DO NOT BRING ANYONE TO THIS MOVIE IF they are a minor. This also isn't suitable fare for unstable postal workers, or for wimpies with delicate constitutions, or for anyone wishing to avoid mass quantities of profanity and bloody violence. However, if you are of stern stuff and are a devotee of intricate, absorbing gangster thrillers, regardless the contextual baggage, you will LOVE this one. The acting and action are breathlessly superb. Top notch, all the way. And, there is a real effort, in some ways mistaken, to capture and advance the blunt, unvarnished essence of the genre found in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Message in a Bottle
I stepped into the twilight laboring to maintain the doubtful equalibrium of two cups of liquid refreshment. It was a herculean task, as precious fingers were grasping other items. Coming to rest next to my faithful sidekick and members of our entourage, I soon experienced the arrival of a demure and lithe presence on my left. Without a moment's reservation, I moved my cup from her armrest cup holder to mine, signaling the chivalric essence common to all super heroes.

We sat teased by a vacant screen as Janis Joplin, barfing out chunks of raw emotion, opened a contrapuntal distortional vortex in the mental atmosphere that must have inspired a member of the entourage to share a joke. It went something like this: "Chelsea had a new boyfriend. She told her mother that she would really like him because he's tall and handsom. Hillary said 'I just want to know one thing. Are you having sexual relations with him?' To this, Chelsea replied 'Not according to Dad.' (lounge lizard drum roll)"

At this point, the artificial twilight began waning into darkness and a preview was soon followed by the opening scenes of Message in a Bottle.

It was well worth the wait. This is a staggeringly well made and superbly written film. And it's really a three way tie with the acting, because that was exceedingly marvelous and I include everyone in the cast in that praise. It has the gravity and lush atmosphere of a 40s creation, with an equally stellar sound track. The sound track is my next acquisition.

Most of the scenes are exquisite visual poetry, striking and intensely beautiful. When taken together with the lush musical score, it is utterly enthralling.

Paul Newman was so at the top of his craft that you truly saw Garret Blake's father rather than a wacko Hollywood wingnut. And, that's as it should be. He came across as a worn, very sympathetic and lovable old salt, disdainful of formality, wise in years, and -- from those years -- greater in humanity and empathy.

There was a very natural and unaffected chemistry among all of the cast that was pure magic and made the entire movie delightful and very believable. The warmth and the often humorous banter between Newman and Kevin Costner (as Garret Blake) was truly more as if between father and son.

Likewise, very powerful character acting in the roles of former inlaws were a poignant counterpoint serving as a very engrossing vehicle for fleshing out the story. In fact there were numerous layers to this movie. It's a very intelligent creation.

Although all reference to the former wife, Catherine, were indirect -- either through conversation, possessions, or flashback -- she became a fully understandable and three dimensional presence. And, it was made easy to empathize with Garret's reluctance to commit to another woman; though, at times, you still wanted to shout "Wake up you fool!"

It was somewhere in all of this that sniffling and restrained, but continual, sobbing welled up in the seat to my left. It was the lithe figure. Her face was running like a cheap faucet. As it continued (all the way through to the closing scene) I grew increasingly intent on buying her some new washers. I didn't want to be obvious but, every time I peeked, she was wiping her eyes. Her sleeves must have been like a stevedore's tank top in August.

Anyway, the basic movie plot opened with a Boston reporterette on the mend from a marriage gone sour, casting about for a life while juggling a child and a career. We find out later that her real goal was to have been more... a professional writer. The sting of her husband's betrayal, still weighing heavily on her, she is encouraged to take some time off and get away, say... to Maine where, running along the oceanfront, she discovers a forlorned bottle nearly ingested by the wet sand. It's the ultimate fantasy... a bottle with potential treasure inside!

Corked within is a love letter and request for forgiveness so ungarded, loving, and genuine that she melts, secretly longing to have been its intended recipient. She returns to work a day early and emerses herself in the distraction of work; but can't avoid sharing the letter with her associates who, like a gaggle of match-making fairy godmothers, sweep her up in a romantic search for its author.

Delightfully warm and intelligent humor laces through this tender romance and drama, always lifting it and making the story and characters more endearing. This will be a classic. (This IS a classic.) It's built like one all the way to the typeface used in the credit roll. You won't be disappointed. But, you WILL be if you bring kids. Our love birds make a writhing "bed sheet sandwich" in one suggestive scene that leaves little to the imagination. Though it's tasteful and discrete by today's standards, the classics this film is patterned after would never have included it. On the positive side, there is no offensive language. Likewise, no insidious digressions into political correctness were noted. Mrs. Diaper and I enjoyed all but the minutest part of this picture.

At First Sight
Shirl and Barbara it's a beautiful story that you're living. I was inspired and I know that Caped Vixen was also. A truly haunting touch was the movie's theme song "Love is Where You Are." I could put it on a loop and listen to it back to back.

Mira Sorvino, though not totally convincing as love interest Amy Benic, was just as charming as ever and that was worth a lot. (And, after all, she WAS Magna cum Laude at Harvard. Let's give her a pass.) I wouldn't have wanted anyone else in the part anyway. It's like John Wayne. When was he EVER totally convincing in a role, but we all loved him and went to all of his movies. I can't say that the phenomenon carried over to Elvis Presley, though.

Val Kilmer practically became Virgil Adamson. You just knew he was blind. He was so intuitive with the role. But, as with Mira, there was some fragment of connection with the rest of the character that was missing. But, I like what he did with his part, regardless. He underplayed it with great effect and it was very warm and entertaining. I'm conflicted but will press on.

The two actors who really pulled off stellar performances were both in supporting roles. Kelly McGillis played the possessive and overly-protective older sister to perfection. She didn't get lost in the role, but she was excellent. Likewise, the guy that played the eye doctor really captured the tenor of the part. I have been involved, off and on, with the medical world and I know the personality profile. His portrayal was spot on. Also, it didn't hurt that he LOOKS the part. I'm sorry that I don't remember his name. He rates the credit.

FLASH! I've recalled his name. It's Bruce Davidson. Give the boy a hand.

Vixen didn't ooze tears, but I confess that I did. The bittersweet nature of their budding relationship with its strains and joys, the sacrifices on both sides, the inevitable stumbling by two people in totally different worlds trying to understand each other and the pain caused as well as the heightened joys. I was right there with them. I was feeling it. There was a personal chemistry that transcended any shortcomings in performance.

I mean, this is based on a true story folks! You always come back to that. It's very tender and beautiful. I've noted carping that the plot didn't seem as real as good fiction, but what true story ever does?

Benic is a female partner in an architectural firm with her ex. She left him because he was an emotionless fish. He still wants back. Meanwhile, Virgil is a well-adapted blind masseur in a mountain resort, watched over by his doting older sister who cared more for his well-being than for her own chance at a life. Amy is convinced by everyone at work that she needs a vacation and a Spa get-away is arranged for her.

At the resort, she meets Virgil when, opting out of physical exercise, she signs up for massages. They connect and begin a delicate, almost fairytale romance.

As things unfold, the predictable challenges jump up like boogey men. At some points, they almost lose it, but love is the final victor through thick and thin. And so it is in real life, as we find out at the end of the movie.

NOTE: Nudity is hinted pretty boldly but not directly presented. Pre-marital sex IS the backdrop, though. And there is intermittent profanity. Though it IS contextual, I can still think of other ways of portraying the moments of deep frustration without the use of hard core verbiage. Maybe the script writers need better vocabularies.

Basically, this is for adults. We overlooked these problems and enjoyed the substantial remainder of it.

A Thin Red Line
(Special to the Diaper Page - by Caped Vixen)
An unusual and self absorbed view of a WWII Army Rifle Company. This is not a "for everyone" kind of war movie.

The acting was without a doubt superb, as was most of the casting, but the indulgence in daydreaming and just down right self philosophy trips is, well, like watching someone else contemplate their navel.

The basic story follows the troops onto Guadalcanal (an unopposed landing), across the rugged jungle terrain of the island and into the throat of battle to take a hill. Well that's the underliing tale but not the story by a long shot.

I was intrigued, repulsed, bored and almost entertained. There are these monologues that "float" in and out of scenes - sometimes they even let you know who's thinking the monologue. If this had been Vietnam where soldiers regularly took pot and other diversions to escape the burden of terror these little verbal fancies might have fit. Hey guys this is about World War II, you know, the Americans of a time not whacked out by the self indulgent teenagers of the 60's.

As I said earlier, the acting was marvelous (except Travolta as General Qintard didn't work for me). The names of the cast are enough to draw you in off the street just to see the interplay of these guys ... Sean Penn, George Clooney, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, just to cover the big guys. It was so very surreal in that you wanted the movie to just get on with reality and stop trying to pyscho babble you to death.

The photography was gorgeous in its breathtaking vision of an island "paradise" gone mad with the staccato of war violence. This is a movie in search of a therapist and it just never quite gets there, even though its "on the coach and moaning loudly" for someone to notice.

RUGRATS, THE MOVIE
Mrs. Diaper and I put on our warmestest play suits with the little smiley stars on them and raced up to our favorite movie palace as fast as we could. We, somehow, knew in our hearts that THIS was the movie to see. With gleams of adventure on our eyeballs and smiley teeth, we mounted our brightly colored tricycles and were off! Excitement refreshed our tired leg muscles and drool moistened our lips in the cold wind as we peddled and peddled ever closer to our goal.

I'll have to confess that we haven't been close adherents of the Rugrats series. Sadly, I don't remember all of the characters, but I've had an absolutely silly, good-fun feeling ever since seeing the movie. This is one smart little piece of comedy that teaches a lesson in 'sponsibility (Rugratspeek for responsibility).

The toddlers get lost and Tommy leads them by following the second-hand on his 'sponsibility; all the while, taking care of his new little brother, Dyl.(Rhymes with PILL, which is what he IS in spades. Baby from hell.) They are aided in their madcap adventure (There are allusions to something vaguely Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park.) by a big plastic Reptar Wagon complete with back fins and flotation device. There are some hugely realistic animation scenes for the more sophisticated in the audience (The birth and cloud sequences). I noticed that Whoopie Goldberg is Ranger Margaret! Other celebrities include David Spade, Melanie Chartoff and many more you'll recognize as the credits roll. Just RELAX and you'll enjoy this movie as much as your kiddies... maybe MORE.

PATCH ADAMS - A Joint Diaper Review  
Robin Williams has an impish charm that is universally contagious. He gives this movie its heart and soul, as usual. What is even more poignant is the genuine life story that this picture highlights.  

This is the story of Hunter "Patch" Adams who admits himself to a psych institution for evaluation and therapy because of suicidal tendencies. There, he is confronted by a world of indifference and discovers the powerful curative effect of caring and simple humor, of being involved with others. The lives of other patients enrich and teach him, helping Patch to lose his own pathologies, and inspiring a direction for his own life.  

There is the most improbable, tender and sweet love story. There is a man grander than his circumstances. There is the reproach of custom, detachment, and egoism by gentle, caring example. There is the courage to go on found in an unforgettable moment of regeneration.  

This is a poetically beautiful story and a truly funny and joyous piece of entertainment. There is one momentary (and hairy) bootie-shot at the graduation ceremony, but it likely happened in reality and underscores the free spirit depicted in this movie. I wasn't sure whether I was viewing an ape or Robin Williams. I wouldn't take young or immature children or teens to the movie because of this. Go and take mature teens.  

   
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