January 16, 2001


Housesitter2 Stars

A Cheap Imitation!January 16, 2001

Housesitter is an awful rewrite of the charming 1941 movie It Started with Eve. Unlike Deanna Durbin's character, who is honest and likeable, Goldie Hawn plays a pathological liar no decent person could respect. In fact, the whole plot of the original has been so cheapened that it's hard to accept any of the relationships between characters, or the final outcome. The two movies share a cast of characters in similar roles, and even humorous scenes like tripping over a living-room chair, but the wholesome quality of the original is totally lost in Housesitter. The film's only saving grace is the superb acting of its well-picked cast. The story line, though, has been shamefully distorted. I would expect a rewrite to improve on the original, but comparing these two films saddens me to think how far American screenwriting—and perhaps our sense of values—has deteriorated over those 50 years. — Paul A. Scott 

Posted by pscott at 04:58 PM

December 07, 2000

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant5 Stars

An animated masterpieceDecember 7, 2000

My sister-in-law lent me the VHS version last Thanksgiving. Looking briefly at the front cover, I could gather little desire to "pop it in" and sit back to what I thought would be a boring story and even less interesting animation. There it sat on top of the VCR until this Thanksgiving when I figured I was way overdue in returning it. So, with time and indifference to burn, I blew the dust off the VCR and, lucky for me, it still worked. Almost immediately I was drawn in by the quality of the animation; honest to goodness animation, not over-the-top CGI. I started paying attention. As the story unfolded an amazing thing happened. I was that little boy, feeling surprise, fear, happiness, anger, contempt, sadness, respect and love. I forgot I was watching an animated film, and began living an unforgettable experience. The Iron Giant is a beautifully crafted film built around a touching story with high moral value that is guaranteed to entertain. Yet more proof that you shouldn't judge a book (or a movie) by its cover. I was so impressed, I bought the DVD, which will forever be an annual Thanksgiving Day event. — Paul A. Scott 

Posted by pscott at 05:03 PM

July 02, 2000

La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita5 Stars

Not Just Another Action FilmJuly 2, 2000

If you saw "Point of No Return" with Bridget Fonda, you owe it to yourself to see this film, "La Femme Nikita." While the two films are superficially very similar, the original "La Femme Nikita" has depth that the remake completely lacks. 

Anne Parillaud's performance is so powerful she wouldn't have to speak a single word to convince us of the totality of her metamorphosis from a punkish, thoughtless killer, to a complex, yet sensitive and caring woman. More than anything else, this movie is a social commentary against the death penalty. When Nikita (Anne Parillaud) recklessly pulls the trigger, ending the life of a policeman who is asking for mercy, I was demanding she be put to death. But almost immediately afterwards, Parillaud had me feeling sorry for her! My feelings flopped back and forth throughout, but each time a little less back and a little more forward. Given a chance, an education, self-esteem, and her femininity, Nikita becomes a new and decent person; a world apart from the life she knew as a drugged-out punk. 

Don't miss this film! — Paul A. Scott 

Posted by pscott at 05:09 PM