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List of "XYZ" Movies

Year of the Comet (1992) PG-13 adventure

Penelope Ann Miller stars as a wine lover who soon discovers the most incredible find of her life: A giant, 180-year-old bottle intended as a gift to Napoleon (who was disposed before it could be given to him). The bottle is potentially worth one million dollars, and she and some other dude, must guard it with care. Unfortunately, a band of bad guys are on their tail who has their own intentions for that bottle. The film is enjoyable, but the script is weak and so is the acting. Starring: Penelope Ann Miller, Tim Daly, Louis Jordan, Art Malik, Ian Richardson, Ian McNeice, Timothy Bentinck, Julia McCarthy, Jacques Mathou. Directed by: Peter Yates. C+

Yellow Submarine (1968) G animated

This psychedelic staple stars an animated Beatles who travel through Pepperland and save it from the Blue Meanies. More importantly than the plot is the weirdness throughout it (that's somewhat rambly) and the Beatles music. Even though this is generally over-the-top weird, it manages to be quite engaging. The script also features witty dialogue and political metaphors. The Beatles themselves might not have had much to do with this film (they don't even do their own voices), but this remains a celebration of the imagination. Voices of: Geoffrey Hughes, John Clive, Lance Percival, Dick Emery, Paul Angelis, Peter Batten. Directed by: George Dunning. A

You Can Count on Me (2000) R drama

This effective drama is about two siblings (Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo), orphaned as kids, who have taken extremely divergent paths in life. Linney stayed in town and worked a steady job as a banker. Ruffalo became a drifter and had a few run-ins with the law. Despite their differences, their kinship bonds them together. This is a friendly and moving piece that everyone should see sometime. (Ferris Bueller fans might become disillusioned with Matthew Broderick's character--a nebbish and hard-assed bank manager.) Starring: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Rory Culkin, Matthew Broderick, Jon Tenney, J. Smith-Cameron, Kenneth Lonergan. Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan. A-

You Canít Take it With You (1938) NR comedy/drama

James Stewart plays a young executive and son of a hugely successful industrialist who falls hopelessly in love with his middle-class secretary (Jean Arthur) in spite of their social differences. Even worse than their social differences are their family differences! As with every Capra film, the characters are endearing and the message is timeless. Itís a bit slow-going at first, but itís difficult not to love it in the end. Starring: Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer, Ann Miller, Spring Byington, Samuel S. Hinds, Donald Meek, H.B. Warner, Halliwell Hobbes, Dub Taylor. Directed by: Frank Capra. A

You Only Live Twice (1967) PG spy

Sean Connery stars as James Bond who's out to halt a plot to trigger war between The United States and the USSR by disguising a spaceship to look Soviet and kidnapping an American vessel with it. Lots of action makes up for the below-par script. Connery, however, is as good as ever. Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Donald Pleasence, Tetsuro Tamba, Mie Hama, Tero Shimada, Karin Dor, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Lewis, Charles Gray, Tsai Chin. Directed by: Mel Stuart. B

Young Frankenstein (1974) PG comedy

This is a hilarious spoof of old horror movies from Mel Brooks. Dr. Frankenstein's grandchild (Gene Wilder) has lived to resent his grandfather's past deeds until he travels to Transylvania to his old mansion. There, he repeats his grandfather's experiment -- hopefully, nothing will go wrong this time. The acting by the cast is inspired. Marty Feldman is particularly notable as Igor (pronounced Eyegor) and Leachman is wonderfully frightening as Frau Blucher. This is an outrageously funny film, and probably the single Brooks film to get the most acclaim. Starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Gene Hackman. Directed by: Mel Brooks. A-

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) PG-13 adventure

This is an utterly silly "miniaturized" version of Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective. Chris Columbus wrote the script, but he apparently can't tell a good mystery apart from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Sure, some of the action is pretty exciting and the sets are superb, but at the end, it falls short. Starring: Nicolas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward, Anthony Higgins, Susan Fleetwood, Freddie Jones, Nigel Stock, Roger Ashton-Griffiths. Directed by: Barry Levinson. C

Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968) G comedy

This entirely good natured family film stars Henry Fonda as a widower Naval officer with 10 children who falls in love with a widower nurse (Lucille Ball) who has 8 children. Separately, both families are a handful. Together, they're nuts. There are enough funny jokes in the script (many of which suprisingly don't seem that dated) that keeps this film entertaining. However, the end was laying on the syrup way too thick. Starring: Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson, Tom Bosley, Louise Troy, Jennifer Leak, Eric Shea, Ben Murphy, Nancy Roth, Suzanne Cupito, Tim Matheson. Directed by: Melville Shavelson. B

You've Got Mail (1998) PG romantic comedy

Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and director Nora Ephron reteam to hopefully repeat their success with Sleepless in Seattle. They hardly match it, but this is an entirely pleasant romantic comedy. This time, the two meet via the Internet. They become good virtual pals and decide to meet in real life. However, what they don't realize is that they know each other in real life, and they hate each other. This is a perfectly entertaining film, but it's a remake of a 1940 film called A Shop Around the Corner, which is vastly superior. Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns, David Chappelle, Dabney Coleman, Deborah Rush, Hallee Hirsh. Directed by: Nora Ephron. B-

Zardoz (1973) R sci-fi

There are a lot of nice ideas in this nightmarish sci-fi flick, but the execution from director John Boorman was clunky and misguided. The plot is complicated and its message is pretentious, which you can immediately gather from the opening sequence of the film featuring a monologue from a floating head. Sean Connery looks out of his element, starring as a loin-clothed clad people-exterminator living in a very bleak 23rd Century. He makes it inside a giant bubble where a clan of immortal beings live. It seemed like an oasis, but it soon becomes evident that it's a living hell. This is a daring film though awfully confusing. It is worth a peak for fans of non-space-related sci-fi, but this ultimately would have worked better as a novel. Starring: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton, Sally Anne Newton, Niall Buggy, Jessica Swift, Barbre Dowling, Bosco Hogan, Christopher Casson, Reginald Jannan. Directed by: John Boorman. C+

Zathura (2005) PG sci-fi

Itís basically the same thing as Jumanji except it takes place in outer space and Robin Williams isnít in it. When a young boy (Jonah Bobo) discovers an old game in their house, he begins to play it with his unwilling brother (Josh Hutcherson). However, they quickly learn that this isnít an ordinary board game. For a start, it somehow brought their house in outer space, and itís making other crazy things happen such as meteor showers and alien attacks. Itís not nearly as fun as Jumanji and some of the plot points were peculiar, but itís still enjoyable and good for the kids. Starring: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins, Frank Oz. Directed by: Jon Favreau. B-

Zoolander (2001) PG-13 comedy

Ben Stiller directs and stars in this funny film as a "ridiculously good looking" supermodel who doesn't have too many brain cells. For some reason, a fashion guru (Will Ferrell) kidnaps Stiller so that he can brainwash him via The Manchurian Candidate to assassinate the president of Malaysia. The plot is thin and the jokes are hit-and-miss, but the one-joke premise manages to keep its momentum. Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Jerry Stiller, David Duchovny, Jon Voight, Judah Friedlander, Nathan Lee Graham, Alexander Manning, Asio Highsmith, Alexander Skarsgard, Donald Trump, Christian Slater, Tom Ford, Cuba Gooding Jr., Steve Kmetko, Natalie Portman, Fabio, Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, Keidi Klum, DJ Mark Ronson, Paris Hilton, David Bowie. Directed by: Ben Stiller. B+


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