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List of "C" Movies

Cable Guy (1996) PG-13 comedy

Jim Carrey stars in this (surprise, surprise) loony comedy as an overly eccentric cable man who attaches himself to an unsuspecting customer (Matthew Broderick). The thing about this cable guy is that if you want to be friends, he'll be great. You get free cable, a big screen TV, Medieval Times fights, etc. He might drive you nuts, but that's only a side-effect. However, the moment you no longer wish to be friends with him, he'll make your life a living nightmare. This rather kooky, but all-around enjoyable Carrey flick is a must for his fans. The dark undercurrent of the film seems to make a half-baked statement on those who watch TV, which probably should have been done away with. Starring: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann, George Segal, Diane Baker, Jack Black, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, Charles Napier, Ben Stiller. Directed by: Ben Stiller. B

Caddyshack (1980) R comedy

This is a crass comedy, but it makes me laugh every time. This film is about the wacky going-ons of a country club and golf course. The plot doesn't matter as much as the cast of characters, which is infectious. Ted Knight is an uptight judge and country club head honcho who is outraged every time someone doesn't follow the rules. Bill Murray is a dopey Vietnam veteran who takes direction to rid the course of gophers (not golfers) a little too far. Rodney Dangerfield is an uber-wealthy businessman who struts around the club with high-tech gizmos and insults people. And Chevy Chase is . . . well . . . Chevy Chase. The straight character is the high school aged caddy (Michael O'Keefe) who decides to try kissing up to the judge for a scholarship. But that's part of the storyline. Nobody cares about the storyline. He's just there to react to the goofy grownups. Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, Jim Carrey, Sarah Holcomb, Scott Colomby, Cindy Morgan, Dan Resin, Henry Wilcoxon. Directed by: Harold Ramis. B+

Cadillac Man (1990) R comedy

Robin Williams stars as a car salesman who is so cliche that he even manages to talk his way into several girlfriends who are out of his league. But he shows a flash of heart when a crazed maniac (Tim Robbins) holds the dealership hostage to find out who has been fooling around with his wife (Annabella Sciorra), and he falsely takes the blame. Can Williams talk his way out of this mess, and still find time to sort out his plethora of personal problems? The story is inconsequential; it's the actors makes this comedy worth watching. Starring: Robin Williams, Tim Robbins, Pamela Reed, Fran Drescher, Zach Norman, Annabella Sciorra, Lori Petty, Paul Guilfoyle. Directed by: Roger Donaldson. B

Cadillac Records (2008) R drama

Entertaining biopic about Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) who founded the Chess Records label. He attracted such revolutionary musicians as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Little Walter (Columbus Short), Chuck Berry (Mos Def), Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker), and Etta James (Beyonce). The cast is phenomenal--they carry themselves and perform just like I imagine the figures themselves did. The recreation of their music is flawless. That's really 90 percent of the reason I wanted to watch this. The downside is the film tries to cover so much territory. There are so many characters that I don't feel as though I really got to know any of them. Starring: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyonce, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker, Mos Def, Shiloh Fernandez, Jay O. Sanders. Directed by: Darnell Martin. B

The Caine Mutiny (1954) NR drama

A totally exhilarating adaptation of Herman Wouk's Pulitzer Prize winning novel starring Humphrey Bogart as the notorious Captain Queeg, the authority of the broken down naval ship, the Caine. His skeptical crew thinks their captain is insane, which brings the ship to a serious and mutinous situation! Van Johnson stars as the first mate and he does a great job. Fred MacMurray's performance as the intellectual officer is exquisite, but it's Humphrey Bogart's performance that is legendary. This ought to be considered one of the greatest films of all time and it still holds well today even though there was never a mutiny in the United States Navy. Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, Robert Francis, May Wynn, Fred MacMurray, E.G. Marshall, Lee Marvin, Claude Akins. Directed by: Edward Dmytryk. A+

California Dreaming (2007) PG comedy

Omaha mom Ginger (Lea Thompson) wants only one thing for her 40th birthday: To take the family RV from their home to a beach in California that she'd visited as a teenager. Her husband Stu (Dave Foley) and daughter Cookie (Lindsay Seim) acquiesce to her desires, because she's mom, after all. Even though it means forgoing their beloved annual trip to Branson. Through a series of misfortune, they have trouble even getting outside the Omaha city limits. The film suffers a clunky, amateurish beginning, but once it gains momentum, it taps into a certain level of helium-puffing dopiness that I find infectious. The dialogue heavy script consists almost exclusively of family squabbling, but it's mostly amicable, even when the topic veers into more serious territory such as held resentment between Ginger and her sister-in-law (Patricia Richardson). The momentum falters once again in the final act thanks to required scenes of family bonding gooeyness that comes off way too forced. This is a movie of, by, and for the Midwestern WASP, and I admit to having a fitfully entertaining time with it. That's perhaps because I also share that Midwestern WASP background. Of course it's also likely to me I wouldn't have found the movie watchable at all if the filmmakers didn't secure the talents of these two experienced lead actors who I almost always love watching, even here when I feel the amateurish script is well beneath them. Starring: Dave Foley, Lea Thompson, Vicki Lewis, Ethan Phillips, Patricia Richardson, Lindsay Seim. Directed by: Linda Vorhees. C

California Suite (1978) PG comedy

This film is a conglomeration of unrelated stories that occur within the confines of Southwest California. It suffers an awful start with Jane Fonda and Alan Alda as an estranged couple who debate where their teenage daughter should spend her next school year. Luckily, things pick up from there with humor that is frequently dry and laugh-out-loud funny. My favorite segment is the pairing of Maggie Smith and Michael Caine. She's an actor up for an Academy Award, and he's her closeted gay husband. She feels resentful that she had to appear in a lowbrow film to get the nomination. But at the same time, she really wants the award. She behaves quite virulently towards her husband, and he's ever-so-quick to jab back at her. Parts of the dialog had me rolling. Walter Matthau and Elaine May also have an entertaining segment--comedy of a more slapstick nature. He tries to prevent her, his wife, from discovering a passed-out prostitute in his hotel room bed. The fourth segment is concerns two couples. The two husbands (Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby) are constantly feuding with each other. They are at the end of their vacation, and it goes so disastrously that it would even make Chevy Chase blush. Starring: Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Richard Pryor, Bill Crosby, Gloria Gifford, Shelia Frazier, Herb Edelman, Denise Galik. Directed by: Herbert Ross. B+

Canadian Bacon (1995) PG comedy

American president, Alan Alda, is suffering in the polls and everyday, more Americans are losing their jobs. His chief cabinet member thinks the reason for these declines is because there is no longer a cold war between America and the USSR, so they decide to start that up again. They call upon Russia to ask, but politely decline by saying that they're sick it and Russia's ready to move on. So they decide to start their new cold war with Canada. Little does the president know, John Candy and several other desperadoes who live in Niagara Falls, NY take this seriously, jump the border and trash a perfectly nice and clean Canadian park. Running away from the Royal Mounted Canadian Police, only one person is caught. After being caught, the Canadians consider her to be insane and sends her to the Canadian capital for treatment. That won't stop Candy and the gang from going to Toronto (they don't believe that Ottawa is its capital) to rescue her by using whatever force is necessary. Uh-oh, the president is in a jam now, this isn't what he wanted. Now this all may turn into a full-fledged war! It's a rather lame attempt at political satire (directed by Michael Moore, no surprise) and the jokes are weak, however the highly talented cast keep this film flowing and they most certainly make best with what little material they have to work with. Starring: John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollack, Rip Torn, Bill Nunn, Kevin J. O’Connor, Steven Wright, G.D. Spradlin, Dan Aykroyd, Michael Moore. Directed by: Michael Moore. C+

The Cannonball Run (1981) PG comedy

As long as you're not expecting Citizen Kane, there is enough to enjoy about this film (reputed to be horrible) to keep you entertained for an evening. A slew of Hollywood notables take their precious careers and put it up for grabs in this overblown ensemble comedy. It stars Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., among others, who all meet up for a wild cross-country car race that ain't exactly legal. Sounds like fun? Well, you decide. Jackie Chan also has a minor role in this film, but there's no kung-fu. Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, Bert Convoy, Jamie Farr, Peter Fonda, George Furth, Michael Hui. Directed by: Hal Needham. C

Can't Buy Me Love (1987) PG-13 comedy

Only 1980s nostalgia geeks need apply, and even then, this is a toughie. I love the fashion, hairstyles, and the pop music infused in the film but not so much the pedestrian, predictable teen soap opera storyline. Patrick Dempsey stars as Ronald, a high school nerd who is sick of being unpopular and ignored by the girl of his dreams, Cindy (Amanda Peterson). His luck changes when he spots her at a shopping mall in dire straits after ruining her mother's white $1,000 outfit that she'd borrowed without permission. She begs the proprietor to let her exchange it for a new one but to no avail. It just so happens that Ronald has $1,000 that he'd set aside for a telescope. He gives her the cash in exchange for her pretending to be his girlfriend for one month. The idea is if he's seen dating a popular girl, his status as the school's loser geek will dissipate immediately. Lo and behold it works, but for what? He starts snubbing his longtime nerd friends for new, vacuous ones. And that just isn't who he is. For all this film's flaws, I at least enjoy Dempsey's upbeat performance -- especially when he unwittingly unveils a new dance fad at a school social. He thought he was picking up hip dance moves from American Bandstand when actually he was watching an anthropological program that was demonstrating an African cultural dance. Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains, Tina Caspary, Seth Green, Sharon Farrell, Darcey DeMoss, Dennis Dugan, Cloyce Morrow, Cort McCown. Directed by: Steve Rash. C-

Capote (2005) R drama

This is a great film that follows the research and writing process of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Phillip Seymour Hoffman adopts the thoroughly annoying whiny voice of the title character in his effective performance. The film is engaging from beginning to end--it provides both laughs and tears--and it ought to be considered among cinema’s finest biographies. Starring: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Jr., Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino. Directed by: Bennett Miller. A+

Carnival of Souls (1962) NR horror

A black-and-white horror film that seems right out of my nightmares. The film begins with a car wreck. A car carrying three women went off a bridge and plunged into a river. All was assumed fatal until one woman, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligloss), mysteriously emerged sometime later. Soon after that, she is off to Utah to take a job as a church organist. However, it appears there is some type of ghoul following her everywhere she goes. (The ghoul is played by the director, Herk Harvey.) A film inspired by German expressionism (think the original Nosferatu) it might not have jump scares or be rife with too many outwardly scary scenes. It is, however, hypnotic and genuinely unsettling . . . and a big reason for that is because it felt I could never quite tell what was going on. Rather it seemed like I was experiencing this dreary nightmare along with the protagonist. Even those strange scenes with Mary playing the pipe organ and the churchgoers looking on in bliss creeps me out. And it all culminates into an eye-popping conclusion. This is deservedly considered a staple of classic B-horror films. Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt, Tom McGinnis, Forbes Caldwell, Herk Harvey. Directed by: Herk Harvey. A

Carpool (1996) PG comedy

This film clearly benefits from my high tolerance for idiotic comedies and my addiction to '90s nostalgic sugar rushes. But really, this is a terrible movie. Don't watch it. Tom Arnold stars as the owner of a failing circus who decides to rob a gourmet pastry shop to pay the bills. Upon his getaway, he hijacks a minivan but doesn't realize that it's occupied by a dad (David Paymer) late for work and a bunch of kids on their way to school. Much hijinks ensue. While Tom Arnold has a knack for playing that annoying uncle character that you try to avoid every Thanksgiving, there's still something undeniably likable about him. He's a goof-ball. Unfortunately, however, the vast majority of gags in the film are duds. And the occasional gag I do laugh at I don't think was for the intended reason. Lazy screenwriting. . . But a laugh is a laugh, right? Starring: Tom Arnold, David Paymer, Rhea Pearlman, Rod Steiger, Kim Coates, Rachael Leigh Cook, Mikey Kovar, Micah Gardener, Jordan Warkol, Colleen Rennison, Ian Tracey. Directed by: Arthur Hiller. C-

Carrie (2002) NR horror

This made-for-television remake of the classic 1976 horror film Carrie adds little to its legacy. In particular the casting of Angela Bettis as the title character who, right off the bat, comes off like a creepy witch. Sissy Spacek in the original was a meek child who couldn't hurt a fly even if she wanted to. I feel sorry for Carrie in both films, but this one goes so far as to show her initiating a meteor shower when she was just a child. That's considerably more powerful than what we all (or most of us) know is coming in the story's notorious climax (which remains largely scene-for-scene intact here). The other big mistake here is that notorious locker room shower scene in which the late bloomer Carrie experiences her first period. She was screaming horrifically in the first film -- weirding out her classmates at first. Then some time passed, and they decided to humiliate her. Here, she doesn't do anything but lie on the floor as a flow of blood streams into the drain, clearly in distress. Every single one of her classmates then circle around her and chant "Period!" Would girls really do that? By far the most horrifying moment of this film turns out to be a different character entirely -- an even creepier kid at school who mutilates a pig. As much as I appreciate when remakes add new elements to a story, these new elements only obliterate the power of the main story arc. The result is anemic, and it's far too long at 132 minutes. Starring: Angela Bettis, Patricia Clarkson, Rena Sofer, Kandyse McClure, Emile de Ravin, Tobias Mehler, Jesse Cadotte, Meghan Black, Chelan Simmons. Directed by: David Carson. C-

Cars (2006) G comedy

Pixar's seventh film is a charmer. An automobile named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is a hotshot rookie race car driver. On his way to a highly publicized race, he gets lost. His foolishness and selfishness gets him into trouble in a local, failing town. He goes to trial and he is sentenced to repair the town's roads that he destroyed. But he quickly befriends the locals. This movie is probably Pixar's most daring venture and the CGI quality manages to top their previous films. But this is a lesser film in terms of plot, character development and jokes. Such disappointment is what happens when the Pixar's standards have been set so high. Voices of: Owen Wilson, Larry the CabܥeJonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okenedo, Frances McDormand, Pete Postlethwait, Amelia Warner, Caroline Warner. Directed by: Karyn Kusama. A-

Casablanca (1942) NR drama

Probably the most famous classic and the most popular movie ever stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick, a mild-mannered Casablanca nightclub owner who is caught between political trifles of Germany and France. It's not exactly apparent why this film has gained so much popularity --- perhaps it's overrated --- but "Casablanca" is exceptional with a great script and perfect acting. It's amazing that practically every minute of this film contains an oft-quoted line or classic moment. Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine LeBeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page. Directed by: Michael Curtiz. A+

Casanova (2005) R comedy

This is an insipid dramatization of the on the 18th century ladies-man (Heath Ledger) who is always on the run from the powerful church, and he must find someone to wed. He proposes to a young lady but someone else loves her. Enter a female novelist of racy novels (Sienna Miller). Above all, this farce is boring and most of the jokes fall flat. It's unfortunately not worthy of the cast. Starring: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Lena Olin. Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom. C-

Casino Royale (1967) NR comedy

For now, let's ignore the fact that this flick stars a whole slew of talented cast members. Casino Royale is an amusing parody of James Bond. While many of the jokes are worthless, they usually bring a smile to your face. Now let's talk about the cast. It stars Peter Sellers, David Niven, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Charles Boyer, John Huston, Ursula Andress, Deborah Kerr, etc. With a cast like that, shouldn't this film be very good? It fails because it's not able to deliver with this kind of personnel! And that's not to mention the 8 billion directors involved. Starring: Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Dalilah Lavi, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, Kurt Kasznar, George Raft, Peter O'Toole. Directed by: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Val Guest and Joseph McGrath. C

Casino Royale (2006) PG-13 action

Daniel Craig takes the reigns for the freshly revitalized James Bond franchise in the roughest, most action-filled Bond outing yet. Here, Bond has only been newly appointed to his position and is still finding his style. He is assigned to stop the terrorist financier (Mads Mikkelsen) from winning money at a high-stakes poker tournament. The film is full of great action sequences and intrigue, and the franchise finally puts the acting talents of Judi Dench, as M, to use. If they only had known how to end it, this would have been the best Bond ever. Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian. Directed by: Martin Campbell. B+

Cast Away (2000) PG-13 drama

Tom Hanks is Chuck Noland, an executive for FedEx who is traveling over the Pacific in a cargo jet. It crashes, and the plane sinks and the pilots drown. But Chuck is lucky and survives -- washing up on an uninhabited island. Left to his own devices, he slowly learns how to sustain himself. Going from seemingly simple tasks like how to extract water out of a cocoanut, to more complex ones such as starting a fire. Hanks' performance is almost the sole appeal here. He is just dead-on playing a civilized man who struggles with isolation and by-the-seat-of-his-pants survival. His accolades as a comedy actor are even put to stellar use, as Chuck has a bit of a goofball streak. This film also contains what might be cinema's finest inanimate object supporting character ever since Fred Astaire danced with that coat rack. That is a volleyball named Wilson with eyes and mouth etched within a blood stain. The film's second act begins five years later -- by this time, Chuck is a full-on citizen of the island and has developed twitchy, near-feral mannerisms. He has long hair and beard that are sun-bleached blond, and he argues with Wilson as though they're an old married couple. While this is an often supremely entertaining film, its lengthy first and final chapters bog it down far too much for my tastes. The ending in particular just comes off depressing and doesn't reveal anything new about the character -- also introducing a few plot elements far too late in the game that never get resolved satisfactorily. Nonetheless, a great watch. More so than any of Hanks' Oscar-winning roles, this is a true demonstration of his tour-de-force abilities as an actor. Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth, Lari White, Geoffrey Blake, Jennifer Lewis. Directed by: Robert Zemeckis. B+

The Castle of Caligroso (1979) PG animated

Hayao Miyazaki’s first flick is a happy precursor to his later anime staples as “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away.” A pair of world class thieves becomes entangled in the affairs of an imprisoned princess and the evil Count Caligroso. This film is cliché after cliché, but after I was through watching it, I felt like I had just embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Indeed, I get that exact same feeling from all of Miyazaki’s later movies. Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki. A-

Cat Ballou (1965) NR comedy

This amusing, lightweight comedy-western stars Jane Fonda as the title character--a newly minted and innocent schoolteacher who takes a turn as an outlaw after her father is murdered by a silver-nosed gunfighter (Lee Marvin). For revenge, she hires a gunfighter of her own (also Lee Marvin) who turns out to be a blithering drunk. While I wouldn't say this film is as funny or as sensational as preceded by its reputation, Fonda's performance is rightfully considered iconic--innocent at first but becomes a powerful, headstrong woman who can hold her own. While I do have fond memories watching this movie as a kid, my complaint is it takes too long for the plot development to gain real momentum. And while Fonda and Marvin play strong characters, the others--particularly the love interest (Michael Callan)--barely has any character at all. But I think all of us can enjoy the theme song, performed onscreen by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, which has to be among cinema's finer movie songs. Starring: Lee Marvin, Jane Fonda, Michael Callan, Dwayne Hickman, Tom Nardini, John Marley, Nat King Cole, Stubby Kaye, Reginald Denny, Jay C. Flippin, Arthur Hunnicutt, Bruce Cabbot. Directed by: Elliot Silverstein. B

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) NR drama

Adapted from a Tennessee Williams play, it would be an understatement to call this a heavy drama. Thanks to the tantalizing script and the powerhouse performances from Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives, I found myself hanging onto every word. Big Daddy (Ives) is the patriarch of the Pollitt family. He had just returned from the hospital after a cancer scare to attend his 65th birthday party with his two sons and their families. His eldest son (Newman) is an alcoholic who abhors his wife (Taylor). She despairs over her loveless, childless marriage, which is intensified here, thanks to constant reminders from her extremely fertile sister-in-law (Madeleine Sherwood). While the drama is explosive, at its heart this is a soft, touching film. These characters have rough, calloused exteriors, but they aren't going to do all this yelling at each other just to get nothing resolved. Also worth noting, some of the lines are so funny, they gave me heavy fits of laughter. I couldn't recommend this film enough. Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson, Jack Carson, Madeleine Sherwood, Larry Gates, Vaughn Taylor. Directed by: Elliot Silverstein. A+

Catch-22 (1970) R comedy

This clever satire is aimed at the Air Force (and military in general). Alan Arkin stars as a WWII airman who wants to go home, but his superiors continue to raise the number of mission airmen must complete before they are discharged. The film continually pokes fun at the military's bureaucracy and is quite funny at it. The mammoth cast makes watching this even more enjoyable. Starring: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Jack Gilford, Buck Henry, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Paula Prentiss, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Orson Welles, Bob Balaban, Austin Pendleton. Directed by: Mike Nichols. B+

Caveman (1981) PG comedy

Amusing if poorly scripted stone-age comedy starring Ringo Starr about a band of rejects uniting together experiencing many adventures and discovering some very nifty concepts (like creating fire, walking upright, weaponry, music, fried eggs etc.) The most interesting aspect of this film is that virtually no English is spoken yet the viewer can comprehend what these people are babbling about. Surprising cameos along the way may make this worthwhile to film buffs, but Caveman is usually uninspired and overly goofy. Starring: Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, John Matuszak, Shelley Long, Dennis Quaid, Avery Screiber, Jack Gilford. Directed by: Carl Gottlieb. C

Cellular (2004) PG-13 thriller

Trite thriller, but entertaining follows the adventure of a guy (Chris Evans) who gets a phone call on his cell phone from a kidnapped woman (Kim Basinger). It was all done well enough for me to want to stick with the movie, but there are too many plot holes here for taste and obvious plot devises. However, it has a good gimmick. Evans must stay on the cell phone throughout the whole movie! If he doesn’t, it could mean Basinger’s life! (And we don’t want to threaten Basinger’s life, now, do we?) Starring: Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, Eric Christian Olsen, William H. Macy, Jason Statham, Adam Taylor Gordon, Rick Hoffman, Richard Burgi, Eddie Driscoll, Jessica Biel. Directed by: David R. Ellis. C+

Celtic Pride (1996) PG-13 comedy

Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern play highly devoted Boston Celtic fans who end up kidnapping a star player on the opposing team, played by Damon Wayans, so Beantown has a better chance for victory. It's entertaining, but should have been much better. Aykroyd, Stern and Wayans do the best they can despite the lousy script. Starring: Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd, Damon Wayans, Gail O'Grady, Adam Hendershott, Paul Guilfoyle, Deion Sanders, Bill Walton, Christopher McDonald, Gus Williams, Ted Rooney. Directed by: Tom De Cerchio. C+

The Center of the World (2001) R drama

Richard (Peter Sarsgaard) is a young, self-made millionaire who suffers from loneliness. He asks a woman he meets on the street, a stripper named Florence (Molly Parker), to spend an erotic weekend in Las Vegas with him. She accepts but establishes ground rules: Only four hours per evening and no copulation. In addition, they spend much of the days together -- talking, eating out, seeing the sights. Richard at one point even offers financial assistance to one of Florence's friends, Jerri (Carla Gugino), with no strings attached. Or so he says -- his motivation perhaps to try and force Florence into considering him too nice of a nice guy to pass up after their weekend is over. The film leaves me with plenty to think about, even if the voyeurism and dreariness gets in the way of what might otherwise have had a stronger narrative. On the other hand, it is quite gritty -- the shaky home camcorder cinematography being a large part of its texture. But more of that credit goes to the raw performances of the two leads who clearly believed in the material. This can be a difficult film to watch, but there is something remarkably truthful about the way it depicts sexual obsession and loneliness. Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Carla Gugino, Balthazar Getty. Directed by: Wayne Wang. B-

Chain Reaction (1996) PG-13 action

Too typical of a Hollywood flick, this film is about a team of scientists who discover a way to generating power from water. A third party becomes interested and tries to take it away at all costs. Keanu Reeves stars as the scientist and Rachel Weisz co-stars as a cute British chick. Together, they run a lot, try to figure out who’s behind this, and run some more. It’s not very exciting, and there’s almost no reason to watch this. The process of figuring out who did it is not much of a thrill either (and it’s OBVIOUS)! Starring: Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, Rachel Weisz, Fred Ward, Kevin Dunn, Brian Cox, Gina Raffin, Benise Price, Krysztof Pieczynski, Juan Ramirez, Chelcie Ross. Directed by: Andrew Davis. C-

Changing Lanes (2002) R drama

A hotshot lawyer (Ben Affleck) hits a former alcoholic's car (Samuel L. Jackson) on the highway. Affleck takes off without Jackson and unintentionally leaves an important document behind. Time for some revenge. However, neither party are saints! Both have extreme faults and contribute to worsening the situation between them. Unfortunately Affleck remains a crappy actor, but Jackson is excellent in his role. Starring: Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Sydney Pollack, William Hurt, Amanda Peet, Kim Staunton, Richard Jenkins, John Benjamin Hickey. Directed by: Roger Michell. B+

Chaos Walking (2021) PG-13 sci-fi

This sci-fi flick adapted from a young adult novel has a nifty premise, even if I don't understand the physics behind it. A group of humans who underwent a generations-spanning journey to a distant planet settle in a new Earth-like home, but it has a peculiar feature: Whatever thoughts are going through people's minds are visually and audibly broadcasted around them. This anomaly doesn't happen to females, however. But all females have been all wiped out by natives known as The Spackle. This male-exclusive society becomes disrupted, however, when mysterious space-girl Viola (Daisy Ridley) crashes nearby. A young man, Todd (Tom Holland), having never seen a woman since her mom was killed years ago, has taken a keen interest in getting her to safety, as the despot mayor of the town (Mads Mikkelson) is determined to capture her. While the premise of the movie is fine, it is plagued by a mostly sluggish pace and it failing to do anything phenomenal with its novel premise. Holland and Ridley are inspired casting choices--and they are good for a chuckle or two--but they really don't have much interesting to do with one another. Beyond basic-level, budding puppy love stuff. Call this one a good idea but disappointing execution. Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen, Demian Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Bethany Anne Lind, Nick Jonas, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Ray McKinnon. Directed by: Doug Liman. C-

Chaplin (1992) PG-13 drama

Robert Downey Jr. makes me laugh doing Charlie Chaplin just like Charlie Chaplin did in his movies. That's what makes this movie worthwhile. Bonuses are great performances from the supporting actors such as Dan Aykroyd as an animated silent film director, Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks, and Geraldine Chaplin playing her own mentally ill grandmother. Otherwise, this is a paint-by-numbers Hollywood biopic that begins with Chaplin's childhood and ends with his acceptance of an honorary Oscar in 1972. Things that could have been brushed over were details on all four of his marriages and other love interests. The focus should have remained on his film career, details which I feel are far too scant. Albeit, I do appreciate it got into Chaplin's politics, which is why he eventually became exiled from the U.S. Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, John Thaw, Moira Kelly, Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, Penelope Ann Miller, Kevin Kline, Milla Jovovich, Kevin Dunn, Diane Lane, Nancy Travis, James Woods, David Duchovny, Peter Cook. Directed by: Richard Attenborough. B

Chariots of Fire (1981) PG drama

This excellent tribute to Olympic runners is a non-fictional account of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. Abrahams is an English Jew who will accept nothing less but to win and Eric Liddell is a religious man who races in the name of God. It's a winning film that deservedly won the Best Picture Award in 1981. Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Holm, John Gielgud, Lindsay Anderson, Nigel Davenport, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige. Directed by: Hugh Hudson. A+

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) PG comedy

This appropriately peculiar (and utterly delightful) adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel sports a hilariously creepy performance from Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. When young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) discovers a golden ticket in a Wonka bar, he is among five kids who win a coveted tour the Wonka factory. With director Burton’s weird, wild and twisted vision, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is dazzling eye candy and good for about eight dozen laughs. Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Franziska Troegner, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz. Directed by: Tim Burton. A-

The Chase (1994) PG-13 comedy

Charlie Sheen stars as an escaped convict who walks casually into a gas station. Little does he know, a pair of unsuspecting policemen walk in soon thereafter and promptly receive a radio call to watch out for a stolen car. As it just so happens, that car is sitting in the parking lot and it was driven there by Sheen! So, he goes absolutely berserk, grabs the nearest bystander, takes her hostage and drives off in the stolen car. He soon discovers that he started an incredible high-speed car chase with a hostage who is the daughter of a very powerful and rich man. It sounds interesting, but it's really just an idiotic and predictable flick not done very well. It's high-speed stupidity. Look for Cary Elwes in a cameo as an anchorman. Starring: Charlie Sheen, Kristy Swanson, Henry Rollins, Josh Mostel, Wayne Grace, Rocky Carroll, Miles Dougall, Cary Elwes. Directed by: Adam Rifkin. D+

Chasing Amy (1997) R comedy

Ben Affleck stars in this comedy, from the very witty Kevin Smith, as a young lad who falls for a woman (Joey Lauren Adams) who he soon discovers is a lesbian. They become good friends even though Affleck would still like to start dating her. Then, Affleck is understandably thrilled to find out that Adams is willing to convert to heterosexuality for him. There are some very funny one-liners, characteristic of all Smith’s films. However, this one has something that was absent from Smith’s films up until this one-an engaging plot. Starring: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Brian O’Halloran, Matt Damon. Directed by: Kevin Smith. B

Chasing Holden (2001) R drama

Probably the worst movie ever made. The script, which centers on a character obsessed with J.D. Salinger, made me whine for something less stupid and more satiric. (Really … don’t watch this movie. You’ll find yourself yelling at it.) However, D.J. Qualls, who is usually seen playing inane wimps in comedies, turns in a surprisingly strong performance. Starring: D.J. Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Colin Fox, Sean Kanan, Tom Rack, Michael Sinelnikoff, Ryan Massey, Gordon Masten. Directed by: Malcolm Clarke. D-

Chicago (2002) PG-13 musical

Bob Fosse's exuberant Broadway musical is brought to the big screen in this exhilarating adaptation. Renee Zellweger stars as Roxy Hart, a woman who wants nothing more than to be a Vaudeville star like her idol (Catherine Zeta-Jones). She engages in an extra-marital affair with someone claiming to have connections, but he lied. Angered, she shoots him dead. That's when she goes to jail and becomes a folk hero. She hires the best lawyer in town (Richard Gere) who never lost a case. The plot is OK, but it's the brilliant songs and spectacular dance sequences that makes the movie great. Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Christine Baranski, Lucy Liu. Directed by: Rob Marshall. A

Chicken Run (2000) G animated

A very clever stop-motion rendition of "The Great Escape" replacing the POW's with chickens and the Gestapo with a farmer. The chickens of this Stalag 17-like coop try finding new ways to escape and none of them work until Rocky Rhode (voice of Mel Gibson) comes along. Together, these determined chickens deceive the farmer to devise a way out because if they don't, they will be made into a pie. The first feature from Nick Park is a truly winning affair. Voices of: Mel Gibson, Julia Swalha, Miranda Richardson, Jane Horrocks, Lynn Ferguson, Imelda Staunton, Benjamin Whitrow. Directed by: Nick Park and Peter Lord. A-

Children of Paradise (1945) NR drama

I have seen many movies and rarely have I run across a treasure such as this exceptional French film that covers everything from comedy to romance and to drama. Jean-Louis Barrault gives an excellent performance as a mime entertaining in a theater located in Paris who falls tremendously in love with fair maiden Garace, played by Arletty. However, several unfortunate events occur that keep them regrettably apart. This movie has been declared by some to be the best movie ever made; it's certainly up there! This is an unforgettable and highly engaging epic that shouldn't be ignored. Starring: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Marcel Herrand, Pierre Renior, Maria Casares, Etienne Decroux, Fabien Loris, Leon Larive, Pierre Palov, Marcel Peres. Directed by: Marcel Carne. A+

The Children's Hour (1961) NR drama

A tense and emotionally devastating drama that features powerful performances from Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. They are Karen (Hepburn) and Martha (MacLaine) who own a private boarding school for girls. Their operations are going well -- enrollment is up, they've just started making profit, and they have a nice class of 20 well-adjusted girls. Except for one girl, Mary (Karen Balkin), who is manipulative and a liar. To enact revenge against a disciplinary action against her, Mary whispers something shocking into her grandmother's ear: That Karen and Martha are lesbian lovers. (We don't actually hear her say that, but it's heavily implied.) Mary barely understands what that means, but a couple of her roommates had been reading something like that recently in a salacious book. Rumor gets around, and soon enough parents left and right are pulling out their students. Karen's and Martha's flummox turn to devastation when they finally get a parent to eke out what the rumor was. This is an absorbing drama about rumors that can have devastating consequences. Perhaps a little stodgy sometimes. And despite it containing subject matter not often dealt with at the time in cinema, these days, it just seems to beat around the bush. Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Karen Balkin, Veronica Cartwright, Mimi Gibson, Debbie Moldow. Directed by: William Wyler. A-

Chinatown (1974) R drama

Jack Nicholson stars as a smart-mouthed private eye hired to spy on a lady's ultra-rich husband in the 1930s. Thinking that this is a super-easy job, he finishes it quickly but soon discovers that he's into more than he bargained for. A tremendous, interesting and plot-filled movie that is so wonderfully written and performed that it earns its place among the greatest films ever made. Jack Nicholson's performance is flawless; Faye Dunaway is superb as well. Don't doze off for a second through this. Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrell Zwerling, Diane Ladd, Burt Young, Bruce Glover. Directed by: Roman Polanski. A

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) G fantasy

It's inherently precious seeing Dick Van Dyke interact with two cute, enthusiastic, bright-eyed kids and sing songs by the Sherman Brothers. Been there done that, after all. I'm hardly one to say no to more of it. The set designs and the abundant countryside scenery shots are wonderful to look at, and there's plenty of imagination at play in the story. Van Dyke is Caractacus Potts, an inventor who hadn't invented much of anything of commercial value until a candy whistle he calls "Toot Sweets." But he doesn't make serious dough until he (by accident) joins a song and dance troupe. He's then able to buy back his clunky old automobile named 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (named after the sound it makes), and he engineers in some pretty incredible modifications. Namely making it self-aware and giving it the ability to fly. Him, his children, and his love interest Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) escape to a strange land called Vulgaria. Unfortunately, this world is where the movie lets me down. They spend so much time there, and there's nothing magical or scary about it. Sure, kids are outlawed there, but I never get the feeling these children are in any real danger. Further the love story that develops between Caractacus and Truly is lackluster. I never get the impression they ever wanted to be together as much as the script obliges them to. The humor also disappointingly aims for the preschool crowd and nobody else. Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Adrian Hall, Heather Ripley, Lionel Jeffries, Gert Frobe, Anna Quayle, Benny Hill, James Robertson Justice, Robert Helpmann, Barbara Windsor, Davy Kaye. Directed by: Kevin Hughes. C

Chocolat (2000) PG-13 comedy

It's quite an interesting little tale about a free-spirited single mother, with a knack of guessing what type of chocolate treat is your favorite, who opens a chocolate shop in a small town of France that hates her. The fact that this film received a Best Picture Academy Award nomination remains a choice of controversy among avid moviegoers. Juliette Binoche, however, who received a Best Actress nomination, undoubtedly proves that she earned it. It's touching and even sometimes funny with a strong message. Starring: Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Peter Stormare, Carrie-Ann Moss, Leslie Caron, John Wood, Hugh O'Conor, Victoire Thivisol. Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom. B+

Chopping Mall (1986) R horror

The best thing about this movie about robotic security guards that go on a murderous rampage is the tag line "Where shopping costs you an arm and a leg." Sitting through the actual movie is more laborious: It's not as funny as the tag line might suggest nor as gruesome as many horror fans might hope--apart from one shocking scene when someone's head explodes. Starring: Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater. Directed by: Jim Wynorski. C

The Chosen (1982) G drama

A traditional Jewish kid, Danny, beans a modern Jewish kid, Reuven, on the head with a baseball. Eventually, they befriend each other despite some disapproval from Danny's father, a rabbi, because Reuven's father is a political activist pushing for some particular issues that Danny's father is against. This highly recommendable film proves to be a touching buddy flick that even provides some insight into the Jewish faith. Starring: Robby Benson, Barry Miller, Maximilian Schell, Rod Steiger, Hildy Brooks, Ron Rifkin, Val Avery. Directed by: Jeremy Paul Kagan. A-

Christine (2016) R drama

Christine Chubbuck was a young television journalist in the '70s who struggled with depression. She was also prone to fighting with her boss over what journalists should be reporting vs. what gets ratings. These struggles ended up culminating into unbelievable tragedy, which is a subject difficult to cinematically adapt without sensationalizing. However, the movie manages to walk that tightrope, keeping the focus on who the woman was--a talented journalist who had ambitions, who wanted close friends, who wanted to get married. Rebecca Hall's performance is powerful, portraying Chubbuck as a stoic, extremely dedicated journalist who was coming apart at the seams. While I wouldn't say she's someone consequential enough who really needs a biopic, it's nice to see her life depicted in a manner that's beyond a grisly factoid. Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, Timothy Simons, Kim Shaw, Morgan Spector. Directed by: Antonio Campos. B+

The Christmas Chronicles (2018) PG comedy

Kurt Russell is great as a cantankerous Santa Claus, but the film he's trapped in doesn't elicit a terrible amount of laughs, nor does it lavish me with refreshing feelings of Yuletide cheer. Nonetheless, this is a fitfully enjoyable romp about a couple of kids sneaking into Santa's sleigh and being responsible for its eventual crash, causing Santa to lose his reindeer, bag of toys and his magical hat. (And Mrs. Claus always told him to pack spares!) Santa and the kids must help Santa finish delivering presents, or the Christmas spirit will be gone forever. Starring: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Lamorne Morris, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson. Directed by: Clay Kaytis. C

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020) PG comedy

Kurt Russell reprises his role as Santa, joined by his real-life partner Goldie Hawn as the most svelte Mrs. Claus in cinema history. The undoing of this sequel is much like the first one--the dull storyline and flat script. The film takes place mainly at the North Pole, a magical land out of a Thomas Kinkade Christmas card, rife with happy elves, snowball fights, and healthful foods that look and taste like junk. But threatening this harmony is a bitter elf named Belsnickle--who smuggles himself into the North Pole and threatens to take the Star of Bethlehem, which gives the place its power. Starring: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Jahzir Bruno, Tyrese Gibson, Judah Lewis, Sunny Suljic, Darlene Love, Malcolm McDowell. Directed by: Chris Columbus. C-

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) PG-13 sci-fi

This movie is almost entirely CGI, but the set designs and the costumes look remarkable. Gigantic architecture with elaborate texture, visually pleasing color coordination, even when all we're looking at are browns and grays. I'd even go so far as to say this is among the nicest looking sci-fi films of the early 21st Century. Just a shame that I can't make heads or tails of what's going on. The cast of characters, their relationships with one another, the complicated, politically entrenched storyline. Everyone or everything battle and barge their way through this film, and it's all quite uninteresting. This happens to be a sequel to Pitch Black (a film that had much more coherent storytelling), and Vin Diesel reprises his role. Diesel is a great addition to the scenery but not much of an actor. More like a statue -- his chiseled bodybuilder frame, those goggle sunglasses, that stoic expression, his shiny noggin. Sometimes, Judi Dench comes in garbed in a long white gown and then disappears like a ghost. Feck if I know why. Starring: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davolos, Linus Roache, Yorick Van Wageningen. Directed by: David N. Twohy. C-

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) PG adventure

This extremely well made adaptation of the first of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia book series is very entertaining and the special effects are fantastic. The action is usually exciting and the plot, of course, keeps the audience’s attention to the screen. However, the whole thing gets a bit clunky at times and fails to live up to the epic scale of its influence, The Lord of the Rings, but it is an excellent film in its own right. The cast is fantastic. Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvory, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson. Directed by: Andrew Adamson. B+

The Chumscrubber (2005) R comedy

This is an ambitious satire of suburban life; it’s too bad that it wasn’t better realized. Jamie Bell stars as a troubled teen who must cope with the suicide of his friend. The complicated script isn’t difficult to follow, but it contains too many metaphors and surrealistic episodes that it’s difficult to determine what it means. This is a highly visual film, and it is rather fun to watch. First time director Arie Posin, who adapted this from his own short story, also managed to land an attractive cast. Starring: Jamie Bell, Camilla Belle, Justin Chatwin, Glenn Close, Rory Culkin, Thomas Curtis, Ralph Fiennes, John Heard, Carrie-Anne Moss, Rita Wilson, Lauren Holly. Directed by: Arie Posin. C+

Cinderella Man (2005) PG-13 drama

A winning, old-fashioned film effectively portrays the need to never give up. Russel Crowe stars as James Braddock, a downfallen professional boxer in the Depression Era who overcomes the odds and becomes a serious title contender. A highly engaging effort, director Ron Howard is, again, at the top of his game. Renee Zellweger gives one of her better performances as Braddock's frail wife. Starring: Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill, Ron Canada, David Huband. Directed by: Ron Howard. A-

Cinema Paradiso (1988) PG drama

A movie that draws me in its universe like few others can even dream of. This is the coming-of-age story of Salvatore Di Vita, a renowned (and fictional) Italian film director, whose love for the art of cinema began when he was eight-years-old (Salvatore Cascio). It is just after World War II, and he spends his free time at the cinema in his small village -- even managing to wriggle his way into the projection booth where he befriends the operator Alfredo (Philippe). Time passes and young-adult Salvatore (now Marco Leonardi) works as a full-time projectionist and -- like many young adults do -- finds a young woman to fall head-over-heels for. The story is simple but terrifically engaging thanks to the fluid and frequently eye-popping cinematography, gentle moments of humor, and a perfectly integrated and phenomenal soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. The extended version features an elder Salvatore (Jacques Perrin) revisiting his village after a long time away. Really, that provided a beautiful capstone that left me with a lump in my throat. Call this film is a gentle rollercoaster ride, and it's one that I found phenomenally engaging with some of the most brilliantly fleshed-out characters I've ever seen in a film anywhere. Every character and every moment seemed to leave me with a smile on my face. This is a must-see for all those who fancy themselves cinema lovers. Starring: Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Jacques Perrin, Agnese Nano, Brigitte Fossey, Antonella Attilli, Pupella Maggio, Enzo Cannavale, Isa Danieli, Leopoldo Trieste. Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore. A+

Circus of Fear (1966) NR mystery

Gangsters rob an armored car of cash and murder one of the guards. The police investigate and follow a lead to a nearby circus where a female performer is nearly mauled by an escaped lion. It is suspect someone tried to kill her. The prime suspect is Drago (Christopher Lee), even though he's the one who actually saved her from the lion. This stylish pulp mystery perhaps doesn't get my heart pounding the way it ought to, but I enjoyed watching these shifty circus performers interact with one another. Just a mild recommendation to fans of the '60s London film scene. Starring: Christopher Lee, Leo Genn, Anthony Newlands, Heinz Drache, Eddi Arent, Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Suzy Kendall, Cecil Parker. Directed by: Werner Jacobs, John Moxey. B-

Citizen Kane (1941) NR drama

What strikes me about this film, superficially, is the way Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) is portrayed aging. This story is told in a series of flashbacks, tracing this billionaire newspaper magnate through the years, all the while looking and behaving exactly like the age he portrays. Everything from his receding gray hairline, his voice deepening and graveling, his face etching with sadness, the way he postures his head, the way he walks. Amazingly fine-tuned. Advances in technological development cinema has enjoyed through the years, the trick of artificial aging is rarely as convincing as it is here. All to do with Welles' amazing performance and the make-up. The cinematography is also masterful, certain images and movement permanently imprinted in my mind. The camera drifting fluidly through an opening of a neon sign into a rinky-dink nightclub to find Kane's ex-wife drunk and nearly destitute. The final shot of the movie, the camera scanning endless boxes of things acquired through the years -- some getting tossed in the fireplace and alchemizing into eerie black smoke billowing out the chimney of his towering, gothic palace. The opera house scene when Kane's talentless wife finishes her starring debut, gray shadows obscuring Kane's face apart from a wearily resolute stare, gradually intensifying his claps and stands as if to hammer into his psyche a belief she's the best he's ever seen. The legend of this film is so ubiquitous in pop culture that it's perfectly fine that I'm nearly finished with this review and haven't yet mentioned the word "rosebud." That single word is the basis of this entire film. It's the last word uttered by Kane before he died as a snow globe rolls out of his hand, breaking on the ground. A reporter is tasked with interviewing the few people who have known this lonely, reclusive figure on a personal level through the years. While he never solves the mystery, the film provides clues for the audience to connect the dots. And to connect the dots is to go deep within this man's psyche, deeper than you might have ever thought possible to dig into any celluloid character's psyche. Yes, this is considered an "important" film -- often topping lists of the ever made -- but it's also phenomenally entertaining. I contend that casual filmgoers of any stripe will watch this and enjoy it. Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart, Ruth Warrick, Erskine Sanford, William Alland. Directed by: Orson Welles. A+

Citizen Ruth (1996) R comedy

This clever comedy parodies the war on abortion and, wisely, attacks both sides of the debate. Laura Dern stars as a self-destructive woman who is addicted to glue-sniffing. When she is arrested for the upteenth time, it is revealed to her that she is pregnant. The judge will lessen her sentence if she agrees to have an abortion. This riles up the pro-life crowd who houses her and tries to keep her from having an abortion. However, the pro-choice crowd wants to "rescue" her so that she can "decide for herself." Dern's character is clueless and self-serving throughout the whole film, and it's quite funny. Scripted and directed by Alexander Payne, this is one of the better satires around. Starring: Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, Mary Kay Place, Kelly Preston, M.C. Gainley, Caveh Zahedi, Alicia Witt, Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Noone, David Graf, Kenneth Mars, Tippi Hedren, Diane Ladd. Directed by: Alexander Payne. A-

City Heat (1984) PG comedy

This action/comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood disappointingly offers little interesting plot, but it proves to be entertaining nonetheless. There are some fairly good laughs and there is lotsa action. It should be left solely to big fans of Reynolds or Eastwood. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn, Rip Torn, Irene Cara, Richard Roundtree, Tony Lo Bianco, William Sanderson, Nicholas Worth, Robert Davi, Jude Farese. Directed by: Richard Benjamin. C+

City of God (2002) R drama

This utterly intense Brazilian export expertly tells of the drug wars that plagued Rio De Janiero in the 70s. The character development is rich, the directorial execution is nearly flawless, and it tells a fascinating tale. Great performances by all. This is simply a modern day masterpiece and a must-see for any film connoisseur. Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Jonathan Haagensen, Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Jefechander Suplino, Alice Braga, Emerson Gomes, Edson Oliveira, Michel de Souza. Directed by: Fernando Meirrelles and Katia Lund. A+

City Slickers (1991) PG-13 comedy

Three men of the city (Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby) who are going through a mid-life crisis go to the West to take part in a cattle drive. Supposedly, this adventurous escapade will relieve stress and offer something new in their dull deteriorating lives. "City Slickers" can be considered one of the funniest movies of the 90's and it still finds time to be heartwarming without being corny. Jack Palance won a best supporting actor Academy Award for his fine performance as trail boss Curly. Starring: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, Jack Palance, Noble Willingham, Tracey Walter, Josh Mostel, David Paymer, Bill Henderson, Jeffrey Tambor. Directed by: Ron Underwood. A-

Clerks (1994) R comedy

Kevin Smith decided one day to make a movie on a very limited budget about a guy’s very interesting day working in a convenience store. All it’s about is this convenience store employee’s interactions with a very interesting array of characters. Most notably, his crude but side-splittingly hilarious friend who works in the video rental store next door. This is probably one of the most offensive films I ever saw (therefore, I refuse to award this film anything in the A-range due to the lapses of good taste), but it is also very funny. Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier. Directed by: Kevin Smith. B+

Click (2006) PG-13 comedy

The opening 10 minutes are full of jokes that don't work, but the film soon evolves into an interesting fantasy about a middle-aged man (Adam Sandler) who is given a remote control by a department store employee (Christopher Walken). He uses this remote control to skip the mundane parts of his life but quickly realizes that he's skipped most of it. Unfortunately, in the end, this movie is nothing but a contrived remake of It's a Wonderful Life, and the screenwriters' sense of humor is broken. Pity. Starring: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, Henry Winkler, David Hasselhoff, Julie Kavner, Jennifer Coolidge, Sean Astin, Jake Hoffman, Sophie Monk, Rachel Dratch. Directed by: Frank Coraci. C

Cliffhanger (1993) R action

Despite the fact that this film's story line is absurd, Cliffhanger is action-filled, suspenseful and exciting. Sylvester Stallone plays a Rocky Mountain Rescue employee, who previously withdrew himself from the business, briefly returns for one last rescue. Little does he know, the group of travelers in distress are really violent terrorists who just lost millions of dollars in briefcases that are scattered across the terrain. It makes fine entertainment for action lovers, but the inept plot is unforgivable. Starring: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Leon, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Graig Fairbrass, Denis Forest, Michelle Joyner, Max Perlich. Directed by: Renny Harlin. B-

Clifford (1994) PG comedy

Blacch! If you're going to put Martin Short, Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen and Dabney Coleman together in a movie, you could at least make it funny! Martin Short stars as a 10 year old boy who temporarily moves into his uncle's house and ends up wreaking havoc on his love life, job, house, etc. all because he won't take him to Dinosaur Land ---- the only place a kid like him can be happy. At best, it's only amusing, but most of the time it's brainless stupidity. Starring: Martin Short, Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen, Dabney Coleman, G.D. Spradlin, Anne Jeffreys, Richard Kind, Jennifer Savidge, Ben Savage. Directed by: Paul Flaherty. D

The Clock (1945) NR romance

This dated and boring wartime drama stars Judy Garland as a secretary who meets a soldier on shore-leave. The soldier is not accustomed to the city and he gets Garland to show him the ropes. Well, the two fall in love and they get married. Whoop-de-do. Starring: Judy Garland, Robert Walker, James Gleeson, Keenan Wynn, Marshall Thompson, Lucille Gleason, Ruth Brady, Arthur Space. Directed by: Vincente Minnelli. C-

A Clockwork Orange (1971) R comedy

This extremely heavy hitting and disturbing black comedy set in Britain’s future traces the exploits of a violent gang of baddies who beat up the homeless and rape people in their homes, among other things. Headed by the demented Beethoven fan Alex (Malcolm McDowell in an excellent performance) he is finally caught and becomes subject to an almost equally demented plan to rehabilitate him. It’s a deeply funny film that’s also deeply shocking and, all in all, a highly effective film. It stirred plenty of controversy when it was released in 1971, this continues to be a film not to be taken lightly. Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Adrienne Corri, Warren Clarke, Aubrey Morris, Virginia Wetherell, Neil Wilson. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. A

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) PG sci-fi

A perfect science fiction picture, Steven Spielberg directs this stirring film about a string of strange UFO sightings, abductions and other "happenings." Terrific acting and a fascinating plot that holds your interest until the closing credits. A science fiction classic and I will never grow tired of it. Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Cary Guffey, Bab Balaban, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren Kemmerling. Directed by: Steven Spielberg. A+

Closer (2004) R drama

This leisurely-paced film from director Mike Nichols stars Jude Law as a British obituary-writer who meets and falls in love with a colorful ex-stripper (Natalie Portman). Only a bit later, Law becomes entranced with Julia Roberts. And, Roberts’ jerk husband (Clive Owen) gets P.O.’d. I could’ve cared less about the plot, but the compelling directrion from Nichols and the top-notch performances by the cast not only makes Closer worth watching, but recommendable. Starring: Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Nick Hobbs, Colin Stinton. Directed by: Mike Nichols. B

Clue (1985) PG comedy

Okay, there are some things to like about this dumb comedy. A familiar and fun cast, headed up by the energetic Tim Curry makes this film somewhat enjoyable, and the fact that this film has, indeed, three different endings. Apparently, this would hopefully lure audiences back to the theater when this was originally released, but it lessens the credibility of "Clue" being a true mystery. It's a more comedy than mystery anyway. The cast is great, but the script is horrendous. Starring: Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Colleen Camp, Lee Ving. Directed by: Jonathan Lynn. C+

Clueless (1995) PG-13 comedy

A fairly decent teen comedy starring Alicia Silverstone (who fits perfectly into this role) as a snobby rich California high school student. She decides to set out and do good for the world by treating her new Brooklyn buddy a "fashion emergency" a makeover and finding her a boyfriend. It's entertaining and sometimes funny, but it's bite is too weak. Based on Jane Austen's Emma. Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Stacy Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Dan Hedaya, Donald Adeosun Faison, Elisa Donovan, Breckin Meyer, Jeremy Sisto, Aida Lindares, Wallace Shawn. Directed by: Amy Heckerling. B

Coach Carter (2005) PG-13 sports

Samuel L. Jackson stars as the title character, a coach of a public, inner-city basketball team who turns around a losing basketball team. However, in the middle of the season, he finds out that his players haven’t been keeping up with his demand to maintain a 2.3 grade point average. He locks them out of the gym until they can bring it up much to the dismay of the players, their parents, and about everybody else. This is a nice film that champions hard work and academic drive. It’s not extraordinary, but it’s good. Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Ri’chard, Rob Brown, Ashanti, Debbi Morgan, Rick Gonzalez, Antwon Tanner, Nana Gbewonyo, Channing Tatum. Directed by: Thomas Carter. B

Cocktail (1988) R comedy

Tom Cruise stars in this sinker as a showy, ex-business school bartender who gets involved in a little romance with Elisabeth Shue. The jokes are almost entirely unfunny and the romance is uninteresting. The fancy bartender tricks (i.e. flipping bottles around and making drinks) from Cruise and his other co-star, Bryan Brown, I'm sure would be a blast to see live, but on the screen, they're just unremarkable. (Which is sad because they, I assume, were to provide you with some excitement.) Also, if I wanted to hear bad poetry, I would have written it myself. In the film's defense, it's not painful to watch, really. Try to find something better. Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon, Ron Dean, Robert Donley, Ellen Foley, Andrea Morse, Chris Owens, Justin Louis. Directed by: Roger Donaldson. C-

The Cocoanuts (1929) NR comedy

This debut Marx Brothers film is often neglected perhaps because of the middling picture and sound quality. Certain scenes look fine, but others look like they were photocopies of photocopies. (And there's also a fascinating bit of trivia -- notice the newspapers the characters are holding are drenched in water. That's because the sound of the paper crinkling was too harsh for their primitive sound system.) This is also an adaptation of one of their stage musicals and not an original film script. The handful of song and dance routines might have been fun on stage, but here they're merely things to tolerate. Other than that, the comedy routines are sharp as a tack, showcasing the Brothers already in peak form. Groucho is the shady owner of Hotel de Cocoanut in Florida and also an auctioneer who tries to sell (probably poor quality) land on the Cocoanut Beach. There are also a couple of tramps (Chico and Harpo), obviously not planning to pay for their rooms, who float around and stir trouble. (Chico, for instance, causes epic confusion over being unfamiliar with the term "viaduct" -- thinking he is constantly being asked "why a duck?" . . . And Harpo keeps eating what are typically considered inedible objects.) Even Margaret Dumont is here, and Groucho's unruly provocations of her are already outrageously funny. The film does pale in comparison to later Marx Brothers masterpieces, but this one's still one not to be missed. Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, Cyril Ring, Margaret Dumont. Directed by: Robert Florey and Joseph Santley. B

Cocoon (1985) PG sci-fi/comedy

Pop sci-fi with heart. The appeal is the charming elderly cast, many of whom were stars from Hollywood's Golden Age. They play residents of an oceanside nursing home. A trio of them (Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn) discover an unoccupied mansion next door that has a heated swimming pool. They had been in the habit of regularly sneaking in for a dip. The jig is up, however, when the property is leased by a mysterious man (Brian Dennehy) who goes off sailing every day to retrieve mysterious packages, which he puts into the pool. The geezers don't know it yet, but these packages turn out to be cocoons of extra-terrestrial origin. Also, as they soon find out, if they swim in the pool, they suddenly start to feel like young men, and all their ails suddenly disappear. This modern day riff on the Fountain of Youth myth is an often resonant one, as there are a couple moments that leave a lump in my throat. But as this is a proper Hollywood film, expect it to be cap-stoned with a sweet ending. I've liked this movie quite a bit growing up, and I still do -- it's something nice to share with the family. Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch. Directed by: Ron Howard. B+

Cocoon: The Return (1988) PG sci-fi/comedy

The geezers are back. To visit the old stomping grounds. They have no other reason to return to Earth than that. Really, they were hitching a ride with their extra-terrestrial buddies who still had a few cocoons left to recover. One of which was discovered and escavated by scientists in white lab coats. (Ruh-roh!) The elderly men still like to carry themselves like they were 20 -- playing sports and goofing off. The elderly women are a bit more careful. While there's something inherently precious seeing many of these screen legends return to the silver screen one more go 'round, and while I do like a few scenes in this movie -- mainly involving Jack Gilford having trouble moving on after losing his wife -- it lacks that kinetic energy and childlike wonder that made the first film so memorable. While I wouldn't call this film a bitter disappointment, it's close. Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Courtney Cox, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Barrey Oliver, Maureen Stapleton, Elaine Stritch, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Tahnee Welch. Directed by: Daniel Petrie. C-

Coffy (1973) R action

Pam Grier may not be the finest actor, but she's an icon for good reason. She's tough as nails and extremely photogenic, especially when she's holding a gun to some creep's head. Yet she's also capable of softness and intense compassion. Certainly she's someone you want to have on your side. Naturally, all the great movie protagonists share this quality. This movie is filled to the brim with violence, language, nudity and sex--in other words, it is absolutely filthy. And of course, I enjoy it immensely. Pam Grier plays the titular character, a vigilante who tracks down drug dealers responsible for getting her little sister hooked on drugs. This film, while entertaining on a basic level, also makes wider observations about why poor people find themselves turning to drugs. Drug dealers make the mistake of thinking they're doing these people a service--giving them an affordable means of escape. A point taken well enough, but if the drug dealers start sucking in the innocent, they should prepare to meet Pam Grier on the other end of a rifle. Starring: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig, Barry Cahill, Lee de Broux, Ruben Moreno, Lisa Farringer. Directed by: Jack Hill. B+

Cold Comfort Farm (1995) PG comedy

This film was originally produced for BBC television, but it was released theatrically in the U.S. It's an utterly delightful film about a city girl (Kate Beckinsale) who goes to live with his relatives at the title location. It's a "doomed" place where the inhabitants are clearly unhappy. They are trapped in a neverending rut of misery, but they've been at it for so long, they resist change. Beckinsale, however, uses her city know-how to stir things up. This is a heartily recommended film, because it is charming and the cast is colorful. Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Shelia Burrell, Eileen Atkins, Ian McKellen, Ivan Kaye, Rufus Sewell, Stephen Fry, Angela Thorne, Joanna Lumley, Miriam Margolyes, Maria Miles, Freddie Jones. Directed by: John Schlisinger. A-

Cold Turkey (1971) PG comedy

A minor but amiable satire that most people probably never heard of. But it's a real hidden gem, written and directed by Norman Lear, who would soon after this create such era-defining sitcoms as All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son. Fans of these sitcoms are even liable of recognizing familiar faces, most notably Jean Stapleton (i.e., Dingbat) in small but prominent roles. The film begins with a tobacco company publicist (Bob Newhart, being hilariously sleazy) pitching the idea of offering $25 million to any American town able to give up smoking for a period of 30 days. He figures this to be simultaneously impossible and also generate positive press for their industry. (You see, tobacco tycoons really do want to promote tobacco abstinence!) And for the most part he is right -- people love their cigarettes so much that there is no city or town in America that is willing to participate. That is, except for one: The economically struggling town of Eagle Rock, whose charismatic preacher (Dick Van Dyke) manages to successfully pull together a campaign. The events of this film take place mostly within the confines of this town, which was already filled with oddball characters. Then you take away their cigarettes, and they go nuts. Be sure to keep watching till the end, because the conclusion is quite clever. Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Pippa Scott, Tom Poston, Bob Newhart, Vincent Gardenia, Barnard Hughes, Edward Everett Gordon, Jean Stapleton, Graham Jarvis. Directed by: Norman Lear. B+

Collateral (2004) R action

Jaimie Foxx does such an effective job playing a "normal guy" in this film that he's almost fooled me into thinking there's something "normal" about the actual Jaimie Foxx. Tom Cruise is also in this, but good thing his character isn't also supposed to be "normal" -- Cruise isn't that good of an actor. Foxx stars as Max, a cab driver who picks up a silver-haired man in a suit named Vincent (Cruise). It turns out, though, that Vincent is some kind of hitman. Effectively, he holds Max hostage, forcing him to transport him around the city as he makes his kills. Their adventure includes several run-ins with common criminals, police officers, and people from Max's personal life -- including his dying mother. Not only are the action scenes tense, it seems the characters are better developed than in typical action fare. Though I wouldn't get too carried away about that -- while I enjoyed watching these characters interact with one another on screen, I wouldn't say I ever got expressly invested in their struggles. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jaime Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Irma P. Hall, Barry “Shabaka” Henley, Richard T. Jones, Klea Scott. Directed by: Michael Mann. B

The Color of Money (1986) R drama

Scorsese directs this update of The Hustler. Newman returns as Fast Eddie Felson, who gave up pool long ago to become a liquor salesman. When he crosses paths with a budding pool genius (Tom Cruise), he offers to become his manager. This eventually inspires him to take up pool again! It’s expertly shot by Scorsese, though I never felt immersed in this film like I have in so many of his films preceding and succeeding this. Hardly a film classic, but it’s worth a viewing or two. Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Helen Shaver, Iggy Pop. Directed by: Martin Scorsese. B+

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) PG sci-fi

The film’s budget must have been akin to producing two episodes of Gilligan’s Island, but the filmmakers turned this into a delightfully entertaining and edge-of-your-seat picture. Eric Braeden stars as a scientist who develops a supercomputer that can think for itself. It’s all fine and dandy, but pretty soon, the computer begins mingling in human affairs … The film was released ahead of its time; this is the predecessor to the 1983 movie War Games. A great film for every sci-fi lover. Starring: Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Leonid Rostoff, Georg Stanford Brown, Willard Sage, Alex Rodine. Directed by: Joseph Sargent. A-

Coma (1978) PG thriller

This suspenseful film directed by Michael Crichton is about two medical doctors (Michael Douglas and Genevieve Bujold) who witness a number of very unusual and unexpected deaths. They don’t think it’s a coincidence. This is the kind of intelligent film with an intriguing plot that most mainstream suspense films today are lacking, and it is also more exciting and captivating. The performances of the two leads, however, are only above average. I give it my full recommendation, but I gave it only a B+ because it should have been more intense. Starring: Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark, Lance Le Gault, Lois Chiles, Harry Rhodes, Gary Baron, Frank Downing, Richard Doyle. Directed by: Michael Crichton. B+

Comedian (2002) R documentary

This is a pointless documentary that is nevertheless fun. The film tracks one of stand-up comedy’s biggest names (Jerry Seinfeld) and an up-and-coming comic (Orny Adams) as they travel and do their routines. The stand-up comedy footage is excellent, and it’s interesting to hear what the comics themselves have to say afterward. Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Orny Adams, Colin Quinn, Bill Cosby, Robert Klein, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling, Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Ray Romano. Directed by: Christian Charles. B

The Comedian (2016) R comedy

I enjoy myself with this film even if it's unpleasant. Robert DeNiro is Jackie Burke, a standup comedian who was a popular television star decades ago. Hecklers at his shows and people he meets only seem to want him to recite catchphrases. Not only does he refuse, but he insults anyone who asks. He gets into a physical altercation with a heckler, landing him a 30-day stint in jail and community service. At community service, he meets a cynical woman Harmony (Leslie Mann), and they gradually hit it off. While the romance component of the film is lukewarm at best, I enjoy the standup for the most part. There's an incredibly off-color and uncomfortable roast he gives at his niece's wedding that makes me laugh out loud. Certain family members have a hostile reaction to it, mainly his sister-in-law (Patti LuPone), forcing his brother (Danny DeVito) to feign like he is also angry. Then there's a parody of the song "Makin' Whoopie" called "Makin' Poopie" that he gives at an old folks home. Not that it's a bad scene, but it's not great, and the movie wants me to believe that a video an employee recorded of it would go viral. In the end, certain parts of the movie I enjoy, other parts I don't. De Niro's character starts the movie as a jerk and ends the movie as a jerk. Starring: Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone, Harvey Keitel, Lois Smith. Directed by: Taylor Hackford. C+

Coming To America (1988) R comedy

Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is prince of the fictional African country Zamunda. He's lived a sheltered life and has consequently become bored with it. Further, his parents want him to marry a vacuous woman. Wanting to try to find love organically with a woman who has brains as well as looks, he takes his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to America. And where else would he find his future queen but in Queens, New York? There, he experiences ordinary life for the first time. Every detail of which he greets with the wide-eyed, wide-grinned delight of a toddler. That right there is what makes this film so endearing. In his world, the extraordinary is ordinary, the ordinary extraordinary. Murphy and Hall also play several of the minor characters. And enjoy that while it lasts, because this is back when that was a fun novelty in his movies. All in all, this is a fun film with plenty of well-earned laughs--even if at times they're laid on a little thin. Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shair Hedley, Clint Smith, Paul Bates, Eriq La Salle, Frankie Faison, Vanessa Bell, Louie Anderson, Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by: John Landis. B

Coming 2 America (2021) PG-13 comedy

The sequel nobody asked for. The movie itself even acknowledges that at one oozing-out-of-the-fourth-wall moment. And yet, most of us aren't doing anything better, so we watch it. For sure, it's nice seeing these characters again. Even James Earl Jones reprises his role as the king who--in one of the film's funnier moments--holds his own gala funeral before he perishes so that he can make sure it's up to standard. He gets Morgan Freeman to narrate it, so it must be pretty good. Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) then ascends to the throne, and the first thing he does is worry about his successor. He and his queen, Lisa (Shari Headley), only had daughters. It's customary that the throne can only be succeeded by a son. Well it turns out that Akeem did father an illegitimate son, Lavelle, thirty years ago in New York. While this film does deliver a few chuckles, it lacks the fish-out-of-water angle that made the original so charming. Lavelle is a disappointing character, as he starts the film as an outspoken rebel, but all he's seen doing in later scenes is basking in the riches. Other threads, such as the daughter who feels jilted out of being first-in-line for the throne, are also left woefully dangling. Fun appearances from En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa, and Gladys Knight, though. Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, Teyana Taylor, James Earl Jones, Bella Murphy, Akiley Love, Paul Bates, John Amos, Louie Anderson, Morgan Freeman. Directed by: Craig Brewer. C

The Commitments (1991) R comedy

This is a highly entertaining comedy about the beginning of a promising Irish R&B band. It consists of a powerful egomaniac vocalist, a bunch of top-notched players and an enterprising manager. Their brash personalities clash, but can they at least hold it together before they get big? This is a fun and energetic film with tactful direction from Alan Parker. And don't be stingy on the volume when watching this; crank it up as high as it goes. Starring: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Johnny Murhpy, Dave Finnegan, Andrew Strong, Bronagh Gallagher, Felim Gormley, Glen Hansard, Kenneth McCluskey, Colm Meaney, Mick Nolan, Eamon O'Connor, Eanna Mac Liam, Dick Massey. Directed by: Alan Parker. A

Con Air (1997) R action

This is an average action thriller starring Nicolas Cage as a newly paroled inmate on a flight home. Unfortunately for him, the high profile inmates headed by John Malkovich commandeer the plane. Cage must try to help the authorities (headed by the miscast John Cusack) to bring it down safely. It contains nicely done action sequences and explosions and stuff, but too much of the story line is silly and contrived. Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Colm Meaney, Mykelti Williamson, Danny Trejo, Renoly Santiago, Angela Featherstone, Mario Roberts, Landry Allbright, Pete Antico, Monica Potter, Mongo Brownlee, Dave Chappelle. Directed by: Simon West. C+

Coneheads (1993) PG comedy

Saturday Night Live's famous duo of Beldar and Prymaat Conehead comes to the big screen with success! Trying to escape from the evil clutches of the border control, these illegal aliens with giant cones for heads (from the planet Remulac), try to adapt on Planet Earth while waiting for a rescue crew to take them home. Not only do they have to adapt to the strange earthly ways, they have to raise their kid on this ungodly planet. A very entertaining film with many hilarious and memorable scenes. Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain reprise their roles and are better at it than ever. Also mixed in with the cast are many other notable cast members of Saturday Night Live and other stars of comedy. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain, Michelle Burke, Michael McKean, Jason Alexander, Lisa Jane Persky, Chris Farley, David Spade, Phil Hartman, Dave Thomas, Sinbad, Jan Hooks, Jon Lovitz, Adam Sandler, Tim Meadows. Directed by: Steve Barron. B+

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) R comedy

George Clooney (of all people) directs this surprisingly effective and delightful biopic of Gong Show host Chuck Barris (portrayed by Sam Rockwell). It’s hardly a flattering portrayal of the man, and it plays with a lot of the myth (or maybe truths) surrounding him, but it’s quite fun. Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer. Directed by: George Clooney. B+

The Conjuring (2013) R horror

It is 1971 when Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor) move into a gigantic Rhode Island farmhouse with their five daughters. They are a happy family eager to start their new life, but that feeling doesn't last for long. During a game of "hide and clap," this family's variation of hide-and-seek in which the seeker is blindfolded and the hider claps on command, they stumble upon the boarded entrance to a secret cellar. That is when strange things start happening. Mysterious raps on the walls, a sleepwalking girl banging her head against an antique wardrobe, another girl getting the bedsheets ripped off her at night. There even appears to be a ghoulish figure participating in their game of "hide and clap." That's when the services of a couple of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) are called to do some paranormal investigating. While this haunted house movie could have used a heavier atmosphere and perhaps more artful cinematography, it is nonetheless loaded with plenty of spooky images and well-earned jump scares. I especially appreciate the Warren characters whose no-nonsense approach to ghost investigation lends this film an aura of authenticity. I'd say that alone makes this haunted house film a cut well above the average. Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Stanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy. Directed by: James Wan. B+

The Conjuring 2 (2016) R horror

What's nice about this sequel is that my favorite characters from the first film, the Warrens (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), play an even more central part in the story. It is 1977 and they skip across the pond to London where they are set to investigate hauntings at the Hodgson house, which seems to start after their second oldest child Janet (Madison Wolfe) makes a ouija board out of a cereal box. After that, they see a chair in their sitting room rocking by itself, television channels on their TV set change on their own, and they even hear screams and whispers demanding that they get out of the house. But most unsettlingly, the girl even appears to become possessed, speaking in a low and growly voice. . . Once again, Wilson and Farmiga nail their performances, approaching this investigation in the same no-nonsense way that Sam Spade investigates a murder. At times, this film comes across a bit more cartoony than its predecessor, but it still has its fair share of creepy segments and frightening images. I also found the ending quite well-done with a nice twist. Solid horror film. Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick McAuley, Simon McBurney, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney. Directed by: James Wan. B+

The Conspiracy Theory (1997) R thriller

A good suspenseful action flick starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts is about an obsessively paranoid man, who thinks that "everything" is a conspiracy, finally stumbles upon a real one. He must protect himself as well as Julia Roberts from "them" who are out to ruin their lives. I don't want to give anything else away because the plot unravels as the film progresses, but I didn't particularly care for what the film unraveled to. Nevertheless, the film will keep you yearning to see what happens next. A very interesting film, but not great; the acting is only adequate considering the talents involved. Worth seeing. Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Stephen Kahan, Terry Alexander, Alex McArthur. Directed by: Richard Donner. B

Constant Gardener (2005) R action

This effective political thriller stars Ralph Fiennes in a fantastic performance as a British diplomat who investigates the death of his activist wife (Rachel Weisz). The film is exciting, tense and intriguing. This marks the English language debut of director Fernando Meirelles, who previously directed the brilliant Brazilian film City of God. Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Bill Nighly, Pete Postlethwaite. Directed by: Fernando Meirelles. B+

Constantine (2005) R thriller

The plot is very silly, but this is nevertheless an effective horror/thriller film starring Keanu Reeves as a man who can see evil spirits who must help save the world from demons taking over with the help of a police detective (Rachel Weisz). The action sequences, special effects and scenery are Grade-A, but there's really no reason other than that to see this picture ... even though they are all that's needed to make this film exciting. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LeBeouf, Djimon Honsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare. Directed by: Francis Lawrence. B-

Contact (1997) PG sci-fi

This is a remarkably effective and engaging adaptation of Carl Sagan’s science fiction book about one woman (Jodie Foster) and her lifelong pursuit and success of finding extraterrestrial beings. It’s what all science fiction pictures should be: thoughtful, intelligent, and captivating. Foster, as always, is excellent. Starring: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, David Morse, Angela Bassett, Geoffrey Blake, Maximillian Martini. Directed by: Robert Zemeckis. A

The Conversation (1974) PG thriller

Dated and occasionally exciting thriller starring Gene Hackman as a professional eavesdropper who is hired to tape a conversation of two suspicious individuals. Hackman, being a religious man, suspects that the tapes of this conversation will lead to a vicious murder and soon tries to stop it. A disturbing film that obviously needs an acquired taste to appreciate. Many of the scenes are gripping and electrifying, yet much of the film seems to drag. Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Frederic Forest. Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola. B+

Cookie (1989) R comedy

Dull comedy about a gangster, recently released from the slammer, out in society with problems arising from his abandon daughter, his colleges and enemies. It's vastly uninteresting only being slightly redeemed by a descent cast. Don't waste your time with it. Starring: Peter Falk, Dianne Wiest, Emily Lloyd, Michael V. Gazzo, Brenda Vaccaro, Adrian Pasdar, Lionel Stander, Jerry Lewis, Ricki Lake. Directed by: Susan Seidelman. C-

Cool Hand Luke (1967) NR drama

Paul Newman stars in this excellent prison drama as a drunk who was arrested for cutting the heads off of parking meters and sentenced to serving two years in a seemingly harsh and irrational prison. One of the best prison films ever made. Paul Newman and George Kennedy (the big honcho of inmates) turn out very fine performances. Cool Hand Luke is highly enjoyable and memorable; a must-see! Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet, Clifton James, Morgan Woodward, Luke Askew, Marc Cavell. Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg. A

Cops and Robbersons (1994) PG comedy

Chevy Chase stars in this moderately entertaining film as a middle-aged man, who fantasizes of being a cop, when unexpectedly a pair of them arrives at his house to stakeout the guy next-door. The well-meaning Chase can't help but to cause ample problems as he attempts to assist this pair in their work. Chase does a decent job carrying this usually lame comedy. Starring: Chevy Chase, Jack Palance, Dianne Wiest, Robert Davi, David Barry Gray, Jason James Richter, Fay Masterson, Mike Hughes, Richard Romanus. Directed by: Michael Richie. C

Corky Romano (2001) PG-13 comedy

An energetic performance from Chris Kattan and an entire script of bad jokes headlines this dumb comedy. Kattan plays clumsy vetrinarian who is asked by his Mafia-like family to go undercover in the FBI to steal their incriminating evidence on his father (Peter Falk). Not only is this mission improbable for a normal person, but it's even worse for a klutz like Kattan. Much of the supporting cast is awful. Starring: Chris Kattan, Vinessa Shaw, Peter Falk, Peter Berg, Chris Penn, Fred Ward, Richard Roundtree, Matthew Glave, Roger Fan, David Sheridan. Directed by: Rob Pritts. C-

Corpse Bride (2005) PG comedy

The impulse is to compare this to A Nightmare Before Christmas. After all, this is a Halloween-appropriate stop-motion film from Tim Burton. While they are similar, this one just doesn't have the same level of lavish set design and wildly imaginative story. Nonetheless, this is a delightful film in its own right -- a macabre tale about a young man named Victor Van Dort (voice of Johnny Depp) who is set to marry a beautiful woman (voice of Emily Watson). He has trouble remembering his wedding vows, so he slips into a forest to rehearse. He puts his wedding ring onto what he thinks is a tree root, but it turns out really to be the decomposed finger of a dead woman named Emily (voice of Helena Bonham Carter). She promptly pops out of the grave and says "I do" before whisking him off to the land of the dead. It's a jolly place where dead pets come back to visit you, sans flesh, and dancing skeletons play jazz music. The place is also infinitely more colorful than the monotone land of the living. (Of course it is such that real life can only begin after death in any self-respecting Tim Burton film -- flesh at various stages of decomposition notwithstanding.) Dwelling inside one of Emily's eye sockets is a brain eating worm with voice reminiscent of Peter Lorre who often gives her dubious advice. The stop-motion animation in this film is fluid and fun, and I enjoy the visuals. The songs by Danny Elfman are also a fine assortment of morose ballads and more exuberant numbers. This isn't the type of film I remember that long after seeing it, but I do enjoy it while it lasts. That makes this is an easy recommendation. Voices of: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Danny Elfman, Lisa Kay. Directed by: Tim Burton and Mike Johnson. B

The Couch Trip (1988) R comedy

A dark comedy that misses every mark. That's certainly no fault of the casting department -- Dan Aykroyd, Walter Matthau and Charles Grodin are perfect for their roles. But when it comes to laughs, the film comes up woefully short. When popular radio psychiatrist George Maitlin (Grodin) needs some time off to allow himself a drawn-out nervous breakdown, his producers call psychiatrist Lawrence Baird (David Clennon) to fill in. Only this message is intercepted by one of Baird's looney patients, the criminally insane John Burns (Aykroyd). He escapes and impersonates the psychiatrist for the show. His magnetic personality and unconventional advice ends up creating a sensation. He also meets and befriends a grody priest (Matthau). Grodin's pitch-perfect performance as a pompous psychiatrist who wrestles with his own inadequacies is wasted on a script that gives him so little to do. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin, Donna Dixon, Richard Romanus, Mary Gross, David Clennon, Scott Thomson, David Wohl, Chevy Chase. Directed by: Michael Ritchie. D

Countdown (1968) NR drama

Before they put Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969, they made this realistic science fiction picture about it. James Caan stars as the astronaut chosen to be the first man on the moon much to the dismay of Robert Duvall. In the mean time, the Russians are threatening to beat the Americans to the moon, so the Americans have to really pick up the pace. I'll tell you what, if this movie was drawn out ten minutes longer, I would have conked out! You'll really have to love sci-fi style films like 2001: a Space Odyssey, or The Andromeda Strain except without much of the suspense to enjoy this. It's tediousness can be too overwhelming for many viewers. Robert Altman fans should note that this is his first feature film. Starring: James Caan, Joanna Moore, Robert Duvall, Barbara Baxley, Charles Aidman, Steve Ihnat, Michael Murphy, Ted Knight, Steve Coit, John Rayner, Charles Irving, Bobby Riha. Directed by: Robert Altman. C+

Country (1984) PG drama

An engaging slow-paced story about a hardworking farming family who soon learns that the bank suddenly decided to foreclose on their property. It amply generates interest at the beginning but toward the end, it loses much of its spunk. Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard are both surprisingly good in their roles. Starring: Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley, Matt Clark, Therese Graham, Levi L. Knebel, Jim Haynie, Sandra Seacat, Alex Harvey. Directed by: Richard Pearce. B

The Courier (2020) PG-13 thriller

Entertaining thriller about British salesman Greville Wynne who is recruited by MI6 as a Cold War spy in the early 1960s. He travels to the U.S.S.R. and regularly rendezvous with high-up Soviet intelligence officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) collecting classified information and transporting it to Western agents. Specifically, this information is with regards to an imminent plan to build-up a nuclear arsenal in Cuba. Greville can't tell his family what he's up to, which leads to significant problems at home. I certainly enjoy spy films, and this is a good one, but it seems this could have used a more artful eye. In particular, the movie wants me to believe the friendship between Wynne and Penkovsky was deeper than what I saw develop on screen. The espionage stuff is fun, but I am left with a feeling they could have done more with that to make it more intriguing. With that said, parts of this movie are quite tense, and I do like the two lead actors--particularly Ninidze, who's able to tense up like a proper, stoic Soviet but also has remarkably warm eyes when he relaxes. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley, Merab Ninidze, Angus Wright, Kirill Pirogov. Directed by: Dominic Cooke. B-

The Cowboy Way (1994) PG-13 comedy

Oh bugger what a mess! It starts out pleasant enough... a pair of country cowboys go to New York looking for their friend and daughter … and they have a Crocodile Dundian time trying to survive in New York. This is ultimately not worth wasting your time on. The two stars, Woody Harrelson and Kiefer Sutherland, are merely passable, and the script is full of holes. Starring: Woody Harrelson, Keifer Sutherland, Dylan McDermott, Ernie Hudson, Cara Buono, Tomas Miliam, Marg Helgenberger, Harsh Nayyar, Ira Newborn, Christopher Murray. Directed by: Gregg Champion. D+

The Cowboys (1972) PG western

About as gratifying as you'd think it'd be watching John Wayne lead a bunch of schoolboys as they herd cattle through the prairie. He stars as Wil Anderson, a surly mid-19th Century Montana cattle rancher who's persuaded to give these underaged aspiring cowboys a chance to earn an honest wage and invaluable experience after he losing his entire crew to a nearby gold strike. But these boys better not expect to get babied. In the meantime, they are trailed by a band of outlaws who see them as easy pickings -- led by a man named "Long Hair" (Bruce Dern, in a fantastically maniacal performance). While this is a fine coming-of-age adventure, what prevents me from giving it a full endorsement for modern children is some strong violence and a couple racial epithets. Starring: John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern, Colleen Dewhurst, Slim Pickens, Lonny Chapman, Charles Tyner, A. Martinez, Alfred Barker, Nicolas Beauvy, Steve Benedict. Directed by: Mark Rydell. B

Coyote Ugly (2000) R drama

An aspiring but shy songwriter Violet (Piper Perabo) leaves her home in New Jersey to make her fortune in New York, but she has trouble making headway in the industry. Without much else to do, she is convinced to try out for employment at Coyote Ugly, a bar where its female bartenders are scantily clad and don't serve drinks as much as they get up on the counter and gyrate suggestively to loud music. The place is run by Lil (Maria Bello) who has tough requirements for her bartenders -- mainly that they be able to excite the rowdy crowd while also keeping them at bay. Certainly, if this job can't get Violet out of her shell, nothing will. This is a movie not to be taken too seriously. The ample scenes singing and stomping on the bar counter capture such an infectious energy that I really found myself getting into its spirit. Complaints I read against this film are that it's sexist, but I'm really not seeing it. These women are up there performing on their own free will. I'm actually more disturbed over the business practices of its owner -- for example, Violet being expected to repay the business $250 in fines after mistakenly dousing the Fire Marshall with water. Which is what she was told to do if any customer orders water. While this isn't a smart or taut movie -- far too much time is spent on a romantic subplot that hits dead notes -- I nonetheless have a fun time with this. Starring: Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, John Goodman, Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks, Bridget Moynahan, Melanie Lynskey, Del Pentecost, Michael Weston, LeAnn Rimes, John Fugelsang, Bud Cort. Directed by: David McNally. B-

Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) PG-13 martial arts

There's nothing we haven't seen before in this Jet Li action film. Li stars as an agent from Taiwan who sets out to recover black diamonds, which are synthetically produced sources of extreme energy. The original band of criminals took it without realizing that there was a vast worldwide demand for them. This is a passable and enjoyable film, but it relies too strongly on cliches. Starring: Jet Li, DMX, Mark Dacascos, Anthony Anderson, Kelly Hu, Tom Arnold, Gabrielle Union, Michael Jace, Drag-On, Paige Hurd. Directed by: Andrzej Barthkowiak. C+

Crash (2005) R drama

This pretentious but thought-provoking film follows a line of Los Angeles strangers who become entangled in issues involving race relations. Good dialogue and even better acting keeps the film enjoyable even though the its string of heavy coincidences might be overbearing for some. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Shaun Toub, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Thandie Newton, William Fichter, Ryan Phillippe, Larentz Tate. Directed by: Paul Haggis. B+

Crazy People (1990) R comedy

It’s not really funny (and not politically correct whatsoever), but it has Dudley Moore in it. He plays an overstressed advertisement executive who comes up with a series of insane advertisements, and his boss sends him to a mental institute. However, through a series of mishaps, these ads get published and become big hits. Meanwhile, Moore becomes a friend to the loonies at the institute. Instead of going back to the agency, he has the lunatics write some ads. It’s slight entertainment; take it or leave it. Starring: Dudley Moore, Daryl Hannah, Paul Reiser, Mercedes Ruehl, J.T. Walsh, Ben Hammer, David Paymer, Dick Cusack, Alan North, Danton Stone, Doug Yasuda. Directed by: Tony Bill. C

The Crew (2000) PG-13 comedy

Four washed-up elderly detectives who were in their prime back in the 60's decide to liven things up in life. So they randomly choose a corpse from the morgue, bring it to their apartment and shoot it in the head. However, they made one huge mistake. The old man they chose was the father of an ultra-powerful drug lord who wasn't aware this death! Not a great comedy by any standard; most jokes are unfunny. However, it's redeemable through the merits of its appealing cast (especially Richard Dreyfuss and Burt Reynolds). Much of the supporting cast, however, have pretty faces but cannot act. Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya, Seymour Cassel, Carrie-Ann Moss, Jennifer Tilly, Lainie Kazan, Miguel Sandoval, Jeremy Piven. Directed by: Michael Dinner. C

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) PG-13 comedy/drama

This is definitely one of Woody Allen's best films; it's not a laugh-a-minute comedy like we're used to seeing from him, but it's interesting and extremely enjoyable. Most of the credit goes to the excellent acting abilities and the charisma of Woody Allen, Alan Alda, Martin Landau and Mia Farrow who turn in some of the best performances of their career. Martin Landau plays a rich man whose well being is threatened by his former mistress and Woody Allen plays a documentary filmmaker who is afraid that his love, Mia Farrow, may be taken away by the incredibly egotistical Alan Alda. Starring: Woody Allen, Martin Landau, Alan Alda, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston, Sam Waterston, Caroline Aaron, Claire Bloom, Joanna Gleason, Jenny Nichols, Jerry Orbach. Directed by: Woody Allen. A-

Crocodile Dundee (1986) PG-13 comedy

Paul Hogan stars as Michael J "Crocodile" Dundee, a rugged man of the Australian Outback, who is fabled to have personally wrestled some of the world's meanest crocodiles. Newspaper reporter, Sue Charlton, travels to the Australian Outback to write a human interest story on this colorful man. Being completely captivated and absorbed by his skills at surviving in the rugged Australian frontier, she brings him to New York; the wilderness of the other extreme. Thus, the fish-out-of-water comedy ensues. It's hardly great cinema, but it's a fun and endearing comedy. Hogan is quite charasmatic. Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Mark Blum, Michael Lombard, Irving Meltzman. Directed by: Peter Faiman. B+

Crocodile Dundee II (1988) PG comedy

Paul Hogan returns in this nice sequel. This time, Sue Charlton's ex-husband is caught taking pictures of a drug lord's dirty business and sends the negatives straight to her. The drug lord figures out where it's sent thus putting their lives at risk. While this film doesn't quite live up to the original, it remains a fun-to-watch movie. Recommended only if you enjoyed the predecessor. Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Mellion, Ernie Dingo, Hechter Ubarry, Juan Fernandez, Charles Dutton, Kenneth Welsh. Directed by: John Cornell. B

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) PG comedy

Paul Hogan is as charming as ever, but this most recent resurrection of the 80s film series drowns in its own formula. This time, Dundee, his wife, and their child move to Los Angeles. Dundee seems to fit in with the environment well with the usual cultural cock-ups. The contrived script contains merely a minimal amount of laughs and thrills. Still, that Hogan is irrisistable. Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, Jere Burns, Jonathan Banks, Alec Wilson, Gerry Skilton, Steve Rackman, Serge Cockburn, Aida Tuturro. Directed by: Simon Wincer. C+

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) PG-13 martial arts

Certainly a unique martial arts film that is full of fantastic fantasy action that will most certainly catch your attention. It's in Chinese (with subtitles for us non-Chinese speakers) but don't let that hold you back because this is one major thrill-ride! It has enough kung fu for the action lover, enough passion and love for the romance lover, and it has enough intelligence for the smart-types. In short, this is a film for everyone. The special effects are gloriously over-the-top. Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Lung Sihung, Cheng Pei Pei, LiFa Zeng, Gao Xian, Hai Yan, Wang Deming, Li Li. Directed by: Ang Lee. A

The Crucible (1996) PG-13 drama

There are witches about in Salem, Massachusetts! Well, that's what a group of girls lead the Court of Salem to believe when they are caught dancing in the forest and performing questionable rituals. Based on a true story, and adapted from Arthur Miller's play, this film dramatizes the infamous witch-hunts. It's generally a good story with fine acting, but the characters seem somewhat artificial. The emotions of the film are poorly developed, and this film is really just a walkthrough of Miller's play. Starring: Winona Ryder, Daniel-Day Lewis, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison, Jeffery Jones, Rob Campbell, Peter Vaughan, Karron Graves, Charlaine Woodard, Frances Conroy, Elizabeth Lawrence, George Gaynes. Directed by: Nicholas Hytner. C+

The Crush (1993) R thriller

A combination of Fatal Attraction and Lolita, and isn't good at being either--capturing neither the wretchedness of the former nor the blood-boiling thrills of the latter. Cary Elwes is Nick Eliot, a dilettante magazine journalist who has a funny habit of slipping in and out of an English accent. He rents a Seattle guest house to find himself lusting over the owner's 14-year-old daughter Adrian (Alicia Silverstone). She's clearly egging it on, and the feeling is mutual, but he wisely catches himself before it gets out of hand. He tries moving on, even securing a serious girlfriend, but Adrian's obsession with him continues to grows. It isn't long before her behavior gets destructive. A film with such a premise has the potential to be titillating, but Silverstone hardly comes across devilish or spooky. I also don't understand why she becomes fixated on him or what drives it. I don't even get a clear impression that Nick brought on any of this behavior as a result of his initial lust towards here--his character is painted exclusively as a victim. Starring: Cary Elwes, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Rubin, Kurtwood Smith, Gwynyth Walsh, Amber Benson, Matthew Walker. Directed by: Alan Shapiro. C-

Cry Baby (1990) PG-13 comedy

This spoof of 50s rock musicals can become quite irritating, but it’s a very unique and sometimes fun flick. Cry-baby (Johnny Depp), the local teenage hoodlum falls for a ‘square’, who is a goody-goody willing to rebel if inspired to. Together, this hoodlum and square run off together trying to get their friends and relatives to accept their relationship. This is yet another Romeo and Juliet film, and it certainly isn’t the best of those I’ve seen. The end of the film is terrible; it’s absolutely, unforgivably and incredibly cheesy. The highlight is Depp's rendition of‘Jailhouse Rock’. The cast is full of bizarre faces who are strikingly photogenic. Starring: Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Susan Tyrell, Polly Bergen, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, Kim McGuire, Troy Donahue, Mink Stole, Joe Dallesandro, Joey Heatherton. Directed by: John Waters. C

The Cup (1999) G drama

This is a thoroughly enjoyable slice-of-life about a community of young exiled Tibetan monks who track down a television set to watch the World Cup final. This film shows that Tibetan monks might look weird on the outside, but are just like you and me. It might be too uneventful for some, but I loved it. This is a true gem. Starring: Orgyen Tobgyal, Neten Chokling, Jamyang Lodro, Lama Chonjor, Godu Lama, Thinley Nudi, Kunsang, Kunsang Nyima, Pema Tshundup, Dzigar Kongtrul. Directed by: Khyentse Norbu. A

The Curse of La Llarona (2019) R horror

This film reveals its hand early on. It not only shows us what the monster looks like but also the extent of what it's capable of. Thus, the movie is just a bunch of people running and cowering. No surprises, no twists, the expected jump scares, etc. The ghost is La Llarona, "The Weeping Woman," the evil spirit of a woman who drowned her boys during her living years and then spent the afterlife trying to find more children to drown. A Child Protective Services worker, Anna (Linda Cardinelli) is called to investigate the truancy of two boys. When she goes to their house, she finds the mother Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) in a violent range and her boys cowering in a closet. They have burn marks on their arms. She asks how they got there, and they said "she" did it. Anna figures they're talking about their mother, but they assure her they aren't. This is a film mainly for completists who want to see everything in the Conjuring universe, but this is one of the weaker entries in the series. Ultimately, just less frightening retreads of what the previous films had done so much better. Starring: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola, Irene Keng. Directed by: Michael Chaves. C-

The Cutting Edge (1992) PG romance

Sports and romance intertwine delectably in this frothy and altogether pleasant film that's too cute to fail. Naturally, it isn't without its tropes -- a man and woman meet, they hate each other at first, you know the rest. What distinguishes this is the setting: An ice rink. Doug (D.W. Sweeney) is a hotshot college ice hockey player who is also part of The U.S.A.'s 1988 Olympic team when he gets injured and loses some of his peripheral vision. This forces him to retire from hockey. Kate (Moira Kelly) is a figure skater who gets injured right before a competition, which costs her a likely chance at a gold medal. She continues to train for the 1992 Games but her highly strung reputation is such that nobody wants to be her partner. Her coach Anton (Roy Dotrice) comes up with an unconventional idea: Recruit a non-figure skater. Which he finds in Doug who is thirsty to resume his career -- in anything. Though figure skating isn't exactly what he had in mind. The storyline's use of some of the most common, formulaic devices is shameless and I find much of the dialogue and acting pretty dopey, but what wins me over is I rather enjoy watching the will-they-won't-they romantic tug of war. And the figure skating is fun, of course. Starring: D.B. Sweeney, Moira Kelly, Roy Dotrice, Terry O'Quinn, Dwier Brown. Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser. B-

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) NR romance

Jose Ferrer stars as the title character, a man blessed with a wit as sharp as a knife, a stunning intellect and he is a skilled swordsman, but he is cursed with an incredibly long nose. Ferrer is in love with the strikingly beautiful Mala Powers, but she is in love with handsome William Prince, instead. For Prince, this is all fine and dandy except for one thing: he can't speak to his love intelligently for beans. Ferrer offers to write speeches for Prince and he accepts, but Ferrer grows more fond of Powers every day. This film is vastly entertaining with a humorous dialogue and exciting swashbuckling scenes. It was remade better a few times, but this version is worth scouting out, too. Starring: Jose Ferrer, Mala Powers, William Prince, Morris Carnovsky, Ralph Clanton, Lloyd Corrigan, Virginia Farmer, Edgar Barrier, Elena Verdugo, Al Cavens, Arthur Blake. Directed by: Michael Gordon. B+

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