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List of "F" Movies

F for Fake (1973) NR documentary

Youíve got to pay very close attention in this fast paced and somewhat boggled documentary from director Orson Welles who examines the fine art of forgery. Nevertheless, this is a documentary thatís done like no other has been done before in a high style that only the aptitude of Orson Welles could conjure. Of course his subject matter is fascinating. The ending was frightfully odd. Starring: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotton, Francois Reichenbbach. Directed by: Orson Welles. B+

A Face in the Crowd (1957) NR documentary

Andy Griffith's powerhouse performance as "Lonesome" Rhodes gains electrifying traction immediately. And you'd hardly believe it: It's only upward momentum from there. He is discovered by radio journalist Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) interviewing him as a sweaty inmate in a crowded jail cell, having been held overnight on drunk and disorderly charges. His exuberant personality, folksy charm, and penchant for improvising entertaining songs on his guitar makes him an immediate sensation. He is offered his own radio program and even commercial sponsorships. His uncanny ability to talk directly to the audience and manipulate them goes to his head, however, and he becomes maniacal in his private life. He also quickly realizes he can use his influence to gain political power. His character was inspired by Will Rogers but ended up uncannily predicting the political rise of such figures as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Starring: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick, Percy Waram, Paul McGrath, Rod Brasfield. Directed by: Elia Kazan. A

Face/Off (1997) R action

This clever action movie stars John Travolta as an FBI agent who finally captures the mentally unbalanced and slippery criminal genius, Nicolas Cage. To extract information about a hugely destructive bomb he supposedly planted in Los Angeles, Cage's face is transplanted onto Travolta's. He goes to jail to question the criminal's incarcerated brood, but Cage comes out of his coma and puts on Travolta's mask. While this film is far from a masterpiece, it's an entertaining crowd pleaser with director John Woo also showing off some of his artistic prowess. Starring: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessanro Nivola, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain, Nick Cassavetes, Harve Presnell, Colm Feore. Directed by: John Woo. B

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) R documentary

Easily Michael Mooreís shoddiest ďdocumentaryĒ that stops at nothing to bash the living glory out of President George W. Bush. Although it is still done with wit and is entertaining, itís too topical to mean much in the years to come. (Clearly, his documentaries that tackle more timeless issues like gun control and companies moving to foreign soil will be more heartily endured than Fahrenheit 9/11.) For voting Americans living in the Bush-era, however, this is pretty much a must-see. The principle flaw of Fahrenheit 9/11 is its severe lack of evidence as well as its lacking of a general conclusion Ö other than ďBush sucks,Ē that is. Starring: Michael Moore. Directed by: Michael Moore. B

Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997) PG fantasy

Even though the title is an oxymoron, it is really based on a true story. Two little English girls take strange photographs of fairies in the woods. Of course no one should believe that fairies are real; they're little people for goodness sake! Unexpectedly, nearly the entire population believes that they're genuine including their parents, the people at Kodak, and even Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle! Now whether you think they're real, that's something that you alone would have to determine. This is a magical film that is a wonderful choice for the family. Starring: Harvey Kietel, Peter OíToole, Pheobe Nicholls, Paul McGann, Elizabeth Earl, Florence Hoath, Jason Salkey, Lara Morgan, Adam Franks, Guy Witcher, Joseph May, Mel Gibson. Directed by: Charles Surridge. B+

Falling in Love (1984) PG-13 romance

A dull romance drama that wastes the time and talents of two of the best leading actors of the era. Meryl Streep stars as Molly, an artist, and Robert De Niro as Frank, an engineer. They have a few "meet-cutes," except it's not all that cute because they are both married to other people. They find each other interesting and attractive, and they find more and more excuses to spend time together. Meanwhile, as expected, their respective marriages start to fall apart -- which were probably heading in that direction anyhow. While the development of their romance is convincing enough and the dialogue isn't bad, this film is the cinematic equivalent of a dull roar. It just isn't interesting. And with a topic as contentious as an affair, I find it disappointing this film couldn't find much to say about it. It's merely a frank depiction of it. Starring: Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Jane Kaczmarek, George Martin, David Clennon, Dianne Wiest, Barry Smith, Sonny Abagnale, Richard Giza, Yanni Sfinias. Directed by: Ulu Grosbard. C

Fame (1980) R musical

Director Alan Parkerís musical about the dreams and ambitions of a class of high school students enrolled in New Yorkís High School for Performing Arts is fascinating. Perhaps some of the character development needed some work (as did the acting), but overall this is a good film that you can take to heart if youíre so inclined. Starring: Irene Cara, Lee Curreri, Laura Dean, Antonia Franceschi, Boyd Gaines, Albert Hague, Tresa Hughes, Steve Inwood, Paul McCrane, Anne Meara, Joanna Merlin, Barry Miller, Jim Moody. Directed by: Alan Parker. B+

Family Man (2000) PG-13 comedy

Mostly entertaining cross-pollination between It's a Wonderful Life and the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni are Jack and Kate. They've been romantic since college but had a falling out after Jack takes a high-profile internship in London. Thirteen years later, Jack is a wildly successful and very selfish Wall Street executive who never married and likes to sleep around. But is he happy? He has an uncomfortable run-in with a small-time criminal (Don Cheadle). But it turns out that guy is actually an angel, or something, and makes Jack wake up the next morning in a parallel universe. In this universe, he never went off to London, and he married Kate instead. Jack struggles with this life of an honest, middle-class family man . . . but soon comes to realize it also has its upsides. While the narrative is a bit weak, the film has a leisurely pace and a script supplied with a few decent laughs. It also features charming performances from Cage (restraining himself a bit here) and Leoni. I enjoyed particularly Cage's interactions with his parallel-universe daughter who almost immediately recognizes that her father as she'd known him been temporarily displaced with someone else. Not a film that moves me in any meaningful way, but it's worth watching once. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, Saul Rubinek, Josef Sommer, Makenzie Vega, Jake Milkovich, Ryan Milkovich, Lisa Thornhill, Harve Presnell, Mary Beth Hurt. Directed by: Brett Ratner. B-

Family Plot (1976) PG mystery/comedy

Alfred Hitchcock's final film that he ever directed is unusual! Rather than being super-suspenseful along with the likes of Vertigo or Rear Window, it's a splendid light-hearted comedic romp! Barbara Harris stars as a spiritualist and one of her clients is trying to reach the illegitimate son of her deceased sister because he's her only heir. She's willing to pay Harris ten thousand dollars for her services. Unfortunately, Harris isn't a true psychic so she has to rely on her boyfriend, Bruce Dern, to find him the old fashioned way. A very entertaining movie! The actors all just give splendid performances! Starring: Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane, Karen Black, Ed Lauter, Cathleen Nesbitt, Katherine Helmond, Warren J. Kemmerling, Edith Atwater, William Prince, Nicholas Colasanto. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. B+

The Family Stone (2005) PG-13 romance

This is a perfectly sweet but contrived holiday film in which a wealthy and talkative family doesnít do a good job of welcoming in a new sister-in-law (Sarah Jessica Parker). There are a few great moments in here, but there are also some that try too hard to be emotional while not being believable. Nevertheless, this is a well-acted film that is entirely watchable. Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Tyrone Giordano, Brian J. White, Elizabeth Reaser, Paul Schneider. Directed by: Thomas Bezucha. C+

The Fantastic Voyage (1966) NR sci-fi

In its time, "Fantastic Voyage" had premium special effects. Today, we can only say the special effects are dated but sufficient. Seconds before a scientist can mutter an important scientific finding, he gets into an accident and goes into a coma. Surgeons find that he has an inoperable blood clot in the brain and the only way to clear it is to shrink a team of scientists in a submarine and dissolve the clot with a laser. They do just that. The team must navigate their way through the human body and reach the brain in 60 minutes or they'll grow back to their normal size. A creative and exciting adventure, but the dialogue is weak in places. Starring: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasence, Arthur O'Connell, William Redfield, Arthur Kennedy, Jean Del Val. Directed by: Richard Fleischer. B

Fantasy Island (2020) PG-13 action

A prequel to the 40-year-old television show, and the premise is fine: A mysterious island is able to play out visitors' wildest fantasies, whether it is romance, reconnection or revenge. Often the fantasies of the guests conflict with one another. This film could have gone many different ways, but it ends up devolving into a vacuous action-adventure experience. The rules of the island seem to be made up as it goes along, making it almost impossible for this film to really build tension. Starring: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Portia Doubleday, Michael Rooker, Parisa Fitz-Henley. Directed by: Jeff Wadlow. D+

Far and Away (1992) PG-13 romance

Tom Cruise stars as a young and poor Irishman in the 1890's who travels to the US with a rich girl, played by Nicole Kidman. The moment they arrive, Kidman promptly has her entire fortune (in silver spoons) stolen from her and thus, they are forced to earn their living the hard way. Cruise finds his talent in prize fighting, raising money to fulfill Kidman's dream: to move to Oklahoma and start a farm. The poor boy and the rich girl hate each other at first, and it's only natural (in movieland) that these two fall in love. Far and Away does not grow dull, the performances are stunningly great, and the sets are very realistic. The plot is excellent and the direction is likewise. A worthwhile film to rent! Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson, Robert Prosky, Cyril Cusack, Barbara Babcock, Colm Meaney, Eileen Pollock, Michelle Johnson. Directed by: Ron Howard. A-

Fargo (1996) R comedy

The Coen Brothers come up with this black comedy which is probably their best film ever. William H. Macy plays a soft-spoken loser who stages a relatively innocent plot to kidnap his wife (so he can collect on ransom, paid exclusively by his father-in-law) but it escalates into complete chaos. Frances McDormand, in an Academy Award winning performance, plays the very pregnant policewoman who investigates this case. A remarkably well made film that is oftentimes hilarious. A true classic. Starring: Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, John Carroll Lynch, Kristin Rudrud, Tony Denman, Steve Park, Steven Reevis, Warren Keith, Larry Brandenburg. Directed by: Joel Coen. A+

Fast Forward (1985) PG drama

Those who revel in '80s nostalgia and are gluttons for punishment are invited to "enjoy" this legitimately horrible musical about a song and dance troupe traveling to New York to try break into the industry. They dance in leotards, their original songs D-grade Michael Jackson knockoffs. The dancing is fun at least. Some of the scenery chewing is also good for laughs. Starring: John Scott Clough, Don Franklin, Tamara Mark, Tracy Silver, Cindy McGee, Gretchen Palmer, Monique Cintron, Debra Varnado. Directed by: Sidney Poitier. D+

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) R comedy

Sean Penn as high school stoner Jeff Spicoli is legendary. You probably already know what he does. He antagonizes his history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), a perfect target, who not only appears to be genuinely upset by his antics, he throws them right back into his face. I'm such a nerd--I would have loved to have been in Mr. Hand's class. He seems like a good teacher. This film is episodic, chronicling the exploits of a handful of teenagers. It is designed to be a realistic portrayal of the high school experience. The worst-kept secret is it gets so many of the details right. Kids are vulgar, and they want to have sex with each other. Some kids want fancy cars and will put up with demeaning jobs. Others want to get high. Not many care about what they'll be doing in 10 years. This movie is a slice of life--not like other sex comedies that seem to exist just to be vulgar. Starring: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Pheobe Cates, Ray Walston, Vincent Schiavelli, Forest Whitaker, James Russo, Pamela Springsteen, Martin Brest, Nicolas Cage. Directed by: Amy Heckerling. B+

Fat City (1972) PG drama

This gritty and gripping tale is about a fading prizefighter (Stanley Keach) who must deal with the twilight of his career (having to take unglamorous jobs and an unglamorous girlfriend). Meanwhile, a promising new prizefighter (Jeff Bridges) must tame and perfect his sport. Director John Hustonís touch makes this film both realistic and effective. Starring: Stanley Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark, Nicholas Colasanto, Art Aragon, Curtis Cokes, Sixto Rodriguez, Billy Walker. Directed by: John Huston. A

Father Goose (1964) NR romantic comedy

Cary Grant stars an uncouth man who was bribed into plane spotting for the British Navy during WWII. He runs into a snobby woman (Leslie Caron) and a bunch of schoolgirls. Grant, a loner, resents their presence and their efforts in trying to civilize him. But then they fall in love. This is an unforgettable and endearing film. It's also clearly among the finest romantic comedies ever made, and its screenplay has an Oscar to prove it. Starring: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, Jack Good, Sharyl Locke, Pip Sparke, Verina Greenlaw. Directed by: Ralph Nelson. A-

Father of the Bride (1950) NR comedy

This film is charming all around. Spencer Tracy stars as Stanley Banks, a lawyer whose daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor) announces that she is engaged to a young man named Buckley (Don Taylor). She and her mother Ellie (Joan Bennett) get busy planning the ceremony, while Stanley acts as a curmudgeon, criticizing everything from the cost of the cake, the behavior of the party planner, and guests who have the gall of coming in from out-of-town (thus increasing the cost of the wedding). He even doesn't particularly care for the first name of the groom. From my experience, even though my own wedding took place more than 60 years after the release of this film, it gets the details of wedding planning right. While Stanley isn't shy from expressing his woes, he at heart recognizes the magnitude of this family event, and he's not going to regret a thing about it. This is a sweet film, in particular the relationship between him and his daughter. And the last thing to mention is the nightmare sequence towards the end of the film is a masterpiece of surreality. Starring: Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Bennett, Billie Burke, Leo G. Carroll, Don Taylor, Russ Tamblyn. Directed by: Vincente Minnelli. A-

Father of the Bride (1991) PG comedy

Really, this is a very charming update of the 1950 film classic starring Spencer Tracy. Steve Martin stars as a tightwad father who is shocked to discover that his daughter has become engaged and must plan for the wedding Ö that is going to cost a bundle! Itís a fine, heart-warming comedy for the family. Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams, Kiernan Culkin, George Newbern, Martin Short, Peter Michael Goetz, Kate McGregor-Stewart, Peter Murnik, Annie Meyers-Shyer, Ed Williams, Natasha Wieland, B.D. Wong. Directed by: Charles Shyer. B

Father of the Bride Part II (1995) PG comedy

Steve Martin and Diane Keaton return to star in the sequel of The Father of the Bride and manages to make it appealing. This time, George Banks is set for another major problem: his daughter is about to have a child --- and so is his wife! These events makes Banks go loco like the last time. The 1991 version of The Father of the Bride is better than this sequel because it's substantially funnier and most of the jokes haven't worn out yet. Martin Short returns as Franck Eggelhoffer who, for some reason or another, managed to get hired to set up the baby shower. Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams, George Newbern, Kieran Culkin, B.D. Wong, Peter Michael Goetz, Kate McGregor-Stewart, Jane Adams. Directed by: Charles Shyer. B

Father of the Bride (2022) PG-13 comedy

There's a cathartic quality to films about upper-middle-class families who plan extravagant weddings that most of us peasants can only dream about. That's about the extent of the appeal of this remake. This is a movie that doesn't aim high, and it hits well beneath that. Billy Herrera (Andy Garcia) and his wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), heads of a Miami Cuban-American family, are heading for divorce. They decide against announcing that to their family right away so as to not distract from their daughter Sofia's (Adria Arjuna) engagement to Adan (Diego Boneta). Their marriage is quickly impending -- perfect conditions for a frenzy. On top of that, Sofia and Adan are planning to move to Mexico after the wedding, which Billy isn't too happy about that. While this is a nice film to look at, it's ultimately useless. The dialogue, which consists almost entirely of tiresome squabbles, is wooden and comes across insincere. An ultimately useless retread. Starring: Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Adria Arjona, Isabela Merced, Diego Boneta, Chloe Fineman, Casey Thomas Brown, Emily Estefan. Directed by: Gaz Alazraki. C-

Father's Day (1996) PG-13 comedy

Billy Crystal and Robin Williams team up in this disappointing comedy. A teenager runs away from home and follows a popular rock group's cross-country tour. The child's mother, who is naturally worried, meets her former boyfriend, Billy Crystal, and informs him that this child is actually his son. Crystal is amazed and promptly looks for him. In the mean time, the same mother meets with the eccentric Williams, another one of her former boyfriends, and is told the same story, so he looks for this child as well. When these two men clash in their search, interesting results occur. Overall, the film's mildly funny and not worth seeing. The comediansí performances arenít enough to make the filmís weak script any better. Look for Mel Gibson! Starring: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Nastassia Kinski, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Charlie Hofheimer, Bruce Greenwood, Jared Harris, Mel Gibson. Directed by: Ivan Reitman. C

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) R comedy

Terry Gilliam was the perfect director to helm this adaptation of Hunter S. Thompsonís landmark book, which might be overwhelming, but it is both wildly surreal and wickedly funny. Johnny Depp stars as the consistently drugged gonzo journalist who insanely wanders around the desert. Benicio Del Toro costars as his equally drugged companion, Dr. Gonzo. Not for all audiences, this film is gross at times. Starring: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Craig Bierko, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Cameron Diaz, Flea, Mark Harmon, Katherine Heldmon. Directed by: Terry Gilliam. B+

Fearless (2006) PG-13 martial arts

This Jet Li film doesn't have a particularly large number of fighting sequences; it aims to be an engaging and sweeping drama. Well, it half-succeeds. Li plays a self-taught Chinese Wushu master who takes time to live in the country to tame his arrogance. It's an entertaining though unremarkable picture. Starring: Jet Li, Betty Sun, Dong Yong, Shindou Nakamura, Collin Chou, Paw Hee-ching. Directed by: Ronny Yu. B

Fellini Satyricon (1969) R drama

Federico Fellini adapted Roman writer Petronius' homoerotic work, which now only exists in fragments, and Fellini doesn't fill in the gaps. Some say Fellini is making a statement on the incomplete nature of history. At any rate, the result is a thoroughly bizarre film that has no peer. It's only recommended to art film aficionados. In Italian with English subtitles. Starring: Martin Potter, Hiriam Keller, Max Born, Salvo Randone, Mario Romagnoli, Magali Noel, Capucine. Directed by: Federico Fellini. B+

Ferris Buellerís Day Off (1986) PG-13 comedy

Matthew Broderick plays the memorable Ferris Bueller, High School sick-faker extraordinary. Believing that he'll be going too far to stay home from school ten times during a semester, he wants to make his ninth time a blast. So he calls his best friend, gets his girlfriend out of class, and together go out on the town! The film is funnily done with wit and style. Very few adolescent comedies get this good! Jeffrey Jones' character is great as Principal Rooney who is out to catch Ferris Bueller red-handed. Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, Charlie Sheen. Directed by: John Hughes. A-

Fever Pitch (2005) PG-13 romantic comedy

Jimmy Fallon stars as a rabid Red Sox fan who has a difficult time staying with women because baseball is the number one priority in his life. He finally meets a lady (Drew Barrymore) who might just end his unlucky curse. Fallon and Barrymore both turn in some of the stronger performances of their comedic careers in this charming romantic comedy. This is not a typical Farrely Brothers movie, for better or worse. Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Spevack, Jack Kehler, Scott H. Severance, Jessamy R. Finey, Maureen Keiller, Lenny Clarke, Ione Skye. Directed by: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly. B+

The Fiddler on the Roof (1971) G musical

This is an extravagant film adaptation of the popular long-running Broadway smash of the same name. This is an extraordinary musical chronology of a humble Jewish milkman, Tevye, whose children do the unthinkable and choose their own husbands rather than going along with tradition which says the father gets to pick the hubby. A top-notch musical score seals the deal that Fiddler on the Roof is undoubtedly one of the best movie musicals ever made! The producers chose well in picking a virtually unknown but perfect cast. The three hours that it takes to view is time well invested. Starring: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann, Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, Neva Small, Paul Michael Glaser, Raymond Lovelock, Elaine Edwards, Candy Bonstein. Directed by: Norman Jewison. A+

Field of Dreams (1989) PG fantasy

A magical film about an Iowa farmer whose life is changed when he hears a strange and mystifying voice that motivates him to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn patch despite the fact that he cannot afford it. He doesn't know why, but he obeys, nevertheless. After several months, he notices that passed away baseball legends begin to appear on the diamond to play ball because they don't get to do that too much in the afterlife. Truly an entertaining film with more-than-excellent performances by the entire cast! It will surely catch your imagination! Adapted from W.P. Horner's book. Starring: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Gaby Hoffman, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Frank Whaley. Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson. A

Fierce Creatures (1996) PG-13 comedy

That winning quartet from A Fish Called Wanda returns to the screen for another go at it. This time, John Cleese is the manager of a zoo that has recently been bought by a powerful conglomerate who demands that it increases its profits by 20 percent or it closes down to make way for a new golf course. Of course, the managers and zoo keepers certainly don't want that to happen so they make irrational plans to get rid of all the peaceful and pleasant animals and replace them with dangerous, fierce creatures Ö that is, until Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis come along with their own plan. The film has some good funny moments and if you liked A Fish Called Wanda, then this is just the ticket. The cast is marvelous! Starring: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Ronnie Corbett, Robert Lindsay, Carey Lowell, Billie Brown, Derek Griffiths, Cynthia Cleese. Directed by: Robert M. Young. C+

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) NR fantasy

Conceived by Dr. Seuss, it should be no surprise that this children's film is remarkably imaginative. It's also filmed in Technicolor and features quirky and colorful set designs. Bart (Tommy Rettig) is a young boy who despises his piano lessons from his demanding, perfectionist teacher Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conreid). While pounding out his piano lesson, Bart doses asleep and dreams about being enrolled in a prison-like boarding school called the Terwilliker Institute. The pride of the institute is a long, twisted piano that spans hundreds of feet. Dr. T's nefarious plan is to force 500 unwilling children to play it all at once -- hence the 5,000 fingers of the film's title. The most memorable minor characters in the film are two identical roller skating security guards who are permanently attached to one other by the ends of their long, white beards. The choreography they performed in such a condition was a whole lot of fun to watch. While this is an entertaining, unique film, I can't say its main story arc does a lot for me -- it involves Bart tries to rescue his hypnotized mother who is engaged to Dr. T. Also, the musical numbers are bland. Starring: Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conreid, Tommy Rettig, John Heasley, Robert Heasley, Noel Cravat. Directed by: Roy Rowland. B+

The Final Countdown (1980) PG sci-fi

A fine cast starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen head this unremarkable sci-fi picture about a modern, Pacific-sailing navy warship going through a time warp to December 6, 1941. If you havenít guessed it, theyíre given the opportunity to prevent the Pearl Harbor attack. This boring movie was a complete waste of time not only for me but also for the actors involved. A smidgen of redemption is added because the premise is somewhat interesting even though the actual movie is quite bland. Starring: Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, Ron OíNeal, Charles Durning, Victor Mojica, James Lawrence, Soon-Teck Oh. Directed by: Don Taylor. C-

Final Exam (1981) R horror

Anyone who's hung around college on the last day of final exams knows what an eerily empty place it seems. Add a serial killer to the equation, and you get something that could be positively terrifying. While this slasher film doesn't rise far above its cheapie and cheesy origins, it's quite effective. Cheesy though, many of its laughs appear to be unintended (that is, unless you've ever seriously longed for the salad days when mass shootings at college campuses were joked about . . .) The storyline is roughly the same as any slasher film -- except the killer is a nameless guy who doesn't wear a mask or have a unique murder weapon. He's sort of the everyman serial killer. The victims are just caricatures, but I would say there's far more thought put into them than I see in the average slasher. Definitely a worthwhile watch, might even be a touchstone film, for fans of the cheesy slasher genre. Starring: Cecile Bagdadi, Joel S. Rice, Ralph Brown, DeAnna Robbins, Sherry Willis-Burch, John Fallon, Terry W. Farren. Directed by: Jimmy Hudson. B

Final Fantasy (2001) PG-13 sci-fi

In case anyone wanted a feature-length film that looks and feels like those cut scenes from video games that you want to skip but can't, then here's the film to whet that appetite. Also like many cut scenes from video games, I don't actually know what's going on most of the time, and the characters have hopelessly wooden personalities. This movie starts, and I feel disoriented already. It feels like I was dropped in the middle of something dense. What we can glean: The Earth had been invaded by invisible forces known as Phantoms, which can be defeated if you collect all eight Spirits. Seems that all that's missing is my video game controller, so that I can help explore the world and locate them. But I'm just sitting here hopeless, wanting to help but can't. This film was revolutionary for 2001, being the first computer animated film to feature lifelike human characters, and I'd even say the visuals didn't age as poorly as you might think. I wouldn't call this film disappointing as much as it is fairly pointless. Voices of: Ming-Na Wen, Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Keith David, Jean Simmons, Matt McKenzie. Directed by: Jack Fletcher, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Moti Sakakibara. C

Finding Forrester (2000) PG-13 drama

Sean Connery stars as a novelist (ala J. D. Salinger) who published only one book that has went on to become a classic. Rob Brown plays an aspiring teenage novelist who seeks Connery's masterful advise. Both people have something they can teach each other. It's an endearing buddy flick that is sometimes funny even though itís kind of clichťd and corny. Connery actually gives one of the better performances of his career here! Starring: Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, April Grace, Michael Pitt, Michael Nouri, Richard Easton, Glenn Fitzgerald, Zane R. Copeland Jr., Stephanie Berry. Directed by: Gus Van Sant. B+

Finian's Rainbow (1968) G musical

Breezy and wonderful, this musical hasn't a cynical bone in its body. It stars Fred Astaire as Finian, a happy-go-lucky Irishman who stole a Leprechaun's pot of gold. He, along with his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark), bring it of all places to the American South to a town called Rainbow Valley, Missitucky. There, they become entangled in a battle with a racist senator (Keenan Wynn) who's trying to buy the town. Astaire in his final film is pushing 70 here, but he is still light and limber, jolly and fun. Clark's radiant vocals and screen presence also elevates the material, as does the whimsical performance from British rock star Tommy Steele, as Og the Leprechaun. Really, so much about this movie makes me smile and laugh. I also love how it looks -- all filmed on location in the summer with fresh green leaves and grass. The songs and dance routines have a remarkable, natural spontaneity and fluidity about them -- quite different from most movie musicals that look like they're being performed on a stage. The songs are wonderful -- the kinds of show tunes that beckon me to listen to them over and over again. Really, this movie is a joy with only a few shortcomings. For one, it's far too long. Much of that time wasted could have been saved had they completely cut out that useless character Woody (Don Francks) as Sharon's love interest. Some of it is also probably politically incorrect (even for reasons notwithstanding the actor who wears black-face), but I think in this case it's safe to say its heart was in the right place. Starring: Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele, Don Francks, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Hancock, Al Freeman Jr., Ronald Colby, Dolph Sweet, Wright King, Louil Silas. Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola. A-

Firewalker (1986) PG adventure

Two bickering treasure hunters Max (Chuck Norris) and Leo (Lou Gossett Jr) are left to die tied up in a faraway desert. The scar-face baddie who left them there put a bottle of Perrier in Max's hand, thinking how hilarious it'd be if he died of thirst without him being able to drink it. (Why Perrier? Perhaps because the French surrender all the time?) But rest assured: Max doesn't surrender. He crushes the bottle with his bare hand and uses a shard of glass to cut through the restraints. This globetrotting duo have been hunting treasure for years and have yet to make their big score -- this just being another one of their failures. They recoup at home in Arizona when they are approached by Patricia (Melody Anderson) who is in possession of a treasure map where 'X' marks the spot at a local Indian reservation. To think, they've traveled the Seven Seas, and all this time there was treasure in their backyard. They investigate but are greeted by dry bones and Native American guardians who want to stab them. They also find a gaudy, quasi-magical dagger and some clues as to where a real cache can be found. This action-adventure film is also an attempt at comedy with a script loaded with dad jokes that are rendered even more wooden thanks to Norris' acute lack of comedic acting chops. On top of that, this adventure isn't exciting whatsoever. My recommendation: leave this to die in the desert, sans Perrier. Starring: Chuck Norris, Louis Gossett Jr., Melody Anderson, Will Sampson, Sonny Landham, John Rhys-Davis, Ian Abercrombie. Directed by: J. Lee Thompson. D+

The Firm (1993) R drama

A suspenseful and entertaining film from an exciting John Grisham novel is a movie about a prodigy lawyer, right out of law school, who has nearly every powerful firm wanting to employ him. The sweetest of the deals comes from an incredibly powerful law firm in Memphis, Tennessee that offers him an unbelievable paycheck and even a sports car for his services. He takes the job, but soon after, he discovers that it is up to something incredibly illegal. This is a nicely done film. Starring: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, Terry Kinney, Wilford Brimley, David Strathairn, Gary Busey, Steven Hill, Tobin Bell. Directed by: Sydney Pollack. B+

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) R comedy

A somewhat disappointing film but with good acting and a fun plot. It has a lot to offer, but it doesn't seem to quite flourish on it. The film is quite funny and it moves through its incredibly zany plot very quickly about a bank robbery and the getaway. Kline, Cleese, Palin and Curtis give excellently hilarious performances. Kline won an Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as the cruel Otto. Unfortunately, much of the jokes involve Kline criticizing Palin's stuttering problem and Palin trying to kill Kline as a result. Wicked humor! Itís worth watching, but it doesn't quite hit the bull's eye as it should have. This quartet meets again in the non-sequel, Fierce Creatures, done in 1996. Starring: John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson, Stephen Fry. Directed by: Charles Chricton. B-

Fist of Legend (1994) PG-13 martial arts

This run-of-the-mill kung fu picture stars Jet Li as a student who is out to avenge the death of his master. There's enough entertaining fight scenes to keep it lively, but the dramatic bits are dull and provide many unintentional laughs (like many films from this genre). It's an entertaining picture, however, and a good choice for fans of the genre. Starring: Jet Li, Shinobu Nakayama, Billy Chow, Yasuaki Kurata, Paul Chiang. Directed by: Gordon Chan. B-

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) R western

Clint Eastwood stars as a cool hombre who wonders into an interesting town that is nearly abandon. The only people who reside there are two different groups of rivaling people. Both groups cannot stand each other and they aren't afraid to kill if provoked. Eastwood sees a wonderful opportunity in this! He can go to both sides and pretend to spy on the opposite side and collect the cash that he receives for his services. This film is very well done and is the first of the classic trilogy of spaghetti westerns done by Sergio Leone, followed by For a Few Dollars More and then The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy, Mario Brega, Carol Brown. Directed by: Sergio Leone. A-

Fitzcarraldo (1982) PG drama

A terrific, ironic film (if long-winded) about a maniacal dreamer (Klaus Kinski) who is driven to build an opera house in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The tranquil pacing and the breathtaking ďpoetryĒ not only make the inconclusive ending forgivable but seemingly essential. Kinski gives an utterly spirited performance, and (if I had any say) I would never have allowed any substitute for that guy. This is a unique film thatís worth it to any film connoisseur to view once if only to see what all the fuss is about. I have an inkling that youíre going to love it. (Even more amazing is the filmís production Ö everything in the movie, director Herzog actually accomplished while filming the thing. Amazing.) Starring: Klaus Kinski, Jose Lewgoy, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Paul Hittscher, Claudia Cardinale, Herequeque Enrique Bohorquez. Directed by: Werner Herzog. A+

Five Easy Pieces (1970) R drama

This is a fascinating character drama starring Jack Nicolson as an oil field worker who is living below his means. As the film goes on, more and more about his character is revealed. Not only does the film star one of the greatest film actors in history, but it also contains sharp dialogue from screenwriter/director Bob Rafelson. Starring: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Lois Smith, Susan Anspach, Billy Green Bush, Helena Kallianiotes, Fannie Flagg, William Challe, Toni Basil, Sally Struthers, Richard Stahl. Directed by: Bob Rafelson. A

Flash Gordon (1980) PG sci-fi

This is an enjoyable and intentionally campy tribute to the Ď30s sci-fi series. The moon is crashing into Earth and the blonde title hero (Sam Jones) must use his might to stop it. The cast, which includes Max Von Sydow and Brian Blessed in perfect roles, hams it up perfectly. Anyone who enjoys good tongue-in-cheek humor cannot miss this. Starring: Sam Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max Von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Peter Wynegarde. Directed by: Mike Hodges. B

Flashdance (1983) R drama

A threadbare plot that's nonetheless compelling thanks to the glamorous dancing and fantastic music by Giorgio Moroder. I can almost take or leave anything else. But I have to admit the drama -- as hackneyed and unoriginal as it is -- draws me in well enough. Jennifer Beals stars as Alex Owens, 18 years old and working as a welder, but she moonlights as a self-taught exotic dancer. Her dreams are to take her dancing to the next level by getting accepted into a prestigious ballet school. Immediately, problems with the storyline become evident: Welding is a highly skilled profession that takes years to master, and nobody seriously starts ballet at the age of 18. Nonetheless, overachieving at one profession and underachieving at another doesn't necessarily preclude anyone from pursuing dreams. And she does. Along the way, she fends off lucrative but degrading offers to work at a strip club, and her super-wealthy boss at the steel mill (Michael Nouri) becomes romantically interested in her. But she doesn't want anyone to help her. She wants to pull herself up by her bootstraps (or leg warmers, in her case). Inasmuch as the story is a watered down version of Saturday Night Fever, I still enjoy the film for what it is -- a series of music videos stitched together with a mildly compelling story. Helping matters is Beals is charismatic in her role -- small in stature but strong -- and of course the dancing is fantastic. (Beals had a body double. Who cares?) Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala, Sunny Johnson, Kyle T. Heffner, Lee Ving, Ron Karabatsos, Belinda Bauer, Malcolm Danare, Phil Bruns. Directed by: Adrian Lyne. B

Flatliners (2017) R horror

Mostly useless sequel of the 1990 film of the same name. Keifer Sutherland, who starred in the original, also appears briefly as a medical professor. He really doesn't do much other than, I presume after the shooting was completed, collect a paycheck. Elliot Page star as Courtney Holmes, a medical student who wants to experience the afterlife. She convinces her small group of friends to kill her and then bring her back to life -- this experience apparently giving her a permanent drug-like high and causes her to recall some long-dormant skills, such as playing the piano. Others in the group would also like to experience such things, so they follow suit. The next thing they know, they're partying a lot and having lots of sex with each other. But then, pretty soon, they start experiencing dark hallucinations. As much as this premise might have made for a frightening horror film, the tone and pacing is all wrong. The editing/music/atmosphere rings more like a prime time drama on network TV in the early '00s (back when network TV wasn't very good). And so much of the dialogue focuses tediously on characters waxing on their depressing life regrets. I don't want to watch people in horror films suffer because they're angsty; I want them to suffer because some demon or something is trying to rip their guts out. Starring: Elliot Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland, Beau Mirchoff, Madison Brydges, Miguel Anthony. Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev. D+

Flightplan (2005) PG-13 action

This is a pure-bred Hollywood thriller, but unlike most of this genre, I was truly unable to guess the ending. However, it doesn't reach beyond just a thriller. Jodie Foster stars as a grieving widower who boards an airplane with her young child (Marlene Lawston). Foster falls asleep and wakes up to find that her child is missing. She frantically searches the plane along with the help of the flight staff, but she can't find her. Then, it is suggested that Foster's child is merely a figment of her imagination. This is an effective popcorn movie that will grab your attention and run with it. Starring: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Kate Beahan, Michael Irby, Erika Christensen, Shane Edelman, Mary Gallagher, Amanda Brooks, Drake Johnston, Dirk Vahle, Cooper Thornton, Marlene Lawston. Directed by: Robert Schwentke. B

Flushed Away (2006) PG comedy

Aardman Features (Wallace and Gromit) make a CGI film, but they keep their distinct style intact. A high society mouse (voice of Hugh Jackman) lives as a pet in a rich kid's house until he is flushed down the toilet and is forced to live in the mouse city of the sewers with the commoners without street smarts. However, he falls in love with a sewer mouse (Kate Winslet) and uncovers a vicious frog's plot to flush the city out with water. The CGI animation isn't state-of-the-art, but this is so funny that itís among the finest of the genre. Voices of: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis, Shane Richie, Ian McKellen, Kathy Burke, David Suchet, Miriam Margoyles. Directed by: David Bowers and Sam Fell. B+

The Fly (1986) R sci-fi

David Cronenberg directs this fascinating (and gross) film about a scientist (Jeff Goldblum) whose experiments with teleportation is successful. When he tests the device on himself, he does so with unbeknownst accompaniment of a housefly. This is a fantastic movie that attacks humanity's unrestrained ambition without fully realizing the consequences. Geena Davis co-stars as Goldblum's tragic love interest. Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Les Carlson, Shawn Hewitt, Carol Lazare, David Cronenberg. Directed by: David Cronenberg. A

The Fly 2 (1989) R sci-fi

This might be the most unnecessary movie sequel ever made. Eric Stoltz stars as the offspring of Goldblum's character in the 1986 film (who, I suppose, would be one-fourth fly). He experiences rapid growth (fully maturing by the age of five) and is kept under close watch by scientists. Stoltz is fine in his role, but he doesnít save the awful script, which contains all the cliches of an action film and delivers much more unintentional laughs than thrills. This is an embarrassment. Starring: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank C. Turner, Ann Marie Lee, Gary Chalk, Saffron Henderson. Directed by: Chris Walas. D

The Fog (1980) R horror

Masterfully creepy and atmospheric horror flick about a coastal town that encounters rolling fog containing the murderous spirits of sailors lost in a shipwreck 100 years prior. It's not a straightforward chase like Halloween but more of a fantastical terror. The mystery is discovering what evils is in this town's past that brought about these wicked specters. It should be considered one of the major horror classics. Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes. Directed by: John Carpenter. B+

The Following (1998) R thriller

Ooo! This very entertaining thriller is not your average, ordinary Hollywood flicker! Itís told out of order, a method that will both boggle your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. In fear of providing spoilers, I wonít divulge any of the plot to you, but I will say that this is probably one of the best thrillers ever made. It is directed by Christopher Nolan, the same guy who would go on to direct the slightly superior Memento a few years later. Nevertheless, this is a great movie! You must rent it! Starring: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell, John Nolan. Directed by: Christopher Nolan. A

Footloose (1984) PG drama

This movie's impact on pop culture is undeniable. However, it's difficult to know how much of that has to do with the film's dramatic content or its soundtrack that's chock-full of chart-topping pop hits. I love the songs of course, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in what my top three favorites are: The title song, "Let's Hear It For the Boy," "Holding Out for a Hero." Dancing movies have an advantage over others because of how inherently dazzling they are. That is not lost on this movie. Kevin Bacon stars as Ren McCormack, a kid from Chicago who starts attending a rural Midwestern school. He is shocked to learn that the town he now lives in banned dancing, an initiative that was spearheaded by the fire-and-brimstone preacher Rev. Shaw Moore (John Lithgow). The Reverend is not only unimpressed with the wild ideas Ren brought with him from the city, but even more so when he starts taking a romantic interest in his daughter Ariel (Lori Singer). This film has an attractive sort of "fight-the-man" undertone, but it otherwise suffers from a sluggish pace and a melodramatic and rather grim treatment of its premise. Nonetheless, helping get us through this material is an inspired cast. Particularly Lithgow who manages to turn in an unexpectedly moving performance as a cultural bigot who doesn't get challenged all that often. While this film isn't without its flaws, I'd say the positive attributes outweigh the negatives. Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest, John Lithgow, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Laughlin, Elizabeth Gorcey. Directed by: Herbert Ross. B-

For a Few Dollars More (1965) R western

In Sergio Leone's second Western, Clint Eastwood returns as a bounty hunter who makes his living killing bad guys and collecting the reward money. When he plans on making the sneaky slaying of a very expensive gang of bandits, he meets fellow bounty hunter, Col. Douglas Mortimer. Rather than competing with each other, they combine forces in an attempt to make these bandits fall blubbering to their knees. However, they must try to do it from the inside... It certainly isn't better than Leone's previous effort, A Fistful of Dollars, but it still is an above-average western with a good plot and some great gunfight action. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte, Josef Egger, Rosemarie Dezter, Mara Krup, Klaus Kinski, Mario Brega, Aldo Sambrell. Directed by: Sergio Leone. B

For Better or Worse (1996) PG-13 comedy

Jason Alexander directs and stars this okay but stupid romantic comedy. He plays an eccentric man (no surprise!) with an obsession for a woman who dumped him. His trickster brother (James Woods) brings his new wife (Lolita Davidovich) over to Alexanderís flat. There, he pays Alexander to baby-sit the woman as he plans a bank robbery with a pair of dysfunctionals. This mediocre picture is entertaining but has scant few good laughs . . . and a couple missed opportunities for good laughs. The soundtrack is awful. Starring: Jason Alexander, Lolita Davidovich, James Woods, Joe Mantegna, Jay Mohr, John Amos, Rob Reiner, Beatrice Arthur, Haley Joel Osment, Robert Costanzo. Directed by: Jason Alexander. C+

For Love of the Game (1999) PG-13 sports

Kevin Costner, in one of his better films, plays an aged baseball superstar who gets involved romantically with a woman he meets on the side of the highway. Remarkably, the film succeeds rather well in combining romance with baseball, which is probably difficult to do. It's well worth watching but it seems to be pasted together with too many flashbacks where viewer can easily lose track. It's also entertaining and well done with a very gripping last-pitch for the retiring ballplayer, Costner. Starring: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly, Jena Mallone, Brian Cox, J.K. Simmons. Directed by: Sam Raimi. B+

For Your Eyes Only (1981) PG spy

This wonderfully fun 007 flick that stars an aging Roger Moore contains some of the more exciting action sequences in Bond filmdom! Fans can certainly rejoice with this addition! Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris, Jill Bennett, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Jack Hedley, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn. Directed by: John Glen. B+

The Forbidden Planet (1956) NR sci-fi

This slow yet entirely captivating futuristic version of Shakespeareís The Tempest is one of the best science fiction films from this time period. A flying saucer travels to a planet where most of its human inhabitants from a previous mission have perished due to a strange force; with the exception of a very intelligent man and his daughter who claim that they are immune. Watch the movie and see what this "force" really is. The plot is wonderfully complex and interesting. Recognize today's slapstick king, Leslie Nielsen, as the serious spaceship commander. Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Neilsen, Warren Stevens, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, Jack Kelley, James Drury. Directed by: Fred McLeod Wilcox. A-

Forbidden World (1982) R sci-fi

A decently exciting low-budget Alien rip-off about a gooey life form that runs amok through a spacecraft and picking off crew members. Hammy acting but that's part of the expected B-movie appeal as the cast scream their way through fine practical effects and an eerie synth soundtrack. Lots of skin. Starring: Jesse Vint, Dawn Dunlap, June Chadwick, Linden Chiles, Fox Harris, Ray Oliver. Directed by: Allen Holzman. B-

Ford v Ferrari (2019) PG-13 drama

Decent biopic that sheds a bit of light on a quirky footnote in American history. That is, that time in the mid-1960s when Enzo Ferrari insulted Henry Ford II, and Ford retaliated by entering his company into the Le Mans competition -- a premiere car race in Ferrari's own backyard. Of course, Ford couldn't do it on his own -- he subcontracts Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) a small business owner who specializes in fast sports cars to develop a winning vehicle. At first, Shelby was promised a blank check, but it wouldn't take long before the Ford muckety-mucks would start breathing down his neck. The film's focus is kept mainly on Ford's acrimonious relationship with Shelby's preferred driver, Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who is the typical insubordinate lout who is nonetheless brilliant and ultimately proves that nobody should ever have been fighting him to begin with. The history this film digs into is interesting but nonetheless trivial and serves as little more than an excuse to watch cars go fast. Which is fine by me. But the drama works as well, since the dialogue is professionally handed by Bale and Damon who also do a fine job characterizing these big personalities. Perhaps the one complaint I could muster is the running time could have been tightened a bit and perhaps a little more style lent to the cinematography. The film doesn't pack the punch quite like I would have expected. Nonetheless, chalk this up as a reasonably entertaining blockbuster. Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, John Bernthal, Caitroina Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon. Directed by: James Mangold. B

Forever Young (1992) PG fantasy/romance

Mel Gibson does a fine job in this film as a man in the 1940s who was accidentally frozen for fifty years when he was only supposed to be frozen for one! The reason Mel Gibson was frozen in the first place was because he couldn't bear the slow days watching his beloved girlfriend die. It's too fantastical for many tastes but it remains an enchanting tale involving romance and the limitations of time. Starring: Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elijah Wood, Isabel Glasser, George Wendt, Joe Morton. Directed by: Steve Miner. B

Forget Paris (1995) PG-13 romantic comedy

This romantic comedy written and directed by Billy Crystal might stop a few notches short of brilliant, but it certainly makes an entertaining watch. The start of the film in particular is light and funny and with a bit of a macabre tinge. That part comes from Billy Crystal's character, Mickey, who's transporting his deceased father to France so that he could be buried among his fallen WWII brothers-in-arms. But then the airline goes and loses the casket. Horrifying news for him, but great news for us. Crystal is in top form whenever he's upset about something. He gives the airline staff a hard time, but then he meets Ellen (Debra Winger), a customer liaison who surprises him. Not only does she treat him well, but she even attends the funeral -- just so that he's not alone. And then they hit it off and decide to give a relationship a go. But he's a high profile referee for the NBA, and she loves her Paris job working for the airline. A cute idea for the film that didn't necessarily work that well was its narration done from the points of view of Mickey's friends at a group dinner. A new couple shows up, and the story continues from a slightly different angle. As nice of an idea that was, it ultimately doesn't add much to the story. Another of this film's quirky characteristics is that all its supporting characters tend to talk exactly like Crystal talks. A bit distracting but at least I still appreciate the humor -- no matter whose mouth it comes out of. Starring: Billy Crystal, Debra Winger, Joe Mantegna, Cynthia Stevenson, Richard Masur, Julie Kavner, William Hickey, Cathy Moriarty, John Spencer. Directed by: Billy Crystal. B

The Forgotten (2004) PG-13 thriller

What's most unfortunate about this film is that it begins so well. It's like a Twilight Zone episode and a pretty good one at that. Telly (Julianne Moore) is a woman still in agony over the loss of her son in an airplane crash. The event had happened 14 months prior and her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) is ready to move on. But she refuses to let it go and continues to churn the event over and over in her mind. Daily, she looks through his pictures and watches home videos of him. But then suddenly she finds her son missing from their family photos and her videos erased. She is furious at her husband for destroying these mementos. But then he says something she refuses to believe: They never had a son. She'd miscarried and ever since had been suffering delusions that he survived. Him suddenly disappearing from memory, according to her psychiatrist (Gary Sinise), is a hopeful sign that her mind is starting to heal itself. But she refuses to believe that she made up her son. She visits the parents of other children who'd died in the crash to find that they'd also lost all memory of their children. But after some serious prodding, she gets one parent (Dominic West) to remember. This is when the film devolves into generic action-adventure fare, far different than it had promised. And there are further "twists," but they're exclusively the kind that make me groan. Starring: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Robert Wisdom, Jessica Hecht, Anthony Edwards. Directed by: Joseph Ruben. C-

Forgotten Silver (1996) NR comedy

This witty (and strikingly believable) mockumentary from directors Peter Jackson and Costa Botes is about the rediscovery of a pioneering New Zealand filmmaker. The crew goes on an "archaeological" search for the film set to his never-quite-finished masterpiece, Salome. Film buffs cannot miss this. Starring: Thomas Robins, Peter Jackson, Leonard Maltin, Sam Neill, Harvey Weinstein, Peter Corrigan, Jeffrey Tomas. Directed by: Peter Jackson and Costas Botes. A-

Formula 51 (2002) R comedy

Samuel L. Jackson stars as a kilt donning chemist in this outrageous comedy. He invented a new drug, double-crossed his financial backer (Meat Loaf) and he's ready to sell it to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, his plans go awry, and violence ensues. This is especially recommended to people who enjoy wacky films. Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, Rhys Ifans, Meat Loaf, Sean Pertwee, Richy Tomlinson. Directed by: Ronny Yu. B+

Forrest Gump (1994) PG-13 comedy/drama

This movie has much to show us but little to teach. Forrest Gump is a simple man, an IQ of 75, who receives untold riches mainly by doing what he's told. This is like Being There, sans the satirical elements. This movie can be summed up as somebody's daydream while studying 30 years of American history -- starting with Elvis, through the Vietnam War, through the onslaught of AIDS. No plot, no moral, just events. He's good at ping pong because someone tells him to keep his eye on the ball. He excels in the military because his commanders always give him something to do. Although he defies Lieutenant Dan's (Gary Sinise) orders to not rescue him. This mythical figure bumbles through history having no idea what any of it means. Dancing in front of Elvis Presley with braces on his legs. Innocently pulling down his pants on live TV to show Lyndon Johnson the war wound on his butt-tawks. Calling the police during the Watergate break-in because he sees men with flashlights who must need help finding the circuit breaker. While I have reservations about the greatness of this film, I do find it entertaining. Especially parts at the beginning, before the novelty of Gump's unique narration style starts to wear thin. His unique way of phrasing, straightforward simplicity and honesty is oftentimes funny and refreshing. It is also a clever device to have him narrate this while talking to strangers from a park bench. The romantic arc with his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Robin Wright) is also nicely done -- he makes periodic reconnections with her through the years. While his life thrives doing what he's told, her life atrophies going her own way. What kind of message is that? Anyway, a bright spot is Sally Field's performance as his tough-as-rocks mother, who gives Forrest nothing but unconditional love. Starring: Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, Sally Field, Mykelti Williamson, Rebecca Williams, Michael Conner Humphreys, Haley Joel Osment. Directed by: Robert Zemekis. B

The Fortune Cookie (1966) NR comedy

This is cinema's first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and they proved to be peanut butter and jelly from the get-go. Lemmon is Harry Hinkle, a TV sports cameraman who is knocked out by football player "Boom Boom" Jackson (Ron Rich). He is sent to the hospital where he's accosted by his shyster lawyer brother-in-law "Whiplash Willie" (Matthau). Willie convinces Harry into faking a back injury for the insurance payout. But to pull off the con, they need to fool the insurance company and the henchman they hired and put up in the apartment across the street who have him on 24-hour surveillance. The core of the film's entertainment is the show they put on for those insurance guys -- particularly as they are at odds with one another about how far they should be taking this. While this film doesn't produce a barrel full of laughs, it nonetheless proves to be breezy, lighthearted entertainment. Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich, Cliff Osmond, Judi West, Lurene Tuttle. Directed by: Billy Wilder. B+

The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) R comedy

Itís all true: If this isnít the funniest raunchy comedy since Animal House, then it very nearly is. Steve Carell stars as the title character who so embodies the title character that he mistakenly likened the feel of breasts to a bag of sand. Thus, his friends embark on a quest to get him laid, though unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, he meets a single mother (Catherine Keener) who doesnít want to get intimate right away. The film is surprisingly warm-hearted (despite the somewhat mean connotations from the title) and it produces a steady and heavy stream of chuckles from start to finish. Perhaps even more amazingly, its promotion of celibacy is a refreshing change of pace for the genre. Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch. Directed by: Judd Apatow. A-

Foul Play (1978) PG comedy

This fun comedy stars Goldie Hawn as a nerdy librarian whose life is turned upside-down when her date for an evening (Bruce Solomon) at the movies suddenly turns up dead and discovers that she is being chased because she unwittingly came into possession of incriminating photographs that would divulge plans of some sort of assassination attempt. A police officer (Chevy Chase) is assigned to protect Hawn, but he wants to do more than protect. Dudley Moore has some pretty humorous scenes in here as a hapless theater conductor. This is a very light and entertaining film that's fit for a date. Starring: Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Burgess Meredith, Eugene Roche, Dudley Moore, Marilyn Sokol, Brian Dennehy, Chuck McCann, Billy Barty, Don Calfa, Marc Lawrence. Directed by: Colin Higgins. B

The Fountain (2006) PG-13 drama

This high-budget art movie is a treasure to look at, but it's nearly incomprehensible. The film takes place in three different time periods and places: Medieval Spain, modern America and in a futuristic bubble. Hugh Jackman is the center character in all three periods, and he attempts to unlock the secret of eternal life. It's definitely worth a look, because there's nothing else like it. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Mark Margolis, Stephen McHattie, Fernando Hernandez, Cliff Curtis, Sean Patrick Thomas, Donna Murphy. Directed by: Darren Aronofsky. B+

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) R romantic comedy

The title is accurate -- this film indeed has four weddings and one funeral. Therefore, expect this to be 80 percent of a pleasant occasion. This film is dripping with charm and is intensely watchable, even if its characters seem awfully vacuous. Character development is almost nonexistent -- there being far too many people to keep track of who only seem to congregate whenever one of them is getting married. The main character is Charles (Hugh Grant), a best man who becomes smitten with American guest Carrie (Andie MacDowell). They become intimate. Before she disappears back home to America, she jokingly says he should have proposed. The next wedding arrives, and so does Carrie -- but holding the arm of her fiance, Hamish. Beaucoup angst, and whatnot, ensues. I like the idea behind this film -- its breezy pace and a consistent supply of light chuckles. A highlight being a short appearance by Rowan Atkinson as a nervous priest who completely flubs a wedding ceremony. Grant plays himself, as he always does, and turns in a dependably solid lead performance. The ensemble supporting cast also peppers the film with colorful sprightliness. The ending comes off awkward and forced, but somehow still works because of its uniqueness and charm. While I contend the movie would have improved if more depth was given to its characters, this remains a perfectly diverting little date film. Starring: Hugh Grant, James Fleet, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Bower, Charlotte Coleman, Andie MacDowell, Rowan Atkinson. Directed by: Mike Newell. B

Foxfire (1987) PG drama

Immoderately maudlin but absorbing Hallmark Hall of Fame drama about an elderly Appalachian farmer Annie (Jessica Tandy) whose husband Hector (Hume Cronyn) died five years ago. However, she still sees and talks to him as if he's still there. Whether it's her imagination or it's his actual ghost, the film doesn't care to explain. Her son, Dillard (John Denver) is a successful country-western singer who visits home imploring her mother to move to Florida so that he can keep a better eye on her. She is also approached by a land developer (Gary Grubbs) looking to buy the property to build vacation homes. This film is gentle and slowly paced. It might be riddled with cliches, but the strong, arresting performances don't let it get dragged under. Annie is tough, reflecting on her lifetime at her farm, believing resolutely she still has it in her to keep going. Dillard also reminisces about the influence his father had on him -- he even sees his ghost at one point. He wanted his son to keep on with the farm and not piddle around with that guitar. The filmmakers certainly knew how to use Denver. That is, he's a fine actor but an even better singer-songwriter, and we get a few nice songs here. Makes this of course a must for Denver fans. Starring: Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, John Denver, Gary Grubbs, Harriet Hall, Joshua Bryson Directed by: Jud Taylor. B-

Frailty (2002) R thriller

Bill Paxton directs this utterly intense film about a man (Paxton) who allegedly receives a message from God to start killing demons. Only, these demons look like normal people, and his two children are torn between whether he's really on a mission from God or badly needs to be institutionalized. The script is a clever one, and it will keep you guessing. Paxton proves that he is a much better director than he is an actor. Starring: : Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O'Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew, Derk Cheetwood, Missy Crider. Directed by: Bill Paxton. A-

Frankenstein (1931) NR horror

Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his scrawny humpbacked assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) are grave robbers. They're not robbing graves for valuables -- they're after body parts, which Frankenstein hopes to sew together to create new life. Nearly complete with his creation, all he's missing is the brain. Being a delicate organ, the brain loses its integrity quickly and becomes useless to him. But there's one source for well-preserved specimens left untapped: the university, where they have two. One is marked "normal," the other "abnormal." Fritz ends up spoiling the pristine brain, leaving him left with the one that once belonged to a criminal. A critical error! This movie's appeal resides as much in its fascinating story as in its filming. The macabre scenery is a feast to the eyes that's captured perfectly in black and white cinematography. I especially notice its use of shadows and contrast -- something that just wouldn't have worked the same if it was in color. Most importantly, the Monster (Boris Karloff) is truly frightening. It sends a shiver down my spine, as I watch it glower blankly with only the simplest but unknown thoughts crawling through its head. Modern audiences might be more accustomed to a more grotesque creatures in their features, but there's something real about Frankenstein's Monster. We see a wide range of his range of its emotions -- fear, panic, wonder. We even see a tender side -- that infamous scene with the daisies and little girl. This is truly a wonderful horror film and one that draws me completely into its world. Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Mar Clark, John Boles, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Pauline Moore, Michael Mark. Directed by: James Whale. A

Freaks (1932) NR horror

It ruined the career of director Tod Browning, and it's understandable why. This film, ahead of its time, casts real circus "freaks," and the plot is about a midget who falls in love with the troop's beauty, Cleopatra, who is out for his money. Though the ending was pretty exciting, this made a surprisingly tedious watch for a film that's only 66 minutes. This is required viewing for film buffs but not for anyone else. Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates, Harry Earles, Henry Victor, Daisy Earles. Directed by: Tod Browning. B

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) R comedy

First of all, kudos to the cigar-chomping Hollywood exec who green-lit this thing. He obviously had no idea what he was doing. But thanks to him, we have one of the most fascinatingly bizarre, mainstream films that Hollywood has ever produced. Of course Tom Green got to make this film because of the wild popularity of his MTV prank show. And what did he do with it? Obnoxious dances, swinging a baby by the umbilical cord, nibbling gruesomely on his friend's (Harlan Williams) open wound after a skateboarding accident, giving his paraplegic girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan) sexual arousal by caning her viciously on the legs, stimulating a horse's penis just because . . . it's weird, etc. This film is really some of the most disgusting, most tasteless stuff that's ever been captured on celluloid. But did I laugh? . . . I did laugh. I laughed a lot. All throughout, too. Tom Green's unique sense of humor notwithstanding, this film does actually follow rules of conventional comedy rather well. (I don't really think of this as an "anti-comedy" as some character in a movie I vaguely remember claimed it was.) That is, the gags have set-up, and they have pay-off that defy expectation. It just so happens how it defies expectation is to delve into the realm of the outlandish, obscene, grotesque . . . whatever word you want to use. And also like conventional comedies, this film has a story. It's loosely based on Green's own experiences living as an early 20-something with his parents, dreaming about making it big in a creative field. He often finds himself in a "battle of wits" with his often much cruder father (Rip Torn, who's a good sport for really giving a dedicated performance here). The title refers to a false accusation levied by Green that his father molested his do-gooder little brother (Eddie Kaye Thomas). It's an understatement to say this film isn't for all tastes. However, those who enjoy gonzo filmmaking, this thing is a gem. Starring: Tom Green, Rip Torn, Marisa Coughlan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Harland Williams, Anthony Michael Hall, Julie Hagerty, Drew Barrymore. Directed by: Tom Green. B+

The French Connection (1971) R thriller

Gene Hackman stars along with Roy Scheider in this somewhat muddled but wildly exciting cops-and-robbers action flick. The chase scenes really could not have been better! There is a sequel to this film out there but it's not as critically acclaimed. The French Connection is certainly a must for all action lovers! Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzufi, Frederic de Pasquale, Bill Hickman, Ann Rebbot, Harold Gary, Sonny Grosso. Directed by: William Friedkin. A

French Kiss (1995) PG-13 romantic comedy

As far as cheesy chick flicks go, French Kiss is pretty average. While I did have a fun time watching the performances of the two leads (Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan) and the plot did include some good moments, the lack of chemistry between the two stars is this film's biggest fault. The story goes like this: a man dumps his girlfriend while he's on a business trip in Paris in favor for a more beautiful and more French woman. Meg Ryan, who is terrified of flying, boards the next airplane for Paris in hope of getting him back. Enter Kevin Kline, a thief who dreams of starting his own vineyard, who helps Ryan through the plane's lift off by igniting an unflattering argument. Later on, Kline ends up helping Ryan get her man back, but they end up falling in love with each other. My stomach was sent romantically aflutter! However, I never once believed that these characters actually loved each other, which is the primary thing a romantic film should provide. Apart from that, Kevin Kline is wonderful and Meg Ryan is good. Starring: Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton, Jean Reno, Francois Cluzet, Susan Anbeh, Renee Humphrey, Michael Riley, Laurent Spielvogel, Victor Garrivier. Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan. C+

Frenzy (1972) R thriller

Frenzy is actually a very good film about serial killers; it's exciting, suspenseful, unpredictable, and most of all, intelligent. A sandy-haired serial killer appears friendly on the outside, but he has an unexpected surprise to unsuspecting women; a necktie placed tightly around their neck. And somebody else gets blamed for all these murders. Alfred Hitchcock directs this film with his usual sense of style except this is his one and only erotic thriller full of graphic violence, sex, and all that good stuff. Starring: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Anna Massey, Alec McCowen, Vivien Merchant, Billie Whitelaw, Clive Swift, Bernard Cribbins, Michael Bates. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. B+

Frequency (2000) PG-13 sci-fi

This is an excellent science fiction flick about a 39-year-old guy, who finds his deceased fatherís old ham radio and begins to tinker around with it. One day, he begins talking to a man, who he soon learns is his father 30 years ago Ö only a day before he is supposed to die in a giant fire. Like most anyone would do, he tells his father of his unfortunate fate and ends up regarding it and lives! But what will his being there going to detrimentally affect the chain of events in the past? This is a thrilling and a captivating twilight-zone(ish) treat that most anyone will enjoy. There ought to be more flicks like this! Starring: Dennis Quaid, John Caviezel, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Andre Braugher, Noah Emmerich, Marisa Errico. Directed by: Gregory Hoblit. A-

The Freshman (1990) PG crime/comedy

Matthew Broderick plays a film student who ventures into New York City for the first time and promptly has his luggage and most of his possessions stolen from him. It seems rather hopeless for poor Broderick for a while until he notices the thief walking down the street before running wildly after him. He catches up with the thief who apparently gambled Broderick's life savings away, but he is offered a very high paying but risky job. It's a very entertaining comedy that also stars Marlon Brando who spoofs his own Godfather character. I recommend it! Starring: Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, Bruno Kirby, Penelope Ann Miller, Frank Whaley, John Polito, Paul Benedict, Richard Gant, Kenneth Welsh, Pamela Payton-Wright, B.D. Wong. Directed by: Andrew Bergman. B+

Friday Night Lights (2004) PG-13 sports

This is a superb sports film that illustrates the brutal realities of high school football. I never gave a crap about football when I was in high school (wellÖ we didnít have a football team, but Ö I still didnít care.) Yet, I cared deeply about these characters in this movie! Itís a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but thatís how itís supposed to be! This ainít as sweet as ďHoosiers,Ē thatís for sure! Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lee Jackson, Lee Thompson Young, Tim McGraw, Grover Coulson, Connie Britton, Connie Cooper, Kasey Stevens, Ryanne Duzich, Amber Heard, Morgan Farris. Directed by: Peter Berg. A

Friendly Persuasion (1956) NR drama

This film is somewhat overlong and pointless but itís engaging about a group of friendly Quakers and their involvement in the Civil War. Gary Cooper does a fine job in his role as a humble yet daring leader of a Quaker household. This film has lost most of its appeal over the years. Starring: Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Marjorie Main, Anthony Perkins, Richard Eyer, Robert Middleton, Peter Richman, Walter Catlett. Directed by: William Wyler. B

Friendsgiving (2020) R comedy-drama

I usually like dialog-heavy films with groups of friends being intermittently sarcastic and serious with one another. But this one I just didn't. I didn't laugh at the parts that were supposed to be funny. I wasn't invested enough to care about any of the character's travails. Some decent moments here and there but overall a 'meh' experience. Starring: Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Aisha Tyler, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Jane Seymour, Deon Cole, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Jack Donnelly, Ryan Hansen. Directed by: Nicol Paone. C-

Fright Night (2011) R horror

The script, adapted from the 1985 film of the same name, was penned by a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumna, and it shows. This is bona fide fantasy/horror but with a splash of camp that keeps things from getting too serious. As much as it is on the right track, I find the plot somewhat tedious to unravel. The action sequences get dull, and there's nothing I find particularly chuckle inducing about the script. All in all, this is just an OK vampire film. Give Colin Farrell credit, however, for his sly grinned portrayal of the vampire living next door. Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Dave Franco, Reid Ewing, Will Denton, Sandra Vergara, Lisa Loeb, Brian Huskey. Directed by: Nicol Paone. C

From Here To Eternity (1953) NR drama

This dramatic account of a Hawaii Army base in the days before the attack of Pearl Harbor. Montgomery Clift stars as a stubborn ex-boxer whose unit is giving him a hard time for refusing to fight. The all-star cast turns in top-notch performances making this script (which, let's face it, is a tad bit hokey) into what's considered one of the greatest films ever made. Frank Sinatra turns in probably the film's best performance. It will draw you in from the beginning and won't let go of you until the end. Really, if all melodramas were like this, I probably wouldn't hate them. Starring: Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine, Philip Ober, Mickey Shaughnessy, Harry Bellaver, Jack Warden, John Dennis, Merle Travis, Tim Ryan. Directed by: Fred Zinnemann. A+

From Russia With Love (1963) NR spy

Sean Connery stars in this second James Bond outing where he is called for duty in Istanbul to find a Russian decoding device. No! This isnít another tedious Cold War ďthriller.Ē This one is actually interesting, exciting, and awesome! Considered a classic by all James Bond fans and many even consider this the best! If itís not *the best*, then itís pretty close. Starring: Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendariz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Bernard Lee, Eunice Gayson, Walter Gotell, Francis de Wolff, George Pastell, Lois Maxwell. Directed by: Terence Young. A-

The Front (1976) PG drama

JWoody Allen stars as a lowly cashier made famous by publishing the works of blacklisted writers in the 50's when America feared Communism. Along with publishing the blacklisted writer's work, he dodges dubious FBI agents who think that Allen is a communist himself. This film is good, but itís not as captivating as it, perhaps, should have been. Itís a worthwhile film, though, featuring a cast of people that were actually blacklisted in that era. This is one of Zero Mostel's final roles. Starring: Woody Allen, Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Michael Murphy, Andrea Marcovicci, Remak Ramsay, Joshua Shelley, Lloyd Gough. Directed by: Martin Ritt. B

The Fugitive (1993) PG-13 thriller

Who could ask for more? The Fugitive has a perfect cast, an excellent plot, marvelous cinematography, brilliant directing, and exciting chase sequences. This film is pure, unadulterated brain candy! Harrison Ford stars as a man who was wrongly accused of murdering his wife and sentenced to lethal injection. On the way to the prison, his bus crashes allowing him to escape. Ford must use his time wisely to find the man who did it, before he's caught! Itís a fun thrill-ride. Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore, Joe Pantoliano, Andreas Katsulas, Jeroen Krabbe, Daniel Roebuck, L. Scott Caldwell, Tom Wood, Ron Dean, Joseph Kosala. Directed by: Andrew Davis. A-

Fun With Dick and Jane (2005) PG-13 comedy

Jim Carrey fans certainly should have nothing to complain about this comedy, a remake of the 1977 hit, in which he is given slapstick freedom. He stars as a highly successful and well-paid vice president of a shady company. Unfortunately, when the company becomes the center of a corporate scandal, he is out of the job. Considering his family's lavish lifestyle, and his entire savings was tied up in the company's stock, he quickly goes broke. To sustain the income, he and his wife (Tea Leoni) turn to crime. While it's definitely a funny premise, the sole appeal of this film is in Carrey's performance. If you think he's funny, then by all means, watch this movie. Otherwise, it's basically worthless. Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Carlos Jacott, Richard Burgi, Aaron Michael Drozin. Directed by: Dean Parisot. C

Funny Face (1957) NR musical/dance

A very enjoyable film with a mediocre plot yet with wonderful choreography (which is definitely the filmís best aspect) and a talented cast. Audrey Hepburn stars as a twerpy intellectual who doesnít want to have anything to do with glamour magazines until Fred Astaire comes along and asks her to model in return for a trip to Paris. There Hepburn becomes a popular fashion figure and meets the modern philosopher of her dreams. Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson are excellent singers and dancers, and Audrey Hepburn is good too. Itís the closest thing movies get to replicating a Broadway show; its done with the highest level of style few musicals ever achieve! The direction was superb. This is simply a good musical for all you stupid-ass musical fans to watch. Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair, Suzy Parker, Ruta Lee. Directed by: Stanley Donen. A-

Funny Girl (1968) NR musical

Barbra Streisand stars in this musical about an ambitious young actress trying to make it big in show business. She starts off as an unknown reject, but makes out to be one of the biggest stars on Broadway. Entertaining, but not as fresh or exciting a film like this should be. The songs are only mediocre, sung at great lengths by Streisand who gave an Oscar winning performance. Fans of Streisand or musicals are sure to enjoy this. Starring: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon, Lee Allen, Gerald Mohr. Directed by: William Wyler. B-

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) NR musical

Joyous musical about Roman slave Pseudolus, played by Zero Mostel, doing everything he can to provide his young master with the love of his life in exchange for freedom. Pseudolus will stop at nothing to carry this out even if there are some mild insignificant hurdles to clear (i.e. she's already engaged to a powerful and very large Roman general). The songs are good and the material is funny. The cast members that also include Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton and Jack Gilford are absolutely priceless! Starring: Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford, Michael Hordern, Annette Andre, Patricia Jessel, Leon Greene, Inga Nelson. Directed by: Richard Lester. B+

F/X (1986) R action

Satisfactory B-movie fare that stars likable Australian action-man Bryan Brown as Rollie Tyler. He's a special effects artist who was hired to fake the assassination of a mob informant (Jerry Orbach). The idea being that the actual mob wouldn't try to assassinate him if someone else already beat them to it. Rollie's mission turns out to an unqualified success. But then he quickly learns that there's something deeper going on when agents from the U.S. Department of Justice start trying to kill him. This is your standard cat-and-mouse chase film with the added novelty of the protagonist being a special effects artist, which he uses to play some clever pranks on the baddies. Overall quite decent. Starring: Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Diane Venora, Cliff De Young, Mason Adams, Jerry Orbach, Joe Grifasi, Martha Grehman. Directed by: Robert Mandel. B-

F/X 2 (1991) PG-13 action

Even more cartoony and gimmicky than the original film, but this is still not a terrible B-movie. If you've already invested in the first film and enjoyed it reasonably well, give yourself closure by indulging in the sequel. Mainly, what's no good here is that clown robot. Because 1) Why is there a clown robot? 2) Holy heck, is that thing creepy. And the reason it's creepy is not for the obvious reasons. It's creepy because of how obviously that robot is a really skinny guy in a clown suit. It also kind of spoils the illusion of action-man protagonist Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) being a gadget wizard. He can't even invent a robot that's not obviously a skinny guy in a clown suit. Anyway, Brown is still a charming action star, but I do find the chase sequences generally less thrilling here than in the first film. He still uses his gadgets to get him out of pickles, but here he does that in such silly ways that it starts to feel like a grown-up Home Alone. Starring: Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Ticotin, Joanna Gleason, Philip Bosco, Kevin J. OíConnor, Dominic Zamprogna, Josie de Guzman, John Walsh. Directed by: Richard Franklin. C

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