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List of "H" Movies
Hair (1979) PG musical
Only the great songs and cinematography make this film worthwhile. It's a musical about the hippie generation that was made in the late seventies but still gives the audiences an insight on their moral and political views and succeeds in doing it. However, the plot lacks substance and the acting is mostly bland; the film would have gone down the gutter if it wasn't for the excellent singers, songs and direction. Oughtnít be PG-rated. (Itís more like an R.) Starring: John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, Don Dacus, Cheryl Barnes, Nicholas Ray, Charlotte Rae, Miles Chapin, Michael Jeter. Directed by: Milos Forman.
Hamlet (1990) PG drama
A riveting adaptation of William Shakespeare's classical work stars Mel Gibson as the title character who seeks revenge on his father's untimely death. It's usually very exciting and it proves that you don't have to particularly love Shakespeare's plays to enjoy their movies. The cast was wisely chosen; Mel Gibson surprises and proves that he can do Shakespeare too! Starring: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Dillan, Nathaniel Parker, Sean Murray, Michael Maloney, Trevor Peacock, John McEnery. Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli.
Hamlet (1997) PG-13 drama
This excellent adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic features a full-length four-hour script with eye catching costumes and props. It is exactly like Shakespeare's original play, but it takes place in the 19th century rather than Shakespeare's time. What's even more interesting about this film is the number of movie stars are involved ranging from comedians like Billy Crystal and Robin Williams to film legends such as Charlton Heston to Richard Attenborough. The four hours it takes to view is certainly not wasteful; Kenneth Branaugh unquestionably uses Shakespeare's magnificent work with perfection and elegance. Starring: Kenneth Branaugh, Julie Christie, Brian Blessed, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Charlton Heston, Richard Attenborough. Directed by: Kenneth Branaugh.
Hanging Up (2000) PG-13 comedy
This is a dreadfully contrived comedy about a woman (Meg Ryan) who struggles to cope with the mental deterioration of her father (Walter Matthau). The cast tries to deliver laughs despite the absence of them in the script, and the drama is as well developed as a cheap soap opera. This is a disappointing final film for Matthau. Starring: Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, Adam Arkin, Duke Moosekian, Ann Bortolotti, Cloris Leachman. Directed by: Diane Keaton.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) PG-13 comedy/drama
Woody Allen delivers a great film about three sisters (Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Barbara Hershey) and their very human interactions. The film is of a fine caliber; itís funny when it needs to be, and itís also heartfelt. Starring: Woody Allen, Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Lloyd Nolan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Daniel Stern, Dianne Wiest, Lewis Black, Julie Louis-Dreyfuss, Christian Clemenson, Julie Kavner, J.T. Walsh, John Tuturro, Rusty Magee, Allen Decheser, Artie Decheser. Directed by: Woody Allen.
Happy Accidents (2000) R romantic comedy
This is an entertaining and charming comedy, and it's difficult to know how it's going to end. A young woman (Marisa Tomei) meets an eccentric young man (Vincent D'Onofrio) who has an unusual story to tell. It seems he's from the future. This offbeat romantic comedy is recommended for anyone who loves quirky films. Starring: Marisa Tomei, Vincent D'Onofrio, Nadia Dajani, Tovah Feldshuh, Holland Taylor, Richard Portnow, Michael Anthony Hall. Directed by: Brad Anderson.
Happy Endings (2005) R drama
This plot-heavy drama comes up short. A filmmaker approaches a woman (Lisa Kudrow) claiming to know the whereabouts of her son. However, he wishes to make a documentary out of their reunion. She isn't too keen on this idea, but she would still like to know where she can find her son. Meanwhile, a gay drummer (Jason Ritter) gets involved in a sexual relationship with the lead singer (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Another subplot involves a sperm donor trying to get parental rights for a lesbian couple's child. There's much on this movie's plate, yet there's little drive to give it needed momentum. Starring: Tom Arnold, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Sarah Clarke, Steeve Coogan, Laura Dern, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Ritter, David Sutcliffe. Directed by: Don Roos.
Happy Feet (2006) PG animated
This celebrated CGI, eco-friendly comedy is about a thoroughly unique emperor penguin who is born without the usual singing voice, but instead great dancing abilities. He is immediately branded as an outcast and, by the elders, is blamed for the recent fish shortage. Outcast, he befriends a lively group of tiny penguins, and he tries to figure out what's happening to all the fish. The CGI animation is state-of-the-art, but the trite and cliched story was almost enough to have ruined it. Voices of: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving, E.G. Daily, Magda Szubanski, Miriam Margoyles, Fat Joe, Alyssa Shafer, Cesar Flores, Anthony LaPaglia, Danny Mann, Steve Irwin, Chrissie Hynde. Directed by: George Miller.
Happy New Year (1987) PG comedy
This watchable but thoroughly unremarkable film featuring the always-appreciated presence of Peter Falk was a straight to video remake of a 1974 French film. Falk stars as a jewel thief who, along with his partner (Charles Durning), plans to clean out the manager of a jewelry store (Tom Courtenay). Meanwhile, he vies for the affection of a nearby antique dealer (Wendy Hughes). Though it features a fantastic cast, itís all fluff and it lacks believability. Starring: Peter Falk, Charles Durning, Wendy Hughes, Tom Courtenay, Joan Copeland, Tracy Brooks Swope. Directed by: John G. Alvidsen.
A Hard Dayís Night (1964) NR musical/comedy
This movie turned me into a rock fan! (Seriously!) This classic film starring the Fab Four capture every bit of lighthearted charm and wit that so many ďregularĒ movies try but fail at. Not only for Beatles fans, but itís for everyone who likes watching movies. Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, Victor Spinetti, John Junkin, Deryck Guyler, Anna Quayle, Kenneth Haigh. Directed by: Richard Lester.
Harlem Nights (1989) R crime
The costumes and set designs are so great it's a shame they weren't used in a more interesting film. Set in 1930s Harlem, a gangster named Sugar Ray (Richard Pryor) runs a casino and brothel with his adopted son Quick (Eddie Murphy). A crooked cop (Danny Aiello), acting on behalf of gangster Bugsy Calhoune (Michael Lerner), tries to extort the establishment for a cut. Instead of succumbing to the demands, they fight back. There are a few decent jokes scattered here or there, particularly around Red Foxx's character being blind as a bat and having to wear buggy eyeglasses. Otherwise, the dialog is roundly awful, rarely getting much more clever than calling someone a "crazy bitch." And that's a shame considering this film stars three of the finest stand-up comics to ever grace the stage. Starring: Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello, Michael Lerner, Della Reese, Berlinda Tolbert, Stan Shaw, Jasmine Guy, Vic Polizos, Lela Rochon, Arsenio Hall. Directed by: Eddie Murphy.
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) R comedy
This comedy is interesting, to say the least. A pair of weed-smoking post-college kids who get a craving for a White Castle hamburger. Together, they embark on a longer-than-expected journey to the fast food restaurant while encountering strange characters and situations. This film manages to be both entertaining and utterly weird, and it contains plenty of funny jokes and dialogue. Even though about half of its jokes fall flat, this is a good surreal comedy. It even contains a funny, self-depreciating appearance from Neil Patrick Harris A.K.A. Doogie Howser. Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garces, Neil Patrick Harris, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Reynolds, Fred Willard. Directed by: Danny Leiner.
Harold and Maude (1971) PG comedy
Calling this movie strange is a vast understatement! Harold is a young man obsessed with death who often attends the funerals of strangers and even fakes his own death on occasion. At one of these funerals, he meets Maude, a woman who's nearly 80. They get to know each other and they eventually fall in love -- ewwwww! This is one of the few films that succeed wonderfully in providing entirely genuine laughs. When Harold tries to scare off one of his mother-arranged dates by freaking her out is a golden cinematic moment. Starring: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner, Ellen Geer, Eric Christmas, G. Wood, Judy Engles, Shari Summers, M. Borman, Ray K. Goman. Directed by: Hal Ashby.
Harry and the Hendersons (1987) PG comedy
When John Lithgow hits a large furry creature with his car coming home from a camping trip, he thinks it might be a bear. But when he examines it more closely, he discovers that it's the legendary Bigfoot. Thinking that itís dead, he brings it home. But, it wakes up and starts destroying the house. However, the family soon finds out that Bigfoot is actually quite gentle and is even a vegetarian! This film provides decent family entertainment, but itís too much of a syrupy-sweet regurgitated E.T.. Starring:
John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Margaret Langrick, Joshua Rudoy, Kevin Peter Hall, David Suchet, Lainie Kazan, Don Ameche, M. Emmet Walsh. Directed by: William Dear.
Harry and Tonto (1974) R drama
Art Carney plays an old man who embarks on a cross-country trip with his cat. He meets some very interesting characters along the way. This endearing film is entertaining with a sweet performance from Carney. Starring: Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Chief Dan George, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Arthur Hunnicutt, Philip Bruns, Josh Mostel, Melanie Mayron, Dolly Jonah, Herbert Berghof, Avon Long. Directed by: Paul Mazursky.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) PG fantasy
Veteran film director Chris Columbus brings J.K. Rowlingís first book to the big screen. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is an orphaned 11-year-old who has no idea that heís a wizard until a giant shows up to take him to Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. When he arrives at the school, he befriends fellow first-years Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson), and together they solve the mystery of the Sorcererís Stone Ö A fantastic cast and colorful set captures every bit of magic present in the book. Starring: David Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Zoe Wanamaker, Tom Felton, Harry Melling. Directed by: Chris Columbus.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) PG fantasy
Every bit as good as The Sorcerer's Stone, the sequel is yet another riveting adventure within the halls of Hogwarts. This time, various students are turning up paralyzed and nobody knows who did it. Kenneth Branaugh's performance as the egotistical celebrity wizard is a real treat to watch! Kudos for him! Chris Columbus delivers yet another masterpiece and is on the right path to making this projected 7-movie series a future centerpiece for the family living room. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Warwick Davis, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Harry Melling, David Bradley, Miriam Margolyes, John Cleese, Christian Coulson, Richard Griffiths. Directed by: Chris Columbus.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) PG fantasy
Yet another utterly triumphant addition to the Harry Potter film-adaptations of the hailed book series finds a new director as well as an eerie new look to Potter franchise. Even though the bookís story wasnít that great (it seems like J.K. Rowling just made this one up as she went along), but this is easily the most breathtaking, eye-dazzling, and all-in-all satisfying film yet in the series. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Gint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Timothy Spall, Julie Christie, Chris Rankin, Paul Whitehouse, Adrian Rawlins, Jamie Waylett, James Phelps. Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) PG-13 fantasy
The series continues to get darker in this magnificent fourth installment of the artistically and commercially successful Harry Potter series. Though it lacks the sheer dramatic breadth of Prisoner of Azakaban, this adaptation is every bit as enjoyable as reading the book, and it surprisingly contains the best belly laughs the series has produced thus far. Miranda Richardson is a treat as Rita Skeeter, the yellow journalist of the wizard world. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Robert Pattinson, Maggie Smith, Clemence Poesy, Frances de la Tour, Timothy Spall, Miranda Richardson, Stanislav Ianevski. Directed by: Michael Newell.
Hatari! (1962) NR comedy
This is a very entertaining and lengthy film about a small group of adventurers who capture animals for zoos. This particular "season" gets off to a rough start. One member of the staff becomes seriously injured by a rhinoceros and a nosy photographer wants to tag along, who only would get in the way. The cast is marvelous and the wonderful music from Henry Mancini is a plus. This movie is good despite little plot. Starring: John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Kruger, Gerard Blain, Red Buttons, Michele Girardon, Bruce Cabot, Val DeVargas, Eduard Franz. Directed by: Howard Hawks.
The Haunting (1999) PG-13 horror
Immersive horror film inspired by The Haunting of Hill House with a great cast. I don't find it scary at all, but the conclusion is satisfyingly tense. I also enjoy exploring this quirky, ornate, and terrifically creepy mansion with the characters. Lili Taylor plays an insomniac invited to participate in a study, along with a couple other participants, at the Hill House. The caretakers of the place ominously state that they, nor anybody else in town, go near the place after dark. The reason, of course, is there are ghosts. Starring: Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor, Bruce Dern, Marian Seldes, Alix Koromzay. Directed by: Jan de Bont.
Hawaii (1966) NR drama
This is an engrossing adaptation from James Michener's epic novel about a couple of missionaries attempting to convert a tribe of native Hawaiians to Christianity. Max Von Sydow and Julie Andrews play the missionaries quite well. This film is full of material that runs more than three hours long and is sure to please history buffs. The scenery is grandiose! Followed by a sequel, The Hawaiians. Starring: Julie Andrews, Max Von Sydow, Richard Harris, Carroll O'Connor, Elizabeth Cole, Diane Sherry, Heather Menzies, Torin Thatcher, Gene Hackman, Bette Midler. Directed by: George Roy Hill.
The Hawaiians (1970) PG drama
This lackadaisical sequel to Hawaii at least managed to attract Charlton Heston in the lead role who plays a pioneering pineapple farmer of Hawaii. It isn't bad, but there's nothing really that keeps the film flowing and it produces little sparks. Starring: Charlton Heston, Geraldine Chaplin, John Phillip Law, Tina Chen, Alec McCowen, Mako, Don Knight, Miko Mayama, Virginia Ann Lee, Naomi Stevens. Directed by: Tom Gries.
Heart and Souls (1993) PG-13 comedy
Five people die in a horrific bus accident. The driver (David Paymer) is immediately whisked into Heaven while the four passengers (Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Tom Sizemore) are stuck in limbo, spiritually attached to a newborn baby named Thomas. They are visible and able to interact with the child. Nobody else sees them. When his parents threaten to have their child institutionalized, the ghosts realize they're doing more harm than good and make themselves invisible to him. It's a heartbreaking scene when young Thomas bawls his eyes out watching his best friends disappear forever. And what douche-nozzles these ghosts were for doing that without warning. Years later, Thomas (now, Robert Downey, Jr.) is a vulture capitalist. The ghosts never left him, but they suddenly learn that they are able to possess Thomas' body. And the reason they are stuck in limbo is because they have unresolved business. So they possess his body to do their business. The appeal of this film is watching Robert Downey Jr., a gifted physical comedian, flailing himself about, embodying these four ghosts. Otherwise, this movie has such ridiculously bad plot-holes, it actually made me yell at the TV. Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Tom Sizemore, Charles Gordon, Elisabeth Shue, David Paymer, Eric Lloyd, Bill Calvert, Lisa Lucas. Directed by: Ron Underwood.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) G drama
I don't find this film as moving as I thought I would have, because I can't bring myself into the mindset of the characters. They come off too simplistic. There's a black doctor (Percy Rodriguez) who only treats black people. A girl coming of age (Sandra Locke) who wants to live a life of nonspecific greatness. A deaf-mute (Alan Arkin) who only seems to live to help people. I don't understand these people, and therefore I don't understand what guards they had to relax in order to form bonds with one another. The problem I suspect stems from story, adapted from a book by Carson McCullers, being told in straightforward, melodramatic fashion rather than as a thoughtful character study. And it's quite ham-fisted, particularly at the end when one character, delivering a soliloquy, tidily summarizes the moral of the story. I'm suspicious of movies that feel the need to do this. Nonetheless, the moral is quite a poignant one, and I do enjoy the acting performances, as well as as a few of the sketches. Several of the actors earned Academy Award nods for their performance. Cicely Tyson didn't but she nonetheless delivers a powerhouse performance as the doctor's daughter who chooses against following his father in his footsteps, much to his chagrin. Starring: Alan Arkin, Sondra Locke, Laurinda Barrett, Stacy Keach, Chuck McCann, Biff McGuire, Percy Rodriguez, Cicely Tyson, Jackie Marlowe. Directed by: Robert Ellis Miller.
Heartbreakers (2001) PG-13 romantic comedy
This is a lame-brained comedy starring the Jennifer Love Hewitt, crappy actress, and the usually dependable Sigourney Weaver. Weaver plays a con artist who makes a living by marrying rich men while shortly divorcing them after Hewitt, her daughter, seduces them into an affair. Big names Gene Hackman and Anne Bancroft have short-lived supporting roles that offer little comic contribution. The comedy is lacking in this film. Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, Gene Hackman, Anne Bancroft, Jeffrey Jones, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Carrie Fisher. Directed by: David Mirkin.
Hearts in Atlantis (2001) PG-13 drama
Make you cheer? No. Give you indigestion? Maybe. This film's only redeemable qualities revolves around interest in the thin plot and imagining that Hopkins will go cannibalistic again. Definitely do not see this movie unless you happen to be a 40+ year old woman and/or think syrupy child romance is cute. It gave me the feeling inside I get after eating a bad chilidog. I think the title of this film should be changed to "Heartburn in Atlantis" or even a more descriptive "Indigestion in Atlantis." Conveying a warm-hearted story is obviously this film's grand ambition, and it failed in every aspect. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis, David Morse, Anton Yelchin, Mika Boreem, Will Rothhaa, Dierdre O'Connell, Eric Eggen, Bourke Floyd. Directed by: Scott Hicks.
Heat (1995) R thriller
Itís an entertaining albeit forgettable picture that is made worthwhile only through its able cast and its usually fine cinematography. Al Pacino stars as a tough and dedicated police officer who finds himself face to face with major street criminal Robert De Niro. The script is too typical for the genre and the direction (even though itís by acclaimed director Michael Mann) lacks whatís needed to make it click. It is wholly underwhelming, yet fans of the action genre seem to consider it a bookmark. I beg to differ, but Iím sure thereís a good reason for the designation. Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Ted Levine, Wes Studi, Tom Noonan, Hank Azaria, Bud Court, Jeremy Piven. Directed by: Michael Mann.
Heathers (1989) R comedy
This delicious satire involving the high school clique-system is almost perfectly realized. It starts quirky, and when the plot escalates, it turns into the kind of stuff that will make you sit up in your chair! The remarkably unsettling plot involves one frustrated member of the cool-clan (Winona Ryder) deciding that the leader of this exclusive club doesn't deserve to live, well, because she's a jerk who puts-down other people. However, it was more of a jest until boyfriend Christian Slater helps her fake a suicide note and do the job. Surprisingly, the effects on the school is far-from-expected (and deliciously, but guiltily, entertaining to watch). Though this film shouldn't be considered realistic (nor should the human interactions within the film), the viewer should rather take home the implications of it. Only until the final third does it begin to run out of steam. Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Mildford, Glenn Shadix, Lance Fenton, Patrick Labyorteaux, Jeremy Applegate, Jon Matthews, Carrie Lynn. Directed by: Michael Lehmann.
Heaven Can Wait (1978) PG comedy
A superior comedy about professional football player, Jack Pindleton, brought to an untimely death. When he reaches the afterlife, he discovers that the heavenly workers made a dreadful mistake: it wasnít his time to die yet so he must be returned to his old body post haste! Unfortunately it has been cremated so he is temporarily placed in the body of a rich billionaire. This is a highly enjoyable, offbeat film that is remade from the 1941 classic, Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Starring: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Jack Warden, Dyan Cannon, Charles Grodin, James Mason, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia. Directed by: Warren Beatty and Buck Henry.
Heaven Help Us (1985) R comedy/drama
Neither heartwarming nor funny, Heaven Help Us still manages to deliver an entertaining view on adolescent life. A group of Catholic School boys in the 60's battle their teachers (the monks) and their strict punishments. The cast includes Tom Heard, Donald Sutherland and Wallace Shawn who contributes greatly to the film's spark but still isn't as good as it should be, so I don't recommend it. It too closely tries to mimic Animal House. Starring: Donald Sutherland, John Herd, Andrew McCarthy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kevin Dillon, Malcolm Danare, Jennie Dundas, Kate Reid, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Dempsey, Phillip Bosco. Directed by: Michael Dinner.
Heist (2001) R crime
David Mamet directs and writes this movie about a heist headed by supercriminal Gene Hackman who works for the demanding Danny DeVito. Hackman and his team decide to go for a mother load of gold aboard Swiss aircraft. The dialogue may sound wooden (even though the lines themselves are quite clever) but the wholly unpredictable plot will keep the viewer interested without getting confusing. Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny De Vito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone, Jim Frangione. Directed by: David Mamet.
Hellboy (2004) PG-13 action
Chalk this one as another must-see superhero flick. This one stars Ron Perlman as the wise-talking title character, a slow-aging demon-like crime fighter who was originally conjured up by Nazis. Even though the good guys had since claimed him, the Nazi forces return 60 years later to finish what they started. This super-hero flick not only contains some bristling action scenes and beautiful special effects, but the plot is very good for the genre and the script is sometimes hilarious. Highly recommended to superhero fans. Ron Perlman is excellent. Starring: Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones, David Hyde Pierce. Directed by: Guillermo del Toro.
Henry V (1989) PG drama
Kenneth Branagh sure does wonders for Shakespeare! He turned the play into a grandiose film with perfect direction, flawless acting and something most people can enjoy. The language is of Shakespeare's original design (it takes a while for some people to get used to) and those who take the time to view this are in for a magnificent treat! The grand and emotional battle scene at the end is top-notch and the highlight of the film. A recommended venture. Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin, Brian Blessed, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Paul Scofield, Emma Thompson. Directed by: Kenneth Branagh.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) NR comedy
A worker in heaven made a mistake and brought a prizefighter (Robert Montgomery) to heaven before his time. Unfortunately, his body was cremated, so the title character (Claude Rains) must find the prizefighter a new body. Since heís an athlete, he doesnít want any body. But temporarily, he agrees to inhabit the body of a millionaire. This is a delightful film with a clever script that never fails to charm. However, Warren Beatty and Buck Henry managed to top this in their remake titled Heaven Can Wait. Starring: Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Rita Johnson, Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason, John emery, Donald MacBride. Directed by: Alexander Hall.
Here Comes the Groom (1951) NR comedy
Director Frank Capra had already jumped his proverbial shark by the time he released this film, but it still contains his classic charm. Bing Crosby stars as a journalist who attempts to adopt a couple of war orphans, but he canít keep them unless heís married in a week. He already has a good prospect (Jane Wyman), but she was already spoken-for by a prominent multi-millionaire (Franchot Tone). The film starts out poorly, but a steady stream of laughter comes at the climax. Wyman, attempting screwball comedy, gives a thoroughly annoying performance. This film is highlighted by a surprise appearance from Louis Armstrong. Starring: Bing Crosby, Jane Wyman, Alexis Smith, Franchot Tone, James Barton, Robert Keith, Jacques Gencel, Beverly Washburn, Connie Gilchrist, Louis Armstrong. Directed by: Frank Capra.
Hero (1992) PG-13 comedy
This is a wonderful film about a self-centered man (Dustin Hoffman) down on his luck who witnesses an amazing airline crash and ends up rescuing every passenger on that flight. Thinking nothing of this, he goes about his business until somebody else (Andy Garcia) takes credit for this wonderful feat attracting huge attention from the media and thus becoming rich. This serves as a reality-check that the media may not always be reporting truth. I enjoyed it! Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Joan Cusack, Kevin J. OíConnor, Chevy Chase, Maury Chaykin, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christian Clemenson, Tom Arnold, Warren Berlinger, Susie Cusack, James Madio, Edward Herrmann, Barney Martin, Fisher Stevens. Directed by: Stephen Frears.
Hero (2004) PG-13 action
A lovely export from Hong Kong ... youíll probably end up caring more about the stunning sets and scenery than anything else. The plot can be a bit confusing, but thereís an understated beauty about it. Jet Li is superb as a man who excels in a supernatural form of martial arts (you know, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style) who is out to assassinate the emperor responsible for pillaging his homeland. The supporting cast, others martial arts experts, are captivating as well. The visual imagery and the pacing of the film (reminiscent of Sergio Leone) will likely leave you stunned. See this on the big screen if you can. Starring: Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung, Chen Daoming, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen. Directed by: Zhang Yimou.
Hidalgo (2004) PG-13 adventure
A so-so and forgettable adventure film starring Viggo Mortensen as a Wild West cowboy performer who is the only white man to participates in a long distance and high stakes horse race from the Sahara to Iraq. Itís shot well enough, but that doesnít forgive the fact that itís way too long and boring. The sets are almost peculiarly artificial, but thatís not so much a drawback. Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Louise Lombard, Said Taghmaoui, Peter Mensah, J.K. Simmons. Directed by: Joe Johnson.
Hidden Fortress (1958) NR adventure
This absolutely top-notched Japanese import tells the tale of a stranded princess (Misa Uehara) who must cross a border heavily guarded by her enemies back to her people. A samurai (Toshiro Mifune) leads the way but he must also rely on two extremely greedy peasants (Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara). This film features not only an incredibly captivating adventure tale, but wonderful character development and a story that's golden. The dialogue is also excellent (or maybe that's just thanks to the English translators). Do not think about passing this one by. Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Misa Uehara, Kamatari Fujiwara, Minoru Chiaki, Susumu Fujita. Directed by: Akira Kurosawa.
High Noon (1952) NR western
This beloved western stars Gary Cooper as a recently married and a retiring marshal of a small town. He was about to leave town until he discovered that his nemesis, a dangerous outlaw he sent to prison several years back, just got paroled and he is coming back at noon for revenge. Cooper must form a small army of deputies before the clock strikes twelve. The suspense build-up to high noon is classic and rarely-topped. Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr. Henry (Harry) Morgan, Ian MacDonald, Eve McVeagh, Morgan Farley. Directed by: Fred Zinnemann.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003) R drama
This should have been a fascinating drama about the life of the Texas Hold 'Em poker playing genius. But generally poor filmmaking and a bad script bogged it down. The "twist" at the end is utterly ridiculous. See Rounders instead. Starring: Michael Imperioli, Michael Nouri, Renee Faia, Joe La Due, Steven R. Schirripa, Todd Susman, Peggy Walton-Walker, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Directed by: A. W. Vidmer.
High Spirits (1988) PG-13 comedy
This fun film stars Peter O'Toole as the owner of an Irish castle and hotel. When business is faring poorly and the bank is about to foreclose on his property, he advertises his place to be haunted by ghosts. A small group of tourists visit, but it quickly becomes obvious that these "ghosts" are staged acts. However, soon enough, real ghosts start coming out! This is an entertaining, high-energy comedy even though certain aspects of the plot don't really work. O'Toole rules every scene he's in, but Beverly D'Angelo is annoying. Starring: Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Liam Neeson, Ray McAnally, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth. Directed by: Neil Jordan.
Hilary and Jackie (1998) R drama
This is a very good British film about the rivalry between a pair of talented musician sisters. The older sister (Rachel Griffiths), a flutist, settled down in the country to raise a family. However, the younger (Emily Watson) became an international superstar as a cellist. Even though Griffiths has always been jealous that her younger sister was blessed with the talent, Watson is terribly unhappy. This is a beautiful film with an engaging atmosphere. Starring: Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths, James Frain, David Morrissey, Charles Dance, Celia Imrie, Rupert Penry-Jones. Directed by: Anand Tucker.
A History of Violence (2005) R action
A remarkable film starring Viggo Mortensen as a small town diner owner who finds that he is in the headlines when he kills a pair of murderers who wreck havoc in his diner. Thanks to the publicity, his dark past slowly begins to surface much to the horror of his wife (Maria Bello). The film is tremendously violent yet it has a strong anti-violence message. Surprisingly, however, the message is convincing and, at the very least, thought-provoking. Directed by the sure hand of David Cronenberg, this is a film that will stick with you. Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ashton Holmes, William Hurt, Stephen McHattie, Peter MacNeill, Ed Harris, Heidi Hayes, Greg Bryk. Directed by: David Cronenberg.
The History of the World, Part One (1981) R comedy
This is an all right film if too many of the jokes fall flat too much of the time. At any rate, there are enough laughs in it to keep the avid Mel Brooks fan satisfied. Itís a series of episodes that traces a few of the key moments of manís history from the dawn of civilization (via a 2001: a Space Odyssey parody) right up to the French Revolution. Not an essential Brooks film, but it passes. Starring: Mel Brooks, Gregory Hines, Dom De Luise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, Ron Carey, Shecky Green, Sid Caesar, Mary-Margaret Humes, Orson Welles, Art Metrano. Directed by: Mel Brooks.
Hitch (2005) PG-13 comedy
Will Smith stars as the title character, a man who specializes in setting people up. He works mainly with clumsy and not-handsome men (Kevin James) and teaches them the ways of the sexy woman (Amber Valletta). However, it soon becomes revealed that, shockingly enough, Smith has women troubles of his own. This is strictly a date comedy thatís somewhat enjoyable, but otherwise has very limited value. Starring: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Julie Ann Emery, Michael Rappaport, Adam Arkin, Jeffrey Donovan. Directed by: Andy Tennant.
The Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy (2005) PG comedy
This silly big screen adaptation of Douglas Adamsí radio-series/miniseries/book is just about as silly and entertaining as the former three mediums this story took. The cast is perfect, featuring Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, the unsuspecting human space traveler and Mos Def as extraterrestrial Ford Prefect. The glaring flaw, indeed, is that non-fans will most assuredly not care for this, and it needed better pacing. Starring: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nightly, Warwick Davis, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich. Voices of: Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren. Directed by: Garth Jennings.
A Hole in the Head (1959) NR comedy
Frank Capra directs this utterly cheesy comedy starring Frank Sinatra and little Eddie Hodges. Sinatra is an irresponsible father who is about to be evicted from his apartment and asks his older brother, Edward G. Robinson, for assistance. Robinson thinks Sinatra is a slacker and attempts to get custody of Hodges. Robinson also tries to get Sinatra hitched with a wealthy widower, much to the dismay of his current girlfriend. This comedy is very unfocused and can only serve as an audience-pleaser for a 50's audience. To an extent, it's still pleasing today. Starring: Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, Eddie Hodges, Eleanor Parker, Carolyn Jones, Thelma Ritter, Keenan Wynn, Joi Lansing, George DeWitt, Jimmie Komack. Directed by: Frank Capra.
Hollywood Canteen (1944) NR comedy
The Hollywood Canteen was a real place in Hollywood during World War II where popular film stars would serve food, drinks, and provide entertainment to servicemen. This is a breezy little film that follows the adventures of one serviceman (Robert Hutton) who gets to spend a weekend at this club. He's also quite lucky and wins a kiss and a date with his Hollywood dream girl Joan Leslie. The first half of the film serves as a wonderful time capsule, as we watch servicemen hobnobbing with the likes of such Hollywood legends as Joe E. Brown, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyk, and Jane Wyman (who at one point says "I've been Reaganized"). They also get treated to a Jimmy Dorsey concert and a performance from Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger. The star searching novelty, however, wanes in the second half when we have to bear through the serviceman and Leslie going on very grandma-appropriate dates. Starring: Joan Lesie, Robert Hutton, Dane Clark, Bette Davis. Directed by: Delver Daves.
Hollywood Homicide (2003) PG-13 comedy
Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett star as buddy cops in this crowd-pleasing comedy. These two are not the typical police officers. Hartnett is also a Yoga instructor who wants to make it big in Hollywood, and Ford is a failing real estate agent. Also, there are some fun plays on police cliches in the movie. When Harnett steals a mini-van in hot pursuit of a criminal, there's an entire family inside. Ford, also in hot pursuit, steals a girlís bicycle and then runs into an opened car door. This is a good throwaway popcorn movie, and it will probably make you laugh. Starring: Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Bruce Greenwood, Isaiah Washington, Lolita Davidovich, Keith David, Master P., Gladys Knight, Lou Diamond Phillips, Meredith Scott Lynn, Martain Landau, Eric Idle, Frank Sinatra, Jr. Directed by: Ron Shelton.
Holy Man (1998) PG comedy
This light entertainment stars Eddie Murphy who gives an annoyingly restrained performance as "G," a religious man (it's never clear what religion) who stumbles into the lives of two shopping network execs (Jeff Goldblum and Kelly Preston). However, Goldblum finds his prestigious, high-paying job in jeopardy when his boss (Robert Loggia) says that if Goldblum doesn't somehow make the network's Neilsen ratings increase significantly, he will be canned. Then G stumbles upon the screen and, with his utmost sincerity and charm, makes the network one of the most popular in America. It's only vaguely entertaining with stale humor, but I liked the message. The two leads should have tried harder. Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston, Robert Loggia, Jon Cryer, Eric McCormack, Sam Kitchin, Robert Small, Mark Macaulay, Mary Stout. Directed by: Stephen Herek.
Home Alone (1990) PG comedy
A misunderstood but resourceful child Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left home after his large family flies to France for the holidays. At first he revels in his newfound freedom--snooping in his mean big brother's room and gorging himself with junk food. But he soon becomes aware of a pair of criminal's plans to rob the place. The script by John Hughes lacks the edge he used to have, but he lays on the charm thick--and it works. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are delightful as the goofy but grizzly cat burglars. Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Catherine O'Hara, Angela Goethals, Devin Rattray, Gerry Bamman, Hillary Wolf, John Candy, Larry Hankin. Directed by: Chris Columbus.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) PG comedy
The same as the first one except repackaged such that the incorrigible prepubescent is plopped in the middle of the Big Apple while his family vacations in Florida. While there, he happens to cross paths with the same pair of criminals that he gave such a hard time in the first film. He also earns new foes by way of a hotel staff (headed by the delightfully villainous Tim Curry) who are suspicious Kevin is not accompanied by an adult. These films never bothered to make sense, but the charm continues to be there. Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Tim Curry, Brenda Fricker, Devin Ratray, Hillary Wolf, Maureen Elisabeth Shay, Michael C. Maronna, Gerry Bamman, Terrie Snell, Kieran Culkin, Rob Schneider, Ally Sheedy. Directed by: Chris Columbus.
Home Fries (1998) PG-13 romantic comedy
Believe me, it's as bad as the title! Two young brothers employed in the Air Force murder their father and fears that the headphones used by the employees at the nearby may have picked up their conversations. So one of them gets a job at the fast food restaurant to see if they know anything. There, he meets and falls in love with a very pregnant employee, Drew Barrymore. Her baby, however, is illegitimate and its father just happens to be the guy they killed. Home Fries is a terrible romance/comedy whose only redemption lies in Catherine O'Hara's comedic performance as the psychotic mother. Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jake Busey, Catherine O'Hara, Shelley Duvall, Luke Wilson, Kim Robillard, Daryl Mitchell, Lanny Flaherty, Chris Ellis, Blue Deckert. Directed by: Dean Parisot.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) G adventure
Two dogs and a cat are left at a farm while their owners temporarily move to San Francisco. The animals, whose thoughts are voiced by Don Ameche, Michael J. Fox and Sally Field, think they were abandoned so they venture through the wilderness to try making it home. Together they try to find food, discover interesting things and battle vicious beasts. Itís a nice family film. Starring: Robert Hays, Kim Griest, Don Adler, Ad Bernard, Kevin Chevalia. Voices of: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Ameche. Directed by: Duwayne Dunham.
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) PG-13 comedy
This wonderfully offbeat comedy stars Nicolas Cage as a man who travels to Las Vegas to marry Sarah Jessica Parker, but he loses a poker game and is in debt $65,000 to James Caan. Cage doesn't have the money to pay Caan with so Caan is allowing for Cage to keep it if he can spend a week alone with his fiancťe. The plot is thin, but this film is made great through the excellent cast with strong comic appeal. Starring: Nicolas Cage, James Caan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, Anne Bancroft, Johnny Williams, Peter Boyle. Directed by: Andrew Bergman.
Hook (1991) PG fantasy
Perhaps it is a bit too bloated, boasting a two-and-a-half hour running time, but I like it! Serving as a sequel to the famous and oft-told tale of Peter Pan (the boy who vowed to never grow up), this story is about our hero (Robin Williams) getting amnesia, forgetting about his days in Never Never Land, and turning into a self-centered family man. Pretty soon, Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his kids in an attempt to lure Pete back to Never Never Land for some revenge. To do that, of course, would mean that he would have to accept as fact what he always perceived as myth. Itís great fun! The cast is marvelous! Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott, Laurel Cronin, Phil Collins, Arthur Malet, Isaiah Robinson, Jasen Fisher, Dante Basco. Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Hope and Glory (1987) PG-13 comedy
John Boorman directs this comedy about growing up during wartime in Great Britain. A seven-year-old boy (Sebastian Rice Edwards) is at the center of the film as houses in his neighborhood are being bombed by Germans, and his father joins the army. This is such an affectionate and joyous film that it's difficult to believe that it's about a rather bleak subject. Full of hearty laughs and tender moments, this is a highly recommended film. Starring: Sebastian Rice-Edwards, Sarah Miles, David Hayman, Derrick O'Connor, Susal Wooldridge, Sammi Davis, Ian Bannen, Jean-Marc Barr, Anne Leon, Amelda Brown, Jill Baker, Katrine Boorman, Geraldine Muir. Directed by: John Boorman.
Hopscotch (1980) R comedy
Walter Matthau stars as an aging CIA agent who always had a mind of his own. When a newbie takes over the department, Matthau is forced to take a desk job. Not happy with this, Matthau goes globetrotting and begins to write his memoirs, which contains some highly classified information, and sends each chapter to agencies across the world. This is an utterly delightful comedy! Starring: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston, Herbert Lom, David Matthau, George Baker, Ivor Roberts. Directed by: Ronald Neame.
Horsefeathers (1932) NR comedy
The Marx Brothers were on a roll from 1930 to 1937, and Horsefeathers was the fantastic film they made before their iconic Duck Soup. Groucho plays a newly-appointed university president who must assemble a winning football team or he might lose his job. Upon advise from his son (Zeppo), he goes to a speakeasy to recruit a couple of winning football players, but on mistake, recruits Chico and Harpo instead. As always, the plot is merely secondary to the Brothers' madcap hijinx, and they are in full form here. The film might only be a shockingly short 67 minutes, but it contains twice as many laughs than 1,000 minutes of today's average comedy. Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Thelma Todd, David Landau, Florine McKinney, James Pierce. Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod.
The Hospital (1971) PG comedy
This is a smart black comedy that thoroughly skewers hospitals. A long line of malpractice issues lead to the death of a diabetic intern who was mistaken as a patient. Other mysterious deaths of hospital personnel soon follow. When one of the hospitalís principle doctors return from a serious bout of depression (George C. Scott), he investigates the matter, and it soon becomes clear that someone is bumping off these people. But who? This is a funny black comedy that is a perfect movie for those who enjoy such things. Starring: George C. Scott, Diana Rigg, Barnard Hughes, Nancy Marchand, Stephen Elliott, Donald Harron, Rehn Scofield, Roberts Blossom. Directed by: Arthur Hiller.
Hostage (2005) R action
Bruce Willis is right at home in this action/thriller as he stars as a former S.W.A.T. hostage negotiator who semi-retires to a police precint in a quiet town. However, when a trio of idiotic teenagers take over the house of a wealthy accountant (Kevin Pollack), Willis finds himself back where he came from. With too many coincidences and awkward pieces in the script, it's hard to take this seriously. Still, Willis gives a good performance. Starring: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollack, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman, Michelle Allman. Directed by: Florent Emilio Siri.
The Hot Chick (2002) PG-13 comedy
This is a somewhat entertaining comedy, but there are too many flaws to count. Rachel McAdams stars as a rich brat who, through some type of voodoo curse, switches bodies with a low-life petty criminal (Rob Schneider). Of course McAdams wants her young, sexy body back but ... not before she undergoes that painfully predictable personality change. Schneider gives a spirited performance, but the script was stupid. McAdams, who is a much more talented actress than most of the cast, isn't in this film nearly enough. Starring: Rob Schneider, Anna Faris, Matthew Lawrence, Eric Christian Olsen, Robert Davi, Melora Hardin, Alexandra Holden, Rachel McAdams, Maritza Murray, Fay Hauser. Directed by: Tom Brady.
Hot Shots! (1991) PG-13 comedy
Charlie Sheen stars in this funny spoof that takes Top Gun and crosses it with the shenanigans of Airplane!, and takes away about half of the laughs. Charlie Sheen stars as the cliched action hero who must save the world! Plenty of good laughs make this one worthwhile. Starring: Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino, Cary Elwes, Lloyd Bridges, Kevin Dunn, Jon Cryer, Kristy Swanson, William O'Leary, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Pablo Prietty, Kip Pierce, Pat Proft. Directed by: Jim Abrahams.
Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993) PG-13 comedy
Charlie Sheen returns in this sequel that actually meets the comedic quality of the original. Rather than spoofing Top Gun, however, it concentrates on Rambo. I noticed it poking fun at Home Alone, Apocalypse Now (with a cameo from Martin Sheen), Star Wars, and a lot more. If you can possibly imagine it, this sequel is even more moronic than the original, but it contains more belly laughs. Starring: Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valeria Golino, Richard Crenna Brenda Bakke, Miguel Ferrer, Rowan Atkinson, Jerry Haleva, David Wohl, Mitchell Ryan. Directed by: Jim Abrahams.
Hotel Rwanda (2004) PG-13 drama
Certainly, a film about the 1994 Rwandan genocide needed to be made Ö and fortunately, it was made very well! Acted perfectly by a top-notch cast (headed by Academy Award nominated Don Cheadle), this film not only shows you what happened in Rwanda, but it makes you feel it, too. Highly recommended! Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophi Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix. Directed by: Terry George.
Hound of the Baskervilles (1978) PG comedy
Despite starring the talented Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, this is a horrible and painfully unfunny parody of Arthur Conan Doyleís famed Sherlock Holmes story. Itís not only disturbing that this film is so widely available on DVD, but Cookís and Mooreís incredibly funny Bedazzled failed to receive a DVD release at all. Starring: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Denholm Elliott, Joan Greenwood, Terry Thomas, Max Wall, Roy Kinnear, Prunella Scales, Spike Milligan. Directed by: Paul Morrissey.
Houdini (1953) NR drama
This is an entertaining but throwaway biopic of the legendary magician. The screen chemistry of Hollywood couple Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh is nothing short of charming. The film altered quite a few of the key events of Houdiniís life, but nobodyís suing. Starring: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher, Angela Clarke, Douglas Spencer, Stefan Schnabel, Sig Rumann, Ian Wolfe, Michael Pate, Connie Gilchrist, Malcom Lee Beggs. Directed by: George Marshall.
House Calls (1978) romantic comedy
A rather good romantic comedy. Walter Matthau is a doctor and he meets Jackson as a patient in a hospital run by senile Art Carney (who nearly steals the movie with his hilarious performance). It starts out fresh and funny but only ends up fresh. Matthau and Glenda Jackson, both highly distinguished actors, work very well together and consequently makes this flick genuinely enjoyable. Starring: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Art Carney, Richard Benjamin, Candy Azzara, Dick O'Neill, Thayer David, Anthony Holland, Reva Rose, Sandra Kerns. Directed by: Howard Zieff.
The House of Games (1987) R mystery
This film about confidence tricksters strings me along with its labyrinth's worth of fascinating twists and turns, and I could hardly unglue myself from it. A psychiatrist (Lindsay Crouse) is implored by a patient to convince a gambler (Joe Mantegna) to forgive his debts. So she does, but only if she agrees to watch an opponent in a high-stakes poker game for a tell. Little does she know, she's being taken for the ride of her life--not only being drawn into the psychology behind the confidence trick, but also becoming part of the con herself. This neo-noir benefits from a smart script with razor-sharp dialog. Starring: Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum, Lilia Skala, J.T. Walsh, Ricky Jay, Willo Hausman, Karen Kohlhaas. Directed by: David Mamet.
The House of Mirth (2000) PG-13
If you're looking for a tediously boring, and depressing flick, then I recommend "The House of Mirth." Even though the plot is rich with substance that would otherwise be interesting to watch, director and writer Terrence Davies managed to make it slowly paced and long drawn out. It's about a woman who takes advantage of a stockbroker, played by Dan Aykroyd, who makes her $10,000 and promptly gambles all of it away. When she realizes that Aykroyd gave most of this money to her out of his own pocket (rather than investing her own money to get it) and that Aykroyd wants something in return, she is obligated to pay the money back in full. So, she steps in and out of society trying to get married or getting a stable job so she can live until her inheritance comes through from her rich deceased aunt. Starring: Gillian Anderson, Dan Aykroyd, Eleanor Bron, Terry Kinney, Anthony LaPaglia, Laura Linney, Elizabeth McGovern, Jodhi May, Eric Stoltz, Penny Downie, Pearce Quigley. Directed by: Terence Davies.
House of Sand and Fog (2003) R drama
Jennifer Connelly plays an evicted woman who was thrown out of her house for nonpayment of an obscure tax. Ben Kingsley plays an exiled Iranian family man who, out of necessity, stakes all his money to buy the house from the county to sell it at a much higher price. This is a very good film that effectively portrays extreme psychological desperation. However, the ending rang a bit illogical. Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Ron Eldard, Jonathan Ahdout, Frances Fisher. Directed by: Vadim Perelman.
The House That Dripped Blood (1971) PG horror
Two police officers are having a conversation. It seems there is a mysterious house in their precinct that causes death for those who have lived in it. This film consists of four short horror stories that are strung together by way of this conversation. The best segment for my money is the one starring Christopher Lee as a father of a mysterious young girl who he doesn't let play with other children or even toys. But the other segments--with Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing and Jon Pertwee--also hold my attention well. Starring: Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, John Pertwee, Joanna Dunham, Joss Ackland, Chloe Franks, Ingrid Pitts. Directed by: Peter Duffell.
Housekeeping (1987) PG comedy
A very strange film about two girls with an eccentric aunt as their guardian who is a complete slob. One of the girls is driven away, but the other girl is intrigued by her auntís behavior. An odd movie to come from director, Bill Forsyth, but itís pretty entertaining. Starring: Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill. Directed by: Bill Forsyth.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) PG comedy
Jim Carreyís eccentric performance as the Grinch is one of the main highlights. The script, which is filled with good one-liners that ought to appease adults, is the other. However, since this film is based on a traditional holiday special, more plot had to be added to fill in time. And the ďfillerĒ stinks. All in all, this can be summed up as a satisfactory holiday film. Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, Jeremy Howard, T.J. Thyne, Lacey Kohl, Nadja Pionilla. Directed by: Ron Howard.
How to Commit Marriage (1969) PG romantic comedy
Bob Hope and Jane Wyman plays an older couple who are getting a divorce, but they chose the worst possible time to do it because their daughter has just announced her marriage plans. When she finds out that her parents are divorcing, she is shocked because she thought they had a "perfect marriage." So she and her fiancťe settle on just living together, they go on tour with popular rock band called "The Comfortable Chair" and if that isn't enough, they join a religious cult whose leader is called "The Baba Ziba." Meanwhile, Hope starts dating Maureen Arthur and Wyman dates Leslie Nielsen. It isn't particularly funny, but it might just be worth watching for stars, some of which werenít famous yet. Starring: Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Jane Wyman, Maureen Arthur, Leslie Nielsen, Tina Louise, Paul Stewart, Irwin Corey, Joanna Cameron, Tim Matheson. Directed by: Norman Panama.
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) NR romantic comedy
Basically a chick flick from 1953, this only has the benefit of starring now immortal screen legends Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable as three single women whose only aim in life is to marry rich men. But is that how you find true love? It's fluffy, dated and the majority of its jokes fall flat, but the film is not entirely unwatchable. Starring: Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alex D'Arcy. Directed by: Jean Negulesco.
Howard the Duck (1986) PG comedy
The rumors are true. This movie is terrible. And it doesn't even earn so-bad-it's-good accolades. It's just plain old bad. Howard lives in a world similar to ours, except it is inhabited with anthropomorphic ducks. For neither rhyme nor reason, he gets sucked through a space vortex and is deposited on earth. He immediately witnesses punks attacking a pop singer named Beverly (Lea Thompson). Despite being half their size, he is able to defeat them using a hand-to-hand fighting technique called "quack fu." By the way, the movie is chock-full of duck puns. "Quack fu" isn't even the worst of them. Howard spends the night at Beverly's place because it is raining and ducks don't like to get wet (?). She also invites her goofy scientist friend (Tim Robbins) over to see him. He of course wants to study him. And the movie goes downhill from there. Particularly uncomfortable are scenes that feature foreplay between Beverly and Howard. On the brighter side, makes Lea Thompson's character in Back To the Future trying to seduce her own son much less disturbing by comparison. Starring: Ed Gale, Chip Zien, Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, David Paymer, Paul Guilfoyle, Liz Sagal, Dominique Davalos. Directed by: Willard Huyck.
D (for Duck)
Howl's Moving Castle (2005) PG animated
Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away), who is one of the most imaginary directors of this day, strikes gold once again with this fantastical tale set in the early 20th Century of a girl who catches a curse that makes her 80 years old. She treads out into witch country to find the cure and with the help of a bouncing scarecrow, runs across the Howlís moving castle (resembling a metal-rubbish pile with feet). Inside, she assumes the position of the cleaning lady and Ö magical things happen! Miyazaki again proves that everything he touches turns to gold, even if thereís little making sense of the plot! Thereís nothing like a good, timeless Miyazaki film to spend day with Ö Voices of: Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Emily Mortimer, Blythe Danner, Billy Crystal, Jane Alan, Crispin Freeman, Josh Hutcherson, Jean Malone, Liliana Mumy, Mark Silverman. Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki.
Hud (1963) NR drama
Paul Newman stars as a boozing, womanizing farmer who struggles through life with his demanding father. This tale, that takes place in rural Texas, is actually very likable. Based on Larry McMurtry's novel, Horseman, Pass By, it is generally considered a classic. Starring: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal, Brandon de Wilde, Whit Bissell, John Ashley, Graham Denton, Val Avery, Sheldon Allman, Pitt Herbert, Peter Brooks. Directed by: Martin Ritt.
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) PG comedy
This is a very strange, yet almost unbelievably pleasing film from the Coen brothers. When Warring Hudsucker, the head of the huge conglomerate, Hudsucker Industries, commits suicide, the entire board is in a rut. Hudsucker didn't leave 87 percent of the company's stock to anyone, so it'll be public domain in the coming month. The board thinks it would be dandy to buy the stock back at its cheapest, so they decide to hire the biggest idiot they could find as the president. Enter Norville Barnes, played exquisitely by Robbins, who is a young man with big intentions. Amy Archer, played by Leigh, who does an impeccable imitation of Katherine Hepburn, is sent to follow this new executive to feature him in a story for her newspaper. The pace of this film is very odd and even more unpredictable. Very offbeat and indescribable! In fact, its peculiarity may completely disgust some viewers but please more. One of the most unique movies around! Starring: Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True. Directed by: Joel Coen.
Humoresque (1946) NR drama
I have mixed feelings about this film until I see an extreme close-up of middle-aged Joan Crawford's face. She is sitting in a theater balcony gazing upon a young solo violinist (John Garfield) looking so mad with lust that it causes his more age-appropriate love interest to storm out of the hall. That's an unforgettable cinematic experience where no word needed to transpire from anyone. Otherwise, this soap opera suffers occasional drabness. Garfield plays an intensely dedicated violinist who is financially struggling until he captures the interest of a wealthy arts patron (Crawford). The characters interesting enough for this to hold my interest, and supplementing the experience are extended classical concert sequences, which contain a healthy mix of familiar and unfamiliar pieces. Starring: Joan Crawford, John Garfield, Oscar Levant, J. Carrol Naish, Joan Chandler, Tom D'Andrea, Peggy Knudsen, Ruth Nelson. Directed by: Jean Negulesco.
The Hurricane (1999) R drama
Controversial upon release due to shameless biases and inaccuracies in the script, this is nonetheless a compelling drama about the arrest and conviction of prizefighter Ruben ďHurricaneĒ Carter and his eventual release 20 years later. The lead is superbly acted by Washington and the expert direction from Jewison will have you cheering until the climax. Starring: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Roen Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber, John Hannah, Dan Hedaya, Debbi Morgan, Clancy Brown. Directed by: Norman Jewison.
Hustle & Flow (2005) R drama
A fantastic performance from Terrence Howard highlights this rather routine film. Howard plays a pimp who strives to become a rap star. With the help of a few of his friends, he pours his life into a few songs, hoping to make it on the radio. This is a winning film that's engaging until the final scene, although it's hardly anything profound. It does, however, examine and expose the true art of music making, which you don't even have to enjoy rap music to appreciate. Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji Henson, Paula Jai Parker, Elise Neal, Issac Hayes, D.J. Qualls, Ludacris. Directed by: Craig Brewster.
The Hustler (1961) NR drama
One of Paul Newmanís career defining roles. He stars as a brash, young pool hustler with an ego who challenges whoís, unofficially, the greatest pool player in the world (Jackie Gleason). Unfortunately, his lack of discipline makes him, as he is called, a loser. This is a vastly entertaining film that shows why multi-dimensional characters are so dang important in movies. Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine, Stefan Gierasch, Clifford A. Pellow, Jake LaMotta, Gordon B. Clarke, Alexander Rose, Carolyn Coates, Carl York, Vincent Gardenia. Directed by: Robert Rossen.
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