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List of "M" Movies

M (1931) NR thriller

This expertly made chiller, based on a true story, is about a psychotic child murderer (Peter Lorre in an utterly astounding performance) and the eventual capture of him. This masterpiece is simply a must for all wannabe avid film buffs! This is Lorreís movie debut, and it immediately launched him into stardom. Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Grundgens, Theo Lingen, Theodor Loos, Georg John, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Paul Kemp. Directed by: Fritz Lang. A

Ma (2019) R horror

After a gaggle of high school kids are busted for underage drinking, the woman who supplied them the booze, Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer), offers to let them party regularly in her basement. She becomes popular, and the kids affectionately dub her as Ma. But when her behavior starts to grow erratic, the kids bail on her. Turns out this drudged up some deeply seeded resentment from her own teenage years -- being treated poorly by popular kids who used to go out drinking. The idea behind this film is fine, and Spencer takes the opportunity to play a creepy stalker, and she's quite good at it. What lets me down, however, is the tone and the pacing of the film. The slow reveal of Sue Ann's mental instability alone just isn't enough to generate a spine-tingling crescendo that a film like this needs. It also isn't clear to me when her mental snap occurs, which makes many of the gruesome things she does come across jarring rather than terrifying. Certain sub-threads, like Ma's Munchausen by Proxy treatment of her daughter also could have used better exposition. Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Missi Pyle, Tanyell Waivers, Allison Janney. Directed by: Tate Taylor. C-

MacGruber (2010) R comedy

MacGruber (Will Forte) is an inept action hero with a mullet (parody of MacGyver) who is asked to come out of retirement to locate a stolen nuclear warhead. He assembles a crack support team of sidekicks . . . but he accidentally blows them up with homemade C4. So he assembles a lesser crack team consisting of the meek Vicki St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig) and a by-the-books military man (Ryan Phillipe), who he hates. Will Forte's immutable dedication to this insanely arrogant character is unabashedly fun, and I laughed dozens of times. When it comes to a irrepressibly silly comedy like this, that is all I can hope for. Starring: Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Maya Rudolph, Powers Boothe, Timothy V. Murphy. Directed by: Jorma Taccone. B+

Mad City (1998) PG-13 drama

John Travolta unintentionally triggers a serious hostage alert inside a museum, which attracts massive media and public attention. Dustin Hoffman, news reporter, just happened to be in the museum at the time and ends up advising Travolta in his actions. The film starts off wonderfully, but greatly loses its steam toward the end. Its unpredictable conclusion tries to be inspirational but falls flat. Starring: Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Alan Alda, Mia Kirshner, Ted Levine, Robert Prosky, Blythe Danner, William Atherson. Directed by: Constantin Costa-Gravas. C+

Mad Dog and Glory (1993) R comedy

A great cast and script are put to good use in this memorable comedy. Robert De Niro stars as a lonely cop who saves the life of a notorious gangster (Bill Murray). To share his gratitude, he lets De Niro borrow a woman (Uma Thurman) for a week. At first, De Niro finds the situation disgusting, but he soon grows attached to her. This is an entertaining and marvelous film. Starring: Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, Uma Thurman, David Caruso, Mike Starr, Kathy Baker, Tom Towles, Derek Anunciation, Jack Wallace. Directed by: John McNaughton. A-

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005) PG documentary

This engaging documentary chronicles a year of the innovative ballroom dancing program of New York City's public school system and the final competition. It's fun watching the charming kids dance, it's inspiring to hear what they have to say about their future, and funny hearing their thoughts on the opposite gender. Most importantly, however, this film puts up an excellent case for keeping the arts alive in public schools. Directed by: Marilyn Agrelo. A-

Mad Max (1979) R action

Mel Gibson stars as a cop in this wonderfully entertaining action-fest. In the near future, vicious motorcycle gangs are terrorizing the world. When the gang kill his wife and kid, Gibson goes on a crazed rampage! Excellently action sequences alone makes viewing the film worthwhile. Try to watch the film in the original Australian English. The redubbing in American English was done dismally. Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keyes-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward. Directed by: George Miller. B+

Madagascar (2005) PG comedy

A zoo zebra (voice of Chris Rock) wishes to be released in the wild on his 10th birthday. He gets his wish much to the dismay of his friend the lion (voice of Ben Stiller) who, along with a hippo and giraffe, unwittingly tags along. This four-some find themselves in the title-country where they are forced to face the (not-so-tough) elements. They seem to do OK until the lion becomes hungry, and he starts looking at his friend in a different light. The jokes aren't funny and story isn't exciting, but the energy is maniacal enough to be entertaining. Voices of: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter. Directed by: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath. C

The Madness of King George (1994) PG-13 drama

This is a great, but not extraordinary, film about King George IIIís (Nigel Hawthorne) sudden decent into mental illness and his eventual recovery. The cast is full of colorful and memorable characters, and the set is marvelous. The story didnít seem to be milked to its full potential, however. Itís an entertaining film featuring an excellent performance by Hawthorne. Starring: Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, Amanda Donohoe, Rupert Everett, Rupert Graves, Ian Holm, Julian Wadham, Anthony Calf, John Wood, Jim Carter, Julian Rhind-Tutt. Directed by: Nicholas Hytner. B+

Mafia! (1998) PG-13 comedy

This goofy Jim-Abrahams-directed comedy spoofs chiefly The Godfather and Casino. Even though this is no comedy classic, it has some very funny moments mostly at the conclusion. This is a recommended film if you donít mind so many misses. Starring: Jay Mohr, Billy Burke, Christina Applegate, Pamela Gidley, Olympia Dukakis, Lloyd Bridges, Jason Fuchs, Joe Viterelli, Tony LoBianco, Blake Hammond, Phil Suriano. Directed by: Jim Abrahams. C+

Magnolia (1999) R drama

Even though this film is three hours long, I didn't notice the time fly by. What's more, indulgent films like this usually don't work too well, but it's excellent here. Weaving in and out of the lives of several people living in Los Angeles, this is a sweeping character study about life's insecurities. The poetic movements of the camera, fantastic performances from the cast, stunning character development, and an unexpected ending makes this an essential film for anyone who likes art movies. Starring: Jason Robards, Jr., Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, Melora Walters, Jeremy Blackman, Melinda Dillon, Emmanuel Johnson, April Grace, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Felicity Huffman, Ricky Jay, Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Henry Gibson. Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson. A

The Maid (1991) PG-13 romantic comedy

This might be stupid, but it can also pass as agreeable entertainment. Martin Sheen stars as a swingin' bachelor who goes to Paris on business. There, he runs across a beauty (Jacqueline Bisset) who Sheen deems worthy to chase after. He learns that she has a young daughter who is such a miserable brat that she manages to ward off every nanny that her mother hired. So, Sheen shows up at their house and tries his hand at being the nanny. The sappy ending is disgraceful, although I canít say that watching this was a total waste. Starring: Martin Sheen, Jacqueline Bisset, Victoria Shalet, Jean-Pierre Cassel, James Faulkner, Isabelle Guiard, Dominic Gould, Catherine Lachens, Joe Cosgrove, Carina Barone, Jerry Di Giacomo, Jean Martin, Philippe Dehesdin, Catherine Alcover, Remy Burkel. Directed by: Ian Toynton. C

Maid in Manhattan (2002) PG-13 romantic comedy

A loose variation of the Cinderella story. It isn't very good, but it's also harmless. Jennifer Lopez stars as Marisa, a maid at a high-end hotel who dreams of being promoted to manager. She lets her guard down, though, and breaks an important rule when she, just for kicks, tries on one of the hotel guest's clothing. She looks fabulous, of course, but while in these clothes she happens to catch the eye of a wealthy and powerful politician Chris (Ralph Feinnes). They go on a wonderful day date, even accompanied by her precarious 10-year-old son who has an "adorable" fascination with Richard Nixon. But would Chris still be interested in Marisa if he were to find out she's really a lowly hotel maid? The script is anemic and even its rather pathetic in its attempts to take on socio-economic issues. There are also woefully few laughs here. The two leads are fine but they also lack chemistry. But there is something I do find appealing about the film, and it is in an unexpected place: the supporting cast. They are weirdly great. Bob Hoskins, Natasha Richardson, Amy Sedaris, just to name a few. In the end, this is a film without substance, but I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid if you're looking for a brainless romantic comedy. Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richatrdson, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Posey, Frances Conroy, Chris Eigeman, Amy Sedaris, Marissa Matrone, Priscilla Lopez, Bob Hoskins, Lisa Roberts. Directed by: Wayne Wang. C

The Majestic (2001) PG drama

Jim Carrey stars as a blacklisted writer in the '50s who jumps into a river, gets amnesia and wakes up on a beach. He is discovered by an old man (Martin Landau) who claims that Carrey is his son who was lost during World War II. Carrey, who doesn't remember anything about his past, begins living this life in the small town -- whether it is his real one or not. Carrey gives a decent serious performance and this film is rather entertaining, but it is just too dull in spots for a full recommendation. Starring: Jim Carrey, Bob Balaban, Martin Landau, Gerry Black, Brent Briscoe, Karl Bury, Jeffrey DeMunn, Catherine Dent, Amanda Detmer, Shawn Doyle, Allen Garfield, Hal Holbrook. Directed by: Frank Carabont. C+

Major League (1989) R comedy

A new owner takes over the Cleveland Indians and she wants the team to move to Miami. Unfortunately for her, she can't move the team because of a lease. However, if attendance falls behind, the lease is void. So, she drafts a horrible team of misfits and has-beens. Can this unlikely mixture of misfits pull through for Cleveland? It's overall an entertaining sports/comedy but falls short of excellence. The character development was fine, but should have been explored further. Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Bob Uecker, Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes, Charles Cyphers, Chelcie Ross, Dennis Haysbert, Andy Romano. Directed by: David S. Ward. B

Major Payne (1995) PG-13 comedy

Damon Wayans cracks me up in this movie. Pretty much constantly. I can't get enough of his character and his brilliantly deadpan performance. I wish this movie had a sequel. I'd even risk it not being any good. Wayans plays Major Payne, a marine and killing machine who is forced into early retirement due to a lack of wars. He squints as he talks with a sneering, high-pitched Southern drawl. He tells his general: "Surely there must be somebody left who needs some killing, or some killing done for them." But the only job they have available for him is drill sergeant for a boys' military academy. While he resents having to look after boys, he accepts the job and expects nothing less of himself than putting in the same dedication that he puts into killing. While he makes it crystal clear he's not going to coddle the boys or put up with any tomfoolery (and he's very quick with those creative, snicker-inducing "drill sergeant" put-downs), he also proves to be quite protective of the his boys. For example, one of his cadets barely out of Kindergarten runs to him one night complaining of a monster in his closet. Instead of dismissing the boy or telling him to be brave, he takes out a high-caliber rifle and pumps the closet with bullets. He then quips "If he's still in there, he ain't happy." That's the moment the boy starts to see Payne as a father figure, something that had been sorely lacking in his life. As much as I realize that was meant to be a gag, I found that whole exchange adorable. While this film rather surprised me at how much I enjoyed it, I do have one glaring complaint about it: The main story arc, about the boys preparing for a tournament with a rival military academy, comes off trite and uninteresting. Nonetheless, chalk this up as an entertaining send-up of military films. Starring: Damon Wayans, Karyn Parsons, William Hickey, Steven Martini, Michael Ironside, Orlando Brown, Albert Hall, Andrew Harrison Leeds, Damien Dante Wayans, Chris Owen. Directed by: Nick Castle. B

Malibu Express (1985) R action

Notable for being the first of director Andy Sidaris' action/comedy/borderline-porn "Triple B" series. It's also the worst of them. What makes me say that is for an entirely superficial reason: The Playboy models who appear in this film aren't carrying guns. Normally I would be hesitant about knocking a film for something superficial like that, but when the entire purpose of a film is topless women, I won't make many excuses for what I demand. I turn on trash like this to see Playboy models run around in clumsily in impossibly high heels, performing action stunts, and putting on serious faces in close-ups as they shoot people. The supermodels don't do much here other than flash their boobs -- notwithstanding a brief lesbian shower scene. And that's a shame considering the lead character (Darby Hinton) is about as interesting as a wooden plank. Unless you're interested in seeing his naked butt. In which case, he's interesting. Starring: Darby Hinton, Sybil Danning, Art Metrano, Niki Dantine, Michael Andrews, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Lorraine Michaels, Brett Clark, Lori Sutton, Lynda Wiesmeier. Directed by: Andy Sidaris. F

Mallrats (1995) R comedy

This devolves into a mess, but I like it enough that I'd at least call it a glorious mess. Besides, much of the dialogue and situations are so funny that I find myself frequently giggling. The movie begins with two breakups. A young man named T.S. (Jeremy London) was planning to take his girlfriend Brandi (Clare Forlani) on a long trip to Florida. But she backs out after her television producer father (Michael Rooker) asks her to appear last-minute on his dating game show. T.S. and Brandi fight about that, and then it's Splitsville. The other break-up happens to T.S.'s longtime friend Brodie (Jason Lee) whose girlfriend (Shannen Doherty) finally had enough of his nihilistic man-child act. Licking their wounds, they spend the day at the local mall to cause frivolous mayhem . . . including interfering with the production of that game show that happens to be filming at the mall. I find this entertaining on the whole, but what drags it down is an action-adventure story-arc that just falls flat that involves Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) performing cartoonish stunts to help sabotage that game show. Not that this character having action-hero capabilities couldn't have added entertainingly to his mythos, but it just doesn't here. A highlight of the film is when Brodie, who is an avid comic book collector, gets to meet his hero Stan Lee, and has a life-changing moment. Starring: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Clare Forlani, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Renee Humphrey, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Stan Lee. Directed by: Kevin Smith. B-

A Man Called Adam (1966) NR drama

Music lovers rejoice! Here we have Sammy Davis, Jr. starring as a jazz trumpeter and singer, and he treats us to plenty of musical performances. Also joining in the fun is prominent appearances and musical performances from Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra Jr. It also stars Cicely Tyson who has a few scenes so intense that they left my mouth agape. Unfortunately all of this is betrayed by an anemic script and an all-too-standard story about a talented and popular musician whose life spirals out of control due to alcohol and his ill-temper. The movie also explores the impacts of racism in the South, but it doesn't have anything especially profound to say about it. As a result, I only enjoy this film in fits and bursts--but those did prove to be quite fantastic. Starring: Sammy David Jr., Louis Armstrong, Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Mel Torme, Peter Lawford. Directed by: Leo Penn. C

A Man For All Seasons (1966) NR drama

King Henry VIII wants to divorce his barren wife. The Pope won't approve of this, so Henry decides to kick the Catholic Church out of England and start a new one: the Church of England. Thomas Moore (Paul Scofield in an excellent performance) refuses to sign allegiance to this new church, and he is charged for treason and is sent to jail. This slow-paced but exuberant film illustrates one of English historyís most controversial topics with accuracy and style. The scenery is just terrific! It deservedly won six Oscars. Starring: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, John Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave. Directed by: Fred Zinnemann. A-

The Man of La Mancha (1972) PG musical

Peter O'Toole plays Miguel Cervantes, the idealist Spanish novelist who is put into prison for insulting the Catholic Church where the inmates are less than friendly. They steal his Bible and the only way he can get it back is if Cervantes entertains them with the intriguing tale of Don Quixote. Adapted from the enormously fantastic Broadway musical, this film adaptation is a complete disappointment. Neither OíToole nor Sophia Loren (all singing in their real voices) could do these brilliant songs justice. Even besides that debacle, the film just wasnít well made. This is a waste. Starring: Peter O'Toole, Sophia Loren, James Coco, Harry Andrews, John Castle, Brian Blessed. Directed by: Arthur Hiller. D+

Man of the House (2005) PG-13 comedy

Tommy Lee Jones is typecast as a straight-laced Texas Ranger who is assigned to protect a sorority house full of ditzy cheerleaders who witnessed a significant murder. The premise is nothing more than a male fantasy and the majority of the jokes fall flat. Certain plot points (such as Jones purchasing a powerful air conditioner just to get the girls to dress up) are unbelievable, and the overall script lacks continuity. It's somewhat amusing at times, however, but this isn't worth going out of your way to see. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Paula Garces, Monica Keena, Vanessa Ferlito, Kelli Garner, Anne Archer, Brian Van Holt, Shea Whigham, Terry Parks, R. Lee Ermey. Directed by: Stephen Herek. D+

Man on Fire (2004) R action

An entertaining but too far-fetched story stars Denzel Washington as a bodyguard who is hired to protect a 10-year-old (Dakota Fanning) from a very wealthy family in Mexico City from kidnapping. Inevitably, Washington fails at his task and, using all sorts of grisly violence, tracks her down. Itís average as far as action films go these days; itís Washingtonís solid lead performance that keeps it flowing well. Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Giannini, Radha Mitchell, Marc Anthony, Rachel Ticotin, Micky Rourke. Directed by: Tony Scott. C+

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) R sci-fi

This is a bizarre film starring the typecast David Bowie (even though itís his feature film debut) as an alien who comes down to Earth in search of water for his family, but he gets caught up in the general pleasures of being on Earth. An interesting film, but it certainly isnít light entertainment. For Bowie fans, this is a must. The DVD version contains about eight billion sex scenes. Starring: David Bowie, Candy Clark, Rip Town, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey, Jackson D. Kane, Rick Riccardo, Tony Mascia. Directed by: Nicolas Roeg. B+

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) NR thriller

Alfred Hitchcock remakes his own 1934 film with gusto. James Stewart and Doris Day star as a vacationing married couple who travels to Northern Africa. Suddenly, they find themselves mixed up in an assassination and then discover that their son was kidnapped! Determined to get things right, this couple travels to England to find out what's going on. Wonderfully thrilling Hitchcock film and is a great example of his ability to play our senses like Beethoven could play a piano. This is clearly one of Hitchcockís more underrated films. Starring: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles, Ralph Truman, Daniel Gelin, Alan Mowbray, Carolyn Jones, Hillary Brooke. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. A

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) NR western

This classic western, directed by John Ford, is nothing short of excellent as it follows the adventures of a fragile yet ambitious attorney-at-law (James Stewart) who stands up to vicious outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). John Wayne costars as a tough fellow who doesn't like Stewart, but watches his back anyway. This is a highly entertaining film filled with juicy characters and an exciting plot. Recommended! Starring: John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Ken Murray, John Carradine, Jeanette Nolan, Strother Martin. Directed by: John Ford. A-

The Man With One Red Shoe (1985) PG comedy

Tom Hanks stars as a professional violin player who is mistaken as a secret agent. This film is usually entertaining, but overall, it's nothing special. A remake of the 1973 French comedy "The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe." The cast, full of familiar faces, was put to good use. Starring: Tom Hanks, Dabney Coleman, Lori Singer, Charles Durning, Carrie Fisher, Edward Herrmann, James Belushi, Irving Metzman, Tom Noonan, Gerrit Graham, David L. Lander, Ritch Brinkley. Directed by: Stan Dragoti. C+

The Man With Two Brains (1983) R comedy

Steve Martin stars in this slight-plotted but uproariously funny comedy as a wealthy brain surgeon who is tricked into marrying an evil but lovely lady (Kathleen Turner). When he's in a colleague's laboratory, he notices that he is able to telepathically talk to a brain kept alive in a special liquid. Upon further conversing with it, they fall in love. This goofy early Martin flick is a must see for the fans. Starring: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner, Paul Benedict, Richard Brestoff, James Cromwell, George Furth, Randi Brooks. Directed by: Carl Reiner. B

The Man Without a Past (2002) PG-13 drama

A compelling drama and Finnish export about a man (Markku Peltola) who loses his memory after being brutally mugged and is forced to start over again in life (but he can get neither a job nor a house because he cannot remember his name). Fortunately for him, the Salvation Army takes care of him, and he soon becomes romantically involved with one of the volunteers (Kati Outinen). Itís slow going, but rewarding. Starring: Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Juhani Niemela, Kaija Pakarinen, Sakiri Kuosmanen, Annikki Tahti. Directed by: Aki Kaurismaki. B+

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) R thriller

Itís certainly solid remake of the classic thriller from 1962, but it hardly surpasses the breadth of the original. Unfortunately, director Jonathan Demme favors seat-shifting grizzly violence to the original filmís sense of class. At any rate, the actors in here are extremely good, and the plot is quite a bit different, which should at least give a little bit of surprise to fans of the original. Starring: Denzel Washington, Live Schrieber, Meryl Streep, Jon Voight, Kimberly Elise, Jeffrey Wright, Ted Levine, Bruno Ganz, Simon McBurney, Vera Farmiga, Robyn Hitchcock, Miguel Ferrer. Directed by: Jonathan Demme. B

Manhattan (1979) R comedy

An excellent movie from Woody Allen is quite similar to his other famous comedy, Annie Hall. He plays a 42-year-old man who deals with several interesting relationships with people, including one with intellectual Diane Keaton. Many funny moments (but not nearly as funny as Annie Hall), the George Gershwin musical score and the abundant plot substance makes Manhattan delightful and highly entertaining. Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michel Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne, Karen Ludwig, Michael O'Donoghue. Directed by: Woody Allen. A

The Manhattan Project (1986) PG-13 drama

It may be too cheesy and unbelievable for many viewers, but this is fairly good nonetheless. Smart teen, Christopher Collet, discovers the laboratory his mother's boyfriend works at secretly makes atomic bombs. He sneaks inside the lab, steals some plutonium, and makes his own bomb to bring this out in the open. However, the Feds find out. The film contains well-constructed suspense toward the end. Starring: John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, Cynthia Nixon, Jill Eikenberry, John Mahoney, Sully Boyar, Richard Council, Robert Schenkkan, Paul Austin, Adrian Sparks, Curt Dempster. Directed by: Marshall Brickman. B-

Manny & Lo (1996) R drama

This is a sluggish movie about two drifting sisters (Aleska Palladino and Scarlett Johansson) who are without parents. Palladino becomes pregnant, so she kidnaps a maternity store employee (Mary Kay Place) and they squat in a seldom-occupied summer home. Though the plot is unlikely (hampered by a few ridiculous turn-of-events), it's saved by a thoughtful conclusion. Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Aleska Palladino, Mary Kay Place, Glenn Fitzgerald, Angie Phillips, Dean Silvers. Directed by: Lisa Krueger. B-

Mansfield Park (1998) R comedy

This is a hugely entertaining if loose film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. It is not only well acted but engaging and funny. Frances OíConnor stars as the meek Fanny Price who was born poor but given the opportunity to grow up with rich relatives. As she grows up, she is more well spoken and educated than the other children she lived with, but her class always gets in her way. She also has to decide whether or not she wants to accept a marriage proposal from her wealthy neighbor (Alessandro Nivola). This is a well done period piece with marvelous scenery. Starring: Frances OíConnor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, Harold Pinter, Lindsay Duncan. Directed by: Patricia Rozema. A-

Marathon Man (1976) R thriller

This film is incredibly exciting (but not without the occasional slow-spot). Dustin Hoffman stars as a man who is caught up with an internationally wanted Nazi. The plot is somewhat difficult to follow, but the film is vastly entertaining, nonetheless. Laurence Olivier is wonderfully frightening as the Nazi! Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane, Marthe Keller, Fritz Weaver. Directed by: John Schlesinger. B+

March of the Penguins (2004) G documentary

This is one of the most celebrated documentaries, and for good reason. Not only is this an educational film, which documents the mating habits of penguins, but it's a poetic one as well. It's also pretentious, but it managed to capture my attention quite well. The cinematography is utterly spellbinding. The filmmakers truly did a nice job with this one. Starring: Frances OíConnor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, Harold Pinter, Lindsay Duncan. Directed by: Luc Jacquet. A

Marnie (1964) NR thriller

This tense and exciting Alfred Hitchcock feature stars Tippi Hedren as a troubled thief whose misdeeds go noticed by Sean Connery. He uses this information as blackmail and forces Hedren to marry him (very un-Bond-like). However, Connery soon realizes that there is something mental this woman that is making her go berzerk; perhaps she's slowly going crazy, or maybe it's something else. Marnie doesnít deserve a spot on Hitchcock's finest, but it's nevertheless one that fans should not miss. Starring: Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, Bob Sweeney, Milton Selzer, Alan Napier. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. B+

Marry Me (2022) PG-13 comedy

One of those romantic comedies that's just affable enough that I couldn't actually be bothered to dislike it. Which is hardly a ringing endorsement but at least an acknowledgment that I found very select bits and pieces of this enjoyable. Most especially, Sara Silverman as the comic relief, who has a charming habit of nailing what little she had to work with in the script. I let out slight chuckles in most the scenes she was in. Also, I guess I appreciate the uniqueness of the premise, albeit it was squandered by an uninteresting script and completely unconvincing screen chemistry between the two romantic leads -- Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Lopez stars as Kat Valdez, a pop diva who appears to be more universally recognized and beloved in this universe than Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Cher all put together. She was set to marry a fellow pop star named Bastian (Maluma) on stage during a concert. However, right before the ceremony was to start, news got out that Bastian was cheating on her. At her wits end, and after a lifetime of failed romances, she decides to go through with the ceremony anyway. Except in Bastian's place, she picks a random dude from the crowd -- a lowly math teacher (Wilson). Because why not? Good thing he happened to be single. Anyway, the unlikely romance follows the familiar patterns of rising, falling and rising again. Perhaps worth a watch if you're into inoffensive romantic comedies that you'll quickly forget about. Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley, Sarah Silverman, Kat Cunning, Chloe Coleman, Michelle Buteau. Directed by: Kat Coiro. C-

Mars Attacks! (1996) PG-13 comedy

Tim Burton directs this whacked-out comedy about strange looking aliens (that sound like Donald Duck) coming to earth with questionable motives. Burton succeeds once again in creating an abnormal and though oddly familiar world that is incredibly eye dazzling! A great cast with many famous faces, most of whom die by the end credits, make this even more merrier. Starring: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Martin Short, Pierce Brosnan, Luke Haas, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Natalie Portman, Rod Steiger, Paul Winfield, Annette Bening Sylvia Sidney, Danny DeVito, Tom Jones, Pam Grier, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie. Directed by: Tim Burton. B+

Marty (1955) NR drama

This movie is heartbreaking on so many levels, and it has an ending so wonderful that it makes me cheer. Legend has it that Ernest Borgnine made the cameraman cry during the audition, and it's easy to see why. He is a lonely heart, a 34-year-old butcher who lives with his mother, constantly reminded by family and friends that he isn't married. He wants to get married--that's all he's ever wanted. He goes to a dance and finds that he is rebuffed by any woman he approaches. But then he witnesses a young woman (Betsy Blair) getting ditched by her date, who unceremoniously calls her a "dog." He hardly thinks so, so he starts talking to her, and they hit it off. So well that they both think they're onto something. This could be the most ordinary love story ever told on screen, and it's beautiful. One of the few romantic movies that feels genuine to me and that I feel personally invested in. Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli, Joe Mantell, Karen Steele, Jerry Paris, Frank Sutton. Directed by: Delbert Mann. A+

Mary of Scotland (1936) NR drama

A straightforward costume drama that's elevated greatly by the sheer presence of Katharine Hepburn as the title character. Who of course is given ample opportunity to show off that trembling bottom lip. She sets sail from France to Scotland to claim her throne as its queen. She has little experience of political affairs in Scotland, and her advisors are terribly leery of her. Further, in addition to her right to the Scottish throne, she also has legitimate claim to the English one, which doesn't sit well with Queen Elizabeth (Florence Eldridge). Nonetheless, Mary asserts her leadership, even refusing to marry anyone chosen by her advisors or whom Elizabeth prefers. More or less, this is a straight retelling of history. The dialog is fine and even poetic in spots -- but the film is all quite melodramatic, typical of Hollywood of the era. The cinematography is capable, but it could have used more of an artistic flair to make the characters pop out the screen a little better. I wish the script took less of an encyclopedic approach to the subject and tried to flesh out some insights into what might going on in Mary's mind. Why did she want the crown in Scotland, and what on earth would cause her to eye English one? Perhaps that means this would've gone more into speculative territory, but I thought the whole point of movies was to flesh out details that the books don't tell us. As it stands, though, I do enjoy watching this film. Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Douglas Walton, John Carradine, Robert Barrat, Gavin Muir, Ian Keith, Moroni Olsen, William Stack, Ralph Forbes, Donald Crisp. Directed by: John Ford. B-

M*A*S*H (1970) PG comedy

An oftentimes gut-busting satire, this anti-war film chronicles the exploits of surgeons and staff at the 4077th Medical Army Surgical Hospital during the height of the Korean War. Insubordinate from the get-go, two new recruits "Hawkeye" (Donald Sutherland) and "Duke" (Tom Skerritt) arrive for duty by way of a stolen Army jeep. They quickly find another irreverent ally in "Trapper" (Elliott Gould), who isn't even afraid of calling a pompous General a "Dirty Old Man" to his face. This trio wreaks anarchy at their base except where it counts: the operating table. They are exceptional surgeons, responsibility they take with grave seriousness. Their arch-enemy is the hypocritical Bible-thumper Frank Burns and his secret lover, Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan. How she got stuck with that nickname is shown in this film. To those familiar with the TV series only, beware this film's humor is quite a bit more dark and biting. The narrative is told in a series of vignettes -- perhaps the most memorable scene being a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek one involving a dentist who is dead-set on committing suicide. Instead of trying to talk him out of it, these surgeons concoct a suicide pill (that's actually just a sleeping pill), and give him a "last supper." Condescending, yes, but it managed to be simultaneously darkly hilarious and also heartfelt. No doubt, their suicidal friend found deeply satisfying catharsis from the activity. This is a film filled with rich, nuanced characters -- even those that don't occupy much screen time. I love this movie. It's one that I revisit from time to time, and it doesn't fail to make me laugh. Starring: Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Jo Ann Pflug, Rene Auberjonois, Roger Bowen. Directed by: Robert Altman. A

The Mask (1996) PG-13 comedy

The role that Jim Carrey was born to play. A derivative of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Carrey stars as Stanley Ipkiss, a likable everyman who is picked on by his coworkers, his landlord, and he can hardly even dream of wooing a woman like Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz) who happened to wander into his bank. But one fateful evening, he finds a mysterious mask that, when he puts it on, he's transformed into a green-faced, Zoot-suit-wearing goblin known as The Mask -- capable of doing in real life anything that The Wolf from Tex Avery's "Red Hot Riding Hood" was relegated to only doing in the cartoon world. (That's where Carrey gets to test the full range of his hyperkinetic slapstick, and the core entertainment value of this film is just how extremely convincing he is as a human cartoon.) But then the next morning he wakes up in his home with barely any memory of what he'd done. Was it all a dream? While I wouldn't call this film gut-bustlingly hilarious, it's still a tremendously fun, flashy watch. Especially that (iconic?) scene where The Mask compels the entire police force to participate in a rendition of "Cuban Pete." Starring: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Green, Peter Riegert, Amy Yasbeck, Orestes Matacena, Richard Jeni. Directed by: Chuck Ressell. B

The Mask of Zorro (1998) PG-13 action

This excellently fun update of the Zorro legacy didn't come a second too soon. When the original Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) passes his torch to novice-Zorro Antonio Banderas, he must stop the evil Don Rafael Montero from buying the land of California from Mexico with Mexico's own gold that was secretly dug-up by suffering slaves. This is a winning swashbuckler! Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Letscher, Mauray Chaykin, Tony Amendola, Pedro Armendariz, L.Q. Jones, William Marquez, Jose Perez, Victor Rivers. Directed by: Martin Campbell. B+

Masterminds (1997) PG-13 thriller

Patrick Stewart plays a high-tech criminal who takes a high-profile private school hostage to receive 75 million dollars from the rich parents. However, he didn't anticipate a child mastermind to get in his way. Unfortunately, the film is unlikely and never gets exciting. It can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a film featuring a kid's bag full of tricks like Home Alone, a technical-genius-takes-on film like WarGames, or a hopeless situation solved by an insignificant person like Independence Day. It fails at all those aspects. The only redeeming quality of the film is the mere chance to see Patrick Stewart on the screen again. Starring: Patrick Stewart, Vincent Kartheiser, Brenda Fricker, Bradley Whitford, Matt Craven, Annabelle Gurwitch, Jon Abrahams. Directed by: Roger Christian. D

Masters of the Universe (1987) PG fantasy

The actors are flesh-and-blood, but their personalities are plastic just like the line of action figures this film is based on. Dolph Lundgren plays He-Man, an extraterrestrial warrior with chiseled, shiny muscles, blond mullet, and leather loincloth. He and several sidekicks are chasing after a device called the "cosmic key." Their aim is to find it before their arch nemesis, Skeletor, does. Skeletor is played by Frank Langella whose scenes of hyper-caffeinated super-villainy constitute easily the film's most enjoyable parts. The "cosmic key" looks like a trumpet, but when you push its keys, you hear booming synthesizer notes. A seemingly fun thing to play with, but don't: A certain combination of notes will open a portal to a different world. Of the places in the universe it could have ended up, it ends up in suburban New Jersey. The fish-out-of-water angle could have led to some laughs, but that isn't really played up, other than there just being strangely dressed people running around civilization who have a quirky affinity for fried chicken. As much as this is a poor film, I appreciate that it maintains a faithful rendition of the action figures. Indeed, a child imagining their toys coming to life needn't feel betrayed by what they see onscreen. For that reason, this movie hits me with a pang of nostalgia. I never watched or played with anything He-Man, but it just fondly reminds what I did play with and how the magic of cinema could bring them to life. Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Billy Barty, Courtney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher, Chelsea Field, James Tolkan. Directed by: Roger Christian. C

The Matador (2005) R comedy

This fun crowd pleaser features a fantastic performance from Pierce Brosnan who plays an assassin on the verge of a mental breakdown. Also starring is Greg Kinnear, a chronically unlucky man on a business trip in Mexico. They meet and become good friends (and Brosnan's only friend). The plot falls apart toward the end, but there are still some wicked-good laughs throughout the film. Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Adam Scott, Dylan Baker. Directed by: Richard Shepard. B+

Match Point (2005) R drama

Woody Allen directs (but doesn't star) in this engaging drama about a handsome young tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) who finds that his life is totally secured once he marries the daughter (Emily Mortimer) of a wealthy businessman (Brian Cox). However, he actually falls in love with a beautiful American actress (Scarlett Johansson), and they undergo a steamy affair. Allen tells a solid story with an ample amount of human emotion in the mix! This is one of his best films. A British film, this is one of the few Allen movies not to take place in New York, and it's a refreshing change of pace. Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton, Ewen Bremner, James Nesbitt, Rupert Penry-Jones, Margaret Tyzack. Directed by: Woody Allen. A

Matilda (1996) PG comedy

Adapted from Roald Dahl's beloved children's novel, this is a fun fantasy/comedy about an amazingly smart child, her scumbag parents, her sadistic principal and her sweet kindergarten teacher. It's astonishingly eye pleasing with an out-of-this-world set, cast and plot. Definitely recommended for family viewing! Iíd wager Dahl would have been happy with this. Starring: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, Paul Reubens, Tracey Walter, Brian Levinson, Jean Speegle Howard, Sara Magdalin. Directed by: Danny DeVito. B+

Matinee (1993) PG comedy

This entertaining comedy is about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how a small Florida town reacts to rumors that a nuclear war could be triggered at any moment. John Goodman plays a big time B-grade sci-fi movie producer who's coming in town to sneak preview his new monster flick. Even though Matinee is sometimes sappy, it remains a fun flick with good special effects. There are also moments of sheer hilarity. Starring: John Goodman , Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakub, Kellie Martin, Jesse Lee, Lucinda Jenny, James Villemaire, Robert Picardo, Jesse White, Dick Miller, John Sayles, David Clennon, Luke Haplin. Directed by: Joe Dante. B+

Maverick (1994) PG comedy

Just a fun movie, if nothing else. The cast looked like they were having a blast, and so much of that infectious energy radiates off the screen and into my entertainment-starved brain. Mel Gibson in particular is great as the cavalier Bret Maverick, a gambler who lives by the seat of his pants. Quite literally, as this movie opens, he is tied up sitting on a horse and with a noose around his neck. As the horse casually saunters away from the tree, the only thing that keeps him alive is the friction between the saddle and his pants. He was put in this position by a gambler and quasi-outlaw Angel (Alfred Molina), who was hired by an unknown party to prevent Maverick from attending a hyper-high-stakes riverboat poker tournament. The bulk of this movie is a flashback showing what led Maverick to be in this precarious predicament. This tournament he's determined to get into has entry fee of $25,000 with the prize being $1 million. Maverick trots around the Wild West trying to wrangle up that entry fee, which involves a combination of calling in old debts, winning smaller poker tournaments, and even at one point letting a rich Russian tourist shoot him. Along the way, he meets and becomes romantically entangled with a beautiful con artist Annabelle (Jodie Foster) and develops a reluctant camaraderie with a Marshall, Zane Cooper (James Garner, who played Maverick on the original TV show). This film might only aim for the middle, but it hits that middle right on the bullseye. I used to watch this over and over when I was a kid, and I still have tremendous amount of fun with it. Definite recommend if you're looking for fun. Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul L. Smith, Dan Hedaya, Dennis Fimple, Denver Pyle, Clint Black. Directed by: Richard Donner. A-

Maybe Baby (2001) R comedy

Hugh Laurie stars as a screenwriter who is trying to conceive a child with his wife (Joley Richardson). They continue to be unsuccessful, along with Laurie's career. Then, taking it as inspiration, he begins writing a secret screenplay about their experiences. Considering the fantastic cast and the subject matter, this film shouldn't have been so tame. This could have and should have been funnier. Starring: Hugh Laurie, Joley Richardson, Rowan Atkinson, Dawn French, Tom Hollander, Adrian Lester, Joanna Lumley, James Purefoy, Rachael Stirling, Emma Thompson, Paul Tripp. Directed by: Ben Elton. C+

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) R western

Robert Altman directs this interesting art flick that surely those interested in analyzing cinema probably already know by heart. Warren Beatty stars as a whorehouse owner who doesn't have much of a knack for business until a British businesswoman (Julie Christie) joins him. This film is said to have upturned all the cliches of typical westerns, and it does just that. As far as cinematic entertainment goes, however, this isn't too mainstream! Nevertheless, this is one of Altman's more celebrated films, and it deserves the status. Starring: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Corey John Fischer, Keith Carradine, Tom Hill, Graeme Campbell, Linda Sorenson, Janet Wright. Directed by: Robert Altman. A-

McHale's Navy (1997) PG comedy

Another entry in the long line of 1990s films based on television shows from the 1960s. Clearly, this is one of the worst. Which is saying something. Tom Arnold stars as Quinton McHale, a retired army commander, who hangs around a tropical naval base with lax adherence to military regulations where he sells things like ice cream and beer to troops. The place is in store for a shake-up when a half-wit captain looking to prove himself (Dean Stockwell) takes over. It also just so happens a terrorist (Tim Curry) sets up operation at a ballpark on the island. As interesting as it is to see Dean Stockwell playing an idiot, this is a tiring film. It's full of annoying characters, dumb dialogue, gags that aren't funny, and a completely uninteresting story arc. A waste of everyone involved. Starring: Tom Arnold, Tim Curry, Dean Stockwell, David Alan Grier, Debra Messing, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Baley, French Stewart, Danton Stone, Henry Cho, Bruce Campbell, Anthony Jesse Cruz, Tommy Chong, Scott Cleverdon. Directed by: Brian Spicer. D

Mean Creek (2003) R drama

This heavy-hitting drama involves a group of kids who decide to play a mean prank on a bully whilst on a boat trip down a river. However, this prank turns out to have disasterous consequences. This is an effective and unforgettable drama from first-time director Jacob Aaron Estes. Starring: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, Carly Shroeder. Directed by: Jacob Aaron Estes. A-

Mean Girls (2004) PG-13 comedy

Lindsay Lohan is Cady (pronounced "Katie"), a recently transplanted high school student, formally homeschooled in Africa. She struggles to navigate through a complicated world of cliques. She quickly makes friends with a small group of outsiders who convince her to start hanging around a trio of vain, pretty girls known as "The Plastics." Its leader is the self-absorbed Regina (Rachel McAdams). At first, her purpose is just to observe but eventually becomes one of them. This film is kept lively by Tina Fey's script, loaded with jokes and quirky side characters--in particular Tim Meadows' small role as the principal who invests himself a little too much following the latest school gossip. Fey also appears as an awkward math teacher, and Amy Poehler is funny as the "cool mom," not like other moms. While not all the jokes land, enough do that I'm left consistently chuckling. Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Neil Flynn, Jonathan Bennett. Directed by: Mark Waters. A-

Meatballs (1979) PG comedy

This teen comedy about a co-ed summer camp doesn't aim for crude laughs. All it wants is to be liked. The tone is kept breezy, the storyline wholesome. At the end of the film, the kids and counselors leave their beloved summer camp on a bittersweet note. They actually had a nice time. Just like the nice time I had watching this. Where the film lacks in gags and belly laughs, it makes up for in charm. Much of the credit belongs to Bill Murray, as head counselor Tripper, whose wry, lighthearted jibes throughout are consistently amusing. He's the coolest of the counselors. He likes to play pranks on the camp director Morty (Harvey Atkin) and encourages the kids to call him Mickey. Tripper also has a soft spot. He notices a shy boy, Rudy (Chris Makepeace), having a rough time at camp, and he helps boost his self-esteem. These scenes aren't as poignant as they could be, but they do their job. It takes a little while for the film to start realizing it needed a plot. It comes by way of an annual Olympics-style competition with a neighboring rich-kid summer camp. Midway through the games, they are despondent over their poor performance. Until Tripper comes in with a rousing chant of "It doesn't matter!" An enlightening message for the American slacker. Starring: Bill Murray, Harvey Atkin, Kate Lynch, Russ Banham, Kristine DeBell, Sarah Torgov. Directed by: Ivan Reitman. B

Medicine Man (1992) PG-13 drama

This film about a man who finds the cure for cancer in the tropical rain forest of South America is a little bit better than it was cracked up to be. However, all it boils down to is a lame politically correct message that "the rain forests must be saved!!!Ē and it's put rather bluntly at that. Not the perfect of scripts, but the always-watchable Sean Connery will hold your interest. Starring: Sean Connery, Lorraine Bracco, Jose Wilker, Rofolfo DeAlexandre, Francisco Tsirene Tsere Rereme, Elias Monteiro DaSilva, Edinei Maria Serrio Dos Santos. Directed by: John McTiernan. B-

Meet Joe Black (1998) PG-13 romance

Old fashioned, bloated, and dumb. Yet I found myself swept up by it. Chalk that up to the old Hollywood sheen. This really is a nice film to look at. The cinematography is oftentimes breathtaking, and there are some great Hollywood A-listers in the cast who are always fun to spend time with. It's also a nice movie to listen to -- with the plethora of well-timed orchestral swells. We even get swells in the middle of what would otherwise be fairly mundane dialogue -- some of which moves so slowly that it's almost comical. And that leads me to mention that this movie has a fantastical premise that would have make more sense for a 90-minute light comedy rather than a sprawling 3-hour romance. Nevertheless, for what this movie is, it's decent. The film is about a wealthy businessman Bill Parish (Anthony Hopkins) who suffers a fatal heart attack near his 65th birthday. However, he is temporarily spared from dying when Death himself (Brad Pitt) asks him to show him around Earth. In exchange, Bill gets to hang around a while and settle his affairs. Things get spicy when Death unexpectedly falls in love with Bill's daughter (Claire Forlani). Of course, Bill isn't too thrilled about this romance. Undermining the effort are a few cringe scenes. In particular when Joe starts talking to a dying Jamaican lady using a Jamaican accent. I get it -- Joe can speak all languages fluently, but that doesn't mean I won't bursting out laughing when clearly that was meant to be a tender moment. Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor, David S. Howard, Lois Kelly Miller, Marylouise Burke, June Squibb. Directed by: Martin Brest. B-

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) NR musical

A gentle and sweet film but also with spice and lots of character. Also, this is one of Judy Garland's key roles. Not only is her acting pitch perfect, but she also gives her iconic musical performances of "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The narrative is a bit light, though. It's a year-in-the-life of an upper middle-class St. Louis family during the run-up to the 1903 World's Fair. I sometimes have a difficult time appreciating such trifling material, but I find these characters quite engaging and well-developed. The older girls (including Garland) are coming of age and getting interested in acquiring serious love interests. 1903-style of course. That's mainly what we're watching here. The comic relief is the youngest girl of the clan Tootie (Margaret O'Brien, in a performance almost as phenomenal as Garland's) who is precarious and quite funny -- mainly owing to her frequent and rather shockingly violent ruminating. The head of the household (Leon Ames) keeps a firm, steady hand, but he's an old softie and therefore also lovable himself. While I came into this movie expecting to like it, I came out of it surprised at how much I actually adored it. Really nothing more or less than an utterly charming way to spend time. Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Leon Ames, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, June Lockhart, Henry H. Daniels, Joan Carroll, Hugh Marlowe. Directed by: Vicente Minnelli. A-

Meet the Feebles (1989) R comedy

This hellishly warped black comedy aims to corrupt everything I hold dear from my childhood. This is Jim Henson's fever dream, a bizarro Muppets -- The Feebles. These aren't friendly, fuzzy characters who live to put smiles on our faces. They are utter miscreants -- drug addicts, sexual deviants, murderers. Heidi the Hippo, the star, is a manic depressive with an eating disorder. Wynard the Frog is a heroine addict and knife thrower with extremely shaky hands. There's also a rat who films pornographic videos backstage. These, among others, are stars of the Feeble Variety Hour -- a program in rehearsals and set to go live later that evening. A plucky newcomer is Robert the Hedgehog, honored to be working with these legends, but quickly becomes disillusioned with all this horrible depravity he's seeing. Despite the outlandish disgustingness of this movie, the writing is as sharp as it is wickedly funny. Heidi the Hippo, for instance, has a far more highly defined character than the vast majority of leading characters I see in mainstream films. The puppets themselves are uniquely crafted -- of course not quite like Henson's but still impressive for a one-off spoof. The special effects that frequently involve blood gushing out of mutilated bodies are also hilariously gruesome. This is a movie clearly not for the weak of heart, mind or stomach. In my case, I appreciate when I see a film so brazen as to test the extremes. Starring: Mark Hadlow, Peter Vere-Jones, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie. Directed by: Peter Jackson. B+

Meet the Fockers (2004) PG-13 comedy

The dreaded lazy sequel. The first film subsisted on back-and-forth banter between Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and his future father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro) and did reasonably well with it. This sequel pits the Byrnes against Greg's parents (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand), who are even more annoying. Almost nothing about their interactions are funny. And if it felt like I got my fill of jokes in the first film about how "Focker" sounds a lot like a certain obscene word, there are enough of those in this sequel to rupture my stomach. The weirdest thing in this movie is Jack babysitting his grandchild and being so hyper-invested in his cognitive development that he wears a prosthetic boob and breastfeeds him. It's so painfully unfunny, mainly because he'd spent the previous movie pointing out how unmanly Greg Focker is. But a man breastfeeding a child is about the least manly thing imaginable short of giving birth. Now, if Dustin Hoffman's character (being a hyper Liberal to DeNiro's hyper conservative) tried doing that and got caught, that would have at least been been more conventionally funny. While there are a few gags here or there in this movie that made me chortle, I found that I didn't do that nearly as often as I groaned. Starring: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Tim Blake Nelson, Alanna Ubach, Ray Santiago. Directed by: Jay Roach. C-

Meet the Parents (2000) PG-13 comedy

A situation ripe for farce, and this film does reasonably well with it. It's that dreaded time in the life of any man looking to get married: The first meeting with the in-laws. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is an awkward male nurse (being a male nurse was apparently so unusual in the early '00s that everyone needed to comment on it), but he has a heart of gold. Nothing, however, could have prepared him for his uber-conservative future father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro). The mother-in-law (Blythe Danner) is nice, though, and doesn't have much to do, so we won't talk about her anymore. Jack is a retired CIA agent who is obsessed with video surveillance, has razor-sharp attention to detail, and trusts no one. (Though a pretty major plot-hole that you could drive a tractor through: This man doesn't recognize at one point in the film that his beloved house cat, Mr. Jinx, was briefly replaced with an impostor.) Murphy's Law is alive and well as Greg's visit is filled with mishap after mishap, misunderstanding after misunderstanding. Most of which would have been avoided had Greg known when to shut up. But then we wouldn't have gotten deep into that silly conversation about how it's theoretically possible to milk a cat. Other situations come off outlandish, for instance the polygraph scene -- clearly included because it made for a memorable image on the poster. However, in the context of the film didn't make a lot of sense. The gags are hit-or-miss. But in the end, chalk this up as a decent, cutesy, mainstream film that even concludes fairly well. Starring: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Nicole Dehuff, Jon Abrahams, Tom McCarthy, Phyllis George, James Rebhorn, Owen Wilson, Kali Rocha. Directed by: Jay Roach. B-

Melinda and Melinda (2004) PG-13 comedy

Woody Allen (who directs but doesn't star) delivers this film that is too talky and not witty enough. This is a film that's supposed to try to explain the blurred lines between comedy and tragedy, but it comes off as utterly pretentious. However, there are some good flares of entertainment in here that should please Woody Allen's greatest fans. Starring: Radha Mitchell, Chloe Sevigny, Johnny Lee Miller, Will Ferrell, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Wallace Shawn, Josh Brolin, Gene Saks, Vinessa Shaw, Steve Carell. Directed by: Woody Allen. C+

Memento (2000) R thriller

A clever idea and a little more than that. Guy Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a man who lost the ability to retain his short-term memory on the same day his wife was murdered. Ever since then, Leonard has been on a mission for revenge. But without his short term memory, he can only retain information from moment-to-moment. To keep track of anything long term, he keeps a series of notes and Polaroid photographs. Anything especially important he gets tattooed on his body. What makes this film unique is that it's told backwards. It begins with Leonard brutally shooting a man named John Gammell in the head. The rest of the film are the moments that lead up to that. The effect being that at the beginning of each "memory refresh" the audience is exactly as disoriented as the main character. This makes an often fascinating watch, and many of the action scenes are blood-pumping and wonderful, although I will say that its final twist perhaps didn't strike me as breathtaking as it seems like it should have been. Some the acting also comes off a bit wooden. But minor complaints about such a unique film. Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Stephen Toblowsky, Mark Boone, Jr., Harriet Sansom Harris. Directed by: Christopher Nolan. B+

Memphis Belle (1990) PG-13 war

This is an account of a World War II airforce unit that is about to perform its 25th mission (the cut-off point to where the pilots are sent home). Of course, things donít quite go as pleasantly as the pilots were hoping for! This is a fine film that doesnít quite excel, but itís fairly entertaining, and a fitting tribute. Starring: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeny, David Strathairn, Billy Zane, Sean Astin, John Lithgow, Harry Connick Jr., Courtney Gains, Neil Giuntoli. Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones. B

Memron (2004) NR comedy

This mockumentary charts the exploits of a handful of ex-employees at the bankrupt title-company (an obvious reference to Enron). They start a company that sells different scented air. The over-the-top humor employed in this film rarely produces laughs even though it desperately tries hard to. Maybe you'll feel sorry for it and laugh once through your teeth. It was a nice try. Starring: Christopher Liam Moore, Christopher Wells, John Lehr, Jeffrey Hayenga, Mary Pat Gleason, Tim Bagley, Shirley Prestia, Susan Saunders, David Wiater, Evie Peck, Michael McShane, Clare Forlani. Directed by: Nancy Hower. D+

Men at Work (1990) PG-13 comedy

By far the biggest problem I have with this movie is Emilio Estevez wrote, directed and starred in it. And he made it about garbage collectors. If he was going to make a bad movie, he could have at least made it about something that doesn't involve shoveling garbage around. I suppose at least he got to spend quality time with his brother, Charlie Sheen, who plays his garbage colleague and roommate. They make a habit of spying on their neighbors across their apartment a la Rear Window and witness what appears to be a domestic abuse situation. Charlie Sheen pulls a Charlie Sheen and shoots the offending male on the buttocks with a pellet gun. The next day on their garbage route, they see that man dead in a trash can. Little did they know that shortly after the pellet gun attack, some hitmen came and offed him. Instead of going to the cops, the garbage collectors pull a Weekend at Bernie's. This is an attempt at a black comedy and I can appreciate the environmentalist message they incorporate. But ultimately, this film lacks both in style and in substance. Starring: Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Leslie Hope, Keith David, Dean Cameron, John Getz, Hawk Wolinki, John Lavachielli, Geoffrey Blake, Cameron Dye. Directed by: Emilio Estevez. D

Men in Black (1997) PG-13 comedy

Unbeknownst to the general public, the world is teeming with extraterrestrials. And it's up to a secret government agency known as The Men in Black to keep their activity under wraps. As one of the most unabashedly fun comic book films ever made, this film is rife with engaging characters, a creative storyline, and a whole slew of quirky extra-terrestrials and technology. But what's really key to this film's success is the brilliantly developed "buddy cop" chemistry between the two leads (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith). Lee is K, a seasoned, no-nonsense agent, while Smith is J, a juvenile but remarkably talented new recruit. Together, they are tasked to put a stop to the nefarious plans of an insect-based extraterrestrial who is disguised as a farmer (Vincent D'Onofrio). He trots around New York City causing mayhem as he searches for a "galaxy" that was in the possession of an assassinated Arquillian prince. The Arquillians would rather destroy the Earth than let the "galaxy" fall into the wrong hands. Thus, it's up to K and J to save us all. While this science fiction storyline is genuinely fun, what makes it even more fun is the agency's rather nonchalant attitude about the world's oncoming destruction -- as though such grave threats are as inconvenient to them as running out of dry-erase markers in the office supply room. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, Siobhan Fallon, Mike Nussbaum. Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld. A

Men in Black II (2002) PG-13 sci-fi

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are back, but their chemistry isn't. Men in Black agent K (Jones) had his memory erased upon retiring and had spent his last five years working happily as a postman. J (Smith) pulls him back, however, when a murderous extraterrestrial disguised as an underwear model (Lara Flynn Boyle) arrives on Earth in search of a mysterious object known as "The Light of Zartha." Since memory retrieval is not quick, J has to reintroduce K to the ropes. The role-reversal from the first film ought to have been funny, but it just doesn't work at all here. In fact, there's very little in this film that works. It's such a shock watch this movie right after seeing its predecessor, which was inspired and chuckle-inducing from beginning to end. I will say at least as consolation, Boyle made for a great "hot alien." Too bad the script was so anemic that it wasted it by not giving her much to do. Also that talking pug from the first film is seen briefly wearing a black suit and tie. Sad to say, that's the highlight of the movie. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Patrick Warburton, Johnny Knoxville, Jack Kehler, David Cross, Colombe Jacobsen. Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld. C-

Men in Black 3 (2012) PG-13 sci-fi

The sequel the 1997 film deserved. Not only does it recapture the original's humor, quirkiness, and energy, but it even features an unexpectedly heartfelt conclusion. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back as J and K respectively, but J doesn't stick around for long. Hyper-dangerous criminal Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement) escaped from his enclosure on the moon and traveled back in time to get rid of the Men in Black agent who'd captured him in the first place: K. In the blink of an eye, K becomes nothing more than a distant memory only to the agency's most senior members. Except somehow for J who still retains knowledge for how things are supposed to be. So, he gets hold of a time traveling device himself and reunites with K of the past -- as a 29-year-old (Josh Brolin) -- and they work together to put that ole Boris the Animal in his proper place. Like the original Men in Black film, this one is loaded with sight gags and sharp jokes that keep me chuckling, and the bright, colorful, and retro-futuristic set designs are wonderful to look at. Extra kudos to whoever did the casting: Brolin is about as perfect as it gets to fill in the shoes of Jones, and Clement is simultaneously funny and nasty as the extraterrestrial villain. Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jermaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mike Colter, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Chernus, David Rasche, Keone Young, Bill Hader, Lenny Venito. Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld. A-

Men in Black International (2019) PG-13 sci-fi

A weak attempt to reboot the Men in Black franchise with new leads (Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as M and H respectively). It does a fine job imitating the look of the earlier films, but it comes across as little more than a hollow shell. What gave the original film its soul was the fire-and-ice chemistry between the leads, owing to their starkly contrasting reactions to all the wacky stuff the extraterrestrials were doing around them. Thompson and Hemsworth, rather, come off like styrofoam and styrofoam . . . light, airy, zero contrasting qualities, and woefully uninteresting. The story arc is also just a generic thing . . . even less memorable than the story from Men in Black II. It's amazing how all the sight gags and one-liners that ran through the first and third films with abundance are completely dead here. It just never establishes a momentum. But at least I'd stop short calling this a waste of time. As I said, the two leads are at least likable. I prefer them to the completely misfired, recalibrated rapport from Jones and Smith from the second film. And there are still plenty of goodies here for people who might enjoy gazing at the quirky looking aliens sauntering in the background. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rafe Spall, Rebecca Ferguson, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson, Kayvan Novak. Voice of: Kumail Nanjiani. Directed by: F. Gary Gray. C

The Merchant of Venice (2004) R drama

This is a nicely done and excellently shot rendition of William Shakespeareís classic tale. A powerhouse cast includes Al Pacino (a Shakespeare buff) as Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, and an excellent performance from Jeremy Irons. Itís a lengthy and heavy-hitting film thatís somewhat difficult to follow, but it was a highly respectable undertaking. Starring: Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Zuleikha Robinson, Kris Marshall, Charlie Cox, Heather Goldenhersh, Mackenzie Crook. Directed by: Michael Radford. B+

Mercury Rising (1998) R action

This is an entertaining action film starring the typecast Bruce Willis as a loner FBI agent who discovers that a powerful governmental agency headed by Alec Baldwin wants to kill a severely autistic boy (Miko Hughes) who accidentally deciphered a multi-billion dollar code. Despite the rather ridiculous plot, this film manages to keep the thrills and suspense coming. Starring: Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Miko Hughes, Chi McBride, Kim Dickens, Robert Stanton, Bodhi Elfman. Directed by: Harold Becker. B

Mermaids (1990) PG-13 comedy

Charming, sometimes heavy hitting, comedy-drama about the strained relationship between a mother and daughter. Cher is Rachel Flax, a single mother who has a regular habit of uprooting herself and her two children, Charlotte (Winona Ryder) and Kate (Christina Ricci), to different small towns. Her daughters have idiosyncrasies on their own -- Charlotte is obsessed with Catholicism despite her family being Jewish, and Kate is trying to condition herself to one day become a mermaid. Charlotte's faux-Catholicism is in stark (and often hilarious) contrast with her mother's incessant philandering. Rachel never seems to meet decent guys -- until this latest town where she meets a shoe salesman (Bob Hoskins) who might -- for once -- actually be a positive influence for the family. He might not have classically good looks, but he seems to innately fulfill the father-figure role that these two girls so desperately need in their lives. While I might not have found this film as deeply moving as it seems like I could have, it's nonetheless quite engaging. Especially praiseworthy are the strong performances from Cher and Ryder. Starring: Cher, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins, Michael Schoeffling, Christina Ricci, Caroline McWilliams, Jan Miner, Betsey Townsend, Richard McElvain, Paula Plum, Dossey Peabody. Directed by: Richard Benjamin. B+

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) R prison/war

A very entertaining and engaging film that centers on a brutal Japanese POW camp. The characters of the film are multi-dimensional and generally interesting, making Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence a recommended film. David Bowie (whoís top-billed, but not really the star) turns in a particularly good performance as the defiant, sharp-witted Jack Celliers. Itís a unique film in the POW genre. Starring: Tom Conti, David Bowie, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jack Thompson, Johnny Okura, Alistair Browning, James Malcolm, Chris Broun, Yuya Uchida, Tamio Ishikura, Christ Broun. Directed by: Nagisa Oshima. B+

Meteor (1979) PG sci-fi

The Earth is about to get hit by a meteor! Oh no! Sean Connery stars in this extraordinarily repulsive disaster flick about Russia and the US combining missiles to destroy an oncoming meteor. The film is so terrible that I could honestly care less whether or not the earth survives this fiasco. The script is incredibly tedious and is a complete and utter waste of this perfectly talented cast. A heinous crime. Starring: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Henry Fonda, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart. Directed by: Ronald Neame. D-

Miami Vice (2006) R action

It's stylishly done but ultimately joyless and wastes the charisma of Jaime Foxx and Colin Farrell. They play famed TV buddy cops, but weirdly it seems they don't particularly enjoy each other's company. The storyline is dense, not terribly interesting, having something to do with a white supremacist and a Colombian drug cartel. The pair are undercover much of the time, and other criminals come and go. Many bullets are exchanged. Cut to the chase, this is your basic crime story. It hardly needs to be stretched over a period of 132 minutes. Expounding upon the disinterest is stale romance scenes, even depressing ones. This is the kind of movie where keeping my brain switched on is a struggle. As much of a noble idea it might have been to take a trashy '80s police drama and make it ring of realism, it is also removed of everything and anything that makes this kind of movie fun. Starring: Colin Farrell, Jaime Foxx, Gong Li, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry "Shahaka" Henley. Directed by: Michael Mann. C-

Michael Collins (1996) R drama

Overlong but effective portrayal of NRA leader Michael Collins who fought for Irelandís independence in the 1920s. The film features amazing cinematography, fantastic set designs, and one of Liam Neesonís finest screen performances. Starring: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, Julia Roberts, Ian Hart, Paul Hickey. Directed by: Neil Jordan. A-

Micki + Maude (1984) PG-13 comedy

Dudley Moore gives a charming performance in this highly amusing romantic comedy as a TV journalist who agrees to divorce his neglectful wife (Ann Reinking) to marry an attractive cellist (Amy Irving) who he got pregnant. But when heís about to break the news to his wife, she announces her own pregnancy. So, he settles for two wives. Naturally, he keeps this secret from everyone except his trusted friend (Richard Mulligan). This is a good farce with a few hilarious scenes. Starring: Dudley Moore, Amy Irving, Richard Mulligan, Ann Reinking, George Gaynes, Wallace Shawn, John Pleshette. Directed by: Blake Edwards. B+

Midnight Cowboy (1969) R drama

Flawed but deeply affecting character drama that features acting performances for the ages from Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. The film was shocking at the time of release for its uncompromising, violent depiction of inner-city New York City but today comes across fairly tame. Voight stars as Joe Buck, a dishwasher from Texas who moves to the Big Apple. He is fully decked out in a cowboy outfit and has the intention of making his fortune as a sex worker. However, he is naive about city life, and he fails to find success. He quickly crosses paths with grimy, small-time crook Rico "Ratso" Rizzo (Hoffman). Rico is quick to con Joe, but they soon develop an unlikely friendship. The primary draw of this film, in addition to the performances, is that utterly heartbreaking conclusion, which alone is enough to secure this film's place as a cornerstone in American cinema. Tending to undermine the effort, however, is a disjointed narrative and a number of technically well-executed (perhaps "experimental") but puzzling surreal and psychedelic sequences. Starring: Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes, Ruth White, Jennifer Salt, Gil Rankin, T. Tom Marlow, George Epperson, Al Scott, Bob Balaban. Directed by: John Schlesinger. A

Midnight Lace (1960) NR suspense

A Hitchcockian thriller that's effective thanks to a stellar dramatic performance from Doris Day who portrays a woman driven to near insanity. She plays Kit Preston, a recently married American heiress living in London. While walking through a thick fog, she hears a voice threatening to kill her. Frightened, she immediately flees home and informs her husband Anthony (Rex Harrison) of the incident, who in turn goes to Scotland Yard. However, they brush it off, attributing it to pranksters. The threats, however, continue on and on, and she gets hysterical. However, since she doesn't have any other witnesses, Anthony and the police begin to suspect she's making this all up just for attention. But she isn't! This is an entertaining and perfectly absorbing thriller, but it does have its flaws. Its storyline is awfully light on intrigue, especially considering it is modeled after Hitchcock. And while Day's performance is phenomenal, her character is awfully one-note. She's a victim. She might have been more interesting if she had tougher resolve. Nevertheless, I'd easily recommend this film, especially once you've exhausted all your Hitchcock. Starring: Doris Day, Rex Harrison, John Gavin, Myrna Loy, Roddy McDowall, Herbert Marshall, Natasha Parry, Hermoine Baddeley, John Williams, Richard Ney, Anthony Dawson, Rhys Williams, Richard Lupino. Directed by: David Miller. B

Midnight Run (1988) R comedy

A surprisingly successful pairing of Robert De Niro (a bounty hunter) and Charles Grodin (a criminal). They travel cross-country from Chicago to Los Angeles taking the long journey in order to send Grodin to jail. The pair runs into more than their fair share of troubles, which includes being confronted more than once by the suspicious FBI. Midnight Run is unexpectedly entertaining; Grodin and De Niro's comic flare greatly contribute to this action film. A nice script and great action sequences. Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Wendy Phillips, Richard Foronjy. Directed by: Martin Brest. B+

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) NR comedy

One can turn to many places for an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play about woodland fairies who interfere in human endeavors. While contemporary audiences might prefer turning to the 1999 adaptation, why not take a chance and give this older version a try? What makes this adaptation unique are the performances from a surprising range of Hollywood Golden Age A-Listers. Especially James Cagney who sinks himself into the role of Bottom (whose head turns into a donkey's). Perhaps he's not Royal Shakespeare Company material, but he plays it for the camera and is really quite funny at it. Joe E Brown in a minor role as Flute has an eternal look of confusion imprinted on his face. He not only physically fits his role, but he elevates it. I must also have to mention Mickey Rooney as Puck, the impish fairy who loves playing pranks on the humans. He's funny just because of how extremely he overacts -- those exaggerated facial expressions from that cherubic face and all those maniacal giggles that end in a screech. In truth, it gets annoying, but I would also say Puck is a supremely annoying character. Other points of interest: Beautiful Mendelssohn orchestral pieces are transposed artfully with extended scenes of fairies frolicking and dancing. It's just mesmerizing black-and-white cinematography. Starring: James Cagney, Olivia De Havilland, Dick Powell, Mickey Rooney, Ian Hunter, Joe E. Brown, Jean Muir, Anita Louise, Hugh Herbert, Ross Alexander, Frank McHugh, Victor Jory, Grant Mitchell. Directed by: William Dieterie and Max Reinhardt. B+

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) PG-13 comedy

Michael Hoffman successfully produces and directs this magical adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy taking place in 19th century Italy. It's about two mythical creatures casting a "love spell" over two individuals that will make them fall madly in love with the first person they see. However, problems arise when they see the wrong person. It's both a creative and funny and it remains faithful to Shakespeare's script. A wonderful set makes this a treat just to look at! The cast of Kevin Kline, Rupert Everett, Michelle Pfeiffer and Calista Flockhart (who gives a strikingly effective performance as a kooky maiden) are superb! Starring: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockhart, Anna Friel, Christian Bale, Dominic West, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau. Directed by: Michael Hoffman. A-

Mighty Joe Young (1949) NR fantasy

This creature feature, dreamed up by the crew that did King Kong, does the implausible: It puts heart and humanity into a stop-motion clay action figure. But perhaps that shouldn't be so surprising considering clay figurines -- like flesh-and-blood -- are just shadows when they're on celluloid. A small girl named Jill Young (Terry Moore) living in Africa purchases (without her father's permission) a baby gorilla, which she names Joe. Fifteen years later, the gorilla is a 2,000-lb behemoth with a mind of his own. However, he trusts and loves Jill. He even helps her with chores on their financially struggling farm. A nightclub owner looking for animals to headline his new Hollywood act notices Joe and Jill, and he convinces them to come back with him. Needing the cash, she agrees, and they become an overnight sensation. It turns out, their show is wonderful. When the large audience marvels over the creature's intelligence and feats of strength, I also marvel. And I also cringe when I see the unruly crowd throw bottles at Joe, because it clearly makes him upset. It isn't long before Joe starts feeling homesick -- his feelings of angst and anger being so remarkably expressive -- and his undeserving audience eventually gets on his nerves. He eventually free and goes on a rampage, committing crimes against humanity. But what does humanity expect when it tries to cage him up? Wonderful fantasy film. Starring: Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong, Frank McHugh, Douglas Fowley, Denis Green, Paul Guilfoyle. Directed by: Ernest B. Schoedsack. A-

Million Dollar Baby (2004) PG-13 drama

It seemed like it came out of nowhere to nab the 2005 Best Picture Academy Award! This is a fine film that tells a gripping tale of an extremely determined female boxer (Hilary Swank) who tries to make it big in the world of women boxing. Eastwood stars as her reluctant (and practically elderly) manager. This is certainly an emotional film, which is undoubtedly what helped it win. There are several obvious cliches in the script, but who cares? Itís a good movie. Starring: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brian F. OíByrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Ricki Lindhome. Directed by: Clint Eastwood. A

Millionaires in Prison (1940) NR drama

Well before there was Snakes on a Plane, there was Millionaires in Prison to succinctly and elegantly (and humorously) summarize the film's entire premise with its title. And this one with one fewer word to boot. A couple of wealthy inmates jailed for tax evasion are so unaccustomed to the ways of prison that they do such amusing things as try to order room service from their jail cell. It isn't long before they are scheming a new financial scam, even accepting monetary investments from their fellow inmates. But their plans are thwarted by another wealthy inmate, a physician, who has bigger fish to fry: helping the prison doctor find a cure for a deadly Malta virus. This film languishes in stuffy dialog and too many subplots, particularly for a film barely a hair over an hour long. It even constitutes a major disappointment for me: The glee I get watching millionaires flounder when they are plopped into the ranks of wretched plebs is regrettably short-lived. They pretty quickly all become unremarkably friendly. Starring: Lee Tracy, Linda Hayes, Raymond Walburn, Morgan Conway, Truman Bradley, Virginia Vale, Cliff Edwards. Directed by: Ray McCarey. C-

Millions (2004) PG comedy

An imaginative English boy (Alex Ethel) sees a big of money fall from the sky, and he thinks it was given to him from God to give to the poor. His older brother (Lewis Owen McGibbon), however, wants to use the money for his own purposes. Director Danny Boyle (known for edgy films such as Trainspotting) tones it down to make this a family friendly charmer. Amusing bits involve the imaginative boy talking to dead saints. Starring: Alex Ethel, Lewis Owen McGibbon, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Chrisopher Fulford, Pearce Quigley. Directed by: Danny Boyle. B+

Minority Report (2002) PG-13 sci-fi

I'm not about to rank this one among Spielberg's elite, but this is certainly among his more thought provoking efforts. Tom Cruise stars as a Precrime officer (one who arrests people for crimes that will be committed) who finds that he himself is being charged with a precrime. Will he run? "They all run," claims Cruise. So he does. I thought the entire synopsis of the movie was quite dumb. (Catatonic psychics predicting the future? Come on!) However, the movie gains huge points as it successfully tackles relevant issues and makes nearly profound comments on current society. A point for Spielberg whose previous sci-fi effort, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, was relatively crap. Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max Von Sydow, Lois Smith, Peter Stormare, Patrick Kilpatrick, Tim Blake Nelson, Steve Harris, Kathryn Morris. Directed by: Steven Speilberg. A-

The Miracle of Morgan Creek (1944) NR comedy

This is a thoroughly entertaining farce that even manages to challenge the ideologies of the 1944 society. A young, small town woman (Betty Hutton) is high on life and enjoys entertaining soldiers who are off to fight in the war. She has too much to drink one evening. The following morning, she wakes up and realizes that she had gotten married, but she doesn't remember with whom. Pretty soon, she also learns that she's pregnant. So, she implores a nerdy young man (Eddie Bracken) who has had a crush on her to claim to be the father and her husband. What happens after is a series of entertaining slapstick mayhem! Starring: Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, Diana Lynn, William Demarest, Brian Donlevy, Porter Hall, Al Bridge, Emory Parnell. Directed by: Preston Sturges. A

Miracles (1987) PG comedy

This is zany film stars Tom Conti as a surgeon and Teri Garr as his ex-wife. They get into quite a predicament when inept robbers (Paul Rodriguez and Christopher Lloyd) kidnap them. They end up in Mexico where they bicker a lot. There were still many kinks to work out in the busy script, but itís fun to watch. Starring: Tom Conti, Teri Garr, Paul Rodriguez, Christopher Lloyd, A. Martinez, Jorge Jussek, Jorge Reynoso, Charles Rocket. Directed by: M. James Kouf, Jr. C+

MirrorMask (2005) PG fantasy

What an impressive display of creativity! An imaginative young woman named Helena (Stephanie Leonidas), who accompanies her circus-performing parents on the road, is fed up with travelling. Then, her mother falls desperately ill. Devastated, Helena finds herself in an Alice in Wonderland world where nothing makes sense. This cannot be a miss for anyone who enjoyed Labyrinth. Starring: Stephanie Leonidas, Jason Barry, Rob Brydon, Gina McKee. Directed by: David McKean. B+

Misery (1990) R horror

This film is adapted from a Stephen King novel, and it must come from his own personal nightmare. This is about a popular author who is held hostage by a demented fan. That demented fan is Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who happens to be in the right time and the right place to rescue her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) from a car wreck during a blizzard. She also happens to be a nurse, so she's well qualified to look after Paul while they wait for the roads to clear. Annie is sweet as apple pie at first, if a bit unhinged. What's more, the release of his latest Misery novel is imminent and she -- his number one fan -- gets to read it with Sheldon himself under her roof. Only . . . he's killed off the beloved main character. Annie does not take this well, to say the least. While this film isn't terribly complex and gets a bit too dreary in the second half, really what we tune in for is Bates' electrifying performance. She is both funny and frightening . . . that unsettling sweetness that, upon the most minor perturbance, turns to unbridled wrath. Caan of course is great as the victim. But also worthy of a mention is the crotchety old sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) and his wife/deputy who lets out some chuckle inducing one-liners. Starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall, Graham Jarvis, Jerry Potter. Directed by: Rob Reiner. B+

Miss Congeniality (2000) PG-13 comedy

A movie that works on account of Sandra Bullock's charms. Even when the script lacks sharpness and depth, it allots her enough material to work with. She stars as Gracie Hart, a klutzy, unkempt FBI agent on the outs with her boss (Ernie Hudson) after a botched operation. She gets a chance at a new assignment when a bomb threat is called into beauty pageant. She goes undercover as one of its contestants. The pageant's head, Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergen), and host, Stan Fields (William Shatner), laugh in her face when they try to imagine this hot mess as a beauty queen. That's the most unbelievable part of the movie -- beyond even the silliness of someone wanting to bomb a beauty pageant. Who couldn't imagine Sandra Bullock as a beauty queen? Even with her hair unkempt, anybody with eyes can she all she needed was makeover and a new wardrobe. The worst thing she does is stumble once or twice in heels. The film starts out as though it might be a send-up of beauty pageants, but ultimately it aims low as if it doesn't want to offend anybody who's fond of beauty pageants. Even the ditzy character, Miss Rhode Island, who says her idea of a perfect date is "April 25th" is given the chance to explain her misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the film does hit that breezy, likable sweet spot, and I enjoy myself fittingly with it. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Candice Bergen, Heather Burns, Melissa De Sousa, Steve Monroe, Dierdre Quinn, Wendy Raquel Robinson. Directed by: Donald Petrie. B-

Miss Congeniality: Armed and Fabulous (2005) PG-13 comedy

Inasmuch as Sandra Bullock's Gracie Hart isn't a believable character in the first film, she really isn't believable here. She doesn't even keep continuity. In the first film, she was a tomboyish, tough-as-nails federal agent. Then she spends a couple days with Michael Caine, and by this second film, she's suddenly all things beauty -- even going so far as to tell a little girl to tie her hair back to make her look more presentable to her classmates. Bullock was funny and charming in the first film, but here, she's irritating. In the first film, she was embarrassed to wear a two-piece bathing suit. Here she's on a Vegas stage wearing a canary yellow showgirl suit and lip-syncing to Tina Turner's "Proud Mary." The story concerns Hart not being an effective field agent, because she got so famous after the previous film that perps keep on recognizing her. So they decide to make her "the face of the Bureau" going on television to improve its public image. But her friend, the reigning Miss United States champion (Heather Burns), and the host (William Shatner) are kidnapped and tied up inside a Vegas pirate ship attraction. Expectedly, she goes rogue, undercover to rescue them. Poor slapstick and bad disguises ensue. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano Jr., William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader, Treat Williams, Abraham Benrubi, Nick Offerman, Elieen Brennan. Directed by: John Pasquin. D

The Missing (2003) R western

Cate Blanchett stars as a mother living in the Wild West whose eldest daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) is kidnapped by a roving band headed by a Native American witch (Eric Schweig). Blanchett puts the rocky relationship with her Native American wannabe father (Tommy Lee Jones) aside and goes after these naughty people. Itís hardly anything new or amazing, but this is an altogether solid film thatís highlighted by an excellent cast. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Eric Schweig, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenny Boyd, Steve Reevis, Ray McKinnon, Val Kilmer, Aaron Eckhart, Simon Baker. Directed by: Ron Howard. B

The Mission (1986) PG drama

The Academy Award winning cinematography from Chris Menges and the spellbinding musical score from Ennio Morricone are easily the most compelling aspects of this movie. The script is almost non-essential. Nevertheless, this is a period film about Christianizing South American natives starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons who give compelling performances. Unfortunately, director Roland Joffe (fresh from The Killing Fields) didnít make the greatest use of his resources. Starring: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Ronald Pickup, Monirak Sisowath, Asuncion Ontiveros. Directed by: Roland Joffe. B+

Mission: Impossible (1996) PG-13 spy

Not only is this spy thriller confusing as heck, but it's both classy and exciting! Such is a feat only James Bond flicks ever seem to accomplish. Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, an elite secret agent on a mission to stop the theft of the "NOC List," which contains names, addresses, serial numbers, whatever on members of his intelligence agency. The involved story is both confounding and delightful. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Emilio Estevez, Dale Dye, Marcel Iures. Directed by: Brian De Palma. B+

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) PG-13 spy

Tom Cruise returns to the mission in this uninspired sequel. This time Cruise must save the world from a deadly virus that an evil supervillian created only to make serious cash on the antidote. The plot is much more comprehensible than its predecessor, but it is lacking the class and the punch that made it such a delight. This is less of an intriguing spy movie (even though characters still pull off masks left and right) and more of a run-of-the-mill action flick. Nevertheless, as far as run-of-the-mill action flicks go, this oneís all right. Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, Anthony Hopkins, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Sherbedgia, William R. Mapother. Directed by: John Woo. B-

Mission: Impossible III (2006) PG-13 action

Tom Cruise reprises his role once again as super-secret-agent Ethan Hunt who uses his spy-skills to foil the kidnapping of a fellow agent. However, this mission goes wrong when the bad guys have implanted a sort of charged bullet in her brain, and it kills her. Cruise is then led to perform many super-stunted tasks, but he's never sure who's a good guy and who's a bad guy. And, for some reaons, he doesn't seem to care. This is an enjoyable action film and a clear improvement over its predecessor. The plot zigzags (though not nearly as much as I would have liked) and the action sequences keep you on your toes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Laurence Fishburne, Simon Pegg, Sasha Alexander. Directed by: J.J. Abrams. B+

Mission to Mars (2000) PG-13 sci-fi

Overall, an impressive film but with a horrible plot. In the year 2020, a group of astronauts selected to become the first people to set foot on Mars do so successfully, but they find something that they didn't expect. It's a white pyramid-like thing and when they shot a radar at it to analyze it, a huge hurricane occurred and it ended up killing most of them. Several months later, a rescue crew arrives, and they find something else they never expected; an enormous face where the pyramid used to be. The special effects are eye dazzling and the characters are well developed. This film tries too much to be like 2001: a Space Odyssey, but its ridiculous plot falls miles short of the boat. Nevertheless, it's full of surprises and is worth a look one time around. Starring: Gary Sinse, Connie Neilsen, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, Jerry O'Connell, Peter Outerbridge, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Kavan Smith, Jill Teen, Elise Neal. Directed by: Brian De Palma. B

The Missouri Breaks (1976) PG western

In post-Civil War Montana, a cattle rustler is hanged at the hands of wealthy rancher David Braxton (John McLiam). The fallen crook's comrades, Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his sweaty, sunburnt, grimy men, figure that if cattle rustling is enough to get them hanged, they'd might as well take on a more profitable crime. Specifically, robbing trains. Which they do, even if they botch it up a bit. They miscalculate that the train car they set loose would stop in the middle of a high bridge. "You boys new at this?" cries the clerk that they'd left stranded in that car. Nevertheless they get away with the robbery, and they buy a piece of property next door to Braxton's. Thus begins the revenge when one of Braxton's employees is murdered. Braxton responds by hiring unconventional Irish hitman Robert E. Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando) to kill them all. And he does so -- slowly and methodologically -- much to the impatience of Braxton, who also starts to grow weary of Clayton's erratic behavior. This is an entertaining film, classified as a revisionist western, worth watching if for nothing else to see two of the most intense method actors of this era pitted against one another. And they do share a couple memorable scenes. The premise is fine, but perhaps the narrative might have been more engaging and the cinematography (even though it aims for atmospheric realism) a bit more stylish and lively. It was as though director Arthur Penn expected the presence of the actors to be the sole life-force of the film. Which they do as well as they could, but their powerful performances can only go so far when they have very little that's profound to react to. Starring: Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Kathleen Lloyd, Frederic Forrest, Harry Dean Stanton, John McLiam, John Ryan, Sam Gilman, Steve Franken, Richard Bradford. Directed by: Arthur Penn. B

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) PG-13 comedy

Robin Williams is Daniel Hillard, a hyperkinetic voice over artist whose carless and cavalier attitudes have gotten himself not only out of his job, but out of his marriage. Not able to provide financial support for his beloved children, his estranged wife Miranda (Sally Field) is awarded full custody, leaving Daniel with visitation rights only on weekends. In despair from being cut-off from his kids, he gets a brilliant idea: He asks his brother (Harvey Fierstein), a make-up artist, to dress him up like an old lady. Then he'll secure a job as nanny and housekeeper to her kids. The impossible (but oft-repeated since antiquity) premise of someone fooling close family members in a disguise notwithstanding, this is an entertaining, broad comedy. Like many of Robin Williams vehicles before and after this, it leans heavily on his ability to ad-lib for laughs, and I'd call this one of his better ones. Not only is he frequently hilarious, but I can sense the warmth in his eyes as he interacts with his children. I also appreciate its tidy, and somewhat surprising, conclusion. A good pick for an evening's entertainment -- or, more likely, it's ripe for another rewatch. Starring: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Polly Holliday, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Robert Prosky, Anne Haney. Directed by: Chris Columbus. B

Mrs. Miniver (1942) NR drama

Greer Garson stars as the title character, an English woman who strives to keep her wits despite the violent onslaught of German bombings. It is utterly obvious that this is a piece of propaganda meant to gather support for U.S. involvement in World War II, but this remains a worthwhile view today. It exemplifies the reason why it’s important to keep a society’s culture alive despite its threats. Starring: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Dame May Witty, Reginald Owen, Henry Travers, Henry Wilcoxon, Richard Ney. Directed by: William Wyler. A

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) NR romantic comedy

Alfred Hitchcock uncharacteristically directs this romantic comedy thatís both charming and hilarious. Robert Montgomery stars as a lawyer who, rather casually, says to his wife (Carole Lombard) that he wouldnít marry her if he could do it over. As it turns out, through a technicality, the couple is not legally married. Lombard takes the opportunity to throw the nonchalant Montgomery out of the house and start calling herself by her maiden name. She also starts to date Montgomeryís gentlemanly best friend (Gene Raymond). Montgomery, who is more madly in love with his wife than ever before, makes some rather extreme attempts to win her back. This film is incredibly funny (even by todayís standards) and ought to be considered among the greatest fluff-flicks of all time. Way to go, Alfie. Starring: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson, Philip Merivale, Lucile Watson, William Tracy, Charles Halton, Esther Dale, Emma Dunn. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. A+

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) PG-13 comedy

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a six-year-married couple who is unaware that they are both assassins working for two opposing spy organizations. That is, until they try to kill each other at an assignment. The chemistry between the two leads could have been more electrifying, but the premise is funny and it contains some very nicely done scenes. Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz. Directed by: Doug Linman. B

Mr. Deeds (2002) PG-13 comedy

Adam Sandler makes a failed attempt to update Frank Capraís classic Ö Itís dumb like most of Sandlerís efforts except this oneís missing his zang. The script probably made Capra roll over in his grave a couple of times, and the dialogue is an insult to real dialogue writers. I liked John Tuturro on this film, however, as the sneaky butler, but Winona Ryder's performance is almost more embarrassing than her shoplifting charges. Starring: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, John Turturro, Conchata Ferrell, Steve Buscemi, Allen Covert, Erick Avari, Peter Dante. Directed by: Steven Brill. C-

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) NR comedy

Perhaps the most perfect comedy of all time, this undisputed cinematic classic from 1936 is still hilarious to this day. Gary Cooper stars as a small-town joe who suddenly inherits millions from a rich uncle. He goes to the city, where he discovers that the people arenít so pure. He meets up with a woman (Jean Arthur) whom he falls deeply in love with, but sheís actually a journalist who writes nasty things about him. This is a comedy that giving an A+ to is hardly good enough. Starring: Gary Cooper, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander, Douglas Dumbrille, Raymond Walburn, H.B. Warner, Margaret Matzenaur, Warren Hymer, Muriel Evans. Directed by: Frank Capra. A+

Mr. Destiny (1990) PG-13 fantasy/comedy

James Belushi stars as a man whose life went downhill ever since he struck out in a high school baseball game. Enter Michael Caine who shows what Belushi's life would have been like had he made a home run. Reminiscent of "It's a Wonderful Life," this film has its flaws, but itís an enjoyable comedy nonetheless. Starring: James Belushi, Michael Caine, Linda Hamilton, Jon Lovitz, Hart Bochner, Rene Russo, Bill McCutchoen, Kathy Ireland, Eddita Hill, Howard Kingkade, Terry Loughlin. Directed by: James Orr. B

Mr. Freedom (1968) NR comedy

This film is chaotic, sometimes prohibitively clunky, and it isn't always easy to watch. But in spurts, it's brilliant and is overall such a biting, vicious, and subversive (and still remarkably relevant) satire on American foreign and domestic politics. Mr. Freedom (John Abbey) is a superhero who speaks mainly in jingoistic absurdities and is dressed to the nines in a red, white and blue football uniform. He, like America on the international stage, has absolutely zero sense of self-awareness. His continuing mission: To promote democracy and capitalism and protect America from evil communistic influence. Which he fears is on its way after his French counterpart Capitaine Formidable is murdered. When it is controversially revealed that Capitaine Formidable was running an underground brothel to fund his anti-communist intelligence network, Mr. Freedom barely bats an eye. Anything's fair game when it comes to fighting communism. Also on Mr. Freedom's mind are threats to the American way of life from internal influences -- the blacks, Asians, Jews, etc. (He says all this in a shocking speech. Though as I watched this in the post-Trump era, perhaps that's not as shocking as it once was.) This is a fascinating film in an academic sense, and I also found it to be quite entertaining. With that said, scene-for-scene, it's ridiculously over-the-top and often confusing. Think of it like Monty Python, except not played for laughs. Perhaps it's unfair to criticize a deeply funny satire for not being funnier. But perhaps had director William Klein broadened its humor just a bit, its appeal might have been expanded beyond select fans of arthouse cinema. Nonetheless, let's call this film what it is: fervidly unique and one that isn't quickly forgotten. Starring: Delphine Seyrig, John Abbey, Donald Pleasance, Jean-Claude Drouot, Serge Gainsbourg, Rufus, Yves Lefebvre, Sabine Sun, Rita Maiden, Colin Drake, Pierre Baillot. Directed by: William Klein. B+

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) NR comedy

Mr. Hobbs (James Stewart) opens this film dictating a letter to his secretary about how he never again wants to go on a vacation with his family. But as we flashback to the events of his vacation, it becomes increasingly evident that nothing disastrous ever happens. If anything, the is just plain ole boring. After all, he brings with him a copy of War and Peace to read on the beach, and I'd imagine he was even able to finish it. Among the many "disasters," there's an old fashioned water pump that malfunctions. At a teen dance, he pays random boys $5 each to pay attention to his daughter (one, played by Fabian, ends up falling for her). There's a sanctimonious man and his wife who drop by and take him birdwatching. There's some family squabbling. While this isn't a terrible film by any means--some situations are humorous enough, and there could never be anything unlikable about James Stewart and Maureen O'Hara--I find this film duller than a box of rocks. Starring: James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Fabian, Lauri Peters, Lili Gentle, John Saxton, John McGiver, Marie Wilson, Reginald Gardiner. Directed by: Henry Koster. C-

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953) NR comedy

This is an enjoyable French comedy that thrives because so few words are spoken and creative and outrageous slapstick is put in its place. There is no plot (it goes right out and says that at the beginning) and the dated humor is not 100% funny, but "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" is a silly film that the entire family can enjoy. Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Louis Perrault, Michelle Rolla, Andre Dubois, Suzy Willy, Valentine Camax, Lucien Fregis, Marguerite Gerard, Rene Lacourt, Raymond Carl. Directed by: Jacques Tati. B+

Mr. Mom (1983) PG comedy

This is a hilarious comedy about a young family man (Michael Keaton) who loses his job. His wife (Teri Garr) then becomes employed leaving Keaton to look after the kids. This novice "housewife" must face the mysteries of his own household. Keaton took John Hughesí already-funny script and launched it to the moon! Starring: Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Frederick Koehler, Taliesin Jaffe, Courtney White, Brittany White, Martin Mull, Ann Jillian, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Lloyd, Tom Leopold, Graham Jarvis. Directed by: Stan Dragoti. B+

Mr. Nice Guy (1998) PG-13 martial arts

Another eye-dazzling Jackie Chan production. This time, he stars as a Chinese chef who gets caught up in a gang of drug lord's business. Very stylish martial arts moves makes this a delight to watch but the lack of plot undermines the film. It's still a wonderful addition to the whole Jackie Chan library. There are also some very funny moments. Starring: Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Miki Lee, Karen McLymont, Vince Poletto, Berry Otto, Sammo Hung, Emil Chau. Directed by: Sammo Hung. B

Mr. Riceís Secret (2000) PG drama

Some weird pixie must have visited David Bowie one night and told him to headline this low-budget Canadian movie. No matter his motive, his 10-minute appearance in the film is about the only reason to watch this. This film is about a preteen kid called Owen (Bill Switzer) who is dying from cancer. However, Owen's beloved neighbor Mr. Rice (Bowie) snuffs it first, and Owen soon learns that Mr. Rice has left mysterious clues to a hidden treasure somewhere. This film is almost relentlessly cornballish. Starring: Bill Switzer, David Bowie, Garwin Sanford, Teryl Rothery, Campbell Lane, Tyler Labine. Directed by: Nicholas Kendall. C-

Mister Roberts (1955) NR comedy

An excellent comedy about an old-bucket-of-a-ship in World War II whose job it is to supply fighting ships with necessary supplies. The crew are doggedly bored with this task. Henry Fonda is excellent as the title character, an officer who persistently sends letters to get himself transferred much to the dismay of the incredibly strict captain, played by Jimmy Cagney. In one of his earliest roles, Jack Lemmon does a wonderful job as the cowardly but lovable Ensign Pulver, winning an Academy Award. This is one of my favorite movies. Starring: Henry Fonda, Jimmy Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon, Betsy Palmer, Ward Bond, Nick Adams, Philip Carey, Harry Carey Jr. Ken Curtis, Martin Milner, Pat Wayne. Directed by: John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy. A+

Mr. 3000 (2004) PG-13 comedy

Bernie Mac is funnier than the script in this amusing baseball comedy. He plays a super-talented but mean-spirited baseball player whose ego could fill up Lake Michigan. When he got his 3,000th hit, he called it quits. Nine years later, the guy is still not in the hall of fame (much to his dismay) and a recalculation of his career found that he actually only had 2,997 career hits. So, the out-of-shape Mac goes back to the majors to get those final three hits Ö but itís not even a hundredth as easy as he assumed it would be. The premise is good, but the almost unrelentingly contrived script keeps Mr. 3000 from being a potential comedy classic. Bernie Mac fans, however, have much to celebrate about. Heís very funny. Starring: Bernie Mac, Angela Bassett, Brian J. White, Michael Rispoli, Chris North, Paul Sorvino, Dondre Whitfield, Amaury Nolasco, Evan Jones. Directed by: Charles Stone III. B-

Mr. Write (1994) PG-13 comedy

Paul Reiser stars as a playwright who takes a gig as a commercial actor where he falls in love with the producer (Jessica Tuck). What ensues is a disjointed and bizarre comedy thatís not very funny either. Starring: Paul Reiser, Jessica Tuck, Doug Davidson, Jane Leeves, Calvert Deforest, Gigi Rice, Eddie Barth, Wendie Jo Sperber, Thomas F. Wilson. Directed by: Charles Loventhal. D+

Mixed Company (1974) PG comedy

Despite that this film is a horribly dated statement on 1970s race relations and some instances in the script are awful, this is a surprisingly enjoyable film. A basketball coach (Joseph Bologna) learns that he cannot have anymore children with his wife (Barbara Harris). So, Harris adopts some. But one of them is black, one is Vietnamese and another is a Hopi. Can this mixed-race family get along? This script needed a sense of humor, but the kids are cute and the end is genuinely heartwarming though cliched. Starring: Joseph Bologna, Barbara Harris, Tom Bosley, Stephen Honanie, Rodney Hundley, Darrell L. Garretson, Bob G. Anthony, Jina Tan, Ron McIlwain, Charles J. Samsill. Directed by: Melville Shavelson. C+

Modern Problems (1981) PG comedy

A terrible Chevy Chase vehicle that has everything from terrible jokes to an absolutely dreadful theme song! Clumsy Chevy Chase is splattered with nuclear waste and develops telekinetic capabilities, which causes problems. Fortunately, fans of Chevy Chase might only find his performance slightly repulsive. Starring: Chevy Chase, Patti D'Arbanville, Mary Kay Place, Nell Carter, Brian Doyle-Murray, Mitch Kreindel, Dabney Coleman, Arthur Sellers, Sandy Helberg. Directed by: Ken Shapiro. D+

Modern Romance (1981) R comedy

Pales severely to the impossibly high standard Brooks would later set for himself in 1985 with Lost in America. At any rate, this is a funny and engaging picture (if a slight bit pretentious) that examines the screwy relationship between two people. Itís not his funniest film, but it probably contains his best performance ever with his scenes of unbridled love angst. Starring: Albert Brooks, Kathryn Harrold, Bruce ďBrunoĒ Kirby, Jr., Jane Hallaren, James L. Brooks, George Kennedy, Bob Einstein, Gene Garvin. Directed by: Albert Brooks. B+

Modern Times (1936) NR comedy

In one of his most beloved comedies, Charlie Chaplin stars in this hilarious spoof of society that is surprisingly still relevant today. The first thirty minutes or so must be among the funniest moments ever in a film; the parts thereafter are only moderately funny with sentimentality mixed throughout. Chaplin succeeds in creating a wonderfully great and enjoyable film that makes wonderful use of strange sound effects. Modern Times marks the first time that audiences get to hear Chaplin's voice in one of his movies even though it's in gibberish. Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Chester Conklin, Stanley "Tiny" Sandford. Directed by: Charlie Chaplin. A

The Money Pit (1986) PG comedy

Tom Hanks and Shelly Long play a yuppie couple who buy a "paradise house" only to find that it is worthless. There isn't anything in that house that doesn't need some sort of repair. So they end up spending more than their entire money stock in order to fix it up. It's somewhat of the same story as Cary Grant's Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, except without the charm. Starring: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov, Maureen Stapleton, Joe Mantegna, Philip Bosco. Directed by: Richard Benjamin. C+

Monster (2003) R drama

You'd almost think that Charlize Theron, who puts on ugly make-up for this flick, was miscast as a serial killing highway prostitute, but she turns in a phenomenal performance. Likewise, Christina Ricci also does a fine job in her role as Theron's insecure love interest. This gritty drama is not for all audiences, but it is engaging and will certainly stick with you. Starring: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Scott Wilson, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Lee Tergenson, Annie Corley, Marco St. John. Directed by: Patty Jenkins. A-

The Monster (2016) R horror

In addition to being an effective traditional monster movie about a deadly, dinosaur-like creature that chases and eats people, this is an effusive drama about the tumultuous relationship between a mother and a daughter. The 10-year-old Lizzie (Ella Ballentine) is fed up living with her alcoholic mother Kathy (Zoe Kazan) and wants to move in with her father permanently. As Kathy drives her over, their cold regard for one another is put to a challenge when she hits a wolf with her car. The subsequent crash causes irreparable damage to the car. Upon further investigation, it appears that the wolf didn't die from the impact, but it had been impaled by something with extremely sharp claws. They call a tow truck, but it isn't long before the its driver gets devoured by this creature. It appears they're going to be stuck on this dark roadside and its nearby woods for a while. This monster film prefers to relish in quiet moments more than flashy, cartoony action. That does mean this film develops rather slowly, but it also makes it seem more realistic, and I find many of these scenes quite tense and exciting. It's also notable that the monster itself is even a practical rubber prop, as opposed to a CGI mirage. They didn't quite nail the look of the monster all the time, but there's nonetheless inherently something scarier about a creature that looks as though it was actually in the same room as the actors. I'd hardly say anyone needs to go out of their way to see this film, but it's unique enough to make it worth checking out. Starring: Zoe Kazan, Ella Ballentine, Aaron Douglas, Christine Ebadi, Marc Hickox, Scott Speedman. Directed by: Bryan Bertino. B+

Monster-In-Law (2005) PG-13 comedy

Even Jane Fonda coming out of retirement after a 15-year absence doesn't save this film. She nonetheless gives it what she's got by delivering a sharp performance as Viola, a maniacal mother who opposes her son Kevin's (Michael Vartan) upcoming marriage to Charlie (Jennifer Lopez). Why she opposes the marriage is not explained -- my best guess based on the evidence this film presents is it's out of boredom after being recently let go of her job as a high-profile talk show host. (One of the film's funnier moments is her final interview with a rather vacuous Britney Spears lookalike.) Her means of souring her son's engagement is to fake a panic attack so that she can move in with them, and then drive Charlie crazy by being unrelentingly persnickety. It isn't long before Charlie catches on, however, and she tries to give Viola a taste of her own medicine. This film would have been better had there been an actual reason the two hate each other -- or if there was some kind of outrageous gag associated with their feuding. This film's forerunner, Meet the Parents, at least had the sense to have that. Hating your son's fiance just because is no fun by itself. It's just depressing. They could've even used that old chestnut that Viola thinks Charlie is a gold digger -- she comes from a modest background after all -- but no, not even that. The funniest parts of the film are provided by Wanda Sykes, who plays Viola's personal assistant Ruby, and her acerbic one-liner observations. Nonetheless, despite a couple decent elements here, give this one a hard pass. Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes, Adam Scot, Monet Mazur, Annie Parisse. Directed by: Robert Luketic. D+

Monster's Ball (2001) R drama

Halle Berry won the Academy Award for her performance as a poor woman who ekes by life and undergoes several tragedies. She lives in America's South, where shadows of the era's once-prevalent racism still linger. She meets Billy Bob Thornton, a starkly different person, but they are brought together through different tragedies. This is a sad and engaging film that's thought-provoking. Director Mark Foster wisely keeps the film emotions understated. Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, Sean Combs, Mos Def, Will Rokos, Milo Addica. Directed by: Marc Foster. B+

Monsters Inc. (2001) G animated

The unstoppable Pixar animation studio strikes again with this fantastically funny tribute to the monsters little kids think are under their bed. Except they're really there and they're not really that scary. The story is full of good humor that will make children laugh giddily and constantly make adults smile. There are no flaws worth noting in this fantastic release. Voices of: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Rob Petterson, John Ratzenberger, Frank Oz, Daniel Gerson, Steve Susskind, Bonnie Hunt, Jeff Pidgeon, Sam Black. Directed by: Pete Doctor, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich. A

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) PG comedy

The Monty Python troupe in their second film farts on the King Arthur legends. The film comes fully equipped with killer rabbits, snooty French-types, and witches and things. A now classic film that's utterly side-splitting, the dialogue is full of Python humor which seems to get better every time it's viewed. The actors are all great and can never be replaced. Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin. Directed by: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. A+

Monty Python and the Meaning of Life (1983) R comedy

The final film by the famed British troupe is surely not to miss. This movie is a collection of interrelated short films that attempts to explain the meaning of life. Though more forced than the others, there are still plenty of laughs to be had. If you can't stand gross-out humor (brought to hilarious extremes), then pass this one by. Others should check it out. Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, Simon Jones, Patricia Quinn, Mark Holmes, Valerie Whittington, Jennifer Franks. Directed by: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. B+

Moon Over Parador (1988) PG comedy

It's mildly entertaining, but it isn't nearly as good as it should have been. Richard Dreyfuss stars as an actor forced to mimic the recently deceased dictator of the fictional country, Parador. At first, he isn't thrilled at the ordeal, but he soon grows to enjoy it. Dreyfuss' comic performance is wonderful and the rest of the cast is fine. However, the film is greatly missing substance! Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, Jonathan Winters, Michael Greene, Polly Holliday, Charo, Marianne Sšgebrecht, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Cavett, Ed Asner, Ike Pappas. Directed by: Paul Mazursky. C

Moonlight Mile (2002) PG-13 drama

You know what? I'm searching and searching and searching to find a flaw with this film and I can't find one. However, at the same time, this film didn't particularly enthrall me or bring me to tears. It's a well-polished affair, and with such a powerhouse of excellent actors and actresses, I highly doubt I would have received this film nearly as well. The film is about a family's reaction to the death of their college-aged daughter. Her fiancťe (Jake Gyllenhaal) sticks around with the family basically out of his own good heart. I was talking about finding a flaw--well I guess there is a major flaw in that the emotion that should have swept me off my feet, failed to. Still, the movie is very worthwhile and the cast make their respective roles very memorable. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter, Ellen Pompeo, Richard T. Jones, Allan Cordunder, Dabney Coleman, Aleksia Landeau, Mary Ellen Trainor. Directed by: Brad Silberling. A-

Moonstruck (1987) PG romantic comedy

Cher stars in this marvelous romantic comedy as a middle-aged woman who falls in love with her boyfriend's pathetic cousin (Nicolas Cage). The wonderfully deranged plot is heavily supported by spirited and crazy performances by the cast. This film also sports excellent scenery and great Italian background music. Cher won a best actress Oscar in this role. This is a remarkable off-beat venture. Starring: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney. Directed by: Norman Jewison. A-

Mortal Kombat (2021) R action

I turned on this movie expecting to complain about it being mindlessly violent. Instead, I was faced with the exact opposite: A dull, plodding storyline that left me begging for more mindless violence. This movie is of course derived from a button-mashing video game. Theoretically, any film treatment that expands upon that rudimentary premise should be considered an upgrade. However, this movie just goes too far -- making the mistake of trying to render B-Movie king fu material into a stuffy, quasi-sophisticated costume drama. All the fun consequently sucked out of it entirely. And it isn't even done that well: The character development is so poor that I don't find their personalities any more relatable than their video game counterparts. As flawed as the original Mortal Kombat film was, it at least had the right kind of joyous schlockiness about it to excite the middle school kids (and those at heart). I got so bored with the story and the characters that that even when the fight scenes do come up, which are expectedly loud, flashy, and violent, it's not enough to wake up my brain. I will say at least the character designs look fine. I was never a player of Mortal Kombat, but I'm familiar with it enough to recognize that some of the characters and their finishing moves are recreated faithfully. Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada. Directed by: Simon McQuoid. D+

Mostly Martha (2002) PG-13 drama

This intelligent German import packs on the emotion heavier than your average American You've Got Mail, and so I give this one my thumbs up. However, the Germans can't even seem to avoid predictability in their romantic comedies, either. The film centers around Martha, a temperamental chef, whose best friend dies (of course leaving her mentally anguished) and she is left to look after her bratty kid. Meanwhile, at the restaurant, they hired a goofy co-chef who Martha doesn't like. There's not much left to be desired here. A formidible foreign flick. Starring: Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste, Sergio Castellitto, August Zirner, Sibylle Canonica, Katka Studt, Antonio Wannek, Idel Uner, Oliver Brournis, Ulrich Thomsen, Gerhard Gerbers. Directed by: Sanda Nettelbeck. A-

Mother (1996) PG-13 comedy

A funny and heartwarming and a wrongly ignored film starring Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds (who is in her first starring role for over 25 years). Brooks plays an author with a strong case of writer's block and decides to move back in with his mother to get more in touch with his roots. The mother, who never fully bonded with her son, eventually comes to know him much better. Reynolds is often-times hilarious in her role. Definitely worth seeing; very entertaining! Starring: Albert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Rob Morrow, Lisa Kudrow, John C. McKinley, Isabel Glasser, Peter White. Directed by: Albert Brooks. A-

Mothra (1961) NR sci-fi

A pretty good Japanese monster flick involving a group of scientists who explore a radiation-infected island and abduct a pair of telepathic one-foot-tall women. Mothra, a caterpillar, hatches out of its shell to save them. Production levels are very low (the scenes involving obviously toy models are sometimes hysterical), but the film is otherwise generally entertaining. Starring: Jerry Ito, Ken Uehara, Yumi Ito, Emi Ito, Takashi Shimura, Hiroshi Koizumi. Directed by: Ishiro Honda. B-

Motorama (1991) R comedy

I have mixed feelings about this one. I appreciate that this surreal road trip film is ambitious and purposefully unusual. It was written by Joseph Minion who was also the screenwriter of After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese. This is a similar kind of film loaded with almost nothing but head-scratching symbolism, weird logic, and a curious adventure. The star of the film is a boy named Gus (Jordan Christopher Michael) who steals a red Mustang and goes on a trip through a fictional version of the American Southwest. His aim is to visit every gas station he can that participates in a game called "Motorama." Cost of entry is at least a $5 purchase of gasoline, which entitles him to at least one card. The aim is to spell out M-O-T-O-R-A-M-A, and the prize is $500 million. However, this sweepstake appears to have been going on for so long that the public at large lost interest in it. As a result, gas station owners tend to gleefully give him shoeboxes full of those cards just to get rid of them. One notable characteristic of this film (if not the most notable) is the frequent recognizable cameos. Garrett Morris and Michael J. Pollard change one of Gus' tires. Gus has an arm wrestling match with Meat Loaf. He daydreams about hanging out with Drew Barrymore after winning the game. Jack Nance works at a hotel. While this is no doubt a unique film, I felt like I couldn't quite get myself into it enough to embrace it. The events are too random. The humor a bit too obscure. I tended to be more puzzled by it than anything. Nevertheless, this is a minor arthouse film probably worth watching if anything about what I wrote piqued your interest. Starring: Jordan Christopher Michael, Martha Quinn, Flea, Michael J. Pollard, Meat Loaf, Drew Barrymore, Garrett Morris. Directed by: Barry Shils. C+

Moulin Rouge (2001) PG-13 musical

A breathtaking musical and tribute to pop music from the previous 50 years, this film is truly a wonder. From the warped visions of Baz Luhrmann, the appeal to this film is mostly generated from the rich and glamorous set design and old radio pop songs delightfully revisioned. The end left me speechless. This is a masterwork. Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jom Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker, Caroline O'Connor, David Wenham. Directed by: Baz Luhrmann. A

Mouse Hunt (1997) PG comedy

Essentially a live action cartoon starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans as brothers who inherit a dilapidated mansion from their father (William Hickey). They move in with the intention of renovating it for a tidy profit. But they're quick to discover there's something unsavory living amongst them: a mouse. Turns out the mouse is quite intelligent, and the brothers' continued failure to exterminate it evolves into an obsession. While this film might be a little too lowbrow even for some kids, I actually enjoyed the slapstick. Of course, this movie wouldn't have worked half as well if Lane and Evans weren't themselves human cartoons -- with their rubbery, exaggerated facial expressions. I also found myself unexpectedly charmed by the film's conclusion -- which I imagine is about the best way a children's film about the quixotic quest to get rid of one darn mouse could have ended. Starring: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Maury Chaykin, Christopher Walken, Vicki Lewis, William Hickey, Eric Christmas, Michael Jeter. Directed by: Gore Verbinski. B-

Moving Target (1988) NR action

So-so thriller starring Jason Bateman as a high school kid who gets sent to summer camp but cuts out early to head back home. To his astonishment, he finds his house is completely empty and his parents gone without a trace. Turns out some pretty bad people were after them, and now they're after Bateman. The premise works well to a point, but the film gets too bogged down with its paint-by-numbers action sequences. Starring: Jason Bateman, John Glover, Jack Wagner, Chynna Phillips, Donna Mitchell, Claude Brooks, Bernie Coulson, Richard Dysart, Tom Skerritt. Directed by: Chris Thomson. C

Moxie (2021) PG-13 comedy

There's lots to like, and even love, about this coming-of-age comedy about a high school girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who takes inspiration from her mother's (Amy Poehler) youthful days as a brazen feminist and riot grrrl devotee to anonymously starts a girlzine called Moxie whose purpose is to detail and reproach incidents of sexist behavior at her school. And it causes quite a stir. This is an entertaining film with a fight-the-power spirit and is supplied with plenty of laughs. It also has a very well-received message for the Me Too era. My only trouble with the film is minor--its tone is often rudimentary, coming off too much like a teen sitcom, whereas it could have packed more of a sting. Starring: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Nico Hiraga, Sabrina Haskett, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sydney Park, Anjelika Washington, Emily Hopper, Josie Total, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Marcia Gay Harden. Directed by: Amy Poehler. B+

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) PG-13 romantic comedy

A very good adaptation of William Shakespeareís comedy starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh. Itís in that Shakespearian English, but most people should get the general idea whatís going on. "Much Ado About Nothing" is bright, cheery and enjoyable with good stars and great performances. Starring: Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Briers, Brian Blessed, Gerard Horan, Richard Clifford, Ben Elton. Directed by: Kenneth Branagh. A-

Mulan (2020) PG-13 action

The 1998 animated Disney film was so-so, but this live action version is sucked dry of anything that made the original movie OK. Which were mainly the songs and the talking dragon. All we're left with is a tedious story about a cross dressing soldier. Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan, Gong Li, Jet Li. Directed by: Niki Caro. D+

The Mummy (1999) PG-13 action

Solid action adventure fare starring Brendan Fraser as reckless explorer Rick O'Connell who's hired to lead treasure hunter Jonathan (John Hannah) and sister Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) to the lost Egyptian city of Hamunaptra -- otherwise known as the City of the Dead. It also happens to be home to the nefarious, supernatural-powered mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) who, once awakened, has incredible powers -- including, amazingly, the ability to summon intelligent sandstorms that chase and kill people. While the film's plot is simple, its sense of fun is wholly satisfying. Packed with titillating adventure -- I particularly enjoyed watching its central trio traverse though scores of booby-trapped, treasure filled chambers. Imhotep makes a fine, love-to-hate villain who's even at times genuinely chilling. Frasier makes a fitting hero -- an ingenuous and rugged adventurer who's able to rattle off flippant remarks in rapid succession. (I do appreciate its breezily jokey script, even if the humor is too broad for my tastes.) Frasier also makes an adorable romantic lead with Weisz as his quirky, intelligent love interest. While I wouldn't say this was quite on par with an Indiana Jones adventure, it's at least in that same ballpark. Well worth it for those looking for a cheap adrenaline rush. Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jonathan Hyde, Oded Fehr, Erick Avari, Stephen Dunham, Corey Johnson. Directed by: Stephen Sommers. B+

The Mummy Returns (2001) PG-13 action

Some time had passed after the events of the first film. However, Rick and Evelyn (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz) still haven't abandoned their fascination with archeological digs. Nor one another for that matter, as they produced a son Alex (played by 9-year-old Freddie Boath). But then happy times are put on halt when that evil mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) rears its ugly head again -- this time courtesy of a cult leader who's been hiding in plain sight as museum curator Baltus Hafez (Patricia Velasquez). She's actually the reincarnation of Anck-su-namun, Imhotep's ancient lover. She and Imhotep summons and tries to defeat The Scorpion King (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, in his movie debut) as a means of gaining control of his all-powerful, supernatural army, which would surely spell doom for all us unsuspecting normies in the world. I fitfully enjoyed this sequel, though noticeably less. I blame it on the far more complicated storyline that requires far too much time spent trying to sorting it all out instead of just focusing on unbridled, adrenaline-pumping fun. Nonetheless, call this decent popcorn fare. Frasier and Weisz continue to be fun to watch, but I was especially pleased soaking in this film's visuals. The rendering of ancient Egyptian scenery is so awe-inspiring that I could imagine myself just spending hours gazing at it. Another thing I couldn't help but be particularly thrilled by, perhaps a bit pruriently, was that climactic and stylishly choreographed, hand-to-hand battle between Weisz and Velasquez. Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath, Alun Armstrong, Dwayne Johnson, Adewale Akinnouye-Agbage, Shaun Parkes. Directed by: Stephen Sommers. B-

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) PG-13 action

What made the 1999 film such a gleeful adrenaline rush is all but forgotten by this second sequel. I blame it on its characters not spending nearly as much screen-time exploring secret chambers and archaeological wonders -- rather, resolving themselves to simply being chased around throughout them by various monsters and ghouls. Stop and smell the dusty artifacts, for all our sakes. But one thing I do appreciate with this sequel is it takes us to a different part of the world. China, to be exact. Despite this not leaving me with any sense of wonder, I wouldn't necessarily recommend skipping this to anyone inherently interested in completing the trilogy. So break out the popcorn and partake. Just brace yourself for another disappointment. While Brendan Fraser reprises his role as Rick O'Connell and is reliably fun, the role of his wife, originated by Rachel Weisz, was recast. Nothing against Maria Bello per se, but she doesn't even try to recreate that spunky personality that made the character so fun with Weisz. I'm also left a bit wanting in the villain -- the Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) -- who doesn't come across terribly menacing, nor terribly inspiring with his high ponytail and plated armor. His "mummies" are reanimated Terra Cotta Soldiers. As artificial as these CGI figures might look, it is fun to see Brendan Fraser doing sword battles with them and make them crumble into chunks. The Dragon Emperor, a reanimated Supreme Being from ancient times, was resurrected in a bid to enslave the world. (But little did he know, Capitalism had already beat him to it.) Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Russell Wong, Liam Cunningham, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Wong. Directed by: Rob Cohen. C

Munich (2005) R drama

Steven Speilberg directed this historical fiction film set in the aftermath of a Palestinian terrorist group's murder of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympic. Five assassins are sent out in Europe to kill those responsible for planning the attack. This is a strikingly relevant film for today's world, because it explores the ambiguity between right and wrong on both sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is one of Speilberg's most serious efforts, and thanks to his solid directorship, it's an effective film. However, the slow pacing and the 164-minute running length makes it difficult to sit through at times. The on-location European scenery is fantastic. Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zichler, Ayelet Zorer, Geoffrey Rush, Michel Lonsdale, Lynn Cohen. Directed by: Steven Speilberg. B+

The Muppet Movie (1979) G comedy

In the first of the many Muppet movies, Kermit the Frog attempts to sorta explain how the gang got together on his way to make it big in Hollywood. Entertaining but sometimes gets too carried away. The plot is uneven, but it is most definitely made up by its jokes and the countless cameos. An entertaining film that's one of the best (but not the best) of all the Muppet flicks. Very likable; there is enough material to keep children and adults entertained. The songs, however, are horrible. Followed by The Great Muppet Caper. Starring: Charles Durning, Austin Pendelton, Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Steve Martin, Carol Kane, Paul Williams, Bob Hope, James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Elliot Gould, Cloris Leachman, Telly Savalas, Orson Welles. Voices of: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz. Directed by: James Frawley. B

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) PG comedy

The Muppets return in a joyous third feature about Kermit and the gang traveling to New York City to get their musical produced on Broadway. Like nearly everyone who goes down this avenue, Kermit experiences pitfalls and troubles trying to accomplish this. The Muppets are at their peak here, and this is the last that involved its creator, Jim Henson. Starring: Dabney Coleman, Art Carney, James Coco, Joan Rivers, Gregory Hines, Linda Lavin, Liza Minnelli, John Landis. Voices of: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire. Directed by: Frank Oz. A-

Murder By Death (1976) PG mystery/comedy

Lovers of classic mystery novels and films are sure to have a ball with this one. The cast is a dream of actors parodying popular fictional detectives. Peter Falk as Sam Diamond (Sam Spade). David Niven and Maggie Smith as Dick and Dora Charleston (Nick and Nora Charles). James Coco as Milo Perrier (Hercule Poirot). Peter Sellers as Sidney Wang (Charlie Chan). Elsa Lanchester as Jessica Marbles (Miss Marple). They are called together to a party where they are promised dinner and a murder by their mysterious host, Lionel Twain (Truman Capote). The script by Neil Simon has an incredible amount of laughs, the cast playing their parts so dryly that it's even easy to miss some. My tiny complaint about the story is that it resolves into nonsense, whereas a more traditional mystery conclusion might have been more tantalizing. Nevertheless, at least the punchline is funny, particularly to anyone who is a jaded mystery novel reader. Starring: Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, Eileen Brennan, Nancy Walker, James Cromwell, Estelle Winwood, Truman Capote. Directed by: Robert Moore. B+

Murder in Three Acts (1986) NR mystery

Only a so-so movie adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel, but there have been far worse. Peter Ustinov is always appreciated reprising his role as the brilliant Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. This time, he is invited to a dinner party hosted by an actor (Tony Curtis) when a death happens. Although, Poirot doesn't initially suspect it to be foul play, he pretty soon finds himself in the middle of another bloody murder mystery. Starring: Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis, Concetta Tomei, Emma Samms, Nicholas Pryor, Rene Pereyra, Diana Muldaur. Directed by: Gary Nelson. B-

Murderball (2005) R documentary

This documentary is about a sport I never thought existed: Paraplegic rugby. Another name for this sport is the title-name. It's every bit as intense, and perhaps more so, than any other sport, and its wheel-chair-bound participants want nothing more than to take home gold at the international championships. This film is not only exciting, but it is also resonant because before most of these people turned to rugby, they never thought life would be worth enjoying as a paraplegic. Directed by: Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro. A

Muscle Beach Party (1964) NR comedy

Nobody expects Terrence Malick when they watch a Beach Party movie. What they expect are dance parties, goofy jokes, and the adorable Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. And this movie delivers the goods. That is despite my disappointment over Funicello's character behaving angry and jealous through most of this when Avalon is whisked away by a pretty young Italian aristocrat (Luciana Paluzzi) who offers him fame and fortune. Meanwhile, a bodybuilding team lead by the perpetually wound-up Don Rickles threatens to take over the surfers' favorite spot on the beach. I'm a '60s rock nerd, so I was tickled pink by the musical appearances from Dick Dale and Little Stevie Wonder. Starring: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Luciana Paluzzi, John Ashley, Don Rickles, Peter Turgeon, Jody McCrea, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Peter Lorre. Directed by: William Asher. B-

The Muse (1999) PG-13 comedy

A unique Albert Brooks film where he stars as a movie screenwriter who runs across a "Muse" (supposedly a Greek Goddess who causes one to be inspired and come up with a darn good screenplay). A top-notched cast (who seem to have fun in their roles) serves this film well. If you love Albert Brook's previous comedies then this film's for you. It isn't without its flaws, but it's lighthearted and delightful. Starring: Sharon Stone, Albert Brooks, Jeff Bridges, Andie MacDowell, Steven Wright, Mark Feuerstein, Cybill Sheperd, Monica Mikala, Lorenzo Lamas, Jennifer Tilly, Rob Reiner, Wolfgang Puck, Martin Scorsese. Directed by: Albert Brooks. B

The Music Lovers (1971) R drama

This fictionalized biography of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky directed by Ken Russell is to no surprise bizarre. It is also not hard to believe that the script is somewhat puzzling. Richard Chamberlain plays the composer, on the verge of worldwide stardom, who has to suppress his homosexual tendencies to function better in society. This was an overall misfire for Russell, but itís too weirdly fascinating to snub. The cinematography is fantastic, and parts can only be described as magic. The intense performances from the cast arenít always on-target, but they add to the filmís odd appeal. Starring: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Christopher Gable, Isabella Telezynska, Kenneth Collet, Joanne Brown, Bruce Robinson, Victoria Russell. Directed by: : Ken Russell. B

The Music Man (1962) NR comedy

Traveling salesman trickster, Prof. Harold Hill (Robert Preston), who is notorious for selling instruments, uniforms and instruction books for boys under false pretentions, makes it to small-town River City, Iowa. The only person in town who can see through his guise is the music teacher (Shirley Jones), so he attempts to win her over by his charm. But that's easier said than done. This is an endearing musical, with an excellent cast and music. Starring: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Ron Howard. Directed by: Morton Da Costa. A+

Music of the Heart (1999) PG drama

Wes Craven curiously directed this drama about an inspirational public school violin teacher (Meryl Streep) whose job is threatened due to budget cuts. It is based on a true story. Meryl Streep's performance in this overall fine film earned her one of her billion Academy Award nomination. This is an endearing and literate film that's also good for those who love classical music. Starring: Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Angela Bassett, Cloris Leachman, Gloria Estefan, Josh Pais, Jay O. Sanders, Charlie Hofheimer, Kieran Culkin. Directed by: Wes Craven. B+

Musketeers Forever (1998) NR action

Lame movie about a trio of retired secret service agents doing battle against a wimpy looking mob boss who wants to open a casino on tribal land. Starring: Michael Dudikoff, Sylvie Varakine, Lee Majors, Martin Neufeld, Daniel Pilon, Serge Houde, Sabine Karsenti, Jason Cavalier. Directed by: Georges Chamcoum. D

Must Love Dogs (2005) PG-13 romantic comedy

If a romantic comedy features two leads (Diane Lane and John Cusack) who generate zero romantic sparks together, and it isn't funny at all, then what good is it? Well, insufferable dog lovers at least should appreciate the fact that, yes, there are dogs in this movie. Christopher Plummer as Lane's "swinging" widower father looked positively embarassed. Starring: Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermont Mulroney, Stockard Channing, Julie Gonzalo, Ali Hillis. Directed by: Gary David Goldberg. D+

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) PG-13 romantic comedy

If guests at a dinner party you were attending decided to spontaneously break out singing Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer," would you be weirded out, or would you join them? To watch this film is to join them. (I'm referring, of course, to probably this movie's most memorable scene.) This film is the cinematic equivalent of blowing bubbles -- frivolous, fun, and cute. Julia Roberts stars as Julianne, a food critic who had made a pact with a former flame, Michael (Dermot Mulroney) that if neither of them were married by the age of 28, they would marry each other. Turns out Michael found a bride just under the wire, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Julianne, realizing that she'd missed out on a good thing, sets about sabotaging their relationship. This rather mischievous plot element combined with Roberts' magnetic screen presence and a quirky script makes this romantic comedy a cut above the rest. Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco, M. Emmet Walsh, Rachel Griffiths, Carrie Preston, Susan Sullivan, Christopher Masterson, Raci Alexander. Directed by: P.J. Hogan. B+

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) PG romantic comedy

This fun film has a high entertainment factor and is an inoffensive comedy for the masses. It's like cotton candy; it has no value whatsoever, but it will give you a great sugar rush. An average looking Greek woman, Toula, whose family is fanatically proud of being Greek, was once feared to never find a husband. That is until Ian stumbles into her life (or rather she stumbles), who to the family's despair isn't Greek. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed it. Many dumb jokes are prevalent, but half of them are snicker-inducing. Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Joey Fantone, Christina Elusiniotis, Kaylee Viera, John Kalangis, Marita Zouravlioff. Directed by: Joel Zwick. B

My Bloody Valentine (1981) R horror

The dance on Valentine's Day hadn't been held for years in the small mining town of Valentines Bluff. That was because a miner went insane after being trapped in a collapsed mine and killed some of the attendees responsible for the accident. If the dance were to be held again, the killer vowed, he would return and resume his killing spree. Twenty years later, institutional memory is lost. Young men and women in the town are excited to revive the dance. But that turns out to be a poor idea after the sheriff receives a Valentine's Day box of chocolates--except instead of chocolates inside it has a real human heart! No doubt, this is an above average slasher film containing plenty of gruesome images and frights. Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Thomas Kovacs, Terry Waterland. Directed by: George Mihalka. B

My Blue Heaven (1990) PG-13 comedy

Steve Martin stars in one of his offbeat roles as a smooth-talking New York criminal on the FBI's Witness Protection Program. Martin is sent to Fryberg, a suburb of San Diego, in order to protect himself from the people he's testifying against. However, keeping crime away from this criminal is difficult to do, even if he's in a goody-goody all American town. The premise is rather corny, but entertaining dance numbers and jokes keeps the audience entertained. Rick Moranis and Jane Cusack also star, but their acting is only second rate. Steve Martin, on the other hand, proves he can play a different kind of role with success. Starring: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Jane Cusack, Melanie Mayron, Bill Irwin, Carol Kane, William Hickey, Deborah Rush, Daniel Stern, Ed Lauter, Julie Bovasso, Colleen Camp. Directed by: Herbert Ross. B-

My Boyfriend's Back (1993) PG-13 horror/comedy

Stupid, disgusting, rude, offensive, sappy, poor, devastating and idiotic. Those are only a few words to describe this dumbass movie. Teenage guy gets shot defending the gal he loves and at the last minute of his life, he asks her to the prom. Thinking he would be dead soon anyway, she agrees. A day later, teenage guy crawls out of the grave to keep the promise. He is a zombie and soon discovers that he must eat living human flesh to stay in his state of "alive". Bury this one so that it'll never come back. Starring: Andrew Lowery, Traci Lind, Danny Zorn, Edward Herrmann, Mary Beth Hurt, Matthew Fox, Philip Hoffman, Austin Pendelton, Cloris Leachman, Paul Dooley. Directed by: Bob Balaban. F

My Brilliant Career (1979) G drama

Sybylla (Judy Davis) is a young woman with red, wind-whipped hair who lives in late 1800s Australia—her family's impoverished stead -- a dusty ranch house of gray, creaky wood erected on a lonely landscape. She has modest looks, or so she says, and she dreams of becoming an artist. She doesn't know what kind of artist -- she's figuring that out. Her aimlessly lofty ambitions are becoming increasingly irritating to her parents who declare they can no longer support her and are going to hire her off as a home servant. But her wealthy grandmother Bossier steps in and takes Sybylla under her wing -- to teach her the ways of a proper lady. Grandma's efforts are met with mixed success. Sybylla does manage to attract a couple perfectly fine suitors. As much as they might say they revel in her free spirited manner, their options are also perhaps somewhat limited. She detests one but becomes enamored with another, a wealthy rancher named Harry (Sam Neil). But she worries no man, as much as he might say otherwise, would truly want to take a norms-busting woman like her as a wife. Davis' performance is exceptional -- embodying that headstrong woman with a magnetic personality who defiantly remains true to her idealized ambitions, despite every societal obstacle working against her. She is a fascinating character to spend time with, one who I become invested in and cheer when things go her way. Starring: Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Rubert Grubb, Patricia Kennedy, Max Cullen, Alan Hopgood, Max Meldrum, Dorothy St. Heaps. Directed by: Gillian Armstrong. A-

My Cousin Vinny (1992) R comedy

This is a terrific comedy about a gumshoe lawyer (Joe Pesci) defending his nephew for a murder that he didn't commit. Pesci realizes that in order to successfully do this, he must overcome a one-sided jury and judge. The film is joyously jam-packed with comedy. The performances are amazing. Starring: Joe Pesci, Ralph Maccio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith, Austin Pendleton, Bruce McGill. Directed by: Jonathan Lynn. A-

My Date With Drew (2003) PG documentary

This surprisingly joyous documentary about one man's life-long dream to go on a date with Drew Barrymore gives a flicker of hope to all geeky nerds the world round. The film succeeds primarily because Brian Herzlinger, the main subject of the film, is charismatic, and his pleasant disposition keeps him from being what many are in his predicament: a stalker. He spent only $1,100 he won from a game show to make the film (using a camera from Circuit City with a 30-day return policy and then returning it when the filming is done). Ambitious, offbeat filmmaking such as this is a treat, and it was quite suspenseful seeing if he'd actually get this date or not. Starring: Brian Herzlinger, John August, Corey Feldman, Eric Roberts, Drew Barrymore. Directed by: Jon Gunn. B+

My Dinner With Andre (1981) NR drama

Two intellectuals, playing themselves, have dinner and talk about life. Andre Gregory sits down with his good friend Wallace Shawn and tells him about how he came to be more in touch with reality. This film is 100 percent talk and no action whatsoever. It'll be boring to anybody who doesn't enjoy listening to philosophical talk. However, those who enjoy thinking in the abstract will eat it up. Starring: Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory. Directed by: Louis Malle. B+

My Dog Skip (2000) PG drama

The soundtrack is relentless with such thick sentimental mood music that it makes me wonder how any of these characters could breathe. Nonetheless, this is an agreeable film about a boy named Willie (Frankie Muniz) and his dog Skip. His mother (Diane Lane) purchases the Jack Russell Terrier for Willie's 9th birthday, much to protestation from his father (Kevin Bacon). I talk to my TV during this scene: Every boy needs a dog. How dare Kevin Bacon be so cranky. Skip ends up becoming a local celebrity in their tiny Mississippi burg, and he has pretty much the run of the place. Muniz is the reason to watch this -- his genuine expressions of joy when he first lays eyes upon his new best friend is adorable. The wretched expressions of grief when Skip is critically injured is heartbreaking. The sentimentality also well received, as it accurately reflects what it means to fondly reminisce about a pet years after the fact. With that said, the narration provided by Harry Connick Jr. nearly ruins this -- just an unceasing barrage of dime store sentimentality, some of it so hokey as to cause me to burst out laughing. Nonetheless, I buy into this movie enough that, as a dog lover myself, I was left bawling like a baby at the end. Starring: Frankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Bradley Coryell, Dylan Honeycutt, Cody Linley, Caitlin Wachs. Directed by: Jay Russell. B-

My Fair Lady (1964) NR musical

A dirt-poor Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) crosses paths with a chauvinistic and classist linguist professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). To satisfy the terms of a bet, he takes her under his wing to teach her how to speak and carry herself like a refined, upper class lady. This can be taken as a satire of the British class system thanks largely to it remaining faithful to George Bernard Shaw's source material. Much of the entertainment value, though, is of course the antagonism between Higgins and Doolittle--which elicits plenty of guffaws. And of course there's the brilliantly hummable music and lyrics by Lerner and Lowe. Really a fabulous film, with my only complaint being the love-conquers-all final scene. Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett. Directed by: George Cukor. A

My Fellow Americans (1998) PG-13 comedy

Unlikely political comedy about two ex-presidents of the opposite party (Jack Lemmon and James Garner) having to run for their lives because vicious killers are after them. The reason for this has something to do with a political scandal that the current president would rather blame these two guys for (and it's easier to do that when they're dead). The appeal of this film results from the Grumpy Old Men formula but the dialogue is too full of vulgarities. Starring: Jack Lemmon, James Garner, John Heard, Dan Aykroyd, Sela Ward, Wilford Brimely, Everett McGill, Bradley Whitford, Lauren Bacall, James Rebhorn, Esther Rolle. Directed by: Peter Segal. C

My Friend Flicka (1943) NR drama

This is a so-so film about a young farm kid (Roddy McDowall) who gets to choose his own colt to raise. Against the wishes of his father (Preston S. Foster), he chooses the title-horse that has a wild streak. This is a sweet movie, but itís too sweet and will doubtfully be entertaining to anyone over the age of 10. I thought McDowall talked funny for a fun kid--turns out heís British. Starring: Roddy McDowall, Preston S. Foster, Rita Johnson, Jeff Corey, James Bell. Directed by: Harold D. Schuster. C

My Giant (1998) PG comedy

Billy Crystal makes a film remotely resembling his relationship with the late Andre the Giant. Crystal is miraculously pulled out of a car wreck somewhere in Romania by a seven and a half foot giant, played by NBA star Gheorghe Muresan, and they almost immediately bond with each other. Billy Crystal is a movie star agent who feels that Muresan would be perfect in a film that's being shot close by. Crystal wants to turn this guy into a movie star, but Muresan only wants to visit his childhood sweetheart who moved to the United States a long time ago. While this family friendly movie certainly isn't Crystal's best effort, it is entertaining and good enough for his fans. Starring: Billy Crystal, Kathleen Quinlan, Gheorghe Muresan, Joanna Pacula, Zane Carney, Jere Burns, Harold Gould, Dan Castelleneta, Raymond O'Connor, Rider Strong, Steven Segal. Directed by: Michael Lehmann. B-

My Girl (1991) PG comedy/drama

This is a poignant tale about an 11-year-old girl with a troubled childhood. Her mother died a few days after she was born, her dad is going to marry someone she doesn't like, she lives in a funeral parlor and is haunted by the corpses, among other things. A decent film with a nice cast. Don't forget Kleenex. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin, Anna Chlumsky, Richard Masuer, Griffin Dunne, Ann Nelson, Peter Michael Goetz. Directed by: Howard Zieff. B

My Left Foot (1989) R drama

A very well done, yet somewhat boring look at the life of Christy Brown, a handicapped young man whose only movable limb is his left foot. Flickers of humor are in all the right places, but story isn't supposed to be funny. The acting is great, especially by Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, who won Academy Awards for their performances. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Ray McAnally, Hugh O'Connor, Fiona Shaw, Cyril Cusack, Adrian Dunbar, Ruth McCabe. Directed by: Jim Sheridan. B

My Life as a Dog (1985) PG-13 drama

This is a charming Swedish film about the life-and-times of a child who has a dying mother as well as a sexual awakening. Itís engaging and entertaining even though I wouldnít want to see this twice. Starring: Anton Glanzelius, Anki Liden, Manfred Serner, Melinda Kinnaman, Tomas von Bromssen. Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom. A-

My Little Chickadee (1940) NR comedy

Mae West joining forces with W.C. Fields is a hoot, even though it admittedly grows somewhat tiresome that we have two big-personality, one-note characters to deal with. Nonetheless, their shenanigans are plenty chuckle inducing, even in this day and age. The storyline is almost inconsequential, as the focus is on the one-liners, but it does hold my interest. Taking place in the 1880s Wild West, Mae West's saucy character is kicked out of town for getting caught fraternizing with a masked bandit. She is not allowed to come back till she's married. To fulfill this requirement, she marries a perpetually drunk con-man (W.C. Fields) she happens to meet during a train ride. Starring: Mae West, W.C. Fields, Joseph Calleia, Dick Foran, Margaret Hamilton, Donald Meek, Ruth Donnelly, Willard Robertson, Fuzzy Knight, George Moran. Directed by: Edward F. Cline. B

My Man Godfrey (1936) NR drama

William Powell stars as a hobo who takes a position as a butler at a mansion full of difficult and flighty characters. Powell (who is really a millionaire himself) decides to stick around and teach them a few things! A fairly entertaining film from the Depression era, and it really does teach a good moral Ö if you want one, that is. Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Jean Dixon, Mischa Auer. Directed by: Gregory La Cava. A-

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) G animated

An animated adventure that is not to be missed. Hayao Miyazaki directs this charming fairytale about two little girls who move to the countryside and discover all sorts of fantastic creatures residing there. The mother of these being Totoro, a giant rabbit/cat/thing that can do all sorts of magical things. Itís a joyous film that is perfect for kids Ö and perfect for adults who want to feel like kids for 86 minutes. Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki. A+

Mystery Alaska (1996) R comedy

A small town's hockey team challenges the New York Rangers to a game in this horribly scripted film about the love of sport and the pursuits of fame. The melodrama involving the hollow personalities of the townspeople is overbearing and pretentious. It's only when the film finally gets to the pivotal hockey game when it takes flight. Starring: Russel Crowe, Hank Azaria, Mary McCormack, Burt Reynolds, Colm Meaney, Lolita Davidovich, Maury Chaykin, Ron Eldard. Directed by: Jay Roach. D+

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) NR horror

When I see a good wax figure, I stare at it for the longest time expecting to see it blink. If I stare at it longer, I get to a point that I startle myself when I see it not blink. This is why a wax museum is such an exceptional setting for a horror film. If it's possible for any inanimate object to be given a human soul, then it is a wax figure -- it already seems halfway there. The story opens in London 1921 at a wax museum run by artistic genius Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill). His figures are so lifelike it seems they could reach out and grab you. Among his creations is Joan of Arc, Voltaire, and his most beloved of them all -- Mary Antoinette. However, his wax museum is in financial straits, and its benefactor Joe Worth (Edwin Maxwell) is bleeding cash and demands that they burn the place to the ground to recoup his losses in insurance money. Igor is abhorred at the idea of destroying his precious creations, and they get in a fistfight. But it's already too late -- the fire is already raging. This is an excellently paced film and entertaining mystery. Glenda Farrell gives a particularly blistering performance as a local reporter, and Fay Wray is captivating as her roommate, who Igor takes an unhealthy liking to. The early Technicolor is also put to great use -- it just wouldn't have been quite the same seeing these sculptures in black and white. Starring: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Allen Vincent, Gavin Gordon, Edwin Maxwell. Directed by: Michael Curtiz. A-

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996) PG-13 comedy

I am not a fan of the television show (but Iíve seen an episode or two of it), so I canít review this film through the eyes of a fan. But more of a casual observer, I did find this to be pretty entertaining. An evil scientistís dastardly deeds are to subject a man and two robots to the worst films ever made and see how long it takes for them to finally crack. So, we get to see them watch the bad movie, a B-movie science fiction picture This Island Earth, and talk through it making very silly comments. About one in ten of the comments made inspires a chuckle, which is a pretty good ratio as far as comedies go these days. Itís witty enough to deserve a peek. Starring: Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy, Jim Mallon, John Brady. Directed by: Jim Mallon. B

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