Sunday, November 27, 2005

Three Quick Movie Reviews

Mr. 3000

Rating: **

It says a lot about a film, when thirty minutes into it I have to turn to my wife and ask,

“This is a comedy, right?”

It would be another 20 minutes before I managed my first laugh. The film, in its entirety garnered only one other actual laugh from me. Unlaughing and all, it isn’t a terrible film. The acting and production value’s are all OK. The story – retired baseball player is resting on the laurels of having made 3000 hits only to be dragged back into playing, nine years into retirement because, as it turns out, he only made 2997 hits – has a lot of potential.

Too bad it only reaches cliché. Within 10 minutes you already know that he is going to get his 3000 hits, he’ll get the girl, and he’ll learn some valuable life lessons along the way. That one of these things doesn’t actually happen, only serves to highlight how full of Hollywood clichés this film is.

To Be and To Have

Rating: ***1/2

A lovely 2002 documentary from France that chronicles the life of teacher, Georges Lopez as he struggles to instill and education into the minds of a small, one-classroom school of 4-11 year olds.

The students are mostly well behaved, so this isn’t another Lean On Me or Blackboard Jungle. Rather it is the simple story of an educator who loves to teach. It is filled with small moments with Lopez sitting one on one with his students teaching them the fundamentals of the classroom and about life.

For anyone who lives the life of a teacher, or who dreams of becoming one, this film is highly recommended.

Across the Pacific

Rating **1/2

Riding on the successful coattails of the Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific reunites Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and director John Huston in a less than stellar tale of intrigue.

It is a pre-war story of the Japanese plotting to bomb the Panama Canal (this was changed in the story from Pearl Harbor after the Japanese actually did bomb Pearl Harbor). Bogart is a disgraced soldier who grabs a boat ride to Japan by way of the Panama Canal. Along the way he meets a mysterious cast of characters where no one is what they seem.

The performances are what you would expect from such a stellar cast, but nothing more. It’s the story that gets bogged down in its own intrigue. There just isn’t a lot for the actors to play off of, making this thriller less than thrilling.

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