Films '96+

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Films of 2001

# Film Title Date Rating Frogs One Word Buy at Amazon.com
1 Accelerator 5 January 2001 75% **** Joy-riding Buy!
A film about young car thief/joy riders, from both North (Northern Ireland) and South (The Republic of Ireland) of the border who get involved in a crazy race from Belfast to Dublin. I went to this movie, along with a friend, because we hadn't booked tickets ahead, Unbreakable was sold out, and Bless the Child was also sold out. I hadn't had much of a clue about it going in, and it was really rather better than I'd had reason to expect. Not outstanding, but rather good. Less action in some ways than one might expect from a film billed by some as "the first Irish action film", and the car chases not quite up to Hollywood, but well done considering. It also, perhaps, has a message: nicking cars and joy-riding are bad, and even if you don't give a toss about the morals of it all, you'll get yourself into a mess or killed. Perhaps this message will not get through to those who need to get it, but maybe appealing to their self-interest will be more successful than appealing to their better nature (to paraphrase Robert A. Heinlein). Not heavy on the message though. Enjoyable, with amusing characters and a bit of action. The more I write, the more I feel I liked this movie, actually.
2 Unbreakable 7 January 2001 90% ***** Hero Buy!
For some reason, I've heard several people say things like, "It was pretty good, but it wasn't The Sixth Sense..." or "It was a bit disappointing. I went in with really high expectations." I went in not being sure what to expect, but feeling it would probably be rather good. Having seen it, I can't understand the things people had said to me. Apart from anything, saying it's no Sixth Sense, to me, is completely non-sensical. If I wanted to see The Sixth Sense, I'd've rented it or bought it on DVD. I didn't, therefore it's safe to assume that I wanted to see Unbreakable, not The Sixth Sense. I thought it was a clever and original plot, done in an intriguing and quite distinctive way, and it had the requisite twist at the end! I loved it. I think perhaps there was more going on than some of the people who said these things realised. The person I went to the movie with agreed with my appraisal on basically every count. Acting from Willis, Osment and Jackson was of course very good, as can be expected. I think perhaps it was also a bit slow-moving for some, and maybe some people were miffed at not seeing a massive CGI-fest train wreck in progress scene. Overall excellent movie!
Some reviews are missing from here. Number is unknown. Perhaps 6-8? Data currently lost.
10 Sweet November 11 March 2001 85% ****+ Touching Buy!
A beautiful, touching, poignant yet joyful romantic drama, skillfully crafted. Definitely worth seeing.
11 Moulin Rouge 2 June 2001 90% ***** Boisterous! Buy!
Moulin Rouge is a wonderfully vivid musical romance/drama/comedy with outstanding music, wonderful singing, excellent choreography, hillarious moments, and a clever plot.
12 Shrek 8 June 2001 85% ****+ Funny! Buy!
Roaringly funny with plenty to offer to both children and adults. Great voice actors. Catchy music. Fun plot.
13 A.I. 12 June 2001 80% ****+ Real? Buy!
A.I. (Articifial Intelligence) is an enchanting movie with a moving, thought-provoking story and engaging characters. It is more than just a kids' movie. It has a lot to say if you listen.
14 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 15 June 2001 70% **** Croft Buy!
Considering that it's a movie based on a computer game (I think the other way around doesn't usually work very well, and I certainly wouldn't expect this way to work), it was really rather good! The plot's thin enough but not too bad, the acting's... well... it's ok. The action and effects are pretty cool. It's fairly mindless stuff, but it's really rather fun.
15 Cats and Dogs 20 July 2001 65% ***+ Silly Buy!
Silly but fairly funny, Cats and Dogs is not a bad way to spend 87 minutes if you've nothing better to do. It's got some pretty funny jokes in places, and a lot of corny dialogue ... but what do you really expect? Shakespeare? That is isn't, but it's enjoyable.
16 Planet of the Apes 27 July 2001 80% ****+ Coexistence Buy!
Planet of the Apes is really not a bad remake....-ish. It's not really quite a remake, actually. It takes the Planet of the Apes concept from the original 6 or 7 movies and makes a new movie from that. It didn't have the cheesy B-movie charm of the original movie series, but it did substitute excellent ape characters and sets which don't look like something from the original series of Star Trek. All-in-all, the original movies had a little more bite to them, but this is still worth seeing. It's a little sad, though, in a way, to think that a lot of people will probably see this movie and never see the originals. They're missing out.
17 America's Sweethearts 3 August 2001 75% **** Stardom Buy!
Eddie (the inimitable John Cusack) and Gwen (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are a high-profile, popular movie star married couple; America's Sweethearts of the film's title. All is not well, however, on the home front, and they have broken up. Gwen has fallen for another actor, and Eddie is having a nervous breakdown... but they have a movie to promote and the company doesn't want word to get out that there's trouble in paradise. Chaos ensues. This movie is really quite charming and romantic and very funny. Cusack is brilliant as always. Julia Roberts, who plays Gwen's former assistant and who plays a pivotal rôle in the havok, is really very good indeed. The last few movies I've seen her in have changed my opinion of her acting skill greatly. This is a fun, worthwhile movie.
18 The Others 17 August 2001 80% ****+ Chilling Buy!
A very clever thriller, starring Nicole Kidman, with an exceedingly nice twist. Definitely worth seeing.
19 Rush Hour 2 27 August 2001 70% **** Cross-cultural? Buy!
Pretty much the same idea as the first one, but again really quite funny. There's some repetition in terms of situational humour, but it's really quite a nice sequel. Enjoyable and relaxing for the mind.
20 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 28 September 2001 80% ****+ Smith! Buy!
Kevin Smith hits the target once again with a hillariously funny movie starring the popular duo (from his earlier films): Jay and Silent Bob (played by Smith himself). Absolutely rife with an ecclectic array of movie and TV references, this movie makes fun of Hollywood very amusingly. It even has a two-way cross-over with another not entirely serious blockbuster movie.
21 Rat Race 29 September 2001 70% **** Cleese Buy!
Cleese plays a highly eccentric Las Vegas casino owner who, for lack of anything better to do, amuses himself by pitching a randomly selected group of individuals against each other in a chaotic race to find a large stash of cash. Rat Race is full of visual humour (occasionally painful) and funny situations. It's very funny in places, but in others its a little iffy.
22 Serendipity 5 October 2001 90% ***** Romantic Buy!
A story about fate, romance, faith and destiny. Whether you believe in that sort of stuff or not, it's a charming movie with two wonderful stars in the leading rôles. A must-see!
23 Riding in Cars with Boys 19 October 2001 80% ****+ Struggles Buy!
An intelligent, promising young girl's plans and dreams are ruined when she gets pregnant and has a son. Drew Barrymore is wonderful as the young mother, as are the rest of the cast of this touching drama, including James Woods as her father. It is serious as often as it is funny, often being deadly serious underneath while on the surface being humourous. It is well worth seeing.
24 Don't Say a Word 22 October 2001 70% **** Pressure Buy!
When the daughter of a psychiatrist, Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas), is kidnapped, the kidnappers make a very unusual demand. In order to secure her release, he must retrieve for them a secret number from the mind of a psychologically disturbed girl in a high-security hospital. Brittany Murphy is quite convincing as Elisabeth Burrows, the patient from whom Douglas, who is also wonderfully suited to his part, must procure the high-stakes secret code.
25 Thirteen Ghosts (Thir13en Ghosts) 26 October 2001 80% ****+ Terrifying Buy!
I'm not really a big fan of scary movies and horror, but this is one of the most chilling movies I have ever seen. It was not camp and stupid like most horror movies. It was disturbing and terrifying and super-realistic. I bought the DVD. I don't quite know why since I'm not sure I'll ever actually want to watch it again. It is truly a good movie though in that it achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve. It creates fear more (although not only) through suspense than action. All but the most jaded will jump at least a little and will be at least slightly uncomfortable.
26 K-Pax 27 October 2001 90% ***** Charming Buy!
Prot (Kevin Spacey) is an alien visiting earth. He is open about this, and so is put in a mental institution. He challenges people's realities, changes people's lives, and brings joy to the people around him. He has the wonderment of a child at everyday things. He teaches people around him to share his wonderment. This is an intriguing, beautiful and very different science fiction movie.
27 Monsters, Inc. 12 November 2001 90% ***** Hillarious Buy!
Another absolutely side-splittingly funny and exceedingly cute movie from the gods of computer animation: Pixar. They just cannot do anything wrong! This movie is utterly hillarious. What do kids fear? Monsters. What do monsters have an abject fear of? Kids! The monsters at Monsters, Inc. are brave souls who face their most terrifying nightmares to go to the bedrooms of little kids at night and scare them so that the machinery at HQ can harness the energy of their screams to power their world. Our heroes, two monsters -- James 'Sulley and Michael 'Mike' Wazowski (yes, really) -- with the help of wide-eyed little kid, "Boo", accidentally trapped in the monster dimension, and who immediately latches onto 'Sulley as "KITTY!", discover that all is not as it seems. There is a conspiracy, and they must solve it.
28 Shallow Hal 18 November 2001 70% **** Perspective Buy!
Hal Larson (Jack Black) is an incredibly shallow man who is interested in women only for their looks. He has no luck in love because he is never interested in anyone who is not disgusted by his attentions. One day, his perspective is changed, rather more literally than usual, and all he can, thenceforth, see is the inner beauty of the women around him. This causes him to fall for Rosemary 'Rosie' Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow) who he sees as a stunning beauty but who in reality is 300lbs. This movie is kind of surprisingly subtle; amazingly so for the Farrelly brothers. It's really rather a nice movie.
29 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 19 November 2001 80% ****+ Magic Buy!
As one of the few people on the face of this planet who has never read any of the books, I went in to see this movie with perhaps fewer preconceptions than most. It was really rather entertaining, and I'm sure it inspired wonderment and awe in many a child. For an adult such as myself, it also held interest. While being distinctly accessible to any child, it was also really quite an engaging tale, well told and well rendered into movie form. I have since acquired the UK paperback editions of the (first) four books, however have not had time to read them at the time of this review. From what I hear I have a treat in store once I actually get time to get started on them. The movie appeared to appeal greatly also to people who had read the books, which is a fine recommendation for it.
30 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 19 December 2001 85% ****+ Epic Buy!
An epic novel deserves an epic movie, if it is to be made into one at all, and the movie of The Fellowship of the Ring does not fall short of expectations. On the contrary, I was astonished at how true to the book this movie was. While it's obviously impossible to turn a long and complex book into a 3 hour movie without losing some detail, it is amazing how well they managed to retain the escence of the book and truly astonishing how they managed to include all the most important bits. Nothing was too blatantly missing, nothing stupid was made up or changed, and the movie is just mind-blowingly visually powerful. This is a worthy movie.


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Films '96+ © Copyright Stephen Jacob, 1996-2008.