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LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER  (8 1/2)
Jon Voight (screen and real life father) gets co-billing and is on screen for no more than 5 to 7 minutes. Plenty of lip time for Angelina Jolie, with a British accent.  As an action hero, she runs, jumps, shoots, snarls. Less thrilling than Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lots of special effects. Supporting cast: Was there a supporting cast?   It's Angelina Jolie all the way.

 

LAST CASTLE (The) (7)
I'm usually a big Redford fan, but not today.  Redford is an apparently wrongfully imprisoned military man, who immediately, as in TOO SOON for the evolution of the plot,  becomes a revered icon among the prisonmates who labor under James Gandolfini's tyrannical rule.  Redford is stiff.  It hurts to say that!  And Rusty and I agreed the plot was contrived.  Lots of language.  But thank goodness:  NO PRISON SEX.  What a relief that was!  Redford shows off his great body in worked-out-shape in yet another contrived scene that seemed made just for that purpose.  And again, I hate to say that.  It makes me feel so disloyal. 

 

LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, THE   (9)
Think Golf.  Golf.  Golf.  WILL SMITH as Bagger Vance, who comes to help MATT DAMON as Rannolph Junah, a has been golfer after Junah comes back from the war and the country endures the Great Depression in Savannah, Georgia. J. MICHAEL MONCRIEF must be the cutest young lad in moviedom--that Southern accent, big brown eyes, incredulity, belief in fair sports and all things noble and proper.  He is tooooooo  cute, and it's worth the REGULAR price of admission just to watch him.  He is GOOD!  Move over some Haley Joel Osment.  CHARLIZE THERON does an ok job as the Southern Belle love interest. She would have not been my pick. But Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt are over exposed as it is...literally for Hunt.
A ROBERT REDFORD  film, and whether he is in front of the camera or behind it, I enjoy his films because the music is big, the scenery is lovely, and the actors are excellent.  No one gets completely naked.  Mild language.  I loved this movie.

 

LIFE AS A HOUSE (7 1/2)
One of Kevin Kline's better performances in years.  There are lots of risque scenes and foul language in this film, where Kline is an archetect who suddenly has a life change.  Kristen Scott Thomas is good as the ex-wife who comes back into Kline's life as he attempts to reconnect with his drug obsessed, sexually confused son.  Hayden Christensen, Kline, and Mary Steenburgen bare all in some ridiculous nude scenes.  This movie has shades of American Beauty, which I thought was a rather sick look at what Hollywood considers to be normal America.  Once again, here Hollywood tries to sell us on the seedy side of "normal American family life."  And of course, they are way off base again.  Don't take your kids to see this movie.  19 F-words.  Rusty semi-liked this one.

 

LORD OF THE RINGS (10)
HOLY COW!  This is a good one.  Get ready to devote time to the trilogy of Tolkien's masterpieces of literature on the big screen.  Two more bigger than life films from this series are in the works already. The cast is exceptional, everyone of them.  Wood, Blanchett, Astin, and a supporting cast of wonderful actors all work together to pull off this extraordinary film.  This is an enchanting world of Hobbits and monsters about good versus evil.  Lots of fighting and mystical/magical/elf/ dwarf/sorcery/violence-type stuff.  Enjoy the holidays and take the whole family to see this one.  (Smaller children probably won't be able to last 3 hours though.  It's a long movie.) 
 
Rusty loved this one, and he hates long movies.

 

LOST THE TV SERIES (10)

Season 1: Not being a fan of Survivor, how can it be that I absolutely fell in love with LOST?  Well, I did. I can only recommend that you wait until each season is over and then buy the series of rent the series from Blockbuster or Netflix.  There is nothing quite so much fun as having all the series in hand, though, and we often buy the boxed set.  It's worth it not to have to wade through the commercials or wait on the online service to send the next DVD.  Lost is AWESOME!!! Plane wrecked, the survivors have to learn how to, well, they have to learn how to survive. What is lurking in the forest? It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Wonderful cast.  You never know who is going to survive this LOST ordeal!!

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