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Gangs of New York (2002) - ***1/2
Martin Scorsese brings us this excellent period piece set in the tumultuous mid-1800s in New York's Five Points. It takes place during the real events leading up to the 1863 draft riots. I admit I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it gives the appearance of being authentic. I had been anxiously awaiting this film, but had some slight reservations regarding the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. I like them, but weren't sure if they'd be right for these roles. Both did admiral jobs. Leo surprised me a bit with how well he came across and Cameron definitely did her best though occasionally seemed slightly unbelievable for the time. The success of this movie was the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as William "The Butcher" Cutting in his first role in several years. He carried this movie with his excellent and believable portrayal of this bad man. The movie runs a bit long, but to it's credit it does cover a lot of ground.
Ranked: #5 in
2002

George Washington (2000) - ***
I picked up this movie on a whim after reading the back of the DVD. It's definitely not a mainstream movie, but that's one of its assets. The characters are great...George, the kid with the neck brace, the blonde girl, George's Uncle, the guy who always has an idea to make things better. I found myself wanting to know more about these characters after the movie ended.

Ghosts of Mars (2001) - **
Not a particularly good sci-fi flic set on colonized Mars in the future. As is typical, while mining they uncover something unexpected and release something awful. It's not unwatchable, but not good either.

Ginger Snaps (2000) - **
A little known Canadian horror film. It had such an offbeat start that we stopped the movie with the intentions of not watching the rest. After seeing some favorable rankings online, we decided to proceed. It's VERY gory and definitely not for the squeemish. It's not TOO bad for the genre, but it's nothing special.
Rank:
Halloween Scene

Going My Way (1944) - ***1/2
A very enjoyable film starring Bing Crosby as a progressive Irish Catholic priest who comes to St. Dominick's, a church that is struggling. Initially, he's not very welcome by most, including old Father Fitzgibbon...but with his charm and the song in his heart, he manages to slowly grow on the folks as he finds subtle ways to solve everyone's problems. This is a heartwarming movie without being over-sappy.
Rank: #4 in
1944

The Good Girl (2002) - **
I'm sure this movie was made for someone, but it definitely wasn't me. I think the biggest problem is that I didn't like any of the characters. I didn't particularly care what happened to anyone. Once a movie reaches that point, it has failed. I know there are some very stupid people out there, but it's so hard to believe someone could be as dumb as Jennifer Aniston's character in this movie. I can be entertained for a few minutes when I see these people on Cops, but not for a full length movie...I guess I just don't care about them. It's probably not as bad as I'm making it sound, but there just wasn't anything substantial there. You can't help but laugh at them occasionally, but that's about all this movie offered me.

Gosford Park (2001) - ***
A nice period piece, set in 1932, brought to us by Robert Altman. A group of well-to-dos and their servants get together for a weekend shooting party. Amid a fair amount of shenanigans, it turns into a murder mystery. It's well made, but I had expected a little more with all the critical acclaim the movie received. Still it's good, just not great.

Grand Theft Auto (1977) - **1/2
A fun little car chase movie. No deep meaning or themes here, just some good 70s car chase/wreck/explosions entertainment. This movie was the directorial debut for Ron Howard who also starred in this movie. There are a lot of familiar faces...Marion Ross(Mrs Cunningham from Happy Days), Paul Linke(Grossman from CHiPs), Clint Howard, etc.
Rank: Honorable Mention
Car Movies

Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka) (1988) - ***1/2
This is the most touching animated feature I've ever seen. I truly cared about the characters and was saddened at the tragic events they had to deal with. A young teen boy and his four year old sister are orphaned while their father is in the Japanese navy and their mother is killed in a fire bombing. Though there are a few small bits of humor as a way for them to cope with their situation, I caution you not to think this is a typical Japanese Anime story. It's as gut-wrenching as any live-action war movie and shows the attacks on Japan in a way I've never seen depicted before, from the personal point of view of two children. If you can take it, I think it's an excellent film that tells an important story.
Rank: #4 in
1988, #3 Pearl Harbor Day Movie

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1977) - **
While watching this, I couldn't help but be remind of Thelma & Louise. Granted, this is a B-Movie version of two women on a bank robbing spree with a lot more violence and sex. I think this movie would have been better if they stuck to the somewhat lighter tones it had earlier in the film and away stayed from the heavy violence that came later. It went a little too over the top at the end and it kind of fell apart even on it's own low level. Not even any real good chase scenes that I had hoped for after recently watching other Roger Corman classics, Eat My Dust! & Grand Theft Auto.
Rank: 1977
Worst Movie

The Guru (2002) - **
An interesting movie. It's not really good, but it has some entertaining story elements. Ramu is enticed to come to America by his cousin who claims to be living the high life, only to find out it was all an exaggeration. Determined to become a star, he lands a role in a porno film where he has trouble with his performance. But through some interesting twists, he becomes a highly popular sex guru with the unintentional help of Heather Graham's character...who is a porn star who's fiance believes is a school teacher. There are some interesting twists and turns with the characters, but yet it never really comes together as a whole.

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