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The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999) - **1/2
A nice story of Leprechauns and Fairies. It stars Randy Quaid in probably his most subtle role to date, which is fitting and appreciated. Colm Meaney is excellent as the leprechaun, Seamus Muldoon. This movie falls a little short of being a classic in the fantasy genre, but it's a decent enough tale for the St. Patrick's Day season. It was made for television, so it lacks a little of the bigger production but the costumes are good and the special effects aren't bad. Probably the biggest fault of this movie is it's running time at nearly 3 hours. It has a fair bit of romance thrown in along with the battles in the forest, Irish song & dance, and other bits of merriment. I think the wee ones might be more patient with this epic length movie, while older folks may grow a bit weary waiting for it to play out.
Rank: #7
St. Patrick's Day Movie

The Majestic (2001) - ***
I really enjoyed watching Jim Carrey play a quality non-comedic role and he played it well. After this, I'm interested to see what other roles Carrey might take on. He'd done Truman Show, but I felt that he was still playing a bit of his regular comic self in that role. And he played an excellent Andy Kaufman. I think this film may open up other opportunities after seeing that he can play a totally straight role well.

Major League (1989) - ***
A very fun baseball movie. I watch it once during each baseball season. It has an all-star cast and they all play their parts well...Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Tom Berenger, Rene Russo, Corbon Benson, and Bob Uecker calling the games! If you're looking for a good humorous take on the game of baseball, this is the movie to watch.

Malèna (2000) - ***
A very good coming of age story set in 1941 Sicily from the director of Cinema Paradiso. The entire village is talking about Malèna. The men and boys are fantasizing about her and the women are jealous. While one boy, Renato, is completely infatuated with her and is upset with the town's gossip. Things turn worse when Malèna receives word that her husband is killed in the war. Renato does everything in his power to protect her, but unfortunately there is little he can do to stop the town. There are nice bits of comedy to lighten the feel of this otherwise serious movie.

Martial Angels (Chuet sik san tau) (2001) - *1/2
A genuinely bad Hong Kong action film. Basically a group of several females are trying to steal some software. The script, the acting, and the action is all boring and unbelievable.

The MatchMaker (1997) - ***
A nice light Irish romantic comedy starring Janeane Garofalo as an American sent to Ireland to research the ancestory of an American senator who's running for re-election. She finds herself in the middle of the traditional MatchMaking festival in a small Irish town. Nothing really surprising, as you can probably guess much how this story will go. But if you want a nice light comedy, it's worth watching.
Rank: #6
St. Patrick's Day Movie

Matchstick Men (2003) - **
Coincidently I happen to watch
Paper Moon and Matchstick Men the same weekend. Unfortunately this movie suffers in comparison. I felt Nicolas Cage's obsessive compulsive character was too over the top. The chemistry between the characters was lacking. The movie started off pleasant enough as Cage's character, a conman, is reunited with his daughter, but towards the end, the movie takes a major turn from comedy to serious and violent and that's where it quickly went down hill.

Memento (2000) - ***1/2
A very intriguing mystery starring Guy Pearce who convincingly plays a man who can no longer make new memories after an injury during which his wife is killed. He's on a mission to find the killer, while having to overcome his handicap with some interesting use of notes, polaroids, tatoos, and routine. Had someone told me this plotline, I would have never thought they could have pulled off such a wonderful movie. The movie doesn't play in chronological order which adds to the mystery as you try and figure out the truth and who can be trusted along with Leonard. If I didn't know, I would have guessed this condition he suffers from was made up for the movie, but apparently there is such a condition called Anterograde Amnesia, which prevents a person from creating new memories after an injury to the brain. I can't say if the movie follows all the rules of Anterograde Amnesia, but it is highly believable as it plays out. At least for me, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to live with this handicap, much less trying to deal with this guy's situation. Carrie-Anne Moss and Joey Pants are excellent in their supporting roles.
Rank: #4 in
2004, #10 in 2000s

Men in Black II (2002) - **1/2
Nothing deep or innovative here. But good family fun. If you liked the first one, this one will probably amuse you. It does lack the originality, but offers a good time just the same.

Men with Brooms (2002) - **
If you want to see a movie about the sport of curling, this is a movie about curling. Unfortunely they don't explain many of the rules, seemingly we should already know the nuances of the sport. I really tried to figure out the strategy of all the sweeping that was going on after the stone was thrown, but it evaded me. It's pretty sappy, predictable, and not very good. I did get to hear the noise that beavers make for the first time in my life...assuming it was realistic, it's not the noise I'd guess they would have made. It did have Leslie Nielsen in a serious role, maybe a bit too serious. I guess I just couldn't get wrapped up in the soul of curling.

The Mexican (2001) - **1/2
Not a bad movie. It's entertaining enough to keep you interested. Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts played their roles well enough. A bit of a far-fetched premise. Though if you're willing to accept it, it doesn't detract from the entertainment.

Miller's Crossing (1990) - ***1/2
The Coen's brought us a fine addition to the gangster genre. Though it's not 100% your prototypical gangster movie, it's a fine fit with the Coen brothers' touch added. The movie had a nice look and feel to it and I really enjoyed watching the characters interact. In particular, I thought Gabriel Byrne's performance was outstanding. His style gave the film a bit of a noir-ish touch. If you're a fan of the genre or the Coen brothers, I think you'll enjoy Miller's Crossing.
Rank: #7 in
1990

Million Dollar Baby (2004) - ***1/2
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this wonderful movie. On the surface this is a film about an up and coming girl boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), but really is about much more. It's a movie about life, about family, about accomplishment. The acting of the three stars is excellent. Eastwood turns in a very subdued and impressive performance as Frankie, a trainer and owner of the gym. Hilary swank was magnificent as Maggie Fitzgerald, the self-defined 'white trash' who's been waiting tables since she was 13, but who has aspirations of being a female boxer. And Morgan Freeman was good as usual in his supporting role as Scrap, Frankie's long time friend, and the catalyst between Frank and Maggie. The rest of the supporting cast came off a little on the stereotypical side and one dimensional, but part of that was because they weren't important to the story. I will admit, that as the movie got going, I was starting to feel that the movie was going to be derivative, with some early elements from Rocky V and other movies, but that was just the set up for the rest of the film, which doesn't take too long to unfold. By the end you'll know the meaning of "Mo Cuishle".
Rank: #1 in
2004, #4 in 2000s

Minority Report (2002) - ***
I like good sci-fi and this was good. A great premise...being able to prevent murder by seeing the future. But can the future be changed if you know what's going to happen?

Monsters, Inc. (2001) - ***
One of the best animated features in years. This one is fun for the whole family. A great cast of voices tell us the story of why there are monsters in children's closets. It's probably the best quality animation I've ever seen and an excellent cast of voices bring this story to life...Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, James Coburn, John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin).
Rank: #6 in
2001

The MOTHMAN Prophecies (2002) - **1/2
I felt like I was watching a mediocre episode of X-Files while watching this movie. It was okay, but never really drew me into the movie. The actors were okay, but nothing special. I think the script needed a little more work to tighten up the story a bit. Keep your expectations low. Since it's supposedly based on true events, I'm a little interested to know more about the true stories.

Mr. Deeds (2002) - *1/2
The worst Adam Sandler movie to date. Hardly any laughs and the most amusing parts are in the preview. Instead of laughing we were shaking our heads throughout the movie at it's weak and repetitive attempts at humor.

The Musketeer (2001) - **1/2
I've always been a fan of Musketeer movies and though this one isn't particularly special it offers enough to keep me entertained. Not sure why, but I really enjoy watching some good sword play and the stunts that go along with it...more exciting to me than a massive shootout I think. The actors were okay, but nothing special. Tim Roth played a good bad guy and I enjoyed Catherine Deneuve as the Queen. Keep your expectations low and you'll probably be entertained.

My Dog Skip (2000) - ***
I'm definitely a sucker for "a boy and his dog" movies. I spent a lot of time with my dog, riding my bike around the neighborhood with him following behind. While this movie might not be old yeller. It's a very good movie that's good for the just about the whole family, though it is rated PG for some serious issues. This is a quality coming of age story and has all the right elements...baseball, bike riding, girls, bullies, Huck Finn (my favorite childhood book), and his dog Skip. Though there's plenty different in this story from my experiences, but there are enough similarities in stories like these that really take me back to the time when I was a boy, roaming the neighborhood learning about life.
Rank: #7 in
2000

My Little Eye (2002) - *
This is Real World gone horribly wrong. It starts off boring and turns awful. It's hard to say too much about this movie without giving it away, though it does turn highly predictable as you're watching it. Basically 5 young adults have to stay in a house in the middle of nowhere for 6 months while they are broadcast over the internet in order to claim a $1,000,000 prize. But things aren't as they seem. Family, friends, anyone reading this...please don't watch this movie!

The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) - **1/2
This movie, much like
Home for the Holidays, is about a disfuctional family that gets together for Thanksgiving. This one didn't work as well for me. The tone was a little darker, with less humor to lighten up the serious moments. Also, there was no real breakthroughs or resolution between the characters. The acting was good all around, and though not bad, a little too down for my holiday movie enjoyment.
Rank: #9 Thanksgiving Movie

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