Gods and Generals

Actually, it seems more like 'God and Generals' because there is a whole lot of Scripture quoting, praying, conversing about the mysterious will of the Almighty in a reverential tone and, on deathbeds, the literal assurance of Heaven. It's not often a Hollywood movie is so very religious. But it is also very violent.

'Gods and Generals' is the adaptation of Jeff Shaara's Civil War historical novel about the early part of the war, when the Confederates were consistently victorious. Lee and Jackson looked invincible, while the Union suffered with a series of hesitant commanders who were either intimidated, afraid to make a mistake, paralyzed into inactivity, or all three.

Head of State and The Good Thief

Both movies rely heavily on the star power of the leading male, but make sure to feature a young, attractive woman. Both expect the viewers to accept an unlikely plot line long enough to be charmed by the skill and ingenuity of the main character. Both develop the main character as someone not ordinarily thought to be important, but who enjoys tremendous success, and we root for them both because they represent the 'anti-hero,' the one who plays against type.

In 'Head Of State,' Chris Rock plays a lowly town alderman, Mays Gilliam, who is caught on the national news doing a dramatic rescue, just because he happened to be nearby at the time. This catches the attention of the Democratic Party's kingmakers, who have a problem. Their presidential candidate and his running mate have died in a plane crash. They need to find a sacrificial lamb quickly, because the opposition is the well-known Republican who has been the vice president for eight years. Nobody wants to run against him. And so they choose Gilliam, the unknown, the 'man of the people,' and try to garner some goodwill for the next election.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Chuck Barris' life has been so bizarre that when they made a movie of it, you still can't tell what's real, what's fantasy, what's fiction, and what's such a whopper of a tale that it could very well be the truth.

The Pianist

'The Pianist' is the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Polish pianist who was just entering his prime in the ill-fated year of 1939. The German blitzkrieg began there, in September, and Poland fell in a fortnight. Then it was the occupation, with the gradual encroachment of civil rights. Jews had to wear armbands with the star of David. Jews couldn't be seen in public parks or on public benches. Jews couldn't walk on the sidewalk. Jews had to have a work permit. Jews had to relocate, in a narrow area known as the Warsaw ghetto. And the once-proud and prosperous Szpilman family, mother and father and sisters and brothers, were crammed like beggars into a dirty hovel where even the rats cannot survive because there is no food.

‘Catch Me if you Can’

In 1963, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo De Caprio) was a normal 17-year-old high school kid. Then his world fell apart. His father, owner of a small printing business, and recent honoree of the local Rotary club, runs afoul of the IRS. Suddenly banks will no longer lend to him. The family has to sell their nice house and their late-model car, and downgrade to a lowly apartment and a rattle trap used auto.

Movie Review – ‘Santa Clause 2’

Tim Allen does it again. He not only plays Santa Claus convincingly, but is warm and funny without being saccharine or sappy. In "Santa Clause 2" the jolly elf in the red suit appears with a cast of children and puppets and makes something magical.

The viewer doesn't have to have seen the original "Santa Clause" to catch up to the sequel.

‘Chocolat’ movie review

The setting is a sleepy French village around 1960. Everything was nice and neat and orderly. The town is run by a benevolent despot of a mayor (Alfred Molina), who also takes attendance as the head usher at the Catholic church every Sunday. His wife is always traveling abroad.