Mousehunt (1997)

Does well to expand itself beyond the titular antics (which are undoubtedly hilarious–see the mouse on the cheese wheel, bathtub ride): Ernie and Lars have great chemistry and banter in between the slapstick moments and the other straight-laced elements (firing, falling out, failing factory, financial woes) give a real sense of stakes. Would’ve been cool if the quirky Coen brothers-esque edge was strengthened though, even if just by ending it at the auction disaster and before the cheese.

Batman Returns (1992)


Batman returns to the big screen when a deformed man calling himself the Penguin wreaks havoc across Gotham with the help of a cruel businessman. (IMDb)
The recurring secret vs. public identity dynamic for all four of the main players makes for some intriguing tension and drama (see Bruce and Salina’s battles and flirts; Shreck and Oswald’s campaign). Batman’s fall from grace is another compelling, if brief, plot thread. Unfortunately there’s still lots of cheesiness here too (see the penguin suicide bombers, penguin pallbearers, penguin duck boats?). The one-liners are hit (“life’s a bitch and now so am I”) or miss (anything by gross Penguin).
6.5/10 (Alright)


Catch Me If You Can (2002)


The story of Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars’ worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him. (IMDb)
Yes, it’s a supremely fun (and perfectly directed) cat-and-mouse crime caper (Frank’s slick cons–see especially his original confrontation with Carl–are complimented by his less-than-perfect attempts–“The dog was dead”–and Hanks’ charmingly no-nonsense FBI agent–“Go fuck yourself”), but two excellent character dynamics wonderfully acted (see lonely Jr. trying to please the stubbornly proud Sr.; Carl with a soft spot for Frank–see after his arrest: “Don’t worry, Frank!” ) make it so much more.
9/10 (Amazing)


Envy (2004)

The plot here is about as brief and light as you can get within a feature-length film (there’s not even the expected friendship fall-out near the end), but it’s appreciably silly: Black’s oblivious optimist and Stiller’s straight guy are a good pair; Walken’s long-haired oddball, “J-Man”, is a riot; and the main premise is ridiculous enough to feel self-aware. Black’s infomercials and Stiller’s dead horse troubles are two highlights in this appetizer-sized but funny enough comedy.

Pulp Fiction (1994)


The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (IMDb)
It’s dark and bloody yet ridiculous and hilarious, and subtly clever too, as drugs, guns, and endless expletives are laced with the randomly mundane–the toaster strudels, the cheeseburgers, the radio-friendly soundtrack-and a melodramatic short-term plot takes intriguing deja vu turns. With plenty of outrageous dialogue (Jackson and Travolta are gold), black comedy (see the Wolf’s cover-up), and off-kilter characters (Willis is another gem), Pulp Fiction has no trouble living up to its name.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Stand Up Guys (2012)

One would think that an old guy buddy movie featuring these three talents would be entertaining, but it was not to be in this flick. It’s dry and boring with few redeeming elements. The story drags (and there isn’t much of it to begin with), their joyride exploits really aren’t all that funny or entertaining, and the spark of intriguing crime drama never becomes a flame. Any dialogue that might’ve made up for the lack of plot excitement is unmemorable and contrived. A disappointment.
5/10 (Poor)