You’ve Got Mail (1998)

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Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet. (IMDb)
The dated email motif fortunately stays in the background, so the first two acts end up being quite engaging, with the leads exuding charm and chemistry in a dramatic irony plot that’s fleshed out really nicely in the clever cinematography, thoughtful voiceovers, and online vs. offline character development. The third act adds emotion (“Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself?”) but also discomfort with the halved irony and weird end to the big box vs. small shop sub-plot.
7/10 (Good)

 

Joy Ride (2001)

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Three young people on a road trip from Colorado to New Jersey talk to a trucker on their CB radio, then must escape when he turns out to be a psychotic killer. (IMDb)
An effective psycho-killer thriller with a simple but suspenseful chase premise (semi-trucks have never been more terrifying), believable protagonists (Zahn is especially good as the high-energy troublemaker) and a chilling faceless villain (Levine’s creepy deep drawl doesn’t need visual support). A few more “how” and “why” answers would be nice as the terrifying plot developments pile up, but in the end, your pounding heart takes the forefront in this frantic flick that keeps you on your toes.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Sahara (2005)

Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator. (IMDb)
A rollicking adventure film, Sahara is a lesser-quality Indiana Jones–nothing more and nothing less than just a great popcorn flick, with exciting action that’s occasionally a bit ridiculous, fun music, an easy-to-follow plot, and an easy-to-root for buddy duo in McConaughey’s Dirk and Zahn’s Al, the latter of whom provides a good amount of comic relief throughout. Sahara isn’t deep or complicated or thought-provoking, and the acting isn’t mesmerizing, but it’s an enjoyable watch nonetheless.
7/10 (Good)