New On Video For The Weekend of
The Big Kahuna
After an Oscar winning turn in American Beauty, could Kevin Spacey amaze us with his next film? I think he did.
Danny DeVito is a veteran lubricant salesman who is entering the twilight of his career. Years on the job have taken their toll on his marriage and spirit. He has been joined by two of his collegues - Bob (Peter Facinelli), a naïve, wide-eyed, deeply religious green horn and Larry (Kevin Spacey), a smooth talking, charismatic, live or die by the business deal superstar vet - at a major business conference in Wichita. The three are there to close the deal of a lifetime, but they face great difficulty in finding The Big Kahuna - the president of a major company that buys their product.
Will they find The Big Kahuna? Will they kill each other first?
Spacey and DeVito are amazing in this film. Spacey leaps off the screen as a lively, but desperate man who loves doing business. He needs it like a drug. Spacey grasps the complexity of the character and shows his good side and ugly side.
Where Spacey is loud and vibrant as Larry, DeVito captures his character's understated dignity. Phil used to be like Larry, but he has come to a crossroad in his life that makes him realize that life is more than money and deals. DeVito seizes the audience's attention with his quiet demeanor that is backed up with years of regret and self-loathing. It's great to watch the two thespians play off each other. You should check it out this weekend. Grade: A-
New on Video for the Weekend of
The Cider House Rules
This is a good film, but not Oscar worthy. Frankly, I think Being John Malkovich was more daring, more groundbreaking and a film more worthy of a Best Picture nomination. So why did it get that coveted nomination? I think it had a lot to do with the pro-abortion theme of the film.
Set in 1943, Tobey Maguire stars as Homer, a young boy who grew up in an orphanage. He was adopted when he was young, but returned when his adoptive parents wanted a different child. Over the years, Homer has become the apple of Dr. Wilbur Larch's (Michael Caine) eye.
Larch serves as father to the many boys and girls who live at the orphanage, but Homer shares a special place in his heart. Larch has taught the young man about the medical profession, which makes him qualified to be a Doctor even though he has never gone to school. They love each other dearly, but they feud over Dr. Larch's decision to illegally provide abortion services.
One day, Candy (Charlize Theron) is brought to Dr. Larch by her boyfriend, Paul Rudd (Wally). Homer is drawn to the couple and the adventurous life they seem to lead compared to his sheltered existence at the orphanage. He decides to leave Dr. Larch and the orphanage to see what else is out there for him to experience. Unfortunately, this couldn't have come at a worse time.
Will Homer be able to cope with life on the outside? Can Dr. Larch overcome his problems without the support of the young man he always counted on?
Michael Caine's performance has been overpraised. He is fine as the paternalistic, yet deeply troubled doctor. However, I am not that impressed with his accent change, which most people cite as the reason he won the Oscar. I think the Academy was moved to give him an award for the many years of service he has given the profession and because of the political nature of his character, which brings me to the main point of this review.
I don't care what you think of abortion, but it shouldn't cloud one's judgement about a film. Theron is weak as the woman who falls for Homer. Maguire doesn't have the kind of power or passion needed to make his character grow into the strong man he supposedly has beco