Welcome   |   Welcome (Text-Only)   |   About Me   |   Coursework / Skills   |   Music   |   Movies —> Past Recommendations   |   Aerospace / Military   |   Issue Papers   |   EsperQ Shopping   |   Links   |   Free Trade, Individual Liberty & China

Past Movie Recommendations
No Longer Showing in the Theatres, But Good DVD Rental or Purchase Selection
Listed in Reverse Chronological Order

American Splendor   August 15, 2003
The true story of autobiographical comic book writer Harvey Pekar.  Grade: A
Open Range   August 15, 2003
Beautifully made classic Western emphasizing values and character, directed by Kevin Costner.  Starring Robert Duvall, Costner & Annette Bening.  Grade: A-
Le Divorce   August 8, 2003
Merchant-Ivory production (producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory) starring Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson as American sisters in France.  Grade: A
S.W.A.T.   August 8, 2003
(Insert 1970s TV show theme song here...nanana...nanana...).  Grade: B+
Freaky Friday   August 6, 2003
Based on Mary Rodgers's much-loved 1972 classic novel which inspired the 1976 movie with Jodie Foster.  Recurring Disney actress Lindsay Lohan (The Parent Trap) stars in another classic Disney remake.  I first saw both movies in elementary school (remember the classroom film projectors?).  Grade: A
American Wedding   August 1, 2003
Surprisingly better than the original and sequel.  Very funny.  If sex jokes and crude humor offends you, don't see this movie (in case you didn't already know).  Believe it or not, I thought this was in better taste than the first two.  Grade: A
Seabiscuit   July 25, 2003
Inspiring, true American story during the Great Depression era, based on Laura Hillenbrand's 2001 book.  Faithful film biography, unlike the idiotic 1949 version.  Grade: A
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl   July 9, 2003
Worthy of the name Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean.  The best swashbuckling time I have had since I first read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island at age 11 or when I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland for the first time at age 4 (I remember it like it was yesterday).  I am a fan of Johnny Depp again.  Depp, as pirate Captain Jack Sparrow is the real star of the movie (I haven't been a fan of Depp ever since I met him personally at his Viper bar/nightclub on Sunset in 1995, but that's another tale ye might be hearin' another time).  Grade: A
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over   July 25, 2003
The third Spy Kids kids movie from director Robert Rodriguez.  I like all three.  Cool special effects -- better than Tron (1982) actually.  I wonder how they'll do the 3-D when it comes out on DVD.  Grade: A
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life   July 25, 2003
The first one was a disappointment (especially for me since I'm a huge fan of the video game). This one is a pleasant surprise.  Grade: B
Bad Boys II   July 18, 2003
Director Michael Bay just gets better and better.  As usual, awesome and original cinematography.  Grade: B
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines   July 2, 2003
Better than anticipated. Pleasantly surprised. Non-stop action, good story (better story than T2 if you ask me). A robot movie with heart, 'T3' combines brisk action with compelling drama. And what a supporting cast.  Review   Grade: A
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas   July 2, 2003
This Dreamworks SKG (Spielberg Katzenberg Geffen) picture should hold you over for the seven days before Disney's "Pirates" comes out. Pretty darn good actually. Produced by former-Disney-exec Jeffrey Katzenberg (him and Disney's Mike Eisner don't get along). Grade: A-
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle   June 27, 2003
Better than the first movie. McG is McGreat. Director McG out-did himself. Incredible opening sequence. I don't know how they fit it all in one movie. It really is Full Throttle: the most stylistic and creative cinematography you've ever seen, non-stop action, fight choreography, and dance choreography. Don't listen to the critics (the other critics I mean). Action, kung-fu, sexy outfits, dance moves, cool soundtrack, what more could you ask for?  Grade: A+
28 Days Later   June 27, 2003 (Original Release), July 25, 2003 (Alternate Ending)
Stay after the credits for an alternate, darker ending.  Director Danny Boyle and Fox Searchlight, which is distributing the film, decided to add the second ending after buzz about its existence sprang up on the Web.  Grade: A-
The Legend of Suriyothai   June 20, 2003
Thai historical epic.  Grade: B+
Jet Lag   June 13, 2003
Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno in and around Paris' Charles De Gaulle International Airport.  Grade: B-
2 Fast 2 Furious   June 6, 2003
No Vin Diesel?  No problem.  Director John Singleton's sequel lives up to the original -- the original American The Fast and the Furious (2001) that is -- based on Hong Kong's Legend of Speed (1999) with Ekin Cheng.  Besides the cars and girls, Tyrese Gibson is the star of the show.   Review   Grade: B
Finding Nemo   May 30, 2003
Review   Grade: A
The Italian Job   May 30, 2003
Remake better than the 1969 original.  Review   Grade: A
Down with Love   May 16, 2003
Review   Grade: A
The Matrix: Reloaded   May 15, 2003
Amazing and awesome special effects and martial arts choreography by Master Yuen Wo Ping.  Can't wait for the third installment.  Be sure to wait until the end of the credits.  Review  Grade: A-
The Shape of Things   May 9, 2003
Review  Grade: A-
X2: X-Men United   May 2, 2003
Director Bryan Singer and company does it again.  Better than the original.  Plus, Kelly Hu as Deathstrike kicks Hugh Jackman's Wolverine butt.  Review  Grade: A-
The Lizzie McGuire Movie   May 2, 2003
Surprisingly charming story and expansion of the Disney television series with Hilary Duff.  Catchy songs.  Grade: A
Spellbound   April 30, 2003
Very moving and inspirational.  These kids are pretty good.  I only made it as far as the city-wide.  Grade: A+
Confidence   April 25, 2003
Grade: A
Lilya 4-Ever   April 18, 2003
Grade: A
Bulletproof Monk   April 16, 2003
Chow Yun-fat as the Monk with No Name.  Grade: B+
Better Luck Tomorrow   April 11, 2003
Yahoo! Movies Site   Official Site   Over-achiever Calvin in high school (without the angst, anger, violence, and crime...maybe just a little bit of angst).  Justin Lin's controversial Asian-American film about growing up in American suburbia (filmed mostly in Orange County, CA).  Distributed by MTV Films.  Best Asian-American film since The Debut (Yahoo! Movies Site   Official Site).  Grade: A
What a Girl Wants   April 4, 2003
Reworking of 1958's The Reluctant Debutante, starring Sandra Dee.  Grade: B-
Basic   March 28, 2003
No Kurosawa Akira's Rashomon (1950), but Samuel L. Jackson is great as usual in a supporting-role.  Grade: B
View from the Top   March 21, 2003
"Top Gun" for airline stewardesses with tight uniforms.  Grade: B
Agent Cody Banks   March 14, 2003
Grade: B-
Poolhall Junkies   February 28, 2003
Grade: A
Cradle 2 the Grave   February 28, 2003
Jet Li (Yahoo! Site, Official Site, IMDB Site) is amazing as always -- the last old school, traditional, kung fu master.  Also starring DMX (Exit Wounds) and Mark Dacascos [Le Pact des Loups (The Brotherwood of the Wolf)].  Martial arts choreography by Corey Yuen [Eastern Condors (1986), Righting Wrongs (1986), Fong Sai Yuk (1993) aka The Legend, Fong Sai Yuk 2 (1993), Hero (1997), Kiss of the Dragon (2001), The Transporter (2002)].  Of course not the legendary masterpieces like Jet Li's Hong Kong films, but better than most of his other American movies.  Filmed on location at my favorite night club, Le Prive in Koreatown -- the most exclusive night club in Los Angeles ($300 a table, secret password to get in, not to mention the clientele!, but I digress).  Grade: B
Confederate States of America Gods and Generals   February 21, 2003
"The South shall rise again."  Grade: A
Old School   February 21, 2003
Calvin and his friends back at SDSU again.  I bet I liked this more than others because I am 30-ish like the characters in this movie.  So, I laughed, I cried; it was funny and depressing (for me).  Grade: A-
Dark Blue   February 21, 2003
LAPD story with the LA riots in the background.  Grade: B
The Life of David Gale   February 21, 2003
Not a bad movie and story; even with the blatant liberal bias and excessive and unnecessary snide remarks against any opposing viewpoints, Christians, Republicans, conservatives, and virtues -- arguments opposing the death penalty notwithstanding.  Grade: B-
Daredevil   February 14, 2003
Better than Spider-Man.  Plus Jennifer Garner as Elektra.  Grade: A
The R.M.   January 31, 2003
This movie is good for all audiences. Although, I can personally relate to this comedy about a returning missionary since I grew up in an LDS (Latter Day Saints, i.e. Mormon) town of Oceanside, CA.  I think half of my high school eventually went to BYU.  Grade: B
Biker Boyz   January 31, 2003
The Fast and the Furious on bikes.  Biker Boyz (bikes) is a take on The Fast and the Furious (cars) which is based on Hong Kong's Legend of Speed (cars and bikes).  Hmm...  Grade: B
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind   December 31, 2002
The creator and producer of the 1970s gameshows The Dating Game and The Gong Show was also a CIA assassin.  True story!  Grade: A-
The Pianist   December 27th, 2002 (LA/NY)
Grade: A
Chicago   December 27, 2002
Great musical -- even for those who generally don't like musicals (like me).  Grade: A
Catch Me If You Can   December 25, 2002
Grade: B+
Two Weeks Notice   December 20, 2002
Hugh Grant is very funny.  Grade: A-
Antwone Fisher   December 19, 2002
Grade: B+
25th Hour   December 19, 2002
Grade: A-
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers   December 18, 2002
Grade: A
Star Trek: Nemesis   December 13, 2002
The best Star Trek movie since Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  Grade: B+
The Hot Chick   December 13, 2002
Grade: B
Treasure Planet   November 27, 2002
Treasure Island in space!  Faithful to Robert Louis Stevenson's classic.  Grade: A
The Emperor's Club   November 22, 2002
Grade: A
Die Another Day   November 22, 2002
Grade: A-
Half Past Dead   November 15, 2002
Martial arts choreography by Xiong Xin-Xin.  Worth it to see Nia Peeples kick some butt.  Grade: B-
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets   November 15, 2002
Grade: A
8 Mile   November 8, 2002
Grade: A
Frida   October 25, 2002
Grade: A
Formula 51   October 18, 2002
Bad reviews from other movie critics aside, Samuel L. Jackson and the creative cinematography are enjoyable in this action-comedy from Hong Kong director Ronny Yu [The Bride with White Hair (1993)].  Grade: B
The Ring   October 18, 2002
Scary remake of the 1998 Japanese cult hit "Ringu" with a strong performance by Naomi Watts [David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001)].  Grade: B
White Oleander   October 11, 2002
Grade: A
Punch-Drunk Love   October 11, 2002
Grade: A
Knockaround Guys   October 11, 2002
A refreshing and original take on the genre.  Much better than anticipated with fine performances from the cast.  Grade: A
The Transporter   October 11, 2002
Not much of a story or plot, but cool and amazing Hong Kong-style stunts and martial-arts from Hong Kong action director Corey Yuen [Fong Sai Yuk (1993) aka The Legend with Jet Li].  Grade: B-
Moonlight Mile   September 27, 2002
Grade: A
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever   September 20, 2002
Great stylistic cinematography, explosive action, cool techno soundtrack, and impressive martial arts performances from Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels) and Ray Park (Darth Maul from Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace). The latest homage to the Hong Kong / John Woo genre from new director Kaos (Wych Kaosayananda).  Grade: A
Spirited Away   September 20, 2002
Grade: A
Barbershop   September 13, 2002
Grade: A-
Simone   August 23, 2002
Grade: A-
Blue Crush   August 16, 2002
Surprisingly good story and spectacular surfing scenes.  Grade: B+
XXX   August 9, 2002
Fast and furious extreme-sports James Bond.  Grade: A
Signs   August 2, 2002
M. Night Shyamalan does it again.  Scary sci-fi thriller.  Grade: A
Lilo & Stitch   June 21, 2002
Charming story and cute animation with water-color backgrounds.  Grade: A-
The Bourne Identity   June 14, 2002   (HD-DVD)
A fresh and kinetic espionage thriller loosely based on the late Robert Ludlum's 1980 novel.  Directed by Doug Liman.  Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.  Grade: A
Windtalkers   June 14, 2002
Hong Kong action director John Woo teams up again with Nicolas Cage, whose duty it is to protect the American Navajo code, based on the Navajo language, that won the Second World War.  Grade: A-
The Sum of All Fears   May 31, 2002
Spellbinding adaptation of author Tom Clancy's suspenseful geo-political / military techno-thriller.  Grade: A-
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron   May 24, 2002
Beautiful and emotional story.  Breathtaking animation of the scenic and beautiful American wilderness and landscape.  Grade: A+
Enough   May 24, 2002
Surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable, even comical, if not taken too seriously.  Grade: B
About a Boy   May 17, 2002
About TWO boys actually.  Very funny.  Grade: A-
Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones   May 16, 2002
Battle!!!  Totally awesome!  Much better than anticipated.  Lives up to the hype.  Arguably one of the best of the franchise.  Grade: A+
Spider-Man   May 3, 2002
"Look out!  Here comes the Spider-Man!"  Grade: A
Jason X   April 26, 2002
Trailer  FridayThe13thFilms  Yahoo!  Wikipedia  IMDb  Grade: B-
My Big Fat Greek Wedding   April 19, 2002
Grade: A
The Cat's Meow   April 12, 2002
Peter Bogdanovich's best film since The Last Picture Show (1971).  Grade: A-
Changing Lanes   April 12, 2002
Grade: A
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial   March 22, 2002
Great ’80s nostalgia.  Grade: A+
Blade II   March 22, 2002
Lots of Hong Kong-style kung-fu!  -- Choreographed by martial-arts master Donnie Yen (Once Upon a Time in China II, Iron Monkey).  Better than the original: More action, less story.  Grade:  A-
Resident Evil   March 15, 2002
Good if you like the "Aliens" sci-fi genre, special effects, and Milla Jovovich showing some skin.  Grade: A-
Kissing Jessica Stein   March 13, 2002
Official Site  Grade: A+
We Were Soldiers   March 1, 2002
Finally, an excellent Vietnam movie honoring our veterans with no political BS.  Grade: A
Black Hawk Down   January 18, 2002
What happens when the U.S. military serves under Bill Clinton and the UN.  Accurate portrayal.  More like documentary than movie -- all action.  See also the PBS Frontline documentary "Ambush in Mogadishu" (I bought a copy on VHS).  Grade: A
Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacts de Loups)   January 11, 2002
Great Chinese martial arts choreography and artistic and stylish cinematography.  Grade: A
A Beautiful Mind   January 4, 2002
Good, but much over-rated.  Grade: B-
The Royal Tenenbaums   December 28, 2001
Cool retro-style and great music better than the story.  Grade: A
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring   December 19, 2001
Like the Myth video game or Dungeons & Dragons come to life.  Excellent adaptation of the Tolkien classic!  Grade: A
In the Bedroom   November 23, 2001
Good, but over-rated.  Grade: B-
Mulholland Drive   12 October 2001
Reviews   Naomi Watts (Betty), Laura Harring, Ann Miller, Justin Theroux, Robert Forster, Dan Hedaya, Michael J. Anderson, Michele Hicks, Monty Montgomery, Rebekah Del Rio, Laura Herring, Brent Briscoe, Billy Ray Cyrus. Cinematography by Peter Deming. Music Composed by Angelo Badalamenti. Additional Music / Songs by Chris Isaak and Connie Stevens. Executive Produced by Pierre Edelman. Cameo: Lee Grant and Chad Everett. Produced by Mary Sweeney, Alain Sarde, Neal Edelstein, Michael Polaire, and Tony Krantz. Written by Joyce Eliason and David Lynch. Directed by David Lynch. Grade: A.
My First Mister   12 October 2001
Grade: A.
Ghost World   20 July 2001
Cool soundtrack. Grade: A.
First Blood   1982
Trailer  Yahoo!  Wikipedia  IMDb  Grade: A+
Il deserto rosso / Red Desert   1964 September 4
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.  Monica Vitti (Giuliana), Richard Harris (Corrado Zeller).  Wikipedia  YouTube  Criterion Collection  IMDb  Roger Ebert
A Man Escaped / Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut   11 November 1956
Directed by Robert Bresson. Won best director at Cannes.  Trailer  Wikipedia  IMDb  MastersOfCinema  Amazon.com  Half.com  Grade: A.
宮本武蔵完結編 決闘巌流島 Miyamoto Musashi kanketsuhen: ketto Ganryujima Samurai Trilogy 3: Duel at Ganryu Island   1 January 1956
Trailer  Wikipedia  Amazon  Netflix  IMDb  Grade: A+
続宮本武蔵 一乗寺の決闘 Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijoji no ketto Samurai Trilogy 2: Duel at Ichijoji Temple   12 July 1955
Wikipedia  Amazon  Netflix  IMDb  Grade: A+
宮本武蔵 Samurai Trilogy 1: Musashi Miyamoto   26 September 1954
The true inspiration for George Lucas' Star Wars (1977) — not 黒澤明 Kurosawa Akira's Seven Samurai (1954) or The Hidden Fortress (1958). Included is the quote, "You are not a samurai yet" (Yoda to Luke Skywalker: "You are not a Jedi yet") and ghostly images of the samurai's dead master (Obi-Wan Kenobi? Is that you?).  Wikipedia  Amazon  Netflix  IMDb  Grade: A+

This site best viewed with Google Chrome