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List of "D" Movies
Dangerous Minds (1995) R drama
Michelle Pfeiffer gives a fine performance in this classroom drama as a schoolteacher who takes a job teaching a class of young ruffians. Her sweet disposition and petite figure work against her, but she soon grabs their attention with karate and candy bars and subsequently get them excited to learn. If it wasn’t cliché-ridden and if it wouldn’t take itself so seriously, this would have been a movie that’s not only remembered for having Gangsta’s Paradise played in it. It unsuccessfully tries to manipulate its audience, but it’s a fairly engaging film otherwise. Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza, Courtney Vance, Robin Bartlett, Bruklin Harris, Renoly Santiago, Ivan Sergei, Lorraine Toussant, Roman Cisneros, Beatrice Winde. Directed by: John N. Smith.
Dante's Peak (1997) PG-13 thriller
Extremely corny dialogue and an vastly improbable plot is redeemed by beautiful scenery, dazzling special effects and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A small mountain town named is suddenly threatened by a supposedly extinct volcano. Well, as you may have guessed, Dante's Peak blows up and wreaks havoc on the entire town. The screenwriters would have been well-advised to do some revisions, but this is a usually satisfying effort. Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Charles Hallahan, Grant Heslov, Elizabeth Hoffman, Jaime Renee Smith, Arbella Field, Tzi Ma, Jeremy Foley, Brian Reddy, Kirk Turner. Directed by: Roger Donaldson.
Daredevil (2003) PG-13 action
Hollywood puppy dog Ben Affleck gets another huge paycheck for a rotten performance in this lousy comic book movie as a bad-guy-fighting superhero. The action scenes are tedious, however the script does have a few unintentional laughs. They accidentally let a good actor be in the film, Colin Farrell, who does pretty well with his poorly scripted character. Go see Spiderman again. Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, Ellen Pompeo, David Keith, Erick Avari, Paul Ben-Victor, Derrick O’Connor, Leland Orser, Scott Terra. Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson.
Dark City (1998) R sci-fi
This science fiction thriller is already considered a classic in some circles and understandably so. Rufus Sewell stars as a man who is wanted for murder, but he cannot remember committing the crime. He lives in the strange title-town, which seems more and more like a fabrication. Even his past memories seem made up. This is an intriguing film and well worth a look or two. Starring: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Richard O'Brien, Ian Richardson, Colin Friels. Directed by: Alex Proyas.
Dark Victory (1939) NR drama
This heavy-handed tearjerker stars Bette Davis as a wily socialite who gets brain cancer. Davis is as charming as usual and she carried this film on her shoulders well even though this film never threatens to be memorable. The real question, however, is: Are you the type of person who would whip out the handkerchief, or are you the type of person to gawk at the fact Ronald Regan is in this movie and he really wasn't that good of an actor. Humphrey Bogart, just before he became a Hollywood superstar, has a role as one of Davis' suitors. Starring: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Regan, Henry Travers, Cora Witherspoon, Dorothy Peterson, Virginia Brissac. Directed by: Edmund Goulding.
Dave (1993) PG-13 political comedy
When the president of the United States (Kevin Kline) dies in an humiliating circumstance, the Secret Service calls on Dave (also Kevin Kline), an average, ordinary guy who happens to be the splitting image of him (duh, because they're both Kevin Kline). Dave takes over the president's duty (well pretends to anyway) including the duty of being the first lady's new husband. Dave, even though he was never actually elected into office, feels that the government is out of line and takes the liberty of brushing up the nation. This is a winning political comedy that is enjoyable and amusing in exactly the right places. Kline turns in an excellent performance. Starring: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin, Faith Prince. Directed by: Ivan Reitman.
Dave Chappelle's Block Party (2005) R documentary
If you want to watch a documentary about Dave Chappelle wandering around to a lot of places and trying to assemble people together to go to a hip-hop concert, then see this the first chance you get. If you don't think you'd still want to see this, then I'd still give it a chance. Michael Gondry directs this film, and he manages to capture not only the spirit of Dave Chappelle but hip-hop music even though hip-hop music sucks. Starring: Dave Chappelle. Directed by: Michael Gondry.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) PG-13 action
This nature-destroys-all disaster film from the director of Independence Day makes a widespread alien invasion seem believable. A real utter piece-of-crap movie held together by a very capable cast, and I guess seeing Los Angeles being destroyed by a half dozen tornadoes was kind of cool. Overall, though, I’d totally skip this one. Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward, Dash Mihok, Ken Welsh, Jay O. Sanders, Austin Nichols, Perry King. Directed by: Roland Emmerich.
A Day at the Races (1937) NR comedy
Hailed to be the third funniest Marx Brothers flick falling short of A Night at the Opera and Duck Soup. A failing sanitarium is about to go bankrupt and Dr. Hackenbush (Groucho) is hired to put things right (he's really a veterinarian). The owner of the sanitarium also brings a hopefully winning racing horse to help out with the financial situation. This is an extremely funny comedy that certainly exceeds today's standard. Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Allan Jones, Maureen O'Sullivan, Margaret Dumont, Leonard Ceeley, Douglas Dumbrille, Esther Muir, Sig Rumann, Robert Middlemass. Directed by: Sam Wood.
The Day of the Jackal (1973) PG thriller
A wonderfully suspenseful thriller about the "Jackal", a code name for a successful underground assassin, who is hired for $500,000 to bump off France's De Gaulle. Of course, bumping this guy off won't be easy; details and hours of preparations must be taken in order to accomplish it. Beautiful locations, an amazing cast and an exciting plot alone make this film well worth your time. Its only drawback is that it drags in some spots. Starring: Edward Fox, Alan Badel, Tony Britton, Cyril Cusack, Michel Lonsdale, Eric Porter, Delphine Seyrig, Derek Jacobi, Ronald Pickup. Directed by: Fred Zinnemann.
The Day of the Triffids (1963) NR sci-fi
When a peculiar meteor shower, giving off illuminating and colorful light, gives an excellent show to the Earthlings, there is hardly a soul that misses it. Unfortunately, it's viewers soon go blind as a result of its ultra-violet rays and are rendered helpless in the streets. Furthermore, the shower left spores which grew into violent man-eating plants that walked, and easily devoured any poor individual who wandered aimlessly into its path. Howard Keel plays a lucky guy who happened to be recovering from eye surgery at the time and had his eyes covered. It is up to him, and the few others who can see, to save the world from these ghastly, green beasts and to keep Earthlings from becoming extinct. It's a true shame the quality of the picture and sound is low, but this is a recommendable film for all sci-fi lovers. Starring: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore, Mervyn Johns. Directed by: Steve Sekely.
Dazed and Confused (1993) R comedy
I saw this high school comedy for the first time when I myself was in high school. I couldn't appreciate it because it reminded me too much of some of my peer's juvenile ways. My teenage years weren't spent like this, but it nonetheless reminds me how we killed time in our own meaningless ways. In this small town in the '70s, hazing is a big production--these scenes are both funny and sad. Next year's senior boys walk around with paddles to beat up next year's freshman. The girls focus on less straightforward humiliation techniques. Everyone drinks alcohol, some even so drugs. They also do mildly illegal hijinks, such as smashing mailboxes. There's a jerk who is way more into the hazing than he should be (Ben Affleck). He's secretly seen as a joke and eventually gets his comeuppance. There's one of the bullied eighth-grade boys (Wiley Wiggins) who rises above it all. Surely, he's poised to be the cool kid in high school next fall. One of the girls (Cristin Hinojosa) is unfazed by the hazing, knowing itÕs all temporary. All the meanwhile, a creepy burnout (Matthew McConaughey) hangs around the place, because his high school days were the best he's ever had it. These kids of course aren't mature enough to see him potentially lurking in their crystal ball. Funny things happen in subtle ways in this film, I suppose the same way they happen in real life. The characters are so rich and intriguing that I hadn't seen this film in 20 years, yet I still find I remember them clearly. No question, this is a quintessential film about teenagers. Starring: Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovoich, Shawn Andrews, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Sasha Jenson, Marissa Ribisi, Deena Martin, Michelle Burke, Cole Hauser, Christine Harnos, Wiley Wiggins, Mark Vandermeulen. Directed by: Richard Linklater.
The Dead (1987) PG drama
Memorable cast performances and a tremendously resonant final sequence makes The Dead a good film. The final one to be directed by John Huston, this film adaptation of one of James Joyce’s stories is a real gem if you ever find it at the movie rentals or broadcast on television. A mature film; this is good for those who appreciate something other than endless violence and gross-out gags. Starring: Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Rachel Dowling, Cathleen Delaney, Helena Carroll, Dan O’Herlihy, Ingrid Craige, Frank Patterson, Donal Donnelly, Marie Kean. Directed by: John Huston.
Dead Again (1991) PG-13
Kenneth Branagh stars and directs this vastly entertaining picture about a deeply disturbed woman (Emma Thompson) with amnesia. Under Branagh's resistance, a hypnotist (Derek Jacobi) finds out that what's disturbing her is some unfinished business in her previous life in which Branagh's previous life was somehow involved. This is an affectionate tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and the two leads do turn in marvellous performances. Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi, Robin Williams, Hanna Schgulla, Wayne Knight, Campbell Scott, John Gould Rubin. Directed by: Kenneth Branagh.
Dead Calm (1989) R thriller
A purely chilling film about a couple at sea (Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman) who stumble across a wrecked boat and a mad man (Billy Zane) who quickly gets off the abandon boat and boards theirs. When Neill examines the wreckage, out of utter curiosity, and discovers that it’s sinking. Suddenly, Zane steals Neill’s boat and kidnaps Kidman. Can Neill catch them with a slowly sinking vessel? Starring: Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane, Rod Mullinar, Joshua Tilden, George Shevtsov, Michael Long. Directed by: Phillip Noyce.
Dead Man on Campus (1998) R comedy
And I lift up my left leg and let out a big fart. This stinker, about the exploits of two ruined college students who have found a loophole in their college’s policy that if their roommate dies, they get straight A’s. So, they go on a mission to find the most suicidal person on campus. It seems like it could be amusing, but it’s not really. There are a few good moments…the rest is just really, really stupid. The two lead actors, Tom Everett Scott and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, are pretty awful. Starring: Tom Everett Scott, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Poppy Montgomery, Lochlyn Munro, Randy Pearlstein, Corey Page, Alyson Hannigan, Mari Morrow. Directed by: Alan Cohn.
Dead Poets Society (1989) PG comedy/drama
Peter Weir delivers another wonderful film. Robin Williams plays an eccentric English teacher, John Keating, who teaches in a prestigious boarding school and inadvertently inspires student, Neil Perry, to pursue his lifelong dream to become an actor. However, that dream is difficult to trail because his father leaves him no choice but to become a doctor. Williams gives a hilarious performance, and the rest of the cast are wonderful as well. The first three fourths of the film is very funny with a lot of jokes. The last part of the movie is very serious and tear-jerking. Overall, this is a good depiction about high school boys "fighting the system." See it! Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Alleon Ruggiero, James Waterston. Directed by: Peter Weir.
Dead Pet (1999) NR comedy
This film is so incredibly amateurish that I had certain reservations whether I should actually hate this movie or not. (I mean, would I really hate a film my neighbor shot with his home video camera?) This film is best viewed if you consider it like a bad dream. Whoever said bad dreams have to make sense? Harvard student Jake Thompson (who for some reason is a frequent headline-subject in the local newspaper) comes home for the summer to find that his parents spent the rest of his college education funds on an operation for the family dog. So, Jake has to get a job. He finds one selling knives, but the other employees there act like it's some sort of religious cult. Furthermore, the entire neighborhood begins to hate this dude because he went to jail several times for drug possession, being in a stolen vehicle, and killing the family dog - even though none of these things were his fault. It's low budget, so it doesn't sink like a typical Hollywood clunker. About two or three scenes of almost-inspired energy gives this film some redemption. The lead actor (Kevin Cotteleer), who also directed and wrote the film, shows promise should he choose to do another film, just as long as he doesn't give himself the lead role again. Starring: Kevin Cotteleer, Larry Dirk, Daisy Mullen, Kate Connor, Mara Conner, Brian Jensen, Brian Konowal. Directed by: Kevin Cotteleer.
Dead Ringer (1964) NR drama
Generally boring and preposterous film about twin sisters (both played by Bette Davis), one rich, and another not-so-well-off. The rich twin's husband died and she isn't distraught about it at all; in fact, she's rather happy about the ordeal. The not-so-well-off twin doesn't like it, so she decides to kill her, switch clothes and basically live the rest of her sister's life for her. Can she keep this up? There are some decent aspects to this film, such as the acting and the success of having two Bette Davises on the screen at once. Unfortunately, the directing is not very good and neither is the plot. Starring: Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Peter Lawford, Jean Hagen, George Macready, Estelle Winwood. Directed by: Paul Henreid.
The Deal of the Century (1983) PG comedy
A pretty lame comedy about a weaponry salesman who picks up a $3 million contract from a guy who just killed himself for a line of high-tech pilotless aircraft. Chevy Chase stars but he cannot lift this mess completely off the ground. This film is generally irritating and unfunny, but has its moments. The end is about as suspenseful as watching your mother eat mashed potatoes. Starring: Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Gregory Hines, Vince Edwards, Richard Libertini, William Marquez, Eduardo Ricard, Wallace Shawn. Directed by: William Freidkin.
Dear Frankie (2004) PG-13 drama
This bittersweet import from Scotland is about a young, hearing impared boy (Jack McElhone) who is constantly on the move due to an abusive father. To hide the truth, his mother (Emily Mortimer) writes her boy letters from a made-up father who sails around the world as a member of the Navy. When the boy discovers that the ship is docking in his hometown, the mother finds a man (Gerard Butler) to pretend to be his dad. This is a winning film equipped with laughs and tears in the right places. Starring: Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler, Sharon Small, Mary Riggans, Jayd Johnson, Sean Browne, Anne Marie Timoney. Directed by: Shona Auerbach.
Death Becomes Her (1992) PG-13 comedy
Meryl Streep stars as successful screen actress Madeline Ashton whose beauty is fading along with her career. But then she gets a new lease on life when she's offered a rejuvenation potion that promises eternal youth. Though, she is warned to take good care of her body, since she will be stuck with it for a very long time. Advice that she immediately ignores. After antagonizing her meek, alcoholic husband Ernest (Bruce Willis), she falls down a flight of stairs and gruesomely breaks her neck. By all accounts, she should have perished. But then she just gets up with her head twisted on backwards. Another recipient of this treatment is Helen (Goldie Hawn) who had been formerly engaged to Ernest 14 years prior and still holds a feverish grudge. As much as these characters are one dimensional, petty and vain and do horrific things to one other, this film continually builds and builds momentum until it reaches what I think is a terrifically dark conclusion. I'd imagine this film hits about the limits to how dark and twisted big-budget Hollywood was willing to get at the time, and I sure appreciate that. The special effects and make-up are remarkable, and the set design makes this look like a live-action gothic cartoon. I also find this film so wickedly funny that I can't help but laugh incessantly at it. Of course helping matters are the three leads are amazing comic actors. If you don't believe me (since Streep and Willis aren't typically cast in comedies), watch this movie for yourself and behold. Starring: Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Ogilvy, Adam Stroke, Alaina Reed Hall, Michelle Johnson, Mary Ellen Trainor, Susan Kellermann. Directed by: Robert Zemeckis.
Death of a President (2006) R drama
This fake documentary takes place in 2009, and it’s about George W. Bush's fictional assassination on Oct. 2007 in Chicago. The justice department is quick to blame a Muslim for these actions, but they might have been too hasty. The first half of the film is fascinating even though the actors aren't convincing. The whodunit that evolves in the latter half started out OK until the very end when the "twist" centers around a far-fetched and crippling coincidence that ultimately lost the film its bite. Overall, it's an over-zealous slap in the face to American justice, but at least it's mildly thought provoking. Directed by: Shona Auerbach.
Death on the Nile (2022) PG-13 mystery
One wonders why Mr. Branagh is set on remaking the most well-known Agatha Christie novels, as opposed to finding something new that might surprise us. Or, dare I suggest, give us something original. But even those of us blessed with faulty enough memories that we'd forgotten how the 1978 film ended, thus reinstating our element of surprise, I still found myself unimpressed with the film. It's entertaining in fits and bursts, but overall it just comes across overlong and overstuffed. It's not nearly as titillating as a murder mystery should be. And while the star-studded cast provides some entertainment value in itself, it still doesn't hold a candle to the star-power enjoyed in the 1978 adaptation. Nevertheless, the set designs and the Egyptian scenery sure does look nice (even when they're obviously green-screened). Our man Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is on a leisurely holiday in Egypt when he gets dragged into a bit of intrigue at a destination wedding and honeymoon, the proceedings of which are continually interrupted by a jilted ex-lover (Emma Mackey) who just wants to stir up trouble. Soon enough, there's an attempted murder. And then there's a full-on murder. Convenient enough that Poirot happened to be present, and he can put his world-class sleuthing skills to the test. Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Annette Benning, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, Letitia Wright. Directed by: Kenneth Branagh.
Deathstalker (1983) R fantasy
As amenable as I am to sword and sorcery nonsense, this one is far too unpleasant for my tastes. Pretty much all of these movies are misogynist fantasies, but this one is so over-the-top that it actually makes me feel icky. Deathstalker (Rick Hill) is a loinclothed body builder who is used to living a selfish life. He's gallant enough to rescue a woman about to get raped, but then he just proceeds to rape her instead. Before he gets too far in the act, he is summoned by his exiled king who offers him power in exchange for helping overthrow the magician Munkhar who usurped his throne. This magician claims to be close to death and is holding auditions for a new king by way of a fantastic fight-to-the-death competition. Deathstalker finds an unlikely ally in his journey with Kaira (Lana Clarkson) who can do two types of sword battles -- the hand to hand combat kind (which she does topless) and the horizontal kind (which she also does topless). Helping make this film insufferable is choppy editing, goofy pseudo-poetic dialog right out of an amateur's Dungeons and Dragons handbook, and a loud, migraine-inducing, uber-dramatic soundtrack. This movie is campy and knows it, but sometimes one longs for things more than pure hedonism. Starring: Rick Hill, Barbi Benton, Richard Brooker, Lana Clarkson, Victor Bo, Bernard Erhard, Augusto Larreta. Directed by: John Watson.
Deathstalker II (1987) R fantasy
If there's supposed to be continuity between the original Deathstalker and this sequel, I'm not seeing it. Not only plot-wise, but the tone is entirely different. The original was dreary and hedonistic. This sequel is goofy . . . and still hedonistic. (Not like we could expect the cheapie sword and sorcery genre to forgo its core values.) The role of Deathstalker is recast with John Terlesky who is somehow hammier than the last guy, but he's also significantly more likable. This is a funny film that puts camera winking, self-effacing humor and dopey double entendres above all else. Which works just fine for me, because I find it all quite funny. Even the two leads couldn't help themselves but giggle at the end of one of their scenes -- usually such moments reserved for the blooper reel but keeping it in matched the tone of the film just fine. The film's storyline is engaging enough. Deathstalker crosses paths with Reena (Monique Gabrielle), a seer, when he rescues her from a group of soldiers about to have their way with her. Deathstalker is ready to go on with life as usual, which mainly involves thievery, drinking ale, and brawling, but Reena claims to be a princess and implores his help in reclaiming her rightful place on the throne. An evil sorcerer Jarek (John LaZar) replaced her with a clone, who's not quite stable yet -- the copy cannot exist without the original. Gabrielle's character is whiny, which can get grating, but she is photogenic, which owes to her day-job as a pinup model. Anyway, I have lots of fun with this campy sword and sorcerer B-movie and consider it to me one of the most wholly enjoyable ones out there.
Starring: John Terlesky, Monique Gabrielle, John Lazar, Toni Naples, Maria Socas. Directed by: Jim Wynorski.
The Decline of the American Empire (1986) R drama
The decline of the American Empire might be this film itself. Thank God it's Canadian. Anyone who wants to watch a bunch of middle aged French Canadians speak candidly about their sex life, step on board. Others with a less loose vision of entertainment might want to check out something else. As an art film, the philosophy discussed throughout the piece isn't even compelling. I don't know why they made this movie except, perhaps, to show that middle aged people can be damn promiscuous. Starring: Pierre Curzi, Remy Girard, Yves Jacques, Daniel Briere, Dominique Michel, Louise Portal. Directed by: Denys Arcand.
Deconstructing Harry (1997) R comedy
Woody Allen stars as a novelist with writer's block. He also has woman troubles essentially because he writes about his own, real-life romances and only thinly disguises them. The plot is rather confusing but enjoyable involving the characters he created (and their real counter figures) and the role they played in his life. This is a fun film even though it's not as chuckle-inducting as some of his other late-career efforts. This is based on Frederico Fellini's great film, 8 ½ (unofficially, of course). Starring: Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Demi Moore, Robin Williams, Judy Davis, Elisabeth Shue, Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Richard Benjamin, Eric Bogosian, Hazelle Goodman, Mariel Hemingway, Amy Irving, Julie Kavner, Caroline Aaron, Eric Lloyd, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Tobey Maguire, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Garner. Directed by: Woody Allen.
Deep Impact (1998) PG-13 sci-fi
Exciting though too improbable, this science fiction spectacle is about a giant comet that astronomers learn will hit the earth to end all life. This film basically touches base on people's reaction to this tragedy about to happen. The special effects are great, but the acting is less so. The premise leans toward the sappy side. Starring: Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobeiski, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, James Cromwell, Mary McCormack, Blair Underwood. Directed by: Mimi Leder.
Deep in the Valley (2009) R comedy
In this raunchy Pleasantville, a boozin' loser (Chris Pratt) wins a vintage pornography video machine. When to his surprise it transports him into a universe where many of his favorite pornographic movies are played out. A film like this can only be good if there's a funny script. Unfortunately, that is exactly what this movie lacks. What keeps it relatively entertaining though is the likable enthusiasm of Pratt, who carries the film more than it deserved. Starring: Chris Pratt, Brendan Hines, Scott Can, Rachel Specter, Kate Albrecht, Denise Richards, Christopher McDonald, Blanca Soto, Tracy Morgan. Directed by: Christian Forte.
Defending Your Life (1991) PG comedy
Albert Brooks delivers, yet, another winning comedy. This time, he plays a recently-dead man going to the afterlife and must ‘defend his life.’ The plot’s not great, but this sure as heckfire is a fun film to watch! Great performances by everyone, and it even manages to be perfectly endearing. Totally excellent. Starring: Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, Lee Grant, Buck Henry, Shirley MacLaine. Directed by: Albert Brooks.
Deliverance (1972) R adventure
This is an unforgettable adventure film about four men (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) who go on a canoe trip down a backwoods Georgia river that is about to be turned into a reservoir. However, they have gotten themselves into more than they bargained for. Not only is the river difficult to traverse, but they have to reckon with very disturbing inbred hillbillies. This is a shocking film that's not to be taken lightly, and it's rightfully considered one of the greatest movies ever made. It contains the classic "Dueling Banjos" scene toward the beginning of the film, which effectively foreshadows the perilous adventure they were about to undergo. Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Bill McKinney, James Dickey, Ed O'Neill, Macon McCalman, Billy Redden, Johnny Popwell, Sr., Ed Ramey. Directed by: John Boorman.
Delta Force (1985) R action
A fine action flick that finds Chuck Norris doing battle with Lebanese hijackers who take passengers of a Boeing 707 hostage. The drama between passengers, the crew and the hijackers come across as stilted, but there's enough tension built up here to keep things mostly interesting. A must, of course, for the Norris devotee. Starring: Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin, Martin Balsam, Joey Bishop, Robert Forster, Lainie Kazan, George Kennedy, Hanna Schygulla, Susan Strasberg, Bo Svenson, Robert Vaughn, Shelly Winters. Directed by: Menahem Golan.
Delta Force II: The Colombian Connection (1990) R action
Worth watching mainly for the intensely sad glares from the villain played by Billy Drago. The hero is of course played by Chuck Norris, and his beard, who tries to stop this villain from corrupting America's youth with his cocaine empire. I can't say much more than it's a competent action film. Starring: Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, John P. Ryan, Richard Jaeckel, Begona Plaza, Paul Perri, Hector Mercado, Mark Margolis. Directed by: Menahem Golan.
Deja Vu (2006) PG-13 sci-fi
Denzel Washington stars as a detective who investigates a terrorist attack on a ferry. When a report comes in about a woman who washed up on shore before the attack, he realizes there is a lot to uncover. This is an exciting detective story, and the time travel, sci-fi plot that unfolds in the middle makes it unique. Starring: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander, Bruce Greenwood, Rich Henson. Directed by: Tony Scott.
The Departed (2006) R drama
Martin Scorsese directed this delicious drama about a cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) working undercover in the mob to keep a close watch on its head (Jack Nicholson). Meanwhile, a mobster (Matt Damon) managed to land a top job in the police department and reports the police's every move. Both organizations try to root out the plants. Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, James Badge Dale, David Patrick O'Hara. Directed by: Martin Scorsese.
The Devils (1971) R horror
A sexually repressed hunchback nun (Vanessa Redgrave) accuses Catholic priest Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed) of witchcraft -- perhaps out of spite because she's bitter about his controversial marriage to a pure, beautiful woman (Gemma Jones). Someone she could never be. This film wanes in and out of chaos, fueled by demonic-possession (that, frankly, comes off more like a happy cocaine party gone out-of-sorts rather than actual demon possession). The film also has its fair share of torture sequences and gratuitous nudity. The film was considered shocking at the time of release and had endured bans and censorship. It still comes off quite shocking. More so, depending on what version you watch -- but I'm sure many of us have seen worse. To some degree, I did find the film a letdown. I was hoping for something frightening and not just exploitative. But shock value notwithstanding, the film does hold my attention well thanks to the eye-popping costume and set-designs. And of course there's the mesmerizingly over-the-top acting from its seasoned cast members who had plenty to work with thanks to the flowery, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, script. I especially enjoyed many of the gaudy, homoerotic scenes from Graham Armitage as Louis XIII of France. At the time of release, that was also undoubtedly part of the shock value. Perhaps the more enlightened, 21st Century audiences are most liable of finding his frothy, drag scenes delightful. Starring: Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones, Murray Melvin, Michael Gothard, Georgina Hale, Brian Murphy, John Woodvine, Christopher Logue, Kenneth Colley. Directed by: Ken Russell.
Diamonds are Forever (1971) PG spy
An excellent Bond flick where he is up against super-villain Blofeld who puts Washington DC up for ransom. This top Bond feature doesn't fail to keep your interest and attention. The aging Connery is great as always. Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bruce Cabot, Bruce Glover, Putter Smith, Norman Burton, Joseph Furst, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn. Directed by: Guy Hamilton.
Dick (1999) PG-13 comedy
It comes close to being a successful spoof on the Watergate Scandal and All the President's Men, but it ultimately fails. Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams star as two teenaged girls who accidentally witnessed the Watergate Break-in and was hired by President Nixon himself to be the official White House Dog Walkers and the Secret Youth Advisors. It's all-around charming with some funny moments, but brought to a rather weak conclusion. Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Dave Foley, Harry Shearer, Ana Gasteyer, Will Ferrell, Bruce McCulloch, Teri Garr, Saul Rubinek, Jim Bruer, Ted McGinley. Directed by: Andrew Fleming.
Die Another Day (2002) PG-13 spy
This Bond film concerns an evil general who decides to create some sort of mirror in space that'll concentrate the Sun's energy, giving him the ultimate power to zap anything he wants (and the world collectively says: "Doh!") Well… the plot remains pretty typical for this series, but I was very pleased to find myself NOT yawning to death considering the awful previous Bond flick The World is Not Enough. This is the first time in a film, I think, where the product placement was so blatant that I found it funny. Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, John Cleese, Judi Dench, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Samantha Bond, Madonna, Colin Salmon, Lawrence Makoare, Emilio Exhevarria. Directed by: Lee Tamahori.
Die Hard (1988) R action
A film that thrills and chills. A New York Cop (Bruce Willis) walks into a large and important corporate building unsuspecting that it is about to fall victim to one of the greatest robbery/terrorism attempts ever (headed by Alan Rickman). Of course Willis mangles with their plans. This is undeniably one of the best thriller movies ever. The acting is good, the plot is exciting if somewhat unbelievable, and it's made so that it'll leaves you at the edge of your seat. Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Alexander Godunov, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherson. Directed by: John McTiernan.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) R action
Nice follow-up to the original hit brings Bruce Willis back in another unlikely situation. This time an airport is taken hostage in order to free a powerful international criminal, leaving Willis' wife circling helplessly in one of the many airplanes. If they attempt to land the airplane, the terrorists will certainly not like it. Many aspects of this film defies logic, but it remains fun and exciting. Starring: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherson, Reginald Veljohnson, Franco Nero, William Sadler, John Amos, Dennis Franz, Art Evans, Fred Dalton Thompson, Tom Bower. Directed by: Renny Harlin.
Die Mommie Die (2003) R comedy
A strange film starring the cross-dressing Charles Busch as a faded pop star in 1967 who poisons her husband (Philip Baker Hall). Her very strange kids (Natasha Lyonne and Stark Sands) plot their revenge against her. Intentionally campy performances from the cast and a few bizarre occurrences in the plot make this one really strange movie. Starring: Charles Busch, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Priestley, Frances Conroy, Philip Baker Hall, Stark Sands, Victor Raider-Wexler, Nora Dunn. Directed by: Mark Rucker.
Dinosaur (2000) G animated
An absolutely astounding piece of computer animation that will leave you breathless! A dinosaur raised by a family of lemurs witness the near destruction of the earth, so they join a herd of other herbivores who are hightailing it to the "nesting ground", a place with fresh leaves and water galore. Along the way, they must try to move quickly so the carnivores don't catch up with them, compensate for earth's new landscape (after it was nearly destroyed) and make sure the weak and old make it okay. The story could have been much better, but in this film, it doesn't seem to matter so much. Wonderful technology was displayed here; I had a really hard time believing that the entire film was drawn (with the help of computers). It's an artist's masterpiece that brought dinosaurs to life! It shares perhaps too many similarities to Don Bluth's The Land Before Time. Voices of: D.B. Sweeny, Alfre Woodard, Ossie Davis, Max Casella, Hayden Panettiere, Samuel E. Wright, Juliana Margulies, Peter Siragusa, Joan Plowright, Della Reese. Directed by: Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton.
Dirty Dancing (1987) PG-13 comedy
This might not be especially original, but it's so enjoyable that I find that it quite deserving of its revered place in pop culture. One of the umpteenth variations of Romeo and Juliet, the key reason so many people revisit this film time and time again is the incredible chemistry between the two leads -- Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Grey plays Baby, a teenager from an upper middle-class family on vacation at a Catskills resort. Bored with the scheduled and sanctioned activities, she becomes involved with the resort's working-class staff -- in particular the attractive dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Johnny's dance partner Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) is pregnant and needs an abortion (illegal at the time), which would cause them to miss out on their financially lucrative dance performance at a local venue. Baby offers to fill in. However, it won't be easy for her to be ready in time. While the story is only serviceable, it's enough to draw me in. What sticks with me most about it are those little moments. The scene in the lake when Baby is practicing being lifting over Johnny's head. The look on Baby's father's (Jerry Orbach) face when he realizes that Johnny might not be such a bad seed after all. And of course that highly choreographed, joyous climactic dance scene in which Johnny jumps off the stage. While it might be fair to call this film insubstantial, I find that it's so infectious that I can't resist its charms. Nor should I want to.
Starring: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jack Weston, Jane Brucker, Kelly Bishop. Directed by: Emile Ardolino.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) PG comedy
Steve Martin and Michael Caine star as two con artists who reside in a Southern French city that isn't big enough for the both of them. They get on each other's nerves and neither of them are willing to leave the wonderful French town. So to get rid of each other, they place a bet: Whoever cons a chosen woman out of fifty-thousand dollars first wins. Well, that isn't as easy as it seems. Steve Martin gives an excellent comedic performance and Michael Caine's is a tasty treat. Especially noted for the surprise twist at the end. Starring: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly, Anton Rodgers, Barbara Harris, Ian McDiarmid, Dana Ivey. Directed by: Frank Oz.
Disclosure (1994) R thriller
This is a thriller where some scenes work and others don't. It starts off with an executive (Michael Douglas), expecting to be promoted to vice president, but instead finds the position fulfilled by an outsider, played by Demi Moore. This "outsider," however, attempts to rape Douglas who promptly files a lawsuit. Some of it is exciting, and others are corny. Starring: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Roma Maffia, Caroline Goodall, Dennis Miller, Dylan Baker, Nicholas Sadler, Allan Rich. Directed by: Barry Levinson.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise (1972) PG comedy
It takes the right kind of audience to enjoy this black comedy about a group of wealthy people attempting to have a dinner party, but it doesn’t ever happen due to increasingly strange occurrences. Needless to say, this can be considered surrealist, because we've all probably had dreams similar to this. It’s an attack on the social system, but it’s enjoyable and funny enough regardless of its connotations! In French with English subtitles. Starring: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stephane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Paul Frankeur, Bulle Ogier. Directed by: Luis Bunuel.
The Dish (2000) PG-13 comedy
This entertaining import from Australia tells the true story of a small Aussie town’s important role in Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. Their primary objective was to receive the television signals of the landing so that the entire world could see it. However, they run up against a few problems. Also, the film touches on the doubts of a successful moon landing and the relationship between Australians and Americans. The movie itself isn’t spectacular, but the rich character development makes it heartwarming and memorable. For that, I recommended it. Starring: FSam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton, Genevieve Mooy, Taylor Kayne, Billie Brown. Directed by: Rob Stitch.
The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) R political comedy
This uneven Eddie Murphy political comedy is about a common criminal who thinks being a congressman is more profitable than his particular line of work. So he runs for office in a virtually unknown political party and wins solely because his name happens to be the same as a popular and recently deceased congressman (played too briefly by James Garner). When he enters into congress, he finds it excessively corrupt and it not getting anything useful done and of course, the money-hungry criminal sets things right. This film is full of corny humor and has an unlikely plot. The romance between Murphy and Ralph goes too quickly and is artificial. This may appeal to Murphy fans, because he's okay in his role. Starring: Eddie Murphy, Lane Smith, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Joe Don Baker, Victoria Rowell, Grant Shaud, James Garner. Directed by: Jonathan Lynn.
District B13 (2004) R action
This is a decent action flick imported from France about a gang importing a nuclear weapon inside a futuristic, walled-off Paris ghetto. A police officer teams with a native to stop them. The chase scenes are endless, which makes this a worthwhile view for anyone who enjoys adrenaline rushes from mindless action films. However, the movie is 81 minutes, which surprisingly seemed too long. Starring: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D'Amario, Bibi Naceri, Dany Verissmo, Francois Chattot. Directed by: Pierre Morel.
Do or Die (1991) R action
Another entry in Andy Sidaris' film series about babes with guns. The story is somewhat comprehensible. A crime lord (Pat Morita) wants to kill the two protagonist babes, but he wants to do it sportsman-like. So he gives them a head start before releasing his henchmen. The movie loses focus on this premise, however, due to frequent interruptions from random sex scenes. I wonder if Sedaris was trying to put Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart a run for his money exploring what the boundary is between a bad action film and softcore pornography. Starring: Pat Morita, Erik Estrada, Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, Bruce Penhall, Cynthia Brimhall, William Butler. Directed by: Andy Sidaris.
Doc Hollywood (1991) PG-13 comedy
Michael J. Fox stars as Dr. Ben Stone, a hotshot surgeon who finishes a residency in Washington D.C. and takes his 1956 Porsche Speedster on a trip through the backroads of America. His destination is Hollywood where he plans to make his fortune in the field of plastic surgery. But he doesn't even get out of South Carolina before he crashes into a white picket fence. The fence happening to belong to a small town judge (Roberts Blossom) who senses an opportunity to rope in a desperately needed doctor for the town. Dr. Stone is therefore sentenced to 32 hours of community service at the clinic. At first, he protests profusely. But then less so when he spots a beautiful young woman (Julie Warner). She coyly rebuffs his advances knowing that he isn't likely to stay around for long. While this film, modeled after Frank Capra, has all the right elements in place, it can never quite shake itself out of its overall sense of blandness. When the closing credits roll, I can't say the film made much of an impression on me at all. But it's all still harmless -- pleasant, breezy, not a nasty bone in its body -- and I always appreciate seeing Michael J. Fox, especially his genuine-looking reactions to the quirks of these salt-of-the-earth townsfolk. Starring: Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, Barnard Hughes, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Sternhagen, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda, Mel Winkler, Helen Martin, Roberts Blossom. Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones.
Dr. No (1962) NR spy
Sean Connery's starring turn as James Bond is dangerously cool from his first scene -- tuxedoed, cigarette in hand, playing an obscure version of baccarat. His first words uttered are embedded in our collective consciousness: "Bond, James Bond." He's introducing himself to his buxom opponent who he later sleeps with. But we don't get to see much of that, because James Bond is an appropriate-for-all-ages philanderer. M (Bernard Lee), the head of MI6, gives Bond his new assignment: Investigate the assassination of a fellow agent planted in Jamaica who was looking into radio disturbances of American rocket launches. He arrives in Jamaica and immediately spots a woman snapping his photograph. He gets into a cab, but his double-agent driver can't do much before Bond spots him and disposes of him. This story loaded with action and intrigue, as Bond tries to dodge many attempts on his life. The fairly gripping adventure meanders to a small island called Crab Key where he runs across a stunningly beautiful shell diver Honey (Ursula Andress) and of course finds her fascinating. They venture to the secret underground lair of the nefarious Dr. No, SPECTRE agent and mastermind. This film is relatively low-budget, but it does plenty with what it has. Relatively gritty and without any fancy gadgets to assist him, Bond must rely on his fists and his wits. This first Bond film might lack some of the big-budget thrills of the later films, but it nonetheless does its job establishing this character as a cinematic stalwart. Starring: Sean Connery, Jack Lord, Joseph Wiseman, Ursula Andress, Zena Marshall, Eunice Gayson, Lois Maxwell, Margaret LeWars, John Kitzmiller, Bernard Lee, Anthony Dawson. Directed by: Terence Young.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) PG-13 action
As if one Marvel Universe wasn't enough, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cuberbatch) is introduced to the Multiverse. And there's a young woman, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), with the ultra-rare ability to travel between the universes. Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, (Elizabeth Olsen) desperately wants to harness this woman's powers so that she can travel to a parallel universe where she's mother of a couple of sweet boys. (You can watch the television series Wandavision if you really want to understand more about that backstory. Which, despite me being a self-described MCU-agnostic, I found pretty entertaining.) This film is the typical action-filled Marvel claptrap with first-rate special effects and fine performances from the A-list cast. All things we take for granted. The imaginative traveling through parallel worlds does provide some needed novelty, and the Readers' Digest philosophizing about the follies of wishing for things you can't or shouldn't have is fairly well-received. I'd call this one of the better MCU films, even though it could have used a little tightening up, as certain parts of it drag. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams. Directed by: Sam Raimi.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) NR comedy
This satire is sharp as tacks no matter how many years go by. A general named Jack D. Ripper goes insane and orders his bomber fleet to nuke Russian targets. Politicians in Washington manage to recall the entire bomber fleet . . . except one. The script is phenomenal--wacky characters at every turn and a script filled with some of the best laughs ever captured on celluloid. Peter Sellers appears in three distinct roles and is flawless in every one of them. Not to mention the gum smacking George C. Scott, the Air Force chief, who just wants to get it all over with and nuke Russia already. Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, Peter Bull, Tracy Reed, James Earl Jones, Jack Creley, Frank Barry, Glenn Beck. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) NR drama
This is a magnificent epic whose only flaw is that is slightly overlong. Omar Sharif stars as a wealthy Russian doctor who is negatively effected by World War I and the Russian Revolution. A great, star-studded cast including Geraldine Chaplin, Julie Christie, Alec Guiness and Rod Steiger (as well as enormous popularity upon release) seals the undisputed fact that this is simply a great cinematic classic. Starring: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Siobhan McKenna, Alec Guiness, Ralph Richardson, Rita Tushingham, Jerry Rockland. Directed by: David Lean.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) PG-13 comedy
Crude humor keeps Dodgeball from becoming a true classic, but it’s still a charming, irrelevant ode to that sport in which most of us got the living crap pounded out of us with a red rubber gym ball. Vince Vaughn is nothing short of charming as the main good guy, but Ben Stiller falls victim to another bout of overacting. The film is good at its heart, though, and supplies a few good laughs. That’s all good comedies these days seem to need. Starring: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel Moore, Chris Williams, Alan Tudyuk, Missi Pyle, Jamal Duff, Gary Cole, Jason Bateman, Hank Azaria, Al Kaplon. Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber.
A Dog Day Afternoon (1975) R drama
Utterly gripping film with an iconic performance from Al Pacino as a bank robber. The movie develops two ways simultaneously: 1) the bank robbery itself with a tense police standoff. 2) the slow revealing of the motivations behind the robbery. I watch this film with my eyes wide, mouth agape. The film even makes resonant social commentary about the desperation that some people when when trying to acquire what ought to be considered basic necessities of life. Adding to this film's greatness is virtually all its supporting characters--especially the hostages--are given fully fleshed out personalities. That's something only the rare bank robbery film allows, but it shouldn't be that way. Why not let the audience get to know everybody we see on screen. Pacino's character quickly becomes a folk hero as the media increases its coverage of the stand-off. I too become invested in his travails. He commits a horrible robbery, but his heart of gold shines through when he tries his best to comfort his mentally crumbling partner (John Cazale, in a heart-wrenching performance), and he looks after the well-being of his hostages. An amazing film. Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Sully Boyar, Chris Sarandon, Penny Allen, James Broderick, Susan Peretz, Judith Malina, Estelle Omens, Carmine Foresta, John Marriott, Dick Anthony Williams. Directed by: Sidney Lument.
Domestic Disturbance (2001) PG-13 thriller
A troubled pre-teen (Matthew O'Leary) broods over the fact that his parents are divorced and his mother is about to get re-married (to Vince Vaughn). Nevertheless, he marries mom, and he doesn’t really seem like a bad guy after all. But then figures from Vaughn’s past suddenly start to show up, and things go terribly wrong. O’Leary soon figures out that Vaughn is a bad feller after all, but nobody believes him (except his faithful father, John Travolta). Certain aspects of the plot are commendable and there were some good bits of excitement. However, the cast, despite the star power, turns out to be quite shabby! Even Steve Buscemi (who is usually AWESOME) is rather wooden. It’s a movie that tried well enough to be engaging and exciting, but it was nowhere good enough. Starring: Matt O’Leary, John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Susan Floyd, Angelica Torn, Steve Buscemi, Terry Loughlin. Directed by: Harold Becker.
Donovan's Brain (1953) NR sci-fi
A B sci-fi movie that starts as many of them do. A scientist is on the verge of incredible breakthrough. Dr. Patrick Cory (Lew Ayres) with help from his assistant/wife Janice (Nancy Davis) have successfully extracted the brain of a monkey and kept it alive and functioning -- partially submerged in a fish tank half-filled with an electrically charged milky liquid. To study a living brain outside the skull could mean solving many of mankind's most debilitating ills -- such as alcoholism, a personal demon that happens to be gripping his best friend and trusted fellow surgeon Dr. Schratt (Gene Evans). Their studies are interrupted when a small plane crashes nearby their lab, leaving one of its passengers, multi-millionaire businessman Warren Donovan, barely alive. Alas, Drs. Cory and Schratt are unable to revive him. However, Cory gets the idea to use his methods to keep DonovanÕs brain alive to escalate his studies. The idea behind this film is tantalizing, and I'm not let down as I watch it all play out. The no-nonsense, tough-as-nails performances from Ayres and Davis is excellent, a requirement for a movie like this whose storyline is rather ridiculous. But it's a fun premise, and it generates some good tension, which makes this a fine recommendation for genre fans. Starring: Lew Ayres, Gene Evans, Nancy Davis, Steve Brodie, Tom Powers, Lisa Howard. Directed by: Felix E. Feist
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) NR drama
Marilyn Monroe in her first serious role, stars in this small drama, as a depressed babysitter working in a hotel room who spots what she thinks is a familiar face (Richard Widmark) in the window across the courtyard. Widmark, who is initially fascinated by Monroe (undoubtedly because she’s a freaking hottie), comes to visit her only to discover that she’s mentally ill. The script is second-rate and the film features boring performances by the film’s would-be stars, Widmark and Anne Bancroft. Not too surprisingly, it is the sheer presence of Monroe that makes this worth watching. Starring: Richard Widmark, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft, Noreen Corcoran, Jeanne Cagney, Lurene Tuttle, Elisha Cook, Jr., Jim Backus, Verna Felton. Directed by: Roy Ward Baker.
Don't Say a Word (2001) R drama
Michael Douglas stars as a psychiatrist whose daughter is kidnapped. The kidnappers won't give Mikey his daughter back until he manages to get some sort of number out of some psychotic girl. Featuring a rather idiotic plot, director Gary Fleder made this film about as exciting the material warranted. The ending was horribly written. Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Bean, Brittany Murphy, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Guy Torry, Jenniger Esposito, Famke Janssen, Oliver Platt, Shawn Doyle, Victor Argo, Conrad Goode. Directed by: Gary Fleder.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) PG adventure
The intense optimism and everlasting charisma of Isabella Moner as the title character is 99 percent of the appeal. That quality alone, however, only takes the film so far. Ultimately, she doesn't get enough clever things to do. Dora is a girl raised by a couple of archeology professors in the South American rain forest. When her parents plan an elaborate expedition to a lost Incan city, they send Dora to live in Los Angeles with relatives. This fish-out-of-water scenario is an easy way to get laughs, but they didn't seem to take full advantage. The second half is even more ho-hum, focusing on her and her schoolmates going on a cut-rate Indiana Jones adventure. It's a fine enough movie for the kiddos, but it left me wanting more. Starring: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe, Madeleine Madden, Temuera Morrison. Voices of: Danny Trejo, Benicio del Toro, Marc Weiner. Directed by: James Tobin.
Double Jeopardy (1999) R thriller
A woman (Ashley Judd) who was unjustly sentenced for murdering her husband (who never actually died) decides to seek revenge on him when she gets out. She decides that she could do such a thing because of the ‘no double jeopardy’ bit in the U.S. Bill of Rights. The concept of the movie is false, by the way, but no one seems to care. All the filmmakers wanted to do was to make some quick cash, so they whipped up their usual batch of inane screenwriters to come up with a stupid but sort of exciting script and bribed a big name cast to poop on their reputations. What we get, in the end, is a passable but trite action/suspense picture. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish, Roma Maffia, Davenia McFadden, Jay Brazeau, Gilliam Barber, Benjamin Weir, Spencer Treat Clark. Directed by: Bruce Beresford.
Down Periscope (1996) PG-13 comedy
A sporadically funny film about a captain of a submarine participating in a war game with a very interesting, colorful and talented crew to back him up. Frasier's Kelsey Grammer is rather bland as the captain, but he manages to supply sufficient humor. Rob Schneider does a nice job as the animated and dimwitted officer who is disliked by the crew (they eventually make him walk the plank). Them and other notable comedians make this a delightful comedy. Starring: Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Bruce Dern, Rob Scneider, Rip Torn, Harry Dean Stanton, William H. Macy, Ken Campbell, Toby Huss, Duane Martin, Jonathan Penner, Bradford Tatum, Hal Williams. Directed by: David S. Ward.
Down to Earth (2001) PG-13 comedy
The goodness here is Chris Rock. He's funny, and he's allowed to be funny. But that can only take the film so far, particularly when we're talking about a high-concept premise like this Heaven Can Wait remake. Rock is Lance Barton, a struggling stand-up comedian who plans a triumphant return to the Apollo Theater after a previous disastrous appearance. His plans are thwarted however when he almost gets hit by a bus. He doesn't get completely hit by a bus because a nearby guardian angel (Eugene Levy) happens see to it coming and takes Lance to the pearly gates before it hits--saving him inevitable pain and suffering. It turns out however the angel made a mistake. Lance was supposed to miss the bus. His body, now destroyed, is unavailable to reinhabit. As a consolation, the angels offer Lance the ability to inhabit a different body. They can't find a suitable one right away, so Lance temporarily assumes the identity of an old, white industrialist who died in the bathtub after being poisoned by his wife (Jennifer Coolidge) and his personal assistant (Greg Germann). Aren't they surprised when he comes out of the bathroom not only alive but with an extremely different personality. The crux of the jokes thereafter rely on this seemingly old, rich white guy doing race-centric Chris Rock material in front of a black audience. He also has an unlikely romance with an activist (Regina King), but that unfortunately comes off tepid. Starring: Chris Rock, Regina King, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Mark Addy, Greg Germann, Jennifer Coolidge, Wanda Sykes, John Cho, James Gandolfini. Directed by: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz.
Downfall (2004) R war/drama
A memorable look at the final days of Adolph Hitler, this movie will make you sympathize but never actually feel sorry for him. Hitler is played to utter perfection by Bruno Ganz; this one will stick with you for quite awhile. This will undoubtedly be known as one of the more notable films made about World War II. In German with English subtitles. (Don’t worry, though. You can read.) Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Kohler, Heino Ferch, Christian Berkel, Matthias Habich, Thomas Kretschmann. Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel.
Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022) PG drama
The likable, early-20th Century British aristocrats and their plucky servants downstairs are back on the big screen. (All the characters that had the good sense of not being killed off earlier in the television series, that is.) This time, the palace is paid a visit by a bigwig Hollywood director and crew who wish to use Downton Abbey as setting for a new picture. The blue-bloods aren't terribly wild about the idea, but they ultimately agree to it, as they could use the money to repair the leaky roof. A further twist is all this happens at the dawn of the talkie revolution, and their leading lady (Laura Haddock) has a cockney accent that's unbecoming of the refined aristocrat she portrays on film. (I was half expecting at some point to see Gene Kelly pop up around a soggy lamp-post.) All in all, this is a breezy, pleasant, and well-crafted film -- just like the television series -- and there are a couple well-deserved moments that leave a lump in the throat. Highlight as always is Maggie Smith and her acerbic one-liners. Seeing the television series and the previous film is not a prerequisite, but it helps. Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, Maggie Smith, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Imelda Staunton, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Michael Fox, Harry Hadden-Patton, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Douglas Reith, Laura Haddock, Hugh Dancy, Phyllis Logan, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Dominic West, Penelope Wilton, Jonathan Zaccai. Directed by: Simon Curtis.
Dragnet (1987) PG-13 comedy
You might think that Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd teaming up for a movie version of "Dragnet" may actually make a good movie --- how wrong! Dragnet is a terrible movie with little redeeming qualities. It brutally butchers the old television series, it doesn't work at all as a spoof, and it's not even worth the view for Dragnet fans who want to see it just to see it. Blah. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer, Harry Morgan, Alexandra Paul, Jack O'Halloran, Elizabeth Ashley, Dabney Coleman. Directed by: Tom Mankiewicz.
Dragonheart (1996) PG-13 fantasy
A rather disappointing flick starring Dennis Quaid as a mentor to the prince of England. When the prince almost dies, a captured dragon (voiced by Sean Connery) saves his life by giving him half his heart in exchange for freedom, but the dragon makes the prince swear that he will rule with a merciful hand. Well, the prince inevitably turns evil and Dennis Quaid blames it on the dragon, so he goes on a quest to kill every single dragon left in the world. He kills all but one (who just happens to be the very one he sent out to destroy in the first place) and actually ends up befriending the creature. The only reason to watch this flick is for the creative (but lacking) premise and the flawless special effects. The computer-generated dragon looks astoundingly real. Starring: Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Sean Connery, Pete Postlewaite, Julie Christie, Dina Meyer, Jason Isaacs, Brian Thompson, Lee Oakes, Wolf Christian. Directed by: Rob Cohen.
Dragonslayer (1981) PG fantasy
This is an interesting medieval fantasy about a vicious dragon that terrorizes a town and novice sorcerer, Peter MacNichol, attempting to defeat it. Its plot is rather trite, but it surprisingly holds well together. With a marvelous set and great special effects, it proves its big budget was not a waste. Starring: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Albert Salmi, Sydney Bromley. Directed by: Matthew Robbins.
The Dream Team (1989) PG comedy
No, it's not about basketball players, it's about a quartet of mental asylum escapees who wonder around New York City and get into heaps of trouble. The premise is rather entertaining; one guy is a very violent person, another is an exhibitionist, another has a vocabulary that is restricted to only baseball terms and another thinks he's a doctor or a person of great authority. The director and the writer try to paste a story together, and they didn't do it too well because the plot is jumbled and misleading. It's an entertaining film done by fairly respectable comics (among them is Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, and Peter Boyle) and they do an excellent job in their roles. See it only if you think you might like it. Starring: Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle, Stephen Furst, Dennis Bousikaris, Lorraine Bracco, Milo O’Shea, Philip Bosco, James Remar. Directed by: Howard Zeiff.
The Dresser (1983) PG drama
This fantastic homage to the theater and those working behind the scenes stars Albert Finney as a highly-strung actor who’s undergoing a severe emotional breakdown. Tom Courtenay co-stars as his effeminate manservant, who sticks loyally with him without the breadth of appreciation. This tremendously fascinating and engaging character study is a must-see for everyone. Starring: Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Edward Fox, Zena Waller, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gough, Cathryn Harrison, Betty Marsden, Sheila Reid, Lockwood West, Donald Eccles. Directed by: Peter Yates.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) PG drama
Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) is a haughty elderly Jewish woman from Atlanta whose son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) insists on hiring her a chauffeur. The chauffeur he finds is Hoke (Morgan Freeman), who she treats dreadfully at first -- even at one point trying to get him fired over a missing 33-cent can of salmon. However, Hoke's breezy and friendly demeanor holds steady as much as his subservience. While I understand the reasons this film gets criticized, as it depicts a tidy master/servant relationship without offering much rebuke of it, there's an interesting nuance I think often gets missed. Miss Daisy, who thinks of her herself as a liberal, at one point attends a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech. She has an empty seat next to hers and yet left Hoke to sit outside in the car to listen to it on the radio. I could just sense the wheels turning in her mind when King started talking about the polite racism of white liberals. Beyond social context, what makes this a good movie is for more conventional reasons: It's terrifically engaging. It's remarkable to watch the uneasy relationship between Miss Daisy and Hoke grow and mature as time goes on. And the performances from Tandy and Freeman are just dead on--magnetic and captivating in every second they occupy the screen. While this drama might be soft around the edges, I do find I love sinking myself into it. Starring: Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, Can Aykroyd, Patti LuPone, Esther Rolle, Joann Havrilla, William Hall Jr., Alvin M. Sugarman, Clarice F. Geigerman. Directed by: Bruce Beresford.
Drop Dead Fred (1991) PG-13 comedy
Phoebe Cates plays a woman separated from her husband who is suddenly reunited with her old childhood imaginary friend who tries to help her out of this mess. This film had a good idea but didn't put it to its full potential. It's unbelievable, wacky and too syrupy sentimental. Unknown Rik Mayall plays the imaginary friend title character and is surprisingly entertaining at it; that's about all this movie has going for it. Starring: Phoebe Cates, Rik Mayall, Marsha Mason, Tim Matheson, Carrie Fisher, Keith Charles, Ashley Peldon, Daniel Gerroll, Ron Eldard. Directed by: Ate DeJong.
Drowning Mona (2000) PG-13 mystery/comedy
This is an idiotic mystery/comedy about small town Verplanck, New York (where everyone drives a Yugo) and a strange murder happens. Mona Dearly (Bette Midler), the town's worst nightmare drives off a cliff. Most of the town's police force thinks that it was an accident, but one policeman, played by Danny DeVito, insists on pursuing an investigation. The jokes of this film are mindless and rude. The film is tedious and stupid. Not only do I wonder why this film was ever greenlighted, but how did the producers manage to attract the big stars? Starring: Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, William Flichtner, Marcus Thomas, Peter Dobson, Kathleen Wilhoite, Tracey Walter, Paul Ben-Victor. Directed by: Nick Gomez.
Drunken Master (1978) PG-13 martial-arts
One of Jackie Chan’s earliest films not only provides some fun-to-watch martial arts sequences, but it’s an absolute hoot from start to finish! Chan stars as a restless young pup who can’t seem to keep himself from picking fights with the wrong people. He’s good at kung fu, but he’s not quite good enough to defeat people with real experience. After he unknowingly picks a fight with his aunt, his father forces an unwilling Chan to take lessons from the Drunken Master, a kung fu guru who drinks a lot. Some of the plot is cliched to the extreme, but it’s really quite funny. Chan proved, from the very beginning, that he was meant to be a star. This film is said to be the predecessor of Karate Kid. Starring: Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, Dean Shek, Yuen Shun-Yi, Lam Yin. Directed by: Yuen Woo Ping.
Dudley Do-Right (1999) PG comedy
An amiable film, adapted from Jay Ward's animated classic about the famous Royal Canadian Mountee. Dudley Do-Right (Brendan Fraser), a clumsy yet good-natured man, who always dreamed of being a Mountee, is confronted with a challenge. Villain, Snidely Whiplash, stole the town of "Semi-Happy Valley," renamed it and is attracting a huge mass of people to it by planting quantities of gold in the river. Of course, Snidely will profit off the deal since he owns the food joints, the gift shops, the restaurants, etc. Dudley Do-Right knows there is something wrong about this, but what Snidely is doing isn't illegal. The plot of the movie isn't put together well at all, a major disappointment, but there are uproars of sheer delight in this flick. Starring: Brendan Frasier, Sarah Jessica Parker, Eric Idle, Alfred Molina, Alex Rocco, Robert Prosky, Corey Burton, Louis Mustillo, Jack Kehler, Jed Rees, Regis Philbin, Kathy Lee Gifford. Directed by: Hugh Wilson.
Duel (1971) PG thriller
This early Steven Spielberg picture is strikingly uncomplicated and minimalist, but it’s just about as taut as Jaws. Dennis Weaver stars as a well-dressed man driving down a deserted highway for undisclosed reasons, and he manages to tick off a truck driver. It’s difficult to turn your attention away from this film, and you’re never sure what to expect. Starring: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Tim Herbert, Lou Frizzell. Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) PG-13 comedy
A few laughs (cheap ones) save this film from achieving a lesser score, but this redneck comedy and '70s TV adaptation is a pointless effort. The Dukes (Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville) are a couple of lawless hicks always at ends with the law. The corrupt police chief (Burt Reynolds) busts the Dukes for making moonshine and confiscates their property, which he then tries to sell to strip miners. The Dukes, which also includes Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson, won't have any of that. Mayhem ensues. This is a dreadful and tiring vehicle (with the car chases and all), and it’s only for those who can seriously claim to be fans of the series. Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, Joe Don Baker, Lynda Carter, Willie Nelson. Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar.
Dumb and Dumber (1994) PG-13 comedy
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star in this stupid but funny slapstick comedy. This duo finds a piece of luggage that a beautiful dame accidentally left in front of an airport. After finding out that she lives in Aspen Colorado, this zany duo travels on a cross country trip, running into the usual problems and encounters. It's exactly like other Carrey flicks: the plot it thin but the characters belong in an insane asylum, but there are enough good jokes to make this film funny. This is surprisingly one of the better Carrey run-arounds and worth it to any of his fans. Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Teri Garr, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket, Victoria Rowell, Felton Perry. Directed by: Peter Farrelly.
Dunston Checks In (1996) PG-13 comedy
An orangutan stars in this comedy as a trained robber for the notorious jewel thief, Lord Rutlidge. One day, this duo stays in one of the most prestigious hotels in the world where the orangutan meets a little boy who is wise to Lord Rutlidge's dastardly ways. This children's comedy is somewhat enjoyable, but not family-perfect. The parents might enjoy this. Starring: Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway, Eric Lloyd, Rupert Everett, Graham Sack, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, Nathan Davis, Jennifer Bassey, Judith Scott, Bruce Beatty, Danny Comden. Directed by: Ken Kwapis.
The Dunwich Horror (1970) R horror
Sandra Dee stars as a history student who is given a rare book called Necronomicon by her professor (Ed Begley) to return to the library. As she does so, she finds that she's being followed by a mysterious stranger (Dean Stockwell) showing a particular interest in the book. He hypnotizes her, convincing her to drive him, book in hand, to his gaudy voodoo mansion. This film has the advantage of being among the kookier looking films I've seen out of late '60s. The costumes, set designs, psychedelic visual effects are enormously fun to look at. I even like the acting, particularly Ed Begley who delivers a solid performance as always. But I would have expected a horror movie about a groovy Satanist who performs creepy rituals to elicit more goosebumps than this one does. I'm not familiar with the H.P. Lovecraft short story this is based on, but it sure doesn't translate into an exciting movie here. Starring: Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee, Ed Begley, Talia Shire, Sam Jaffe, Donna Baccala, Lloyd Bochner, Barboura Morris. Directed by: Daniel Haller.
Dutch (1991) PG-13 comedy
This syrupy bonding flick from scriptwriter John Hughes is just about contrived as it gets. Ed O’Neill stars as a boyfriend who volunteers to pick up his girlfriend’s (JoBeth Williams) kid from a boarding school. The kid is bratty, and together they go on a life changing cross-country trip. This is like Plains, Trains, and Automobiles except it sucks. Starring: Ed O’Neill, Ethan Randall, JoBeth Williams, Chris McDonald, Ari Meyers, Elizabeth Daily, L. Scott Caldwell, Will Nipper, Jack Murdock, J.C. MacKenzie. Directed by: Peter Faiman.
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