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List of "U" Movies
U-571 (2000) PG-13 war
This is an all-around exciting and thrilling war movie with good plot about a German U-boat and how an American troop used it to bring the Germans to their knees. The film is just the ticket for history buffs! Most others, however, probably won't find it interesting. U-571 suffers most when it comes to character development, and it badly needed it. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, David Keith, Thomas Kretschmann, Jake Weber, Jack Noseworthy, Thomas Guiry, Will Estes, T.C. Carson. Directed by: Jonathan Mostow.
The Ugly Dachshund (1966) NR comedy
A movie with the Awww-factor turned up to 11 and a must-watch for dog lovers who don't mind movies that take place in cynicism-free universes. A picture-perfect couple, Mark and Fran (Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette), live in their picture-perfect house where Mark works at home as an artist. Fran is a dachshund nut, but Mark always fancied himself owner of a majestic great dane. Then opportunity strikes at the animal hospital where their dachshund had three puppies and a nearby great dane had too many and rejected a pup. The vet (Charlie Ruggles) suggests allowing the great dane to be wet nursed with the dachshund. Mark of course agrees and calls the dog Brutus. This is a cute dog movie, and I found myself gaping at the screen like I was five years old as I watched with giggly interest at those naughty dachshund pups causing all sorts of messes in their house and then framing poor Brutus for them (who was actually trying to do what he could to stop it). A pretty awful part that didn't age well, however, are a couple of Japanese guests who come to their house for a party who insist that Brutus is a lion (or as they say "rion"). Sure it's dopey and the racist bits are a drag, but I find this to be among Disney's finer old-school live-action films. Starring: Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Charlie Ruggles, Kelly Thordsen, Parley Baer. Directed by: Norman Tokar.
UHF (1989) PG-13 comedy
Weird Al Yankovic's unapologetically crude style of comedy is not for all audiences, but anyone looking for an unabashedly silly time should check this out. This is, after all, his one and only feature film. Yankovic plays George, a burned-out fast food employee with an overactive imagination who is given the chance to run his own television station. He and his best friend Bob (David Bowe) develop wacky show ideas like Gandhi II, Wheel of Fish, and Raul's Wild Kingdom (Raul is an animal expert who claims to have taught poodles how to fly). But the station biggest success happens when George convinces his janitor (Michael Richards) to fill in as a children's television show host. This film is loaded with parodic skits of movies, music, and television. Some land, some don't. But enough do that, altogether, I find this to be quite funny. It depends on your sense of humor, of course, but one part I find especially humorous is a news program anchored by their receptionist Pamela (Fran Drescher) featuring cinematography provided by the 3'9" Noodles (Billy Barty). The most unpretentious news program in the nation, and the host is literally looking down on the audience. This film's main shortcoming is character development, which shouldn't matter for a film like this, except when it comes to a half-baked subplot that involves George trying to reconnect with his estranged girlfriend (Victoria Jackson). He's so unstable that, if anything, I thought it best they remain apart. Starring: "Weird Al" Yankovic, David Bowe, Fran Drescher, Michael Richards, Kevin McCarthy, Victoria Jackson, Stanley Brock, Sue And Langdon, Anthony Geary. Directed by: Jay Levey.
Ultraviolet (2006) PG-13 action
This movie for the video game generation has such a weird sense of style that it's a shame the filmmakers couldn't have channeled that to something more visually coherent. Likewise, the script is nearly unintelligible. The premise, about a disease that genetically mutates people into vampires in a futuristic society, wasn't bad, but the film is ultimately a bore to sit through. It's not worth wasting your time. Star Milla Jovovich might look great in tight outfits, but that monkey from Any Which Way You Can is a better actor. Starring: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, Sebasien Andrieu, William Fichtner. Directed by: Kurt Wimmer.
Unbreakable (2000) PG-13 thriller
Bruce Willis stars in this disappointing thriller as a remarkable man who is the only survivor of a train crash that killed hundreds. Samuel L. Jackson, a loopy comic book collector, exercises the thought that Willis may in fact be a real life super hero. Despite the interesting premise and the people involved in making it, this movie really didn't work. What should have been a unique, eye-catching thriller is reduced to being depressing and dark. The fact that the entire cast spends 75 percent of their time sulking (yes, Willis does too) is a big part of it. The last 30 minutes of the film is pretty good, but it's largely too late by that time. Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Eamonn Walker, Leslie Stefanson, Johnny Hiram Jamison. Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan.
Uncle Buck (1989) PG comedy
This is an entertaining John Hughes comedy about a sloppy uncle (John Candy) who looks after his two nieces and one nephew while their parents are out of town. Candy is excellent and the young Macaulay Culkin is adorable as the nephew. The script is pretty funny, but the end is too sappy for comfort. Uh-oh, Hughes, it's the end of the '80s. Starring: John Candy, Jean Kelley, Gaby Hoffman, Macaulay Culkin, Amy Madigan, Elaine Bromka, Garrett Brown, Laurie Metcalf, Jay Underwood, Brian Taratina. Directed by: John Hughes.
Uncorked (1998) PG comedy
A handsome young man named Ross (Rufus Sewell) is an extremely talented guitar player but he decided to go into business. After a considerable string of failed investments, he tries to use family money to purchase a mine he claims will yield a considerable financial return. However, his kooky uncle (Nigel Hawthorne) prevents him from doing so. Meanwhile, Rossí fiancťe (Minnie Driver) revisits feelings of an old flame. A good cast, script and set design makes this otherwise inconsequential film recommendable. Starring: Rufus Sewell, Nigel Hawthorne, Minnie Driver, Amelia Heinie, Michael E. Rodgers, Keone Young, Gregory Sporleder, Chalvay Srichoom. Directed by: John Huddles.
Undertaking Betty (2004) PG-13 comedy
A perfectly daft comedy, you may find it difficult to keep your sides from splitting. Alfred Molina stars as an undertaker who always was in love with the title-woman (Brenda Blethyn). When her husband proves to be unfaithful, they stage her death so that they can elope in secret. But a rival funeral director (the show-stealing Christopher Walken) wants so badly to dominate the local market that he ends up interfering with their plot. This is a canít-miss for comedy lovers. Starring: Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken, Naomi Watts, Lee Evans, Robert Pugh. Directed by: Nick Hurran.
Unfaithfully Yours (1948) NR comedy
Rex Harrison starred in this generally funny comedy as an orchestra conductor who suspects that his wife (Linda Darnell) is having an affair. While conducting a symphony, he concocts three different ways of dealing with his suspicion. Though this is not among director Preston Sturges finer films, it is a recommendable classic. Starring: Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Barbara Lawrence, Rudy Vallee, Kurt Kreuger, Lionel Stander, Edgar Kennedy, Al Bridge, Julius Tannen. Directed by: Preston Sturges.
Unfaithfully Yours (1984) PG comedy
Dudley Moore plays a conductor, in this enjoyable piece of fluff, who suspects that his much younger wife (Nastassja Kinski) is having an affair. He begins going nuts and plots an elaborate revenge. Mooreís charm and slapstick talent are in good form here, but the film lacks heart when it needs it. This is a remake of the Preston Sturges movie of the same name. Starring: Dudley Moore, Nastassja Kinski, Armand Assante, Albert Brooks, Cassie Yates, Richard Libertini, Richard B. Shull, Jan Triska. Directed by: Howard Zieff.
Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (2020) NR documentary
Of course, Donald Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder. Psychologists in this documentary argue that they have the duty to identify his personality defects and bring it to the public's attention. The idea they cannot make such assessments without examining him in person, they argue correctly, is bunk. They get a more complete picture of his personality by watching him on TV. My problem with this movie was they interviewed conservatives like Bill Kristol who was responsible for elevating Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate in 2008. Now, he complains about Donald Trump, who might not have gotten anywhere in politics if Palin didn't blaze that trail for flash-in-the-pans first. I'm also not interested in hearing conservatives complain about America's crumbling infrastructure when they're singlehandedly responsible for it. But yeah, if you didn't already know that Donald Trump is nuts, then give this movie a look. Directed by: Dan Partland.
Unforgiven (1992) R western
Clint Eastwood stars as Will Muney, a retired outlaw who has trouble making ends meet for his two children. His beloved wife had passed away some time ago. A blowhard young bounty hunter (Jaimz Woolvett) comes around with a proposition: Help kill the cowboy who permanently disfigured a prostitute and split the $1,000 reward. Muney at first declines, citing the civilizing influence of his late wife, but he eventually acquiesces, realizing he could use the money. Before venturing out too far, he collects his former partner Ned (Morgan Freeman) for assistance. And so, this trio of two out-of-practice gunslingers and one gumshoe set about to get their bounty, and they struggle more than expected. While I don't find this film profound or moving in any significant way, the storyline and characters are engaging and well-developed. In particular Gene Hackman as the cool-headed but ruthlessly autocratic sheriff who doesn't take kindly to vigilantes visiting his town. What I lament about the film is simply it doesn't take many chances. It looks neither beautiful nor ugly -- a characteristic that even extends to the inciting event, which is the disfigured prostitute's face being merely adorned with tiny slices that hardly takes away from her original comeliness. This movie has kind of a smoothed-out, rustic chic sensibility, and nothing ever disturbs that. Nevertheless, do chalk this up as a good, hardy film that anybody should like. Ask me to provide a list of the most entertaining westerns produced after 1960, and this film is certain to be on it. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Jaimz Woolvett, Richard Harris, Saul Rubinek, Frances Fisher, David Mucci, Rob Campbell, Anthony James. Directed by: Clint Eastwood.
United 93 (2006) R drama
Paul Greengrass directed and wrote the screenplay of this speculative account of what happened to this hijacked flight on 9-11 before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field. This is a technically well-made film; Greengrass genuinely made it seem as if he broke the laws of time and space and cosmically went back in time to film the actual events. The cast consists entirely of unknown actors and, in some cases, the real people who were there that day (in the control rooms). Greengrass was being careful not to exploit 9-11 (which is would have been all too easy to do), and the result is not only a powerful, moving film but a movie that will surely be deemed historically important in a few short years. Starring: David Alan Basche, Richard Benkins, Susan Blommaert, Ray Charleston, Chistian Clemenson. Directed by: Paul Greengrass.
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (2021) R drama
A breakout performance from Andra Day is trapped in this unfortunate biopic. The title refers to a court case that landed her a year's jail sentence for drug possession. However, the Feds' motivation for busting her was retaliation for singing the provocative anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit." Perhaps a version of this movie just focusing on the song and the impact it had on people and on society at large might have been powerful. After all, the film opens with a fact that really surprises me--that lynching was legal in 1937. What we get instead is a strangely meandering film that only shows how miserable Billie Holiday's life was. If there's anything about her life worth celebrating, I'm not seeing it here. Starring: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Miss Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams, Tone Bell. Directed by: Lee Daniels.
Unsane (2018) R horror
A rare kind of horror film, because this seemingly could happen to anyone. Sawyer (Claire Foy) had recently moved far away from her home to rid herself of a stalker. Still traumatized by the experience, she sees a psychiatrist. At the end of the visit, she signs what is described as routine paperwork. However, it turns out she signed a voluntary consent form for a 24-hour lockdown in a psychiatric hospital. I like this movie because I didn't know where it was going at first, which made it all the more exciting. My complaint is a key plot twist is revealed too early, but nonetheless I find the ending satisfyingly exciting. Great performance by Foy, even if her American accent is imperfect, who becomes increasingly flustered and crazed by the situation she finds herself in. Starring: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Gibson Frazier, Aimee Mullins, Amy Irving, Polly McKie, Zach Cherry, Sarah Stiles, Matt Damon. Directed by: Steven Soderbergh.
The Untouchables (1987) R action
This is a first-rate action flick about an elite group of tough-guys in the 1930's out to stop the notorious bootlegger Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Kevin Costner heads the group and Sean Connery (the highlight of the film) seconds. Not only is the plot good, but it contains some creative and suspenseful scenes, which are certainly above Hollywood's norm. This isn't a film to be missed. Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe, Brad Sullivan, Billy Drago, Patricia Clarkson, Vito D'Ambrosio, Steve Goldstein. Directed by: Brian De Palma.
Up in Smoke (1978) R comedy
This outrageous comedy stars Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, two constantly-high buddies whose primary goal in this film is to look for more marijuana and preparing for their debut rock concert. The first 45 minutes or so are knee-slappingly hilarious. The rest of the film, however, is only scattered with good jokes. Even through the film's theme is about weed, it does it in the most pleasant and inoffensive way imaginable. Not a good pick for the kids, I'd imagine. Starring: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Stacy Keach, Tom Skerritt, Edie Adams, Strother Martin, Louisa Moritz, Zane Buzby, Anne Wharton, Mills Watson, Karl Johnson. Directed by: Lou Adler.
The Upside of Anger (2004) R drama
Terry (Joan Allen) is a middle-aged alcoholic who is coping badly with agonizing resentment she has against her husband who'd run off with his secretary. In turn, her four grown daughters try to cope with this perpetually bitter mother. The daughters played by Erika Christensen, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, and Evan Rachel Wood, each of whom have their own aspirations. Including one (Russell) who wants to pursue a career in ballet, much to her mother's chagrin. Another (Christensen) embarks on an intimate relationship with a man 20 years her senior. In the meantime, Terry develops what's at first a reluctant comraderie with her ex-ball player and radio talkshow host neighbor (Kevin Costner), also an alcoholic. This is a smart, dialogue-heavy drama about serious people with serious problems. But at the same time it isn't as unpleasant as it might seem, as its tone stops considerably short of intense. The characters are interesting enough for me to become emotionally invested in their travails, but they also aren't powerful enough that they linger long in my mind after the closing credits roll. The film does have a twist ending, but it's such a measly one that it needn't have had one at all. But don't let that ruin the experience. What I really pay attention to here are the performances, which are phenomenal -- particularly Joan Allen who commands every scene she's in without being so greedy as to overpower her also-strong costars. Starring: Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt. Directed by: Mike Blinder.
Uptown Girls (2003) PG-13 comedy
Brittany Murphy stars as a socialite who loses her apartment and money and takes a job as a nanny of an overly mature and totally snotty girl (Dakota Fanning). Sappy and manipulative, this film is only redeemable by its genuine heart and surprisingly good performances by the leads. (Oh, and Heather Locklearís in this. Schwing!) Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Marley Shelton, Donald Faison, Jesse Spencer, Austin Pendleton, Heather Locklear, Will Toale, Marceline Hugot. Directed by: Boaz Yankin.
Uptown Saturday Night (1974) PG comedy
This OK comedy stars Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby as buddies who are robbed in an underground casino. The next day, Poitier realizes that the lottery ticket in his stolen wallet won the jackpot, so they go about the streets looking for it. Surprise guest stars Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor are a treat. Most of the jokes aren't funny, though, so this is only for fans of the stars. Starring: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Rosalind Cash, Roscoe Lee Browne, Paula Kelly, Lee Chamberlin. Directed by: Sidney Poitier.
Used People (1992) PG-13 drama
This half baked film is about a widower mother (Shirley MacLaine) whose daughters (Marcia Gay Harden and Kathy Bates) are deeply troubled. MacLaine meets and falls in love one of her late husband's friends (Marcello Mastroianni) at the funeral who had only previously known MacLaine through her husband's description. The only appealing aspect of this film is the acting. It could have been a nice, engaging picture, but it was fumbled by the director. It's passable, but too unremarkable. Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Marcello Mastroianni, Kathy Bates, Marcia Gay Harden, Jessica Tandy, Sylvia Sidney, Bob Dishy, Emma Tammi, Asia Vieria, Lee Wallace, Louis Guss, Gil Filar, Maia Filar, Irving Metzman. Directed by: Beeban Kidron.
Ushpizin (2005) PG drama
The faith of a couple of Orthodox Jews in Israel are put to the test when a couple of worldly convicts show up to the house hoping that they'll be able to lend some money. But the couple is also under some hard times and they don't even have enough money to afford honoring the title-holiday. Can their faith in God hold them through these events? This is a charming film and a recommendable import from Israel. Starring: Shuli Rand, Michal Bat Sheva Rand, Shaul Mizrahi, Ilan Gannai, Avraham Abutbul. Directed by: Gidi Dar.
The Usual Suspects (1995) R thriller
A poor-man's Tarantino, but this neo-noir film is nonetheless engaging and entertaining. The story begins with five known criminals (i.e., "the usual suspects") who are arrested for a truck hijacking that they claim they didn't commit. While in prison they concoct a plan for a crime that they will actually commit. The storyline is one to pay close attention to -- through its many wild twists and turns -- up until that final twist in the end. Albeit that final twist didn't awe me as much as it made me shrug my shoulders. Nonetheless, this is the type of film where it's the journey that counts. The dialogue throughout sharp and oftentimes funny, and the performances from the ensemble cast is fun. Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollack, Pete Postlewaite, Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis, David Powladge. Directed by: Bryan Singer.
Utilities (1981) PG comedy
Robert Hays stars as a liberal social worker, in this offbeat comedy, who is enraged about the scheming ways of the gas and electric company. When a friend freezes to death because the gas company wrongly turned off the gas, he sabotages the companyís computer system to give customers huge refund checks. (Whatís wrong with a simple lawsuit?) Meanwhile, he is romancing a police officer (Brooke Adams) who frequently arrests him. Nearly every scene is a cluttered mess and there are a plethora of misfired jokes, but itís crazy enough to be mildly entertaining. Starring: Robert Hays, Brooke Adams, James Blendick, Ben Gordon, Toby Tarnow, Helen Burns. Directed by: Harvey Hart.
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