Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Cast: Jet Li, Aaliyah, Delroy Lindo, Isaiah Washington
First off, I should tell you this is not a good movie, but you probably already knew that. This is a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet with Chinese martial-arts superstar Jet Li and the late princess of hiphop Aaliyah as the title characters except their relationship between them in the film feels more like that of siblings than "star-crossed lovers". They're cute together in the movie...but only as friends. There's no chemistry between them and nothing intimate happens between them, not even a simple kiss.
As you may have already guessed, Li and Aaliyah's families hate each other (duh). His family is involved with the Chinese mafia and her father is a mob boss. Needless to say, neither family approves of their "relationship".
So while the "romantic" angle of the film is pretty lame (and non-existent), there is some pretty cool fight scenes, one of the best being the scene where Li uses Aaliyah as a weapon to fight another female.
The film, which is more compatible with the average MTV viewer, has its fun moments, although its a little sad watching it knowing that Aaliyah's life would end at the ridiculously young age of 22 in a plane crash. Hard to believe she would be 31 today. I think she could have had a decent career as an artist slash actress. I absolutely love Try Again, the song she recorded for the film's soundtrack.
This is one of those movies where the trailers looks like the actual film has the potential of being good (or at least entertaining), but doesn't quite live up to expectations.
Director: John N. Smith
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Courtney B. Vance
I remember the first time I saw this film and how badass and hardcore I thought it was. Of course, I was 15 or 16 the first time I saw it and things do change when you get older and wiser. Watching it again recently for the second time was when I only realized how lame this movie is. You probably already know the story: Pfeiffer plays Ms. Johnson, an ex-marine/teacher who is hired mid-semester at an inner-city high school in L.A. The students come from bad neighborhoods and follow their own rules and while "bright", do not care about learning.
This changes when Ms. Johnson comes into their lives and bribes them into learning by giving them candy or taking them to amusement parks when they get the right answer or finish a paper. By the second day, she has already gained their trust and respect for the most part, which I thought was totally unrealistic.
One of the "bribes" or "prizes" or whatever you want to call it she offers is dinner with her at a fancy French restaurant for the students who can identify the poem by Dylan Thomas that is most like a song by Bob Dylan...I think that was the assignment. Three students get it right: two boys and a girl. The girl and one of the boys can't make it, so it's just the other male student and Ms. Johnson dining together at this swank restaurant. This proves what a moron Ms. Johnson is. Okay, first of all, why would she choose a restaurant her students probably don't have the attire for (the student had to steal a coat so he was dressed appropriately) and why did she think these kids would like pretentious French food anyway? These are burger and fries kind of kids! But the real question is, what made her think it was appropriate to take a student out on what would appear a date to the casual observer? God, what a moron! I kept expecting someone from the school board would walk in and see them together, but that never happened. Her ass would have been fired in no time!
If there's one good thing Dangerous Minds gave us, it's the awesome Coolio song Gangsta's Paradise. For a white girl from the Midwest, I love that song way more than I should. I am all about the Gangsta's Paradise: the power and the money, the money and the power, minute after minute, hour after hour....