“Understated” isn’t a word you’d ordinarily use to describe a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but that’s surprisingly what 12 Strong ends up being.
Q. I cannot believe you really liked "Congo." We usually agree with you. In this case--well, some movies have bad lines and great acting, some have great lines and bad acting. This movie had bad lines and bad acting. The special effects reminded me of a 1960s science fiction film. Maybe this movie would have been better as a spoof starring Leslie Neilson. My wife and I were looking at each other (and our watches) the whole movie in disbelief. (Martin I. Goodman, San Diego, Calif.)
Q. Wow. I thought you might like to know that I (of all people) think that "The Little Princess" is the best film of the year. Just blown away by it. (Roger Avary, Los Angeles)
Q. Just saw "Die Hard With a Vengeance" and here's my question: When is Hollywood going to figure out that the phone company can trace a call instantaneously? Once again we see that tired old cop cliches, "Hold him on the line long enough for me to trace the call!" Is Hollywood the only place they haven't heard of Caller ID? Everyone in America can trace a call these days; you'd think the New York cops could, too. (Mark Blanchard, Norwalk, Conn.)
Q. I am experiencing a crisis with a friend who insists on lowering some of my favorite films to the common denominator of "Hair Movies." I really liked "Last of the Mohicans," as there have never been enough decent Revolutionary Era films. My friend says the film was a failure because nobody had access to creme rinse in those days, as "Hawkeye" must have, since his hair was too perfect. Now when I think of this film, I can only see Daniel Day Lewis in curlers on the way to the set. It happened again with "Legends of the Fall," where Brad Pitt's hair (according to my friend) had an unnatural luster that could not have been achieved without creme rinse.
Q. Do you think that because you've reviewed so many movies, your opinions may not reflect that of the public? If you say the storyline has been overused, does it mean it isn't a good movie to other people who haven't seen as many movies as you? Others may think it's an original storyline and enjoy the movie. Is it possible to be an objective movie critic? (Andy Chin, San Diego)
Q. I do some computer programming on the side and I have learned much about the machine's capabilities. Seems that it might be possible one day to produce a movie completely by computer without the need for actors, props, sets, or human music. Would the public accept this? How about yourself? I doubt if I would like a Clint Eastwood movie with no Eastwood--just computer art and sound. How far should Hollywood go? Could everything become like that Holodeck on the new Star Trek? (Mike Jordan, Snow Camp, N.C.)
Q. We saw "The Madness of King George" the other night. Pretty good. However, the first scene showed some heavy wooden doors. As the camera panned in you could read the graffiti carved on the doors. The most prominent was the date "1867." It bothered the heck out of me to start the movie with this obvious continuity issue. Was this a director's idea of a joke or an IQ test ? (John T. Bear, Atlanta, Ga.)
Q. Does it strike you that some movie sound effects are overdone? I've noticed in recent years that when a movie couple gets passionate, their kisses sound like they're sucking a peach. If I kissed my wife that sloppily, she'd wipe off her face and send me to the guest room for the night. And what about movie punches? Movies have been overdoing fight sound effects for years. My most vivid memory of "Rocky III" was of Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T beginning their fight with punches that would kill the average person. Do you feel that sound effects are as cliched as some of the other areas you cover in your Little Glossary? (Steven Bailey, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.)
Q. With Tom Hanks winning impressive back-to-back Oscars, do you think, after his next film, "Apollo 13," the Academy will vote for him three years in a row? Has this ever happened? (Thomas Allen Heald,
Q. Don't you ever read your old issues of "Premiere?" One of your readers noticed that the credit for the "ADR" or "automatic dialog replacement" director is almost always Barbara Harris--and then asked if this was the same Barbara Harris who was a Second City veteran. You printed a reply from another reader saying, no, this wasn't that Barbara Harris, but the B.H. who was married to Cary Grant. Actually, it is neither one. As the enclosed clipping and photo from "Premiere" show, the ADR Barbara Harris is a black woman who started out 10 years ago doing voice-overs, and now has her own ADR company, the Looping Group, which is the most successful in Hollywood. (Bill Russell, Westmont, Ill.)