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"The Thomas Crown Affair"

Directed by John McTiernan.
Written by Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer.  Based on the 1968 film of the same name.
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo and Denis Leary.
Release Year:  1999

Review Date:  8/8/99 


Hope that y'all had a very good weekend.  Before this review, I wanted to close the book on "The Blair Witch Project" with a couple of quick points:

1)  I just want to remind everyone again to please, please, please do not send out "reply to all" e-mails to the group about how wrong or right my ridiculous opinions are about these movies.  If you want to tell me what an idiot I am for thinking that "Austin Powers" blew or that I was right on what crap "Wild Wild West" was, please feel free to tell JUST ME.  A few people have unsubscribed because they didn't like getting e-mails from people that they didn't know, and I feel like I have to pay for those mistakes.  Now granted, I thought Mike's e-mail last week was pretty funny, but I don't know if the other 100 people cared.

2)  Charles "Chuck" Longer and I were talking about the "BWP" phenomenon a couple of days ago, and this is what we agreed on:  everyone that we know that saw it before it went national thought it was the scariest movie they had seen in a while; *every single person* that has seen it since last weekend, when it went into about a thousand theaters, thinks everything from "It sucked" to "I can't believe they didn't show the witch" to "The dialogue sucked" to "It wasn't even scary" to "Me with my shirt off is ten times scarier than that."  Hey, it seems hard to explain, but hype is starting to kill this movie.  I could care less, since I think it's the best movie of the summer besides "The Matrix" right now, but if you aren't scared by this movie's ending (or its enduring last shot), then, well, you just aren't a movie fan.

With all of that said, "C-Lo" Loatman and I went for something that was a bit easy on the palette.  The great thing about "The Thomas Crown Affair" for us was that neither one of us had seen more than a newspaper ad about this movie, so we knew almost nothing about the plot or the Steve McQueen original made years ago.  And that made a difference, since I felt like I got to see two hours of original movie.  Bleeding with cool, the movie stars Pierce Brosnan as Thomas Crown, superrich head of an M&A firm in New York that seems a bit bored by just being really loaded.  So, in his spare time, Crown steals famous paintings from the Met to cover the walls of his terribly expensive Manhattan apartment.  At the start of the movie, through a pretty impressive setup, he jacks a Monet from the impressionist exhibit at the museum.

Enter the crafty insurance agent (Rene Russo) assigned to track down the whereabouts of the Monet.  While I admit that Russo's character figures out almost instantaneously who has stolen the painting (cops in movies are just so smart!), this didn't take away from the experience for me, since it gives more time to let the romance between the two main characters develop.  The heart of the movie is their relationship (and all of the pleasures that rich people partake in) and how they will make right with the law and the stolen painting.

At this point, you might be asking, "Hey man, this sounds a hell of a lot like 'Entrapment.'  Does this movie suck as bad?"  Happily, it was the complete opposite.  I thought that everything worked in this movie.  Brosnan plays rich very well (but not as well as the best rich-guy actor in the world, Michael Douglas) and he comes off as a guy that I believed could be smooth in the business meeting or at the helm of a boat or sacking a host of hot triks (misspelling intended).  Russo (is she really 45?) looks good here, and she is given an equal share of cool things to do/wear/say.  The only support of note in the movie is from Denis Leary as the cop who leads the NYPD investigation into the robbery, but he is good and doesn't break out into any trademark Leary-isms about how pissed off he is.

I really liked the ending of this movie, and there are little twists and turns along the way which make the movie just a bit fresher than most Hollywood caper films.  Music is of the cool, jazzy variety, and it fits the action perfectly.  Maybe it's just me, but has there been a real lack of sex in movies this summer (besides "Summer of Sam")?  I was thinking about it because there is some in this movie, and it kind of caught me off-guard.  Again, I just can't believe that Russo is, there are plenty of rich people touches, like the nicest offices in Manhattan, expensive cars, jets, oceanside villas...I liked it all.

Overall, solid entertainment for everybody.

Rating:  $7.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09