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Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Plot: An unhappily married Spanish woman accepts the invitation of two horny Mexican teenagers to drive with them to a secluded beach in a borrowed car.
Review: Director Cuaron, who originated from Mexico and came to Hollywood (where he made A Little Princess), returns to his roots with Y Tu Mamá También, offering us a road trip through the little-seen Mexican landscape. The film takes on one of the most conventional subjects, that of the coming-of-age film, and creates something more subtle and more impassioned than the typical American teen dramas. The film is sexually explicit right from the opening scene, with the sex raw and surprising in its truthful depiction, yet it's never shown as something purely titillating or provoking, it's just another part of life. The intelligent script brings out the personality of its characters and the sharp dialogue from the situations and surroundings they find themselves in. The story takes some unexpected turns, but none of it feels forced, instead letting the dynamics between its protagonists move the story forward instead of the other way around. The occasional voice-over narration adds another layer to the story, filling in small details and omniscient tidbits, adding the director's distinct political slant. The washed-out look, the faded colors, grainy images, are also quite appropriate to the subject matter and adds an extra depth to the proceedings and accompany well the fine, almost documentary-styled directing. The two leads are splendid, giving performances that feel completely natural and who act like true horny teens, slackers in search of the perfect moment, boozing, partying and getting high, without care for the past or the future. As for their companion, leaving her cheating husband and accepting the offer of driving in search of a far-away beach, she has her own secret reasons to want to go off on an adventure, to do something crazy, to feel wanted. The friendship between these two teens from socially different circles, and the bond that forms between them and this "older" woman is the very heart of the film. The moments when they swap personal stories, or show off their bravado, or argue, when jealousy, anger, seduction and even desperation all boil to the surface, have all the drama and humor of reality, making the film frank and poignant. Y Tu Mamá También is a colorful, erotic, and heartfelt romantic drama, a passionate journey into the heart of Mexican adolescence with all its pains and pleasures.
Drama: 8/10

Yamakasi (France - 2001)
Starring: Williams Belle, Châu Belle Dinh, Malik Diouf
Director: Ariel Zeitoun
Plot: A group of young working-class Parisian street acrobats decide to use their talents to rob the homes of a group of rich surgeons to make enough money to buy a neighborhood kid a heart transplant.
Review: Kudos to Yamakasi on trying to make a different kind of action movie based on the amazing agility and talents of its non-acting cast. Too bad the script, co-written by producer/director-turned-hack-writer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Nikita) is another easy attempt at quick-buck filmmaking aimed at the teen crowd: take a cool idea and turn it into a film that makes for an interesting trailer but don't take the time or the effort to give it any depth. As such, the plot is ridiculous and threadbare, the dialogue trite, the characters barely distinguished from one another, and the proceedings inconsistent. But that's not the reason for the film. Climbing building façades, jumping off Parisian rooftops, flipping unto police cars, and otherwise showing off their prowess, the stunts and acrobatics by the real-life group of urban sport enthusiats are impressive and are the only excuse to see the movie. A sequence mid-way through where three of them are trapped in a mansion and try to avoid guard dogs is a highlight and the film never reaches that energy in its long-winded climax. Zeitoun isn't exactly a primo director but he does manage to focus on the more interesting aspects of the group to get a good pace going that's adequate to keep mainstream fans' attention while keeping the tired melodrama to an acceptable level. It's not great filmmaking but it gets the job done. If you can forget the story and focus on the non-aided stunts, you might find Yamakasi a pleasant enough diversion that's quickly forgotten.
Entertainment: 4/10

Year of the Dragon (1985)
Starring: Mickey Rourke, John Lone
Director: Michael Cimino
Plot: A police captain, an ex-Vietnam vet, wages his own private war against the Triads of New York's Chinatown with devastating personal results.
Review: Year of the Dragon tries to meld personal and socio-political issues with its wish to be an intense, violent crime drama and only partially succeeds. Cimino (Deer Hunter) is a talented director, providing many scenes that are quite effective. In fact, the action set pieces are quite exciting and the finale reminds one of HK cinema excesses. Unfortunately, the dramatic scenes are a veritable mixed bag - the scenes with Rourke's wife can be touching, but most others, from his affair with a Chinese-American reporter and his constant butting with bosses and friends, are almost campy in their ridiculous dialogue and over-acting. Worse, the pacing is terrible and the script just doesn't know how to bring in so many different elements together, exuding what can easily be perceived as racist, xenophobic overtones. As for the characters, they are for the most part completely unsympathetic, especially Rourke's hero (anti-hero?) who just seems plain vile. It surely doesn't help either that a young Rourke is completely miscast here in the role of a much older man. John Lone, however, does a convincing performance as the suave young villain. In summary, Year of the Dragon is a film that aimed for dramatic tension and a window on important themes, but ends only as a decent crime thriller with a vapid moralistic conscience.
Entertainment: 5/10

Yellow Submarine (1968)
Starring: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)
Director: George Dunning
Plot: The Beatles agree to help out Captain Fred and travel through strange lands aboard his Yellow Submarine to save Pepperland and its citizenry from the evil clutches of the Blue Meany.
Review: This imaginative animated feature starring the 60's phenomenon The Beatles seems to come right out of someone's psychedelic trip. Yellow Submarine sums up in 90 minutes the sensibilities of a generation, and conveys it with a cartoon style completely different from the typical Disney fare. The colorful, zany animation, the surreal imagery, the tongue-in-cheek humor, the off-the-wall story and situations, and, of course, the classic Beatles songs all combine to make for a wonderful film experience. A real treat.
Entertainment: 8/10

Yes, Madam! (Hong Kong - 1985)
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Rothrock, Tsui Hark
Director: Corey Yuen
Plot: A Hong Kong policewoman partners with an English cop to find a professional assassin who killed a compatriot and retrieve some incriminating microfilm that will help put a crime boss away.
Review: Yes, Madam! has the distinction not only of having introduced female action star Yeoh to the screen but also of kicking off Hong Kong's "girls with guns" sub-genre. The film starts with a terrific, promising opening action scene, with Yeoh showing off her martial arts skills while stopping an armored car robbery single-handed. In fact, Rothrock and Yeoh make a great team, and the climactic fight sequence is pure Hong Kong fun with both ladies kicking butt and breaking glass to great effect. The problem is that the 80 minutes between these two high-energy scenes are just filler, with a vapid, rather banal story focusing much more on a thieving duo who inadvertently come across the microfilm and their insipid attempts at making the most of it than on the two charismatic female leads. Heck, there isn't even enough action, plot, or drama to keep audience interest, a great disappointment coming from director Yuen (Fong Sai Yuk, Enter the Eagles). Famed director Tsui Hark takes on an acting role playing a bumbling forger, all for laughs, and these amusing scenes actually work better than the rest of the film as pure slapstick relief. Yes, Madam! might have been a revelation to action fans at the time, but after Royal Warriors and In the Line of Duty 3 and 4, it just doesn't pass muster except as a so-so time waster.
Entertainment: 4/10

Yes, Madam '92: A Serious Shock (Hong Kong - 1992)
Starring: Moon Lee, Cynthia Khan, Yukari Oshima
Director: Stanley Wing Siu
Plot: A female cop partners with a streetwise car-thief to clear her name and seek revenge after her fiancé is killed by a jealous fellow policewoman.
Review: A slap-dash woman-cop drama with a plot that's worse than most. Unfortunately, the producers decided to rely more on terrible melodrama and silly plot points instead of focusing on the action. As such, the film plods through these women's emotional turmoil without any true feeling and so we never care for them. As for the action sequences, what little of them there are (such as a scene where the cops dodge a car going at 5 mph, or the ho-hum, anti-climactic finale in a warehouse), are just not interesting or exciting enough to hold our attention or make up for this minor effort of the genre.
Entertainment: 3/10

Yesterday (2002)
Starring: Seung-woo Kim, Yunjin Kim, Min-su Choi
Director: Yun-su Jeon
Plot: Heavy on the trail of a mysterious killer and his teammates, an elite police force in the re-unified Korea of 2020 slowly uncovers a mystery involving human experimentation.
Review: A rare entry in the Korean sci-fi genre, along with 2009 Lost Memories, Yesterday has clear ambitions to be a blockbuster thriller with all the right mainstream trappings but it ultimately falls short. Shot on a minimal budget by Hollywood standards (under $5M) the cinematography looks quite beautiful, and the minimal (but seamless) effects combined with the gritty art direction make for a convincing enough future society. The action set-pieces, involving some impressively-staged and extensive gunfights, are well executed and exciting, if not quite special. Even the direction, by novice film director Jeon, is pretty engaging. Blame it on the script or the narrative choices, then, that the movie isn't much of a success: the mystery comes off as more convoluted than complex, ending up being exposed as a disappointing, simple-minded knock-off of Blade Runner as all the elements unfold in the final act. The cops, led by a brooding Seung-woo Kim, make for an interesting if only broadly characterized team, but that doesn't allow audiences much of a chance to care what happens to them. Still, as derivative and talky as it may be, Yesterday is a capable enough mainstream thriller that looks slick enough and moves along well enough to make it worth a look.
Entertainment: 5/10

Yesterday Once More (Hong Kong - 2004)
Cast: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Jenny Hu
Director: Johnny To
Plot: Two divorced jewel thieves compete to steal a valuable family heirloom only to realize that they still care for each other when their paths cross once again.
Review: The showy Yesterday Once More is a slick candy-coated confection that never takes itself too seriously, a romantic comedy caper akin to The Thomas Crown Affair, where the rich, debonair pair of thieves live the jet-setting high life (cue in expensive cars, luxury yachts, exclusive restaurants and fine wineries) while pursuing their last lucrative job. The end caper itself isn't very interesting, and most of the on-screen robberies are limited to pick-pocketing; the real treat is seeing the charming, sparkling duo that is Lau and Cheng play a game of cat and mouse with each other, each trying too hard to make the other jealous. This is the third pairing of director Johnny To and popular star duo after the successful Needing You and Love on a Diet and it's obvious the three know what it takes to create escapist fare that's high on style and easy-going humor. Yet despite its pedigree and an expert hand at the way the film looks and feels, this is obviously side-line film-making for To who made his name with electrifying action films (Fulltime Killer, Heroic Trio) and even clever comedies (Help!!!). Still, though the surprise melodrama ending puts a curve-ball on all this silly sappiness, Yesterday Once More remains a watchable exercise, a light-hearted, energetic fluff that's entertaining and enjoyable, if hardly memorable.
Entertainment: 5/10

Yi-Yi (Taiwan - 1999)
Starring: Nianzhen Wu, Issey Ogata, Elaine Jin
Director: Edward Yang
Plot: Three generations of a seemingly model Taiwanese family each go through an emotional transition when the grand-mother falls into a coma.
Review: Yi-Yi presents the life of a middle-aged man, his teenage daughter, and his young son, and the quiet family relationships that bind them, surrounded by the modern, disenchanting life of modern Taipei. The story takes a while to get going, introducing the characters and events, but slowly finds its own rhythm and becomes not only charming and touching, but fascinating as well as the three show faith in life and find a way to surmount their emotional burdens. Even at almost three hours, the story always stays fresh and keeps the audience's interest. The drama, light-hearted humor, and constant charm of the script is well aided by the able actor direction of Yang. Indeed, the actors are all convincing, but it's the silent, shy and clever portrayal of the youngest character, choosing a personal challenge to defeat the bullying that is his school life, that really steals the show. By avoiding melodrama, and by his patient, attentive directing, Yang has given us with Yi-Yi a pleasant, affecting, and finally uplifting story.
Drama: 8/10

Yojimbo (Japan - 1961)
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Eijiro Tono, Kamatari Fujiwara
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Plot: A masterless samurai wanders into a village oppressed by the violent rivalry between two cowardly criminal gangs and sets them off one against the other by selling his services to the highest bidder.
Review: With Yojimbo, legendary director Kurosawa (The Seven Samurai, Rashomon) brings a story of honor, treachery, and deceit using some classic themes and a mythical-like character, but with a very Western twist to the typical Samurai tale. The bleak atmosphere is infused with a streak of black humor and some memorable visual moments such as the that of a small dog darting across the ronin's path with a severed human hand in its jaw. By using the weakness of its various protagonists, be it vanity or greed, there is a current of social commentary behind the scene, pushing the story into almost satire-like territory. But with a constant effective dramatic tension, and some scenes of violently brief, blistering swordplay, the film goes beyond simple genre conventions to bring about something new. Of course, the excellent cinematography, effective production, and clever framing to allow for the best use of the widescreen format also help. The hero (or anti-hero) is a warrior, perhaps, but his actions are rarely heroic and barely honorable, working on his own inscrutable code and Mifune, a Kurosawa regular, imbues the dark, brooding character with a sense of mischief and dry wit. Paradoxically enough, admittedly influenced by the lone-gunman westerns of John Ford, Yojimbo itself is credited for the advent of the so-called spaghetti western, having been the inspiration for Sergio Leone's remake A Fistful of Dollars. A classic Kurosawa film from a great director's pantheon of works.
Drama: 8/10

You Can Count on Me (2000)
Starring: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick
Director: Ken Lonergan
Plot: A small-town single mother's life is completely overturned when her drifter brother returns home and she starts having an affair with her new, married boss.
Review: Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, You Can Count on Me is a surprisingly heart-warming little film that manages to create a semblance of real people and real lives. The movie sets up a premise that promises lots of indie angst and melodrama, but surprisingly avoids the usual stereotyping and melodrama to offer up a pleasantly different experience. The script by first-time director Lonergan is quiet and affecting in its warm portrayal of its two sympathetic siblings, and he has a knack for dialogue and making even low-key situations involving and humorous. The story is quite simple, really, moving along in some unexpected ways, feeling completely organic in its progression, but it's the characters that make the film so special. Convincingly played by the absolutely wonderful Linney and the charming but ruffled Ruffalo, these are well-rounded characters, neither of which is pigeon-holed by our first on-screen impressions of them. Ruffalo is a loner, one who's actions and decisions are well-intentioned but who's lost with social conventions, leading to some of the film's most heart-breaking scenes. Linney, acting the part of conservative single mother, actually has a wild streak and even has an affair with her new, married boss (played by Broderick in his best Election mode). Yet the bond between brother and sister is strong, and there lies the very core of the film. The relationship between the two of them and the young boy (who acts like a real child) is also well portrayed without the usual sentimentality. Without pulling the audience's strings, You Can Count on Me slowly seeps in with its terrific character development and delicate portrayal of its slightly dysfunctional family, and comes out as one of the best low-key dramas in a long time.
Drama: 8/10

You Don't Mess With the Zohan (2008)
Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui
Director: Dennis Dugan
Plot: An expert Israeli counter-terrorist agent fakes his own death so that he can escape his reputation, move to New York and fill his dreams of becoming a hairdresser.
Review: A summer-comedy vehicle for popular funny-man Adam Sandler, You Don't Mess With the Zohan has the right stuff to make for an intriguing trailer, but runs out of real laughs too soon. The opening scenes, as our macho man walks the beach, beds women and catches terrorists single-handedly is amusing enough, but only lasts 10 minutes. When he reaches New York, tries to find a salon that will have him and ends up finding a job that requires him to shtup all the grannies whose hair he styles, well, the jokes get repetitive, though the running hummus gag does get the occasional giggle. When done right, silliness and over-the-top concepts can work wonders (such as in Tropic Thunder) but there needs to be a progression of new material and ideas to keep it interesting, something the film sorely lacks. Worse, the stereotyping of Israelis and Palestinians is cringe-worthy, especially comic Rob Schneider, doled-up in face-paint, hamming up the Arab caricature. There's no denying, however, that the buffed-up Sandler plays the part that is half Rambo and half Borat with almost embarrassing gusto, and veteran supporting actor Turturro hams it up as his nemesis, but there's little of their efforst that they'd put on a resume. Its heart is perhaps in the right place, with a final bonding between Israelis and Palestinians that we all hope could happen on a broader scale, but You Don't Mess With the Zohan is instantly forgettable fluff that only mildly entertains.
Comedy: 4/10

Young and Dangerous (Hong Kong - 1996)
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Francis Ng
Director: Andrew Lau
Plot: Five young friends grow up to form a criminal gang working for the Hong Kong triads and find themselves caught up in a violent contest to save their boss from the machinations of an old, ruthless rival.
Review: Young and Dangerous has been incredibly popular and has spun a series of sequels and countless imitations. Some see the film as a critique of Hong Kong society on the verge of 1997, but it's much simpler than that: it's popular entertainment for a society that's in the throws of finding both identity and a way of fitting in. Of course, the fact that it is a stylish, ultra-cool crime drama doesn't hurt either, and the film knows it, showing the "rascal" life as being quite glamorous. Its comic-book roots are always evident, from the fine cinematography to the palette of dark, stark colors used throughout, to the classic story of loyalty and revenge. The triad youths, each characterized in broad strokes, are seen as heroic, stylish "pretty boys" with a strong sense of honor and morality posturing and working their way up the ladder of the glitzy HK underworld. The cast is good, especially rock star / actor Ekin Cheng as the charming gang leader, with Simon Yam and Francis Ng standouts as the older crime bosses. Sure, there's no redeeming social value here, but what can one expect from this type of film? It's enough that Young and Dangerous has a script that holds your attention, with some occasionally violent and furious action pieces, characters that are likable enough, and a slick production that ends up being quite entertaining. 
Entertainment: 7/10

Young and Dangerous 2 (1996)
Starring: Jordan Chan, Ekin Cheng, Anthony Wong
Director: Andrew Lau
Plot: After returning from a stint in a Taiwanese crime syndicate, a Hong Kong gangster is forced to test his loyalties between the crime lord who nurtured him and his childhood Triad friends when a power struggle erupts.
Review: Based on the popular manga, Young and Dangerous 2 film gives us another helping of attitude, style, and humor amongst its slick crime drama dealings and its underhanded jab at local politics. But this is more than a simple sequel: the story manages to tie into the previous film while spinning off the series into a new direction as the characters mature and become more involved in the politics and criminal affairs around them. Sure, the plot is occasionally cliché, but the creativity in the details and the rich, complex story adds a lot to the proceedings. Jordan Chan takes center stage this time around and really has an opportunity to shine as the gangster torn between two camps and the woman he loves. The resolution is a bit quick and unsatisfying after such a great build-up, but the narrative does grab the audience's attention while it lasts. Some may see the sensibilities of the filmmakers in trying to represent a mirror of Hong Kong society in the throes of change and discontent in the advent of the 1997 change-over, or the amorality and greed that has swept from the underworld into everyday society. No matter how you see it, though, Young and Dangerous 2 is an ambitious, entertaining effort that surpasses the original.
Entertainment: 7/10

Young And Dangerous 3 (Hong Kong - 1996)
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Simon Yam
Director: Andrew Lau
Plot: A young gang leader and his crew face off against a rival Triad faction led by two young, violent and manipulative brothers trying to muscle-in on their territory by framing them for their boss' murder.
Review: Another part in the in the stalwart series, Young and Dangerous 3 contends itself to merely continue the adventures of its comic-book inspired Triad society instead of upping the ante. The first half of the film brings us up to speed on events and sets up the story reaching from Amsterdam and coming to a boil in an all-out clash at a slain gang-leader's funeral in Hong Kong. Indeed, the theme of the young, stylish but amoral upstarts taking over the old, traditional society in a struggle for power and greed is marked by these constant funerals and assassinations - a metaphor for the new, shallow Hong Kong, perhaps? But the film is actually less focused on the no-less violent action than on the melodrama and character dynamics. Unfortunately, the film seems to be a retread of the previous installments, more a quickly turned out sequel, without engendering the same interest. Heck, the story revolves, once again, on proving the group's loyalty faced with a manipulative, violent Triad enemy, a plot that is getting mechanical the third time around. Not that it's all bad - the film is still slickly made, well shot and moves along well, with an able, familiar cast including Anthony Wong and Simon Yam. A few new characters are introduced, including the feisty Karen Mok as the priest's daughter who brings a lot of needed spark to the proceedings. Chan, as "Chicken", is actually the only reasonably fleshed-out, sympathetic character, while Cheng's young Triad leader is still the downright wooden "hero", boring in his single-minded, one-dimensional loyalty. Young and Dangerous 3 is decent Triad entertainment which won't alienate fans of the genre but one that doesn't bring anything new to the table either.
Entertainment: 6/10

The Young Master (Hong Kong - 1980)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Li Li-Li
Director: Jackie Chan
Plot: A young martial arts student is mistaken for his missing criminal classmate and must escape the local constable and battle the real villain before being allowed back into his kung-fu school.
Review: Like other early Jackie Chan films, this well-paced action/comedy provides little plot but many excuses for his trademark physical humor and well-choreographed, inventive fight sequences, including an extensive one-on-one finale. The low-budget, very theatrical feel to the film may alienate some viewers, but the varied martial arts scenes are top notch. Probably Chan's most successful martial-arts period piece until Drunken Master 2.
Action: 7/10
Entertainment: 7/10

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
Starring: Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward
Director: Barry Levinson
Plot: While still in college, a teen-age Sherlock Holmes uncovers a murderous conspiracy involving an Egyptian-like cult.
Review: Director Levinson (The Natural, Rain Man) doesn't really stretch his abilities here with the family adventure Young Sherlock Holmes, but as a Hollywood production, it's well-enough done, with a good sense of mystery and place. Since Watson and Holmes clearly first met as adults, the story is an obvious imagining of what might have been, an homage to the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. For fans of the Great Detective, there are some amusing bits explaining much of the staple elements of the classic stories. The two leads capture the essence of their famous personas well, with Rowe doing a fitting impression of Holmes' egotistic brilliance, though the young Watson comes off more weak-kneed and juvenile than necessary. The film starts off well, with some clever hallucinatory sequences, a convoluted mystery, and an engaging look at Holmes early character and college years. Unfortunately, since this is obviously meant as family fare, when the necessary "adventure" part of the story appears the charm of the film disappears, falling mid-way through into a bland, repetitive action / adventure tom-foolery that ends up as a rather simplistic kid's yarn. Producer Steven Spielberg's hand is obvious in many of the movie's aspects, from the villains who seemed to come out of an Indiana Jones flick, to the impossible Da Vinci flying machines, elements of the fantastic added to the proceedings that doesn't always fit very well with the classic Holmes adventures. Add to the mix some obvious anachronisms, featureless characters, and bland plotting, and it becomes a sometimes disappointing affair. Still, for those looking for some mildly entertaining fare, Young Sherlock Holmes is not a bad choice as a family matinee.
Entertainment: 5/10

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Starring: Sean Connery, Mie Hama, Akiko Wakabayashi
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Plot: James Bond travels to Japan to stop the nefarious SPECTRE from starting a nuclear war between the US and Russia by capturing those countries' space capsules as they orbit the Earth.
Review: You Only Live Twice, the fifth outing of the series and the most expensive one, drops 007 in Japan in a huge, over-the-top production. All the expected elements are well in place: the dastardly villains, the beautiful babes, the exotic Japanese vistas and local flavor (from a Sumo fight to quaint villages), and of course the gadgets galore. It's also chock-full of some great action set-pieces that come one on top of the other including an exciting air battle between Bond's mini-copter and SPECTRE's black machine-gun-laden helicopters. There are some great, memorable scenes here but with no real cohesion between them. Gone is any sense of tension or suspense replaced instead with a complete emphasis on the spectacular and the over-the-top. It's like a group of writers selected a random series of events to through at Bond and then tried to tie them together with a contrived, paper-thin plot, one that ends up just degenerating into pure silliness. Still, with its breathless excesses, well-executed stunts, decent chases, and dated (but still nifty) 60s special effects, the first hour zips by quite agreeably. The second half, though, drags on for a good half hour until its final explosive, chaotic finale as Ninja commandos invade the secret volcano base, which is one huge outrageous set. As for Sean Connery, he's as suave as ever, but a little too cocky in what was supposed to be his last take on the Bond character. In the end, the plot is a little too light and the film, instead of being dangerous, feels more cartoony than ever. Still, with Connery leading the way, loads of thrills, and the series' usual standard of high adventure, You Only Live Twice is classic Bond.
Entertainment: 7/10

Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)
Starring: Amy Brenneman, Aaron Eckhart, Ben Stiller
Director: Neil Labute
Plot: The story of three college buddies, now in their mid-thirties, their significant others, and their quest for good sex which leads them into the arms of people other than their present mates.
Review: Another film that tries to portray the ugly side of American relationships (think One Night Stand, among others). Nothing really original here: the characters are not very interesting or sympathetic, the script is bland, and no new insights on relationships can be deemed from the film. At one point the story focuses on one of the friends, a misogynistic jerk, and his attitude towards relationships. A much better portrayal of the same character, and one that packs a greater punch, can be found in the director's previous offering In the Company of Men.
Drama: 3/10

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