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HANNA (2011)

Directed By: Joe Wright
Written By: Seth Lochhead & David Carr
Based on a Story by: Seth Lochhead
Cinematography By: Alwin H. Kuchler
Editor: Paul Tothill

Cast: Eric Bana, Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander, Jason Flemyng


This film seems more like a experiment for director Joe Wright the director. To prove to himself or challenge himself to direct a film he is not accustomed to. Luckily for him it pays off for the most part.

The film seems to go international but at times feels like it is just a bunch of set pieces strung along together. A BOURNE IDENTITY feel mixed with a more well rounded HIT GIRL from KICK-ASS. The film also includes alot of refrences to fairy tales which gives it a off kilter feel.

Most of the time the film seems to be going for more style then anything there are a few emotional moments but they feel kind of hollow. The action sequences while a bit grand at least feel a little more realistic then the ones we have seen time and again in other action films.

Cate Blanchett seems to be letting her wardrobe and make-up do the acting for her. While she is usally exceptional here it feels like she is playing Clarice Starling from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS after alot of bad years in the C.I.A. which has made her bitter and cruel. though the film hints at a more emotional center for her. it renmains only hints. Just like how the film seems to be setting up for a huge revalation at the end which never comes.

Though i do have to say the film is never boring. It is also one of the few times i have felt engaged by Eric Bana. Of course the lead Saoirse Ronan walks away with the film like a seasoned pro and capable of being a future action hero. The film is very colorful, Yet with this supposed trained killing machine the filmmakers could have come up with better and tougher villians and challenges for her to face.

The intervention of her traveling with a family and getting close to them fely a bit cloying as well as there non-chalant attitude of her traveling alone, but it set up what it was meant to emotional scenes where we really get to know hanna other then as our favorite self taught assassian.

The thing is though this film is enjoyable and tries to not make itself seem like a product. it has the distinct feeling of being one. it is a popcorn movie at it’s heart. no matter the experimental tone. Which works for the film as long as you know that going in.

I don’t want to sound like i disliked the film i liked it quite a bit. i just felt at some parts disillusioned from what the film was trying to present to me.

After watching this film it wouldn’t surprise me if the director tried to direct a james bond film. As accomplished as he comes off here. It feels like he borrowed Tom Tyker’s (RUN LOLA RUN) style. But i admire him for this film, As he has adnmitted going into this film he asked for advice on how to make the action sequences different but still riveting. it reminds me of when Ang Lee made a BMW short film mainly to learn how to direct a chase sequence before he made THE HULK. I like the fact that he seems to be challenging himself.

Though originally it was being developed by Danny Boyle (127 Hours) after he left Alfonso Cauron was circling making it, but saoirse ronan who had already signed on to star suggested Joe Wright direct it. Which might be why he was so worried about making the film. but he stepped up and was successful.

GRADE: B

October 16, 2011 Posted by | FILM REVIEW | Leave a comment

SOURCE CODE (2011)

Directed By: Duncan Jones
Written By: Ben Ripley
Cinematography By: Don Burgess
Editor: Paul Hirsch

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farminga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters


The film is about a soldier who is sent back on a train in another identity to find out who bombed the train, So he can find the suspect and they can stop the suspect in present time. The thing is he can only go back until 8 minutes before the explosion. At first the soldier is unaware of his mission as he is informed upon it we in the audience learns things as he does.

The film is well thought out. At first i thought that going through the same scene only with different outcomes would get tiresome. Wisely after you get a feel of wwhat is going to happen. the film falls into a groove and focuses on other details of the story. It explores it’s material and puts it to good use.

Each and every detail and scene serves as a clue to what’s going on and how it will eventually end. Letting you put it together like a puzzle. which definately might require a few re-watches.

At times watching the film it feels like you are watching QUANTAM LEAP: THE MOVIE. It has similar plot devices but this film is more of a mystery and goes into more Science-Fiction territory, but it does have a cameo by a actor from that iroic series. whose first line is actually his cathcphrase form the series (Sorry To geek out there for a second)

Jake Gyllenhaal is becoming a excellent leading man and i am warming up to him as a actor. thought the film calls for a bit of drama, he really shows he has what it takes to be a believable action hero.

Michelle Monaghan’s performance is ok but i find her tiring, she keeps going for the girl next door roles she has played many times before. That it gets boring seeing her in the same type of roles. She never brings anything new to it. i realize it maybe how she is directed or she gets the offers for these roles only. i just found myself wishing another actress was in the role that we were not expecting. i mean she has the looks and personality thaqt makes her seem realistic. The role calls for a woman the character gets to know in passing, but she also makes him fall for her so much in fact even thoguh he knows it is iompossible he wants to try and save her. You need a actress that the audience falls in love with just as his character does. She just didn’t cut it in the role.

Jeffrey Wright plays the awkward scientist with a twitchy glee. He reminded me of the type of sidekick roles you would see in HAMMER Films or Classic Sci-Fi Films Think Kiefer Sutherland In DARK CITY.

The third act of the film almost sinks what came before it as it seems more suited to be a mainstream audience pleasing ending, Then a downbeat challenging one. At first i felt the ending was going to be like a Steven Spielberg film Where it should end 10 minutes before the actual ending, But by going on longer there is a payoff that makes sense in a confusing movie that if you don’t pay attention can leave you lost.

The film jumkps genres though it is mainly Science-Fiction it also has touches of Mystery, Thriller and Action.

If Director Duncan Jones stays on this path of creating films that are artistic, original and usually in the Science Fiction Genre he will be a director to watch and will be a film geek god if he isn’t already.

Definately worth seeing and adding to your film library

GRADE: B+

October 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010)

Directed By: Edward Zwick
Written By: Edward Zwick, Charles Randolph & Marshall Herskovitz
Based On The book: Hard Sell- The Evolution Of a Viagra Salesman By: Jamie Reidy
Cinematography By: Steven Fierberg
Editor: Steven Rosenblum

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gylennhaal, Josh Gad, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, George Segal, Jill Clayburgh, Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht, David Morse, Katheryn Winnick, Nikki DeLoach


Though it feels like a second attempt at ABOUT LAST NIGHT as it has the sexual frankness and look at modern relationships that the previous film explored. It is even made by the same director. Here it is mixed with a dying woman who is looking for no strings attached relationship. The fimmakers try to hide that point in the movie’s advertsing more making it look like a typical romantic comedy.

I surprisingly like this film. It is fluff but it seems like fluff that attempts to be gritty. It is predictable to a T. It walks a fine line between comedy and romance. it is one of the few Romantic comedies i think men won’t mind watching.
There is plenty of eye candy for both sexes.

The film is about a young playboy who has a encounter with a young woman and at first both are fine with a sex only relationship but soon he becomes fascinated with learning about her and her personal life and aqgainst her own wishes she falls for him and they begin a relationship. He knows shh has a disease butt he longer he stays in the relatioship he see’s the symptoms and how it breaks her down. Soon he has a hard time wehter he should stay and do the right thing or run.

One of the films strengthss is the chemistry of the stars and the fact that for half the film they are both nude i’m sure won’t hurt. Jake Gyleenhaal it is nice to see him lighten up from the typically serious film roles he is usally in. He looks like he is having funa and that he works out a lot which makes him beleivable as a pharmacutical rep playboy.

Anne Hathaway is a joy as always and though she has been nude before in films HAVOC, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. She always seems to amaze me.

One of the flaws of the film and it’s not the actor’s fault is the characteter of Gyleenhaal’s brother a gross douche played by josh gad sure he has some funny lines but his character is so repulsive in attitude, personality and even looks that it makes no sense for him to be in the film sure he is comic relief but they could have made him juist a bit appealing. Maybe if his attitude had been so bad for a real reason it would have helped. I know people have siblings that are unappealing and the complete opposite but there should alos be some reason to like him as he is not a villian. i could have also lived without seeing him in a sex scene. The character almost seems like a fat nerd stereotype.

The sex scenes were designed by the director asking the stars to watch romantic comedies and erotic films and to tell him what turned each off them on in them and about them and he used that as a greatest hits list to work on what the scenes would look like and what would be done in them. It is the closest a studio has come to realistic and exciting sex scenes in a while and finally puts that aspect into a romantic comedy without it seeming cheap or tawdry.

The film starts off as a cutting edge comedy about the bsuioness he is entering but once the romance starts that seems to begin to disappear until it becomes a afterthought which is a shame as the film was strong in those scenes then the romance happens thyue are strong but also feel manuifactured as we have wseen them before but at least they try to be artistic.

The film is set in the 90’s, it is becasue the future miracle drug that is viagra plays a pivotal role in the film. Other then that and a few pop culture jokes there really is no reason for it to be set in that decade and after awhile it seems to forget it too.

I liked how the sterile offices that jake’s character works in is offset by the glowing warm apartment that anne’s character lives in.
The Visuals and Picture are crisp and sharp. Which makes it worth watching on Blu-Ray

GRADE: B-

October 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

SPECIES 2 (1998)

Directed By: Peter Medak
Written By: Chris Brancato
Based on Character By: Dennis Feldman
Cinematography By: Matthew F. Leonetti
Editor: Richard Nord

CAST: Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger, Natasha Henstridge, Mykelti Williamson, Justin Lazard, George Dzundra, James Cromwell, Sarah Wynter


Oh, How the mighty have fallen. i really enjoyed the original SPECIES film for what it was. It was fun took me on a adventure had a few shocks and scares. So when i found out there would be a sequel i was jumping for joy. Then finding out it would be directed by Peter Medak who had made one of my favorite films ROMEO IS BLEEDINg. Seemed like a odd choice but seemed like the film was on the right track. Now while i still Love ROMEO IS BLEEDING. Peter Medak should stick to material more like that. then Action-Adventure or Science Fiction.

I am happy i decided to skip seeing this in theaters, as i think if i did i would have been a one man riot. This film fails badly.

While the original species was a enjoyble romp of Science-Fiction this sequel seems more aimed at trying to be salacious but fails in unpredictable ways.

First of all fopr a sequel it seems like it has a lower budget then the original. Everytthing looks bargain brand. Only three of the leads of the original return and they all look bored. In other words most of the survivors come back with one noted absence. The film feels like it wasn’t thought out well. It seems like the idea was let’s do the orignal only with a male character which hurts the film as in the original The alien was new to earth and grew at a accelarated rate and allowed us to get to know the character. Sure she was evil but in a way we kind of liked her because we were allowed to get to know her. Plus really one of the first kills was self defense. Here sure we get a male alien but the alien is more or less posessing a human character sort of like the alien black suit to peter parker in spiderman lore. ok infecting him. We never got to knopw the character before he got infected so we know nothing about him or how he has changed so we have to go by people who know him who say you don’t seem like yourself. This posessed young man is more agressive and vicious then the alien in the first species and since his mission seems to be to mate to have a offspring it doesn’t seem as innocent and seductive like in the original here it feels more like he is a date rapist who kills his victims after he is done not by his own hands but by what he puts into these women(Insert Dirty Joke here)

It just gives the film a more tawdry film then a science fiction one. This film could have almost been a porn parody of the original if it had more hardcore sex. in the film the sex is relegated to one explicit detailed sex scene. Maybe the filmmakers knew how harsh the film felt which is why they broguht back Natasha Henstrige’s only she plays a new character and once her aline and the new alien get together their love scene plays like live action tenticle porn from a anime film.

It doesn’t help that the actor playing the new alien is not interesting or enticing as a actor. He is like a blank slate thaqt never gets any color or writing upon it.

I don’t know what happened to Natasha Henstrige’s Career after the original SPECIES, she looked like she was going to go on to bigger and better things. I always imagined her as the Next Female Action hero but it never panned out. She was in a intersting TV Series SHE SPIES (the title really says it all) She Co-Satted in a lame Jean Claude Van-Damme Film MAXIMUM RISK. but other then this film and the original the only action film she made that made it to the big screen was GHOST OF MARS which seemd to be the final nail in the coffin. I hope she makes a comeback. I really like her as a actress.

In the end the film ends up feeling more misogynistic then anything. Definately not worth your time. Remember SPECIES as you can from just the original. Choose not to see the conitiuing adventures of it.

GRADE: F

October 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

LIFE (1999)

Directed By: Ted Demme
Written By: Matthew Stone & Robert Ramsey
Cinematography By: Geoffrey Simpson
Editor: Jeffrey Wolf

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Obba Babatunde, Barry Shabaka Henley, Brent Jennings, Lisa Nicole Carson, Anthony Anderson, Guy Torry, Ned Beatty, Bokeem Woodbine, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Heavy D, Bonz Malone, Nick Cassavettes, R. Lee Ermey, Clearance Williams III, Sanaaa Lathan, Rick James, Poppy Montgomery


This film was onme of eddie Murphy’s passion projects (He Doesn’t Have many) him and his brother came up with the original script, but it was passed to different writers over the years. (Or so says Charlie murphy as neither is credited with story or writing credit). I remember first hearing about it around the time CB4 came out. Since Charlie Murphy had a supporting role in that film he was getting interviewed more then usual and sai that he was currently writing a script with his borther about prison called LIFE and over the years i waited and almost a decade later it finally was made. I didn’t expect it to be a period piece however.

The film is about a Hustler and a bank employee who get forced to work together to pay off a new york mobster by driving bootleg booze from the south back to new york they get diostracted and end up losing their money in a card game when thye go to talk to the winner to convince him to give their money back he is dead. they are set-up and blamed for his murder sentenced to life in prison. over the decades they attempt to escape numerous times. Over the years they get to know each other and the other inmates. Will they ever get their freedom?, Will they ever prove their inniocence? you’ll have to watch the film and see.

It’s odd to see Martin Lawrence in more of the straight man role. He gets his time to do his comedy, but his is more the normal character. Martin Lawrence’s comedic strenths are him usually going off the wall or being physical. Which he gets to do only less. He does pull his role off showing another side to him. Showing he can actually act.

Eddie Murphy get’s to let loose in a full R-Rated glory. The man is one of the funniest people in the world (At least to me) Here he reminds you why you stay a fan of his. He is quick on his feet and can turn a phrase. his mind is always working yet he makes it look effortless. When he makes those PG or Family oriented films, While they are somewhat fun he is clearly hoaring himself out for a paycheck and making sure he leaves a legacy for a young generation to discover an remember him. It still feels like your married friend who was alot more fun when they were single. Now that they are married they are happy and seem the same, but lack that glimmer in their eye. Everything has to be planned in advance and has to get hoem by a certain time. His forays into more adult oriendted comedy as rare as it is feels again like that married friend going through a seperation or on the rare guy’s night out.

You would think with the stars and supporting cast of stand-ups and comedic actors. This film would be a laugh riot but then i think of HARLEM NIGHTS. I think eddie murphy wisely learned from that film that having comedic heavyweights all together in one film is not all a movie needs to succeed and be enjoyable. Sure i’m sure it’s a fun set where the best material is not on film. The film also needs a good plot and to create characters and moments. Which is why this film succeds and the other one did not.

Now this film could have been improvised for most of it, But wisely the film sticks to it’s script and the drama of the situations. While letting the characters and actors comedically riff once in awhile, When they riff look out it’s like a freestlye jame only with comedy. Luckily it is all in character and doesn’t immediately take you out of the film.

I saw this film in theaters repeatedly because i could not get over how funny it was, Plus i worked in a movie theater so i could see it as many times as i wanted for free. I would always try to cionvince other friends to come watch it to just witness the return of Eddie Murphy (Again) as the movie was a hit it was not too hard to convince them to see it plus for free.

There are plenty of memorable moments in the film. Also there are many memorable characters. The film though a comedy has it’s moments of deperation and heartbreak. Letting dramatic moments seep in now and then. While not the laugh riot one would expect the film is pretty satisfactory and is much better in quality then many might have thought.

Now the late Great Ted Demme was not the best director nor was he a hack though. He had a good eye for nmaterial as most of the films he directed i like for on, me reason or another most are comedies. Really good comedies. I wish he would have lived longer before being struck down so young. He definately would have been a director to watch or at least one i would feel comfortable in the driver’s seat of a film. His Films were THE REF, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, WHO’S THE MAN, BLOW, MONUMENT AVE

A definite Addition to the film library

GRADE: B+

October 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

NEVER BEEN KISSED (1999)

Directed By: Raja Gosnell
Written By: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
Cinematography By: Alex Nepomniaschy
Editor: Debra Chiate & Marcelo Sansevici

Cast: Drew Barrymore, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, David Arquette, Jeremy Jordan, Michael Vartan, Jessica Alba, LeeLee Sobieski, Garry Marshall, Jordan Ladd, Giuseppe Andrews, Jordan Ladd, Marley Shelton, Cress Williams, Octavia Spencer, Sean Whalen, Branden Williams, James Franco


This film is way too superficial to be anywhere near taken seriously, Not that there was any real intention of it wanting too. This is a film made purely for fun. It has a sweet filling with a chewing gum heart. It is fun but not too memorable.

First of all I like Drew Barrymore and this film reminds you of her personality sweet yet a bit rebellious. As a producer of the film she still should have known better then to cast herself in the lead role. She looks to old to play the role, Which becomes very distracting. I would never believe these teenagers wouldn’t suspect she was older. I know some teenagers look older then their actual age but this pushes that theory a bit too far.

The film primarily works. It has many cute funny scenes. It has a eclectic cast. There is nothing too deep and the movie moves at a quick pace. It doesn’t really delve into the real problems of teenagers only the problems of one ‘s social status and standing in high school.

The film follows Drew Barrymore who was a nerd outcast in high school , Who 10 years later works for a newspaper and sees her chance to be a reporter by going undercover as a student in high school and find a expose. At first she is a disaster she ends up going back to her geeky ways but when her older brother follows her and goes undercover too he is instantly popular and makes her that way too. Soon she is falling for her teacher Who she instantly bonds with. The teacher thinks she is underage and tries resisiting her. She leaves the friends who took her in when she first went undercover to be part of the popular crowd and living the life she dreamed of in high school the first time, But will it corrupt her? Will she get the article she needs? Will she fulfill her dream of kissing someone she loves? This movie is very predictable so you know the answers to all these questions . Though you should enjoy getting to them also.

The main plot kind of resembles in a more comedic and outrageous way. What director Cameron Crowe went through when he went under to a California high school to pen his book and eventual screenplay FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.

GRADE: C+

October 16, 2011 Posted by | FILM REVIEW | Leave a comment

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (1996)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (1996)

 
Ada
Directed By: Ted Demme
Written By: Scott Rosenberg
Cinematography By: Adam Kimmel
Editor: Jeffrey Wolf

CAST: Timothy Hutton, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Matt Dillon, Michael Rappaport, Noah Emmerich, Lauren Holly, Mira Sorovio, Rosie O’Donnell, David Arquette, Martha Plimpton, Annabeth Gish, Max Perlich, Pruitt Taylor Vince, John Carroll Lynch, Sam Robarbs


This movie is interesting as it is a romantic comedy, but it’s not really about the pursuit of someone or falling in love but more about the maintenance of relationships that you are in Maturing. Showing responsibility. It is really a middle aged coming of age tale.

I remember seeing this at the ANGELICA Movie theater opening night with a packed audience. I liked it so much I went back the following weekend again (Movie Prices were much lower then) It still held up upon second viewing.

The film revolves around Timothy Hutton’s character coming back to her hometown for his high school reunion and catching up with all of his friends. As he does we are exposed to their problems. While he bonds with the girl next door who just happens to be 13 years old.

One of the things I like about this film is that it is perfectly cast. None of the actors reaches a false note. You believe every cast member In their respective roles as real people. Though my one complaint is that I thought mira sorovino’s character could have been used more and better. This is a film full of great character actors, who rarely get a chance to play the lead. Each of them get to play to their strengths. So much so. It would not be upsetting to get to know each of their characters more.

Special mention must be given to two performers who are more supporting but in their little bit of screen-time glow and bring like and joy to not only their scenes but also the material. The goddess known as Uma Thurman who as usual is cast as more of a muse then a romantic interest that anyone has a chance with. Some of the characters do pursue her, but already know in advance they have no chance as she is a unattainable sirenish beauty the problem with this phenomenon which luckily works for this movie. Is that most films she is in don’t know how to use her properly and to her strengths. The same goes for her noteworthy co-star Natalie Portman this was only her second film, But she had star quality already. The role would have been a star making one if the film had been a bigger hit. Between this and her first film THE PROFESSIONAL she had me as a devoted fan. She is the thinking Man’s beauty. In this film she shows poise, wit, charisma and a natural understanding that is uncommon for a girl of her age at the time. While still being a believable teenager. Which pretty much paved her way to the Oscars in her later years . Other then her first film she has never gotten a chance to play this type of role. In other roles she seemed misguided. She seems a natural for a Woody Allen film. Which she played in once before in a bit role, And a wes Anderson film heroine (Of which she was in a short of) She has beauty and brains yet still possesses a fragility.

The film is one of these undiscovered gems that constantly plays on cable and network television that deserves better then what it got. The film has so many memorable moments and characters. The dialogue which at times can be a mouthful and overly witty and soulful for such blue collar characters is delivered like it is poetry. Like a grown up but better version of DAWSON’S CREEK with not as much melodrama and revolving love triangles.

I would talk and tell more about the film, but it is a movie that is best to discover. Just stay glued to any scenes involving Timothy Hutton and Natalie Portman. There scenes could have been a short feature themselves. What could have been inappropriate end up being quite sweet and heartwarming.

The film brings pain and emotional reality in certain parts.

The film is worth adding to your film library.

GRADE: A

October 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD (1988)

Directed By: David Zucker
Written By: David Zucker, Jim Abrahms, David Zucker & Pat Proft
Cinematography By: Robert M. Stevens
Editor: Michael Jablow

CAST: Leslie Nielsen, Pricilla Presley, Ricardo MontaLban, George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson, Nancy Marchand, Weird Al Yankovich, Lawrence Tierney, Reggie Jackson, John Houseman


The strange thing is that I originally wrote this review Monday November 22nd. Seven days before Leslie Nielsen’s death. So this review is in honor of the man.

This was the first in a series of films based off a short-lived TV series by the makers of AIRPLANE. This is the jewel in the crown of the trilogy. The sequels are funny but they are of diminishing quality. Which happens with most sequels. You know what to expect with them and they feel a need to out-shock the previous entry. Which actually takes away from the comedy. Especially when you know what to expect, Since you are waiting for it. There ends up being little to shock. Since this is the first in the series it catches you off guard.

In all honesty this film was one of my introductions to pun’s and one-liners. Which partially shaped my sense of humor for the future in addition to AIRPLANE.

It works as a partial spoof but I still look at is more of a comedy. It is a classic that has been neglected over the years (Maybe from the overkill when it first came out) playing second fiddle to the AIRPLANE films, But it earns it’s own right to stand side by side with them.

It has many memorable scenes and one-liners. It basically breaks down as detective Frank Dreben tries to uncover a conspiracy to assassinate the queen of England. Much hilarity along the way leads to outrageous situations. The film will always be noted by the fact of O.J. Simpson playing the accident prone Nordberg. Before the tragedy that later came into his life and cloud many peoples opinion of him.

The reason the movie works so well as opposed to the movies That have come to copy it’s formula of over the top spoof films and even it’s own sequels. Is that the movie actually has a follow through story line that works in addition to it’s broad comedy. It’s jokes are more genuine then just cultural jokes that only make sense when it is set. The jokes are timeless and just funny. Instead of tired spoofs that feel like there is little to no effort put into it like DISASTER MOVIE

It is also the beginning of when Leslie Nielsen started appearing in what seemed like strictly movies of this type, So it was before he got to a point of being annoying or knowing what you were going to get when you watched a movie starring him. This film began the resurgence of a career for Leslie Nielsen as his early career had mainly been supporting roles in dramas. After this film he became the king of spoofs. A title he deserved even if most of the films he choose outside of this series Didn’t recall the greatness of this film. Nor did they truly utilize his talents more then Exploit them with bad set-ups and writing.
This film also is the last film appearance of famed Classic actor John Houseman.

Definate Add to the film library.

GRADE: B+

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

JADE (2005)

Directed By: William Friedkin
Written By: Joe Eszterhaus
Cinematography By: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editor: Auggie Hess

Cast: David Caruso, Chazz Palmenteri, Linda Fiorentino, Angie Everhart, Donna Murphy, Richard Crenna, Kevin Tighe


What do you get when you have a ridiculous movie built around a Great car chase sequence? This movie. Having directed TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. and THE FRENCH CONNECTION. We know director William Friedkin can expertly direct a car chase sequence. He has a good batting average when it comes to material he directs. This film howeer feels like a hodgepodge of ideas from a police procedural television show made into a erotic sexual thriller that seeks to have a deeper meaning but doesn’t. The film is written by high profile screenwriter Joe Ezterhaus who also wrote BASIC INSTINCT and SHOWGIRLS. This script for this film seems to be about more hype then substance. Which shows it’s way on screen.

Director Friendkin has a Competent cast. David Caruso’s first film after quitting the hit show NYPD BLUE. Linda Fiorentino trying to build upon her momentum from her Career Peak of THE LAST SEDUCTION playing another Femme Fatale. Chazz Palmenteri fresh from a oscar nominated performance in A BRONX TALE.

Ms. Fiorentino plays a object of desire for most of the men in this film. Which basically revolves around around a high class escort agency that caters to many of the city’s high rollers. Though many of the escorts seem to be rich, bored housewives who are middleaged and do this for fun. When a murder of a city official happens David Caruso Is called into the case. He uncovers this conspiracy that may involve his best friend and the friends wife who he has never gotten over.

Almost every male character is horny, devious, lecherous and aggressive. Every female character seems to believe their only worth is how good they are in bed. Which all ends up equating to BASIC INSTINCT lite. Which is why when finally the mystery is solved you feel like you wasted your time watching this and even wanting to know the outcome.

Which is the problem with most erotic thrillers they spend so much time trying to titillate you with nudity, lead up to sex scenes and then finally the sex scenes they don’t put any real attention inot the story, Script, plot or acting which is why most erotic thrillers feel either campy or like each aspect is overdone because you know eventually what it will all lead to.

The film is even Name checked in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN for the David Caruso type of acting but really other then that and the car chase scene there is nothing much here that you haven’t seen in a made for cable erotic movie that you would see on Cinemax (Skinemax) with a bigger budget and better production values. Even the sex scenes aren’t sexy they are more disturbing in a bad way. Like watching two people who really aren’t into it and get violent all of a sudden.

You can skip this film altogether unless you really want to watch a film with a bad identity crisis.

Skip It.

GRADE: D

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE WOLFMAN (2010)

Directed By: Joe Johnston
Written By: David Self & Andrew Kevin Walker
Cinematography By: Shelly Johnson
Editor: Walter Murch & Dennis Virkler

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, Guy Pearce, Art Malik

The art direction is luscious and the special effects by Rick Baker are exquisite. The film even has top notch actors yet it this film feels flat.

Anthony Hopkins virtually chews up the scenery here you can tell he’s having a good time but at times is over the top which actually injects the film with a certain amount of interest and entertainment.

Benicio DelToro a gifted actor but really for this role anyone who was credible could have played it. He’s a virtual stand in for a lead character. His bowl haircut in the beginning was a embarrassing enough style choice swallowing his cool quotient and hiding his debonair good looks. It’s rare we get to see him onscreen and when we do it’s always a gift but here I think he was going for a paycheck and a little box office notoriety. Plus maybe he signed on and was not able to get out of the film once the original director Mark Romanek dropped out.

Emily Blunt I can’t believe she dropped out of IRON MAN 2 for this not that the other film was better but she would have at least had more to do in the other film. In this film she has the typical love interest role but this being a period piece it at least had her bountiful bosom heaving as she runs from the beast.

Hugo Weaving is good in the film I only wish Van Helsing could have played more like his character he is a good franchise character stoic and with a hint of danger.

I have no problem with the story being a period piece. It is somewhat inspired as a remake it seems to be a good idea and looks great but the story could have been worked on as the 1st half of the movie is slow but once the werewolf scenes start it seems to race to the finish line as the second half becomes scene after scene of attacks and it does make the movie move along. These are the only reason to watch the film after awhile. The transformation scenes are done more with makeup then digital effects. Which is amazing and gives the film cool points as Rick baker does his most inspired work in years giving the werewolf an old school look with a new school design.

The attack scenes are surprisingly gory but are so quick they never exactly register though they are gruesome. They are the most exciting aspect of the film. but keep in mind I saw the unrated version.

Though it seems right in line with a studios ideal choice Joe Johnston makes a better film then I would have expected based on previous films which while fantasy based more play to kids and nostalgic adults. Though in my mind the film is ultimately a failure. You have to keep in mind he was a last minute replacement so the full blame can’t be placed on his shoulders. I still would be interested in seeing what Mark Romanek would have done with the material. Joe Johnston does the best with what he can I mean this is the first film he has made that is rated R. So he was already out of his comfort zone. There is some good stuff in here if only the whole movie could have been filled with it.

I’m sure the film looks great on Blu-Ray, Wait for it on cable.

GRADE: D+

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment