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The Devil and Daniel Webster (2003)
This film is awful!
I saw this film awhile back (while working on a trailer for the film's production company) and it was TERRIBLE. Hewitt is mediocre at best, Hopkins phones his performance in (but still blows away Hewitt in their scenes together) and Alec looks bored. Trust me on this: you should avoid this film like the plague if it ever gets released. It seems to go on forever as the tired plot unfolds at a snail's pace. It is relentlessly unfunny, the cinematography is crappy and the direction is pedestrian. Alec Baldwin should go to film school if he plans to direct again. In terms of his acting, his character is totally unlikable, which makes it impossible to root for him. Dan Ackroyd is pretty funny and the surprising makeup of the jury near the film's end is cute, but this film is just plain awful.
The Appointment (1991)
A solid Christian film
This was noted Christian director Rich Christiano's first short film and it has become extremely successful, selling thousands of copies and airing often on Christian television. The story is compelling and interesting and it has a positive message that any Christian should be able to relate to. Technically, it's not polished, but that's not the most important thing. It's worth checking out, despite what "Ann" from Fairweather says.
Zhi fa wei long (1992)
This may not be a Hong Kong classic, but there's plenty here to enjoy.
At first, this film seems amateurish and silly. In fact, some of the early dialogue is laughably simplistic. Then, something strange happens. It starts to grow on you. The concept is a tried and true one: a couple of Hong Kong cops (played by Robin Shou and Yukari Oshima) have to escort a notorious bad guy back to his homeland (The Philippines). Before they know it, the bad guy has escaped custody and the Philippine authorities just want the Hong Kong cops to go back home. The Hong Kong cops refuse (of course) and vow not to leave the country until the bad guy has been apprehended. The Philippine authorities assign our Hong Kong heroes a babysitter (a reluctant Filipino cop) and before you can say, "BLACK RAIN," the babysitter becomes a co-conspirator and they all take on the bad guys. While there are far better films revolving around this concept, this one has plenty of bells and whistles. My favorite aspect of the film is a pair of silent assassins (one man, one woman) who appear to be completely emotionless and cock each other's weapons with their feet and reload each other's guns after a rampage. Another high point is a particularly scrappy Filipino midget with a big attitude. There are a few impressive fist fights and even a moment or two of real emotion, but for the most part, it's just a cheesy little fun film that hardcore Hong Kong film fans will probably get a kick out of (pun intended).
Still Crazy (1998)
This funny film is a bit of a hidden gem.
I'm not sure why this film didn't get more of a release in the U.S. It's a lot easier to understand and faster paced than THE FULL MONTY and it's a lot more accessible than TRAINSPOTTING. In this era of sleeper hit indies from The United Kingdom, it certainly seems like there could have been room in the American cinematic marketplace for this charming film. The plot revolves around a 60's/70's band called "Strange Fruit" whose members decide to reunite in the late 90's. Their lives are in shambles and they all seem to miss rock stardom, so the reunion seems natural, but before they know it, they are reminded why the band broke up in the first place. The squabbling bandmates are played by a great group of actors. Their attempts to recapture their old magic are at first pathetic (and hilarious), but by the end of the second act, you'll be rooting for these guys. Billy Connolly plays the band's 'road dog' and he lights up the screen whenever he's on it. The direction (Brian Gibson directed WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT and THE JOSEPHINE BAKER STORY) and script are first rate as well.
The Flor Contemplacion Story (1995)
The success of this film revolves around Nora Aunor's emotional portrayal of Flor Contemplacion.
The production values are above average for a film from the Philippines and the acting is first rate in this heartbreaking true story of a woman who may have been falsely convicted of murder. The success or failure of this film hinges on Nora Aunor's performance and she delivers the goods. The ending is particularly powerful (even for those who know how this true story ends). Look for Vina Morales in a smaller role.