Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I think "Whoopi" has a lot of potential and I really enjoyed the pilot. Omid was even funnier than he was in "The Mummy" and he and Whoopi have a lot of chemistry together. They can banter beautifully. It wasn't perfect, I think the writing could improve, but it's a good start and makes me interested to see the rest of the season.
Wild Wild West (1999)
The Only Movie I've Ever Truly HATED
When this film came out I was completely hyped to see it. I mean who wouldn't be? Branaugh, Smith, Kline, Hayek, Sonnenfeld; how could it miss? My sister saw it first, and although I usually value her opinion on films, there have been exceptions, so I overlooked her advice and went to see for myself. This is one of the few times I wish I'd listened to my sister.
In my opinion there are a handful of movie categories; great, good, not good but has redeeming qualities (ie cinematography or editing), fluffy fun, barely worth the effort, and NEVER should've happened. I had to add the last category when I saw WWW. What a waste of some brilliant talent. Branaugh's character was impossible to redeem. His dialogue was way too cheesy, his manner inexplicable. Kline and Smith don't fare any better. While there is the occasional joke that plays off, they are to few and far between to even rate this as "not good but has redeeming qualities". The story was beyond stupid, the 'plot twists' could only be laughing referred to as such. The entire range of dialogue was sickening.
Oddly one of the few scenes worth the time for me, is the one most hated in general. It's the verbal sparring match between Branaugh and Smith, with the non-PC references. They were offensive, but that was the entire point. If they had used that take, being funny without trying to pander to political correctness, through the film they might've made something worth $8.50. Instead it looks like they tried too hard to be PG-13 with most of the comedy.
In addition, the effects were pathetic, the cinematography (which at least should've been good based on the time they were working with) was parochial at best, and even the costumes seemed annoying. Overall this movie was a majorly failed attempt, and an unforgiveable waste of some of our best comedic performers.
The Ref (1994)
Pass the Eggnog
It's odd to me that I haven't commented on this film yet, since it's probably in my top 10 movies of all time. But sometimes we forget about the 'classics'; the ones we could sit and watch 1,000 times and never ever get sick of. This is one of those films for me, and for quite a few people I know.
Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis really are incredible, both individually and in terms of their chemistry. That's one of the most brilliant things about this film. The few moments you see real tenderness between them (particularly when they have reason to worry for their son), the love and passion they once shared is evident. Just when you think, `Why the hell are these people still married?' you see exactly why they haven't split. Yet when they begin to tear into each other, you see that two intelligent and witty people who love each other can treat one another with amazing levels of venom.
As has been said before, and will be said MANY times again, Dennis Leary is masterful. It would be accurate to say he's just playing the character' he adopts during his stand-up, but somehow that doesn't feel trite or overdone. Basically imagine that the man who praises the symbiotic relationship of beer and cigarettes is also a cat burglar who gets into this fix. How would he react? The thing about Leary's performance is that, while the character isn't new to him, the scenario is, and that's where his performance comes in. His incredibly quick wit and solid reactions are only half of the performance, and those alone would've made a great film.
Glynis Johns is a riot, and in a very atypical role for her. Even in her youth I don't recall her ever playing a women who was so strong and abrasive, so that makes her unbelievably hostile portrayal all the more fun. I would suggest watching this right after `While You Were Sleeping' or `Mary Poppins' for a hilarious contrast. In fact one fun little guilty pleasures' marathon could be made from the combination of `While You Were Sleeping,' `The Ref' and then `Two If By Sea'. Christine Baranski has become one of the most amazing character actresses, despite her incredible leading lady ability. Once again she shows her superior comedic timing, and an ability to make you like the most unlikable character. In fact I wouldn't mind seeing her and Leary team up in a screwball comedy about a guy who's older sister makes his life hell. They bounce off each other the way Davis and Spacey do.
Among the less visible supportive cast there are also some great stand outs. Phillip Nicoll and Ellie Raab are pretty hilarious as Baranski's kids who don't get the most consideration from their mother. Richard Bright does some interesting work with Leary's alcoholic wheelman, and he gets some good laughs without resorting to drunken pratfalls. John Scurti's lieutenant of the Bay Brook police force is predominantly annoying, but his informing the pompous influential resident (well played by Robert Ridgely) that he slept with his wife 4 times gives you a serious grin. Also fans of the Law & Order franchise should keep an eye out for a brief giggle courtesy of J.K. Simmons and an entertaining cameo from B.D. Wong as the real therapist that Leary's Gus later impersonates.
While the story is somewhat original, it's really the characters, dialogue and acting that dominates this piece. However the cinematography is well done, particularly in the beginning during the robbery scene. The set decoration should also be noted, both in terms of the beautiful house which centers the film, and when it comes to the interesting' Christmas feast Judy Davis' characters creates. I also thought the ending was really perfect, despite some comments here to the contrary. After all that Leary's character learns from and teaches this family, it would've been a lousy payoff to have him get caught. This is especially true after the conversation where he explains just how great his life ISN'T to the kid Jesse. You doubt he'll ever settle down after viewing quite such a dysfunctional family, but you wonder if he'll at least avoid small towns from now on. Forget waiting for Christmas, this movie is great any time of year.
Drop Dead Fred (1991)
Sweet Fantasy with a Beautiful Ending
I originally saw this in my late teens. A few years ago, it started getting good play on cable, and I rediscovered this treasure.
I won't rehash the plot (you can read that on the main page), but the premise has a real interesting idea. What surprised me most by the other comments were things about Elizabeth's emotional state? She's not nuts, and she's not delusional. Just because her mother mistakes Fred for a psychological problem doesn't mean she's right. That's the whole point. While we might have some questions in the beginning, by the end it's quite clear that Fred is real. This is a fantasy after all.
Elizabeth is such a sweet child, it's just such a shame her father never gets a backbone to stand up to her mother. That's the one thing I didn't like about the story. It would seem her father simply abandoned them, which you simply wouldn't believe based on the sweet caring man they depict him to be. I've always adored Marsha Mason, and it was hard to see her as such a cold manipulative woman. You can see underneath, at least at the end, that she has her own issues that cause her to treat her daughter as an adversary. But it's hard to forgive.
Ryk Mayall is hilarious! He's an absolute gem, and I really wish we would see him in more mainstream movies so I could view his talent without video hunting. He is brilliant in the physical comedy, and a riot even when his jokes aren't all that funny. He also shows some really tender moments. He reminds you a touch of a teacher who really loves a student with emotionally inept parents. He's supposed to be showing her what's wrong with her life, making her wake up to the shell of a person she's become, but you can see what he really wants to do is hold her, kiss the top of her head, and tell her it'll all be alright and that (at least) he loves her.
Phoebe Cates turns in one of her best performances (second only to Shag). She plays the vulnerable young woman, who's been cowed by her mother and squashed by her husband, with realism and depth. You can understand her attachment to her philandering spouse (cleverly portrayed by Tim Matheson) when you recognize that she just desperately wants to be loved by someone. But after being; abandoned by her father (and seemingly Fred), emotionally battered by her mother, and losing her only other real friend (Ron Eldard is really charming in this bit) as a child; who wouldn't cling to any shred of love they can get?
While this movie is so funny and energetic, it's at the end it really pays off for the grown ups. Elizabeth comes to terms with the fact that her husband really doesn't care, that she can live her life without the approval or permission of her mother, and that she'll never really be happy until she regains the inner child her mother stole from her. The fantasy scene where Fred helps her step back and face all this is really interesting, I particularly LOVE the metaphor of unwrapping the young Elizabeth from the bed where she's trapped by the same masking tape her mother used to lock Fred in the Jack-in-the-Box. The final moment of Fred's departure, with a warm kiss and hug, is heartbreaking but fitting. And closing the film with Fred continuing his efforts by befriending Mickey's daughter proves the whole point, that Fred is very real and that the imaginary friends in this story have a real purpose. They are there to help children in need in the only way kids really can be helped, with fun.
Why couldn't this have become a series?!
**Revising, after MANY more viewings. **
A delightful pilot that could've led to a truly classic series.
This is a charming story of three friends, who are also cops, and are left millions by a grateful victim in a kidnapping case. They retire and live the lives they've always dreamed of. But being a plain old millionaire can be boring for former police officers. So they come up with a way to stay in the game of fighting the bad guys; and it's one heck of a game.
Officially they are private detectives, who take on the more bizarre and challenging murder cases, as long as they can find some distant relative of the victim who is willing to pay their standard fee...of a dollar.
The catch is, they not only combat the baddies, but they also compete against each other to see who can solve the case first. And the stakes are high. For what each one will lose if they don't solve it first, the other two consult to take something particularly precious (Ted Wass' character almost ends up losing some priceless baseball cards).
The chemistry between Wass, Post, and Swanson is fabulous. You really believe they are the best of friends. And as is often the case, the guys are just a touch in love with Post's character, and who wouldn't be. She's tough, fun and feminine; and who wouldn't adore a woman who's also a con artist and card shark. Swanson is perfect as the gruff tough old-school cop, and Wass is absolutely adorable as the more sensitive guy with a BIG yen for baseball.
I really think this could've been a hilarious series, because the movie/pilot was brilliant (not perfect but so full of potential). If you ever have a chance to see this film, I'd recommend it. It's a fun romp, and the short monologues by the characters in between scenes are very funny.
Fast Getaway II (1994)
Classic Made For Cable Fare
Well, despite the venom of the other comment on this movie, it's not as bad as all that. If this movie was ever released at the theaters, that was a mistake, because it was designed to be a straight to late night cable film.
If you're a fan of the original Fast Getaway (and granted not that many are), then this is a nice little sequel. Corey Haim has always been my favorite for delivering light fun performances that give you the impression he was having fun at work, and this is another example. While the premise was cheesy, the bank robbery scam is a surprisingly interesting concept that I think a film with more backing should explore sometimes.
Also, while I've never liked Cynthia Rothrock in anything, I liked revisiting the chemistry that Haim and Leo Rossi had in the first movie. They are seem comfortable together, and it comes through in the father son relationship of the characters. I think Sarah Buxton was always an under used actress, but I enjoyed her in this film. Coincidentally, she was also in Corey Feldman's most underrated film, Rock and Roll High School Forever. Peter Liapis does well with a seriously flawed and two dimensional character of Renkin, the FBI agent who refuses to believe that Nelson (Haim) could ever be anything but a crook.
This movie is basically fluff. But it never pretends to be anything but. It's a nice 'nothing better on so let's watch some butt kicking and car chasing' movie. And if you're a fan of the Corey's in general, it's worth a couple hours when you're bored and watching late night cable.