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I did not intent to see Showtime in the first place, but when a friend of mine and myself walked into the theatre of choice, it was the only movie that would start soon and interested us both. So we went in. We weren't disappointed - if you keep in mind that we didn't expect something special.
It's a done-by-the-numbers buddy-action-flick we're all used to for about twenty years now, slightly updated with the reality TV angle, and quite competently made.
It was good to see that Eddie Murphy still can pull off his shtick like he did in the original Beverly Hills Cop, De Niro has a couple of funny scenes, although he's completely underused as actor, and the William Shatner cameo is a hoot.
So, if you're in the mood for a quite old-fashioned buddy-movie without any special merits except for a couple of decent action scenes and a good laugh every now and then, Showtime may be your movie. Nothing to tell your ancestors about, but there are more unpleasant ways to kill an hour and a half. 6/10
laughable excuse of an action-movie
Err... whoever told Frank Zagarino that he's the up-and-coming new action hero - time for a job change, pal!
Okay, most "modern age" action heroes have no acting talent, no screen charisma, but Zagarino beats them all (although it was sort of nice to see him playing the good guy for a change).
Pair that with an idiotic script, absolutely ridiculous action scenes and generally annoying (and stupid - take the "ambush" on the bridge as a shining example - if I hadn't sent my suspension of disbelief out to get some air before starting the movie it probably would have killed itself trying to grasp the concept of these guys being an elite special unit) behaviour of each and every character in the film and you'll end with an unwatchable mess (although it's sort of fascinating in a trainwreck-way of things... you just can't keep from looking at it).
Highlight of on-screen idiocy is the "hacking battle" between Evans and his daughter... hey, they could have padded the running time by expanding this exchange of "activate warhead" and "disarm warhead" up to three hours (be thankful they didn't...).
It's a movie that's even too idiotic to be bad in a funny way like so many others - it's just a real real real stupid movie. 1/10
What a disappointment...
I didn't expect this to be "Run Lola Run Part 2" or something like that. What I expected was a movie that would go somewhere. "Heaven" may be called by some viewers a masterpiece about guilt, innocence and punishment, but it loses track the longer it goes. Tykwer sure is a master of style and photography, and some of the shots are breathtaking, but the story itself (although interesting enough to start with) builds no momentum, has very little chemistry between the lead characters, the dialogue is often pointless. Furthermore, the movie is sooo predictable (it telegraphs its ending before the opening credits!). About midway the movie loses steam completely and resolves into a exercise of boredom, which has very little redeeming value provided by Cate Blanchett's fine acting. Even if "Heaven" is by no means near to the visual narrative of "Run Lola Run" or (the underrated) "Princess and the Warrior", "Heaven" seems to me to be victory of style over content (sometimes I was about to yell "I know you do amazing photography, but get on with the story, Tom!"). In Tykwer's previous movies the visuals propelled the story, here they just slow it down (as if the story would not move slow enough by itself). It sure didn't help that the movie has a bilingual approach, meaning most of the dialogue was Italian with German subtitles, the rest German (and speaking of that, some of the subtitles were unreadable - please note: white subtitles on a bright background won't work!). I'd rather had it subtitled completely for a more "complete mood". I seldom wish a movie would finally end, but with "Heaven", I checked my watch about every five minutes towards the finale. I don't think Kieslowski would totally approve of Tykwer's adaption of his screenplay, as the Polish director usually did more with his characters. Here, Tykwer wastes a potent story for a showcase of his moviemaking skills, as if to prove that he can direct a heart-moving drama as well as fast-paced videoclip-like movies. I'd rate it a 4/10 because of some nice photography work and Cate Blanchett, who does her best, but compared to his previous efforts, Tykwer's first non-German production lacks most of that what made "Run Lola Run" and "The Princess and the Warrior" so entertaining and intelligent.
History of the World: Part I (1981)
The master of parody strikes again and this time he takes on the entire history of the world, no less...
While I found the concept of several segments from short skit to half-feature length mini-movie just to be the right one for this kind of film, the segments do differ in quality very much (and, sadly, quality gets poorer towards the end).
Although the film does have its weak points (the French Revolution segment drags, despite some good gags every now and then, the Stone Age sequence)some material is hilariously funny with the Spanish Inquisition musical number being the showstopper. The Roman Empire story also comes off good (especially the great supporting actors in this segment) and be sure to stay tuned for the trailer for "Part 2".
As a whole, the film cannot hold ground against "Spaceballs", "Blazing Saddles" or "Frankenstein Junior", but for a decent viewing and some good laughs, tune it in when it appears on TV.
White Magic (1994)
Finally, Bogner gives up plotting...
...and just films what he does best, some amazing stuntwork.
There is indeed sort of a basic plot circling about master ski artist John Eaves (playing himself) and his master-snowboarder son (played by a master snowboarder named Reto Wosshisname), but, bottom line, this is merely an excuse for some more, some less spectacular stunt sequences, subsequently mostly on ski. There are a couple of funny bits, one involving German former skiing world champion Markus Wasmeier, some unfunny bits involving a fat American tourist chasing John for some reason or other (played by an actress by the name of Sharon Stone, which lured many-a-unsuspecting male to the ticket booth, 'cause she was top billed), some cool lookin' stuff you'd better never try at home (or at your ski resort) and some other stuff thrown in for good measure like paragliding, bungee-jumping etc.
Not much of a movie, granted, "White Magic" plays more like one of those pause-filling music videos aired by most sports channels when they're out of other material to broadcast.
If you can be entertained that easily, you might be amused, but I even got more kicks out of "Fire, Ice & Dynamite."
Ator 2 - L'invincibile Orion (1982)
Something you just have to love Cinecitta for...
I mean, you just have to love the Italian film industry. Someone came up with a post-doomsday action movie ("Road Warrior") and the Italians were busy for years doing one rip-off after another. Then some other one came up with a successful barbarian movie ("Conan") and the Italians were busy... eh, see above.
Besides countless other variations of the theme (one of my favorites is Umberto Lenzi's "The Barbarians" starring the Paul twins) the Ator series was created. And this, the second one, is probably the worst (or best, depending on your point of view).
Ator is called back into action by his old teacher, who has discovered some kind of nuclear power that, of course, has to be protected so it won't get into wrong hands. The old man sends his daughter to Ator, and after a few complications Ator, his sidekick Tong and the girl set back to the castle, which meanwhile has fallen to some evildoer (of course, an old "class mate" of Ator). Somewhere along the way the heroic trio forgets about the plot and eradicates some giant snake-worshipping cult for the fun of it (not before some virgins are sacrificed). Just in time before the madman finally loses his temper and kills the wise teacher our heroes remember their duties, invent hanggliding and grenades and save the day.
Included: terrible acting by all participants (especially O'Keeffe), incredibly hilarious "special effects" (you just have to adore the snake fight scene, which must be sort of a hommage to "Bride of the Monster"), badly staged fight scenes, numerous continuity errors (Ator flies two different hanggliders during the climatic battle, watch for it, just an example) and an overall non-understanding of the concept of history (cavemen, "civilized" barbarians, castle-builders, all thrown in one film).
If you're, like me, devoted to bad movies, this is the one of the series to see, you'll probably end up ROTFL. For the records: the Malta-filmed third part is actually quite watchable.
Considering Joe D'Amato's other efforts this is probably his most entertaining movie, as he certainly has failed to deliver watchable horror or erotic movies. But I strongly have the opinion that this was completely by accident.
Bizarre, eerie, unique...
I first stumbled on this movie via some clips on the "Switchblade Sisters" laserdisc and immediately put it on my "wanna-have"-list. And I sure wasn't disappointed when I watched the complete film (no two weeks later).
Jack Hill creates a weird story circling about the strange Meryee family which suffers from some strange disease, causing their members to degenerate into primitive pre-human lifeforms (or something like that), or as Lon Chaney puts it out "rotting of the brain". Chaney himself, of course, is - in a fine performance - the loyal caretaker who suddenly has to deal with the fact that some relatives are trying to get their hands on the family estate (and heritage).
Besides great cinematography (under the given budget) and the genuine storyline one has to admire the characters, making the viewer think of something like "Addams Family" on Crack.
Classic stuff, with some bits which really are memorable (e.g. Chaney's groan "It's going to be full moon tonight" when the nerd hero and his love interest are discussing horror films in general and "The Wolfman" in special). And, last but not least, there's always Sid Haig...
Rent it, buy it, see it, believe it.
Chik juk ging wan (1996)
That's what updating a classic thriller (this is loosely based on the 1960 film by Michael Powell) Hong Kong style looks like.
Mark Chen is the nutcase getting his kick of murdering young women with pretty legs and filming his deeds (of course, raping the victims before comes quite natural). Jade Leung (of "Black Cat" fame) is the young policewomen whose paths accidentally cross with those of the killer. He falls in love with her, infiltrates her life and preys on her sister and her lover.
For a HK Cat. III thriller this has a rather straightforward story, fine acting by the leads, and very stylish direction. Atmospheric, violent (to a certain degree - there are much more violent Cat. III movies) , erotic - highly recommended to all fans of modern Hong Kong moviemaking.
Der Formel Eins Film (1985)
Even old Eddie Wood would have been ashamed...
What would you expect from a movie that opens with a slate "This film should be played LOUD"?
"Der Formel Eins Film" was a sad effort to adapt a successful "Top-of-the-pops"-like TV music show to the big screen. Obviously the producers had the idea that it would be enough to throw in a couple of pop stars and then get away with no story, no actors and no humour. Probably all participants had their deal of fun doing this, but watching it is almost unbearable.
I guess it would be quite funny to ask Campino, mastermind of German punk legend "Die Toten Hosen", about their appearance in this movie as "running gag", trying to sneak in the show in various idiotic disguises (at least that lead to a funny mini-album).
Example of the gags? You've been warned: "Let's go to the fitness center". - "F**kness center?"
The 80's might have become some kind of cult era. If the whole decade would've been like this movie, we'd have to thank our maker that we've gotten out there alive... Go and watch some MTV instead.
Ngo si seoi (1998)
Far from being Jackie's best, but still entertaining
"Who am I?" is another example of a "latter-day" Jackie Chan movie. While still entertaining, the movie fails to recreate the energy of his older flicks. Higher production values and a couple of impressive fight scenes cannot entirely overcome that the story is to weak to keep the two hours film together which indicates the major problem: the movie is far too long. When Jackie finally comes to his best, the fights, he is still great, but between these fights there's too little new, including the umpteenth car chase through a market street. Don't misunderstood - "Who am I?" is by no means a bad movie, it's just not in the same league as earlier works like "Police Story", "Supercop" or "Project A". About on par with "Rumble in the Bronx" and "First Strike". If you want to see *really* good "new" Jackie Chan movies, go an rent "Mr. Nice Guy" or "Thunderbolt".