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Men in Black II (2002)
Not Even Close To The First
There's an old expression that the sequel is never better than the original. The expression has proven correct when it comes to many movies except for maybe the Godfather, First Blood, and Austin Powers, all movies which had sequels that were as good if not better than the original (in my own opinion).
This sequel, unfortunately, is no exception to the expression. This movie was not the movie the first one was. In fact, it had a weaker plot. Granted the movie had a smarter and more dangerous villian (Lara Flynn Boyle) than in the original, but it did not have the plot to suffice nor the great supporting characters that the first movie had.
For one, the Men In Black in the first movie were men who took alien fighting seriously as opposed to Will Smith with his laid back approach to it all. IN this movie, Will Smith plays the straight man, despite some tasteless side jokes, and it just doesn't work for him. He plays more of the character that Tommy Lee Jones did in the first one. It was meant to be a twist of comic irony, but it just doesn't cut it. The rest of the Men In Black in this movie seem pretty stupid. If I were the head of this organization, I would have zapped that red lazer in their eyes the first chance I got! Not even Rip Torn seems to be the same head of the agency he was in the first movie. He seemed to be even stupider that the rest of the MIB wannabes.
There were a few funny parts, don't get me wrong. But the movie was made sloppily and didn't live up to the first movie not only with the lack of humor but with the idea of the Men In Black being the rigid, top secret agency with Will Smith as the exception to that rule. In this, the plot was turned upside down and made into a movie even shorter that Lilo And Stitch. Although there was a part that did explain the absence of Linda Fiorentino, this movie seems like it was written by someone who hadn't even seen the first movie. Overall it deserves 4 out of 10 stars in my book. That's all I have to say about it.
Death to Smoochy (2002)
Robin Williams as he should be
This movie was altogether twisted. Good, but twisted. However, it's great that Robin Williams did this kind of movie. He kind of killed himself by doing movies such as Bicentennial Man and Jack. Granted some of these movies were pretty funny, but he got to the point where he made too many of those movies. We needed to see the crazy-funny side to him that we saw in Good Morning Vietnam or The Fisher King. This film brings him back to those kinds of roles.
However, Williams character in this movie is pitiful. His acting is great, but the character he plays, by nature, is a egomaniac. He plays a kids TV show host, Rainbow Randolph, who gets caught by the FBI for taking bribes. His show is cancelled, and the network that carried his show tried to look for a TV show with a guy who was 100% clean cut without even the most minor offense to his or her name. So enters Smoochy, a purple rhinocerous played by Edward Norton, who is 100% clean and lives up to his image. He goes from Playing guitar in a drug rehab clinic to hosting a hugely successful kids show.
Randolph, pathetic as he is, tries to bring Smoochy down. However, in a complex twist of plot, Randolph's not the only one, and so tells this very dark comedy.
Williams is excellent as Rainbow Randolph. You see this guy as totally pathetic, and it's brilliant! Is is sort of a shocker to hear the same guy who played the Genie in Aladdin say "I'm Rainbow F**king Randolph!" every nwo and then, but Williams broke the mold. Good for him.
Edward Norton is also great as the clean cut but naive kids show icon. This part fit him pretty well, and he did a great job with it. There were some twists of the plot and reversals of good and evil in this movie, but overall the movie was not bad. For a dark comedy, it had a reasonably happy ending which was largely unexpected. However, it was a movie worth paying 8 bucks to see.
The Super (1991)
Three Words: Not Very Funny
Joe Pesci is usually a great actor. He was outstanding in Goodfellas and My Cousin Vinny, and was funny in both Home Alone movies and in Gone Fishin'. However, this movie is probably one of his pitfalls. This movie definitely had its potential for being funny. It's plot was pretty original. A superintendent forced by law to live in his run down tenement house. That's original! However, I don't know why, but it just wasn't very funny. It could've been because Pesci didn't play a spoiled adult who still takes advice from his misguided, overbearing, often wrong father. The acting may not have been too good. I don't know. It just wasn't funny. There were a few cute parts (like when Pesci dances to the M.C. Hammer music), but nothing special. Sorry, Joe, but you've had funnier movies.
Marking Point for Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is truly one of the great actors of this generation. He's underrated sometimes, but he's up there in my book with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Jack Nicholson as being a really great actor. Whether it's a blockbuster movie like Edward Scissorhands or a more down to Earth movie like Donnie Brasco, he really gets into his roles and makes them totally believable. That's what Johnny Depp did with George Jung in the movie "Blow". Depp kept the Boston accent of Jung's throughout the movie, aged pretty well except for the very end where he was going on 50 and still had bleach blond hair, and made the audience believe that he had been selling drugs his entire life. Depp made Blow a great movie. At first, I thought this was going to be a movie like Boogie Nights about one giant orgy and the downside to it all. It wasn't. It was a fun movie at some parts, expecially the late 60's California scenes, and it was a fairly dramatic movie towards the end, when Jung is finally caught and sentenced to 60 years in prison. It does sort of follow the pattern that Goodfellas took, but it's a true story and a good one at that. The real George Jung, who was interviewed on camara and whose interview can be found on the DVD version of Blow, gave the movie a thumbs up and gave well-deserved Brownie Points to Depp. With that in mind, you know that the movie is good. The performances by Ray Liotta and Paul Reubins were very good also. However, the performance that was probably overrated was that of Penelope Cruz, who plays the Colombian-born, irresponsible party girl who Jung marries. Her performance, to me, was pretty unconvincing, and she was only in for the last quarter of the movie, despite her name being next to Depp's on the poster. She's okay, but that role should have gone to someone else not so glamourous and who's not on the cover of the Enquirer every day. Otherwise, a good movie. 8 out of 10 stars
More Sad Than Funny
Eddie Murphy. Martin Lawrence. What do you think of when you hear these names? You think of funny movies such as "Coming to America" or "Boomerang", movies with loads of laughs and a bit of an edge to them. This movie is unfortunately not one of those movies.
I'm not saying that it's a bad movie, but the mistake that the advertizers made was making it look like this laugh out loud comedy about two buddies who accidentally get put in jail and eventually get out. Plus, the advertisements were chalk full of "soap-on-a-rope" type humor and the usual goofiness one usually expects from typical Eddie Murphy movies. Well, the movie is, beyond a reasonable doubt, pretty sad. The premise is that these two guys get caught in a bad situation, get put in jail for life in 1932, have moments when they almost get out, but don't end up getting out until present day (or 1999, for those of you who are reading this years from now). Once again, this is a pretty good movie, although a bit sad. The biggest mistake was the advertisers. This is not your typical Murphy-Lawrence. Don't see this movie with expectations that there are going to be laughs throughout it. Don't judge a movie by it's cover.
Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
Great music, but where's John Belushi?
I have to admit that some parts of this movie were clever indeed. It was cool that they tied in the deaths of John Belushi and Cab Calloway into the movie's plot, making the characters they played dead as well. If Jim Belushi took the part of Joliet Jake, that would have been a disaster. Still, the plot of this movie could have used some serious work. For instance, in the original movie, the Blues Brothers (a) were actually brothers and (b) were on an actual "mission from God". Their goal was to make some honest money to save an orphanage from shutting down, while trying to flee from the police at the same time. The movie brought back blues legends such as Aretha Franklin and James Brown back into the spotlight, and it helped contribute to the death of disco. Eighteen years later, Jake's dead, Cab Calloway's dead, the orphanage has been shut down, so why are they being chased by the police? Because a half brother of Elwood got p***ed off at finding his real past? The kid, I must add, was a nice touch, and it was cool to see twice as many blues legends in this movie, including some new artists like Johnny Lang and Erykah Badu. But there should have been a better plot, because it seemed as though the Blues Brothers Band were going from event to event for the hell of it. Where's the plot in that? Police, leave these guys alone. The big mistake in this movie was its attempt to outdo the original movie. The music was great, and I highly recommend buying the soundtrack. However, don't expect to see a plot in this story. Otherwise, enjoy.
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Well . . . it was okay.
I don't know. This movie could have used a lot of work. It just wasn't good to me. I thought the storyline was a little out of date. For example, in the book, James' parents got killed by a rhino that ran away from the zoo. In this movie, it was a big rhino that literally came from the sky, and it symbolized something like James overcoming his fears. At the end of the movie, you were left asking yourself, "Huh?"
I guess the animation was cool, but the music was annoying. Let's be honest, Disney hasn't made any memorable songs since The Lion King. The music in this basically sucked. The song, "My Name Is James," was annoying. It just kept saying "James, James, James . . ." to the point where you would just want to put your fist through the movie screen. This movie could have been a lot better, and I guess it should have lived more up to the book. I don't know. It's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Seven Girlfriends (1999)
Do Not Underestimate This Movie. It is good.
Okay, maybe the name Tim Daly would scare you off from watching this movie, but trust me. This movie is so much better than all of Jennifer Aniston's and David Schwimmer's movies combined. This movie is cleverly written and full of a series of surprising and comical twists and turns.
The cast may not be your typical movie picks. Yet Paul Lazzarus wrote and directed this movie well. Tim Daly was surprisingly good as Jesse, a 32 year old bachelor whose former-fiance dies, and he tracks down his former girlfriends to find out where he went wrong. And believe me, when you see this movie, his girl trouble turns out to be more than just bad luck.
Some of the most hilarious scenes come when his answering machine messages get saved by one of his girlfriends, and a certain scene with another one of his former girlfriends' daughter. I can't tell you the specifics of these scenes, but I guarantee you, it will be funny.
The acting is done very well, the script is well written, and this is in no way like High Fidelity. It may not have exactly gotten "Titanic" advertising, but it is a must-see. See it when you get the chance.
Home Alone 3 (1997)
This Movie Sucks
This movie should not have been made. It in no way is a sequel. I finally realized after watching this how Macaulay Culkin is not that bad of an actor after all. Home Alone was good, Home Alone 2 was also good, but this movie sucks.
This kid gets left at home, not mistakenly, because he has the chicken pox. His parents leave on and off, he's not left with a babysitter, and this group of "intelligent high tech" criminals are after his fire truck? This movie has "This sucks" written all over it.
You can probably tell from reading this that I'm not ten years old. I have to say that I took my nephew to see this a few years back. I'll tell you this, he would have liked "Boogie Nights" better! Not to say that Boogie Nights was a bad movie, because it wasn't. It's just that he fell asleep during this production that should not have ever been considered made.
What were the adults in this movie thinking? NO Macaulay Culkin, no Joe Pesci, no Daniel Stern, no Catherine O'Hara, etc. Nobody, not even John Hughes or Chris Columbus had anything to do with this movie. It isn't even worth half a star. That's all.
Boogie Nights (1997)
A Hard Movie To Get Into, But A Good One
This movie is good overall. The first time I saw it I was fifteen years old and I thought it was freaky. Besides Heather Graham taking off her top, I didn't know what to expect. Sure, the movie is raunchy, but you have to expect the degree of raunchiness this movie has before you check it out. Despite the trashiness of the main characters, the movie was well acted and actually does have some moral value. Mark Wahlburg does well as John Travolta wannabe Dirk Diggler. He does a really good mood change from being a naive, somewhat modest high school dropout turned fresh young porn star in the 70's, to being a stuck-up, drug addicted, low on his game nobody in the 80's. Burt Reynolds was the actor in this that, if you hated the whole movie, you'd probably like his role because he plays it so well. Especially where he'd make this movie that was obviously terribly acted, and he'd say to his producer, "This is the best piece of work I've ever created." Robert Ridgly, as Colonal Jack, also had a pretty powerful scene. The scene where he was talking to Reynolds from jail is pretty powerful. Overall, this is a hard movie to get in the mood with. The characters and plot are hard to understand at first, but you'll like it. I give it an A-. This movie will shock you, make you laugh, maybe make you cry, and it takes a lot of risks. Note to guys: Wahlburg drops out an 18 inch rubber dick from his pants at the end of the movie. Be prepared to avert your eyes at all costs.