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Somewhere in Time (1980)
This is the poorest excuse for a movie I have seen in along time!
When I was a young boy, I could always remember seeing parts of a movie that starred 'Superman' (aka Christopher Reeve) and having a very dreamy, almost surreal ending. 20 or so years later, I have finally had the chance to catch up with it. The film in question was 'Somewhere In Time', a typically corny romantic movie, that is badly acted (especially by my late movie hero Reeve), has a contrived storyline (based on a crazy form of time travel), while the direction from Jeannot Szwarc is to put it bluntly, disgraceful.
I have mentioned before that I really hate wasting my time reviewing movies that I find have played me for an absolute idiot, and sorry to those romantic movie fans out there, but that is what this film did to me. I wish I could have my time, money and choice back, so I could go to another section of the movie store and pick a better movie to watch.
It is sad to realise that this was Christopher Reeve's second movie after 'Superman', and for me I could tell that. Reeve seemed to look like he was trying to be his superhero character in a film that he simply could not be. His facial expressions were all wrong, especially when he looks at the portrait of the beautiful Else McKenna (Jane Seymour) and desires to be with her. Richard Collier did not have x-ray vision, but the movie seemed to want to make him believe he did. In my opinion, this was Reeve's most unconvincing movie role in his career. For Reeve though, he mentioned that this was one of his other favorites movies to work on. That is hard for me too accept.
"It is 1980 and I am back in time to stop the making of this movie". Sorry, just a joke, because I could not take those sections of the movie seriously at all. I will leave you with my rating and then go clean up the stench of the vomit that this movie left me with. What a sickening experience 'Somewhere In Time' really was.
CMRS gives 'Somewhere In Time': 0
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
This is not a movie, this is an uninspiring, disgraceful, pointless crappy spiel of wasted film. Trust me, there are better ways to spend your time then watching this garbage.
I have to say that writing about Scary Movie 2 is a painful experience, but not as painful as actually watching the ridiculous film that we are given by Keenan Ivory Wayan and his crew. To put this movie in perspective, it was supposed to make me laugh, right? I did not laugh once, which shows where it fails for me.
So I am not going to deeply analyse this film, just tell you that it is not funny, has virtually no moments of greatness, the performances are pretty poor from all involved (including the Wayan brothers, Anne Faris, Malcolm in the middle star James DeBello, Tori Spelling, in a career destroying role, James Wood and Natasha Lyonne). While the direction of the film lacks any sense and is just one contrived mess in my view.
To learn that acting legend Marlon Brando was going to accept a role on this film almost made me faint from shock. Thankfully the great man was not well enough to do so, because if he had have been a part of this terrible conglomeration, I believe it could have cost him more than his health. Scary movie (2000), the very original movie spoof, was a surprise in the cinemas, taking off some of the great horror movies of our time much better and was more to my liking. Yet with that film, I could only enjoy it once as it ran thin on me after that. This is the sort of comedy where you are either going to love it or hate it. I hate it with an absolute vengeance.
So my rating? CMRS gives 'Scary Movie 2': 0
Sorry there is nothing here to really get your hopes up about this film. After turning this film off four times in disgust, the best part about this movie was seeing the closing credits, knowing that it was finally over and I was out my misery.
P.S. Now seeing that there is a 'Scary Movie 3' out, I just sit, cringing in silence, hoping that this is the end to these bad movies. If I had one request as a movie-watcher, it would be that I could have those 100 minutes of my life back. I am disappointed that will not be happening. A friend warned me that this would happen. Why, oh why did I not listen to him? I am such an idiot!
Angel Baby (1995)
An extraordinary story of love's transcendent power. More movies need to be presented, just like this one, about the serious issue of 'mental illness'!
The issue presented in the Australian movie 'Angel Baby' is one that is very close to me. I am talking about mental illness and how destructive any of them can be to individuals that get it. I have been affected by both depression and a mild case of schizophrenia (the illness that is shown here) and the highs and lows that come with those illnesses. This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you.
A funny, haunting love story, 'Angel Baby' tells the story of two lost souls, Harry and Kate, who fall in love against the odds and find hope strength in each other to accomplish the impossible. Full of humour, compassion and hope, Angel Baby is a testament to the power of love and a roller-coaster journey to the magical fringes of the human psyche.
There is a lot to like about and take in with this movie. The writer /director Michael Rymer has bought a very interesting Australian movie to our screen. The story that we get here is one that is probably not all that uncommon, but is not known in our community. It accentuates the difficulties that people have when they are battling any mental illness and what rash choices they make when they are unable function mentally. This story also had the wonderful aspects that show Kate's obsessions of seeing messages from a TV game-show, while I am glad that the story shows both Kate and Harry choosing a life that they are probably not able to keep in complete control of because of their mental illness issues.
Then as director, Rymer makes some very impressive moves. I love how the movie makes us as the audience feel like we are experiencing what the mental illness is like that both Kate and Harry actually have. I believe this mainly through the extraordinary camera work that is used, with all of its different views and angles. This aspect of the movie is helped by its cinematographer Ellery Ryan, who captures it all perfectly. I also love the choice of scenery used in 'Angel Baby', such as the shots of the city and the grand 'West gate bridge', which is used to great effect in the film.
The leading cast to this movie was outstanding. Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline Mackenzie) are wonderful on screen together. They were both very convincing as both very mentally ill patients and it is through their performances that I believe this. There were some very real moments (well that is what they felt like for me) in this film where I believed these actors were suffering a mental illness for real. One such incident is when Kate is totally taken aback by being hit by kid skate-boarding at the local shopping centre. What I saw was a haunting sort of vision, one that I can relate to, and one that I was glad too see.
The rest of the cast is pretty good as well. Harry has concerned friends, the Goodman's. Morris (Colin Friels) and Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness) both show at individual times that they are truly concerned with the situation they find Harry and his girl in. Their son, Sam Goodman, (Daniel Daperis) was another important character, who has a terrific scene with Harry, about being unable to sleep one. What Harry helps Sam out with is ironic, considering the situation that we see Harry gets himself into.
I watched Angel Baby and 'Cosi', (another Australian movie, which deals with mental illness) back to back. Cosi was not as good as Angel Baby in my view, but the two films are completely different. One is from a totally serious point of view, while the other is coming from the comedic perspective about mental illness. I am still yet to see the classic Australian film 'Shine', starring Geoffrey Rush. But from what I have been told, it must be another worthwhile movie about how mental illness affects people, even brilliant and successful individuals.
I am a firm believer that mental illness is an issue in society that is culturally misunderstood by most people. I believe this because people are either misinformed or misdiagnosed, or they immediately dismiss a person with such a problem, saying either 'they are making excuses for themselves' or 'they should just snap out of it'. I personally hate that point of view as it is not only arrogant, but it is also a very naïve point of view in my opinion. I say that compassion should be shown instead of criticism, while understanding and sensitivity should be learnt instead of straight dismissal and sheer arrogance.
I guess my only criticism of Angel Baby is that it has a very limited cast, but perhaps that was a deliberate move, to show both Harry and Kate, for as long as they could. I would have preferred a bit bigger cast. I am glad that we were able to see all sorts of ideas, visions and images presented about how mental illness can affect people in 'Angel Baby', and are eternally grateful that an Australian movie is willing and daring enough to show it. For that, I thank the makers and actors from the bottom of my heart.
CMRS gives 'Angel Baby': 4.5 (Very Good Brilliant Film)
Dr. Phil (2002)
Forget Survivor and Big Brother, Dr. Phil is the 'real' reality TV show that I like!
This piece I am writing is not a review, but more a thank you to a person who I believe right now is one of the most influential personalities on TV in the world. The man I am referring to is arrogant, in your face and straight to the point. He is also very caring, compassionate, giving and understanding. His name is Dr. Phil McGraw or simply 'Dr. Phil' as he is known in the TV world. He is a very clever man, with a great way of being able to sum up any given situation. Phil also shows that his experience as a clinical psychologist is very invaluable.
Dr. Phil C. McGraw is a renowned life strategist and best-selling author, formerly on the 'Oprah' show. He now hosts his own daily program that is a "stop talking and do something show." Covering a full range of topics from news headlines to coping with life's challenges - Dr. Phil offers viewers a positive, transformational, and entertaining experience like nothing else on television.
I am guilty of initially thinking that Dr. Phil was just another bald Doctor on TV who is raving on about the usual old issues. Well I was totally wrong. Sure he might be talking about these old issues, but Phil somehow has a different angle to present his opinion on a certain issue. Some of his shows are so fascinating that they are tantalizing for me and I am sure the thousands of viewers he has.
Another good point that Phil does have for the show is that he creates some wonderful series for his programs that are not only good viewing, but crucial for many people's well being and lives. Things like 'Parenting 101', 'The ultimate weight loss challenge', 'Family in crisis'/'Family divided' and just recently 'relationship rescue retreat' have all been great. All of these segments are terrific, give good insights, and I continue to wait with anticipation for the next new segment he comes up with.
The show itself has many good parts to it, besides the stories and the Doc. Robyn McGraw (Phil's beautiful wife), Jay and Jordan (his two sons) are a part of his shows from time to time. In fact, Robyn is at every show, and her and Phil walking of set together at the end of every show is great. I also think that the crew Phil has assembled are incredible for the work that they do. While the show's musical theme is something that at times I cannot get out of my head, it is just great.
I feel that in these times, psychology, psychiatry and counselling are dismissed by many people as being unimportant and very much a waste of time. Well I totally disagree with that opinion and say that those people should watch Dr. Phil to see that they are wrong and that those areas are all important in the world we live in. In fact I have been fighting a battle of my own over the past few years, in relation to mental illness, had many highs and lows and with the help of these areas have almost beaten my illness. Trust me, it has been a challenge too! Dr. Phil is not everyone's cup of tea, I understand that, but I think he is the best man on international TV, and although he is predominantly targeting American audiences, Phil is touching many people around the world, and that includes my country, Australia. Dr Phil from the bottom of this Aussie's heart, thank you so much, keep up the incredible and more importantly inspirational work going that you do.
Your friend Old Joe
If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
Changing Times, intimate decisions, and the four walls that hold their secrets. There's one question only a woman can answer. This is the most powerful TV movie you will ever see.
I have a strong opinion on the issue being show in the 1996 TV movie, `If These Walls Could Talk', which is about abortion. This film presents the issue in 3 different generations and shows what the attitudes and dilemmas are when it comes to a woman choosing and/or having an abortion. Is abortion the right choice for a woman who is pregnant? I am not so sure it is.
Here is a film with three powerful, intimate stories of abortion and how times and freedoms have changed. A recently widowed nurse struggles to take control of her life in the early '50s. A mother of four is overwhelmed by trying to raise a family and maintain a career in the '70s. While a young student makes a decision with the help of one woman that will change the course of both their lives in the '90s. These women, living in the same house at different times, share one thing in common, the decision they must come to on how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Have an abortion or keep the child they have growing inside them alive?
This film was very well directed by two women. The 1952 and 1974 segments of the story were directed by Nancy Savoca. I especially like the way that she goes inside the lives of the people that we meet. Then directing the 1996 story is Cher (who also stars in the film). Now considering what we see happen in this part of the story, especially to Cher's character, the way Cher directed it was most skilful and praiseworthy.
The stories that are presented in this film are very well balanced and written. Each story goes on in the same house over that time. Yet the feelings towards the issue of abortion change from each generation. The 50's it is frowned upon, the 70's it is more accepted, and by the 1990's, while it is still protested, it is commonly practise by women.
Each different story has a main character that it focuses on, with their views on abortion and how far they will or will not go being very interesting. What is also interesting are the different characters we meet in the stories, as they present a different view on how they feel about abortion, another good aspect to the story. The stories for this movie were written by Pamela & Earl Wallace and Nancy Savoca (1952), Susan Nanus and Nancy Savoca (1974), with the final story by I. Marlene King (1996).
Playing roles in this film must have been difficult for all the actresses involved. The 1952 story has a widow nurse, Claire Donnelly (played by executive producer Demi Moore) who we find out is pregnant, but do not understand the circumstances for how she got that way. The lengths that she goes to fix her problems certainly are disturbing, with the finale to her story very distressing.
Then the 1974 story shows mother, Barbara Barrows (Sissy Spacek), with four children, in a somewhat dysfunctional family. She is a college student and has found out she is pregnant. We are shown that she is unsure of what she wants to do. She wants to continue with her studies, but also wants the child. Her daughter Linda (Hedy Burress), is a girl who states to her mother, do you think this baby would have a good life, if its mother resents it even being there?' saying that abortion is the only sensible option.
Finally we have the 1996 story. Here we meet Christine Cullen (a very young Anne Héche in a fine role), a girl who has had relationship with a college professor and is pregnant from that relationship. With Christine we see that she is torn apart by being pregnant and with the decision to have an abortion. She lives with Patti (Jada Pinkett Smith), a girl who strongly opposes abortion, but considers other options as better for the child's life.
This part of the story also goes inside an abortion clinic. Here we meet many caring people. Dr Beth Thompson (Cher) is the doctor who does the abortion procedure, while other carers make the time pass, as easy as possible for the patient. Cher's part in the film is truly amazing to say the least. The finale to the 1996' story haunted me the first time I saw it, and after recently seeing it a second time, had a similar effect. I believe it is showing what a divided issue that abortion creates in the public arena, with the result of the actions of certain people not helping to resolve the issue, but just making it worse.
While it would be naïve of me to not accept that abortion is a legal option for a pregnant woman, married or unmarried in the western world, I am afraid I cannot agree with abortion, as someone is physical killing a human life'. Men and women consent to having sex whenever they feel like they want it, but most do not consider the consequence of that action, which in most cases ends up in a pregnancy, an unwanted one at that. By killing it, you give the life' created no choice in wanting to stay alive or not. I believe God is the only one who has the right to abort a child.
This film puts my life in perspective. I do not want to have sex outside of wedlock, or have to go through the painful (and wrong decision in my view) of looking at abortion as a way of covering up any mistake. That is all abortion does. I also know that God would look down upon me for making that decision. If These Walls Could Talk' might be a TV movie, but it is a film that we all can learn from. Please confront this most controversial of issues in a great movie, just Iike I have.
CMRS gives If These Walls Could Talk': 4.5 (Very Good Brilliant Movie)
His passion captivated a woman. His courage inspired a country. His heart defied a king. This is Mel Gibson's brilliant epic movie.
Mel Gibson's Braveheart', is a movie that I feel inspired by every time I watch it. William Wallace certainly was a man that was driven by all sorts of emotions, a man who loved the women in his life, was forced in the end to fight for country, but did it in a grand style and was never intimidated by his enemy, that being the English, his only goal, for Scottish FREEDOM!' Braveheart is a rich, emotionally charged historical epic filled with passion, betrayal and courage, one that is too savour.
Braveheart is the sweeping saga about Scotland's brutal battle for impendence in the 13th century. When William Wallace's wife is ravaged and murdered by English troops, his quest for revenge quickly turns into an impassioned fight for his country. Tales of Wallace's bravery inspire every commoner to take arms against the English and escalate their crusade into a full scale war.
Firstly I want to praise Mel Gibson for the work he put into making this movie. His vision as director was first-class and gave the movie a grandness' that it deserved. It is also a great achievement for Gibson to star in the movie, playing the integral character of Wallace, a difficult role. For his direction of Braveheart, Mel won the 1995 academy award for best director.
Under Gibson was Academy Award winning cinematographer John Toll, who certainly gave Braveheart' the right look onscreen. The camera shots of the open plans, were just fantastic, and made the Scottish land look green, lush and rugged. The one that one that sticks in my mind the most, has to be the moment in the film which shows William Wallace climbing to the top of a mountain, what we see as this unfolds, really did stun me, but in a good way.
The story contains characters that I am unsure are fact or fiction. But whatever they are, were very convincing onscreen. William Wallace, aka Braveheart' (Gibson) is a man that is shook up as a child by the disturbing visions he sees happens to his people, especially his father Malcolm Wallace (Sean Lawlor). We see quite quickly that Wallace as a man, was born to fight, with a dead eye' when it comes to throwing with any sort of stone. Gibson is terrific in his role here, playing it with grandeur, flamboyance, style and slight humour that suits the film. Braveheart' also looks intense, with the blue paint draped across his face.
Yet Wallace did not want to fight. He marries his childhood love, the beautiful Murron (Catherine McCormack) that he weds in secret. However there life together would be cut short by the warriors of the king of England, who capture, violate and kill Murron for not submitting to their desires. This death was hard for me to watch, but without it, we would not have the rest of the film. The small role that McCormack plays in the film is vital, as she softens the brutalness of war onscreen.
After this event, Wallace is filled with raged and turns on all the English troops. Helping Wallace was his friend Hamish (Brendan Gleeson), a brute of a guy that is the size of two warriors, who never at any stage, takes a backward steps in the war. While Robert the Bruce (Angus McFadyen) is a very interesting character, a guy who you think you know, but then surprises you.
On the English side, the enemy that Wallace wants to defeat, is King Edward I (Patrick McGoohan), or longshanks' as he is referred to. He is a very aggressive type of king, when in a fit of rage throws a friend of the Prince of Wales (Peter Hanly), out a high rise window, as he has no time to listen to this inferior sort of person. McGoohan is a nasty king and does not like what Wallace is achieving by the war. His son is a weakling, so afraid of what he is seeing take place.
The Prince was arranged in marriage to a French woman, for political reasons. Her name is Princess Isabella (Sophie Marceau) a beautiful woman, who is used to try and bribe Wallace to stop the war. He immediately picks up that she is attracted to him. The Princess hates her husband, but is truly in love with Wallace. When Wallace is close to death, the Princess tries to help him handle the ordeal. Marceau is great in this role as she is nice to look at and convincing in her role.
I love all the battle scenes in Braveheart', as they are filmed in a big and bold way by Gibson. That is not to say they are easy to watch. The first battle at death of Braveheart's wife is tough to watch. Yet there were times I was laughing (unintentionally) as the English were frightened for their lives at the sight of Braveheart' and his men. The major war scenes are great, but also leave nothing to the imagination, as we see arrows, swords and axes wounding and killing many men on both sides.
The music to Braveheart was another important element, as it gave the correct Scottish feel to the film. The composer on Braveheart was James Horner, whose music gives the film true emotion when it needs it. The bagpipes are used in a very effective way here especially.
Mel Gibson is currently in the spotlight with his movie The Passion of The Christ'. I felt I would prepare myself for that movie by going back and watching this film and I am glad that I did. The resemblance that this film has with the story of Jesus is amazing. Braveheart' is the ultimate Hollywood movie experience, a most powerful film, made by a man with a passion, about a man with an intense passion, who was willing enough to sacrifice himself in order that his country could have freedom. What a sacrifice it was too!
CMRS gives Braveheart': 5 (Brilliant Film)
They're the Friends we've grown to love...... It has truly been a joy for me to watch 'Friends'!
When Friends began way back in 1994, I was not swept by the euphoria that this TV series started. I did not find it funny, in fact I found it rather silly and could not relate to the 6 characters created. Then one day, I was watching an episode that I started laughing at, then from that time on I was able to relate to Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe, and the crazy antics that each one of them seems to get into.
This half-hour comedy features six young friends who face life and love in New York. Together, they find true companionship and comfort as they get entangled in numerous hilarious dilemmas. Through any circumstance, the group have a bond of friendship that helps them laugh while dealing with the world around them.
The show was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and they must be astounded by the popularity of the show. To create such interesting characters was wonderful, with the difference in personalities being fascinating.
This leads me to the dedicated writing team that have brought us 'Friends'. Helping Crane and Kauffman is a huge team of writers. All of these writers have continued to come up with funny, interesting and shocking storylines. It also has to be said, that these people do have a very fine sense of humour, as some of the lines these characters say are priceless. It is credit to these people for how fresh the stories have stayed for the show.
The main characters are all people I have grown to love as I have got to known them. Here is a small piece on each of them:
Rachel (Jennifer Aniston): Rachel is a very good girl at heart, although she can be tough to get along with when she wants. She has a history with Ross that has been funny to see as the years have gone on. It is a known fact that Rachel cannot cook or make a decent cup of coffee. Jennifer Aniston is simply stunning in this role and is probably the only actor out of this six that has been able to transgress into mainstream movie acting.
Ross (David Schwimmer): Ross is a guy that has had some really bad luck, but you would have to also say that he is pretty stupid for some of the things that he does. He has been divorced three times (one from a wife who is now a lesbian). Ross also has some of the more crazy stuff happen to him. David Schwimmer is a very interesting actor, as he really does make a fool of himself for the millions of people around the world. Interesting note: Schwimmer has directed a few episodes of 'friends' as well.
Monica (Courtney Cox Arquette): Monica is Ross' younger sister, a girl who is very head strong, stubborn, unbeatable (in her mind) and someone who likes to get her own way. She is also a person that is very articulate and likes to keep things extremely clean. Monica was once overweight, eating everything she could get her hands on. Courtney Cox is very good at being Monica, with her strange personality a little over the top, while her performances as overweight 'Monica', being the best in the entire show. Cox has been a part of the famous 'Scream' trilogy, which has helped her career. It was funny to see the episode where all the cast had the name 'Cox-Arquette' attached with there names.
Chandler (Matthew Perry): Chandler is the comedian in the group, always likes to laugh, tell a joke or make a smart comment in a conversation. Yet he knows when has said a bad line. Chandler for the best part of the show has had terrible luck with relationships, until he hooked up with Monica, which was one of the big highlights to the show. The lengths that the pair go to hide the fact was very funny. Chandler's parents were also very interesting to meet. Perry plays his part very well (no joke).
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow): Phoebe is the wacky part of the group. She sings and plays guitar at the coffee shop, albeit badly. She has lost a mother, has an identical twin and has been a surrogate mother for her half brother Frank and his older partner Alice, making her life a bit twisted. Yet through all this she has a very sexy confident manner, which is irresistible not to like. She says and does some of the more silly things, not too unlike Ross. Kudrow plays Phoebe as if she is really like her, but I would be guessing that Kudrow is much different to Phoebe in real life.
Joey (Matt LeBlanc): Joey is the guy all the women die for. Well that is what Joey wants us to believe anyway. He is, I guess, charismatic, but only ever in a relationship for the goal to sleep with the woman in question. Joey is an actor, playing Dr. Drake Ramoray in 'Days Of Our Lives'. He is the unintelligent person in the group, but covers it up pretty well. Joey also has seven sisters. Matt LeBlanc is great as this character, although he is way different to Joey in real life.
'Friends' has had some impressive guest stars including Elle MacPherson, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Selleck, Helen Hunt, Morgan Fairchild and George Clooney to name just a few. I like the sets the show has had, as they are well made and suit the show well. This is a big task for the crew that assemble them. I also love the theme song to Friends titled 'I'll be there for you' sung by the Rembrandts. With Friends now coming to an end, the TV world is losing a big show, as is the audience which it pleases. But we all have to be thankful, that for ten years, our lives have been enriched by six extraordinary people, people I call 'Friends'.
This movie was just a big excuse for a sequel. Why did something have to survive'?
I might be pre-empting the cinema going public around the world here, but I believe most of them would have loved the 1997 sequel to Jurassic Park titled The lost World'. Well there is movie-goer that did not like it that much, and that was ME! This movie loses the appeal that was created in the first movie, has moments where it so over the top that it kills the movie, and lacks the depth of characters that could make me care. Jurassic Park: The Lost World' is living proof that it takes more than a big budget, a successful director and box office hype, to make a decent movie sequel.
It has been four years since the disaster at Jurassic Park. The individual scientists who had been hired as consultants on the project agreed to remain silent about it. Now something is wrong at second Remote Island of prehistoric inhabitants. Dr. Ian Malcolm and his group are about to find out... something has survived.
The special effects in this film are the only saving point for me. Once again the special effect team make the dinosaurs come frighteningly to life, in a way that I really like. These creatures actually cease being special effects and seem real. Back doing the dinosaur special effects in the Lost World are Dennis Muren, Stan Winston and Michael Lantieri. To say that the one reason to watch this film is because of the continuation of the great special effects would be an understatement.
Yet the story presented is very corny, perfunctory and does things just because they need to be done. First time around I was convinced that seeing a dinosaur theme park going wrong was entertaining, but in the second part of the story I feel it is a complete waste of time, as it is just not that interesting, in fact it is down right boring. The story is based on Michael Crichton's second novel of the same name, which I have read many people criticise for being a farce. Then back again as screenwriter is David Koepp, whose screenplay has many problems including clichéd characters, boring storylines and bad flat spots. The other problem to the Lost World story is that it did not allow the dinosaurs to be the main stars of the film, which is what the first film did better in my view.
Now was Steven Spielberg actually directing this film? From where I viewed it, it did not feel like it. From all my research, I agreed mostly with movie critic Roger Ebert. He said about Steven Spielberg as director of The Lost World, This feels like the kind of sequel a master hands over to an apprentice, and you sense that although much effort was lavished on the special effects, Spielberg's interest in the story was perfunctory.' Now while I am big a fan of Spielberg, I am afraid that I agree with Ebert here. The strong presence that I was expecting from Spielberg is not present here and it brings the film down.
I also agree with Ebert about the key weaknesses to the film. There are too many scenes drawn out and elaborate for the sake of being just that, not good enough in my view. The worst scene in the film has to be where the research trailer is hanging over the cliff, we see a terrifying drop and of course there is a dinosaur attacking our characters to just add to the cliché of it all. This scene is placed into the film, forty-minutes after the most boring of lead-ups I have ever seen.
While the last half an hour to the film seemed too much like a typical Hollywood ending, with the film overstaying its welcome. Now while most people would be thrilled by these set-ups, I found them very frustrating in this film, as I believe it did not add anything to the film, although Spielberg and his team wanted the audience to believe it had. Well it did not work on me!
The movie stars some famous names. Back for a second dose of dinosaur action is scientist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Now I had problems with his performance in the first film, but Goldblum here is unconvincing as the dinosaur expert, as his dialogue is delivered in such a quiet and unconvincing way. Malcolm is in a relationship with another dinosaur expert, Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore). Now this character was ok in parts of the film, as she has intimate moments with dinosaurs, which were interesting to see.
Also along for the ride is a wasted character in Malcolm's daughter, Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), who is one of the characters I have referred to as clichéd', as she does nothing that makes her seem that important to the story. However, my favourite character in the film has to be the game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), whose character is very smart, while being surrounded by people, getting eaten by dinosaurs. When asked about the possibility of working full time with dinosaurs he states I have spent enough time in the company of death'.
This movie had a rival coming out around the same, that being Godzilla', another big budget Hollywood farce in my view. Spielberg I can only imagine looked at this movie as competition, and in a way tried to out stage it before it was released. Now while I think neither movie have had a positive influence on cinema, I think Spielberg should have been more focused on getting his movie right. I mean this film could have been as good as the first, but with so many flaws, I cannot forgive it. It is only lucky that this film got the box success it did, because I firmly believe it could have hurt Spielberg's career, or may have even started the end of it.
CMRS gives Jurassic Park: The Lost World': 1 (Bad Film)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Spielberg and his team have made one fearsome and mesmerising movie.
When I was told about the greatness of the 'dinosaurs' as a young child back in primary school, I had a complete fasciation with some of God's most powerful creatures. Dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex have their own strange and unique characteristics which make them so interesting to learn about. So when I heard that Hollywood was making a movie on Dinosaurs titled 'Jurassic Park', I was truly excited. This film gives life back to creatures I wish I could have seen in the flesh.
One of mankind's most thrilling fantasies has come true, an astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. With this discovery we get 'Jurassic Park', a remote island theme park, with actual living dinosaurs. The only problem is, it is about to turn deadly as five people, including two palaeontologists, must battle to survive among these prehistoric predators.
Steven Spielberg has made a film full of terror and scary creatures. I like how the film opens, as it gives us as the audience a chance to see what it is that man has created, and that it might not be the best investment to be involved with. The only problem I have with Spielberg's vision for 'Jurassic park' is the ending. Learning that he thought it up, I feel is a little corny and is too easy an escape for our characters, considering what they have escaped from before all this. Yet Spielberg did a great job in giving us a look at the wonder and/or scariness of the dinosaurs, as I believe I was moved almost every time I saw a scene with a dinosaur.
This was definitely helped by the team that created these dinosaurs for Spielberg. The special effects are terrific, as the dinosaurs seem real and alive in this film. In the last few weeks I have seen films from a similar time as Jurassic Park, and the special effects were appalling. Now they were going to either make or break this film. Thankfully they were good enough to make this film. The dinosaur special effects were very well done by Stan Winston, Dennis Muren, Phill Tippett and Michael Lanteri.
The screen play was the inspiration of novelist Michael Crichton and David Koepp (from MI and MI2). The story to the film is taken from Crichton's novel on the same material. Although some of the character creations for the screenplay might be a little weak, the story is very interesting to see as
it unfolds, as the dinosaurs get into a very powerful position.
At the forefront of the movie are palaeontologists and dinosaur experts Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Fern). They are convinced to come and evaluate a new 'family centric' park with living dinosaurs. The owner of the park is millionaire Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). The pair are initially overawed by what they see at the park. Neill and Fern are good in what they bring to the film, with Neill the standout, bringing a calmness and sensibility to his character, which keeps everybody from breaking down in many crisis situations.
Attenborough's character could have been better, as it is very strange how he reacts to the situation that he sees 'Jurassic park' in. The two young grandchildren of Hammond, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) are very good, as they make us feel emotion for their many dangerous situations we see them in.
Yet the rest of the cast cannot get the same credit. Firstly you have a mathematician along for the joy ride here, his name is Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is only ever placed in the screenplay for some funny and some stupid lines. Then Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) is one of the computer experts, in charge of running Jurassic Park's main working centre. Now unfortunately Knight is not a good character here, as his storyline lacks in sense and does not add to the film, although it could have. If he got away with what he stole it would have been very interesting.
The film has some very memorable moments. When the character's meet the many different dinosaurs, they truly have a sense of grandeur and amazement. The running herd of dinosaurs are wonderful, as they are very alive and it would be a dream to meet such a flock of animals. All the moments with T-Rex are terrifying, such as when the park shuts down and the two kids are attacked in their vehicle. The lawyer in the car makes a rather selfish and crazy choice. The kids also have a fascinating sequence, where they play hide and seek with two smaller dinosaurs in the park's kitchen.
The musical score to Jurassic Park is another of the film's highlights. Composed by the greatest movie composer ever, John Williams, the score gives the movie an awesome feel when it requires it. Then in an instant changes a scene to make the film seem terrifying. When a musical score does this to a film, it is hard not to be affected, as I know I was.
Steven Spielberg has been involved with some very impressive movie creatures, such as the scary shark 'Jaws', the very unique alien 'E.T', and of course the gruesome little buggers known as 'Gremlins', creatures that love to cause havoc. Now Spielberg has tinkered with Dinosaurs, awesome creatures that are very violent and destructive.
Jurassic Park is a film that only confirms in my mind that dinosaurs are not meant to be played around with and shows what happens when man starts to play God. He soon realises that it is an area that he has no right to deal with. I like this film as I was entertained by the story, love the historical ideas that are presented by the dinosaurs and how man should only remember what Dinosaurs were like, as living with them in today's world could be catastrophic.
CMRS gives 'Jurassic Park': 4 (Very Good Movie)
Bad Eggs (2003)
Someone is on the shonk. To steal a phrase From the opening scene we know that we're onto something good'. Finally, after along time, we have a decent Aussie movie on our hands.
In a time when Aussie movies are in a bit of bad patch, here is one that really surprised me. It is the Tony Martin brainchild, Bad Eggs', a film that is so serious, that you have to look real hard for its funny bits. Martin has made a very intelligent movie, one that simmers along at a nice pace, includes a fine cast and shows off some of the great Melbourne locations. Bad Eggs' is a movie that proves some cops will go to extraordinary lengths to get to the bottom of the trouble. But no-one told these cops the trouble they might end up in as well
Ben Kinnear and Mike Paddock are undercover cops with the elite Zero Tolerance Unit. Busted down to uniformed duties after a series of humiliating blunders, the duo accidentally uncovers a conspiracy that goes right to the middle. Helped only by embittered reporter, Julie Bale and a reluctant computer geek, Northey, Ben and Mike set out to clear their names and expose the villains.
Most of the praise for Bad Eggs' has to go writer/director Tony Martin. With this film he has proven that he has a future in the industry. The script he wrote for the film was extremely well written, as it had a fascinating story, some clever character creations (although some of the guys we see onscreen are anything but clever) and the Aussie language we hear in the film is a good reminder of that culture. Yet the story was also quite complex, as we learn more and more about what is actually going on.
Martin's direction was another highlight of the film. With this sort of quality direction, it would be hard to believe this is Martin's first time as a movie director, making this film an even bigger achievement for him. The opening of the movie must have been difficult to shoot, but Tony got it spot on. The film flowed beautifully after the start. I truly look forward to Martin's next movie.
Bad Eggs also has a great Australian cast. The main characters in the film are Ben Kinnear (Mick Molloy) and Mike Paddock (Ben Franklin). Molloy gives a pretty good role here, as he is funny and serious at various moments of the film. His expressions are also quite interesting. It is a much better role from Molloy than his performance in Crackerjack'. Franklin (From TV's Crash/Burn), was great in his role, as he was very funny, although he seem not to have to work hard at being this way. Paddock says and does some of the more silly antics in the movie. I love how he goes Chicka-chow'. Another integral character to the story is Julie Bale (Judith Lucy). Here, Lucy shows that she really can act. Lucy and Molloy suit each other onscreen, sharing a good chemistry in Bad Eggs'. Judith also gives her character a steely resolve, something that I enjoyed seeing.
The supporting cast of the film is just as great. Northey (Alan Brough) might be a geek, but proves he is a good guy, who helps Kinnear and Paddock when they need it the most. Heading the ZTU unit is Doug Gillespie (Marshall Napier), who we see has many headaches thanks to his undercover agents. While, Widow Eleanor Poulgrain (Robyn Nevin), help out Ben and Mike, when she could be excused for not doing so. The bad guys in the film are a bit schonky' alright. Ted Pratt (Bill Hunter) is a foul mouthed senior cop, who is definitely not on the level. Helping Ted is Wicks (Nichols Bell), a very sneaky and unethical police official. Then, with a very interesting cameo appearance in the film is state premier Lionel Cray (Shaun Micallef). Micallef was pretty good in the movie, with his character very dubious and having some of the more memorable lines.
The various scenes in the film are great. The opening of the film with the out of control car, going into a shopping mall was great to see. Then you have setups such as the fire at the widow's house, the bombing of the house and the driving of a car into a service station gas tank all being entertaining. However there was one scene that reminded of a film that I did not like too much. The infiltration of the highly guarded computer room by Ben and Mike, reminded me of the vault scene from Mission Impossible (1996) for some reason. I also enjoyed the dancing sequence used at the end of the film, with Molloy and Lucy showing that they can dance beautifully together.
With that in mind, I also like the musical themes in Bad Eggs'. The music makes the film seem like it is super serious, then at the change of a tone, the film can seem to be very light-hearted'. I like the music that was used in the final scene of the movie, as it gave the film a classy' kind of feeling, with the song in question being "Where or When" from singing maestro Frank Sinatra. The musical score for Bad Eggs was by David Graney and Clare Moore.
I have never seen a film that is so serious, yet at times so stupid. The balance of those elements works particularly well here. This film is not meant to be taken that seriously by its viewers, as the movie takes care of that for us. I was weary of this movie, because I was not a fan of the Mick Molloy Aussie flick Crackerjack', but I have plenty of respect for Bad Eggs'. Tony Martin can be pleased with this effort as director, as he has proven to me that he should continue his career in movie-making. I highly recommend Bad Eggs', a film that I believe just might help clean up the bad smells' that are starting to overtake the Australian Film Industry.
CMRS gives Bad Eggs': 4 (Very Good Film)