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Horrid monkey business
Hollywood should either stop making live action films where animals are expected to be the stars of the show or just not make them so often. The monotonous genre suffers its biggest farfetchedeness of all with this overly ridiculous 1995 Paramount release. This film tells the tale of a group of jungle explorers who take a dangerous trek to the African jungles to recover a gorilla who can communicate to humans through sign language. Compared to the acting performances here by a cast of mostly unknowns, that might actually be the plausible part. This film trashes just about every animal and jungle film cliche ever written and adds nothing genuinely interesting to the genre.
Courtroom drama letdown
The usually dependable film genre of the courtroom drama suffered a letdown with this 1959 20th Century Fox release. As always, Orson Welles delivers a great starring performance but his presence can not save the overall tiring storyline and extremely slow moving pace of this film.
Company Business (1991)
Another example of when bad films happen to good people
Mikhail Baryshnikov is an excellent ballet dancer but what inspired him to get into films? This time out, he is not even in his element. He was cast as ballet types in "The Turning Point" and "White Nights" but here, he has the miscasting of portraying a mole who gets involved in an operation involving swapping prisoners. It is basically a comedy but it does not succeed in being anywhere near funny and much better things can be expected out of Gene Hackman, who unfortunately costars in this snoozer.
Some funny moments but it should have been better
With "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels producing and a huge all star comedy cast including Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Jason Alexander, Chris Farley, Michael Richards, Lisa Jane Persky, Sinbad, Michael McKean, Phil Hartman, David Spade, Dave Thomas, Jan Hooks, Adam Sandler, Julia Sweeney and Drew Carey cast in the shenanigans, "Coneheads" should have been a gut busting laugh riot. While it does have some genuinely funny moments, there are not enough of them to make it a hit. The film is yet another extended format of a popular "Saturday Night Live" sketch. The victims this time are the Coneheads, the alien couple from the planet Remulac who crash their spaceship in New Jersey and wind up living among suburban inhabitants. Aykroyd and Curtin reprise their TV roles as married cone shaped head alien couple Beldar and Prymatt with Michelle Burke making her film debut as their daughter, Connie (Newman, who had portrayed that role on TV appears briefly here as Beldar's sister and Aykroyd's daughter, Danielle also appears in the film portraying Connie as a toddler). The plot (although it matters little when compared to the sight gags) has to do with the alien family being pursued by the INS led by Hartman and Spade who will do whatever it takes to deport them. The popular duo of Farley and Spade make their first appearance in a film amid the same cast here but they have no scenes together. Film is not a total waste but it is often rather dated and pales in comparison to the comic delivery of the TV sketches of the characters. Farley, Spade, Aykroyd and Michaels would later collaborate on the much funnier film, "Tommy Boy."
Con Air (1997)
An action packed thriller
Nicolas Cage recovers from the letdown that he suffered from "The Rock" with a strong action hero lead in this 1997 Touchstone release. The genre gets a twist here. Cage's character is actually a criminal but he gradually tries to turn himself into a hero when upon getting paroled and boarding a criminal infested plane back home, the plane is hijacked by a psychopath (John Malkovich). Just like he did in "In The Line Of Fire", Malkovich handles portraying a sinister villain to great effect and Cage can really deliver when the right scripts and roles come along. Genuine action, suspense and thrills abound in this film that ranks as one of Cage's very best.
Coming to America (1988)
Another Great Comedy Starring Eddie Murphy
After several years of starring in rowdy action comedies and con man capers, Eddie Murphy gets a chance to deliver a more restrained performance with this film and he manages to do so very well. Murphy portrays Akeem, an African prince who is being pressured into a forced marriage by his parents (James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair). The woman that they have chosen for him only sees him for his royalty and therefore does not really love him. Akeem sees this right away and brings his loyal servant, Semi (Arsenio Hall) along with him on a discreet mission to America where Akeem hopes to find a beautiful woman who will love him and accept him for who he really is and not just see him for his royalty. Posing as "common folk", Akeem and Semi get jobs at a McDonald's style restaurant and Akeem soon falls for the daughter (Shari Headley) of the restaurant's owner (John Amos). The film features many hilarious scenes and characters especially a group of boxing obsessed senior citizens who spend their days arguing with a barber shop owner. Murphy and Hall demonstrate their levels of versatility by managing to go under heavy makeup and portray several different costarring roles. Yet another example of why Murphy is one of the funniest actors in recent Hollywood history.
Cold Around the Heart (1997)
An OK crime/revenge action drama
After David Caruso left the popular TV series "N.Y.P.D. Blue" where he had become a star through his appearances on the first 26 episodes, finding work anywhere else was hard to come by and it would seem as though he would forever be typecast as Detective John Kelly. However, the decent results of this 1997 20th Century Fox release prove that Caruso could find something decent outside of his TV stardom. Caruso portrays Ned, a "gentleman" jewel thief who plans a big diamond heist with his partner, Jude (Kelly Lynch). It seemed perfectly planned but Jude gets greedy and takes off with the diamonds leaving a vengeful Ned in hot pursuit. Slow moving at times but the occasional big climactic monent makes up for the film's occasional slow pace.
One of the better teenage oriented films in recent years
Some genuinely amusing moments and good performances by a cast of then rising young stars save what is basically just another teenage oriented romantic comedy with the genre's standard plot and character predictaments. Alicia Silverstone moves on from her dreadful debut two years earlier in "The Crush" with her role here as Cher, a wealthy teenaged socialite who's obsessed with shopping and matchmaking. She gains a reputation for being able to set up dates for friends but is not so fortunate in being able to do so for herself. Several future stars including Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Donald Adeosun Faison, Jeremy Sisto and Breckin Meyer appear among Cher's peer group. A fairly fitting return to form for director/screenwriter Amy Heckerling, creator of the popular "Look Who's Talking" film series.
Martin Short Portraying A Child?!
During the early 1990's, the financial crisis that was going on at Orion Pictures delayed several of their films from theatrical release for at least two or three years after they were made. The even worse part is that none of those films were really worth the wait and this Martin Short/Charles Grodin family oriented comedy ranks as one of them. Short has his worst and most unbelievable role ever as he portrays a ten year old boy (he was forty-two years old at the time this film was made). Such an idea for comic novelty shouldn't even be considered. The mirthless plot has to do with the misadventures of Clifford (Short) and his Uncle Martin (Grodin) on a day when the kid hating man has to babysit his unruly nephew. Much predictability occurs within the story and Grodin's once excellent film career has taken one flop too many. Fortunately, he resurfaced as a popular cable TV news personality.
There's not much action here
Sylvester Stallone's early action films actually had some decent action. Most of his latter day films which all pass themselves off as action films only seem to contain gratuitous explosions and buff bodies. This disappointment from Stallone and action film director fixture Richard Donner being one of them. It's basically a rehash of tired action sequences and unoriginal ideas that fails to hold the viewer's interest much of the time. Almost as bad as "Cop Land", a later Stallone film.