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Oh my goodness, what could have possibly possessed Irwin Allen to make this ridiculous sequel to the original classic. The premise of this movie is unbelievably asinine, the acting is atrocious (especially by Sally Field, who gives the most embarrassing performance of any Oscar-winner ever), the sets are hideously cheap, and the cinematography is abysmal. It's a little disconcerting to think that actual paychecks were handed out in the making of this project.
First of all, do the script-writers really want us to believe that anyone in their right mind would enter a sinking, exploding, and UPSIDE DOWN ship without any sort of equipment, JUST TO LOOT IT??? If that's not ridiculous enough, a gunfight breaks out between several of the characters while the ship is continually exploding and sinking. After the gunfight, the group led by Michael Caine (who is horribly miscast as a gruff tug-boat captain) decides to rest, giving Sally Field and Shirley Jones a few minutes to discuss their love lives (I'm not making this up!). Do these characters really not sense the danger they're in?? As a side note, this movie isn't even possible to begin with since in the original, the water practically CHASED the cast to the engine room, meaning all the decks below were flooded. In this movie, the water seems to have receded, as if the ship were some sort of flesh eating monster waiting for fresh meat to drown and devour.
Avoid this movie unless you are interested in seeing top-notch actors embarrass themselves.
I went to see this abomination in the theatre today and got exactly what I expected: a predictable romantic comedy without the comedy. The only reason I saw it is because one of my friends absolutely ADORES Tina Fey so she HAD to see this movie. Unfortunately, I was the victim she dragged along to witness it. There are very few, if any, redeeming values here.
The plot is thin, boring, and worst of all predictable. Not a single thing happens that the audience couldn't have figured out beforehand. Tina Fey plays the world's worst admissions officer who is being heckled by a teacher, played by Paul Rudd, to admit one of his "prodigy" students into Princeton. Conveniently, they're both single and he's got an adopted son. I'm not spoiling anything by saying they end up in each others arms by the time the credits roll. Oh, and the kid ends up getting admitted. Amazing. Never saw that coming.
The acting isn't too awful but the dialogue is absolutely repulsive. The script mostly has characters uttering one-liners instead of giving them anything meaningful to say. As a result, we are forced to watch cardboard cutouts making unfunny jokes for 2 hours. Most of the jokes fall flat completely, inducing more groans than laughs. I can't tell you how many times I cringed while watching this garbage. Ugh.
The manner in which this movie was edited made me wonder whether the director is suffering from ADD. Random scenes are slapped together with seemingly no effort to maintain a coherent storyline. This achieves nothing but to annoy the audience.
All in all, a crummy movie. Tina Fey should definitely stick to SNL as movies are clearly not her thing.
1 out of 10 stars
When Time Ran Out... (1980)
Wow, what can I say? Never have I seen such an appalling movie come out of a major studio. How this film ever got into theater's is simply beyond me. Direct-to-video would have been more appropriate with the director opting for an "Alan Smithee" credit to spare the embarrassment. There is not a single redeeming value to be found in this horrendous piece of clap-trap. The acting is deplorable, the script is inane, the sets look like left-overs from Fantasy Island, the dialog is awful (and, at times, unintentionally hilarious) and the "special" effects are unspeakably bad. To approach this movie with the expectation of seeing a good feature film is utter lunacy. The only way to watch this movie is to take it for what it is. A joke.
Let's begin with the special effects, shall we? According to IMDb, When Time Ran Out... was filmed on a budget of over 20 million dollars. You will have a VERY hard time believing this after witnessing the not-so-special effects presented here. They could not possibly have cost more than a few dollars. For the daytime shots, the volcano is a painting matted onto the frame, with black diesel smoke being emitted from behind it. During nighttime, the volcano is shown via stock footage, which doesn't even resemble the original volcano seen during daytime. And don't even get me started on the climactic scene in which the resort explodes in a massive fireball. Let's just say I've seen more convincing special-effects in episodes of Bewitched.
The script? Horrendous. From dialog to storyline, the script is riddled with clichés and fails to deliver anything even closely resembling quality entertainment. I actually cringed when some of the characters delivered their lines. Try not to laugh as Holden spouts lines such as "Nicki dear, we have to get out of here, the volcano's pouring lava this way!". James Franciscus's overblown dialog is particularly amusing ("There's not going to be any evacuation!!"). The scene that takes the cake for being the most cringe-worthy is the beach scene with Newman and Bisset. This scene will have you searching frantically for your remote to hit fast-forward.
As many other users have already said, the plot recycles ideas from many of Allen's previous disaster movies and relies HEAVILY on clichés. And since the budget for special effects was clearly non-existent, the director opted to film endless footage of actors reacting to off-screen calamities while blaring melodramatic music in the background. In fact, about half this movies running time is composed of actors making faces into the camera. The scene in which the all-star cast journeys to the other side of the island by car is particularly noteworthy. It consists of 10 full minutes of actors sitting in cars, staring into space or at each other, while trying hard not to actually say anything. Somebody actually got paid to write this?
As you may have already guessed, many aspects of the movies storyline are utterly absurd. Here are a few examples that will have you roaring with laughter or just leave you scratching your head
1) There is a laboratory perched right ON THE LIP of an ACTIVE volcano. Who would spend millions of dollars to build this?! As expected, the place is vaporized when the volcano erupts.
2) The volcano will occasionally spew meteor-like lava balls which only hit the luxury hotel. Furthermore, the lava balls do only minor damage while the all-star cast is in the hotel, but when they have reached a safe location the lava balls cause the entire hotel to explode, killing everyone inside. Very inconsistent.
3) The volcano creates a tidal wave which comes TOWARDS the island. It ravages every part of the coastline except where the luxury hotel is located. How convenient.
4) The all-star cast is forced to cross a rickety bridge over a river of what is apparently cold lava (a scene that takes a FULL 20 MINUTES to complete). Anyone who took high school physics class would know that the bridge and anyone/anything on it would be incinerated by the heat radiating from the magma but clearly logic is not a concern in this movie. Why they have to cross the damn thing is never explained either. Action for the sake of action I suppose. Once they cross it, they walk a few feet to a cave where they hide out for the rest of the movie.
5) Jacqueline Bisset adopts a completely different hairstyle midway through the film. Just how long did the production stall on this thing?!
The acting in this movie is appalling. Newman barely acts and looks extremely uncomfortable just being there. Bisset fails spectacularly at trying to act sexy (it looks more like she has gas) and the way she delivers many of her lines is awkward. Holden, a legendary actor, gives what is no doubt the worst performance of his career. Franciscus overacts to the point of insanity and the rest of the cast is not even worth mentioning. They're just a bunch of television stars who are used to appearing in crap like this.
The cinematography is pathetic. Our director, James Goldstone, has seemingly achieved the impossible: making a tropical island look ugly. Seriously, this movie has almost no visual appeal to it, making it all the more painful to endure. It's also blatantly obvious that many of the "outdoor" scenes were filmed on a sound-stage.
Shockingly, When Time Ran Out was nominated for an Academy Award (for best costume design anyway). Despite the (undeserved) nomination, this movie is not recommended unless you are looking for a few unintentional laughs. The only good thing that can be said about this travesty is that it (mercifully) ended the "disaster movie craze" of the 1970's. For that reason alone, this movie gets 2 stars instead of 1.
This Can't Be Love (1994)
Kate Hepburns Swan Song
Although it may not exactly be "Bringing up Baby" I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn in her final leading role. She still shines as an actress in her 62nd year of acting despite suffering from skin cancer during filming. But being a trooper she makes it through the movie in one piece. Her character parallels her own life on so many levels that this could be considered a documentary on her own long and successful career. At one point she even talks about appearing in a western with John Wayne (Rooseter Cogburn 1975) and having survived a hurricane as she really did back in 1938. All in all, this was a cute little television production. It's always nice to see Kate Hepburn.
One Christmas (1994)
Only for Hepburn Fans
The only reason I give this 6 stars is because of Katharine Hepburn. This just happened to be her final film role and I still can't figure out why she'd choose this as an end to her glorious career. She is the only reason I saw this movie and after viewing it, I can't say there was anything I enjoyed about this film other than her presence, even though her scenes took up less than 10 minutes of screen time. She is visibly frail in this movie, with her head shaking so severely, I though it was going to fall off any second. There were some good performances by Swoosie Kurtz and Henry Winkler but everything else about this movie "stinks". I just didn't connect with any of the characters due to their underdevelopment and the movie doesn't feel like it takes place in the 1930's, but then again I suppose the budget of this TV movie wouldn't allow that. Like I said before, I'd only recommend this to Hepburn fans, but anyone else shouldn't bother.