Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
If there was a Razzie in Egypt, this one could have swept !
(Mohammed Saad) is such a good comedian. Through some minor and co-starring roles in plays, TV shows and movies, he proved his talent in performing slapstick and improvising jokes. After the smash success of his breakthrough movie (Ellemby - 2000), with playing a nearly half-mentally handicapped half-stoned guy, whether the producers forced him to play variations on that character again and again, or - simply - he has nothing to do but that !
In his first decade as a star, hope not to be his last, he's always a character that has problems speaking, moving, and thinking. Whatever the name of the movie, or the name of his character is (always the same by the way) he speaks in absolute nonsense, moves in too exaggerated ways, and acts between dumbness and hysteria. Now in (Karkar), double all of that into 20 !
There is nothing in this movie but (Saad). And, most probably, there is nothing he does is written. And, surely, there is nothing of his material that works. (Karkar) is not merely one of the worst movies (Saad) ever did; it's some of the worst moments ever captured on film !
(Saad) plays half of the movie's characters, all bizarre noisy characters, using every possible way he has to make laughs, which turns out to be the ugliest : shrill screams, incomprehensible words, dead gags, nasty curses, slaps to everybody, disgusting dances, with repeating all of that non-stop to the last atom in your patience. The women he played (more of a drag queen) is emetic, the father is boring if not creepy, and the title character isn't anywhere close to be bearable !
Aside from (Saad), all who participated in this movie should be ashamed of themselves. Was there one element, rather one moment, that anybody could call creative or clever ?! As for the script, it's pretty obvious that there wasn't a "real" script. Instead, a general agreement about some scenes, and all the blanks would be perfectly filled later by (Saad)'s gobbledygook !
As for the pace, it's something this movie doesn't know, so how about being a comedy ? Actually comedy without a pace is like a beach without a sea ! The movie makers let (Saad) do anything he wants in front of the camera, for all the time he needs. I felt that he - for a rare time in any cinema - was left to improvise while the camera was shooting, with no editing after. Originally, forget about the editing because I think there wasn't any, maybe some moments were edited out for other actors to make you concentrate on the main star only. Look at the dance of Karkar's father, that father's speech about marriage, the madhouse's scene, or imitating the cats on the bed. OH MY GOD. It's ridiculous to tormenting extent !
As for the cast, (Hassan Hosny) does the same of what he used to do in his last 100 movies, done in the last 10 years, however with being kissed on the mouth by Saad this time. (Alaa Mourse) is here to be slapped on the face endlessly. And (Yassmen Abd El Aziz) ?? How could she bear being in this ?! Fairly, the sole funny thing in this movie was its leaning to be extremely serious near the end !
With (Saad) playing many awful characters, directors surrendering utterly to fulfill all what he desires, and producers spending money on things like this historical dud-then we're in a case of vanity, artlessness, and foolishness. Hence the result is something not entertaining, just painful.
"Karkar" in Arabic slang stands for guffaw. According to this movie, I don't think so. Because silliness wasn't more hard, heavy and free like that before. And during the past 15 years, the call for an Egyptian Razzie never buzzed this loud. I believe (Mohammed Saad) is a force of nature. Like the lightning's electricity, he needs to be controlled to be used correctly. Otherwise, terrible disasters, like (Karkar), accrue when he's left loose. So eventually this movie can be fit for one thing; being a good warning message for both : The producers and (Saad). If only they would learn !
Boring Parody !
Name one thing that forces you to continue watching this ? The answer is : the desire of seeing "how low can it go ?!"
Don't you ever believe the yak about it as realistic, character study, social commentary, and sophisticated arty piece of cinema. It's baloney; and I mean this movie along with that talk !
Someone even said that this is a wonderful black comedy. Baby, this movie isn't, your title is !
In fact, this movie could be nothing but a comedy gone wrong. Though in terms of comedy, and long titles, The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call - New Orleans (2009) reminded me of Juiskers II : The Sequel with No Prequel (2006), and Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth (2000). Because this may be a parody of its original. However, comedy without timing isn't comedy !
In a June 2008 interview with The Guardian, Abel Ferrara, who directed and co-wrote the original Bad Lieutenant, said that finding out his movie was being remade was "a horrible feeling", "like when you get robbed". He also wondered how Nicolas Cage "can even have the nerve to play Harvey Keitel", and called screenwriter William M. Finkelstein an idiot. Putting in mind how the remake turned out to be, I couldn't agree more !
Fairly, this is a movie that tried so seriously to be something bigger than its original, and itself, but didn't have the abilities, hence ended up as a really bad joke.
Bad Lieutenant, bad movie, and - with tons of pointless remakes lately - bad Hollywood.
EL Kaf (1985)
Love makes better supernatural power !
Plot Summary : A man (played by Farid Shawqi) got the palm of his hand read by one the Bedouins (it's common in Arab countries to have such a predictor; who looks at the palm of a person's hand, then tells that person's future). That fortune-teller informs the man that he'll have 3 sons, and every one of them will die in the day of his own wedding. Oddly enough, it happened with the first son. Then with the second. And now, the third (played by Farouk El Fishawi) falls in love with a girl (played by Athar El Hakkeem), wanting to marry her, which leads to a conflict between superstition and science, fear and love, premonition and volition.
This is the first movie written by (Ahmed Abd El- Rahmaan), and the first collaboration between him and director (Mohamed Haseeb) who makes here his second movie. It's obvious that both of them aspired to reach an unusual area for suspense in the Egyptian cinema through the common belief in prophecies.
It may seem as a metaphorical story about the father's exaggerated love for his sons, whereas everyone of them dies the minute he leaves the dad to live with someone else. However, I think its intended message is about how believing in prophecies tortures the human, and how faith in god's supreme plan leads to the restful satisfaction. The best point is that the script makes clear that love is the power to defeat these silly superstitions and alleged fates, especially when the third son and his love survive the plane crash in the end. Generally it's like a manifesto against astrology, and the absolute belief in it.
(Farid Shawqi) is an icon in the Egyptian cinema's history. He had been surnamed (The King) due to his achievement in acting, writing and producing a long list of successful movies since the 1950s till his death in the late 1990s. Here, he was so convincing as the loving father who suffers deep pains, for the loss of his 2 sons, and - also - for his faith in the frightening prophecy while wanting his last son to live in the same time.
Composer (Mohammed Helall) wrote such a beautiful music to assure the sad sense of the father's dilemma, and the romance of the 2 lovers. And director of photography (Saeed Shimi) is one of the best, I just recall the wedding scene, where he portrayed everything through the father's tears, which turned the scene into joyful oil painting deformed by water.
(El-Kaff) or (The Palm of The Hand) deals with the matter of knowing the future through a realistic atmosphere, simple drama, and many discussions. It's serious and a bit talkative message movie, however with different source to thrill. So if you're waiting for a fantasy movie, go elsewhere. Because this one has a supernatural factor, only to beat it, assuring that love makes yet stronger supernatural power.
In the same year of 1985, the same writer with the same director would reunite again, to make another movie, produced by (El-Kaff)'s young lead actor (Farouk El Fishawi), titled (Esteghatha Min El-Alam El-Akher) or (A Call for Help from The World to Come) which was much better movie and a wholly supernatural thriller.
Batman Forever (1995)
The Bat Nipples Were Here First !
Now that's a loud matter to review !
(Val Kilmer) was just a handsome robot, delivering his lines tastelessly as if it's intentional. At one episode of "Inside The Actor Studio", Kilmer said that he hated the role, the suit, the whole deal, but Hey.. that's not an enough justification for not making his best, or spending any effort (or maybe what we watched was his best !).
The script provided us with many explosive situations, but it was idiotic at certain places; Bruce Wayne is thinking about bat, so he's Batman ! (I may think about sea at times, so that makes me Aquaman ?!!). Batman saves Harvey Dent / Two-Face from a whole deformation, so the latter wants to revenge on Batman NOT the real doer ?? Moreover, the solution of all the Riddler's riddles' is the "Riddler" himself, so he was only declaring himself ??
There were smart ideas along the way, which the script wasted utterly; like the character of the Two-Face as someone who lives an inner conflict all the time, and also the plan of the Riddler to suck the people's brains through TV. But who said that this movie wanted to be smart ?!
The movie wanted to make crazy action unremittingly, while being one huge party of vociferous colors unlike its too dark antecedent Batman Returns. Yes, the colors were harmonious, but their turmoil was onerous. Therefore Elliot Goldenthal's orchestrated music sounded too noisy to stand among all of this. Ironically, the movie's music video with U2's masterpiece (Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me) was better than the movie itself !
Name good things IN it ? Well, just 2 things were perfect : the beauty of Nicole Kidman and Drew Barrymore, and when I knew that (William Baldwin) was considered for the role of Batman and (Linda Hamilton) as his girl; since I thanked God, deeming not doing that a good thing indeed !
To everyone complained about (Batman & Robin) as the uglier one in the first franchise, telling unstoppable jokes about the nipples of the Batsuit as the lowest bottom that movie hit-please look closer, the nipples made their first appearance IN HERE first, where the evil seed of "silly" was sown.
To end it on a tolerant note, I'll say that this is a gaudy, loud, silly action; which's usual in most of Hollywood movies !
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Wild Bunch or The Wild Hoax !!
Oh boy. I've read about how great this movie is since I was a kid. In books, in magazines' lists for the best westerns, or the best movies of all time. I've never ever read something remotely bad about it. And I've never imagined that when I got to watch it, I would be the one to say something bad about it (actually, it's "some things" !).
First off, what a trivial script. I read that this was the ultimate elegy about the old west's end. OK, that itself is an elegy about the honesty of whoever wrote it ! The movie's plot summary on IMDb says : "An aging group of outlaws look for a last big score as the traditional American West is disappearing around them". Now that meaning is embodied in that line more than it is in the movie !
We have no character development, or characters. What we have is : a Mexican revolutionary wannabe, a man who had a fling with a married woman someday, a fat man who is called the Dutchman, and a Mexican general with inexplicably sad eyes. They don't talk much, and when they do, no valuable thing is uttered. Plus, every time the leads laugh, I don't get it. And they laugh a lot throughout the movie. These moments could have been classic, touching, or just funny. Though it ended up as incomprehensible !
Speaking of which, I didn't get why the whole Mexican village went to bid farewell to the American thieves ? How a gang member complains continually about its leadership, then forgets that utterly later ?! Why nobody moved when the Mexican general is killed ? Why William Holden character killed the German leader ? And how the gang's oldest member survived while he was left alone, seriously injured, in the middle of the desert ??
The odd moments are many. At one, 2 of the gang members follow a girl in a Mexican village, while their leader jokes about the child's part in the man. Clearly the 2 men were sexually frenetic over the girl ! At another, a gang member tries to detonate his fellow while the latter is about to excrete. What's the meaning of that ?! Is that they're crazy ?? We know that since the start. Was is a relief moment ?? It wasn't played that way !! And then, a recruited Mexican child looks extremely respectful to the Mexican general. Is it about false gods ?, the infancy of whoever believes in a dictator ?? What was the meaning of it ??!!
Robert Ryan's character is the worst conflict's part I've seen. He doesn't make a thing for all the time, being more of a laughingstock, and – worse – presented in a massively serious way !
And I got enough when the leads had THE WALK to save their Mexican fellow. Well, 4 men against 2 hundreds isn't heroism inasmuch as stupidity. And if it was made like they have a death wish, since their world was falling apart, then it wasn't built well, or at all. Btw, they were about to kill that same guy themselves after the first robbery gone sour (they did kill one of them already while the escape of that robbery !). So when some critics babble about the movie's so-called "strong thematic standpoint about friendship, betrayal, and self-destruction", you have to ask "Where is that ?". Nevertheless, I have to admit that the movie's drama "destructed itself" indeed !
I recall another critic saying "It has legendary actors in legendary roles". OK, where are those roles for god's sake ?! Nobody can evaluate acting in a movie that didn't care of making any characters !
This movie cared of 3 things only. Firstly, smashing the legend of the decent west, which was established in all the previous westerns done while The Motion Picture Production Code (1930 – 1968). Simply the past's bank robbers were super violent, whore-loving, and foul-mouthed; meaning a lot of on-screen violence, nudity, and swearing. However, ask yourself what was director Sam Peckinpah's true goal when he showed us bare breasts and an orgy ? If it's realism, then why didn't he – with greater reason – showed us CHARACTERS ?! So when violence, nudity, and swearing are all the realism you have, with the absence of drama too, then it's degenerated commercialism masquerading as art. And it's what gradually ate up Hollywood movies, of all genres, since 1968, till they became cheap exploitation, and pornography with a story !
Secondly, the editing. It's a wild, rather crazy, insurrection towards the old school of Hollywood, assuring a new age, with new generation, that has new snappy pace. And thirdly, the visuals, which were beautiful and grand. Though Peckinpah had a zoom-in fetish, immersing the movie with hundreds of it. So with all of these aspects, 143 minutes running time, and huge bloody sequence as a climax—the movie looks epic, but the thing is it doesn't feel epic.
I admired the moment of Holden character while he couldn't ride his horse, and then did it with pain and pride. It represents, single-handedly, the movie's doleful heart. Plus moments like when Ryan couldn't kill Holden, and Holden greeted Ryan sarcastically; they seem like splinters of a potential drama which was exploded by the movie's devoted frenzy. And the train robbery sequence, it's the only perfect thing here.
The Wild Bunch is a cool western but not meaningful, being a good example for style over substance. It can be a pioneer among the mindless violent movies, not one of the best movies ever. And the worst thing about it is that how critics inflated it from a bit stylistic commercial movie about a gang, to artsy thought-provoking film about the end of an age !
Stand Up Guys (2012)
The Bad Irony !
So why you felt unsatisfied after the movie's end ? It's not a bad movie by all means. OK, I think I have the answer for that.
The thing is that script is all about comedy. Yes, it's a black comedy, with potential character study. Also it's thrilling, with numbered hours before inevitable, very sad, climax. Add to that, a pretty neat twist in the end, where the meaning is "leave with a bang", or "die with your friend, instead of dying alone", or maybe "let's turn out sunset to sunrise". However, the real goal that this script wanted, and spared no effort to reach it.. was comedy !
Accordingly we have 2 problems. The first is that the comedy didn't hit a big mark. "Disgusting" is a fair word to describe most of it with scenes in a brothel, conversations about penises, bad erection sequence, nutcracker joke.. etc, etc, till it approaches being a nasty sex comedy. That was awful, let alone boring as well. Aside from that, you'd get freely obnoxious moments like snoring medicine bills (why not swallowing them ??). Disgusting comedy both ways !
The second problem is the bad irony between the light and average at best material on one hand, and the super heavyweight names in the cast on the other. When you read names like Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, you have to think Oscar worthy, deepness behind the drama, seriousness along comedy. But sorry. No such luck. That's why it has that vibe of a very good TV movie, that should have had Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri, and Gary Busey as lead actors instead. Or – better – needed a wholly comic cast since the start, with better comic situations too.
In terms of faulty script, I believe Walken isn't that stupid to kill Pacino in the bathroom with no silencer (too noisy, too bloody, it would be a mess !). Pacino didn't have to tell the detailed story of killing the mob boss's kid wrongly, since Walken was there anyway. The running gag of "kicking a**es, and chewing gum" is a frank proof of writing lacking. Originally, why to borrow form another movie, and I mean They Live (1988), and don't make a quirk by yourself ?? Plus, considering the ages of the movie's writer and director, Noah Haidle and Fisher Stevens respectively, that line could be a running gag between them since the late 1980s, not between those 2 lead characters who are much older (Pacino's character went to jail at least in 1984, namely 4 years before that movie was even made !).
Yet, what irritates me more is the lost chances. While the movie had forces of nature as lead actors, it didn't try to invest them rightly. I thought that in the diner scene the 3 characters would have some talk about the old days, with exploring their fears, dreams, joys, and frustrations. However, what I had was "I want to do 2 girls in the same time", and before you know it Arkin drops dead ! Another lost chance when Pacino goes to confess in the church. I hoped to see the serious side of the movie there. But it turned out to be another attempt at comedy, which was done poorly by the way !
The oldies on the soundtrack didn't make me at ease. Although they're wonderful, but the idea of old music on soundtracks became so trite lately. Why not thinking in something more innovative ?! Once, in 1949, a mystery English movie by the title of The Third Man, directed by a good guy named Carol Reed, went to use a cherry music by a nice gent named Anton Karas, for all the dark and edgy time of the movie. Hollywood misses, or maybe forgot, that revolutionary spirit, to a degree where their soundtracks became something sellable more than distinct. A safe move, though not that artistic, and really commonplace !
Fisher Stevens did well in his directorial debut, but not very well like his performance as a comedian / actor I adore. Addison Timlin and Walken were the best of this movie. Walken, in specific, ate up Pacino all the way. Couple of lines, and I mean only couple of lines, fascinated me : "We die twice; once, when the breath leaves our body, and once when the last person we know says our name", and "They look like the sunrise but I was painting you". The painting was great. And I liked the last moment a lot, it's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-ish, but has its own character nevertheless.
So all the time I expected much more, to find so little. No, I won't say the publicity fooled me. I'll say it's a waste to play a potentially powerful black comedy just for laughs. And it's worse than that already when those laughs aren't even there. And it's even worse and worse when you bring 3 of the finest actors to perform no fine comedy or drama. See, it's "bad ironies" not "bad irony" after all !
Forget Paris (1995)
When jazz gets somewhat boring !
It seems like Billy Crystal wanted to make the perfect sequel to When Harry Met Sally (1989), a movie he starred earlier with Meg Ryan, where they portrayed 2 persons who fall in love. Now, in Forget Paris, we follow 2 similar persons who fall in love THEN get marry (You won't deny how Debra Winger looks like Meg Ryan in some moments).
Forget Paris, also, transfers you to Casablanca (1942), the Hollywood masterpiece, in terms of love story in Pairs, with a married woman, then the promise of "We'll always have Paris" (Casablanca was the favorite movie for both Harry and Sally as well).
So Crystal decided to make use of love, as a romantic fantasy from those 2 movies, for none other than smashing it when it turns into marriage, only to build it all over again, but not before understanding the consciences and responsibilities of it. So forget Paris, but don't forget love itself.
Hence we have : The subject of love during marriage, which's brilliant and uncommon in modern Hollywood movies. Crystal, a super comedian, who wrote it and directed it as well. Winger who's absolute magic, even if she recorded her voice while reading the newspaper's political columns. And a clever supporting cast that every comedy yearns for. So why the final result isn't as good as all of that ?!
I think the script is the basic guilty. Yes, the plot of detached flashbacks is thrilling, there are classic comedic scenes (like the one with the sweetest prenup I have ever witnessed), and – in the end – it's like "Hey.. all of the marriage's problems is just another dinner". Nevertheless, right after the marriage happened, the situations got colder, and the good lines got lesser. There was not enough energy, or laughing.
Moreover, the comedy leaned to being disgusting, whether with the fertility clinic sequence, or the old father sequence; which was shockingly awful, more of a crime against old people, and such a bad taste that turned me off while the viewing !
The soundtrack is beautifully jazzy. It has a golden selection of oldies. And I believe Ella Fitzgerald's cover of April in Paris was used in a very smart way; during the sad photomontage of the 2 leads' separation near the end. However, while jazz itself is a creative hint that marriage has no known system, and is based on the best improvisation you could ever do—the movie dwelled on that jazzy mood, enjoying a series of mostly uninteresting sketches, leading to common, so laconic, climax which didn't live up to Casablanca or When Harry Met Sally endings.
Forget Paris is a rom-com that wanted to be different, and it did, but lost being fast enough, and comic enough in the way. The problem is bigger, putting in mind the powerful potential, and the names involved. It's entertaining and meaningful, which's great combination apart. Though, it needed more craft to be great movie altogether.
Finally, wouldn't it eat you to not seeing Crystal in movies that deserve his talent, and utilize it to the max ? For me, in a long 40 years career, from the last 1970s to the late 2010s, still his closest movie to reach that rank is City Slickers (1991) !
Flash Gordon (1980)
May the "colors" be with you !
May God forgive George Lucas for Star Wars (1977). Its success led to such a huge wave of follow-ups, imitators, and wannabes, from America and out of it, written directly to cinema or based on old work, good or miserably bad !
Flash Gordon (1980) is one of those movies, produced by American-English money, based on old 1930s comics, and for the most part.. not miserably bad.
While it has bases to launch a saga of its own, it doesn't realize itself as an enjoyable blockbuster, or strong sequel-worthy movie. And I have 2 accused of that crime !
If this script has a mark, then it has to be that a lot of its events happen SUDDENLY. For instance, while the hero and the heroine travel by a plane, they find themselves SUDDENLY in a Russian scientist home, and within 2 minutes they find themselves SUDDENLY in planet Mongo !!! While the Vultan's kingdom explodes, and the lead wants desperately to escape, he SUDDENLY finds a rocket cycle, which he SUDDENLY knows how to drive ??!! While the heroine – who knew the lead since hours ago – wants to tell him a story, he interrupts her saying fondly : "Save it for our kids" ??!! So he SUDDENLY loves her now, wants to marry her, and she SUDDENLY accepts ?!!! I won't say more, I'll only add : "..and so on" !
For the second accused, I must recall the scene of defeating the evil guy. It doesn't exist in the first place, since the mighty and merciless Emperor Ming is finished without a proper fight. It's shown as random as a sneeze !! Later I knew that there was a swordfight between Flash and The Emperor, however due to numerous production problems that plagued the movie—it was canceled. This explains also the abundance of primitive smoky backgrounds, mostly terrible green screen effects, and obvious – 1950s movies like – miniature models. Clearly, there wasn't a budget for any Star Wars kind of respectable, or acceptable, visual effects !
I believe producer Dino De Laurentiis wanted a cheap Star Wars saga, and with the matters getting worse, the ambition changed to campy fun, especially with a hell of plastic electronics and metal customs, fisheye lens from director Mike Hodges's side, all covered with tons of gloss provided by director of photography Gilbert Taylor (who was the DOP of Star Wars itself !).
So, as you see, poor writing, as well as poor production, killed the movie's seriousness, even as entertaining action adventure, and randomness just ruled. You read things like how Sam J. Jones, as Flash Gordon, improvised the moment where he jumps into the camera screaming "YEAH!", as nobody could figure out how to end the movie ! That's why Hodges called it eventually "The only improvised $27-million movie ever made" !
Speaking of that $27-million, where did they go ?? I'll tell you. To the sole perfect thing in this movie: The Colors. They mastered that element to the max, where the viewing turned into a journey into huge sparkling diamond, filled with seas of glittering red and yellow. To my surprise, I discovered that the psychedelic color effects throughout the Ming universe were accomplished by swirling multicolored dyes through creatively-lit tanks of water. OK, they should have called it "Flashy Gordon" instead !
As for more pros, Melody Anderson and Ornella Muti are marvelous beauties from the 1980s, an era where the movie girls were innocent and extremely sexy too. I loved watching the all serious Max von Sydow as an over the top cartoon-ish evil guy. Despite not having a long screen time, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin stole the show from Sam J. Jones as the title character. The idea of enthusiastic and hip "Queen" songs is so creative, but they looked strange in the middle of that camp festival (which enhanced the movie's campy nature though !). And I won't lie, some of the adventurous spirit, which the movie apparently was based on and dreamed of, attracted me despite how that dream wasn't completely fulfilled after all.
Flash Gordon (1980) couldn't score highly at the box office, hence so long to the whole six sequels franchise which all the main actors were signed for, or at least part 2 which the last shot hints at. It is a mix of bright colors and loud naivety, and the real criminal is disappointing poorness. It feels like very dazzling suit, that when you approach it, you'll see how it's shabby, to the extent of having holes in it !
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
"The Bandit is Back and Better Than Ever" ???!!!
We all know that Smokey and the Bandit (1977) was a big hit which led to Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), and Smokey and the Bandit III (1983). And we all know that Smokey and the Bandit (1977) was the first, and the last, good movie in that series too !
Since the first scene with Burt Reynolds so drunk, to the extent of not being able to walk or talk—this movie establishes itself as something unfunny and boring. Aside from pathetic script, which continued the first movie disgracefully, Reynolds wasn't there as the energetic and cheerful Bandit that we all loved once. What I watched was someone else trying fruitlessly to be him !
Once in The Twilight Zone TV show, Reynolds played a cocky actor who got punched in the face by Shakespeare. And during watching him in this movie, I was yelling "Where's Shakespeare when you need one ?!". Reynolds didn't spend any effort, thinking that HE is an enough entertainment apart. I believe his plan was : Do nothing, and your charisma and goofy smile would do it for you. So maybe he was really drunk in that first scene. Frankly, considering his condition throughout the movie, he was either drunk or sick !
If any of that is right, then it won't be the only art-being-life case in here. Sorrowfully, the love story established in the first movie is gone with wind this round. Because the real life lovers, Sally Field and Burt Reynolds, were having a breakup. So that's why the scene where Filed (Frog) announces her ending the relationship to Reynolds (Bandit) was written by Field. Simply Reynolds let her express her feelings about the breakup on film. The thing is it doesn't add anything to the movie as a comedy, rather it's pretty sad event to be in a comedy, so why to include it in the movie in the first place ??!! It tells you a lot about how EGO destroyed this movie so early. The same ego that Filed was complaining about in that very scene !
The first Smokey and the Bandit was enjoyable chase of a movie. This one is too slow for its own good, and doesn't want to fatigue itself to make action. Instead, they're chattering. Grrrr ! Chattering in a Smokey and the Bandit movie is like chattering in a Star Wars movie. Wait, they have done that ! But at least it took them 3 fine movies first, then 16 years to make a chatty one, between Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Phantom Menace (1999). This time, it's just 3 years, and it's part 2 already !
Comedy got nothing to do with bore, I mean this movie. How come that Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice isn't funny ? But this is the movie's miraculous stupidity. And with Gleason playing more characters, still the result isn't funny (Fairly, it's super silly!). Even the bloopers reel isn't funny !! The same can be said about Hal Needham's direction. Surprisingly it had no sense of humor. And when you read that his response to panning the movie by critics was taking out a full page ad in "Variety", depicting himself sitting on a wheelbarrow full of cash—you have to guess that Reynolds wasn't the only one with self-destructive ego around !
And since misery loves company, there were some weird stuff going on as well. For instance, the scene of "You must love me" ?? Reynolds was mocking at himself, yet in real life. So it's like inside joke that nobody would get except him and the ones behind the camera, especially Filed. Add to that the cloud scene. OK, what was that about ?!!
It seems that the sole saving grace about it is the big action scene near the end. They as if thought that it would compensate for the endless downsides. But despite its ambitious hugeness, it didn't. It looks extremely absurd. Enough to tell you, that while watching it I wrote in my notebook : "Cars comic orgy ??", "Hollywood much ado about nothing", "How they got the nerve to make THIS as a sequel ?!"
For any positive points, I liked the line "Everybody is somebody" nothing more!
When an action comedy has little action and comedy, then it's not that good. And when it has no action or comedy, then it's bad. Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) is bad. It's ruined by a combination of ego and laziness, which makes its tagline / my review's title a crime of fraudulent representation. Btw, in terms of plot and characters, it looks like Clint Eastwood's Any Which Way You Can, released in the same year. I just hoped it to be like a movie released 3 years earlier named Smokey and the Bandit !
..GOD! Even the color of Reynolds's new shirt was bad !!
The Big Bus (1976)
Before Airplane, there was The Big Bus !
It's remarkable that the favorite subject for the rising trend of parody movies in the 1970s end, and the 1980s start, was the disaster movies. Just remember (The Big Bus - 1976), (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! - 1978), (Airplane! - 1980), and (Airplane II: The Sequel - 1982). Though, I deem it natural because of what the disaster movies caused of satiety during the whole 70s decade. Plus, some real disastrous experiences that came in the late 70s such as (The Swarm - 1978), (The Concorde ... Airport '79 - 1979), and (When Time Ran Out - 1980), which were parodies of themselves already !
As you see, The Big Bus took the initiative to mock at that genre, which inaugurated yet another genre. And while it isn't Airplane, it has the seed of its fresh craziness. For instance : the matter of the lead being accused of "eating" people, the cemetery scene, and the bar fight; which's the movie's best moment.
Originally, it seems as if Airplane took a lot from this movie, like : the character of a pilot with a troubling past, who's needed suddenly to save the day. How his ex-girlfriend is on the same ride. Or how they come back to each other in the end. Let alone a scene where the stewardesses demonstrate to the riders what to do while the trip is in danger !
The bus was huge with fabulous design. The running gag of the bus's singer was super. And since the first time I watched him years ago, till now, I believe that Joseph Bologna is one the most underrated comedians ever. That guy was great. He could do cracking comedy with the littlest efforts. It's a shame that he wasn't a star in many movies or TV shows as he should have been.
Director James Frawley has many funny bones, and bad luck as well; because he didn't direct more movies. However, his comic energy can be felt in countless TV episodes of shows like Columbo, Magnum P.I., Tales of the Gold Monkey, and Vengeance Unlimited. Or a movie like The Muppet Movie (1979).
Now, to the negative points. And the first one comes to my mind is Stockard Channing. MY GOD, who thought of hiring her in a leading role in a comedy ??? She looks like an awful version of Elizabeth Taylor, and I don't like Elizabeth Taylor in the first place ! Channing has no beauty, no talent for comedy, so why she's here anyway ??!!
The characters on the bus were few, and even fewer of them were interesting. David Shire's music is all the time excited, maybe for parodying the music of other disaster movies, but eventually it didn't work for me.
Some of the jokes didn't hit the "funny" mark, like when all the riders had to wear bizarre costumes in the end. And some of them weren't utilized smartly, like the idea of how the evil guy lives in a metal cocoon. Or attaching the scientist father into the ground against his well, which while being creative, it was used laconically.
Speaking of laconic things, the end is, with fabricated defeat for the evil guys, and such an incomprehensible surviving for the good guys (I still don't know how the lead saved the bus over the cliffhanger !). Add to that, extremely dull ending shot, and you'll get why this good movie feels not so good for many viewers.
It is short, and runs out of clever ideas nearly halfway through it. But for the most part, it's a wonderful comedy, little ahead of its time, and the true disaster is that it isn't any famous.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Excessiveness is no virtue !
Simply, it's The Avengers (2010) on steroids, red bull, and LSD! We have the same heroes, yet with additional ones, an army of CG shots, too much action it's going to make you sick, and the hugest amount of twaddle, prattle, and babble you'll ever experience. Well, dear writer / director Joss Whedon, excessiveness is no virtue !
The action sequences run so snappily as if The Flash directed them. It's like riding a loose roller-coaster, I was shouting "Please, make it slower !". Whether somebody pressed the Fast-Forward button while Play is on, or it has the most irrational editing of 2015 (Here's a challenge for you : Try to find Julie Delpy in this movie !).
Once the action is over, the dialog is endless to the extent where you feel, rather live the fact, that this is a talk show more than an action flick. Bore was a superhero in this movie, and he killed it. When I recall that 15 minutes sequence in the movie's middle where they go to the safe house, I fall asleep instantly. GOD! It's where The Avengers meets Little House on the Prairie !!
There was some relief, scary one. The tragedy is that the comic one-liners were horrible, and delivered horribly as well. No actor cared to be a bit funny while performing them. They're all in rush, forgetting to give an iota of "feeling" along the way. Actually, the performance got robotic sometimes, look at Captain America, Thor and Stark while their talk right before the ending, they were phoning in their lines in incredible frigidity !
Like the first movie, the evil guy's soldiers are still alike, and so easy to kill. Speaking of continuous downsides from the first movie, I'm still asking : What Hawkeye and Black Widow have to do with The Avengers in the first place ?! THEY'RE NOT SUPER ANYTHING FOR GOD'S SAKE ! And for a new downside, that maybe will continue in next movies; They made Captain America curse !!
And then we get to the LSD issue. Yes, I mean the character of "Vision". Who is that guy ? And how he's even born ? So Stark is capable of CREATING people now ??!!
As for any pros, the CGI and all of the imaginative details were excellent and enjoyable.
Sadly, Whedon had a lust for too much speaking, too fast action, producing heavy exhaustion in a form of a movie. I was shocked when knew that the first Avengers movie ran for 2 hours and 23 minutes, and this one ran for 2 hours and 21 minutes. Because while the first felt like 1 and half hour, the second – which's shorter – felt like 3 days already ! To tell you the bitter truth, I slept in front if it 3 times. THREE TIMES !! It didn't happen with any other movie, not to mention a supposedly entertaining blockbuster. So I had to re-watch it, while fighting sleep, to write these words.
The Avengers 2 : Age of Ultron mixed Marvel's lead characters, and good action sequences, with DC's grittiness, and serious drama mambo jambo, and the result is unbearable fat movie. If I went to watch it for a third time, I believe my computer would cry entreating for help, or at least shutdown itself out of fatigue !
The Medusa Touch (1978)
Foretells the unfortunate fate, while having one for itself !
This is a gripping thriller. The plot in specific fascinates me. We have a story-line in the present, and a parallel story-line in the past running through flashbacks, all while the mystery of "Who is the killer ?" is on, let alone a big climax where there are desperate attempts to stop a catastrophe in the nick of time. This gets my "WAW" rank easily and worthily.
Michael J. Lewis music was too ominous, and too beautiful for that matter. Some of the dialogs were superb. And Richard Burton is one of the reasons why this movie will be immortal. Mainly, it's a thriller with substance. So when Burton is chosen, it's not just a known name on the poster to attract the audience, it's also a great actor to master the intended depth and seriousness best. And he did it perfectly.
Speaking of that substance, our lead character, Morlar, is a man who has psychokinetic abilities which can kill anybody he hates. And when he doesn't find any help to defeat his abilities—his hate, as well as those abilities, inflame to madness. But on a deeper level, he's not a man, inasmuch as the man, namely the human being as a son of the modern civilization, who possess super abilities, and – in the same time – is possessed by a devilish desire to destroy. Hence, it's not "man is a speaking animal" or "intellectual animal" anymore, he became "the man with the power to create catastrophe" !
Then, he thinks that he's a messenger of God, who must use his abilities to punish the whole establishment, and bring justice to the world. And it happens to be that his so-called justice equals insanity and mass destruction that finish Boeing 747, office tower, cinema, and cathedral. And in the end, he goes to explode a nuclear power station, to be – symbolically – the modern civilization's man who will end it; due to lack of love, abundance of delusion, or suffering megalomania anyway.
Director Jack Gold used metaphors, concerning the modern civilization's human, and his sins in older time, through his previous movie Man Friday (1975). But the thing about the metaphor in The Medusa Touch is that it loaded Morlar heavily to be many things; from a deranged superman, to the Great Powers (Noticing that the nuclear doomsday was a recurring nightmare during the cold war era).
The true foibles in the script aren't grave though : In the start of the plane crash scene, the dialog repeated all what was said before, concerning Morlar's evil urges. The story-line of the high executives, who were interested in Morlar's case, almost pushed the movie to be a supernatural / political thriller, a la Brian De Palma's The Fury released in the same year. However, that line was forgotten along the way, and seemed eventually pointless. The matter of the lead meeting a mysterious "Mr. L" is supposed to indicate that he has "Lucifer" as a friend or mentor. Nevertheless, the movie doesn't clear it up, or give it that importance. It's just a shot during a scene, too short and light for its own good.
Despite how Lino Ventura performed magnificently, the matter of a French detective assigned to investigate in London was weird (later I knew that there was French money in the production). However using his colleague as a possible suspect, who leaves unnecessarily scary messages for Ventura, or drives so fast towards him—was weirder. It was an excuse to make up some jolts, which enhanced the movie's "horror" side yet a little cheaply.
Aside from the writing, Lee Remick portrayed emotionally cold character, coldly. Burton was 53 year old which made him older than the character in some flashbacks. The courtroom scene had bad lighting; it made Burton look 100 year old already. The plane crash was poorly done. But anyhow, we're in 1978, and the movie isn't a blockbuster, plus I believe most of the budget went to the cathedral's climactic sequence, which – on the contrary – was fairly impressive. A TV-ish spirit tarnished the director's work, especially when the movie cuts to another camera, then returns to the first camera, to find that it's still in the same angle, maintaining its same cadre as well. This is a stagnant, if not lazy, TV more than cinema (Jack Gold was originally a TV director).
Among many good scenes, 2 stand alone. The first is the vocal flashback, in which the lead talks about his urges while the doctor, and the detective, remember separately at one moment; which's cinematic poetry for me. The second is when the lead visits a fortuneteller. It was vogue and laconic. But in the end, it's clearly understood that the fortuneteller didn't see the lead's end, he rather saw the humanity's end. It harmonizes with how the lead's baby was born deformed, and then got killed by his father. Both ways, there is no future.
While it foretells the unfortunate fate, it had one for itself. Roger Ebert ranked it as the worst movie of 1978. Peter Nicholls in his book (Fantastic Cinema) called it a melodrama with overacting. And while giving it a good review, Pierre Greenfield said that it doesn't quite reach the heights it aims at. For me, despite its downsides, it's a splendid entertaining thriller, which has pessimistic substance. Originally, a thriller with substance is very scarce kind to come by. Moreover, you have to admit its uniqueness as a supernatural thriller in 1978, before a flood of similar movies and TV shows in later years. I even think that it affected some of them, like The X Files TV show, especially in terms of having a mix of detective story, sci-fi, and something serious to say.
Finally, Mr. Ebert, we all know that The Swarm was the worst movie of 1978. So, weren't you too harsh with The Medusa Touch ?!
Columbo: No Time to Die (1992)
Columbo Goes Kojak !
This is a very good episode after all. I loved how they knew and found the kidnapper from scratch, the breathless pace, and most of the performances. However, what stood alone was the try to change the forever format of Columbo.
During the course of the series, which contained 69 movies from Prescription: Murder (1968) to Columbo Likes the Nightlife (2003), there were rare examples for breaking the Columbo mold. Double Shock (1973) hided who the killer was till the last scene (it's always known in the first one), A Matter of Honor (1976) hided the killer's motive till the end, Columbo Goes to College (1990) hided the way of killing till the very end, Rest in Peace Mrs. Columbo (1990) told the story by many flashbacks.
As you see, all of these episodes changed bits and pieces, here and there, yet inside the same format of "Someone thinks that he or she committed the perfect murder, then how Columbo proves that he or she is wrong". This round, there is no murder in the first place. It's a kidnapping. And our lead must use his super smart mind to search and locate before it's too late. Now compared to the aforementioned episodes, this is not a mild change, inasmuch as a revolution !
Nevertheless, there were 2 downsides. The first is, for sure, the character of the kidnapper. Who is that guy, and what does he want, and why he got THAT crazy ??? He has no back-story, no singularity, no taste, and I hated when they made him use that lipstick; as if "wild madness" is an enough answer for all the questions !!
The second one is that we don't have Columbo around. Yes, the Columbo-ish moments are available; being interweaved into the new fabric. For instance, the "one more thing" moment is present, silently, when the forgetful lieutenant remembers something in the police station, and returns to bring it. And for another, he doesn't lean to use his gun, as usual, accompanied by a sarcastic smile this time. But generally, this is not Columbo which we know and love. Because this one has different pace for moving and talking. Moreover, we aren't accustomed to seeing him working in police stations, among team (mostly we don't get to see anyone but him!). Hence, he became Kojak, not Columbo anymore !
Ironically, there is an episode of Kojak with nearly the same plot. And I mean "Birthday Party" the first episode of season 4, which was aired for the first time on 26 September 1976, and centered on kidnapping Kojak's niece, and his efforts to get her back.
No Time to Die (1992) isn't a bad episode of Columbo. It's just bad in terms of not enjoying our dear Columbo. Changing the format is one thing, but changing the lead character is another. However, as an episode that really breaks the mold, it's million times better than Undercover (1994), which killed the mold, along with Columbo too !
Beyond the Reach (2014)
"Com' on, this is stupid. Just think about what you're doing" !
No doubt that I hate today's Hollywood. That's why I keep watching its old movies recently. And when I come back to watch its new ones, I feel mostly regret. And Beyond the Reach is no exception !
Usually the problem is related to forgetting all about very important factor named : The Script. In old Hollywood, there was a respect for such a holy art. I believe since the American cinema's dawn, the writers came from theater, because "Films" weren't common yet. So a thing like "Drama" was essential in their movies. And in later decades, we had generations which studied and understood those pioneers, and broke their molds as well. Now, there is a newer generation which their work assures that they have nothing to do with drama. They break themselves, and us. And it's the American cinema's night for that matter !
The bad writing can be seen in every age. However, the death of writing can be lived today. Especially when Hollywood believes in killing it, paying hundreds of millions of dollars for executing that (just remember Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 for little examples !).
Here, we have yet another murder. The plot is too strange to ugly extend. Michael Douglas killed an old prospector, and wants to frame Jeremy Irvine for it. So what did he do ? He killed Irvine, and then reported that the latter went mad, and shot the prospector. Or he tried to do this, but Irvine escaped, so he hunted him to bury the truth. Sorry, it's not this or that. Because while reporting that Irvine went mad, and shot the prospector, Douglas didn't kill him, and Irvine didn't escape. Instead, Douglas forced Irvine to strip naked, and wander off into the barren horizon, to die of dehydration and exposure, which led to one of the most stupid and boring sequences ever captured on film, where Irvine walks into the desert, and Douglas follows him to kill him if he didn't die on his own !!
So this is absurd remake of The Most Dangerous Game (1932), running in slow motion, where you wish, for all the time, that the lead just die, to have mercy upon the poor us. Nevertheless, don't you dare think that this is the only problem around !
The dialog is extremely weird. Sometimes no line has connection to its subsequent. Or maybe it has, but many things were vaguely deleted in between ! The tragedy hit scenes too. For instance, I didn't comprehend the lead's flash back, where he tells a story about a family that died in the desert. Were they his parents, or else ? And what was their connection to the movie anyway ?? I watched that scene twice, and still I have no idea what was that about ?!!
Despite running, on fiery hot sand, barefooted, with no water, under ruthless sun, the lead – on the contrary – seems so cool, and very healthy. Jeremy Irvine is whether the worst actor in a leading role I have seen in years, or gave the worst performance done by an actor in a leading role I have seen in years. He's perfectly lifeless, with bland acting and frozen reactions. In a word, he's a black hole of emotions. Michael Douglas is dead, and what we saw was his ghost. Without any sarcasm, he looked so old and fragile to play the evil guy. Clearly he wasn't that threatening, which took a lot from the movie's credibility, and weakened the conflict, while both – the movie's credibility and conflict – were dead horses already that didn't need more beating !
French director Jean-Baptiste Léonetti, in his first Hollywood movie, had a zoom-in frenzy. Sure he needs to check in to the same rehab where they treat Michael Bay from addicting explosions, and Quentin Tarantino from paying homage !
It should have ended with its nasty businessman getting away with it. That would have granted the story a chance to uplift its inner metaphor, concerning how rich people enjoy corruption, while poor people are the ones to pay the price. It could have made the movie satirical, bitter, and more memorable, inflaming our rage towards that type of evil. However, they wanted the happy end. Maybe because the producers of it are that evil guy himself, who want you to empty all of your negative feelings towards them before leaving the movie theater, so you forget about that evil guy (s) in real life !
Speaking about the producers, I was shocked when I knew that Michael Douglas co-produced THIS! Oh My God, after producing such classics like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The China Syndrome (1979), Romancing the Stone (1984) and Face/Off (1997), he chose projects like The Sentinel (2006) ?, and Beyond the Reach (2014) ?? Dear Michael, if someone in the world needs Back to the Future's car the most, then it's you. You have to travel into time, to advise your younger self on selecting wisely what to produce in your 60s and 70s !
Beyond the Reach is boring stupidity. Sorrowfully, the "boring stupidities" are in fashion since the start of the 2000s. So my sole hope is that every Hollywood scriptwriter, and producer in particular, goes and watches old Hollywood movies, to know how they really lost their way, and discover sublime treasure named : The Script. Otherwise, may they wander off into the barren horizon themselves !
Renée Zellweger is a beautiful woman, so why she looks so ugly like this ? The character she plays is one of the main characters, so why it's written trivially like this ? Ed Harris is supposed to play a tough and rough lawman, so how come he has no muscle in his body, and looks half dead, like this ? Jeremy Irons plays a cowboy ?? Really ?! No American actors were available, at all ?? And everybody says that this is a great western ?! Where is such greatness ?? WHERE ???
The scene of arresting the criminal, while he's among his gang, should have been critical and thrilling, however what we saw was fast comedic sketch, and ideal lesson in cinematic crap. The criminal is back, thanks to his relationship with the president ?! What relationship ?! The script doesn't even try to elaborate or logicalize for the sake of respecting our minds ! The lead is a smart guy, who used to be ingenious Marshal in many cities, so how come he puts his girl / only point of weakness in the same place where he keeps the criminal jailed ?!
Harris writes, and directs, while not one moment can be described as distinct or good. The bad thing about him as a writer is that he wants to go to a point, do a certain event, yet really doesn't know how. So nearly every step is replaced with a jump, the events happen without building up, and to heck with being convincing. It's said on the credits that it has editing, though there is none, all what it has is stupid execution, which doesn't give peculiarity for anything. The action sequences are dull. And the whole movie is shockingly tasteless.
Just one scene satisfied me, where the 3 main characters gather on the night of getting the heroine back form her kidnappers. This is the sole moment where I felt things like directional sense, and meaningful acting.
Appaloosa can be included in Guinness World Records as "The movie with the most preposterous everything", and in my list for "Top 10 movies called great for no apparent reason" !
5 Card Stud (1968)
Uninterested Movie !
Firstly, things I loved : The idea of a mystery / western movie. How most of the cast did their roles fairly. The music while Yaphet Kotto's death, which was a variation on Maurice Jarre's theme music, as joyful as the background's atmosphere, yet with a smart tense twist. A number of lines : "There's only one thing worse than a crook, that's a clumsy crook", "Somebody gave Stoney a new string tie. Only it was made of barbed wire, and a little tight", "Sometimes the truth is actions, not words". And the theme song which was the top of this movie for me.
Then, things I didn't love : Oh, dear. Take a list : Dean Martin was too indifferent; like it's "I'll say the lines, do the moves, then give me the money please". And while he was 51 year old, he seemed older, with run-down, if not sick, features. For instance, during his scene in the cemetery, he was too pale as if he was the one to be buried !
Director Henry Hathaway didn't do anything dazzling along the way, or maybe didn't want to. Actually, more than one point tells you that not much effort was exerted. In one moment, when Martin punches Roddy McDowall in front of the latter's sister, you'll notice that there wasn't a proper sound effect for the punch. And in another, when the same 2 clash in the cemetery, their fight was weak, childish, and shot while both of them were wearing the same color and outfit (so you couldn't tell who's who !). Let alone that the few action scenes were done routinely. That's why I felt TV-ish western for all the time.
The romantic part wasn't taken care of seriously. I mean the young girl loves the lead, and he loves the older woman; so why is that ? Does the girl related to issues like land and stability, and the lead is always a traveling gambler, so that's why he preferred the barbershop's owner ? Is that woman more experienced, so she's more suitable for him ? Well, the movie itself doesn't give a hoot, and the whole romantic scenes seemed eventually irrelevant.
Speaking about the writing, the matter of Robert Mitchum saying a line that ends a scene, while he walks away from the people, repeated dully. I thought that Mitchum didn't have to turn the chair over the card table to assure for Martin that he's the killer. And I didn't get the constant talk about the coming development with Ruth Springford as Mama Malone; that wasn't a relief, or part of the drama, or sort of satire which serves some purposed substance ?? Was there any use out of this, other than filling the blanks between the scenes of the main "loose unknown killer" plot ??
Roddy McDowall can be a lot of characters, but the violent psychopath killer isn't one of them. He tried his best, and did well, but he wasn't the character for me, and the "very well" rank could have been given for another actor in that role. While Jarre's music is nothing but one theme and variations for it, it did bore sometimes, and – worse than that – sounded sarcastic in the wrong place; like the first sequence.
Then, that awful climax. OK, I can't describe it as a climax in the first place. It's all about talking endlessly, then one fast bullet form the protagonist to kill the antagonist ?? Nobody ever bothered themselves to make something more big and satisfying ?? This is not a way to end a movie, and not a way to kill a proficient gunslinger like Mitchum's character. They didn't have the time, the money, the energy ?? I really don't know. But what I do know is that when this lazy executive spirit dominated, the movie got cold, and it turned out to be that Dean Martin wasn't the only indifferent around !
They even gave the mystery's solution away in the original poster (s); which's a proof for how uninterested most of this movie's makers were. Now it could be a fact that an uninterested movie equals an uninteresting movie !
The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
No comedy, No Terrors !
It's a black comedy, which was quite scarce back then. Vincent Price is charismatic and energetic. Joyce Jameson is nice as the sad wife. Beverly Powers is so beautiful as the lady of the first murdered man. And I loved the last 5 minutes' twists. As you see, listing the "good" points in this movie is easy. Yet listing the "bad" ones is easier; they're EVERYTHING ELSE !
Oh God, what a tormenting time. It tried to be horror mixed with slapstick, but the outcome is something awful, with no real horror or droll slapstick.
Although the scenes are short, and the editing is kind of fast-paced, but the bore is dominant. Simply because there is a whole lot of nothing going on from start to finish.
The plot is thin, with not much imagination. At times, it seemed that the writer didn't have a plan for what to do next. For a big example, I thought that the first murder is just one sketch in what would be many sketches ahead, however it turned out to be pointless, and something truly bland to begin with (why didn't they rob the guy after killing him ?!?!). Then, the movie remains in that endless, and unfunny, undying landlord situation, till the movie turns into "remains" indeed ! That undying man is an appropriate idea for a running side gag, but not for a complete movie, or this complete movie for that matter. By the end, I was yelling at the screen : "Please stop it, I CAN'T BEAR MORE !!".
Frankly I didn't laugh, not even once, because there is naught to laugh at. Aside from the main dead gag, there were some gags, no less dead, repeating annoyingly; Peter Lorre pronounces Price's name wrong, Price wants to poison his father-in-law, Lorre can't break into some house, and Price's wife sings horribly (God, this was horrible enough alone!). Moreover, situations that were handled wrongly; for instance, Joe E. Brown, in his cameo as the graveyard's guard, talks to the dead, and releases him from his coffin, THEN screams out of fear.. OK, it doesn't work !!
Price didn't have much to do, unless acting as a drunk for all the time, till it pushes you to the edge of tedium. Lorre was performing in uninterested and stiff manner. And Boris Karloff looked like a stinking corpse, with stupidly heavy make-up.
As for the movie's image, the word "poor" comes to mind, and for convincing reasons. While being colorful, the image exposed the penniless budget, and was ugly-looking sometimes; like the scene of sneaking into the first murdered man's hall. The sets and special effects were between cheap and weak; just look at the shattered drinking glasses, the very clear previously cut-off candles, and the busts' line on the stairs; which was unbelievable idea in the first place !
The production company "American International" music theme was the first and last interesting music around, since the rest was mostly unattractive. To get what I mean, listen to the opening credits' music score; it's torn, rather confused, between many directions like the silent movies soundtracks, and the funeral homes' melodies, with a musical phrase for every name on the credits; which sounded eventually discordant.
And that cat ?? What was that already ?! It has no role, no comedic moments; it's just there to be cut to, maybe to rest a little from the weary cast, or that astray plot !
In short, this is so dry Laurel and Hardy movie, and one of the longest 80 minutes movies I have ever seen. It's based on one dull joke, which had been used, and overused, till triteness itself got a headache. And while it aspired after being a comedy of terrors, it ended up with no comedy, no terrors, just the terror of that mix's failure !
P.S : During the end credits, the camera follows that slow-moving cat while it goes nowhere. So why is that ?? Whatever the reason was, it embodied the sluggish and stray nature of this movie perfectly !
Hob fi Eltalaga (1992)
Back when the Egyptian cinema was allowed to dream !
Plot Summary : In 1993, a young poor employee named (Mahdy) fails to marry his fiancée, or face his executives' corruption. The government gives high hopes by declaring that everything will get better in 2000, hence (Mahdy) insists on freezing himself till 2000 in a big refrigerator. After the project goes wrong, and (Mahdy) dies, his soul meets other characters inside the refrigerator, where "Love Can't Die", like the rooster of his neighbor (Khol'y), who knew about (Khol'y)'s cheating wife. Then (Khol'y) himself, who gets killed and cut off by his wife. However (Mahdy) becomes wrongfully accused of killing (Khol'y), and the court gives him a death sentence ! In the morgue's refrigerator, (Mahdy) meets so many people, as wronged and dead as him, and plans with them for a revolution. The security forces vanquish that revolution, and melt the dead people.
(Maher Awad) is one of the craziest scriptwriters in the Egyptian cinema's history. He was born in 1952, studied cinema in the Egyptian cinema institute, and wrote some memorable movies in short time; such as (Alaqzam Kademon) or (The Dwarfs are Coming) in (1987), (El Daraga El Talta) or (The Third-Class) in (1988), (Sam' Hoos) or (Silence Please) in (1991), and (Ya Mahalabia Ya) or (Oh, Mahalabia, Oh) in (1991). Through these movies, he presented so creative and so clever styles and atmospheres, which challenged boldly the common commercial movie, and its pretty old formulas.
This is the debut of Sudanese director (Said Hamed). He studied cinema in the Egyptian cinema institute as well, and it's clear that he and (Awad) aspired after a unique taste which the Egyptian cinema maybe never had before. So they showcased the daily life frustrations of the ordinary Egyptian citizen, yet through sci-fi and black comedy, which were, and still are, extremely scarce genres in the Arabic cinema.
The movie is funny and outlandish in the same time; and this is where its singularity shines. That wouldn't happen without a list of talents included : Star (Yehia El Fakhranni) as the lead character (watch well how his feelings of defeat transform into resistance). Editor (Sa'ed El Shikh). Director of photography (Mohosen Ahmed). Art director (Mohmed Hamam). And, for sure, (Mody El-Emam) who wrote the movie's music. Add to them a cartoon artist, I know personally, named (Osama Abo Zeed), who was hired to draw a storyboard for the whole movie, which was – again – something unfamiliar in the Egyptian cinema (and actually still is !).
On the other hand, the movie had some problems that led it to not "clicking" with the audience. The very low budget disappointed what could have been dazzling moments. The general pessimistic feel and the unhappy ending are there; which usually mean, in any cinema I think, turning into a flop in the box office. True that after 19 years, the "frozen people" did a "revolution" which defeated the "wrong" (in the January 25 Egyptian Revolution). And true that sometimes the sad ending generates enthusiasm more than the one generated by the happy ending. However, this movie didn't have much luck in its time. Additionally, it used elements which weren't close to the audience's taste and culture at that very time. For instance, in the 1990s start, zombies wasn't a popular subject at all in the Egyptian literature and cinema. So with low budget, melancholy and strangeness in the face of an exhausted, and not familiar with new experiments audience, the result wasn't a big hit.
(Hob fi Eltalaga) or (Love in the Refrigerator) is a bitter satire in a form of sci-fi black comedy. Imaginative, dark, ironic and daring to include all of the above together. Well, in our cinema you're allowed to do comedy, action, romance, musical, melodrama, but sci-fi ?? And black comedy ?? According to our movies of such genres, they're not genres, rather goners. Till now, 2016, it's not very frequent to dream a dream like (Love in the Refrigerator) in the Egyptian cinema. This is what makes it a courageous experiment. And despite its problems, it's still fresh.
P.S : Although director (Said Hamed) did many hit comedies later, between 1997 to this day, but none of them had anything to do with sci-fi or black comedy !
Vampires Suck (2010)
Unlike all of their movies, this doesn't compete for "The Worst Friedberg & Seltzer Parody" !
While Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are specialized in parody movies, just mentioning their names makes you scared more than optimistic. They are famous for being the ones who actually killed the genre in the 2000s by their many horrible comedies. Though, in this parody of Twilight (2008), the matter is surprisingly different !
On one hand, it has its share of downsides. Bore is on their top. It is the archenemy of comedy, and – regrettably – there are kinds of it here. For instance, the heavy editing, which doesn't "cut" at the right moment, mostly cuts after it. The old jokes that seem recycled from The Naked Gun franchise (3 movies from 1988 to 1994), like the electric underwear, and having a funny fight in the background of a funny dialog. Jenn Proske, as the lead character, tucked her hair behind her ear for at least 7996 times ! True that this is a spoof of Kristen Stewart's performance in the original movie, but doing it in every moment of every scene gets on your nerves sorely, and gives the bore a party. And naturally, it isn't a Friedberg & Seltzer movie without their signature repulsive and dated gags; concerning farts, bloody wounds, sexual humor, handicapped people, contemporary products and The Kardashians !
But on the other hand, there are some positive points which's something totally new for Friedberg & Seltzer. Since the double meaning title, I felt some creative spirit that, thank god, didn't end there. Look at ideas like how Becca sees Edward in everyone and everything, how Jacob turns into Chihuahua, how his gang of werewolves looks gay. The second half was energetic and largely funny, having proofs of effort and smartness. Nearly everything related to the heroine's annoying sidekick is clever. And despite couple of gross out moments in it, the prom's climactic sequence was, and still is, the best Friedberg & Seltzer comedic sequence ever made to date.
This time it's clear that Friedberg & Seltzer didn't lean completely on the ugly dirty stuff which they adore. Hence, this is a PG-13 movie. But whether that was their choice, or something they were forced to do, they managed to handle the semi-clean comedy well. It pushes you to pray "God, make all of Friedberg & Seltzer's movies PG-13, because this is the way for their comedies to be not only bearable, but funny as well !".
As most of their movies, the cast consists of newcomers with no name actors. Fairly, they were OK, with a bit of charisma and talent. However, 2 performances stood alone; Anneliese van der Pol, from That's So Raven, and Diedrich Bader who can steal any show. By the way, I still wonder how come that Bader isn't in a lot of movies, as a lead or even co-lead, as he deserves ?!
Compared to Friedberg & Seltzer's previous duds, you can notice cinematic improvement. I mean this time there is things like music score, cinematography, atmosphere, and coherence. Generally, Vampires Suck is more movie-like, not static and poor TV sketches-like as we used to have from them, for years, under the name of parody.
So yes, this parody has some comedy, some cinema, some entertainment, being far from bad. However, it's not perfectly good either. It's rather half good. And as for Friedberg & Seltzer's known by heart level, this is quite super !
In 1969 : Man walked on the moon. In 2015 : Friedberg & Seltzer made a good movie !
After many extremely awful parodies, such as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, and The Starving Games—finally the writing and directing duo, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, did something good. This time, while they parody The Fast and the Furious franchise, there is some kind of plot, actual funny lines and situations, a number of really nice ideas, and a conscience to review the downsides of its original. Well, late is better than never !
The script created plenty of lovable moments; like the scene of the plan's explanation, the running gag of misunderstanding the girlfriend's carriage, and the evil guy's anger towards his dumb henchman. Not to mention, it satirized the original's stereotypes as Rapper Cameo, Cool Asian Guy, and Model Turned Actress. And cleverly spoofed its leads' marks : Dwayne Johnson's muscles, Michelle Rodriguez's masculinity, and Paul Walker's idiotic aspect.
But while it's surely less stupid than Friedberg & Seltzer's previous dogs, Superfast isn't wholly smart. It lacks cinematic craft, and sometimes lacks cinema itself. For obvious examples : Couple of scenes dragged to the edge of bore, the editing is heavy-handed in some places, and the direction is between lazy and nonexistent. It's a tangible problem in their previous work too, which assures that they don't have enough potential to direct.
Over and above, few jokes were pretty old to be used (the foot that gets longer after being ran over by a car, keeping the skeleton of a dead guy.. ). The production was beyond poor; the movie looks made in one warehouse and one street. Save Dale Pavinski as Vin Diesel's caricature, Omar Chaparro as the laughably nervous evil guy, and the beautiful Lili Mirojnick—the cast consists of some actors with the least charisma and talent.
Despite its foibles, this is surprisingly enjoyable comedy. I don't think that this has something to do with its PG-13 rating. Because Friedberg & Seltzer's 2013 movie, The Starving Games, was PG-13 as well, though crowded with blood, farts, and other sources of hideousness. I believe it has something to do with the way how they challenged themselves to accomplish a comedy that doesn't count on toilet humor, sex jokes, bad language, and free nudity (namely the easy filthiness and cheapness), while having – in the same time – the ambition of early classic parodies such as The Naked Gun series, in terms of coherence and visual comedy.
Superfast is the first movie by Friedberg & Seltzer that could be watched more than once (or watched in the first place !). And after 15 years of ruthless flops, that's a historical achievement which the entire human race must learn from, and follow its example !
The Company You Keep (2012)
Defeated Knights, Defeated Movie !
Sure Robert Redford – the movie's director, producer, and star – had an ambition of a movie that could say something about the 1960s anti-establishment activist youth, and their dream of changing the world, while being – in the same time – a thriller, a la The Fugitive, with a chased innocent hero who's chasing the truth. Wonderful ambition that is. But who said that good movies are made by wonderful ambitions only !
The plot is all over the place. We have a running lead who meets many old friends, chatters with them, then continues running. We have a reporter who does researches, chatters with his boss, then continues researching. We have different friends that have a past with the lead, a police officer who's determined to catch the lead, and a daughter who the lead abandoned years ago, and grew up not knowing her real parents (a straggling story-line from an old Indian melodrama !). So for most of the time, you would feel lost and bored; just the second is the worst thing could happen in a thriller if you asked me !
Moreover, the script makes many mistakes along the way. For starters, the time-line was a mess. According to the movie, the Weather Underground militant did their bank robbery in 1980 as a part of their refusal to Vietnam war; while Vietnam war itself ended in 1975 ! Actually the script was capable of making its accident happen in 1970, as it could have been logically, while saying that the present events take place 30 years later, in 2000. But it didn't do that, maybe to avert recreating the 2000 atmosphere. So, instead, it made its leads crazy people, who oppose a war 5 years after its end !
Shia LaBeouf plays a young reporter who discovers that the lead deluded the police for 30 years, then discovers his long-concealed first daughter, then discovers his exact whereabouts near the end ??!! Well, he must be smart. Ultra Columbo, and Einstein, smart !! The police are mobilizing all their forces, and scientific weapons, for locating the lead; as if he's the most wanted man on the plant ! The lead escapes from his cabin in the woods, to surrender to the police seconds later ?! Then, in the end, what could be the reasons that pushed Julie Christie's character to change her mind, and confess to the police ?! What could be the reasons that made the reporter change his mind, and avoid exposing the lead's history ?! And how that adopted daughter's story-line was left incomplete as if it's unnecessary ?!
This movie has one of the best casts ever. It could have been a blast, a blessing, but no such luck. They're strangely wasted. Save Susan Sarandon's character, there aren't nicely written characters, or characters, to perform. I'm asking bitterly what Brendan Gleeson, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Sam Elliott, and Terrence Howard are doing here exactly ?!! What a pity to use all of them for merely saying couple of lines. Neglecting the characters, to become that empty, is enraging (even cameos have to be memorable than this !). And when these very characters are handled to a long list of highly gifted actors; then it's disappointing too !
Redford as an actor was at his weakest condition. His reactions were inanimate more than low key. And for most of the time, he looked unfocused or uninvolved. Not to mention that he was 20 years older than his character, being 76 year old at the time. Hence matters like having an 11 year old child, and implying making love with his old girlfriend (old indeed !), were more like unfunny jokes ! Speaking about his old flame, Julie Christie was 71 year old, and – worse – seemed suffering a gluttony of Botox, to have the most stretched face in movie history. It was so stretched you can see the camera in it ! Shia LaBeouf looks nerdy already, so when they put him in a makeup and haircut to emphasize that nerdy look; the result was EXTREME nerd !
Film critic Rex Reed wrote in The New York Observer that the movie has "keen, well-crafted direction of a master filmmaker at the top of his form" !! OK, you can say that about other movies by Redford, like Ordinary People (1980), and Quiz Show (1994), but this time, it's baloney. Because Redford is executing more than directing. The dialogs are filmed blandly, with artless cadres and monotonous cuts. He even didn't want to underline the thrilling parts, even if they were few. Therefore the whole movie felt like an endless and pointless talk show.
Pros : Sarandon's "clarity" interview while she was in custody, Redford and Christie's reproach talk by the fire, and Redford and Richard Jenkins's conversation about SDS ("Students for a Democratic Society"; the 1960s activist movement), and the never coming second American revolution, in a fine art exhibition; as if the noble ideas have become no more than paintings in some hall, not applied principles in the society.
The Company You Keep is about those knights of the 1960s, whom dreamed of changing their country, and while some of them committed shameful sins, all of them ended up defeated, detached, and desperate. Though, someone must tell their story to the kids of today; as the movie says in its best line, and embodies in its last shot. However in terms of that story, Redford didn't achieve any victory. He couldn't make a fine movie about it, or a fine thriller out of it either. Even that last shot was quasi-naive, and too artistic for this movie's own good !
The Starving Games (2013)
Why do I spend effort in reviewing a movie that didn't spend effort in ANYTHING ?!
With a career of all horrible comedies, how come that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are still in business to this day ?! It could be the most confusing mystery in the modern history !
While The Starving Games (2013) is a parody of a weak movie named The Hunger Games (2012), it's weaker than it. Rather, it hit the bottom of "weakness", whether as a comedy, or as a movie !
Saying that it has laughs is like saying that there are birds in space. There is no fun to be seen. It's like a horror of weird stuff, shown successively, with the least talents. Actually there is something creepy about poor movie that enjoys mixing blood, farts, bad jokes, terrible bore, and cinematic primitiveness !
While making a comedy needs vitality and sharpness, this one is ruled by laziness and dullness. For little example, look how the heroine runs haphazardly into The Expendables, The Avengers, and The Lord of The Ring's leads. It's a pathetic way to mock at these movies, especially when the result is always dry micro-sketches that have no smart line, no stars as cameos, and no criticism for any ironic fault in these very movies !
At one moment, the heroine's colleague has a deep wound in his back, which the movie oddly focuses on its sticky repulsive sight. And at another no less repulsive moment, the heroine spits heavy blood. Then, the movie loves the 2 moments to the extent of showing them AGAIN in the blooper reel. Let alone that there is more than one scene for human and animalistic excretion. Well, in my book, when a movie succeeds in making you nauseated; then it's not a comedy at all !
And while it pocks fun of an action, how come that it's more violent than it ?! Seriously, the original movie doesn't have half of this parody's violence where many killings, by arrows or spears, are shown shockingly and bluntly. You can argue that this is a black comedy. But according to the movie's lQ; it's color blind !
It even ends abruptly, like it's a sudden death !
But still one matter that kills me. Why repeating the shots ?? I mean, the catatonic mother, the sequence of beating the competitors by different weapons, the copious unchangeable cadres of President Snowballs, his assistants, and the stage's wealthy viewers while they're watching the games Why to repeat all of this FOR ALL THE TIME ??!! It's an agony before being another source of stupidity !
Trying to be objective here, and find any positive points to talk about, needs superpower, but I'll try : Maiara Walsh and Diedrich Bader have charisma, and delivered something close to good performance. The first scene of President Snowballs, with the goofy introduction and speech, was the only time where I smelled "effort". Bringing up matters like the degeneration of some reality TV shows, and begging sequels by simply adding a lesbian love story in other shows, was into the point satire. Else that, and with all the superpowers in the world, you won't find an extra iota of positiveness in this !
The Starving Games is ugly and sanguinary comedy that has no comedy in the first place. So how come that Friedberg & Seltzer are paid money for making comedies with nothing funny like that, while – notice well – others have to pay for watching that itself ?!!
As for my title's question, the answer is : "It's my fate". And as for the rest of my questions concerning Friedberg & Seltzer.. I have no answer whatsoever !
Fifty Shades of Black (2016)
There is something rotten in the state of Hollywood !
This is painful to watch. A bad movie which is a parody of another bad movie. So how low can Hollywood go these days ??
In all the comedies of the Wayans family, there are strong crude and sexual content, and no laughing. This one is no exception. It's nearly a comedy about the human genitals and excretory organs; which's disgusting and unfunny enough ! So I was about to say "If you want to watch human feces, go and watch this", however, WHO WOULD WATCH HUMAN FECES IN THE FIRST PLACE ??!!
There is no plot whatsoever. No attempt to understand the leads' characters or problems either (for even pocking fun of them rightly). And accordingly the movie is nothing but huge jelly made of horrible sex jokes. So when you delete drama, as well as comedy, and immerse me – as a viewer – in tons of filth, then this is the perfect recipe for forgettable ugly crap !
They could have made a comedy about a pervert soft porn masquerading as a romance. But No. Nudity, nastiness, and repulsiveness are way easier. Therefore, when this parody tries to have a conscience, and criticizes its original, Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), by saying that its novel was written by a third grader—it all falls apart. Because considering the condition of this very parody; IT IS written by the same third grader !
Fairly, a few moments were kind of comic, and showed a bit of smartness (The scene of unlocking the cuffs, and couple of lines). But the rest of the movie, namely 95 % of it, was between provocatively stupid and vomit-causing. I don't know, is that the legacy that Marlon Wayans wants to leave to the next generations, or even his own kids; "I was unfunny dude, who used to hide his ridiculousness under nauseating language and shocking images, to be even more unfunny" ??!!
Watching a Hollywood movie nowadays became a real torture. It's a hard porn of badness, that addresses the lowest desires in the human self, with superabundance of nudity, drugs, and cursing. Fifty Shades of Black doesn't satirize that sarcastically; it is that itself, yet without any workable sarcasm. So what an appalling failure and complete torture that is !
There is something rotten in the state of Hollywood ? No. Hollywood has become a rotten state already !
The Warriors (1979)
Where everybody says "This is Classic", and nobody tells why !
So when you watch a movie, what do you expect ? Maybe some fun, or some thing to think about, or both. The trouble with The Warriors is that it has none of the above, AND an army of lovers as well !
While everybody says that it's a great movie, they always forget to tell why. And when I watched it, I didn't find it great at all, yet for endless reasons..
It has a very thin, fragile, rather nonexistent plot. So someone framed some ones, therefore they're chased by other some ones. In other movies, that could make an action, comedy, kids cartoon, or art house movie. But here, it isn't this or that. It's a desert, full of air, with horrifying silence !
Why The Warriors are framed ? The movie's ghost of a script answers proudly through the framer himself : "No reason. I just like doing things like that !". Smart motive ? Nope. It's stupid laziness !
Then, who's the movie's "evil guy" ? OK, he was some guy, who looks confident, and does nothing but listening to the news flash every now and then. For me, he was useful only for a good laugh; especially when he shows up wearing sunglasses at night, and in doors !
So what about the conflict ? Well, it's a loop; where the leads meet one gang, fight them, and then escape, one time after another. What may change is merely the gang's name, costume, and gender. I believe that in the lowest movies, video games, or comics, there must be a kind of aggravation; where the conflict's steps get harder, and the fights get hotter, leading to a big climax. This time, FORGET IT UTTERLY. Nobody cared of doing anything like this. Insignificance was the name of the game, and they played it devotedly !
What about the characterization ? Nihility my friend. The Warriors' leader is the leader for what exactly ?! I don't know, and the movie itself doesn't know. There is some rival for him, who's here to call everybody "Faggot!!", and doesn't do a thing else, not even being a "rival" in anyway. The leads are 8 copies of blank original that has no back story, no clear marks, and sometimes no dialog !
I'm clueless how that movie was criticized for its violence at the time ?! Enough to say that it's an action that has no action in the first place. Any Tom & Jerry short had tons of action compared to this sterility !
The details are strange for strangeness. I mean an empty city that has only gangs ?!! So where are the people that these gangs robe ?? Moreover, subway that has no tickets, and no passengers. Police forces, and thugs, that have no guns. And a movie that has no mind !
And after years and years of releasing it cinematically, the movie's makers remembered noting on the DVD edition that it takes place in the future. But what did happen in that future to make New York a deserted city, that has thousands of criminals, 1 newsstand, and so vigilant vice squad ?!! 2 years later, John Carpenter would fix it up, and do it more correct, in Escape from New York (1981), by turning the whole city into a huge and crowded prison. See, nice things happen when you use your head a little !
Does it have a satire ? YEAH. In one moment, a group of well-dressed boys and girls, coming out of a prom maybe, run into the dusty leads in the subway. Ahh, the war of classes, the social irony, and the eloquent visual commentary ! To tell you the truth, I'm bluffing. Because in terms of intellectual depth, seriousness, or any point of view; our dear movie is between mute and naive !
So what's here to enjoy, or to watch ?? I'll tell you : Deborah Van Valkenburgh's beauty, Andrew Laszlo's cinematography, the special atmosphere, the different gangs' designing, the songs, the no cheap dealing; by avoiding immersing us in sex, drugs, and cursing (a la today's movies !), and the pure ambition of remaking Xenophon's Anabasis in some modern time.
It's pathetic that director Walter Hill tried to make a meaning out of this joke on his 2005 Director's Cut DVD edition, when he added an opening prologue to link the movie to Anabasis, and to assure that we're about to watch "A story of courage". It takes a lot of carriage indeed to make a movie that bad, and that vapid, then dare to connect it with something surely million times better and richer !
I really can't understand how The Warriors is called a masterpiece, a cult classic, a great movie ? Actually these allegations are great crap themselves. Because this is the worst remake of The Fugitive I have ever seen, one of the emptiest movies in history, and an extremely overrated dud. It may have any meaning though in the context of America in the 1970s. However, I'm not an American, and I didn't watch it in the 1970s. Congratulations for its 70s-American-fans exclusive group then. I just hope that someday, one of them tells us a reason for this movie's greatness. Otherwise they're talking about another movie, with the same title, that I didn't watch yet !
Finally a question : How at one point the leads managed to outrun a speeding bus.. on their feet ??!!
The 6th Day (2000)
No great action, satire, or Schwarzenegger !
In the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, Arnold Schwarzenegger's name always meant big and loud action. But since the second half of the 1990s, things weren't the same anymore with Batman & Robin (1997), End of Days (1999), and Collateral Damage (2002). So, at the time, I skipped The 6th Day (2000) since I wasn't so enthusiastic about it. However after 16 years, I watched it. And – sorrowfully – the result wasn't any better than what I expected !
Schwarzenegger looks rundown. While he was 53 year old, he seemed like 65 at least (how about 53 as older than his character already !). I believe he was recovering from a heart surgery that he had before filming. So you can touch the heavy make-up which tried to hide both his age and exhaustion. It's bad that there is no one beside him in the whole movie. Although Tony Goldwyn was fine as the cold-blooded evil guy, but he lacked the star power and the high charisma. Robert Duvall was pale, doing it for the paycheck. Michael Rapaport wasn't funny, and seemed strangely confused all along. Michael Rooker played the same nervous, weary, and sweaty baddie in nearly 2 million movies in the 1990s alone. And this round, nothing was enjoyable about his performance, as usual !
The action is all about endless, no dazzling, laser shootouts that take place in half dark garages. Everything feels cheap. I didn't run into production values that could be called grand. Even the climax, with saving an helicopter from crashing into skyscraper, was exposed as something done inside the studio ! Director Roger Spottiswoode, who I adored back then; thanks to his action masterpieces Shoot to Kill (1988) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)—did it no less poor. I don't know why he got that fetish over the slow-motion ? He drowned his movie with it, unnecessarily and pointlessly. Then those gaudy electronic-ish cuts, like we're watching hallucinations of a robot ! And in some moment, he chose to distinguish one of the killers' failure by playing a somehow lengthy rock song in the background. So what was that about ?! As if the MTV interrupted the movie suddenly ! Sadly, Spottiswoode wanted to be "hip", but lost "cool" in the way.
The story is similar to Schwarzenegger's previous movie Total Recall (1990), yet with less imagination and surprises. It has a consumed plot, which its timeworn skeleton is visible behind every event, to the extent that you become bored with the movie very fast. For instance, the lead becomes a fugitive, while he's innocent, so he runs away from his chasers by jumping into watercourse; well.. IT IS, indeed, The Fugitive's same scene 7 years earlier ! Moreover, it opens the door for plenty of logic questions : While the lead is cloned to cover up assassinating the company's owner, which might expose the human cloning business—wasn't killing him more practical and less expensive ?? And considering the ending, what about that clone's presence in one country with his original self ?! Wasn't his death, while sacrificing for his original, more dramatic and less complicated ??
The movie says that cloning is bad; when the lead explodes the evil guy's laboratory. Then, the movie says that cloning is good; when it leads to human heroes who deserve life (therefore the lead's clone is left alive in the end). Contradiction.. Right ?! Also, notice well that the lead hated how cloning could give humanity the gift of immortality, while he accepted eventually the cloned cat; namely the cloning that could give humanity the hated immortality !! SO WHAT IS THE MOVIE'S MESSAGE ABOUT CLONING EXACTLY ??!!
The climactic sequence dragged a bit. The one-liners were so limited. The evil guys were mostly meant as comic relief, but that was done pathetically, to end up as not menacing or comedic either. The "Sim doll" was meant as a relief as well, however served as an awfully creepy factor instead; OH MY GOD, I still have the shivers !
Trevor Rabin's theme music is a clear play on John Barry's theme music of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Just listen to the 2 of them, and you'll easily find out that the first stole the second, yet after changing couple of notes. I think that was an early example of the "Temp Music" which fills Hollywood's movies nowadays, as masked plagiarism that proves nothing but frightening bankruptcy.
The movie's "good" side can be existed by a few advantages. The make-up of Tony Goldwyn's last imperfect clone was perfect as an execution and as an idea; since it revealed his truth as an ugly monster, or Dr. Frankenstein who turned into his grotesque creature. I loved that long list of futuristic inventions which the movie cleverly created and snappily showed as daily life details : The mirror / TV, the refrigerator that has a memory, the remote controlled helicopter, the holographic lawyer, therapist, and girlfriend.. etc. And the visual trick which gathered 2 Arnies in many cadres was semi-flawless.
Cloning Dolly the sheep in 1996 send the world into a frenzy. Hence, Hollywood kept producing one movie after another, to exploit the heck of the issue, in every possible way, for the next 10 years. Just remember : Multiplicity (1996), The Avengers (1998), Repli-Kate (2002), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), Godsend (2004), and The Island (2005). The 6th Day (2000) was part of that cycle, as an action with satire, made under the name of super star. But it had bland action, muddled satire, and star who looked anything but super !