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Con Air (1997)
An action packed thriller
Nicolas Cage recovers from the letdown that he suffered from "The Rock" with a strong action hero lead in this 1997 Touchstone release. The genre gets a twist here. Cage's character is actually a criminal but he gradually tries to turn himself into a hero when upon getting paroled and boarding a criminal infested plane back home, the plane is hijacked by a psychopath (John Malkovich). Just like he did in "In The Line Of Fire", Malkovich handles portraying a sinister villain to great effect and Cage can really deliver when the right scripts and roles come along. Genuine action, suspense and thrills abound in this film that ranks as one of Cage's very best.
Horrid monkey business
Hollywood should either stop making live action films where animals are expected to be the stars of the show or just not make them so often. The monotonous genre suffers its biggest farfetchedeness of all with this overly ridiculous 1995 Paramount release. This film tells the tale of a group of jungle explorers who take a dangerous trek to the African jungles to recover a gorilla who can communicate to humans through sign language. Compared to the acting performances here by a cast of mostly unknowns, that might actually be the plausible part. This film trashes just about every animal and jungle film cliche ever written and adds nothing genuinely interesting to the genre.
Some funny moments but it should have been better
With "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels producing and a huge all star comedy cast including Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Jason Alexander, Chris Farley, Michael Richards, Lisa Jane Persky, Sinbad, Michael McKean, Phil Hartman, David Spade, Dave Thomas, Jan Hooks, Adam Sandler, Julia Sweeney and Drew Carey cast in the shenanigans, "Coneheads" should have been a gut busting laugh riot. While it does have some genuinely funny moments, there are not enough of them to make it a hit. The film is yet another extended format of a popular "Saturday Night Live" sketch. The victims this time are the Coneheads, the alien couple from the planet Remulac who crash their spaceship in New Jersey and wind up living among suburban inhabitants. Aykroyd and Curtin reprise their TV roles as married cone shaped head alien couple Beldar and Prymatt with Michelle Burke making her film debut as their daughter, Connie (Newman, who had portrayed that role on TV appears briefly here as Beldar's sister and Aykroyd's daughter, Danielle also appears in the film portraying Connie as a toddler). The plot (although it matters little when compared to the sight gags) has to do with the alien family being pursued by the INS led by Hartman and Spade who will do whatever it takes to deport them. The popular duo of Farley and Spade make their first appearance in a film amid the same cast here but they have no scenes together. Film is not a total waste but it is often rather dated and pales in comparison to the comic delivery of the TV sketches of the characters. Farley, Spade, Aykroyd and Michaels would later collaborate on the much funnier film, "Tommy Boy."
Company Business (1991)
Another example of when bad films happen to good people
Mikhail Baryshnikov is an excellent ballet dancer but what inspired him to get into films? This time out, he is not even in his element. He was cast as ballet types in "The Turning Point" and "White Nights" but here, he has the miscasting of portraying a mole who gets involved in an operation involving swapping prisoners. It is basically a comedy but it does not succeed in being anywhere near funny and much better things can be expected out of Gene Hackman, who unfortunately costars in this snoozer.
Coming to America (1988)
Another Great Comedy Starring Eddie Murphy
After several years of starring in rowdy action comedies and con man capers, Eddie Murphy gets a chance to deliver a more restrained performance with this film and he manages to do so very well. Murphy portrays Akeem, an African prince who is being pressured into a forced marriage by his parents (James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair). The woman that they have chosen for him only sees him for his royalty and therefore does not really love him. Akeem sees this right away and brings his loyal servant, Semi (Arsenio Hall) along with him on a discreet mission to America where Akeem hopes to find a beautiful woman who will love him and accept him for who he really is and not just see him for his royalty. Posing as "common folk", Akeem and Semi get jobs at a McDonald's style restaurant and Akeem soon falls for the daughter (Shari Headley) of the restaurant's owner (John Amos). The film features many hilarious scenes and characters especially a group of boxing obsessed senior citizens who spend their days arguing with a barber shop owner. Murphy and Hall demonstrate their levels of versatility by managing to go under heavy makeup and portray several different costarring roles. Yet another example of why Murphy is one of the funniest actors in recent Hollywood history.
Courtroom drama letdown
The usually dependable film genre of the courtroom drama suffered a letdown with this 1959 20th Century Fox release. As always, Orson Welles delivers a great starring performance but his presence can not save the overall tiring storyline and extremely slow moving pace of this film.
Cold Around the Heart (1997)
An OK crime/revenge action drama
After David Caruso left the popular TV series "N.Y.P.D. Blue" where he had become a star through his appearances on the first 26 episodes, finding work anywhere else was hard to come by and it would seem as though he would forever be typecast as Detective John Kelly. However, the decent results of this 1997 20th Century Fox release prove that Caruso could find something decent outside of his TV stardom. Caruso portrays Ned, a "gentleman" jewel thief who plans a big diamond heist with his partner, Jude (Kelly Lynch). It seemed perfectly planned but Jude gets greedy and takes off with the diamonds leaving a vengeful Ned in hot pursuit. Slow moving at times but the occasional big climactic monent makes up for the film's occasional slow pace.
One of the better teenage oriented films in recent years
Some genuinely amusing moments and good performances by a cast of then rising young stars save what is basically just another teenage oriented romantic comedy with the genre's standard plot and character predictaments. Alicia Silverstone moves on from her dreadful debut two years earlier in "The Crush" with her role here as Cher, a wealthy teenaged socialite who's obsessed with shopping and matchmaking. She gains a reputation for being able to set up dates for friends but is not so fortunate in being able to do so for herself. Several future stars including Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Donald Adeosun Faison, Jeremy Sisto and Breckin Meyer appear among Cher's peer group. A fairly fitting return to form for director/screenwriter Amy Heckerling, creator of the popular "Look Who's Talking" film series.
There's not much action here
Sylvester Stallone's early action films actually had some decent action. Most of his latter day films which all pass themselves off as action films only seem to contain gratuitous explosions and buff bodies. This disappointment from Stallone and action film director fixture Richard Donner being one of them. It's basically a rehash of tired action sequences and unoriginal ideas that fails to hold the viewer's interest much of the time. Almost as bad as "Cop Land", a later Stallone film.
Martin Short Portraying A Child?!
During the early 1990's, the financial crisis that was going on at Orion Pictures delayed several of their films from theatrical release for at least two or three years after they were made. The even worse part is that none of those films were really worth the wait and this Martin Short/Charles Grodin family oriented comedy ranks as one of them. Short has his worst and most unbelievable role ever as he portrays a ten year old boy (he was forty-two years old at the time this film was made). Such an idea for comic novelty shouldn't even be considered. The mirthless plot has to do with the misadventures of Clifford (Short) and his Uncle Martin (Grodin) on a day when the kid hating man has to babysit his unruly nephew. Much predictability occurs within the story and Grodin's once excellent film career has taken one flop too many. Fortunately, he resurfaced as a popular cable TV news personality.
A Very Odd Role For Tom Cruise And That's Not A Good Thing
Tom Cruise hams it up in his rather miscast role as a bartender who's even more popular at the bar than the drinks that he serves. Extremely farfetched and boring during way more than a few occasions. Cruise fans, take heart, the excellent Cruise films "Rain Man" and "Born On The Fourth Of July" were on their way after this one.
The Color of Money (1986)
A bad shot
This 1986 Touchstone release is a sequel to "The Hustler", a film that was never all that good to begin with. Paul Newman reprises his role (badly) as expert pool playing hustler Fast Eddie Felsen. Eddie had been out of the pool halls for many years but he makes a comeback in order to teach some ropes to a rising young pool shark (Tom Cruise, who's once again miscast). It's actually hard to tell whether or not this film is actually better or worse than its predecessor.
More Gratuitously Violent Sylvester Stallone Action Drivel
The continuous blood and guts violence is basically what builds up the script of "Cobra", one of Sylvster Stallone's all time worst films. When given the right script, Stallone can really deliver. It's a real shame that it doesn't happen very often, however. Stallone's then wife Brigitte Nielsen costars with him here (they also appeared together in "Rocky 4"). If you're in a really big mood for some Stallone, see this one only if every other Stallone film (not counting the even worse "Cop Land") is not on TV at the time or not available in the video store.
Club Paradise (1986)
One Of Robin Williams' Worst Films
Hollywood can give Robin Williams the best casts, the best directors and the best screenwriters in the world of film comedy but they still won't be able to give him a truly memorable comedic film or performance. "Club Paradise", despite the much talent that it has been given, just might be the worst film of Williams' career (next to "Insomnia"). Bad and pitiful comedy throughout.
The Color Purple (1985)
Purple is my favorite color but this 1985 Warner Brothers release is far from being my favorite film. This is one of the slowest and most boring films in years. Everybody in the major talent involved shouldn't have even bothered making this drivel.
A group of senior citizens (which includes several legends such as Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche, Jack Gilford, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy) discover a so called "fountain of youth" that actually helps them to relive their lost youth. However, this "fountain of youth" is really an alien race's breeding grounds. An endearing fantasy for all ages with plenty of elements and scenes of comedy and drama. Much, much better than Cronyn's and Tandy's later alien fantasy film teaming "Batteries Not Included."
Well, at least it's original
Here's something that Hollywood had never tried before. A film that's based on a popular board game. There are some amusing moments here but the film drags much of the time and it is usually slow moving. Let's just hope that they never make a film out of something like "Candy Land."
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Yet another weak biopic
When it comes to bringing biographies of famous people to a screen format, that should exclusively be the job of TV series such as "Biography." Hollywood shouldn't waste their time pursuing these big budget biographical epics that just about never succeed especially ones about singers. The victim this time around is country singer Loretta Lynn portrayed here by Sissy Spacek. The soundtrack features many of Lynn's most popular songs but that's about all that's worth noting. This film is a real downer.
OK but it could've been much better considering the talent involved
An all star cast and crew give this 1978 United Artists release its biggest moments of credibility. However, there are too many slow moments and the film's script could've used some time for some minor rewriting. Still, it's suspenseful enough and not that much of a letdown.
An extremely low point in 1970's and any decade's cinema
"Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" is widely considered to be a classic. I widely consider it to be classic garbage. If you want pure hokum and badly contrived performances, then this film is one of the pure pinnacles of that criteria. Yet another bad film in the many about UFO's and the people who claim to see them.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Stanley Kubrick's Best Film
Cult director Stanley Kubrick scores his greatest success with this still controversial 1971 Warner Brothers release. It's a lengthy and extremely violent character study about a young man named Alex (Malcolm McDowell). He leads a punk biker gang in Britain and amuses himself and his gang members by going on nightly orgies of rape and murder. His mind gives him the impression that he can not function whatsoever if he does not torture and kill people on a regular basis. Alex is finally busted when he is found guilty of bludgeoning a young girl to death with a large phallus art sculpture. Sent to prison, he is soon picked up as a potential guinea pig for a rehabilitation experiment that just might take those evil thoughts out of his mind. However, the results of the experiment go awry and Alex begins to show some rather unpredictable behavior changes. Not for all tastes and may be way too violent for others (it was originally rated X) but if that can be tolerated and if you're looking for a fine showcase from a masterful director, then "A Clockwork Orange" is just the film.
City of Angels (1998)
One Of Nicolas Cage's Worst Films
Nicolas Cage is one of Hollywood's finest contemporary action film stars so why is he wasting his fans time making crummy romantic fantasy dramas that miscast him like this pitiful 1998 Warner Brothers release? Cage is absolutely unbelievable as Seth, an angel who falls for a surgeon named Maggie (Meg Ryan). Seth is faced with the decision of whether or not he wants to give up his immortality as an angel in order to be with her. One of the stupidest romantic stories in ages. The cast should not have even bothered making this one.
Chicken Run (2000)
Nice computer animation but this comedy could've been much funnier
After the hilarious success of the computer animated comedies "Toy Story", "Antz", "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2", it seems as though the humor in computer animated films is beginning to run dry here. The animation in "Chicken Run" is excellent and the use of an all star cast to provide major voice roles throughout the film is also a plus but this film is usually kind of boring when it is compared to the aforementioned films. It sounds amusing at first but a severe lack of genuine laughs make it a huge letdown in the comedy and storyline departments.
The Client (1994)
A fair comeback for the courtroom drama film genre
The courtroom drama film genre had not seen any major action for a while but this 1994 Warner Brothers release changed that and proved to be a good enough comeback for the fading genre. The story has to do with a boy (Brad Renfro) who was at the scene when a lawyer for the Mafia committed suicide. He knows too much information and is picked up as an accessory in the suicidal shooting. Renfro hires an attorney (Susan Sarandon) to represent and defend him in the trial proceedings. A tense courtroom thriller that is practically reminiscent of examples from the classic Hollywood era such as "Twelve Angry Men" and "Anatomy Of A Murder."
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
The worst installment of a bad series
Film adaptations of Tom Clancy's bestselling novels have never really measured up to the success of the books and this third film outing of Clancy's most popular character, CIA agent Jack Ryan, ranks as the worst adaptation of all. The book of the same name was the bestselling novel of the 1980's but probably one of the worst films of the 1990's. Harrison Ford reprises his "Patriot Games" role as Ryan. This time out, Ryan works to uncover and expose a working connection between a South American drug ring and an advisor for the U.S. President. Long before this dull film was over, it didn't really matter to me anymore how it was going to turn out. Most other viewers may feel the same way here. Stick with the novels because the film adaptations are just not as engrossing for some odd reason.