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Archive for the ‘Carrie Fisher’ Category

manwithredshoeLeave it to Benn Farrell, the largest tool in the shed, to find a Tom Hanks movie that is almost as bad as Joe Versus the Volcano and then make me watch it. To be honest I have wanted to see this movie for years and by giving this to me as a challenge I was finally able to watch it.  Now that I have seen it I wish I hadn’t.  I can’t remember the last time I watched a comedy and had one chuckle and that’s it, certainly not any other film that Hanks is in.  I chuckled a couple of times in both Volcano and Dragnet.  This is a bad, bad, very bad, film.

Ross, played by Charles Durning (To Be or Not to Be,) is the CIA director and Cooper, played by Dabney Coleman (Dragnet,) who does something in the CIA, wants Ross’s job.  Cooper sets up Ross by framing one of his agents so Ross has 48 hours to exonerate himself and frame Cooper at the same time.  So Ross has one of his agents to randomly pick someone at the airport and pretend to meet this person in order to have Cooper’s agents think that he is the secret witness to save Ross at the hearing.  Ross’s agents picks Richard, played by Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies,) who happens to be arriving at the airport wearing one red shoe, because his friends Morris, played by Jim Belushi (Red Heat,) and his wife Paula, played by Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: The Force Awakens.)  They are all musicians who play for the Washington DC symphony.  Cooper wanting to know what Richard has to save Ross sends his team of agents including the lovely Maddy, played by Lori Singer (Footloose – 1984,) to investigate, question, and eliminate Richard.  However things get complicated when we discover Paula is trying to cheat on Morris with Richard, Cooper’s agents and Ross’s agents get in each other’s wary, and despite barely meeting him, Maddy begins to fall in love with Richard.

The best scene in the movie is when the 29 year old hot Carrie Fisher is rolling around in a bed with Tom Hanks in nothing more than her very 80’s underwear.  She fills out the bra and panties quite well.  The rolling around on the bed is about 20 seconds long and its glorious but it doesn’t make for the 1 hour 31 minutes and 30 seconds of boredom.

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The one scene where I chuckled was at the beginning of act 3 when Richard, Paula, and Morris are performing for the symphony when Richard sees Maddy in the audience and starts to botch his solo performance which causes Paula to notice Richard noticing Maddy and she stops playing her flute which causes Morris to notice Paula getting jealous of Richard looking at Maddy which cause him to do a loud drum solo which aggravates the conductor so much, played by David Ogden Stiers (Better Off Dead,)to lose after the performance and storm off. That whole scene drew a couple of chuckles and maybe a smile, but that’s it, for the entire movie.

To start off on the things I don’t like, I will start with Tom Hanks. I will assume since I have never seen this in any of the over 20+ movies I have watched of his that the choice of having Hanks play Richard as this stiff, unfunny, straight man, was the decision of the director.  Hanks had already filmed both Bachelor Party and Splash where we saw Hanks be hilarious and good.  In this film he is one step away from being an emotionless actor and as stiff as a statue.  It’s like his entire body was pumped with Botox and everything was still stiff.  It is just against every other performance that I have seen of Hanks that it can’t be because of his choice.  Imagine a comedy with Robin Williams where the director tells Robin to be the straight man and just follow script, no improvisation.  That was this for Hanks.

I also believe this because every other actor in this film was just as stiff.  Ok, that’s not true, both Belushi and Fisher actually seemed like living beings in this film.  But everyone else, it seemed, were told to take their roles of super spies seriously.  My guess is that the director and writer thought the scenes of near missies would be the humor of the film. But because the actors were so stiff in their performance, the physical “comedy,” was so slow that it didn’t work.  It’s as if this movie was a spoof of the spy films and they went over too over the top so it didn’t work.  Except this wasn’t a spoof of a spy film but a comedic spy film.  Nothing worked at all.

I really can’t think of anything else to say. The only redeeming thing about this film is the near nakedness of Princess Leah.  I mean sure Lori Singer is hot as well but nowhere near good enough to make up for this bore-a-thon.  Still not as bad as Joe Versus the Volcano, but this is a close second to the worst Tom Hanks movie ever.  Even Tom Hanks said of this film, “Not a very good movie. It doesn’t have any real, clear focus to it. It isn’t about anything particularly that you can honestly understand. It made no money at all.”  Take his advice and stay away, if it every shows up, which it won’t, unless one of your closest friends is a tool and makes you watch it.  Then find a way to smite him or her.

 

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Star Wars     This just has to be in my top five list.  The most technologically important movie of any generation, this movie allows crappy touchy feely movies that Benn likes to have small special effects that aren’t even noticeable.  Sure you can argue that the story isn’t the greatest, the acting was done by a bunch of youngsters save for Alec Guinness and Pet Cushing, that may all be true, but every one knows the phrase, “May the force be with you.”  Without this movie, movies like Schindler’s list, Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, are delayed ten years, if ever.  It is because of this that Star Wars is in my top 5 of all time.

It all began a long, long, time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away. Young farm boy Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, (The Big Red One) gets to know to droids that his uncle bought named R2-D2, and C-3PO.  R2-D2 is on a quest to find an old Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi to help save Princess Leah for the evil Empire and its leader Darth Vader, and try to protect the Rebellion.  Even typing this I am thinking that this sounds so horrible, but it works so well.

The Empire kills Luke’s Uncle and Aunt so he joins Obi-Wan to try and get to the Princess.  In order to do so the have to get the help of a pirate, Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon.  The tree of them plus the droids, and Solo’s do-pilot a Wookie named Chewbacca, all head to the Princess’s home planet.  Little do they know that the Empire have captured Leah and have destroyed her home planet by using a space station called The Death Star.  So when our heroes arrive where the planet should be, they get captured.  What will happen next?  Will the Princess survive?  What can they do about The Death Star?  How can they save the Rebellion?

I know this sounds corny but in a way that is how the story is but that in turn is the genius of the movie.  Director George Lucas tells the story wonderfully.  But it is not only about good vs. evil.  You also have the small stories like will Luke grow into a man recovering from the loss of his Uncle and Aunt, the sexual tension between Han Solo and Princess Leah is amazing, does it develop, does Obi-Wan get to pass on his knowledge to a young Skywalker, it just continues just like that.  Yet it is very simple.

The acting was very nice for a young cast.  Lucas in his comments stated that he wanted a young cast with one or two veterans to lead by example, and that it what he got when he cast Sir Alec Guinness (The Bridge on the River Kwai) as Ben Kenobi and Peter Cushing (Top Secret,) as Grand Moff Tarkin, leader of the Death Star.  With these two actors, Lucas helped mold the cast into exactly what he wanted, a team to tell a story, no one part more important than the other.  The rest of the actors include Hamill, Carrie Fisher(When Harry Met Sally,) and the now legendary Harrison Ford(Raiders of the Lost Ark.)  They all did a nice job complimenting the story.

However, the best part of this movie is the special effects.  Ground breaking in their time, nothing had been seen like this before.  Lucas used miniature models for the large battle scenes and created stop-action photography to shoot his film.  He also used costumes which by his own admission he did not like because he could not get them to do what the computer generated versions can do now.  But am just fascinated by his attention to detail with these costumes, they genuinely look like creatures from another world.   But by inventing these many things, Lucas helped define a new way in which to tell a movie.  To see a great impact of what his special effects have done, go and rent two movies that can provide a before and after of special effects.  I would recommend renting the Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan.  Both portray the Normandy Invasions in World War II, and they are as different as day and night.  Both movies are fabulous but Saving Private Ryan allows the special effects to help tell the story in way that The Longest Day can not.

Another thing to keep in mind is the script.  In this movie, as well as the next two Star Wars movies, George Lucas wrote so many phrases that are apart of our culture and our movie history.  Like I mentioned earlier, “May the force be with you,” “You don’t know the Power of the dark side of the force.” “Luke, I am your father.”  I know I am getting ahead of myself, but the scripts in these three movies tie everything together so nicely and are so memorable that it became impossible for Lucas to repeat his performance for these most recent movies.  Which is too bad because it is like an artist who creates a masterpiece with his first brush stroke on the canvas, he or she will forever be remembered for their masterpiece, but can anything possibly ever live up to that again.

I would tell you to watch this movie, but chances are you have, numerous times.  Just know that any time that you watch a movie, as long as it doesn’t have Miramax in the production line, you are probably watching something that in some way could not be told if it were not for Star Wars.

****UPDATE*** This is one of first reviews I ever wrote.  Just getting it on the blog.

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Before I get into the review of this wonderful, wonderful, movie, let’s talk spoilers.   I do not wish to ruin the movie for anyone who has to wait to see it however I want to talk about it.  So what I will do is split the review into three parts.  The first part shall have virtually no spoilers at all, just the basics, generic plot and generic likes.  Part two will have some what I will call generic spoilers.  Likes and dislikes of the film without out giving anything major away.  Lastly, part three, will be very small and I will not tell you anything but if you know me then you know what I am talking about.

(Before I get started, if you want to read my Movie Review partners take, which is different, on this movie click here.  I saw the film opening night and he waited a week which is why my review is much more vague.)

To quote my text to my good friend Benn after I saw the movie, “OMFG…dude…OMFG.”  This makes me so happy to say that this is a wonderful film.  J.J. Abrams did the film franchise justice by his direction and the person who hired Lawrence Kasdan to help J.J. write the film also did the film series justice.  For those who don’t know Lawrence Kasdan, he wrote such small films like Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  This is just a fine, fine, film and all of those Star Wars fans have no reason to fear, this is the film you are looking for.

So thirty years after Darth Vader has been killed, the 2nd Death Star was destroyed, and the empire has fallen, the last remaining Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker, is missing.  The remnants of the Empire have over time become The First Order.  They too want to take over the universe and they want to find Skywalker and eliminate him and destroy the last symbol of the light.  Standing in the way of The First Order is our friends The Rebellion.  So begins the journey.

The Force Awakens is paced very much like the original 3 movies.  The right amount of action versus the right amount of plot development.  Plus, unlike Episodes 1 thru 3, the plot development isn’t painfully slow and full of meetings and discussions.  Here the story tellers convey information, reveal some character traits, flaws, and move on.   The best way to describe the action is that is what I was hoping Lucas was going to do when he redid Star Wars because the technology in the 70’s was limited.  The original Star Wars films action was in space and, to me very two dimensional.  What I mean to say is that the interaction with the environment, particularly with the ship to ship fighting, was sterile.  In space, fighters fighting it out bouncing around larger ships, on planets we had featureless Tatooine, and Hoth.  In Force Awakens we see the Millennium Falcon fly through crashed Star Destoyers and other things.  I hope I am making since.

Lastly I will finish the non-spoiler portion of my review by saying the music is once again brilliant because once again the brilliant John Williams created the score.

I told my friend Reed, who is the cheapest human I know and quite possibly the cheapest human on the planet, that this movie deserves to be seen in a movie theater with all the bells and whistles.  He needs to take his family to see it in a HD Movie Theatre with all of the surround sound controls.  I saw it in 3D by pure chance and you don’t have to do that but to do the film justice, if you like the first three movies at all, you can’t wait to see it on your 60 Inch Plasma TV, it isn’t good enough.  Wait till the crowds are gone and go and see it.  If you are a Gen X’er like me and Star Wars was your first film you saw in a movie theater, you will thank yourself for going to see it in the theater (and not a $2 movie theater Reed, real movie theater.)

************Part 2: Some minor spoilers-**********************************************

When I heard J.J. Abrams was directing The Force Awakes I was very excited.  He directed the Star Trek reboot and did a wonderful job of bringing that franchise from the malaise that was the Next Generation films.  I was curious to see what he was going to do because in the Star Trek film he basically nuked the time line we were used to and created a timeline of a Kirk who was a drunk and a Spock who is getting freaky with Uhura.  J.J. can’t do that in the Star Wars world (which I would argue makes the Star Wars world more sacrosanct then the Star Trek world because you can mess with the lore of Star Trek and be ok, you can’t with Star Wars.)

Abrams saves the Star Wars franchise by going back to the future.  The first two acts of The Force Awakens I feel were original and entertaining.  But when we get to Act 3, you will start watching and tell yourself, hey, I have seen this before.  And indeed you have seen this before and I am ok with it.  In order to distance this movie from the garbage that was Episodes 1 thru 3, Abrams and Kasdan said let’s give the Star Wars fans something familiar to feel  at the end of this movie and then break new ground going forward.  So Act 3 has almost no surprises.  Now there is a huge, huge, surprise in act 3 but as you are in act 3 and the scene develops you get the feeling you know what’s going to happen.  So while Act 3 is familiar, it is still wonderful.

Another thing that is well done with this movie is that we have a good mix of the new generation of heroes and villains and old ones.  I will freely admit that this film has 90 sec of Luke Skywalker in it, but as the movie moves along you realize that this isn’t his film to help with the transition.  This is all about Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford (Star Wars) and Chewbacca and they are the leaders of the old guard who help introduce us to the next generation.  We do get to see Princess Leia,  played by Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) again as well as C3PO and a little R2D2 thrown in.  Even a few minor familiar characters make an appearance.  But it was all well planned and believable, you know Star Wars universe believable.

Casting choices for the next generation of heroes and villains were well done this time.  Thankfully we have no Hayden Christiansen to suffer with and no Jar Jar Binks to deal with either.  Our new heroes are, Rey, played by Daisy Ridley (Scrawl,) and she will be our new Jedi I personally believe,  Finn, or FN2183 If I remember, played by John Boyega (Half of a Yellow Sun) he is the Storm Trooper turned good guy you have seen in the trailers, Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood,) the Rebellion ace pilot.  The one villain we are introduced to is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver (J.Edgar) who is a man much like his grandfather who struggles between following the dark side of the force or the light.  One thing I love about all of them is that you really haven’t heard of them before and that is wonderful to me.  Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and to a lesser extent, Harrison Ford, were a bunch of nobodies before Star Wars and now they are giants.

Just so I can be a tiny bit balanced, to find something to complain about, the special effects on the new supreme bad guy, yeesh, by far the worst thing about the new film.  Still 1000 times better than the best thing about any of Episode 1 thru 3.

This ends part 2 of some spoilers.  Part 3 is next so if you know me go away.

 

****************************Danger, Danger, spoiler ahead*****************************************************************

Part 3 of the review- one major spoiler

This will be brief and while I will not tell you what happened my statement will tell you if you know me at all.

As a child growing up with a single parent, I had a dad, and I had the movies, ok, and football.  One of my first movie memories was Star Wars.  I was a Star Wars fan from the beginning.  It was my childhood.  But, J.J. Abrams did one thing in this film, which I am ok with but still sad none the less.  He killed my childhood.

 

 

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