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Archive for the ‘Donald Moffat’ Category

bonfireBoy I must have really done something to Benn to make me watch this film. I mean sure I asked him to do an essay on the Cinema de Stephen Segal, but he never did it.  And I didn’t make him because that is a hell that no one should have to deal with.  But then makes me watch this film, and when I text him and say that he finally has shown me a Tom Hanks movie worse than Joe Versus the Volcano, he laughs and says, yeah I watched and knew it was bad.  Well then why the hell make me watch it then?  Ok, so you just wait until I find something terrible for you to watch, Mr. Farrell.

Sherman McCoy, played by Tom Hanks (Nothing In Common,) is a Wall Street Bond trader who is also married with a kid.  Sherman also has a mistress Maria Ruskin, played by Melanie Griffith (Working Girl,) accidentally runs over a black teenager in the South Bronx while driving his car while in the car.  This sets off a chain of events that causes his life to unravel under the scrutiny of a minister, a district attorney running for mayor, an assistant district attorney trying to score points with his boss, and a down on his luck reporter, named Peter Fallow, played by Bruce Willis (Sin City,) looking for a story.  As Fallow starts to uncover the facts he begins to realize that Sherman is being railroaded by everyone and looks to help him out.

So to begin with we have to talk about the elephant in the room.  What in God’s name is Melanie Griffith doing in this movie?  Better yet, who the hell cast her to act in this film?  Her Southern accent is absolutely atrocious.  She hasn’t got a great voice to begin with because it seems like to me her regular voice is barely above a whisper.  Then you add an uneven and almost unpracticed sounding accent and every time she is on screen I am hating every second of it.  I know at this point in time she was coming off her Academy Award nomination for Working Girl, but that clearly was an anomaly on a otherwise unspectacular career and even Benn said in his review of Working Girl, click here to read it, she wasn’t all that good.  There is only one reason why, in my eyes, she was cast for this role and it can be seen in this picture here.

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While I was watching Tom Hanks in this film I was thinking of his performance in the movie The Man with the One Red Shoe.  For large parts of the film Hanks was playing this part very stiff and by the look in his eyes he wasn’t enjoying participating in this film.  There was nothing to like about his character in the film.  He is cheating on his wife and he is an arrogant tool.  So it’s hard to feel sorry for him when he discovers that everyone has decided to either betray him or frame him or use his situation for political gain.   And I really want to cheer for him because he is Tom Hanks!  Plus the writing was poor in this film, for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that it fails in showing how Hanks’s character Sherman has become estranged from his parents.  We get one back handed compliment from his wife Judy, played by Kim Cattrall (Crossroads,) about how he isn’t his dad, and we get one lunch at the beginning that shows that his father, played by Donald Moffit (Clear and Present Danger,) and his mother are concerned about him.  So this makes one of the final scenes anti-climatic when Sherman’s dad shows up in his empty apartment to tell him he loves him and supports him.  It would have been great if we had seen that they were angry with each other but that wasn’t the case so the reconciliation seemed unnecessary and pointless other than to feel good about the moment.   I will say that because it was Tom Hanks I was at least a little bit happier, so it did work, but only because I like Tom Hanks.

The other main star in this film, Bruce Willis, is also playing an unlikeable character.  He is a drunk and he writes the article based the lies of the people who have the agenda against Sherman.  So when he suddenly realizes the truth that Maria was the one driving, not Sherman, and he is helping to destroy an innocent man, it seems a little out of character for him and also self-serving.  In fact the whole point of the film is to show how one man can fall but still have everything and how a man can come from nothing and have everything, but still have nothing.  Bruce Willis also played the character of Peter Fallow in the same way he played his character on the TV show Moonlighting with one difference in that unlike the character of David Addison on the TV show, Peter Fallon has no “character” what so ever.  He is just a robotic reporter who is unable to convey emotion.

Like the three main characters, the rest of the cast, save one person, are all horrible people and impossible to cheer for in any capacity.  They are all crooked and corrupt and are just not good people and therefore I don’t care about them.  Now I am guessing that this is the point of the movie, as is I would guess the point of the book that it is based on.  The book was written during the 80’s where all the supposed evil in the country was centered in Wall Street and the people who worked in it.  So why a make a movie where you have to try and make one of these likeable?  I don’t get it.  But I did say there was one character who was likeable and that was the Judge in the Brooklyn court, Judge Leonard White, played by Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins.)  He is the one that is constantly yelling at all those who are corrupted and putting them in order, especially at Sherman’s trial.  He has a great speech about telling everyone to be decent.  Of course to me, the only other actor in this movie that has the credibility that Tom Hanks does would be Morgan Freeman.  He is an amazing actor and he had the only decent character in this movie.

This movie has no real redeeming quality because it has no one that you really want to cheer for as a hero.  Then you throw in the incredibly annoying voice and bad acting ability of Melanie Griffith and you have a recipe for disaster.  For some odd reason I remember the hype surrounding this movie back in 1990 before it came out and then the horrid reviews and box office failure of it.  I didn’t see it because of all that and now that I have seen it part of me wants to see some harm befall Benn Farrell.  It’ll pass because I don’t want it to happen, but making me watch movies like this makes me want to think it.

 

 

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clearandpresentdangerThis movie is the third in the Tom Clancy based novels released in the late 80’s early 90’s and the second with Harrison Ford starring as main hero Jack Ryan.  Between this movie, the other Harrison Ford movie, Patriot Games, and the first one, The Hunt For Red October, Clear and Present Danger is the worst of the three movies but for this particular series that isn’t a bad thing.  This movie was fun and easy to follow and to watch.  In fact I seem to like it more now than when I watched it at the movie theater 20 years ago.  As much as I like this movie now the fact of the matter is that the thing I hated 20 years ago is still the thing I hate now, the ending blows.  Now that I am wiser I can say that I have a decent idea on how to end the film but it only would make the ending less sucky but not good.

In the third installment of Tom Clancy’s movies based around the character Jack Ryan, played by Harrison Ford (Star Wars,) Ryan has rejoined the CIA working for Deputy Director Admiral James Greer, played by James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian,) who has asked Ryan to investigate the murder of an American businessman on board a yacht in the Caribbean Sea.  Ryan discovers that the businessman is a close personal friend of President Bennett, played by Donald Moffat (The Thing,) and tells the President during a debriefing that his friend was laundering money for a Colombian Cartel.  Angry that his friend is murdered by the cartel, he unofficially authorizes his Chief of Staff James Cutter, played by Harris Yulin (Murder at 1600,) to have the CIA conduct a covert illegal paramilitary operation against the cartel.  Cutter asks the CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter, played by Henry Czerny (Mission: Impossible,) to organize the operation and to also keep all information about the operation away from Ryan, who was promoted to Admiral Greer’s position as he is hospitalized with cancer.  As operations get underway under the leadership of former CIA agent John Clark, played by Willem Defoe (John Wick,) the Cartel leader Ernesto Escobar, played by Miguel Sandoval (Mrs. Winterbourne,) and his assistant Felix Cortez, played by Joaquim de Almeida (Behind Enemy Lines,) try to figure out who is involved.  When Cortez discovers that it is the US military he takes advantage of the situation to coerce Cutter to sacrifice the troops there and in exchange he will eliminate Escobar.

It’s funny every time that I saw the movie poster on Amazon Prime or Netflix I would frown because my memory of the movie is always negative.  I owned the VHS when I was younger but then I worked at the video store of the grocery store I worked it but then again I owned lots of movies because I got them cheap.  And yet I don’t know why I feel this way because when I started watching the film I was almost immediately engaged in the film.  The story jumps right into the meat of the plot in that the US President, angry over the death of his friend, wants to make the cartels pay for this action.  The writers do a great job of setting up the different levels of conflict between the multiple characters in the film and not just between the US and the cartels but also the conflict between Ritter and Ryan and how Ritter and Cutter try to keep Ryan from finding out about the military operation.  For 135 minutes the movie from a story point of view was great.  However, the movie is 141 minutes long, and the reason for the bad taste in my mouth when I think of this movie is the final five minutes.  As I have said I hate the ending of the movie.  See what happens is Ryan makes it back to the US from rescuing the remaining troops in Columbia and confronts the President about his actions and I was hoping for a smack down on him.  I wanted Ryan to leave that office with the President knowing that he was not only wrong but a broken man for what he did.  That didn’t happen.  It was a very tame and Ryan was very respectful in telling the President he was screwed.  It just left me sad.  Then we get to the part that really pisses me off.  I haven’t read the book but if the book ends the same why I would be pissed as well.  What happens in the movie is that after the non-confrontation confrontation with the President, the film goes to Ryan walking into a room full of press as he is about to give his testimony to the Congressional committee and after he takes the oath, Ryan sits down and the credits roll.  That is the end of the film.  For me that is a horrible way to end the film.  I know we know the story of what he is going to tell the committee but just having the credits roll just was just a killer of what had been an exciting movie.  It gave me the impression that everything the President had told Ryan during their confrontation (he said that Ryan would take the bulk of the blame and the rest of it would fall on Adm. Greer) was actually going to happen.  That pisses me off.  When I first saw this movie I had no idea how to end it without watching some testimony which would have taken to long.  What the director should have done is while the scene fades out to have it written out what happened after the meeting so at least we know.  But the movie fades to end credits and we don’t know what happens and that just ruins the rest of the movie.  As I write this I am actually getting upset that this ending ruins this movie.  Moving on.

As I said before I enjoyed the story up to the ending.  I am surprised by this because being a child of the 80’s and the Cold War my movie bad guys should always be those bastard Communists but in the early and mid 90’s our spy heroes were fighting drug cartels because the Communists bastards had lost the Cold War.  So I usually don’t enjoy movies where the bad guys are drug cartels.  But this movie works because even though the bad guy is the drug cartel it is more the President and his team running the illegal war.  The other thing that I liked about the story is that it kept me engaged even though you knew who the bad guys were and basically we were along for the ride that was watching Ryan figure out who is doing what to who and when.  To me it is impressive when you are watching a detective movie when you know the answer and you are left watching the good guy solve the puzzle and it is still entertaining.

The action was good as well even though I feel that his movie has the least amount of action of the three movies.  The best action scene in the movie is when the drug lord’s lieutenant sets a trap to kill Director of the FBI, who is visiting Bogata Colombia, while Ryan is there doing research.  The entire action see is very nice and very intense.  It’s funny in that I said the action was good but for the most part there isn’t a lot of action its’ just very intense for what little there is.  I will give this an asterisk however in that I would have like to see Ryan kill the Cortez because to me that is the rule that the main bad guy get killed by the good guy but he was busy escaping so the killing was left to one of the remaining soldiers.  I guess its ok that the soldier gets some revenge but it still breaks one of my rules but I can live with it.

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I can talk about how awesome Harrison Ford is but lets face it, he is Harrison Ford so he is always awesome.  But I enjoyed the entire cast and thought there were no real weaknesses in it.  I thought that of the rest Henry Czerny as Ritter was the best.  He does a good political/government guy in general be it good or bad.  To see a good version watch Mission: Impossible.  Also want to give a shout out to James Earl Jones because he was in this movie again and his death was sad for me because he is Darth Vader and that is sad when he dies.

I enjoyed this political thriller a lot but the ending just kills it for me.  This is an entertaining film and is very much worth watching if you haven’t seen if for nothing else other than watching the badass that is Harrison Ford.  As of the time of this review he is 74 years old and we need to start celebrating his greatness as time moves forward.  So please watch more of his movies.

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