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Archive for the ‘1997’ Category

murder1600As Benn Farrell movie review challenges go, this movie is easily in the top 5 better Benn Farrell movie review challenges.  Now that said, this is not a good movie but it isn’t so bad that I need to call Benn a tool or Douchebag or something like I normally would after watching his challenge.  That being said if you happen to see this on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu, you don’t have to watch this movie unless there is nothing else on and you want to watch a poor Wesley Snipes film.

When a 25 year old female staff worker is found murdered in one of the white house bathrooms, Washington D.C. Detective Regis, played by Wesley Snipes (Expendables 3,) is assigned to try and solve the case despite the interference from almost everyone at the White House.  The one person who is trying to help is Secret Service Agent Nina Chance, played by the oddly hot for me Diane Lane (Man of Steel,) who seems to have important information at odd times.  Also helping not helping is National Security Advisor Jordan played by Alan Alda (Bridge of Spies,) Chief of White House Security Spikings, played by Daniel Benzali (A View to a Kill,) and the plethora of Secret Service agents all being led by Spikings.  Once Regis goes through the tedious process of discovering the ridiculous amounts of twists and turns he discovers the true reason for the murder and must race to the White House with Agent Chance to keep the President from resigning.

To start off on the reasons why I don’t like this movie I can start with casting.  I like Wesley Snipes and I can totally believe that he is a kickass detective.  What I can’t believe is that he is a son of a history teacher who not only studied all areas of Washington DC but faithfully recreated a diorama of not only Washington DC but the First Battle of Bull Run.  That just doesn’t work for Wesley Snipes.  Does it work Denzel Washington?  Absolutely.  But not Snipes.  Another person who is miscast is Diane Lane.  I think she is hot and she is smart but she is not athletic.  So her character, who is an Olympic Gold Medal winning marksman, doesn’t vibe with the thin but non athletic Lane.  It pains me to say this but as you watch her run and carry a gun you can tell that she isn’t athletic so for me it just doesn’t work.  IT was also weird to see Dennis Miller in a movie.  He of Saturday Night Live fame was a homicide detective and normally a partner to Regis.  His part was fairly small although he did successfully preform his red shirt duties of getting shot during the final acts action shoot out scene.  He does live to tell the tale though.  It’s not that he doesn’t belong but…it just was weird.

The story is both bad and good.  Good that it keeps me involved and I have to watch it to the very to see how its going to end but bad in that the story itself is somewhat ludicrous.  In what seems like a subplot to the movie, when this murder takes place at the White House, the US is involved with a confrontation with North Korea.  One of the US Nave surveillance planes flew over North Korean airspace and was shot down and the crew of the plane is being held hostage.  There is leaked footage of the US Airmen being tortured by the North Koreans.  Despite the fact that most Americans not to mention most of his staff want to go into North Korea and rescue the hostages, President Jack Neil, played by Ronny Cox (Beverly Hills Cop,) will not use any military action to get the hostages out.  This goes against the advice of NSA Jordan, his own Vice-President, and the Chairman of the Joint Chefs General Tulley, played by Harris Yulin (Clear and Present Danger.)  SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU PLAN ON SEEING THIS MOVIE AND WANT TO BE SURPRISED DON’T READ THIS NEXT SENTENCE. So NSA Jordan brings in someone to kill the young lady who is banging the President’s son.  He does this because he wants to blackmail President Neil into resigning so the Vice President can take over so they can attack the North Koreans to get the troops back.  So…yeah…that’s it.   There is also the problem that the plot goes from all things pointing to the son being guilty, then it becomes obvious that he isn’t guilty and Spikings is the main bad guy, but then he gets blown away and its determined that both Regis and Chance have no idea who it is but the magic video tapes can solve the mystery.  There are even more issues, including those security tapes, but I won’t bother talking about it.  You get the idea.  However, as the movie was rolling along I was intrigued to see the outcome of the movie because I was curious who was going to be the bad guy.  So, I give kudos for the writing to keep me interested enough in the movie to want me to get to the ending.  The ending just wasn’t good.

A thing that was odd about this film production is the trailer for the film.  I have it down below but if you watch you will see some of the worst dialogue for a movie you can imagine.  However, these God-awful lines and mini scenes do not show up in the movie.  So I wonder why on earth you would use these scenes to promote a film when they are nowhere near good enough to make the film.  It is really a strange choice because when I saw the trailer I was worried that Benn screwed me over by making me watch it but that wasn’t the case.  Really an odd choice by these people.

As a whole I would say pass on this movie if you see it on Netflix or wherever.  It is not a horrible movie but there are plenty of movies out there that are better.  As a rat bastard Benn Farrell movie review challenge goes it was decent to watch.  He isn’t a rat bastard for this challenge, only a minor douche.

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volcanoWe all have done it. Driving down the highway and you come up on traffic and you see a traffic accident that looks back and you drive by slowly to check out the accident kind of wanting to see something but kind of not?  Or a friend sends you a link on your Facebook page that either has some video of an insect or reptile you don’t like or some disgusting surgical procedure that you don’t want to see but you end up hitting play anyway?  Only to discover one, that it’s disgusting, and two you quiet continue to go back to it to be disgusted over and over.  You now understand how I feel every time the movie Volcano pops up on TV.  This movie is easily one of the worst movies of 1997 which was the year that had such wonderful films as Batman & Robin and Anaconda.  Volcano does have rightfully belonged besides those, as my friend Benn would say, craptastic films.

The new City of Los Angeles head of the EOM department, Mike Roarke, played by Tommy Lee Jones (Man of the House,) has his daughter Kelly, played by Gaby Hoffman (Wild,) when an earthquake hits the city.  This earthquake opens up a fissure in the La Brea Tar Pits area and before he and Geologist Amy Barnes, played by Anne Heche (Wild Card,) can figure out what’s going on another earthquake hits the area triggering a volcanic eruption from the tar pits.  It becomes a race against time to save the city of Los Angeles from destruction.

It probably is my writing but this sounds like a Sci-Fi channel special.  While the special effects and the acting in the film are much better than a Sci-Fi special, the writing and story of this film is right in the wheel house of those wonderfully bad movies.

One of the first things you have in this film is that the writer Jerome Armstrong, and maybe even the director Mick Jackson, wanted to make some kind of social statement in the middle of this disaster film that include the angry white LA cop and the poor out for justice young black man.  Before the disaster ever starts we are introduced to these two characters barking at each other in some faux attempt to induce a Rodney King type quality to these two. Then after the volcano erupts in LA the white cop arrests the black guy because the black guy was harassing a fireman asking for help with all of the lava on their street even though the street there were on also had exactly same lava flowing down the street.  Then in a Mia Culpa moment one cop lets the guy go and instead of walking off he joins with the other police offers and fireman to help move the traffic divider into place to help damn the lava to help save the city to glorious musical applause.  Then, for its moment of glory, as if we already haven’t had our head smashed in with a ballpeen hammer about race relations, at the end of the movie when all of the people are covered in ash, and mud, and dust, and dirt, the sweet little innocent boy looks at the police officer and says, “their faces, all of them are the same.”  Doesn’t that make you just want to fall into a pit of starving tigers with raw meat tied to your body?  A completely useless side story and failed attempt at what now would be considered the beginning of some bullshit social justice thing.

The story about the volcano itself is just as bad.  Sure, I guess a volcano can form in a large metropolitan area.  But the stuff that happens and how the people react is comical.  The movie spends 20 minutes on fighting the lava going down Wilshire Blvd yet we know by previous scenes that the lava is spreading in multiple directions.  So why do we have causes for huge celebration when they get the lava stopped on Wilshire?  Oh and Im not sure how the lava will be stopped by a six foot wall of highway dividers when the dividers are just on the street and the lava looks to be…everywhere??? But hey details right?    Then over on Stanley, where the poor people live, we have people running for their lives as the lava keeps burning down houses and people worried about their things but have no fear!  The mighty little Chihuahua will save the day by barking at the lava!  Or he will just turn around a few inches from the lava and trot out the doggie door because that will happen.  I am completely not mentioning, ok I am, the scene where the bad guy-ish LA department of…Trains I guess, is trying to save the conductor of one of his subway trains that is surrounded by lava.  So he heroically jumps from the train, lands in the molten lava and yet still manages to throw the conductor from his back another couple of feet to safety, and then he …melts into the lava.  There is more, but, you get the picture I am painting.

The only good thing I can say about this film is that some of the actors that were in it actually tried to make this dog of a film good.  Tommy Lee Jones was the best, of course, and I could swear there were times he was laughing not at the joke in the story but at the joke of this film.  His daughter, played by Hoffman was written and performed quite annoyingly.   She took the role of the cat in the movie Alien that was almost always in danger but never was but would hiss when the alien was near.  That was the daughter.  Anne Heche was there and that’s about all you can say.  She wasn’t horrible but then again there is a reason why she has disappeared from cinema, especially since she broke up with Ellen DeGeneres.  The only other bright spot in this film acting wise was Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2,) who played Emmitt, the assistant director at the LA EOM office.  He had most of the humor written into the film and was quite entertaining at it and was one of the few reasons to watch the film actually.

In the same year as this move a much better and more realistic…ish volcano movie came out called Dante’s Peak.  That movie actually had real volcanologists and geologists to assist in the making of the film and the realism.  Something this movie made no attempt at whatsoever.  So if you want to see a good disaster movie about Volcanos watch Dante’s Peak.  If you want to watch a good disaster movie watch the Towering Inferno or the original Poseidon’s Adventure.  If you want to watch something akin to watching someone lance a boil and push out the disgusting puss that is in it, watch Volcano.

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This version of “Insomnia” is a Norwegian movie which the 2002 American made film, same name, starring Robin Williams and Al Pacino is based on. This particular movie, starring Stellan Skarsgard, is quite good, but it is different than the American version in a few but important areas. The American public would have never of approved of some things which happen or are implied in the Norwegian movie. I like this movie just as much as the American counterpart, but it does have a few more holes in it than the newer version.

The story starts off the same, a young school girl is beaten to death and is left dead in a garbage dump. The setting is in the extreme north of Norway, above the Artic Circle, so there is 24 hours of daylight. A Swedish detective, Jonas, played by Stellan Skarsgard (King Arthur), in Oslo is sent up to the great white north with his partner to help solve the crime. During the hunt for the suspect, Jonas accidentally kills his partner. The suspect witnesses the shooting and attempts to blackmail the detective so he can get away with killing the girl.

Main differences between the two movies are, in thisversion, the suspect actually has sex with the 17 year old girl and the two detectives are not facing an Internal Affairs investigation back home. Jonas just happened to be sleeping with a suspect in a major criminal investigation. During the course of the movie, Jonas also has his hand up the skirt of the victim’s best friend, who is also 17; minor differences but in major ways.

I liked the movie, and I wish I had seen this version first instead of the American version. If you have seen the American version, you should go ahead and see this version, because it shows how much censorship there is here in the USA.

Brian – the Naked Gun

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batmanrobinThe movie that almost killed the Batman franchise, “Batman & Robin” quite possibly is the biggest piece of crap to come out of Hollywood in 20 years. The last colossal failure of this epic of a scale would have been “Ishtar.” There is nothing, zero, nadda, good about this movie. Which should tell you how bad this movie is since two of my very favorite actors, Arnold Swarzenegger and Uma Thurman are in it and I still say this. There is not a strong enough word that explains how horrible this movie truly is, detestable is close.

So we pick up the latest Batman movie which is barely on life support after the poor showing of the previous Batman movie, “Batman Forever,” with Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman, played by George Clooney (Ocean’s Thirteen), and Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin, played by “I have fallen and can’t get my movie career back up” Chris O’Donnell (Kinsey,) are chasing their latest villain, Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator 2) in a museum in Gotham, in a spaceship above Gotham, and in the sewers of Gotham. Robin gets surprised by Freeze and nearly dies until Batman saves him again. Then there is this whole diatribe about Bruce not trusting Dick and Dick acting reckless and blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, as if knowing that this movie was completely sucking, the producers added another star bad guy or girl in this case, to bring more people to see the movie. Somewhere in Central America, a mad scientist is creating a monster that is pumped up on steroids, probably Barry Bonds, to be sold as the ultimate fighting warrior. The mad scientist assistant, Dr. Pamela Isley, soon to be Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman, is helping the scientist until she blows him off and so the scientist tries to kill her by knocking her into her little chemical experiment table, and instead of dying, she turns into this women who has poison running through her veins instead of blood, or something like that.

Add to this a meaningless subplot about the butler to Bruce Wayne, Alfred, played by Michael Gough (Batman movies,) having a non-curable disease at the same time he gets visited by his niece, Barbara, soon to be Batgirl, unfortunately played by Alicia Silverstone (Scooby Doo 2.)

As you can see when there are this many stars, the movie is going to suck, and boy does it, Hoover style. I shall now list my complaints in order of most insulting to least insulting.

One, the biggest ass of the movie is director Joel Shumacher. He turned the Batman franchise which was originally directed by Tim Burton, from this dark, gothic, tragic-comedic-drama, too a movie that is closer to the movie “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” then any Batman movie. He directed the actors to, in a figurative sort of way, pull their pants down, and take a collective s**t. His choice of trying to make this movie a special effect, Broadway show without the music, was by far the worst choice a director has made probably since Ed Wood. Shumacher had nearly done the same thing to the previous movie that he directed, “Batman Forever,” and he would have achieved it save for the great performance of Jim Carrey. This time around, there was no great performance to save Shumacher. It is clear that he had no concept of the Batman character and the story, and instead of sticking to the ideas of the first two movies, or heaven forbid, do a little research, he turned into a homo-erotic French Quarter drag show. This, by the way, would have been more enjoyable to watch than “Batman and Robin.”

My second complaint, George Clooney. It’s clear that he did not know anything about the character of Bruce Wayne or Batman. I did not see any pain that the character must have to be who he is. Pain drives the revenge that makes Batman come to life. Michael Keaton, the first Batman in the movies, showed his pain even when he was happy in the first two movies. Even through the mask you could see the pain that Keaton’s portrayal produce. I would assume some credit goes to Burton. Clooney on the other hand, tried to create a poor man’s James Bond-Roger Moore James Bond at that, and you could tell that he had no true emotions, especially of anger, in the movie. Val Kilmer’s portrayal was forgettable in the third movie, but Clooney’s was almost as bad as the TV version of Batman done by Adam West.

Third, I want to complain about the rest of the actors. Thurman and Swarzenegger were there to get a paycheck, that’s obvious. Probably also just to be in the movie of this size was fun for them, especially Uma, just because at this time she had not done a lot, if any action movies. But Chris O’Donnell, who gave a painful performance in “Batman Forever,” and Alicia Silverstone, were just god awful. I have always doubted Silverstone’s acting ability. I have always thought her best performance was in the Aerosmith videos. In this movie, it’s almost as if she has her script just below camera shot so she can read her lines to the other actors, because she certainly didn’t do any acting. She also certainly didn’t do any stunt work in the movie because it was clear that she was just a wee bit out of shape, and every time she came running into frame you could see her almost begging the director to scream cut, so she can start gagging for air. O’Donnell was not as bad, but again as in the first movie, had no idea of the character of Dick Grayson, and acted like a younger brother to Bruce Wayne who had his ball taken away and cried throughout the whole movie. I will give credit to the only entertaining actor of this movie, Michael Gough, Alfred, not because he was so great, but he stuck to the character he created in the first movie and never wavered. Unfortunately we don’t see enough of him.

Well, I could talk about the writer, but he made the same mistake as Shumacher, not knowing his story. What amazes me about this movie is that the guys made it as if they were assuming that nobody had ever scene the Batman movies or new of the character of Bruce Wayne. They completely rewrote a tragic character and turned him into a game show host. I have not seen a Joel Schumacher movie sense and I probably never will again. What he did is unforgivable, turning a childhood hero into a sick joke. For shame, Mr. Shumacher, for shame.

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anacondaWell, this movie just sucked. I would like to compliment it on its cinematography or its direction or casting, but I can’t. With J-Lo’s million dollar ass, and Jon ‘Liverspot’ Voight overacting, and the completely un-realistic special effects of the snake make for a recipe of crap. Let’s face it, how good can a movie be when the best thing you can say about it is Ice Cube’s acting was ok.

A group of National Geographic film makers hire a boat to go down the Amazon in search of the Shamalama ding dong tribe, pick up a Portuguese hunter on a stranded boat, with a Columbian accent may I add, and he takes them hostage and tries to capture the world’s most dangerous animal, the deadly Anaconda, which spans 500 feet, weighs 1000 lbs, and can leap tall alligator’s in a blink of an eye, Super Anaconda with a big red cape with the letter A in the middle.

Like I said, Ice Cube (XXX : State of the Union) was pretty ok. He was quite humorous with his constant jokes of the ghetto being safer than the jungle. I don’t see him being a former USC student with a film making background, but I can ignore that fact. I will also give an honorable mention to Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) and Jonathan Hyde (Titanic) who didn’t do anything to hurt the film. It was one of Wilson’s first movies and you get an early taste of his sarcasm and humor.

Now for the bad acting, I give you Jennifer Lopez (Monster-In-Law.) Her performance is no different than any other she has given (except for her role in Selena,) it is horrible. Is she a powerful woman who can save the day or is she a damsel in distress? She fluctuates from each one throughout the entire movie. Then there is ‘Liverspots.’ Where did Jon Voight (Tomb Raider) get his Portuguese accent, from a Columbian drug lord? Plus he was just over acting in every scene, although he did have a few humorous moments.

Who made the decision to make the snake faster than the speed of light, the director Louis Llosa or writers Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.? Because whoever did decide this needs to be fired. It makes for a totally unrealistic monster, worse than Jason, and therefore comical and not scary. I am guessing that it’s the writers since they have come up with such classics as Komodo, Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas, and the sequel to this horrid epic. The ending to this movie is the tell tale sign. After the entire crew is killed, there is only three left and two of them just had a life or death struggle with the snake, what do you do? You start filming your documentary because you happen to float by the missing native tribe that you were looking for in the beginning?  Dumb f*cks, all of them. If you see these writers run away as fast as you can.

Avoid this movie at all costs, it is not worth it, even when you see J-Lo and Kari Wuhrer in wet shirts it doesn’t even save it. Just plain crappy.

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This is a fine movie about a slave rebellion on a Spanish ship, Le Amistad, and how the Americans dealt with this particular slavery issue in the few years before the American Civil War.

“Amistad,” although directed by Steven Spielberg, having such great actors as Morgan Freeman, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Nigel Hawthorne, was not received well in the movie theaters. It would appear we Americans don’t mind looking at the evils of other countries, i.e. Schindler’s List, but when Americans are the bad guys and in the wrong, we tend to look the other way.

The actual historical event deals with these rebellious slaves who kill most of their Spanish crew and are captured by an American vessel off the New England coast. The basic argument was these men and women were from Africa, where slavery was declared illegal by the British Crown, and therefore not slaves or property, but indeed people. This matter went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States because of many political problems, mostly with the Queen of Spain and the possible repercussions of declaring slaves as people when the U.S. was on the verge of civil war.

“Amistad” chooses one of the slaves, Cinque, played by Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator), leader of the revolt, to tell this story through with a small time lawyer, Baldwin, defending him, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey (Time to Kill).

The movie again shows the greatness of Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and his directing ability. “Amistad” was not Academy Award® nominated for Best Picture, or Best Director, which I feel is a travesty, especially considering the best picture that year was “Titanic.” For shame on all of you who voted for this s**tty movie instead of “Amistad.” Although not on the same level as “Schindler’s List,” it is as good as it gets that year.

Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs) was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for is portrayal of John Quincy Adams. If there is anything I do not like about the movie, it is Morgan Freeman’s (Shawshank Redemption) character. His is unneeded to tell the story, and I really don’t know why he is in it. Since he is a great actor, he did a nice job, but he doesn’t need to be in the movie.

This movie should be watched by all. The scenes that depict the slave ship and everything that happened are shocking and just as disturbing as such scenes in “Schindler’s List,” but because we have to look at the face of evil and discover it is us, a lot of people won’t see this movie.

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