Come on down to a Cinemassacre Video, and enjoy the rental reviews !
Gathering around, in the video store, to review a movie, after renting it.. is a brilliant concept for a talk show, and nostalgia gold. I remember, rather resort to, those VHS days, especially the 1980s and the 1990s movies, which this show discusses a lot, and adores passionately. Every episode has a journey to the past (that shows any bit of a movie as if it's from an old videotape), the retrospective factor, with endless comparisons, different conclusions and - most importantly - comical altercations.
Both the host and the guests are cinema freaks and super fans before being reviewers, who seem eating and drinking movies, TV shows, and video games too. They memorize every detail, and have information to tell, let alone their memories with the culture that they experienced which give the show its special flavor, and their sense of humor that cracks me up every time.
And in terms of humor, let me tell you, Antonio Piluso, or simply Tony, is a childish laughing machine, and more like 'Howling Mad' Murdock of this team. Sure he steals the lights with his explosive wit, atmospheric outfits, and lovely acting in whether the show's ads, or swift sketches.
The rest isn't less humorous; Kieran Fallon who always has a funny deep remark that works as a prefect punchline, and sings the intro adorably. Justin Silverman who sounds like the most rational, less talkative. Added to the charismatic and nice host James Rolfe. And it's wonderful to have some guest stars here and there; like Arlo, Mr. Lobo, Mike Matei, Nathan Barnatt, and yeah.. Macaulay Culkin.
Btw, the ads of the show are done subtly, totally unlike the raw, in your face, ads of other YouTubers, or the satanic ones of Nostalgia Critic!
Ok, now for things I hated. First off, the unbroken F word, or the crude language in general; originally it's strange that the show omits nudity, and yet permits profanity! Speaking about words, please guys, stop repeating the word "like", meaning "similar to", because it's said at least 100 times per minute!
The new set isn't any good compared to the old set. It's too bright and stylish, like a hip respectable store, unlike the old one with its dim lighting as if it's an old memory, and the poor vibe which the VHS supposedly gives, plus its resemblance to most of the worn out video store that we've been once. There is a certain irony between the brown wood and the white plastic where the second fails to bring out the oldie feel. And instead of the TV screen, with its vital image and running movies, we sunk into that (Mac and Me) immutable ugly poster!
Using a music track in the episode's background proved to be extremely annoying and distracting, so lose that music, LOSE IT! The host, and - occasionally - the guests, are standing for no reason, which's uneasy for the viewer in a way. Sometimes the conversation gets out of subject, and turns into blabbering about something else movies altogether (like Tony' late dog, for instance). And, naturally, I don't agree with all of the guys' opinions (Dear James, Die Hard IS NOT a survival movie!).
Cinemassacre Rental Reviews is nothing but a bunch of guys talking about old movies in old video store, and I like it. It represents the 1980s and 1990s generation, does honor to their memories as well as their devotion, and - in such an achievement - makes geeks look cool.
Why this kind movie isn't made in our evil days ?!
One of the best Ernest movies, no arguments. Here, everything and everyone are so right. The story is simple yet convincing. Even the scene of Auntie Nelda was logical; she was a visitor in the prison, then got lost! The characters are unforgettably funny. It's where cartoonish can be felt in the sets, the pace, the gags, and the performances. And with that hilarious cast, headed by the great Jim Varney, then it's my ideal definition of lovely comedy.
See how it makes itself creative along the way: the metal tallboys are chasing the lead, the lead has supernatural powers occasionally (which equals his good nature in a way), there are "different" dresses of him in his house, that house itself as childish electronic miracle, the mine field of his enthusiastic neighbors, the first and last pink prison in movie history.. and so on. There is such a devotion to the cartoon spirit and its innocent fun. And every moment is filled with wonderful glee.
It's where the good parts are the whole movie. I can't refer to one sequence or scene as the best. But to name a few: Look at the enjoyable monologue of the title character when he knew about going to the death row; actually I was waiting for every speech he would give, and he gave a lot in this movie, the farcical scene in the restaurant, the intro or the end's bank extravaganza, and Ernest walking like a sudden super electric-magnetic zombie, fleeing from execution, making an enough visual havoc!
For me, the astonishingly sweet Barbara Tyson, the crazily comedic Gailard Sartain & Bill Byrge, the nice ogre Randall 'Tex' Cobb, the ultra serious Charles Napier, along with the iconic Varney made it to immortality even if they didn't do anything but this movie. Long story short, this is entertainment, ladies and gentlemen. So why I rated it 9 out 10, not 10 out 10? I'll tell you:
Why Lyle, the huge prison inmate, got sympathized with the lead? The script just forgot answering that. I believe if Ernest dealt with him in a surprisingly friendly way, unlike Mr. Nash's cruel way, offering him his own food for instance at one moment or something like that, it could have been valid to have him as an ally afterwards. Chuck and Bobby security inventions weren't all utilized in the climactic sequence, and ended up as brief chuckles. Why Charlotte went to the bank in the end? It was bluntly fabricated so she could be there while the heist anyway. By the way, it took her forever to get to her car after running away from Nash's flirting! And the end scene was too swift to unsatisfying degree; I knew lately that there was an extra scene, with Ernest having a desk job in the bank finally as a reward, however it got deleted, foolishly I suppose!
But despite that script's few shortcomings, this is a gorgeous time from start to finish. Slapstick was never droll like that unless in numbered cartoons. The fact of "The reviews for the movie were universally negative" is additional laugh that this movie gifts to us, since it will live long, and these very reviews will be universally forgettable. The thing is in our violent, sick and inhuman not world, but movies and TV shows, we need more Ernest in our lives, and more of this kind of entertainment. It's where the childhood rules, and when we forgot childhood, all what we have is monstrosity. Just compare Ernest Goes to Jail from 1990 to any of the psychopathic comedies of today's cinema and TV to know clearly that Ernest is killed, and Mr. Nash is free, victorious and multiplex!
When you read all of the previous comments about this show, you'll note one truth; half of the comments says that this series is bad, and the other half says that this series is good. Not only this, you'll find another strikingly strange thing; every comment had "people found it useful" which's also - almost every time - the half of the showing number, that means simply that the other half of the people found it unhelpful. So what is it with this fifty/fifty case?? I'll tell you..
This show continued for 5 Seasons. I think the first 2 of them were excellent, strong and well-written. And, sadly, the other half had gone boring, predictable and turned out to be waste of time. That is the truth like it shows from the various, very divergent, comments. So the interpretation of the strange fifty/fifty case is that the lovers, and the haters, are here together, and they are equal. Like the very case of our show "half good, half bad", and that is the rare beauty of the "IMDB" the site which gives you the pure thing by putting all the contradictions of the viewers / the users, to see in all of it a possible image of the truth.
And for my own copy of it: I see that the first 2 seasons of Alias were so original as an espionage TV show, where there is absolutely no comparison or what so ever to shows like "She Spies" or "La Femme Nikita". The ideas were new, the action was too good, and there was wonderful drama and sci-fi. Truly I've had quiet a thrilling time to the extent that I couldn't watch it some times to save my nerves calm, because its very well-done thrill.. can you believe that?!
This show had some distinct valuable elements such as the love story between (Sydney Bristow) and (Michael Vaughn) which's one of the most complicated love stories ever in the history of the TV, and so is that family of spies; it's not (Spy Kids) for sure, because (Spy Kids) was a family which hadn't that kind of issues that Alias's family had, and they didn't work as double agents.
As for the music, I loved the main theme by the creator himself (J.J. Abrams), but I hated putting a slow pop song whenever there was a romantic scene; that was corny. About the acting, (Jennifer Garner) gave the most significant performance. She could make some rare stuff by her eyes in terms of faking a smile, suppressing her feeling.. etc. The worst performance came from (Michael Vartan) side, and his ever lasting one troubled face!
And for all the ones who are saying that this show is so imaginary, not that realistic, Blah Blah Blah.. Don't listen to them, it's that kind of shows which you can have fun watching only by shutting down your brain first.
One last strange thing that I wouldn't be embarrassed to declare: I was big fan of "Arvin Sloane" the head of SD-6! I liked his icy face, his Intelligence, even his sensitivity (you'll watch it, believe me!). The writers did a genius job which made him such one of a kind villain.
Despite anything, enjoy the first 2 seasons. They are powerful, catchy, and real great. But the producers wanted that same formula again and again and again.. whatever the result would be. Therefore, that formula was the success of that show and its crisis too!
P.S: I wrote a review about episode (#4.7: Detente) which you can find at that episode's user comments page as an example for this show's quality and condition after season 2. And I wrote also reviews about those episodes: (#3.15), (#4.5), (#4.7), (#4.9), (#4.10), (#4.11), (#4.12), (#4.13), (#4.15), (#4.18), (#4.19), (#4.21), (#5.1), (#5.3), (#5.4), (#5.16), (#5.17), and (#5.12) about Alias's X File or (The Silliest 15 Events!).
A Heist Movie, Where I Enjoyed The Heist But Not The Movie !
In 1999, while eating fish in our favorite restaurant, I asked my friend: "So what do you think about (Entrapment)?", which he watched alone in the theater the same day earlier, to have him silent for some time, then answering: "Right when it ends, you ask yourself: Did Connery really do all what we saw?!" I think, after watching the movie myself later on as a rented video, that my buddy was UTTERLY RIGHT!
They wanted to make an entertaining heist movie. The "job" was to hire the so old Connery (69 year old), with the so young Zeta-Jones (30 year old) to have girls who long for a father, old men who long for a young sweetheart, and some other parties who want to see a magical glamour happening between 2 dazzling stars on-screen. The thing is I'm none of those!
The details of the thefts and their complications were catchy. The surprises were unpredictable. And the cinematic elements made something glossy. However, the final product was average for most of the time, and weak for the rest.
Connery was way too old to believe him in many parts. His performance seemed blank. And there was naught going on between him and Zeta-Jones, mostly a late grandfather connects with lost grandchild (and I mean belated by "late"!). Simply nothing magical was there. And the explanation for what we saw as weird casting, and love story, is the fact that Connery was the movie's producer!
The movie is just 2 heists attached by a story which I couldn't accept. The last 5 minutes were big lunacy. While talking about beyond-forced endings, this is something to recall. It is one of those endings that could determine what side would win of a movie with few characteristics and some flaws. I was laughing after it, saying: "I can stand a lot of Hollywood nonsense, but this one is so childish!". It is the end that "ends" a movie indeed!
So, with that casting, and somewhat that script, it lost the credibility. I'm not so fond of the other mainstream heist movie from the same year, and more or less with the same characters, (The Thomas Crown Affair). But I have to admit, that last one had more entertaining elements than this one. Sure something didn't click in (Entrapment), and between it and us.
So the heist was fun, the rest wasn't. Sorrowfully they made "unbelievable" in no-believable way!
I love X-Men movies. They're full of imagination, and their quality is always between fantastic and well-done. This time, with Dark Phoenix, everybody is complaining, heaping abuses upon it, as if it's Dark Shadows! Honestly, it doesn't deserve all of that. However it isn't super either; and that's because 3 big mistakes it did.
Firstly, the drama is a little bit strange. So the 8-year-old Jean Grey killed her parents, Ok. But that was for their refusal of changing a radio channel?! So that mighty solar flare got itself into Jean, Ok. But these evil aliens didn't interact or whatsoever? Magneto loves Mystique and wants to kill for her sake, Ok. But Mystique loves Beast?? What a flimsy excuse to fabricate a motive for him to rebel against Professor Xavier!! Magneto turns into a peaceful farmer. Ok. But how come the government left him unharmed while he killed MILLIONS OF PEOPLE in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)??
Secondly, it's lesser than the previous movies. Sure it lacks the momentum of the last 2 installments; X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) in terms of the action sequences, the impressive visuals, or even the running time. Neglecting a point like that does effect badly on the devoted fan of the franchise. Not only this, some weakness hit the supposedly trustworthy elements of these movies too. For instance, Hans Zimmer music was anything but moving or catchy, being like one lazy tone that kept recurring provocatively. It's rare, rather unprecedented, to witness the great composer working as uninterestingly as that. Jennifer Lawrence's performance was more cold than the usual. And we missed any kind of comic relief, unless they thought that Quicksilver's bragging line, after the space mission, is enough, compensating for his unique sequences in the last 2 movies!
Thirdly, and most dangerously, Sophie Turner. OH MY GOD, how can a casting decision go more wrong! Since her first appearance as Jean in X-Men: Apocalypse, I knew that there would be something ominous ahead. She assures here that she doesn't have charisma or talent, so how about being the title character! It's truly painful to watch her destroying the movie with no attraction, no feeling, and no persuasion from her side. Hence she was the movie's biggest, and most fatal, mistake!
You can say that everything and everybody else was safe. The CGI was solid, the action, even if not very much as we used to have, was fair, and the rest of the performances was good. It's not a bad movie altogether. It's average one, and that's the last thing we wanted for the X-Men series climax!
P.S: Please, why it has to rain in every funeral scene in a Hollywood movie?!!
I loved the CGI that de-aged (Samuel L. Jackson), the plot twist, and (Stan Lee) cameo. But I HATED many many bugging questions that this movie allowed to be asked. Here you are "some" of them:
Did the movie's writers (8 guys by the way!) thought for a second that the first 15 min of his script was by any mean understandable? It was the best of confusion, and a brilliant turn off since the start. Any movie should learn of that part, and never make anything like it someday! How come that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) seemed in agreement with nearly every detail on earth? She rode that motorcycle so easily I must say! How dare she steal that motorcycle, along with clothes too, shamelessly like that?! How Nick Fury (Jackson) found her in the bar???!!!! And how did she know that Fury tell the truth about his past as a spy?!
Why Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) didn't kill the lead character after capturing her, and taking over the Tesseract?! How did Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) become the bad guy in the lead's mind in the end? I didn't get that at all! How did Captain Marvel regain her lost powers, her human insistence, and her memory, plus unlock her full super capacities, all at once, after that dull encounter with her role-model-in-reality-turned-evil-in-dream?! Didn't the movie's makers see how the climactic fights were more than boring, since the baddies had no powers against the lead, hence the movie had no conflict, and the viewers had no passivity?! Why Captain Marvel didn't kill Yon-Rogg in the end? That was very poor excuse to set up a sequel! Did they imagine that this was the way how Fury lost his eye?!! That's hugely pathetic! And if Fury began the Avengers initiative in the mid 90s, who did he recruit till meeting Tony Stark in 2008?!!! (I believe he was busy feeding that cat!).
(Brie Larson) is a good actress, and academy award winner, so why she seemed like a smiling doll, acting less good than any traditional hand puppet?! And why her performance while saying: "I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM!" felt nervous and fake?!
Why the line of "I just think you should consider what kind of example you're setting for your daughter" wasn't enjoyable at all? It was unbelievable to be uttered by a kid, and even unfunny as something unbelievable to be uttered by a kid! Why the editing is so hyped at times? It surely ruined the train sequence for me. Why some of the beams' sonic effects sounded like laughable, Atari game-like, ones heard before in Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)?! And why the directors (2 guys by the way!) believed that adding too much flashing lightings would make up for the flimsy script?!
The answer of all of these questions are one: They wanted a Captain Marvel movie, as very soon as possible, to be released in March 2019, before the release of Avengers: Endgame in April 2019, therefore the title character could join the big war on Thanos. So they fabricated a script, which looked written in 10 days, hired some people to shoot it, and the result is a glossy bad movie. Accordingly, this is not Captain Marvel, it's rather Captain Random; and it's truly the favorite superhero, and ideal exemplar, of today's Hollywood mainstream movies!
P.S: When the first MCU movie with a female lead is released at cinema on International Women's Day--then it's smart move. But when the first MCU movie with a female lead happens to be THAT--then it's disgraceful!
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 one of the worst movies ever made!
(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 pace is like beach without 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 later. 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!
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.
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 third son's 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.
(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 take away 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 a huge party of vociferous colors unlike its too dark antecedent (Batman Returns - 1992). 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 1 thing was perfect: The fact that (William Baldwin) was considered for the role of Batman and (Linda Hamilton) as his girl, and it didn't happened. Although I deemed not doing that a good thing, but still.. it's not a good thing IN it!
To everyone complained about (Batman & Robin - 1997) as the uglier one in the first franchise, telling unstoppable jokes about the nipples of the Batsuit as the lowest bottom that 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 loud, gaudy, silly action; which's usual in most of Hollywood movies!
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 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 childish 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 it 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 party 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, prostitute-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!
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 with 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 - 1969)-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!
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", knowing that 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 montage 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? In a long 40 years career, from the last 1970s to the late 2010s, I see that his closest movie to reach that rank is (City Slickers - 1991)!
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, 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 customs recycled from his previous movie Barbarella (1968), 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, I loved watching the all serious Max von Sydow as an over the top cartoon-ish evil guy. Melody Anderson and Ornella Muti both got sweet charisma. 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!
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. 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!
It's clear that the pathetic script continues the first movie disgracefully. The original Smokey and the Bandit was enjoyable chase of a movie, now 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. Now 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 Genocide??", "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!!
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 1970s decade. Plus, some real disastrous experiences that came in the late 1970s 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 - sorrowfully - not many 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. OH 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! Channing has no nice presence, and no talent for comedy, so why she was 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 idea 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.
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 dialogue is endless to the extent where you feel, rather live the fact, that this is a talk show more than an action movie. 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. The shock wasn't that this one is shorter; it was that it feels 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!
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 dialogues 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 dialogue 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.
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?!
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!
"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 dialogue 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 has a beautiful face, 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 tight and thrilling, however what we saw was fast comedic sketch, and ideal lesson in cinematic nonsense. 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 hell 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"!
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!
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. 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; since 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 attractive music around. 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!
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!
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 dialogue. 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 round 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!