raisleygordon

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Reviews

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
(2002)

Was continuing this show without Regis necessary?
I just watched Ken Jennings try his luck at winning a million dollars ( it's available on YouTube), and sadly, even he couldn't win the top prize. Now I was sure he would because of that 74-day winning streak on Jeopardy. But when he got stuck and had to use all three lifelines on one question, I wasn't so sure anymore. And why exactly does this show need to be continued anyway? A millionaire (on this show) is a rarity, which brings to mind only one question: Why bother? I always enjoyed WWTBAM with Regis, but after his departure, the show lost its magic. To say that Meredith Viera was no Regis is a big understatement. If her heart was in it at all, then it was only in the game, and nothing more. She may have been a decent host, but she wasn't a memorable one. And even more changes were made, besides different hosts. The contestant or the host don't sit anymore. Plus, there's no longer a fastest finger segment, which, in my humble opinion, was a great way to decide who gets to play next. Why they removed it is a big question. Does standing up change anything? Hard to tell. Now, Regis did host Super Millionaire a couple years after he left and returned for the 10th anniversary edition. But that's about all the additional Regis you're gonna get. This is like a scripted show. You lose an original, yet the show continues. It's probably not a good enough reason to cancel it, but it would certainly help if it weren't on anymore. I wonder what Regis thinks of the changes made to the show he once made not only popular, but memorable. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't like them either. After Regis left, the show should have gone with him.

The Purge: Election Year
(2016)

I enjoyed the 1st & 2nd, but this is a lazy effort
I thought the first movie was unsettling, and a great thriller. The second still delivered the goods, although it wasn't quite unsettling. But this one is a lackluster effort. Except for the climax in the church, there's nothing to recommend "The Purge: Election Year" With that girl attempting to shoplift, you can sense the movie is headed for an opportunity to be something, but alas, it is not to be. I have a feeling part 4 (and I read somewhere there will be) will be even less interesting than this one. There either needs to be an improvement, or just retire this franchise altogether. Any more mediocre efforts like this, and it might have to be retired anyway.

** out of ****

Cadillac Man
(1990)

There is not a single believable moment here
I just didn't find Cadillac Man to be funny at all. Does Williams deliver as a car salesman? Not really, because basically the script just requires him to be goofy. And if this were actually intended as a plain comedy, then I might buy it. There's nobody really at stake, at least not in the first half of the movie. And the second half isn't much better. Unless you're curious to see Tim Robbins playing a killer or Robin Williams as a car salesman, then I suggest you look elsewhere. Remake Dog Day Afternoon if you will, but Cadillac Man never delivers on its promise.

** out of ****

Punchline
(1988)

The film may be about a punchline, but it doesn't have its own
"Punchline" is interesting, but not interesting enough. This movie is awfully one-sided. And it also doesn't have any ambiguity. The only character in this movie that does any real disagreeing is the John Goodman character. And yet, I expected him to yell, but he doesn't. Make him grouchy, and you might have a character, no matter how relevant to the plot, that works. And don't even get me started on the casting of Sally Field as a comedian. Seriously? Sally Field as a stand-up comedian? What were the filmmakers thinking? Why not cast someone Tom Hanks's age? Some of the audience in the movie may be laughing, but I didn't find myself laughing too much. And you probably won't either.

**1/2 out of ****

Vanilla Sky
(2001)

Is there a point?
Vanilla Sky is simply put, a boring movie, especially towards the end. The interrogation scenes, with Kurt Russell, are better, but not by much. And most of the time, the film apparently shows the flashbacks in random order, considering we see a disfigured face, then a normal face, and back again. Show them in order, for crying out loud. And why does the entire face need to be covered, when in fact, it only looks bad on one side? The movie, as it is, is confusing enough. I enjoyed Jason Lee's scenes, but they're not enough to recommend the entire movie. Not even close. After David falls to the ground, the film should have just ended. There is no need for a pointless movie like this to be so god damn long. When I saw Julie in Sofia's body (Julia actually killed herself), I knew the movie was going on longer than it needed to. And why does it take forever to end? When it did, I was starting to lose patience. And what does the term "Vanilla Sky" mean, anyway?

** out of ****

The Million Dollar Hotel
(2000)

One of the most boring mysteries you'll ever experience...
Besides the fact that there's a place for messed-up people, I don't know (or particularly care, for that matter) what the point of this film is. And don't even get me started on the characters. OK, I'll get myself started. While Detective Skinner does provide the film with some spark, he is otherwise pointless. In fact, this movie is like the characters in it: boring, not worth caring about, and annoying. Giving us a detective just as kooky as the people he is investigating doesn't help. I understand the people in the hotel are screwed up, but is that any reason for the film to be so boring? I think not. Even Gibson himself said, "I thought it was as boring as a dog's ass." I couldn't agree more. I read this in a Rolling Stone movie review just before writing this review. When the news crew arrives to put Tom-Tom on TV, the movie slightly improves, but it is still very strange. Tom-Tom does eventually kill himself, but he should have done so sooner, because out of all the characters, he is the most annoying. Not to mention his narration. And what's with his haircut? This movie may be one of the reasons Jeremy Davies no longer acts. Or at least I haven't.

*1/2 out of ****

Holy Man
(1998)

Sappy, sentimental, overlong, and mostly uninteresting
Watching this picture makes you appreciate "The Nutty Professor" (and even the sequel) even more. While those weren't masterpieces, at least his characters and voices were reasonably funny. Until G. comes along, the film is in fine form. When G. shows up, that's when you'll start questioning things. And when G. comes to live with Goldblum, that's when the film goes downhill. And it only goes downhill from there. There are about three worthy moments, like when he tortures poor Morgan Fairchild with that shock button (or whatever), a trick he does at a party, and a woman, on live TV, who confesses for lying about being related to G. Other than those three moments, this is a sorry excuse for a motion picture. And don't even get me started on his annoying voice, which gets really old as the film goes on. And, while not quite two hours, did the movie need to be so damn long? I think not. Or, if at the very least, the film were a reasonable running time, its flaws might be forgivable. But with a comedy this long, how can they be?

*1/2 out of ****

Training Day
(2001)

One session you'll want to skip
If only the preceding moments were just as interesting...

When Jake is held at gunpoint in a bathtub, that's when Training Day comes alive. Now why couldn't everything that came before be as good? For a while, this movie sounds better on paper than acted out, and that's unfortunate, despite a great premise, that, for a while, goes absolutely nowhere. Hawke is completely miscast, and Washington just can't save it. Now, I enjoyed it a little more when it's just these two, but when they're around others, that's when the movie goes flat. And a two-hour running time? Are these filmmakers serious? I can't help thinking the boring stuff would have been more forgivable had they been, at the very least, even slightly shorter. Want to see a good movie? See "The Man" instead. While it's a comedy, and this one is action. it is at least much, much better than this misfire (mostly, anyway).

** out of ****

Romper Stomper
(1992)

What's the Point?
Unless you're curious to see Russell Crowe's feature debut, and/or are really, really into violence, I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to view "Romper Stomper". Russell Crowe (and the fact the film is about gang violence) is essentially one of the reasons I wanted to see the movie. Sadly, I didn't much value the film. Yes, it was made in Australia (and was made on a low budget), but so what? That's no excuse for a poorly made one. I enjoyed parts of it, but the film as a whole almost tested my patience. The gang members (including Gabe, the only female) are completely one- dimensional. In fact, if you think about it more, they seem to exhibit no dimensions, whatsoever. Oh yeah, the girl has a couple seizures throughout the film. Why? Don't ask. It's never a good sign when a movie feels like an eternity and you find yourself wondering now much time is up. Too much stomping here, and not nearly enough romping. Or is it the other way around?

** out of ****

A Good Marriage
(2014)

More like an Okay Marriage.
Yesterday, I watched the Keanu Reeves film "Knock, Knock", and while I liked its second act a lot more, the same can't be said of "A Good Marriage". Is this supposed to be some psychological drama? Intentional or not, I'd say it is psychological, because this film only explains (albeit briefly) the guy is a serial killer, and never shows him actually committing such horrific acts. The only time Bob gets violent is in Darcy's imagination. And Darcy does manage to throw him down the stairs. Sorry, but unfortunately that's all the violence we're treated to. If this film had resembled anything like an actual movie about a Serial Killer, then the fact that it doesn't feel like Stephen King might not matter so much.

**1/2 out of ****

Vacation
(2015)

Enjoyable remake, but it's no classic
This new vacation delivers the goods, but it's far from hysterically funny. On its own terms, it's pleasant enough, but I think I still prefer the classic movie. It's also good to hear "Holiday Road" again. While Ed Helms is enjoyable as the leading man, but he's no Chevy Chase. A lot of funny moments abound, but most of them are just cheap laughs, and don't measure up to the ones from 30 years ago. There is one scene that I did laugh out loud at: When the rafting guide starts crying like a baby. The four state corners scene, with one cop from each state, was very unique, even if it wasn't a laugh-out- loud moment. As for the Wally World scenes, I was expecting something better than what I got (although that fight sequence is very creative). I guess not every remake, or reboot, or sequel, (whatever this movie is) needs to be a classic.

**1/2 out of ****

The Odd Couple
(2015)

There's no magic or charm here
I've never seen the 70's series or the 80's reboot, so I can't compare those with the remake. But I have seen the movie and the sequel, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau of course. So, if you really want to experience a quality Odd Couple story, watch the movies instead. I only watched the pilot, and unfortunately, it didn't warrant viewing any more episodes. Wow, these two leads have no chemistry. It's also strange how "Two and a Half Men" is being replaced by something similar. This remake is all concept, and no effort. If you're gonna remake a show do it right.

Pilot episode - C-

Scent of a Woman
(1992)

A well-meaning film that doesn't quite come to life
The concept of this film is appealing enough: A prep school kid is given a "simple" job: babysitting a blind man, who turns out to be a colonel. And the kid has no idea what's in store for him. While all the prep school scenes are great, the rest of the film leaves something to be desired. The problem here, I think, is that this kid is way too calm and laid-back for a character like this to work. And the colonel doesn't fare much better. Sure, he's cold, but not nearly enough. Give them some bite, for crying out loud. I also didn't feel the chemistry either, something crucial to making a movie work. It's an admirable and interesting film, but not a moving one.

**1/2 out of ****

Horrible Bosses 2
(2014)

About one or two good moments in an otherwise unnecessary sequel
I enjoyed the first Horrible Bosses. While it had its flaws, and was a bit inconsistent with the bosses (the Kevin Spacey character getting the biggest storyline), it was nevertheless enjoyable. But this sequel has far, far fewer laughs, and just feels forced. These 3 guys that got their revenge last time don't seem so innocent anymore. They just come off as sketchy here. I give the filmmakers credit for trying something different here: making the 3 guys their own bosses. It is a sequel after all, right? But on the other hand, most sequels repeat the first movie's formula, which this movie does after a while, but not as funny as the first time around. Fortunately, there's one good moment: Dave, the boss from last time around. Kevin Spacey is the only one here that manages to give a decent performance. Too bad it's only a small part. Jennifer Aniston, on the other hand, seems to playing a different character (Did she quit being a dentist?). Chris Pine is the newest horrible boss, but his character just comes off as weird. Jamie Foxx also returns, and I still don't know why his character is really necessary. Do yourself a favor and rewatch the first movie instead.

** out of ****

The Meteor Man
(1993)

A Lot Better Than It Ought To Be
For a movie that's a Superman-wannabe in the ghetto, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it very much. This film is surprisingly entertaining. While the characters don't seem worth caring about, the story certainly is. This guy being a (substitute)teacher, it would have been nice to see how his students reacted to him as a superhero. My only quibble about the movie is that the final sequence goes on a bit too long. Halfway through this fight sequence, I felt the movie made its point. Bill Cosby appears in a non- speaking cameo role, which isn't anything special, because the character isn't even explained. This role certainly won't be one of his career highlights.

*** out of ****

Amityville: A New Generation
(1993)

This okay entry in the Amityville series doesn't do much with the mirror
This is an okay movie, but it doesn't generate much excitement or suspense because there's not much done with the mirror and the characters are not especially interesting. This picture is less about the mirror than it is about this kid's history concerning his deceased, murderous father. The only truly interesting characters are the detective, played by The Stepfather's Terry O'Quinn, and Llanie. And just like in the previous film, "It's About Time", there's no Amityville house either (except in flashbacks). If this really is a new generation, then I would have preferred the old one.

**1/2 out of ****

Bad Teacher: Pilot
(2014)
Episode 1, Season 1

Loose film adaptation is marginally unwatchable
Supposedly based on the 2011 comedy, you might be better off renting the movie instead. I didn't watch the entire episode, because it just plain sucks. I didn't hate it, it just isn't very funny. Nobody is even trying here, because even the supporting characters are just as one-dimensional as the teacher. Ari Graynor is no Cameron Diaz, and while the film also strays from reality a bit, I'll tell you it is 20 times funnier than this sorry excuse. It's also a testimony as to why we rarely see TV shows based on movies. One thing filmmakers don't seem to understand: Turning a film into a TV series is like turning an SNL skit into a movie: What works in small doses does not necessarily work in bigger ones.

RoboCop
(2014)

It delivers the requisite action, but the story and characters are rather flat
As a remake or a stand-alone film, RoboCop has the potential to be a great movie, but unfortunately, it just didn't quite take off for me. Where's all the fun and excitement? The action scenes are pleasant enough, but the story, or the characters, are not quite on the same level. The characters, are two-dimensional at best, and the story is just filler. There's not much reason to care about anything that's going on, or anyone, because these people don't exhibit any personality. Just think what this movie could have been had it gone into "Terminator", or even "Death Wish" territory. Or maybe if the film had pushed the envelope, at least. Strange to see Jackie Earle Haley here, cause he doesn't look like an actor who is suited for action roles.

** out of ****

Boogeyman
(2005)

This so-so horror movie is more along the lines of "The Amityville Horror"
While the film has the requisite suspense, it's not a whole lot of fun. Aside from the fact that this guy is way too old to be afraid of scary, childhood things, he just mopes through most of the movie. He doesn't really face his fears, at least not emotionally. It's nice to see a different type of bogeyman (as opposed to Jason or Freddy), but the filmmakers didn't put a lot of imagination into it. This girl that is hiding out, which our protagonist meets, is never really explained, and is pointless. Or if she at least talked more. Unless you count the brief appearances, there aren't a whole lot of characters in the movie either. A character going solo for most of the movie doesn't really cut it for me.

** out of ****

Sorority Row
(2009)

There's almost nothing here to recommend it
While this movie might sound interesting on paper, the execution is, well, not especially interesting. If the killers look familiar to you, that's because it borrows from the Scream series. And there's a little "I Know What You Did Last Summer" thrown in as well. Only differences are that the metal hook here is a cross, instead of a pirate hook. And nobody gets run over. But this movie doesn't do those films any justice. In fact, it doesn't do itself any justice. These sorority sisters are one-dimensional, and there's no reason to care about them, individually, or as a group. Sure, you have a bitchy sorority sister, but is there a point to it? The film doesn't even try to be interesting, at least not until the final sequence, which did engage me. If only the rest of the film were just as good. Carrie Fisher appears in what seems like a throwaway role.

** out of ****

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
(2013)

Some clever moments here and there, but it doesn't quite take off
The film starts off pleasant enough, and for a while it shows Walter having his daydreams, which are genuinely enjoyable, I might add. The problem with this film is that it's only engaging up until Mitty begins his journey through Iceland and Greenland. And the scenes after the end of the journey. I thought his journey was a little tedious and unnecessary. Apparently the filmmakers no longer thought the daydreams were cutting it. If some of this journey was supposed to be one as well, then I must have not been paying attention. Two scenes that don't work: One in a bar, and another where Walter attempts to jump into a boat. As for the film's characters, including Walter Mitty, there's nothing special about them. Walter's female coworker (played by Kristen Wiig) doesn't serve any purpose other than to give him someone to confide in. Is she supposed to be a love interest? The only real interesting one is Ted, Walter's boss, even though he doesn't do a lot in the entire movie. While I did enjoy the chemistry between Penn and Stiller, and the way the scene plays out, the journey is just not worth the payoff. Also unnecessary: meeting the eharmony guy in person, which, I think, only exists to show us it was Patton Oswalt on the phone.

**1/2 out of ****

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
(2013)

Some funny moments and one-liners here and there, but basically this movie is not very funny
I've only seen the first Anchorman once, which was when that was in theaters, and I barely remember it. But I must have enjoyed it enough to want to see this sorry sequel. So, unfortunately, I can't compare it with this sequel. However, on it's own terms, I can't say this was a legend worth continuing. Aside from some one-liners, there are two scenes that made me laugh. One takes place in an RV, and the other is the finale, (with a bunch of celebrity cameos). Aside from that, this movie is really pointless. And it's also a testimony that Will Ferrell is not a funny guy. As for his dramatic roles, that might be a different story. If you're in search of a movie that soars to hilarity, you better find another movie.

** out of ****

The Devil's Own
(1997)

Considering the nature of the movie, and the potential it has, this should have been much better
With a title like "The Devil's Own" (even though I have no clue what that means exactly), and an ideal pairing of Ford and Pitt, there's no reason this movie has to be so flat. Some of it is interesting, no doubt, but it doesn't really go anywhere. I expected Brad Pitt's character to be more troubled and mean-spirited. This guy's too calm for the character to really ring true. and Ford's performance isn't anything special, either. I could have done without Pitt's accent, and anything or anyone Irish for that matter, as I have no interest in foreign countries anyways. Treat Williams is supposed to be playing a creep, but I didn't find anything creepy about the role. Except for an interesting ending on a boat, this film doesn't add up to much.

**1/2 out of ****

Cop
(1988)

If you really want to see a movie about a cop, see "Beverly Hills Cop" instead
While "Cop" may be drama and "Beverly Hills Cop" may be an action comedy, one thing's for certain: the Eddie Murphy vehicle is vastly superior to the marginally watchable "Cop", and Murphy's performance is way better than Woods'. "Cop", mostly a one-man show, is basically a one-note story. The acting is sub-par, nothing really seems to be at stake, there's no bite or suspense, and aside from the serial killer that isn't seen until the very end, the movie really doesn't have a villain, which I think, would have helped things greatly. The material, and James Woods, have the potential to be great, but for some reason, this movie doesn't really go anywhere, and as a result feels a bit long.

** out of ****

Out for Justice
(1991)

Flat thriller with one-dimensional characters, and Seagal isn't much better
As much as I enjoy watching movies about bad guys, especially the main villain, get their comeuppance, I can't say I particularly enjoyed Out For Justice. The problem with the story, is that the villains are not people you love to hate, and as a result, I didn't much care what would happen. Sure, Seagal kicks butt, and shoots the baddies, which about the only thing this movie has going for it, but he's no Stallone, Schwarzenegger, or Bronson. He certainly doesn't sound like a tough guy. The movie may have drama, but there's no bite or suspense, and doesn't do the "Death Wish" films any justice.

** out of ****

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