Monday, 25 September 2017

The Best Of Times Movie Screenshots (1986) #robinwilliams

The Best of Times
Starring Robin Williams, Kurt Russell, Pamela Reed, Holly Palance
'A comedy about life, hope and getting even'
My Movie Review Rating: 5 out of 10

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Weekend TV Movie Review: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), ITV1

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps 
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales
Genre: Romantic Comedy Sci-Fi
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $166 million 

Plot: Scientist Sherman Klump's inventions, his impending marriage to his pretty colleague, Denise Gaines and his reputation are threatened by his evil clone, Buddy Love

'Double The Klumps Doesn't Equate To A Better Movie In This Recycled Comedy'

The follow-up to the original film of 1996, which was a remake of the original Nutty Professor with Jerry Lewis, Nutty Professor II is a comedy that just doesn't know what to do with itself and stick with it, and when it attempts to do so, it does way too much that it becomes a tangled web of a mess that it can't seem to undo itself.

In the sequel, Sherman wants to make a fountain of youth but before that, he has to get rid of Buddy Love, who is still inside of him. Janet Jackson is Denise: Sherman's love interest and fellow work colleague, who resides at the same college as him. But he has competition in Buddy Love for Denise's affections.

The Klumps suffers in many areas: the dinner table conversation with the Klump family members is unfunny and tiresome and as funny as Eddie Murphy is, his character riffs and motormouth antics as amusing as it can be can also be tiresome to listen to. Not one single line from each member that was uttered made me laugh or smile. & it also bored me to death. The problem with the Nutty Professor movies is that the excessive slapstick not only can become grating, but it further diminishes the film and becomes more mean-spirited. And yet again, there is soothing background music, but then 2, 3 scenes later, there is cursing, over-the-top silliness. The first film was still watchable and the balance between the comedy and story was reasonable, but with the sequel, it tries to do too much - and too much of a good thing, is not a good thing; the jokes aren't great and are even less amusing than in the first film. It doesn't matter if the film has Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Jim Carrey: they may be funny comedians and they all are, in their own individual ways, but no matter how big the star, its jokes and gags, the one-liners, the punchlines, the slapstick silliness which are the bigger deal here for a comedy movie. & if there is a lack of all that or that they are badly written or are unfunny, the film has failed, regardless.

As I sat through Nutty Professor II, not much about it is different from the first film, or a lot of it isn't for the best. I just didn't laugh or smile and none of the jokes really worked. It's as if they recycled and rehashed a bunch of stuff from the first movie and not make an effort in making it amusing. The only thing that has changed is the addition of Janet Jackson as Denise, but that is pretty much it. The movie doesn't give her character much to do, but smile & show concern.

And whilst it was a change to see the Klumps have more of a pivotal role in the film and in the story, the creators sacrificed everything else and in its place is a boring film with obnoxious loudmouth, Buddy Love, popping up on occasions, just to mouth off and spout out more nasty words about fat people and being obese. & it gets old, fast, along with shy, down-to-earth Sherman as a bore of a character.

But for a few tiny moments, the film and the story were relatively bland that it had me switching off. The jokes are low-brow (and even lamer with the fart and flatulence gags), but just as, or probably more tasteless than in the first Nutty Professor movie. I'm actually shocked that Jerry Lewis who lent his name to this sequel wanted to be part of this bad script. As for Eddie Murphy, most of what he said and did, did not amuse me and clearly, his best years were over. It's a shame what has happened to his movie career: things were going great for Murphy in the 1980s, but then came Harlem Nights before the turn of the 1990s, and things haven't been the same since. It's a great shame.

As the movie continued, the less invested I became in the movie and in the characters. This follow-up doesn't really attempt to do anything new or different that we haven't seen before, rather it is the first film but with 1 or 2 embellishments made. & whilst I don't mind more Eddie Murphy, I'd rather it was the Eddie Murphy of the 1980s when he was at his best and when he was known for characters such as Billy Ray Valentine and Axel Foley. & less so as the Klumps.

Nutty Professor II may be a comedy, but I mostly had a straight face when watching it. The only parts that garnered a chuckle are the old elderly boyfriend of a woman kicking Sherman's dad's ass & grandma Klump kissing Buddy Love, with Buddy throwing up afterwards.

The late Roger Ebert awarded this movie 3 out of 4 - that is even further proof why I ignore professional movie critics. When the outtakes appear to be a tad funnier than the majority of this film, that says it all with this movie. 

Final Verdict:

A film that undeservedly warranted a sequel, but managed to get one due to the massive box office takings of the prequel, it merely exists to generate even more money & ride on the original film's coattails.

Nutty Professor II does too much, offers too much of the same thing of the first film - and still it underwhelms with its lazy approach and weak script, which didn't do its star, Eddie Murphy, any favours. I enjoy low-brow comedies from time to time and as silly as a lot of it was, I just didn't break out into a hearty laugh with this one.

As much as Eddie Murphy has starred in a number of bombs throughout his movie career, there are some movies of his I do enjoy, despite their lack of success (Boomerang, Vampire In Brooklyn, Metro). This is one instance where the filmmakers were unable to harness Eddie's comedic talents by giving him a lacklustre, mundane and choppy script.

& it is because of this that Nutty Professor II feels forgettable, unmemorable, and unnecessary.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Club Paradise Movie Screenshots (1986) #robinwilliams

Club Paradise
Starring Robin Williams, Rick Moranis, Eugene Levy, Twiggy, Peter O'Toole, Jimmy Cliff
'The vacation you'll never forget - no matter how hard you try'
My Movie Review Rating: 4.5 out of 10

Friday, 22 September 2017

Mini Retro Review: Final Round (1994) #badmovies

Final Round

Z-movie action offering that is like a knock-off version of The Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger with B/Z-movie action star Lorenzo Lamas. After a big-shot recruiter sees filmed footage of Tyler beating up some bad guys in a bar fight, Tyler, along with his girlfriend, who are having sex with each other, are kidnapped and thrown into an industrial complex turned arena. They, along with some other guy are then hunted by some weirdo characters that look like the characters in Universal Soldier with bad looking eyepatches. One of them even is a dead ringer for Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken. For a Z-movie, the production values are okay, but the bad guys' performances are so terrible and with Lamas (who has a Black belt in real life), one would expect some martial arts moves to go along with his character's boxing skills, but no. Lamas is likeable, but he is no Arnie and doesn't have that many cool one-liners as him. There are fewer fight scenes and very little action, the pacing tends to be a lot slower here than in The Running Man and even the action isn't that great. In all, it's nothing that we haven't seen before that with The Dangerous Game premise this has been executed far better in The Running Man and John Woo's Hard Target. Final Round is so throwaway it lacks any sort of finesse, fun and grit those movies possess.

Is it worth watching?

If you are into Z-movie action films a lot and they are the sort of thing you enjoy watching, it's a yes, but other than that, definitely not. 


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Retro Review: Bed Of Roses (1996)

Bed Of Roses
Cast: Christian Slater, Mary Stuart Masterson, Pamela Adion, Josh Brolin, Gina Torres 
Genre: Romantic Drama
U.S Box Office Gross: over $27 million 

Plot: A young career girl is swept off her feet by a shy florist 

'Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, This Movie Is Bland Schmaltz & Patronising Too'

Going into this movie, which coincidently enough is also the title of a Bon Jovi song, I had low expectations and didn't expect much from it; although it was one of those romantic movies that didn't star either Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock - which for starters, was an interesting move. Bed of Roses operates more as a romantic drama with subtle hints of comedy and lightweight scenes, lacking the fanfare of many of the populist romantic comedies and dramas of the 1990s, its low-key affair, what without all of the Hollywood glam and pomp and A-listers that usually comes with these types of movies, would be a good thing to have. That's if this movie had been that great and I bought into the characters. But that is where I get the good points out of the way, because Bed of Roses, besides the leads, whose names aren't what people would associate with this film, is a romantic drama entity that doesn't offer much, never mind new to want me to truly love it. 

Just like millions of other romantic comedies, dramas and dramedies, Bed of Roses has the same, exact conventional plot: boy and girl meet up, they don't get on well at first, then things start to heat up, there is an obstacle or misstep and in the end the boy and girl get together and fall in love. So how does Bed of Roses stack up and given my lack of interest in romantic dramas and comedies, does it offer anything or do anything that interests me and makes me enjoy the movie, even more? Lisa is a workaholic executive and has little to no time for love and being in a relationship when she receives a bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer. That admirer happens to be from a man named Lewis, who doesn't tell Lisa what he actually does for a living. When Lisa catches Lewis staring at her through her window, she does, nothing. The storyline/plot is, in essence, a less serious variant of the stalker with a crush and Lewis's actions today would be interpreted as being strange and that Lisa would have called the cops on him. 

Both Lisa and Lewis have tragic pasts, both are emotionally in need of that love, but that also it is far more difficult to receive it, as it is giving it. Lewis lost his wife and child and Lisa had a difficult childhood growing up and before you know it, the pair of them hook up & fall for each other. There is one thing that goes against Bed of Roses: and that is it had the production feel and value of a TV movie. It just didn't feel like a Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts type of romantic film. 

I don't have a problem with the premise or the film's intentions, but what I kind of have a problem with, is Christian Slater's Lewis. Whilst the first half has a sad flashback sequence of Lisa's childhood, the film doesn't touch upon Lewis. Some scenes exploring his troubled and difficult life, prior to now, would have not also been helpful, but it would make me have more empathy for him. I was far less impressed with Christian Slater, who arguably doesn't provide much to the film, although most of the blame needs to be attached to the writers for his character being written in such a shabby way.

Mary Stuart Masterson is one of those actresses that really didn't break out in the big time, and whilst she comes across as nice and pleasant as her character, she lacks that screen presence those other actresses possess and she doesn't hold a candle to Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan. But here, her performance was somewhat good and she played it naturally. I could have done without the dying wife backstory from Christian Slater's character - it felt tacked on and it was unnecessary to have and the background music gets jarring after a while. 

Bed of Roses isn't completely bad and yet it was also somewhat depressing to sit through a movie whereby Masterson's character, Lisa wasn't allowed to develop and be happy and fully content, which was something I found frustrating as I sat through it, and yet to Masterson's credit, she does her admirable best, despite the script and the writers portraying Lisa as a weakling and treating her like this is what the film needs. It doesn't. 

Still, as a movie, this is wholly bland and whilst the sentimentality may drive people crazy, it's the conception of it that is so unremarkable, yet incredulous as well. Add to that the lack of any real conflict that would have not only upped the tension and made the movie more fascinating to watch that, in turn, make the coming together of Lisa and Lewis feel even more satisfying, Bed of Roses plays things far too safe and is pure schmaltzy twaddle. 


Final Verdict:

An inoffensive romantic drama that tries to come across as well-meaning and with good intentions but which never really goes deep with the characters, or be it with the love interest/loser in love protagonist, Lewis. It does have one or two pleasant scenes, but as a film, it just doesn't do enough to stimulate the mind and goes deep in regards to what the meaning of love means for different people. 

The story and romance would have been far more believable, had the writer made these aspects more engrossing, but also far less turgid and insipid. The treatment of the female main character is what truly damns this film for me. 

If you want an example of a movie that does the romantic drama thing far better, I'd recommend 1998's Living Out Loud over something like this. 


Seize The Day Movie Screenshots (1986) #robinwilliams

Seize The Day
Starring Robin Williams, Jerry Stiller, Joseph Wiseman, Glenne Headly
'Losers aren't born, they're made'
My Movie Review Rating: 5 out of 10

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Retro Review: Protocol (1984)

Cast: Goldie Hawn, Chris Sarandon, Richard Romanus, Gail Strickland, Cliff  DeYoung
Genre: Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $26 million 

Plot: A Washington waitress saves the Emir of Ohtar's life, launching her diplomatic career and a scandal

'Earnest & Competent, Yet Still Underdeveloped As A Comedy'

Directed by Herbert Ross who also gave us Footloose in the same year, as well as Steel Magnolias in 1989, Protocol stars Goldie Hawn who was also the executive producer, as Sunny: a sweet, down-to-earth cocktail waitress who lands a top job at Washington, when she finds herself involved in an arms deal with an Arab country. 

The film treads on similar-ish territory as Ishtar as the fish out of water trope is played with Sunny's Ditzy-yet-good natured character being taken for granted by the US protocol department, despite the fact she is completely oblivious to it all. Goldie Hawn is her usual perky, adorable and sweet self, which is perfectly fine, yet unfortunately, the nature of the material doesn't give her much to work with but for her character to stumble and bumble her way almost like a dumb, blonde stereotype. Hawn was at her best in Overboard, Death Becomes Her and Wildcats where her characters have a bit more depth and a few more layers, so that it could showcase more of her acting range, but here she has no such luck and as of that, Protocol is such a waste and that a character in Sunny should have been better developed by the creators. In addition, the script is too smart and at times, overly serious for its own good, which could have been offset by some wacky comedy and farce. 

Chris Sarandon is like an older Mark Ruffalo and he has okay camaraderie with Hawn as the nerdy looking Middle Eastern desk chief from the US state department, yet the rest of the cast give cardboard performances to back up the cardboard feel of the script.

Where Protocol falters is as a comedy, and an espionage comedy, the jokes and verbal humour are few and far between and in its place are situations and scenarios that don't work quite as well when the comedy fails to make an impact. The film never manages to go far and beyond that after an ambitious start, it then descends into almost blandness along with weak humour. That competent and earnest feel worked a treat for Footloose and Steel Magnolias, which were dramas, but Protocol is a comedy, and really, competent and earnest just isn't good enough for a movie of this type and with the premise that it has. 

Protocol doesn't 'pop' and its tone is not consistent and a bit over the place, but also, ideally, it should have worked as a wacky comedy, instead. 

Final Verdict:

Whereas Wildcats took Goldie Hawn out of her element and presented a much tougher exterior that she exuded in her performance as the hard-as-nails football coach, Protocol is a coarsely lacklustre comedy where, yet again, she plays a dumb blonde. The humour failed to hit the mark and this mixture of Ishtar's fish out of water theme with that political espionage plot doesn't reap rewards. Herbert Ross worked wonders with Footloose and Steel Magnolias, but, and despite Hawn's effortless charm and perkiness, he hit a brick wall with this early '80s offering. 

Sadly, Protocol tries to be a Goldie Hawn vehicle, rather than a comedic one and even with that, Hawn is saddled with such a character that plays on stereotypes, rather than a character that is memorable and great as she tries to come across and is well-meaning at the same time. 

Add to it a forgettable supporting cast and what you have is an interesting premise that as far as a comedy film goes, is very underdeveloped. 


Monday, 18 September 2017

The Survivors Movie Screenshots (1983) #robinwilliams

The Survivors
Starring Robin Williams, Walter Matthau, Jerry Reed, Kirsten Vigard
'Once they declare war on each other, watch out. You could die laughing' 
My Movie Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Mini Retro Review: Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer (2010) #badmovies

Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer

Reunite 3 of the cast members of the NBC sitcom, Caroline in the city in Lea Thompson, Amy Pietz and Eric Lutz, as well as throw in Wendie Malick from Hot in Cleveland & some teenage kids, Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer (also titled as I Was a 7th Grade Dragonslayer) feels more like a feature-length TV sitcom episode & for its fans, an excuse to see Lea, Amy & Eric on screen, once again. There are some over-the-top, exaggerated & mediocre acting performances in a film that is so convoluted, which is supplemented by a bland story, poor attempts at humour and it looks like all of the budget was blown on the special effects. Those above the age of 10 will easily lose interest and be turned off by this low-budget film. It's a modern-day fantasy kids film, but it's so dreary with Z-movie values, the blue troll guy looks like a bad combination of Nightcrawler of X-Men & a Smurf, and the animation is one of the cheapest-looking CGI, ever. Director Andy Lauer, who co-starred with Lea in Caroline in the City, squanders any opportunity in making a meaningful fantasy flick designed to capture older, as well as younger viewers & instead chooses to opt for a modern day setting that is approached in a tedious manner and one that feels empty throughout. There is a scene when Lea Thompson & Eric Lutz lock eyes with each other with terrible dance music playing in the background. All-round, it's just not very impressive. 

Is it worth seeing? 

Only If you are fans of Lea Thompson or of the Caroline In The City show


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