Friday, April 07, 2006

"A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?"

Victor?Victoria was directed by Blake Edwards. This movie stars the wonderful Julie Andrews before she lost her range, which is a tragedy because she is a fabulous singer. It also stars Robert Preston and James Garner. This movie is about a woman, Victoria who is a down and out singer just trying to get a job. She finds a friend in Toddy, a gay nightclub entertainer and they decide that she should change up her act. They create another personna named Count Victor Grezhinski, "he" is a gay female impersonator. "He" becomes a hit in Paris and she gains the attention of a Chicago mobster who finds himself attracted to Victor. He must come to the decision whether he is really a woman portraying a man. More hilarity ensues and this slapstick comedy runs off without a hitch. The movie is very fast paced and what is so great it the quick-witted dialogue. It really pulls you in and you cannot help but laugh. The music is fabulous and when Julie sings you are mesmorized by how wonderful she sounds. I think this is the best and i believe the only gender bending comedy out there with so much slapstick! It is a comedy that stands alone and i think it shines past all of the comedies that are out there today. I think it is actually a real type of comedy, nothing like silly movies like Anchorman or 40 Year Old Virgin. So pretty much I recommend this film to everyone. It was made in 1982 and I think it is unique and a pretty funny thing to watch. I love how Julie can portray both parts so well. She really takes on her role of a man and as a woman. Impressive. Again I had heard that my mother really liked this film so i thought i would give it a try and i liked it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

By the pricking of my thumbs...

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Cruising through Netflix, this movie caught my eye instantly. A movie based on a Ray Bradbury book? It had to be worth a watch (with me being a fan). I haven't yet read this story, but I think I need to sometime in the future. In typical Ray Bradbury fashion, the movie isn't easily summarized through the use of a single generalized moral message; it doesn't really fit a movie cliche - though by reading the synopsis, it's easy to be misled into thinking it would be.

What seems, on the surface, to simply be a cautionary tale of "be careful what you wish for," turns out to make some deeper statements on regret in life, and the nature of aging and death - a sort of expanded "carpe diem," if you will.

Though some of the special effects attempts detract from the story being told, and definitely date this movie, the emotional aspects of the film and the development of the characters seem to be timeless. The movie still leaves me feeling unsettled in one scene, when the sinister Mr.Dark offers youth to an elderly father (something he had desperately wanted) in exchange for the man's child, but his offer was rejected, because the man could not accept his wish coming true at the cost of his son's life. Mr. Dark began tearing pages out of a book, representing the years coming off of his offer as the man kept refusing him. It was a very powerful performance on both actor's parts - just as I imagine was the initial intention of the scene.

I recommend this movie, especially to Bradbury fans. It's a great watch as long as you don't mind expending a bit of extra brainpower figuring out how everything is connecting.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Here's Johnny!

The Shining is a great 80's film, a little confusing but definitely a must-see. The story starts with Jack Lawrence, a struggling writer who desparately seeks inspiration and some piece and quiet to leap-frog his writers block. He is interviewing to become the caretaker for the Overlook hotel in the mountains of Colorado. Jack agrees to stay at the Overlook with his family for the winter months. Little does Jack know that the hotel has a supernatural quality called "the shining" which haunts the place. Coincidentally, Jack's son danny also has the shining, in fact most of the film's suspense and terror come from Danny's visions of what happened at the hotel.
This is a classic haunted house film with a twist! It stands up over time; most of this type of horror flick do. "The Shining" is a good movie for those of us who cannot stand too much gore. There are some, well-placed quick cuts of bloody walls and bodies, but all-in-all not too bad. I am not sure how distinctly 80's it is, their wardrobe sure does give it away that it was just on the cusp of the decade (colors and styles still seem rather 70's).
It can be a good deal confusing. The book goes into much greater detail about why Jack is drawn to the place and what exactly the shining is. It takes a few times watching it to really understand the details, but that does not stop it from scaring your pants off!
"Come play with us Danny, forever, and ever and ever!!!"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Don't Call Me Shirley!"

Airplane (1980)

Characters: Ted Striker (Robert Hays), Elaine (Julie Hagerty) – the love interest, Capt. Oveur (Peter Graves), Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (as himself in disguise).

No matter how hard you try not to laugh at the endless supply of corny jokes and innuendos, you won’t succeed! Airplane is the best pun-based movie ever made! It laid the groundwork for future movies by sparking an interest, and creating a demand in moviegoers for more comedic movie knockoffs. The new demand for spoof-based movies led to the making of movies like: Hot Shots, Scary Movie, Shrek, etc. Airplane is truly a comedic classic poking fun at movies like Airport, Saturday Night Fever, Top Gun and itself. It derives its humour from making fun of the emotionally charged disaster-genre that had pervaded the movies in the 1970’s.

We quickly discover that this movie is a comedy in the opening scene, which takes place in the LA Airport. The filmmakers achieve the introduction to the comedic farces that are present for the remainder of the movie through the hilarious announcements over the intercom and through the funny characters that are scattered about the airport. It is in the airport that we become familiarized with the two leading characters: Ted Striker (Robert Hays) and Elaine (Julie Hagerty). We find out that Striker was once a fighter pilot in the war who had developed an extreme case of PTSD by losing most of his squadron in battle. Elaine, who had stuck by his side for a long time after his incident in the war, had finally left him because she could no longer tolerate listening to his repetitive war flashbacks. After Elaine told Striker that it was over, he decided to face his fears and board the plane that Elaine worked on as a flight attendant in hopes of winning her back.

The seriousness of PTSD that is portrayed in most dramas is made fun of relentlessly throughout this movie. On board the plane, Striker continues to relive the tragic tales of his past with other passengers on his flight, which leads them to either commit or attempt suicide via highly excessive measures. For example, one passenger tries to light himself on fire, and a nun hangs herself from the ceiling of the plane above her seat!

Upon choosing to eat the fish dinner, the crew of the plane and all the passengers who also ate the fish, are taken ill with food poisoning. Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilson), the doctor onboard (but don’t call him Shirley!), makes the diagnosis of food poisoning. Once the crew has become violently ill, as predicted by Dr. Rumack, Striker must finally confront his fears and try to land the plane. The suspense, raw emotions and overall drama that is usually portrayed in movies depicting a potential plane crash, is mocked to the extreme through the use of: a blow up autopilot, Striker pouring with sweat (literally), countless sexual innuendos, and a myriad of many more farces!

Of course, as is usual in the case of dramas depicting this type of situation, Striker becomes the hero and gets the girl by courageously landing the plane!

I recommend that a viewer watch this movie more than once! Every time you watch it you are sure to find a gag that you missed before which makes it funnier and funnier each time you see it!!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Let's Hear it For the Girl!!

Since I had never seen Footloose when I was younger I went back and re-watched the “dance” oriented film I can remember watching at countless sleep-overs, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. The film stars Sarah Jessica Parker (who was in Footloose the year before) Helen Hunt, and Shannon Doherty.
Janey (SJP) and her strict Military family have just moved into town, and one of the first friend she meets is Lynne (Hunt.) Lynne is a bit of a rebel, she has equipped her Catholic School uniform with Velcro to reverse the skirt and remove the sleeves. The girls bond over their favorite TV show Dance TV, an MTV type show.
DanceTV is holding an open audition and the girls decide to go. Quickly we see that Lynne is not going to make the cut but Janey emerges in the finals. She is paired with a burly, dumb jock type Jeff. Once her family finds out that she has skipped class, they are furious and she is grounded. She manages to sneak around for what seems like weeks while she and Jeff struggle through practices, and deal with the jealousy of the rich girl Natalie who thinks she can buy the contest.
The finals are held live on DanceTV and I don’t want to spoil the ending, but you can guess who wins. This film was very similar to Footloose in a lot of ways, for example a killer sound track. However the reason dancing was allowed was not due to religion, but military beliefs that it was inappropriate for a girl to be acting that way, and go into the city on her own. I was also surprised that this film was made before Dirty Dancing, as the Father – Daughter relationship was incredibly similar. If you weren’t wowed by the romance in Footloose, this offers up a lot more between Janey and Jeff.

There can only be one

The movie Highlander is about a Scottish man Connor MacLeod who goes in to battle against a mysterious opponant and receives a fatal wound in 1536. When he doesn't die he is banished from his village for being cohorts with the devil. He moves to another part of the country where he meets Heather and falls in love. They start to make a life together when Juan Ramirez comes to teach him about himself. He learns that he is immortal when Ramirez knocks him out of a boat and he can't swim so he walks across the bottom of the lake. After this you learn that there are many immortals from all over the planet who can only die if their head is cut off. Their sole purpose is to battle each other down the centuries until there are only a few of them left. When this happens the rest will meet in a foreign land for "The Gathering" and battle for "The Prize" till there is only one left. The mysterious warrior called the Kurgan comes back to find MacLeod and finds and kills Ramirez instead. Heather eventually grows old and dies, leaving MacLeod alone in the world.

In 1985 New York we meet Russel Nash an antique dealer caught up in a beheading investigation. The forensic investigator Brenda soon falls for the mysterious Nash only to find out that the real Russel Nash died at birth. She soon gets sucked into a world of magic and mystery with "The Gathering" of the immortals occuring. She eventually becomes a pawn for the Kurgan who wants to use "The Prize" for evil and an epic battle ensues.

This movie seemed pretty hokey at first but turned out to have a pretty neat ending aside from the overabundance of light special effects that could use an update. One other thing bothered me though, they come from all over the world but everyone started to call all of the immortal warriors highlanders when that means they're from the Scottish highlands and Juan Ramirez is supposed to an Egyptian from Spain but Sean Connery's Scottish accent is all you hear.

Oh well it was still entertaining.
Check it out here