Saturday, April 29, 2006
This film is about a billionaire playboy by the name of Arthur, whose occupation is to race cars, play tennis, chase women, and as he says “But I have weekends off, and I am my own boss.” The plot takes you through his search for love, and he meets a girl in a clothing store, played by Liza Minelli who he witnesses steal a tie for her father. This one event intrigues him and he continues to pursue her, however his parents have other plans for his future. His father has a marriage already arranged with the daughter of another wealthy family, and if Arthur does not go through with it his father will cut him off financially. Arthur finds himself for the first time in a tough situation when he must act mature and responsible.
Overall I think the film is hilarious. Arthur’s love for fun and scotch provide much entertainment, and there are various scenes of Arthur being completely inappropriate and drunk in public. He is witty with everyone he meets and his sarcasm is awesome because it is so well placed. The relationships he has with his butler and chauffer are also interesting because he is closer to them than his own family. This is definitely another 80’s “me” film though where the concentration is on Arthur and his quest to mature and find what is important in life. It was definitely a fun film to watch, and after watching a second time I caught so many more of the jokes and funny one-liners.
Unhappy with their sad social lives Gary (Anthony Michael Hall classic 80’s nerd) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) decide to create the “perfect” woman using their computer. Their inspiration for this is comes from watching Frankenstein. Using magazine cut outs, a scanner, Bra head pieces, a computer, most of the power in the region and a Barbie doll hooked up to some wires they succeed in creating Lisa (Kelly LeBrock – who you can now see on Celebrity Fit Club!)
Not only was Lisa magically created but also she seems to have super powers that allow her to create what ever she needs. Quickly the boys are popular, have girl friends, throw amazing parties, and drive a Ferrari. There is no real explanation of where all this comes from but it is implied that Lisa’s presence simply gives the boys the confidence they’ve always needed.
Some of the characters that don’t benefit from Lisa’s presence are Wyatt’s older Militant brother Chet (Bill Paxton at his finest) and the two school bullies Ian and Max (Robert Downey Jr.) Eventually Lisa has to go back to where she came from conveniently around the same time that Wyatt’s parents are coming home from their trip. And everything goes back to the way it was, except the boys have a new sense of confidence.
This is a typical Hughes film, set in fictional Shermer Illinois (Wyatt and Gary would have attended the same high school as the kids in the Breakfast Club.) The idea of nerds or geeks vs. the popular kids was also a favorite of Hughes, in most of his films the nerds succeed in humiliating the jocks; maybe this is a recurring fantasy of his.
I wouldn’t recommend this film its extremely predictable and I remember enjoying the TV series much more than the film. (The ’94 TV series starred John Asher, Michael Manasseri and Vanessa Angel – there were 88 episodes.)
The best scene in the movie however is when Bill Paxton is turned into a Jabba the Hut type character. There is also a great theme song.
Well apparently Tom Cruise can do anything, even bartend! In this film he plays Brian Flanagan whose dream is to work on Wall Street and make lots of money. After finding out that no one will hire him without an education he tries business school and quickly drops out because he feels it is a waste of time. Then he turns towards bartending and soon becomes one of the most respected bartenders in the local area, through his unique style of entertainment. He takes his skill to the Caribbean and while working on the beach he meets Elizabeth Shue’s character. After a vacation love affair and a brief moment of infidelity, she leaves and returns to the states, only later to find out that she is carrying Brian’s baby. Her father doesn’t approve of Brian because he is a bartender, but nonetheless he tries to win her back. He is eventually successful and opens his own bar called “Cocktails and Dreams.”
Overall, the film’s plot is somewhat ridiculous in my opinion, and Brian’s unethical behavior sometimes makes it hard to support him. Sometimes he tries to do the right thing, but he often doesn’t think and ends up doing the wrong thing instead. The movie isn’t horrible, but if you are looking for something with a rich storyline don’t bother. There is definitely an underlying “me” theme that is common of many 80’s movies, and money seems to be a major driving force. Not my favorite Cruise film, and not one I would rush to see again
by Michael Keaton. Kim Basinger plays a photographer, Vicki Vale, who is trying to get pictures of the six foot bat and Jack Nicholson plays the bad guy, the Joker, who enjoys stirring up trouble in Gotham City. Vale attends a party at Bruce Wayne's house when she first arrives in Gotham. At first meeting Wayne does not tell her who he is, but she finds out eventually. Wayne leads a double life, being a society member throwing parties during the day and a crime fighting bat at night. Nobody knows that he is Batman except for his butler, Alfred, but in the end Vale begins to catch on. Grissom is the crime boss in Goham twhose men have been terrorizing the city at night. Nicholson is Grissom's go to guy until he gets dropped in a vat of chemicals and is reinvented as the Joker. Grissom is dead and The Joker takes his place as the leader of the goons. The 200th anniversary of the city is coming up and the mayor is planning a huge celebration. Unfortuantely the crime in the city is out of control so the mayor decides to call off the parade. Unbeknownst to the mayor, the Joker has evil plans of his own for the Bicentennial. He throws a parade with poison filled balloons and the residents of Gotham start dropping like flies. Of course, Batman comes to the rescue by taking the balloons and letting them float away. During the parade, The Joker gets ahold of Vale and kidnaps her. He does not kill her but he wants to have her. He says to her that they will be Beauty and the Beast and the she would be the beast. Once again, Batman comes to the rescue and saves her. The Joker's men try and rescue him, but Batman is too good for them and the Joker falls to his death. At the press confence after the Joker dies, the mayor says that the streets of Gotham are free of crime, but if in the future anything happes, Batman will be back; it is set up so that sequels can be made. The last scene is Vale being picked up by Alfred. He tells her that Mr. Wayne is going to be late, and she says that she expected that implying that she knows he is Batman.
While I was watching the movie I started to get disappointed because there was no Batmobile, but it shows up about half way through the movie. All of his gadgets for fighting crime are fantastic regardless of how unrealistis they are. If I was ever in trouble, I would want Batman to come to my rescue. I am glad that I watched this film because it is the original, and Jack Nicholson does an incredible job as The Joker. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor for this role.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Indiana Jones makes his final appearance in the 80’s in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. An exciting element in this movie is that you get to see who inspired a young Indy (played by River Phoenix) to be the man he is or at least who gave him his distinct Australian fedora, the bullwhip, and his fear of snakes. You also get to meet his father who plays a major role in the development of Indy’s personality as well.
Indy is back at his college teaching when he hears news that he has been chosen by the government to find the Holy Grail and he has to beat the Nazis to the punch yet again (apparently Hitler had a thing for religious artifacts of immense power). The catch is the government had already sent an archaeologist to find it and he has gone missing and that archaeologist is none other than Professor Henry Jones, Indy’s father.
This movie is quite possibly my favorite Indiana Jones movie. I really enjoy the father son aspect in movies. The portrayal of the strained bond between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford is very realistic even though they are actually only 12 years apart in age. There is a great scene where both playboys realized that they have been played by the same woman who is a Nazi none the less. Being that it is an Indiana Jones movie as well the stunts never cease to amaze either.
This might not be the last we see of our hero/heroes either. Rumor has it that Indiana Jones 4 is in the works. A possible title is Indiana Jones and the Lost Continent. Some other rumors are that some possible scripts include; Indy’s father, played by Sean Connery of course, a brother, written in with Kevin Spacey in mind, and maybe a daughter, with gossip spreading that Natalie Portman was considered. The production crew also stated that the film would be shot with stunt men, rather than computer generated effects just like the previous three films. I don’t know about you but I’m thrilled about this idea and can’t wait to see it.
More information on all the Indiana Jones films can be seen here: http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=Indiana+Jones
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I don’t know who invented the sequel formula that is used so often in Hollywood, but it can get to be a little unbelievable with what they will make a sequel of. Now today most sequels are made off of big-budget, successful movies, but occasionally a viewer is lucky enough to get their hands on the straight-to-video sequels. Best of the Best 2 is most definitely one of these movies. I had seen the original movie when I was young (which was what intrigued me to watch the sequel), but had no idea what I was getting in to for this film. First off, the film does star some notable actors; unfortunately, the actors are the black sheep of their families to superior stars. The movie stars the other Roberts, Eric Roberts, and Sean Penn’s recently deceased brother, Chris Penn.
One problematic issue with the movie is the fact that half of the stars of the original movie are not in the sequel. The movie producers figured they would replace this flaw with the addition of Wayne Newton cast as the evil club owning villain. Newton’s character is bizarrely fascinating due to him not only owning a profitable dance club, but also running a secret, underground death pit in which his friends can gamble on the brutal, death matches. Another fascinating issue is the fact that the original movie centers around a sports-oriented karate tournament, whereas the sequel is just all out killing and action. In short this movie was badly entertaining and at times did not even make clear since.
Final Note: One final movie flaw I thought I would end on is a moral position of one of the characters. Chris Penn’s character needs money, so he decides to fight in Newton’s death-pitt, but on the same night he promised to baby sit Robert’s son. So Penn decides the safest thing to do is to take the kid with him to the illegal, underground death match to watch him brutally die. It was an incredible display of babysitting.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Back again for another action packed film, Harrison Ford stars in The Temple of Doom. This movie came out in 1984 and was a great, but cheesy sequel to Raiders of the Lost Arc. It begins in a high-class club in China, where Indy is making a trade of some stolen artifacts with Lao Che. The scene soon escalates when we realize that Lao is not interested in a fair trade. Indy takes the star entertainer of the club and possibly Lao's girlfriend "Willie" hostage (which actually does not end up working) and manages to escape. He, his little Asian sidekick Short Round, and Willie board a plane that they think will take them away. Little do they know that the plane is one of Lao's and he has ordered the pilots to bail and crash the plane in India. There, the three run into a run down looking Indian village, where the leader tells them that a sacrad stone has been stolen along with all of their children. Of course entralled, Indy decides to help the villlage and try to return their stone.
They travel to an elaborate palace, where the maharaja lives. The rest of the movie involves Indy finding and destroying a secret underground child labor line, recapturing the stones that belonged to the village, and finally freeing the children.
This was a pretty gory Indiana Jones movie, still mild though. The scene with the bugs and at dinner at the palace were especially fun to watch. All of the food is so entertaining. I would definitely recommend this movie. Very much an 80's hero, rough and tumble and very handsome. The only part I would say could have been cut out was anything with Willie's character. She was so annoying it almost ruined the movie. Although I was jealous I almost thanked Indy aloud for kissing her to shut her up!
Monday, April 24, 2006
Ben Kingsley stars in the title role launched his career and won him an Oscar. His Gandhi is human and eminently believable, not faultless, but full of quiet power, strength, and wisdom. In one touching scene, for example, Gandhi and his wife re-enact their wedding ceremony: their arranged marriage took place when Gandhi was only thirteen years old.
Gandhi’s willingness to be jailed for a just cause (protesting racial profiling and discrimination) quickly earned him both respect and attention. His satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) campaigns resulted in the British government’s taking action to redress the grievances of the Indian community in South Africa.
Building upon this success, Gandhi and his family permanently relocated to India. Confronted with the miserable plight of the peasants, Gandhi took up the cause of helping them gain more rights. He also renounced Western clothing, choosing to wear traditional Indian garb (a simple loin-cloth) instead.
Gandhi defied British rule by protesting the empire’s monopoly upon the salt industry, leading a peaceful march to the sea and collecting the salt there. Attenborough’s illustration of this event is a beautiful piece of cinematography. Through continued satyagraha campaigns, Gandhi was instrumental in discouraging violence while leading the movement to make India an independent nation. If for no other reason than to learn more about one of the world's great leaders, watch Gandhi.
Academy Awards and Nominations:
- Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ben Kingsley), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen).
- Nominations: Best Makeup, Best Music & Original Score (Ravi Shankar, George Fenton), and Best Sound.
- Ben Kingsley's (born Krishna Bhanji) paternal family was from the Indian state of Gujarat, the same state Mahatma Gandhi was from.
- Dustin Hoffman was interested in playing Gandhi, but was offered Tootsie (1982).
- Ravi Shankar, who wrote the music for Gandhi, was a friend and teacher to the Beatles’ George Harrison.
- “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
- “Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love.”
- “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.”
- “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
Shakespeare's famous play "Hamlet" was remade for the who knows how many times in the 80's. Starring Mel Gibson and our very own star in psycho women roles, Glenn Close (who in this film is surprisingly sane.) In case all of us are not familar with the story of Hamlet (shame on you if not!) the play details the struggle of a young prince of Denmark, namely Hamlet, who has just lost his father the king and seen his own mother very soon after remarry to his Uncle Claudius. Hamlet learns from the ghost of his recently deceased father that it was his Uncle that killed him, poisoning him as he slept. Hamlet then comes up with a plan to seem as though he is going crazy in order to more easily exact revenge on his Uncle. It is a complex plot with a lot of twists and turns that end with everyone except Hamlets best friend, Horatio, dead or dying on the floor of the hall.
I am not so sure I would recommend this version of the play. I do not really believe the director stayed true enough to the play. He seemed to portray Hamlets character as really insane, not just Hamlet plotting to pretend to be mad. I believe that made the whole movie more confusing and unnecessarily boring. It was very hard to follow, but that is to be expected from Shakespeare. But it was not just that it was hard to follow, it was that the characters often mumbled so you could barely make out what they were saying. Also, the acting was so exaggerated, it was not tasteful at all, especially on Mel Gibson's part.
It is hard to say whether or not this is a distinctly 80's movie because it is classic Shakespeare, it is done in another time so it was hard for me to notice anything.
In this film Sylvester Stallone’s character is a Vietnam veteran by the name of John Rmabo, who becomes alienated from society when he returns home from the war. The horrible treatment he receives from the townspeople and the local police cause him to retaliate and retreat into the wilderness. Authorities actively pursue him and reinforcement is brought in consisting of dozens of men and Rambo’s former colonel. This tale of an outsider quickly becomes an underdog story, but who the underdog actually is may be somewhat of a question. Rambo is extremely clever and covert and seems to avoid and disarm the officers with ease as he moves through the forest.
The ethical issues in this film are also interesting because Rambo’s actions could be considered unethical. He breaks the law and constantly puts the officers who hunt him in danger, however he never intentionally kills anyone. The only death he could be considered directly responsible for is the officer who falls out of the helicopter while trying to shoot him. Rambo also displays much reluctance in killing the enemies he comes in contact with, and usually resorts to injuring or disarming them. The actions of the police are also questionable and essentially illegal in some cases, such as when they abuse Rambo when he is arrested at the beginning of the film.
Overall, I enjoyed the film. It has an interesting plot and lots of exciting action scenes. It’s awesome to see Rambo is able to engage a force that is much more numerous and equipped than he is.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
So my friend let me borrow her tape of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. This film was directed by Joe Johnston and it stars Rick Moranis. The film is about a dad who is so concerned with his inventions and he has very little time to spend with his children. He has been working on a elector-magnet shrinking machine which his kids get their hands on. The outcome means that these kids get shrunken down to a 1/4 of their size. What's really sad is there own dad throws them out in the trash and they are in charge of surviving in a world of really large things. Killer Bees attack, a lawn mower almost runs them over, ants are ginormous, and lets not forget that giant bowl of cereal that the son almost drowns in. All i can remember is when i was kid going to Disney and riding the simulater/3D thing. It scared the crap out of me when that snake comes out of the screen and the rats crawl around your feet. I hate that ride! Anyway, I liked this comedy and it brought me back to when I watched this film as a kid. The sequel is not as good as the first as it usually goes with films. The Dad finally realizes that he shrunk his kids and he goes on a mission to find them. It's a fun film to watch especially when your stressed because it is really cheesy and the special effects are very obvious. I must say that I love the dog in the film, he is by far the best! Too cute. I recommend this film if you are bored and have nothing better to do. I don't think I will be watching this film again for a while.
Watching Frances, I was surprised to see so many connections to Tootsie (especially in one scene, when Frances is called "tootsie"). Based on the life of 1930's actress Frances Farmer, the movie deals with the status of women in the acting profession.
From the very beginning of the movie, we see Frances as a bit of a hellion of a woman, doing her own thing and going against the norms of society. The movie opens with Frances delivering a speech about the death of God for a high school contest, and shortly after she travels to Russia during the hight of the war, just to follow her acting dream. Right there, we already begin to see accusations of being an atheist and a communist, some very hefty titles to have in the '30's.
Once she makes it to Hollywood (though her real dream is Broadway), Frances strives to be more than just a pretty face, though it's clear that that is all her directors intend for her to be. Many times, like Michael in Tootsie, Frances tries to suggest things to add to the realism and believability of her scenes and is ignored and told to stop thinking and just do what she is told. Things take a turn for the worse when she takes up work with a acting troup, and tries to get out of her Hollywood contract. Her manager isn't willing to let her go, and her free-spirited and independent behavior is used against her as her reputation is ruined. The constant stress of reporters houding her becomes too much, and her aggression towards them makes her appear emotionally disturbed. Frances then enters a downward spiral as everyone makes her out to be mentally ill, and she is institutionalized several times (keep in mind this is the 1930's, when they still thought insulin- and electro-shock therapy was the way to go). All of the hospitalizations take a toll on her, and she never seems to be able to escape. In the end (though most likely not accurate to the real-life Farmer - details are a bit spotty), Frances undergoes a transorbital lobotomy, which finally succeeds where all of the nay-sayers have failed - it finally breaks her spirit and turns her into a "cured" citizen.
Frances was a tough woman who held no pretences, and for that, she suffered - as is normal for outcasts in a society that fears the unfamiliar. It was heartrending to see how thoroughly Frances was destroyed. The last line, by a lobotomized Frances, almost broke my heart: "Things are going to be slow now."
Judge Hillier's wife: On behalf of the Seattle Ladies Club, as a token of our vast admiration --
Frances: Excuse me.
Judge Hillier's wife: (startled) Yes...?
Frances: Don't I know you?
Judge Hillier's wife: I don't believe so.
Frances: Sure. You were the one who damned me to Hell.
Judge Hillier's wife: No, my dear. You must be mistaken.
Frances: (barely audible) Oh bullshit.
Judge Hillier: I beg your pardon?
Frances: (to the dignitaries) Listen, I'm still the same girl that wrote that essay, the same girl who went to Russia, and you people aren't proud to meet me at all.
France's Essay: http://www.geocities.com/~themistyone/god_dies.htm
The film "Working Girl" was recommended to me as the woman's version of "Wall St." this surprised me because I thought the title suggested it would be closer to "Pretty Woman" but I gave it a shot.
The film is about Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) a woman who works as a secretary in an office that looks almost identical to Bud Fox's. She has big ideas yet no one will listen because she is a secretary. One day two men in her office tell her they have arranged a business meeting for her to finally get her ideas heard. She goes to the meeting only to find out that she has been set up to "entertain" the client, and she leaves. After calling her boss a pimp, she is fired.
Tess then lands a job as a secretary for a powerful woman, Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). Tess seems to have a harder time working for a woman initially, and then Katherine realizes that she has good ideas. Tess then explains an idea she has had about the Trask Co. buying a radio station instead of a T.V. station because that would protect them from international buy-outs. Katherine thinks its a great idea and says she will run it buy Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford.)
While on ski vacation Katherine breaks her leg and is forced to stay in the hospital out there, back in New York she has Tess house sit and take care of all her up-coming events. While at Katherine's apartment Tess notices a (what appears to be email but I'm not sure if there was such a thing in '88) memo to Trainer explaining the radio station idea, and passing it off as her own. Tess becomes furious and decides to take matters into her own hands. She sets up a meeting with Trainer.
Tess decides to attend this cocktail party she knows Trainer will be attending, and get an added edge before their meeting the following day, however she is so nervous that she will get caught and that she is wearing a $6000 dress of Katherine's that her friend Cyd (Joan Cusack) makes her take a vallium, and cut her hair. At the party she meets a man (who the audience knows is Trainer) who refuses to talk business with such a beautiful woman, and buys her shots of tequila. Needless to say the tequila and the vallium make quite a combination and she ends up passing out in a cab, Trainer tries to take her to her apartment but she isn't cooperating, so he takes her to his apartment. In the morning Tess wakes up and runs out before Jack is awake, in the next scene she is in the meeting and becomes extremely flustered when she realizes who Jack is.
Trainer likes the idea, even though his colleagues seem to think that she "over heard the idea some place." Trainer starts doing research on various radio stations to present to Trask while Tess tries to figure out a way to meet with him. She decides that her and Jack are going to crash Trask's daughters wedding and try to talk business with him there. The plan works and they get a meeting. Just as the plan is starting to work Katherine calls to say she will be home at the end of the week, and Tess is frantic because she needs more time. Katherine comes home and has a huge speech about how she is going to talk to Trainer about the radio idea but she has to make it seem like its her idea, because he doesn't listen to people he doesn't know. However if Tess had read the memo Katherine expected her to ask her about it, and she would tell the truth.
Through a series of confusing events we learn that Katherine and Jack were actually sleeping together before her accident, and now Tess and Jack seem to be involved in a relationship. Katherine finds Tess' date book and figures out what she has been doing while she was gone, she bursts into the meeting with Trask and sabotages. She outs her as a secretary and says that Tess has stolen her ideas. Trask and Trainer are appalled, and Tess is fired. While cleaning out her desk she runs into Trainer and Trask, and explains how she came up with the idea, Trask then confronts Katherine about how she came up with the brilliant idea, and she cant come up with an answer. It all comes full circle when Trask hires Tess not as a secretary but as a partner, with a corner office. Tess and Jack also end up together.
It is a great film, that I was surprised I hadn't heard a lot about before. Melanie Griffith does a great job, and this was on of the few films where I didn't find her slightly annoying. It has a better message than "Wall St." because Tess is not motivated by greed, she is simply trying to make her life better, she says "You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you're trying to get there. And if you're someone like me, you can't get there without bending the rules."
Also if you are or have ever been a fan of Carly Simon's song "Let the River Run" you will love this film, it is not only the theme song but it appears almost every time Tess is on screen in some form or another. It won an academy award for best original song, but it seems to be a bit of over kill. All the women in this film, Griffith, Weaver and Cusack were nominated for academy awards in 1989 as well.