Friday, June 16, 2006

Tootsie (1982) by Sydeny Pollack

Sydney Pollack’s 1982 film Tootsie is a comedy that should be viewed by all. This 119 minutes film grossed over $177 million in box offices and had 9 Oscar nominations, with a Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) who is an unemployed actor back steps into an audition after his friend Sandy was dismissed. Dorsey embraces the southern grandma character roll for a Daytime Soap Opera show perfectly and is quick to change his life after getting the role of Dorothy Michaels.

Genna Davis’s debut in this film with an exercise scene in bra and small silky underwear might grab those looking for a little sizzle. Dorsey is quick to realize what women endure to be beautiful, oh forget that, just to be woman.

Bill Murray and Dabney Coleman bring life into the twisted drama of a man pretending to be a woman in everyday life. An engagement and broken up love twist add to the humor of this film.

After ratings soared on the Daytime soap, Dorothy’s contract is renewed and the pressure of being a woman 24-7 is enough for Michael Dorsey. He quickly schemes to change the dramatic scene on live television that will end his role as Dorothy forever..

Pollack does an excellent job bring viewers into this film with personal associations. The scenes were simple but utilized well. Camera angles and lighting was utilized well to accent the film. The laughter will never stop in this film and is a must see in my book!

Some other sites to check out:

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coming to A-meh-rica

How was John Landis’ 1988 film Coming to America? Meh. It wasn’t good; it wasn’t bad. It was just meh.

An average PG-rated romantic comedy disguised as an R-rated
Eddie Murphy vehicle (drops a couple F-bombs and shows some boobs to pack in the kids), the movie is a far cry from the raucous work of Landis’ Animal House or Trading Places. Production values, however, are all top-notch with some nice looking costumes and scenery.

A fairly standard take on the fish out of water story, the film follows Prince Akeem (Murphy) and Semmi (
Arsenio Hall) as they come to New York looking for a worthy wife for Akeem. Where in New York would you find such a woman? Well, Queens, of course!

The highlight of the movie is the make-up effects by Rick Baker. His genius transforms Murphy and Hall into multiple characters throughout the film. (This is just a taste of what Baker and Murphy offer in The Nutty Professor.) Murphy and Hall are much more interesting in these minor roles than they are as the film’s leads.

The bad fashions of the late 80s were distracting and I kept thinking to myself, “Did we really dress like that?” Dr. Huxtable sweaters and balloon mini-skirts make it look like Flashdance exploded all over the cast.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stay Gold

S.E. Hinton's 1967 novel The Outsiders has been a staple of junior high reading classes for years. The story of rival gangs violently protecting their turf continues to resonate with today's young readers. (Just check out the paperback's sales ranking on Amazon.) Francis Coppola's 1983 film version faithfully captures the book's world of alienated teens in the 60s.

Broken homes, smokes, and switchblades make up the lives of Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and the gang of "greasers" that are his extended family. Caught in the crossfire of a class war with the "socs"--the more affluent teenagers from the north side of town--Ponyboy and Johnny (Ralph Macchio) run away after killing one of the soc leaders (
Leif Garrett). But when they save a bunch of children from a fire at an abandoned church, with the help of Matt Dillon's Dallas, the boys can return to town in time for the big rumble.

Although the 60s setting lends the film the look of a teen classic (think Rebel Without a Cause), it eventually cracks under the weight of the melodrama that characterizes such films. One too many characters are lit by a dreamy Technicolor sunrise/sunset, a la Gone With the Wind, and an easy-listening theme song by Stevie Wonder only serves to pile on the schmaltz.

The film, however, does get some things right. The assembled cast is a powerhouse of talent that also includes Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Cruise. These young actors are all consistently good in their portrayals of the troubled Oklahoma teens. The movie's message to always retain some sense of child-like wonder is a good sentiment (although, I figure it is more the work of Hinton than Coppola).

Nepotism Alert: Keep an eye out for a young Sophia Lost in Translation Coppola!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Making light of Mr.Montana's anger problems.

WARNING: The video is very explicit!

In the year 1983 Scarface was one of the most controversial films ever. Now, its almost laughable. Don't get me wrong, Scarface is a classic, a truly phenomenal film. To the extent that it has left its mark in pop-culture history, whether it is through cult film lovers, or the professional athletes and rappers that have Tony Montana splashed across there homes, via MTV Cribs. The film is about Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee, who works his way up through Miami’s drug world. I sat down to watch this movie, and my family began to join in.

Strangely, we found ourselves laughing at scenes that weren’t intended to be laughed at. We found that over time a film that was originally serious and intense is now almost comical. I would suggest watching the film twice for those who have never seen it. Once with a serious focus, and the second time focus on making light of the situations. Pay close attention to the facial expressions, and the slurring of words by Al Pacino. As Tony Montana becomes angered about something, the movie does a thing that resembles old kung-fu movies (or Kill Bill for those with more modern tastes) the scene plays loud orchestra music and zooms in on his eyes, to show the anger of Tony. It is humorous to see Tony go ballistic Often the littlest thing sets him off, he goes completely crazy. Looking at the costumes is funny. In the 80's it was the height of the gangster fashion. But now if I saw someone wearing a white tux, with a red shirt, unbuttoned half way down with a gold chain, I would assume that they got lost somewhere on the way to a reunion ABBA concert. Not to mention the beach scenes with spandex. Those are always a fun clothing accessory. So in conclusion I think Scarface is a phenomenal film, I just think that its hard to take it seriously now.
(this is a fake profile of someone acting like Tony)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh to be young again....

32.7 Degrees in the Morning AKA Betty Blue (1986) is a beautiful film about love and how far it can go. Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) is a 30 year old handyman who lives in a shack along the French coast. He is a writer as we later find out and really aspires to be nothing. But then Betty (Beatrice Dalle) walks through his door and his life changes completely.

Betty is 19, wild and free. She sees a lifetime of love with Zorg and wants him to become a worthwhile man. Unfortunately she seems to suffer from a borderline personality that is a ticking time bomb. The couple move to several places around France and revel the joys that life brings them. But Betty wants Zorg's book to be published and Zorg realizes that no matter what he does, Betty will never be happy. The miscarriage of their child tips Betty over the edge. In the end Zorg realizes what he must do.

The movie is 185 minutes long and I never found myself wanting it to be over. The beautiful scenery of the ocean, small villages, and the French countryside only made it harder for me to look away. Wonderful characters adorn this film by way of the wonderful elderly couple who live next door, to Betty's friend Lisa and her over the top boyfriend, Eddie. The film draws you into Betty and Zorg's life and their passionate moments together. The characters are believable and you feel as if you are right there with them.

Wonderful imagery, soundtrack and acting. I would recommend this movie.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Man has made his it's his problem"

It's 2016, Los Angeles, and your job is to hunt down replicants because they aren't human. In fact, you aren't quite sure if you are even human. In Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, there is a fine line between reality and fiction as well as night and day. Decker, played by Harrison Ford, is on the hunt for 6 escaped "replicants". He is a very lucky man indeed, for he drinks like a fish, doesn't get many clues, gets beat to crap everyday, and yet, gets the job done.

I understand that in 1982 this film could be viewed as somewhat futuristic but I just can't buy the whole package. Why is everything so square in the future? Square liquor bottles, square drinking glasses, square flying cars, as well massive square buildings. I would think by 2016 we would have moved forward at least architecturally. Good thing we have the technology to manufacture replicants to take care of us humans in 2016! It seems that in the city of LA here on earth, there is a massive poplulation of Asian people and the only employer in town is the Tyrell Corporation which looms high above the city. This would explain why there isn't any sun in the city and possibly all that rain! Those poor actors!

The replicant Rachel (Sean Young) wrestles with the question of if she is in fact "more human than human" or just a bucket of bolts. She of course gets involved with Decker and he, in turn, questions reality himself. The "bad" replicants come back to earth, try to find their leader, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), and while possessing supernatural strength, aren't very smart when it comes to guns and bullets. Batty is in love with Pris (Daryl Hannah) who is quite the acrobat and needs to lay off the eyeliner. The movies' two main characters, Batty and Decker then see themselves in each other and eventually, after a very long fight sequence, one lets go of life and one runs away to a new life.

The style of the 1940's plays a major role in this film and this style can be seen in the costumes, hair styles, set designs and all that incessant cigarette smoking!

I found this movie, its plot, and its characters unrealistic. Possibly that is the idea of the movie but I found it boring.