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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Fun, but something was lacking.
Based on the very popular video game, Tomb Raider plays out exactly like one of Lara Croft's digital adventures. True there is more to the movie than Lara running around the world with pistols ablazin', but there seemed to be something lacking. Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice for the flesh and blood Lara Croft though. With her dual pistols, tight clothes and long braid of hair, Jolie is ready for whatever is thrown at her. The plot deals with an ancient clock that has begun counting down on the first day of planetary alignment. The clock is the key to finding two pieces of the Triangle of Light. Once whole again, it will give its possesor the ability to move through time. So, it is up to Lara Croft to save the world, and the universe from ultimate doom. The effects and stunt work are first rate. I did enjoy the sequence where Lara is jumping around her mansion and has to fend off a horde of armed men storming her home. Probably the best visual effect, or at least my favorite, is in the Cambodian temple. A statue comes to life and naturally, goes after anyone within sight. Overall, Tomb Raider isn't a bad film. It does offer some thrills and Angelina Jolie is probably the best thing about the movie. What I felt was lacking was the sense of fun that was very prevalent in the Indiana Jones films. Those still hold up to multiple viewings, but I think one may become as bored as Lara does after watching this one more than twice.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Michael Bay's films always split people into two categories. They either like them, or hate them. One thing both parties can agree on is the fact that his films move. There is always a pan, a dolly, a zoom or some other camera trick that takes you farther than other films would. With Pearl Harbor, Bay takes you back to Dec. 7, 1941 and puts you there as the Japanese begin there attack. What leads up to the attack however, is a somewhat cliched first hour. We are introduced to Danny and Rafe, two Tennessee fly boys who have designs on the same nurse. We also are introduced to various other characters that enter into the grand scheme of things. Through this hour, we learn who they are, what they want from their lives and begin to make a connection with them. All of this may have been taken care in a little less time, but it's there on the screen, and like it or love it, it's not going anywhere. Once the attack on Pearl Harbor begins, the first hour fades into the background and you are thrust into the confusion, the horror and the insanity of the early morning attack. Planes dive in, strafing ships and people. Bombs scream through the sky and explode on their targets as the smoke gets thicker with each passing second. You witness the death of the Arizona, you watch as Dorie Miller mans a machine gun and opens fire on the attacking planes. You get caught up in the moment and you feel charged as the American forces retalliate against the Japanese. You then feel the pain and anguish as the wounded pour into the hospital and you see the fear in the faces of the nurses and doctors as they struggle to save their patients.
True there may be some historical inaccuracies, and some facts may have been left out or combined into others. Overall, Pearl Harbor achieves what it's makers set out to do. They wanted to capture the essense of what it was like to be there on that day. In that regard, they have succeeded.
Utterly charming and highly entertaining.
As Shrek opens up, you realize that you're not going to be viewing a "classic" fairy tale. With a very irreverant sense of humor, the film ventures into uncharted territories that will make you laugh uncontrollably while your kids wonder what's so funny. The story is a simple one. Shrek and Donkey have been given a task of rescuing Princess Fiona. Once this is accomplished, Lord Farquuad will remove the fairy tale refugees from Shrek's swamp. Along the way in this simple tale, our hero learns to open himself up to others, and by midway through the film you'll know the outcome. But, you will be so charmed and entertained by the story that you won't care that you figured out the ending in the middle of the film. The animation is amazing to watch, and with the field of animation, you can get away with many things that you can not do with live action. Overall, Shrek is a delightful film for all ages. Take the kids and try not to be charmed.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Outstanding and entertaining!
Action and adventure abound throughout this movie. There are grand battles, deception, romance and narrow escapes from death and that's just in the first half hour! Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are back and this time, they have more than an ancient mummy to contend with. This time around, there's evil followers of Imhotep, armies of the undead, pygmies and The Scorpion King himself. The pace never lets up. It's a roller coaster ride that takes you up, down and then spins you upside down and throws you for another roll. The stunts are great, the effects are great, and the story is also great. This is a perfect summer movie to go watch with your friends. So, go get your tickets, grab a soda and sit back and let the fun begin.
A wholly unique movie going experience.
Starting with the ending and moving backward, Memento challenges us with its backwards narrative and shows us that things aren't actually what they seem. Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man without the ability to create new memories. All he knows is that someone raped and murdered his wife, and he's going to find the man and kill him. In his quest, he is aided by two characters who may know more than they let on. Joe Pantoliano's Teddy and Carrie-Anne Moss' Natalie. Both have reasons for helping Leonard, but we like Leonard, don't really know who to trust. As the action progresses backwards, we learn more about Leonard and his condition and we learn more about why things happen to Leonard. To talk about this film would detract from the fun of watching it unfold, (or is it recede?) in front of you. You think you know what happens, you think you know why Leonard did what he did, but that's only the beginning. And nothing is what it seems.
North by Northwest (1959)
There are certain films in existance that you can watch over and over and they will always remain fresh and vibrant as the day they were released. North By Northwest is one such film. Filled with the usual Hitchcock themes, the movie begins innocently enough when Roger Thornhill calls for a bell boy calling for a George Caplan. From there, he's whisked into a world of murder, espionage, smuggling and late night romances aboard trains. The suspense and plot build together as we, along with Thornhill, try to figure out what's happening, and try not to get killed along the way. Among the films highlights is the infamous crop duster sequence, in which Hitchcock shows you that even in the middle of nowhere, there is still danger. Cary Grant is perfectly cast as the rather quick witted Roger O. Thornhill. Eva Marie Saint is the prerequisite blonde Eve Kendall who helps Thornhill in his quest. The always wonderful James Mason is oily and sinister as Phillip Vandamm, and Martin Landau hides a hidden menace behind his slightly crooked grin. Throw in a wonderful score from Bernard Herrmann, a top notch script from Ernest Lehman and masterful direction from Alfred Hitchcock, and you have a movie that you can never grow tired of. Plus, you have to love that last shot.
One of the best big screen epics.
I recently had the opportunity to see Ben-Hur on a 70ft screen and I have to say, if you have the chance, see it this way! The super wide vistas that is captured on film look puny on TV and even then, the whole movie is cropped to fit the screen. If you have a large screen TV, that may do the trick but it's still no match for a giant movie screen. The best example of this would be to watch the famed chariot race. Every inch of screen is used to pack in so much detail, your brain almost goes into an overload just trying to take it in. Having said that, the film still holds up after all these years. Charlton Heston is perfectly cast as the title character. Betrayed by his boyhood friend, Ben-Hur is sold into slavery and sent to die aboard the Roman galleons. During a spectacular battle, Ben-Hur rescues his Roman captor and is given a hero's welcome in Rome where is made a citizen. But, this cannot dissuade Ben-Hur from his personal vendetta against Messala. He gets his chance in the chariot race, and I have to say that the chariot race has not been matched. Ben-Hur, like Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Spartacus, is a film that needs to be seen on a large screen. That's the only way to take in the grandeur of those spectacular scenes that range from the highly intimate, to a frame that literally boasts a cast of thousands.
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
More like 3'000 Miles to Nowhere
As I sat there viewing 3'000 Miles to Graceland, a strange feeling came over me. I was saying to myself, I want to like this movie but it's not giving me a chance. The film veers from merely outlandish, to wildly unbelievable. The plot concerns a group of cons dressed up like Elvis and robbing a casino. Of course there will be double crossing amongst these guys and then, the prize is missing and what follows is a chase across the vast western part of America. Kurt Russel and Kevin Costner do what they can with the script and Costner does look like he's enjoying himself in the role. Interesting footnote, Russel has acted alongside The King and even played him in the 1979 TV film. It's a sad thing when the end credits show more life and are more entertaining than the entire film.
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
The other side of WWII
Enemy At The Gates gives us the view of WWII from the Russian point of view. The story takes place entirely during the German siege of Stalingrad. In first few scenes, we see just how badly Hitler wanted this city. What we are subjected to is a nightmarish scenario. Russian infantrymen are herded from train cars into boats and ferryed across the Volga river. While taking the dangerously slow trip, they are subject to fire from attacking German fighters. If they survive, they still have to fight on land, or be shot as cowards. There is little dialouge in these opening scenes and for once, I'm glad that there was no decision to put dialogue here. You can almost compare the opening to a silent film, with the images flashing across the screen and expressions of the actors faces conveying all the information you need. Once the opening chaos has died down, we begin to get to know Jude Law's Vassily, the famed sharpshooter. Law plays him well. A young man from the Urals who just happens to be a world class shot, but not to knowledgeable of the politics surrounding him. Joseph Finnes is the political officer that begins to extol the virtues of this young man and begins to make him a larger than life hero. Because of the damage inflicted by Vassily, the Germans send in their own sharpshooter. Ed Harris plays Major Konig with steely eyed reserve. His actions are carefully metered out and his silence shows his strength. What starts out as a battle between the Russians and the Germans becomes a struggle between two men who are both the best at what they do. What follows is a film that showcases great performances from Law and Harris and scenes of tension that will make you hold your breath.
15 Minutes (2001)
A good thriller
15 Minutes doesn't stop moving for a minute. It takes time to slow down, but the camera always seems to be balancing on its toes, ready to spring into action. The story concerns two men, who are here in America to collect money owed to them. One steals a camera and thus begins taping their various atrocities around NYC. All in the attempt to win the attention of the media and in doing that, become rich and famous. On the trail of these two are Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns who play members of NYPD and NYFD. The two form an unlikely partnership and slowly but surely begin to close in on the two felons. Kelsey Grammar plays a news man who will pay top dollar for the tape of the crimes. What propels this film above other similarly themed films are the performances of all the actors, especially DeNiro and Burns. Grammar is quite sleazy and smarmy, a complete departure from the good natured Frasier Crane. The action set pieces are spectacular and really do get your blood moving. The story moves along quickly to the climax that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. No joke, that's what I was doing. 15 Minutes won't win any awards for originality but it will entertain you for two hours, and that's why we go to the movies in the first place.
The Gift (2000)
Good and spooky.
In The Gift, Cate Blanchett is blessed(or cursed?) with the ability to sense things that no ordinary person can see. She is asked by the police to aid in the search of a missing person and what follows, is a journey into the supernatural. Sam Raimi knows how to set up a scene for the maximum scare potential. Honed on his Evil Dead series, Raimi lets a scene begin slowly and allows the viewer to sense the dread and feel the suspense build. There are visual tricks, interesting camera techniques and the fine performances by a very talented cast that propel this story forward. Among this cast that really stands out is Keanu Reeves. People have always complained that Reeves brings down a movie. At least some of the people I know. I prefer to think that Reeves is an underrated actor. In the role of Donny Barksdale, Reeves brings a certain menace to his character that usually isn't scene in his other roles. Barksdale isn't a creature of the night, or a space alien, but a flesh and blood creature that is capable of true evil. When you watch him, look at his eyes and you'll see a true menace lurking behind those dark brown eyes. Cate Blanchett shows that she can master just about any accent that's out there. She sounds like she's a native of the south and she has a quiet courage about her. Most notable when she's squaring off against Reeves.
All in all, The Gift is a wonderfully atmospheric thriller. It has brains and doesn't insult the viewers. It will keep you hooked up until the very end, and there are quite a few surprises throughout the film. Highly entertaining, and very spooky at times.
A great, complex film
Traffic is a film that can't easily be put into words. The scope of the film goes beyond any idea that you may have had about the "war" on drugs. The film tells several interlocking stories with great ease. First, there's Benicio Del Toro as possibly the one honest cop in Mexico. He's trying to fight the war on drugs even when his superiors are the main perpetrators. When it's necessary, they use him to take down other cartels. Then there's Michael Douglas who is the country's newly appointed drug czar. His take on the drug war becomes rather skewed once he learns that his daughter is a user. Then, there's Catherine Zeta-Jones as a well to do socialite who learns that her husband was a smuggler of drugs. Through a very large cast, and finely tuned script, Steven Soderbergh infuses Traffic with an energy that slowly pulls you in. His use of color to differentiate between settings. Mexico is seen in a kind of sepia tone, dirty filter. The halls of justice in the heart of America and in The White House have a cold washed out blue palor that underscores the politicians take on the drug war. That it's not someone they know, but a statistic on a sheet of paper that they feel is the problem in America. And San Diego is given a warm day glow tone to it, but underneath there is a sense of menace.
Pretty soon, all the locations start to bleed into each other as the stories begin to intertwine. The camera work gives you a you are there feel that takes you from being a third party observer, to a first person participant. You are out in the desert intercepting drugs. You are walking around the drug infested lower parts of the city and you are being hounded by the police and other interested parties. Traffic is a complex puzzle that demands your full attention. The film presents you with a current problem that has plauged the US for the past forty years. The answers that one gets from the film may not sit well with many people, but it opens your eyes to the fact that perhaps the current war on drugs, is not the right one.
Cast Away (2000)
One of the best films of the year.
Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis take you on a journey that you'll not soon forget. When we first meet Hanks' character, he's a time obsessed FedEx employee who lives by the clock. His entire life has to be scheduled at least a week in advance. Then, one fateful evening he departs on a plane that crashes into the Pacific. After surviving the crash, Chuck is washed ashore on an island in the middle of nowhere. Now, he has nothing but time on his hands. Slowly but surely, Chuck begins to reawaken primal insticnts that have layed dormant in him, and through this, we see just how resourseful, and resiliant humans can be. To their credit, Zemeckis and Hanks never resort to anything that would be found on Gilligan's Island. No pirates, no apes, no nothing in fact. All that is on island is Hanks, and whatever has washed ashore. Since humans are a social animal, the need for communication is essential, and one of the best relationships developed in the film is between Chuck and Wilson. Through Wilson, Chuck is able to express his concerns, his fears, his hopes and this allows him a shred of sanity.
Once again, Robert Zemeckis shows hi s mastery at the art of storytelling. He makes good use of the visual effects to propel the story forward, and the effects never take center stage. Even during the very realistic plane crash. The effects are there to help the story, they are not the story. Tom Hanks shows that he's one of the best actors working today. His weight loss for the film has been duly noted in many papers and periodicals but to see him go from a thick, bear like man to a skeletal frame with a scraggly beard is quite shock. He gives his all for his performance, and there are scenes on and off the island that contain only Hanks, and these scenes are heartbreaking.
Some may complain that the running time is too long, that the film starts to slow down once Hanks is on the island. Well, that's the point. We begin to feel what he's going through. With nothing but time on your hands, and no way to measure it, time seems to stand still.
Cast Away is one of the better films this season, and one of the best films of the year. Thanks in part to the performance of Tom Hanks and the masterful direction of Robert Zemeckis.
The 6th Day (2000)
Good escapist entertainment.
The 6th Day probably won't win any awards for originality, and it doesn't have to. The sole purpose of this movie is entertaining its audience. After viewing the film, I'm pleased to say that I was highly entertained. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a man who has been cloned. We tag along with Arnold on his journey to find out why he's been cloned, and why he's being hunted by Michael Rooker and his group of laser toting assassins. What's unique to this movie is the fact that it's set in the not to distant future. Some of the technology that is shown in the film, may become reality within the next ten to twenty years. Cars that drive themselves, appliances that inform you when you're in need of milk and cloning procedures that would've only been considered science fiction twenty years ago. The action set pieces are exciting and there is some good humor in the film. Particularly one very funny sequence that involves a doll called a Sim-Pal. Arnold has his one liners to throw around, and it's good to see him back in form. He's been absent from films like this for too long. Another good thing about the movie is the rating. The PG-13 rating allows just about everyone to enjoy this movie. There are a few choice words here and there, and some people getting blasted by lasers, but that's about it. The 6th Day is good entertainment. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Red Planet (2000)
Better than Mission To Mars
Giving us a little more bang for our buck, Red Planet gives us a Mars mission that hold a little more menace than the previous Mars film. The effects are good, the look of Mars is good and I especially liked Val Kilmer. The story is interesting, but the lines that these actors have to say are quite times, dull and lifeless. The always engaging Carrie-Ann Moss spends most of the film trapped aboard the ship while the rest of the crew is down on the angry red planet playing hide and seek from their robot drone, who's been turned on in angry mode and is bent on destroying them all. Some of the scenes during the first portion of the film seemed to be truncated, like they were not able to play themselves out fully. Red Planet has some good ingredients in it, but it seems to be only half baked. It was better than Mission To Mars, but it could've been better.
Final Destination (2000)
Good creepy fun.
Final Destination gives you laughs, scares and moments of whoah, did that just happen? What makes it rise above the other films in the genre is the sure hand of the creative team, a duo responsible for many episodes of The X-Files. Here, that general uneasiness that works well on TV, works double time in a feature film. The set pieces of the film are done in such intricate ways, you can't help but watch. The plane explosion is quite disturbing, and that's just the beginning. From there, we are plunged into a film where strange things will happen, and not in the way that you would expect. The performances are well played by the young cast, and Tony Tod has a delightful little part as an undertaker. Just be ready to grab something during certain parts of the movie, you will jump.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The best film about the loudest rock band!
Turn your speakers up to 11, Spinal Tap is back! The loudest rock band ever to hit America chronicles their Smell The Glove Tour in this wonderfully funny film. You get to see the glory of rock and roll from the band's perspective. Thrill as you listen to such Tap classics as Big Bottom, Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You (Tonight), Sex Farm, and Rock & Roll Creation. Gasp as you learn of the terrible realization that Spinal Tap's cover to Smell The Glove is deemed offensive and sexist. Try not to laugh as the band is hopelessly lost under a stage in Cleaveland shouting "rock and roll!!" A wonderfully original film that has been copied many times over, but never matched. The songs are quite fun to sing too. Added bonus, watch this one on DVD with commentary by Nigel, David and Derrick. Listening to them is just as fun as watching the movie. Watch out for exploding drummers!
The Cell (2000)
Audacious and amazing
One of the first striking images you see in The Cell is Jennifer Lopez, dressed in an ornate and flowing white gown, traverse a pristine desert on the back of a magnificent stallion. That's just one of the striking visuals used in the film. After the introduction of the major players, the film swings into motion. Lopez is a doctor that is able to enter into minds via a fairly new technology. When she enters the mind of Vincent D'Onofrio's killer, we are plunged into a chaotic, and at times, very disturbing mind. The film plays on three different levels. On one hand, it's a race against time thriller. Lopez and Vince Vaughn have to figure out what's happened with the most recent victim who is locked in a cell that will flood with water within two days. The other part is, it's a journey into the mind of a disturbed person. Inside the killer's mind, we meet his younger self. Through brief glimpses into the past, we see what has transformed an innnocent boy, into a very sadistic and remorseless killer. The third level the film works on is a sci-fi level. The idea of one person going into the mind of another has always been around, but never before has it been executed with such results.
The director Tarsem, who transported R.E.M. into another world with their Losing My Religion video, pulls no punches in this film. There are scenes that will make you squirm, but at the same time, will bring you closer to understanding motivations for D'Onofrio's character. Like The Silence of the Lambs and Seven, The Cell takes a genre that seems to have run it's course, and puts a fresh spin on it. Many who see The Cell may be put off by the grostesqueness of what is presented before them. For those brave viewers who are willing to look where few dare not look, you will not be disappointed.
The Way of the Gun (2000)
Bad men doing bad things.
In Way of the Gun, Ryan Phillipe and Benicio Del Toro play a couple of hapless guys who decide to kidnap a pregnant girl who is the surrogate mother for a very wealthy guy. The plan is to ransom the girl and the unborn child and make off with a considerable amount of money. That's the basic plot. Christopher McQuarrie must've felt pressured to come up with a equally great follow up to his Oscar winning screenplay for "The Usual Suspects." Unfortunately, this film doesn't live up to the previous effort. The script does have the twists and turns and surprises, but McQuarrie as director seems unsure of himself. There are some nice touches here and there, but what was really needed was a director that would be able to look at the script from a different perspective. The acting in the film is fine and as stated before, there are some nice touches. Particularly with James Caan. The shootout at the end does get your blood flowing but one can't help but see similarities to "The Wild Bunch." Christopher McQuarrie is a fine writer, but I think he needs a little more time to grow as a director.
Almost Famous (2000)
A great film
As Cameron Crowe takes on a journey through his youth, you are able to experience firsthand, what it must've been like to be a 15 year old kid living a rock and roll fantasy. To tell this story, Crowe has assembled some fine actors. The always wonderful Frances McDormand plays his on screen alter ego's mother. She hits all the right notes on being a single mother and seeing rock and roll as a very evil influence. Patrick Fugit is William Miller, the lucky kid who manages to land a writing gig with Rolling Stone. You can see the joy, frustration, and wonderment in his eyes as he travels from city to city with Stillwater. Stillwater's two creative forces are played by Jason Lee and Billy Crudup and both exude charisma, charm, and when needed, they can become people that you don't want to be around. Kate Hudson is Penny Lane, the free spirited band-aid that brings William deeper into the secret world of music worshiping. Through her, William and Russel form a weird triangle that becomes the main dramatic crux of the story. Philip Seymour Hoffman rounds out the cast as Lester Bangs, the influential rock critic from Creem magazine. Bangs instructs young William about the dos and don'ts of being a rock journalist. He explains that being cool will always be a problem for everyone except the good looking, and for many devotees of rock and roll, that problem will never go away.
Crowe's film is much more than a simple retelling of his life and times on the road with bands like Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, or any of the other bands that he may have toured with. It's a love letter to an era in music that for most, can now only be recaptured on classic rock stations and tours from the likes of The Who, Page & Plant and Elton John. Music brings its listeners closer together, and for a brief period of time, everything seems to be in harmony. With all of the prefabricated bands and music rolling off the shelves, it's refreshing to see a film that truly loves its subject matter, and revels in it. Definitely a film not
Coyote Ugly (2000)
It's Flashdance meets Cocktail
Seems Jerry Bruckheimer is running out of ideas these days. He's now recycling material from nearly twenty years ago. With Coyote Ugly, we have the story of a young New Jersey girl moving from NJ to the big bad city of Manhattan. There, she learns that life in the city is tough and the only way to write music is up on the top of your roof. Violet, played by Piper Perabo, does have some moments where she has some true defining moments as a character, but those are few and far between. She finds the titular bar and promptly begins work there with the other barmaids. They jump, they dance, the light the place on fire all to the tune of heavy pounding rock music. The one bright spot about this movie is John Goodman. As Violet's father, he brings some humor and life into an otherwise dull story that has all the plot twists of an unwound pretzel. And as for Tyra Banks, I don't know why she was cast. Her character vanishes before the first act is even over. Lets just hope Bruckheimer doesn't mix any other films together.
Space Cowboys (2000)
Rock solid entertainment!
Clint Eastwood is back in form as actor and director, and he's brought some friends with him. In Space Cowboys, Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner are aging astronauts who have the chance to fulfill their dreams. Their mission: fly into space and fix an aging Russian satellite that somehow has a guidance system that Eastwood's character designed, and that's all I will say about the plot. Half the fun of the movie is watching the story unfold and seeing these guys in action. Eastwood, Jones, Sutherland and Garner mesh well together and the real fun is in the training sequences. We see them put through the rigors of astronaut training, we see them put up with barbs from the younger astronauts and we see them come through with flying colors. What I really enjoyed about Space Cowboys, is the notion of team work. Eastwood won't go into space without his crew, and once these guys get into space, the fun really begins.
Utterly bizarre and empty.
David Cronenberg likes to push the envelope in film. With Scanners, he ushered in a new wave of horror. With The Dead Zone, he gave us horror of a more subdued kind. With The Fly, he remade a sci-fi classic and gave it a new spin. And with Dead Ringers, he explored the strange dual life of twins. With Crash, Cronenberg pushes us, but I don't know what kind of repsonse he was going for. The story concerns James Ballard and a group of crash enthusiasts. After his initial crash, Ballard meets up with Helen Remington and a mysterious man named Vaughn. Ballard is soon introduced to the strange world of car crashes, and the rush of sexual tension. Now I can see where there is a thin line that separates these two acts. Both bring out a strong physical and emotional reaction, but the characters in the film are too detached from life. There is sex without pleasure, and the only way these people can experience pleasure, is through the trauma of an automobile accident. The film moves along at a leisurely pace and nothing ever really happens. There is no dramatic need that these characters have to fill. There is no urgency in their actions and their motivations are clouded, by what I interpret as boredom. Cronenberg has done some fine work in the past, and I think he'll come along and shock us with a truly original film. Until then, stick with the four I mentioned at the top.
Catalina Caper (1967)
Everyone in the movie deserves a slap in the face!
You'd have to be out of your mind or detached from all common sense to find some redeeming value in this clunker. The plot seems to concern guys, girls, sand, a scroll and Mork & Mindy's Exidor doing pratfalls. Oh, and there are musical numbers, many musical numbers. These elements are strung together very loosely to form some sort of plot, but what's there on screen will make you scratch your head. Little Richard pops up and sings a catchy little dittie and shows everyone else involved what talent is. Best part of the film is when all the girls slap all of the guys and storm off. The next scene is a musical number and then everything is forgotten! Oh to be young and foolish and working on a beach picture. Mary Wells sings the title song "Never Steal Anything Wet."
The Skydivers (1963)
Coleman Francis, a director for all time.
When you learn about film, we always get the usual suspects: Scorsese, Spielberg, Hitchcock, Coppola to name a few. Why is it that we never hear about Coleman Francis? Coleman Francis, a big beefy guy, makes films that have themes hidden within them much like his illustrious counterparts here. Instead of the usual Catholic guilt, fear of authority, absent father figures, we get light planes, pain, suffering, general misery. In this lovely outing, Coleman treats us with the story of Harry and Beth. A married couple who run an airfield that drops a bunch of lunkheads out of planes. Anyway, they're having marriage problems. Harry is cheating on Beth with Suzy, who has a thing for Frankie, Harry's former mechanic. Joe, an old army buddy of Harry's comes to work for Harry and falls for Beth. Meanwhile, Suzy and Frankie devise a way to knock off Harry, since their white hot rage burns so brightly. Then there are scenes of lunkheads falling through space with their cheeks flapping and a big dance scene that features a very manly woman tossing around a very skinny guy. Well, after scenes that abruptly end and bad cuts here and there and Tony Cardoza acting in only one tone of voice, you feel as if the life has been sucked out of you. At the end, Suzy and Frankie are gunned down by the director himself and the movie thankfully ends. Watching this as a double feature with Red Zone Cuba, you might slip into a coma from which you might never awake.