Archive for April, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie begins with Ann-Margret singing the title song written especially for the movie, “Bye Bye Birdie”. Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson), a popular rock & roll star (similar to Elvis Presley), receives an Army draft notice, devastating his teenage fans across the nation. Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke), a friend of Birdie’s who is studying to be a chemist, is struggling as a songwriter to please his overbearing mother (Maureen Stapleton). He schemes with his secretary and long-suffering girlfriend Rosie (Janet Leigh) to have Birdie sing a song Albert will write called “One Last Kiss” on The Ed Sullivan Show, and then kiss a randomly-chosen high school girl goodbye before going off to the Army. This will make big money for Albert, who can marry his secretary/girlfriend Rosie. Albert’s meddlesome mother will do anything to separate her son from Rosie. Sweet Apple, Ohio, is chosen as the location for Birdie’s farewell performance because the Russian Ballet, which is scheduled to be the other guest on Sullivan’s show, happens to be in town on its goodwill tour of America.

The random local girl chosen is Kim MacAfee (Ann-Margret), but Kim already has a high school sweetheart, Hugo Peabody (Bobby Rydell). The teenagers of Sweet Apple, blissfully unaware of their town’s impending fame, are spending the “Telephone Hour” catching up on the latest gossip: Kim and Hugo have just gotten pinned (popular USA slang of the era for “going steady”). Kim feels grown up, and declares “How Lovely to be a Woman”. When Birdie arrives, the teenage girls tell him, “We Love You Conrad”, but the boys despise him (“We Hate You Conrad!”). Sweet Apple becomes a very popular small town, and some of the locals are unhappy with the sudden celebrity, especially after Conrad shows off his hip-thrusting dancing as he performs “Honestly Sincere”. Albert is able to calm the town down. He befriends Mr. McAfee (Paul Lynde), who owns a fertilizer business, showing him one of his chemical inventions: a speed pill. Albert demonstrates the pill’s effect by giving one to Randolph McAfee’s (Bryan Russell) turtle.

Though Mr. McAfee is hesitant to allow his daughter to kiss Conrad on television, Albert placates him by telling him that their whole family will be on The Ed Sullivan Show. The MacAfees join in singing “Hymn for a Sunday Evening”, chorusing the praises of their favorite host. Rosie feels like Albert doesn’t appreciate her, so Albert persuades her to “Put on a Happy Face”. Hugo feels threatened by Conrad; after all, Conrad’s going to kiss his girl! Kim assures Hugo he’s the “One Boy” for her. Albert’s mother shows up, distressed to find Albert and Rosie together, and Mr. MacAfee doesn’t like the way Conrad is taking over his house; they lament how “Kids” just aren’t like they were. During rehearsal for the broadcast, Conrad kisses Kim, and she faints. Hugo is wounded, and he and Kim break up.

That night, Conrad and the teenagers have a “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” as they party, and Kim and Hugo flirt with everyone else, trying to make each other jealous. Rosie, fed up with Albert and his mother, dances and flirts with a room full of men at a Shriners convention in “Sultans’ Ballet”. Albert rescues her from the crazed Shriners.

The day before the broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, Albert and Rose are distressed because they have been told that the Russian ballet has switched to a difference dance and needs extra time, therefore Conrad Birdie will only get to take a quick bow, not sing the song or give Kim the farewell kiss. Rose slips a speed pill in the drink of the orchestra conductor (Gregory Morton) to speed up the ballet. There is a last minute shuffle of the show’s lineup to fill air time, and Conrad Birdie gets to appear on the show and sing “One Last Kiss”. Hugo interrupts the planned kiss by running onstage and knocking out Birdie on live TV. This impresses Kim, and all the couples (Kim and Hugo, Rosie and Albert, and Mama Mae and her new husband) find happiness (“Rosie”). Kim, now wiser, bids Birdie goodbye in “Bye Bye Birdie” (reprise).

REVIEW:

I remember watching the made-for-TV version of this while in high school and loving it, so I decided to give the original a shot. Lo and behold I believe that I like it better. I need to see the other version again to be fair, though.

The main drawing point of musicals is the music. The better the music then chances are the better the musical will be. Unfortunately, with a couple of exception, the songs in this film aren’t memorable. That’s not to say they aren’t good, but rather you won’t be singing/humming/whistling them for days after watching this.

Dick Van Dyke  is in his element here. He uses his natural acting and comedic skills as well as a bit of his dancing skills. I even noticed a move he used in Mary Poppins.

Janet Leigh does a pretty good job here, although her character is supposed to have been a woman of Latina decent in the original Broadway production. She had that working against her, so a spectacular performance on screen was required and she delivered.

Paul Lynde is bet known to me as the eccentric uncle on Bewitched. I swear that he almost makes me believe he’s straight in this role. Definitely one of his best screen gems.

This is not topping my list of musicals, but I do have it pretty highly ranked. It is a mixture of fun, controversial topics of the era it is portraying, and good music that all can enjoy. The cast is spectacular and there is plenty of 60s camp to go around. Sit back, watch, and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

Pinocchio

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film starts with Jiminy Cricket singing the hit Disney song “When You Wish upon a Star”. Jiminy then talks to the audience for those who may not believe in the song’s optimistic words and recounts his experience of being one of those non-believers until he met Pinocchio. Through a storybook entitled Pinocchio(which acts as a window to Jiminy’s aformentioned adventure), we see an unnamed town in the night and the workshop of the woodworker Geppetto. Jiminy walks into the workshop to warm himself from the cold. He notices a puppet Geppetto is working on. Geppetto names the puppet Pinocchio and after making his marionette dance around for the amused and bewildered eyes of Figaro, his kitten, and Cleo, his goldfish, he decides to go to bed. He notices a falling star in the sky and wishes that Pinocchio could be a real boy. While everybody is sleeping Jiminy wakes up and notices a Blue Fairy entering the room. She makes Pinocchio come alive since Geppetto has always been a good man and deserves his wish to come true. Pinocchio is alive, but still nothing more than a puppet. If he wants to become a real boy of flesh and blood he must prove himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience. Pinocchio doesn’t understand what a conscience is and Jiminy appears to explain it to him. The Blue Fairy then assigns Jiminy with the official title of acting as Pinocchio’s conscience, changes him into better clothes, and disappears again.

Jiminy teaches Pinocchio that whenever he needs guidance he should whistle, as exemplified in the song “Give a Little Whistle”. Pinocchio tumbles over some furniture during the song and wakes up Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo who were asleep during the song. When Geppetto discovers his wish has become true, he is filled with joy and starts to celebrate by turning on all his clocks and music boxes. The next day Pinocchio goes off for his first day of school. Despite warning Pinocchio not to walk with strangers, the cricket is quickly ignored. Pinocchio never arrives at his destination since two crooks, the fox, Honest John, and the mute cat, Gideon, convince him to become an actor in the puppet show of Stromboli while singing the song “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee”. Pinocchio immediately becomes a sensation singing “I’ve Got No Strings” at the theater and makes a lot of money for Stromboli. Stromboli however refuses to permit Pinocchio to return home and locks him up in a bird cage. During his captivity Jiminy reappears. He tries to open the lock on the birdcage, but the lock is too old and rusty, and he admits that only a miracle would help them get out of that mess. Suddenly, the Blue Fairy appears and asks Pinocchio to explain what happened. Pinocchio lies and to his surprise his nose starts to grow longer. The Blue Fairy explains to him that his nose grew because he lied. When Pinocchio admits he lied, and Jiminy pleads to the Blue Fairy to give Pinocchio one more chance, she forgives him and helps them escape, by unlocking the birdcage: disappearing right after. Pinocchio and Jiminy get out of Stromboli’s coach, and go back towards home.

Meanwhile, Honest John and Gideon have met The Coachman in a tavern. The Coachman promises them a large sum of money if they can bring him little boys whom he can lead to Pleasure Island. The mentioning of the island and the Coachman’s evil grin scare Honest John and Gideon, but they nonetheless lure Pinocchio away and deliver him to the Coachman. Jiminy Cricket, again unable to warn Pinocchio of the danger, travels with him incognito. During the travel to Pleasure Island Pinocchio befriends Lampwick, a misbehaving and destructive boy who is older than he. On the island boys are able to have fun and do all the things their parents and other adults usually tell them not to do, such as: gambling, drinking, brawling, smoking and vandalism. Pinocchio imitates Lampwick and has fun doing all these mischievous things. A furious Jiminy Cricket tries to make Pinocchio leave the location, but he is only ridiculed by Lampwick. Filled with anger and humiliation, Jiminy leaves them alone, but while trying to discover a way to leave the island, he makes a horrible discovery. The Coachman orders hooded goons to close the gates preventing any escape from the island. Jiminy sneaks under the locked gate to find a now-deserted Pleasure Island in ruins and littered with debris, which Jiminy comments looks like a graveyard. Jiminy then proceeds to where he hears voices and crying: a terrible curse on the island has transformed all the misbehaving boys into donkeys for literally “behaving like jackasses” (the curse) and are then sold by the Coachman as work forces in salt mines and circuses. Jiminy rushes back to warn Pinocchio, but it’s already too late. At a pool hall, Lampwick gradually transforms into a real braying donkey and Pinocchio has already developed donkey ears and a donkey tail from tobacco and beer. Pinocchio stops drinking and smoking once he realizes what they are doing to Lampwick, thereby preventing any further transformation into a donkey, although it is too late for Lampwick, as he screams for help, only to lose his senses by braying and smashing a mirror with his new hooves. Pinocchio still has donkey ears and a tail, but keeps his mind and body, although at a later point when Pinocchio jokes about his donkey tail he starts braying like Lampwick, only to regain his voice when he realizes donkey ears are a mark of shame, not humor. Jiminy and Pinocchio quickly escape and swim back to their hometown.

Back home, they find Geppetto is not home, and neither are Figaro or Cleo. There are cobwebs in here. Pinocchio and Jiminy are informed by the Blue Fairy that Geppetto ventured out to sea to rescue Pinocchio from Pleasure Island, but was swallowed by a whale named Monstro. Pinocchio, wracked with guilt, decides to travel underwater at the bottom of the ocean with Jiminy to find him. Pinocchio and Jiminy are swallowed by Monstro and discover his father, Cleo, and Figaro on a ruined boat inside the whale’s stomach. After a happy reunion Pinocchio comes up with an escape plan by burning wood on the boat to create smoke to make Monstro sneeze. The plan works, but the enraged sea mammal chases them. He destroys their raft and Geppetto almost drowns, only to be saved by Pinocchio who tries to swim him to the shore. Monstro swims after them, but crashes into a cliff on the rocky coastline, knocking him out and causing a tidal wave. Everyone washes onto shore and survives, except Pinocchio who was drowned by the enormous wave.

In Geppetto’s home everybody mourns over Pinocchio’s death. But the Blue Fairy decides that Pinocchio has proven his his worth in being a brave, good boy and brings him back to life as a real boy. Everyone celebrates Pinocchio’s revival and Jiminy is awarded an 18 karat gold medal by the Fairy for acting well as Pinocchio’s conscience. The film ends with Jiminy once again singing “When You Wish upon a Star”.

REVIEW:

Pinnochio has long been one of those Disney films that I believe to be among the best animated and contains one of the best stories. The little wooden boy has endeared himself to billions of fans over the years and this film still stands the test of time.

As the film progresses, there are a few catchy songs, and it seems as if this was going to to the way of a musical, but about halfway through, the music stops. nothing wrong with that, but I believe it would have been better with a couple of other songs. Apparently, there were songs that got cut, so it is quite possible that this was meant to have been a musical film. Having said that, it contains one of the most beautiful of all Disney songs, the hauntingly beautiful “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Pinnochio is a reluctant hero. After the Blue Fairy brings him to life, he  goes through the usual naivety, but after he returns from Pleasure Island, he seems to have gained a new found confidence and wisdom. Maybe it was something in the ears and tail, but it just seemed a bit sudden. My guess is that the part of the character development that dealt with this change ended up on the cutting room floor.

Jiminy Cricket is one of the most beloved characters in the Disney universe, and this is the film that introduced him to us.

Geppetto seems to be a distant relative of the absent minded professor. One thing that has always caused me to question this film, si what he was doing out on the middle of the ocean looking for Pinocchio. It may have been covered in the book, but not in the film, as far as I saw. On top of this, why did he take Cleo and Figaro with him. Speaking of Cleo. After they all wash up on shiore after being tossed around by Monstro, she is still in her bowl. Cartoon logic…gotta love it!

The villains in this film, Honest John and Gideon, Stromboli, The Coachman, and Monstro, are all unique in their own way, but only Monstro poses any real threat. Stromboli and The Coachman just provide tough situations.

Pleasure Island is an interesting concept…and way for the characters to say jackass in 1940…lol I would have liked to have gotten some kind of explanation as to what kind of magic is behind the whole boys turning into donkeys thing.

There are some holes in the plot, but most of those seem to be pieces that were cut out for time purposes and don’t really hurt anything unless you’re trying to over think this nice family film. I have issues with those that go that far into trying to decipher films. Movies are meant to be enjoyed. Yes, we can want a bit more information here and there, but not to the extent of knowing every detail about every character. Pinnochio is one of those films that people have enjoyed time and time again. Why not join the masses?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Foxy Brown

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on April 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Foxy Brown, a sexy black woman, seeks revenge when her government-agent boyfriend is shot down by The Man. She links her boyfriend’s murderers to a “modeling agency” run by the campy villains of Steve Elias (Peter Brown) and Miss Katherine (Kathryn Loder). Foxy decides to pose as a prostitute to infiltrate the company, and helps save a fellow black woman from a life of drugs and sexual internment. This leads Foxy to a variety of revenge-themed setpieces -often violent and sexual- that range from the cremation of sexual-slavemasters to the castration and presentation of a foe’s genitals.

REVIEW:

Blaxploitation films were all the rage in the 70s. When you think of some of the greatest films of that genre Foxy Brown has to be at or near the top of that list.

While Coffy introduced the world to Pam Grier, this film is the one that really made her a star. There are a lot of simlarites between the two characters and, as a matter of fact, this was meant to be a sequel. She exudes and embodies toughness and sexiness at the same time, all while keeping her cool.

This film is more entertaining than Coffy. The plot moves along smoother and the characters are more relatable. It should be noted that Quentin Tarantino’s film, Jackie Brown, was influenced by this picture. They even both star the luscious Pam Grier.

As a fan of Pam, of course I’m going to love this film, but for those of you out there that aren’t familiar with her work, you will be entertained by this film as well. It has murder, conspiracy, action, and a funky 70s soundtrack. Why wouldn’t you want to check it out?

4 out of 5 stars

National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Dorm Dazeunfolds during a crazy afternoon at a university co-ed dormitory in the days before Christmas break when one of the students, Styles McFee (Patrick Renna), hires a prostitute named Dominique (Boti Bliss) for his unwitting brother, Booker (Chris Owen), to lose his virginity. Booker prefers to lose his virginity to his long-term sweetheart Rachel (Gable Carr) who lives down the hall. Meanwhile, another student Wang (Paul H. Kim), awaits the arrival of a French foreig exchange student, also named Dominique, (Marie-Noelle Marquis) who speaks little English. As a series of mistaken identities and mishaps escalate into monumental proportions starting when Wang leaves for work, Dominique the Student arrives and is mistaken for the prostitute by Styles, while Dominique the Hooker is mistaken for the student by others including the two dorm gossip queens Lynne (Jennifer Lyons) and Marla (Danielle Fishel).

Other plotlines involve Adrienne (Cameron Richardson), who is targeted by the dorm geek Newmar (Tony Denman), with whom they had a drunken fling the night before. Adrienne tries to find a missing handbag belonging to her friend, Claire (Tatyana Ali), who is having boyfriend troubles with Tony (Edwin Hodge). Adrienne’s roommate, Gerri (Marieh Delfino), inadvertently gets her hands on another handbag similar looking to Claire’s which is filled with $30,000 in cash. Gerri is soon mistaken for a shadowy hitwoman, named Brittany the Snake, by a local gangster named Lorenzo the Black Hand (Courtney Gains). Elsewhere, Pete’s (Patrick Cavanaugh) punk friend Cliff (James DeBello) enters the dorm when Pete has to go to work. Cliff soon teams up with Dominique the Hooker to find the missing handbag with the cash while the token gay student Foosball (Randy Spelling) works his way through all the plots of this collegiate comedy.

REVIEW:

I typically go for films that are of the screwball variety, but this one just didn’t entertain me. With the name National Lampoon in the title, you would expect this to be hilarious, but instead it was a bad picture.

There are a few good things going for this film. Plenty of good looking women keep the make audience glued to the screen, including child stars Danielle Fishel and Tatyana Ali. The character Foosball is the most interesting in the entire cast. This film isn’t too long, so the pain is short.

The plot makes no sense. The rapid screwballness just doesn’t work.

I’ve never seen a dorm that looks like this. I know mine didn’t.

*SIGH* With all the faults this has, I think a second viewing may change my mind about it, but not likely. I have to warn you to stay away from this film if at all possible. If you must watch it, then wait for it to appear on Comedy Central or something, otherwise find something more worth the hour and half.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Last Action Hero

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien), is a boy whose love of action movies (especially those of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is played by himself) keeps him out of school and in trouble. His favorite movie franchise is the fictional Jack Slater series, which is preparing for the release of its fourth installment.

On the day before the premier of Jack Slater IV, Danny visits his friend Nick, an old man who runs a run-down movie theater in downtown New York City. He offers Danny a private screening of the film, an offer which Danny is quick to accept, especially when Nick offers him a gold-plated ticket which he claims was given to him by Harry Houdini.

Several minutes into the movie, the stub of the ticket begins to glow blue, and suddenly some dynamite thrown from within the movie lands in the theater, putting Danny into shock. Before he can escape, the dynamite explodes, and Danny vanishes.

Confused, Danny awakens in a moving vehicle, which he quickly discovers is driven by his “action hero”, Jack Slater. He soon realizes that he was somehow transported into the film, and begs Slater to help him find his way back to the real world. Slater, however, refuses to help, not believing that HIS world is just a movie.

After Danny’s attempts to convince Slater of his true nature (including pointing out that Slater is unable to swear even when trying to) repeatedly become unsuccessful, he suddenly recognizes a mansion from the film’s introduction, and, knowing that it is where the “bad guys” are, convinces Slater to check it out. The two find Tony Vivaldi, the crime boss advertised as the villain for Jack Slater IV, and his English henchman Mr. Benedict (Charles Dance). Benedict overhears Danny discussing his knowledge of Benedict’s role in the movie, and — like Slater, not understanding he himself is in a movie — is intrigued to find out how Danny could come about such information.

Benedict double-crosses Vivaldi, killing him, and awaits Slater’s arrival at the mansion. When Slater arrives with Danny, Benedict manages to obtain the ticket stub which Danny still has, and vanishes into the real world before Slater’s eyes. Puzzled, Slater follows Danny back through the portal into the real world, where the battle continues.

Both Slater and Benedict become acquainted with the nature of the real world; Slater, with the help of Danny’s mother, realizes that there are more important things in the world than action, and decides that he would not return to the world that he considers a lie. Meanwhile, Benedict continues with his evil ways, especially when realizing that in the real world it is possible for the “bad guys” to win, and hatches a plan to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger at the premier of Jack Slater IV, thereby causing Jack Slater to cease to exist. Discovering this plan, Danny convinces Slater to go with him to the premier. There, Slater encounters “The Ripper”, the villain from Jack Slater III. Slater kills the Ripper by electrocuting him, but is fatally shot in the chest by Benedict, a very unfamiliar concept in the film world. Benedict has now begun to plan world domination, but Slater gets Benedict’s gun, and shoots him in the eye, causing the bomb in his glass-eye to detonate, which blows up Benedict and sends the ticket off the roof. The ticket lands in front of a nearby theater, The Seventh Seal is playing and the ticket, in one last use, brings Death into reality. Heading back to the movie theater, they find The Seventh Seal’s Death, who, before returning to his movie, suggests using the other half of the ticket.

Following Death’s advice, Danny returns Slater to the movie, where his fatal injury turns out to be “just a flesh wound”. Accepting his reality for what it really is, Slater drives off into the sunlight, renouncing his old ways.

REVIEW:

When this film was released, t seemed as if Arnold was the last action hero. Well, he and Bruce Willis. Now 16 yrs later, they still may be the last action heroes because all other action movies are based on comic books. Nothing wrong with that, but they don’t make original action films anymore, and those that star in said film are the only ones that I consider action stars.

Arnold pokes a bot of fun at his self with the character, not to mention there is a scene where he gets to meet himself. Jack Slater is a true action star, but takes Danny under his wing when he suddenly appears in his car. We all know that most other action stars would have kicked him out or worse.

This film within a film is a great satire of the excess unbelievability of some action films. This is what makes the film so awesome.

THe magic ticket is a nice plot device, and of course somehow it falls in the wrong hands.

The villains are your typical action movie type that are bent on world domination, but Benedict had a little more depth tp him being a flawless marksman.

The plethora of cameos in this film seems to be never ending, including Sir Ian McKellan, Robert Patrick, Tina Turner, Sharon Stone, MC Hammer, Angie Everhart, just to name a few.

In terms of  film making, this isn’t the greatest, but it is pretty good. There is plenty of action and adrenaline to go around, and a nice ending to it all. Forget the “governator” Arnold, this is how I prefer to remember him, as a fun loving action star.

4 out of 5 stars

Evolution

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

College professor Ira Kane is invited by geology teacher/girls’ volleyball coach Harry Block to investigate a meteorite that has crash-landed from outer space into a network of underground caverns under the sleepy Arizona town of Glen Canyon. They collect a sample and find that it contains extraterrestrial single-celled nitrogen-based organisms, which evolve into multi-celled organisms by the time Ira gets Harry to his office to see the discovery they made.

Impressed, the two take the science class to survey the meteor site, where the primeval ooze from the meteor has rapidly evolved to consist of oxygen-converting fungi and alien flatworms that thrive on the converted atmosphere. However, the military, led by General Russell Woodman, whom Ira worked for five years ago before he was discharged, managed to learn of his finding via tapping his computer and attempt to control the situation, locking Ira and Harry out. When they protest, Dr. Allison Reed of the Centers for Disease Control reveals in a court settlement two weeks later that Ira oversaw a disastrous field test of a new anthrax vaccine that caused debilitating and humiliating side-effects in the test subjects – referred as the “Kane Madness.”

Meanwhile, the evolving aliens take advantage of the caverns under Glen Canyon, and begin to pop up at the surface, vainly attempting to adapt while attacking any human that crosses their path. Ira and Harry are assisted further by Wayne Grey, a young firefighter trainee who was the first to encounter the meteor the night it crashed to Earth.

At a meeting, Allison reveals that the aliens’ incredible growth rate makes them inherently uncontrollable and that they could over-populate the United States in a matter of weeks. Woodman decides that the alien threat needs to be combated with napalm. Allison quits to help Ira solve the crisis with the parcel of primordial ooze he collected, learning, after Harry accidentally throws a match into the ooze, that the aliens evolve rapidly when exposed to intense heat – which means that napalming them will only make the problem worse.

By morning, Ira determines the solution: selenium may be a poison to the nitrogen-based aliens as arsenic is to carbon-based life-forms (i.e. humans), based on their similar positions in relation to each other on the periodic table. Ira’s two most underachieving students, Deke and Danny Donald, tell the group that selenium is the active ingredient in Head & Shoulders dandruff shampoo.

The six of them round up as much Head & Shoulders as they can, load up a fire engine acquired by Wayne, and set out to kill the aliens before the military strike goes ahead. Woodman, however, begins the strike earlier than planned, forcing an evolutionary response as an alien amoebic life-form begins to metamorphose out of control, growing to gigantic proportions while it engulfs the other aliens in the process of surfacing and overwhelming the army before it begins mitosis. Fortunately, Ira and Harry manage to stop the creature with the selenium before it can asexually reproduce.

In the aftermath, Governor Lewis holds a press conference as soon as possible, congratulating each member of the heroic party personally (at the same time announcing Wayne’s sudden promotion to the fire service as reward for his part). However, Ira and Allison sneak away before he can get to them, and make love in the cabin of the fire truck.

REVIEW:

Even though this film deals with biology related material, you do not have to be well versed in science to understand it.

David Duchovny turned down a role Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, to do this film. I’m not sure that was such a good thing, but I am a Star Wars fan, so I’m a little biased. Duchovy does his best work, in my opinion, in these sci-fi films. Here he reminds me of the leading men from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Orlando Jones is at his most hilarious in this role. As Professor Block, he provides the wide eyes humor filled sidekick (for lack of a better term) to Duchovny’s Dr. Kane.

Julianna Moore is not a name you would think of when it comes to physical comedy, but she does a good turn as the klutzy Dr. Reed.

Sean William Scott rounds out the main cast as fireman in training Wayne Grey. This is the kind of role that made Scott famous (after the American Pie films). He mixes naive stupidity with cockiness and creates a great character.

The effects in this film are great, but low budget. However, as with many great sci-fi films, the effects don’t need to be the best to make the movie, rather its what they do with them.

I wonder how much Head & Shoulders sales went up after this film. Good to know tht something so simple can end up saving the world after our boneheaded, triggerhappy military dooms us all, isn’t it?

Yes, this is more of a comedy, than a true sci-fi film, but it’s still pretty cool. I’m sure there are those that scoff at this because it isn’t serious, gory, or scary enough. Fact of the matter is, not every sci-fi movie these days has to be borderline horror. Get over yourselves and have some fun. Yes, that’s right, this is a fun film. *GASP* Unheard of these days, right? Take a chance and give this film a try. You’ll be sure to enjoy it.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Pretty in Pink

Posted in Chick Flicks, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Molly Ringwald stars as Andie Walsh, a poor but fashion-conscious New Wave girl who has a crush on one of the rich boys in her school, Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy). When Andie and Blane try to get together, they encounter resistance from their respective social circles.

Andie lives on “the wrong side of the tracks” with her unemployed, sluggish father (Harry Dean Stanton). She is trying to convince him to get a job and seems to be struggling with it. Her mother left the family a few years before. To save money, Andie buys secondhand clothes and uses her sewing and fashion skills to create unique New Wave clothes. She drives an old, beat-up, dusty rose-colored lowlight Karmann Ghia. Her best friend is Duckie Dale (Jon Cryer). Duckie has intense feelings for Andie, often riding his bike around her house, but plays it off as a joke in front of her. In school, she and Duckie are harassed by friends of Blane, the so-called “richie” kids Benny (Kate Vernon) and Steff (James Spader). Unbeknown to Andie, Blane is harboring romantic feelings towards her as well.

Andie works at TRAX, a New Wave music store in Chinatown, managed by her older mentor friend Iona (Annie Potts), who dresses younger than her years and moans about her newly single life. Iona advises Andie to go to her senior prom despite not having a date. Blane and Andie talk for a brief moment as Blane buys an album. Andie then begins developing feelings for Blane. She discusses them with a few friends at the local club, CATS.

Soon, Blane makes his move via chatting in the computer lab and Andie is smitten. Blane ventures out to the area at school where the punks, metalheads, and New Wavers hang out during lunch and after classes, and asks Andie on a date. Steff begins questioning why his best friend “was conversing with a mutant”, but Blane brushes him off.

On the Friday night of the date, Andie waits for Blane at TRAX, but he is late. Duckie arrives instead, only to find Andie upset because she thinks she’s been stood up. When Blane finally arrives, Duckie and Andie argue when he sees who she is going on a date with. Duckie tries to convince her that Blane will only hurt her and that his group is all the same. Andie attempts to convince Duckie otherwise. After a few harsh words, Duckie storms out, frustrated and hurt. Andie goes on her date with Blane.

First, Blane suggests going to a party Steff is throwing. But the party isn’t exactly what Blane expected, and Andie is treated poorly by everyone, including a drunk Steff and Benny. Andie, in turn, suggests going to CATS, where they discover Iona sitting with Duckie. Duckie is immediately hostile toward Blane, and as he and Andie start walking out of the club, Duckie yells to Andie that she’s been “replaced” soon after kissing Iona. It is obvious, however, that Duckie is bluffing. Blane offers to take Andie home, but she declines. He offers to take her somewhere to eat, but again, she refuses. They briefly argue then Andie finally admits she doesn’t Blane to take her home because she doesn’t want him to see where she lives. Despite the bad date, Blane drops Andie off at her home and the two end the night with a kiss. Blane asks Andie to the prom and she excitedly accepts. The next day, Andie visits Iona in her loft in Chinatown to tell her about the previous evening and the prom date. Iona begins reminiscing about her own prom, donning her old pink prom dress and a beehive hairstyle.

At home, Andie’s father surprises her with a pink dress he bought for her at the thrift shop. Questioning how he was able to afford it, Andie discovers he has been faking going to a full-time job. The two begin to fight until her father breaks down, obviously still bitter and depressed about his wife having left him. Andie responds by comforting him and they make up but she, too, seems distressed about the breakup as she looks at a picture of her mother and cries.

Meanwhile Blane, pressured by Steff and his reputation as a “richie”, begins distancing himself from Andie. He avoids her at school and doesn’t return her calls. She finally confronts Blane, yelling at him to admit that he is embarrassed to be seen with her. He claims that he had asked someone else to go to the prom with him before he’d asked her, but had forgotten about it. Andie runs away, heartbroken. Duckie overhears Steff trashing Andie and they end up fighting in the hallway. Teachers come out of the classrooms to stop the fight, and Duckie runs down the hall and out the door, tearing down the prom night banner on his way out.

Andie seeks more advice from Iona, only to find her preparing for a date with a yuppie, dressing like her age for a change. Iona is so excited about the new man in her life that she is already thinking about marriage. At first she is too wrapped up in her new romance to notice that Andie is upset, but when she realises her friend is unhappy they talk about Andie’s problems. Iona’s new found happiness inspires Andie and she goes home with her friends old prom night dress and creates a new pink dress in which she decides to attend the prom to “show them they didn’t break [her].”

When she gets to the prom her confidence deserts her and she’s clearly having second thoughts about braving the crowd on her own. Just as it looks like she may change her mind and not go in to face her tormentors, she sees Duckie, also dressed up for the prom, looking at her from afar. Seeing her friend braving the same social situation strengthens her resolve and, having instantly made up, they walk into the ballroom hand in hand. Steff snickers and begins trashing Andie and Duckie again, only to be finally told off by the normally passive Blane. Blane says that Andie would never go for him because she sees him for who he really is; with all his money, he could never buy her. Blane walks over to the pair, shakes Duckie’s hand and tells Andie that he always believed in her, he just didn’t believe in himself. He says he’ll always love her no matter what and leaves the prom. Duckie concedes that she was right, “He’s not like the others” and advises Andie to go after him. After Andie leaves, a blonde girl (Kristy Swanson) notices Duckie and silently invites him to go over and dance with her.

Outside of the prom, Andie catches Blane in the parking lot just before he gets to his BMW and they kiss in the misty night.

REVIEW:

One of the 80s’ quintessential films, Pretty in Pink takes the audience on a roller coater ride of emotions as they follow Molly Ringwald.

Ringwald was the ‘it’ girl in the 80s, and after watching this, and this is one of the films that really made her career. Here she is a good girl daughter of a divorced father who doesn’t have much money. Her financial status causes other girls at her high school to have animosity towards her, but she ignores them for the most part. This is a the typical good girl with a bit of toughness that Ringwald typically plays, but why mess with a winning formula?

Annie Potts reminds me of Cyndi Lauper in this film. Part of that has to do with the fact that they vaguely resemble each other, and the first time we see her she looks like she just came from Cyndi concert. Lauper-ness aside, Potts plays a good boss, friend to Ringwald and really is the best friend that she’s lacking.

I only know Jon Cryer from Two and a Half Men,so seeing him here as Duckie is a bit weird for me. He is a total different character from his sitcom persona, that’s for sure, but he is no less the talented actor. Of course, every film like this has to have the friend that will do anything for the main character and that’s what Duckie is.

Andrew McCarthy comes in as the yuppie who falls in love with Ringwald. His character seems a bit vapid to me, though, especially since he nearly loses her in order to keep his douche of best friend, played by James Spader.

John Hughes has created a nice little romantic film here. The characters are deep, the soundtrack is enjoyable, and those I’m pretty sure there are those that will get a little emotional watching it. Make no mistake,  fellas, this is not a movie for us, this goes in the “chick flick” category. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good film, though.

4 out of 5 stars