Archive for September 7, 2011

Wild Orchid

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Emily Reed (Otis), a young woman, travels to New York City for an interview with an international law firm. The firm is impressed with her credentials and immediately offers her a job, on the condition that she be ready to fly to Rio de Janeiro the following morning. Emily readily agrees and is introduced to Claudia Dennis (Bisset), one of the firm’s top executives, who is overseeing the purchase and renovation of dilapidated beach hotel in Rio.

Emily and Claudia arrive in Rio to put the finishing touches on the deal, but an angry Claudia is forced to fly to Argentina when she discovers that the man they are buying the hotel from has flown to Buenos Aires, ostensibly to attend a niece’s wedding, although she believes he is secretly trying to make a deal with the Argentinians for the property. Claudia instructs Emily to take her date for the night, advising her that she will leave her one of her own dresses. While looking over the hotel by herself Emily sees two locals having animalistic sex, which unnerves her and she returns to her own hotel. She finds the dress that Claudia left for her, and upon going back downstairs is introduced to Claudia’s friend and business associate, a wealthy man named James Wheeler (Rourke). The two, accompanied by his bodyguards, go to dinner, and it is revealed that Wheeler actually bought the dress for Claudia some time ago. She also discovers that Wheeler has taken the time to find out information about her by calling her mother, and as such discovered that she has always wanted children and likes roast beef, mashed potatoes, and creamed carrots. Emily finds herself intrigued by him, as he is quiet and asks seemingly personal questions without being pushy or rude. Following dinner they attend a street carnival, but Emily leaves after a masked man who looks like Wheeler tries to seduce her.

The next morning Emily awakens in her room to find Wheeler silently watching her, and has brought of bouquet of orchids to her. Wheeler tells her that he is not the man who made advances to her, and as a way of apologizing for any offense he might have caused he asks her to allow him to show her the city’s sights. She is initially reluctant but ultimately consents, and that afternoon they attend a beach club with a married couple that they noticed in the restaurant the night before. Some military personnel at the party try to made advances on the wife; Wheeler fights them off and he, Emily, and the couple are all forced to flee in his limousine. It is revealed that the couple are having marital problems brought about by the wife’s infidelity. She obviously wants to patch things up with her recalcitrant husband, and Wheeler encourages the two to make love, which they ultimately do. Emily is disturbed by their actions, and Wheeler asks her if she has never felt as carnal as the couple, to which she doesn’t respond. Emily and Wheeler then visit the hotel that her firm wants to buy, and while there Emily tells Wheeler that she fears he would disappear if she touched him. He tells her to try it and see what happens, but when Emily hugs him he gently pulls away from her, telling her that he doesn’t like to be touched. The married couple gave Wheeler a necklace as a token of gratitude for bringing them back together; he gives it to Emily as a gift, possibly because he knows that he hurt her feelings by pulling away from her.

That night Emily dresses up for the Carnival festivities and is propositioned by a man in a mask, who offers her the key to his room. She initially refuses the offer but is encouraged by Wheeler to accept. It is then that she realizes Wheeler is incapable of acting upon his own emotions, and because of this he tries to experience passion through other people. Emily ultimately agrees to the stranger’s proposal and sleeps with him, but both she and Wheeler seem saddened by the act.

The next day Claudia arrives back in Rio with the hotel owner (whose niece really did get married) and a meeting is set up at the airport. Emily is humiliated to discover that the man’s attorney, named Jerome, is none other than the stranger she slept with the night before; he uses this to intimidate Emily to get a better deal for his client. Emily pulls Claudia aside, but her boss is thrilled when she discovers the truth, as she uses the information to drop thinly veiled threats to Jerome that if he doesn’t stop playing hardball she will tell his wife about the affair. As such Claudia and Emily get a very good deal. The meeting over, Claudia goes to a costume shop to get ready for the celebration that will mark the sale of the hotel to a group of Chinese investors. Claudia begins to question Emily regarding her impressions of Wheeler. She tells Emily that Wheeler was an only child born in Philadelphia, stuttered as a child, and was a completely self-made man. She confesses that she became obsessed with him, but that Wheeler would never touch her. She asks Emily if anything happened between her and Wheeler, but Emily says no. Just as they are leaving the store Claudia’s assistants reveal that a man bought the deed to the old hotel prior to the finalization of the deal, and both women know who it was. When they confront Wheeler he admits that he was the one who purchased, infuriating Claudia. Claudia decides to go ahead with the sale even though she doesn’t own the hotel, hoping that she will be able to circumvent what Wheeler has done. Emily strongly advises her against this course of action, but Claudia will not be deterred. After the paperwork has been signed Claudia arranges a huge party to commemorate the event. Emily spots Wheeler in the crowd and asks him why he bought the hotel, but before he can answer she is swept away in the crowd.

The next morning Claudia invites a young surfer up to her room, but asks Emily to stay since she is able to speak Portuguese and wants her to help translate what the surfer says. Emily is clearly uncomfortable with the idea but agrees. Things get very heated and the three nearly end up sleeping together, but the moment is broken by an angry Wheeler, who interrupts the proceedings. Emily, at an emotional breaking point because of his actions, accuses Wheeler of intentionally setting people up to disappoint him and then throwing them aside when they do. He responds that he never sets anybody up, that they disappoint him of their own accord. As he walks away from her she screams at him that he will always be alone. Later on that day a package is delivered to Emily’s room, and upon opening it she discovers that Wheeler has signed over the old hotel’s deed to her, meaning that the deal with the Chinese can be salvaged. Emily goes to the hotel and finds Wheeler looking out at the ocean. She confesses to him that she loves him, but leaves when he doesn’t respond.

Later that night Emily returns to her room to find Wheeler waiting for her. He reveals that as a child he hardly spoke for years after his father abandoned him, and that his teachers thought he was retarded because he never said anything in class. He tells her that he dropped out of school at a young age and worked himself to the bone, and while still a teenager entered the real estate business by purchasing a run-down house in a terrible neighborhood and fixing it up. After he began to accumulate wealth women began to be drawn to him, and he started playing games to keep things interesting. He tells her that the games became a way of life, and he doubts he would be able to quit even if he wanted to. Emily pushes Wheeler to reach out to her, offering him her heart and body if he makes an effort to simply touch her. Though he at first resists, he reaches out and desperately holds her when he thinks she is going to walk out on him. The two embrace and passionately make love. The final scene of the film shows Wheeler and Emily driving away on his motorcycle, happy together.

REVIEW:

Well, well, well…what can I say about this film? I think the first thing to mention is how young and normal looking Mickey Rourke looks here. A far cry from what he looks like these days. More than a few females I have talked to and have seen this flick say they preferred him like this.

This is not soft core porn like some of the other films I’ve been privy to here lately, but it is quite erotic. I would say along the lines of something like Sliver, Eyes Wide Shut, or to a lesser extent, Basic Instinct. If you don’t believe me, wait until the first night in Rio and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Even though this is an erotic film, it doesn’t go overboard with it. There is an actual story to be told here involving characters and their lives. I was actually surprised by that, to be honest, especially since the trailer I’ve seen for this have played up the sexual aspect of this flick, and then there is the whole rumor that this was almost rated X (in the days before NC-17 existed).

Now, it could be that my ears are going bad or the volume between Netflix and my TV was having issues, but it seemed as if everytime Rourke would talk he bordering between mumbling and whispering, which made it very hard to understand him, yet I had no issue with anyone else’s lines, which was odd.

Set during Carnival and in Rio de Janeiro, one would think we’d have gotten a chance to enjoy the scenery a bit more, but instead they seemed to have been stuck in these hotels and such without so much as a glimpse f the beauty the country has to offer.

My final verdict on Wild Orchid is that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure, but for those that ar into this type of erotic drama, they will enjoy it, especially the last bedroom scene. I can’t recommend this to everyone, as this was made for a specific type of viewer, but if you want to take the chance and watch it, go ahead. It won’t hurt.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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The Inspector General

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Georgi (Danny Kaye), an illiterate member of a wandering band of Gypsies led by Yakov (Walter Slezak) escapes from a travelling medicine show after he innocently lets slip that the elixir they’re selling is a fraud. Tired and hungry, he wanders into the small town of Brodny and whilst trying to sample the contents of a horse’s feed bag, he’s arrested as a vagrant and sentenced to hang the next day by a corrupt police chief (Alan Hale Sr.), desperate to prove his efficiency.

The town is run by a corrupt Mayor (Gene Lockhart), whose employees and councillors are all his cousins and equally corrupt and incompetent, but they are frightened when they learn that the Inspector General is in their neighborhood, and probably in disguise. They mistake Georgi for the Inspector and ply him with food and drink whilst plotting to have him killed.

Naturally, their plans go awry and Georgi, despite his innocence, discovers how corrupt they really are. And when the real Inspector arrives suddenly, he also realizes that Georgi is the most honest fellow he’s met since leaving Budapest. The Inspector General names Georgi the new Mayor of Brodny and presents him the mayoral gold chain, having taken it from the old mayor saying, “We’ll put something else around your neck instead.” Yakov, who’s also wandered into the town and played an important role in Georgi’s survival, becomes the new chief of police.

REVIEW:

Widely regarded as Danny Kaye’s best film, The Inspector General is more that worthy of that moniker.

Now, this is labeled as a musical, but the truth is that the songs here are few and far between. On top of that, they aren’t that great, so it is best to not even think about them, trust me.

The plot is actually interesting, but we’ve all seen these films where some random guy is mistaken for someone of a higher station, endears himself to everyone, and then just as something really good is a bout to happen, the person who they have been mistaken for shows up.

As simple as it sounds, the plot is best receive through the performance of Danny Kaye. His comedic talents really drive this film forward. I don’t think I need to tell you how this film all but stalls without him.

That is not to say that the rest of the cast isn’t capable, but rather that Kaye is the true star here.

Sorry for the abbreviated review, but I’m in a bit of a rush today. The Inspector General is a high recommendation from me, but it isn’t without it’s set of issues. One of the most glaring was the washed out quality of the picture. I’m not sure if the DVD is like that, since I watched it instantly on Netflix, but I was expecting vibrant colors, and didn’t get them, which was really distracting. Still, I enjoyed this film thoroughly and hope that you will, as well.

4 out of 5 stars

Samurai Princess

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , on September 7, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Samurai Princess takes place sometime, somewhere in an alternate universe version of feudal Japan, where people live together with highly developed mechanical dolls called “Mechas”. However, excessively developed mechanical dolls start causing harm to human society, leading to ghastly bloodshed happening all over the place. Under the circumstances, Kyoraku, a mad scientist, creates a female ninja mechanical doll. Equipped with eleven types of built-in weapons, the ninja doll is also infused with the souls of eleven of her fallen sisters. She uses their combined power to take down anyone who stands in her way. Virtually indestructible, the ninja is on a quest to save humanity.

REVIEW:

This is another one of these films that Netflix recommended, even if it was totally horrible.

Now, when I say horrible, I mean that it is one of those incoherent pieces of crap that was probably some 12 yr old boy’s fantasy after sneaking to watch some Asian porn. The result…is this.

To top that off, it is called Samurai Princess, yet there is not a samurai in sight. These girls are ninja. Of course, this could be some kind of mistranslation, so I’m tempted to let that slide.

There really isn’t any gore here, if that’s what you’re looking for, but rather just some random bloody parts strewn about.

I really don’t have much to say about this film….if you can call it that. Maybe it worked better in its native Japan, but I just didn’t get it. In an early scene, one of the girls takes her breasts off, puts them together and hurls them at some guy who then explodes. WTF?!? If that wasn’t a red flag for the rest of the film, then I don’t know what was, yet I sat here and tortured myself for the entire 83 minutes. I highly recommend that you don’t do the same. The title may be appealing, but that’s about it.

1 out of 5 stars