Archive for Heather Graham

License to Drive

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Les (Corey Haim) is embarrassed when he fails his driving test in this routine teen comedy. His buddies are depending on him to provide the wheels for the weekend, but Les is more interested in his Saturday date with Mercedes (Heather Graham). Les secretly steals his grandfather’s immaculate 1972 Cadillac for the adventure. The dream date soon turns into a nightmare when Dean (Corey Feldman) bothers Les with camera flashes and cigar smoke, and his sloppy-drunk date dances on the hood of the car with high heels. The car is towed when he parks illegally, and later the teens are chased by revved-up motorheads who challenge him to a race. Carol Kane and Richard Masur play Les’ parents.

What people are saying:

“…more-than-passable summer entertainment, especially when it identifies with the yearnings of its young heroes to get behind the wheel.” 3 1/2 stars

“Anyone old enough to have a license is probably much too old to be amused by License to Drive.” 2 stars

“How can you go wrong with this movie? It’s 80’s and it’s the Two Coreys, enough said. It’s not amazing, especially when compared to some of the beloved teen films of the decade, but License to Drive is good fun. I’ve always been a fan of the Feldman/Haim duo, and although this doesn’t match up with The Lost Boys, it’s another great collaboration. Throw in a young Heather Graham as the love interest and you’re all set. Yeah, this movie is definitely cheesy at times and not some ground-breaking comedy, but I’ve always got a kick out of it. It’s a fun premise with some classic moments that I always love revisiting. An entertaining 80’s flick!” 3 1/2 stars

“Another classic Coreys movie, License To Drive starts out dealing with a young man waiting to get his drivers license and the freedom that comes with it. Then all sorts of hilarity and craziness ensues. This movie moves along well with the characters getting involved in some pretty strange things, like when the old man takes their car. The acting here if ok with Haim and Feldman turning in their typical performances. A gorgeous young Heather Graham was the classic hot girl that dates the “loser” guy when she’s mad at her boyfriend and then ends up liking him. Lastly, the movie ends with a great closing line, “I’ve already got a Mercedes”, and the fantastic Billy Ocean song “Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car”.” 3 1/2 stars

“Classic 80’s teenage drama. The cheese factor is dialled up too high for my tastes. The DMV scene looked as if it was out of the dystopian 1984 world and was hilarious. The juxtaposition of Corey Haim’s driving test versus his sisters was great. The ridiculous diner scene that led into a military protest and then almost arrested and then car stolen by a drunk was the worst.” 2 1/2 stars

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Horns

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Ignatius “Ig” Perrish is the prime suspect when his girlfriend Merrin is raped and murdered. Despite his declarations of innocence, he is shunned by the community, and only his childhood friend and lawyer Lee seems to believe him. He stays with his parents and brother Terry, hiding from the press. After a vigil led by Merrin’s father, who believes Ig to be guilty, Ig drinks heavily and wakes up with a pair of horns protruding from his head. While at his doctor to try and remove his horns, Ig, under anesthesia, dreams of his childhood, when he first met Merrin after the death of her mother. A young Ig and his friends play with cherry bombs near the docks; Ig risks a dangerous dare to win a cherry bomb, and nearly drowns, but is saved by Lee. He later trades the cherry bomb with Lee in exchange for fixing Merrin’s broken necklace; however, Lee loses two fingers when the cherry bomb goes off accidentally. Ig and Merrin bond over the fixed necklace and fall in love, frequenting a treehouse in the woods together.

The horns are revealed to force people around Ig to tell him their darkest secrets and desires. Ig goes to visit his parents, but under the power of the horns his mother reveals that she doesn’t want him as her son, while his father tells him that he is worthless without Merrin. Ig goes to a bar, where he goads the reporters into a brawl and attempts to find evidence that he didn’t kill Merrin. Ig gets three people to confess their darkest secrets, leading the bartender to burn down his bar. From one of his confessions he also learns that the new witness for the prosecution is from the diner where Merrin had broken up with him the night she died. Ig finds the waitress, and discovers that she has been fabricating her stories to become famous. When Ig talks to Terry, he learns that Terry had driven Merrin from the diner the night she died. Touching Terry’s skin, Ig sees what happened that night: Merrin left the car en route to her home and ran into the woods; Terry passed out in the car, and woke up the next morning with a bloody rock in his hand before finding Merrin dead under the treehouse. Afraid that he would be implicated, he threw the rock away and fled. Infuriated, Ig brutally assaults Terry until he is arrested by a police officer, another childhood friend named Eric. The next morning Ig is released from jail with Lee’s help, discovering that Lee had been wearing Merrin’s cross necklace and as a result couldn’t see Ig’s horns.

Ig realizes that snakes are following him wherever he goes, and uses them to exact vengeance against the waitress. He also forces Terry to overdose on drugs, causing Terry to be tormented with memories of Merrin’s death. Ig meets Lee by the docks and pulls off Merrin’s necklace; exposed to the horns, Lee falls under their influence, admitting he killed Merrin. In flashbacks, it is shown that Lee was also in love with Merrin and was deeply jealous of Ig throughout their childhood. Lee followed Merrin into the woods, thinking that she had broken up with Ig to be with him, and in a jealous rage he raped her, killed her with a rock—which he planted on Terry—and stole her necklace. As Ig sees all of this, Lee overpowers him and lights him on fire in his car, causing Ig to drive into the bay. To the authorities, Lee claims that Ig confessed to the crime and committed suicide. In reality, with the power of the horns, Ig survives, horrifically burned and disfigured.

Merrin’s father, who now believes Ig’s innocence, gives Ig the key to Merrin’s lock box. When Ig puts on Merrin’s cross, his body is restored and his horns disappear. In the box, he finds a note from Merrin that explains that she knew he was going to propose and wanted to accept, but she was dying from cancer and didn’t want him to suffer through what her father did, so she pushed him away under the pretense of loving someone else. Ig confronts Lee, who does not remember their earlier fight, and leads him into the woods where Merrin was killed. Meanwhile, Eric and Terry arrive, intent on arresting Lee. Lee confesses to the murder, but then gleefully kills Eric and injures Terry. Ig tears off the necklace, sprouting a pair of wings and bursting into flame, transforming into a demonic monster. Despite Lee mortally wounding him, Ig impales Lee on one of his horns and telepathically orders a snake to slide down Lee’s throat, fatally suffocating him. Stating that his vengeance was all-consuming, Ig dies from his injuries and his smoldering corpse slowly cools and turns to hardened ash, and appears to be reunited with Merrin in the afterlife.

REVIEW:

A first glimpse at Horns and one would think this is perhaps a retelling of a Shakespeare work, at least that’s what I thought until I read what it was about. Now that I’ve watched the film, I can say that my initial notion could not have been further from the truth. I’m sure there are those out there, the few that have even heard of this flick, thinking various things about it. Well, how about we find out what kind of film this really is, shall we?

What is this about?

Not only is Ig Perish accused of murdering his girlfriend, he’s sprouted a set of horns in this horror-fantasy starring Daniel Radcliffe. The affliction quickly becomes an aid when Ig realizes his budding knobs compel people to reveal their sins.

What did I like?

Potter, no more. Daniel Radcliffe has been trying to escape the stigma of being Harry Potter. I think he is now in his late 20s/early 30s and people are still calling him Potter. Every non-Potter role he has taken has been something very adult, such as his stint on Broadway in Equus, where he had to bare all. As this character, Ig, I feel he has made even further strides to distance himself from “the boy who lived”, as he gives an outstanding performance, nuanced with pain, suffering, hate, and a thirst for vengeance, as well as hurt and confusion from a town and friends that have turned on him.

Nothing to see here. As much as I hate to admit this, if I were to see someone walking around town with a full grown pair of horns, I would wonder wtf?!? Human nature is to inquire, I suppose. The filmmakers decided to go against that, though, and the horns were about as much of an issue as someone in a wheelchair and/or missing limbs. Yes, people look, but then they go about their business. The horns don’t become an issue until he begins to use their power, be it on purpose or accident, to get people to spill the beans, as it were.

Progression. This is not a slow moving film. As a matter of fact, it actually progresses at a decent pace. I was expecting some sort of slow, indie drama type of movement, but that wasn’t the case at all. I can really appreciate how this faster tempo keeps the audience interested because, let’s face it, had this been one of those indie dramas, we’d all have fallen asleep in one of those flashbacks and not awakened until the credits, or maybe that would just have been me.

What didn’t I like?

Tone. There is a question of which genre this film wants to take. Does it want to be a horror movie? Drama? Comedy? Fantasy? Some combination of genres? Once it figures out the genre, then we can talk tone, because this is a film that actually does a good job of keeping a steady tone throughout, but in places it just wanders off into light or dark territory and we just don’t know what to think. Had the filmmakers settled on which parts of the film need to be lighter and which parts need to be darker, stuck with that, and then maybe inserted a joke or two in for comic relief, we may have had a better idea of what they were going for, instead, it is all over the place.

Language. In the second half of the film, people are cursing, we see Juno Temple naked, and there is a flashback of boys looking at a Playboy. In the first half, though, I felt like I was watching a Saturday morning teen show where they want to get across the idea of cursing, but not actually do it. What is the difference between the two halves of the film? Had one been when they were kids, I would totally understand, but both instances were when they were adults! It kind of goes back to the inconsistent tone, if you think about it.

Play that thing. Ig’s brother is a musician of some sort, a trumpet player to be precise. In movies, when it comes to playing an instrument, there are those that take the time to learn the instrument, those that can at least fake it, and then there are those that just seem to hold a horn and mimic what they’ve seen in a couple of videos. That is what I feel the actor playing Ig’s brother did. As a trumpet player myself, I can pick out a faker, and this guy wasn’t even close to playing. It was like they changed his character to a musician at the last minute and told him to do what he can. WTF?!?

Final verdict on Horns? I have had this on my streaming queue for a while now and everytime I get ready to watch it, I decide to go with something else for fear this would bore me to death. I almost did the same thing tonight, but gave it a chance. I am not sorry I took that chance. This is a film that is not what it seems. Apparently, it is based on a book. I need to track that down and read it. I’m curious as to what differences there are. Do I recommend this? Yes, while it my not be everyone’s cup of tea, this is an enjoyable film that not many people know about. Check it out sometime.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Flowers in the Attic

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 18, 2014 by Mystery Man

Flowers in the Attic

PLOT:

Based on V.C. Andrews’ controversial, cult classic book, Flowers in the Attic tells the story of the Dollanganger kids who, after the unexpected death of their father, are convinced to stay hidden in the attic of their ruthless Grandmother.

REVIEW:

The Lifetime channel has long been associated with programming geared towards women, a distinction they wear as a badge of honor. It was announced that they were remaking Flowers in the Attic without much excitement, save for the fans of the book. Unlike the horrendous all African-American abomination that they foisted the holy name of Steel Magnolias on, this one at least seems to have some promise, but does it deliver?

What is this about?

This chilly drama chronicles the fate of four siblings confined in their grandparents’ attic and abused daily after the children’s father dies. As the two older kids grow up, they begin looking for a way to escape their nightmare world.

What did I like?

Not shy. I haven’t seen the previous incarnations of the film on screen (big or small), but it is my understanding that neither film actually covered the topic that is a predominant theme in the book, which is incest. Part of the reason for this is that these films were released in a more conservative (read=squeamish) time, as opposed to today where you can do just about anything, except smoke, but that’s a topic for another day. The fact that they did manage to cover the topic and do it effectively with such young talent is quite impressive.

A couple of winners. Ellen Burstyn delivers a chilling performance that is sure to get some attention when this film is up for awards nomination. As the strict, overbearing, super-religious grandmother of these children, she commands your attention whenever she’s on the screen and scares the children in a way that reminds you of the nuns from American Horror Story: Asylum. Also delivering an impressive performance is young Kiernan Shipka, who may best be known as Sally Draper from Mad Men. I recall an early episode where she told her Dad, who has just been getting kinky with his girl of the night the night before, that she would just sit there and be quiet. The way she said it and the impact it had on that uncomfortable scene came to mind as I was watching her in this role. Not quite star material, in my opinion, but she does have some chops that are worth mentioning.

What didn’t I like?

Graham. For some reason, I was not able to buy Heather Graham as a mother. As a shallow, gold digger, who has no skills other than being a trophy, yes, but not a mother. Adding to her unbelievability is the fact that she is so wooden and emotionless, even in the parts where she is supposed to show a bit of emotion. There are times where is seems as if she is just reading the phone book. I like Heather Graham and applaud her for trying to take on something serious, but this just wasn’t the right fit for her.

Frail. After all the time the kids spent in the attic with little to no food, it seems to me that they should have been withering away. Instead, they look just about as fresh faced as they were when they got there. Perhaps the most evident is the eldest boy, played by Mason Dye, who is a strapping young lad who looks as if he is some type of athlete. I almost want to say that he gets bigger during his locked away. How is that possible?!?

For a TV movie, Flowers in the Attic isn’t half bad. While it didn’t blow me away, this heavy drama kept my attention from beginning to end, which is something extremely hard to do. Do I recommend this? Eh…I suppose, but for me, I can’t say that I’ll be moving my schedule around to watch. Not because this is a bad film, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. Ultimately, this is one of those films that you need to give a watch and make your own decision about. So, see what you decide, eh?

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Hangover Part III

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two years after the events in Bangkok, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from a maximum security prison, using a riot as cover. Meanwhile in America, Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) causes a 20-car freeway pileup after he purchases a giraffe and accidentally decapitates it on a low bridge. Alan’s father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), furious with Alan for never owning up to his mistakes, dies of a heart attack in the middle of a lecture. After the funeral, Alan’s brother-in-law Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) informs friends Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and Stu Price (Ed Helms) that Alan has been off his ADHD medication and is out of control. They attend an intervention, in which Alan agrees to visit a rehab facility in Arizona, so long as “the Wolfpack” takes him there. On the way to Arizona, Phil’s minivan is rammed off the road by a rental truck and the group is taken hostage. They are later confronted by mob leader Marshall (John Goodman) and “Black Doug” (Mike Epps), his head of security.

He tells them that Chow hijacked half of a $42 million gold heist and, seeing how Alan has been the only one to communicate with Chow during his imprisonment, deduced that the Wolfpack could locate him and retrieve the gold. Marshall kidnaps Doug as collateral and gives the others three days to find Chow, or else Doug will be killed. Alan sets up a meeting with Chow in Tijuana, Mexico, where Stu and Phil will hide and attempt to drug him. However, Alan gives away their location and he forces them to confess they are working for Marshall. Chow explains his plan to retrieve the stolen gold from the basement of a Mexican villa he previously owned. Stu, Alan and Phil break into the house and successfully retrieve the gold, but Chow double-crosses them by locking them in the basement, rearming the security system and escaping in Phil’s minivan. They are arrested but mysteriously released from the police station, where they are picked up by a limousine and taken back to the villa, where they meet up with Marshall.

They learn that Chow had lied to them; the villa was never his and the gold they stole was the other half he didn’t get from Marshall. Marshall forgives them for their mistake but kills “Black Doug” for his incompetence and reminds them of their now two-day deadline. The group tracks Phil’s phone, which was left in the minivan, outside a pawn shop in Las Vegas. The pawnshop owner, Cassie (Melissa McCarthy), tells them that Chow traded a gold brick for $18,000, far less than its usual sell rate of $400,000. Using Stu’s former lover Jade (Heather Graham) as their contact, they learn that Chow is barricaded in the penthouse suite of Caesars Palace. Phil and Alan sneak into his suite from the roof, but Chow escapes, jumping from the balcony and parachuting down to the strip. Stu catches up to Chow and locks him in the trunk of the limo that Marshall had lent to them. They take the gold and meet with Marshall, who releases Doug back to the group. Although Marshall initially promised to not harm Chow, he changes his mind and shoots through the trunk of the car, presumably killing him. Luckily, Alan had freed Chow through a backseat compartment just moments earlier.

Chow emerges from the limo and kills Marshall, allowing the Wolfpack to live because Alan had saved his life. He offers Alan a bar of gold as a gift, but Alan turns him down, and ends their friendship due to Chow’s unhealthy influence on the group. As Chow sadly watches them leave, they go to retrieve Phil’s minivan from the pawnshop and Alan makes a date with Cassie. Six months later, the two marry. Vowing to begin taking responsibility for his actions, Alan regretfully resigns from the Wolfpack, but would still like for the gang to hang out on occasion. As the four walk to the ceremony, a montage of clips from the previous films play, thus ending the film. In a post-credits scene taking place the morning after the wedding, Alan, Cassie and Phil appear to have staged another wild party that they cannot remember. Stu emerges from the bathroom with breast implants and Alan remembers that the wedding cake was a gift from Chow, who emerges from the next room naked, laughing and wielding a Katana.

REVIEW:

I’m not sure anyone really wanted it, but bring the Wolfpack trilogy to an end, we have The Hangover III. The big question that has been surrounding this has been, can they recapture the magic that made the first film such a huge hit, or will this one fall flat on its face and suffer from sequel-it is?

What is this about?

Capitalizing on the success of two previous Hangovers, Phil and the boys set out on another road trip and soon find their plans reduced to chaos. Before the dust settles, the gang will have to figure out how to rescue Alan from a mental hospital.

What did I like?

Giraffe. Ok. Decapitating a giraffe is a bit much. I’m no fan of killing animals, especially majestic ones such as giraffes, but the fact that this sequence captured the audience is something to be aware of. It very well could have just ducked under the bridge. Seriously, though, if you saw someone driving down the interstate with a giraffe, wouldn’t you be stunned and shocked, too?

Full circle. Since this is supposed to be the end of the saga, it just seems right that they bring things around full circle and return to Las Vegas. If you recall, The Hangover was set in Vegas. Also, some characters from the other films returned. I was very glad to see Heather Graham again, but it would’ve been nice to see Mike Tyson.

Molly. How can anyone not like Melissa McCarthy? She’s cute, cuddly, and funny! Her character here is an employee at a pawn shop and apparently has an attraction to the lovable shlub, Alan. The chemistry between the two of them is great, especially when we see them again near the end.

What didn’t I like?

Rushed. I like to point to Shrek 3 as a sequel that was bad, rushed into production, and was nothing more than a cash grab. Well, this film falls into many of those same trappings. When this was announced, I felt like they were rushing it out just to cash in, and the finished product just validates that thought.

Characters. The plot for this doesn’t matter, let’s face it. We watch this franchise for the interaction of the characters, especially to see what Alan does. However, this whole film may as well have been the Alan and Chow show, because the others may have been kidnapped along with Justin Bartha’s character, because they served no purpose, other than collecting a paycheck. Where was the funny confidence of Bradley Cooper’s character? Where was the funny neuroses of Ed Helms’ character? They surely weren’t to be found in this threequel.

Ending. I’m not going to spoil the ending, just know that it leaves things open for a possible 4th film, while also being a fitting ending for this franchise, considering what it is. Having said that, during the ending, we get full frontal of Ken Jeong. I don’t want to seem like I have a double standard, because if that was a female, I’d have no qualm with seeing her full frontal, but just seeing Jeong standing there in his “glory” was uncomfortable for me.

This is a franchise that surprised everyone with the first film. The Hangover part II was actually very well received, but The Hangover part III just seems as if they stopped trying and figured they had an automatic license to print money. That sadly was not the case. I enjoyed parts here and there of this film, but not enough to blow me away. It was just an average outing. Thank goodness for Melissa McCartney and that giraffe, because everything else falls flat. Sure, you can check it out if you want, but I won’t really recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

ExTerminators

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Alex (Heather Graham) is a lonely accountant whose one act of rage results in her being sentenced to court-ordered therapy. There she meets Stella (Jennifer Coolidge), owner of an extermination business who uses her car as a weapon, and Nikki (Amber Heard), a dental technician with the face of an angel and the mind of a sociopath. Together these women form their own “silent revolution”, wreaking havoc on the abusive men in their lives.

REVIEW:

A trio of beautiful women go around a bounty hunters avenging the wrongs done to them and their friends. Sounds like ExTerminators is the kind of flick sure to please at least some people. I’m not quite sure I’m one of those people, though.

What is this about?

While attending a court-ordered anger-management class, lonely Alex befriends pest control business owner Stella and dental tech Nikki. Drawing on their overabundance of rage, the women set out to teach the men in their lives painful lessons.

What did I like?

Nothing from nobody. I may not be a fan of these “girl power” films that are polluting theaters of late, but I can get behind a female not laying down as her significant other beats the living crap out of her. The whole murder angle of this film starts when Joey Lauren Adams’ (who is really starting look old, btw) character is beaten by her husband in the bar while the other women, as well as the rest of the people in the bar just stand there. Thank goodness for that bouncer! By coincidence the three leads happen to come across the guy and run him off the road, causing his car to explode. Not to sound vindictive or bloodthirsty, but any man who stoops to hit a woman like that deserves to die. I actually think he got off too easy.

What didn’t I like?

Too much talent. Heather Graham, Jennifer Coolidge and, to a lesser extent, Amber Heard, all have actual careers, so I have to wonder why it is that they agreed to do this little film that was obviously below them. Granted, none of them are exactly leading ladies in films, but Coolidge has a career of being the funny sidekick and/or comic relief and most recently definition of the word “milf” and Graham was set to be a breakout star just a few short years ago and then something happened that has kept her down. We’ll see what trajectory Amber Heard’s career continues to take. I just think all three of these ladies could have done better.

Slimy tax. Sam Lloyd is best known as the sweaty, nervous, and lovable lawyer Ted from Scrubs. In a way, his tax officer character, Hutt, is similar, just creepier and without the lovable factor. I don’t have a problem with his performance, but rather the way this whole angle was handled. Sure, it was meant as a subplot, but it came off as something they threw in there at the last-minute without truly thinking it through, and it is resolved in the same manner.

Ending. I won’t spoil the ending but, as a friend of mine who watched this before me said, “…it would have been better with something more Thelma & Louise-ish”. I cannot disagree with him on that, partially because it has been so long since I’ve seen that movie I can’t remember how it ended, but I do remember them driving off a cliff, just not sure if that is the ending. There are no cliffs involved in this film, but a rather…how should I put this…”girly” ending involving one of the main characters. I didn’t hate it, especially given the way things play out, but I would have liked something, anything, else than the ending we got.

ExTerminators is something that I had to hurry and watch before Netflix decided to take it off instant. At one time, I actually had it on my DVD queue. Boy, am I glad I didn’t waste that spot. This is a film that has very few moments of pleasure for the audience. It just plods along until mercifully ending. I cannot recommend this, even for those looking for some sort of “girl power” film. It just isn’t worth the time and torture.

2 out of 5 stars

Bowfinger

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Film producer Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is extremely eager to make a film, he has saved up for it his entire life—he now has $2,184 to pay for production costs. With a script (“Chubby Rain”) penned by an accountant (Adam Alexi-Malle), a camera operator (Jamie Kennedy) with access to studio-owned equipment, and several actors who are hungry for work (Christine Baranski, Heather Graham, Kohl Sudduth) he needs access to a studio in order to distribute his masterwork.

He manages to extract a promise from a film studio executive (Robert Downey Jr.) that the executive will distribute the film if it includes currently-hot action star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy). Ramsey—a rather pompous, neurotic and paranoid actor—refuses, so Bowfinger constructs a plan to covertly film (on an extremely low budget) all of Ramsey’s scenes without his knowledge. The actors, told that Ramsey is method acting and will not be interacting with them outside of their scenes, walk up to Ramsey in public and recite their lines while hidden cameras catch Ramsey’s confused reactions.

The plan goes well at first. Ramsey ends up starring (unknowingly) in the movie. However, Ramsey (who is a member of an organization called MindHead) misinterprets the movie’s sci-fi dialogue and believes he is being stalked by aliens, damaging his already-precarious mental state. He finally goes into hiding in order to maintain his sanity. This puts a hold on the film production, and leaves Bowfinger wondering what to do next.

A desperate Bowfinger resorts to hiring a Ramsey lookalike (also played by Murphy) named Jiff. Jiff is kind, amiable and rather clueless. He even runs a gauntlet of “stunt drivers” racing along a major freeway when asked. Eventually, he becomes depressed about his lack of acting talent, but another cast member assures him that his real talent is being an exact double for Kit Ramsey. Jiff is not sure “how much of a talent that is…I mean, I am his brother.” Using this new knowledge, Bowfinger has Jiff find out Kit Ramsey’s movements and the final, pivotal conclusion to the movie is readied for filming.

All Bowfinger needs to shoot is the final scene at an observatory, with Ramsey shouting the final line “Gotcha suckers!” During the film scene, Ramsey becomes terrified and thinks that they are real aliens. At this point, Ramsay’s mentor at MindHead (played by Terence Stamp) has discovered evidence that Kit’s ‘aliens’ may not be just in his head. MindHead officials track Bowfinger to the observatory, and shut down production. It seems Bowfinger will never get his movie. That is until his camera crew reveals that they were filming B-roll footage of Ramsey off-set, just in case they saw anything they could use.

What they got was footage of Ramsey donning a paper bag over his head and exposing himself to an amused Laker Girl Cheerleading Squad. Bowfinger shows the footage to MindHead, and blackmails them, threatening to take the footage public. Knowing that this material could ruin Ramsey’s career (he is a major contributor to their operation), MindHead advises the star to finish the project. Bowfinger finally gets to sit at the premiere of a movie he himself directed, and is awed. Following the arguable success of the movie, Bowfinger receives a rare Fed-Ex envelope—an offer to film a martial arts movie called “Fake Purse Ninjas” starring Bowfinger and Jiff Ramsey.

REVIEW:

With almost every Eddie Murphy film I review, I make it a point to ask if the audience remembers when he was funny? Well,Bowfingeris not one of those times. This isn’t Murphy at his funniest, but it is a good example of what he’s been missing as of late. How does the film as a whole stack up, though?

It may be hard to believe, but this plot, where a director is attempting to make his own film (without the consent of the lead actor) has actually not ben done before, at least to my knowledge, which makes this quite the interesting picture.

So, what worked?

Well, the cast. Murphy and Steve Martin are comedic gold, and strong  supporting comedic performances from the likes of Heather Graham, Christina Baranski, and a villainous Terence Stamp really made this a joy to watch.

The plot, as I mentioned, is unique, especially since it hasn’t been done to death before or after this was released.

What didn’t work?

The whole Mindhead church/cult thing. At first, it was a funny little ploy device, but when it became an actual part of the film, especially in the climax, it just seemed like it was there in place of them creating an actual antagonist.

Also not working, the fact that they didn’t seem to do anything with the relationship between Kit and Jiff Ramsey (both played by Murphy). To me, it just seems like the estranged relationship between the two of them, could have been touched on, especially at the end, and yet, it wasn’t.

In the end, Bowfinger is pretty good, but not great. There are moments of laugh out loud glory, and then moments that will leave you scratching your head. This is one of those films that some will like, but other will wonder what it is that makes is so special. Do I recommend it? Yes, but not emphatically. Check it out, but it isn’t worth going out of your to do so.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Hangover

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to be married to Tracy (Sasha Barrese). His friends — Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and soon-to-be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) — take him to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Tracy’s father (Jeffrey Tambor) lends them his car, a vintage Mercedes convertible, for the trip. The four get a villa at Caesars Palace hotel and casino, then sneak onto the roof and toast to the year ahead. The next morning, the three groomsmen wake up in the suite with no memory of the previous night and soon realize that Doug is missing. Clues abound: the suite is in severe disorder, a tiger is in the bathroom, a baby is in the closet, Stu is missing a tooth and has an ATM receipt for $800, one of the suite’s mattresses is impaled on a statue outside, Phil is wearing a hospital bracelet, and a valet brings them a stolen police cruiser they dropped off the night before, and a chicken is wandering around the room.

While retracing their steps, a doctor at the hospital informs them that they had traces of roofies in their blood explaining their memory loss, and that they came from a wedding. They find the chapel, and learn that Stu, despite planning to propose to his controlling girlfriend Melissa (Rachael Harris), married an escort named Jade (Heather Graham), who turns out to be the mother of the baby in the closet. In the parking lot, they escape an attack by two Asian gangsters who beat on the police car yelling “Where is he?”. Confused, the men visit Jade’s apartment and return the baby, but are taken by surprise by the police, the cruiser’s original owners, who arrest them for stealing their car. Phil negotiates their release in exchange for the three groomsmen “volunteering” as targets for a humiliating taser demonstration. They then retrieve the miraculously-unharmed Mercedes, which had been abandoned in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, from an impound lot and discover a fully naked Asian man (Ken Jeong) in the trunk. The man attacks them with a crowbar and runs away, and Alan admits to spiking their drinks the night before with what he thought was ecstasy, but realizes the drug dealer must have sold him roofies instead. They return to the hotel and find former boxing champion Mike Tyson in their room, looking for his stolen tiger. Tyson knocks out Alan and orders them to return the pet to his mansion. They drug the tiger with roofies and transport it in the Mercedes, but before they reach Tyson’s mansion, it wakes up and destroys the car’s interior, forcing them to get out and push the car the rest of the way. After the tiger is returned, Tyson plays security footage of the groomsmen’s activities from the night before in an effort to help them locate Doug.

Resuming their search, the three are confronted by the thugs, who, as it turns out, are led by the Asian they found in the trunk of their car, an Asian gangster named Leslie Chow. According to Chow, the groomsmen have $80,000 of his money, which they accidentally took the night before. Chow demands it back in exchange for Doug, whom he has kidnapped. Unable to find the money, Alan uses his knowledge of card counting to win it playing blackjack similar in style to Rain Man. The money is repaid, but Chow had kidnapped a different man named Doug, who turns out to be the drug dealer who sold Alan the roofies. After a conversation with Doug the drug dealer, Stu remembers that hotel windows do not open in Las Vegas (mostly for the exact reason that they’re in this mess), and therefore the mattress on the statue must have been thrown from the roof, where they had most likely locked out Doug as a prank. Rushing back to the roof, they find him, weary and severely sunburned from being stuck there for a day and a half, with fewer than four hours before the wedding. Before leaving, Stu meets with Jade and the pair agree that they cannot remain married, but promise to meet the following weekend to see what develops between them. Jade also reveals that Stu had pulled out his own tooth on a bet from Alan declaring, “I bet Stu isn’t a good enough dentist that he could pull his own tooth out”. As they rush home and make it to the wedding, Doug reveals that he found Chow’s $80,000 worth of casino chips in his jacket pocket on the roof. Doug marries Tracy, Phil happily returns to his wife and son, and Stu proudly breaks up with Melissa. As the reception ends, Alan reveals Stu’s digital camera he discovered in the back seat of the Mercedes chronicling the events they were unable to remember, and the four agree to look at the pictures only once before erasing the evidence.

REVIEW:

For some reason I missed this when it was released in theaters last year and it has taken me up until now to get it from Netflix. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this picture, that is unless you count the one blogger that ripped it a new one for not giving the females anything to do. I’ll address that in a bit.

When I did my “2009 Movie Awards” post back in January, one reader commented, on my other blog, that this film should have won for best comedy. Now, the rules for the awards are that it has to be watched and reviewed during the year. Having said that, I can see how she would think that, and I can say that The Hangover will be a strong favorite for a couple of awards this year.

So, what do we have here? A film about guys headed to Vegas for a bachelor party and things somehow get so far out of hand that they end up having to have madcap adventures. This is comedy gold, people.

When the film started, I was thinking that maybe it was going to be a bit on the overrated side. It just didn’t seem like it was going to be that funny, then we meet Bradley Cooper’s character, and all hell breaks loose! Cooper is more or less the star of the film. I know some people will say that it is Zach Galifianakis that steals the show, but Cooper is both over the top and the glue that keeps things together at the same time.

The supporting cast is pretty good, too, but I can’t mention them without giving a nod to Ken Jeong. Talk about a show stealer. This guy is on the screen for maybe 10 minutes, tops, but you’ll remember those 10 minutes…partially becuse he’s naked for the first couple, but when he returns, his character is such a hoot, that you can’t help but crack u laughing each time he speaks.

Mike Tyson makes an unexpected cameo appearance. I’m still scratching my head about that one, and why he has a tiger that these guys just seemed to be able to walk off his property with, but I’ll suspend my disbelief on that one. Tyson plays himself, but at the same time he goes a bit overboard and has fun with the character. I sot of wish he would have had more screentime, but then again, this isn’t his film, so the brief time he got was enough.

There are 3 women to speak of in this picture. Sasha Barrese, who plays the bride to be, Rachael Harris, who is Ed Helms’  cold-hearted, overbearing, bitchy girlfriend, and Heather Graham, a warm, caring, single mother stripper/escort. All these women turn out great performances, and have nothing to be ashamed of. Could they have had more screentime? Sure, but this is a film about guys on a bachelor party weekend, so no they didn’t need anymore time than they got. Although, I wouldn’t have minded more of Sasha in a bikini or Heather Graham scenes.

As I mentioned before, some blogger said that these women’s roles were nothing more than a joke. To me this is a joke. I mean, if you know anything about this film before you watch it, then you know that there is no reason to expect to see some drama heavy, weepy, chick stuff. This is not a chick flick! These women didn’t complain when they took the roles, so why should anyone else try to raise a fuss?

*AHEM* Now that I’m off my soapbox, I do have a couple of complaints about this film. The first is that it is never really said how Bradley Cooper ended up in the hospital. I mean they show it in the final shot ,but we, the audience, never see it, and the snapshot montage doesn’t show what happened. Enquiring minds want to know. My other complaint has to do with the high-speed tux delivery. Seriously, if they can get their tuxes delivered in the middle of the freeway like that (it actually reminded me of that old Spy Hunter arcade game where you had to catch up with a truck to get new weapons and stuff while going hundreds of miles per hour), then why couldn’t they have changed on the freeway? I don’t know, it just seems like if they were in that big of s rush, every second would have counted, especially since they had to take the groom to the hospital after leaving and forgetting him on the roof where he got severely sunburned. That actually brings me to another point. He wasn’t handcuffed or anything, so other than the initial hangover, he should have been able to get up and head back down to the room or something, so why did he stay on the roof and end up having to go to his wedding looking like a lobster?

Yes, questions abound, but these aren’t enough to make for an unpleasant experience with this film. The Hangover is one of those films that comes along and sweeps everyone off their feet with how well it is made and how funny it is. There is no drama in this picture to speak of, except for a confrontation at the wedding. We get a bit of action and the comedy isn’t overpowering. I strongly recommend this to anyone, except those of you feminists out there who will get bent out of shape because the women are “allegedly” underrepresented in a film about a bachelor party.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars