Archive for Malcolm Mcdowell

Revisited: Mr. Magoo

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Mr. Quincy Magoo (Leslie Nielsen), a wealthy canned vegetable factory owner, goes to the museum to attend a party. While there, Waldo (Matt Keeslar), Mr. Magoo’s nephew, spies a woman named Stacey Sampanahoditra (Jennifer Garner), on whom he develops a crush. Later that night, jewel thieves Luanne LeSeur (Kelly Lynch) and Bob Morgan (Nick Chinlund) steal the museum’s beautiful ruby “The Star of Kuristan” and escape on a boat to Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell), Bob’s boss.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magoo and his dog Angus go fishing in the same area as the jewel thieves’ boat. Luanne picks a fight with Bob and in the scuffle, they lose the ruby which lands in Mr. Magoo’s boat unbeknownst to Magoo. Bob goes after the ruby but fails by falling onto the paddle wheel of a paddle boat.

At the museum, the curator and Stacey send two agents: Gustav Anders of the CIA (Ernie Hudson) and Chuck Stupak of the FBI (Stephen Tobolowsky) to track down the ruby and spy on Mr. Magoo whom they believe stole the ruby. Stacey mentions she was invited to the opera where the Magoos go that night. Anders and Stupak also visit the opera to look for Mr. Magoo who is in the show. At the opera Mr. Magoo meets Luanne who pretends to be a magazine reporter named Prunella Pagliachi. She wishes Mr. Magoo luck at the opera, who immediately takes a liking to her. Stupak sneaks on the stage and fails to find any clue about Mr. Magoo with Mr. Magoo accidentally hitting Stupak with a big tool.

The next morning, Luanne tricks Mr. Magoo into taking her to his house with an injured ankle. Stupak finds a notebook with Luanne’s fingerprints on it and realizes who Mr. Magoo is with. He and Anders go to Mr. Magoo’s house where Stupak sneaks in looking for the ruby. Mr. Magoo and Luanne arrive at the house and Stupak hides from them. Bob sneaks into Mr. Magoo’s house and finds the ruby. Upon being caught in the act, he steals Mr. Magoo’s prized Studebaker with the Magoos and Luanne chasing after him in Magoo’s Eggplant-mobile. Bob loses them and brings the ruby to Austin.

Austin plans an auction for his criminal friends from around the world and shows them the ruby. Mr. Magoo disguises himself as Ortega Peru, a thief from Brazil who never goes anywhere and joins the auction which is taking place in a communal indoor pool. However he is discovered when the fake tattoo on his chest is washed away by the water. Luanne breaks up the auction, steals the ruby, and escapes on a snow mobile away from the lair. The government arrests Austin and his friends while Mr. Magoo gives chase on an ironing board and winds up in the middle of a women’s skiing competition. Waldo and Angus sneak out of the lair, catch up with Magoo, and track down the ruby.

Angus sees Luanne in disguise as an old woman and spills her purse which gives Mr. Magoo and Waldo a clue about where Luanne is going. The Magoos follow Luanne to Brazil where Waldo spies on the real Ortega (Miguel Ferrer) and his friends. Mr. Magoo steals a bride dress from Ortega’s girlfriend Rosita (Monique Rusu) and is led to the wedding. Mr. Magoo steals the ruby from Ortega and finds himself being chased by Peru’s men, the government agents and Luanne. Magoo then is trapped on a raft just before it goes over a waterfall but manages to invert the raft like a parachute so he can gently float to safety. He and Waldo return the ruby to the museum with the government arresting Ortega, Luanne and the people from Brazil.

Mr. Magoo and Angus go home after returning the ruby back to the museum

REVIEW:

A few years ago, there was a channel around here that showed classic cartoons on Saturday mornings. Along with The Archies, Dick Tracy, and The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, there were some short featuring Mr. Magoo. I always would get a chuckle from these shorts and the comic strip, so here’s to hoping that Mr. Magoo will be just as funny.

What is this about?

This live-action comedy adaptation of UPA’s bumbling near-sighted animated character stars Leslie Nielsen. Magoo is a millionaire who refuses to admit that he needs glasses. After accidentally becoming the target in an international manhunt, Magoo continually escapes mishaps by inches.

What did I like?

Animation. To bookend this film, it fades in and out of animated segments. I appreciate this because I’m sure there are those watching this that never saw or even knew there was a cartoon featuring Magoo. I’m also glad they didn’t try to take him from the animated world to the real world. That didn’t work the first they tried it with The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, and it surely wasn’t about to work this time around.

Nielsen ratings. Can you honestly think of anyone who would be a better Magoo than Leslie Nielsen? He’s got the comedic timing, age appropriate, and the voice seems to fit, as well. Nielsen isn’t the perfect Magoo, as i’ll get into later, but he is more than adequate.

Minuteman. About 10 yrs ago, there was a show on ABC Family that only lasted one season starring Matt Keeslar called The Minuteman. Keeslar has that old “aw shucks” pure look that worked for the character of the Minuteman and also for Magoo’s nephew. I also suspect this is why we don’t see more of this guy. He’s perfect for the old throwback/period piece films, though.

What didn’t I like?

Characteristics. Mr. Magoo has always been drawn as a bald, short, old man with comedic vision issues. In this film, he still has said vision problems and is a man of advanced age, but Nielsen is a taller individual and they put him in some sort of receding hairline wig. Like I said earlier, there really isn’t anyone that I can picture better to play Mr. Magoo than Leslie Nielsen, but I feel a little more accuracy would have served the film better.

Garner. This is another of those film that Jennifer Garner appears in a small supporting role. I have to check the timeline, but I believe this was about the time she was just getting started, so it isn’t like she was starring in anything, yet. However, I must make a point of how her character is from an undetermined country, based on her varying accent thickness, and seems to be there only to serve as an eventual love interest for Keeslar’s character. Surely, they could have done something more with her, right?

Make ’em laugh. This is supposed to be a comedy, but I did not find myself even cracking a smile once! That isn’t to say they made Magoo a dark drama, but rather the attempt at humor takes a backseat to this heist caper that I never really bought into. Personally, I think the best parts of the film are when Magoo is just dealing with people around him and being the blind, bumbling old man we know him to be, rather than whatever it is that this film is attempting to make him.

Final verdict on Mr. Magoo. Continuing in the string of movies that were based on popular cartoons/comic strips from the 60s and turned into flops, this does nothing to change the pattern. Why is that? Well, as far as attracting audiences, I can’t tell you. As far as the film itself is concerned, the studios got too involved and turned this into something that it shouldn’t be. Or perhaps the script was this crappy from the get go. Either way, Mr. Magoo deserves much better than this. Do I recommend it? No, unless you’re trying to complete a collection of Leslie Nielsen’s films, this should be one of those forgotten films that just happens to exist. Nothing more, nothing less.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Mr. Magoo

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Mr. Quincy Magoo (Leslie Nielsen) is an eccentric millionaire with very bad eyesight who refuses to use eyeglasses and therefore always gets into trouble. During a museum robbery he accidentally gets a priceless gem called the Star of Kuristan, and begins to trace the way for the arch-criminals whose idea was to steal the gem – Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell) and Ortega “The Piranha” Peru (Miguel Ferrer), while two federal agents Stupak (Stephen Tobolowsky) and Anders (Ernie Hudson) lead the manhunt for Mr. Magoo himself.

REVIEW:

 We have a station, or network, down here called RTV, where they play lots of stuff from days gone by. It seems to be mainly focused on the 80s, which is just fine for me. The great thing about this channel is that these shows are remastered or anything, but are shown just as they were back then.

On Saturday mornings, they even have a block of cartoons from yesteryear, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Fat Albert, She-Ra, BraveStarr, etc. Between these cartoons they show various shorts such as the Dick Tracy cartoon from the 60s or Mr. Magoo.

This is what brought me to watch Mr. Magoo tonight.

Now, previous films that are based on old cartoons seem to have a polarizing effect. In some cases, critics love them but audiences hate it, and in other cases it’s the reverse. For Mr. Magoo, it is the former.

In manner similar to Dudley Do-Right, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Inspector Gadget, and George of the Jungle, this film does everything it can to more or less bring the cartoon from the proverbial drawing board to live action on the big screen.

I don’t know how many of you have actually seen a Mr. Magoo cartoon or read the comic strip. If you haven’t, then the basic premise is that this nearly blind man stumbles around causing accidents and endangering everyone but himself, yet he is oblivious to what is going on.

That is basically the plot of this film, bt of course they have to bring in some extra characters and throw in some sort of crime heist to frame the lovable, rich, old man.

I would have been just fine if they would have just left it with him stumbling around causing accidents and what not. There really was no need to bring in this crime heist scenario. The best parts of the film involve Magoo being Magoo, not this fluff-puff plot they shoved in here.

They do make up for that useless plot with the brilliant animation sequences that bookend the film. These harken back to the cartoon. I actually thought the voice actor,  Greg Burson, was the voice of Magoo from back then, but it turns out he is just really close to having the same voice.

Casting Leslie Nielsen as Mr. Magoo was a stroke of genius. Then again, who else could pull this off? I’d say George Carlin, but then again….nah, he’s not family friendly enough.

Jennifer Garner makes a decent big screen presence (this was before she was a big star), but her accent was bad…very bad!

Malcolm McDowell is evil as always. Would you expect less?

Make no mistake, this is not a great flick, bt it is one of those films the whole family an sit down and enjoy. Even those that get offended by any and everything can enjoy this. If you’re in the mood for a good, clean, funny film, then check out Mr. Magoo.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Book of Eli

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Thirty years after an apocalyptic event, Eli (Denzel Washington) travels on foot toward the west coast of the United States. Along the way, he demonstrates uncanny survival and fighting skills, hunting wildlife and swiftly defeating a group of highway bandits who try to ambush him. Searching for a source of water, he arrives in a ramshackle town built and overseen by Carnegie (Gary Oldman). Carnegie dreams of building more towns and controlling the people by using the power of a certain book. His henchmen scour the desolate landscape daily in search of it, but to no avail.

In the local town bar, Eli is set upon by a gang of bikers and he kills them all. Realizing Eli is a literate man like himself, Carnegie asks Eli to stay, although it is made clear the offer is non-negotiable. After Carnegie’s blind concubine Claudia (Jennifer Beals) gives Eli some food and water, Carnegie asks Claudia’s daughter Solara (Mila Kunis) to seduce Eli. Eli turns her down, but she discovers he has a book in his possession. Eli pacifies her with stern words, but offers to share his food with her. Before they eat, though, he has her pray with him. The following day, Solara prays with her mother. Carnegie overhears them and realizes Solara’s words were likely from the contents of the book he has been seeking. Through violence, he forces Solara to tell him Eli was reading a book. When he asks what kind, she says she does not know but forms a cross with her two index fingers. Carnegie realizes Eli has a copy of the Bible, the book he has been seeking. Eli sneaks out of his room and goes to the store across the street, where he had earlier asked the Engineer (Tom Waits) to recharge his portable battery.

Carnegie attempts to stop Eli by having all his henchmen shoot at him, but the bullets seemingly just graze him, as if he is being protected. Eli shoots most of Carnegie’s henchmen and hits Carnegie in the leg with a shotgun blast. After Eli leaves, Solara follows him and leads him to the source of the town’s water supply, hoping she can accompany him on his travels. Eli traps her inside and continues on alone. Solara escapes and soon finds herself ambushed by two bandits who attempt to rape her, but Eli appears and kills them.

Eli and Solara continue on until they arrive at a strange house. They stop to investigate and quickly fall through a trap door. The residents, Martha (Frances de la Tour) and George (Michael Gambon), invite them in for tea; however, the travellers are soon found by Carnegie. Eli, Solara, Martha, and George hole up inside the house. A shootout ensues, leading to the deaths of some of Carnegie’s men, as well as George and Martha. Eli and Solara are captured. Carnegie threatens to kill Solara, which prompts Eli to hand over the Bible. Carnegie shoots him in the stomach and leaves.

While in transit, Solara escapes and drives back to help Eli. Rather than chase her, Carnegie chooses to return to the town with the Bible, since his vehicle is running out of fuel. Solara picks Eli up and they continue west until they reach the Golden Gate Bridge. They then row to Alcatraz, where they find a group of survivors. Eli tells the guards that he has a copy of the King James version of the Bible, and they are allowed in. Once inside, they are introduced to Lombardi (Malcolm McDowell), the curator. Eli, who is revealed to be blind, begins to dictate the Bible from memory.

Meanwhile, back in the town, Carnegie manages to open the Bible with the help of his Engineer, but he is horrified to discover that it is a Braille copy. He is unable to persuade Claudia to read it for him. Carnegie’s leg wound has become septic, and he realizes he will die without making use of the Bible. Eli finishes dictating the Bible and dies from his wounds shortly thereafter. The printing press at Alcatraz begins printing the new King James Bible, after which Lombardi places a copy on the bookshelf between copies of the Torah and Qur’an. Solara is offered sanctuary in Alcatraz, but she instead chooses to head back home.

REVIEW:

Another week, another apocalyptic film. Ho-hum. No worries, though, I’m planning on staying away from this genre next week, unless Netflix screws me over and randomly picks something from my list because of the wait on the few that are on the top. It has happened before.

I don’t really know what to think about this flick. On one hand, I liked it, but on the other, I didn’t care for it. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be some bright happy picture, but this whole dark thing is a bit played out for me. I guess that is why more and more pictures are doing the whole schtick of one actor walking around by themselves and there is no music or anything before the film finally picks up and gets going.

While I’m thinking about it, this flick starts out with Denzel killing a cat. Now, I realize he has to eat and everything, but did he really have to kill a cat? Couldn’t the filmmakers have used a dog? I’m so tired of cats getting abused in film and society while dogs are all but worshiped! It just isn’t right. I also think it would have been more effective to use a dog. The way it was done, and then the way he shooed a cat later on in the bar made it seem like he was a cat hater. I was just offended by this whole cat hatred thing.

With that point aside, this whole plot is a bit confusing. It is kind of hard to figure out that is going on, but to sum it up, it is postapocalyptic times where they have burned all the bibles. Eli has the last one and Carnegie finds out he has it and will do whatever it takes to get it because he believes that whoever controls a bible can more or less control society.

With a film like this, I sort of expected more action, but at the same time, the fact that it didn’t have too much didn’t surprise me. I was pleased with Denzel kicking ass, but disappointed that as the film progresses he seems to lose his bad-assery.

The cast is actually pretty good. I’ve already talked about Denzel, but Gary Oldman does just as good a job with his role. Seriously, do we expect less from him? As the villainous Carnegie, though, he is ruthless, cunning, conniving, and delusional. Oldman really sells his character’s descent into madness.

Mila Kunis may be the weak link of this film. She doesn’t even seem to be trying here. If you saw her in the early day of That 70’s Show, then you may remember that she more or less sleepwalked through all her scenes. The same kind of thing is going on here, but she does make a believable daughter for Jennifer Beals, as they do sort of resemble each other.

The Book of Eli isn’t the best apocalyptic flick, but it does provide some food for thought. The religious overtones and strong casting really drive this film home. Sad part is, a film like Legion, which dealt with angels wasn’t nearly as powerful, mainly because it relied more on the special effects, as opposed to the acting. I can recommend this to everyone, but for me, the jury is still out. I don’t think I would rush to see it again, but seeing it for the first time was indeed a treat.

4 out of 5 stars

Just Visiting

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The backstory takes place in 12th century England, where Lord Thibault is about to marry Princess Rosalind, the daughter of the reigning king, who would thus be Henry II. Her mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine, and her brothers were Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland. At the wedding banquet, an enemy gives Thibault a potion which makes him hallucinate, and under its influence, he kills his own bride (rather than her father, as in the French version) believing she is a ferocious monster. While under sentence of death, he asks a wizard to give him a drug that will send him back to the moment before he killed Princess Rosalind. The incompetent wizard botches the spell, and instead, Thibault and his servant are sent into the 21st century.

They end up in a museum in Chicago where they are arrested by the police. However, they are rescued by Julia Malféte (Christina Applegate), a museum employee who closely resembles Princess Rosalind. She thinks that Thibault is her relative who drowned while yachting a couple of years ago. Thibault soon finds out that Julia is descended from his family and realizes he must return to the 12th century to correct the past. Julia introduces them to the modern American style of life where norms from medieval times no longer apply. Before the return to his time, Thibault decides to protect Julia from her money-hungry fiance Hunter (Matthew Ross). Meanwhile, his servant Andre falls for a pretty gardener, Angelique (Tara Reid) who presents him with the world of equal rights for all people.

The wizard realizes his mistake and decides to time travel into the future to help Thibault. After he finds him, he successfully prepares a potion for returning to the past. Hunter is decided to prevent Thibault by interfering with his plans but Julia finds out his real intentions and breaks up with him. Before he leaves, Thibault tells Julia that she will meet a new and better boyfriend. Then he and the wizard drink the potion and return to the past just before the killing of Princess Rosalind. Hunter finds the remainder of the potion which sends him to the 12th century where he is captured.

REVIEW:

This film was recommended to me by a friend shortly after I started this blog, so I added it to my Netflix que, and slowly but surely it has moved its way up the list until finally it made it to the top this week. I’ll be honest with you, I had no expectations for this thing, good or bad, other than it has some nice eye candy in Christina Applegate and Tara Reid (before the implants and drinking took away her hotness).

As I sat there watching this picture, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it wasn’t a masterpiece, but it never claimed to be. It was just a fun flick.

The plot is alright, but it leaves some unanswered questions, such as why they have to go and come back from the exact same spot and how it is that Thibauld had a descendant when he initially killed his betrothed. Then there is the whole estate thing dealing with money and the missing Thibauld, who I was expecting to show up at anytime.

The most entertaining thing about this film has to be the two Frenchmen from medieval times attempting to fit in with modern civilization, especially the servant. The abuse he took from his master may have been a but much, but that’s how they lived back then. Christian Clavier does an excellent job of portraying this character with the humbleness necessary to pull it off.

The film’s ending bothered me a bit. It appeared as if they just filmed a bunch of scenes and spliced them together in hopes that it would work. Unfortunately, it brings the film down, which is such a shame, because it was doing pretty well until then. I really hate films that rush their ending. They just seem so sloppy.

All in all this film wasn’t half bad. Sure, it could have been better, but how many perfect films can you name? Just Visiting mixes a bit of history, comedy, and sci-fi together for fun-filled experience to be enjoyed by all.

4 out of 5 stars

Bolt

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A girl named Penny and a dog named Bolt star on a hit television series called Bolt in which the titular character has various superpowers and must constantly thwart the evil plans of the nefarious Doctor Calico. To gain a more realistic performance, the TV show’s producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes the television show is real and he really has superpowers. After filming completes for the latest episode, Bolt escapes from his on-set trailer mistakenly believing Penny has been kidnapped by the television villain. He attempts to break through a window, knocking himself unconscious as he falls into a box of styrofoam peanuts. With no one aware Bolt is in the box, it is shipped from Hollywood to New York City. In New York, he meets Mittens, a female alley cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Bolt, convinced this is another adventure, forces Mittens to help him get back to Hollywood, and the two start their journey westward on a truck after Bolt knocks Mittens unconscious. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Penny is deeply saddened over Bolt’s disappearance but is forced by the studio to continue filming with a Bolt lookalike. As their adventure proceeds, Bolt starts to notice that his superpowers aren’t working, and rationalizes this is the effect that styrofoam has on his body.

Surprised at his first feelings of both pain and hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute, but needy dog, and is rewarded by food. They meet Rhino, a fearless, TV-obsessed hamster and huge Bolt fan who joins their team. Mittens tries to convince Bolt that his superpowers aren’t real, but their discussion is cut short by the arrival of Animal Control, who captures them both and transports them to an animal shelter. After being freed en route by Rhino, Bolt finally realizes that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) gives him a pep talk. They rescue Mittens from the shelter and escape, allowing them to continue their journey. Along the way, Bolt learns to enjoy typical dog activities (such as hanging his head out the window), but Mittens refuses to go farther than Las Vegas. She tells Bolt that his Hollywood life is fake and there is no real love for him there. Her emotional rant reveals that she was once a house cat, but was abandoned by her previous owner and left to brave the harsh streets alone and declawed. Bolt refuses to believe that Penny doesn’t love him, and continues on alone, wishing Mittens the best. Rhino, learning of Bolt’s departure, convinces Mittens that they must help him, and the two set off to find Bolt once again.

Bolt reaches the studio, finding Penny embracing his lookalike. Unaware that Penny still misses him and that her affection for the lookalike was only a part of a rehearsal for the show, he leaves, brokenhearted. Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, sees what Bolt does not – Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Realizing that Penny truly does love Bolt, Mittens follows Bolt and explains. At the same time, the Bolt-lookalike panics during filming and accidentally knocks over some torches, setting the sound stage on fire and trapping Penny. Bolt arrives and reunites with Penny inside the burning studio, being rescued as they succumb to smoke asphyxiation.

Penny and her mother subsequently quit the show when their agent attempts to exploit the incident for publicity purposes. Penny herself adopts Mittens and Rhino, and moves to a rural home to enjoy a simpler, happy lifestyle with Bolt and her new pets. The show continues, but with a replacement “Bolt” and “Penny”- “Penny’s” new appearance being explained in the show as being serious injuries necessitating her undergoing facial reconstruction surgery-, and adopting an alien abduction storyline (One that even Rhino finds ridiculous).

REVIEW:

There was a time when Disney animation was all 2D, hand drawn things of  beauty. Since Home on the Range, though, it seems as if Disney has been more of  a computer animated company. Thank goodness for the forthcoming Pricess and the Frog!

Bolt tells us the tale of a dog who knows noting but life as a TV canine. THe makers of the show do everything they can to keep Bolt in the dark. The whole plot reminds me of a watered dn Truman Show, but with animals.

Voices for this film range from John Travolta, as Bolt to Miley Cyrus as Penny to Malcom McDowell as Dr. Calico and a host of others.

As with any buddy picture, there are characters that steal the film.  Those characters  in this film are the pigeons and Rhino, the hamster. These guys are just hilarious.

When the film opened and got past the buying of Bolt scene, it gave the illusion of a nonstop action flick. I was highly impressed.

The animation is obviously not Pixar, but it is pretty good. Nothing really sticks out in terms of details and whatnot.

I apologize for the shortness and discojointment of this review. I just took some meds and am fighting the Sandman. Before I fall asleep, let me say this…Bolt is a great animated picture that will entertain and astound you. While is is mostly an action/comedy, there are a few touching scenes that tug on your heart strings, as well as a cat that will crush your dreams with her cynicism. It is with good conscience that I full recommend this to each an every one of you. Enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars