The Fantastic Four (1994)

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 20:37

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Clifford

clifford 1994 rev

Last Updated on Monday, 06 July 2015 20:40

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Hardly Working

hardly-working-revHardly Working  (1981)    20th Century Fox/Comedy    RT: 90 minutes    Rated PG (a single use of profanity)    Director: Jerry Lewis    Screenplay: Jerry Lewis and Michael Janover    Music: Morton Stevens    Cinematography: James Pergola    Release date: April 3, 1981 (US)    Cast: Jerry Lewis, Susan Oliver, Roger C. Carmel, Deanna Lund, Harold J. Stone, Steve Franken, Buddy Lester, Alex Henteloff, Leonard Stone, Britt Leach, Amy Krug, Stephen Baccus, Tommy Zibelli II, Billy Barty.    Box Office: $8.8 million (US)

Rating: NO STARS!!!

 Critics were barred from screenings of Hardly Working because, according to Jerry Lewis, they’re unable to understand his appeal unlike the masses that appreciate his brand of comedy. What a load of BS! The plain truth is that Hardly Working is a bad movie. No, that’s understating it. Let me revise that statement. It’s atrocious on every conceivable level. It’s attains a level of incompetence and ineptitude never seen in movies released by a major studio. Is it any wonder that it sat on the shelf for two years (it was filmed in 1979) before somebody thought it was a good idea to release it? I was 13 when Hardly Working came out and even at that young age, I was at a loss to understand how it qualified as entertainment. Hell, it’s barely a movie.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 20:50

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Trail of the Pink Panther

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Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2015 20:32

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The Hearse

hearse-revThe Hearse  (1980)    Crown International/Horror    RT: 99 minutes    Rated PG (language, violence)    Director: George Bowers    Screenplay: William Bleich    Music: Webster Lewis    Cinematography: Mori Kawa    Release date: June 1980 (US)    Cast: Trish Van Devere, Joseph Cotton, David Gautreaux, Donald Hotton, Med Flory, Perry Lang, Donald Petrie, Christopher McDonald, Fred Franklyn, Al Hansen, Dominic Barto, Nicholas Shields, Chuck Mitchell, Allison Balson, Victoria Eubank, Tanya Bowers.    Box Office: N/A

Rating: NO STARS!!!     

 What I’d like to know is who let the air out of this horror vehicle’s tires? The Hearse runs out of gas long before it reaches its who-the-hell-cares conclusion. As a scary movie, it’s DOA. Is my message coming through loud and clear? Director George Bowers (My Tutor) throws in every haunted house cliché and still manages to come up short in this unscary tale of a troubled city girl moving into her dead aunt’s house in a most unfriendly small town. The Hearse is a strictly paint-by-numbers affair in which every scare and plot twist is telegraphed so far in advance that you’re already over it by the time it actually happens. I didn’t see The Hearse until I found a used VHS copy at a flea market back in ’99. I read the paperback novelization as a teen and remember liking it enough to read it a second time. I was 13 at the time and maybe I would have liked the movie at the time. By the time I got around to seeing it, I was better versed in horror movies and found nothing to like about it. I decided to rewatch it last week and it still sucks. What baffles me the most is why talented actors like Trish Van Devere and Joseph Cotton involved themselves with a movie that’s so obviously beneath them?

Last Updated on Monday, 05 January 2015 21:18

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Two if by Sea

two-if-by-sea-revTwo if by Sea  (1996)    Warner Bros./Comedy    RT: 96 minutes    Rated R (language)    Director: Bill Bennett    Screenplay: Denis Leary and Mike Armstrong    Music: Nick Glennie-Smith and Paddy Moloney    Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie    Release date: January 12, 1996 (US)    Cast: Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary, Stephen Dillane, Yaphet Kotto, Mike Starr, Jonathan Tucker, Wayne Robson, Michael Badalucco, Lenny Clarke, Jonny Fido, Don Gavin, Shaun R. Clarke, Markus Parilo, John Friesen, Sean Runnette.    Box Office: $10.7 million (US)

Rating: fullstar1star-empty1star-empty1star-empty1       

 Even by the lax standards I set for major movies released without any advance screenings, Two if by Sea is pretty bad. The East Coast was slammed with a huge blizzard the weekend this came out, but I don’t think that factors into its dismal box office performance. This charmless rom-com would have fizzled if it was sunny and clear. It stars Denis Leary (The Ref) and Sandra Bullock (While You Were Sleeping) as a bickering couple reevaluating their relationship during the commission of a felony. It’s not exactly a case of Bonnie and Clyde as he did the crime all on his own, she’s just along for the ride. At the time of this movie’s release, Bullock’s star was still rising with three hit films back-to-back-to-back (Speed, While You Were Sleeping and The Net). It’s my theory that Warner figured her name above the title would mean big business for Two if by Sea whether or not it was actually any good. It wasn’t and it didn’t. She’s completely annoying in this movie.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 February 2015 20:55

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Treasure of the Four Crowns

treasure-4-crpwns-revTreasure of the Four Crowns  (1983)    Cannon/Action-Adventure    RT: 100 minutes    Rated PG (language, violence, scary images)    Director: Ferdinando Baldi    Screenplay: Tony Anthony and Lloyd Battista    Music: Ennio Morricone    Cinematography: Marcello Masciocchi and Giuseppe Ruzzolini    Release date: April 15, 1983 (Philadelphia, PA)    Cast: Tony Anthony, Ana Obregon, Gene Quintano, Jerry Lazarus, Francisco Rabal, Emiliano Redondo, Francisco Villena, Lewis Gordon, Kate Levan.    Box Office: N/A

Rating: NO STARS!!!

 Released during the height of the short-lived 3D craze of the early 80s, Treasure of the Four Crowns is nothing more than a lazy rip-off of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The sad thing is that I chose to see it over Lone Wolf McQuade that Saturday afternoon in April ’83. The week before, my friend and I went to see the exploitation flick Vigilante and Treasure of the Four Crowns was playing in the adjacent theater. The crowd of kids inside sounded like they were having a great time, screaming whenever something leapt off the screen. I decided to check it out for myself and realized about 20 minutes into it that I made a bad decision. It was God-awful with the 3D and even worse without it. Made by the same team that restarted the whole 3D thing with Comin’ at Ya! two years before, it’s an action-adventure so pointless and boring that it gives you a headache with or without the 3D. It’s an Italian production and I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a name for the genre. If westerns made by Italians are called “spaghetti westerns”, what should we call action-adventure flicks made by Italians?

Last Updated on Monday, 05 January 2015 21:16

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Another You

another-you-revAnother You  (1991)    TriStar/Comedy    RT: 94 minutes    Rated R (language)    Director: Maurice Phillips    Screenplay: Ziggy Steinberg    Music: Charles Gross    Cinematography: Victor J. Kemper    Release date: July 26, 1991 (US)     Cast: Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Mercedes Ruehl, Stephen Lang, Vanessa Williams, Phil Rubenstein, Peter Michael Goetz, Billy Beck, Jerry Houser, Kevin Pollak, Michael J. Pollard, Craig Richard Nelson, Kandis Chappell, Vincent Schiavelli, Romy Rosemont.    Box Office: $2.8 million (US)

Ratingfullstar1star-empty1star-empty1star-empty1

 If a supposed comedy can be described as depressing, you know something went horribly wrong. As far as I can see, a lot went wrong with Another You, the fourth and final screen pairing of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. It’s also the last time either one of them starred in a feature film*. Pryor was in ill health at the time due to multiple sclerosis; his physical deterioration is on full display here. He can barely walk. Wilder isn’t at his best either as he was still grieving for his late wife Gilda Radner who lost her battle with ovarian cancer two years earlier (May ’89). This explains a lot about the lack of comic energy from the comedy duo, but they’re not the only ones to blame for the failure of Another You. Maurice Phillips, who replaced Peter Bogdanovich as director about five weeks into filming, has absolutely no sense of timing or pacing.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 February 2015 17:56

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The Choirboys

the-choirboys-revThe Choirboys  (1977)    Universal/Comedy-Drama    RT: 119 minutes    Rated R (pervasive language, violence, nudity, sexual content, offensive racial terms, drug and alcohol abuse)    Director: Robert Aldrich    Screenplay: Christopher Knopf    Music: Frank De Vol    Cinematography: Joseph Biroc    Release date: December 23, 1977 (US)    Cast: Charles Durning, Louis Gossett Jr., Perry King, Clyde Kusatsu, Stephen Macht, Tim McIntire, Randy Quaid, Chuck Sacci, Don Stroud, James Woods, Burt Young, Robert Webber, Jeanie Bell, Blair Brown, Michele Carey, Charles Haid, Joe Kapp, Barbara Rhoades, Jim Davis, Phyllis Davis, Jack DeLeon, David Spielberg, Vic Tayback, Michael Wills, George DiCenzo, Cheryl Smith.    Box Office: N/A

Ratingfullstar1star-empty1star-empty1star-empty1

 While I haven’t read the original novel by Joseph Wambaugh, it’s easy to see why the author disowned the movie adaptation of The Choirboys. It’s a mess! Profane, misogynistic, racist and homophobic, there’s something to offend absolutely everybody. This very loosely-structured film depicts the exploits of a rowdy group of LAPD cops. Once in a while, they interrupt their shenanigans to deal with actual crimes. Something like that works only in the context of a Police Academy flick. It does NOT work if the intention is to present a realistic portrayal of cops dealing with the pressures of their job. At least not in the way director Robert Aldrich (The Longest Yard) presents it. There are many problems with The Choirboys, but the biggest would have to be that it’s not funny. In fact, it goes beyond that. It’s excruciatingly unfunny. At times, its attempts at humor are contemptible. All of this undermines the picture’s attempts at tacking serious issues like mental illness and suicide. I’m not offended easily, so you know it’s pretty bad that I find The Choirboys offensive and NOT just for the reasons I listed at the beginning of the review.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 21:15

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