Mar 31, 2014

Review: The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987)

Two major Hanna-Barbera franchises meet in this feature-length film. They both began their broadcasting in the 1960's and to be honest, The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones feels its age. It's an easy move for Hanna-Barbera to just slap together a movie with the Jetsons and the Flintstones and I think that's precisely what happened.

The beginning of the movie starts with the Flintstones and I hate to pull the sexist card out but these opening scenes hint at it pretty heavily. Fred and Wilma have their respective roles in the household, i.e. Wilma makes breakfast while Fred gets to sleep in more and take a shower because he works. There's more, mostly just for the opening though. If this were the 1960's, maybe that would be more acceptable but this was made in 1987. A little late to be doing this sort of thing no? Anyway, they're cavemen so maybe it all makes sense.

Mar 30, 2014

Review: Jesus' Son (1999)

Jesus' Son could easily fall into the category of druggie drama. It  actually transcends that easy characterization quite well. The story is presented in a non-linear narrative with narration from its main character. We only know as him as FH, otherwise known as "Fuckhead."  

Billy Crudup plays a weak minded character who's all in all not really that bad a person. He just gets caught up with the wrong people doing the wrong thing. Before long he's addicted to heroin and stealing to get by. Crudup puts on a good show and his narration is thoughtful and inspired. I usually find narration tiresome and unnecessary but for Jesus' Son it adds another layer to what is already a good story.

Mar 29, 2014

Review: Jésus de Montréal [Jesus of Montreal] (1989)

Denys Arcand, probably one of Quebec's most talented directors brings us Jesus of Montreal, a film that covers so many topics while still keeping a sense of humor. There are a lot of themes and commentaries going on but it doesn't get overloaded. What really makes the movie special though is how the story connects with Jesus' life.

Lothaire Bluteau plays Daniel, an actor who agrees to take over a Passion play. He goes on a hunt to gather the right actors for all the parts, while still being coy about how the play will go down. It's a production that has been declining in popularity, so it's his job to breath new life into it. 

Review: Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012)

Quite a cast that Billy Bob Thornton has been able to assemble for this movie. Old-timers Robert Duvall and John Hurt are some of my favourites and both of them do some pretty good work in Jayne Mansfield's Car.

They both represent totally different cultures, only being similar in that Jim Caldwell (Duvall) was once married to Kinsley Bedford's (Hurt) recently deceased wife. Bedford has brought along his children to be a part of his wife's funeral who wished to be buried from where she's from.

Mar 27, 2014

Review: Girls' Night (1998)

Girls' Night begins with a nice introduction into the lives of our two female main characters. Brenda Blethyn and Julie Walters play totally opposite characters who are best friends. Brenda Blethyn's character, Dawn Wilkinson is mild mannered, timid but she's a genuine nice person. Meanwhile, Julie Walters' Jackie Simpson is brash and speaks her mind. 

In a way, the story could be told from the point of view of two male characters, but it isn't. Jackie is like Dawn's wingman and I personally find this a nice change of pace. It doesn't cross the threshold of unbelievability and it's enjoyable.

Review: Gunshy (1998)

I'd say that at first glance, Gunshy looks like a promising, well-casted crime movie. Pretty quickly though, I realized I was wrong. William Peterson's character Jake Bridges loses his job, his woman and he feels like he's lost everything. He takes up drinking very heavily. Poor him. He goes to Atlantic City. Despite all this early negativity, I did like the use of an aerial shot on a helicopter to give Jake the appearance of being very small and lonely. There was some effort there.

Enter bar scene with a sexist, mean guy played by Meat Loaf which is remarkable in the sense that even with such a short appearance, it's still possible to give an awful performance. It's a laughably bad scene, but as I said, thankfully short. We then meet Frankie McGregor who drags a willing Jake Bridges into his world of crime.

Mar 26, 2014

Review: L'assedio [The Siege] (1998)

The Siege is a patiently crafted piece of cinematic eye candy. It's also the first movie I've watched that's directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The only real connection I can make in terms of what I've seen previously is Once Upon a Time in the West which he was one of the credited writers for. Once Upon a Time in the West happens to be one of the rare movies I've given a 10/10 on in my limited years of watching movies so that's pretty significant. It might mean something. Or it might mean nothing.

The movie opens up with a look at where Shandurai comes from played by Thandie Newton. It's a harrowing beginning, aided by an interesting music choice provided by an old man. Shandurai is established as a haunted woman who chooses to move away to Italy to escape her past. 

Mar 24, 2014

Review: Jawbreaker (1999)

Jawbreaker did not have a very warm critical reception when it came out. It's sitting at a 22 Metascore and has a 7% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally I think that's a bit harsh. Jawbreaker is a black comedy after all and critics don't seem to be too kind with the genre. Death to Smoochy comes to the top of my mind as a great black comedy which was not well received either.

Jawbreaker is a celebration/satire of movies set in high school with actors who quite obviously are too old to be there. The main characters are the popular girls you find in every high school which makes for an interesting story from that point of view. Director/Writer Darren Stein shows us that the rise and fall in popular status is unkind and merciless.

Mar 23, 2014

Review: Java Heat (2013)

 In Java Heat, Kellan Lutz takes up the challenge to be the best shirtless actor in the industry. His ex-costar Taylor Lautner may be the most well known in this type of acting, but Lutz makes a valiant effort to take over. Move over method acting, shirtless acting is what it's all about now.

Sarcasm aside, Java Heat feels like a direct-to-video effort. It opens with a Coca-Cola product placement and we learn of a suicide bombing that killed the Sultana of Java. Kellan Lutz plays Jake Wilde, an American who's only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seemingly. However, Lieutenant Hashim played by Ario Bayu doesn't believe he's telling the truth.

Mar 22, 2014

Review: Jane Austen's Mafia! (1998)

Just to preface this, I'm really not a fan of spoofs. Comedy is subjective, but really nailing a spoof is extremely difficult if you ask me and Jane Austen's Mafia! is so far off the mark. It's attempting to spoof basically every well known film centered around Italians like The Godfather, Casino, and Scarface (who's main character is actually Cuban).

Not only are they spoofing Italian themed movies, but basically any popular movies that have come out. Spoofing isn't really the right word to use. These jokes are barely jokes at all; they're non-jokes. They're more like references that should make you chuckle because you've seen that movie. You must get it since you've seen it. Right? Haven't seen the movie? Oh well, better watch that movie.

Mar 21, 2014

Review: Ging chaat goo si 2 [Police Story 2] (1988)

Apologies for not writing up a review for Police Story since I had watched it maybe a week ago. I wrote up a very short review of it for my IMDB list back then which I'll post here:

"Without a doubt, Police Story is one of the finest Jackie Chan movies I've ever had the pleasure to see. The stunts are absolutely breathtaking and if you are a fan of martial arts movies you'll be jumping for joy. Action scenes and certain stunts from Police Story have inspired similar scenes in some Hollywood productions even.

Jackie Chan is charismatic and he's hilarious on several occasions as he has the capability of being. He puts his body on the line many times as do the stuntmen he's working with.

The soundtrack is deliciously 80's and if you're in the mood for a fun, action-packed movie you can't go wrong."

I gave it an 8/10, so it's pretty clear that I absolutely loved it. Police Story 2 is actually a different kind of fish. Instead of being a straight up actioner, it's a lot more subdued. That's not to be mixed up with more boring or anything like that; it's a welcome change. There are more mystery/thriller elements which make it pretty different and I appreciate Jackie Chan's experimentation here.

Review: A Slipping-Down Life (1999)

A Slipping-Down Life is slow at times but where it really shines is in the individual performance of
Lili Taylor. Her character is fleshed-out and we understand her within the first 15 minutes of the movie. Evie Decker is different from other townsfolk and she's unhappy in her current situation. She doesn't know how to change anything though. Where she finds solace is in a potential savior, Guy Pearce's character.

Pearce also does a good job in his respective character, an enigmatic musician who doesn't care what people think of his music. The music that he plays as Drumstrings Casey is actually pretty good too if you ask me.

 A Slipping-Down Life is pretty slow as I said. Not all movies have to go at a breakneck pace but the second half is the least enjoyable part of the movie. It's watchable but it gets pretty dull. Watch A Slipping-Down Life for the actors who are perfectly suited for their roles. That's what makes this film, watching these two souls find meaning in their lives.


Mar 20, 2014

Review: Judas Kiss (1998)

Judas Kiss begins in an inexplicable fashion that I guess sums up this whole watching experience. Why exactly are Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, two awesomely talented English actors cast as law enforcement in Louisiana? Their accents are uneven but there's worse. There is an absolutely hilarious attempt at a Cajun accent from Philip Baker Hall which makes me sad to say because I loved the guy since seeing him as Bookman in an episode of Seinfeld.

The story isn't too bad I suppose but the dialogue wore down on me. It's trying too hard and the effort is showing. I think the possibility of trying to come up with a Quentin Tarantino-esque crime movie was the intention here. It unfortunately falls short in trying to mimic Tarantino's whip smart dialogue. It tries throwing in some popular culture conversations and there's even a torture scene which seems a bit too much to be coincidental.

Carla Gugino plays her role pretty well though as a vulnerable criminal and she's the only thing that's memorable. Judas Kiss is just a forgettable movie that isn't quite terrible but probably not worth a watch unless you're interested in seeing Rickman and Thompson's attempted Cajun accents.