Sunday, August 27, 2017

Movie Review: Nice Guys

The Nice Guys
Misty Mountains, Bloom, Lipsync Productions, Nice Guys, Silver Pictures, Waypoint Entertainment, USA, 2016. 

Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a bruiser for hire and Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a jaded private detective in the 1970s Los Angeles. Adult film star Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) crashes her car and dies. Girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) knows something about Misty's death. Holland is hired by Misty's aunt do find Amelia. Jackson is fooled by Amelia to motivate Holland to leave her alone. But it does not get easy for Jackson either as some crooks also search for Amelia and beat him up. They even kill his gold fish. Unacceptable! So Jackson realizes that Amelia is in danger and hires Holland to find her. 
Russell Crowe
Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice
Holland and Holly
Margaret Qualley
Unsolved murders seem to pop around every corner. The investigations of the duo get dangerous and soon a feared hitman John Boy (Matt Bomer) steps in. Also politician Judith Kuttner (Kim Basinger) and her assistant Tally (Yaya DaCosta) have an offer to the Nice Guys.
Kim Basinger
Judith Kuttner
Yaya DaCosta
"Lethal Weapon" and "The Last Boy Scout" writer Shane Black wrote and directed a neo-noir comedy set in the 1970s. The popular culture then had innocent entertainment as "The Waltons" and porn flicks like "Deep Throat" and some humour is found from the conflict of the two worlds. Crowe/Gosling duo works well. Jackson is the heavy, taking care of fighting. Holland is the brains, well brains and brains. Holland thinks he is a smart detective, but he is constantly misquoting, accident-prone and rather stumbles upon clues than finds them. He is quite different from the cool characters Gosling usually plays. Holland's daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) brings the moral spine to the misadventures of the cynical men in corrupt world. Still the ending feels pointless, and there is a feeling of origin story.  It would not be a wonder if some sequel for the duo was made some day.

Rating: Good

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp, Lois Smith, Murielle Telio, Gil Gerard, Daisy Tahan, Kim Basinger, Jack Kilmer, Lance Valentine Butler, Ty Simpkins, Cayla Brady, Tammi Arender, Rebecca Dalton Rusk, Terence Rosemore, John L. Morris, Michelle Rivera, Nathaniel 'Nate' Scott, Amy Goddard, Frank Mottek, Joanne Spracklen, Greg Lindsay, Maddie Compton, J. Todd Anderson, Meredith Berg, Lauren Marini, Ward Roberts, Ryan Powers, Lauren Bair, Zarah Kulczycki, Hana Yuka Sano, Marvin Ross, Rachele Brooke Smith, Adriana Karras, Milo Wesley, Marilyn Chen, Matthew Warzel, Jordan Hairston, Angela Everhart, Joshua Hoover, Yvonne Zima, Lexi Johnson, Chloe Hurst, Gary Weeks, Charles Green, Gary Wolf, Hannibal Buress, Steve Wilder, Garrett Carpenter, Hank Quillen, Michael Beasley, Dominic Bagarozzi, Karrueche Tran, Carson Meyer
Director: Shane Black

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Movie Review: Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy (Yat goh ho yan) a.k.a No More Mr. Nice Guy a.k.a  Mister Cool a.k.a SuperChef a.k.a A Nice Guy
Golden Harvest, Company Hong Kong, Australia, 1997.
Mr. Nice Guy
Jackie (Jackie Chan) is a popular TV-chef. Ruthless drug lord Giancarlo (Richard Norton) wages a gang war with the Demons Gang. Reporter Diana (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) and her crew were just filming a messy drug deal when the bad guys noticed them. Only Diana gets away with the video tape. Luckily she meets Jackie, who knows kung-fu. While escaping the criminals there is a mix up and Diana gets a tape demonstrating Jackie's cooking skills.
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick
Garbage day!
Jackie wanted to be a cop but his father thought that it was too dangerous. Family friend Baggio (Barry Otto) made sure that Jackie pursued safe cook's career. It will not stay safe as Giancarlo's men crash the cooking event searching for the video tape and also Demons join the fun with gang bosses Sandy (Rachel Blakely) and Victor (David William No). Jackie and his Chinese girlfriend Miki (Miki Lee) escape.
Miki Lee
David William No and Rachel Blakely
Victor and Sandy
To add more women to the story, there is Jackie's assistant Lakisha (Karen McLymont). There is a potential for harem comedy, as Miki is jealous and also Diana drops in to find the video. But that's enough drama and romantic comedy as the action soon continues. Even mild mannered Jackie gets mad when the baddies blow up his home and kidnap Miki.
Richard Norton
Jackie Chan, Miki Lee, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick and Karen McLymont
Miki, Diana and Lakisha
Knock knock!
Although Jackie's golden era was in the 1980s Jackie Chan made also numerous entertaining films in the 1990s.  This is the film that contains:
-horse carriage chase
-Jackie fights in a van
-Jackie plays hide-and-seek with bad guys in a corridor of doors.
-Cool fight on a construction site with bad guy getting stuck in a concrete mixer
-Jackie demolishes bad guy's house with haul truck.
Jackie Chan
Distributor New Line Cinema cut the movie to 84 minutes (originally 97 minutes). Although the story is paper thin and all the plot threads remain loose in the end (for example Diana just gets knocked unconscious and disappears from the story before the end, maybe it is just New Line Cinema's editing or then Sammo just didn't care), it has still good action, turbo-paced and comical in the way of best Jackie Chan films. It has fun slapstick comedy and crazy stunts. Director Sammo Hung has a small role as a hapless cyclist. The henchmen of Giancarlo are nameless, there is a blonde thug who seems to be right hand man but he is undistinguished in the credits listed probably under "Giancarlo's men." Also familiar Western face from Jackie's 1990s era films, stunt actor and stunt choreographer  Bradley James Allan is among the baddies.
Unknown blonde thug

Rating: Good

Starring: Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Miki Lee, Karen McLymont, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Vince Poletto, Barry Otto, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Emil Chau, Joyce Godenzi, Peter Houghton, Peter Lindsay, David William No, Rachel Blakely, Judy Green, Stefan Fredrich, Stuart Ritchie, Jonathan Isgar, Kyne Sedgman, Steve Kahlua, Matt Trihey, Matthew Meersbergen, Les Vzice, Karl Ajami, Frederick MacGlure, Bradley James Allan, Douglas Macdonald, Paul Andreovski, Robert Lowe, David Baldwin, Ian Mall, Kerry Blakeman, Zeq McCoy ,Mark Campbell, Mike Menzies, Terry Carter, Jason Murphy, Dennis Lundin, Michael Noonan, Tony Doherty, George Novak, Cameron Douglas, Grant Page, Paul Douglas, Puven Pather, Stuart Ellis, Harry Pavlidis, Mark Fitzpatrick, George Popovich, Stuart Fraser, Johnny Raaen, Michael Hammad, Joseph Sayah, Habby Heske, Gary Shambrooke, Brent Houghton, Vess Svorcan, Richard Huggett, Graham Jahne, Davin Taylor, Chris Kemp, Darko Tuscan, Jade Weitering, Damon Young ,Aaron Notarfrancesco, Jake Notarfrancesco, Frederick Miragliotta, Nick Carrafa, Rod Catteral, Ben Mitchell, Mark Neal, Jerome Pride, Keith Agius, Greg Jamieson, Matthew Dyktynski, Salik Silverstein, Lynne Murphy, Nicholas Bufalo, Shane Alexander, Carla Bonner, Glen Chin, Dan Tucker
Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Movie Review: Willy Fog In 20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Willy Fog In 20000 Leagues Under the Sea a.k.a  The Adventures of Willy Fog: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea a.k.a Willy Fog Matka kapteeni Nemon kanssa
BRB Internacional S.A., Televisión Española (TVE), Spain, Taiwan, 1993/1995.
Loosely based on characters created by Jules Verne.

"Around the World with Willy Fog" or "La vuelta al mundo de Willy Fog" was popular cartoon in Finland in the 1980s, "the Lion version" of Jules Verne's classic novel "Around the World in 80 Days." A sequel series "Willy Fog 2" was also made based on "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Some episodes were cut into TV-movies. In the series most of the heroes were felines (except Tico who is hamster) whereas the antagonists were mostly canines. Interestingly, BRB produced also another classic series "Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds" where the heroes were dogs. Both "Willy Fog" and "Muskehounds" had theme songs that everyone who has seen the series remembers.

1871, London. Sea monster is attacking ships and US government asks gentleman adventurer Willy Fog to join the hunt. Of course Willy agrees and his wife Princess Romy and their loyal servants Passepartout and Tico pack their suitcases and get on board Abraham Lincoln. Harpooner Ned Land and Professor Aronnax are there too to offer help. And so the ship sees a sea beast roaming the ocean. The beast is made of metal so Ned's harpoons have no effect. The heroes are swept overboard and captured to Captain Nemo's submarine Nautilus.
Willy Fog
Passepartout and Tico
The crew is hostile and they don't even respect tea-time. Those barbarians. Being early pioneer of Bartitsu-style, Willy teaches some habits to the crew when they treat Romy disrespectfully. However some crew members are nice and the boat has a talented cook who makes even seaweed tasty. The Captain is a mysterious organ-playing figure.
Willy and Romy overboard
Prof. Aronnax and Ned Land join the adventure
The Cook
Paranoid Captain Nemo is sinking all ships that get on his way. Ned doesn't allow that and together the heroes save a ship that was almost sunk by Nemo's torpedoes. But what about all the sunken ships? Who cares. The premise of the quest is quickly forgotten (either because of slack scriptwriting that doesn't explain Nemo's motives or cutting of the original episodes) and everyone just enjoys the voyage. Although Nemo is basically a homicidal monomaniac he is also a gentleman who loves oceans (think about prototype of Karl Stromberg from "The Spy Who Loved Me") and shows Willy & friends the wonders of the underwater world. But a treacherous crew member plots against Willy. And dangerous icebergs and giant octopus threaten the boat too.
Captain Nemo
Ned prevents sinking of an innocent ship
The animation was made in Taiwan and it looks considerably cheaper than the original series that was coproduced with Nippon Animation, practically making it anime. The sequel series is not ugly like Dingo animations but the difference to the original is still noticeable (for example Romy has developed a squint).
The new characters Aronnax and Ned are quite one-use characters, and Nemo's character is mindbogglingly conflicted. But the main characters Willy, Romy, Passepartout and Tico are the same ones that were lovable in the original series, and their adventure has funny and exciting moments.

Rating: Good (Willy Fog fans)Average (otherwise)

Finnish version voice actors: Eero Saarinen, Heikki Määttänen, Ari-Matti Hedman, Elise Langenoja, Arto Nieminen, Minna Tasanto, Anssi Känsälä ja Pauli Virta
Director: Claudio Biern Boyd

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Movie Review: Atomic Twister

Atomic Twister
Once Upon a Time Films, TBS Superstation, USA, 2002. 

Single-mother Corrine Maguire (Sharon Lawrence) and her son Campbell (Daniel Costello) have moved to small town in Tennessee. Neighbour Jake Hannah (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is a virile police officer, who has a childhood's trauma. Tornado killed his mother, or that's what the told to Campbell. Jake has trouble with his former girl friend Ashley Bishop (Charmaine Guest) whose father happens to be Jake's boss Sheriff C.B. Bishop (Corbin Bernsen). So there is enough drama potential for a regular teen soap-opera. 
Sharon Lawrence
Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Charmaine Guest
Campbell is a player-wannabe who wants to play Twister with his considerably older and curvy nanny Stacy (Joanna Morrison). Naughty kid. 
Joanna Morrison
But this is a disaster movie though. Corrine works in Helman-Klein nuclear plant. Security guard Stu (performed by Olympic champion Carl Lewis) is the only security of the plant that is manned by about 5 people. The reactor is safe and protected from meltdown. But is it tornado-proof? Of course not! The tornado is threatening the plant and even Stu can not sprint fast enough to avoid a dark fate. The communications are lost and the Standard Operating Procedure for Disaster Situations seems to be gone with the wind as no-one really knows what to do. Jake brings an emergency radio, but it only works outside (!) Also the nuclear power plant has chronic power shortages (!!)
Carl Lewis
This makes the safety procedures and management of Chernobyl look good.

If the tornado blows up the Calvin-Klein plant, it would have a huge negative impact on the property prices of the state (bad). So Dr. Martin Jennings (James Gaylyn) from Nuclear Regulatory Commission sends some experts to prevent the disaster. The only expert who gets to the location on time is Manuel Fluentez (George Henare) so Corrine and her work-mates Neville (John Sumner), Gail (Meryl Main) and Potter (Jonathan Blick) have to gain time to prevent the disaster. At the same time Corinne tries to save her son.
Meryl Main
Gail stares at the monitor while Corrine looks horrified
Jonathan Blick and John Sumner
Potter and Neville
Modest TV movie has dramatic music that sometimes sounds like background music from original "MacGyver." Although it is not quite worst of Syfy-style films, there are many scenes that make you shake your head. There is not much believability and the technical details are horrible. In one scene a guy has to walk through a  radioactive area to hit the shutdown switch. One would think moving quickly would shorten the exposure time to radiation but no. Let's stroll slowly admiring the scenery instead. And with Stu dead just about anyone can wander into the nucular plant without hindrance. And if something is broken, kick it and it works again.
Yes, they really are tornadoes.

Some amusingly bad scenes and nice-looking ladies make it watchable. Otherwise it is pretty basic cheap disaster film that delivers a small amount of suspense.

No radiation-laced tornado is seen. Now that would be silly. That would be like combining already dangerous tornado with something overkill like sharks. What?
Corbin Bernsen drinking coffee

Rating: Bad or So bad it is good

Starring: Sharon Lawrence, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Carl Lewis, Jonathan Blick, Daniel Costello, Charmaine Guest, George Henare, John Leigh, John Sumner, Corbin Bernsen, David Aston, Paul Barrett, Grant Bridger, Katrina Devine, Peter Feeney, Taylor Garton, James Gaylyn, Michele Hine, Meryl Main, Joanna Morrison, Ashleigh Seagar, Jared Michael Thomas, Louise Wallace, Sara Wiseman, Roz Turnbull, Jak Wyld
Director: Bill Corcoran

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Movie Review: Chasers

Morgan Creek Productions, USA, 1994.

Sailor Eddie Devane (William McNamara) has a last day in the service of U.S. Navy. Couple of shady deals should be still completed, selling a cargo of army pants and covering the tracks together with partner-in-crime Howard (Crispin Glover). He has already ordered a Porsche from Salesman Stig (Dean Stockwell). However Eddie gets a last duty to escort a prisoner to court. There's no way to avoid the duty so he has to go on a mission with tough chief petty officer Rock Reilly (Tom Berenger) who already hates him.
Tom Berenger and William McNamara
Rock & Eddie
Due to technical error the prisoner they have to escort is a woman. Seductive Toni Johnson (Erika Eleniak) tries to escape on every possible occasion. Slowly the mismatched trio begins to develop fondness for each other. Nothing bonds better than little fist fighting and backstabbing.
Erika Eleniak
Happily strolling on the countryside
Country music plays and quips fly. There is an amusing brief role from Gary Busey, he appears as pesky prison warden. This was the last feature film directed by Dennis Hopper, he appears here as pervy underwear salesman. Seymour Cassel appears as Master Chief Bogg.
Seymour Cassel
Master Chief Bogg
Gary Busey
Sergeant Banger
It is not very outstanding military comedy, with many ideas left half-way but has some fun scenes and is in some way entertaining. Berenger is pleasantly grumpy, Dwight Yoakam's songs and other country music are good and the story has a mild feel-good aftertaste. There is some nice southern country atmosphere with diners and roadhouses, 1970s-80s road comedies were perhaps the inspiration. There is some eye-candy for fans of William McNamara and Erika Eleniak, if you know what I mean. Still with the cast more fun could have been expected.

Rating: Average

Starring: Tom Berenger, William McNamara, Erika Eleniak, Crispin Glover, Matthew Glave, Grand L. Bush, Dean Stockwell, Bitty Schram, Gary Busey, Seymour Cassel, Frederic Forrest, Marilu Henner, Dennis Hopper, Scott Marlowe, Jim Grimshaw, Mick McGovern, Charles Page, Richard Pelzman, Laura Cathey, Jim Bath, Michael Flippo, Rick Warner, Rob Priester, Gene Dann, Jon Rodgers, Michael Martin, Victoria Duffy, Michael O'Brien, Elizabeth Hawkins, Tony Donno, Wallace Wilkinson, Robert Pentz, Jackson 'Rock' Pinckney, Jimmie Lee Sessoms, Melissa Wyler, Ted Detwiler, Bob Dorough, John Christopher Stuart, Toni Prima, David E. Harshbarger, Matthew Sullivan, Justin Thaler
Director: Dennis Hopper 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Movie Review: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
Twentieth Century Fox, Interscope Communications, Amercent Films, American Entertainment Partners L.P., USA, 1987.

After gaining a victory for nerd-rights against Alpha-Beta jocks the Lambda-Lambda-Lambda nerds Lewis (Robert Carradine), Poindexter (Timothy Busfield), Lamar (Larry B. Scott), Booger (Curtis Armstrong) and Wormser (Andrew Cassese) travel to Fraternity Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) stays home as he broke his foot while playing chess. In sunny Florida bikini-girls are plentiful and that suits perfectly for the nerds.
Larry B. Scott, Robert Carradine,Timothy Busfield, Curtis Armstrong, Andrew Cassese
Lamar, Lewis, Poindexter, Wormser and Booger
Courtney Thorne-Smith
Ed Lauter and Bradley Whitford
Buzz and Roger
In the hotel they meet new friends: friendly hotel trainee Sunny (Courtney Thorne-Smith, known as Alison from  "Melrose Place") and pre-nerdcore era rapper Stewart (Barry Sobel) but also old enemies are there. Alpha-Betas are there with the bellowing jock Ogre (Donald Gibb) from the first movie, with his classic line: 'Nerds!' The hotel manager Buzz (Ed Lauter) does not want nerds in the hotel. Conspiring with jock-president Roger (Bradley Whitford) they evict the nerds. The nerds are forced to move to a sucky hotel, but the jocks are still not contended and try to kick them out of the conference. The nerds find themselves stranded on a deserted island and have to put their brains to use to get out. 
Donald Gibb
Nerds With Attitude
Although the permise is not as original as in the prequel than the first, I somehow enjoyed this more. The second Nerd-adventure rolls smoother than the previous, having less paartying and more plot and slightly more clean jokes. The basic idea is the same, the nerds try to get accepted but the jocks play dirty. However there are plot holes that look like the script was rewritten on the fly. Stewart has little meaning to the plot and it seems that originally Sunny was supposed to have romance with him, but the story arc was abandoned and in the end Sunny is hugging Lewis. Betty (Julia Montgomery) is seen only as a portrait that Lewis packs in his suitcase. Lewis, you womanizer. However in the third Nerd-movie Lewis and Betty are happily married so everything is well again (I don't have the sequels). Much of the events are silly but it is a fun and genuinely a 1980s comedy.
Lewis, you dog.
Courtney Thorne-Smith is cute in her nice girl role. Regular Oriental old guy actor James Hong appears as Snotty, the Master of Gross. After the first film Ogre became somewhat a cult character and likewise Jaws in the "Moonraker", he is made more sympathetic here.
James Hong
Rating: Good

Starring: Robert Carradine, Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott, Timothy Busfield, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Andrew Cassese, Donald Gibb, Bradley Whitford, Ed Lauter, Barry Sobel, Tom Hodges, Jack Gilpin, Anthony Edwards, James Hong, Priscilla Lopez, James Cromwell, Jason Julien, Marilyn Caskey, Richard Joseph Paul, Rhonda Waymire, Donna Rosea, Susan Vanech, Robert Goodman, Michael Fitzgerald, Huey Laborde, Raymond Forchion, Carmen Thomas, Miles Greadington, Victor Morris, Ed Knott Jr., Tom Boykin, Ruben Rabasa, Michael J. Carnevale, Noreen Compton, Janet Constable, Stephen Ray Cranford, Ellen Marguerite Cullivan, Ian Ng Cheng Hin, Scott Spinnuci, Kai Thorup, Todd Vittum
Director: Joe Roth

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