Bowfinger (1999)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Steve Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Jamie Kennedy, Barry Newman, Terence Stamp, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.


Tagline – A desperate plan for a desperate man

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Movie About Making a Movie

 

Story: Bowfinger starts when desperate movie producer Bowfinger (Martin) wants to get a brand-new film off the ground, he tells his crew that hot shot producer Jerry Renfro (Downey Jr) and massive action star Kit Ramsey (Murphy). The reality he hasn’t got them and starts to film the movie without Kit’s knowledge.

Hiring new to the city ambitious want to be actress Daisy (Graham) with his most trusted star Carol (Baranski) the film shot is underway. Can Bowfinger pull this off without anything going wrong.

 

Thoughts on Bowfinger

 

Characters – Bowfinger is the movie producer that has been searching for a hit for years. He will lie to his crew and film around the celebrity star of the film, he always has an answer for anything that gets thrown in his way. Kit Ramsey is the mega star, he is searching for his big memorable hit, part of the Mindheads (blatant piss take of Scientology) where he is also paranoid about people talking to him, he spends the whole film trying to escape the actors from Bowfinger’s movie not knowing he is being filmed. Jiff is a look alike that comes into help the film fill in parts where Kit is needed. Daisy is the ambitious actress fresh to the Hollywood, she takes the role in the film and works her way through the crew to get a larger part through the movie. The rest of the cast shows the members of the crew that each give us the part of the film making process.

PerformancesSteve Martin in the leading role is good in this role, he doesn’t fall into his normal comedy routine but gets the laughs needed. Eddie Murphy is good in his roles, we do believe his paranoid filled character which clearly is a bit of a piss take on Tom Cruise and he never goes over the top. Heather Graham gets to have a lot of fun poking fun at the ‘will do anything for a role’ actresses that have been in Hollywood. The whole cast are good through the film too.

StoryThe story focuses on the idea that a producer will secretly film around a big name actor to get a film made. This does show how a small crew can come together to try and get a movie made, we only need to look at early stories from indie film makers and shortcuts by big name directors in the past to understand this process. Throwing the idea that the big star Kit is part of a cult like religion which only plays into his paranoia in the film helps create everything. if you want to look back in history you could easily be making comparison to Plan 9 for style of working and loyalty to the crew. This might go over the top with certain elements which is fine it adds the comedy and ends up giving us a story which shows how commitment can build a film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from a mix of trying to make the film happen, stereotypes for Hollywood and the paranoia Kit shows.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, it shows us how the operations can be done with limited budgets even if things aren’t done the most legal ways.


Scene of the Movie –
Final sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mindheads are too much on the noise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good comedy that will get laughs, it has a good cast and will show how the movie making process works.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

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Blue Streak (1999)

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal, Stephen Carpenter (Screenplay)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, Nicole Ari Parker, Graham Beckel

 

Plot: A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.


Tagline – To cop the loot – he became one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Blue Streak starts when Miles (Lawrence) is committing a robbery when it goes wrong when his crew member Deacon (Greene) turns on the team, Miles stashes the diamond and ends up in prison for a couple of years. Once released he goes to pick up his diamonds only to learn the building has been turned into police station.

Miles decides to go undercover as a police officer and assigned rookie detective Carlson (Wilson) as he tries to blend in retrieve his diamond and get out quickly only to prove himself as a good cop that helps with major crimes.

 

Thoughts on Blue Streak

 

Characters – Miles Logan is a career thief that’s latest job goes wrong, when his crew turned on him, he stashes his loot. Once released Miles thinks he can just walk bac into the building and pick up his diamond, only to learn it is now a police station, he tries to go undercover as a pizza delivery guy before deciding police officer is the way to go. He turns out to be a great police officer helping with many cases which increase in nature including trying to take down a big drug lord. Carlson is the rookie detective struggling with his new role in the department, he gets assigned as the partner to Miles who teaches him how to take more chances when trying to solve crimes. Deacon is the one that turned on Miles and has waited for him to get out of jail to take what he thinks is his, the diamond and isn’t afraid to kill the people behind it anymore. Tulley is the idiot crew member who is used more for driving and has resorted to small time robbery after Miles ended up in jail.

PerformancesMartin Lawrence is good in this leading role, sure his career didn’t go in the same direction Will Smith did, but he still had the ability to lead the right role in the film. Luke Wilson is good, though his character is slightly basic when it comes to having too much to do. Most of the support performances focus on the actors reacting to what Lawrence gets up to.

StoryThe story follows a thief wanting to collect his stash after being released from prison, only to learn the building he put it in is now a police station, forcing him to go undercover to retrieve it. The story works for crime comedy genre because it puts our character in a position like the fish out of water and shows that criminals are better at catching thieves than the police as we see how he accidentally rises up the ranks through his time undercover. If we could have had more about the crew member turned bad during the search it would have added a little something more to the film as we spend nearly the whole film focusing on Miles journey to get his diamond back.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is mostly saved for the final chase to Mexico which is simple enough action to watch. The comedy comes from how Miles seems to solve the crimes the cops couldn’t and we also get plenty of laughs from Tulley being the dumb criminal partner. The crime side of the film includes the opening robbery and how Miles helps solves different crimes along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, though nothing is used to make it clear it is in that city, the idea of the settings play more into the idea that the diamond was hidden in a police station.


Scene of the Movie –
Working with the FBI.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using the villainous crew member enough through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable 90s action crime comedy, you can have a lot of fun watching this one without needing to take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple, Fun and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Wedding Singer (1999)

Director: Frank Coraci

Writer: Tim Herlihy (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, Matthew Glave, Ellen Albertini Dow

 

Plot: Robbie, a singer, and Julia, a waitress, are both engaged, but to the wrong people. Fortune intervenes to help them discover each other.


Tagline – Before the internet, Before cell phones, Before roller-blades, There was a time… 1985. Don’t pretend you don’t remember.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Rom Com

 

Story: The Wedding Singer starts when positive popular wedding singer Robbie Hart (Sandler) is left at the alter by his fiancée, Julia Sullivan (Barrymore) is working at a waitress at weddings who has been trying to get her fiancée to set a date.

When Robbie returns to his wedding singer, he isn’t the same, but Julia puts him back on the right path as he continues to help the outcasts get their moment. Robbie helps Julia with her wedding arrangements as her fiancée is too busy and she is new to town, as time goes by the two become friends.

 

Thoughts on The Wedding Singer

 

Characters – Robbie Hart is the best wedding singer in town, his life is in place with his wedding happening soon, his life crashes when he gets left at the alter, but a new friendship with Julia brings a new light to his life. Julia is the waitress working weddings, waiting for her fiancée to get a date set up, when it gets arranged not knowing many people, she befriends Robbie to help arrange the details. Holly is the sister of Julia that helped get her the job, the wilder of the two. Sammy is the best friend of Robbie, a limo driver that has been working with Robbie for years.

PerformancesAdam Sandler is an actor that has been getting slammed left, right and centre in the modern times, but many people remember in the 90’s he knew how to make quality rom coms where he can give us his style of comedy and make it funny without it being over the top, this is one of his best comedy performances. Drew Barrymore is great in this role too because she had the girl next door around her which comes through in her performance. The supporting characters are all good too, they give enough laughs without taking the scene away from the leads.

StoryThe story follows two people that believe they are in love and about to marry the person they love, only after they spend time together they learn they should be together, but both are the type of person not to take that chance. With an 80s setting we get to see how the love story between the two unfolds and just whether they will end up together or not.

Comedy/Romance/MusicThe comedy comes for small action in the film, most are funny, though we do get early signs of the weaker humour Sandler brings us now. The romance shows us just how you could meet anyone at the wrong time in life and they could be the person you were meant to be with. The music is filled with 80s classics that we all know the words too.

SettingsThe film give us the 80s setting throughout which does help with certain parts of the film not going down the modern usage of technology which would have helped along the way.


Scene of the Movie –
The singing side of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We get glimpses of the bad side of Sandler.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best of Sandler when it comes to comedy, it has the right laughs for the most part and does keep the idea of falling in love simple.

 

Overall: Sandler when he was at his best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – R – Ravenous (1999)

Director: Antonia Bird

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer

 

Plot: In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.


Tagline – Bon apétit!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasty Addition

 

Story: Ravenous starts as Captain John Boyd (Pearce) is left disgraced during a battle gets set to a quiet military outpost to save face for the army. The Outpost is filled with a mix of different men including Cleaves (Arquette), Toffler (Davies) and Hart (Jones).

When a stranger Colqhoun (Carlyle) is rescued he tells the tale of his journey which saw his men turn into cannibals but he escaped the panic. The men set out to rescue the remaining survivors across the harsh snow-covered mountain range with Colqhoun as their guide. When Colqhoun’s true nature is released it becomes a battle to survive against the blood thirsty maniac.

 

Thoughts on Ravenous

 

Characters – Captain John Boyd is known to the people as a hero, but he is anything but that as survived rather than won his battle. He is relocated to a small outpost where he can work with the quiet group of soldiers but soon he finds himself needing to face his own demons when a sadistic cannibal starts picking off his unit. Colqhoun is the stranger discovered with a story of a cannibal group in the woods, but soon we learn he is a lone sadistic cannibal just looking for more food. The rest of the characters are just other soldiers in the unit that have different drive through the film.

PerformancesGuy Pearce is great in this leading role of a man who must face his own demons while also questioning his own sanity. Robert Carlyle is also great in this film, we see his calm ability to keep people listening to him even if he is the one doing things wrong. The rest of the cast are good without getting too much time to shine on the level of the two leads.

StoryThe story takes us into a world of cannibals and disgraced soldiers, we see how one man is left to battle his own demons while dealing with a sadistic cannibal that no one else is believing his true colours. This is a battle between the two men to stay ahead of the other and as things unfold we get twists on how they will stay ahead of each other too, which does keep us guessing to how this will play out.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of the movie comes from the effects of cannibalism on the characters with the horror showing us just how far a character could go to survive, including eating human flesh.

SettingsThe setting helps because our characters feel isolated through everything that happens which helps Colqhoun get around so easily.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the horrors of what is happening with the most part being practical effects which helps us enjoy the environment we are placed into.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Wasting David Arquette.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good fantasy horror involving cannibals, it does have a few tonal problems mostly with Colqhoun because one minute he is calm but the next he is blood driven and it flicks between the two too often.

 

Overall: Great addition to the cannibal movies.

Rating

 

Jakob the Liar (1999)

Director: Peter Kassovitz

Writer: Peter Kassovitz, Didier Decoin (Screenplay) Jurek Becker (Novel)

Starring: Robin Williams, Hannah Taylor Gordon, Bob Balaban, Alan Arkin, Liev Schreiber

 

Plot: In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German radio broadcast about Russian troop movements. Returned to the ghetto, the shopkeeper shares his information with a friend and then rumors fly that there is a secret radio within the ghetto. Jakob uses the chance to spread hope throughout the ghetto by continuing to tell favorable tales of information from “his secret radio.” Jakob, however, has a real secret in that he is hiding a young Jewish girl who escaped from a camp transport train. A rather uplifting and slightly humorous film about World War II Jewish Ghetto life.


Tagline –  He will make you believe.

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong, but Not Impactful Enough

 

Story: Jakob the Liar starts in Poland and the Jewish ghetto during World War II, Jakob (Williams) a pancake salesman is trying to avoid the curfew and while being accused of failing to follow the instruction he over hears the radio announcing the Russians are coming, he saves a young girl Lina (Gordon) the world spreads around the ghetto that the Russians are coming with Jakob giving them hope.

As the stories continue to grow Jakob learns he can no longer tell the truth because it will only leave the people with no hope and if he continues his lies he will give them false hope which might put the lives of fellow residents at risk.

 

Thoughts on Jakob the Liar

 

Characters – Jakob is one of the Jews confined the ghettos in Poland during World War II, he keeps his head down with his connection, until one day he makes the story up of hearing the Russians are coming which lifts the moral in the ghetto, only for everyone there wanting to listen to his radio, the one he doesn’t have, but he can’t tell the truth because it will bring back the suicides in the ghetto. The rest of the character we meet are the residents of the ghetto and a young girl Lina that has escaped the transport trains, they all see hope in Jakob’s stories.

PerformancesRobin Williams in the leading role does nail the accent, get his moments of humour and heart, but sadly it is hard to take the film seriously when you are waiting for a laugh even for the sensitive subject. The rest of the cast are good even if we are turning to Robin slightly too much through the film.

StoryThe story is a difficult one to watch with a humorous tone because it was a horrendous time in history, we know what happened to the Jews and how they were forced to live. Now saying this, how the Jews were given hope from the stories of Jakob does help the hellish life they were living through, but watching things get out of control does play into the what makes the story interesting to watch. This is a story that doesn’t balance the sensitive subject very well though which disappoints.

WarThe film is set in the war time, we get to see the conditions Jews were forced to live through for the most part, but not the conflict.

SettingsThe settings do make us believe we are there with the victims of the time which can be hard to watch like always.


Scene of the Movie –
Battling what to do.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too humorous in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting idea for the how Jews would try to improve moral in a difficult time, but end sup being too humorous for the subject matter.

 

Overall: Not on the leave of the best holocaust movies.

Rating