Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Addams Family Values

Hello all.  It's time to review the Sequel to 1991's the Addam's Family...cleverly titled Addams Family Values.  This one came out 2 years later, in 1993, and celebrates the birth of the newest Addams, little Pubert. All the regulars are back, with a new Grandmama (Carol Kane). Also, love is in the air between Debbie (Joan Cusack) and Fester...but does Debbie have some sort of ulterior motive?  Is a bear catholic?  Does the pope shit in the woods?

In some ways I like this movie better than the original.  This one has more macabre humor and better one-liners.  The kids get more screen time, and we get an early appearance from the even then brilliant David Krumholtz.  Gomez and Morticia are again the hands down BEST couple in movies.  Passionate and witty, they are what you wish you were.

So yeah, this is a short one, because like I said in the last one, I love this film.  If you haven't seen it, see it.

Also, the NEXT movie is a personal favorite, and as such, it may be a longer review...

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Addams Family

Man, I love this one.  This sucker came out in 1991, and it REALLY explains some things.  The increase of goth kids at the time, for one.  For weirdos like me, this movie made me feel that however strange I was, however odd, I could still find acceptance and, dare I hope, love.

The casting of this movie was perfect.  Raul Julia was amazing as Gomez, before Jean-Claude Van Damme and every other cast member killed him by appearing with him in Street Fighter (man, fuck that movie).  With respects to the great John Astin, Raul Julia was Gomez and there shall be none greater.  Anjelica Huston, again, with respects to Carolyn Jones, made Morticia sexy and slightly frightening.  The strongest feeling I got when watching the two of them though, was a true sense of family.  The actors made you believe they were deeply and insanely in love with each other, as opposed to just deeply insane.  Christopher Lloyd as Fester was amazing, he exuded menace and also a childlike naivete and, at least when he was pretending to be Fester (go with it) a wistful sense of having found somewhere to belong, when previously having been adrift.  Add that to Christina Ricci's extreme creepiness as Wednesday Addams and you have a formula for success.

The writing  in this movie was perfect and what I expect from Larry Wilson and Caroline Thompson (seriously, look up their credits and you will see how much they rock both together and solo).  Every character has their own, unique brand of crazy that they radiate.

The set dressers deserve a special accolade.  Every inch of the Addam's mansion is festooned with oddities and in-jokes.

 The music is an odd mix of orchestral and...M.C. Hammer.  Seriously.  I also love the Mamushka!  It's one of the best scenes in the movie, even though it has NOTHING to do with the majority of the movie.

So, see this, if you haven't.  If it's a part of your childhood, see it again.  I love it everytime I see it. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Here we are again, with a review of the second Ace Ventura movie, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

 Hey, fun fact:  This is the only sequel to a Carrey movie that Carrey stars in.  Woo hoo knowledge!

Anyway, on to the film.

This movie was a semi-grossout comedy, meaning you only have the urge to vomit once or twice.... As previously stated, this is a Jim Carrey vehicle.  It falls between Batman Forever and The Cable Guy, which means it is one of Carrey's last "fan favorite" films.

So Ace is back, and the catch phrases are flying.  Seriously.  He barely goes five minutes without spouting an old one or one of the new ones from this movie.  The plot here concerns Ace, after a heartbreaking loss, being brought back into the animal saving business by Fulton Greenwall (Ian MacNiece), who works for a consulate in a made up African nation.  Y'know, if we took every made-up African nation from films and books and made them real, Africa would be like 4 times the size it is.  So anyway, Ace is in the jungle, which looks like a woodsy forest in America...because it is.  Yeah, the film was (shockingly) not filmed in Africa, but in South Carolina and Texas...because when I think of Africa, I think of South Carolina and Texas.  Still, they manage to make it look passable, and the setting barely distracts from the film...

So, then as per usual, Ace pisses off the rich and overmoneyed (they deserve it) and starts his investigation.  Ace is a shitty investigator.  Seriously.  He can find clues, but he lucks into all his big breakthroughs.  However, he is observant, when it suits the plot.

Bottom line, it's a sequel, and fairly predictable.  Worth seeing once or twice, and carried wholly by Carrey's acting abilities and comedy skills.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Does everyone remember when Jim Carrey used to be funny?

I do.

At one time, Jim Carrey was hilarious.  I know, given his public profile, and some of the awful movies he's made, this is hard to believe, but really, at one time people couldn't get enough of this guy.  I remember the first time I really noticed him, on In Living Color.  He was doing his Jack Nicholson impression.  That one where he does an impression of Jack playing the Joker in Burton's Batman? 

I actually can't seem to find that...if you can, please post it in the comments.

But anyway, Jim Carrey was REALLY REALLY funny in the early 90's.  So when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was announced, I knew I had to see this movie.

The film stars Carrey as Ace Ventura, an eccentric detective specializing in missing animal cases.  Ace is an arrogant but skilled protagonist, who is essentially written as a superhero.  Carrey, who, along with Jack Bernstein and director Tom Shadyac, wrote the screenplay, gets this.  Ace survives shark attacks, shootings, and Sean Young.  And Sean Young is straight up crazy.  Also, Carrey couldn't resist hyping his character's extreme sexual prowess with a pre-Friends Courteney Cox.  I have no doubt most of us would do the same were we writing the film. 

Carrey's real strengths get to shine through.  He has always had the comic timing of a Marx Brother meshed with just a little of the voice skills of the great Mel Blanc, combined with the spastic movements of Jerry Lewis and the facial malleability of Gumby.  Carrey also strays from obvious gross-out humor, instead making Ace extremely weird.  I have always appreciated this, as anyone can be gross, but it takes an incredible performer to convincingly pull off weird.

Other smart moves on the parts of the filmmakers:

  • Limiting the number of lines Dan Marino gets to speak.  Dan looks like his default facial expression is bewildered, and his line delivery is set to "everything's a question."
  • Actually filming the movie in Miami, since it takes place there.
  • Udo Kier.  Yes he barely appears in the movie, but isn't he just creepy?
 Things that were not so good:

  • The catchphrases.  Save me from the catchphrases.  I remember EVERYONE saying "All-righty then" and "Loohoo-say-her" back in the day.  This was...unfunny.  Also I believe if someone was caught using them too much, it would be considered justifiable homicide.
  • The rampant homophobia:  Besides those jokes being way to easy even in the 90's, there are much funnier ways to finding out the woman you were kissing is in fact a man.
  • Not enough Tone Loc.  I think we all agree on this.

Also of note is the spin-off cartoon, which is just as horrible as it sounds, but does prove that Carrey was a hugely bankable star.  Look, his first three starring roles got made into cartoons.  How many other actors can we say that about?

No, seriously, I'm asking, I have no idea.

Anyway, Ace.  I still love Ace, despite the passage of many years, and the film still holds up.  Sit down, gather your pets around the television, and enjoy.

Added Bonus:  Here's some scenes from the television broadcast of  Ace Ventura, not available on Blu-Ray or DVD.  Why not?  Maybe Warner Bros. hates us and wants us to die.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

200 Cigarettes

Here we go, the first review:

"If You Remember Anything That I Tell You, Remember This:  James Brown is the Baddest Motherfucker in Show Business" -- The Disco Cabbie

Sometimes MTV gets it right.

I just rewatched an old favorite film from the "stars everyone" genre called 200 Cigarettes.  Seriously, this film is half I know them and half who the fuck is that?

So anyway, the film's premise is it's 1981, it's about to be 1982, and everyone in the cast is on their way to a New Year's eve party thrown by Monica (Martha Plimpton)...but no one wants to be the first to arrive.  We have Kevin (Paul Rudd) and Lucy (Courtney Love), two lifelong friends who are dealing with Kevin's recent break-up with Ellie (Janeane Garofalo),  Cindy (Kate Hudson) and Jack (Jay Mohr) who slept together the night before, Val (Christina Ricci), Monica's cousin and her friend Stephie (Gaby Hoffmann) two girls from Ronkonkoma (perhaps the ONLY time it's been mentioned on film) who came in for the party and meet up with Tom (Casey Affleck) and Dave (Guillermo Diaz), two punks.  There's also Caitlyn (Angela Featherstone) and Bridget (Nicole Ari Parker), two friends who are competing for men.  Caitlyn is seeing Monica's ex-boyfriend Eric (Brian McCardie) who has problems of his own.  Also along for the ride are Ben Affleck as the idiotic seeming Bartender (though that could just be Affleck being himself), Hillary (Catherine Kellner), Monica's best friend, and of course, the incomparable Dave Chappelle as "Disco Cabbie."  There's also a special cameo by that guy, you know, with the glasses, he has that album out...

A lot of people are down on this movie, and I can see why.  There are some predictable parts, and so many characters to keep track of.  Given the type of comedy it is, you have to have all the characters at least paired off to keep the plot, such as it is, progressing.  Yeah, there's really not much of a plot, which I guess is what draws me to this movie.  It's really in the "slice of life" style, where we meet these characters, we figure out who they are and keep going from there.  However, they do end the film with the somewhat predictable "(nearly) everyone finds love" ending.  Those who don't sort of earn what they deserve. 

Also, I love the 80's soundtrack, which is in fact mostly from the early 80's (only 2 covers in the movie).  It fit the mood and kept the movie going.  

I've gotta give special notice to the work of Dave Chappelle.  Though barely in the movie, he really helps tie the film together at points and every time he's onscreen, the movie gets more funky.  If Disco Cabbie existed, I would take more cabs. 

So, yeah, see the movie.  You'll enjoy it, but it ain't Shakespeare.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Opening statement

Well, here we are.  My new blog.  What I will attempt to do here is review damn near every film I own.  Alphabetically.  I will attempt one a week, but some weeks will have more.  Yeah, basically this will be me gushing about movies I love in a pathetic and transparent attempt to get you to see them.  So that's pretty much what we're doing here.