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Monday, 30 April 2018

Retro Review: Lie With Me (2005)

Lie With Me
2005 
Cast: Lauren Lee Smith, Eric Balfour, Polly Shannon, Mayko Nguyen
Genre: Erotic Drama
Estimated Canadian Box Office Gross: over $2 million 

Plot: A young woman who's formed her sexual identity around anonymous one-night-stands considers the option of a committed, monogamous relationship






'These Movie's Hips Do Lie'

Lie With Me is an independent Canadian hardcore porn drama with a tepid story, tepid performances with sex scenes that left me feeling tepid. Although if it had a prettier looking actress as Lila, I guess it wouldn't have been so bad. In terms of the good-looking guy, they got it spot-on with Eric Balfour but with the lead female, they could have gone one better. 

The woman, unattached video store clerk, Leila is sexually charged and sleeps around with several guys. When she meets David, an artist who is looking for a deeper commitment, she hops into bed with him and hoping he will make her change her promiscuous ways. But that doesn't stop her thinking about sex and having sex, even when David doesn't want to give into her desires. 

Leila narrates a contrived monologue: a monologue so tedious and nauseating and making little sense most of the time because she constantly curses with her filthy mouth. She also uses that same mouth to give oral sex to a guy in David, who she bumps into. And the two have an illicit affair of sorts. 

I don't like the film Pretty Woman, but for some reason Lie With Me, is like a hardcore porn version - only minus the rich/poor opposites, Leila is, even more, sadder and pathetic than Vivian, who only has one thing on her mind: and that is to screw, and it has highly charged erotic sex scenes. Sex - not love is what counts for her, and that I find sad in a character in Leila. 

The dialogue is occasionally atrocious, the lead female character, Leila cannot seem to stop muttering the F-word and c**k and she looks a little thin, the performances are one-note and stiff & she came across as dislikable and shallow, who thinks so highly of herself along with the guy played by Eric Balfour. Both characters are not only sexually frustrated but emotionally, they are a mess too. It's a shame, therefore, the film chooses to skip on this aspect and that it just plays out as a nothing love story with no real emotions felt that go beyond the physical and erotic. Passion isn't just screwing with the other person and passion is something that both David and Leila lack and she is just too selfish. I think Lie With Me is a film that tries to have its cake and eat it: the problem is, the film presents itself as a sex flick and when it touches upon the characters feelings and emotions and tries to be meaningful and serious, it fails to convince and it's not strong enough. One also wonders why David would dump his blonde girlfriend for someone as, others would see it, plain looking as Leila. 

The whole film leaves a lot to be desired and all attempts at coming across as a love story, fail. If one's idea of a love story is having a female character utter c**k several times, then one needs to re-analyse their intentions. With a dreary voice-over and slow pacing that put me to sleep, it was so nauseating to sit through. Besides the graphic & unsimulated sex scenes, Lie With Me doesn't attempt and doesn't even try to attempt to delve into any of the issues from an emotional perspective, the other side stories with the other characters are meagre and the conflict towards David and Leila is utterly weak. 

This was a mess and a bore to boot. 






Final Verdict:
 
 

Even if you are into the sex scenes, you can do better and look elsewhere for that, alone and as here they are not so appealing. If you are watching this to see some emotional and tangible character development, one is looking at the wrong movie. Lie With Me is not it, and it never will be. 


This is a romantic drama that plays out like it is being clever and smart, that it wants us or me to feel like there is a real payoff. Yet the thing is, Lie With Me has a female character, who has a potty mouth who keeps saying the F-word, it's as if she has Tourettes or something.


Lie With Me has no pay-off and as a romantic drama, despite the eroticism, romance-wise, it's all a lie.


& it's beyond bad.



Overall:


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Retro Review: Barbershop (2002)

Barbershop
2002
Cast: Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Eve, Keith David, Michael Ealy, Sean Patrick Thomas
Genre: Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $77 million 

Plot: A day in the life of a South Side Chicago Barbershop






'Mildly Pleasant With Engaging Turns That Lift A Bog-Standard Film'


A comedy that doesn't offer much in the way of comedy or anything that is new, the film still scrapes by, thanks to the cast and it exists as a much lighter version of Do The Right Thing. Set in the Black district of Chicago, Illinois, Barbershop is a film that much like its sister counterpart, Beautyshop, there are staff members and customers gossiping, chatting and a place where people let out their grievances, as well as have fun. 

Barbershop operates like an episodic TV sitcom with rapper and actor Ice Cube as Calvin: an entrepreneur and third-generation barber who takes over his father's Barbershop in Chicago's Southside that has been around, ever since 1958 by his grandfather. It also acts as a hot spot for the Black community to gather around and have a good banter. Struggling to pay his taxes, the barbershop is on the verge of closure - yet Calvin harbours dreams to open up his own recording studio in the basement of his house.  

The subplot with the two inept crooks, J.D & Billy played by Anthony Anderson and Lahmard Tate, brother of actor Larenz Tate, trying to break into a stolen ATM, hampers the film & is of no consequence. The writers should have done better than that. 

One thing I give this film credit for is that it is a Black film with a range of characters that show the easy-going lives of those involved that doesn't involve gang-banging, gangsta stuff, fighting a power for Blacks or where women are referred to and act like ho*s and b****es. Calvin's customers and employees go into the barbershop and go about their business in a more relaxed and less restrained approach & though the comedy is very low-level and not laugh out loud funny, it does make it less serious in tone and is a film where people can just sit back, chill and relax with a smile on their faces. From the well-educated guy Jimmy (Sean Patrick Thomas of Save The Last Dance), who thinks he is better than everyone else, the token white, Isacc who thinks, acts and sounds Black, Terri (rapper Eve), the tough-talking, no-nonsense only female of the group to the African immigrant and Eddie (Cedric The Entertainer) the elder old-school barber with plenty of years experience under his belt to name, Barbershop is not devoid of colourful and contrasting characters hailing of different generations, backgrounds and ages and them and their musings do an awfully great deal to make this film entertaining and watchable. 

The performances range from good to very good from across the board that if it wasn't for them, it would be half the movie that it is. 





Final Verdict:

Barbershop is a nice, pleasant offering that whilst it is very formulaic and doesn't break any boundaries or have enough exciting moments, what it does well is to show that Black people are virtually capable and efficient in running their own businesses and handling the everyday goings-on that occurs within and outside the barbershop. 


The writers could have worked a little more on the jokes, which aren't memorable or amusing enough and much like its sequels and the spin-off, Beautyshop, in Barbershop, whilst there are some other far better Black and African-American films, is decent fare, nonetheless.


Overall:


Aladdin Movie Screenshots (1992) Part 7

Aladdin 
1992


















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