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Friday, 31 August 2018

Mini Retro Review: Freefall (1994) #badmovies

Freefall
1994
Action


Originally scheduled for a theatrical release in the U.S, this is a low budget -like movie that was sent straight-to-video. A wildlife photographer, Katie (Pamela Gidley) is sent to a part of Africa on an assignment by her not- all-he- seems fiance (Jeff Fahey of The Lawnmower Man) - only to end up in Venezuela where she bumps into Grant (Eric Roberts), who is the good guy in this one with his shirt off. They have sex, she is drugged and finds herself in London, plus it turns out Roberts is an Interpol agent. Well, he claims to be one. After seeing the poster, I'd thought I'd get a Cliffhanger-type thriller.... instead it plays out as a dreary, melodramatic bland drama with splices of action. It reminds me of The Specialist with Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone, which Roberts himself, appeared in also. There is a guy with a terrible bleach blond hair-do, I was bored until the 30th minute when there was a twist in the story, but then it is back to being dreary again. But then it cranks up the action, which there wasn't enough of. Being a Londoner, It was nice to see parts of London; however, the story just wasn't adventurous or exciting as I'd anticipated and the mystery was lacking. Eric Roberts did what he could with the role, but compared to his famous sister, Julia, he lacks onscreen appeal and charisma and there was barely any chemistry between himself and Pamela Gidley. Not enough action and not enough adventure, Freefall is a film that is in freefall. 


Is It Worth Watching?

For die-hard Eric Roberts fans only


Overall:

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Aladdin & The King of Thieves Movie Screenshots (1996) Part 5

Aladdin & The King of Thieves
1996

    

   

   

   

   

   


   

  

   

   

   

    
   

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

B-Movie Actress Feature Spotlight: Tia Carrere

Current Net Worth: over $6.5 million

Born Althea Rae Janairo on January 2, 1967, Tia Carrere, as she is known professionally, is an actress and singer who originally hails from Honolulu, Hawaii. The daughter of a banker and a computer supervisor, she is of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Carrere, who also began working as a model, harboured ambitions in becoming a singer and in 1985, she made her appearance on U.S talent show, Star Search aged 17. But it turned out to be a shortlived experience, as she was eliminated during the first round. She didn't let that deter her from following her dreams, however. 

She made her feature film debut in the 1987 horror, Zombie Nightmare. After being spotted in a supermarket by a local producer, Carrere landed a role in the teen comedy-drama, Aloha Summer a year later as a shy Hawaiian girl. After that came daytime soap, General Hospital and for 2 years, Carrere played a student nurse, Jade. She became entangled in a messy legal battle as she tried to get out of her contract so she could star in The A-Team TV series. However, she lost out and eventually saw out her General Hospital contract. Carrere made further appearances as bit-part roles in shows Airwolf, Macguyer, Quantum Leap and Married With Children as a modelling rival of Kelly Bundy's, played by Christina Applegate. 

Her debut and transition to film roles came in 1991 in martial arts actioner, Showdown In Little Tokyo with Brandon Lee and Dolph Lundgren (and the film where she used a body double for her love scene), and Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man with Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke as Japanese characters, Minako in the former and Kimiko as the latter.


1992 came the breakthrough moment for Tia Carrere when she was cast as rocker chick and love interest, Cassandra Wong opposite stars and writers, Mike Myers as Wayne and Dana Carvey as Garth in Wayne's World, which has become a '90s comedy classic. She even turned down the chance to star in the syndicated Baywatch as a marine biologist love interest to accept the role in the movie. Carrere even performed all of her own songs in the first Wayne's World movie. The success of the film worldwide was massive, as it grossed over $180 million in box office receipts and she didn't hesitate in saying 'yes' to reprising her character in the follow-up sequel, a year later. For a while, Carrere was set to become a bona fide breakout film star, and I'd add first major Asian American movie star too before the likes of Lucy Liu, Ming-Na Wen emerged. Anita Li, writer of The Cut cites Cassandra as, ''one of the more multidimensional Asian female characters in mainstream American comedy and that she's special because she bucks the reductive stereotypes of Asian women in popular culture''. 


''I'm from Hawaii, where everyone is mixed with different ethnicities, especially Asian. So when I came to L.A and people tried to put me in a box, like someone who needs to do accents, be subservient, wear long wigs - I had short hair at the time - it was strange to me. They hadn't seen faces like mine onscreen''. - Tia Carrere, 2017
Carriere tried her hand at more action-orientated roles, first being the crime thriller, Rising Sun by playing a computer expert alongside Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes and secondly, as Juno Skinner as the femme fatale-like antagonist opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in James Cameron's 1994 action comedy blockbuster, True Lies, based on the French film, La Totale!

But right after True Lies, her film career pretty much stalled with flops in the little- known Jury Duty, High School High the Dangerous Minds parody, actioner Hollow Point, The Immortals alongside B-movie actor, Eric Roberts as a robber and these all headed straight- to- video. Carrere mentioned that she was asked to audition for Disney's Mulan, yet her agent didn't notify her of this until she arrived home. As a result, she fired him. 

Afterwards, Carrere turned her attention to being a pop star. She released her first album in 1993 titled 'Dream' and she recorded 5 studio albums in total, as well as turned to voiceover work for the Lilo and Snitch animated feature film and TV series as the character, big sister, Nani. As time went on, she starred in the Canadian TV series, Relic Hunter as professor Sydney Fox who is in search of ancient artefacts, with a plot that was akin to the Indiana Jones movies. The show lasted for 3 seasons from 1999 to 2002. 

She made further guest TV appearances on the short-lived sitcom, Back To You, as well as Nip/Tuck. Tia also made her film comeback somewhat in 2016's Showdown in Manila: a low- rent version of The Expendables with B-movie stars Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), martial arts actors Cynthia Rothrock, Don ''The Dragon'' Wilson and Mark Dacascos. The film received less than satisfactory reviews and ratings. 

The Waikiki native had her taste of fame and success over 20 years ago when she was still young, vibrant and was one of the rarest instances where for a considerable period of the 1990s, she achieved the level of attention and stardom that quite honestly, many other Asian-American actors and actresses have never really maintained. Yes, there was Ming-Na-Wen of ER and The Joy Luck Club, Mulan, and Lucy Liu, who along with Na-Wen, have become two of the prominent Asian American stars of the last 20 years, who these days dabble in TV, but I don't think there has been any other Asian- American actress who has appeared in a considerable number of American films with predominately White casts. At the same time, as the years rolled by, the quality of those movies dwindled as they were straight-to-DVD and video efforts with low ratings and negative reviews. 

For a brief while, Carrere bucked the trend for Asian-American actresses and film stars in multi-racial films: plus, not only could she act, she could sing, she learned to play the guitar for Wayne's World, she has bags of talent all right. But like many other actresses, who never went onto greater success, the big name projects never came in spades as the worst those movies became later on, though also like many other Asian-American film stars, success was also difficult to maintain as she didn't get more of those big name Hollywood projects.

Thankfully, however, she is still active and present in the Asian-American community today and continues to be an advocate for more positive Asian-American representation and talents for people of colour on both the big and small screens. 



Notable Favourites: 

Wayne's World 1 and 2, True Lies, Lilo & Snitch, Rising Sun

Notable Non-Favourites:

Showdown In Little Tokyo, High School High, Collision Course, Jury Duty, Showdown In Manilla


Sources:

25 Years later, Tia Carrere is still Inspiring ''Schwing!'' - The Inquirer 


Tia Carrere - Wikipedia

What Happened To Wayne's World's Tia Carrere? - Digital Spy

Monday, 27 August 2018

Retro Review: Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998)

Why Do Fools Fall In Love
1998
Cast: Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon, Larenz Tate, Pamela Reed, Lane Smith, Little Richard
Genre: Biographical Drama
U.S Box Office Gross: over $12 million

Plot: 3 women each claim to be the widow of 1950s doo-wop singer, Frankie Lymon, claiming legal rights to his estate




'Biopic That Ain't No Fool'


For a biopic movie on someone I knew nothing about and whose music I was never familiar with, Why Do Fools Fall In Love still succeeded in providing a light-hearted, warm and convincing look at the pitfalls of stardom, mostly thanks to the performances by the leads that really make this worth a look. 

A singer two-times and uses a trio of women and with it, comes his downfall from grace due to polygamy, to his inevitable passing through drug addiction. This look at the little-known, and supposedly one-trick-pony 1950s sensation, Frankie Lymon, who in real life as I watched the ending, reminds me somewhat of Diff'rent Strokes Gary Coleman, was entertaining with a story that was engaging all the way and even with the almost 2-hour runtime, I never once switched off. 

Why Do Fools... looks at Frankie from the perspective of his three catty wives, with whom each of them fell for his charms and good looks - only to be scammed and taken for a ride by him, as they eventually hated him. He married each of them by chance and never divorced any of them. Frankie's own solo career first yo-yo-ed and then dwindled, as he was no longer a pin-up poster boy for adoring fans and he turned to heroin. 

The film also features appearances from Lane Smith (My Cousin Vinny), Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop), as well as singer Little Richard as himself, as a witness who testifies in court. 

Director of Selena, Gregory Nava doesn't really do much, especially with its TV movie-like feel, but the energetic musical and acting performances really ups the film and had it not been for the casting of Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon and Larenz Tate and the manner of the turns they have given, Why Do Fools Fall In Love would have fallen through even further. This is another terrific performance by Tate and again, he is another actor, who should have been a bigger movie star and have a far more successful movie career. Lipsyncing to his songs such as Tutti Frutti, The Great Pretender, recapturing his swaggering moves and still, he also brings out that appealing charm, as well as fieriness and bad boy streak: a trait in which he has been known for in his other films. Halle Berry shines and this is another terrific performance that will be overlooked by many, as this film was and still not as well known as blockbusters, X-Men and Monster's Ball. Halle's career has been inconsistent when it comes to performances and the movies she chooses, but when she opts for projects that really show off her acting in a big way, she flourishes and Why Do Fools certainly does that as glamour queen, Zola. Whilst fans and African Americans will recognise Lela Rochon of Waiting to Exhale and Vivica A. Fox: both performers, especially Fox deliver powerhouse performances.

Even with its TV-movie like feel, this is a well-handled and smooth sailing drama that never gets too heavy-handed with the dramatics by toning things down when necessary with some lighthearted scenes, such as the widows bonding together to their catfights, namecalling and falling out as they are all vying for his royalties and with each of them claiming to be Frankie's wife. & there is never a dull moment throughout. 

The engaging performances and the film's decision to cherry pick and elaborate on the most lively and eventful moments of Frankie Lymon's life and the women who he became involved with was a delight to watch, whilst the tone still remains frothy and is never grating or narcissistic that it becomes off-putting.  




Final Verdict:

Though melodramatic and a movie which could have easily gone in the same direction as Great Balls of Fire (in reference to the Jerry Lee Lewis offering with Dennis Quaid), Why Do Fools Fall In Love is one of the best music biopics I have seen and the casting definitely made a huge difference and it was ultimately why it was so good to watch. 


Overall:



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