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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

B-Movie Actress Feature Spotlight: Diane Lane

Current Net Worth: $35 million

Born and raised in New York City on January 22, 1965, Diane Coleen Lane won her first stage role aged 6 and nabbed her first film role at 13, starring opposite Laurence Olivier in 1979's A Little Romance. At the time, Olivier, himself, dubbed Lane the ''new Grace Kelly''. She rode high in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, The Cotton Club and Rumble Fish alongside Matt Dillion in breakout turns, as she transitioned towards more mature and adult roles. In addition to being Coppola's leading lady, these films were noted to have put Lane on the map, as well as secured a spot on the front page of August's Time Magazine, the following year as they declared her as one of Hollywood's ''Whizz Kids''. & even the great Andy Warhol pegged Lane, ''the undisputed female lead of Hollywood's brat pack''. But then came The Cotton Club, which is cited as the beginning of the decline of her big star movie career, and after that, she never truly secured a starring role in a big popular hit movie, after that. Right after The Cotton Club, Lane took a brief hiatus from the acting business and moved to and settled in Georgia with her mother. 


            

Taking a 3-year exile, she returned to the big screen with a 'Lonesome Dove' stint and following on, landed bit-part and supporting roles in films such as the well-acclaimed Chaplin, comedy-drama misfire, Jack (and her 3rd collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola) to the sci-fi flop, Judge Dredd. The decade of the 1990s saw Lane's career venturing into different avenues, but rarely finding outright success.      
                                                                      
In what could probably be the key point, - and moreso regret of her career -, was of her turning down the female lead role as a prostitute, Vivian Ward in Garry Marshall's 1990 rom-com smash hit, Pretty Woman, due to scheduling conflicts. And thus it eventually went to Julia Roberts, who came off the back of Steel Magnolias, a year earlier and the film's success catapulted her career, grossing millions at the box office. At the time, before Roberts's inclusion, Pretty Woman initially had a much darker script with Diane Lane's version of Vivian in mind -, but when Roberts was cast, the script was retooled as a frothy rom-com this time around with a happier ending. Julia Roberts's co-star Richard Gere of Pretty Woman costarred in three movies with Diane Lane: The Cotton Club, Unfaithful and Nights in Rodanthe. Diane also turned down roles in Ron Howard's Splash & Risky Business. 

In 2002, Lane landed the main role in Adrian Lyne's erotic thriller, Unfaithful as the unhappy wayward wife who has an affair with a Frenchman behind her husband's back; resultingly, whilst the film was not well received, her performance led to Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. It did not pay off with a win, nor propelled her to further stardom but in follow-ups Under The Tuscan Sun & Just like Mona, these suggested that Lane finally found her solid footing in her career in less intense and physically demanding roles. 


''I never wished that I was a superstar. Hell, I never even wished that I was an actress'' - Diane Lane

Many media outlets have dubbed Diane as a 'lifer'; a term that commonly refers to institutionalised persons, despite being in showbiz since her early teen years and whilst she has managed to redeem herself in little-known indie and B-movies (Under The Tuscan Sun, Rumble Fish, The Perfect Storm as Mark Walberg's onscreen wife), Lane's commercial and so-called big-money Hollywood efforts have been met with derisory and negative reception (namely the Robin Williams comedy, Jack, Sci-fi flick, Judge Dredd, with both films panned by critics, rom-com Must Love Dogs alongside John Cusack and Murder At 1600 with Wesley Snipes). 

Lane is a moderately okay actress, but based on the character roles she has obtained, due to the substandard nature of the scripts she receives, she lacks the 'wow' factor and her performances, but for Under The Tuscan Sun, have never impressed me and whilst the roles she undertakes attempt to challenge her as an actress, she's never really been a consistently strong performer. That, and occasionally she seems to be miscast in certain roles that she has played & movies she's been in. It is also noted that the majority of roles she's undertaken involves her taking her clothes off within a total of 50 films, with some made- for- TV fare, and some theatre fare. Producers seem more interested in her body and figure than her acting skills, although this appears to have changed these days, with Diane Lane getting older. 



So how did it not quite go in the direction most people have intended? Why didn't Lane become a huge star? 

Well, though she has received acclaim for some of her performances, these were in movies that weren't relatively and widely known to the public. The two films that were cited to have done wonders for Diane Lane, Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club, were both commercial and critical bombs and with that, her career was in limbo from the mid-1980s to beyond. Her filmography consists of several notable mainstream and commercial films, with the rest of them being unknown and independent fare. Her commercial offerings are less well received than her lesser known and not as financially successful movies. She never truly broke out as a major star and as a performer, - although Lane did secure a gig on DC Entertainment's 2013's Man of Steel alongside Superman's Henry Cavill, as Martha Kent, Clark Kent/Superman's adoptive mother. Her recent stint was in 2017's Justice League live-action movie. 

Life in the Hollywood fast 'lane' for Diane has seen its ups and downs and it has been a rocky, but also ambivalent career so far. 


Notable Favourites:

Under The Tuscan Sun, Inside Out, The Rumble Fish, Tully

Notable Non-Favourites:


Judge Dredd, Unfaithful, Must Love Dogs, Jack, Murder at 1600






Sources:

Diane Lane - Wikipedia 

Diane Lane - Biography 

Diane Lane Career Assessment - Wife For Life, Pajiba.com

Mini Movie Review: Sierra Burgess Is A Loser (2018) #badmovies

Sierra Burgess Is A Loser
2018
Romantic Drama



Sierra Burgess Is A Loser is a sad attempt by Netflix at being a romantic drama when truthfully it comes across as a mean-spirited yawn fest with nothing characters. If you took My Best Friend's Wedding, fused it with Mean Girls, stretched it out, make it blander and made the lead character even more nasty and horrible, this is what one may get. A girl uses someone else's picture and tricks a boy into falling for her. I'm sure there are a few rom-coms that have attempted this mistaken identity thing (You've Got Mail, The Truth About Cats and Dogs) & done it better. Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, on the other hand, is not one of them, as it condones the lead's actions and behaviour, such as catfishing & pretending to be disabled and sends out a terrible message: that it is okay to use people to get what they want. & making the girl insecure and unattractive looking shouldn't give her an excuse to be hideous and despicable through her actions. She even kisses the guy without him knowing, rom-com context aside, this would be considered as sexual harassment, or be it rape. One of the mean girls looks like Margot Robbie, the central romance is a bore, thus making it impossible for me to invest in their relationship, the characters are poorly developed with no personalities, the Asian girl is portrayed as a stereotypical Asian villain trope. Established actors in Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) & Lea Thompson (Back To The Future) also feature, with Thompson, yet again and following on from direct-to-DVD duds, The Dog Lover and Left Behind appearing in a film with another questionable premise. This so-called romantic dramedy fails to do and offer anything remotely unique or entertaining and is far from heartwarming, rather this film is a loser.


Is It Worth Watching?

No 


Overall:


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Retro Review: Judge Dredd (1995)

Judge Dredd
1995
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, Max Von Sydow
Genre: Science Fiction Action
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $113 million

Plot: In a dysfunctional future, Joseph Dredd, the most famous judge (a police officer with instant field judiciary powers) is convicted of a crime he did not commit and must face his murderous counterpart





'Almost Dredd-Ful Demolition Man Wannabe, Minus 10'

Sylvester Stallone's 1995 offering Judge Dredd turns out to be a disappointing and lacklustre affair that despite some action set-pieces, pretty much everything else- from the sub to below-par performances, the material and the decision to incorporate a plucky sidekick, who turns out to be irritating and an unnecessity hindered this movie. In fact, sitting through it, I couldn't help but feel this is almost a carbon copy of Demolition Man. Or make that a stripped down, third-rate version of Demolition Man and taking away the fun, satirical nature and the feel-good factor that film had, with a bit of the Robocop law enforcement theme thrown in. 

Lets see: Sylvester Stallone as the law enforcer, check. Attractive female sidekicks in Sandra Bullock in Demolition Man and Diane Lane as Judge Hershey in Judge Dredd, check. Special effects, check. Crime-plagued dystopian future, check. 

Judge Joseph Dredd is a law enforcer, elite officer and toughest lawman with his brother, Rico on the opposite side of the law. He is a criminal who escapes from prison and embarks on a reign of chaos, by framing Dredd for the murder of a journalist. The plot reeks of unoriginal and taints the integrity of the Judge Dredd character.

The original Judge Dredd of the British comics magazine, 2000 AD was a lot more nitty-gritty in tone, whilst Judge Dredd is more of a parody that is so much unlike Demolition Man. 

Visually, it looks like a combination of The Fifth Element spliced with Demolition Man and Total Recall. The Versace designer- made Judges outfits, complete with gold trimmed helmets, shoulder pads and codpieces, which was replicated in Joel Schumacher's bizarre Batman sequels of 1995 and 1997, seems a little excessive. The action was very few and far between and most of it was unsatisfying to watch. The Judge Hershey fight with an Asian chick tried to replicate Sandra Bullock's martial arts beat down on the villains of Demolition Man, but really it was weak. 

After his cameo in Demolition Man, comedian Rob Schneider stars alongside as Sly Stallone's Judge Dredd and he made the film even more annoying. What should have been a leading one-man show turns out to be an inexplicable buddy movie that verges on a light-hearted farce, which Judge Dredd was and is never about in the first place. His presence partly took away from the film's enjoyment. As for the main star, Stallone, this is not only one of this worst performances, but one of the worst characters he has portrayed, as Dredd remains utterly one-note and one dimensional. In addition to Dredd being a watered down version of the original comic, his turn didn't allude to a sense of mystery. The problem with Stallone's version is he is not humanised, thus bordering on emotionless. And he took off his helmet, which mystified and irritated long-time fans of the Judge Dread comics and yet with a much gutsier and ramped up script, Judge Dredd would have a lot more balls. Instead, it becomes more like a blander version of a Saturday morning cartoon and has none of Demolition Man's self-referential humour and irony by poking fun at the law. It just takes itself too seriously and yet even with Rob Schneider, he feels out of place. It was rumoured that Goodfellas' Joe Pesci passed on the role that eventually went to Schneider. Diane Lane did what she could, but again, compared to Sandra Bullock in Demolition Man, she is the weaker of the two action heroines. 

Armand Assante as the villain hams it up, but his role could have been easily played by someone else and thus, he was completely unmemorable as far as I was concerned and his turn made me cringe and was painful to watch. 

A star vehicle for Stallone, following on from the entertaining Cliffhanger, Demolition Man and equally bland, The Specialist, he hit a wall with Judge Dredd. It's particularly notable for having made less money in contrast to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film, with the latter at over $13 million and the former at over $12 million. 





Final Verdict:

This is one of Sylvester Stallone's weakest and poor movie showings and for director, Danny Cannon and screenwriters, William Wisher and Steven E. DeSouza, they never manage to bring out that mean streak and edge. For DeSouza, following on from the much-maligned Streetfighter live-action film, based on the video game series, once again, he didn't deliver. 


There wasn't much in the sense of anything in this movie: the characterisations, especially are certainly telling, and I didn't really get a sense of who they really are. & by taking away the action sequences and impressive looking visual effects and costume designs, the rest of Judge Dredd is just a complete bore that with the film edited down to an R with most of the excessive violence edited out, much to its detriment. 


There was a Sly Stallone movie that is every bit as similar to Judge Dredd, it was Demolition Man - and that one is way more over-the-top, in a good way, entertaining and fun. 1995's Dredd, on the other hand, was not. It should have been entertaining, but it is not. Plus, as far as comic book based movies go, whilst it isn't the worst of the worst, this is still certainly almost close to the top of the flops. 



Overall:



Sunday, 14 October 2018

Retro Review: The Players Club (1998)

The Players Club
1998
Cast: LisaRaye, Bernie Mac, Monica Calhoun, Ice Cube, Jamie Foxx, John Amos, Michael Clarke Duncan, Terrence Howard, Charlie Murphy
Genre: Comedy Drama
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $23 million

Plot: A mother must contend with rival strippers and her boss in an attempt to make a legitimate living





'Don't Wanna Be A Player, No More'

Watching The Players Club, it certainly reminds me of a bit of Striptease with a bit of Showgirls.


Diana is a single mother with kids to feed who has aspirations in becoming a broadcast journalist and studies at college. In order to help pay her college fees, Diana turns to stripping. She works at a club owned by Hustler Bill (Bernie Mac) and tries to keep it a secret from everyone outside the club, especially her college professor. When Diana discovers her young and easily impressionable cousin is also working at the same strip joint, a bunch of people lead her onto a life of prostitution. Diana has to overcome the hurdles of this new life, whilst trying to balance her academic studies as a student.

Minus the stripping and violent scenes, random scenes where nothing of particular interest happens, The Players Club is a huge disappointment. Director Ice Cube's take on gang mentality and culture is just not gritty at all and the way it comes across feels unrealistic and isn't hard-hitting enough. Cube also wrote, produces and acts in the film with the clunky dialogue and the story is flawed throughout, lacking in real drama and was difficult to follow at times. When it tries to tackle the other characters' subplots, most of them don't really lead to anywhere. Lisa Raye's performance is good, but her character, Diana mostly functions as a set-up to the story and so when the film tries to present her journey from A to B, it felt incomplete and not thorough enough.

The humour just didn't work and most of the moments were a dud when they ought to have been even more hard-hitting with more punch. 


Jamie Foxx tries to breathe some life into the film with his performance, but his role is not only too brief, it just wasn't as meaty and substantial as I'd liked it to have been. 






Final Verdict:


A Black version of what is essentially Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls and Striptease that came a year after, but much like with the latter, The Players Club struggles to balance the tone of comedy and drama. It's mildly interesting, but it and its story just didn't offer a whole lot more to make it fully entertaining and engaging. 

The Players Club is the Black Striptease, and just as bland and unengaging. 


Overall:



Deconstructing Harry Movie Screenshots (1997) Final Part

Deconstructing Harry
1997


   

   

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