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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Mini Retro Review: The Mangler (1995) #badmovies

The Mangler

The idea of a laundry machine sucking people up and killing them is a great one for a horror film, I'd rather it was set in say a person's house or local laundromat and the washing machine was possessed and it ended up killing and swallowing up anyone who comes into contact with it. It'll be far more appealing and idealistic than what is presented here. The killer inanimate object thing could have used more work to make it look scarier and despite the gory effects and scenes, it didn't induce any amount of terror and fear from me. For a movie that is supposed to take itself seriously, seeing that thing it looked like a typical industrial and household appliance. The industrial setting just didn't click with me and none of the characters resonated with me, nor were the so-called victims and protagonists empathetic enough. The opening 10 mins were entertaining at most. The detective story took up way too much time and with that coming across as laboured, The Mangler becomes far less of a horror flick than it is intended. I didn't like Robert England's character very much, not because he was evil and he chewed up some of the scenery, but his cockiness just rubbed me up the wrong way and acting is mostly average, based on the ineffective script (Flubber & The Silence of the Lambs' Ted Levine is largely ineffective in a non-typecast lead role). Taking away the horror aspects, The Mangler's story is banal.

Is It Worth Watching?

Not Really


Monday, 29 April 2019

Mini Movie Review: Top Cat The Movie (2011) #badmovies

Top Cat: The Movie

Hanna Barbera -based animated films have been few and far between, as a fan of HB, I so wished I saw more movies based on the Jetsons, Johnny Bravo and even lesser fare such as Dynomutt: Dog Wonder, Hong Kong Phooey and not just Scooby-Doo, although a Jonny Quest film courtesy of Robert Rodriguez is looming, and this is in live-action form. I sort of enjoyed Top Cat the cartoon and whilst it is not my favourite Hanna-Barbera show, it was still good for what it was. The voice acting here isn't bad, but the idea not to base the plot in the alleyway where they live, is a mistake and the script is barren and too dull for words. The decision to opt for 2D animation garners a mixed reception from me: whilst it looks all right design-wise, it would have been better if the characters were given the CGI treatment. If Hanna-Barbera as an animation company still existed to this day, they would have given T.C and his crew a better-animated feature film than the one we got via Mexico. The story was too dull and killed my enthusiasm towards it. This Top Cat was far from top; rather it is too uninspired and lacks any sort of charm and wit that made the original series a winner in fans' eyes. 

Is It Worth Watching?

Not really


Saturday, 27 April 2019

Flubber Movie Screenshots (1997) Part 6

















Retro Review: One Fine Day (1996)

One Fine Day
Cast: Michelle Pfieffer, George Clooney, Charles Durning, Alex D. Linz, Mae Whitman, Holland Taylor
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $97 million

Plot: The lives of two strangers and their young children unexpectedly intersect on one hectic stressful day in New York City

'A Day One Would Rather Forget'

Clooney does well in an effortless and thankless role as newspaper columnist Jack Taylor, without truly adding anything new or that different to it. Michelle Pfieffer is Melanie: a workaholic architect and single mother, who doesn't have time for kids. When her son Sammy arrives late at school, his class take off on a school trip minus Sammy, and with that, Melanie has no choice but to care for him. When Melanie and Jack bump into each other whilst saddled with the two children, one day, it isn't long until sparks fly between the two adults.

One Fine Day was a big deal in 1996: seen by many quarters as the film that truly ignited George Clooney's major motion picture acting spark, after years hitting the big time as a TV actor on NBC's ER, in addition to becoming another milestone in Michelle Pfieffer's illustrious career; by today's standards, it's watchable in places thanks to the leads. Clooney's precedent and subsequent offerings, The Peacemaker, From Dusk Til Dawn, Three Kings, Out of Sight were (with the former, forgettable &) either guilty pleasures or cult classics that were daring, different and niche. This film isn't niche, more like populist and mainstream; it's a romantic comedy and one that draws attention from the female demographic. 

George Clooney's stardom baffles me still to this day: he has the good looks, an everyman quality, the star appeal and is as famous and well known such as Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks that he could've made for a great movie superstar and leading man - yet despite all of this, arguably, he has never truly blossomed into a prominent movie actor and had more of the commercial blockbusters, - and unlike Williams and Hanks who both conveniently transitioned from TV onto film, Clooney hasn't had more of a broad and comprehensive film career to back up his bankability and net worth as a celebrity & Hollywood movie star. His schtick was okay back in the early 1990s when he first blew up via the medical drama, ER, but over time, he has resorted to doing and appearing in fewer of the glossy big budget and commercial motion pictures and turned his attentions to directing & producing. I think the comic book disaster of 1997's Batman and Robin pretty much derailed Clooney's commercial worth from a mainstream front and all in spite of appearing in the Ocean's trilogy & The Perfect Storm. His recent stint was in a spate of Nescafe Nespresso coffee TV commercials, which probably says it all. 

One year on from Dangerous Minds, which I enjoyed a great deal, the ever-experienced Michelle Pfieffer gave the rom-com and drama genres some diversity in 1996 with One Fine Day and Up Close & Personal alongside Robert Redford and to show she is able to project as much charm as its mainstays Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan. Unfortunately, Melanie is a whining grouch who spends most of the time with a straight face and not smiling and laughing as much.

One Fine Day becomes an overlong and routinely sappy rom-com with not one single notable or surprising twist or sting in its tail and the bickering between Clooney's and Pfieffer's characters, whilst it is, erm, fine at first, this eventually grates and besides the romance part, the film has nothing else left in the tank.

One of the many other reasons why rom-coms are most people's least liked sub-genres in film is because many of these movies don't have anything else to offer that is entertaining and watchable, besides the romance and star leads. Erotic dramas and comedies are really R & X-rated versions of romantic dramas and comedies: it's just that they have more sex scenes in them and just as little imagination, creativity and are as banal as rom-coms.

But going back to the film also, the kids that include Liar Liar and Home Alone 3's Alex D. Linz, were annoying; the boy was a brat and the girl was bland, and Jack and Melanie aren't too dissimilar to each other in terms of personality traits (besides the former being irresponsible and the latter as a control freak) and the subplots with Jack determined to verify a newspaper column and Melanie juggling her meetings become the least interesting aspects of the movie, as they are conceived in such throwaway fashion wherein they could have helped spearheaded the romance further. 

However, One Fine Day makes the mistake of keeping the love interests apart for considerable periods of time with not enough but not too many scenes of them together, whilst it flip-flops in so many directions. It was incohesive. The problem with this is when it does so, not one single idea is made entertaining enough. The romance part itself is relegated to two glimpses and the pairing lack genuine warmth for me to get them to get together and the soundtrack ranges from okay to toe-curlingly sappy.

Final Verdict

Minus Clooney and Pfieffer, this would be laboured and completely forgettable; with Clooney and Pfieffer, they manage to inject some watchability to the proceedings, but due to the frenetic pacing, means there wasn't a great deal when it comes to fleshing out their onscreen relationship and with that in mind, their characters' chemistry was moot. They spent more time bickering, the love/hate ordeal that they have going on also should have been meatier. If this was conceived better, then rather than the bickering becoming tiresome and offputting, this would have elicited some genuine sexual tension and urges between the two lead characters. 

Alas, this is a blase rom-com and a harmless, fluffy, inoffensive and paint-by-numbers job that with lesser-known stars in place of Clooney and Pfieffer, One Fine Day would rarely attract much attention.


Friday, 26 April 2019

Retro Review: Angel Of Destruction (1994)

Angel of Destruction
Cast: Maria Ford, Charlie Spradling, Jessica Mark, Jimmy Broome, Antonio Bacci
Genre: Action 

Plot: When a controversial rock star is stalked by a psychotic fan, undercover cop, Brit Alwood is set to avenge her sister's murder

'An Action Angel Of Mines' 

Starring softcore porno actress Maria Ford in the lead role, she is one of the few performers, who when given sufficient material and screentime, Ford can deliver as an actress and not just be known for parading around in skimpy clothing or be fully or partially naked. Angel of Destruction is a low-grade straight-to-video style action movie in the vein of a cop film. 

Whilst it is not particularly grand or amazing, it pretty much revels in its B-movie action status along with the added sex scene. Filmed mostly in the Philippines, the plot is set in Hawaii and was produced by Roger Corman and Ciro H. Santiago. Corman is one of the connoisseurs of low budget B-movies, with notable titles such as Chopping Mall, Death Race, Stripped to Kill and several Don 'The Dragon' Wilson offerings. 

Jo Alwood is a cop from Hawaii, who is after the scumbag who murdered her sister, Delilah along with several women. The bad guy, Kell kidnaps Delilah's girlfriend and demands that Jo take Delilah's place. But Jo isn't taking it lying down and seeks to bring down Kell.

Angel of Destruction is at times tacky, silly, and but also revelling in its so-bad-it's-good status with some decent fight and action scenes and Maria Ford (who strangely enough has a very extremely white looking face) demonstrating she can pass for a legitimate action star heroine. She can definitely cut it in this department and looks far more composing in scenes where her character is required to put up a fight, rather than Shannon Tweed in 1995's Die Hard fest, No Contest

The B-word is uttered several times, which was a little offputting and some of the dialogue will elicit groans from people. But for the most part, for being nothing more than a B-movie, low- budget actioner, this movie succeeds more within its limitations and whilst it isn't earth-shattering, Angel Of Destruction wasn't also unwatchable. Far from it. 

It's essentially a remake of Bloodfist with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, or be it a gender-flipped version of Bloodfist: the woman is the good guy who sets her eyes on avenging her sister's death, and she can beat the crap out of several men, without pulling their hair but actually and literally relying on martial arts style kicks, punches and moves to take them out. Acting-wise, Ford convinces without coming across as being corny and she makes an effort to make me buy her as a kick-ass cop in Jo. Antonio Bacci plays Jo's cop boyfriend in his one and only onscreen role and there is one sex scene in the movie also. 

The hand-to-hand martial arts are good for a U.S Filipino based production and at times, it's kind of brutal and hard-hitting in a low-budget actioner sense: one scene has Maria Ford in a topless fight scene and taking out around 4 or 5 goons. Even with its typical and generic plot that has been rehashed so many times in other films and cheap-looking, low budget values. This one also has hints of an Andy Sidaris flick. 

Final Verdict:

Maria Ford has shown she is capable of doing action movies and thus, it made me wished she'd taken up more of these opportunities and less of the erotic movies she is predominately known for and thus, show more of her range and variety, both as a performer and filmography-wise.

Angel of Destruction isn't bad for a B/Z-movie actioner and for Maria Ford fanatics, it's one they should add to their collection. 


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Mini Retro Review: The Key To Sex (1999) #badmovies

The Key To Sex
Erotic Drama

Erotic drama, which isn't really up to par if you take away the porno sex scenes. There isn't much more to the story than what is promised. A young office assistant is left in charge of looking after the boss's mansion, whilst he is away and sets out to have some fun. The sex scenes themselves fared well for a film of this type. Maria Ford has a slightly better role here than in I Like to Play Games II, but unfortunately, she is underused in favour of Monique Parent. I would have swapped their roles around. I'm not sure if this is because the version I watched was not the uncut version, but anyhow, this was still disappointing and bland and the characters were so underdeveloped. 

To note: in order for the film to be granted a release on home video in the UK, the BBFC cut out 20 seconds of footage.

Is It Worth Watching?



Mini Retro Review: Critical Care (1997) #badmovies

Critical Care
Comedy Drama

Like Patch Adams in the sense, it is set in the medical world and becomes far too preachy, this was a slog to sit through. A young doc is embroiled in a legal battle with two half-sisters, one of them played by Kyra Sedgwick, of whom James Spader's character becomes involved with, over caring for their father who is in a vegetative state. The writing is weak and neither strong, smart or amusing enough for a comedy-drama. The main storyline with Spader's Dr Werner Ernst trying to clear his name ought to have been far more interesting, yet this is conceived in such a bland fashion. The film would have been entertaining in a satirical sense, had it either poked fun at the medical profession or had highlighted the issues that the health profession faces: lack of beds, money, being understaffed, resources and finances. This is an utter waste of James Spader, Albert Brooks, Kyra Sedgwick and Helen Mirren's talents.

Is It Worth Watching?

Sadly no


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Mini Retro Review: Blue Desert (1991) #badmovies

Blue Desert

The film stars pre-Friends actress, Courtney Cox and is the type of movie she would have not considered starring or appearing in after her career took off in Friends. Two men try to take advantage of a female comic book artist, played by Cox herself after she survives two rape ordeals in New York. Blue Desert is a low-key TV movie from the early 1990s which was, bland with some skippable scenes, a tepid story and script that is (unsurprisingly) given the TV movie treatment that doesn't treat the topic of sexual assault properly and the cheap production values all make this one unconvincing, despite the serious nature of the plot and all logic goes out of the window. Actor D.B Sweeney was reported to have been difficult to work with on set. Along with not one standout performance from either of the performers and the film not really going anywhere, it's not worth it. 

Is It Worth Watching?

For die-hard Courtney Cox fans only


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