This uninspired sequel about a counterfeit ring operating in a Walt Disney look-alike amusement park qualifies as the least entertaining entry in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise. After producing "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Beverly Hills Cop 2," Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer had nothing to do with this pathetic Paramount release that unimaginatively drags Detroit Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy of "48 HRS") back to California for the third time. You can tell when a franchise has run
out of momentum because it starts knocking off its own characters. Further, neither Taggart (John Ashton of the first two "Beverly Hills Cop" movies) nor Capt. Bogamill (Ronny Cox of the first two Beverly Hills Cop" movies) return. Nothing is ever said about Bogamill's absence, but we're told that Taggart has retired. (Actually, in the Special Features on the DVD release, a producer mentions that John Austin was not available so his character had to be replaced.) Nevertheless, nobody replaces Captain
This uninspired sequel about a counterfeit ring operating in a Walt Disney look-alike amusement park qualifies as the least entertaining entry in the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise. After producing "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Beverly Hills Cop 2," Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer had nothing to do with this pathetic Paramount release that unimaginatively drags Detroit Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy of "48 HRS") back to California for the third time. You can tell when a franchise has runRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''BEVERLY HILLS COP 3" (1994)
"Resident Evil" producer and director Paul W.S. Anderson should stick to making either science fiction horror chillers, like "Event Horizon" and "The Soldier," or brawny actioneers, like "Mortal Combat," and "Death Race." These genres thrive on larger-than-life characters performing heavy-handed histrionics in over-the-top situations. Gadgets and gimmicks proliferate in both genres, typically with the combatants defeating their enemy because they display greater competence with their weapons. Now, Anderson has ventured outside of his usual bailiwick with "The Three Musketeers." The immortal Alexander Dumas novel emphasized court intrigue, chivalrous romance, and colorful swordplay in a 17th century setting. Indeed, "The Three Musketeers" has been a favorite of filmmakers since the French produced the first cinematic version in 1903. Since that long lost classic appeared over a century ago, more than 30 remakes and various sequels have followed. Hollywood conjured up two unusualRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE THREE MUSKETEERS"
The Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy thriller "Tower Heist" (**1/2 out of ****) amounts to an entertaining but harebrained morality play about a gang of amateur thieves. Mind you, "Rush Hour" director Brett Ratner's ninth film is a splendid example of contemporary class rivalry; responsible working class city dwellers tangle with a ruthless irresponsible millionaire who uses the system to shield himself. This shallow often silly snapshot of our times makes it plain that the have-nots want everything that they can haul off from the haves. Although Ratner and "Ocean's Eleven" scenarist Ted Griffin & "Rush Hour 2" scribe Jeff Nathanson have contrived an innocuous, occasionally suspenseful caper with a few surprises, the overall result remains is bland and colorless. Sometimes, the filmmakers contradict themselves with psychic FBI agents who are easily fooled by the most obvious prank. Happily, despite its clumsy narrative lurches, "Tower Heist" doesn't wear out its welcome. Ratner and companyRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''TOWER HEIST'' (2011)
- Jewel Baragona | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:31 AM EDT
Superior sequels develop the plot of their predecessors rather than simply imitate them. "Gods and Monsters" director Bill Condon and "Twilight" scenarist Melissa Rosenberg have taken producer Stephenie Meyer's fourth novel "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" and raised the stakes as well as the rivalry. The rivalry here is not confined to just Edward and Jacob, but rather Jacob and his tribe. Mind you, if you've read the novels, you're in better shape to understand the storyline. Anybody walking into "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One," however, may find themselves overwhelmed by a surplus of plot which is only comprehensible if they've seen the previous three outings. This holds true particularly for people who find vampire movies irresistible. Ostensibly, Meyers has rewritten the rules that govern conventional vampire conduct to the point that the "Twilight" movies emerge as vampire epics in name only. In "Breaking Dawn, Part One," vampires swim in streams as well as oceans. They canRead More »from FILM REVIEW of "THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, PART ONE"
Comedian Jonah Hill usually plays a goof-off in a group of guys. He appeared in director Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up" as well as "Funny People" as part of a bunch of guys. Although Hill took top billing in "Superbad," Michael Cera attracted the lion's share of attention in that Judd Apatow produced teen comedy. Hill shared the screen with Russell Brand in another Judd Apatow produced laffer "Get Him to the Greek," but Brand dominated that comedy with his hopelessly eccentric persona. Now, in "Pineapple Express" director David Gordon Greene's "The Sitter," Jonah Hill plays top dog. Not only does he star as the protagonist, but he also is the butt of most of the humorous jokes.
Anybody who has seen the wonderful Christopher Columbus comedy "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) might discern the palatable resemblance between "The Sitter"
(**** out of ****) and the former film. Freshman scribes Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka must have seen "Adventures in Babysitting," too, because
- Suzanne Juliano | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:24 AM EDT
According to The Guinness World Records, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's illustrious literary detective Sherlock Holmes ranks as "the most portrayed movie character" in cinematic history. Indeed, Hollywood has been shooting movies about Sherlock Holmes since the initial one-reeler, "Sherlock Holmes Baffled," appeared in 1900, as a 30-second silent epic. Since then a number of actors have taken up residence at 221 B Baker Street, ranging from the most vintage, Basil Rathbone during the 1940s, to the most bohemian, Robert Downey, Jr., who received a Golden Globe for his performance in director Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" (2009). Mind you, the Holmes character has made an enviable reputation for himself on television, too. Actor Jeremy Britt took top honors with the definitive interpretation of the notable consulting detective throughout 41 episodes of the Granada Television series. Most recently, the BBC-TV revived Doyle's gumshoe for the contemporary series "Sherlock" with BenedictRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME of SHADOWS" (2011)
"Battlespace" writer & director Neil Johnson's derivative, low-budget science fiction thriller "Alien Armageddon" (* out of ****) chronicles a breed of Martian invaders, 'the Nephilim,' who dominate planet Earth for 67 historic days. These hostile intruders establish their headquarters in Los Angeles after subjugating the Earth and then rely on our own scientists to modify our DNA so that we become fodder for them. You see, these ravenous monsters had to abandon their famine-stricken world. Actually, the villainous Nephilim have been quietly infiltrating Earth for many decades, acquiring knowledge about our character and culture. The computer generated special effects imagery of the alien armada during the first ten minutes looks like something out of a black & white graphic novel. This fleet of spacecraft, which resemble naval vessels, hover as if they were vultures over every major city. The lackluster battle sequences are comprised of ersatz mushroom cloud explosions and flashesRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''ALIEN ARMAGEDDON" (2011)
Prolific filmmaker William Beaudine and horror icon Bela Lugosi worked together on four films, and "Voodoo Man" (** out of ****) was the third. Previously, they collaborated on "Ghosts on the Loose" (1943) and "The Ape Man" (1943), while their final outing occurred on the madcap comedy "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" (1953). In "Voodoo Man," Lugosi plays a deluded doctor, Dr. Richard Marlowe, who wrestles with spousal issues similar to those in the 1942 chiller "The Corpse Vanishes." Whereas he endeavored to restore his wife's beauty in the latter movie, he struggles to restore his wife's life in "Voodoo Man." Actually, Evelyn (Ellen Hall of "Lumberjack") looks well-preserved to have been kaput for over two decades. She ambles around in a trance but looks as if she hasn't aged a day since she died.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''VOODOO MAN" (1944)
Dr. Marlowe is in cahoots with a Mobil gas station owner, Nicholas (George Zucco of "The Black Raven") to bring his poor wife back to life. "Return of the Ape Man" scenarist Robert
"Right at Your Door" director Chris Gorak's apocalyptic science fiction actioneer "The Darkest Hour"(** out of ****) qualifies as initially provocative but incredibly anti-climactic. Freshman scenarist Jon Spaihts formulated his outlandish script about a "War of the Worlds" invasion of Earth by invisible predators from a story that "Dante's Peak" scribe Leslie Bohem and first-time writer M.T. Ahern penned with him. If you've caught the trailer for this half-baked hokum, you know it pits a quartet of trendy, American, twentysomething guys and gals in Moscow against aliens determined to wipe out civilization while they extract all of our mineral resources. Basically, humans cannot see these extraterrestrials, but they have no trouble seeing us. These elusive aliens atomize anybody in sight without warning. If they don't outright zap you, they snare you with a neon-like electric bolt noose and then vaporize you in a shower of dust and sparks. Despite Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE DARKEST HOUR" (2010)
- Christopher Mertes | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:06 AM EDT
If you saw both versions of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" side by side, you could spot the differences between the 2009 Swedish original and the 2011 American remake. Nevertheless, the revelations in the other won't be as surprising. "Fight Club" director David Fincher brings his obsession with serial killers with him to this top-drawer adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international bestseller. Fincher scored his first major cinematic success with the Brad Pitt & Morgan Freeman crime mystery "Se7en" (1995) about a cunning serial killer, and he explored similar subject matter in "Zodiac" (2007) a film about the real-life murders in San Francisco which spawned Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" franchise. Considering that the gritty subject matter of Larsson's novel concerns a man who rapes and then murders women, the pairing of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (**** out of ****)and Fincher seems ideal. Oscar winning "Schindler's List" scenarist Steven Zaillian, who received Oscar nods forRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO" (2011)
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