Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Movie #78 - Wild Things

"No risk, no fun."

I caught this film on MPIX a few weeks ago and I can see why a number of people were hooked on this movie back in 1998. I am surprised that I never saw it before then, considering I was a teenager back in 1998 and this movie would've been the talk of the town back then amongst guys my age.

There are a couple of things that make me laugh about this movie...

1. How many times are we going to see Neve Campbell cast as a teenager? Campbell is in fact born in 1973. In 1998, Campbell would've been 25, a far cry from the 18 year old she was attempting to portray. It was a little obvious considering Campbell spent over five years as a "teenager" on the Canadian television show Catwalk and spent another five years as a "teenager" on the teeny-bopper television show Party of Five.

2. Can we really take Denise Richards seriously in any role? From Bond films to this kinky thriller, Richards is purely just cast as eye candy. She is entrusted with tremendous speaking roles in many of her films, but who is really paying attention. Not only can she not act, but she's stunning in most of her scenes, that her acting is more of a distraction more than anything. My favourite spoof on this assessment came on the television show Friends, in which Richards was constantly being viewed in slow motion by Chandler, Joey, and Ross with Barry White music playing in the background.

3. How many twists can we add to this movie in the last ten minutes? Without providing any spoilers to my readers, this movie ends as twisted as it begins... and not necessarily in a good way. The twists are tacked on as I believe writer Steven Peters and Director John McNaughton didn't know how to end this movie. I would've just flash backed to the sex scenes myself, but that's just how my brain works.

Either way, this movie is entertaining on many levels, but forgettable in the end. By the way, I couldn't resist to put this picture in as part of the post... I bet it will garner some extra viewings for my blog.

Movie #77 - Aladdin

"Wish Granted!"

Back when I was twelve, this was one of my favourite movies at the time, combined with Transformers: The Movie and G.I. Joe: The Movie respectively. However, once the Lion King came out a couple of years later, all bets were off on the animated front and I am still supportive of the strength of that movie in the long term.

Going back to Aladdin, this movie was released at the height of Disney's success at hitting it big with the box office blockbuster animated films. With movies such as Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King released in the same time period, its amazing to see how far the industry has fallen in terms of churning out high quality films. I blame CGI technology, which has now given the industry the ability to animate or create almost anything in terms of cartoons, but is losing out on the sheer imagination of the films themselves. The writing and the voice casting, both integral parts of the film process. Sure, animation is shorter now, but look at how many animated films enter in each year and how many are actually of the quality of movies of old.

Aladdin was released at a time when the Academy Awards didn't recognize animated films as "movies" and thus did not have the Best Animated film category. If not, Aladdin would've received that 1992 Oscar to go along with its best song and best sound editing wins. In addition, you would be hard pressed not to acknowledge the work of versatile actor, Robin Williams, for his work on this film - as he became the anchor to the role and the main draw of the future of the franchise (merchandising and a couple of years on the television cartoon front).

In the end, Aladdin ranks high in the terms of animated films, but does not come close to the achievements of the Lion King. In the end, enjoy this film for its well-written plot, quirky humour of Williams as the Genie, and the wonderful singing of Lea Salonga during the Princess Jasmine singing scenes.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Movie #76 - Youngblood

"The ice... The fire... The fight... To be the best."

There are only a handful of hockey movies out there, this being one of the better ones. Unfortunately, that doesn't really say much because of the fact that there aren't many good hockey movies - and sports movies in general.

Along with Youngblood, there are the Mighty Ducks trilogy, The Rocket, Mystery Alaska, The Cutting Edge, and of course Slap Shot. While many believe Slap Shot is one of the better films depicting sports out there, it still isn't a very good movie. It just became a cult classic with some of the funny quotes that you can extract from that film. Plus, Paul Newman really gives it his all in that movie.

Back to Youngblood, Rob Lowe portrays the title character - Dean Youngblood. He's a walk-on player that gets a chance to make it big playing for the fictional Hamilton Mustangs of the Ontario Hockey League. Its funny to see that this film is shot entirely in various places in Ontario, including a number of scenes shot in the "beautiful"city of Hamilton. What makes this film funny are the slow motion hockey scenes, probably because Lowe learned how to skate right before filming this movie... so they had to find a way to make him look faster than everyone else.

Swayze is also in this film, not previously playing hockey before, but professional trained as a figure skater in his youth. Look for cameos of Keanu Reeves as the Mustangs goaltender and of course, future NHLer's Peter Zezel and Steve Thomas.

In the end, Youngblood is a very bad film, which I still watch whenever its on television. But for what its worth, its great to see movies filmed in Canada. Also, this may rank in the top 5 of all-time hockey movies, but that doesn't say too much.

Movie #75 - Airplane II: The Sequel

"For the ride of your life... All you need for Christmas are your two front seats!"

Banking on the success of the first Airplane spoof film, the hijinks's arise with this sequel. Returning are Lloyd Bridges and Robert Hays as main characters to create a proper transition from the first film. However, because of how much critical acclaim Airplane received the first time around, the sequel was filled with a larger influx of celebrities.

Added to the sequel cast were brief cameos of William Shatner, Peter Graves, Raymond Burr, Robert Stack, Rip Torn, and even Sonny Bono.

Similar to many of the recent spoof movies, Airplane II was far worse than the first film. Although the plot is as ludicrous, the jokes seem contrived and out of place from the get go. 26 years after this film was produced, we are still riddled with crappy spoof films - unfortunately, they aren't even cleverly done anymore... relying strictly on loose references to hit movies that the majority of the population should have seen.

Basing the content of current spoof movies on the success of others is a cop out and should not be continued. The new movies should go back to the classic storytelling of this spoof franchise such as Airplane. In time, we shall see if there will be more movies like Airplane again - the only ones that I have seen that might have come close are the comedic films of the 80's and 90's - but even those films are close to 15-20 years old themselves. So its truly few and far between.

As long as Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have anything to say about it, they will never stop making such crap films as Epic Movie or Meet the Spartans. If we could only convince Jim Abrahams and David Zucker to take control of this genre again, we can easily enjoy a good spoof again!