Saturday, 19 August 2017

Directorial Feature Spotlight: Garry Marshall





'Enjoyed Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, Felt Indifferent Towards His Movie Work'

Born in New York City, New York on November 13, 1934 - July 19, 2016, Garry Marshall was primarily known for directing so-called 'chick flicks' and romcoms with most of them receiving scathing reviews from critics (probably because they are terrible) and because they are the types of films many movie fans, particularly male movie fans, loathe and despise. Yet these same movies, the vast majority of them, still went on to gross millions of dollars at the box office.

His directorial movie debut came in the form of 1984's The Flamengo Kid, with Matt Dillion in the lead role, which to this day is still his most critically acclaimed movie. 

He was single-handly instrumental towards catapulting both Robin Williams and Julia Roberts into super stardom - if not for their Oscar-winning turns in Good Will Hunting & Erin Brockovich; after Mork & Mindy, Williams went one, - or make that 6 times better with Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Hook, Mrs Doubtfire, Aladdin & Good Will Hunting & with Roberts saying she grew up watching Mork & Mindy, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley: sitcom shows that Marshall was chiefly responsible for. Garry Marshall directed Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride & Valentine's Day. 

I have had no real objections towards Garry Marshall's TV output; they were varied, as with the sitcoms, the romance element was less of a focal point of the plots.





But there are fewer movies of Garry Marshall's that I truly love; in fact, there hasn't been one movie of his where I went: ''that was amazing''. There is one movie that I enjoyed, which was Overboard. But other than that, nothing. Since the success of Pretty Woman, which is still his biggest commercial hit and a film I think it is overrated, and one he has been coasting on for years, I have felt nothing but indifference towards his movie output. 

As much as I do blame the scriptwriters sometimes for the low-quality scripts that he accepts and gets greenlighted, Garry's directorial style itself is uninspired with an over-reliance on one sub-genre, the rom-com. His style lacks the wow and excitement factor that he ends up leaving it to the likes of Julia Roberts to bring it to life. It happened with his TV show Mork & Mindy, & one where he was the original creator of the show, particularly the last 2 seasons which weren't as great, and it was only by the virtue of Robin Williams who managed to keep some viewers glued to their sets with his zaniness. When he has a script, Garry Marshall just doesn't do much to it to make me want to care for the characters and love the movie, but to constantly rely on lovey-dovey schtick & leave the rest up to his main stars. But even with this, it feels too predictable and one-dimensional. This has been a major issue I have with him, with regards to his romcoms, of whereby which each and every one of them is practically the same as the last. His last ever effort, 2016's Mother's Day with Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston received a mauling and the most negative reviews from both professional movie critics and general online movie review bloggers, all-round of his career. 

In contrast, his sister Penny Marshall, who coincidentally starred as Laverne in the Happy Days spin-off, Laverne & Shirley, directed way superior and more quality movies: Big with Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own, the fabulous Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, Jumpin' Jack Flash. & though she may not have an as extensive list of movies under her belt as her older sibling, at least she knows a quality script when she sees one. 

The bottom line and to wrap it up, I enjoyed Mork & Mindy and in some ways, through the Mork & Mindy will they/won't they romantic storyline, it was this setup that eventually paved the way for Garry Marshall's later offerings in Pretty Woman, Valentine's Day and other romcoms. 


But when it comes to his movies, they have been all, but for Overboard, forgettable (who practically knows duds in The Other Sister, Exit in Eden?), too predictable and aren't much to ponder & as a movie director, he hasn't made much of a positive impression on me, personally to say I adore his films. 

(although if I had been creating my own rom-com, I would still have him onboard, just because his name, for me, is synonymous with the genre, more than for any other reason alone). 



Grade I Would Award Towards Garry Marshall:  F

Friday, 18 August 2017

Cast The Live- Action F-Zero Crew Movie


What is F-Zero?

F-Zero is a series of futuristic racing video games created by Nintendo's EAD division. The first game, F-Zero was released for the Super Nintendo back in 1991 and its success led to multiple sequels on various Nintendo consoles. The series is known for its high-speed racing sequences. In 2003, there was an Anime series by Ashi Productions titled F-Zero: GP Legend. 51 episodes of the show were produced in total.  It is a reboot of the F-Zero franchise that takes place in the year 2201, with police detective Rick (as known in the North American version) as one of the protagonists, who works with the Mobile Task Force. Its members include Jody Summer and Dr Stewart. Together, they help take down Zoda and the rest of Dark Million. 

The live-action film would be based on the F-Zero GP Legend Anime.







Waiching's casting choices:  

Mobile Task Force (the show's main protagonists and good guys)


Captain Falcon - main protagonist shrouded in mystery & works at a bar when he is not racing (Matthew Fox)


 


Jody Summer - strict leader who comes down hard on anyone who messes up the mission (Kate Beckinsale)




Rick Wheeler - protagonist of the English version (Grant Gustin)





Jack Levin - a ladies man from Australia who starts off as a rival for Rick but later becomes his friend (Liam Hemsworth)




Dr. Stewart - formerly a surgeon but became a racer after his father died (Dustin Hoffman)




Lucy Liberty - youngest member of the elite mobile task force  (Bella Thorne)




Dr Clash, aged 69 he's an engineer who wants to be a racer (Christopher Lloyd)




Mr EAD - a robot who is a fan of Kate Allen (Danny Devito)





John Tanaka - head cop of the mobile Task Force & fan of Kate Alen (Ryan Higa)





Kate Alen - a famous pop star. Zoda tried to get her to join Dark Million, only to be thwarted by Rick & Mr EAD (Jennifer Hudson)


 



Dark Million  (Arch Enemies of the Mobile Task Force and Antagonists)

Zoda - a criminal brought back to life and was the cause of Rick's accident, 50 years ago (Jim Carrey)


 


Black Shadow - main villain of the series and leader of Dark Million (Christian Bale)





Miss Killer - Black Shadow's right hand woman and who was formerly Rick's girlfriend (Christina Ricci)




Deathborn/Phoenix - member of Dark Million & sitting chairman of the F-Zero association (Adam Driver)



     

           

Baba - member of Dark Million (Wesley Snipes)


 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mini Retro Review: The Big Wedding (2013) #badmovies

The Big Wedding
2013
Comedy





Oh boy. Another truly terrible Robin Williams film from the (post) 2000s, which yet again (how many times have I said this? Too many, that's what) is indicative of how bad and worse his career literately became right after One Hour Photo and Insomnia, The Big Wedding features a star ensemble in Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon, of whom they too ought to have known better than sign up to this unfunny dross. Film is about one family where each member are having difficulties in their relationships and they get resolved, one way or another. Just like a rom-com. Robin Williams plays an unfunny recovering alcoholic priest, in yet another wasteful role of his (again, speaking as a fan, why Robin? Why). Endless immature sexual jokes uttered by the likes of veterans De Niro, Diane Keaton, Sarandon and Williams in a brazen attempt of theirs to bring some relevancy to their careers, when in turn, it's yet an excuse for them to collect their pay cheques, rather than for the quality of the material on hand. & quality this film isn't. Poor and cheap gags and some of the poorest attempts at humour I've seen, characters one could care less about & one of the worst films of 2013. 

& it's lame in every sense of the word also. 


Is It Worth Seeing?

Utterly joyless movie with stars who only did it for the money. This is one wedding that doesn't deserve a reception, nor should it be attended by anyone. Me included. 


Overall:

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Retro Review: No Contest (1995)

No Contest
1995
Cast: Shannon Tweed, Robert Davi, Andrew Dice Clay, Roddy Piper
Genre: Action

Plot: A Miss Galaxy beauty pageant competition is hijacked by a gang who take a number of hostages and demand diamonds







'So-So Canadian Die Hard B-Movie Clone'

A clone of the 1988 John McTiernan action blockbuster, Die Hard with Bruce Willis, No Contest is a Die Hard version of Miss Congeniality with the beauty pageant sub plot added that went straight to video back in the mid-1990s and is a low-budget affair. I wasn't expecting much at all from this, but for the action itself; at most I was thinking it would be average at best. 


Which by all accounts, it is. 

The film stars Shannon Tweed as a female John McClane; i.e. a cop who finds herself in a bit of trouble when a bunch of evil terrorists invade a Miss Universe-style beauty pageant with heavy machine guns. Dice Clay's villain takes Miss USA Candice hostage, in return for a $10 million ransom. Tweed's character, Sharon poses as one of the hosts of the pageant, who later turns out to be a cop who has to save and rescue the other girls and blow up the baddies, with the aid of a security officer played by Robert Davi. 

The premise is somewhat interesting and the execution, for a Z/B-movie was okay. Whilst a lot of people will find the violence and action scenes to be tame (which it was) and not as hard-hitting and graphic (& hard-hitting it wasn't), this was something I could give, as well as take for a low-budget action film. Obviously, if this had been a big budget affair and the action was terrible, then I would chastise it more. The fight scenes were somewhat of a joke though, bordering on as almost bad and as convincing as Shannon tried to be by landing those kicks and punches, - though most of the work was done by her stunt double. No Contest is more lower-tier, direct-to-DVD stuff, rather than the middle of the road fare. 

I didn't care for Andrew 'Clay' Dice's villain character; I didn't pay attention to him at all actually, whilst the late Rowdy Roddy Piper was really rowdy and hams it up as one of the other goons. He also manages to bring some insanity and menace to not just the role, but also in a film such as this that is to be expected. 

No Contest resonates with a trashiness that reverberates almost throughout the entire film, B-movie style -only to come to a massive halt by the end. The film does gain a few points by gifting Shannon Tweed a role that doesn't involve taking her clothes off, like with all of her softcore porn movies, which she has made a reputation of being known for. Even if her fight scenes needed more work and that sometimes, I found it difficult to take her seriously as a cop. 

As a Die-Hard -type of film, this isn't too bad as efforts go and as corny and half-baked as it is, I couldn't help but go along for the ride. The film tries to bring that Die Hard feel to life and at most, it's decent enough yet very thin. The casting choices are ideal, although I am a bit critical with regards to the fight scenes. 

The ending is badly edited and looks shoddy, although here, it seems the director's intention was to make sure it looked and feels every inch of the action flick and with all the trimmings and more cost-effectively also. In contrast to another B-movie action film, in say, Exit Speed (a favourite of mines) however, action-wise, entertainment-wise, re-watch-ability factor No Contest doesn't have it in spades, nor is it as good. 






Final Verdict:

Whilst it offers nothing new and doesn't stand out from the millions of other action films, it tries its best and it gets A for effort. As a whole, it's not bad and whilst I have seen better, it's just about watchable. But it is not a film that I would revisit all the time.



Overall:


Monday, 14 August 2017

Movie Review: Attack The Block (2011)

Attack The Block
2011
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Nick Frost 
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $5.8 million

Plot: A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion








'Unsung Aliens In The British Hood'


Backed by Film 4 and the British Film Council, Attack The Block is a survival horror film that has a lot in common with Shaun of the Dead, moreso than its American counterparts by being a fusion of comedy and horror and much like with that movie, it is made in the UK; the only difference being it is set in South London as opposed to the countryside with Shaun of the Dead. The film also heralded the emergence of John Boyega, who has since gone onto greater success, worldwide with Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Finn.

John Boyega, who became the breakout star of this film, is Moses: a leader of a gang who, along with his best mates live in a low down South London estate & they start to cause trouble wherever they go and make lives hell for their neighbours who live there, including a trainee nurse who is mugged by the gang. But things come to a head when a meteor strikes and the group of delinquents are confronted by a horde of alien creatures, who have invaded their local area and set out to kill them, one by one. The city's only hope in stopping them run amok and devour everything and everyone in sight, are a motley crew of troublesome teens who have to defend themselves and survive.

Attack The Block, is in essence, a horror film laced with social aspects; if you have seen Shaun of the Dead, it is pretty much a similar film, only replace Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, zombies and the countryside setting with the city in London, creatures that resemble fuzzy beasts with giant fangs and a younger set of good guys. Nick Frost also has a supporting role in this film as the gang's best friend.

Though the film lacks humour, it is still witty, much like with Shaun of the Dead, & it still works to Attack The Block's advantage and the tension and thrills it generates is palpable, thus making the film exciting in places as well. The story was engaging and the characters and the performances were believable, with John Boyega being one of the standouts and there wasn't a dull moment throughout for me. Yet I do wish the girls had more of a prominent role to play in the film. I also liked the idea of so-called bad people trying to do right, in an attempt to redeem themselves. Some films also do this, but here, it comes off as being more natural and less desperate and these teens are not overly evil and despicable enough that makes you want to hate them and that they turn over a new leaf. Additionally, the creature designs are very inventive and so menacing at the same time.

Occasionally light-hearted, but also it makes attempts to be a survival horror film that seem genuine and less superficial on the surface of it all, Attack The Block is what I'd call as an overlooked film that is executed with boldness and well crafted and has great camerawork, along with an understanding of what horror films should attempt to do, but also by not glossing over the little details and tropes that make a horror film great.






Final Verdict


Attack The Block also gets bonus points for being a British film that isn't in the context of Richard Curtis's middle/upper class efforts such as Four Weddings & A Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill and for showing that side of London, well, cinematography and locations wise, the wider world doesn't see very often in cinema. Along with the really good performances, this is one of the most unique takes on the horror genre, whilst fusing the inner city and teen gang concepts together, it also doubles up as a film that expands upon the idea of 'Britishness' and that no matter our social background, it's about coming together as one to fight evil and to succeed in the end.

& much like with 2007's Exit SpeedAttack The Block is another example of how smaller budget films can be as equally good and achievable as multi-million blockbusters and with effects and action that can still stand up with the big boys, but at the fraction of the cost. 


Those who saw John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens ought to give this a watch. 


As this is pretty good, bruv!




Overall:



Sunday, 13 August 2017

Mini Retro Review: Robowar (1988) #badmovies

Robowar
1988
Sci-Fi Action Horror





A film that tries to be a mash-up of Predator and the Terminator, Robowar is in many cases a brazen rip-off/clone of Predator without any of its conviction and it just feels like the director and writer were taking the mick, rather than pay tribute to Predator. One of the characters/actors is shouting their lines, the dialogue is dreadful with the F-word mentioned several times & one of the so-called protagonist douchebag characters coming across as homophobic as he mentions f**s and Aids in the same sentence. How original. The main guy has nothing on Arnie's character, Dutch. A copycat knock- off of Predator, minus any quality that went with it with terrible overacting and action sequences. The computerized voice sounds terrible with the mercenaries on the run from a robot and the robot guy looks like a Power Ranger.


Is It Worth Seeing?

As interesting as the premise sounds, it's not


Overall:

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