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Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Ouuuuuuch!   Poor Bruce Willis.

Eddie Hawkins is a thief just released from prison.  All he wants is a damn cappuccino, but before he can even get all the way out of prison, people are hassling him to take thieving jobs for them.

Enter several groups of people who want Eddie to steal the same things, a super rich couple, a bunch of government spooks and miscellaneous thugs.  What all this centers around are a bunch of crystals that Leonardo Da Vinci used to turn lead into gold.

In other words, this convulted caper centers around alchemy of all things.

Bless Bruce Willis; he’s a charming guy who has a great screen presence.  In fact, Willis has followed the John Wayne mode of acting, in which he seems to play a version of himself in every single movie.   But charm can only sail a person so far.

There’s quite simply too much going on in Hudson Hawk; there’s so many plot twists, turns and implausibly convenient events that most would be hard pressed to keep up.   Then there’s the sad fact that Hudson Hawk can’t even decide what kind of movie it wants to be.   The movie’s a caper, buddy comedy, romance, action, screwball, slapstick mess.   Every cast member tries to be too over the top, too jokey, too quirky.   Sandra Bernhard as a rich lady is just obnoxious and Danny Aiello’s sweet and funny but ends up clotheslined by the ridiculous material he’s given.   Even more exhausting is the fact that the filmmakers attempt to pack every gag possible in, to the point where I’m not sure there’s actually more than five seconds that passes in Hudson Hawk where something funny isn’t attempted.   It’s tiresome and barely any of the jokes are funny.

As far as a guilty pleasure goes, Bruce Willis is, as I said, charming and he and Danny Aiello have some fun moments where they get to sing and joke around and be best buddies; Willis can capture moments of fun, whimsy and charm – it’s just sad that nothing else about this movie can.

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Based on a true story, y’all.

Star runner Derrice Bannock is a hero in Jamaica, but his hopes of running in the Olympics are dashed when he and a fellow runner who goes by the name of Yul Brenner no less are tripped by another competitor named Junior on accident.    Derrice refuses to give up his Olympic dream.   He recalls that a bobsled coach attempted to court his father, who was also a Jamaican runner, into starting the first Jamaican bobsled team.  With help from his friend Sanka, Yul and Junior join up and they manage to go all the way to the Olympics.  But can four guys from Jamaica actually compete in winter sports?

Oh, the drama!  The suspense!   The tension!

Not really.   This is a feel-good Disney flick, so it’s chock full of cliches and great life lessons:  never give up, always finish, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (to quote the real Yul Brynner).    Somehow the film avoids preaching, which is great and the cast makes it actually a real joy to watch, cliches and all.

Cool Runnings is frivolous fun, one of those movies I watched when I was a kid to pass the time that as an adult I find amusing without being tiring.  It’s a sweet film mainly carried through the interactions of the four bobsledders and I imagine partly on my childhood nostalgia to be frank.

What I did not expect was to turn off the movie and feel an odd wistfulness for John Candy, who died quite a while ago and who I realize I miss greatly in films.   Candy was a big part of my childhood in the sense that I watched more than a few of his movies, but his salty, cranky sled coach in this movie is a gem.   It’s sad that Candy’s no longer around; he was skillfully funny, I now realize, in a way a lot of comedic actors never are.   He could also cut it as a “real actor”.

The movie’s a fun piece of feel-good cinema, if you’re into that sort of thing and if you’re not, then you won’t like it in the slightest, I don’t think.

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Nick Cannon, please don’t take yourself so seriously.

drumline2

Drumline isn’t actually half bad.   And speaking as a former band nerd, the marching bands are pretty spot on.

Nick Cannon plays Devon, a drummer who goes to an Atlanta college and joins the marching band.   He’s the worst kind of cocky as he’s so arrogant he can barely take criticism.   Devon chafes under the rules of a squad leader and the director of the band, Dr. Lee.    A moral crisis as well as a revelation regarding Devon’s musical knowledge (spoiler:  he can’t read music) lead Devon to grow up and become a better musician.

The thing about Drumline is that the marching bands are as much a character as Devon.   I grew up in football crazy Texas, where marching band is part and parcel of the Texan obsession with all things pigskin related.  (Halftime entertainment is taken very seriously.)   Drumline does convey a lot of the work and sheer grind of being in a marching band, as well as the strange customs and habits a lot of bands have.    Devon’s storyline can be downright exhausting, not to mention irritating.   His attitude problems wear thin after a while.

The bit players are often the most entertaining.    And Drumline features some interesting marching shows even if the plot, especially when it comes to the love story, is worn so thin holes are beginning to show.     It is still surprising that they made a successful movie out of marching band, given that I understand a lot of folks don’t really get the appeal of marching bands, but the director, writer and producers pulled it through.    The bands are fun and the band members aren’t geeks, something too often trotted through any movie since it’s such a simplistic, well-traveled joke.

That’s not to say Drumline doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, which makes it at points really laughable.  The story line between Nick Cannon’s character and his squad leader is alpha male macho bullshit in such a hilarious way, you have to wonder if they played it up for laughs.   It’s clear that Nick Cannon is ultra-serious about his role as Devon to the point of taking it too far at times, which makes his part feel less conflicted, overcompensating young man and more egotistical jerk, like that one person everyone knows who’s so into themselves everyone around them is aware of how silly they really are.

Overall, Drumline‘s not a bad movie but not a great one either; I would suspect it’s the kind of movie that’s fun to watch with friends and giggle at when you need something light-hearted and refreshing (after this spate of horror flicks, I certainly needed that).    Good, clean fun, as the grown-ups would say.

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What do you do when you live in East Germany right as the Berlin Wall is going to fall and your devoted Socialist mother drops into a coma, only to awake after the fall of the Wall?

Why, you lie to her and make everything like it was before.

Alex is devoted to his mother, Christiane, who suffers a nearly fatal heart attack on the cusp of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  She falls into an eight month long coma during which East and West Germany are slowly merging, and when she wakes up, the doctors inform Alex that he must prevent any strong excitement from entering his mother’s life, lest she suffer another heart attack.   Knowing his mother’s devotion to the East German socialist cause, Alex determines to take her home and make it like nothing ever happened.   Of course, with the influx of people, products and ideas from the West, this makes Alex’s decision none too easy, one that is not supported by his sister and her boyfriend, and one that often leads him to insane ends to convince his mother that her beloved country is still intact.

With moments of comedy, like Alex buying Western foods at the supermarket and pouring the contents into the canisters of defunct Eastern foods, and poignancy, like when Alex and his sister realize his long-lost father who left the family years before is still close by, the film mixes the highs and lows of a family caught in an extreme situation nicely.   It also is more than just the simple plot details, as the film takes an extraordinary situation to examine  what an ordinary family has made of their collective lives.

Overall, it’s a well done dramedy with a nice wrap-up at the end.   I was thoroughly surprised by how much better it was than I was expecting.

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