That’s why you gotta fly high, Marriott Inn-style, baby.
It all started on a very-rainy night with a woman getting run over by a limo-driver (John Cusack). After this, the man tries to save her life by bringing her to a motel in the middle of the desert, owned by an odd man named Larry (John Hawkes). There’s no such luck, until a cop (Ray Liotta) with a prisoner in his custody (Jake Busey), comes on by. There might be hope, but there somehow isn’t, considering the more and more people that show up, the more deaths there are. But here’s the kicker: nobody has a single-clue exactly as to who’s killing all of these people in the shadows. It could be anybody. Hell, it could even be YOU, the viewer!! AHHH!!
This movie is such an obvious rip-off of an Hitchcock movie, it’s not even funny. Everything from the strange-o characters, to the tense setting, to the mystery, and hell, even to the actual motel itself. It looks exactly like the one that Norman Bates rented out for anybody that strolled-along, almost to the point of where the actual sign itself continues to flicker on-and-off to portray just how shady the area actually is. Yes, it can get pretty obvious where the creators took their inspiration from, but the distractions go away once the story starts, and ultimately: where the fun really begins.
Going into this movie, thinking that you have a hot-head for detail and knowing what’s good when it comes to any movie, may just have take your high-hat off for this one because it’s a total puzzle in every stretch of the imagination. Every time a new character is brought to our attention, more of a mystery is presented to us, and just when we think we know exactly what this story is all about, where it’s going, and who’s going to end up being the slasher behind the closed-doors; the movie still toys with us and gives us something new to think about. There were countless times in this movie where even I thought I had it all figured-out, but somehow I was stooped, once again.
Movies like this where you can’t trust anyone, not even the director himself (in this case, James Mangold), always are a treat for me to watch because it’s very rare where I actually get to check out a movie that makes me second-guess myself, almost every step of the way. No matter what I thought was right, I was usually wrong. Even by the end once all of the pieces seemed to start to come together, once more, I was slapped in the face with a disapproving look. Not to say it was an insult or anything, but it was more of a slap to wake up, and look at the finer-details in order to see if I could really get on with this movie, and what it was trying to pull.
But most movies like this, with all of the twists and such, remind me of a young-at-heart relationship between two people. At first, all is good. You see where things could go, you get happy, and you start to appreciate everything that you have in front of you, even if you may be stepping-out of your comfort-zone a bit. Actually, maybe even a bit too much for yourself. However, suddenly things go awry and you realize that maybe not everything was as perfect as you once thought it was, and now it’s time for a slight-change. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to over-do everything, show the other person how much you care, and rather than gaining their love and support back, you gain other thoughts and feelings that you didn’t quite want in the first place. You know, the baddie one.
That’s how this movie felt to me. Once everything got ready and going, I was happy and ambitious. I expected the movie to keep me puzzled, glued-in to what was going on, and shock me, every time that it felt like it wanted to. However, things got a little crazy at a certain point that I eventually started to realize that maybe this movie was turning it’s wheels a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the movie for being fun, clever, and original in it’s own type of way, but after awhile, it only went on for so long and so far, that is, until I started to question whether or not this movie even believed in the twists it was throwing at the wall and seeing what stuck, and what sort of just surely, but slowly continued to slide-down the wall.
Then, on the other side of the stadium, I am a bit torn with this movie because I enjoyed myself, had fun, and continued to second-guess myself, even when I was sure that I was correct in my pretentious, critical-ways (hey, it comes with the job). So therefore, I guess it’s all just a judge of character. Whether or not you are able to take the numerous twists the movie begins to launch into the story, is all up to you. For yours truly, some of it worked and seemed smart, whereas some of it didn’t quite work so well and actually seemed goofy. Oh well, that’s just me. Make up your own minds, kids!
But no matter what crazy shit a movie tries to pull, you at least have to give it credit for getting a cast such as this assembled, and allow them to do whatever it is that they can do to make a movie as goofy as this work. Nobody is really playing very far and away from what we’ve seen them do before, but at least they own it and are game for this type of material. At least. John Cusack is good as the ring-leader of the group, who knows exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to pull it all off so no more people get killed. You see that he has a past where the guy used to be a cop, but suffered a problem that left him emotionally-strained and messed-up in the head, therefore, he left his duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, right? Keep on guessing.
Ray Liotta plays, as you could expect, a cop that has a huge chip on his shoulder with a dangerous criminal in his custody, and a bit of anger-issue. However, as obvious and conventional as this may sound (even for a character played by Liotta), Liotta makes him work because you constantly believe that there is more to this dude than he lets in, even if the character himself doesn’t seem to admit it. Liotta is always good at playing these types of roles, even if it sort of has become a trademark of his by now. That’s fine, though, because the guy seems like he would do the right thing if he had to, but does that mean he’s really a good guy? Keep on guessing.
The only one here who really seems to have a clear-enough conscience not be considered a prime-suspect in all of the killings, is a whore with a heart of gold played by Amanda Peet. I usually love Peet in everything she does, but she seemed a bit annoying here. It wasn’t Peet herself, as much as it was more of her character for having that loud, obnoxious Southern-accent that continued to ring in my ears, even when she wasn’t yelling at somebody for looking at her hot body. Yeah, blame us for this, Amanda!
But they aren’t the only ones in this movie, they’re just the main stars that may (or may not) attract the audience to the wider-show. There’s plenty more where that came from, and they are all great. Clea Duvall plays a young, just-recently married gal that’s having problems with her d-bag hubby; John C. McGinley’s character’s wife is the one who gets hit in the first place and is good at being awkward and twitchy, without reminding me of the legend of all this; John Hawkes is a fun-fit as the type of dude you’d expect to own a motel out in the middle of nowhere (meaning he’s a bit of a creep-o); and lastly, the lovely and equally-as-creepy Rebecca De Mornay is here as an aging, but still very uptight actress that believes she deserves more than she’s given. Art imitating life? Just maybe.
Consensus: Most of what Identity has to offer and whether or not you’ll be able to go along for the ride, is all up to you, the viewer. Twists and turns will occur, and it all depends on whether or not you are game for them. Me, I was quite game, but I will admit that there is some goofiness underneath the blankets of a story that seemed drench in mystery.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
At least my high school reunion won’t be filled with so many pervs. Then again, it probably will.
As you would expect, the plot revolves around the characters getting together for their 10-year high school reunion and struggling against the expectations of adult life. Oh, and there’s Jim’s dad being a total goof.
So after all this time of reviewing all of the past MAIN sequels (not those piece of crap straight-to-dvd flicks), I have to say that I was pretty stoked for this one. I loved all of these characters, wanted to see more of them, and finally got the chance to see them all together once again for their last hurrah and I’m glad to see this, because for some odd reason I have a feeling they’ll be back.
With an ‘American Pie’ flick, you have to realize what you’re getting yourself into right away. Yes, there will be gross-out jokes, there will be a lot of sex jokes, and there will be some way of ladies showing off some T&A. With this latest edition, the film delivers on many of the gross-out jokes as most of them hit with big laughs, while others just get a mild chuckle or two, but that’s better than no chuckle….or two. It was also funny to see this film poke fun at the high schools that we have in today’s world against theirs, and just barely different they are, except for the fact that these kids today are a lot more of assholes than maybe the ‘Pie’ gang was. No, I’m not including Stifler.
People coming in and expecting a whole bunch of emotional and sympathetic moments as if it was a reunion flick like say, ‘The Big Chill’, are in for a big surprise because not much of that is here but when it does come around, it’s surprisingly very good. The film shows us where life takes us sometimes and even though we may not be right there with one another, we all still should be there for each other in spirit. Maybe that was a little bit too weird for this review but you know what I mean. It’s just good to have a reunion flick that at least touches on something sympathetic for the most part even though it’s definitely not as good as the first one in that department.
The problem with this flick is that it is close to two hours, which may be a bit of a stretch even for a flick that is getting back all of its characters. With a tight ninety minutes, this film would have been able to deliver all of the goods on the comedic and sympathetic level, but with this close to two hour run-time, everything starts to feel a bit bloated. There were some subplots that didn’t really need to be around here such as Jim and his neighbor and Finch having problems with his life by the end, but there was still enough to fall back on so that’s all that counts.
Another problem I also felt like a lot of the jokes that they used were a little too centered towards jokes of the past movies, and sometimes they were even reused here again. I don’t know how hard it is to come up with a new dick, ass, or sex joke but once you have to start copying from your own franchise, then it starts to get a little lame but thankfully it’s not a constant or else I would have probably been rolling my eyes the whole time.
Still, when it was all said and done, this flick just made me happy to see the whole gang back together once again. Not much of these characters have grown from the last times we’ve all seen them, but they are still as fun and as lovable as they were then. Jim and Michelle are still married but are also having sexy time problems; Oz is a TV sports writer who appeared on Dancing with the Stars; Kevin is now a stay-at-home husband; Finch is as exotic and cool as he has ever been in any of the past flicks; and of course, Stifler is still a dick head amongst other things. They are all great here doing what they do best, especially Klein who actually found himself on the other end of the joke, which was a real change-up in things from the first two flicks. Oh yeah, and Eugene Levy is back as Jim’s dad and he’s just hilarious. Honestly, what else can you say about him? As for the ladies, they are all back too and make their presence known. Tara Reid is still foxy and trying her hardest to act as Vicky; Mena Suvari looks better now, than she did back then as Heather; and we also get to see Nadia back but this time, with a top on so it was a major bummer this time around. It’s just so great to see everyone back here and hangin’ around again considering all of these cast members are friends in real life so it makes this reunion all the more fun.
Consensus: Though it can drag on too long, American Reunion is still a great way to bring back the lovable and original cast with its usual, funny humor and some ounce of sympathy that makes us feel more about what may happen to us in the future and what we may be seeing at our next high school reunion. But it’s also great to just see all of the characters and cast return, especially if you loved the original American Pie.
Well at least we now know where Unstoppable got it’s inspiration from.
Jon Voight and Eric Roberts are Manny and Buck, two escapees of an Alaska maximum-security prison who hop aboard a locomotive. When a heart attack fells the engineer, the train careens across the frozen tundra. The fugitives, along with the engineer’s assistant (Rebecca De Mornay), are trapped aboard and must reach the emergency fuel cutoff switch in the lead engine — with the prison warden in hot pursuit.
Basically this is your typical 80′s action thriller film. So cue the cheesy techno music, and corny dialogue.
The one thing that this film does, is that it does keep you somewhat excited. I was on the edge of my seat, not knowing what actually was going to happen, and I must say that’s one of my favorite things about this film. You don’t quite know what’s going to happen, and the tense direction with frantic editing keeps your mind glued to everything.
The only problem is that the script tries act like it’s something more, than it’s really not. The screenplay here tries to focus on the runaway train in this film as a metaphor for life, and how we’re always trying to run from it, and the consequences it has. For me, this just seemed odd since it was placed in a film that really didn’t seem like it needed it. The film tries to be so smart and intelligent, but instead, just doesn’t do anything really special, except for your same old-same old action thriller.
However, I did think that the performances livened this film up a lot more than I expected. Jon Voight is vicious in this role as Manny, and does a good job of keeping that macho-guy look up, as well as doing a great job of keeping us totally scared of him throughout the whole film. Eric Roberts is also good here as Buck, the not-so smart country bumkin, that brings a lot of comedy to this film. It’s just such a shame to see him now on that Celebrity Rehab crap, cause he doesn’t need it honestly, he should just come back and do little roles like The Expendables. I know that won’t hurt anyone. I didn’t really like Rebecca De Mornay in this, because I think her contrived character is only in the film to close a plot hole or two.
Consensus: There are plenty of action thrillers out there that try to be amazing, but this film has good performances and a tense direction that keeps you going, however I couldn’t stand the fact that it tried to be so much smarter than what it really is.
Young Tom Cruise was such a little devil.
With his parents on vacation, high schooler Joel (Tom Cruise) — abetted by a prostitute named Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) — turns opportunity into disaster as he transforms the family home into a brothel, sees a Porsche end up in Lake Michigan and watches his Princeton dreams fade.
Risky Business was one of the first serious teen comedies, in the 80s. To be truly honest I don’t think it was funny that much.
The premise makes the film out to be hilarious, when really you will probably get a slight chuckle here and there. There are a lot of scenes that would be hilarious, but this very weird score music by Tangerine Dream sort of ruins the comedy element to the film.
There are some parts of this film that were very good. Probably the first half was the best as it really did suck me in, then the second half started to drag very bad. A lot of jokes were just being forced, with a lot of those raunchy sex wit that really didn’t work at all.
The last part of the film is what’s very funny, and sort of takes over the film. The whole film shows a great look at teen angst, and its side effects. This one kid has never been with a woman before, and when he finally does, he has no idea what to do with her, knowing that she is a prostitute, still takes her in as a girlfriend of his.
The one thing about this film is that it never served any real danger in the plot. This young suburban kid from Chicago is basically messing in the world of prostitution, but the worst thing the killer pimp could do was steal all his furniture. It’s kind of like “OK your going to steal the furniture and nothing else, what the hell!”.
Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of good things here. The soundtrack at times was a bit weird and electronic grew on me, and got better as it went along. Also, the cinematography was very good, it was very detailed and specific with its wild look.
Tom Cruise is very good here in one of his first very good roles. He plays this yuppie kid, who was always sheltered and finally gets to do something fun, but doesn’t know what to do, and he plays it so well. De Mornay and him build this very good chemistry that comes out well on screen.
Consensus: Risky Business doesn’t have all the laughs you would expect, and some obvious fictionalism, but features some true examinations of teenage angst, backed by a good young performance from Cruise.