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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: 1993

Blood In Blood Out (1993)

Trust your brothers. Half, or not.

Growing up on the streets of East Los Angeles is pretty rough, especially if you’re a Chicano kid. You’re always being looked at by cops, you’re always seen as a gang-member, and you’re always seeming to be looking for trouble. For three brothers, this is especially the truth. There’s Miklo (Damian Chapa), who leads their gang and seems to have the most violent tendencies out of the three; there’s Cruz (Jesse Borrego), the artist of the three who aspires for something bigger and better, even if his own family and gang-life may bring him down; and then there’s Paco (Benjamin Bratt), who knows that he wants something more out of life, too, but just doesn’t know what yet and because of that, is stuck thinking about what sort of career he wants to explore. All three of them try to navigate through life and survive on the streets, however, when you have a gun in your face, that’s a lot easier said then done, which is what happens to one of the brothers, leaving the two left to pick up the pieces back at home, while the one is at jail, gaining a whole new outlook on life. And not in the good way, either.

Self-portrait?

Self-portrait?

When you’re movie is nearly three hours long, you have to try really hard to have us, the audience, make sense of that. You can’t just have one large movie, with all of this material written for it, and throw it at us, expecting us to take it all in and be fine with it – this is literally three hours of our lives. Three hours we may never, ever get back; it’s fine if it’s an hour-and-a-half, or maybe even two hours, but three is really asking much and that’s sort of why Blood In Blood Out doesn’t totally work.

Had it been literally an hour shorter, it probably would have been an exciting, compelling and relatively heartfelt look inside the lives of three men and the adventures that their lives took, but with that extra hour, it’s overlong, drawn-out, and honestly, kind of dull. It’s the kind of movie where, had it been shorter, would have been fine, warts, flaws and all, but as a three-hour movie, it’s sort of hard not to get by them; you start to pick apart the puzzle a little bit more, piece by piece, until you realize that there’s something wrong here and you’re getting closer and closer to figuring out what. And then, you do, because you had all of the time in the world and well, what else were you going to do with your time?

Oh, watch the movie? Okay, yeah sure, but Blood In Blood Out doesn’t really have all that much going on within it.

For the most part, it’s a pretty conventional tale that will, every half-hour or so, bring out some true excitement and liveliness, but for the most part, tells this familiar story in such a slow-pace, it’s hard to really ever get caught up in it all. Not to mention that the movie does take on three different subplots, neither of which are ever all that interesting, with the exception of Miklo’s trips to jail; there, the movie becomes an interesting, if overly familiar prison-drama that’s got all of the standard stuff we expect from prison-dramas of the same nature. But for some reason, in that story at least, there’s a sense of realism and grit not found in the other, too, and helps keep things afloat when, quite frankly, they start to drown.

And as director, Taylor Hackford doesn’t quite have enough skill to make all of this material work and stay alive, in a three-hour production. It’s clear that a lot of this could have been trimmed-out, taken out, left on the editing-room floor, and somewhere to be found on the DVD extras, but nope. For some reason, Blood In Blood Out is nearly three hours and it never makes the case for it to be that way.

Is it possible to be moody, gritty and hot, all at the same time?

Is it possible to be moody, gritty and hot, all at the same time?

Of course, there’s a lot of brutal and bloody violence to be seen and shocked by, but at what cost? The movie is portraying prison the same way it’s always been portrayed as and it’s not really doing much else, either. The other two stories are supposed to be this small, dark and sometimes sad tales about guys growing up and finding out more about their lives, but it just doesn’t quite work – we don’t feel anything for these characters and we sure as hell don’t really see them as anything more than just cliches.

The only aspect about them barely getting them by is the ones who play them.

Damian Chapa has a lot to do as Miklo and does a fine enough job with it, but like a few others, he does tend to go a little over-the-top, almost to the point of where it’s laughable. There’s something about the look in his eyes and his bulky-presence that carries him from scene-to-scene, but there’s also something about how he yells almost every line of dialogue, that also ruins said eyes and presence. Jesse Borrego doesn’t fair much better as the artsy Cruz, who battles with drug-addiction and being ripped-off by agents, and yeah, it doesn’t quite matter, because, well, who cares. Benjamin Bratt is probably the best out of the three, because when push comes to shove, he downplays almost the whole thing. His character is far more responsible than the other two and because of that, it’s not hard to sympathize with him as best as we can.

Now, why couldn’t we have gotten his own story for one, little movie?

Consensus: At a nearly three-hour run-time, Blood In Blood Out more than wears out its welcome with familiar, dated subplots about violence, prison, gangs, racism, drugs, and all of that other fun stuff we learned about in high school.

4 / 10

Strike a pose!

Strike a pose!

Photos Courtesy of: Crime Movies, Grantland

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Schindler’s List (1993)

Not everything’s in black and white. Except for, well, this movie.

Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) was a German industrialist and Nazi party member, who came to Krakow in 1939 and capitalize on everything that was happening in this area at that time. Schindler is already a rich man, but he sees a way to get richer, so he decides to use various Jews who are being pushed from one ghetto to another, to his good use. Not only does he employ them for the easiest tasks, but he’s making all sorts of money off of it, too. With the help of Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler is basically able to keep going with this form of slave labor. However, what makes Schindler less terrible than he sounds, is the fact that these workers are called “essential”, meaning that they stop in the factories, and away from the gas-chambers. While Schindler doesn’t care too much about this at first, eventually, once he begins to see all of the pain and cruelty the Nazis are making the Jews suffer through, he decides to wage a small war of sorts, trying to get every single Jew he can find into his factories, so that they don’t have to die. Sometimes, it works. Other times, unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Yes, people: Liam Neeson did act before Taken!

Yes, people: Liam Neeson did act before Taken!

It’s difficult to do a review on Schindler’s List because, well, what else is there to say about it? By this point, it’s basically like reviewing water – “Yeah, it’s pretty good and all, right guys?” Some people obviously don’t like it, but others still and to this very day, love it with all of their hearts. Is there any problem with that? Absolutely not, as it’s one of the very rare movies that, no matter how many times you see it, still is able to conjure up feelings of anger and rage that only grow stronger as the movie goes on and on.

Then again, why you’d want to watch this movie more than once is totally up in the air!

Regardless, what Schindler’s List proved back in the day, and especially now, was that Steven Spielberg wasn’t afraid to get as heavy and as dark as he possibly could. Sure, the Color Purple showed some people the truly messed-up and scary feelings he was battling deep down inside of his soul, but if anything, Schindler’s List releases them on full-blast. No man, woman, or child is safe from Spielberg here and that’s how it should be when doing a movie on the Holocaust; there’s no bright, shining sun here, it’s all sadness, almost all of the sadness.

But like I said, it needed to be, in order to get what it’s trying to say, which is basically as simple as can be: The Holocaust was a terrible time for our world. While this may not be any groundbreaking news to anyone out there who has ever picked up a book or a newspaper, still though, Spielberg really does make you feel the chaos and wretchedness of the Holocaust, without ever pulling back. One sequence in particular is when the Jews are all moved from their ghettos, to the camps, and while you assume that the sequence is over once all of the Jews are in the camps, all safe, warm, and cozy, surprisingly, it isn’t. It continues to go on, while showing more and more Jews who tried to stay behind and hide in their homes, all get caught, gunned-down and treated awfully, even if they were trying something incredibly admirable.

This is all to drive home the fact that, yes, the Holocaust was horrible. Spielberg’s camera constantly focuses in on everything happening, without ever making it seem like we’re watching a movie of his, or a movie in general, and more or less, a viewpoint from someone who was actually there. This makes the movie all the more terrifying and also give you that feeling of suffocation that, no matter where you go, you cannot hide from the Nazis.

They love it that way, too.

Spielberg is smartest when he tones himself down and here, he totally does. The cheesy, overly sentimental moments, at least for the longest time, are all turned down so that Spielberg himself can just focus on the story, these characters, and most of all, this setting. It would have been very easy for Spielberg to pass judgment on each and every Nazi here, but believe it or not, he actually just shows everything for what it is; people get killed for stupid reasons, Nazis act out in vicious, inhumane-like ways, and human rights are violated every way from Tuesday, and yet, no judgement from Spielberg. He shows everything as it is, just as it would have been back in the day, which makes the movie all the more disturbing.

But Spielberg doesn’t just wallow in the sadness – in fact, he does feature a story here and a pretty compelling one at that.

He's just English enough to be classified as "German".

He’s just English enough to be classified as “German”.

What’s perhaps so interesting about Oskar Schindler and his story here is that we never get a full grip on just who he is, what he cares about, what he believes in, or exactly why it is that he’s doing all that he does here. Sure, he definitely wants to profit off of the helpless Jews and he also wants to have a whole lot more power to his name, but does he really care about all of this so much? The movie never makes a clear decision on what it is that Schindler is all about, and that’s perfectly fine; Schindler is as much of a mysterious to us, as he is to those around him. We watch him interact with Jews and Nazis alike, acting and speaking in two, entirely different manners; with the former, he’s soft and caring, whereas with the latter, he’s respectful, but also tricky and figuring out any way he can con these men into giving him what it is that he needs, or better yet, wants.

In fact, after watching Schindler’s List for the, ahem, second time, I’ve come to the conclusion that Oskar Schindler wasn’t entirely a good person and that’s alright – in fact, he’d probably prefer it as such. What’s so great about Liam Neeson’s performance is that while he always appear to be the hero in the story, the things that he does and says don’t always show this; sure, he was trying to save Jews from being wrongfully killed, but at the same time, didn’t he just want to make a quick buck without having to pay anyone else for it? Neeson makes us constantly think that the man is some sort of later-day saint, without ever fully converting and showing off his good features, and allowing for us to be confused by just who, or what kind of man this guy was?

The questions remain long after the movie, but still, they’re worth bringing up.

It’s also worth bringing up that Spielberg allows and dedicates some time to the Nazis and, incredibly, allows for them to be fleshed-out as much as they can possibly be fleshed-out. What Spielberg is trying to show with these Nazi’s, is that even though they’re going around, killing Jews because of silly orders they were given, sometimes, they don’t always like to do that; most of the time, they’re just bored, teen-like guys who need to blow-off some steam and don’t really have any other way that doesn’t involve shooting people for no reason.

Ralph Fiennes’ performance as Amon Goeth shows us exactly what it is that we need to know about these Nazis. While he himself is a terrible excuse for a man, the movie also shows that there is some breath of humanity in him that, despite never coming out, does exist. Fiennes is startling in this role; being both scary, twisted and naive, all at the same time, but never overdoing any of it. He could have definitely been an over-the-top, wacky and wild Nazi villain, but he plays it at just the right level to where we definitely hate him, but also realize that he’s a human being and unfortunately, he has way too much power and time on his hands.

Then again, same could be said for Hitler.

Consensus: Smart, provocative, well-acted daring, disturbing, and downright emotional, Schindler’s List is the high-mark in Spielberg’s career, and with very good reason.

9.5 / 10

Posse (1993)

It’s like Unforgiven, except with a beat.

The film tells the story of a posse of black soldiers who are living and dying by their own ways and codes, team up with an ostracized white soldier (Stephen Baldwin), after they are all betrayed by a corrupt colonel (Billy Zane). Together, they decided to team-up, take him down and show him that he messed with the wrong cowboys.

After kicking complete ass with his gangster flick debut, New Jack City, writer/director/star Mario Van Peebles had a lot of pressure on his back to make something worth being mentioned in the same boat as that one. So yeah, it seems pretty obvious that the guy would take on a passion project of his and give us what is essentially the untold story of African American cowboys.

"Wait. I thought I asked for Alec?"

“Wait. I thought I asked for Alec?”

Right? Well, maybe his passion got a tad too ahead of him.

Van Peebles starts this movie off as if this was going to be a history lesson on how African-Americans had a place as cowboys in the Wild West, but just never really got the credit they deserved. This beginning threw me off for a loop and I honestly thought that I was going to be sleeping throughout the whole thing, but what surprised me the most was how much fun it seemed to have with itself once it got past this. There’s all of the typical trademarks you need with a Western, like the guns, the shooting, the desserts, the horses, the sexy ladies, the gambling, the sweat, the sheriffs, the saloons, and of course, the awesome show-downs. That’s all here and it seems as if Van Peebles is having a lot of fun with it by the way he makes everything so damn hectic all of the time; while “hectic” is usually not a positive word for most movies, but here, it worked and kept me entertained for the most part.

However, anybody wanting exactly what I was afraid to get, will be utterly disappointed as it’s just silly, stupid, and terribly-written. Every single line in this film is just a cliche or line taken from another, or far better Western that not many people have heard of, but know that they heard the line used before. Normally, bad dialogue doesn’t matter, as long as the creator behind the dialogue seems as if they’re having a ball with it – Van Peebles doesn’t give off that vibe, though. In fact, he seems so damn serious about it all, that anytime a character opens their mouth, you almost have to hold back the laughter.

Which is a shame, too, because Van Peebles clearly has a lot to discuss and highlight here.

No woman can resist that Mario charm.

No woman can resist that Mario charm.

There’s a lot of talk about slavery, racism, untold stories of the West, and points about what the black man always had to go through, but none of it ever comes through fully. All of the walking and talking could have been placed in any other flick other than this, and totally worked, but since this is something of a silly Western, it doesn’t fit altogether. In a way, it feels uneven and it can get pretty annoying because once you think the film is about to pick-up it’s feet and start kicking some Western booty, it stops and starts to tell it’s story in some lame flashbacks that all make sense, but we still didn’t need to see.

As for Van Peebles and his acting, he’s pretty good and has a nice presence about him that makes you understand why so many people fear him in the first place, but he does show-off his ego a little bit too much. What I mean by that is that there a couple of scenes where it’s just him, with his shirt off, and standing there looking all ripped-up and tough, while getting a hot girl. It’s obvious that this is his movie and he’s able to do what he wants to do but this just came-off as him trying to hog the spotlight a bit too much, in all of the wrong ways. Then, of course there is everybody’s favorite eye-patch-wearing villain, Billy Zane, who is corny, lame, and nonthreatening, but also very fun to watch because come on, it’s Billy Zane dammit!

Everybody else in this strange cast does a fine job with what they’re given, but it’s what Van Peebles does with them that really works. While there’s clearly a silly aspect surrounding some of the names here (Big Daddy Kane, Tiny Lister, and Tone Loc, for instance), Van Peebles still seems happy to have them all around. Maybe the lame dialogue was to make-up for the fact that some of them were really well-trained thespians in the first place, but still, the bad dialogue aside, Van Peebles knows his cast’s strengths and their weaknesses, which helps make the final showdown, where some important people do get mowed-down and taken out, a tad more exciting and watchable.

If only the rest of the movie had been like that, then we would really have something to talk about.

Consensus: Stupid, frenetic, crazy, overstuffed, and disjointed, Posse is not the best film to watch if you want a smart piece of commentary about African Americans and their roles in the West, but is still a fun flick that will keep your interest for the time it’s on-screen.

5 / 10

True.

True.

Photos Courtesy of: Blaxploitation Pride

Malcolm X (1992)

MalcolmposterSometimes, one biopic will do.

At an early age, Malcolm X (Denzel Washington) faced racism almost everywhere he went. His family was terrorized by local KKK members, his family was broken up, and he was always told that he would never be allowed to practice law. So basically, Malcolm X, no matter how hard Malcolm tried, he was always brought down to the color of his skin. As Malcolm grew older, and the troubles he enduced became more frequent, he started to realize that the only person who was going to look after him was him and himself alone. That’s why, when he was put into the slammer for burglary, he found a new calling in life. Around this time in his life, Malcolm began to find faith and discover a new voice that was always inside of him, just waiting desperately to come out. Finally, it did. Problem was, many people didn’t like what he had to say; rather than being like MLK and promoting peaceful protests in order to gain the respect and gratitude of the white man, Malcolm was all about fighting back and giving white man the hell that they deserved. Many adored and praised Malcolm for this stance, however, many others didn’t. Eventually, the latter would ultimately change his life forever.

He was a leader.

He was a leader.

At three-hours-and-20-minutes, there’s a lot of ground that Spike Lee covers. Malcolm X is the kind of biopic that knows that it should be the only biopic ever made about Malcolm X, so in order to ensure that no others come out and try to tarnish said person’s legacy, it goes out of its way to focus on just about everything in Malcolm’s life, without leaving any gray areas whatsoever. In a way, you have to applaud for Lee going as far as he can possibly go.

At the same time, the movie’s pretty long.

There’s a good half-hour or more that I felt like could have been blocked-out of this movie and made it just nearly three hours. All of the early scenes concerning Delroy Lindo, as he good as he is, don’t really work in the latter-part of the flick; while it’s trying to show how Malcolm has changed and is willing to forgive those who he has wronged, it’s also, at the same time, feeling a bit unnecessary because, well, we get it. Malcolm X is a changed man and he wants to let the whole world know it.

That said, there’s a lot about Malcolm X that deserves to be seen, regardless of the small amount of filler that always seems to be around in Lee’s films. For one, it’s a powerful statement on the act of protesting. While Lee has been known to be awfully preachy with just about each and everyone of his flicks, here, he seems to genuinely sit back and just let the speeches, and film tell itself. Because Malcolm X was such a compelling presence no matter what he was doing, when you hear his famous speeches play-out here, and the sort of effect they have, it’s hard not to want to get up, scream, and shout along with him. It doesn’t matter what color, gender, or class your are – there’s something about Malcolm X that’s easy to relate to.

That general sense of telling the opposing side to, “f**k off”, is universal and it’s one of the main reasons why Malcolm X works so well. It not only gives X’s teachings more spotlight, but also likes to show us just exactly what he was fighting and yelling for; while maybe not all that much has changed, it still goes to show that somebody like him, who was way ahead of his time, wasn’t afraid of those he may piss-off or offend. While some people may say that X’s teachings were more than just pure “fighting words”, the fact remains: When Malcolm X did a speech, you sat down, listened and hung on to every word that he had to say.

There’s nothing more powerful than that.

And as Malcolm X, Denzel Washington is, in all honesty, a revelation. It’s actually no surprise to anyone, but throughout the near three-and-a-half-hours, Washington remains engaging, interesting and most of all, believable through it all. This is all the more special due to the fact that X himself, went through so many transformations over his 40 years of living that to have someone play all of these different sides and personas in an understandable manner, to where we can still believe it’s the same person, is definitely something to boast on and on about. That Al Pacino won the Oscar that year is totally beyond me, but hey, it’s the Oscars.

A lover.

A lover.

How am I not surprised?

Perhaps what surprised me most about Malcolm X was how Spike Lee doesn’t set out to fully lionize X, his words, or even the movement he was so desperately fighting for. While this could have been an easy praise-piece where, no matter what he did, Malcolm X was always in the right and never made a mistake, the movie shows that he did, like many other humans and civil rights activists, get stuck in some sticky situations that he couldn’t get out of. That not everyone around him is fully on-board with what he has to say or do, already shows that maybe, just maybe, X himself may have taken things a tad too far in some perspectives.

Some could make the argument that X himself needed to take that extra step, just to force the change to happen, but still, it makes you wonder. Malcolm X, above all else, is the biopic that gives us every shade to X’s character; he was a kind, warm-hearted man who loved his wife and family so much that he never wanted anything harmful to ever happen to them, but he was also a bit of a nasty, sometimes irresponsible man who let his emotions get the best of him. Was he human? Of course he was. Was her perfect? Hell no. Then again, that’s what made Malcolm X, the person, such an iconic figure to latch onto: He was a person trying so hard to see a change.

Sadly, it didn’t bode out so well and most of us are still stuck, trying to figure out what to do next.

Consensus: Though it is quite lengthy, Malcolm X is, at the same time, a necessary biopic that gives power to its figure’s voice, and also allows for Denzel Washington to give one of the best performances of his career and keep us intrigued practically the whole way through.

8.5 / 10

And yeah, a pretty solid speech-giver, too.

And yeah, a pretty solid speech-giver, too.

Photos Courtesy of: Movpins

Naked (1993)

NakedposterMaybe all Gen-X’ers appreciated a little reading of Jane Austen on the side of constant yelling and drug use. Just maybe.

After sexually assaulting a woman back in his homeland, Johnny (David Thewlis) runs for the hills. And by “the hills”, I mean, Manchester where he’s going to try and find his ex-girlfriend for no real reason other than to bug her and cause some extra havoc along the way. However, the word “havoc” doesn’t exactly fit Johnny’s persona as he’s the type of dude that is a lot smarter and knowing than you might believe after the first 20 seconds of the movie, or how he dresses and walks around aimlessly. As Johnny’s “adventure” continues on, we begin to get to know more and more about him, his thoughts, his feelings, and just what the hell he even feels like doing with his life; probably more than I ever expected to stick around for.

Reviewing this movie is going to be a bit of a challenge because I have yet to make up my mind as to whether this was a dark comedy with dramatic elements, or a full-on drama, that just so happened to make me laugh. I’m still racking my brain around which either one this flick is and what Mike Leigh was trying to go for. That’s more of a knock against me than his actual directing because some of the things that this character Johnny says, had me laughing because I simply “got it”. Others, however, may not think so much, which is where the confusion of what genre this movie is from comes in.

"Should I hit it, or should I not? Aw, fuck it! I'm a man in his prime!"

“To hit it, or not to hit it? That begs the real question.”

However, finding a genre out for this sort of movie doesn’t matter because the flick is still good, well-written, and interesting to watch, even if you don’t think so until you read all of the positive buzz about it. See, going into this movie, I knew it was going to be good, and coming from the sturdy-hands of Leigh, I knew it was going to be all talky and feel all natural. I love that about Leigh’s approach, as it’s so rare that he ever steps in front of the story and the characters that inhabit it; he just lets it be told, the way it was meant to be told, and he doesn’t ever get in the way. Good man, because I know plenty of directors that probably would have had enough with all of this improv, and at least put his foot down, stating “enough is enough”. None really come to mind, but they’re out there and Leigh isn’t one of them.

No, no, no. Leigh is a special type of director that makes movies, not just for the sake of making movies, but to bring out emotions and feelings within a society that may, at times, seem to be falling apart from the inside out, without them even knowing it themselves. That’s the idea that this flick taps into very well; the idea that life in the underbelly of post-conservative England, especially during the 90’s, wasn’t pleasant, and was filled with just as many contradictions and grimness than you can shake a stick at. People were constantly on the streets, out of jobs, sad, and hopeless for what was to come. They were just waiting to see when the world would end, just so they could remove the sad existence of life they have on the planet.

It’s a dark mind-set to have placed, but it’s one that Leigh attacks with full force and never loses sight of. Sure, his movie may seem to meander at times because all it is is a loner having a bunch of random bits of conversations with people he doesn’t really know or want to know, but it’s very intriguing to actually have to hear and listen to what these people have to say, and how they respond to the thoughts and ideas of what a normal, average young adult would be thinking about and contemplating around the same time. Of course Leigh knows what he’s trying to say, but the people he associates himself with don’t, and he tries to show them in any way that he possibly can. At all costs really.

This also actually brings into discussion the way Leigh filmed this movie, which isn’t very different from other movies of his, but still brings up plenty of interesting ideas of what was meant to be said with this flick. See, rather than having almost every character improv their rumps off in front of the camera with Leigh standing behind it and just filming whatever he could get, he allowed each and every worker to make up their own lines and feelings, rehearse it for quite some time, and then eventually start filming and putting it altogether. At times, this approach works because a lot of what these characters have to say, feel honest and brutal, but sometimes it doesn’t mix well with all of the over-the-top theatrics that Leigh throws in himself.

Case in point, the whole subplot featuring the supposed land-lord of Johnny’s ex, Jeremy G. Smart as played by Greg Cruttwell. Cruttwell is good at playing this evil, sinister bastard that has no care or affection for the women that he seduces, and only cares about making them feel the pain and agony that he feels on a day-to-day basis. And that’s all fine and dandy, but the story never really has much to do with Johnny’s or anybody else’s for that matter. He shows up from time-to-time, takes our minds off of Johnny’s life, and gets us involved with something that seems to be pushing the envelope, only for the sake of doing so. No reason or rhyme whatsoever. Probably would have worked in a flick that was centered solely than this, but being the case that it is in this movie and gets in the way of everything, it’s a bit bothersome to have to deal with, especially since Johnny himself is such an interesting character overall.

All men love not having to do any work, and just laying there.

All men love not having to do any work and just laying there.

The reason why Johnny is such an interesting character isn’t because of how sharp and smartly Leigh has written him to be, but because David Thewlis is such a master at playing him, that it still makes me ponder the reason as to why he didn’t even get an Oscar nomination for his work of brilliance here. Considering that most of what Johnny says and feels, is mainly through Thewlis and Thewlis alone, you feel closer and closer to this character, even though you know you shouldn’t. Johnny’s not a nice guy and as the first shot of this movie may have you think, is a total and complete dick-bag that you do not want to ever be around for five seconds, let alone, for a whole two hours. However, Leigh throws him in front of our faces and never asks us to gain sympathy for him or what he’s brought onto himself.

Instead, we just get a portrait of a character who is just being himself, and nothing but. You rarely ever see that with a movie, and it was a big surprise that Leigh or Thewlis didn’t try to sap him up in any way, in order to make us care for him. He’s a character, being a character, in all his fullest and complete form. And to top all of that off, Thewlis is actually pretty damn hilarious, not just because of the lines he delivers, but by how dry and ironic he is half of the time. Everybody else around him seems so serious and dramatic, that once Johnny comes through to shake things up a bit, you realize that the world needs more humans like Johnny; minus all of the women-torturing, violence, anger, and such. Then again though, the world needs more anger and more people to shake a big, middle-finger to the Man, so maybe that’s what Johnny represents and what we should represent as well?

Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

Consensus: At times, it can be a ponderous experience, but taken as a whole, and especially as a meditation on the way our youth views the rest of the world and society altogether, Naked is an interesting flick to watch and listen to, made all the better by David Thewlis’ brilliant piece of acting as Johnny.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Perfect place for a couple of drinks: the same spot you just did a number two in.

Perfect place for a couple of drinks.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

Dave (1993)

Luckily Barack doesn’t have too many impersonators out there. OR SO WE KNOW OF!!!

Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) is a simple, small-town man that wears big-rimmed glasses, rides his bike to and fro work, and also run a temp service that isn’t quite as big on making a whole lot of money, as much as it is just all about getting people jobs and having them make money. Oh yeah, and he also has an uncanny resemblance to the 44th president of the United States, William Harrison Mitchell. That eventually comes to work out for him in the future when he’s called upon to be an impersonator for the President in public appearances, just to avoid any problems whatsoever. However, it just so happens that on that same night, the President happens to suffer a stroke while banging his secretary, which leaves all of his right-hand-men stumbling without any idea of what to do. Allow the country to run wild with the sudden-death of their president? And by doing so, do they leak any dirty secrets about what he did during his time as presidency, minus the whole “cheating-on-his-wife” thing? Well, the simple answer is “no”. Instead, they all decide to let Kovic take over the position as acting-President, but only until the actual President himself wakes up and is ready to get back to doing his job. But what if he doesn’t seem to wake up? Even worse, what if the President’s wife (Sigourney Weaver) finds out that this man placed in her husband’s position, actually isn’t her husband?

Yes, there’s so much drama going on here that only a politician during the 90’s would know all about. Ammiright?!?!?

Honestly, would anybody have a problem with him being President?

Honestly, would anybody have a problem with him being President?

Anyway, so yeah, this movie always gets talked-about when you discuss the subgenre of “political comedies” and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the first of its kind during the Clinton-administration, but it’s one of the very rare political-satires that doesn’t really destroy any sort of political-agenda that was being thrown around during that time. Instead, it sticks to whatever “people get jobs and we all stay happy forever and ever” idea it has about politics. Sure, the fact of the matter is that that would never, ever happen in real life, but sure, when you’re watching a movie, let alone a comedy, you don’t really need reality to come in and hit you in the face. All you need is some nice, pure escapism in the finest form and that’s exactly what Dave is, with some snappy jokes thrown in for good measure.

That’s not to say that the movie is at all “dated”, it’s just that some of the humor probably doesn’t hit me nearly as hard, or as effectively as it probably did for those back in the early-90’s. It’s not that I don’t know a thing or two about politics, it’s just that most of this film seems to be playing it so damn safe most of the time, that it’s really hard to find much of anything to really laugh at in the first place. Sure, there are plenty of quips made here that may, or may not catch you off-guard, but they are hardly surprising, nor are they really slap-happy hilarious.

However, where I think most of the film focuses its strengths on is just the overall pleasant, carefree pace that Ivan Reitman sets, which carries the movie through some very sketchy-waters. For instance, there’s the sequence in which the President and the First Lady head-off to a homeless shelter in which they just stand there, say hi to people they wouldn’t bear to be around, had their not been cameras around, and basically just muck it up for the press surrounding them with all of the cameras flashing and recording their every step. We always see this in politics, and it could have easily been seen as a snotty thing for a the President and his wife to do here, however, Reitman handles it with care and always makes it seem like this Dave guy does genuinely mean well, even if he doesn’t know a lick or two about actual politics itself. Especially not how to run a country.

I mean, sheesh! We should have all been happy with Bush Jr. just by looking at this guy! You know?

Too far? Okay, anyway, back to the movie itself.

What you could also attribute most of Dave’s charm to is the performance from the always lovable Kevin Kline, doing another one of his sweet, happy-guy acts. My only complaint about Dave, and well, practically every other character with the meager exception of one in particular, is that we never really get an impression for who these people were before this movie. Yeah, we get the idea that Dave was always a nice, peaceful soul that tried to make those around him happier in life, just by solely giving them what they want, but why is he like that? Better yet, why is it that he’s alone in his life, despite being what some clearly see as “the nicest guy on the face of the planet”. Nobody says that about him in the movie, or even to his face, but it’s pretty much implied with just how much Dave is able to make everyone around him smile, cheerful and just overall, feel better about themselves and their lives.

Or, even him?

Or, even him?

Sort of like how I was, until I started drinking. Then, it was all downhill from there.

Anyway, like I was saying about Dave, I wish I got to know more about him. I guess that was the point of not getting to know who he really is as a person, considering he has to practically impersonate another the whole movie, but just more detail would have gone a long way for him, Regardless though, Kline works well with Dave, giving us a guy we can all stand behind and love, even if he is just being the type of guy who doesn’t ask for much in the first place, and doesn’t want much in return. He’s just that type of cool guy, and that’s mostly how I’d like to imagine Kline is in real life.

Same goes for Sigourney Weaver in terms of her character, although her character doesn’t clearly go so far as “wife who hasn’t the dong in awhile”. Hey, it’s not like Weaver can’t play that role-up to perfection, but I think we’d be able to give her just a bit more to work with. If only a bit, that is. We also get treated some amusing, side roles from the likes of Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin, Laura Linney, Ben Kingsley as that one character I said has some of his past told to us, in a way that isn’t at all manipulative, and a despicable-as-hell, but-clearly-loving-it Frank Langella as what we pretty much expect him to play, “the baddie”. Once again, you can tell that they definitely elevate the material to being a bit more than what it is, which is all we really needed in the first place.

Consensus: Though Dave doesn’t really bite with its satire as much it should, that still doesn’t take it away from being a mildly funny, tame and rather pleasant comedy that’s big on likable characters, rather than laughs. Either way, something here is bound to be liked.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Or, hell, maybe even her?!?!? Too soon? Yeah, you're right.

Or, hell, maybe even her?!?!? Too soon? Yeah, you’re right.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBCollider

Demolition Man (1993)

In the future, essentially, we’re all going to be a bunch of rich hippies. Tell me something I don’t already know!

It is the year 1996, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is the LAPD sergeant that always gets the job done and solves crime because he has a pride for it. However, the only obstacle crime he can’t solve are the ones committed by known criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes). However, on one fateful night, Spartan gets Phoenix cornered and ready for jail, until Spartan realizes that he accidentally just killed innocent hostages by doing so in the process. Though Phoenix is jailed for all of the bad things he’s done, Spartan is somehow thrown in the slammer with him, but since this is supposed to be “the future”, a simple “doing time” wouldn’t sit well with the powers that be. Nope, instead, both men are cryogenically frozen until their parole date comes up. When it finally does, some 30 years later, the men awaken to a world that’s full of sweet, sensitive people that don’t believe in the act of violence, cursing or wiping their rumps with actual paper. This is, essentially, the perfect world for Phoenix to raise all sorts of hell in, whereas for Spartan, he has a bit of trouble getting use to the calm way of handling things, even when it comes down to getting his man: PHOENIX!!

With mostly all of Sly Stallone’s flicks, you expect sure stupidity, but you also expect there to be a lot of fun thrown into the equation. Because surely, you can’t just have a movie that’s plain, old stupid, without it at least being a little fun as well, can you? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. Anyway, what I think what separates this flick from the many other, Sly-vehicles, is that there’s something “more enjoyable” to this material that makes it worth the while, even if you aren’t getting non-stop thrills and action.

"I'm yo cracka's nightmare!"

“I’m yo cracka’s nightmare!”

See, what works so well with this movie is that despite it being totally advertised as, and starting off as a full-on rated-R, action-thriller, the movie’s more of a satirical comedy on what our future would look like, had society had enough of all the nonsensical violence and inappropriateness that plagued our culture right around the early-to-mid 90’s. Can’t say that it’s really halted either, but that’s another discussion for another site. This is all about movies and reviews after all, so let’s get on with it!

Even though I was quick enough to actually call this a “satirical comedy” that doesn’t mean it’s smart in any way either. It’s a dumb movie, but has a bit more of an edge to it that has it be more than just a time-killer at the movies. It features funny moments in which the writers actually thought of something clever to use or say, in order to get a rise out of the audience, and it allows us to play around in our heads, whether or not a future like this would ever happen in a world/society such as ours? It’s strange to think that these are the types of ideas you could have rambling around in your mind during a Sly Stallone flick, but that’s what happens when you put more effort into your work, rather than just making it another “pay-day” job, done for the sake that you have cover for your hot-tub.

That said, don’t get me wrong, this movie is as silly as you can get with a Sly movie, and features all of the same type of action we know, and for some, love to see come from one of this guys’ movies. It’s over-the-top, campy, unbelievable, and breaks more laws of physics than it should, but that’s the point of this movie, even when the action’s not on the screen. Even then, the movie still seems to place its motives in the act of entertaining us, have us laugh and make us feel like we’re watching a movie that’s worth the trip, no matter how long or excessive it may seem. Which yes, it is excessive and rather long for its type, but it still worked well enough in holding my interest the way an action-flick of its very nature should.

But like I’ve been alluding to many, many times in this review: This is a Sly Stallone movie, and should not be taken seriously at all, and that’s mainly because he’s such a goof-ball to begin with. Sly’s skills as an actor may not be all that equipped with handling comedy well, but he’s able to poke some jokes at his own image, while also throwing some other, iconic action-stars under the bus as well. That “Schwarzenegger as president” joke? Pure hilarity, but only because of what we know as human-beings in the year 2013. 10 years ago, they probably weren’t laughing because it was almost too stupid, but nowadays, it was pretty damn close to happening. Whoever thought that Demolition Man would come close to predicting something in the future as ridiculous as the Terminator stepping into political office? Not me, that’s for sure.

"I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise."

“I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise.”

Sly’s good at pulling off this kind of material, and so is Wesley Snipes who is so over-the-top, that you have to begin to question just what the hell were in his Wheat Thins that he had before shooting? Seriously, the dude is total and complete bonkers, but rightfully so. The whole movie centers around him scaring the hell out of a every simple piece of white folk that he runs into, which is what Snipes does so perfectly and with so much energy and excitement that you just have to give him some credit, even though if he acted this way in another movie, it would be absolute torture to witness.

Same goes for Benjamin Bratt and Sandra Bullock who usually get on people’s nerves whenever they are seen in something nowadays, but were just getting their careers off the ground at, and around this time, making it a nice slice of history to see, or at least say you’ve seen. Bullock is as fun and vivacious as ever, and proves to be willing enough to play around with Sly and in ways, even bring out the best in his acting. Must have been a very rough challenge for an up-and-coming actress to attack, but it’s a challenge that she was up to, and not much has changed in the past 20 years or so. Good for her, probably not as good for Bratt, but hey, at least they both got the chance to bang one another for awhile thanks to this. And that has to account for something, right?

Consensus: While many will automatically see Demolition Man as another dumb action flick, it’s surprisingly more of a comedy, with a bit of a satirical edge that makes it more than just stupid fun, although I wouldn’t argue against those many who call it “dumb”, because it totally is, but there’s fun to be had in its dumbness.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

A series of bad career choices just await.

A series of bad career choices just await.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Jurassic Park (1993)

Dinosaurs never have been, and never will be the same.

Two dinosaur experts, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler Laura Dern), are invited to test out a soon-to-be theme park from a millionaire named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Hammond has it all: he’s got the glitz, the glamour, the look, the style, and most surprisingly; he has dinosaurs. That’s right those things that you thought were exterminated almost 70 million years ago are in Hammond’s park, and are causing a ruckus like you’d expect. However, when that ruckus turns from playful to deadly in a matter of 24 hours, all hell breaks loose and it’s time for everybody to get their asses the hell of that damn island.

It’s been a long, long time since I made a return to this wonderful, but scary island but it was still a trip worth taking, even if it was in 3D this time around. Here’s the thing about the 3D since most peeps will want to know right off the bat: it’s nothing worth even talking about (even though that is exactly what I’m doing). The 3D is cool at times and definitely makes you feel as if you are a lot closer to the action than ever before, especially when it’s just jumping right out at you, but other than that; it’s nothing special that would really make me want to go out and see it, again and again. Even though I did see it in theaters, it was all because it was free, early in the a.m., and best of all, with my daddy waddy. Father-son bonding. Ain’t nothing else like it.

Aside from the 3D elements that are relatively lackluster at best, let me just get back with the movie and say that it’s still as fun and entertaining as much as it was all those years ago I watched it as a kid. I remember being scared of the big-ass dinos, I remember gripping my seat when those kids were running all-over-the-place in that kitchen, and I especially remember those freaky fuckers that used to spray poison/venom out of themselves, just as soon as they gave you the warning sign to “run the fuck away, now!”. Fond memories going into this movie and I was so happy to see none of them really tarnished, even if some glaring problems come in the way now that I’m a more sophisticated, and uppity-uppity film critic.

Lights off, idiot!

Lights off, idiot!

Some of the problems I seemed to have had with the script was not that it was lame or anything, it’s fine for what it is and what it tries to do, it’s just that when the initial plot where there is running, chasing, and panic all throughout the area, I felt like it could have been handled better, and written better without all of the plot inconveniences  For instance, the character of John Hammond just seemed like an idiot for even bothering opening up this park, for one reason and one reason only: there’s not enough security. The fact that the dippy was even thinking of opening up this park, where dinosaurs can easily get out of their safe-spots, just by knocking down a couple of wires, seemed really idiotic to me and not something that a rich millionaire would even forget about. Then, it goes on about how he’s cloning these dinosaurs from other gene-pools and turning them all into female, even if that proves a problem for evolution within this park, along with the rising tensions. I get that the guy had a passion and inspiration to create this park and allow everybody to see it, but you got to think things through man before you go all nutso on us.

There’s other problems with the script in certain areas, but the fact of the matter is that this movie is still fun, still entertaining, and still freaky, despite being released almost 20 years ago. Shit, I was actually three months away from entering the world when this movie came out. I’m getting old, man. The movie holds up in many ways because it shows what Steven Spielberg can do when he has a vision and that includes having a ball with his material. Some of it is a tad serious, but rightfully so. It allows us to feel worried for these characters as they constantly try to run and hide from these dinos, without losing a leg, arm, shoulder, knee, or life. It’s pretty scary even after all of these years, but I like how Spielberg was able to transition it back-and-forth, between serious and fun. It’s not light entertainment by any stretch, but if you bring your kid to it, I highly doubt they’ll be scared for life. Granted, they may wet the bed every night and never, ever want to see a dinosaur again, but that’s just life my friend. Quite frankly, it’s your call if you want to take them to see it, not mine. So please, don’t sue me if the kid ends up in a nut-ward or a serial killer. Just saying.

Another factor of this movie that works and also shows how much fun Spielberg seemed to be having while filming was the ensemble-cast he was able to assemble and make ready for this “dinosaur on a rampage” flick. Might have been a hard-sell at the time, but somehow, the man was able to get a lot of heavy-hitters that are still doing great work, even to this day. Laura Dern and Sam Neill are good as the couple that loves dinosaur bones as much as they love each other, and are good at what they do, whether they be together or separate  Dern is good at playing-up that tough, female-role where she can do almost as much dirty work, if not more than the boys in town; whereas Neill is good at playing-up his role as the type of dude who doesn’t like kids and doesn’t even want him, but yet, finds himself almost acting like a daddy when the shit hits the fan. Bedtime stories and all.

"What a pretty puppet."

“What a pretty puppet.”

Samuel L. Jackson shows up and is good in his couple of scenes where he infamously utters the line, “Hold on to your butts.” A bit corny, but it’s classic because of Mr. Jackson. Or Samuel L. Whichever one that mofo desires. Despite the problems I had with his dumb-ass character, screen-vet Richard Attenborough was actually very good at giving us a glimpse into a man that has too much money, too much ambition, but not enough smarts to fully think things through. I felt bad for him, until I realized that he allowed his grand kids to show up for this wonderful weekend. I guess he won’t be invited to Christmas din-din any time soon. And lastly, need I not forget about the one, the only, Mr. Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, aka, the rock-star scientist who always lays low, always lays cool, and always has something hilarious or witty to say. It’s classic-Goldblum, whadda ya expect?!?

Consensus: Though the extra-dimension isn’t needed, Jurassic Park still holds up as one of the best, and most entertaining Spielberg flicks because he never seems to lose that fun-aspect that makes it such a ride (they actually have a pretty sucky one in Universal), and also the serious side to it all where you feel like anybody could die at any second, you just don’t know how to expect it coming. Trust me, not as gruesome as it sounds so show your kiddies and see what they have to say. Unless they get traumatized for the rest of their lives. Once again, don’t blame me for not listening to your inner-soul.

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

If all parks ended their tours like this, family-trips wouldn't be so painful.

If all parks ended their tours like this, family-trips wouldn’t be so painful.

Mad Dog and Glory (1993)

Hey, cops can have girlfriends too.

Robert De Niro plays Wayne, a timid Chicago cop sarcastically nicknamed “Mad Dog.” He saves a gangster name Frank (Bill Murray)’s life and as payback, Frank “gives” Wayne his beautiful bartender Glory (Uma Thurman). However, when the two fall in love, then Wayne realizes he may have to fight-off Frank from his girl.

Let’s just put it like this: this is a weird-ass movie. From the beginning, you feel like you know how this one is going to play-out but as time goes on, and as the story progresses more and more, it changes up a whole lot and you never know where it’s going to go. That’s a lot of fun whenever you’re sitting-down and watching a movie and it’s that element of film-making that movies had nowadays but somehow, just don’t. Maybe Hollywood gets in the way, maybe stars get in the way, or hell, maybe movies are just running out of any original ideas that are worth showing on-screen. But either way, watching a movie and having no idea where it’s going to go from frame-to-frame is a hell of a lot of fun and it’s even better when you have a cast like this.

"That was some of the most awkward sex I've ever have. You know, other than Gary Oldman of course."

“That was some of the most awkward sex I’ve ever have. You know, other than Gary Oldman of course.”

The movie’s casting may have it seem like a bit of a stunt where De Niro is playing the meek, sensitive-type that takes random pictures of life, whereas Bill Murray is playing the tough, unpredictable gangster that you don’t whether or not you should trust, or be totally scared-of. It seems like a total switcheroo and believe it or not, De Niro was actually offered the role of Frank, before he even knew about the role of Wayne, but he turned it down, just so he could show the world that he can in-fact, play a nice and sweet guy that doesn’t stomp on people’s heads. De Niro, in an obvious-effort to change the way his career was being viewed upon at during that time, took the role of this simple-minded, nice guy and does a great job with it, mainly because De Niro dials it back insanely.

Usually, when you see an actor/actress trying their hardest to play against-type, they usually go overboard with playing it cheap and subtle, you know, just so people don’t associate them with the other dozen similar roles that they have played in the past. In an effort to not be distracting, it actually ends-up becoming distracting and in full-effect, it’s a bit bothersome when you watch the performance and judge it as a whole. However, De Niro isn’t like that here as Wayne and really just seems to playing himself, but a more simpler, kinder-self of his and it shows that the guy can play these types of roles and make us care about him even more. Wayne is obviously a very small man, in a very, very big world and you kind of feel bad for him after awhile, mainly because you know that he’s going to get his heart ripped-out sooner or later and all you can do is just sit there and wait for it. I loved this small, tiny performance from De Niro and now that it seems like he’s getting his career back on-track with the Silver Linings Playbook, I can only hope to the Movie Gods, that he ends-up going back down this career-path and making some smart-choices. Or, he could just go back and do another Meet the Parents movie. His choice, not mine.

It should almost go without saying that Bill Murray is a freakin’ blast to watch in any movie he does, but that’s especially the case here as Frank, the sadistic and mean gangster that you just can’t help but love. This is a perfect piece of against-type casting not just because Murray has never played a role like this before, but mostly because he absolutely never lets you forget that he hasn’t and is at least having a bunch of fun with it, in the meantime. Murray never loses his sense of humor (Frank is a part-time gangster, part-time comedian) and always allows himself to be on the butt-end of a joke whenever it suits the script. Whenever he gets dangerous, it is actually pretty scary to watch because you never quite know what this guy is going to do next, but that’s the whole fun of watching Murray in this type of role, and just watching Murray in general. He’s always surprising us and always keeping us on-edge. That’s the beautiful thing about Bill Murray and I don’t think it will ever stop.

Uma Thurman does a nice-job as Glory, the gal that Frank hires to keep Wayne some company for a week, but when you put her next to these two actors, she sort of sticks out like a sore-thumb. I mean, that’s not saying that Thurman isn’t good, because she’s very good at playing this sympathetic, and vulnerable girl that just wants to do the right thing, but when you have two stars like Murray and De Niro absolutely knocking homers out of the park with all they can do, then it becomes pretty obvious who the script had in mind when it was first being-developed. It also probably doesn’t help that Glory’s story could have been developed a bit more to have us care more for her, along with Wayne, but in essence, we just end-up caring more for Wayne and a little bit for Glory.

However, that’s where the tone of this movie comes in and ultimately, it’s weirdness as well. What makes this movie so weird is that it continues to change it’s tone and pace every time a scene switches. One second you’ll have a police drama, next second you’ll have a black comedy, then the next second you’ll have a gangster flick, and then the next second, you’ll have a romance movie, and so on, and so forth. Basically, you can never pin-point exactly where the hell this movie is going to end-up, how, and when, but you don’t really care because it’s always fun, it’s always entertaining to watch, and it’s always making you laugh.

Ultimate show-down: Peter Venkman vs. Jake LaMotta. Somehow, I thought it would have turned-out differently.

Ultimate show-down: Peter Venkman vs. Jake LaMotta. Somehow, I thought it would have turned-out differently.

The only aspect of this movie that I don’t think was as strong as everything else, was in-fact, the romance between Wayne and Glory. See, we’re supposed to believe that these two random pieces of crap would, by sure chance, fall in-love over this one week together where they do nothing but hang-around, have awkward sit-downs while watching television, and even awkward trips to the bed (if you catch my drift). However, when they’re romance seems to face a bit of a problem with Frank wanting Glory back, you don’t really care all that much, mainly because the movie doesn’t really seem to have you believe that these two opposites, would indeed fall in-love and fight for it no matter what. There even comes a point where I felt like it was all a part of Wayne’s wild-imagination to be some sort of plot contrivance, but in reality, it wasn’t and the movie really was THIS serious about the actual love between the two. Other than a very realistic and honest sex scene the two have, Wayne and Glory’s romance never fully catches fire and the only reason why you want them to continue with one another, is just so Frank can come in and screw everything up for them and add even more enjoyment to our viewing. Hey, what can ya say? We all love Bill Murray!

Consensus: Mad Dog and Glory is as weird as they come, and if you can handle the non-stop changes in tone and pace, then this one will definitely be a treat for you, but even if you can’t handle that aspect, just sit-back and watch the amazing performances from Bill Murray and Robert De Niro who both play against-type, but quite perfectly, may I add.

8/10=Matinee!!

Okay, maybe he's not playing THAT MUCH against-type.

Okay, maybe he’s not playing THAT MUCH against-type.

True Romance (1993)

Don’t eff with the comic book nerds.

The film tells the story of a novice prostitute Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) and the adventure with her lover, comic book store clerk Clarence Worley (Christian Slater). When Clarence kills Alabama’s pimp (Gary Oldman), the newlyweds ride off into the sunset — with $5 million worth of cocaine in a suitcase and the police and the mob on their trail.

Since director Tony Scott is in such a slump nowadays, I honestly think he should just go back to having Tarantino write his scripts because he gave him two of the best films of his career. Aside from ‘Crimson Tide’, this is the other one.

The real selling point of this flick is that it’s written by Tarantino himself, and as everybody already knows, this guy is a freakin’ original genius. Tarantino is able to take any situation and make it go from normal to completley insane in about a matter of 5 seconds and it will give you this bad-ass feeling that you could not expect. The story is a pretty familiar but there are people getting killed at every second that you wouldn’t expect, twists and turns, random pop-culture references that somehow fit into the story, and just a whole bunch of other cool moments in this flick that make it ten times more the awesome thrill ride that it is known as today.

My complaint with this script is that even though it is by Tarantino, this is definitely not his best work by any means. Yes, he does get to use all of his trade-marks like funny one-liners, pop-culture references, and tense stand-offs but for some reason it’s not as edgy as you would expect. There was just something that felt like it should have really hit me harder and stuck with me more but instead it just ended up entertaining me and left me with a pretty happy mood. I don’t think Tarantino had full control over his story and that’s why the story may come off as a little more lame than his usual stuff, but it still at least works in a rather medium way.

Director Tony Scott also adds a bunch of fun to this flick by giving it this straight-forward, energetic thrill ride that isn’t filmed with that annoying shaky-came he can’t ever seem to get his hands off of nowadays. Scott is a good director when he’s got good source material, which he definitely has here, and even though it’s not drenched in style like you would expect from him, it still has a fast-paced to it that keeps the story going and the bullets flying.

However, what really had me going for this flick was its whole ensemble cast that is filled with just about every star from the early 90’s. Christian Slater is pretty good as Clarence, a guy that may seem a little strange but after awhile you start to believe and actually hope he comes out of all of this shit alive. Patricia Arquette is also a lot of fun to watch as Alabama, and you can totally feel like this one girl could actually fall in love with this type of dude. Their romance is something you actually care about because we spend enough time to see them together, and to see them be happy with one another so that when they go on this road trip and their lives are in danger, we care not only about them but their relationship as well. Sounds pretty sappy, I know, but it’s something that surprisingly worked here.

The rest of the cast is freakin’ great too, considering that just about every big star this flick had to show is in here for about 5-10 minutes each but totally kick-ass for the time they have. Dennis Hopper is great here as Clarence’s dad, in a non-psychotic role; Val Kilmer is here as “The King” but is still funny and cool, considering we barely see him; Gary Oldman is hilarious and menacing as Drexl, the white boy pimp with dreadlocks; Brad Pitt is also here as our pot-smoking friend, Floyd, and probably one of the best performances of his career, and I am willing to go toe-to-toe with whoever thinks otherwise; and Christopher Walken shows up for about 7 minutes but gives the film’s best scene where its just him and Hopper talking shit to one another and once again, it’s always Walken who steals the show at the end of the day and I can’t say that I expected anything else. Aside from these peeps I already mentioned there are plenty of other familiar faces here such as Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport, and Bronson Pinchot among others. Basically, it’s one of the better casts for a flick that I’ve seen and they all do excellent jobs with what they are given.

Consensus: It may not be Tarantino’s best script ever written, but it still has a great energy to it, with crazy performances from the ensemble cast, and some really kick-ass moments that make this film a fun watch if not as good as you would expect from these Scott and Tarantino working together.

8/10=Matinee!!

Kalifornia (1993)

Kaliforniaaaaaaaaa Lovveeeeee!!!

While researching a book on serial killings, writer Brian Kessler (David Duchovny) and his girlfriend, Carrie Laughlin (Michelle Forbes), travel cross-country to the murder sites and unwittingly stumble upon strangers who know the subject firsthand. A pair of hitchhikers (Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis) offer to share expenses for the trip, but Kessler doesn’t realize just how close he is to his subject — even as bodies pile up behind them.

Watching early Brad Pitt is pretty cool because I got to see just how he was still the man, even when he was doing B-thrillers, like this one here.

This film starts off very well with you already knowing that these two “hicks” are basically murderers and as the awkward moments go on and on, you start to feel a great deal of tension throughout this film. I liked how the film worked up its suspense and kept me going the whole time just waiting and waiting for something really bad to happen.

The film also has something smart to say about violence and when you write about it as well. It’s one thing when you write about murder and what happens, but it’s a totally different other thing to actually be stuck in that situation where you are stuck with a killer and may actually have to resort to killing, yourself.

However, my main problem with this film is when that really bad thing actually happens and once again just like every other thriller, turns into another Straw Dogs situation where the straight-laced, sort of nerdy guy is pushed against his boundaries and becomes an animal himself. This was just a cheap way to end a very smart story and even after that is all over, the ending still kind of blew. We never really actually learn anything in this film, nor does any of the characters themselves. I thought this was a very cheap way to end the film since it just seemed like almost a waste of exercise in suspense.

The real saving grace this film has is it’s amazing cast, most importantly, Brad Pitt. Pitt plays a very crucial role here as Early Grayce because we know this guy is a killer and a little loose in the head, but we never fully know what he’s going to do next because we feel that he may actually turn good after all. Still, Pitt is very creepy and evil in this role and knocked down his comparisons to a new Robert Redford that he was getting so much at this time.

Juliette Lewis is also very good as Adele Corners and has a lot very strange and at times, sad scenes that she pulls off very well. David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes are also very good as these yuppies that are totally out of their comfort zone with these two, and each one plays it off so well, especially Forbes who gets more and more freaked out as the film goes on and it’s just great to see how many emotions she can show within her character.

Consensus: There’s plenty of suspense here, and a very good cast, but soon turns into your typical, and predictable revenge thriller that may have a lot to say but by the end, can’t tell you what you’ve learned or even what the characters themselves have learned either.

5.5/10=Rental!!

Indecent Proposal (1993)

Women always love those rich men.

Talk about expensive dates! Billionaire Robert Redford pays for a doozy when, for a cool $1 million, he proposes to a very married Demi Moore that they spend a single night together. Moore’s husband (Woody Harrelson) is a cash-strapped, down-on-his-luck architect who could use the dough to keep their beach house from defaulting to the bank. Will she, or won’t she?

This is a film that I was very skeptical before seeing, because it won three Razzies, including one for Worst Picture. However, it’s not as bad as the rep that it’s given.

The one thing I will give this film is that it does bring up a good debate. Would you actually risk love for 1 million dollars? And if so, how much would you actually think about that decision? The film touches on the measures a marriage will go when guilt and thoughts start getting wrapped up in the couples heads. This is where the film does a very good job, it brings up good questions that we ourselves have to ask what we would do if we were put in the same situation.

However, the problem with this film is that the material could have been handled so much better to be so much more compelling. I think there could have been more talking about the situation these three people were put in, rather than just the after-math. More of this story could have been discussed in the film but instead is just sort of never mentioned, but never anything bigger than a sure 5-minute conversation.

I did like elements to the story, but underneath all the sex and money, there’s a sappy little romance that is pretty cheesy. Also, the rest of the film starts to turn out to be sure soap opera, that may work for some, but others will just be wondering why the hell are they sticking through all this sappy stuff.

The performances here are what somehow won me over. Robert Redford does a very effective job here as the billionaire John Gage. I must say that Redford really charmed the hell out of me here and does a good job of keeping that cool essence to his character, as well as the sneaky, manacle element too. Demi Moore surprisingly does a good job here giving off some pretty emotional scenes, and shows her character for what she is. Woody Harrelson always does a good job no matter what he does, and here it’s no different as he plays every-day man David Murphy. There’s a lot of emotions that pour out of this guy throughout the whole film, but somehow Harrelson makes it all seem pretty believable.

Consensus: The performances are rich, and the film itself brings up good questions about the limitations of marriage and love, but it never does much with them and just makes those questions turn into a sappy soap opera.

5/10=Rental!!

Judgment Night (1993)

Exactly the reason why yuppies should just stay away from the ghetto, and stop acting like their tough, and can hang.

A seemingly innocent night out turns deadly when four friends (Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy Piven and Stephen Dorff) run over a man with their car while detouring through the neighborhood. They try to do the right thing and find a cop, but a merciless thug named Fallon (Denis Leary) is determined to stop them. Fallon had a beef with the injured man, so he finishes off the job — and promises the guys that they’re next.

Just looking at this plot makes it seem like it’s full of a great deal of suspense, and that your left on the edge of your seat. However, you barely are. I will admit some scenes did have the hair on my neck stick up, and some scenes shocked me, but other than those couple of times, the rest of the film is pretty predictable, which is a shame, cause this could have been really good. You know what’s going to happen in the first 30 minutes with this film, and the thing that was annoying, is that this film acted like it was something different, and tried to give us these really dumb shitty scenes, that they thought were suspenseful, but did nothing for us.

The writing is also bad too. There are one-liners in this film, that I guess the writer’s themselves thought were cool but were just stupid, and corny. The plot also gets really out of hand, where many parts are just so implausible, that you start to think this film has to be placed in the fantasy genre. Almost every little thing that these guys do, the simplest little mistake, can have huge consequences, that leads to them almost every single time, coming closer, and closer to near-death.

For the most part, the acting, is kind of ehh. Emilio Estevez tries with this material to be the big, hero-like leading man, but I just think he was way past his time for that role in this one, it was more time for him to be a coach of The Might Ducks. Cuba Gooding Jr. is alright in this film, but by the end, when he starts to get psycho, it’s kind of laughable in a way. Stephen Dorff pops up, and does whatever it is he does, not a really bad thing, but not a really good thing either. Denis Leary as the evil, sinister, just-got-out-of-jail drug-dealer, was so unintentionally hilarious. He tries so hard to make this guy scary, and menacing, but just pulls off being so stupid, and un-scary, that I just couldn’t take him seriously at all. The only good one here is probably Jeremy Piven, who actually plays his character real well, giving off some good scenes, that you wouldn’t expect to be in a piece of crap like this.

Consensus: Barely at all suspenseful, and written terribly, with actors, that can’t seem to deliver in any good way, just make this film a not very thrilling, thrill ride.

2/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Philadelphia (1993)

Love how my hometown, is exactly the perfect place for sticking up for equal rights! Love you Philly!

Philadelphia attorney Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks, in an Oscar-winning role) launches a wrongful termination suit against the hand that feeds him when his law firm finds out about his HIV-positive status — and his homosexuality — and fires him. Denzel Washington co-stars as a homophobic lawyer who reluctantly agrees to take Andy’s case in this Jonathan Demme-directed film.

Philadelphia is one of the first mainstream films, to actually tackle such themes like homosexuality, HIV/AIDS, and homophobia, and to be brutally honest about it all. Back in 1993 HIV was known about, and once in awhile talked about, but it was never brought up full in frontal, and you knew every single little detail about it. And that’s where this film’s strong point lies. I like how director Jonathan Demme directed this movie, by showing AIDS up close an personal. He shows the scars, he shows the pain, the weakness, and the overall sorrow that this sickness does to the victim, and as well as the people around them. He shows these people as real human beings, not just some gay freak, who is going to die soon, no, he shows them as person, that just so happens to be effected by something terrible.

The script starts out very, very strong showing us real, and truthful dialogue of how real people speak about homosexuals, the only problem is, by the end of the film it starts to crumble a bit. The courtroom scenes weren’t anything different, and right from the beginning you know how this film is going to end. It blows that all that courtroom stuff is unwieldy, cause everything else works so fine.

Tom Hanks gives one of his most powerful performances ever, as Andy Beckett. He does a great job at playing a very cliched character, that is usually one-sided and just shown as a total mope, but here Hanks does so well showing the happy sides to his character. You see Beckett as a real person, and although things may look bleak, he still looks to the sky for the happiest of thoughts. Denzel Washington gives off his most underrated performance ever, and should have been nominated for some sort of award, cause he does a perfect job at playing this pride-given lawyer, that at first is against this case, cause he’s a total homophobe, but changes his mind and gets to accept gay people, as real people. These two build a chemistry on-screen that is good, and puts the heart where it’s at in this film. Also, need I forget to mention Antonio Banderas, Mary Steenburgen, and Jason Robards are all in this doing well also.

Consensus: The last act may be less powerful than you would expect, but the terrific performances from Hanks and Washington, as well as the sensitive, but realistic direction from Demme, gives Philadelphia the perfect heart it needs.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Man Bites Dog (1993)

Without this, there would be no Blair Witch Project, or anything with hand-held cameras.

Spoofing reality television, a fascinated documentary crew follows a charismatic yet unrepentant serial killer (Benoit Poelvoorde) on his murder sprees. The crew attempts to objectively document the horror, but as the violence escalates, they ultimately get sucked into participating.

The film starts off with showing us a murder that this dude commits, and right away you get a sense of what this film is going to be all about: bloody, disturbing, mockumentary.

I’ll give most of the credit to this film for actually doing its best job, even at such a small budget. There is a lot of writing here that still sticks with us almost 17 years after the film was completed. The themes about how reality TV makes all these terrible people look like superstars, has us murdering the normal people in the world. Behind all of the grisly killings, there is actually a couple of good dark laughs, mostly like real life, where not everything is so damn serious.

I have to say that this movie is probably one of the most disturbing films I have seen in a long time. I know it’s not a real documentary, and this dude is made up, and these people aren’t actually murdered like this, but it all seemed so real and that’s why it was effective. Some of the killings are so random and disgusting, that you just have to turn your head. As the murders keep piling on, the viewer starts to feel what the “film crew” starts to feel, utter and total disbelief of whats going on, but still amazed at the same time.

I had a couple of problems with this film however, mostly being other people’s problems too. I feel like the killer’s motives were never ever really told. I mean we do eventually get a little montage of this guy talking about how much the world is a desecrating place cause of problems, yadda yadda yadda. But we never really fully understand as to why this guy kills so many freakin’ people at random. Also, it kinds of hard to believe that this guy wouldn’t at least once get caught with a murder. i mean sometimes his killings are so sloppy, and ill-prepared, that somebody had to have at least found out about him sometime.

Benoit Poelvoorde is not a very well-known actor to us Americans, because he’s always taking appearances in French films, and its a shame, cause here is some real talent. Just like Michael Rooker, from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, he starts out all charming and normal, but as soon as you see him commit these murders hes a totally different person.

Consensus: Man Bites Dog may have its problems with the motives of its main killer, but is so so brilliantly acted, directed, and written, that almost everything you see in this film, no matter how disturbing, all seems so real.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Martin Scorsese, doing period pieces??

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Newland Archer, a well-bred New Yorker engaged to an appropriate match: cultured May Welland (Winona Ryder). But when her alluring cousin, Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), comes along, Archer puts society’s mores to the test.

Martin Scorsese is most known for directing all the violent gangster epics, and places this film in New York, but in the 1870s, where the violence isn’t physical, its psychological.

Scorsese’s direction is what really wins this film over, because unlike many other period pieces, this does not get very boring. The film isn’t lightning quick fast like Goodfellas, or Mean Streets, but it still has that fairly mild pacing that keeps our eyes glued to the screen. There is also plenty of great things to look at, with many vibrant colors coming into one scene, and then another, showing this world as if it were a rainbow, with so many dirty little secrets inside, not to quote the All American Rejects. Scorsese shows that with this film he can not just make films about people getting whacked, but more poignant stories about love and tranquility.

But really no film would be anything without a great script, and that is surprisingly what this film has. There are a lot of stereotypes that period pieces have, about everybody in the film being all goody goody rich S.O.B’s, but that’s what Scorsese knocks down, and shows differently. His script is very well-written showing how all these people hide behind their lies, and act as if nothing is wrong, and what if somebody was to go against that? Would it be wrong to do, or would it be just the right thing? The film hits the nail on the head, right when it comes to this forbidden love and actually showing these two people as human beings, who have a need for love in their life, rather than just money, and being spoiled. We really get a sense and feel for this love triangle, and you don’t get that much nowadays. We always get car chases, gun battles, and over-the-top fist fights, but never this much pain, and feeling it.

The main problem I had with this film was although its still a nice departure from Scorsese’s gangster flicks, it still doesn’t seem like this is the kind of movie he wants to make. I think what he was trying to do was take a departure from his recent violent films, and try something a little different and see where it goes from there. When you watch Goodfellas you can tell there is a lot of inspiration going on behind the camera, right here, ehh not so much. Don’t get me wrong the film is good, its just that in ways, it could have been better with a different director, who isn’t used to all this blood and gore.

Daniel Day-Lewis as usual is very good here and gives off a performance that not many know, because of the second time Scorsese and him collaborated on was in 2002 with Gangs of New York.

What happens when you do too many period pieces.

He is not only effective, just because of the emotion he shows, but also the fact that his character does a total change in the middle of the movie, and you can believe it. Pfeiffer is very powerful in her performance showing a huge great deal of star-quality, with her wise/old character, but proves that age doesn’t mean a thing, when you can show emotion like her. Day-Lewis and her show a lot of good chemistry, especially when their both not trying to caught together. Ryder is also surprisingly very good here, and its actually a real shocker. The screenplay has her character out to be a one-note sucker for Day-Lewis’ character, but instead she brings plenty of believable emotion into the character, and makes her a better character with that emotion she gives off.

Consensus: Though Scorsese’s heart is not behind this material such as others like Goodfellas or Mean Streets, The Age of Innocence is still a nice departure from those gangster flicks, with a pitch-perfect screenplay, lush visuals, and great performances from the cast.

8/10=Matinee!!!

Sliver (1993)

Too much of something, whatever that something is.

Soon after moving into one of New York City’s sought-after “sliver” apartments, sexy divorcee Carly Norris (Sharon Stone) meets two of her handsome neighbors — best-selling writer Jack Landsford (Tom Berenger) and computer software designer Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin). But as she settles into her new digs, little does she know that an unknown admirer is keeping an eye on every move she makes, with plans to use her hidden desires against her.

So the film gained a lot of controversy mostly for the reason it showed a lot of sex, and nudity. However, it seems like this is the only reason people actually wasted their time to see it.

So what is good about this film? Well some of the sex scenes are filmed steamy and nicely shot, not to sound too perverted, but that’s all.

The film seems way too rushed and the screenplay just starts to collapse by the 20 minute mark. The lines are corny as anything and so unbelievable. And the story of how Stone is fighting between two guys, Berenger and Baldwin, its pretty obvious who she wants because she is having sex with one, and the other one is just stalking the hell out of her. The film as I stated before, is very rushed and you can tell by its terrible ending, that just happens so quickly and there is no time given to it to be powerful at all. So in other words, it sucks.

And where did the thriller element in this movie actually come into play? There is absolute no thrilling part of this movie at all. I didn’t care for these characters and what happened to them or what the little stupid mystery was, I was just on the edge of my seat waiting for the ending to finally come up.

Sharon Stone well, she’s terrible, but its not her fault. The screenplay has her written out to be this one-dimensional character who starts out as a tough as nails bitch, who then changes to a tough as nails bitch, oh that’s paranoid, and has a lot of steamy sex. Baldwin and Berenger are even worse, and show no realism with their performances and instead just drag out every line as if they were waiting for the pay check, when in reality that’s probably what they are doing. Hey, I don’t blame them.

Consensus: Silver has nothing good to it, its screenplay is written so terribly, and so dumb, that its not believable at all, much like the horrible performances from the cast.

0/10=Stay Away!!!!!!!

Fearless (1993)

I would become a bit fearless too if I was Jeff Bridges, now that his ass finally won that Oscar.

San Francisco architect Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) miraculously survives a plane crash and emerges a changed man. When Max’s bizarre behavior alienates his wife (Isabella Rossellini) and son, airline psychiatrist Bill Perlman (John Turturro) puts Max in touch with guilt-ridden fellow crash survivor Carla Rodrigo (Rosie Perez), who lost her 2-year-old in the disaster. Working together, can Max and Carla find their way back to emotional equilibrium?

I couldn’t believe how much praise this film has gotten for its portrayal of life and death. I mean this person thinks that he can not at all be harmed or killed in any way, so he just does stupid stuff to see if he can die. I honestly felt like that is such a stupid way to try to show how life shouldn’t be taken for granted.

A bunch of self absorbed a-holes. Oh I had a life changing experience and no one can understand me now. I’m special, blah, blah, blah. What a bunch of crap. Just watching this made me furious at how stupid and self-important people can be.

I did like how this film portrayed the plane crash scenes. They seemed so real where people are in such terror and panic, that they also try to restore calmness and order. Some of the scenes are shot so well, that it was hard to hate the scenes, but still there wasn’t enough of it.

I’ll give it to Bridges who does give a good performance here, its just that I don’t believe its one of his best, mostly due to the fact, that his character is such a d-bag. I feel like if his character changed for the better after the crash we would have been able to cheer for him more and more and like him, but I just kept disliking him more as the film went on. Rosie Perez surprisingly is great here, and doesn’t play that female character that is just used for a romantic love story, instead used for actual insight on a hurt female soul.

Consensus: Fearless boasts good performances, but is way too self-centered with its unlikable main character, and writing is used for trying to be spiritual, but instead comes off as stupid.

2.5/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!!!!

Dazed and Confused (1993)

God, I wish I partied in the 70s.

Director Richard Linklater takes an autobiographical look at some Texas teens (including Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey) on their last day of school in 1976, centering on student Randall Floyd (Jason London), who moves easily among stoners, jocks and geeks. Floyd is a star athlete, but he also likes smoking weed, which presents a conundrum when his football coach demands he sign a “no drugs” pledge.

The film is basically set around a bunch of high school kids, on the last day of school, just partying, smoking weed, and getting drunk. All sounds stupid, but somehow its not at all.

Linklater is probably one of the best writers in the business we have today. He makes all these different types of characters, seem more than the image their given. This movie feels exactly like high school, and just by the way these kids talk. You sense the realism within the characters when they talk about anything from drugs, women, cars, etc. You see how everybody interacts with each other and who’s cool with who. Not only does he capture the essence of the spirit within these kids but also the sense of boredom in their small town.

The film captures so much spirit and life its hard not to be jealous. You feel the world that these kids live in, and you actually want to be there. They have so much fun so little time, but in real life they still have problems. That is what brought out the humanity in this film and when it actually becomes realistic by how sad these kids are running their lives. You felt like you were with these kids the whole time this partying was going down, and you kind of wish you were with them. The rocking soundtrack consisting of wonderful 70s rock classics just make this film even better and add such a fun taste to the film, as if it wasn’t already.

I felt like the hazing idea of seniors beating on freshmen was a little too over-played to the point of where it was just boring. I mean I could only believe in this story of seniors doing this for so long until it became a bore for me, and then I actually wondered: are these guys bored too?

The whole cast is so great, and so young that you can just spot up-and-coming stars with these performances. Jason London brings a lot of humanity to his character, also with Adam Goldberg the nerd that has heart. But the two best and probably funniest in this film for me was definably the two great stoner characters. Rory Cochrane as Ron Slater is very funny, and I can see where James Franco got his character from Pineapple Express from now. But honestly he is no match for the greatest of all-time, get ready for it, Matthew McConaughey. That’s right people McConaughey is simply the funniest part in this film, with so many great lines, you just want to jump in the screen and just stand right next to him and taste the coolness. He is such a great character that Linklater creates, that I have to give him as one of my favorite of all-time, yeah I just went there. There are also funny little young performances from Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, and of course a funny young performance from Ben Affleck.

Consensus: Dazed and Confused is a 24-hour period tale that is filled with such rich dialogue, a great rockin soundtrack, and wonderful characters and performances that you don’t want this party to stop.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!!

Menace II Society (1993)

Boyz N The Hood x 400 more curses.

Sobering and incisive, this cautionary urban drama centers on 18-year-old Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner), a street tough facing a moral quandary while trying to turn his life around, aided by a pragmatic girlfriend (Jada Pinkett Smith) and a caring teacher (Charles S. Dutton). Can Caine rise above the entrapment of the ‘hood? Samuel L. Jackson plays Caine’s junkie father, and Larenz Tate is a standout as hair-trigger homeboy O-Dog.

The one thing I will note right before I review this film is that this film is not Boyz In The Hood. They are completley two different movies, if thats make any sense. Boyz shows the promise that the hood can give you when your looking to go away, but Menace shows the utter despair that the hood gives you.

The Hughes Brothers really should have been nominated for something at the Oscars for this film. It is a hood film, but shows a lot more of the sex, drug use, and overall violence and crime that is committed everyday in the hood. They don’t hold back once in showing how much these people run their lives so poorly and so on the edge. Along, with the writing they create this essence and flavor to the film that is filled with a whole bunch of profanity, but isn’t used just for show, you actually feel the way these people talk is all real.

At first I felt the film did little to entertain me, which I think was my problem mostly cause I wasn’t paying attention. But the beginning part of his flashback I have seen time, and time again before. So there was really nothing new in these scenes, which gives it a lower rating. But there were a couple of powerful scenes by the end, but probably the most important one is the scene in the jail where the past & present meet up, and let me just say one thing if you want to get chocked up watch the whole movie, and especially that scene.

The acting in this film is great to mostly because The Hughes Brothers didn’t get all these big-time stars. In a great leading role, Turner creates this confused, but mentally strong person at heart, that although when he does bad things, doesn’t have us hate him. Tate as his best friend is very good here as well, and provides a lot of insight of just a total menace, and without him Turner’s wouldn’t be such a great tragic hero.

Consensus: Menace II Society starts off slow, but The Hughes Brothers unrelenting direction of sex, drugs, and violence, with some of the most emotionally powerful and true scenes ever, make this one of the best tragic stories of all time.

9/10=Full Pricee!!