Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Bridget Fonda

Halloween Horror Movie Month: Army of Darkness (1992)

It’s official, Martin Lawrence totally tried to copy The Bruce Campbell. Obviously, it didn’t work.

This begins where Evil Dead II left off, except once again retconning the fact that Ash killed the flying bird thing at the beginning. Instead, he is taken prisoner by English knights at war with a group of Scots. After Ash shows his skill and superiority when killing the “Deadite” used for executions, the film takes a very adventures turn. Ash tries to fling the Necronomicon, mistakenly chants the phrase wrong, and is soon against an army of the undead.

It’s sort of weird that I placed this in the Halloween Horror Movie Month-meme because this one really isn’t as much of a horror flick as much as it’s more of a comedy. However, it is part of the Evil Dead franchise, so I guess it belongs here in that sense and it also makes me feel great knowing that I have finally got done watching it all. And jeez, what a franchise, man.

Since this was made after Sam Raimi hit it pretty big with Darkman two years before, the budget here’s definitely a lot bigger than what he was used to working with, which basically meant he was able to do whatever the hell he wanted, how he wanted, and with as much moolah as he wanted. That’s a pretty smart-idea to pull-off because if you give Raimi enough money, he’ll definitely be able to make it work and that’s what he shows off here.

There’s a lot of fun to be had here with this movie: the comedy is more obvious now but still goofy and over-the-top, the monsters are a lot better-looking, but still odd; and the action is very polished, but still entertaining as hell to watch on-screen. It’s obvious that this movie is very different from the other ones because of what it has at it’s disposal, but that doesn’t really seem to get in the way of Raimi and what he wants to do with this movie, and that’s to pretty much just give us another wacky and wild ride, but this go-around, is placed in the middle ages, where there seems to be a lot more goofy crap happening.

Since this is a pretty up-front comedy, I think it’s pretty safe to say that on that level, it definitely works. Just watching Ash go around and say dumb shit to these characters, without them having a single-clue as to what he means is really, really funny. There’s a whole bunch of anachronistic humor here, but it never seems over-used and just continued to make me laugh and laugh a lot more. I mean, hey, the sight of a 1982 station-wagon standing side-by-side a knight and his horse is pretty damn funny once you take into a consideration the fact that none of these characters have any idea just what the hell that actually is. As I said before, not as much of a scary movie as it is funny, and that’s the real charm behind it all, is that it is funny and knows how to play around with itself.

However, when you look at it as a movie that came after the first two, it sort of pales in-comparison. Granted, this movie is still a strong add into the trilogy, but definitely seems a lot more careful with itself now, considering that there was more of an opportunity to be a mainstream hit, when we all know that Evil Dead is not for a large audience, because some love it and some get it. One of the biggest disappointments of this whole movie is the fact that there definitely doesn’t seem to be as much gore or blood this time around and a lot of the action and violence is shown, but never shown in an over-the-top way that made the first two so much fun. Actually, for a movie that’s rated-R, it’s a bit tame and seems like Raimi wasn’t allowed to do everything that he wanted, simply because of the big, studio-heads that were probably behind this movie.

It’s not that the love or the spirit isn’t here, because it definitely is, it just feels as if it could have been more of a successful stand-alone movie, rather than one that’s associated with the Evil Dead franchise because Ash is in it. But you know what? Ash is also probably the best thing about this movie and it’s all because of how freakin’ cool and king-like Bruce Campbell is, once again too, may I add. Even though it seems like a bit of a shaky-idea to have Ash out of the cabin, fighting demons and have him now in the middle ages, still fighting demons, it still provides a lot of opportunity for Campbell to really stretch out his comedic skills and show everybody what he’s got and needles to say, the results are far from disappointing.

It helps that the script he’s working off of is pretty solid, but Campbell still adds a lot of that goofy, campy charm to a movie that seemed like it really needed that to remind us of the old movies. A shitty line like “Give me some sugar, baby”, just wouldn’t sound right if it was placed in any other movie, with any other actor saying the line, but thankfully, this is an Evil Dead movie and it is Bruce Campbell who delivers that line. Seriously, if a lot of you out there don’t like the first two or don’t even understand the real charm and awesomeness of Campbell, then I urge you to see this movie and watch it for his performance alone. There’s just something about him and his comedic-timing that just puts him and Ash one step ahead of everybody else in this flick and it’s definitely one of the best elements of the whole movie. Guy had me howling from start-to-finish, but he still kicked-ass when the movie needed him to and you know, that’s all that really mattered to me.

Consensus: Army of Darkness is definitely the weakest entry of the whole Evil Dead franchise, but is still a fun movie in it’s own right mainly because of the charm and likability of it’s leading man: the man, the myth, the mother ‘effin legend, Mr. Bruce Campbell, everybody.



Singles (1992)

Seattle Grunge may not be the most romantic music out there, but for these people, it’s the closest thing their going to get to Marvin Gaye.

A group of twenty-something friends (Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, Bridget Fonda, and Campbell Scot), most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.

Writer/Director Cameron Crowe is a very smart person. His two films Jerry Maguire, and Say Anything.., are perfect examples of films that blend smart comedy, with realistic romance. With this one, he does an OK job to say the least.

The one thing Crowe does with this film is that he shows these real people talking about real stuff, and expressing their real feelings. You get a real sense of how love is, and sometimes not supposed to be. Crowe plays out some little director tricks to give us the feeling of how it feels to be in love, and how we all react to when we are in love. There’s also a lot of Generation X nostalgia that will tell you how these people feel about the future, and what they expect from it.

Although, I think Crowe didn’t know what to do when it came to comedy. Yeah, there’s a little laugh here and there, but it’s all too random. There are just moments where something weird happens, and yeah, it turns out funny, but it’s so useless.

Also, the soundtrack is pretty rockin’, with grunge greats like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, but the music never plays a huge part in this film which kind of bums me out. I wanted to hear more insight on how this dirty, and dark music, made these people feel, and how they connected to it.

The performances from the cast we’re very good. Bridget Fonda is good, as this cute, likable girl that falls for the heavy grunge rocker, Cliff, played by the always amusing Matt Dillon. He’s as usual funny, but he’s also kind of a dick, but its not off-putting, he knows that he is. Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick do the best jobs together in this film. They are both aimlessly in love, but they don’t know how to approach it, nor do they know how to express, cause they have recently been hurt. It’s great to see these two on-screen together, and it all feels so real. We also get great cameos from Paul Giamatti, Jeremy Piven, Bill Pullman, and the most random one yet, Tim Burton. Yeah, the director dude is in this, and I have no idea why.

The only problem with a lot of these characters is that it never gets fully in-depth to who these people really are. Yeah, we get to hear about their past love-life, but we walk into their lives with an open-mind, but get nothing in return. We guess their all good, and nice people, they just all need love. I guess…..

Consensus: Aimless, and not enough depth, stops Singles from being a great romantic comedy, but it has good performances, and a very smart script that shows real people, talking about real feelings.


Jackie Brown (1997)

God damn do I love Tarantino!!!!!!

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is an aging flight attendant who smuggles cash on the side. But when she’s busted and pressured to help with an investigation, she plans to play the opposing forces against each other and walk away with the dough. Others include Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert Forster, and Robert De Niro.

This film was made 3 years after Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Both of them have almost the same qualities: colorful characters, gritty life styles, twists and turns, and highly inventive dialogue.

I think this is one of the movie’s that show Tarantino at his best. Savoring the words and little details of behavior that make his characters so colorful and memorable. The film has all these different characters in one way or another all meet up and each scene is so memorable, cause you have these characters that you already know from their dialouge and both different personalities meet in all these different situations, and how it all happens is just perfect.

When I first heard about this film with Pam Grier as the lead cast, and the theme song “Across 110th Street”, I was expecting this to be Tarantino’s riff on blaxploitation films. However, I didn’t get that at all. Grier plays this run-down airline attendant who is tired and may lose the last job she’s ever going to get, and mostly worried about the subject of getting old. She is so laid back and smart, that you really do root for this woman, and just wish that she comes out on top.

The rest of the cast is really good too. Samuel L. Jackson does one of his better jobs as a lead bad guy who is so vicious and cruel, that at times you start to actually like him. But out of the whole cast, Robert Forster does one of the best jobs in a supporting role as a bail bondsman. The other main story is the love interest between Jackie Brown and Forster, and for those little scenes they have on screen together the chemistry is very rich and feels real. I’m still wondering how this didn’t revive their careers.

I mean for me this is not one of my favorites as a problem I had with his other film, Inglorious Basterds. That one as this, has so much damn talking, and none of it really leads to anything climactic. The suspense for the film was great and kept me on the edge of my seat of what was going to happen next, but the unnecessary scenes and talking sort of became too much of an annoyance for myself.

To say this is better than Pulp Fiction would be insane, but maybe a bit better Reservoir Dogs, and definitely Grindhouse. For people who love Tarantino check this one out because it will have everything you love from him, and maybe more, just minus some of the crazy violence.

Consensus: Jackie Brown has the charm and wit in the screenplay, with great acting, and a suspenseful story, but just needed to cut down on that talking in order to keep me more entertained.

9/10=Full Priceee!!!!

A Simple Plan (1998)

What would you do with 4 million dollars?

When two brothers (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) find a body and a bundle of cash in a downed plane, they plot to hide the loot and split it later. It’s a simple plan, until things go murderously awry.

Like the Coen brothers’ FARGO, Sam Raimi’s A SIMPLE PLAN is an ice-cold neo-noir as chilling and bleak as its snow-covered Minnesota locale.This a fine suspense thriller that digs deeper and deeper into the values and dreams of these small town characters. A Simple Plan is suspenseful, powerful, and as merciless as Fargo. Its very great to see how all these characters seem so real and you can tell their motives at every moment so every moment that happens seems to have a reason.

The most significant thing about this film is that you can see what leads them to the next step. Each of their ideas are shown at the right amount of pacing so they don’t go to quickly in showing these characters reactions but also don’t take too long in showing. The mood is something else of extraordinary, as you can feel just through the music and the expressions of the characters that this is how you should feel if this was happening to you right then and there.

Director Sam Raimi does a wonderful job at creating the right pace, mood, and overall right script. Much of the movie’s script is very similar to the novel’s script as well. Though some motives and character traits are changed Raimi still sticks close too the novel without getting too obvious. A great directing job from a guy who would later go on to direct the Spider Man movies.

The heart of this movie lies within the strong performances from its trio of leads. Bill Paxton is great as a man who just wants what’s best for his family and Bridget Fonda is his wife who just wants get out of her ordinary miserable life. Much of the acting credit goes to Billy Bob Thornton who’s understated and profoundly moving performance is what gave this movie its heart. Each stars have a chance to show their acting skills and each do very well and fully make this film as effective as it was.

The only problem I had with this film is not that bad at all really. The film being much like Fargo did not have as much comedy in it, if any at all. To be realistic in any depressing situation there will always be comedy to lighten things up and since this was such a realistic movie I wondered where the comedic tone to it was. In my opinion the film was way too dark without any light tone whatsoever.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat and with every twist and turn in the story, I felt myself hooked even more. A Simple Plan is a very simple movie to get used to just don’t watch this after King of Queens myself.

9/10=Full Pricee!!