Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Kelly McGillis

At First Sight (1999)

Eyes open or closed, we all know Mira Sorvino is downright beautiful.

Young architect Amy Benic (Mira Sorvino) needs a break from the busy high-life of Manhattan and decides to go out to the country-side, relax, and get her massage on. While she’s getting that on, she falls under the spell and hands of the masseur Virgil Adamson (Val Kilmer). She instantly clicks with him and realizes that there’s something between the two that’s as rare as it can be. Rare, because Virgil’s also blind and has no idea what she looks like, or anything else for that matter.

Watching all of these sappy, romantic-dramedies can honestly do a number on a person. Nicholas Sparks has dulled the senses so much, that even when something relatively sweet, sort of nice comes around, it’s hard to fully embrace it. For someone like me, I’m just so used to saccharine, annoying romantic-junk that yeah, it makes you forget about actual solid romantic-flicks out there in the world.

Sort of like At First Sight. But also, sort of not like At First Sight.

Let me explain.

Well, close enough.

Well, close enough.

Granted, it’s nothing special, but it works at being a piece of romantic-drama that you can root-root-root for the couple, and just hope that they end up together because you can see that they’re good people, have the best intentions for one another, and most of all, love each other like silly. Isn’t that what we all want to be reminded of when we watch sap-fests such as these? Well yes, as well as the ability to love and be loved is still out there and if you have a heart big enough to allow that into your soul, that even you can come under it’s spell? I think so, and I think that’s why I actually didn’t mind this movie as much as I was planning to.

Val Kilmer is a nice fit as our blind man for the two hours (way, way, way too long for my liking!), Virgil Adamson. Despite how he may be behind the scenes, Kilmer has always had a certain cool, suave charm about him, which is what works well for this character here, who could have easily just been a later-day saint who also happened to be blind. It’s also a nice refresher to see him play a much softer, more romantic-side, even though the movie surrounding him is, yes, corny and undeniably syrupy beyond belief.

But like I said, the guy’s so charming, he makes it work.

Daredevil totally ripped this movie off!

Daredevil totally ripped this movie off! Damn Ben Affleck!

Playing his love bird for the two hours (once again, way, way, way too long for my liking!), is Mira Sorvino as Amy. Sorvino is always a charmer and is as cute-as-a-button that whenever she smiles, it’s so easy to just feel all warm and gooey inside. She’s got that beautiful look to her that works to her advantage and it’s just great to see that in an actress that can make bad material like this work, even if we do see it coming a hundred-upon-a-hundred miles away. You actually believe that she could fall in love with a guy like this, knock down all of the problems of being blind, and just look at the person instead. It’s obvious stuff, but Sorvino and Kilmer make it work together and if it weren’t for these two in the roles, it’d be really hard to get through this thing.

Then, there’s Kelly McGillis who eventually shows up as Vrigil’s sister that is always there for him and watching over him and is okay, but also where the movie really starts to go off-the-rails. The first hour, while cheesy, is sweet, soft and enjoyable enough to where it’s a nice piece of time passing-by, because it’s never taking itself all that seriously. But then, miraculously, as soon as McGillis rears her head in, everything gets a bit bonkers and far too serious. It certainly doesn’t help the fact that she’s always yelling, upset, and crying about something going on. Thankfully, Nathan Lane is here to save the day and as usual, use his comedic-charm to his ability and have us love the guy like never before.

So when in doubt, just trust Nathan Lane.

Consensus: Is it predictable? Yes. Is it obvious? Yes. Is it long? Hell yes! Is it at least entertaining? Ehh, sure. At First Sight may not throw you any curve balls you won’t see coming at you miles away, but Kilmer and Sorvino at least make the material seem more than just your average, run-of-the-mill romantic-drama, even if that’s exactly what it is.

5 / 10

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you not supposed to pet those dogs or something?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you not supposed to pet those kinds of dogs or something?

Photos Courtesy of: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


The Accused (1988)

Never going to be able to play pinball the same way ever again now.

After being raped by three men in a local bar, Sarah (Jodie Foster), enraged at the light sentence her attackers receive, persuades attorney Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) to press charges against the men who cheered on the attack. But it won’t be easy: Sarah has a shady past that could be used against her in court.

There have been many films to deal with the subject of rape but never before 1988 was there one that dealt with it in such a straight-up and frank way. I mean we practically see rape happen in almost every horror/thriller but never do we get to see what happens when that racist is finally poned.

The film is based off of a real-life case that took place in 1983 and the film never loses that raw edge and feel about the whole subject of rape. Rape is obviously something that’s not good no matter who the person may be but this flick shows all of the damage it can do to one person and how they deal with it on a day-to-day basis. It’s a good and important story that deserves to be told but I still feel like it deserved a better flick.

The problem with all of this is though, the film never gave me any type of emotion to feel for the story or characters the whole time, probably because of its made-for-TV movie feel. We know how this case is going to go down right from the start and even though I may have been a bit intrigued by the courtroom drama scenes, they never really showed anything new or exciting that I haven’t seen done before in other dramas of this nature. There is also never any real insight or emotional depth to come along with these proceedings and as much as the film would like to say that it’s getting inside the mind of a person who’s just been rape, it really is just showing a person frustrated over the fact that the dudes who were there to watch the rape, never really did anything in the first place.

The other major problem with this flick is that you can’t really believe a lot of what is going on, with these evil characters and the actual rape itself. I’m not very sure that a whole bar of men, would just stand there and cheer on as three dudes constantly rape a chick into oblivion. Isn’t there any dude that would just stand up and say “what the eff are you doing!?!”? Of course there are people out there in the world who are this sick, but doesn’t anybody know what a rape looks like and know that it is a crime? Take it for granted though, the flick is based on a true story so it could have definitely happened that way but for some odd reason, it comes off as more exaggerated and over-blown than realistic in ways.

However, where this film’s strength really lies in is its amazing performance from Jodie Foster. Foster plays this character Sarah who is not too entirely likable. She’s white-trash, a whore, and dirty but somehow Foster gets us to actually care about her character and her story as well. You can tell that she feels pain from this rape that had happened to her and you know that she doesn’t mean any harm to anyone or anything, which is why it’s very easy to back her up and just about every chance Foster gets, she really lets loose with her raw energy built inside. The whole speech that she gives about what happened to her is definitely the best part of the flick and definitely the one moment that assured her that she was definitely going to get that Oscar.

Kelly McGillis is also fine as Kathryn, handling a lot of the court stuff pretty well but her character still seems underdevoloped in some way. She starts off as this strong-minded career woman that only wants to do the right thing but then she all of a sudden starts to turn into this woman who is all about fighting for a cause and woman’s rights. I’m not saying that this couldn’t have happened to anybody who would have taken a case like this but the film never really focuses on her enough to actually give her the chance to really show her character for what she is.

Consensus: The Accused features an amazing performance from Foster which rises this above the whole made-for-TV movie feel, but in the end it’s predictable, a little over-the-top, and something that you can’t really get emotionally involved with no matter how hard the film tries.


The Innkeepers (2012)

It’s like ‘The Shining’ if Stanley Kubrick was a hipster.

The film follows a pair of amateur ghosthunters (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy) who use their dead end job, working the desk of a failing hotel, to flex their muscles as supernatural investigators. But what they find, is a little bit too much for the both of them.

I was very impressed by Ti West‘s last flick, ‘The House of the Devil’, and it really made me wonder just what he was going to do next. Once again, it’s pretty much the same thing around except no 80’s cars and hair-styles, as well as no more jams from The Fixx. Waaaah!

What West does well here that he did with his last flick was that he takes time to build-up to the actual by actually developing these characters and giving them enough back-story for us to actually feel something for them when all of this crazy ish is happening to them. We see how these two are terribly bored with their jobs and it’s actually kind of amusing to watch them go around, play little pranks on each other, and just talk about the hotel and its history. This was definitely great to see West allowing us to know these characters but even when they are just goofing around, there still is a lot of mystery and tension going on because you don’t quite always know what’s really going on behind those closed doors.

When the horror does come though, West makes it all work again with a very tense and dark atmosphere. Even though many moments in this film can be incredibly happy and light, West still keeps to his whole creepy tone with plenty of scares that take more time to get you rather than just throwing out a whole bunch of jump-scares (even though there is one, that’s used as a joke). The scares also work because of the insanely loud noises that come from this score, which isn’t as noticeable as another film that came out this weekend, ‘The Woman in Black’.

I think my favorite element of this film when it came to its horror was its setting in the real-life hotel, The Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Conneticut. The Inn isn’t huge nor is it some place you could get easily lost in but the film never leaves the place (except for one scene) and the whole time you feel as if you are trapped in there as well with all of these creepy and mysterious happenings going down. It’s still around today and definitely not haunted but I think I may just go there one of these days and give it a shot myself.

My problem with the flick is that even though the horror does come after a very long period of time, for some reason, I still felt like there should have been more of it. The last act is where everything really goes crazy but I still felt like West didn’t allow things to get too crazy and it just felt like a bit of a let-down considering how much time it took to build things up. I will admit that it definitely didn’t go as bonkers in its last act as West’s last flick did but I think that’s where I was bummed considering the pay-off was a lot better there.

Another thing I was sort of annoyed by was that it seems like all of these low-budget, small horror films all seem to have the same kind of protagonists no matter what. All of the protagonists in their flicks seem to be those sort of weird, hipsterish, non-normal people that always have to be quirky and do different things than anybody else would normally do and it’s almost like a cliche now. I mean after awhile I kind of got past it, but it seems to be something that happens in a lot small horror films lately and it’s not really that cool to do in the first place.

Despite them being overly quirky at times, I still found the two main characters to be likable and people I could very much just hang-out with. Sara Paxton and Pat Healy are both very good here and play these two slackers very well because they aren’t annoying and they aren’t really trying too hard to be funny or hip, they are just bored to death of this job but when it seems like their lives are in danger, they seem scared. They seem like actual people almost and the film takes enough time for us to really get to know them and it made me wish that I was actually there with them when all of this shit was happening, because I think it would have been a lot of fun in the first place. There are only a hand-full of other guests that come into the house but the one that sticks out in my mind is 80’s forgotten-hero Kelly McGillis who seems to be having a come-back of sorts and hopefully it continues because she’s very good as this strange but bitchy old actress, Leanne Rease-Jones.

Consensus: Although it’s nothing new that we haven’t seen done before from Ti West and doesn’t fully supply a huge amount of scares as you may think, still, The Innkeepers has a good build-up by developing its characters and setting, as well as providing us with just enough tense moments to make West the definitive horror director to watch in the upcoming years.