Archive for the Movie reviews – 1990s Category

Cool World (1992)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies on June 14, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Cool World (1992)

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This was certainly interesting to watch (by that, I mean the animation and techniques). Ralph Bakshi delivers to us another one of his adult-oriented (although, this one’s rather toned down) side of cartoons, from a psychotic Craps bunny to howling pack of McWolf-esque bunch. It was not meant to be a direct rival with Roger Rabbit (4 years difference between each film’s release), the difference between the two being Cool World was originally a horror film with a plot, while Roger Rabbit adapted to suggestive (but nothing too dodgy) and had characters that were both appealing and interesting for the audience. Paramount wanted a PG-13 animation rather than the usual R-rated Bakshi creates; this did not fare well between him and the studio and predictably resulted in the final production. In 1945 Las Vegas, Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) just came home from his duties as a soldier to be greeted by Mom Harris (Janni Brenn-Lowen). At some point, he wins a motorbike in a gamble and decides to take his mother for a ride with him (she left the dinner cooking too. It makes you wonder…). Not far from the road, a drunk couple decides to take a stroll in their car in their tipsy state; tragic happened. Frank discovers his mother dead on the road whilst waking up from his sudden PTSD after the crash. The authorities and ambulance arrive to the scene, but shortly Frank is phased from the real world into Cool World, a world of toons, hardly having had time to grief over the incident. In 1991 Las Vegas, Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne), a comic artist, is on his last day before his release from prison (after killing a man found in bed with his ex-wife). He phases alternatively between the real world and his Cool World (he created it or did it exist before him?), being seduced by his femme fatale creation, Holli Would (Kim Basinger). Frank, now a cop of Cool Town, eventually hears of Jack’s presence and warns him that toons and noids (a term they use for ‘real’ people) cannot make ‘doodle’ together, for reasons. Holli and Jack disregards this and dooms Cool World’s stability. It’s up to Frank to make things right again by bringing Holli back to Cool World.

Ralph Bakshi’s success was more known with Fritz the Cat (1972), but he has made several other works since not including the less successful sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) (Bakshi was not involved with the film), but Heavy Traffic (1973), Coonskin (1975) and American Pop (1981). It’s not actually a bad film, the only problem is that the story itself is really nothing new from Bakshi and his other works (all are, of course, adult themed and consisting of drugs, sex, more women-chasing and occasional random violence between cartoons to emphasize the chaos). Basinger’s nymphomaniac character of Holli Would possessed nothing beneath her uncontrollable lust for noids; her live action counterpart was uninteresting and not really as stunning in physique as her animated self. In fact, almost all the animated characters on the screen were obnoxious and annoying. The film was aimed for the wrong audiences (PG-13) obviously, but Bakshi also was to blame for not giving his animators a screenplay to work with. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of Ralph Bakshi but even then, there are better works from him than Cool World.

Oh yeah, did I mention a cameo by Frank Sinatra Jr. in one scene?


Tuesday With Morrie (1999, television film) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Tuesday With Morrie (1999, television film)

Oprah Winfrey presents:

Guys, the exam week for my high school senior year is approaching in about 2 weeks and I may have postpone until the exams are over. If that’s the case, I’ll have to make up for about 3 entries I haven’t gotten up which I’ll have more time to do so during summer break.

Watched this one with my English class; half of them couldn’t care less and talked amongst themselves…pity. For those who’ve enjoyed the book (including this blogger), this television film adaptation was as good as the book. Directed by Mick Jackson, this one won an Emmy award for Jack Lemmon for his role as Morrie.

Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon) is a retired college professor who loves to dance, despite his age. One day, his body succumbs to a terminal case of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Instead of living his final months in grief and regret, Meanwhile, Mitch (Hank Azaria, also known for his role in America’s Sweethearts and the 1998 Godzilla film), a former student of Morrie’s and currently a sports journalist and commentator, hears of his friend’s (or professor’s; Morrie’s sort of both) condition and decides to give Morrie a visit. He also has trouble in keeping a steady relationship with his fiance, Janine, due being rather occupied with his job when both want to talk to each other. Morrie decides to make this his last class session with Mitch; his main topic: life.

The book’s theme and plot was plain and simple enough for a nice little television film, but the casting proved to be suitable for the roles. When Lemmon is bedridden as Morrie and talks of his past, we can feel the uneasiness from Mitch, as Morrie could be gasping for air at any time; this was also Lemmon’s last credited television film role (his last film role being The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) ). The film focused mostly on Mitch’s private life rather than from Morrie’s, compared to the book, taking out the plot about Mitch’s brother and his estranged relationship with Mitch, being a cancer victim pursuing a cure in Spain. The book also mentioned a writer’s strike, whereas the film does not mention or show this, with Mitch working regularly. The quality isn’t too bad, after all being adapted for television and would probably have limited funding, but then there was nothing too extravagant to work with like special effects (most of the shots use whatever is there at the filming location and seems to only have to focus on music selection). I would recommend anyone to watch this (and read the book, if you’re not too lazy), it’s a beautiful story of someone you can learn from that could be used for everyday life.

The Fifth Element (1997) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

The Fifth Element (1997)


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It is Egypt 1914, an archarologist is about to discover the truth behind some hieroglyphics: A fifth element of a man; this might be the key to defeating evil. Suddenly, an spaceship lands in front of the site. An alien species by the name of Mondoshawans have come to take away the five element stones, saying when evil returns they too will return in 300 years. It is now the year 2314, a ship has discovered an unknown giant mass of black fire in deep space. It suddenly expands itself and destroys the scouting Earth battleship. The Mondoshawans return but something goes wrong and they are ambushed by shape-shifting Mangalores (how do they even come up with these names?); the priest who currently holds the Mondoshawan key from that day in 1914 in Egypt briefs President Lindberg (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the Great Evil and that only 48 hours is left to defeat it. Meanwhile, the scientists have recovered the hand of the fifth element from the crash site and has began to reconstruct it into a humanoid. She escapes and accidentally doves off into the taxicab of a former-Special Forces major, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis, best known for role in Die Hard). After escaping from the authorities, the two talk and her name is apparently (wait for it…) Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat…but becomes known as “Leeloo”. She tells them the stones are stolen (in ancient language) and while they are talking, an industrialist with bad hair named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) (another mouthful for a name…) are looking for the stones too and that they have to get to take it first in order to save not just humanity, but all lifeforms.


Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker)

# All night long, all night long~! #


Directed by Luc Besson, this one’s a French (it’s still in English) sci-fi gem for you moviegoers looking for a snappy dialogue and some actions. Chris Tucker (known best for his role in the Rush Hour series) also provides timely comic relief as an effeminate talk-show host. The settings are futuristic hover cars and sky-high buildings (we don’t see the ground, that’s the future!), which quite frankly is an amazingly made for the film. The characters are all interesting in their own ways, each with different personalities and attitudes. Put this one in your collection; you simply can’t sit through this film without having a bit of fun from it!


In the meantime…look what I found.


Dick Tracy (1990) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Dick Tracy (1990)

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We’re really taking long breaks from the “real world” films that may/may not help us write all these reviews. Some of us just need someone else’s nostalgic trip to feel at home. So today, we bring your a review of Warren Beatty’s 1990 film adaption of Dick Tracy.

So it starts off in a 1930s Chicago(?), a by-the-book, tough detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) arrives on the scene of a massacre of a cards game consisting of villains (they’re all pretty much recurring characters from the 1930s comic strip) and the disappearance of the owner of Club Ritz. Meanwhile, a crime boss named “Big Boy” Caprice (played by Al Pacino…you can’t help but see some Tony Montana in him when he yells in scenes) has paid and gathered all of the crime rings of the city in order to form an alliance, which would result in extortion of almost everything from meals in diners to

haircuts in barbershops. Tracy is also a man torn between duty and love, failing to express his feelings to Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly) and being seduced by the attractive singer of Club Ritz, Breathless Mahoney (Madonna…yes.) . He also adopts a street urchin (nicknamed “The Kid”) who assists him throughout the film, but we’re not going to talk about him. There’s also a few notable names like Dick Van Dyke (as District Attorney John Fletcher), Dustin Hoffman (Mumbles), and a cameo as a store owner by Charles Fleischer.

Reviews for this movie were mixed, notably Roger Ebert gave this film four out of four stars for the nostalgia trip and praising it for the designs and prosthetic makeup. Desson Thomson of Washington Post apparently gave a rather negative review, calling it an imitation of the Batman (1989) film, with less in-depth and character development (which is true but isn’t that what a comic feels like unless you’ve read a number of issues?). A bit understandable since Danny Elfman worked on the orchestra score (with Stephen Sondheim) and if you’ve watch films with Danny Elfman scores in them, you’d know how most of his work sounds. Warren Beatty surprisingly produced, directed, and starred in the title role, despite being “too old” for the role (he was 52 at the time…funny, he doesn’t look that old). The film maintains a two-dimensional comic atmosphere, using a believable matte painting with vivid colored surroundings (the comic strip had limited color palette, so everything from cars to clothes were figuratively bleeding bright colors…). Of course, this film is an okay adaptation that doesn’t take away the charm and original plots of Chester Gould’s work. It’s a movie to watch, if you’re into the pulp action (classic-era) genre!

A sequel, too, was planned for the film but due to legal disputes between Warren Beatty and Tribune (the guys who own the comic strips), it has not been produced as of yet…Beatty’s also 74 and aging now.

Naked Lunch (1991) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Naked Lunch (1991)

From the director who brought you “The Fly” (1986), David Cronenberg’s attempt at adapting William S.Burroughs’ controversial novel from 1959, the story of an exterminator living in the 1950’s who starts to hallucinate over time as he’s exposed to his own bug powder (pyrethrum) . A strange case of double identity, told to the exterminator-turned-junkie by an oversized talking roaches tell him he’s actually an undercover agent.

Promotional movie poster

The film combines elements from various works by Burroughs (most notably, “Exterminator!” and “Junkie”). The protagonist of our film is played by Peter Welles, known best for his role as the super-human cyborg, RoboCop, plays an exterminator named William Lee (a pseudonym Burroughs used when he wrote “Junkie”), who finds his wife, Joan, injecting herself with his bug powder in order to get high (his boss was not happy to hear he ran out of bug powder in the middle of a job either).

“It's a literal high...a Kafka high”

Later, he is arrested by the police who question his real purpose of having bug powder with him. This is when the film starts to become weirder: he hallucinates and is told by a giant cockroach (who even asks him to rub some bug powder on his “lips”) that he is a secret agent and that his wife is actually not his wife (nor is she human!), whom is also a secret agent from a rival organization. He disregards his “case officer” and flees the room. Nonetheless, he inadvertently kills his own wife, forcing him to flee to Interzone, according to the bug: “A notorious free port on the North African coast. A haven for the mongrel scum of the Earth…an engorged parasite on the underbelly of the West.” , where he must finish his “report” on his “mission”.

A lot of these scenes in the film...

I will not get into details of what happens, but there are themes of lust, a question of sexuality, a wander into an outer world, and a border crossing between reality and surrealism. The music is baffled and fitting to the film’s atmosphere of being “lost” in the drug. Howard Shore composed the scores, while Ornette Coleman, a major free-jazz innovator, contributes to the music with his saxophone riddling. The grosteque alien nature of the puppet or animatronic (it is not specified) are believably realistic, including the mugwumps (watch the film and you’ll find out what a Mugwump is).

I recommend this film due to its eccentricity and weird factor that tends to make us go, “What just happened?!” fans of Cronenberg will not be disappointed by this piece!

Word of warning to anyone who plans to watch this: Unless you’re brave enough, don’t eat right before watching this film.

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