The Wedding Singer (1998)

The Wedding SingerReleased: February 13, 1998. Directed by: Frank Coraci. Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor. Runtime: 95 min.

Apparently, more mediocre comedians should release their movies on the unlucky Friday the 13th, when they’re down on their luck. Maybe they’ll have a decent hit on their hands. That’s the truth with Sandler’s “The Wedding Singer,” an entertaining and predictable romp from beginning to end.

The story follows wedding singer Robbie Hart who enters a deep depression after he’s dumped at the alter by his bitch of a girlfriend Linda (Angela Featherstone). Then he meets the stunning waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore). She is about to be married to a total idiot Glen Gulia (Matthew Glave), who is so dumb, he doesn’t see what’s funny about the fact that Julia will know be Julia Gulia. Robbie thinks she deserves more, and, well, you know the rest.

This movie teaches that the only person you should plan a wedding with is the person you’re getting married to, otherwise, you’ll probably fall in love with the person you’re planning it with. It’s a traditional romantic comedy, with Sandler’s antics and a lot of angry and/or depressed singing.

The characters are funny. That’s mostly Robbie Hart and the nympho best friend of Julia, Holly (Christine Taylor). Allen Covert’s pretty good, too. There are some characters that are both creepy and funny. That’s most notably George (Alexis Arquette), the back-up wedding singer who only sings “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” It’s funny because the crowd turns on him every time.

These performers aren’t phoning in performances – you’re probably going to root for Robbie and Julia the whole way through. No one deserves to be married to a jerk right?

The movie’s really just a predictable ’80s styled movie. It’s entertaining, sometimes hilarious and always chuckle-worthy. Even though you’ll be rooting for Julia and Robbie, they don’t pass the Character Name Test; since Sandler’s characters seem to be all the same. You’ll forget half of the characters’ names within minutes. This is a movie where I’d rather refer to the characters by the person who’s portraying them. Even though Sandler has big hair in this movie, it doesn’t mean this character will be distinctive or stand out in any way.

Score75/100

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Airheads (1994)

AirheadsRelease Date: August 5, 1994Director: Michael LehmannStars: Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam SandlerRuntime: 92 min.

Three band members hoping for a big break head to a radio station to play their demo tape and wind up holding everyone hostage with plastic guns when the head DJ refuses to play them.

“Airheads” is a different heist film, but a stupid one. It’s a satire, but it’s never exactly clear what it’s trying to mock, to the viewers or the filmmakers. It says that one shouldn’t sell out in the music business. But the plot is silly, and something like this won’t turn out well for anyone. Adam Sandler will make you chuckle a few times, but none of this will have you on the floor laughing. It’s nice to see Joe Mantegna and Judd Nelson, even if they’re in small roles. Chris Farley is criminally underused as a police officer. This is about the same quality as the Adam Sandler movies of today. It isn’t particularly smart, or entertaining. It’ll make you smile once or twice, but the plot is better suited for an episode on a sitcom. Everyone in this movie has been in funnier things, and the premise truly grows tired early on.

Score38/100

Detroit Rock City (1999)

Detroit Rock CityRelease Date: August 13, 1999Director: Adam RifkinStars: Edward Furlong, James DeBello, Sam HuntingtonRuntime: 95 min.

Music isn’t one of my passions. I love the idea of it – but since I don’t have an iPod, or even a decent pair of headphones, I find it hard to sit down and actually listen to some good music. I do love the industry and see how it enhances everything. (When I was at a screening of “Monsters University”, and the sound cut out right at the end credits, I couldn’t help but think how bloody boring the end credits was without music.) I’d love to get into it more. (So feel free to leave any suggestions for good songs in the comment section…) All that being said, I am no rocker, so I really don’t know what I’m doing watching “Detroit Rock City”, a movie about four pals doing just about anything to get to see their idols, KISS.

That goal keeps being sidetracked by bullies, a lack of money, and a crazed religious mother and a society who thinks KISS is devil’s music.

“Detroit Rock City” is interesting in the way that it shows the social ideals of the 90’s. The movie isn’t really for me. I’m not the target audience, but I can see how it’s a favourite for some. There is some entertainment to be had under the overall poor writing. Seeing these kids stand up for their beliefs is rousing. I liked seeing Natasha Lyonne and Melanie Lynskey in here. For me, this is just a load of mediocrity.

It’s mainly a comedy, but I only remember laughing out loud once at a priest who ate some pizza with magic mushrooms on it. And I did find my suspension of disbelief being stretched too much when a MILF wanted to screw Edward Furlong’s character…There are decent chuckles throughout this flick, as the things these kids are willing to do to get into the concert are mildly amusing.

Score58/100

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 2

The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor is dead, and another T-101 must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced Terminator, the T-1000.

Release Date: July 3, 1991

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Runtime: 137 min

Robert Patrick is fantastic as the T-1000, and it’s very exciting when he always bounces back. He makes a stupendous villain. Arnie is great and extremely cool as the Terminator, his most iconic character. James Cameron is the best director for these movies. Jonathan Mastow is adequate directing the third, but McG, director of the fourth, might as well just quit the film industry (at least as a director).

I don’t remember The Terminator that well, but this is one of the greatest sequels ever made. This has some outstanding action sequences that simply cannot be beaten. Those scenes at the mall near the beginning are freaking awesome. This is a near-perfect masterpiece, and one of the very best action movies of the 1990s. I think the middle drags a little (at the trailer park, mostly), but that’s hardly a fault of the film. It has to develop plot, and even though it bores me a little, it transitions itself back into the action quickly and with stellar ease.

I love this movie and almost everything about it, except Edward Furlong. He’s endlessly irritating in this movie, his character’s actions are idiotic, and I just wish he wouldn’t ask so many stupid questions. I wish any other actor would have played John Connor. The character is a stupid little shit, as is Furlong. Though, I did like Furlong in American History X; and it seems we were all annoying little shits at the age of fourteen.

98/100

Jurassic Park 3D (2013)

jurassic parkJurassic Park 3D

Release Date: April 5, 2013 (3D Re-release date) (Original release date: June 11, 1993)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum

Runtime: 127 min
Tagline: The most phenomenal discovery of our time… becomes the greatest adventure of all time.

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

The cause for the power outage is one of the park’s main technicians, the incredibly selfish, but somewhat funny, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), who attempts to steal the dinosaur embryos for personal gain. The incredibly lazy man thinks the best way to make some big bucks is to steal dinosaur embryos and put everyone’s life in danger.

There are only a few characters that are worth mentioning. There’s Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), a palaeontologist who is the main hero and dino guy of the story, and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the mathematician with a personality. Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler also is good, as is Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, the park’s owner. The others are hardly anything to rave about, especially the grand kids of Hammond. They aren’t nearly as annoying as mostly everyone says, but you probably won’t feel the need to spend a day with them. There’s also a lawyer present, Donald Gennaro (Martin Fererro), a character who seriously needs to learn when and when not to use an outdoor restroom. But if you were killed by any living thing, wouldn’t it be kind-of cool for people to know you were killed by a Tyrannosaurus Rex? Maybe not…

The great director-composer team of Spielberg and Williams is amazing, as usual. Spielberg is a true expert when directing all these folks, and he does it so, so well. Their involvement in the film is also nothing to sneeze at (but the so-called “Veggie-saurus” might think otherwise). The cast or characters are designed to be not that memorable, because the real stars of the show are, of course, the dinosaurs! The real action heats up when the T-Rex and then the raptors join in all the fun, and let’s not overlook the a venom-spitting dilophosaurus.
The visual team deserves a serious nod in creating these beautiful dinosaurs, that are a serious marvel of modern-day filmmaking. Now, the visuals aren’t too impressive because of films like Avatar or Life of Pi, but one really has to admire the disparate achievement the visuals and dinosaurs are for the year 1993. The 3D is only okay, but it does seem to add another more modern visual layer to the film and it gives it a different feel and it could be a brand-new experience for some viewers (like me, because this being my first viewing in approximately ten years). In some scenes the 3D is incredibly blurry, but not really when the dinosaurs are on-screen and on the prowl. It’s mostly when there’s technique cinematography present, like when characters are walking uphill and there’s hill in the frame. At times, it’s hardly nice to look at. It improves as it goes on, and it’s great to see on the big screen. If 2D screenings are available in your local market, then that might be a better option, as it’s still amazing to watch. This incredibly suspenseful adrenaline rush would be a perfect choice for a family outing (don’t take small children, though!) or anyone seeking some sweet nostalgia.

95/100

Scream (1996)

Release Date: December 20, 1996. Director: Wes Craven. Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette. Runtime: 1hr, 51 min. Tagline: Someone’s Taken Their Love Of Scary Movies One Step Too Far!

Did you knowOriginally titled “Scary Movie” which was later used for a parody of the Scream and other pop culture horror films like it: Scary Movie (According to IMDb). [No wonder those two titles are sometimes confused by people!]

Scream is a fresh spin on the horror genre, and it oozes with sheer brilliance. It follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), an average teen whose mother was killed last year, living in the town of Woodsboro. To add stress to the dreadful upcoming anniversary, a killer called Ghostface surfaces and begins to kill local teens one by one. As the body count begins to rise, Sidney and her friends find themselves contemplating the “Rules” of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.

That premise is really one of the most original and best to ever hit the horror genre. The real treat about Scream is that it’s both a great satire and a great horror movie. It embraces the horror genre while simultaneously mocking it, in such a refreshing way. It also turns psychotic killings into something hilarious, and satirical  Assuming one can find the humour in stabbings, and it is satirical because it’s all really ironic, such as the time where Tatum says “You’re starting to sound like a Wes Carpenter flick or something,” or when Jamie Kennedy is watching Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, shouting “Come on, Jamie… Behind you!” at a time where he should look behind him. In this way, it feels like a self-aware film, even when the characters themselves are not aware they are in a movie. The characters discuss the “Rules” of horror films, while they themselves are trying to survive what is actually a horror movie.

The movie warns that, in most cases, if you have sex, drink or do drugs, among other things, you’re pretty much screwed. The movie dissects the genre and gets silly, scary and all-around intense. The concept is incredibly scary, because if one gets a prank call and the prank caller becomes increasingly violent, and the victim doesn’t have a good knowledge of horror movies, they’re basically screwed. Even when the scenes are incredibly long (the 42-minute party scene near the end, the crew made t-shirts that read “I SURVIVED SCENE 118”, and the Drew Barrymore scene at the very beginning lasts 12 minutes), it’s never boring. There are so many aspects of this film that could make this one of someone’s favourite horror flicks.

The primary characters are easy to care about (but when most are killed off, it really isn’t the end of the world) and it’s always suspenseful because the killer could be literally anyone. It could be you, the one reading this right now. Probably not. Ghostface is also hilarious because he’s so clever and witty and just downright psychopathic. He’s having so much fun, that, it’s really hard not to laugh along with this film.

Everyone is also incredibly well typecast and embrace their stereotypes. Sidney’s the virgin, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) is the number one suspect in the film, Tatum (Rose McGowan) is really just the slut, Stu (Matthew Lillard) is Tatum’s boyfriend, and Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) is the horror movie (and general movie) buff, who’s kinda secretly head-over-heels for Sidney. And what cinephile cannot love a movie with a funny movie buff in it? We can’t forget Dewey (David Arquette), the Deputy of the town, and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), the selfish news reporter trying to keep the apparently innocent man, Cotton Weary, who was incarcerated for the murder of Sidney’s mother, off death row. We also grow to love her for her backbone and fine badassery. Is that a word?

This movie is practically just the perfect treat to watch on a Friday night with a few friends and a bucket of poppin’ corn. It’s hilarious, edgy, intense, mysterious, scary, it always keeps its viewer guessing, and it’s overall brilliant. It also has an amazing premise that it executes extremely well, and that’s easy to admire. Scream is one of those movies that one can watch over and over because of its iconic characters, its pure entertainment value, and its tremendous amount of originality. And there’s lots of blood and horror references. It also always should inspire a Scream-athon (I think I’ll watch them all in the summer, when I have them all on Blu-Ray) because the sequels are fairly entertaining. This is truly a bit of a wet dream for horror fans. Only one thing is left to be said: What’s your favourite scary movie?

100/100

Breakdown (1997)

BreakdownBreakdown

Release Date: May 2, 1997

Director: Jonathan Mastow

Stars: Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan

Runtime: 93 min

Breakdown isn’t very predictable, but there aren’t very many memorable twists. It’s really just an enthralling and compelling taut thriller that puts an average man (Kurt Russell) against a few ruthless criminals and in a situation that could genuinely happen to anyone. Even if it is a little far-fetched. It’s a very engaging ride that truly entertains for its ninety minute runtime. It’s lots of fun.

80/100