Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ten Statements About....A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

Oh, Steed....what they have planned for you....
“Killing Tibbett was a mistake.”
“Then I'm about to make that same mistake twice.”

1) Perhaps the major problem with the basic fabric of this film is that since all the major characters are noticably younger than Roger Moore, it emphasizes how much older he is, and how he’s too old to be playing an action hero.

2)  I never thought it’d be possible to make San Francisco look boring.  I guess you showed me, movie.

3) We can add Tanya Roberts’ Stacey Sutton to the list of unconvincing female scientists.  Sure, she’s pretty to look at, but she is incapable of delivering geological exposition in an effective way.

4) Shame on you, movie, for misusing Patrick MacNee so badly.  He deserves more than to be used as comedic relief for a long stretch of the film and then killed off.

5) Boy, is Christopher Walken...vigorous as Max Zorin (a role turned down by Sting and David Bowie, incidentally).  Grinning to beat the band, giggling at his own villainy at spots, and strutting
She looks as bored as I am....
like a peacock, he could have been more entertaining in a better film.  As it is, he seems out of place given the scheme he’s hatching.  And speaking of Zorin....

6) Why does he have so many henchpeople?  There are so many that none of them get any sort of development to make them come alive.  Even Grace Jones’ May Day is cardboard, and relies on her physicality and striking features to carry her along in the picture.

7) While John Glen for the most part dispenses with the sight gags that marred his previous efforts, there is one chase scene involving a fire truck that is truly winge-worthy in the way it’s played for laughs.  It also doesn’t help that Moore is allowed to run rampant with his lame puns.

8) As I’m sure Dean Martin would tell you, when you’re shooting so much of your fight scenes in long shot, you’re trying to hide how tired your star is.
I'd throw the screenwriters off the bridge...

9) What is up with that long, boring stretch of film in and around Stacey’s house.  It kills what little pathetic momentum the film has had up until that point.  And speaking of killing the film dead....

10) That whole sequence involving the female Russian spy and the bath house contributes literally nothing to the film save to give Walter Gotell a little bit more screen time.  If the rumors are true and they wanted Barbara Bach to reprise her role in that sequence, I’m not surprised she turned them down.  It could be cut whole and not affect the film one bit.

Overall...Maybe not the worst Bond film (that one’s coming up), but arguably my least favorite, as it’s so boring it leaves me numb.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ten Statements About....SCREWED (2000)

You all should seek out the scriptwriters and get revenge...
“Sweet Jesus! We kidnapped a turd!"

1) Norm MacDonald is way out of his depth here.  Shorn of all the schtick that made him a presence on Saturday Night Live, he’s a monotone deer in the headlights, unable to muster anything that engages the audience.  His Willard is just painful to watch.

2) But to be fair, no one--not MacDonald, not Dave Chappelle, not Elaine Stritch or Sarah Silverman, is helped by this tin-eared script that gives them all nothing to work with.  This is the type of script that doesn’t give the actors characters; it doesn’t even give them types.  There is literally nothing to any of these personages.  They just float in space with no background, no emotional life and no nuance whatsoever.

3) After seeing Silverman struggle with the role of Hillary--not because she’s not a good actress, which she is, but because it’s a whisp of a character (we don’t even get a hint of what she is in relation to Willard until halfway through the film, and even that is hastily sketched out)--I perfectly understand why she refuses to take girlfriend roles any more.

4) The gruesomeness of some of the gags detract from what little humor is inherent in them.  Having not...FUNNY!!!!
MacDonald’s hand chewed up by a tiny dog so badly that he’s spraying blood on the walls is winge-worthy.  And the whole ‘you’d be surprised what you can find in a dead body’ sequence is not only too gross to laugh at, but goes on far too long.

5) What did they give Danny Devito to disgrace himself as Grover?  This detestable ‘character’ is only there to come up with gross out joke after gross out joke revolving around cadavers.  There is nothing funny about him sorting through corpses to find one that resembles MacDonald or allowing another to fall down the stairs or using a big hose to suck....something...out of another.  It’s just painful to watch.

6) You know, don’t try to ground a film in an actual location if you’re not going to show any of said location.  This film could take place in Bohunkville instead of Pittsburgh, and it’d be unchanged.

I'd book a flight out of this movie too....
7) I thought it was a given that you don’t ever introduce a major character--a co-conspirator in one of the kidnapping plots, for example--well into the third act.  Well, I guess I know better now.

8) The problem with Elaine Stritch’s Mrs Crock’s face turn is that it’s not earned.  She’s portrayed as such a one note horror that we never see the seeds that prompt her to change her spots in the last few minutes of the film.  It’s as if the filmmakers did it because they felt it had to be done.

9) What is Sherman Helmsley’s Chip even here for?  I know he’s Mrs. Crock’s boytoy, but why does he take over operations of her bakery the second she’s missing?

10) I dunno...I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to own a rocket why is Grover still free at the end of this film.

Overall...I think the filmmakers were trying to create a funny black comedy.  And considering I spent the running time wincing instead of laughing, I’d have to say they failed.