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The Dark Secret of Agent Lewis
Marcia Gay Harden's character arc through the "SVU" episodes, starting with "Raw" comes to an earth shattering conclusion in this episode.
Agent Lewis is back because of a serial rapist/killer bound in a wheelchair (Harold Perrineau in a wheelchair AGAIN?), tying to get a confession from him about a young girl's murder from years ago. But it looks like Olivia and Co. find out that Lewis has some serious skeletons in the closet.
And the more the crew digs, the more secrets about Dana's past come back to haunt her. And it's a HUGE secret that's exhumed that just threw me off guard.
Olivia sums it up for all of us: Dana was an FBI agent that buried herself in her job to avoid her past. And she wasn't wrong.
A very powerful episode from start to finish. And the end is painful as hell.
Marcia Gay Harden As "Star' Blows You Away
This episode of "Law and Order:SVU" shows how deep racism poisons society in such an incredibly scary way that there are times that I often wonder if we as a human race will ever accept tolerance in any way, shape or form.
The episode also starts a story arc with Marcia Gay Harden's FBI agent Dana Lewis. Two particular scenes with her stand out: When we first see her, she's a woman named "Star", who's a member of a White Supremacy group that maybe behind the shootings. The look on Munch's face when she makes a very racist comment on his race was so incredibly hateful that you thought that he would lose his cool, even after she slaps him.
The 2nd is in the infamous shoot-out, which still awes me to this day. You don't see it coming, and it's so brutal and chilling as violence spews through the courtroom...and the shocker of 'Star's' true identity came completely out of the blue.
I loved how her story arc would continue through a few more episodes through the series, including the heartbreaking 'Secrets Exhumed" episode (And pretty much every case Elliot would end up getting hurt or shot being around her, like a jinx). A deep and emotional episode with a huge bunch of crazy twists.
One of my Top 10 Favorite "Criminal Intent" episodes. Goren does his thing!
Watching Vincent D'Onofrio do his thing as Detective Goren is what kept me glued to the series from start to finish, although Season 9 is the season that infuriated me so much that I stopped until they brought the character back for its 10th and final season. Of all the episodes, "Jones" is one of my personal favorites that is on the top 10 on my list, having it on my DVD shelf.
"Jones" has Griffin Dunne as a sleazy lawyer with some series issues: substance abuser, compulsive gambler, and serial womanizer who wouldn't hesitate bumping off his various women when they threaten to let his wife know what he's doing. It doesn't help that his wife is pretty much in a state of denial, popping pills to keep her in that state. Goren and Eames do their thing to let the truth come out.
My favorite scene is when Eames is used as bait during the interrogation scene with Talbot (Dunne).And then Goren breaks him down, talking about his "shortcomings," which really pushes Talbot over the edge. BRILLIANT! Goren did his thing, and it was a cool ride to be on. No matter how many times I've watched this episode, I just love re-winding over and over again when Talbot realized that his wife had been watching him putting the moves on Eames and that his game is up. LOVE IT!
The Dark Side of Martin Short
The "Law And Order" franchise has a long history of casting actors against type. Stephen Colbert, Neil Patrick Harris, and even Tom Arnold in "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" showed how great a dramatic range they were capable of. However, my all time favorite cast-against- type is truly Martin Short in this SVU episode.
As Sebastian Ballentine he has his usual comedic edge that audiences who are familiar with his early work in "SNL," "The Three Amigos," and his other roles. But the more you get to know Ballentine, the more you realize how truly horrifying Short's performance is.
When he tells Stabler about his "virgin" obsession, you can see the darkness in him. And it was the first time that I saw Martin Short become a truly dark character. He can't stop his compulsion and I wondered how much further he would have went. He can't stop it, and it's scary that it would have never ended if the SVU team hadn't stopped him.
Kudos to the cast as usual, especially Chris Meloni's Elliot, who takes a huge dislike to Ballentine. But it's Short that really showed the world that he can "do dark".
Surprisingly Scary and Funny
"Down", (A.K.A. The Shaft) was both funny and scary,and a delightful surprise. I caught this movie completely by accident on TV and it had me glued from the first few minutes. So glued that I ended up buying a copy less than a day later. It's THAT good. In a way it was a throwback to the 80's with cheesy dialog, characters, and implausible situations.
Good old New York City has a very nice building called The Millennium Building, one of the most impressive views of the city and killer elevators...LITERALLY. Seems that these elevators have more than your typical "exceeds maximum weight" problems. This elevator does some VERY NASTY THINGS. How nasty? Very very VERY NASTY THINGS.
Without revealing too much, my favorite scene had to do with Edward Herrmann, having just seen something so disturbing that he's crawling on his hands and knees. As he's doing this, a young lady is walking by, not tripping on this, says hi to him before SHE sees what he saw.
Or was it the skateboarder? Or the pregnant women? Or the bad acting, script and direction? It's just a hoot to watch! It's bad and good, like a big piece of chocolate mousse pie in front a person on a diet. You know you shouldn't bite into it, but you can't help it.
Naomi Watts (Before "The Ring" pulled her up a bit), Michael Ironside (And what is it with him and elevators? Remember him as Richter in "Total Recall?"), and even Ron Perlman (I would love to have a boss like him!)walk through this land of cheese and pretty much survive this experience.
This is a good film to watch on a Saturday night, with beer and pizza. Enjoy a big hunk of cheese.
District 9 (2009)
Sci-Fi as Social Commentary
"District 9" is more than a sci-fi film with aliens, good guys/bad guys, and lots and lots of guns and violence. It's a film that deals with the issue of race and illegal aliens and how they are treated.
In this case, the illegal aliens traveled a LONG way to get here.
As the film opens (which has a documentary/reality show feel to it), a spaceship is floating over South Africa (Johannesburg to be more specific)and has been in that position for over 20 years. The aliens that arrive are forced to live in inhumane (pardon the pun, but you get the point) conditions in an area called "District 9." No one particularly wants them there and they treat the aliens with contempt and horrific violence. Gangsters take over the area and use the aliens' love of cat food to make life even worse for them.
Into the picture arrives Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a geeky official that pretty much got the job because his Father-in-Law is head of the corporation known as Multi-National United (MNU). Wikus is in charge of relocating the aliens to District 10 (Another "settlement" area)and is doing his best to look macho and give a presence of strong authority (and is not doing a good job of it, from the looks of things). As he's trying to do his job, he gets a dose of some funky looking liquid. Once the liquid hits his skin, life as he knows it changes. He slowly starts to change into an alien and he soon goes on the run after MNU decides to use him to unlock the secrets of the alien weaponry (humans can't use it, only the aliens).
"District 9" is Sci-Fi as Social Commentary. A corporation that will do anything (including sacrificing their own)to dominate and control. Aliens forced to live in shantytowns (references to South Africa's history with apartheid)and subjected to intolerance. Wikus sees this through (literally) new eyes, and he changes. He becomes stronger for it, and it makes for an interesting ride toward the conclusion of the film.
I loved the film, and the film takes a misstep or 2 (the alien gun issue is my sticking point). It's worth a look.
"Up" took my breath away!
Pixar has had the magic touch ever since "Toy Story" was first released in 1995. Since then each film has made it's mark in cinematic history, each having a different feel and style, but leaving a lasting impression in a movie-viewer's heart and soul. "Up" is no exception. I laughed and cried (A LOT of crying, I'll admit)as I watched this incredibly heartwarming story.
Carl(Ed Asner)lives alone after his wife of many years has died. Forced to give up his home and move into a retirement community, he decides to run away...and take his house with him. His goal: To reach Paradise Falls in South America, where he and his late wife had always plan to go (And both their childhood dreams). With the help of a LOT of balloons, and the unwanted assistance of Russell, who is trying to get his badge, Carl gets to South America. He also discovers that Charles Muntz (Wickedly played by Christopher Plummer), a disgraced explorer from Carl's childhood is trying to capture a rare bird that will bring him fame and restore his damaged reputation. With the use of his talking dogs, Muntz will stop at nothing to reach his goal.
"Up," only the 2nd animated film to be honored with an Academy Award nomination ("Beauty and The Beast," another film that made me cry was the first)is a wonderful work of art. The animation style has changed since Pixar brought "Toy Story" to life. It's more realistic than the previous films that they have made. And as I said, it has a wonderful, magical story to it. Who hasn't wished that they can make a childhood wish come true once childhood has slipped away? It's great for all ages (Some parts make spook the little ones), and another Pixar classic. And I am not afraid to admit that I sat and cried all through the ending credits.
Star Trek (2009)
Roddenberry's Vision in Another Guy's Hands
A part of me resisted watching JJ Abrams's take on Gene Roddenberry's classic series. Being a fan since I was a kid, you get used to seeing William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Co. saving the universe. To me, seeing the series in someone else's hands seemed wrong.
After watching the movie, I was glad that I was wrong. In a way, it is a tribute to Roddenberry and the show. Many die-hard fans may stay away, but it should be given a chance.
I had to admit that the special effects, music and plot were fantastic, but it was Nimoy's role as Spock that put a lump in my throat, especially when he meets his younger self (Zachary Quinto, which give Spock a deep edge).
All I can say is to give this film a chance.
The Final Destination (2009)
Great 3D, Poor Story
"The Final Destination" film has 1 thing going for it, and that is the spectacular 3D effects in the film. I will admit that there was a few times when I reached out to grab objects that I know wasn't there, but you just can't help it.
The storyline about a group of friends and strangers escaping from a horrific racetrack accident, only to be picked off 1 by 1 by Death is pretty weak. Some of the deaths were pretty weak compared to the other Final Destination entries (The death of the racist), but others were graphic (The vision of the race track accident with the 3D effects had me jumping a lot).
The opening credits which recreated deaths from the 3 other films was pretty good, and the slight twist at the ending was interesting, but otherwise the film itself was the weakest of the entries. If this is indeed the very last of the series, it's a good thing they pulled the plug the way they did.
Casino Royale (1967)
That Interesting British Wit
I grew up watching "Casino Royale," and have grown to love the lunacy that this film shows. Seems that there's a REAL James Bond (David Niven), who is a leisurely gentleman enjoying his retirement. But representatives from international spy agencies wants him out of retirement when spies are being killed around the world. At this point, things get incredibly silly. Soon there are multiple Bonds, including baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers), who plays a mean game against Le Chiffre (Magic obsessed Orson Wells).
The film is a frenzied mix. It seems to be multiple stories in the film, with David Niven being the common link. The film has 5 directors and multiple writers on the script (or scripts). Plot lines seem to not exist at some points. There are the Bond Beauties, including Ursula Andress. Her scenes with Peter Sellers (Especially "The Look of Love" scene)are wonderful.
The humor is dated, and some references may go over people's heads, but it's still a wonderful bit of insanity.
Henry VIII (2003)
Henry VIII Partied Like A Rock Star!
"Henry VIII" is a Cliff Notes version of the story of Henry VIII, King of England. They managed to squeeze a lot of history into a 4 hour miniseries that aired on "Masterpiece Theater," and casts Ray Winstone (Nil By Mouth, The Departed, Sexy Beast, etc)as the monarch. He is a passionate, violent, nasty person when you look on the surface: He dumps his wife Katherine of Aragon (Assumpta Serna)just so he could hook up with Anne Boleyn (Helena Bonham Carter) and have a son with her (He's INCREDIBLY obsessed with having a boy to rule England after he dies). Doing this caused a break with Rome, but this is only the beginning. As he marries over and over again, we watch Henry's moral decay and decadence, the destruction that he causes along the way (The dissolution of the monasteries, the burning of so-called heretics), and his advisers who use the king to claim more power and money (And often with fatal results). Things get incredibly bloody (Like Anne Boleyn's execution), and hearts are broken.
This gives the first time viewer who are just getting into the story of Henry VIII, but don't expect to see accuracy in this adaptation. And although the casting is superb (Winstone and Carter spark up the screen beautifully), you get a bit disappointed when they skip over other people (Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr don't get much time compared to the other 4 wives). However, as I said, the performances are incredible. When Katherine of Aragon defies the king by refusing to give into his demands of divorce, it breaks you into goosebumps.
You may do better watching "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" with the magnificent Keith Mitchell for a better look inside the Tudor court. Otherwise, as mind junk-food goes, this can satisfy the hunger.
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
The Reason Why Hammer Was King of British Cinema
Quatermass and the Pit (AKA 5 Million Years To Earth)shows the viewer why Hammer was (And in my mind, IS)the King of British Cinema.
While doing construction in the London Underground in Hobbs End, some skeletal remains are found that are clearly not human. They also find a strange metal object. Dr. Mathew Roney (James Donald),assistant Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley) and Professor Quatermass (Andrew Kier)are on the scene to investigate the find. They soon discover that the remains are not of this earth. The military, lead by Col. Breen (Julian Glover)are unimpressed by the findings and are unwilling to listen to the scientists' pleas. To make matters worse, the object has strange powers that causes weird things to happen, and shows the fate of the creatures from another planet: a fate which will soon repeat with the London inhabitants.
To this day, the last part of the picture in which we see what happens when the ship comes alive and reveals itself to be the devil incarnate, STILL creeps me out. Recently watching it at 2 in the morning caused me unable to sleep. I mean, how would YOU react to seeing the ghostly image of the devil floating around YOUR town? It's too bad that it's not available on DVD (Unless you're REALLY willing to spend almost $200 for it). It's dated (The 60's after all, before CGI), but it still has the power to creep and freak you out. And that's the power of Hammer: the ability to still chill years later.
If you can catch it on TV, make a copy. Worth checking out.
Hostel: Part II (2007)
It Could Have Been Better
I had expected better than this from Eli Roth, director of "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel".
"Hostel 2" has a little more gore in this film than the first one, but that's pretty much all that's going for it. In this film, 3 girls (Lauren German, Bijou Phillips and Heather Matarazzo) are the girls in Europe. What they don't know is that they are the "entertainment" for this company called "Elite Hunting," in which wealthy men and women torture, maim and kill the unwitting victims. Two of the visitors (Richard Burghi and Roger Bart)are ready to have some fun with our trio, and it looks like it's going to be pretty nasty.
The film is rather heavy on the gore compared to the first one, but some of the storyline seems to fall flat and it drags the film down. The gore seems like an attempt to cover up a slightly weak plot (The art of distraction? GORE!). The violence is pretty nasty (One poor victim is used to give a club member a "shower"). I had a problem with the ending, which of course sets up for a possible sequel, but just felt stupid.
Watch it at your own risk.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Too Many Villains Syndrome
Well, it finally happened.
Spiderman 3 fell to what's commonly known as "too many villains syndrome."
Don't believe me? Check out any of the Batman movies, especially Batman and Robin. There's too many villains, and the plot suffers because they try to accommodate the villains.
In this case, Peter Parker, aka Spiderman (Tobey McGuire)has to deal with 3: The Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church), Harry Osborn, aka Green Goblin (James Franco)and Eddie Brock, aka Venom (Topher Grace). He also has to deal with the jealousy of Mary Jane (Kristen Dunst), who is going through a hard time. Most of all, Peter has to deal with his fame and the liquid creature that turns him into a dark figure and also a bit of a jerk to boot.
The film has some disturbing scenes, such as Peter walking down the street, trying to look sexy and suave.
Some of the plot points make no sense whatsoever, and it's a shame that Sam Raimi would let this hit the screen. It's heavy on great special fx, but incredibly light on a credible story. And what was the point of Bryce Dallas Howard being in the film other than eye candy? Again, it reminded me of Elle McPherson and Vivica A. Fox in "Batman And Robin," a pointless role with no real meaning.
It's the most disappointing entry in the Spiderman series.
Nasty, Dirty, Creepy Fun by Rodriguez and Tarantino
Growing up in the era of the grind-houses, I was waiting with baited breath for the collaboration of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's tribute to the era. In "Grindhouse," we are given 2 movies, plus "trailers," which are directed by such filmmakers as Rob Zombie ("Werewolf Women of the S.S."), and Eli Roth ("Thanksgiving."), which are so interesting you wish that they were actual films (And I would REALLY love to see "Thanksgiving!").
Of the 2 collaborations (Tarentino's "Death Proof" and Rodriguez's "Planet Terror"), it's Rodriguez who brings the best to the dinner table. In "Terror," A town becomes a battleground when a chemical causes a zombie outbreak. You got some rough and tough women, including Rose McGowan (As Cherry), who battles the zombies with the use of a machine gun leg. There's a hell of a lot of gore in this segment, so you may want to watch this on an empty stomach (Especially the segment which includes a cameo by Tarentino).
Tarantino's "Death Proof" has Kurt Russell as a former stuntman who REALLY loves his wheels, and is not above bumping off a few women to prove that his wheels are death proof. It takes a while to get to the action because of a bit too much dialog, which makes this segment drag.
Don't be confused by scratches and missing scenes, because it's what gives the film its charm.
The film didn't do so well when first released, some saying that it should have been broken into 2 segments. I disagree on this, because it defeats the purpose of the grind-house experience. Watch the WHOLE film and enjoy the ride.
Incredibly Visual Masterpiece
By the end of his life, Akira Kurasawa was losing his sight. However, like Beethoven when he was going deaf created beautiful music, Kurasawa created beautiful cinematic imagery.
Such is the case with "Ran," Kurasawa's version of King Lear with a samurai spin. The use of colors is absolutely magnificent.
Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai)wants to spend his remaining days in peace and comfort and gives his three sons his kingdom, hoping to be welcomed as a guest. Even though his 2 older sons tell him everything he wants to hear, his youngest displeases him by telling him that he's making a mistake, that his 2 brothers would say anything to get what they want from him. Angry and hurt, he banishes his younger son and gives his kingdom to the 2 remaining sons.
And this is where things go to hell.
Lord Hidetora realizes that everything that his youngest son told him was true: His older sons not only treat him with an appalling lack of respect, but they conspire to take everything from him. This drives Hidetora to madness and sets off a chain of events in which Hidetora's past and present collide, leading to war between those involved.
The scene in which Hidetora, slipping into madness as his kingdom is taken from him, flames surrounding him, is incredibly haunting.
The battle scenes are so incredible, that you can't take your eyes from the screen, even to blink.
For those who haven't seen any of Kurasawa's films, or haven't gotten into Shakespeare, then this is the film to start with. Even after over 20 years, the film has not lost any of its impact. Highly recommended.
Grandma's Boy (2006)
Funnier Than I Thought It Would Be
To be honest, I thought that "Grandma's Boy" would not be so funny. A good friend suggested that I watch this film, so I sat and watched it. I hate to admit this, but this was an incredibly funny film.
Alex (Allen Covert)is a video game tester who loses his apartment. Not being able to stay with his friends Dante(Peter Dante)or Jeff (Nick Swardson), he accept an invitation to stay with his Grandma Lily (Doris Roberts)and her 2 roommates Bea (Shirley Knight)and Grace (Shirley Jones). It's not an easy living arraignment, and it doesn't help matters when he is supposed to finish up a project for the Neo-wannabe J.P. (Joel David Moore). With the help of Samantha (Linda Cardellini), who is brought in to oversee the project, Alex's life starts to get very interesting.
I laughed incredibly hard while watching the movie. There's scenes involving pot drinking grannies, a monkey that gets high, does karate and drives (don't ask), and one character has an intimate encounter with a doll. The real funny part involved Shirley Jones. What she does in this movie is 360 degrees from Ms. Partridge from The Partridge Family.
To be honest, older people will consider this movie garbage, or won't understand the humor or the video game concept. However, this film had me laughing a lot. It's worth a looks.
Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
Burton and Bujold Are Like Fire and Ice
I have been a fan of "Anne of The Thousand Days" for an incredibly long time. Yes, this film is not faithful to the true story of Henry VIII (Richard Burton) and Anne Boleyn (Geneviève Bujold), but their story was one that changed England forever.
We watch as Henry VIII becomes so obsessed with Anne (who refuses to be another notch in Henry's belt of conquests)that he not only destroys his marriage to Katherine of Aragon (Irene Papas), but breaks with the Pope (Who refuses to grant the divorce)and creates a new church (The Church of England) so he can get rid of Katherine and marry Anne. Henry also wants a son, and being that Katherine hasn't given him one (Only a daughter), he sees Anne as a choice candidate. But when Anne is unable to give him a son (Her only child being Elizabeth, future Queen), her fate is sealed.
The costumes are really beautiful, and the scenery is just as captivating, but it's Burton and Bujold who really give the film its heart and soul. Bujold's performance is incredibly heartbreaking and strong. She's not afraid to speak her mind and not afraid to show her emotions. What's more, she's not afraid to tell the King what she thinks of him ("You make love as you eat, with a great deal of noise and no subtlety!" Ouch!). The supporting performances are just as captivating, with John Colicos (As Cromwell), Anthony Quayle (As Wolsey)and Papas.
The Odyssey (1997)
Excellent Television Miniseries
"The Odyssey" is an excellent adaptation of Homer's classic epic in which show the journey of Odysseus, who is trying to get home after the battle of Troy.
Odysseus (Armand Assante)has fought the Trojan war for many years, and after the Gods helped him (Courtesy of The Trojan Horse), he decides not to give thanks.
If we've learned anything from Greek mythology, it's that you can't anger the gods. So as punishment, they make it practically impossible for Odysseus to get home, sending him and his faithful crew on journeys, meeting cyclops and sirens and even going on a journey through Hades. Meanwhile, his ever-faithful wife Penelope (Greta Scacchi) waits for his return while dealing with rather pushy suitors, including Eurymachus (Eric Roberts), who want Penelope and Odysseus's throne.
For those who don't want to read the book, this is a pretty faithful (using that word a lot in this review, aren't I?)adaptation. Visually stunning (especially Hades), and great locations. I especially love the Island that Calypso (Vanessa Williams)and her subjects live (And where Odysseus is held prisoner). The performances are great and you feel Odysseus's despair as he tries desperately to get home.
A must have in your collection.
The Curse of Dracula (1979)
Nouri's Interesting Spin on Dracula
NBC aired a series called "Cliffhangers" in 1979, consisting of three stories: "Stop Susan Williams," "The Secret Empire," and "The Curse of Dracula." Of the 3, only "The Curse of Dracula" completed its story (Although when the series first aired, It was already on Chapter VI (But then, none of the three started on its first chapter).
When the series begins we meet Kurt Von Helsing (Stephen Johnson)and Mary Gibbons (Carol Baxter)going after Dracula's coffins. Dracula (Michael Nouri)almost gets them, but they escape. Mary's vendetta against Dracula is personal:it seems that Dracula was responsible for the death of Mary's mother, Amanda (Louise Sorel). However, Mary soon falls under his spell when Dracula falls for her and gives her one of his special hickeys. This doesn't sit well with Antoinette (Antoinette Stella), a wannabe vampire who is obsessed with becoming Dracula's main squeeze. With the reappearance of Amanda (Who has become a vampire), Mary has to fight her feelings for Dracula and stop him once and for all.
Although a tad dated, The Curse of Dracula was an interesting piece of television. You can understand Dracula's point: who hasn't had the desire to live forever, but knowing that eternity would be incredibly lonely? Dracula's feelings for Mary are genuine (Although you can't help but wonder how many times he's used this line in the 500 plus years of his existence) and you can't blame Mary for wanting to be with him (Kurt was a dull as a plastic knife). In the end, we know that good triumphs over evil and that Dracula will have to go (Although we know that he ALWAYS comes back).
Nouri's interpretation of Dracula is interesting. In the scene when he and Mary are stargazing and he expresses his love for her, you can't help but feel his loneliness. No wonder, when offered the choice to join him, that Mary took his hand and threw caution to the (literal)wind.
If you can get a copy of it (And there's some floating out there), it's worth a look.
Special Bulletin (1983)
Relevant Now As It Is Then
"Special Bullentin" may have been made over 20 years ago, but its message has not changed in all these years. Directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Legends of The Fall), the film (which, despite the dramatization notices through the movie, terrified citizens of South Carolina)is told through RBS, a news station in Chareston, South Carolina. A group of terrorists (Lead by David Clennon) have the city under siege, and have a reporter and a cameraman as hostages at the city docks. The weapon? A nuclear device set to detonate. Their demands? They want ALL of the nuclear detonators in the area destroyed.
Looking at it today, it's more relevant today because it shows how the media acts during times of crisis, making it into a circus;the government's inability to help those in need (Think about FEMA during Hurricane Katrina), and how terrorists (no matter where they're from)do extreme things to get their points across.
Incredible, thought-provoking film. Look for Michael Madsen and John (America's Most Wanted)Walsh in small parts.
When Karma Can Be A Killer
Dr. Robert Romano.He was the doctor that you wanted to hate. He was a sexist, racist, egotistical pig that RARELY showed his humanity. In the previous season, Romano was the victim of a horrific accident (The episode was called "Chaos Theory")when a helicopter blade sliced off his arm. Despite being re-attached, his arm soon becomes useless and has to be removed, ending his surgical career and forcing him to become the new ER Chief (And making Kerry Weaver Chief of Staff).
In this episode, "Freefall", we see what happens when karma can be a killer. Romano has been making everyone's life a living hell, and this particular day (Thanksgiving)is no exception. He threatens everyone and overrules Dr. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer)on a patient's care. It is this incident that starts a chain of events that leads to Dr. Romano's demise.
Rather than rehash what happens to Romano (No words can make this adequate. You just have to see it for yourself), all I can say is that this is one of the most unexpected episodes of this series. The special effects are incredible and the story is pretty good. And it is interesting that this happens on Thanksgiving (Giving thanks that Romano is gone? Possibly).
To this day, I still can't believe the fate that fell (literally)on Dr. Romano. But as they say, "karma is a killer."
Porklips Now (1980)
Oh, Shut Up!
"Porklips Now," the spoof of the classic Coppola film "Apocalypse Now" deserves a look. Dullard (William Gray from "Father Knows Best" fame") is sent on an errand to take care of madman Fred Mertz (Ernie Fosselius, who also put this together)to take care of him (Although the guys that sent him on the errand are hesitant to say what needs to be done with him). Seems that Mertz is selling his meat at incredibly low prices, and the local merchants aren't happy that this is causing their businesses to suffer. Taking a trip to Chinatown, Dullard journeys to meet Mertz. And even when he does meet Mertz, he soon becomes bored: Mertz rambles on and on, eventually causing Dullard to scream "Oh, shut up!" If you liked Fosselius's first endeavor "Hardware Wars," then you would really appreciate this spoof.
She's Having a Baby (1988)
Underrated Hughes Film Which Needs Another Chance
The title says it all: "She's Having a Baby." But there's more to the story than the title says.
As the film opens, we meet Jake Briggs (Kevin Bacon, who also narrates)on the verge of marrying Kristen (Elizabeth McGovern),with his best man/friend Davis (Alec Baldwin)at his side. Jake and Kristen are childhood sweethearts, but Jake is a bit frightened and confused as to the steps he's about to take. He knows that once he steps into the house of marriage, he has to grow up.
Once married, Jake (Who wants to be a writer)takes a job that he feels will crush him and has to deal with the constant butting in of his father-in-law Russ (William Windom). Kristen is being as supportive as she can (And just a tad bit whiny), but Jake is becoming more and more frightened of his role as husband. His friend Davis raises doubts about being married, his mind fantasizes about events in his life (Like the neighborhood doing a musical number with lawnmowers)and about a mystery girl that he met in his dreams, who actually does exist.
Things then start to turn when his wife tells him that she stopped taking the pill some time ago (Causing him to fantasize about being creamed into a wall at full speed). But it's at the moment when she tells him that she's pregnant that he really grows up. As he sits in the waiting room in tears (there are complications during delivery),reflecting on the good times between them (And Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" playing in the background), we finally see Jake become an adult:wanting his wife and child to be o.k. and seeing the emotions within him.
A box office failure when it was first released, "She's Having A Baby" should be given another chance. Bacon and McGovern's performances work well together. Even Alec Baldwin (In his incredibly sexy days)does a good job as the incredibly selfish friend who tells Jake to go have fun while making passes at his wife.
Give it a look.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Manos: The Hands of Crap
I thought that I had seen horrible films in my life, but when I finally sat down to watch "Manos:The Hands of Fate," I just couldn't believe what I was watching.
A wife, husband and child are on a road trip and end up staying with a strange looking dude named Torgos (John Reynolds), who is watching the house "while the master is away." Who is The Master? Some incredibly strange looking guy in a red/black robe trying to look menacing and got a lot of women hanging around him and fighting each other.
Nothing is explained, and a lot of stupid choices are made in this film (The wife keeps telling her husband that they should leave, but the man insists on staying despite the obviously strange behavior of Torgos). The biggest stupid choice being to make this film at all.
If you have to see it, you should catch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of it, just so you can laugh your butt off and marvel at the stupidity of this film.