Guilty Pleasures

These are movies I have seen, and I’m not ashamed to admit I liked, despite its negative or mixed reviews.

Central Intelligence


It’s a blessing to know that “The Brothers Grimsby,” a would-be secret agent comedy from last March, was a box office bomb. It deserved to be one, because of how short, sloppy, and disgusting its sense of humor was. A couple of months later, I reviewed “Central Intelligence,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, and I found it to be as funny as expected. Not a classic, but a good one.

The movie opens with Robert Weirdicht (Johnson), an overweight high school senior, thrown naked by a group of bullies (one of them later played by Jason Bateman) during a high school assembly. He’s laughed at by everyone. Well, almost everyone, because even the coolest kid in high school, Calvin Joyner (Hart), gives him his jacket to numb his embarrassing situation. I thought it was kind of touching for a high school legend to do a thing like that.

20 years later, Calvin is now a lame accountant, married to Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), who thinks their marriage may be falling apart. Then, Bob Stone (formally known as Robert Weirdicht) finds Calvin on Facebook, and they spend the night together. Only, he’s now buff and strong. The next morning, Calvin learns Bob is a wanted CIA agent, whom Agent Harris (Amy Ryan) believes killed his partner (Aaron Paul), and has codes for a terrorist. Bob is the good guy, and forces Calvin to join him to solve the puzzle, even if Calvin demands to get out of this.

“Central Intelligence,” directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (“Dodgeball,” “We’re the Millers”), starts off and ends up sort of quiet, but manages to pack in the laughs and action, barely degrading those elements in the process. The scene that made me laugh the most is when Bob disguises himself as a marriage counselor for Calvin and Maggie, and he makes Calvin slap him in the face. Not just that, but Bob can thrive through almost any situation, and that’s what makes the character brilliant.

Johnson and Hart are perfect together in the connection of a hero and a coward, with neither of them bullying one another. While laughs are found, you’ll also find some heart in their characters. Most movies these days rely only on Johnson’s manliness and Hart’s schtick; but “Central Intelligence” combines those talents with a sort of pacing and vulnerability.


Let’s Be Cops


Last week, I reviewed “Into the Storm,” in which it assumes the more tornadoes, the more “Twister” fans it will grab. And last month, I reviewed “Tammy” and “Sex Tape,” both would-be comedies. Lots of people (maybe not sold-out crowds) have been seeing them, leaving me aggravated. Then, one day, out of the blue, a miracle showed up. “Let’s Be Cops” may sound like a bad idea for a movie, but for my two cents, it is obviously a much better choice than any of those three films combined.

Ryan (Jake Johnson), the washed-out quarterback, and Justin (Damon Wayans, Jr.), the loser video game designer, are two Ohio guys, who move to LA to try to make it big, but they end up down in the dumps. One night, they decide to dress up as cops for a costume party, which turns out to be a masquerade party. It isn’t a total loss, since the costumes they are wearing are so real, that they end up convincing everyone they are the law. They seize the power to get what they want, and not only does Justin hook up with a local waitress and wannabe make-up artist (Nina Dobrev), but Ryan buys a police car from eBay. Crazy, right?

The bad guys in the movie are definitely real. One is a gang leader (James D’Arcy), whose men have private conversations with shopkeepers, and other is his boss (Andy Garcia), who eventually finds out about our fake heroes’ game. Ryan and Justin have no choice but to take some action.

“Let’s Be Cops” is no recent comic masterpiece like “The Hangover,” “Horrible Bosses” or “21 Jump Street,” but on a positive note, I enjoyed it a lot to recommend it for its intended audience. Johnson and Wayans, Jr. both have a chemistry that kept me involved on screen, and they both make a great comic duo. There are only a few elements that didn’t work for me. Rob Riggle plays a real cop, who is an unfunny version of his other cop character from “The Hangover.” He is a talented actor, but in this movie, I found no comic gold in him. The laughs are hit & miss (and I did laugh), but they are more sharply written than “Tammy” or “Sex Tape” (sorry to be bringing up those movies, but I have evidence). “Let’s Be Cops” is intended for a younger audience, but like “300: Rise of an Empire, it is exceedingly inoffensive towards that crowd.


The Accountant


Why would I review “The Accountant?” Is it because I, too, am Autistic, and my father is an accountant? Maybe, maybe not, but the real answer is: I’m the critic. It’s my job to review this movie. Plus, I find these money laundering movies to be quite entertaining, and “The Accountant” is no exception.

As the film begins, a Treasury analyst named Marybeth (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is in hot water, after her boss Ray King (JK Simmons) finds out she has been lying on her form. She was in juvie for assault and battery, and lying could lead up to prison charges. King, however, decides to wave the charges, if she agrees to help him solve a puzzle. A puzzle, regarding to an accountant, who has been involved with numerous deals with criminal organizations.

Let’s get to the Autistic part, shall we? The accountant they’re scooping on is Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), who has trouble socializing, one plate, one fork, one spoon, one knife, a trailer with guns and money, and to top it off, he is great with numbers. His father (Robert C. Treveiler) was in the army, and he took him and his brother along to train them how to fight the ones who judge them. In other words, give the bullies a good ass kicking. You’ll find out about the guns soon enough, but not from me. You’ll just have to watch the movie.

The movie’s cast also features Jeffrey Tambor as a convicted accountant, who gives Wolff tips on the numbering world. Also, John Lithgow plays a genius behind a robotics company, who hires Wolff to handle his company’s numbers, and then fires him prematurely, after a problem. Anna Kendrick is his junior accountant, who becomes fascinated with Wolff’s skills and personality, but then is placed in danger by a man. And that man is played by Jon Bernthal, who wants to find Wolff. Some of them get the short end of the stick, but you are glued by their performances.

“The Accountant,” directed by Gavin O’Connor, is an entertaining example of how, in certain aspects, Autism can take different directions. I didn’t mean to stress out the parents of their special children, but I’m just saying how some people can place themselves in either good or bad situations, and our hero is playing a dangerous game. Affleck keeps you going as the accountant, in the ways he reflects on his childhood and the criminals he becomes involved with.

I said my father is an accountant, not I, so I didn’t get all the numbers down in my head. The meanings of company’s accounts, and the criminal organizations. I did eat up, however, the surprises the movie engages us in. I won’t spoil anything for you, but you may or may not be astonished, depending on your I.Q.


Natural Born Killers

natural born killers pic

“Natural Born Killers,” written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone, is a film that uses countless forms of camera angles, lighting, and special effects. For example: vintage film reels, black and white shots, television programming, and commercials-all rolled into one cinematic piece. This is one of the most controversial films in recorded history, and an entertaining film for that matter.
Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) are world famous killers and lovers, who both come from sexually abusive lives. By “world famous,” I mean they are loved by fans around the globe. They don’t hesitate to kill anyone, but the only thing they fear more than the law, is their dark pasts. They both get thrown in the nuthouse, but Australian journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.) gives Mickey a television interview. This is where things get bloody.
“Natural Born Killers” is the kind of hallucination you never want to end. Unlike such films as “Spring Breakers” or “Requiem for a Dream,” this film kept me involved. It’s a violent world we live in, and Oliver Stone does a fabulous job representing that, as well as the media.

Harrelson and Lewis both explode like grenades in ways you cannot imagine. Rodney Dangerfield gives one of his best performances of his career as Mallory’s abusive father, whom they both kill. Downey Jr. plays his character with the charisma he always has. Tom Sizemore as Det. Jack Scagnetti is sharp as a knife and Tommy Lee Jones as Warden Dwight McClusky is viciously terrific. Combing all the shots and archival footage together, and you are looking at an instant classic.


The Fifth Element


I’ve seen Luc Besson’s 1997 Sci-Fi movie “The Fifth Element” a few years ago, and it came back to select theaters for its 20th Anniversary. So, I decided to see it again, and as dysfunctional as it gets at times, it’s actually quite fun.

The movie takes place 300 years in the future, when an evil force threatens to destroy the human race, unless five elements can stop it. The fifth element has to be in the center of four elements in order for Mankind of prevail. Scientists have only found the hand of the fifth element, and they transform it in the form of Mila Jovovich.

She escapes from the lab, and ends up in the hands of a former special forces major now-turned New York taxi driver named Korban Dallas (Bruce Willis), who takes fancy of her. He brings her to a Priest (Ian Holm), who knows about the ancient prophecy, and must protect her.

There are a few villains who want to retrieve the missing four elements. One is a mad industrialist named Zorg (Gary Oldman with a goofy southern accent), and the other is an alien race called “Mangalores.” They didn’t give me the kind of persona I needed, but Oldman has some nice dialogue, and the aliens are good looking.

“The Fifth Element” is a very funny, visually stunning, and entertaining space opera that keeps you going, no matter how silly it gets. Willis is fun, Jovovich is sexy, and Chris Tucker is hilarious as a talk show host with a bizarre hairdo. The alien make-up is breathtaking-the kind of stuff you used to see before CGI went wall-to-wall. I couldn’t get with the full story and villains, but I did eat up the pure fantasy Luc Besson has offered.


Demolition Man


A person asked if I saw”Demolition Man,” the 1993 Sci-Fi action thriller, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, and I told him I didn’t. So, I decided to check it out, and it is a much better Stallone/Snipes movie than “The Expendables III” was.

Stallone plays LAPD Sgt John Spartan and Snipes plays criminal Simon Phoenix, both of whom have been sentenced to be frozen and awaken in the future. The future is pretty bland as guns and weapons have been placed in museums, smoking and drinking is prohibited, Taco Bell is the only surviving food chain, and you get fined for cursing, like a swear jar (BTW: the film is rated R). Spartan is annoyed by that, and it is funny to see how he reacts to it.

When Phoenix gets unfrozen, he is given supernatural abilities to fight his way to a gun museum. It is too easy, since the police aren’t violent. And also, he was given the powers, so he can assassinate the leader of a resistance group (Denis Leary). Phoenix makes a goofy villain in the way he says: “Say Hello to My Little Friend,” and the way he pokes fun at Spartan while battling him.

Sandra Bullock plays a futuristic cop, who helps Spartan track down Phoenix, and introduces him to virtual sex Sexual intercourse, including kissing, is also outlawed, so kids are made in a lab. She is also new to Spartan’s way of dialogue. When she tells her boss (Bob Gunton) to “shovel it,”  Spartan says: “Close enough.”

“Demolition Man” does annoy me with some of its future rules, but it is still a funny and visually impressive action movie. I enjoyed the action sequences and performances from Stallone, Snipes, and Bullock. As bland as the future sounds in this movie, it is quite interesting, and I still can’t get over the fact that you can get fined for cursing like sailor.


Dumb and Dumber

Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels In 'Dumb & Dumber'

It has been a while since I have watched the very original “Dumb and Dumber,” starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels; and directed by the Farrelly Brothers. But with “Dumb and Dumber To” approaching soon, it was an even better experience than I previous had. In fact, it’s one of the funniest movies ever made.

Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels) are so idiotic that they both want to open up a pet store called “I Got Worms,” but they both lose their jobs, because of their stupidity. Boy, am I being insulting?

Anyway, they end up going on a road trip from Providence, RI, to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase to a woman named Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly). They are unaware that the briefcase is filled with ransom money. The villains are played by Mike Starr, Karren Duffy, and the late Charles Rocket.

“Dumb and Dumber” is very dumb, and yet, it’s very smart and funny. Carrey has a bowl haircut, which I accidentally gave myself once, so no, I wasn’t promoting its upcoming sequel. He plays Lloyd with the kind of flexibility and energy he always gives. Daniels is just right as Harry, and I can’t even tell which of these two is dumber. Urinating in beer bottles, feeding hotdogs to prized show dogs, and practically everything they do is brilliantly idiotic. The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby) have both expressed these kind of characters with the right elements.


The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

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With “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” coming to theaters this Friday, you should know about a movie that may have flopped but is a lot of fun for parents and kids alike. It is called “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and it based on the popular Jay Ward cartoons about a moose and squirrel, who always manage to thwart the plans of the Pottsylvania spies, Boris and Natasha, and their Fearless Leader. It starts off well-drawn, and then it enters a live action world, where the animals are CGI characters and the villains are live action.
Following their cancellation, Rocky and Bullwinkle have been facing hard times. At the same time, Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader make their way into the live action world. Jason Alexander and Rene Russo play Boris and Natasha, and Robert De Niro (also the producer) plays Fearless Leader, who plans to hypnotize the United States, during the Presidential election. Piper Perabo plays the FBI agent, who has to bring Rocky and Bullwinkle into her world. Of course, like the cartoons, Boris and Natasha are up to no good.

One of the unique things about this movie is the cavalcade of cameos from Billy Crystal, Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, John Goodman, Jonathan Winters, Whoppi Goldberg, Janeane Garofalo, and Carl Reiner. Another is how the live action world is still a cartoon. The jokes are funny, because they allow you to relate to them. Alexander, Russo, and De Niro are all excellent as the villains, and Perabo is charming as the spy. I know he is meant to be in the cartoons, but I thought the narrator was annoying. Apart from that, I recommend “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” which doesn’t go too far with its slapstick humor.


Beavis and Butthead Do America


The first time I ever became familiar with the premise of Mike Judge’s “Beavis & Butthead” was their 1996 comedy hit “Beavis and Butthead Do America.” I found it to be a comedy so brilliant, that I decided to watch their classic MTV cartoons.

Beavis & Butthead (both voiced by Judge) both wake up to find that their television has been stolen. While searching for it, they stumble upon a motel, where a smuggler named Muddy (voiced by Bruce Willis) offers them $10,000 to do his wife Dallas (voiced by Demi Moore). Thinking they are finally going to score, they head over to Las Vegas, only to find out that Dallas is sending them to Washington D.C.

What they are too stupid (way, way, way, too stupid) to know is that she has put a deadly weapon in Beavis’ pants. This forces the ATF (lead by Robert Stack) to take extreme, extreme precautions to find these two bungholes.

“Beavis & Butthead Do America” kept me entertained from start to finish. I think that Mike Judge is one of the most influential animators of all time. He gives these two boys a certain depth, which makes them think they are smarter than the world. It is obvious that they are not. And you also get some nice voice work from Willis, Moore, Stack, and Greg Kinnear. This is my favorite MTV comedy, so even if you have never seen their classic shorts, you still will be surprised at how they view life.


Jason Bourne


I don’t see what half the critics are complaining about. “Jason Bourne” is fresh summer entertainment-the kind of sequel that works like a charm, unlike “Now You See Me 2” or “Independence Day: Resurgence.” It has its charming characters, the hero Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), two fresh villains (Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel), and a CIA agent who eventually helps Bourne (Alicia Vikander).

The story is also easy to follow. Bourne has been on the run-hiding out in Athens Greece-until his former contact Nicky (Julia Stiles) gives him the secrets about his late father and how corrupt the CIA is. They have been involved in a number of Black Ops missions, and Director Robert Dewey (Jones) is willing to keep those secrets from getting exposed. Then his assassin (Cassel) kills Nicky, and continues to hunt for Bourne, because “it’s personal.”

Bourne is looking for answers about his true identity (David Webb), and CIA Agent Heather Lee (Vikander) decides to help him. He has to digs for answers in Berlin, London, and finally in Vegas.

The best action sequence, in my defense, is when the assassin drives a SWAT car through Vegas Strip, crashing into multiple cars, and forcing Bourne to chase him. That scene sets up the pure energy, making the movie a non-stop lark.

There are some elements I didn’t get, including the founder of a social media company (Riz Ahmed). The CIA Director wants him to cooperate, but all I saw was subpoenas, screaming fans, and assassinations aimed against him. That’s sort of the weak spot of the movie.

The rest of “Jason Bourne,” however, has everything a movie-goer needs-action, narrative, and acting. Damon, Jones, Vikander, and Cassel are the stars of the movie, because of the characters they craft, and the action scenes they engage in. Directed by Paul Greengrass, this sequel is a major improvement on the last Bourne film, “The Bourne Legacy,” the one without Damon.


Bad Moms


Before I’ve gotten the reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, I was worried “Bad Moms” was going to be an irritable disaster. Then I went to the Thursday night show at 10pm, and found it to be absolutely delightful in an R-rated sort of way.

It’s painkillers from all the torture I’ve endured with these otherwise wonderful actresses. Mila Kunis was stressed out in “Third Person” and flying around Chicago in “Jupiter Ascending”; Kirsten Bell was a real pain in the ass in “The Boss”; Annie Mumolo was cruel in “The Boss”; and Christina Applegate threw up and swam in raw sewage in “Vacation.” Unlike those horrendous pieces of crap, “Bad Moms” is funny, energetic, and surprisingly heartfelt.

The main mom of the movie is Amy (Kunis), who drives her kids (Emjay Anthony and Oona Laurence) to school, learns her dog has vertigo, is always late for her meetings, works for a younger boss (Clark Duke), and is appalled to find her husband (David Walton) relying on internet sex for fascination. Just when she thinks her life couldn’t be any worse, the president of the PTA (Applegate) makes a list of all the excluded ingredients for the bake sale (eggs, milk, MSG, etc.), and that’s when Amy finally snaps. She’s done being the perfect mom.

​Fascinated by her words are Kiki (Bell), a stay-at-home mom, and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), a lazy mom. They all decide to become bad moms, even if the PTA president and her cohorts (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumulo) decide to fight back. Now according to the trailers, you think that premise will leave the movie with a “Frozen Heart,” but if you keep going down the rabbit hole, you’ll find the story is more heartwarming then you think.

​I wish “Bad Moms” could have given a more focused exploration on Bell and Hahn’s characters, but still the movie allows them and Kunis to be themselves. They’re women who are smart, charming, and energetic. Never once do they degrade themselves. The movie was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the two behind “The Hangover,” both of whom have broken form. If you’ve hated the movies from the first paragraph of this review, then “Bad Moms” is the answer to your problems.


X-Men: Apocalypse


What was supposed to be a midnight screening of “X-Men Apocalypse,” ended up being at 2:30 AM. But nonetheless, I found the movie to be visually stunning and fun with a fresh villain, interesting subplots, and a reason why Professor Charles Xavier is bald.

Oscar Isaac is quite the charmer as En Sabah Nur, or better known as Apocalypse, who was the very first mutant, conjured up in Ancient Egypt, and woken up in 1983. He vows to find a group of mutants to join forces him in his destruction of mankind. Hence the name: Apocalypse. His pack consists of the young Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), and most of all, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), whom he manipulates using his haunting past in Auschwitz. Apocalypse wants Charlies Xavier (James McAvoy), so he can tell the world of their impending doom.

The movie also brings some new students, or younger versions of today’s mutants to be exact. Before James Marsden, Tye Sheridan plays Cyclops, who shoots lasers from his eyes, and must wear sunglasses, unless he is in battle. Before Alan Cumming, Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Nightcrawler, a teleporting mutant, who gets rescued by Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), after a cage fight in Germany. And before Famke Janssen, Sophie Turner plays Phoenix, who struggles to control her telepathic powers.

Mixed reviews have been spreading out for “X-Men: Apocalypse,” once again directed by Bryan Singer. Some say it’s fun, others say it’s boring, and others say it’s the lowest of the low. Not every mutant gets the kind of persona they deserve like Psylocke, Angel, or Nightcrawler. But I still thought the movie had a lot of fun and narrative going on.

Isaac looks and sounds great as Apocalypse, while possessing the kind of emotional depth every Marvel villain should have. McAvoy and Fassbender respectively still amaze me as Xavier and Magneto. Sheridan, Turner, and Shipp respectively give fresh takes on the young Cyclops, Phoenix, and Storm. Rose Byrne is likable as CIA Agent Mooira MacTaggert, Xavier’s lover, whom he erased her memories of them in “First Class,” but discovers the truth about the villain. And unlike “Deadpool,” this time, the movie affords to have Hugh Jackman make a cameo as Wolverine, who breaks out of the Weapons X facility, and slaughters every guard in his path.

Fun scenes include the opening Egypt scene with the pyramid containing Apocalypse collapsing, and the final battle. The story is also easy for me to follow, and even without the fighting, I was barely bored at all.



The 21-year-oild sequel “T2: Trainspotting” is now in theaters, and I promise you I will review it ASAP. But first, I must review the original black British comedy from 1996 directed by Danny Boyle, and based on Irvine Welsh’s novel. To me, it’s not always understandable, but it is a fresh portrait of heroin addicts with its performances, hit songs (including some from Iggy Pop and Lou Reed), and unusual images.

Set in Scotland, Ewan McGregor stars as heroin addict Mark Renton, who decides to give up heroin, and introduces his friends: heroin addicts Spud (Ewan Bremner) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), fight picker Francis (Robert Carlyle), and athletic Tommy MacKenzie (Kevin McKidd); and their ambitions. Mark ends up sleeping with a young woman named Diana (Kelly MacDonald), who turns out to be a 15-year-old school girl, and threatens to call the police if he doesn’t see her again. And at one point, he decides to take a hit, and ends up seeing hallucinations, including a dead baby walking one his bedroom ceiling.

I didn’t likes some loud screams and I couldn’t get fully involved with all the supporting characters because of some of the dialogue, but I have found refreshing moments from them. The best come from Mark, when he goes through a repulsive toilet and into the sea in order to get pills, Spud, when he accidentally spoils his girlfriend’s bed and Francis, when he carelessly throws a glass at a woman’s face, causing her to bleed. The rest is all music, hallucinations, and drugs, lots of drugs.

Director Danny Boyle adds a style all of his own to “Trainspotting,” and the casting is spot on. McGregor gives a knock out performance, and Bremner, Carlyle, and MacDonald help round out the cast every well. Will “T2” be better than the first? I’ll just have to wait and see.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has the kind of romance that I looked for and missed in the recent release of “Rules Don’t Apply.” It features two people, who live in the same apartment complex, and start seeing each other, although the girl prefers a rich man. Ergo, the movie is challenging in that level of notion.

Audrey Hepburn is quite fantastic as Holly Golightly, a woman, who often goes to Tiffany & Co. to relax herself, and has a pet cat with no name. She also finds herself meeting her new neighbor-a writer named Paul Varjack (George Peppard). They spend time together, and take a liking to one another, despite a few problems. One is Holly would love to marry a rich man, her real name is Lula Mae Barnes, and she was married to a horse doctor (Buddy Ebson). Those are just minor things as the movie continues their love story.

Despite controversary, I enjoyed Mickey Rooney’s supporting role of Holly’s Japanese neighbor, who often makes threats about calling the police whenever she or her guests make noise. He always ends up bumping into things, making him a comic relief character. I laughed at almost everything he does.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is based on the book by Truman Capote, who, despite admiring Helpburn’s performance, felt she was totally miscast as her. And the movie was directed by Blake Edwards, and Hepburn did want to be guided by a big name filmmaker. The movie doesn’t have the pure classic movie magic, but it does have spark. You are laughing, blushing, and smiling at the charms of both Hepburn and Peppard.


Edward Scissorhands

The look and design of “Edward Scissorhands” is just fascinating. It’s the 1970s: the houses are either blue, pink, yellow, or green; the cars are old fashioned; the lawns are freshly cut; and everything about the neighborhood is colorful. And yet, high on the mountains, lives a dark and lonely mansion with tin figures making cookies, and a lonely man with scissors for hands. This indicates how bright and yet dreary Tim Burton’s movie is.

As the film begins, we meet a saleswoman named Peg Boggs (Diane Wiest), who drives up to the lonely castle, and finds a man with scissors, named Edward (Johnny Depp). His hands are scissors, because his inventor (Vincent Price) has died before he can finish him up. Nonetheless, Peg decides to let him live with her and her family. They consist of her husband Bill (Alan Arkin), their son Kevin (Robert Oliveri), and their teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), whom Edward falls for, despite her having a boyfriend (Anthony Michael Hall).

Edward becomes a hit with the neighborhood, because his scissors can trim bushes into many objects, he can unlock doors without scratching them, and he can cut the hairs of both the local dogs and the women. No matter how big his scissors are, he still manages to surprise us with his ingenuity.  Of course, the movie ends up showing us the dangers of Edward having the scissorhands.

“Edward Scissorhands,” also written by Caroline Thompson, is a beautiful and emotional picture, filled with the kind of humor and darkness that Tim Burton specializes. Depp gives a deep, passionate performance as Edward, Ryder is charming as Kim, Wiest and Arkin are fine as the parents, Hall makes a fresh last minute antagonist, and it’s always refreshing to see Price as the inventor. So, we have a great cast in a lovely Burton movie.

Once we cross to the point of no return, I do find myself a bit negative at times, but I suppose that’s how these kind of stories work. It’s a colorful, yet dark movie that ranks with one of Burton’s most dazzling achievements.


Bridget Jones’s Diary

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” is a romantic comedy that combines passionate fantasies, English wit and charm, and relationship issues. Love is a complicated thing, as I hear, and the movie deals with the challenges and complications very well.

​We meet Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), a single British woman in her thirties, who tries and fails to find the perfect guy. Feeling like she’ll end up a lump, she decides to write a diary (hence the name: “Bridget Jones’s Diary”) about how she can better herself. One example would be to try not to flirt so much with her handsome boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). Of course, that doesn’t really work out. This sounds like a fantasy, but they really do hit it off nice. That is until he becomes engaged to another woman-a New Yorker (Lisa Barbuscia).

Now, she is through with men, and gets a new job at a television studio, where she ends up working as a journalist. But there’s now another man, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), whom Daniel hates, and Bridget is less enthusiastic about. He’s not that enthusiastic with her either. He’s dating Natasha (Embeth Davidtz), but he admits his affections to Bridget.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” is an awkward comedy about an awkward woman, and it succeeds without caution. It’s the kind of comedy that would probably fail today without the right material, and never humiliates the actors. You couldn’t ask for better performances from Zellweger, Firth, and Grant, all of whom leap off the screen. Its taste in music is eclectic, the humor surprises you when you least expect it, and nothing is irritable. I couldn’t get into the full story, but I still found enough humor and heart for me to enjoy it.


Mrs Doubtfire

En route to San Francisco, I decided to watch the 1993 Robin Williams comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which is filmed in the very same state.

Williams gives one of his best and funniest roles as Daniel Hillard, a voice actor, whose comical behavior gets the best of him. His wife (Sally Field) is at her wits end with him, so she demands a divorce, taking custody of their three kids (Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, and Mara Wilson). He is only able to see them once a week on Saturdays, but it’s not enough.

His wife is hiring a nanny to watch he kids, so with his voice expertise and his make-up artist brother (Harvey Fierstein), he has to disguise himself as an old woman by the name of Mrs Doubtfire. He is able to get closer to his kids, but even for his comic scheme, mayhem ensues. Daniel has to change his disguise everytime he has meeting with a television producer (Robert Prosky) and his case worker (Anne Haney). These moments are very thrilling and very funny. And even more agonizing is his wife’s new lover (Pierce Brosnan).

Directed by Chris Columbus, “Mrs. Doubtfire” is a comedy masterpiece. Williams is perfect in every way, whether he is a cartoon or a father. Field is delightful as the long suffering wife, and I guess, in her case, not every person and every cartoon character go together. Brosnan is also charming as the new dream guy, and it is sharp to see Williams loathe him. The movie is filled with enough heart and laughs to keep you going.


Hello Dolly

At the time of “Hello Dolly’s” release, it was neither commercially or critically successful, compared to the original Carol Channing Broadway show, but it won 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction, Best Score of a Musical Picture, and Best Sound. I hardly see any problem with this movie adaptation, directed by Gene Kelly, because it’s quite memorable, delightful, and colorful if you read between the lines.

The year is 1890.

Barbara Streisand stars as matchmaker Dolly Levi, who can do more than just find mates for people. She can teach people to dance, and mend clothing, etc. etc. She even hands out numerous business cards to people in the wonderful number “Just Leave Everything to Me.” Matter of fact, everybody loves her.

She travels to New York City to find the man of her dreams-the wealthy and pigheaded Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau)-who is already prepared to wed hat ship owner Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew). Dolly intends to go find him anyway, and inspires other characters to go to the the Big City for their own pleasures as well.

The others dreamers include Horace’s niece (Joyce Ames) and her would-be intended (Tommy Tune), both of whom want a better blessing than the one they just received from him; and his two clerks (Michael Crawford and Danny Lockin), who both would like a night on the town by pretending to be rich. Dolly uses her chatterbox dialogue and lyrics wisely to send them all there.

Meanwhile, Irene is not interested in Horace, and she and her assistant (E.J. Peaker) take fancy with the two so-called rich clerks. So, the boys have to prevent the women from giving them the expenses.

“Hello Dolly” have a few flaws in various places, but it should be given another chance in life. It offers colorful characters, brought to life here by wonderful actors. Streisand is jolly, Matthau is charming, Crawford and Lockin are both goofy fun, McAndrew is delicious, and Peaker is cute. And I just love, love, love those Louis Armstrong cameos. “What a Wonderful World.”

The costumes are beautifully designed by Irene Sharaff (“Cleopatra,” “An American in Paris”), who captures the period time with the hats, dresses, and fashion. And the characters are given professional fashion sense.

Leave it to Kelly to lead the actors on the right dance path with his direction and Micael Kidd’s choreography. Even the waiters have a sense of rhythm in them. When you watch classic musicals like Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” or “An American in Paris,” you see people dancing all gay and giddy. They were truly musicals, and not commercial values, if if this one was not a profitable back then.

The best numbers in particular are “Just Leave Everything to Me,” “It Takes a Woman,” “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Dancing,” “Elegance,” “It Only Takes a Moment,” “So Long, Dearie,” and of course, “Hello Dolly.” A better way to put it, all the musical numbers are choreographed with style, comedy, and love.

“Hello Dolly” deserves more credit than it’s been given.


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