Christopher Walken

Suicide Kings

Year: 1997
Directed By: Peter O’Fallon
Written By: Josh McKinney, Gina Goldman, and Wayne Allan Rice (screenplay), Don Stanford (short story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

One of my favorite scenes of all time features Chistopher Walken playing a mob boss, so naturally this has always been a movie that appeals to me. This is a fascinating movie where these rich kids get it in there head to do about the craziest thing possible. In order to rescue a kidnapped sister they decide to perform their own kidnapping. They pick the most outrageous and insane person to kidnap and the scene is set.

This group of rich kids really bite off more than they can chew when they chose a mafia don as a person to extort. The stakes raise dramatically when not only have they kidnapped a powerful and dangerous man, but they’ve cut one of his fingers off to boot. They have an outrageous justification for what they’re doing but truthfully it makes little sense. These guys think that the sister of one of them has been kidnapped and in order to rescue her they kidnap a man who has both the money for the ransom and the resources to get her home safely. It’s a crazy idea to begin with but they really go too far when they decide that any harm that befalls the girl will also befall the Don.

This movie pulls you in with a cool and interesting story but it keeps you with a really rich cast. Christopher Walken is the Don and he thrives in that role. He has that classy quality that works well for him when he is the dignified Don being shown to his usual table. He also has that cool quality that starts to make all the boys like him a little bit when they are holding him hostage. Making him an even cooler mob boss is his number one henchman played by Denis Leary. I’m a big fan of Leary and this movie is a great example of his talent as he improvised most of his own dialogue.

Of these rich kids you have Thomas Henry, better known as E LI OTtrying desperately to continue acting as a grown up. Jay Mohr is the muscle of the group, going against his typical comedy and playing the wanna be tough guy that insist on keeping the Don at gunpoint. Jeremy Sisto is the smarter guy of the group trying to keep the Don alive with his premed skills. Sean Patrick Flanery, the Boondock Saint himself, is the cool guy with all the secrets. Then rounding up this group of youngsters is Johnny Galecki performing in such a typical Johnny Galecki fashion. I used to like Galecki but he is such a whiney actor and no different here.

The scene was set, things are crazy enough with a kidnapped and slightly dismembered mafia Don, but the movie cleverly ups the stakes. Turns out once the Don starts exercising his resources he finds out this whole thing is an inside job. One of the rich kids has turned on and set up his buddies but you don’t know who. The entry of mystery into the story makes a film that has already sucked you in maintain your attention.

I think this is an interesting movie and I have always liked it. It doesn’t really inspire much to say in me but some movies are just cool to kick back and enjoy. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat the first time I saw it and I still find myself edging forward upon multiple viewings. I think it is easily worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: The Sum of All Fears (2002)

Since I mentioned it earlier here is a clip of one of my favorite scenes of all time. Clever dialogue from a man who has made a career of writing clever dialogue. Written by Quentin Tarantino, Directed by Tony Scott, and performed by Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, and  with a young Tony Soprano looming in the background:

Advertisements

The Stepford Wives

Year: 2004
Directed By: Frank Oz
Written By: Ira Levin (book), Paul Rudnick (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This film has sat on our shelf for over ten years and I don’t think I have watched it since we were in college. The film made it into the collection as a gift for Amber on some anniversary or holiday along the way. We’re only minutes into the movie now and I’m already wondering what I was thinking. We own so many movies that there’s bound to be a dud here and there and we’ve stumbled across one it seems. I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for why it’s part of our collection but that memory has been lost along the way.

In one of the very first scenes the dialogue was clearly changed because it doesn’t match up with the lips of the actors. That’s frustrating but it was the plight of this movie. It’s one that’s been disowned by everybody involved including several actors and even the director. Not only did things not go well during filming but it suffered greatly in post production as several things were changed and some even re shot altogether. I have never seen the original film but perhaps I should seek it out now because I do like the idea behind this movie. It won’t be the first mistake I have made watching a remake of something that was much better before.

I’m thinking specifically of The Manchurian Candidate. Coincidentally that very film was advertised on this DVD. I learned a lesson when I watched the original and the very same thing could happen here. I’d really like to test that out but I don’t think it’s going to happen. A quick search shows the original film must be out of print because the DVD cost almost $70. That’s outrageous and I don’t want to see it that bad just to test out a theory. I can settle for the book but I’d have to invest too much time and I’m not really that interested.

Glenn Close is a gem and it’s sad to see her talent wasted in a movie like this. She so exaggerated in the scene where they are “working out” that you can’t help but laugh. She’s just so deftly delightful and her hand motions are fantastic. She shines in this film where everyone else is cloudy.

I have never been a big fan of Nicole Kidman but I do respect her talent. I can’t say that it’s on display in this movie though, her heart clearly wasn’t in it. I like Ferris Bueller as much as everyone else but there is rarely ever a role when I think ‘Matthew Broderick would have been great for this.’ On the other hand I can’t imagine a performance given by Christopher Walken that isn’t awesome but he’s just going through the motions in this movie and that’s a shame.

This movie was directed by Frank Oz and he has never really been a favorite of mine. He hasn’t gotten behind camera in ten years but still serves as the voice of Yoda when called upon. I don’t generally like his movies, however his final film Death at a Funeral was hilarious and needs to be added to the collection now that I think about it. Amber and I watched both the white and the black version of it years ago and enjoyed both.

Aside from Glenn Close, and that one awesome joke about Connecticut, there really isn’t much going on with this movie. It’s a really cool story but it wasn’t delivered properly at all. I wish I could watch the original to see how it measures up and maybe I’ll get that chance at some point. If anybody who has read the book is reading this let me know if it’s worth it and I’ll probably check it out. I can’t say this movie is actually worth your time to see though. It’s short and that’s a plus but even with a short running time it’s just not worth it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stir of Echoes (1999)

 

Sleepy Hollow

Year: 1999
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Washington Irving (original story), Kevin Yagher and Andrew Kevin Walker

RYAN’S REVIEW

Our next movie lines up perfectly with the season and it will be where we kick off our month of horror movies for Halloween this year. This is a beautifully gloomy if not fantastic movie. It can set the tone for the season but it will never match up against the classics. It’s a spooky movie that looks great, but it doesn’t have that fear factor that the great horror classics utilize.

This is a fantastic Burton movie but I don’t think it’ll even stand up against others such as Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands. He got the look right but I find this to be Johnny Depp’s weakest performance among their collaborations. It’s not all Depps fault, the character of Ichabod is far from cool and hardly the type of character to carry a film.

I get that Ichabod Crane is supposed to be this way but the cowardly character does nothing to enhance the film, even with Johnny Depp in the part. He is so pathetically fearful, at one point even leaping away from a spider. He does nothing to evoke love or admiration and that’s a major flaw. You could argue Depp played the part well but it’s the character that is the problem. There’s no level of awesome or badass within him.

I really like Christina Ricci, but I grew up with a crush on her. I’m predisposed to like her whether she is any good or not. She’s not bad in this movie, but she’s no Winona Ryder.

The rest of this cast is full of regular Burton collaborators and they all help to make this movie really feel like Tim Burton. Depp, Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Jones, Burton’s then wife Lisa Marie, and Christopher Walken. With those guys in tow this movie looks awesome on paper. Burton gets to go wild with his spooky crap. Somehow he managed to miss the mark but at least it all looks good. The pumpkins, scarecrows, fog, and headless horseman give it a perfect Halloween vibe.

The headless horseman is awesome, played by Christopher Walken. He looks sadistic with no head and somehow more fierce with one. Even without his iconic voice Walken manages to be awesome. He has no speaking lines in the movie and that is a good thing. I love Walken’s voice but it would have been all wrong for the character he was playing.

I don’t love this movie by any means but I enjoy it. It is really aesthetically pleasing and it feels so perfect for the season. It’s a fun take on an old classic and they don’t pull any punches when it comes to chopping off heads. I remember when this movie was coming out it was a big deal how many people were losing their heads in this one. It’s not the best movie you can watch during this Halloween season but it’s not a bad one either. If you want something that feels right but isn’t going to scare or gore you then this is a perfect movie to watch.

 

Pulp Fiction

Year: 1994
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary

RYAN’S REVIEW

There was a time when I thought Quentin Tarantino had played all his cards and this was the best one on the table. I began to believe that whatever made Tarantino so successful was simply his collaboration with Roger Avary. I have since learned the err of that belief but for nearly ten years I developed and held tight to that line of thinking. At a young and influential age I fell in love with Tarantino’s films and had to wait for an appallingly long time with nothing but what I found to be the incredibly disappointing Kill Bill films. Those films, after all, were simply a sub plot from this film. When all he could do in that time was make a film based on a line from his most popular film I took it as a sign. In this film Uma Thurman’s character was on a pilot TV show thats plot was basically the story of Kill Bill. However, in the years since Inglourious Basterds we have seen that I was wrong all along and just a bitter fan getting pissy about wanting something new and incredible to see.

Tarantino has always had a mind for writing snazzy dialogue and it is on full display in this film. From the opening scene in the restaurant this movie immediately grabs your attention and then takes advantage of it with a charming scene of two hit men casually carrying out their jobs on a group of targets. Tarantino is a perfect example of why writing matters. He has always been successful delivering us shock in awe but the base of what makes him great is his writing. From there it goes up to his work behind the camera and if there is one flaw in him it’s his determination to get in front of the camera himself. I thought he was good in Reservoir Dogs and good in this film but I think he stretches it too much. I think it’s obvious Tarantino is a cool guy to meet and people are drawn to him in the business. Every one of his films has been cast with not simply a big actor but a group of them with others clamoring for cameos. I remember hearing somewhere along the way that he would make friends easily with actors and offer them parts in his next movie. Regardless how it happens I have always loved directors who worked with larger casts and Tarantino is one of the reasons I have that preference.

I heard once that this was the film that revived John Travolta’s career and I know that’s true because he preceded it with a third Look Who’s Talking film. If that isn’t something you do only when your career is in the dumps I don’t know what is. I think that is interesting because this role wasn’t even originally intended for him. If I’m not mistaken I think the role was supposed to go to Michael Madsen but he had a scheduling conflict. I can say honestly that I think Travolta was great in this movie and it seems to fit with film history that he is dancing on screen again in such a comeback. Nevertheless, Michael Madsen would he been better. There is nobody in the business cooler or colder than Mr. Blonde. Had he actually played his counterpart to Vic Vega his whole career may have been different and for the better. Movies didn’t get enough of Michael Madsen; he should have had a better agent in the 90s. The only problem is that the character of Vincent Vega appears befuddled and confused now and again, he gets killed by leaving his gun in the kitchen and well….he shot Marvin in the face. I couldn’t see Michael Madsen being so foolish. Plus, junkies are never cool, I think Vincent Vega using heroin makes him a liability more than an asset to a criminal organization and that drops his cool factor significantly. Heroin users aren’t cool; they’re afflicted with a problem that will eventually drive them to desperation.

This movie sports many cameos but one of my favorite of all time is the one performed by Christopher Walken. I am a huge fan of Walken and this film may very well be the reason why. Nobody has a cadence like Walken; his voice is great for comedians doing impressions. He has a presence about him, and he makes every film he is a part of better. Speaking of guys who make every film better, Steve Buscemi also sports a cameo in this movie. I love seeing Buscemi in anything but when he makes such a brief appearance in this film I just feel cheated.  Another cameo that shouldn’t go unmentioned is that of Peter Greene, which in truth shouldn’t be called a cameo but a part. Greene, like Madsen, is an actor that never got enough screen time. He has a sinister look about him, perfect for the part of Zed.

As it’s time to speak of Jed, Bruce Willis needs be mentioned. I have grown up as a fan of one of the greatest action heroes of my time. John McClain, Korben Dallas, and Joe freakin Hallenbeck for cryin out loud. Who better to wield a samurai sword against sex criminals? Bruce Willis embodies what a badass is supposed to be through my eyes that grew up in the nineties. In truth, this has never really been my favorite role of his, but under most circumstances I have always felt like Willis could do no wrong. I tend to pull for the mobsters in these types of films and Willis is as close to a good guy as it gets in this movie. The mobsters are great though, Ving Rhames easily gave his finest performance as Marsellus Wallace. Never quite understood why the boss was picking up the coffee in the scene when he crosses paths with Butch but otherwise he brings it as a powerful and intimidating bad guy. The kind of guy you definitely don’t want to drag down into the basement of sodomy and do things to.

While I feel like Travolta’s Vega is a bit on the goofy side as a hitman I think Samuel L. Jackson is the complete opposite as Jules. Jules is such a cool and compelling character that it could be argued that Jackson has cashed in on it more than 20 times over. I am a huge fan of Jackson but it is very often when I feel like he is simply doing his Jules from Inglewood routine. He gets loud, uses some profanity, and then something crazy happens. I still love it though, in fact I own Snakes on a Plane for no other reason than I love Samuel L Jackson being himself. The role of Jules was specifically written for Samuel L. Jackson after he failed to land a role he auditioned for in Reservoir Dogs so I think there is a lot of him in this character. Jackson has over 160 credits as an actor and continues to work at a rate that barely anybody can keep up with. The majority of those roles started piling up after this film. With “great fury and powerful vengeance” he took the industry by storm after his Oscar nominated role as Jules and there is no end in sight to his success.

This is the type of movie that offers a lot of talking points but I don’t feel the need to rehash old conversations because it is all out there now. We know that Jules’ biblical speech was written for the film and not specifically taken out of the Bible. We know there was nothing specifically in the briefcase. To which the answer never seems good enough for people, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Tarantino is still to this day badgered about that question. Theories include the soul Marsellus and even the diamonds stolen in Reservoir Dogs, but it has been said a dozen times by Tarantino and Avary both that the contents of the box were specifically left up to the viewer. We have an eye now for the Tarantino brands like Big Kahuna Burger and Apple cigarettes. I love the type of director Tarantino is and if he wasn’t such a genius people wouldn’t continue to talk about these things after over 20 years. He is making some great movies these days but this one will always be one of his greatest.

I love how he films these independent stories that are all random but tie together in the end. I love how it comes full circle with the robbery of the restaurant. Amanda Plummer is shocking with her sudden ferocity and so vulnerable in the end when the heat it turned up. I think it is such a compelling performance. Tim Roth is great too as the level headed stick up man. In limited screen time Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are able to convey such a powerful and interesting relationship. It’s great written dialogue and great acting all around. The “Bad Motherfucker” wallet that Pumpkin has to fish back for Jules actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. I actually have one myself that Amber got me as a gift a few years ago. I keep it as a joke with a younger license inside with things from the past. The way I see it that younger version of myself may have been a “Bad Motherfucker” but these days I’m a domesticated husband and father so I keep it simply for the novelty of it and to joke about from time to time.

I haven’t mentioned two of the most important people in this film but let me explain why. I am not and have never been a fan of Uma Thurman. While I’ll admit she is great in this movie I haven’t thought Mia’s character was anything exceptional. I detest the use of heroin and her character’s OD scene doesn’t impress me as it might others. She looks really cool with the short black hair but I’m just not into it. Tarantino obviously likes her a lot though as he used her in Kill Bill and continues to allude to a third film as well. The Kill Bill movies are absent from our collection and normally I would buy such a film specifically to write about it here but I simply won’t have them in my collection. With the ease of Amazon Prime many unlikely titles have made it into the collection in recent years but at Kill Bill I draw a line. Those movies are garbage and I will not give in simply for the sake of how awesome Tarantino was and is again with new success.

The other I’ve failed to mention was that of Harvey Keitel. Nothing against him but I have always felt like the Wolf was a little overdone. I think the character is really cool, but much like Uma, I’m just not into it. Keitel is as much the reason for the success of Tarantino as anybody though so he is due plenty of respect. If I’m not mistaken he was the first actor to get behind Tarantino and had a lot to do with getting the wheels rolling on Reservoir Dogs. The role of the Wolf was specifically written for him and it’s a really cool role. I just never felt so impressed about this freaky fast Mr. Fix Anything guy. I do want to believe that guy is out there utilized by criminal organizations because it’s such a cool idea but I feel like a guy who shows up in the AM wearing a tuxedo is just too much. Are to believe this totally efficient guy is also pulling all nighters with the sophisticated crowd that parties in formal wear? I may love this movie, but even as an easily influenced adolescent obsessed with this movie I found it a bit silly back in the day.

This is a movie that has survived in popularity for an awfully long time and anybody that watches it understands why. I have a memory that has never left in which my future step mother talked about this film and the things she had heard about it swearing to never watch it. It was the syringe scene she mentioned specifically. That memory always makes me laugh a little because this movie is not for the faint of heart. There are people like my step mother out there that simply cannot handle a movie like this and I find it comical in a strange way. For the rest of us though, this is really something to enjoy. You can’t call yourself a movie buff without a healthy dose of viewings on this one. It’s a classic that will continue to be popular for years to come and influence countless more rebellious youths as it once did to me. This movie is without doubt worth your time over and over again.

NEXT MOVIE: Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Poolhall Junkies

Year: 2002
Directed By: Mars Callahan
Written By: Mars Callahan and Chris Corso

RYAN’S REVIEW

Movies about hustlers are always fun. It’s interesting to see what new and interesting ways that they will con people out of their money. The catalyst for the con in this movie just happens to be pool, a game that is always fun. Pool is awesome because it is played in bars, a game you play while you are drinking. For me I always hit that magical stride between 3 and 5 drinks. Catch me early or late you might kill me but if you hit me during that stride I’m going to beat you. Now I’m no hustler, never been good enough at anything to put my money on the line, but I enjoy the game because it’s fun. It’s all about angles and if you understand geometry you can make anything happen.

I came across this movie back in 2003 in the most unlikely of ways. I was on a cruise ship and it was one of the movies they played on the ship repeatedly. Had I not been on that ship I never would have seen this movie but I did, and I liked it enough to track it down years later. It’s a movie that went low on the radar for several reasons but there is still plenty to like about it.

Reason this movie flew under the radar number one: the Ben Affleck wanna be that stars in it. Yeah maybe the guy was never going to win an Academy Award but the movie made up for it with Christopher Walken in the cast. I’m a huge fan of Walken and think he fully compensates for the poser that stars in this movie. The Ben Affleck poser in this movie even has a brother that reminds me of Affleck’s real brother Casey. They don’t look anything alike, but this movie makes me think of Good Will Hunting because of the way these two guys look acting along side each other. Check that, just realized that the Affleck wanna be is actually Mars Callahan, director of the film, who simply put himself into his own movie as the star, never a good idea. At least now it makes sense why the performance of the lead actor in the movie is what it is.

Another thing I find interesting about this movie is that it has the distinction of starring Clint Eastwood’s daughter who so badly wanted to be an actress. When it didn’t work out she simply took her clothes off for Playboy and I remember that too. Now having recently come to the realization that Clint Eastwood was always as awesome as everyone said he was I don’t feel right about having looked at his daughter naked. Alison Eastwood never got her acting career off the ground and it’s easy to understand when you see this movie. Clint made his career on being a badass, his daughter tried to make hers simply on being a woman, no different than any other. When she couldn’t get traction on screen she simply showed her boobs. That’s so disappointing, but nothing is ever as simple as it looks on the surface.

When Christopher Walken shows up this movie instantly gets better because that’s what happens with Walken. He has that strangely quiet toned voice that he can raise the decimal on at his own discretion. Walken is still out there powering on but he has aged so much now. Back in 2002 when this movie was made he still had all the awesome that was within him. The type of awesome that could take a mediocre movie and make it worth watching. He hasn’t let age slow him down and that only makes him more of an awesome actor. Walken will live on forever and can never be replaced in the future.

Geez, it’s hard to watch this movie without getting hung up on Mars Callahan. What was this guy thinking plugging himself into his own movie? It could have been so much bigger had he just cast an actual actor in lead role. He thinks too much of himself and he was trying too hard. That giant hairdo and his northern accent, it’s all just so annoying. Yet I like this movie despite all that. More than likely I think he told the only story he had to tell with this movie but at least it was a story worth telling.

HOLY SHIT!!! Just realized that the Asian guy in this movie was none other than Keno from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze. I gotta say, that knocks this movie up a notch, for me at least. Keno was like Ruffio, a childhood hero. F-ing Keno! Is there anything else to say? Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, Ernie Reyes Jr. doesn’t make this movie any better despite the nostalgic nature it offers anybody that was lucky enough to be 7 in 1991 when then ninja turtles took the screen for a second time.

Chazz Palminiteri leaves a lot to be desired as a main antagonist but he serves well enough in this movie I’ll grant him that. Rod Steiger is a bit of a saving grace but nobody brings it like Christopher Walken. I can’t say enough how Walken makes this movie. He comes in like the hero so our Ben Affleck wanna be can one handedly school the bad guys. What makes it all so foolhardy is that the prize is simply to get bail money so the Casey Affleck wanna be can get out of jail and in reality that is only the beginning of a long journey to freedom. Silver Spoons is playing a game for nothing and our hero is obviously going to win it all.

OK, I’ve finished this movie and I honestly can’t say it was worth my time. Maybe I own this movie for my own nostalgic purposes and it isn’t worth the time of anybody else. Nevertheless I like it just enough to qualify it for our collection.

NEXT MOVIE: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Cliffhanger

Year: 1993
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: This movie started out as “Gale Force” (Die Hard in a hurricane), it went through several re-writes.

RYAN’S REVIEW

I grew up in a family that had a thing for cheesy action movies.  Movies like this were our bread and butter, what we sat up watching on Friday nights before we were old enough to drive and go out on our own.  I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for movies in the “Die Hard-genre,” for the simplicity of them.  When the terrorists are just white guys who want money, with no racial or political motives.  You don’t have to be Jack Bauer to handle these terrorist, simple police training a la John McClane will suffice, or in the case of this movie simply being a rescue worker with muscles coming out of your ass will do.

I am a Stallone fan no matter how ridiculous some of his movies are. I do think it’s time for him to hang it up though.  His time has come and gone, it is time for him to move into a different phase of his career.  This movie is one of my favorite of his actually, I really like the “Die Hard scenario” in this setting.  Stallone is an interesting person because he has had to overcome so much to be successful with his face paralysis. During his birth a doctor improperly used a pair of tongs to pull him from the birth canal and incedently paralyzed part of his face, including the insides of his mouth.  In the beginning of his career he specifically wrote the first Rocky with little dialogue to mask his difficulty speaking.  What I really find interesting about him is how he can literally do the exact same thing over and over again on multiple platforms and continue to be successful.  He made Rocky 6 F-ing times and Rambo 4 for crying out loud, and people are still paying to see it. He has gotten old though, as unfortunate as that is, and he needs to stop trying to turn the clock back by juicing.  He was caught with roids a few years ago when shooting Rocky Balboa. Stallone was great in his hey day, but it’s time for him to admit to himself that that time is over.

The bad guy was originally going to be played by Christopher Walken which would have been awesome but he bailed at the last-minute.  I am a huge Christopher Walken fan and I have to think that it would have made for a better movie.  I am also a big John Lithgow fan though, and think that he was awesome as the bad guy in the movie.  Walken may have been a little better, but that’s not to discredit Lithgow’s performance because Lithgow is always good.  He is incredibly versatile.  He was so funny and silly on 3rd Rock From the Sun yet so ruthless and cold as the villain in this movie. There is only one reason I think Walken might have been better, and if you want to know what it is check this out.

Michael Rooker plays the other leading part in the film and I have always been a fan of his as well.  I did not like his most recent performance on The Walking Dead, but I enjoyed several of the movies he was in earlier in his career.  Renny Harlin directed the movie and I have liked many of his movies as well. He is never going to be considered a really serious filmmaker but he has made some great action movies. Like I said though, I come from a household where we spent a lot of time on stupid and mindless action movies.  We owned nearly every variety of the “Die Hard Genre.”

In the aftermath of Die Hard many movies were made with the exact same formula.  A group of white terrorist hijack something in an effort to extort lots of money in a variety of settings.  Let me provide some examples….there’s Steven Seagal vs. the white guy terrorists Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey in Die Hard  on a Boat (Under Siege), Christian Slater vs. white guy terrorists John Travolta  and Howie Long in Die Hard in the Desert (Broken Arrow), Nicholas Cage vs. white guy terrorist John Malkovich in Die Hard on a Prison Plane (Con Air), Harrison Ford vs. white guy terrorist Gary Oldman in Die Hard with the President, on a Plane (Air Force One), even Howie Long had his own Die Hard in the Woods (Firestorm),  and this one of course, Die Hard in the Mountains.  There are probably several I am forgetting, there was one with Van Damme in a hockey arena, ah I could name them off forever if I try.  These movies are all simple, there is nothing to learn from any of them, but sometimes it’s good to just sit back and relax.  These movies come in handy then.

I love this movie and still enjoy watching it, but I don’t know that I can tell just anybody that it is worth their time. It does hold a certain sentimental element for me because when I was a kid playing with G I Joes it was this scenario I always acted out.  My favorite Joe would be the one who had to defeat all the others one by one and all the “Die Hard” movies influenced how the action played out.  This one was a popular one because I could have them climbing of the furniture. So, as I was saying, I can’t say this is worth your time,  but if you give it a chance I think you I will like it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I might have written a real review for this movie. Maybe it could have been the best review I have written so far. But, that isn’t going to be the case here. The night that we watched this movie was the night that The Help came out on onDemand. I had spent all day trying to figure out how to get Ryan to watch it with me. I read the book and missed it in the theaters, so I have been patiently waiting for the DVD release date. Well, after much debate and arguing I guess you already know who won. Instead of getting to watch an uplifting movie about race relations, I was forced to watch Sylvester Stallone try to save a woman who ultimately plummeted to her death. And the whole time I sat there sulking, and thinking about how awesome Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was for making fun of it.

I can’t say if I love it or hate it, because even though I watched it, I wasn’t really paying attention to it, because I was so mad that Ryan won and his pregnant wife didn’t get to watch the movie she had desperately been wanting to watch since finishing the book.

For the record, I still haven’t seen The Help. (I still love him, but don’t you think he owes me?)

 NEXT MOVIE: Closer (2004)

Batman Returns

Year: 1992
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Daniel Waters

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was eight years old when this movie was released and it is the first movie I can remember being really excited about before it came out.  I have a very clear memory of a discussion I had with a stranger about how awesome the movie was going to be.  I was shopping with my mom and had to stand alone while her and my sister were in a changing room, and the stranger was some other guy holding a purse, probably about my age now. The habit I have now of keeping up with what movies are being made has been ongoing for probably at least 15 years, this is possibly the movie that started that habit.  So needless to say this movie is special to me, and I think it is a fantastic sequel to the original.

This studio didn’t like this film because they thought they should have made more money with a family friendlier film, but as I said before this is where Warner Brothers is wrong.  Batman is not a family friendly character, he is the Dark Knight, he is a vigilante and criminal. This movie tends to get a little silly at times, Penguin does have an army of real penguins strapped with missiles. It practically is family friendly but very dark all the same and really for the older kids who were in my range of 8 and up.  This movie lived up to and exceeded all my eight year old expectations and I still love it even today.  It is exactly what I say any good sequel should be, a bigger better version of the original. This movie is very different from the first, but the stakes are raised and the consequences greater so it meets the formula.  To go back to my initial point though, as I continue to watch it now I can kinda see the studios point.  The Penguin, as awesome as he was, does tend to be a bit scary.  I don’t remember any, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if as an 8-year-old I had had any nightmares about the Penguin biting a man’s face off. That is a bit much for the kids, but the studio did go on to get a little carried away with later sequels.

This movie really stepped it up.  There is more action, more stars, and more bad guys.  Michael Keaton was back as Batman and I stand by my opinion that he was the best Batman.  Michelle Pfeiffer is so sexy as Catwoman, she was absolutely perfect.  Danny DeVito was iconic as the Penguin, much more so than Nicholson as the Joker in my opinion.  Christopher Walken is another newcomer that made the sequel great.  Tim Burton may have went a little over the top here and there with this film but it was still great and one of his many fantastic films.  Danny Elfman again deserves special recognition for the score.  What makes it great is that it is similar to the score of the first film but different enough to set it apart.

Tim Burton is a director who deserves special recognition, this movie is part of his legacy.  Any movie fan should see both Tim Burton Batman movies because they are classic.  Burton had a great vision and great actors who did their jobs well.  Anybody who loves to watch movies like we do should watch this movie because it is a great film.  it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really am a fan of most of Tim Burton’s films, and this one is another one that I truly like. I am not claiming to know very much about the history of Batman, but I love how he introduces new villains in each film. In the beginning of this film, I actually feel sorry for the Penguin. I mean he doesn’t even have a shot from birth. His parents think he is grotesque, they keep him locked up in a cage, and yeah he eats the family pet, but do they even feed him? Okay, I know I am a softy, and it turns out he is a pretty bad guy, but honestly…wasn’t he doomed from the beginning?

If you are young and are reading this, and you have seen the movie, I bet you are surprised to learn that this movie was nominated for two academy awards. Yup, this Batman movie was nominated for Best Effects and Best Makeup. That sort of makes you laugh when you watch it, knowing what was nominated in years to come, but this comic book movie was made before every Tom, Dick and Harry decided making a comic book movie was the “it” thing to do.

I would like to end my review by saying Michele Pfeiffer makes one hell of a hotter Catwoman than Halle Berry, just sayin’.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman Forever (1995)