Purple Rain (1984) – Review

3 Stars

With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

I’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice, and I’m still not clear on every plot development that transpires throughout. Unfortunately, this highly anticipated pairing of the most popular characters within the DC Comic universe is just as ungainly as its wordy title. This is an unwieldy epic that has moments of cinematic exuberance and others that display the current weakness of the over-saturated genre. Still, the visual style and filmmaking verve of director Zack Synder often off-sets the films shortcomings.
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Disclosure (1994) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

One of top twenty grossing film from 1994, six of them were adapted from popular novels. Including the year’s highest grossing film, Forrest Gump. Amongst the big-screen book to movie conversions from literary heavyweights Anne Rice, Tom Clancy and John Grisham, Michael Crichton’s Disclosure holds it own in that fine company. In a particularly strong year for adaptions, Disclosure is surely the most lurid,trashy, and erotic of the bunch. Written by former movie critic turned scriptwriter Paul Attansio and directed with low-key professionalism by Barry Levinson, Disclosure is the second best movie made from Crichton’s literary canon.
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Raw Deal (1986) – Review

2 Stars

Raw Deal is the second installment of an unofficial trilogy involving cops taking down Chicago mobsters. The other bookends would be Code of Silence and Above the Law, each features an action icon from the eighties and bad guys who drive big Cadillacs, and wear expensive suits. Raw Deal is the weakest link in the chain, not because of Schwarzenegger or the direction from John Irvin, but rather an overly complicated screenplay that jettisons sub-plots and characters for easy set-ups and lazy pay-offs.
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Stroker Ace (1983) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Stroker Ace was the most popular film ever made about NASCAR until 1990’s Days of Thunder came and presented the sport, and its drivers in a less comedic light. This Burt Reynolds star vehicle is the most professionally polished of all the film made with long-time director/friend/stuntman Hal Needham. To watch this film today is to witness the last hurrah of a movie star in a vanity project backed by a large budget and full studio promotion. Sure, Cannonball Run II and City Heat would out-preform Stroker in terms of box-office prowess, but Ace is Reynolds’ last true good ‘ol boy flick, and it holds a certain appeal because of that.
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Top Secret! (1984) – Review

3 Stars

Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, the creators of Airplane and The Naked Gun series, spoof World War II spy movies, and 1950’s Elvis musicals, with smart sight gags and funny dialogue. Top Secret! doesn’t hit the high bar set by those two other classics from the trio of comedic filmmakers, but it’s still a lot of fun.
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Rough Cut (1980) – Review

2 Stars

It’s become part of the James Bond mythology that American actor Burt Reynolds was approached by series producer Albert R. Broccoli to take over the role for the departing Sean Connery. Thankfully, for Reynolds and audiences this never came to fruition. Yet, Rough Cut feels like a glimpse of what could have been. Hitchcock movies, Cary Grant pictures, and The Italian Job all seem to be heavy inspirations for this troubled film, that saw three directors exited during a tumultuous production.
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King Kong (2005) – Review

4 Stars

Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong is marvelous and meticulous entertainment. No expense has been spared or shortcuts taken in delivering the ‘wow’ factor multiple times throughout the course of its lighting quick 183 minute running-time. Don’t let the elongated length dissuade you from the film, there is hardly a dull moment as the characters are thrown together on a steamer headed to the mysterious Skull Island. The film has been structured as three major movements from the depression era streets of New York to battling all sorts of prehistoric creatures and then climaxing with a battle atop the Empire State Building.
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Steel (1997) – Review

1/2 Star

Fanboys and websites love to debate about the worst comic book movie ever made. Often times Batman & Robin, Elektra and Fantastic Four are cited as the worst cinematic representation of our illustrated superheroes. But Steel is by far the most inept, poorly produced, and plain boring of all the DC or Marvel properties that have graced the silver screen thus far. Based on a little known character from the pages of the Superman mythos, Steel has been removed from his comic book storyline, given a new origin story, and a fabricated antagonist.
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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) – Review

3 Stars

Before the resurgence and eventual domination of the box-office by superheroes, this 1993 animated theatrical release was considered one of the greatest superhero films of all time, regardless of the fact it ran concurrently with the television show. Among fans of the Caped Crusader there was a debate that raged from 1993 to 2005. Is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm better than the live-action films of the Burton/Schumacher era?
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Black Sheep (1996) – Review

2 Stars

Black Sheep is remembered by most film buffs as the infamous film that esteemed film critic Gene Siskel walked out on. During their television program, Siskel & Ebert, Mr. Siskel stated that the film was clearly unwatchable and so lazy in its writing,direction, and acting that he couldn’t tolerate another minute. While I agree with the argument, I’ve seen much worse, lets not forget that Bio-Dome was released just a few months prior, and Chris Farley’s hard work to please produces, at least, a few chuckles.
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