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Friday, June 28, 2013

Critical Condition (1987)
















Starring:
  • Richard Pryor
  • Rachel Ticotin
  • RubĂ©n Blades
IMDB.com
Kevin Lennihan is a con artist. But this time he's framed and comes before a judge. By claiming insanity, he hopes to get off the hook. He manages to end up in a hospital on Governor's Island, off the coast of New York for a mental examination. That night, a storm breaks out over the area, and the electricity to the hospital is broken. In the ensuing chaos that follows, Kevin is taken for a doctor, Eddie Slattery. Suddenly, he is in charge of a whole hospital!

This rather mediocre comedy from 1987 was produced at the height of Richard Pryor's (somewhat unfortunate) lapse into brain dead motion picture comedies. However, like most of his films, Pryor made standard, silly concepts -- in this case, a man mistaken for a doctor forced into pretending to be on -- amusing.

Pryor plays a framed jewel thief who pleads insanity and is sent to a hospital for mental check-ups. However, once there is is mistaken for an actual doctor, and continues the charade to avoid being charged with a crime he didn't commit, etc.

It's got a lot of obvious jokes that get old in five minutes - this would be an effective "SNL" skit, NOT a full-length movie. The problem with standard concepts such as these is mainly that once you've accomplished your goal -- ha ha a man pretending to be a doctor who doesn't know anything about medical practice, that's hilarious! -- there's nowhere left to go. So they add boring and uninteresting subplots, typically romances which end with the mistaken man confessing he isn't who the woman who loves him thought he was, they break up, and then they get back together again for a happy ending in which she realizes that she really loves him for who he is, not for what he is.

That said, Pryor makes this entertaining - more so than it should be.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fakin' Da Funk (1997)
















Starring:
  • Ernie Hudson
  • Pam Grier
  • Duane Martin
IMDB.com
Chinese kid Julian, who was adopted by the black family of Joe and Annabelle Lee and Asian exchange student May-Ling, who is housed with a black family, are trying to adapt to their mostly black neighborhood of South Central.

One thing I will never understand about the film world is why the best comedies are never appreciated. This film ceases to have a dull moment and this largely can be credited to the writers who have a great visual style of comedy.

Fakin' Da Funk is one of my favorite movies. There's at least one joke a minute. A lot of it is John Witherspoon's dry humor though so if you don't like that, this movie isn't for you. However, many jokes are very clever with perfect timing. This is one of the most original comedies to be made in the past 10 years.

Director Tim Chey clearly deserves a lot of credit for giving these two the freedom to basically just do their acts.

Fallen (1998)
















Starring:
  • Denzel Washington
  • John Goodman
  • Donald Sutherland
IMDB.com
Det. John Hobbes is convinced that when killer Edgar Reese is executed, all of his troubles are over. But when people he knows and people on the street start to sing the same tune that Reese sang in the gas chamber, and those same people taunt him, he is told that maybe the cursed fallen angel Azazel is behind it all. Azazel is cursed to roam the Earth without a form, and he can switch bodies by any contact, making him hard to track. When Hobbes is forced to kill a man possessed by Azazel, he must clear his name while protecting his family and others from the evil, vengeful Azazel.

After my initial viewing of the movie, Fallen, I knew that I had just seen a brilliant film. However, I did have a few questions, mostly concerning plot holes and things of that nature, so I immediately watched the parts in question again and found that everything ties in nicely with very few, if any, plot holes. If there are, I can not find them.

John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) is a homicide detective who apprehended a killer named Reese, who is put to death for his crimes. Upon witnessing his execution, Hobbes continues on with his life until similar murders happen to catch his attention. It turns out that Reese was possessed by the demon, Azazel. Azazel is able to transfer himself from human to human simply by touching them, in most cases. So Azazel eventually finds himself a human host and begins another murder trail, confusing detectives by killing someone and leaving his hosts fingerprints and other evidence, then switching bodies and killing his previous host. As you can see, this can wreak havoc on a detective trying to solve these murders. Luckily, Azazel is more interested in exacting revenge on Hobbes than keeping his game a secret and lets Hobbes in on it, which is where the movie really takes off.

The directing and camera work in this movie was superb. It was done in such a way where you can see Azazel's spirit go from person to person simply by following the camera up and down the crowd and watching the subtle touches one makes in a normal walk about town.

Although this movie does require your full attention, it does not go unrewarded and you are not left at the end scratching your head wondering what had happened for the past 2 hours. All the answers to your questions are in there and that is why I think this movie is way above average. Why I have not heard of this movie before is beyond me. I think maybe the title came across as a bit generic, which the film is anything but. It comes highly recommended by me. 9.5/10

Candyman 3: Day Of The Dead (1999)




















Starring:
  • Tony Todd
  • Donna D'Errico
  • Jsu Garcia
IMDB.com
The Candyman returns to try to convince his female descendent, an artist, to join him as a legendary figure. To this end, he frames her for a series of hideous murders of her friends and associates so that she has nowhere else to turn to.

For some reason, the third part of a trilogy always disappoints me, if only slightly. And that's just what Candyman 3: Day of the Dead does: slightly, not heavily, disappoints.

It seems that Caroline (the now-grown-up daughter of Annie from the second film) is on her in LA. She owns Daniel Robetaille's (the Candyman) paintings which she has chosen to show at the gallery of an aspiring artist.

Tempted by her friends, she says the Candyman's name five times because she feels she'll be doing him justice by proving his supposed non-existence. Although nothing happens while she is at the gallery opening, her life later begins to unravel as she finds the vengeful spirit slaughtering everyone around her (he killed her mother years before), with only Caroline appearing to be suspect.

Co-produced by Tony Todd, this somewhat hokey (and hopefully FINAL) entry to the Candyman films is not that bad. Although I consider anything to outwit its bland and tepid predecessor, this is not much better with acting (Donna D'Errico's Caroline is a shrieking wimp at best), and our heroine seems to exist only to scream, fill out a tank top, and see her friends slaughtered in extremely gory fashion.

The Latin "Day of the Dead" festival has almost no relevance in this film, as its concept is only used in one scene I can think of, but then again, it wouldn't have been wise to just call this entry "Candyman 3" and leave it at that. Let's hope after this fairly decent entry that film makers will do what they should...leave it at that.

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