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Mental Review


Very Good

Even for a riotous Australian black comedy, this film packs in just a bit too much chaos. It's consistently smart and funny, with lively characters and especially witty dialog, but some of the sideroads never go anywhere. Still, there's so much terrific material in here that it's well worth a look for fans of the genre. And it's great to see Collette return home to reunite with her Muriel's Wedding director P.J. Hogan nearly 20 years after they launched their careers.

The story centres on suburban housewife Shirley (Gibney), who is obsessed with The Sound of Music and wishes her unruly family was more like the Von Trapps. But no, her husband (LaPaglia) is the town's philandering mayor, and their five daughters all think they're mentally ill. Then when Shirley herself ends up in a psych ward, Dad brings in the drifter Shaz (Collette) to watch the girls. She takes no prisoners, whipping them into shape while trying to give them some self-respect. She also shows them that the people society considers "normal" are probably crazier than they are. Meanwhile, eldest daughter Coral (Sullivan) gets a job at a shark exhibit run by a salty fisherman (Schreiber) who has a connection with Shaz.

Writer-director Hogan packs the film with rude references to The Sound of Music, from a pastiche pre-title sequence to Shaz's unconventional Maria-like approach to child-rearing (with heavy overtones of Mary Poppins). The film is colourful and sometimes too hyperactive, with Collette often going way over-the-top as the wildly unhinged Shaz, who also upends the life of their compulsive next-door neighbour (Fox). Much of this is simply too wacky for us to go along with, but other scenes are quietly insightful and very, very funny. Often at the same time.

Continue reading: Mental Review

Jerry Zucker and Planet Hollywood Tuesday 17th July 2012 SURF The Musical Songs of The Beach Boys opening night at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino

Jerry Zucker and Planet Hollywood
Jerry Zucker and Planet Hollywood

Jerry Zucker, Lisa Niemi and Lunt-Fontanne Theatre - Jerry Zucker and Lisa Niemi Monday 23rd April 2012 Broadway opening night of 'Ghost The Musical' at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre - Arrivals.

Jerry Zucker, Lisa Niemi and Lunt-fontanne Theatre

Friends With Benefits Review


Good
A smart, witty script and a likable cast help overcome the deep-seated rom-com cliches the filmmakers set out to deconstruct. But the central couple's strong chemistry and a stream of lively side characters keep us involved and entertained.

After a humiliating breakup, Dylan (Timberlake) meets with high-achieving headhunter Jamie (Kunis) about a new job. Friendship blossoms, and since Jamie is emotionally damaged after a recent split and Dylan is emotionally unavailable, they decide to sleep together without any deeper attachment.

Meanwhile, they get increasingly involved in each others' lives, most notably as Dylan and his sister (Elfman) cope with their senile father (Jenkins). Of course, the main question is whether Dylan and Jamie can remain friends even if they have sex.

Continue reading: Friends With Benefits Review

Fair Game Review


Good
This provocative, fascinating true story is told with so much righteous rage that the politics overwhelm the personal drama. Terrific acting and a sharp, brainy script hold our interest, but we never properly feel the emotional punch.

Valerie Plame (Watts) is a high-level CIA operative juggling teams in a variety of locations. In the wake of 9/11, her focus is on investigating Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons programme. Her husband, Joe Wilson (Penn), is the expert sent to Niger to investigate uranium rumours, but he finds no evidence.

And this is backed up by Valerie's discoveries from scientists in Iraq. So when Joe hears George W Bush lying in a State of the Union address, he writes a rebuttal. Enraged, Bush administration official Scooter Libby (Andrews) releases Valerie's identity.

Continue reading: Fair Game Review

Airplane! Review


Essential
If Airplane! isn't the funniest English-language movie ever made, it could at least get into some spirited comedy fisticuffs with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda, or Wayne's World for the title. It might win, too. The first non-sketch film from the team of Zucker (David), Abrahams, and Zucker (Jerry) established the joke-a-minute-spoof subgenre, frequented by various iterations of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team (not to mention several imitators); this means it gets credit for The Naked Gun, but also the blame for Scary Movie 2.

But Airplane! doesn't reign just by calling firsties. Or rather, it does - because it hit the bull's eye so dead-center that there wasn't much room left for other arrows. It purportedly spoofs the airplane-based disaster movies so popular at the time of its 1980 release, but much of the main plot (a scarred war pilot must attempt to land a passenger jet during a storm when the crew falls ill) and even some specific scene are lifted from the little-known 1957 B-movie Zero Hour (unseen by me); it simultaneously satirizes one particularly obscure film, '70s disaster films, and every bad B-movie you've ever seen.

Continue reading: Airplane! Review

My Best Friend's Wedding Review


Very Good
An out-and-out blatant chick flick from the first frame on, My Best Friend's Wedding will be as enjoyable to its female patrons as it is frustrating to its male ones. Yes, Julia Roberts is back, and in fine form -- playing Julianne, the bad girl, against Cameron Diaz's squeaky-clean bride-to-be (Kim). The best friend in question is Michael (Dermot Mulroney), Roberts's long-time confidant. When Michael reveals his imminent marriage, Julianne develops a jealousy to be reckoned with, and makes it her life's work to break up the couple.

In addition to its problems with alienating male viewers, the real flaw in My Best Friend's Wedding is the lack of chemistry between the Mulroney and Roberts. While I'd probably be a little shy smooching on Julia, hey, that's no excuse for a seasoned pro. Then there's also the minor detail that the trailer tells the story better than the film -- leaving some gaping plot holes -- but who's quibbling? Roberts is the one to watch here, along with Rupert Everett as her gay editor and co-conspirator in this mess. It's really these two that make this picture fun -- and funny. And it's in Wedding's fall-down funny moments that the picture really shines.

Continue reading: My Best Friend's Wedding Review

Unconditional Love Review


Weak
Great googly moogly, what have these filmmakers and stars gotten themselves into with Unconditional Love?

In a plot that I can only describe as inspired-by-peyote, Kathy Bates decides to head to rural Britain for the funeral of a murdered pop star after hubby Dan Aykroyd abruptly dumps her. Dressed in sequins and seen mainly in Six Feet Under-like flashbacks/materializations, Jonathon Pryce plays the pop star. As it turns out, pop star is gay and has left his estate to his lover (Rupert Everett). Bates and Everett then take it upon themselves to hunt down the murderer. What follows includes both Barry Manilow and Sally Jessy Raphael.

Continue reading: Unconditional Love Review

Rat Race Review


Very Good
Crazies, Lucille Ball impersonators, redneck garage mechanics, neo-Nazis, dykes on bikes, cross-dressers, electrified dogs, flying cows, vomit contests, vindictive girlfriends, and Rowan Atkinson's horrible Italian accent are the elements of success for Rat Race, the latest hilarious remake of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

I know how bad it sounds. But thanks to the comedic talents of Jon Lovitz, Atkinson, John Cleese, and Whoopi Goldberg, plus a sharp script written by Andy Breckman (a writer for TV Funhouse and one of the best Richard Pryor movies, Moving) Rat Race is much better than it should be. In the end, it's summer junk food for the soul.

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Top Secret! Review


Extraordinary
I don't care what the Zucker-Abrahams-Zuckers say, Top Secret! is the best parody/farce ever made.

On the new DVD's commentary track -- the trio behind Airplane!, Hot Shots, and a few other classic (and less classic) parodies -- the ZAZ crew are candid about being less than happy with their work in retrospect, and while the film is certainly dated, I still think it's a real winner.

Continue reading: Top Secret! Review

Airplane! Review


Essential
If Airplane! isn't the funniest English-language movie ever made, it could at least get into some spirited comedy fisticuffs with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda, or Wayne's World for the title. It might win, too. The first non-sketch film from the team of Zucker (David), Abrahams, and Zucker (Jerry) established the joke-a-minute-spoof subgenre, frequented by various iterations of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team (not to mention several imitators); this means it gets credit for The Naked Gun, but also the blame for Scary Movie 2.

But Airplane! doesn't reign just by calling firsties. Or rather, it does - because it hit the bull's eye so dead-center that there wasn't much room left for other arrows. It purportedly spoofs the airplane-based disaster movies so popular at the time of its 1980 release, but much of the main plot (a scarred war pilot must attempt to land a passenger jet during a storm when the crew falls ill) and even some specific scene are lifted from the little-known 1957 B-movie Zero Hour (unseen by me); it simultaneously satirizes one particularly obscure film, '70s disaster films, and every bad B-movie you've ever seen.

Continue reading: Airplane! Review

Jerry Zucker

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Jerry Zucker Movies

Mental Movie Review

Mental Movie Review

Even for a riotous Australian black comedy, this film packs in just a bit too...

Friends With Benefits Movie Review

Friends With Benefits Movie Review

A smart, witty script and a likable cast help overcome the deep-seated rom-com cliches the...

Fair Game Movie Review

Fair Game Movie Review

This provocative, fascinating true story is told with so much righteous rage that the politics...

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My Best Friend's Wedding Movie Review

My Best Friend's Wedding Movie Review

An out-and-out blatant chick flick from the first frame on, My Best Friend's Wedding will...

Unconditional Love Movie Review

Unconditional Love Movie Review

Great googly moogly, what have these filmmakers and stars gotten themselves into with Unconditional Love?In...

Rat Race Movie Review

Rat Race Movie Review

Crazies, Lucille Ball impersonators, redneck garage mechanics, neo-Nazis, dykes on bikes, cross-dressers, electrified dogs, flying...

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