Sunday, February 28, 2010

Super Fuzz

I saw this movie for the first time sometime in the early 1980's on HBO when I was a kid. I recall thinking it was funny and that the music was awesome. When we joined Netflix a few years ago I looked up this movie and it was not available. However, Netflix allowed you to add it to your queue and when it became available it would be listed as one of the available movies.

A few weeks ago I noticed that the move was moved from the "Saved" DVD queue up to my active DVD queue. And last week it was released to the public. However, I didn't get it until Friday. And I watched it....on Friday.

Super Fuzz is about a rookie cop named Dave Speed (Terence Hill - the famous Italian actor) who is sent by Sgt. Willy Dunlop (Ernest Borgnine) to an offshore island (as a prank) to serve a parking ticket warrant. What neither of them knew was that a nuclear bomb was going to be tested over the island. Dave Speed survives the explosion and suddenly finds that he has super powers. However, his super powers seem to come and go and he doesn't know why.

Officer Speed returns to duty and drives his Sergeant crazy with his new powers, which the sarg doesn't believe. Meanwhile, Sarg has a giant crush on Rosy Labouche (Joanne Dru) and learns that she is coming to town. What he doesn't know is that she is tied to the local mob. When Rosy learns how to disable Officer Speed's powers, she frames him for the murder of Sarg. Can justice be served before Officer Speed is put to the electric chair?

Originally released in Italy and named Poliziottot Superpiu in 1980, Super Fuzz was directed by Italian director Sergio Corbucci who directed many unfamous Italian movies. Rated PG for some minor violence, a little cussing, and an almost topless dancer, Super Fuzz is 97 minutes long and also stars Marc Lawrence and Julie Gordon as Speed's girlfriend.

The movie is super cornie. The special effects are very funny, even by 1980 standards. The music is groovy. I've never heard a single song played in one movie as much as "Super Super" was played throughout Super Fuzz. However, it's quintessential 80's. If you like all things 80's you will love this movie. And for this I give Super Fuzz 5 stars. Even my kids thought it was funny. And that makes it a winner!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everybody's Fine

Recently released to DVD and sent to me by Netflix, Everybody's Fine is Robert De Niro's latest movie.

De Niro plays Frank, a recent widower, who plans a big family weekend at his house. Unfortunately, his four kids are spread out all over the country and he hasn't seen them since his wife died 8 months ago. After all of them cancel their visit, he decides to visit them individually. After dropping in unexpectedly at his first son David's he finds that he is not there, so he head's off to his daughter Amy's house, then the other kids. But each child has an excuse as to why they can't spend time with him.

At each house he finds that things aren't quite what he expected. He is slowly learning things about his children that he didn't know. His high expectations of them were shielded by his wife, but without her the truth starts to be revealed, and all is not rosy. Many scenes are accompanied with flashbacks to his children as he remembers them when they were younger. Pay attention to the details of this movie because many of them come back to you at the end.

Robert De Niro is great in this movie. If you are in your late 20's, 30's, or even early 40's - this is your dad. His little idiosyncrasies and total lack of acceptance of today will totally remind you of your father. I think this is one of his finest performances in a while.

Judging the movie by the cover you would think it was a comedy. After all they are all smiling, right? While there are funny parts to the movie, this is no comedy. This is a gut-wrenching tear-jerker. At the end of the movie my wife said it sucked. Then this morning she commented that she can't stop thinking about it. This made me think that it wasn't the movie that sucked, it was the sad situations that she didn't like. The movie definitely has a lasting impression.

In addition to De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, and Kate Beckinsale star as his children. Directed by Kirk Jones (who also did Nanny McPhee and Waking Ned Devine), Everybody's Fine is 99 minutes long and Rated PG-13 for "thematic elements" and some brief language, but also many scenes that will bring you to tears unless you absolutely have no heart.

Though not what I expected, the movie definitely had a solid impact and was sad and depressing. For bringing out these emotions, I think this movie deserves 4 stars.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fired Up!

I picked this movie up at the library because of the cute girl on the front cover and the tag line: "2 Guys. 300 Girls. You do the math." That can't be too bad, can it?

In the movie Shawn (Nicholas D'Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) learn that their tournament football game will not be in Daytona, Florida this year, but rather in Texas. They decide that rather than playing that game, they'd join the cheerleader squad with the opportunity to hook up with girls. This is not that far-fetched an idea. I had 2 roommates that did the same thing.

The fast-talking Shawn makes waves with the girls, but finds himself attracted to Diora (Molly Sims), the wife of the nerdy camp coordinator. Nick, on the other hand, instead of chasing girls falls for Carly (Sarah Roemer), the chear captain and the girlfriend of douche bag Dr. Rick (David Walton), who's not really a doctor. Additionally, while initially attending the camp to hook up with girls, they find that they actually enjoy cheering and are pretty darn good at it.

The movie runs in the same vein as American Pie. Some of the dialog is hysterical. The girls are all hot. And like any good comedy, the good guys win in the end.

I wouldn't be surprised if this movie went straight to video. I don't recall it in the theaters. If it was in the theaters it was probably there for 3 days.

Directed by Will Gluck, Fired Up! is 89 minutes long. The version that I watched said it was unrated and a synopsis of it on Wikipedia says that the unrated version has nudity and language, but I can tell you what I watched had no nudity and limited potty-language. So I'm not sure what I watched. If I had to guess, the version I watched would have been rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo, some minor language, and some minor violence.

Fired Up! was a good cheap laugh. There was several memorable lines which I've gladly been using on my friends. For this, I give Fired Up! 3 stars.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This is the original Fame. I remember the television show as a kid and who doesn't remember the song? "Fame! I gonna live forever!" Every fancy kid on the block was singing that one. However, I had never seen the movie. When I heard that the movie was being remade I figured it was as good a time as ever to watch.

Fame The Original Movie is about a school for the performing arts in New York City. The movie starts with a bunch of 20 year olds doing rehearsals trying to gain entrance into each of the school's programs, such as acting, ballet, and orchestra (I guess). As you would expect from a school of artsy people, there is a lot of drama on and off of the stage.

There are several running plots in the movie. Two of the main characters are Doris (Maureen Teegy) and Ralph Garcie (Barry Miller). Doris is the shy daughter of an over-bearing mother and this is her opportunity to break free in life. Ralph Garcie is the talented actor and dancer with an attitude. Another character, Paul McCrane, plays Montgomery, the white-afro-haired kid who we all assume is gay (a gay guy in a performing arts movie? Shocking!) He later stared in ER and 24, 2 of the best 2-character shows on TV. Finally, we have the rich white girl who gets pregnant from a black guy. This is like one step further than Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

As the 20 year olds are guided through each of their years in school (and don't age), they learn from themselves and each other to be the best they can be. Yeah, sounds like an advertisement for a bad movie on the Hallmark Channel.

Besides the expected drama, I was a bit shocked at the amount of nudity in the movie. I'm not complaining. Just shocked. Aren't these supposed to be high school kids? And there was a lot of cussing. Do artsy people cuss that much? The movie is a bit dated, but was still an overly average movie.

Directed by Alan Parker, produced by Alan Marshall, and staring Alan Vetter, Fame is Rated R for nudity, language, and I guess in 1980 dealing with the issue of homosexuality, which in 2010 we really don't bat an eye at. Fame is 134 minutes of drama, singing, and fine 80's pop-dance music.

As I said, an average movie. It was interesting to see New York in 1980. The dancing clothes were historically hysterical. And some of the acting was quite comical. And there is a cameo by the 26 year old Richard Belzer who later gained fame (no pun intended) in Homicide and Law and Order. Average is as average is. 3 stars for Fame, the original movie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My One and Only

Based on the true story of actor George Hamilton's childhood, My One and Only follows George's life across the country with his brother and mother after she leaves George's father.

Renee Zellweger is George's mom in this movie set in the late 1950's and rather than finding a job she finds it much classier to just find a nice man to marry. Several marriages and several different cities later they find themselves in California trying to make their life work. Meanwhile, George's father, played by Kevin Bacon, travels the country as the band leader for a big lounge band and occasionally runs into George (played by Logan Lerman).

Starting in New York City,the family trio go from Boston, to Pittsburgh, to St. Louis, and finally to Los Angeles. The movie is fairly funny with George's brother Robbie (Mark Rendall) stealing the show with his flamboyant quips. However, like many people in life, they are always running and never finding happiness. George wants to be a writer and Robbie wants to be an actor, while their mother wants to be married. Life may not turn out like they expect.

Also staring in the movie are David Koechner, Troy Quinn, and newcomer Molly C. Quinn.

My One and Only is Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, which was brief, but funny, and some language.

Directed by Richard Loncraine, who also did Firewall, this movie is an hour and 45 minutes long.

I thought this movie was decent. It kept me chuckling throughout and I enjoyed the subtle humor. I give My One and Only 4 stars.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blame It On Rio

I don't normally blog about older movies, but now and then one catches my attention for more than the movie. Blame It On Rio is one of those movies.

When this movie came out I was 11 years old. I remember seeing those sexy trailers on television and couldn't wait until the movie would be shown on Caltech Television (predecessor to Comcast) so that I could sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and watch it. Now that I'm 37, the only sneaking that I need to do is to do so so that my children don't see the movie.

Blame It On Rio stars movie friends Michael Caine as Matthew Collins and Joseph Bologna as Victor Lyons, Valerie Harper as Michael Caines' wife Karen, and Michelle Johnson as Jennifer Lyons and Demi Moore as Nikki Hollis, the daughters.

The plot of the movie is that Matthew and is wife are going through some difficult times and she decides to vacation elsewhere, leaving Matthew, Victor, and the girls to vacation in Rio de Janeiro without her. While on the vacation, Victor's daughter Jennifer shares her feelings with Matthew, who is 28 years older than her. He fights her off, but after she prances around naked for a while, he gives in and they make love - several times. Her friend and his daughter Nikki find out about it and now Matthew struggles with trying to end the relationship and whether or not he should tell his best friend Victor.

The movie is filled with the 80's, from Michael Jackson songs to big poofy hair styles. What intrigued me as an 11 year old still intrigued me as a 37 year old - lots of boobies. However, when reading about the movie I found out that the full frontal nude scene that Michelle Johnson did was recorded when she was only 17 years old. Scandalous.

Released in 1984, Blame It On Rio is rated R for some language, some minor violence, lots of breasts, and 2 seconds of underage nudity. The movie is an hour and 50 minutes long.

As with most movies that show a lot of skin, the plot is thin, and it rhymes. Despite the 11 year old in me, I give this movie 3 stars. The 11 year old rates it much higher.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Star Trek

This movie is a little late, but I finally got around to seeing it. As is the trend with most movies now, you show several iterations of it, then you go back and recreate how they got there. Remember the Star Wars double-trilogy, X-Men, to name a couple.

In this release of another Star Trek movie, we are taken back to when James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is born, a brief glimpse of his youth, and his unflattering attendance at Star Fleet Academy. Meanwhile, they also parallel Spock's youth and his rise to an officer in the Star Fleet (Spock (Zachary Quinto) is a bit older than Kirk).

The plot is confangled and a bit difficult to summarize, but basically the Romulans have attacked the Vulcans and there's a time warp and some treachery going on. After the captain of the Enterprise is taken hostage, it's up to Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov to save the Enterprise and Earth from Nero, the evil Romulan. The movie is full of action, pretty decent computer graphics, and sound effects.

The movie earned nominations for awards including a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack Album, and several People's Choice nominations: Breakout Actress, Breakout Actor, Favorite Franchise, Favorite Movie, though the movie walked away from each empty-handed.

Directed and produced by J.J. Adams, Star Trek is PG-13 for science fiction violence and some minor sexual content. And when you get to that part, the color on your screen is correct. She's green.

Also staring in the movie are Eric Bana (Captain Nero), Leonard Nimoy as old Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu (from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle), Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and Winona Ryder as Spock's mother.

I really really enjoyed watching this movie and look forward to the sequel. I freely give this new Star Trek movie 5 stars. I will definitely watch it again.

Whip It!

When I saw that a movie titled Whip It! was coming out I figured it was a movie about the 1980's band Devo who was known as one of the one-hit wonders known for their song Whip It!. However, this movie had nothing to do with Devo. Nor did anyone in the movie have a red plastic flower pot on their head.

Whip It! stars Ellen Page, the young girl who seems to be type-cast as the disenfranchised teenager of her generation, though she's actually 23 years old. You'll remember her as the pregnant girl from Juno, the one that you wondered why in the hell she had sex with Michael Cera. But I digress.

In Whip It! (let me add that typing the name of this movie is driving me crazy because it ends in a punctuation mark and the auto correct wants to capitalize the next letter), Bliss is a young high schooler whose mother (Marcia Gay Harden) is living vicariously through her and pushing her to be in beauty contests, which Bliss could not care less about. Bliss finds a flyer about joining a roller derby in nearby Austin, Texas. She sneaks out of town and joins the roller derby despite being too young. And to her surprise, she's really good. What happens when her disingenuous commitment to beauty pageantry and her secret life as a roller derby collide?

Whip It! Is directed by Drew Barrymore, who also stars in the movie, along with Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis (sorry, that woman is getting nasty looking!), and Jimmy Fallon. Lower on the billing is Daniel Stern who plays Bliss' father. You'll remember him as the narrator of The Wonder Years.

Whip It! is 2 hours long and is rated PG-13 for some mild sexual content, crude dialog, language, drug use, and some violence (it is a roller-derby!).

I really enjoyed the movie, though I thought the middle was a bit long. It could have been a better movie if it was about 20 minutes shorter. However, the movie made me laugh and that's important. I liked it enough to give it 4 stars.
My Zimbio