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A Thousand Words: Another Eddie Murphy Stinker
This review can be summed up in one word; why? Why have a bunch of talented actors, namely Kerry Washington and Allison Janney, get themselves entangled in this mess? Why did Eddie Murphy think this was a good idea? Why did this calamity not go straight to DVD? Why is the man behind both this monstrosity and Adam Sandler’s latest train wreck - Jack & Jill - still writing screenplays?
Murphy plays Jack, a literary agent who, as is completely typical for a Murphy character, talks a mile a minute, spending half his time talking big and blathering on about nothing. His disposition makes him the complete opposite of the client he hopes to sign; a rock star guru with millions of devoted followers who preaches the economy of speech. Jack’s overselling of his capabilities and over-exaggeration of his devotion to and knowledge of the guru’s teachings causes a special tree to disappear from the guru’s ashram and mosey on over to Jack’s backyard. Jack soon comes to realise that for every word he speaks, a leaf falls off the tree and he gets progressively sicker. There are a thousand leaves left on the tree, if they all fall off before he figures out a way to reverse this situation, he dies.
By the midpoint of the film, you’re actively hoping that he hurries up and dies so that the film can be free to focus on Kerry Washington who is completely underrated. She is, without a doubt, this film‘s highlight but you can’t help but feel sorry for her that she’s starring in such a turd. She plays Jack’s wife Caroline who is having problems with her husband’s arrested development. He thinks a bachelor pad is a suitable environment in which to raise a child while she strongly disagrees, driving a wedge into their already fractured relationship. Their relationship takes another downturn when he’s forced to practically stop talking to save his life thus cutting off any attempts at communication that just may salvage their marriage. Clark Duke, who plays his spineless, idiotic assistant Aaron, wins the award for being the most annoying person on screen. Comedy really doesn’t seem to be his thing.
The film actually has a decent, if clichéd, concept. But Jack keeps running around silently freaking out the entire film, then all the emotional issues that have to be resolved - his relationship with his wife, mother and deceased dad - are bungled together in the last ten minutes of the film. Those ten minutes, while kind of hokey, are also the most interesting in the whole film. The rest of the film is the kind that’ll either put you to sleep or have you cringing over the fact that Murphy, one of the biggest names in comedy, has been reduced to doing this.
Since George A. Romero's 1968 Night of the Living Dead, flesh-eating Hollows – aka Zombies, Lurkers, Biters or the Undead – have become a part of a phenomenon that is still dominating the horror-scene today.
However, with the release of Nick Lyon's Rise of the Zombies, one can’t help but wonder: who in their right mind would allow for this TV movie travesty to be released in cinemas in Egypt?
Set in a run-down and abandoned San Francisco, Rise of the Zombie's opening scenes show a group of panic-stricken folks trying to escape from the hungry hands of the infected monsters. Their mission, unfortunately, soon fails and – thanks to a badly executed CGI car crash – everyone, apart from one young pregnant woman who manages to escape, is left behind as food.
The film then shifts focus to a different group of people who have taken refuge in the infamous Alcatraz Prison. The troop is led by the sturdy Dr. Lynn Snyder (Hemingway), fellow scientist Dr. Dan Helpern (Burton) and the barmy-looking Caspian (Trejo). While Dr. Helpern continues to do his research and find a cure to kill the 'virus' which has been spreading like wildfire, Dr. Snyder believes that it's the peculiar researcher, Dr. Arnold – who has been sending in video transmits from the mainland – has all the answers.
However, it's not long before the zombies – who have apparently learned how to swim over the years – infiltrate the prison, forcing its refugees to flee and search for another safe-house and quite possibly the cure for the fast-spreading 'infection'.
The producers and the distributors for this film – The Asylum – are known for their exclusively B-list, straight-to-DVD productions, and Rise of the Zombies is a complete mockery of a film from minute one. Apart from the plot being completely unoriginal, the characters – whose survival and well-being is imperative to drive the story – fail to register with the audience and the poorly scripted dialogue, and its flimsy delivery, only adds to the absurdity of it all, though the make-up isn’t entirely dreadful
Unfortunately, the cast – which includes a few recognisable faces – can’t rise above the shabby material. Hemingway, an actress who has been seen in a good share of mindless action flicks, has never been worse. Failing to add an ounce of personality to her character, she is almost robotic in her delivery, while badass Trejo looks embarrassed the entire way through.
Predictable, cheesy, and downright upsetting, Rise of the Zombies is definitely like no other zombie-fest you'll ever see – and that is not a compliment.
Subtlety has never really concerned Australian-born filmmaker, Baz Luhrmann. The man who brought us as Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge is both known and reviled for his dazzling and glitzy visual panache, and the notion of impossible love is forever present as the heart of his largely theatrical and melodramatic productions.
Flamboyant and extravagant, The Great Gatsby is visually striking, but when stripped down, has little to offer.
The film opens with a depressed and weary Nick Carraway (Maguire) who is being treated for alcoholism. Unable to articulate his thoughts on a man named Gatsby, he begins to put pen to paper under instructions from his doctors.
We then flash back to 1922, where Nick, then a bond salesman, moves to the fictional town of West Egg, nearby to his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Edgerton). Nick’s new home happens to neighbour that of a mysterious and elusive Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). An enigma to his neighbours, Gatsby perennially throws the most extravagant parties, but the millionaire generally lives his life as a recluse.
After discovering that Tom is having an affair, Nick receives an invitation to one of the Gatsby’s infamous parties. Once there, Gatsby reveals that he is still in love with Nick’s cousin Daisy, after a brief romantic encounter years before. As Nick slowly becomes entangled in the bizarre life of Gatsby, the cynicism and hypocrisy of West Egg’s inhabitants drives the characters to great lengths to preserve their own vanity and sense of self-importance.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel has continually struggled to translate onto the big-screen and previous adaptations have failed to capture the essence that made this the ‘Great American Novel’.
Disappointingly, Luhrmann’s stab at the project has yielded few improvements. The director’s trademark approach is extraordinary, and over-the-top doesn't begin to describe the flamboyant visual experience that he creates. But while for the most part it works, the unflinching visual style and the sweeping overhead shots prove to be a little too sensational for what is an intricate and complex plot.
However, the biggest downfall is the emotional hollowness of the story. Luhrmann fails to infuse emotional connections between the characters, while the soundtrack – which features everything from jazz and hip-hop to techno and dance – is every bit as awkward as it sounds.
Despite Luhrmann’s misguided post-modern motions, DiCaprio gives the film depth with an excellent interpretation of the eponymous character’s charm and allure. Meanwhile, Mulligan plays her character in a way that maintains her position as the object of desire perfectly; though she too is a victim of the absurdities of West Egg, it becomes difficult to surrender any sympathy to her. Maguire, on the other hand, shines in his wallflower role; although he is guilty of enabling many of the decisions that the characters make, he retains an innocence and naivety that is integral to the plot.
All in all, Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby fails to render the novel’s grandness in terms of plot, but taken as a whole package, the stylistics make for an entertaining piece of cinema.