Day 166 – Mr Deeds – 2002

Mr-Deeds

Another Adam Sandler film where he plays a man who is out of his depth thanks to coincidental life issues. Starring the main man, Winona Ryder and John Turturro the film was actually a remake of the 1936 film Mr Deeds goes to Town. Directed by Steven Brill (who actually has directed Adam Sandler in the Netflix Movies), it was released in 2002 to critics stating it was ‘stale and unoriginal’.

Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler) is a man who inherits his great uncles business after his passing. Being a simple natured man who earns his living by running the local pizza shop he is brought to NYC to see his new empire. At the same time the board of the company want him to sign the papers to sell the company and raise millions from it, and fire thousands of staff. Also he meets Babe Bennett a local girl who falls in love with deeds after making a deal with local media man Mac MacGrath (Jared Harris) to get in the inside scoop behind the business. Along for the ride is Deeds butler Emilio Lopez played by a charismatic and mysterious John Turturro.

The film is actually a remake, moving the timeline into our day and age. Unfortunately for Adam Sandler the execution and motives of Longfellow Deeds and why he does half the stuff in the film is not explained at thats where the film fumbles. Essentially Deeds gets 300 Million Dollars and good things with the money whilst the antagonists are trying to stop him with love and deception. Its a boring film which ultimately gets Deeds into some sticky situations but the filmmakers try to make it funny with gags and jokes that miss the punchline.

The film has a predicatble storyline, the cast are sidelined with a boring plot and the overall tone is missed thanks to poor generic acting from Adam Sandler. The film down righted sucked, just like Adam Sandlers other films such as Little Nicky, Big Daddys and his first film Going Overboard. He brought back the funny with Click, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Grown Ups, but unfortunately this film is a bad remake of what I think was a celebrated classic.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 131 – Solaris – 2002

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Solaris is actually a remake of the 1972 Russian film Solyaris directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. This time around the remake is directed by Steven Soderbergh and released in the UK in February 2003 to average reviews.

It tells the story of psychiatrist Chris Kelvin who has been approached by space agency DBA who have issues with scientists on their shuttle orbiting the planet known as Solaris. He is sent there to figure out why the scientists have not left the ship and returned home, and the status of the team. He arrived on Solaris to disturbing scenes of dried blood and two dead scientists. He meets Snow (Jeremy Davis) who is apprehensive at Kelvin, and also Dr Gordon (Viola Davis) who confines herself to her quarters. They tell him of hallucinations of bizarre proportions on the ship, essential taking the thing they love the most and it becoming real. While asleep Kelvin thinks of his deceased wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone), and the last time he saw her which was dead in his arms thanks to the aborted abortion. He wakes up to her on his bed laying next to him. Him thinking it’s an illusion puts her in an escape pod and jettisons it into space. The next day she returns and explains that she loves him but feels incomplete. She is a copy of Rheya taken from Kelvin’s thoughts and memories. The team have to figure out why the copies have appeared and what to do next.

The beauty of the film is the how the characters deal with the outsiders. On one hand, they welcome the visitors, but on the other, they are afraid thanks to the thoughts they behold. In Chris Kelvin’s case, Rheya is angry and emotional thanks him remembering her like that so her persona is like that. Dr Gordon killed her copy thanks to her logical thinking and emotional overload thanks to it appearing. Dr Gibarian, the man who invited Chris Kelvin to the ship to work out what was going on has his child as the visitor which meant he loved his son. The great thing about the remake is the scope that Director Steven Soderbergh has on the plot. The basis of the film takes place in 3 places. Kelvin’s house, the ship main rec room and Kelvins room on the ship. 3 centric places to infect the viewer with ambiguous answers that create a sense of loss of humanity on the ship. The film is slow, but that’s what makes it great. Soderbergh uses the score to mask the ships noise to create a vibe that is uneasy and cerebral to the mind.

This is the kind of film the audience either loves or hates, and the first 10 minutes usually decide that. A tale of the human condition, kill something you love to save others or sacrifice it all for the sake of love. Soderbergh has revisited a classic tale from the 70s and created something unique with it that can only be shown in the right context. Top notch performances from George Clooney and Natascha McElhone who provide the majority of the screen time. You can feel the chemistry as soon as they appear on screen, something that Soderbergh has hit correctly.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 126 – The Tuxedo – 2002

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The only reason I watched this was it had Jackie Chan in it. Who doesn’t love Jackie Chan, he is a lovable person and his characters usually convey the same feeling. Humble. He co-stars with Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Jason Isaacs who are perfectly cast as the love interest and secret agent that he gets mixed up with. Jackie Chan films are not story heavy, and you can usually watch half of it and gather the main plot details which are great.

This time around he plays Jimmy Tong, a cab driver who starts to work for secret agent Clark Devlin as his chauffeur. One day he is driving and himself and Devlin are attacked. With Devlin in the hospital, Tong is in the mansion waiting for his boss to get better but as he does some snooping, he comes across his Bosses suit collection. Being Jackie Chan he tries on The Tuxedo and is propelled into a world of action, spies and lavish parties. The suit is a weapon that can turn the person wearing it into an action man. Tong then impersonated Clark Devlin and has Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt) on his case to find a secret weapon that could turn the world’s water supply into a deadly weapon. It’s an absurd plot, but an enjoyable one.

Jackie Chan films have an abundance of one thing. Slapstick action comedy. He lives and breathes it. Every film you watch with him in it, it usually involves him getting hurt while kicking the ass of someone else. Chan is charming, with his fun attitude taking centre stage in conjunction with the slapstick action he is well known for.

The plot of the film is daft. Why would a secret agent keep a secret suit that enables the user to do anything they want to do inside his non-secure home. What a silly idea that the producers have come up with. And why would a chauffeur try it on. Bizzare. Jenniffer Love Hewitt plays the agent assigned to look after Clark Devlin (with Jackie Chans Jimmy Tong impersonating him) and is usually the but end of the joke with the majority of the jokes aimed at her ample chest. James Brown is also in the film, playing himself which is always great but unfortunately is put in the backseat thanks to powers of The Tuxedo. I didn’t imagine that a suit can give the wearer the ability to sing. Weird right? The funny thing about t

The funny thing about the film is that it shared the same year that Spy Kids 2 came out. Both were critically panned, but the difference was one was a kids film and the other was aimed at adults. Can you guess which fared at the box office?

I love Jackie Chan, and so should you. The film is weak, but Chan’s comedic delights can make you overcome the shortcomings of the overall film. Watch it and enjoy. Popcorn fun at its best.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 102 – Barbershop – 2002

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A comedic tale about a ghetto barbershop ran by an adolescent Ice Cube, who by the looks of it has graduated from the streets from the film Friday. Hosting a large cast of characters, all who of which have small but integral stories linked by a sense of community that the barbershop holds. It also launched Eve and Michael Ealy into stardom thanks to their exceptional debut performances.

Calvin Parmer runs the local barbershop, thanks to his father leaving it to him. He used to spend all his savings on getting rich schemes, all of which have made him almost broke. He employs a variety of characters at the shop with the most notable being Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), Ricky Nash (Michael Ealy) and Terri Jones (Eve). They all work with various clients at the store and have some great dialogue across the film.

The story was written to showcase the positive attitudes that black Americans had in the USA, as many features films before seemed to showcase them in a negative light. Being a shop thief, or as a bully across television and film. This film showcased them as positive role models, who like all of us had goals in life of which we wanted to succeed at. The dialogue between characters is witty, realistic and fun. Now and again the mood in the barbershop is altered to be bittersweet but is always turned around to showcase the human mentality of which everyone in the shop has.

The has its humorous moments, most of which take place in the barbershop. But there was another side story with Anthony Anderson character JD, who steals an ATM at the beginning of the film and shows him trying to humourous open the safe and get the money. The only problem is that he can’t get in, and tries numerous methods to get inside.

The beauty of the barbershop was that it brought all these people together as a community and more importantly as a family. This representation of the black community and its surroundings showcased to the world what kind of film could be made. From that point onwards a plethora of imitators came along and tried to generate the same kind of feeling in motion pictures. Some worked, some did not. A prime example of a successful picture was Madea’s Family Reunion starring Tyler Perry. Barbershop was a great film, full of generous characters all of which try to do the best thing for their community. There are moments which make it cliche with regards to the over emphasized African accent on a certain character, but this is supported by his side story of trying to find love in America, which made it more applicable to the film and its audience.

Overall an interesting look into the workings of an inner city barbershop. A taste is taken from Coming to America, but then tweaked to today’s audience with authenticity and realistic characters. Ice Cube proactively trying to honour his deceased father, all while trying to move on with his life, and not destroying the legacy of the barbershop and its inhabitants. Shame about the badly photoshopped poster.

Should you watch it: YES