30 June 2013

30 June - "There are no second chances here. This is the last chance house"

Double Jeopardy (1999)
Double Jeopardy (1999) Poster
dir. Bruce Beresford (Black Robe, 1991)


Tommy Lee Jones (Small Soldiers, 1998)
Ashley Judd (Flypaper, 2011)
Jay Brazeau (Watchmen, 2009)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek into Darkness, 2013)
John Maclaren (The Day After Tomorrow, 2004)
Annabeth Gish (Beautiful Girls, 1996)
Michael Gaston (Hackers, 1995)
Gillian Barber (Jumanji, 1995)
Daniel Lapaine (The 10th Kingdom (TV mini-series), 2000)
Roger R. Cross (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2008)
Keegan Connor Tracy (White Noise, 2005)
Dave Hager (Lincoln, 2012)
Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator, 2000)

Although the essential premise, that having been framed and convicted for the murder of her husband Ashley Judd as Elizabeth Parsons can now hunt down and execute her two-timing, death-faking husband without fear of legal repercussion, is inherently flawed (they could still charge her with a multitude of other offenses), the idea is still a fun one to explore. Double Jeopardy may be near the top of the list as far as my favorite movies go. Of course, that it is basically a female-driven version The Fugitive doesn't hurt, replete with Tommy Lee Jones' Travis Layman being essentially the same as his Lt. Samuel Gerard.

Ashley Judd lends her own flair, however, and adds herself to the delightful group of leading ladies who can reasonably pull of the character of a mom-who-kicks-ass. Tommy Lee Jones, in turn, complements but doesn't overshadow, and is totally comfortable in his familiar space of a crotchety official who gradually begins to believe in the mission of his adversary.

Also, when Parsons surprises her incognito husband at a bachelor auction: delightful!

29 June 2013

29 June - "The bat's stubborn refusal to expire is driving us insane"

Batman Forever (1995)
Batman Forever (1995) Poster

dir. Joel Schumacher (Twelve, 2010)

Val Kilmer (Heat, 1995)
Tommy Lee Jones (Double Jeopardy, 1999)
Jim Carrey (Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986)
Nicole Kidman (The Golden Compass, 2007)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy, 1992)
Chris O'Donnell (The Three Musketeers, 1993)
Rene Auberjonois (The Patriot, 2000)
Joe Grifasi (13 Going on 30, 2004)
Pat Hingle (Hang 'em High, 1968)
Kimberly Scott (Love and Other Drugs, 2010)
Debi Mazar (Collateral, 2004)
Michael Gough (Sleepy Hollow, 1999)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man 2, 2010)

Some will say that there's little to be gained in watching the '90s Batman franchise films, especially once Michael Keaton cut out of the picture, and while Batman Forever lacks the Tim Burtonyness of the earlier two films, it's still a delightful colorscape which balances the gloom and dourness of the perpetually distopian Gotham City with the neon light show of its villains, Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Two-Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler (also known as every Jim Carrey character from the '90s).

12 June 2013

12 June - "Philosophy failed. Religion failed. Now it's up to the physical sciences."

Flatliners (1990)

dir. Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, 1995)

Kiefer Sutherland (Twelve, 2010)
William Baldwin (The Squid and the Whale, 2005)
Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class, 2011)
Julia Roberts (Mary Reilly, 1996)
Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class, 2011)
Beth Grant (Rango, 2011)
Benjamin Mouton (Basic Instinct, 1992)
Kimberly Scott (Batman Forever, 1995)
Julie Warner (Tommy Boy, 1995)
Patricia Belcher ((500) Days of Summer, 2009)
Jim Ortlieb (Home Alone, 1990)
Angela Paton (Joe Dirt, 2001)
Ingrid Oliu (Stand and Deliver, 1988)

I'm not sure what genre to categorize this as. It may just be a tame horror movie, but you may just want to generically slot it under suspense or drama. When in doubt, do as my friends at Vision Video do, and put on the drama shelf. The premise is that a group of medical students--and I would love to know where they filmed the creepy, converted-seminary hospital scenes--kill and then resuscitate each other into order to explore the phenomenon of near-death experience. They discover that experimenting with brain-death gives them quite a scare, and each character (except for Oliver Platt) is forced to face the wrongs they have committed in the past.

As I said, this movie has remarkably lovely (in a spooky way) sets which feel as if they are heavy with symbolism but probably aren't (just like a Wes Anderson movie). The character development is subtle but effective, you feel as if you know enough about each person by knowing very little. It's the kind of conservative scriptwriting that I find most appealing in movies. I think this is a greatly underrated movie, especially for it's now-they're-super-famous cast and delicate subject matter. The tone remains clinical even as the symptoms begin to defy a clinical explanation.