Friday, November 30, 2007
March 31, 1991
Screenplay by David Franzoni
Based on book by Nicholas Van Hoffman
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
In 1985, ROY MARCUS COHN lies dying in a hospital of AIDS. His lover, PETER, brings him his toy frog. He reflects on his miserable rotten life.
An intelligent boy, Roy grew up to become a successful attorney. He worked as the prosecutor of the Rosenbergs who were executed for treason. He and the JUDGE were in collusion. Soon, he begins working for SENATOR JOE McCARTHY in the communist witch hunts. He convinces McCarthy to appoint him as Chief Counsel on the committee instead of BOBBY KENNEDY. McCarthy and Roy's committee soon lead to the disgrace of many innocent citizens which in turn lead to the same citizens losing their jobs and some even committing suicide. Roy's adoring mother, DORA, is supportive of her ambitious son while Roy's father, AL, himself a liberal politician, is ashamed of his son's actions. Kennedy resigns. WALTER WINCHELL and CARDINAL SPELLMAN support the committee. Roy meets and befriends G. DAVID SCHINE, an anti-communist who joins the committee. Roy and Schine go on a tour of Europe to gain support for their cause. They are not well received. Back in the states, Roy wants McCarthy to have DASHIELL HAMMETT imprisoned for not cooperating with the committee. Schine gets drafted and Roy tries to get him a stateside commission, but the Army officials are not able to help. Roy decides to take on the Army and try to expose communists in their ranks. Kennedy gets Roy in trouble for trying to threaten the Army. Roy gets Kennedy in trouble for illegally bugging Martin Luther King. Roy tries to harass a black woman, ANNIE LEE MOSS, into testifying against the Army. J. EDGAR HOOVER gets Roy to back off after Hoover's homosexuality is threatened to be made public. The committee is dissolved.
Roy goes into corporate law and starts raping corporations, making tons of money. Kennedy becomes Attorney General and goes after Roy for trying to influence juries. When Roy is about to be found guilty, a lucky break insures him a mistrial. Roy "borrows" $100,000 from IVA SCHLESINGER and makes an enemy when he doesn't pay her back. Roy's mother dies. Roy learns he has AIDS. He is disbarred. He dies, madly raving at Ethel Rosenberg and Kennedy.
Summary Criticism: An intelligent and well-paced script, this is an authentic portrait of a real-life monster.
Citizen Cohn (1992) - imdb
Citizen Cohn (1992) - wiki
Thursday, November 29, 2007
July 23, 1995
Screenplay by Pete Dexter, Jim Quinlan, Nora Ephron,& Delia Ephron
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
FRANK QUINLAN and HUEY DRISCOLL are staff reporters for the Chicago National Examiner, a tabloid, exploitation newspaper. Fortunately, Huey's dog LUCKY has become a successful photo celebrity, so VARTAN MALT, owner and publisher, has let them keep their jobs--until now. Huey screws up and is about to get fired when Quinlan makes a deal with Malt to get a great story on a man who says he's an angel or quit and give Malt the dog Lucky. One condition: Malt sends DOROTHY WINTERS, a pretty new reporter, along with them. Malt explains that she's an angel expert, but really, she's a dog trainer and aspiring song writer who Malt hired to take care of Lucky when Quinlan and Driscoll are fired.
The trio flies to Iowa and take a long drive to the Milk Bottle Motel in rural country. En route, they learn about one another: Quinlan is angry, Huey is married, and Dorothy is confused about men. Motherly PANSY MILBANK runs the motel and cares for MICHAEL, the angel, a handsome man with real wings who loves to consume sugary food. He claims to have lived an eternity and helped mankind with minor miracles. He insists he is about to return to heaven shortly, but Quinlan convinces him to come to Chicago and be exploited by the media. Pansy suddenly drops dead fixing breakfast. Michael agrees to go to Chicago, but only by car so he can see certain obscure tourist sights along the way.
On the road, Michael gets Quinlan to stop picking on Dorothy. Then, Quinlan and Dorothy become attracted to one another. At a roadhouse, several women are strangely compelled to flirt obsessively with Michael, starting a bar fight which results in the foursome's arrest. Michael has sex with the female JUDGE and they are released. Quinlan and Dorothy make love. Lucky is killed by a truck. Dorothy confesses she's a dog trainer hired by Malt. Quinlan demands Michael bring Lucky back to life. Michael does and begins to deteriorate quickly. He is dying. They rush Michael to Chicago, past the newspaper, to the heights of the Sears Tower where Michael dies and dissolves. They report to Malt that the angel was a hoax. Malt fires them. Dorothy tells him that Lucky is untrainable. Malt has to rehire the boys, but Quinlan quits, leaving the newspaper and Dorothy. He returns to his novel. Time passes. The specter of Michael brings Quinlan and Dorothy back together.
Summary Criticism: Despite certain familiar main characters, this well-crafted script is involving and even somewhat spiritual.
Michael (1996) - imdb
Michael (1996) - wiki
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
July 22, 1990
Screenplay by Calder Willingham
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
While taking a plane back to his southern home town, middle-aged WILLCOX "BUDDY" HILLYER runs into DAVE WILKIE, an angry, elderly man who he knew in his childhood. Wilkie married someone named "Rose" whom they both knew years ago, but she left him. He refers to her as a nympho, but Buddy defends her honor.
Flashback to 1935, the Hillyer household consists of FATHER, MOTHER, daughter DOLLY ABOUT 11, little brother WASKI about 5, and of course BUDDY who is about 13. The household takes in a young woman named ROSE as their housekeeper. She has had a troubled past, having been raised on a dirt farm and almost recruited into prostitution before she was "saved" by the Hillyers. She is a beautiful, sweet gal, but craves love which she frequently satisfies with sex. She falls in love with Father and tries to seduce him, but he remains strong and exhorts her to remain pure. Later that night, she goes to Buddy's bed for solace and allows him to have sex with her. Worried of her job, she pleads with him not to tell on her. He comes through for her and takes a punishment rather than tell on her. On her days off, Rose dresses up and goes out on the town looking for MR. RIGHT. What she attracts is a bunch of fellows just looking for sex. Father gets annoyed with all the strange men creeping around the house and wants to fire her, but Mother won't let him. Father is further provoked when she is arrested for biting a policeman during a bar brawl. Father is ready to fire her, but she comes down with pneumonia and is hospitalized. Father is suspicious of the kind DOCTOR's gracious behavior towards her. Father finally fires her when he finds a young naked man in her room. But Rose stays on in the household as she is unable to find work. Father finds her work in Tennessee in a dairy farm, but Rose announces that she is pregnant. The Doctor finds out that she has a cyst which needs removal and offers to remove both of her ovaries to reduce her promiscuous behavior. At first Father agrees, but Mother firmly rejects this. Rose recovers and goes out to find Mr. Right again. She gets Dave Wilkie, the policeman she had bit, to fall for her. They are married. Buddy cries to have lost her.
Back to the present, Buddy goes to visit his aged, widowed father who tells Buddy that Rose has died of cancer. They celebrate her life and what it taught them.
Summary Criticism: The plot may appear simplistic, but the well-drawn characters bring charm and vigor to this involving story. While I enjoyed the authentic flavor of these mill town characters and their dilemmas, the ending seems a bit forced.
Rambling Rose (1991) - imdb
Rambling Rose (1991) - wiki
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
May 31, 1992
WRESTLING ERNEST HEMINGWAY
Screenplay by Steve Conrad
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
In Florida, WALTER ALVARADO, 75, lives out the last of his days in a lonely routine. Everyday, he goes to the same coffee shop and is served two bacon sandwiches by ELAINE, 26, who he secretly has a crush on. He spends the day in the park doing crossword puzzles. At night he practices ballroom dancing alone in his apartment. Once a week, he goes to watch a boys’ baseball game, hoping to see the fat kid HENRY's team win the game. FRANK JOYCE, 75, is an energetic, lustful senior who exercises vigorously and flirts shamelessly. He was a sailor and brags like a stud horse. He is especially fond of bragging about wrestling with Ernest Hemingway. He is disappointed that his son has no time for him. He tries to make time with GEORGIA, 68, but his crude manner turns her off. Eventually, Walter and Frank cross one another's path.
Frank befriends Walter who introduces his new friend to Elaine, the coffee shop, and the bacon sandwiches. Walter is stuck in his ways and doesn't appreciate Frank's carefree and rowdy manner. At first, their friendship seems hopeless, but eventually their mutual loneliness brings them together. Walter shares the baseball team with Frank. Frank shows Walter how to sneak into two movies for the price of one. Walter is reluctant and secretly buys himself two tickets. Frank gets a job as an usher at the cinema to fill his time, but he is fired for goofing off. Frank teaches Walter how to ride a tandem bike and they go watch fireworks. They pee in the ocean.
Walter learns that Elaine is quitting her job and moving away to get married. He borrows the bike to say goodbye. Walter and Frank have an argument. Separately, they watch Henry's team win a game. Frank makes the first move to patch things up with Walter and they teach some little GIRLS to dance. Frank declares his affection for HELEN COONEY, 65, the owner of the senior home, and they begin a relationship. Frank talks Walter into going to a dance. Walter goes to pick him up and finds him dead. Walter goes to the dance and enjoys himself, thanks to Frank's example of how to enjoy life.
Summary Criticism: The characters are charming and the plot is involving. This is kind of a Burt Lancaster/Kirk Douglas sort of picture.
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) - imdb
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) - wiki
Monday, November 26, 2007
April 12, 1992
Screenplay by Gary Ross
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
The President of the United States, BILL MITCHELL, is a selfish, power-mad, psycho who is estranged from his wife ELLEN and is having an affair with his secretary RANDI. Presently, he needs a double to take his place after his speech in Baltimore so he can stay behind and bed Randi. DAVE KOVIC runs an employment temp agency; he is also a perfect double for the President. After the President has a massive stroke while in bed with Randi, BOB ALEXANDER, the power-hungry Chief of Staff, and ALAN REED, a PR man, convince Dave to continue masquerading as the President. Secretly, Bob plans to have NANCE, the V.P., discredited, so that Dave/Bill can replace him with a political stooge of Bob's choice and then restage the President's stroke. Thus, Bob will still have control of the office via his chosen stooge.
Dave goes along with the masquerade, ignorant of Bob's real motives. Bob and Alan teach Dave how to impersonate the President and give him cue cards whenever he has to speak. Dave does a great job. He fools the Cabinet, the Press, and even Ellen (who hates her husband's guts). Dave's easy going, fun loving personality begins to have its affect on the nation. The Press, the people, and even his political foes begin to appreciate him. Ellen becomes furious with him when she discovers he has vetoed a bill that would have funded homeless shelters for children. Dave has his accountant friend MURRAY come help him cut the budget so they can fund the shelters. Ellen is pleased, the country is pleased, but Bob is furious. Ellen reveals to Dave that she knows the truth. He takes her to visit the comatose President. She breaks down; Dave comforts her. At first they are both ready to give up the masquerade, but they decide they can do some good.
Dave calls a press conference and announces his new jobs bill. Bob is furious. Dave fires him. Bob announces that the President and the V.P. are involved in a scandal. Dave goes before Congress and admits to the scandal and clears the V.P. Dave fakes a stroke. The real President dies and the V.P. becomes President. Months later, Ellen shows up at Dave's office. They embrace.
Summary Criticism: Although the characters are well-drawn and the themes are honorable, the story is predictable from the very beginning.
Dave (1993) - imdb
Dave (1993) - wiki
Sunday, November 25, 2007
July 7, 1990
Screenplay by Scott Frank
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
In 1950, composer ROMAN STRAUSS is executed for the murder of his wife, MARGARET. In present time, a WOMAN WITH NO NAME dreams about the murder. She has amnesia and is being cared for by the nuns at Saint Audrey's Convent School. FATHER TIMOTHY calls in a favor from private investigator, MIKE CHURCH, to help find the woman's identity and take her to the county mental hospital. Mike can't bear to leave her at county and the Father won't take her back, so he lets her stay at his place. The next morning, FRANKLYN MADSON, shows up. He is a hypnotist and eager to help Mike find out her identity for free.
Madson puts the Woman under and it is soon revealed that she was Roman Strauss in a former life. Mike is hesitant to believe this. In the Woman's mind, we watch the development of Roman and Margaret's relationship. In tha past, a reporter named GRAY BAKER tries to take Margaret away from Roman. Mike and the Woman become friendly. A stranger named DOUG shows up claiming to be the Woman's fiance, but Mike finds out the guy is lying and trying to kidnap her. Doug gets away. Mike is "regressed" by Madson and it turns out that he was Margaret in his former life. The Woman becomes afraid of him, afraid that she'll kill him as in the past.
The Woman turns out to be AMANDA SHARP, an artist who has an apartment filled with sculptures made of scissors. (A pair of scissors had been the murder weapon years ago.) Madson gives her a gun and warns her against Mike. Mike goes to talk with Gray Baker and finds out that Madson is the son of Roman's old housekeeper INGA. It turns out that Inga loved Roman and was rejected by him. In revenge, Madson killed Margaret and framed Roman. Mike goes to tell Amanda. She wounds Mike. Madson shows. Mike and Madson fight. Amanda stabs Madson with scissors. Amanda and Mike fall in love.
Summary Criticism: While the characters are well-drawn, the premise is barely believable and the numerous plot contrivances are confusing. This is film noir with a plot so twisted as to be near ridiculous.
Dead Again - imdb
Dead Again - wiki
Saturday, November 24, 2007
July 22, 1990
OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY
Screenplay by Alvin Sargent
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
LAWRENCE GARFINKLE, 45, is a greedy, self-centered, stock market tycoon who likes to take over small companies and dump them for profit. He sets his eyes on New England Wire and Cable, a family-like factory business in milltown Rhode Island that has an impressive balance sheet. The patriarch of the business is ANDREW "JORGY" JORGENSON, the aging chairman. He has promised the business to his acting President, COLES, when he retires. Jorgy's assistant and lover is BEA, a strong woman of 65. Garfinkle makes Jorgy an offer for the company. Jorgy refuses. Garfinkle intends to take over. Bea calls her daughter, KATE, a successful lawyer in New York who works for a huge firm. Although Kate detests the small town she came from and has a problem with Jorgy who took her mother away from her father, she gives in to her mother's urgings and returns to handle the firm's battle with Garfinkle.
Kate goes to visit Garfinkle who falls in love with her. She asks him to make an agreement with her to not purchase any more NEWC stock for two weeks till she can return with a counterproposal. He agrees and asks her out. She refuses. Immediately, he goes back on his agreement and buys as much NEWC stock as fast as possible. Likewise, Jorgy has Coles buy as much stock as he can. Garfinkle and Kate play courtroom chess, throwing obstacles in each other's path. Meanwhile, Garfinkle does all he can to seduce Kate.
Kate struggles to get old man Jorgy to try new ways to save his company and the jobs of his townspeople. Jorgy stubbornly decides to let the stockholders vote at the next meeting. Coles, a worried loser, goes behind Jorgy's back and sells his stock votes to Garfinkle. Garfinkle is sure of his victory and he finally seduces Kate.
At the stockholders meeting, Jorgy gives an excellent speech about labor and the future of America. Garfinkle ridicules him and preaches about greed. The results of the vote give the company to Garfinkle. Garfinkle and Kate get married and have a kid. Jorgy dies two years later. Bea tries to help her townspeople with retraining programs. Finally, years later, the news on the street is that someone is trying to take over Garfinkle Enterprises.
Summary Criticism: As I was born in Providence, it was a delight to read this story and I enjoyed the authentic flavor of the mill town characters and their dilemmas. While the downer ending was enjoyably refreshing, it was not consistent with the character's well-drawn personalities.
Other People's Money - imdb
Other People's Money - wiki
Friday, November 23, 2007
November 23, 1887 - February 2, 1969
When I met and interviewed Robert Bloch in 1989 at his Hollywood Hills home, he told me how he and his wife spent many evenings having dinner with their close friends, Mr. & Mrs. Boris Karloff. Bloch explained they were both men who had achieved success later in life and were particularly thankful. I can envision the two of them with their wives, talking excitedly over elegant dinners in victorian dining rooms at each of their homes. Two gentlemen and two ladies, enjoying their company together. That's how I see it. He was a gentleman to me.
April 5, 1917 - September 23, 1994
Boris Karloff - wiki
Boris Karloff - imdb
Robert Bloch - wiki
Robert Bloch - imdb
July 17, 1988
PRINCE OF TIDES
Screenplay by Pat Conroy & Becky Johnston
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
TOM WINGO is a teacher and a football coach who loves to spend his summer vacations on the South Carolina beach with his three daughters and his wife SALLIE, a doctor. Tom and Sallie are having communication problems. Tom's mother, LILA, comes over with some bad news: Tom's sister, SAVANNAH, a writer who lives in New York City, has tried to kill herself again. Savannah's psychiatrist, DR. LOWENSTEIN, has asked that a member of the family go up there. Lila guilts Tom into going. Tom hates his mother and hasn't gotten over the death of his beloved brother, LUKE. Tom goes to NYC.
Tom meets with Lowenstein who turns out to be a beautiful woman in a troubled marriage to an adulterous musician. Tom moves into his sister's apartment next door to her gay friend, EDDIE. Tom calls Sallie. She confesses that she's having an affair and may want to break up Tom. Lowenstein takes Tom to see Savannah. She is in a catatonic state. Tom and Lowenstein become friends as she learns about Tom and Savannah's family. She learns how repressed Tom, Luke and Savannah were due to their parents. Tom runs into Lowenstein at Eddie's party. They leave together. Tom meets her son BERNARD, a dull, unhappy boy. Lowenstein offers to pay Tom to coach Bernard in football. Tom finds a pile of manuscripts in Savannah's apartment all written by a woman named RENATA HALPERN, but the stories are all about Tom and Savannah's family. Tom asks Lowenstein about this. She tells him that Savannah was afraid to write about her family under her own name in fear of Lila's wrath, so she wrote them under the name of a dead Jewish woman. Savannah was able to slip into another life. Tom slowly wins over Bernard. Tom talks with Lowenstein about his despair over his brother, nicknamed "The Prince of Tides." He cries. Tom returns home for one of his daughter's birthdays. He says goodbye to his dead brother. Tom and Lila make up. Tom sends Lowenstein rose for her birthday. Tom, Sallie and the girls spend tender moments together.
Tom returns to NYC. He is invited to a dinner party by HERBERT, Lowenstein's husband. Herbert begins to ridicule Tom in front of his guests, his mistress, and Lowenstein. Tom humiliates Herbert in return. Tom and Lowenstein make love. Savannah starts to get better. She and Tom start to talk. He comforts and encourages her. Sallie calls to make up with Tom. Tom tells Lowenstein that he's going home. She's sad. He returns to his southern life, but remembers his northern experience as transforming.
Summary Criticism: The script retains the poetry of a novel while telling a sincere, involving story of families and relationships. This is a pleasant story, yet a familiar one.
Prince of Tides - imdb
Prince of Tides - wiki
Thursday, November 22, 2007
January 8, 1995
Screenplay by Peter Dexter, Revised by Henry Bean
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
In 1953, Las Vegas, slutty beauty ALLISON POND suns with her gay bestfriend JIMMY FIELDS, a photographer. She leaves him to go off with her sugardaddy, GENERAL THOMAS TIMMS, head of the Atomic Energy Commission, to watch a bomb test in the desert. A few days later her corpse shows up in Los Angeles. Every bone in her body is broken. Furthermore, the CORONER says she was dying of cancer. Independent minded LAPD homicide detectives MAXWELL HOOVER, EDDIE HALL, ELLERY COOLIDGE, and Indian ARTHUR REDBONE are a task force onto themselves. They keep the gangsters out of L.A., tossing them over a Mullholland cliff side ("Mullholland Falls") if they refuse to leave town. They investigate Allison's murder.
A while ago, Hoover had an affair with Allison, but broke it off with her to save his marriage to his wife KATHERINE. She called him a few days ago, but he didn't respond. Now he feels responsible for her death. Hoover receives by mail from Fields a roll of film recording Allison's trip out to the desert with Timms and their sex afterwards. They find out that Fields was filming Allison's sex life and her partners including Timms and Hoover. They give Fields protection, but Timms goon, COLONEL FITZGERALD kills Fields. Hoover and Coolidge fly to Washington to question Timms who threatens Hoover to drop the case. When they return to L.A., they are ordered off of the case by CHIEF PARKER on orders from FBI agent McCAFFERTY. Then, the FBI ransacks Hoover's house, terrorizing Katherine, looking for the film of Timms and Allison. Hoover and his boys grab McCafferty and throw him off of Mullholland Falls. Then, they sneak onto the atomic testing ground in Nevada. Katherine is sent a film of Hoover with Allison. She confronts him.
Hoover demands to meet with Timms and is flown back to Nevada to meet Timms. He secretly plans to kill him, but finds him in a hospital bed dying of cancer. Hoover learns the atomic scientists performed experiments on people who are now dying of cancer as a result of the experiments. Timms didn't order Allison killed. Fitzgerald freaked out and killed her when he learned she knew of the experiments in the desert. Flying back to L.A., Fitzgerald tries to kill Hoover, but Coolidge is able to throw Fitzgerald and his goons out of the plane. Hoover lands the plane. Coolidge dies of his wounds. Hoover and Katherine reconcile.
Summary Criticism: The characters and settings are intriguing, but the plot is familiar and the outcome predictable.
Mullholland Falls - imdb
Mullholland Falls - wiki
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
June 14, 1990
THE LAST BOY SCOUT
Screenplay by Shane Black
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
BILLY COLE is a football player with the L.A. Stallions who shoots a bunch of players with a gun while on the field and then kills himself. His pain pills have been laced with PCP. The owner of the team, CONRAD MARCON, gets a phone call from a mysterious voice telling him that the Cole incident is a warning.
JOSEPH R. HALLENBECK, a former Secret Service agent, is a worn-out, mean, grouchy loser who now works as a private investigator. His friend and associate, MIKE MILLER, calls him with a job to guard a dancer named CORY. When Joe stops home to pick up a few things, he finds Mike in bed with his wife. After Joe kicks the shit out of Mike, Mike stumbles to his car and it blows up. Joe goes to guard Cory, a dancer at a strip joint. Her boyfriend, JIMMY, a former football player with the Stallions who was busted for drugs and gambling, doesn't get along with Joe. Two HITMEN follow Cory and Jimmy. They kill Cory and are killed by Joe. Joe and Jimmy team up to find the mastermind behind her murder.
They search Cory's apartment and find a photo of MARCON and SENATOR BAYNARD (the crooked politician who framed Joe and ruined his career) having a meeting. They figure out that Marcon and Baynard were conspiring to do something and Cory was blackmailing them. Somehow Mike was involved in it and he was murdered as well as Cory. Two more HITMEN show up and try to get the photo from them, but Joe works it out so that the two hitmen are killed by their own bomb. At Joe's home, he gives Jimmy a gun, but their partnership is over when Joe finds Jimmy doing some cocaine. At home, Jimmy is visited by another two HITMEN who Jimmy is able to kill before they kill him. Meanwhile, Joe is kidnapped by MILO, Marcon's assistant, and framed for the murder of a cop. Marcon tells Joe the whole truth--Marcon is trying to get football gambling legalized in all 50 states. Mafia hood, JIMMY THE BARBER, is his opposition. As well, Baynard refused the bribe and wants more money, so Marcon is going to kill Baynard and make it look like Joe did it.
Jimmy finds SARAH, Joe's adulterous wife, and they team up to find Joe. By this time, the LAPD are looking all over for Joe for the police murder. Jimmy and Sarah follow Baynard's BODYGUARDS to the site where Milo and Joe are going to switch a briefcase filled with bribe money for one with a bomb. The switch is made and the bodyguards take off for the stadium and to Baynard where the bomb is supposed to be detonated, but Jimmy shows up in time to kill a bunch of hoods and rescue Joe. Milo gets away and kidnaps Sarah. Joe and Jimmy stop the bodyguards and head for the football stadium. They shoot their way into Marcon's office and find Marcon holding Sarah hostage. Now, Marcon reveals that Jimmy the Barber was his ally all along and they had planned to rob the TV networks of their bribe money. Marcon still plans to kill Baynard by having Milo shoot him in the stands making it look like the work of a sniper. Joe and Jimmy create a diversion and kill a bunch of hoods. Marcon escapes, finds the briefcase full of money in the bodyguard's limo which Joe and Jimmy drove to the stadium, and flees. Meanwhile, Joe goes after Milo, hiding behind a billboard and Jimmy tries to get to Baynard to warn him. Jimmy is wounded by hoods, but is able to jump on the Stallion's horse mascot, ride to Baynard, and throw a pass which knocks him down, saving him from Milo's bullet. Joe has a brawl with Milo behind the sign and takes a slug from a rifleman in a police copter. Joe kills Milo. Sarah shoots at the copter to keep them from killing Joe. After everything cools off and is explained, Joe and Sarah reconcile, Joe and Jimmy become partners and give the bribe money to Cancer Research. Marcon opens the briefcase and it blows up--it is the wrong briefcase.
Summary Criticism: The characters are charming and sympathetic. The dialogue is crisp and humorous. The plot is innovative, yet familiar. The script is everything you'd expect for 1.75 million. However, it is still just a buddy comedy-action pic with jokes and blood.
The Last Boy Scout - imdb
The Last Boy Scout - wiki
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
December 12, 1993
Screenplay by James Cameron & Jay Cocks
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
In the future, Virtual Reality technology is as portable as a Walkman and the technology allows one to actually experience the thoughts and feeling of the person recording their own experiences. However, the technology is illegal. Ex-cop LENNY NERO is a slimy black market software salesman. There’s a big underground market for sex and crime recordings. Lenny is a lonely, sad character, still in love with his ex-girlfriend, FAITH, an ex-hooker turned singer wannabe, who has run off with TRAN, an evil music promoter. Lenny has a collection of "tapes" of his experiences with Faith which he watches over and over. He wants her back.
A hooker, IRIS, is being pursued by two evil cops, SPREG and ENGELMAN, who try to kill her. Iris needs to find Lenny. She leaves him a frantic message, saying she and Faith may be in trouble. Iris drops a tape inside of Lenny's car. Lenny has a drink with his old cop pal MAX, now a private investigator. Max encourages Lenny to forget Faith. Lenny's car is repossessed. Lenny runs into MACE, a black female chauffer and single mom, who secretly adores him. Lenny talks her into driving him on his rounds. At a nightclub, Lenny tries to see Faith, but she rejects him and Tran's GOONS beat him up. Lenny gets an anonymous tape delivered to him. When he plays it, he watches the POV of a KILLER who rapes and murders Iris. Lenny shares the info with Max and Mace.
Lenny goes to tell Faith that Iris was murdered. Tran offers her her freedom to go with Lenny, but she stays with Tran. His goons start to beat Lenny again, but Mace rescues him. Lenny learns from his software pal TICK that Iris wanted a tape copied which leads Lenny to recovering the tape from his impounded car. Spreg and Engelman try to kill Lenny and Mace, but they get away. Lenny plays the tape which records Iris's POV of Spreg and Engelman killing two famous BLACK MUSICIANS, clients of Tran's. Tick is murdered. Lenny wants to take Iris's tape to Deputy Commissioner PALMER STRICKLAND, a cop of integrity, who incidentally had Lenny canned. Lenny and Mace try to free Faith from Tran, but are unsuccessful.
Lenny and Mace sneak into the New Year's ball at the Bonaventure Hotel to free Faith and give the tape to Strickland. Mace gets the tape delivered. Lenny goes to free Faith, but finds Tran dead. He finds out that Faith and Max are lovers. Max murdered Iris on Tran's orders and has killed Tran so he and Faith could be together. Max plans to set up Lenny as Tran's murderer. Before Max can kill Lenny, Faith helps Lenny get the advantage. Max falls to his death. Spreg and Engelman chase Mace, but before they can kill her, Strickland has them arrested. Lenny and Mace fall into one another's arms. New Year's Day, year 2000, arrives.
Summary Criticism: Although the plot consists of one chase scene after another, the overall story is riveting, particularly due to the intriguing and fresh VR gimmick.
Strange Days - imdb
Strange Days - wiki
Monday, November 19, 2007
December 1, 1992
Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
DETECTIVE SOMERSET, 45, has had it with homicide. He is a life-long bachelor and a literate man. He is retiring on Sunday and heading off to the boonies. His replacement, DETECTIVE DAVID MILLS, 31, is an optimistic cop who has relocated from Philadelphia where he was given a medal of honor. His wife, TRACY, an English teacher, fears the brutality of the new city, but has followed her husband and supports his career. She would like them to raise a family. Somerset and Mills are placed together by the CAPTAIN to affect the transition. They arrive at a murder scene where an OBESE MAN is tied up to the kitchen table, and sits face down into a plate of food. Somerset treats Mills like a rookie cop and Mills resents it. He lets Somerset know how he feels. There is no love lost between these two men. The CORONER reveals that the dead man's stomach exploded. Evidently, the murderer forced him to eat himself to death. A note at the death scene quotes Milton and refers to "gluttony." At a second death scene, a rich man, MR. GOLD, has been forced to hack off a piece of his body. A note corresponds to Shakespeare's "pound of flesh" and "greed." The Captain wants to take them off the case as Somerset is leaving and Mills is too inexperienced, however Mills demands to continue on the case alone. The Captain agrees.
Somerset is bothered by the art and literary nature of the murders. An artist, McCRAKEN, tells him that the compositions of the death scenes correspond to religious paintings. Somerset finds fingerprints at the second death scene which lead them to ZERO, a drug dealer. They find Zero next to death in his room where he has been tied to his bed for over a year by the murderer ("sloth"). Somerset meets FATHER STONE, a specialist in the "Seven Deadly Sins," but he is a senile former child abuser who ran an orphanage. With Tracy's guidance, Somerset rejoins Mills on the case. Evidently, the murderer is a religious fanatic whose murders correspond to the "Sins." At Stone's abandoned chapel, there are paintings of the "Sins" which correspond to the compositions of the death scenes. Comparing the library lists and the orphanage lists, they identify the killer as JOHN DOE, a former orphan. Somerset and Mills are almost killed by Doe's uzi when they go to his apartment. A WOMAN's death corresponds to "pride," as she was disfigured and forced to hang herself. A CRAZED MAN was forced to eviscerate a WOMAN corresponding to "lust." Meanwhile, Somerset and Tracy fall in love. Doe knows. With "wrath" and "envy" left, Doe gives himself up. He agrees to not plead insanity if Mills will accompany him to the last two death sites alone. Mills agrees.
En route, Doe escapes from Mills and then captures him. Somerset goes to the chapel and finds Doe who has placed Mills into a tableau of death. There is a struggle. Doe kills Mills; Somerset kills Doe. Tracy returns to Pennsylvania, pregnant.
Summary Criticism: This is an energetic and involving story. Although it is obviously derivative of "Silence of the Lambs", it is a literate and intelligent screenplay.
Se7en (1995) - wiki
Se7en (1995) - imdb
Sunday, November 18, 2007
December 28, 1990
Novel by Elmore Leonard
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
KATHY DIAZ BAKER is a Florida probation officer, Cuban by heritage, divorced by choice, and bored with her job. Her newest case, DALE CROWE JUNIOR, fresh out of jail, has committed another felony before even reporting to her. He has hit a police officer and has been brought before the hanging judge BOB ISOM GIBBS aka "Maximum Bob" who sentences Dale to serve the entire five years he had remaining on his sentence. Despite Dale's threats, Gibbs allows Dale a few days to handle his affairs before going to prison. Gibbs is taken with Baker and invites her to his chambers. He flirts with her, but she isn't interested. He tells her that his wife LEANNE has gone crazy and thinks she hears the voice of a black slave dead for 135 years. He appeals to Baker's knowledge of psychology and asks for her help. Baker is bored with her job so this interests her.
Gibbs contacts DICKY CAMPEAU, an alligator poacher, who is up for sentencing and makes a deal with him. Gibbs asks him to deliver a dead alligator to the judge's own house, but the alligator shows up alive. A cop, GARY, is able to finally kill the gator, but by this time Leanne has run away and everyone thinks someone is out to kill the judge. Meanwhile, Dale's uncle ELVIN, another career criminal on Baker's list of clients, gets paroled and goes to see his prison lover's ex-boss, DR. TOMMY, a junkie who lost his medical license and is under house arrest. He has a gay servant, HECTOR. Tommy offers Elvin 10K to kill Gibbs. Elvin, who hates Gibbs also, agrees and borrows Tommy's Cadillac and a gun. Elvin goes to Gibbs's house to kill him. Gibbs and Baker are out in the garden discussing his wife. Campeau, angry that Gibbs went back on their deal and fined him $500, shoots at the house windows almost killing Elvin in the kitchen and Gibbs and Baker in the garden. Now Gibbs is forced to take security measures which discourage Elvin.
Dale disappears. Elvin moves in with Tommy and brings along a whore name EARLENE. Baker is attracted to Gary who is following Gibbs's case. They develop a love affair. Earlene gets to Gary and Baker and they realize that Elvin is trying to kill Gibbs. Meanwhile, Campeau confesses to shooting Gibbs's house and the security is called off Gibbs. Leanne returns after Baker tells her Gibbs needs her. Elvin accidentally kills Hector and purposely kills Gary. Elvin kidnaps Baker and has her drive him to Gibbs. Elvin is about to kill Gibbs, Leanne and Baker when Leanne pulls a gun, shoots Elvin, Baker pulls her gun and finishes him off. Gibbs asks Baker to keep Leanne out of the papers by letting everyone think that he shot Elvin and agrees to help Baker become an investigator.
Summary Criticism: While the novel is amusing and well-structured, the copious amount of trashy characters is offensive and boring.
Maximum Bob (1998) - imdb
Elmore Leonard - wiki
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