comedy, movie, movie review, musical

November 1st, 2018 Movie – The Producers (2005)

the producers 2005

You know, I never saw the original version of this movie. That is kind of a shame as I love Mel Brooks films but then again, if it is a musical, I might not have enjoyed it as much. Anyways, the 2000’s brought a bunch of Hollywood remakes to the big screen. This movie was one of those remakes but I honestly had no interest in seeing it. Unfortunately, Vudu decided that I needed to own this movie so let’s see if The Producers (2005) is any good.

The plot: [Long and exhausting day at work really has me drained so I am just copying the plot summary from Wikipedia. My apologies for the laziness]
Following the flop of theater musical Funny Boy (based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) (“Opening Night”), the show’s washed-up producer, Max Bialystock, hires the neurotic Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max’s books, Leo notes that as a flop is expected to lose money, the IRS will not investigate the finances of failed productions. Leo jests that by selling an excess of shares and embezzling the funds, a flop could generate up to $2 million. Max asks for Leo’s help with the scheme, only for the latter to refuse (“We Can Do It”). Returning to his old accounting firm, Leo starts fantasizing about being a Broadway producer (“I Wanna Be a Producer”). Leo quits his job and forms “Bialystock & Bloom” with Max. Searching for the worst play ever written, the duo finds Springtime for Hitler, a musical written by an ex-Nazi named Franz Liebkind. Max and Leo, in order to acquire Franz’s rights to the musical, perform Hitler’s favorite song and swear the sacred “Siegfried Oath” to him (“Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop”). In order to ensure the play’s failure, Max and Leo meet failing, flamboyant director Roger De Bris and his assistant Carmen Ghia. Roger is reluctant to direct, but when Max and Leo suggest he could win a Tony Award, he agrees on the condition that the play be more “gay” (“Keep It Gay”). Back at their office, a Swedish woman named Ulla appears to audition. Although Leo points out that they have not started casting, Max hires her as their secretary until they audition her later (“When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It”). To gain backers to fund the musical, Max has dalliances with several elderly women (“Along Came Bialy”), allowing him to raise the $2 million. Leo laments about the dangers of sex distracting him from his work, and shares a kiss with Ulla (“That Face”). At auditions for the role of Hitler, Franz, angered at a performer’s rendition of a German song, storms the stage and performs it himself (“Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche Band?”). Based on the performance, Max hires Franz to play Hitler. On opening night, as the cast and crew prepare to go on stage, Leo wishes everyone good luck, to which everyone warns it is bad luck to say “good luck” on opening night, and that the correct phrase is to say “break a leg” (“You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night”). Franz leaves to prepare and literally breaks his leg in a fall. Max enlists Roger to perform the role in his place, and Roger accepts. As the show opens, the audience is horrified at the first song (“Springtime for Hitler”), and people begin leaving out of disgust until Roger enters as Hitler. Roger, playing Hitler very flamboyantly, causes the audience to misinterpret the play as satire, resulting in the show becoming a smash. Terrified the IRS will learn of their crimes, a dispute breaks out between Max and Leo, but stops when Roger and Carmen come into the office to congratulate them. Furious at Roger for making the play successful, Max angrily confronts Roger for his actions, and even goes as far to physically torture Carmen when he tries to defend Roger. Franz then appears and attempts to shoot all four of them for breaking the Siegfried Oath by mocking Hitler, only to attract the police. As Max and Franz attempt to evade the police, Franz breaks his other leg. Arrested for his tax fraud, Max is imprisoned while Leo elopes with Ulla to Rio de Janeiro (“Betrayed”). About to be sentenced, Max is saved by Leo, who returns to defend him (“Til Him”). The judge, realizing Max and Leo are inseparable, sentences them both to five years at Sing Sing Prison with Franz. Writing and producing a new musical in prison (“Prisoners of Love”), Leo, Max, and Franz are pardoned by the governor for their work, allowing them to collaborate with Roger and Ulla and release Prisoners of Love. The play’s success means Max and Leo go on to become successful Broadway producers. In a post-credits scene, the cast sings “Goodbye!”, telling the audience to leave the theater.

The Producers (2005) met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Despite the rich source material, The Producers has a stale, stagy feel more suited to the theater than the big screen.” The phrase “It was shocking, outrageous, insulting… and I loved every minute of it!” from a supposed review of “Springtime for Hitler”, was a rewording of a review by Peter Sellers written about The Producers (1967).The movie was a box office flop, earning $38.1 million off of a $45 million budget.

Still not really a fan of musicals but I have to admit that this was pretty funny. The acting was good, with Nathan Lane (Max) and Matthew Broderick (Leo) had some fantastic chemistry together as well as some great comedic timing. Uma Thurman (Ulla), Will Ferrell (Franz), and Gary Beach (Roger) were also great in their roles. The story was interesting as it is basically an embezzlement scheme using theater as the way to earn the money. The singing and dancing numbers were well coordinated and I will admit that some of them were kind of catchy. I can’t say how it compares to the original but I do have more of a desire to watch it now. On it’s own, it is a funny movie but there are better musicals to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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August 3rd, 2017 Movie – Shark Attack 3: Megalodon

shark attack 3

You have to love it when a movie becomes famous for being bad. There are numerous old movies that fit that bill, like Plan 9 From Outer Space or Troll 2. In the new millennium, and the advent of internet memes, one movie became something of an overnight sensation due to the memes that poked fun at how bad it is. Now personally, I didn’t know anything about this when I first rented this movie. I just thought that it would be a fun shark movie to watch with my little brothers one day. Needless to say, I was caught off guard by that infamous line that John Barrowman has, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying today’s movie, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.

The plot: Out in the Pacific Ocean, the USS Bountress is monitoring a diver named Porter as he works on repairing some cable that is close to the Challenger Deep Trench. When the Bountress‘ sonar shows an object approaching Porter’s position, they try to warn him but the radio keeps breaking up and Porter ends up being killed by a shark. Six months later, in Colima, Mexico, Ben Chapman is a lifeguard at a resort and goes diving for lobster when his shift is over but his partner, Esai “Sy”, is worried that their boss Luis Ruiz will find out. While collecting lobsters, Ben notices a damaged communications cable and as he takes a closer look, sees a shark’s tooth embedded in the cable. After he pries it free, Ben is surprised by a pair of divers working for Apex Communications and he motions that they should surface. Back on their respective boats, Ben explains that he was just diving for lobster and then shows them the shark’s tooth to explain what happened to the cable. That night, Ben tries to determine what type of shark the tooth belongs too but when he can’t find one that matches, he sends out a message in a chat room to get some help, dubbing it a “mystery shark”. At the Natural History Museum in San Diego, paleontologist Cataline “Cat” Stone is working late when she sees Ben’s posting in the chat room and when she views the picture of the tooth, she is shocked. The next day, Ben is summoned to see Ruiz, who introduces Ben to Jeff Tolley, the owner of Apex Communications. Tolley questions Ben about what happened yesterday and hopes that it is just an isolated incident, as he had to bury 50 miles worth of cable in Japan and didn’t want to do the same thing there. After Ben reassures him that the shark was probably just curious and it probably wouldn’t happen again, Ruiz escorts Ben outside, where he proceeds to lecture him on his job duties. When a couple are scared by a shark attacking another shark close to where they are swimming, Ben checks the body of the dead shark and sees that the teeth don’t match the one he found. While he is on the beach, Ben is approached by Cat, who says she is a marine biologist from the aquarium and saw his post about the tooth. When Ben shows her the tooth and asks about it, Cat says it is from a rare subspecies of Mako and asks for the location he found it at. Later, Cat makes a call and tells the person on the other end that the tooth is genuine and to send the camera crew to her location. That night, two local leave a party and sneak into a water park to fool around but after they go down one of the slides into the ocean, the shark attacks and kills them. The next morning, an alarm goes off at Apex Communications and after Tolley hears what the problem is, he orders Chuck Rampart to head out and repair the break in the line. As Ben is walking by the docks, he sees Chuck getting ready to take the mini sub out and jokes with him about letting him pilot her solo, then warns Chuck about the shark when he hears where they are going. Meanwhile, Cat meets up with her camera crew (Friedman and Davis) and they head out to where Ben found the tooth and begin chumming the waters. When the shark appears and attacks the boat, they manage to get footage of it and after Cat checks the tooth it left on the diver’s platform, they tag the shark with a lipstick camera and GPS so they can track it. After a man is killed while playing frisbee with his dog, Ben goes to see Cat and tell her of the attack and notices her business cards saying that she is a paleontologist. When he questions her about lying to him, Cat explains that the shark is a baby megalodon, and the two start arguing over whether or not it should be killed before Ben storms off. The next day, Ben is preparing to go hunting the shark with Esai when Cat approaches him and tells him she tagged the shark, offering to let him come with her on her boat to keep tabs on the shark and make sure the resort is kept safe. When they pick up the shark’s signal, Ben realizes that it is heading towards the resort and radios the lifeguard tower to get everyone on shore while they try to intercept it. When the megalodon is heading towards two woman on a raft, Ben tries to shoot it but Cat swerves the boat to cut off the shark and keep Ben from killing it. The shark heads back towards the open sea and attacks a speedboat pulling a para-sailer, knocking one of the men out of the boat. After killing the man, the megalodon manages to grab the cable holding the para-sailer and begins dragging her out to sea. When it dives deeper underwater and drags her into the water, they rush to try and save her but the shark kills her as Cat tries to drag her into the boat. Cat is shaken up by what happened, blaming herself for the woman’s death, but Ben gets her to focus and says he noticed from their footage of the shark that it seemed to be following the cable. They go to see Chuck and tell him what is going on and Chuck says that AT&T had problems with sharks attacking the cables in the 80’s due to electricity bleeding into the water because the insulation was too thin. He tells them he will check it out and learns that Tolley knew about the problems with the insulation in his cables and kept quiet about the 7 deaths that had occurred, all of them near deep sea trenches. The next day, Ben, Cat, Friedman, and Davis head out to kill the megalodon but it starts attacking the boat. When Cat goes to retrieve her shotgun from the cabin, the megalodon breaks through the hull and tries to attack her. Ben hears her screaming for help and tries chasing off the shark by hitting it with a bat and when it turns it’s attention towards him, Cat is able to get the shotgun and kills the megalodon. As the boat is starting to sink, Ben radios Esai to come pick them up but as he shows up, he and his boat are swallowed whole by the megalodon’s mother. The giant megalodon knocks the boat upside down, then swallows Davis and Friedman but Ben and Cat manage to be rescued by Hector, a local helicopter pilot. When they return to shore, Ben goes to see Ruiz and shows him the giant meg’s tooth and tells him that they need to close the beaches but Ruiz refuses to do so. Chuck meets up with Ben and Cat and they figure out what they can do to kill the megalodon. Chuck shows them a torpedo that he acquired from a sub that was decommissioned and they make a plan to blow up the junction box for the communication line, then use a device to lure the shark close to the surface so Cat can use a crossbow to attach a transmitter to the megalodon, allowing the torpedo to get a fix on it and blow it up. The next day, they head out, with Ben and Chuck piloting the mini-sub with the torpedo attached to it, while Cat follows from the air in Hector’s helicopter. Meanwhile, Tolley is hosting an investors meeting on a yacht and Ruiz comes aboard, showing Tolley they grenades he brought as insurance against the megalodon. Ben and Chuck blow up the junction box but the megalodon begins attacking the yacht. Cat manages to lure it away from the yacht but when she tries to tag the shark, some turbulence causes her to miss. The megalodon renews it’s attack on the yacht, killing several people in a life raft, as well as Ruiz and Tolley when they try to escape. Chuck manages to tag the shark but before Ben can fire the torpedo, the shark knocks the transmitter off. Ben then sets off the distress signal and when the megalodon grabs the mini-sub in it’s mouth, he fires the torpedo, then manages to escape from the sub before the torpedo hits it, killing the megalodon. Ben is knocked unconscious by the blast and when Cat sees his body float to the surface, she jumps into the water to save him while Hector flies off to get help. Cat and another survivor manage to drag Ben into a life raft, where Chuck and some other survivors are gathered and when Ben regains consciousness, they all laugh and joke about the experience while in another part of the Pacific, another megalodon is seen to be swimming near some islands.

This is definitely one of those “so bad it’s good” movies that is entertaining to watch because of the ridiculousness of it. The acting was pretty bad, with John Barrowman (Ben) and Ryan Cutrona (Chuck) doing a good job but Jenny McShane (Cat) just seemed robotic in several of her scenes where she is supposed to be showing some emotion (pretty much any scene where she says “Oh my God!”), while Harry Anichkin (Tolley) and Bashar Rahal (Ruiz) were just bad. The story was interesting, taking advantage of some popular theories on how a megalodon could still be alive by living in deep water trenches, and sharks’ sensitivity to electric fields to explain how it came to the surface. When it came to the baby megalodon, most of the footage was reused footage of real sharks (which several low budget movies use), but the true entertainment in this movie is when the mother shows up. The terrible blue screen and CGI when it attacks people and swallows them whole, whether it is a group of people, a boat, or a jet ski, is just terrible and definitely fun to laugh at. Then, of course, there is Barrowman’s infamous “pussy” line, which he improvised to try and get a reaction from Jenny McShane but she didn’t react at all. The director kept the line in because of how funny it was and how well Barrowman delivered it, though in edited for TV versions, the line is changed to “watch I Love Lucy“. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a good movie but it is an entertaining movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

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