comedy, movie, movie review, romance

November 5th, 2018 Movie – So I Married An Axe Murderer

so i married an axe murderer

Ahh, the memories of this movie. I remember watching Saturday Night Live back during my junior high/high school days and so I was very familiar with Mike Myers and his comedy. My friends and I had gone to see Wayne’s World when it came out in theaters and so when a new Mike Myers movie was announced, we decided we would go see it in theaters as well. Granted, this was done during the time period that I was in town, as I had moved to a different state when So I Married An Axe Murderer came out but the point is that I still have fond memories of seeing this with my friends. Now lets see if those fond memories carry over to the movie itself.

The plot: Charlie MacKenzie is hanging out at his usual beatnik club with his friend Tony Giardino, who comments about Charlie always breaking up with his girlfriends over perceived faults simply because he is afraid of commitment. The next day, Charlie stops at a butcher shop to pick up some haggis to bring to his parent’s house for dinner and he meets Harriet, the woman that owns the shop. At his parent’s house, Charlie’s mother, May, is upset to learn about Charlie’s latest break up, then starts telling him about a honeymoon serial killer called Mrs. X, who has killed three husbands on their honeymoon. Meanwhile, his father, Stuart, is telling Tony about various conspiracy theories he believes in, while constantly deriding his younger son William about the size of his head. A few days later, Charlie stops by the butcher shop as it is busy and offers to help Harriet out, to which she agrees. The two start bonding as they work and after Harriet closes the shop, they go out to dinner. As they are walking along, some sailors comment about Harriet in Russian and Harriet responds back, revealing that she speaks Russian. As they continue talking and asking questions about each other, they end up at Harriet’s home. Harriet goes to make them some tea and Charlie comments on some of the items she has in her home, especially the collection of martial arts weapons and gear. Charlie and Harriet end up sleeping together and during the night, Harriet is dreaming and screams out the name Ralph and when Charlie questions her about it, she tells him that Ralph is a female friend. Charlie gets up to leave in the morning but seeing someone in the shower, decides to surprise Harriet only to discover that it is Harriet’s sister Rose. After apologizing, Rose reads a note that Harriet left for Charlie and questions Charlie about what he did with Harriet and tells him to be careful. The next day, Charlie is telling Tony how he feels about Harriet and asks him to make sure he doesn’t screw this one up, to which Tony says he will try. Charlie and Harriet continue to get closer and Charlie starts getting antsy but is still committed to having Harriet join him at his parents for dinner. As May shows Harriet some of Charlie’s baby pictures, Charlie uses the restroom and sees his mothers copy of the Weekly World News on the toilet. Realizing that the murder victims bare some semblance to some of what Harriet said about her past, Charlie starts getting suspicious that Harriet might be Mrs. X. Charlie tells Tony his suspicions but Tony feels like Charlie is just making up another excuse to break up with a girl. As Charlie continues to pester him to look into it, Tony relents and has a colleague check into the matter but she tells them that all of the supposed victims are simply reported missing, along with their wives. Charlie still gets suspicious and when he hears that the body of the third victim had been discovered, he decides to break up with Harriet. Charlie feels bad about the break up, as he really did love her. When Tony calls Charlie to tell him somebody turned themselves in and confessed to the murder, Charlie races over to Harriet’s home to apologize but she says that he blew his chance with her. Charlie doesn’t give up, having the club band perform outside her apartment while he recites a poem he wrote about her and Harriet forgives him and agrees to give him another chance. As the renew their relationship, Harriet receives a visitor and she introduces Charlie to her female friend Ralph, whom Charlie is excited to meet. At Charlie’s parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, Charlie asks Harriet to marry him and she says no at first but as Charlie’s father toasts Charlie, thanking him for the party and wishing him the same happiness that he and May have had, Harriet agrees to marry him. Charlie and Harriet get married and as Charlie talks with Tony, Tony says he is proud of Charlie and wonders how Charlie could have thought that Harriet was a killer, dismissing the fact that she sings “Only You”, which is what Mrs’ X’s first husband was famous for singing. Charlie and Harriet head out for their honeymoon but while they are gone, Tony’s captain tells him that his suspect has admitted to other murders and is simply someone that confesses for the attention. Tony sends Harriets picture to associates of the Mrs’ X victims and they all confirm that she was the wife to all of the victims. Tony tries contacting Charlie but when the phones are down due to a storm, he charters a flight to their hotel but the pilot falls asleep during the flight and Tony yells at him to land the plane. Tony is able to contact Charlie and warn him about Harriet before the storm knocks out the phones again and he attempts to commandeer a car to get there. Meanwhile, Charlie tries to avoid being alone with Harriet but the hotel staff constantly force them together before forcing them into the Honeymoon Suite. Inside, Harriet admits that she has been married before and Charlie tells her he knows, then grabs a nearby axe to fend her off. Harriet struggles with Charlie over the axe and he ends up locking her in the closet. As Charlie goes to try and phone for help, he sees a note on the desk telling Harriet he is leaving her, just as Rose tries to kill him. Rose yells at Charlie that he took her sister from her just like all the others but she will kill him and Harriet yells at Charlie to run. Charlie climbs out the window onto the roof but Rose follows after him and continues to try and kill him. Meanwhile, Tony shows up at the hotel and after breaking into the Honeymoon Suite, frees Harriet from the closet only to move to arrest her. Harriet tries to explain what is happening and as they head outside, they see Charlie on the roof and Tony races back upstairs to help him. Rose attacks Charlie but as he grabs the axe and struggles with it, Rose ends up going over the edge of the roof. Charlie manages to hold onto her long enough for Tony to grab her and Tony arrests her and takes her away while Charlie and Harriet embrace as they watch them drive away.

So I Married An Axe Murderer met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to enjoy Myers comedy and how the movie seemed to spoof classic marital murder mysteries but felt that it lacked focus in it’s idea. While shooting scenes in the butcher shop, Nancy Travis was distracted by Mike Myers’ antics and accidentally cut off the tip of her middle finger on her left hand when chopping vegetables with a kitchen knife. Travis kept shouting “Cut! Cut! Cut!” which she meant literally, although the crew initially thought she was referring to the term for stopping the shooting of a scene. A local doctor sewed it back on.The movie was a dud at the box office, earning $11.5 million off of a $20 million budget.

This isn’t a great comedy movie but it was a really good indication of how funny Mike Myers really could be. The acting was ok, with Mike Myers really carrying the movie on his back, playing both Charlie and Stuart MacKenzie. Anthony LaPaglia (Tony), Brenda Fricker (May) and Alan Arkin (Tony’s Captain) were also good in their roles but Nancy Travis honestly seemed kind of bland and Amanda Plummer (Rose) wasn’t much better. The story honestly did feel like it was a spoof of something Hitchcock would have made. The whole woman that had been married multiple times, only for her husband to mysteriously vanish, and her latest fiance suspects her to be a killer really does sound like a Hitchcock movie. Adding the comedy to it did kind of hurt the mystery angle of the movie but did make the characters seem more human, or at least more realistic. The comedy was mostly Mike Myers being goofy, which he is really good at. So it’s a fun movie to watch but it isn’t going to be on any lists of the greatest comedies of all time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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adventure, comedy, movie, movie review

October 5th, 2018 Movie -Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery

austin powers

Ok folks. I am done playing catch up so it is back to reviewing all of the movies I bought or was gifted over the year. So let’s start with today’s movie, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not buy this movie, nor did any of my friends give it to me. So how is it that I own this movie and doing a review for it, you might ask? Well, the answer to that lies in the modern era of movies and digital/ultraviolet copies. See, several of the movies I have bought over the years have codes for ultraviolet or digital copies included with them. So I had signed up for a Vudu account, and a Movies Anywhere account, and inputted the codes onto the site to get the digital copies of the movies. However, what I honestly didn’t notice at the time is that I was given several movies for free when I opened these accounts. The only reason I noticed was when I listed my movies in alphabetical order and this movie came up towards the front. So there are going to be some movie reviews over the next few weeks for movies that I honestly would never have considered buying, but I will be fair with my reviews. Now, onto to today’s movie. I will admit that I did not see this movie in theaters but I saw it numerous times when it came out on video, as it seemed like everyone wanted to rent it or would buy their own copy. I have to admit that it has been a while since I watched it so let’s see if it still holds up.

The plot: In a secret lair outside of Las Vegas in 1967, Dr. Evil is holding a meeting with some of the world’s deadliest assassins, where he chastises them for failing to kill Austin Powers; promptly killing 4 of them and leaving Frau Farbissina and Mustafa still alive to deal with Austin. In London, Austin Powers and his partner, Mrs. Kensington, are contacted by Basil Exposition, head of British Intelligence, who warns them about a plot to kill Austin at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Austin and Mrs. Kensington head to the club and uncover one of the assassins posing as a woman but before the can question him, he is shot in the back with a harpoon by Dr. Evil. Austin and Mrs. Kensington give chase only to see Dr. Evil, and his cat Mrs. Bigglesworth get into a cryo-preservation pod and launch into space inside a rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue. 30 years later, a NORAD radar operator contacts Commander Gilmour to alert him about an object shaped like Big Boy entering Earth’s orbit before it disappears somewhere over Nevada. Realizing what this means, Gilmour heads to London and meets with Basil at the British Department of Defense. Basil explains that Austin had volunteered to be frozen in case Dr. Evil returns and they proceed to thaw him out. Once Austin is thawed out, he is introduced to his new partner, Mrs. Kensington’s daughter Vanessa, who tells him that she will be working on getting him acclimated to the 90’s, and after collecting his possessions, they head out to his private jet and take off for Nevada. Meanwhile, in Dr. Evil’s lair, Dr. Evil meets with his henchmen, having Mustafa killed for his failure with the cryo unit that resulted in Mrs. Bigglesworth’s hair falling out. Dr. Evil then introduces Frau Farbissina to Patty O’Brien, Random Task, and Numer 2, who runs the legitimate arm of Dr. Evil’s empire, Virtucon. Dr, Evil tells his henchmen that he has some ideas on holding the world for ransom but when he is told that his plans have already occurred, he decides that they should just steal a nuke and blackmail for $100 billion (after learning that $1 million is no longer as high a sum as it was in ’67). Later, Frau tells him that the used some of the semen he had frozen to create a son, and introduces him to Scott but Scott is resentful that Dr. Evil is just now showing up and tells him that he hates him. On Austin’s plane, Vanessa is trying to be serious about the mission but Austin keeps attempting to seduce her, only to be shot down. When they arrive in Las Vegas, Vanessa explains that they are undercover as a married couple and that Virtucon executives gamble at the casino they are staying in, then points out Number 2. Austin joins Number 2 at the black jack table and after losing his hand, tells Vanessa to keep an eye on his assistant, Alotta Fagina, while he follows Number 2. Austin follows Number 2 into the men’s room only to lose him but as he sits on one of the toilets, Patty O’Brien appears from a secret panel and attempts to strangle him but Austin is able to kill him by drowning him in the toilet. Back at his lair, Dr. Evil shows his cohorts that they have successfully grabbed the nuke before placing a call to the United Nations. Once he has them on the view screen, Dr. Evil tells them that they must pay him $100 billion if they want the nuke back, then ends the call when they tell him they don’t negotiate with terrorists. Back in Las Vegas, Austin and Vanessa are staking out Virtucon when Austin sees Random Task carrying Mrs. Bigglesworth out of the building and recognizes her. With nothing to do for the time being, Austin takes Vanessa for a night on the town and when they return to the hotel, a drunken Vanessa asks Austin to kiss her but he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her. Vanessa then asks him to tell her about her mother when he knew her and Austin tells her that she loved her husband and if she wasn’t married, he might have tried being serious with her, as he loved her as well, but that ship sailed. Vanessa falls asleep and Austin receives a video call from Basil, telling him to sneak into Alotta Fagina’s penthouse and discover what she knows about something called Project Vulcan. Austin breaks into the penthouse and takes pictures of her files when Alotta Fagina returns to her penthouse, only to find Austin sitting there waiting for her. Austin speaks with her briefly before she changes into a kimono and invites Austin into the hot tub with her and they eventually end up having sex, but not before Alotta learns Austin’s real identity. The next day, Vanessa takes Austin to get some new equipment and Austin shows Basil the files he photographed from Alotta’s penthouse while Vanessa tells Basil that they plan on going as tourists on the tour of Virtucon and see if they can discover where Project Vulcan is and shut it down. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil is upset that Austin is getting close to their scheme but Frau shows him her new weapon to kill Austin; android women called Fembots, with guns hidden inside their breasts. Dr. Evil is pleased with the Fembots but is less than thrilled having to attend a father/son counseling session with Scott. Back in Las Vegas, Vanessa talks to Austin and voices her concerns and jealousy about Alotta Fagina and when Austin tells her she was right to be concerned, as he did sleep with her, Vanessa gets upset with him, telling him that this isn’t the 60’s anymore. Austin goes out and has a hard look at himself, realizing almost everyone he knew is dead and how much really happened while he was frozen. The next day, Austin and Vanessa head to Virtucon and sneak inside but after they make it past the guards, they are knocked unconscious by Random Task and transported to Dr. Evil’s lair. Inside his lair, Dr. Evil contacts the U.N. and tells them what Project Vulcan entails and the U.N. agrees to pay the ransom. Dr. Evil then has Austin and Vanessa join him for dinner, which confuses Scott as he feels they should just shoot them and be done with it. Dr. Evil tells Scott that he doesn’t get how things work, then orders Austin and Vanessa lowered into a pit containing sharks with lasers on their head but Number 2 says they couldn’t get the sharks and instead have mutated sea bass. Leaving Austin and Vanessa to their fate, Dr. Evil heads off to start the drill for Project Vulcan. Austin and Vanessa manage to escape the trap and Austin sends Vanessa to get some back up while he keeps an eye on Dr. Evil but he ends up being captured by the fembots. Trying to get away from the fembots, Austin decides to counter their charms with his own and ends up shorting them out and making their heads explode. Vanessa shows up at the aftermath and wonders why Austin is in his briefs and when he explains what happened, she tells him she believes him and to get dressed. Austin and Vanessa lead an attack on the drilling platform and Austin manages to abort the drill before it reaches the Earth’s core but Dr. Evil gets away. Austin chases after him and goes to capture him but Alotta Fagina appears, holding a gun to Vanessa’s head. Austin grabs Scott to hold hostage but when Dr. Evil tells Austin to go ahead and kill him, Scott runs out of the room. Number 2 shows up but instead of helping Dr. Evil, he tells Austin he wants to give him the evidence he needs to put Dr. Evil away, as Number 2 would prefer continuing to run Virtucon as a legit company. Dr. Evil kills Number 2 and Vanessa uses the distraction to knock out Alotta Fagina but Dr. Evil gets back into his cryo chamber and blasts off in the Big Boy Rocket, activating the self destruct before he leaves. Austin, Vanessa, and their team get away and three months later, Austin and Vanessa are shown to be married. As they are enjoying their honeymoon, Basil calls them to tell them that Dr. Evil has disappeared from their scopes. After hanging up on Basil, they hear a knock on the door and Austin thinks it is the room service he ordered but it turns out to be Random Task, who attempts to kill Austin. Austin and Vanessa manage to beat him and after getting rid of him, they go out on to their balcony to look at the stars and see the Big Boy rocket flying in space, where Dr. Evil vows revenge on Austin Powers.

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.” The America Online on Austin’s computer is version 3.0. In the commentary on the DVD, Director Jay Roach states that he did the AOL product placement to get a free year of service from them. The movie was a box office hit, earning $67.7 million off of a $16.5 million budget and would become a cultural  icon of the late 90’s/early ’00’s, and would spawn 2 sequels, with a 3rd sequel supposedly in development since 2005 but has yet to progress any further.

Maybe my taste in comedy have changed some in the last 20 years but while I still find this movie to be funny, it is not to the same degree that I once thought it was. The acting was good, with Mike Meyers doing a good job in the dual roles of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. I also liked Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington and thought that Robert Wagner (Number 2), Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina), and Seth Green (Scott) made for some funny scenes. The story was pretty funny, mainly spoofing James Bond but also spoofing the 60’s spy genre in general. I also liked the idea of a man being thrown out of time and forced to adapt, as it brings the story of Rip Van Winkle to new life in a way. The comedy was pretty much one sexual innuendo joke after another for the most part, with a couple of slap stick elements and some bantering to kind of even things out. It might not be as funny to everyone now but it is still one of those movies that is good for a laugh.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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