Tag Archives: Aida Turturro

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001, Simon Wincer)

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles is a terrible movie. But it’s not offensive, which makes it peculiar. It’s cringeworthy, with most of its L.A. jokes being about ten years too late. It even has a movie studio finish–an awful sequence–which doesn’t rip-off of Beverly Hills Cop III, but does make one remember what happens when franchises go stale… but try anyway.

Los Angeles is the very boring story of Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski taking their son (Serge Cockburn) to America for the first time. Kozlowski’s filling in at a newspaper and Hogan is just going to hang out. Then there’s this dumb story about Jere Burns and Jonathan Banks being corrupt movie producers. I think it’s supposed to be mysterious. It fails on that front.

Kozlowski is awful, though I suppose it could just be the awful script. Hogan’s innate charm carries him through pretty well. There’s no action though; he’s an sixty year-old man after all.

Simon Wincer’s direction is more appropriate for an episode of a crappy television show than a film. That ending action sequence I mentioned earlier is unbearable. It’s boring. Wincer doesn’t have a single well-directed sequence in the entire film.

He gets no help from his crew, either. David Burr’s photography is lousy and Basil Poledouris’s score is embarrassing for someone of his ability.

There are a couple of surprisingly good laughs at the end, especially considering the dearth of humor preceding them.

It’s embarrassing for everyone involved.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Simon Wincer; screenplay by Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams, based on characters created by Paul Hogan; director of photography, David Burr; edited by Terry Blythe; music by Basil Poledouris; production designer, Leslie Binns; produced by Hogan and Lance Hool; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Paul Hogan (Mick Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charleton), Serge Cockburn (Mikey Dundee), Alec Wilson (Jacko), Aida Turturro (Jean Ferraro), Jere Burns (Arnan Rothman), Jonathan Banks (Milos Drubnik), Kaitlin Hopkins (Miss Mathis) and Paul Rodriguez (Diego).


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Denise Calls Up (1995, Hal Salwen)

About ten years ago, the best independent movies–as Fox Searchlight wasn’t around yet–were coming out of Sony Pictures Classics. Denise Calls Up has disappeared. It’s not out on DVD and the VHS is out of print. Hal Salwen is similarly gone–his last film is available, pan and scanned, on DVD, but the one he made after Denise has never been released. The New York independent filmmakers of the 1990s–the only good independent industry of the 1990s–have mostly disappeared….

Denise is an odd film. It’s structured around phone calls. The film is, watched today, a monument to the call waiting-era, which is now mostly replaced by e-mail. Except a film about a bunch of people e-mailing each other doesn’t allow dialogue, which means there wouldn’t be much for the actors to do. Denise gives its actors a lot to do. I think this film is the first one I ever saw Liev Schreiber in. Schreiber–to some degree–caught on and managed to resist Hollywood crap for a while, always doing smaller work. But this film is also the first place I saw Alanna Ubach, who was around for a minute (particularly Clockwatchers), then disappeared. These two are the only ones I’m going to mention, but everyone in the film is great. I can’t figure out how Salwen got such good performances out of them, given the telephone-only talking nature of the film.

While the telephone-specific elements of the film may or may not be outdated, Denise‘s theme of isolation in American culture is more than valid, probably moreso today. Salwen’s an exceptional filmmaker too–Denise is particularly well-edited and the location manager is my hero–it’s unthinkable that he hasn’t gone on to anything more. I hope Sony gets around to releasing it on DVD, just so more people can see it.

3.5/4★★★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Hal Salwen; director of photography, Michael Mayers; edited by Gary Sharfin; music by Lynn Geller; production designer, Susan Bolles; produced by J. Todd Harris; released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Starring Alanna Ubach (Denise), Tim Daly (Frank), Caroleen Feeney (Barbara), Dan Gunther (Martin), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Gale), Liev Schreiber (Jerry), Aida Turturro (Linda) and Sylvia Miles (Gale’s Aunt Sharon).