Tag Archives: Lawrence Kasdan

Cross My Heart (1987, Armyan Bernstein)

Cross My Heart has a significant problem right off. Its gimmick work against the film. The opening scenes establish Annette O’Toole and Martin Short’s leads as they prepare for a date. Each has the help of a second (for exposition’s sake, though it doesn’t make the exposition particularly natural); both actors are appealing, both characters are appealing. The opening scenes set up the viewer knowing the truth about each character, which they plan on hiding from the other.

Hence the title.

Then the date starts. And O’Toole’s really good. She’s often doing these delicate movements while Short’s stuck in a lame romantic comedy. The more she does them, the worse Short gets. The middle of the film is mostly real time on their date and, while his character is believable, Short’s no longer likable. And the film’s gimmick of preparing the viewer in advance backfires. It makes O’Toole the protagonist, which the film isn’t set up to do.

Oddly enough, even though the script’s used up all of its goodwill by three-quarters through, once the actors get to play the characters straight–particularly Short (like I said, O’Toole’s always good)–everything starts working out. The chemistry between the stars is so good, it’s too bad director Bernstein and co-writer Gail Parent wasted so much time on the insincerity (and using it for joke fodder).

Real nice support from Paul Reiser in a small role and nice photography from Thomas Del Ruth.

It’s fine, but the actors deserve more.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Armyan Bernstein; written by Bernstein and Gail Parent; director of photography, Thomas Del Ruth; edited by Mia Goldman; music by Bruce Broughton; production designer, Lawrence G. Paull; produced by Lawrence Kasdan; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Martin Short (David), Annette O’Toole (Kathy), Paul Reiser (Bruce), Joanna Kerns (Nancy), Jessica Puscas (Jessica), Corinne Bohrer (Susan) and Lee Arenberg (Parking Attendant).


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Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (1989, Eric Zala)

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation clearly shows all you need for rousing adventure is enthusiasm, a willful abandon for one’s physical safety and John Williams music. The film is an attempt at a shot-for-shot adaptation of the original, made by and starring children (over approximately seven years). Their motive? Well, when they started, there was no “priced to buy” VHS version.

The best performance in the film might be director Zala as Belloq, but Chris Strompolos is good as Indiana Jones too. Ted Ross has fun as Toht (the Nazi with the scarred hand) but he’s not exactly good. As Marion, Angela Rodriguez is enthusiastic without necessarily being good or bad. At any rate, it’s impossible to imagine it without her.

The most impressive part of the film, besides the editing of sequences to the Williams music, is the action scenes. As a friend said, much of those scenes are examples of “bad parenting.” They do not attempt to fake any action sequences, instead these kids are jumping onto trucks from trees and getting dragged behind trucks and so on. It’s incredible to see.

The only thing wrong with it, the only place the lack of budget affects The Adaptation, is establishing shots. The Adaptation only works, because of that absence, if one has seen the original. In every other way, it could stand alone (again, the John Williams music helps—not to mention they use the Ben Burtt punching sound effect).

It’s a delightful experience.

3.5/4★★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Eric Zala; screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman; photographed and edited by Jayson Lamb; produced by Chris Strompolos.

Starring Chris Strompolos (Indiana Jones), Angela Rodriguez (Marion Ravenwood), Eric Zala (Dr. Rene Belloq), Ted Ross (Major Arnold Toht), Alan Stenum (Sallah), William Coon (Dr. Marcus Brody), Clay LaGrone (Satipo), Michael Bales (Colonel Dietrich), Kurt Zala (Gobler) and Sam Cummings (Barranca).


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