Tag Archives: Orion Pictures

Illegal in Blue (1995, Stu Segall)

So when Trevor Goddard gives a film’s best performance, what can you really say about the film? And calling Illegal in Blue a film is a compliment… but apparently it really was made by a motion picture company.

Orion, no less.

Two credits stick out. First, Orion. I had no idea they were trying to get into the “erotic thriller” genre before bankruptcy. Second, director Segall. Well, maybe not. In addition to producing bad cop shows (“Hunter”), Segall directed softcore movies under a different name. Blue makes a little more sense.

The most recognizable actor is Louis Giambalvo. He’s not bad, but he’s not as good as Goddard. Goddard gets to yell his terrible lines, Giambalvo has to speak his ludicrous dialogue calmly and rationally.

The lead, played by Dan Gauthier, is a cop who moonlights as a cabbie. While driving his cab, he meets Stacey Dash, who’s soon suspected of murdering her husband. Interesting thing about Blue is how Dash’s race is handled—it’s ignored. Unless Segall is including her being black as another reason to objectify her. I’m not sure it makes Blue significant or special, but it’s definitely particular.

Gauthier is awful. He couldn’t do a cologne commercial. Dash is fairly bad too, though she occasionally has a not terrible delivery. But not often.

Illegal in Blue is awful but it’s hard not to notice its similarities with film noir. Somehow (maybe Against All Odds did it), the genre got hijacked by late night cable.

But anyway….

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Stu Segall; written by Noel Hynd; director of photography, Ernest Paul Roebuck; edited by John W. Carr; music by Stephen Edwards; production designer, Anthony Brockliss; released by Orion Pictures.

Starring Stacey Dash (Kari Truitt), Dan Gauthier (Chris Morgan), Louis Giambalvo (Lt. Cavanaugh), Trevor Goddard (Mickey Fuller), Michael Durrell (Michael Snyder), Sandra Robinson (Joanne), David Groh (Dist. Attorney Frank Jacobi), Michael Cavanaugh (Lt. Lyle), Francis X. McCarthy (Sterling Justice), Raye Birk (Gary Dedmarch), Scott Kraft (Syd) and John Snyder (Denny).


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The Package (1989, Andrew Davis)

If it weren’t for the cast and direction, I’m not sure how The Package would play. The combination of Gene Hackman and Andrew Davis makes the film, which has a bunch of problems, noteworthy. Davis gives the film enough grit and realism to make it seem wholly believable, just so long as one doesn’t think about it much while watching it.

After a couple starts, about thirty minutes in, it becomes clear The Package is an assassination thriller. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly compelling assassination thriller. Without Hackman holding it together, it’d fail. Even worse, the first two starts promise something far more interesting and unique.

Even the assassination thriller part starts better than it ends. With a slightly different approach, The Package would be a road movie. It’s still basically arranged in that manner–principle supporting characters show up in sequence, not all at once. First it’s Tommy Lee Jones (in a glorified cameo, which is too bad since he and Hackman are great together), then Pam Grier (solid in a thankless role) and finally Dennis Franz (playing a family man variation of his cop standard). Joanna Cassidy shows up between Jones and Grier and sticks around.

Nearly all the supporting cast is excellent, regardless of how much they have to do. Kevin Crowley, Chelcie Ross, Thalmus Rasulala–small roles, great performances (Rasulala doesn’t even get a name).

The only weak performance is John Heard, which hurts me to even type but he’s just bad.

The Package is okay, if problematic.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Andrew Davis; written by John Bishop; director of photography, Frank Tidy; edited by Billy Weber and Don Zimmerman; music by James Newton Howard; production designer, Michel Levesque; produced by Beverly J. Camhe and Tobie Haggerty; released by Orion Pictures.

Starring Gene Hackman (Sgt. Johnny Gallagher), Joanna Cassidy (Eileen Gallagher), Tommy Lee Jones (Thomas Boyette), John Heard (Col. Glen Whitacre), Dennis Franz (Lt. Milan Delich), Pam Grier (Ruth Butler), Kevin Crowley (Walter Henke) and Chelcie Ross (Gen. Hopkins).


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Over the Edge (1979, Jonathan Kaplan)

Over the Edge is explosive. Sorry, maybe that statement is a little glib–but it is literally explosive. More cars blow up in Over the Edge than a season of “The A-Team.” I think Kaplan was going for dramatic effect, but it’s hard to say. Kaplan’s actually the least interesting technical component of the film. Whenever he does make a bold choice, it’s a bad one (he pauses on lead Michael Eric Kramer as he passes from second act to third… as a 400 Blows homage, it fails).

But he’s mostly competent and helped a great deal by the rest of the crew. Andrew Davis’s photography is fantastic, very verité, which fits the film, and Sol Kaplan’s score is haunting. It’s like he’s scoring a forties film noir, not a seventies drama.

The script, from Charles S. Haas and Tim Hunter, has its strengths and weaknesses too. The stuff with the kids is better than the stuff with the parents. It’s clear they’re trying to balance, but it doesn’t come off.

Kramer’s good, usually having to share the screen with more dynamic actors. Matt Dillon’s one of them, but he’s more a dynamic character (Dillon has one of the few weak readings from the teenagers). Vincent Spano’s excellent. Pamela Ludwig and Tom Fergus are both good.

Andy Romano’s okay, but unbelievable (partially due to script), as Kramer’s father. Harry Northup’s great as the dumb cop in charge.

It’s good, but it should be better. The explosions make it absurd.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan; written by Charles S. Haas and Tim Hunter; director of photography, Andrew Davis; edited by Robert Barrere; music by Sol Kaplan; production designer, James William Newport; produced by George Litto; released by Orion Pictures.

Starring Michael Eric Kramer (Carl), Pamela Ludwig (Cory), Matt Dillon (Richie), Vincent Spano (Mark), Tom Fergus (Claude), Harry Northup (Doberman), Andy Romano (Fred Willat), Ellen Geer (Sandra Willat), Richard Jamison (Cole), Julia Pomeroy (Julia), Tiger Thompson (Johnny), Eric Lalich (Tip) and Kim Kliner (Abby).


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F/X2 (1991, Richard Franklin)

F/X2 is very affable. It’s so affable, it encourages one to overlook its major shortcomings. First off, it’s a PG sequel to an R-rated original, which cuts down on the grit (though rated PG-13, the rating’s needlessly inflated with minor nudity). Second, it’s got Toronto standing in for New York. There’s some New York location shooting… but it’s not enough. The production simply doesn’t have any personality.

Of course, neither of those problems is really damning, if the script were good. Bill Condon’s script isn’t terrible–though it seems like it must not have been much work, more of an outline really, since the entire film depends solely on Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy. They’re playing PG versions of themselves from the first film, which is problematic, but they’re so likable, who cares?

Most of the rest of the film is the special effects. Except they’re not particularly believable or thoughtful–it’s like an episode of “MacGyver.”

I’ve only seen the film once before–at most twice and long ago–but I remembered two of the three twists. In fact, I think this film has conditioned me to be wary of Philip Bosco, never believing he isn’t secretly a villain.

The supporting cast is mostly wasted–Rachel Ticotin and Joanna Gleason barely get any screen time as the new love interests. And then Kevin J. O’Connor shows up to annoy.

Franklin’s direction is pretty good, somewhat hampered by Toronto.

But Brown and Dennehy are so affable, who cares?

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Richard Franklin; screenplay by Bill Condon, based on characters created by Robert T. Megginson and Gregory Fleeman; director of photography, Victor J. Kemper; edited by Andrew London; music by Lalo Schifrin; production designer, John Jay Moore; produced by Dodi Fayed and Jack Wiener; released by Orion Pictures.

Starring Bryan Brown (Rollie Tyler), Brian Dennehy (Leo McCarthy), Rachel Ticotin (Kim Brandon), Joanna Gleason (Liz Kennedy), Philip Bosco (Lt. Ray Silak), Kevin J. O’Connor (Matt Neely), Tom Mason (Mike Brandon), Dominic Zamprogna (Chris Brandon), Jossie DeGuzman (Marisa Velez) and John Walsh (Rado).


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