Tag Archives: Tea Leoni

Jurassic Park III (2001, Joe Johnston)

Jurassic Park III is about a third of a movie. Even though it runs ninety minutes (minus however many minutes in end credits), there aren’t any characters and the running time is mostly spent on the action beats of a better movie. Instead of being a movie about genetically engineered dinosaurs left to their own devices and intruded upon, it’s a monster movie. And it’s a pretty boring one at that.

Johnston occasionally has moments of directorial flare, but few of them have to do with the action sequences. For the most part, the dinosaur action looks cheap and poorly conceived. I was shocked to read the film actually filmed in Hawaii. The terrible composite shots suggest it’s a soundstage creation.

It’s more a sequel to the second entry and references to the first seem inappropriate, regardless of Sam Neill and Laura Dern’s presences. None of the characters are likable—why do all these Jurassic Park movies need annoying kids? Trevor Morgan isn’t bad, but he’s useless. Unfortunately, many of the adults are useless; Alessandro Nivola is probably the prime example.

Why Johnston casted John Diehl and Bruce A. Young and wasted them is beyond me.

Neill’s not terrible, but he’s barely in it so who cares… I guess Téa Leoni gives the film’s “best” performance. Her or Dern in her cameo. And it’s hard to hate a film with Taylor Nichols in a bit part.

But why hire Don Davis, who composes fine scores, just to rearrange John Williams?

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Joe Johnston; screenplay by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, based on characters created by Michael Crichton; director of photography, Shelly Johnson; edited by Robert Dalva; music by Don Davis; production designer, Ed Verreaux; produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Larry J. Franco; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), William H. Macy (Paul Kirby), Téa Leoni (Amanda Kirby), Alessandro Nivola (Billy Brennan), Trevor Morgan (Erik Kirby), Michael Jeter (Mr. Udesky), John Diehl (Cooper), Bruce A. Young (M.B. Nash), Taylor Nichols (Mark Degler), Mark Harelik (Ben Hildebrand), Julio Oscar Mechoso (Enrique Cardoso) and Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler).


RELATED

Advertisements

Bad Boys (1995, Michael Bay)

Here’s an idea… take a script from the guy who wrote Midnight Run–I imagine that film had some rewrites from Martin Brest, but George Gallo did come up with it–and turn it into a complete mess.

What’s interesting about Bad Boys is what isn’t wrong with it… what nearly works in it….

Michael Bay doesn’t do a bad job at all here. He can direct scenes with good actors. He can’t direct scenes with bad actors giving bad performances–most awkward are his scenes with Martin Lawrence, because Lawrence is really funny but essentially giving a sitcom performance. Bay doesn’t know how to direct him and so Lawrence’s lines fail more often than they should.

Will Smith is another story. Will Smith’s performance is unbearably bad. The film would have been better suited teaming Lawrence with a mannequin.

The supporting cast has some real highlights too, which is strange. Not Marg Helgenberger, who’s so laughably awful she and Smith should have gone off into another movie and left Lawrence with the otherwise capable supporting cast. (Except Karen Alexander, she’s terrible too).

First, Joe Pantoliano. I’m not sure if he ever did the yelling police captain in anything else, but he’s perfect for it. Then there’s Nestor Serrano and Julio Oscar Mechoso, both great. Michael Imperioli, great.

Téa Leoni doesn’t work. Her performance isn’t bad… it’s just clear, she really doesn’t belong here.

I’m not surprised Bad Boys is dreadful, I’m shocked there’s so much good stuff about it.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Michael Bay; screenplay by Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland and Doug Richardson, based on a story by George Gallo; director of photography, Howard Atherton; edited by Christian Wagner; music by Mark Mancina; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Martin Lawrence (Det. Marcus Burnett), Will Smith (Det. Mike Lowrey), Téa Leoni (Julie Mott), Tchéky Karyo (Fouchet), Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard), Emmanuel Xuereb (Eddie Dominguez), Nestor Serrano (Detective Sanchez), Julio Oscar Mechoso (Detective Ruiz), Theresa Randle (Theresa Burnett), John Salley (Fletcher), Marg Helgenberger (Capt. Alison Sinclair) and Michael Imperioli (Jojo).


RELATED

Flirting with Disaster (1996, David O. Russell)

The first forty-five minutes of Flirting with Disaster play like Woody Allen mixed with a 1990s Miramax indie, which makes sense, since Flirting is a 1990s Miramax indie. That first half is real strong comedy of errors, then Josh Brolin’s bi (but married to fellow ATF agent Richard Jenkins, who’s phenomenal) old friend starts hitting on Patricia Arquette (who’s playing Ben Stiller’s neglected wife, while Stiller lusts for Téa Leoni) and the whole thing becomes very… common. Everything gets wrapped up with a neat little bow and instead of being quirky–David O. Russell combines hand-held with these somewhat epical establishing shots. They might have been shot from a car, hand-held, but they’re still epical. And the sound editing in that first half is fantastic too.

So what happens to Flirting with Disaster? Apparently, Russell decided the whole thing couldn’t be about Leoni’s adoption agent leading Stiller on wild goose chase after wild goose chase for well-cast possible birth parents. When the film gets to Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin, it speeds up. The pace had been a little hurried already, but then it’s all of a sudden over and it’s all a cop-out.

The film’s funny and the acting’s great. Only Brolin is weak. Leoni’s great, Arquette’s great in the first half, Stiller’s great until he has to wrap the film up with one apology… George Segal’s got some great moments with Mary Tyler Moore, but it’s all the script for them. Russell cast the film really well, but his script keeps a sense of artifice about the viewing experience, like he knew the audience wasn’t going to be able to get over Mary Tyler Moore flashing her bra either.

It’s sort of too bad and sort of not. At its best, Flirting with Disaster is a Woody Allen movie with acid (not on acid, with acid), at its worst, it’s an unaware Ganz-Mandel comedy with a quirky cast.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by David O. Russell; director of photography, Eric Edwards; edited by Christopher Tellefsen; music by Stephen Endelman; production designer, Kevin Thompson; produced by Dean Silvers; released by Miramax Films.

Starring Ben Stiller (Mel Coplin), Patricia Arquette (Nancy Coplin), Téa Leoni (Tina Kalb), Mary Tyler Moore (Mrs. Coplin), George Segal (Mr. Coplin), Alan Alda (Richard Schlicting), Lily Tomlin (Mary Schlicting), Richard Jenkins (Paul), Celia Weston (Valerie Swaney) and Josh Brolin (Tony).


RELATED