So, this year I am making a sincere effort to review every film that I see. I know I say that every year but this time, I really mean it. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks, real life has interfered with my movie reviewing, if not my move watching.
So, in an effort to catch up, here are four quick reviews of some of the movies that I watched over the past two weeks!
- First Daughter
- Released: 2004
- Directed by Forest Whitaker
- Starring Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, Amerie, Michael Keaton, Margaret Colin, Lela Rochon
Michael Keaton as the President of the United States!? Now, that’s a great idea. Michael Keaton plays President Mackenzie. First Daughter was made long before Birdman so Michael Keaton doesn’t really have a huge part but, whenever he does appear, he is totally believable as a world leader. You buy the idea that this guy could win an election and that he’d probably be a good (if not necessarily a great) President. Someone really needs to make another movie where Michael Keaton plays the President. Maybe President Birdman. Just don’t give it to Inarritu to direct because he’ll make it too political…
Anyway, the majority of the film is about Katie Holmes as the President’s daughter, Samantha. Samantha has been accepted to a college in California. She’s excited because it means that she’ll finally be able to have a life outside of the White House. The President is concerned because he loves his daughter and he knows that, if she makes any mistakes in California, his political opponents will try to use her against him. Samantha goes off to college and tries to have a good (but rather chaste) time. Making that somewhat difficult is her secret service entourage. Fortunately, Samantha meets a guy (Marc Blucas) who loves her for who she is and not because her father is the President.
It’s all pretty silly and shallow but I have to admit that I get nostalgic whenever I see this movie. Much like From Justin To Kelly, it’s definitely a film from a more innocent and less angry time. To date, it’s also the last film to be directed by actor Forest Whitaker.
- Ice Girls
- Released in 2016
- Directed by Damian Lee
- Starring Michaela du Toit, Lara Daans, Arcadia Kendal, Sheila McCarthy, Taylor Hunsley, Shane Harte, Elvis Stojko
Struggling financially, Kelly (Lara Daans) is forced to move back to her hometown and move in with her sister (Sheila McCarthy). Until she got married and gave up that part of her life, Kelly was once an up-and-coming figure skater. Fortunately, her daughter, Mattie (Michaela du Toit), has inherited her mother’s talent. However, a serious injury shook Mattie’s confidence. Now, she says she doesn’t want to skate anymore. Still, she’s willing to accept a job from Mercury (Elvis Stojko) at the local rink and it’s not too long before, under Mercury’s guidance, Mattie is skating once again. Mattie also befriends another skater, Heather (Taylor Hunsley). Heather happens to be the daughter of Rose (Natasha Henstridge), who was once in love with Kelly’s father…
It sounds like the set-up of a melodramatic Lifetime movie but actually, Ice Girls is a sweet-natured film about two ice skaters, one who has a mother who is too protective and the other who has a mother who is too driven. In the end, both of them end up skating for themselves and not their mothers and that’s a good message for the film’s target audience of young skate fans. The majority of the cast is made up of actual ice skaters, so the skating footage is pretty impressive. It’s a predictable movie but I enjoyed it when I watched it on Netflix.
- Raising the Bar
- Released in 2016
- Directed by Clay Glen
- Starring Kelli Berglund, Lili Karamalikis, Tess Fowler, Emily Morris, Peta Shannon
I also watched this one on Netflix, a day after I watched Ice Girls. (I was in an Olympics sort of mood, even though neither film took place at the Olympics.) Raising the Bar feels a lot like Ice Girls, except that the ice skaters were now gymnasts and instead of relocating to Toronto, the family in Raising the Bar relocates all the way to Australia. Once in Australia, Kelly (Kelly Johnson) finds the courage to re-enter gymnastics and ends up competing against her former teammates.
Kelly Johnson gives a good performance in the lead role. Though it may be predictable, Raising the Bar is an effective and sweet-natured family film. Perhaps the most interesting thing about watching the film was that I quickly found myself rooting against the American team. Australia all the way!
- Walk Like A Man
- Released 1987
- Directed by Melvin Frank
- Starring Howie Mandel, Amy Steel, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp, Stephen Elliott, George DiCenzo, John McLiam, Earl Boen
Oh, what sweet Hell is this?
Okay, I’m going to try to explain what happens in this movie. You’re not going to believe me. You’re going to think that I’m just making all of this up. But I swear to a God … this is an actual movie.
When he was a baby, Boba Shand (Howie Mandel) got separated from his family. His mother and his father assumed that he was gone forever but what they didn’t know was that Bobo was found and raised by a pack of wild dogs. For twenty years, Bobo lives as a dog. Then he’s discovered by Penny (Amy Steel), an animal researcher who tries to teach Bobo how to be a human. However, as time passes, Penny comes to realize that maybe she’s making a mistake trying to change Bobo. Bobo is innocent and child-like and obsessed with chasing fire engines. When he has too much to drink, he runs around on all fours. And … PENNY’S IN LOVE WITH HIM!
Seriously, she’s in love with a man who thinks he’s a dog.
However, Bobo stands to inherit a fortune and his evil brother (Christopher Lloyd) is planning on having him committed. Penny has to prove that Bobo is human enough to manage his own affairs while also respecting his desire to continue living like a dog.
I’m serious. This is a real movie.
Anyway, making things even worse is the performance as Howie Mandel. Mandel has always been a rather needy performer and the role of a man who thinks he’s a dog only serves to bring out his worst instincts. Remember when Ben Stiller played Simple Jack in Tropical Thunder? Well, Mandel’s performance is kinda like that only worse. At one point, Bobo walks up to a mannequin in a mall and says, “I have to go pee pee. Come with me,” and I nearly threw a shoe at the TV. Oh my God, it was so bad.
The main problem with Walk Like A Man is that it wants to have it both ways. It wants to be a wild comedy about Howie Mandel chasing fire engines but it also makes us want to tear up when Penny explains why Bobo should be allowed to live as a dog.
All in all, it’s a really bad movie. And yes, it does actually exist.