POMS (2019)

Directed By: Zara Hayes
Written By: Shane Atkinson 
Story By: Zara Hayes & Shane Atkinson 
Cinematography: Tim Orr
Editor: Annette Davey 

Cast: Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Celia Weston, Alisha Roe, Charlie Tahan, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier, Phyllis Somerville, Patrica French, Bruce McGill 

POMS is a comedy about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community, proving that you’re never too old to ‘bring it!’


Usually every summer there are certain types of films that come towards the end of that season. There is the urban thriller that has something to do with domestication. There is a fantasy romance that somehow involves travel or older characters or both and there is the older ensemble movie. Which usually involves a group of older female or male characters whose characters get together for a cause.

Somehow have a setback or are underestimated because of their age. Then manages to impress and show off the young people. 

The film will usually involve the character doing things you wouldn’t expect them to do at that age. Usually, the cast will be filled with recognizable actors. Who will either all get a chance to shine or two of them will be more the focus. While the others fall by the wayside (Think the movie CALENDAR GIRLS) the other way is that it is an ensemble filled with all ages whereas a group they bond and we see the individual problems of each across the ages.

This film is the one that involves an ensemble and two of the actors take the lead. As well as having older characters doing something together that is only thought to be done by younger people. Here it is cheerleading. The two main leads are Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver 

Jacki Weaver is more the flirty and rambunctious character. Who comes across like Blanche from THE GOLDEN GIRLS. She is also more the wild child and veteran of the retirement community they are part of.

Diane Keaton is the new resident who mainly came there to be alone and dies slowly from Cancer, but as she keeps being made to socialize and brought into her neighbors schemes. She decides to do an activity as a last hurrah, also to stick it to the community board and make a mark.

We see as they recruit new members and even has a touching side story. Where an older woman has bullying kids who won’t let her do what she wants. As they think they know what they want is best.

The film Is predictable but it’s Supposed to be it’s Light and is more for an audience to enjoy, not necessarily think about and more have the film affect their feelings. Not to mention be representative of the audience they want to attract and also for the younger audience members maybe remind them of their loved ones. 

While enjoyable, one is definitely bit the audience for this one. Not to mention it all feels too familiar. There is no attempt at anything new or original. So that most of the film feels like it’s On autopilot.

So while it’s Great to see these older actresses get a project and screen time. One only wishes it was either stronger or worthy of their time and talents. Then again they can’t all get the roles Susan Sarandon and Helen Mirren seem to get that offer more versatility and flexibility.

Grade: C-

JAWBREAKER (1999)

Written & Directed By: Darren Stein 
Cinematography By: Amy Vincent 
Editor: Troy Takaki 

Cast: Rose McGowan, Julie Benz, Rebecca Gayheart, Charlotte Ayana, Judy Greer, Pam Grier, Carol Kane, Tatyana Ali, Chad Christ, Jeff Conaway, William Katt, P.J. Soles, Marilyn Manson 


In what was meant as a harmless birthday prank, three of Reagan High School’s most popular girls, Julie, Foxy, and Courtney pretend to kidnap their friend, the latter shoving a jawbreaker into the victim’s mouth to keep her from screaming. Their plan goes awry when the girl accidently swallows the jawbreaker, choking to death. The cool and calculating Courtney tries to cover the crime but is found out by school geek Fern Mayo. In return for her silence, Courtney transforms the gawky Fern into the stylishly beautiful Vylette, leaving the conscience-stricken Julie out in the cold, threatening to set her up for the girl’s murder if she breaks her silence. 

This film was compared to HEATHERS by some critics. So I had to check this film out. Luckily I was working at a movie theater that was playing this movie so I got to see it for free. If I had paid for it. I believe my review would be more vicious. 

The film is very colorful and has a dull witty edge the jokes sometimes hit their targets, but often misfire. Even though the film is cast with memorable stars of teenage set sitcoms. One of the problems with the film is the cast playing teenagers look too old. I’m not talking 90210 old. I’m talking having the first kid setting up house in the suburbs old. 

Writer/director Darren Stein intentionally cast older actresses as the high school leads as an homage to films like GREASE and CARRIE, which seemed to use actresses who were clearly in their mid-twenties. 

There are a few things to like in this movie Jeff Conway is hilarious intentionally in his one scene. The scene where Rebecca Gayheart is the only one moving in the hallway while everyone else is In freeze frame is inspired and beautiful. The lunch room social status table scene is hilarious 

Rose McGowan is on point and great in her role. The only problem, she’s too poised and self assured in the role. She is beautiful, But is just too old. I can see why she took the role. It’s a star-maker, but then there are the problems with the movie. Which out number the good thing most of the casting a lot of good actors are miscast or wasted in their roles. There are Celebrity cameos here for no reason other then former or noted actors just trying to get work, which are beneath them. 

This is a very nasty film in spirit and material. It’s a dark comedy that is supposed to contain some satire, But feels mean spirited for no reason while being campy. The sets and makeup are at times nauseating. 

I would have to say the main reason for watching this film is Rose McGowan and her performance. So if you are a fan of her this is a definite must see. Even the usually dependable Judy Greer is wasted in one of her first leading roles plus I hated her 80’s Alice hairdo. 

During the entire film, a circular theme is visible, to call back to the jawbreaker. From the girls earrings (they wear hoops throughout the majority of the film), to light fixtures, to patterns, and wall fixtures. 

The problem here is that Rose McGowan excels in this role, but the movie or at least the script can’t keep up to her talent. No one else is written as well or as vividly as she is. This has also been the problem with McGowan’s career there has hardly been roles tailor made for her and when there were she was usually the best thing or the most noteworthy thing in the movie, Because everything else was disappointing about the films. She just keeps seeming to miss those roles that would catapult her full speed ahead or doesn’t seem to take the momentum offered when she does. Almost like a older Christina Ricci with less chances. 

Marilyn Manson was given his cameo part because he was engaged to Rose McGowan at the time the movie was made. 

Wait For Cable 

GRADE: C-

BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY (1991)

Directed By: Peter Hewitt
Written By: Chris Matheson & Ed Soloman
Cinematography By: Oliver Wood
Editor: David Finfer

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, George Carlin, Joss Ackland, Pam Grier, Hal Landon Jr., Sarah Trigger, Jim Martin, Taj Mahal, Primus 

The world of our distant future is a veritable utopia, thanks to the lyrics of two simple-minded 20th Century rock and rollers, Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan. However, a would-be conquerer threatens to throw history off-track by sending “most non-non-heinous” evil robot Bill and Teds back to kill their good counterparts. Finding themselves dead, the boys must outwit the Grim Reaper and traverse Heaven and Hell to return to the land of the living, rescue their “babes” and have a “most triumphant” concert at the all-important Battle of the Bands


The original title was “Bill and Ted go to Hell” but was changed because of American objections to the use of the word “hell”.

Stephen Herek declined to return as director because he thought it was “almost a parody of a movie that was already a parody”.

This is a sequel not too many people saw coming as yes the first film was a hit, but this sequel while seeming a bit more forced. This seems to revel in the off the Wall motif of everything involved and seems giddy with the chances they have in where they can take the film. As this film is much more wild and experimental and bigger budgeted.

When it comes to this film while there is much more to love and it is more accomplished. I prefer the original for it’s newness factor. Here we are used to these characters and while the film offers a noticeably different story. It still doesn’t feel quite as fresh as the original. Though this one is stranger. It’s not a bad film just different In its own way

definitely can say that this film seems to benefit from a better budget. As the art direction is a lot more sharp and pleasing to the eye. Making the film seem more surreal overall. As the visuals stay with you.

While this film is futuristic it is also definitely a film of its time. Which is where the film’s weakness lies. This is a film where you can tell everyone had a lot of fun making. As all the actors are inspired even the leads seem more gung ho in their roles as maybe they understand the characters more.

As the leads get to play multiple versions of themselves and seem to have their characters more on a directional path. Whereas in the first film they were teenagers who got a glimpse of the future. They still had the time and plenty of room until then. Here we see them trying to get there and the otherworldly obstacles in their way.

This film has less of a necessary story than the first film which just seemed like an odd quirky high concept comedy. Here the film seems more inspired by the characters than the plot. As this film Plays more like a comedic nightmare for the characters. Though you can’t debt that the film is more vibrant if slightly more off-center. As the film beers more into star Alex winter’s early short films and show on MTV, IDIOT BOX. As well as his feature film directorial debut FREAKED, in it’s strange and surreal humor. Where scenes seem partially like sketches that tie into the overall story. Especially in the hell sequences 

William Sadler as death (his death character seemingly more inspired by Max Von Sydow in THE SEVENTH SEAL) steals the film with so much gusto and comedic highlights. That it is another performance that should have made him more in demand and lead to either more lead by roles or character actor roles. At least more comedic ones.

In this film, there is very little time travel. This is a relief as it leaves the film Not relying upon or rehashing the first film’s main focus. Making this sequel seeming fresher.

This film though does feel more creative. As it takes more chances and seems a lot more fun. It’s like a funhouse version of the first film. Whereas this film shows it’s inspirations and seems more aimed at off the wall humor. Focused on its core younger audience. This film also introduced an actual villain for the two characters to face. Even though Joss Ackland claims he only too the role because he lost a bet.

These films always feel like a precursor or an inspiration to the WAYNE’S WORLD skit and movies. Which just like this film had a more surreal and overstuffed sequel. as well as BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD was only more likable.

The film has an ending song that at the time felt iconic but listening to it now feels more melodramatic and embarrassing from the band KISS.

Grade: B-

THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012)

themanwithiron

 

Directed & Story By: Rza
Written By: Rza & Eli Roth
Cinematography By: Chi Ying Chan
Editor: Joe D’Augustine 


Cast: Russell Crowe, Rza, Lucy Liu, Jamie Chung, Rick Yune, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Zhu Zhu, Pam Grier

On the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.

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