Writer/director Wes Craven died over the weekend at his home in Los Angeles. A spokesperson for the renowed director reports that his death followed a battle with brain cancer. He was 76 years of age.
[rating=1]Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clark Duke, Allison Janney
Director(s): Brian Robbins
Writer(s): Steve Koren
Director Brian Robbins (Norbit), working from a script by Steve Koren (Jack and Jill, Bruce Almighty) gives us an unfunny comedy that fails to showcase the comedic and acting talents of Eddie Murphy, a guy who has serious chops in those areas. Sadly, we haven’t seen a lot of his comedy genius of late, although we did get to see him doing some great acting in Dreamgirls. But that was almost six years ago and what we’ve seen him in since is nothing to write home about. His latest effort, Tower Heist was a serious disappointment.
Actors all want to be musicians, musicians all want to be actors, and comedians are usually content to be miserable neurotics. The advantage of working out neurosis on stage is that it can be a great training ground for channeling emotion in front of an audience who aren’t shy about giving you instant feedback. In his autobiography, “Born Standing Up,” Steve Martin expounds on the idea of how his stand-up days helped mold him into the actor, writer, and musician he is today. That got me thinking about other stand-ups who’ve turned out brilliant acting performances, and can claim to be Actors with a capital A.
Despite some problems there are many pleasures to be found in the screen adaptation of Dreamgirls.
[rating=2]Starring: the Voices of Ming Na, B.D. Wong, Eddie Murphy, George Takei, Harvey Fierstein, Melissa Alto
Director(s): Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
Writer(s): Rita Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip Lazebnik, Raymond Singer, Dean DeBlois
Mulan was probably the first Disney animated film in years that I had not seen in the movies. In fact, I hadn’t seen it in its entirety until watching this DVD. And as much as I thought the animation was stunning, and the story entertaining, the film really falls short on the music front.
I was also surprised by how the film seemed to celebrate the ethnicity of the story.
[rating=3]Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Anjelica Huston, Steve Zahn, Regina
Director(s): Steve Carr
Writer(s): Screenplay by Geoff Rodkey
I grew up in the ’80s watching movies like Beverly Hills Cop, The Golden Child and Coming to America. Back then, it seemed like there was no one quite as funny as Eddie Murphy thrilling us with his trademark laugh. Then he disappeared, tried to make a go at it in the music industry (big flop) and made several movies most of us didn’t see and quickly forgot if we did.