Saturday, October 24, 2020

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Movie Name: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Jason Woliner
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu, Manuel Vieru, Alin Popa
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
The world has changed quite substantially since Larry Charles's "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" came out in 2006. This sequel takes the premise of the first film, and places that journalist once again in American soil, wreaking havoc. This time around we find Borat imprisoned within a gulag, following the events depicted on the first film, which caused an embarrassment for the nation of Kazakhstan. In an attempt to redeem the nation, the Prime Minister frees Borat, and tasks him with presenting the Minister of Culture, Johnny the Monkey, to the current President of the United States. Following some events that took place in the first film, and since those prevent him from gifting the President, Borat decides instead to gift the monkey to the Vice President. As he makes his way to America on a boat, we finally see him anchored in Texas, where he witnesses he has gained recognition and fame as a result of the first film. Much to his horror, he also discovers that the monkey is in fact dead, since his daughter, a stowaway who traveled in the same crate as the monkey, actually ate him during their lengthy ocean trip. He decides to gift the Vice President with his daughter, and both Borat and Tutar embark on a roadtrip to both get to the VP, but also polish her approach in order to please the VP.
The first "Borat" is an interesting and powerful film, in the sense that while built as a mockumentary, in reality exposes behaviors from actual people from different parts of the country, laying bare topics such as anti-semitism, racism and homophobia. If the first film managed to be simultaneously hilarious and cringe inducing, due primarily to situations that the character inserted himself into, in this sequel, the cat is very much out of the bag, and the aspect of novelty (and shock) isn't there anymore. Even with the disguises that Borat comes up with, he himself approaches the topic of being too well known for the "documentary" to effectively capture authentic reactions. Nonetheless, the film manages to simultaneously tackle topics such as feminism, abortion, racism, anti-semitism, while continuing to expose the decadent aspect of what some may consider conservative politics, which in the end is illustrated as glorified ignorance (and hypocrisy). Even if this film's approach isn't as fresh as the first one turned out to be, it still manages to make its point, and deliver some good laughs. It also serves as an interesting document, demonstrating not only the state of a nation, but also how the country has changed in 14 years, and yet some behaviors, originating from people from different venues of life, stay the same, not matter what. Sacha Baron Cohen is once again fearless, making this character indelible. He is aptly supported by Maria Bakalova who plays his young daughter, Tutar, and they both manage to create some hilarious situations. Director Jason Woliner mostly known for his television work, while not bringing a particularly distinguishable point of view to the narrative, does manage to capture the humorous situations quite effectively. Worth watching.

The Invisible Man

Movie Name: The Invisible Man
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman, Benedict Hardie, Brian Meegan, Renee Lim, Cleave Williams
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
The underrated and talented Leigh Whannell continues his steady career, of providing interesting approaches to genres that can at times seem repetitive in its formulas. After directing "Insidious: Chapter 3" (a series he wrote and has guided from the beginning) and the entertaining "Upgrade", the director has tackled and gone for an interesting approach to H.G. Wells "The Invisible Man" novel. This take focuses on the story of Cecilia Kass, a young woman whom we witness at the beginning of the narrative, scarily fleeing a house, which we soon discover belongs to her abusive and controlling boyfriend, Adrian. Cecilia, with the help of her sister, manages to escape Adrian's abuse, and she soon finds solace in the house of a friend, Detective James Lanier. A few weeks after Cecilia's escape, she is informed that Adrian has committed suicide and has left her 5 million dollars from his trust fund. As her life resumes, she starts noticing strange occurrences happening right in front of her, without much logical explanation, including James's daughter getting slapped in front of her, and Cecilia fainting during a job interview, as a result of intaking the same drug she used to escape Adrian's torment. Cecilia suspects Adrian faked his own death, and has devised a way to become invisible using his knowledge of fringe technology, something that no one believes. That is, until the violence escalates, with dramatic outcomes, forcing Cecilia to find inner strength to uncover what is taking place, and to escape from the dark scenario in which she currently is.
"The Invisible Man" manages to take H.G. Wells original novel, of a scientist plagued by an accidental discovery that renders him invisible, and the trail of bodies he leaves as a direct result of wanting to find a cure for it. Leigh Whannell, who is also responsible for the "Saw" series, manages to smartly move away from the perspective of the Invisible Man, and places the victim of his attention, as the narrator and central figure for this film. In pivoting the focus of the action to Cecilia, Whannell manages to simultaneously build a narrative that not only showcases the anguish of living in violent and abusive household, but how victims find the inner strength and resources to overcome those challenges. It's also an opportunity to even question the sanity of the central character, something that is cleverly peppered throughout the film. The director smartly avoids providing too many visual cues about what is happening, but as the story unfolds, he manages to provide a third act, that not only showcases an apt justification for the events, but also demonstrates the journey Cecilia has gone on. The film is a great showcase for the consistently great Elisabeth Moss, who is simultaneously fearful, resourceful and finally vengeful. The cinematography from Stefan Duscio, is impeccable, building a tone that is dark and cold, almost futuristic. An entertaining and fresh take on a classic story, from a very interesting film maker. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Runaway

Movie Name: Runaway
Year of Release: 1984
Director: Michael Crichton
Starring: Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Stan Shaw, G.W. Bailey, Joey Cramer, Chris Mulkey, Anne-Marie Martin, Michael Paul Chan
Genre: Action, Crime
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director Michael Crichton followed his poorly received "Looker" with another futuristic storyline, much like the successful "Westworld". "Runaway" focuses on the story of Jack Ramsay, a police Sergeant who has been a veteran of the "Runway" squad, one that specializes in robots, following a dramatic case in his past. Jack has just been assigned a new partner, the enthusiastic Karen Thompson, and they're both soon tackling a case where a household robot killed a family. As their investigation drills deeper, they discover the man behind this is a ruthless sociopathic genius by the name of Luther, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. And that includes targeting Ramsay's own family. It will take all of Jack's resourcefulness, while also overcoming his fears, to stop that threat.
"Runaway" is a detective story, which takes place in a very nearby future, which explains why most of the action taking place, and most of the production design, looks and feels very familiar. The biggest difference is of course the robots and some of the technology that is peppered throughout the narrative. However, the traces of the detective/noir film are all there. The lead detective, his young partner, the ruthless villain, the beautiful (and easily discardable) girlfriend of the villain, the hothead police chief, and the list goes on. The film doesn't really play around with any of these clichés, it merely sets them in motion, and sadly without much of a perspective, or for that matter, humor. It's a film that lacks a stronger point of view in storytelling, and while what it depicts is indeed dated (or obsolete), at its core, the procedural aspect of the narrative, could have been further enhanced, and been the angle to make this film more entertaining and rewarding. Michael Crichton however doesn't really know what to do with the supporting characters, and therefore, the younger police officer, Karen Thompson, is immediately relegated to a love interest role, while Kirstie Alley's Jackie Rogers, after being deemed "very attractive", is quickly tossed aside by the ruthless villain. It's a film that even by the 80s standards, looks and feels out of place, and sadly without much originality. Tom Selleck is a consistently engaging lead, but even him can't save this film. Best to avoid.

The Mothman Prophecies

Movie Name: The Mothman Prophecies
Year of Release: 2002
Director: Mark Pellington
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, David Eigenberg, Lucinda Jenney, Alan Bates, Shane Callahan, Nesbitt Blaisdell, Tim Hartman, Tom Tully
Genre: Mystery, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Mark Pellington made a name for himself in the 90s as a celebrated music video director, having worked with bands such as Pearl Jam, U2 and Nine Inch Nails. His feature directorial debut, "Going All the Way" had a great cast, including Rachel Weisz and Ben Affleck and was met with good reviews, the same going for its follow up, "Arlington Road", still one of his best features, with Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins. "The Mothman Prophecies" was the follow up to "Arlington Road" and sees the director venturing into to the genre of mystery with traces of supernatural horror. The film follows the story of John Klein, a reporter for the Washington Post. One evening, after scouting for a possible new residence with his wife Mary, while driving home, she sees a flash of something, which causes her to lose control over the car and they're involved in a car accident. While John is unarmed, Mary stays in the hospital and is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Following her death, John retrieves her artifacts from the hospital, and realizes she left behind a series of drawings of a mysterious creature. Two years later, John becomes lost somewhere in West Virginia, and finds himself hundreds of miles away from his route, without realizing so. His car breaks down, and he walks to a nearby house to ask for help. He is received with animosity by the owner, and once the Police officer shows up, the owner of the house, Gordon Smallwood, explains that this has been the third consecutive night John has done that, something John has no recollection of. This starts an investigational thread for John, with the assistance of police officer Connie Mills, to uncover who and what this entity is and what it represents.
"The Mothman Prophecies" is based on a book by John Keel, which details investigations which occurred in the 60s regarding an entity, in the West Virginia area. The film adaptation transposes the action for the early millennia, but the main thread remains the same. Mark Pellington smartly builds a film that is anchored on the fact that the characters are not aware of what is real or imaginary, opting to create a sense of unease, urgency and constant surprise. One of the great angles this film could have enhanced, is highlighting the fact that the characters never realize if this entity actually exists or if it is a figment of people's imagination (or even of John's imagination). This angle could have been a stronger and more distinctive point of view for the film, which nonetheless, is polished in its execution and definition of the narrative. The film benefits from three good lead performances, including Richard Gere, the always phenomenal Laura Linney and the underrated Will Patton, though the romantic suggestion between Richard Gere and Laura Linney's characters feels a bit forced. The cinematography from Fred Murphy is wonderful, as is the score from tomandandy. While it needs an extra sense of urgency and dread to be truly memorable, it's nonetheless a well acted and entertaining film. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Rushmore

Movie Name: Rushmore
Year of Release: 1998
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Mason Gamble, Brian Cox, Seymour Cassel, Sara Tanaka, Stephen McCole, Connie Nielsen, Luke Wilson, Dipak Pallana, Andrew Wilson, Marietta Marich
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following his feature directorial debut with "Bottle Rocket", director Wes Anderson again reunited with his writing partner, Owen Wilson, tackled "Rushmore", which turned out to be his breakout film and one of the best reviewed films from 1998. The film follows the story of Max Fischer, an ingenious and precocious 15 year old who loves to attend the private school "Rushmore". Max is involved in a variety of clubs and associations, yet performs poorly in his academic endeavors. His life changes substantially when he meets Miss Cross an elementary school teacher who starts working at Rushmore, for whom he develops an instant infatuation. He also makes friends with Herman Blume, the father of two other students going to Rushmore (twins who are rambunctious). These three get drawn to a romantic triangle of sorts, which eventually have Max expelled from his school haven, and registered into Public School. As Max and Blume vie for Ms. Cross's attention, their sabotage endeavors of each other, gets them in trouble, forcing both of them to grow up and come to terms with what they want out of life.
"Rushmore" is a smartly written film, filled with great moments not only for its lead characters, but also for the supporting ones, which add such detail and richness to what is happening on screen. While Max and his quirks, longing and ambition fill up the screen, Herman Blume and his numbness of life that is sparked as a result of his interactions with Max and his sudden affection for Ms. Cross, is the character who experiences this awakening and most startling maturing during the film. It's a film that mixes humor and drama, with just the right amount of quirkiness to make it distinct and not overly stylized (something that as Wes Anderson's career has evolved, his style has become more of a trademark, even more so than his take on characters and narrative). The cast is uniformly fantastic, with Jason Schwartzman creating an iconic character, always wearing his trademark blazer, with superb support from Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Brian Cox (who is always a genius, no matter the size of the role), Mason Gamble and Seymour Cassel. The cinematography from Robert D. Yeoman and the production design from David Wasco are top notch. It's a film that hits all the right notes, having just enough humor, cringeworthy moments, heart and lyricism, to make it a rewarding watch.  

Streets of Fire

Movie Name: Streets of Fire
Year of Release: 1984
Director: Walter Hill
Starring: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Lawson, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Daily, Lee Ving, Ed Begley Jr., Stoney Jackson, Mykelti Williamson, Robert Townsend, Grand L. Bush, John Dennis Johnston, Harry Beer
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Walter Hill was riding a wave of success when he tackled "Streets of Fire". His previous directorial efforts were met with fairly good reviews and commercial success, respectively "Southern Comfort" and "48 Hours". "Streets of Fire" was conceived as a dream project for the director, and it was intended to be the first of a trilogy of films. The film takes place in a stylized world, a place where the 50s and 80s meet. The kidnapping of a beautiful rock star by a gang named "The Bombers", jumpstarts a series of events. Wanting to get Ellen back, one of her fans, Reva, reaches out to her brother, also Ellen's previous beau, by the name of Tom Cody, to come back to town and help retrieve her. Tom's laconic stance, but also resourceful and ingenious personality make him the perfect fit for the task, and he is aided by Ellen's snarky manager Billy Fish, and an unexpected sidekick by the name of McCoy. This diverse group go on the rescue mission, putting them straight at odds with "The Bombers" ruthless leader, Raven. 
"Streets of Fire" is an interesting and quite unique endeavor, in the sense it marries some influences from Nicholas Ray's "Rebel Without a Cause", with the stylistic approach noticeable in commercials and music videos from the 80s, with a dash of Western. This combination makes for a film that is distinctive in its visual treatment, even if the narrative itself isn' the most original. That being said, the film has a series of interesting takes on the supporting characters, which actually makes it more of a standout. The manager character played by Rick Moranis has a great comedic take on the boyfriend/good guy, whereas the sidekick character, the ex-military, friend of the hero, is tackled by Amy Madigan, who gives the character not only a witty and acerbic personality, but manages to nuance it with just enough humanity not to make it a cliché. This diverse array of characters, compliments the stylistic approach of the film perfectly, though Michael Paré's lead performance always registers the same way, whereas the wonderful Diane Lane doesn't have much to do, the same going for the always fantastic Willem Dafoe as the villain of the story. Nonetheless the film has just the right amount of Nicholas Ray's influences, mixed with a Western stance (the rider coming into town to save it from the villainous posse), and the action scenes are nicely staged and crafted. The cinematography from Andrew Lazlo is wonderful, as is the score from Ry Cooder. A film worth revisiting.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Bewitched

Movie Name: Bewitched
Year of Release: 2005
Director: Nora Ephron
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, Steve Carell, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Heather Burns, Stephen Colbert, David Alan Grier, Michael Badalucco, Jim Turner, Carole Shelley, Katie Finneran, Amy Sedaris, Richard Kind, Kate Walsh, Annie Mumolo
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After her award winning performance in Stephen Daldry's "The Hours", Nicole Kidman had a series of subsequent years where she managed to work on some fantastic projects. This included Robert Benton's "The Human Stain", Lars Von Trier's "Dogville", Jonathan Glazer's "Birth", Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain" and Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter". While most of those projects were heavy dramas, she mingled those with some light hearted comedies, the first of which was a remake of "The Stepford Wives", directed by Frank Oz, which was met with disappointing reviews, quickly followed by this interpretation of the well beloved "Bewitched" TV show. Writer/Director Nora Ephron who had a string of hits in the 90s, started the new decade and millennium with the poorly received "Lucky Numbers", and this reinterpretation of the show was envisioned as a return to form. The film focuses on the story of Jack Wyatt, an actor who is struggling in his career after a resounding flop, not to mention a pending divorce. His comeback, something he and his team are working on, is a retelling of the classic "Bewitched" TV Show, but with Darrin as the central character, and Samantha as more of a supporting character. In order to further enhance Jack's prominence on the show, they want to cast a rather unknown actress as Samantha. Into play comes Isabel Bigelow, an actual witch, living in LA, who is trying to live her life without her magical powers. She meets Jack in a bookstore, and their initial attraction translates into Jack luring her to become his co-star. However as the pilot episode is shot, and Isabel's magnetism draws attention, and Jack's neediness for attention escalates, magical occurrences start happening.
This remake of "Bewitched" had all the potential for being an enormously satisfying and quirky film, but sadly it ends up being a lackluster homage to the original show, while simultaneously wasting the terrific comedy verve of Will Ferrell. It's a film that sadly imprisons itself to the somewhat meta concept that it has, never really managing to make the coexistence of magic, the commentary on the vapid and ego driven foibles of the entertainment industry, and the romantic adventures of the central couple co-exist. It tries so hard to be so many things, that sadly it fails to be entertaining, or even funny for that matter. The phenomenal cast tries their best, but Nicole Kidman, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, can't do much to elevate the narrative, whereas Will Ferrell has to somehow contain everything that makes him distinctive, to fit the mold of this romantic lead, with the occasional outburst of his energy, which sadly isn't enough to salvage this film. The film in the end lacks wit, warmth, and a genuine sense of magic, which was something the original show always managed to convey. A missed opportunity. 

Secret Window

Movie Name: Secret Window
Year of Release: 2004
Director: David Koepp
Starring: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles S. Dutton, Len Cariou, Matt Holland, Elizabeth Marleau, Richard Jutras, John Dunn Hill
Genre: Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director David Koepp followed his "Stir of Echoes" with an adaptation of a novella by Stephen King, with the title "Secret Window, Secret Garden". Much like Stephen King's "The Dark Half", this narrative focuses on a successful writer, in this particular case, one by the name of Mort Rainey, who is going through a convoluted and painful divorce. Amy, his soon to be ex-wife has remained in their house, and already has a new partner, whereas Mort has isolated himself in a cabin upstate. One day while outside, he is confronted by a man from Mississippi, someone calling himself John Shooter. He claims Mort plagiarized his story. He threatens Mort and leaves his story behind. Mort realizes the stories are almost identical, save for the ending. The following day upon his return, Mort explains he couldn't have plagiarized the story, since his was written and published two years before Shooter's. Shooter demands proof, and as Mort goes to retrieve it at his former house, he also decides to hire a private investigator to help with the whole ordeal. As additional and dramatic events keep occurring and piling up, Mort finally comes to a realization that threatens his sanity and life itself.
"Secret Window" capitalized at the time of its debut, on the ascending attention Johnny Depp's career was experiencing at the time. He had just had a series of high profile films, including Lasse Hallstrom's "Chocolat", Ted Demme's "Blow", not to mention his first Academy Award nomination with Gore Verbinski's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl", which started a tremendously successful franchise. "Secret Window" is a film that relies primarily on the quality of its cast, and in particular on the considerable talents from Johnny Depp. He always manages to make his characters alive, by adding nuances and quirkinesses that always make them watchable. The film itself, moderately illustrates the troubled times Mort is experiencing through the divorce, and his current writers block, but ultimately it fails to deliver a truly distinctive point of view on how these challenges have had a profound impact on the leading characters interior life (which ultimately manifests itself in his exterior life). It's interesting to compare for instance the treatment that Martin Scorsese did of these inner demons in "Shutter Island" and how this fairly routine approach in "Secret Window", fails to capitalize on both the cast and the potential of the story. In the end, for all its potential, the output is a fairly generic and quickly forgotten film, one that lacks a distinctive punch. A missed opportunity.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Prince of Darkness

Movie Name: Prince of Darkness
Year of Release: 1987
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Marie Howard, Ken Wright, Dirk Blocker, Peter Jason, Thom Bray, Ann Yen, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After the wonderful "Big Trouble in Little China" was met with little support from the studio, and the troubled production he had to endure, John Carpenter retreated to the Indie film arena, where he tackled firstly "Prince of Darkness", which he quickly followed with the corrosive "They Live". "Prince of Darkness", which John Carpenter also wrote under the guise of Martin Quatermass, follows the story of a Priest, who invites a Physicist Professor and some of his students, to join him in the basement of a monastery in order to investigate a mysterious cylinder that has been found, with a swirling green liquid. The liquid seems to be sentient, and embodies evil itself. It also latches to some of the members of the group who become possessed. All the while, a growing group of schizophrenic homeless people surround the building. As the group further theorizes about what is happening, they realize a more sinister entity is planning on making its way to this dimension, and it's up to them to prevent this from happening.
Though "Prince of Darkness" is considered a minor effort in director John Carpenter's career, it's still a film that is ripe with his trademarks, and one worth watching. The director once again, manages to assemble an interesting array of characters under a claustrophobic environment, coupled with this ominous presence and threat, which keeps escalating. Much like "The Thing" or even "Halloween", the closed of spaces, are not so much a salvation, but a breeding ground for danger. Though the film is unable to create an iconic or sufficiently impactful figure of darkness, it succeeds in creating an atmosphere of end of times, of general paranoia and fear. The director smartly never shows much of that menacing figure that is lurking, but also fails to truly define its intents. The cast is lead by the late Donald Pleasance, who embraces the character wholeheartedly, while Victor Wong and Dennis Dun return from "Big Trouble in Little China", and supply able support. Though not as esteemed as some of his other films, it's entertaining and worth watching, from a uniquely gifted director. 

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

Movie Name: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Year of Release: 1988
Director: David Zucker
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalban, George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson, Nancy Marchand, Raye Birk, Joe Grifasi, Ed Williams, Tony Brafa
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
The ZAZ creative team (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker), continued their winning 80s streak, by dusting off the remnants of their hilarious and precociously cancelled 1982 show, "Police Squad", updating it to feature format, while maintaining its concept and even some of its cast (the lead Leslie Nielsen of course, and Ted, played by Ed Williams). The film follows the story of Detective Frank Drebin, a well meaning but clueless cop, who gets tangled in a sinister plot to kill the Queen of England, who will be visiting LA on her American tour. His investigations lead him to the offices of the charismatic and suave Vincent Ludwig, who has at his employment, the capable and beautiful Jane Spencer. As sparks fly between Frank and Jane, so does the stakes of the plot that is unfolding, something that Frank isn't entirely capable of stopping. It will take all of his efforts and the help of his cohort, Captain Ed Hocken, to stop the gears of the assassination about to take place. 
Something that the ZAZ creative group, alongside Pat Proft, have always been able to do, is mine the seriousness of diverse film genres, and expose some of the ridicule, the clichés that always fuel these films. And that's what has always been so hilarious with "The Naked Gun" series: the creators simply amp up the volume of the silliness that walks hand in hand with the tropes of the noir/detective genre, allowing for double entendres, and some not so subdued jokes to come loudly across. Frank Drebin, the central hero to this series, who is already on his way to retirement, but still looks incredibly buff, his love for Jane, which is always filled with the ups and downs of a romantic comedy, and the constant presence of his sidekick, Ed Hocken, who even though can clearly see Frank's attempts and stumbles, can't help him succeed any further. This is the type of film that has been mimicked so many times, but never with the quality or vision that these creators have always put in to these films (or "Airplane!" for that matter). Their goal has never been to replicate the films that they satire, but more understand the tropes of the genres, and satirically expose them. Leslie Nielsen is always the perfect accomplice for this group, but he is nicely supported by George Kennedy, Ricardo Montalban, Priscilla Presley and Nancy Marchand. A good comedy always worth revisiting.