ORBzine - 2001.04 Video Movies Reviews

ORBzine Video Reviews April 2001

TITLE & REVIEW

Dr Dolittle

This is one of a series of remakes of 1960s films. Eddie Murphy [ Vampire in Brooklyn ] plays the title character, a doctor who works in a financially successful surgery. His business partner [Oliver Platt] wants to sell the business to investor Peter Boyle [ Species 2].

However, just as Doolittle has his life, career and marriage all sorted out he discovers he can understand what animals say. Yes, they apparently have anthromophosised minds and can peacefully co-exist. The animals are voiced by stand-up comedians including Norm MacDonald, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock.

Dolittle has to deal with the animals issue while at the same time juggling his family responsibilities and the up-coming merger. And hilarity ensues. Paul Giamatti [ Planet of the Apes 2001 ] gets a cameo as another doctor.

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    Joan of Arc

    This is French director Luc Besson 's retelling of the true story of the Maid of Orlean. The title role went to Besson's RL wife Milla Jovovich , who he met on the set of their previous film Fifth Element .

    This is set in France in the 1400s. The land borders of what we now call France were different. The lands ruled by the Dauphin [John Malkovich - Being John Malkovich ] were bordered by the Kingdom of Burgundy and the lands captured by their English allies. The film takes about half an hour explaining the situation of Joan's life before things actually start to happen. The only interesting bit that punctuates this is a somewhat disturbing rape/necrophilia scene. Don't ask.

    Joan claimed she had visions that told her to seek out the Dauphin and lead his army to liberate French towns besieged by the English. On advice of the manipulative [and still babelicious] Faye Dunaway , Malkovich lends her an army led by his Marshal, Gilles De Rais [ - Guest House Paradiso] Ultra-violence ensues, with brutal medieval battle scenes that rank beside Braveheart .

    Joan was a fanatic, led by a religious fundamentalism fed by voices that told her that God wanted the French to invade and conquer the lands held by the English and Burgundians. However, the Dauphin was of more limited greed. His lust for power did not exceed getting himself crowned as King of France. As a result, once he had what he wanted he removed his support for Joan. When she was captured by the Burgundians, she was left to her fate.

    While in custody, Joan feels herself above the inquisition of the Church. However, her visions [represented by the excellent Dustin Hoffman - Marathon Man] inflict upon her an inquisition of their own.

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    Mystery Men

    This is an excellent parody of the superhero genre, based on the the comics by Dark Horse.

    A gang of thugs wreak havoc on innocent OAPs. Their mis-deeds are punished by three heroic figures - The Shoveller [William H. Macy - Fargo], Mr Furious [Ben Stiller - Meet The Parents] and The Blue Rajah [Hank Azaria - Godzilla]. Unfortunately, this trio proves to be incredibly inept. However, the day is saved by a proper superhero, Captain Amazing [Greg Kinnear - The Gift ].

    The Captain's greatest arch-enemy, Casanova Frankenstein [Geoffrey Rush - Elizabeth ] is paroled on the recommendation of his shrink [ Lena Olin ] and Lance, the Captain's secret identity. He immediately recruits some henchmen - a gang of Disco thugs led by Eddie Izzard [ Shadow of the Vampire ].

    The heroes realise that they are totally out of their league, so they recruit some help:

  • Spleen [Paul Reubens - Buffy The Vampire Slayer]
  • The Bowler [ Janeanne Garofalo]
  • The Sphinx [Wes Studi - Deep Rising, Street Fighter]

    There are yet more familiar faces in the cast. Ben Stiller's character tries to seduce a waitress [Claire Forlani - Meet Joe Black]

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