[Movie Review] Mallrats

MallratsStarring: Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Kevin Smith, Shannen Doherty, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes
Director: Kevin Smith
Genre: Comedy
Cert: 18
Released: 1995

It’s not the greatest day in the life of comic-book obsessed Brodie (Lee – “Chasing Amy”, “Enemy of the State”, “Vanilla Sky”) and well-meaning T.S. (London – “The Babysitter”, TVs “Party of Five”). They have both been dumped by their respective girlfriends, Rene (Doherty – TVs “Beverly Hills 90210”) and Brandi (Claire Forlani). To relieve their agony, they visit the mall to hang out and annoy as many people as possible. Brodie is distraught to find out that Rene is already seeing the suave Shannon (Affleck – “Armageddon”, “Chasing Amy”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Pearl Harbour”). T.S’ pain is compounded by Brandi’s father (Michael Rooker – “Cliffhanger”, “Herny, Portrait of a Serial Killer”, “The Bone Collector”), who is producing a pilot of a dating-game TV show in the mall, and does his utmost to stop T.S. winning back his daughter. Brodie and T.S. ask fellow mallrats Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) to try and sabotage the show, but the dynamic duo are not as well equipped as they like to think. Can the boys win back the girls hearts?

Smith made his directorial debut in 1994 with the realistic and hilarious “Clerks”, and while “Mallrats” is glossier and less subtle, the script portrays much of the same sharp wit of the former. But a funny script must be backed up by a good cast and the two Jasons (Lee and Mewes) deliver many of the funniest moments with their sledgehammer approach to conversation and life in general. Things to get a little sappy in the last third with the inevitable pay-off of the romantic estrangments in the storyline. But we can forgive that as the humour doesn’t dilute too much even when the pace drops off.

Another solid Smith outing.



[Movie Review] Dead Presidents

Dead PresidentsStarring: Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker
Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
Genre: Drama
Cert: 18
Released: 1995

Anthony Curtis (Tate) is a nice kid with a bright future. He is certainly the pick of him and his mates, Jose (Rodriguez) and Skip (Tucker), but he shocks his parents when he tells them that he doesn’t want to go to college but would rather join the American army.

Anthony goes to fight in Vietnam and returns home after five years to find that there is nothing for him; a dead-end job, a family to support and little future to speak of. In total desperation, he helps set up a heist on a security van where he hopes to end all his problems. He doesn’t know that his problems are only beginning.

For the first half of this movie we are treated to the brave and honourable young man who fights for his country and his friends. But even at this point there are obvious clinks in his armour. He is na├»ve and innocent but easily led by local criminal, Kirby (Rodriguez) who he has a secret admiration for. On his return from war, the hardship of the conflict has taken it’s toll on him and even though he is still a good person at heart, he is obviously living on the edge as his wife and child soon find out when Anthony.

The performance from Tate is superb but like so many stars of black ghetto movies (“Boyz N The Hood”, “Menace II Society”), he will probably fail to make his notable movie breakthrough. A lot of credit for the quality of this film must go to the director who, from start to finish, directs with style and polish in order to create a drama that keeps you enthralled. The actual heist scenes are as tense as any cinema I have seen in 1997.

“Dead Presidents” will go down as one of the better films of the year.