Wicked Old Review – Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

A 15 year late review for Crocodile Hunter : Collision Course by Tyler Tuttle

Crikey! This movie’s a mess.

The summer of 2002 was a simpler time, Nickelback was reminding us of who they really were, we all had impressive new virtual lives on the Sims, and an Australian zookeeper with unrivaled enthusiasm for animals and a show on basic cable successfully released a $12 Million dollar spy thriller onto the general public. For those who are unaware Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter was a zookeeper and television personality who hosted the popular show “The Crocodile Hunter” on Animal Planet from 1996 to 2004. The show was a documentary about Steve and his wife Terri traveling the world to find amazing and dangerous animals then provoke them into almost murdering Steve or doing something awesome on camera. Steve was especially known for his complete lack of fear and basic common sense, the man was known for casually picking up the world’s deadliest diamondback rattlesnakes, or wrestling full grown saltwater croc’s with only his Khaki ensemble and a big toothy smile for protection. Irwin’s childlike love and joy for all things living was infectious towards his audience and felt authentic like no other television personality ever. So of course the fine producers over at MGM saw this loveable aussie with an authentic passion and for animals and documentary filmmaking and decided to stick him smack dab in the middle of a hollywood spy/action/comedy.

To Irwin’s credit the film “Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course” still maintains that small screen Animal Planet feel. This could be because the film is directed by wildlife documentarian John Stainton, who had previously worked with Irwin on the television program and various other wildlife specials. Or it could be because the film itself is basically a standard episode of The Crocodile Hunter with a separate film about a lost spy satellite awkwardly edited around the footage. The two elements are so awkwardly disconnected that not only does the aspect ratio change from 4:3 in the “documentary” half to a standard widescreen 16:9 for the “movie” scenes, Steve and his wife Terri don’t even come into contact or have any awareness of the plot of the movie until the final ten minutes.

The movie opens with standard Hunter fare, Steve is chasing some lizard all over the desert so he can watch it hide in a hole and then investigate its poo. The poo had snakeskin and another lizard’s claw in case you were wondering. Steve then gives us a list of facts about this particular lizard and goes back to his jeep to drive around aimlessly and look for cool stuff. Meanwhile the CIA has a random unexplained satellite explosion which sends a valuable hard drive filled with classified information straight down to the Australian outback where it is promptly eaten by a Crocodile. This particular crocodile has been a real problem eating livestock of a local ever scowling farmer, Brozzie Drewitt ( A genuinely funny Magda Szubansk). Brozzie is hell bent on turning this particular croc into a handbag despite the conservational efforts of local sheriff Sam Flynn (David Wenham) who would much rather call someone from the local zoo (Guess who) to safely relocate the hungry Croc. Unfortunately for Steve’s relocation plans the CIA has its worst named people: Robert Wheeler (Lachy Hulme), Vaughan Archer (Kenneth Ransom), and Jo Buckley (Kate Beahan),  also chasing after the Croc which they think is actually a satellite hard drive. Of course this leads to a series of mistaken identity Hi-jinks here the Irwin’s believe the CIA to be poachers, and the CIA believe’s the Irwins to be international super spies…except it kind of doesn’t.

The main flaw with Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is that is has no idea how to tell a story and no real business trying. The lack of storytelling competency shows when they have to tell then entire third act of the CIA satellite story line via voice over and still picture during the end credits.  The movie truly shines when it’s just Steve interacting with animals and the more hollywood they inject into the formula the less enjoyable the end result was. The first time the Irwins encounter another character is about an hour into the movie as they speed past the CIA in pursuit of a croc, its then probably another 20 minutes until the climax of the film when they encounter them again.  Up until now the previous hour the movie has been a documentary about Steve, Terri, and their dog Sue, picking up random deadly creatures along the Australian outback and bringing them back to the zoo. And that’s honestly a much better movie than the one they wanted to sell us. The more they tried to move away from the television feel to justify the transition onto the big screen the more charm got lost in the process.

Maybe they should have just spent the $12 million budget on fancy cameras hi-def cameras and cool locations to explore in order to justify the audiences price of ticket, Or maybe Steve Irwin just didn’t really need his own major motion picture. Either way, I’m glad we were able to get a Steve Irwin movie anyway before his passing, even if it’s not a perfect one. The segments on animals are interesting, informative, and weirdly fun to listen too, and the final action scene is just the type of over the top goofy fun I was hoping for. The “real” scenes set at the CIA headquarters are pretty much awful but thankfully short and relatively infrequent. Luckily Magda Szubanski is an absolute delight who was able to get many genuine chuckles out of me,  making it so not every second without Steve on the screen is totally wasted. If you miss Steve Irwin you should watch this movie, If you love dangerous animals you should watch this movie, and if you’re anyone else this would be one to avoid. All in all this film receives a 2 out of 5.

The House (2017)

I went into this movie uncertain of what to expect. Based on the previews, I really wanted to like it, but the last couple years of comedies have caused me to question my instincts, and a review embargo usually isn’t a good sign either.

After the city denies their daughter the scholarship she had won, Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) discover they have no money to send their daughter to her dream college. Luckily, Scott’s friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) has a solution.

Frank’s life has fallen apart recently, his wife left him, he lost his job, and will soon be losing his house. He comes up with one of his infamous plans to make some quick cash for he and his friends. He sets up an entire PowerPoint presentation to pitch them.

His plan is to turn his house into a casino. Scott and Kate are hesitant but can’t think of any other way to make the money so they agree to do it. They start off with some homemade tables, and as they make more money, they put more into it and soon they have a full blown casino.

It doesn’t take long for it to go to their heads, and pretty soon they’re masquerading as big shots around the casino. In their efforts to show off their power they catch someone in the casino counting cards, and decide they should make an example of him. They attempt to scare the cheater by threatening to cut his fingers off, but due to a poorly timed argument involving an axe, they end up actually cutting them off. Through his screams, the cheater warns them that his boss is going to hear about this. They don’t think much of it, and kick him out.

Everything goes pretty smoothly considering the circumstances and they end up making lots of sweet, sweet cash, that is until the City manager, Bob (Nick Kroll) finds out about it and confiscates all their earnings. For about 5 minutes, they’re all pretty upset about it. Then Frank suggests they keep going because they have nothing to lose.

So once again the doors open and once again money comes pouring in, for a short time. The cheater’s boss Tommy (Jeremy Reiner) busts through the front door. The group promptly sets him on fire and that’s pretty much how the scene ends.

From here the movie begins to wind down. Bob again tries to confiscate all their money. It this time the chief of police stands against him after learning that Bob had taken the scholarship money for his personal use. So in the end, their daughter goes off to college after all.

I personally really enjoyed this movie, it was fun and legitimately funny. It brought back some of my faith in Will Ferrell. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5. I don’t know if it has much of second watch value, but it’s definitely worth a first watch.

Baby Driver (2017)

I have been looking forward to Baby Driver for awhile now. I’ve been a huge fan of Edgar Wright ever since Scott Pilgrim back in 2010. Unfortunately I may have gotten my hopes up a bit too high. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed when it was over. 

Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a teenage getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a crime boss who makes his money putting together heists with various groups of thugs including Jaime Fox, Jon Hamm, and Eiza Gonzalez. Baby is always the designated getaway driver. 

Baby’s parents died in a car accident when he was a child. He survived but suffered damage to his ears that left him with a permanent drumming in his ears. He plays music to drown it out, and as a result had been gifted with near perfect rhythm. This in turn has made him an amazing driver.

Baby pays his dues and decides to leave the game to spend time with his new girlfriend Debora (Lily James), but is dragged back in when Doc threatens her life if he doesn’t comply. He begrudgingly agrees, but has his own plans. He tells Debora to be ready at 2am for a road trip.

The plan for the heist is to hold up a post office for money order slips that they can turn to cash. Baby is sent to scout out the building for cameras and security measures. When he arrives he meets the teller (Allison King) he begins to have second thoughts about the whole thing. 

Bats (Jaime Fox) is known for killing people unnecessarily. Baby hates violence and so when he arrives at the post office for the heist, he trusts to warn the teller from the day before not to go inside. She gets nervous and alerts a security guard who comes to investigate just as the group is coming out of the building.

Now everything goes to hell and everyone but Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Baby are dead, including Buddy’s wife Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). Baby books it out of there, only to be hunted down by Buddy, who’s still a little sour about Baby’s involvement in his wife’s demise. 

After a scuffle in a parking garage, Buddy ends up dead. Baby and Debora attempt their escape, but are trapped by a police blockade. Baby decides it’s time to stop running and turns himself in. 

During his trial, no one has a bad thing to say about him. The judge gives him 10 years. For some reason Debora waits for him after only knowing him for a month or two and they go on their roadtrip together when he is released.

As I said, I enjoyed it. All in all it was a great movie, but compared to last Edgar Wright films I’ve seen, it left something to be desired. It was a solid 4 out of 5, and definitely worth watching.

– D

Rough Night (2017)

I didn’t know exactly what to expect walking into Rough Night. The cast seemed pretty good, the opportunity was there, but I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by comedies lately and was hesitant to trust it. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

Rough Nights wields a brilliant cast, and Scarlett Johansson surprised me since I’ve never seen her in a flat out comedy before. Jess (Johansson) plays a crazy sorority girl turned squeaky clean politician. She is engaged to Peter (Paul Downs), and her best friend from college Alice (Jillian Bell) has planned the “perfect” bachelorette party.  Jess says goodbye to Peter and Alice whisks her on to a plane heading for Miami.

Upon arrival the pair meets up with their two other college friends Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoë Kravitz). They arrive at the house soon thereafter, and the party begins. Later that night Pippa (Kate Mckinnon) is introduced as Jess’ friend from Australia. Naturally, Alice hates her immediately. She does not hide it well.

Everyone heads down to the beach, where the neighbors Pietro (Ty Burrell) and Lea (Demi Moore) come down and introduce themselves, particularly to Blair. After some awkward sexual tension, they retreat back to their home. Some point thereafter someone suggests getting a stripper for Jess to which everyone is all for.

The door bell rings, and in walks the stripper (Ryan Cooper) who gets a little rough for Jess, so she passes him on to Alice. Alice jumps into his lap knocking him backwards, and cracking his head open on the fireplace which kills him instantly. Everyone is freaking out, and Jess calls Peter to console her. Unfortunately, she can barely form a sentence and gets out something along the lines of  “I met a guy” at which point one of the girls grabs her phone and smashes it in an attempt to keep Peter from getting suspicious.

Turns out Peter does get suspicious and decides to drive without stopping all the way to Florida with the help of adult diapers and a shit load of Red Bull. The girls buy a burner phone to call Blair’s Uncle, who is a lawyer for advice on what to do. He tells them they could face up to 15 years unless they can get rid of the body. They attempt to dispose of it in the ocean and everything seems to go well until they notice the neighbors security cameras which caught the whole thing.

Blair begrudgingly goes over to get the tape, and ends up hooking up with the couple before finding out that the cameras don’t even work. After all that, the body ends up washing ashore anyway, and the girls store him in a closet while they think of another plan. Shortly after, a police officer shows up at the door. He gets a little touchy with Frankie so she knocks him out, at which point they find out he was the actual stripper they ordered, and they have no idea who the other guy is.

At this point, Alice has a meltdown when she finds out she wasn’t invited to Jess’ bridal shower, and all hell breaks loose. Jess goes off on Alice for being too clingy and overly jealous, then storms off leaving Alice broken. Two police officers now show up at the door asking to interview the girls. They breakdown and come clean, then lead them to the body, at which point the officers tell the this man was a bank robber and they were not in trouble.

Everyone rejoices until Pippa notices on the news that there were three bank robbers, and guess who the other two were? You got it, the cops. When they find out they’ve been discovered they tie the girls up along with the now conscious stripper and threaten to shoot them. Jess hears the commotion and comes out into the hallway to see what’s going on. When she realizes her friends are in danger, she tackles one of the men and handcuffs him to the sink.

She runs out to fight the other man which Alice ends up shooting. Before they have time to rejoice, the first guy returns having escaped from the handcuffs only to get run over as Peter drives through the side of the house. Peter and Jess make up and then the movie cuts to their wedding surrounded by their friends, no one seeming to have faced any consequences of their actions and live happily ever after.

I really loved Rough Night, it was refreshing to see a well made comedy led by a great cast. Peter really stole the movie in my opinion. Throughout the movie, they cut to his adventure down to Florida and every minute of it is pure gold from the police to the true love found at a gas station. I enthusiastically give Rough Night a 4 out of 5.

– DC

Wicked Old Review: IQ (1994)

I.Q. is your standard mid-90’s romantic comedy, a quirky aspiring mathematician Catherine Boyd (Meg Ryan) is engaged to the stuffy sociopath scientist James Moreland (Stephen Fry) who is all wrong for her. Luckily she runs into the science obsessed yet uneducated town mechanic Ed Walters (Tim Robbins) who steals her away from the uptight celibate . Also Catherine’s uncle is Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau), the oldest looking man who had ever lived) and he and a gaggle of his old scientist buddies decide to help Ed win over Catherine by pretending to invent cold fusion, lying to the president, and instigating the space race.

The movie starts and the audience is immediately clued in to the fact that Catherine isn’t happy with her sex life. How do we know this? Because the movie takes every single opportunity in the first 15 minutes to show us just how goddamn horny she is, and how James is much more interested in electrocuting rat testicles than lying with his betrothed. This whole ordeal culminates at a fancy dinner party where Catherine describes her ideal honeymoon location as a slide where the water “Licks you all over” which is of course accompanied by a genuinely creepy self hug and shudder. James quickly whisks her away the next room to ask if she could maybe cool it on the licking talk for one polite work dinner. She of course demands he sleep with her right then and there and James refuses with the kind of righteous indignation reserved for only the most pompous of upper crust British elite. Luckily for the frustrated Boyd,  the duo’s fancy fire engine red car breaks down and they have to pull into Bob Rosetti’s (A criminally under-utilized Tony Shalhoub) auto shop where the local popular science reading heartthrob Ed can take a break to teach Catherine a thing or two about…..car repair.

Ed of course immediately falls head over heels in love with Catherine because time is an imaginary construct, and begins to set his plan of seduction in motion. This is where Albert Einstein finally comes into play. Einstein is a simple man who likes to spend his days with his buddies arguing about scientific theory, getting badminton equipment stuck in trees, and being genuinely and actively worried about Catherine’s sex life. So you can imagine the relief these guys feel when our hunky hero Ed shows up on their doorstep ready to profess his love to the engaged woman he briefly met as a customer at his place of employment a few hours ago. Ed and Albert bond over their shared love of science, Catherine, Ed’s ability to climb trees to collect lost badminton equipment, and sick motorcycle jumps.

Eventually the brain-trust decides the only way to help Ed is to make Catherine question her own intelligence, and make Ed look like a certified genius with a flawed theory for cold fusion. The theory is of course picked up by the new jersey council of science or whatever for a presentation in five days, which ignites the interest of President Eisenhower, and draws out claims from the Russians that they will have working cold fusion within 6 months. How does the greatest collection of scientific minds in the world tackle the problem of worldwide attention on a flawed theory? By having a dress up costume montage for Ed to make him look smart.

I.Q is the perfect blend of earnest nonsense to make what I consider to be an enjoyable film. Taking a tired and formulaic romantic comedy plot and throwing in Albert Einstein is definitely enough to make an enjoyable hour and a half, but there’s a reason this movie has faded into obscurity. Robbins lacks the effortless charisma of a Tom Hanks type, and comes across as bland and forgettable in a movie filled much stronger character choices, and the movie ignores more creative direction in favor of the tried and true rom-com formula.

The cast of old men scientists that assist Einstein are the true highlight of the film, and a delight to anyone who enjoys some quality old man bickering. Although I would have preferred if Matthau had gone with more of his wacky comic persona instead of the much smaller, and “realistic” way he took the character.

Ryan is infinitely charming as the frustrated Boyd, but it would have been nice if they had given her more to do than worry about which man to choose. The true star of the picture though is Stephen Fry’s psychotic psychologist James Moreland, who spends the film torturing both people and animals for very poorly defined reasons in a smarmy fashion that only Fry could really bring us.

All in all I.Q is a mediocre film elevated by bizarre plot choices and a great cast. It’s paced well and could be a great WTF watch with buddies and a few beers, but if you’re looking for a top notch 90’s romantic comedy Meg Ryan has other titles in her catalog you should check out first. Though if you want a movie where Albert Einstein creepily says wahoo to himself as he watches his niece hardcore make out with a guy, then this is the picture for you. I would give it 2.5 stars.

 

Upcoming Changes

As of today I have recruited a friend of mine to help out in writing reviews. He will mainly be writing for older movies rather than new releases, which brings me to the next update.

I am going to be adding a new bit to the site deemed “Wicked Old Reviews”. These reviews will have their own section under categories and will be for older flicks that I or my friend watch. I will still continue to review new releases as well, however this weeks review may be a little late.

The first Wicked Old Review will be up tomorrow! Hope you enjoy!

Wonder Woman (2017)

DC has finally put up a worthy contender to face off against Marvel. Wonder Woman was, in my opinion, the best DC movie since The Dark Knight. I’ve never been a big Wonder Woman fan but after seeing Batman vs Superman, I needed something to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.

The plot of the movie was fairly interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the World War I setting, and Chris Pine was excellent as he always seems to be. Diana, played by Gal Gadot, lives on a secluded island with the rest of the Amazonian women having no contact with the outside world until Steve (Chris Pine) crashes his plane nearby. After rescuing him from the wreck, he briefly covers what is happening in the world but is cut off when the Germans follow his downed plane to the island and storm the beach.

Diana decides to go with Steve against her mother’s wishes to help defend the world against Aries, the God of War. Although Steve doesn’t believe her god theory, he agrees to let her go with him if she can get home back to London. After meeting with Steve’s superiors and explicitly being told to stand down, they pair gathers a group of misfit soldiers from the local bar and charges into the front lines, where they plan to foil the Germans plan to win the war.

I want to start off by saying I very much enjoyed this movie, however I couldn’t help but notice a significant number of plot holes through the entire length of the film. To avoid spoiling anything, I won’t mention specifics, but there was a lot that didn’t quite add up to me. The action scenes were outstanding, and flowed very nicely. Overall, I will give Wonder Woman a 3.5 out of 5.