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By Steve McKerrow | May 15, 1991
ON AND OFF THE AIR:* Here's the big question about tonight's scheduled visit to Memorial Stadium by Queen Elizabeth: Will Leslie Nielsen be there to protect her?Media Monitor cannot be the only one amused by the life-imitating-low-art irony of her royal highness' attendance at an Orioles game. For a ballpark assassination attempt on the queen was the crux of that hilarious 1989 film, "The Naked Gun."Remember? In the final sequence, Nielsen (as Lt. Frank Drebek) first sang the national anthem as an Italian opera star (almost as badly as Roseanne Barr)
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 14, 2006
Spoofs are, at once, both the easiest to watch and the hardest to perfect of all comedy films. They're easy to watch because they move rapidly, depend on characters and situations we're already familiar with, and have only one purpose: to make the viewer laugh. But they're hard to get just right because what one person finds funny, another will find simply stupid. And if the audience isn't familiar with the source material, most of the jokes will simply fly over their heads. Scary Movie 4 (Dimension Films)
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | May 24, 1996
Go figure. "Spy Hard" laboriously parodies at least a dozen thrillers and even finds room to accommodate Michael Jackson's flaming hair -- which was on an ad shoot, for crying out loud -- but the one movie it passes on is "Die Hard," the basis of its title. Huh? Are there any grown-ups left in Hollywood?The film is itself more a parody of a parody than a parody, if you can follow my Talmudic thinking: It's a lamer, duller version of the famous "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" movies, those brilliant spoof-dense mockeries of popular movie genres.
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November 14, 2005
Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen, above) gets to the bottom of things in The Naked Gun (8 p.m.-10 p.m., AMC).
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November 14, 2005
Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen, above) gets to the bottom of things in The Naked Gun (8 p.m.-10 p.m., AMC).
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By Lou Cedrone | June 27, 1991
* ''The Naked Gun 2 1/2 : The Smell of Fear" Lt. Frank Drebin, the detective who is more clod than sleuth, finds himself in Washington where villains would undermine the president's energy conference. Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley star.
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 14, 2006
Spoofs are, at once, both the easiest to watch and the hardest to perfect of all comedy films. They're easy to watch because they move rapidly, depend on characters and situations we're already familiar with, and have only one purpose: to make the viewer laugh. But they're hard to get just right because what one person finds funny, another will find simply stupid. And if the audience isn't familiar with the source material, most of the jokes will simply fly over their heads. Scary Movie 4 (Dimension Films)
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By Achy Obejas and Achy Obejas,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | December 25, 1997
You have to wonder whose idea it was to bring Mr. Magoo, the lovable, totally unawares cartoon character, to life.In the 1960s animated version, Jim Backus' Mr. Magoo, who didn't realize he was going blind, wasn't dumb, just too good-hearted. His life was so charmed that, no matter the mishap, he always landed safely.Enter veteran actor Leslie Nielsen of "Naked Gun" fame and director Stanley Tong, whose filmography highlights include "Stone Age Warriors" and the Jackie Chan vehicles "Rumble in the Bronx," "Supercop" and "First Strike."
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By Lou Cedrone | November 11, 1991
The producers of ''All I want For Christmas'' apparently wanted to do their version of ''The Miracle on 34th Street,'' but they don't quite make it.This is primarily because the two lead characters, a brother and sister who want to see their divorced parents reunited, are more obnoxious than they are likable.Natalie Wood was likable, even adorable, as the little girl who wanted a home of her own in ''Miracle on 34th Street.''The 7-year-old girl in ''All I want for Christmas'' is almost nasty.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic | June 28, 1991
I know I've always wanted to see Barbara Bush hanging in her underwear off a White House balcony, and, dammit, I'll bet you have, too. And that's why "The Naked Gun 2 1/2 : The Smell of Fear," was right up my alley, first lady-wise.It's about half as funny as the original "Naked Gun," but that nevertheless makes it one of the funniest movies of the year. (It has seven fewer laughs than "City Slickers," but no male bonding.)Created by one third of the Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams team (David Z.)
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By Gene Seymour and Gene Seymour,NEWSDAY | October 24, 2003
Films like Scary Movie 3 aren't movies so much as purging rituals for consumers gorged on pop cultural ephemera. You don't patronize such enterprises in search of refinement or sophisticated discourse on genre conventions. You go to wallow in the silliness. This time, David Zucker, the veteran goofball behind Airplane! and the Naked Gun series, picks up where the Wayans brothers left off. For whatever reason, the change gives the franchise a noticeable spring to its step - though such things are relative when the corn is high and the comedy is low. The corn, by the way, is in the back yard of a widowed minister-turned-farmer (Charlie Sheen)
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By Achy Obejas and Achy Obejas,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | December 25, 1997
You have to wonder whose idea it was to bring Mr. Magoo, the lovable, totally unawares cartoon character, to life.In the 1960s animated version, Jim Backus' Mr. Magoo, who didn't realize he was going blind, wasn't dumb, just too good-hearted. His life was so charmed that, no matter the mishap, he always landed safely.Enter veteran actor Leslie Nielsen of "Naked Gun" fame and director Stanley Tong, whose filmography highlights include "Stone Age Warriors" and the Jackie Chan vehicles "Rumble in the Bronx," "Supercop" and "First Strike."
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | May 24, 1996
Go figure. "Spy Hard" laboriously parodies at least a dozen thrillers and even finds room to accommodate Michael Jackson's flaming hair -- which was on an ad shoot, for crying out loud -- but the one movie it passes on is "Die Hard," the basis of its title. Huh? Are there any grown-ups left in Hollywood?The film is itself more a parody of a parody than a parody, if you can follow my Talmudic thinking: It's a lamer, duller version of the famous "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" movies, those brilliant spoof-dense mockeries of popular movie genres.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | December 22, 1995
Maybe this film should be called "Mel Brooks, Dead and Loving It."Written off by a generation of movie critics that thinks "Nixon" is a great movie, he's recovered enough of the form that made him so beloved in the '70s and '80s. No one in any semblance of a right mind would confuse "Dracula, Dead and Loving It" with "Young Frankenstein" or "The Producers," but it's easily his best movie since then.Brooks seems to have made up his mind who he is. He's not imitating his imitators any more, he's back to imitating himself, always a sound career move.
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By Stephen Hunter | August 21, 1993
The meek will almost certainly never inherit the Earth, but they appear to have inherited "Surf Ninjas," as innocuous and negligible a youth effort as can be imagined.Here's the concept: These ninjas surf!Conceived as a star vehicle for Ernie Reyes Jr., the pre-pubescent martial arts sensation (most notably in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II"), the film encounters rocky going right from the start owing to the fact Ernie Reyes Jr. is no longer pre-pubescent.Kids always disappoint you by insisting on growing up!
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By Steve McKerrow | May 6, 1992
ON AND OFF THE AIR:* Give Ted Turner credit. The cable mogul knows how to be succinct, as viewers can see in tonight's "First Person With Maria Shriver" special (at 10 o'clock, Channel 2). On the subject of what he knew about his new bride before marriage, he says this:"I knew a lot. I knew she was a protester in Vietnam against the Vietnam War, and I knew that she was in the movies, and I knew she did exercise videos, and I knew she was cute."Hmmmm. That encompasses several decades in the life of one of America's most evolutionary celebrities, actress Jane Fonda, who also appears in the Shriver interview.
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By Stephen Hunter | August 21, 1993
The meek will almost certainly never inherit the Earth, but they appear to have inherited "Surf Ninjas," as innocuous and negligible a youth effort as can be imagined.Here's the concept: These ninjas surf!Conceived as a star vehicle for Ernie Reyes Jr., the pre-pubescent martial arts sensation (most notably in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II"), the film encounters rocky going right from the start owing to the fact Ernie Reyes Jr. is no longer pre-pubescent.Kids always disappoint you by insisting on growing up!
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | December 22, 1995
Maybe this film should be called "Mel Brooks, Dead and Loving It."Written off by a generation of movie critics that thinks "Nixon" is a great movie, he's recovered enough of the form that made him so beloved in the '70s and '80s. No one in any semblance of a right mind would confuse "Dracula, Dead and Loving It" with "Young Frankenstein" or "The Producers," but it's easily his best movie since then.Brooks seems to have made up his mind who he is. He's not imitating his imitators any more, he's back to imitating himself, always a sound career move.
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By Lou Cedrone | November 11, 1991
The producers of ''All I want For Christmas'' apparently wanted to do their version of ''The Miracle on 34th Street,'' but they don't quite make it.This is primarily because the two lead characters, a brother and sister who want to see their divorced parents reunited, are more obnoxious than they are likable.Natalie Wood was likable, even adorable, as the little girl who wanted a home of her own in ''Miracle on 34th Street.''The 7-year-old girl in ''All I want for Christmas'' is almost nasty.
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By Steve McKerrow | September 4, 1991
Much television attention is being paid in this back-to-school week to the challenges of the classroom, but Baltimore County's Comcast Cablevision tonight tackles an extra-curricular subject of concern to teens and their parents.A special one-hour edition of "Steering Clear" (at 8 o'clock on Comcast channel 2) starkly outlines the societal consequences of alcohol abuse."In reality, the drug alcohol is the number one cause of most of our crime and violence," asserts host Mike Gimbel, director of the county's Office of Substance Abuse.
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