Eraser (1996)

eraser_10Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli, James Cromwell, Danny Nucci, Andy Romano, Nick Chinlund, Michael Papajohn, Joe Viterelli, Mark Rolston, Tony Longo, Olek Krupa

Directed by Chuck Russell

Expectations: Moderate, but I’m very excited to revisit.


I’ll never forget the first time I saw Eraser. I was 14 when the film came out and I was staying with my grandparents. They asked me what movie I wanted to see, so of course I picked the latest Arnold explode-a-rama! (Side note: the next summer we went and saw John Woo’s Face/Off!) I was beside myself afterwards because I felt Arnold had been in something of a slump at the time, and Eraser was a great antidote to that in my eyes. My grandparents weren’t especially thrilled, though, and I specifically remember my ex-Navy pilot grandfather laughing at how ridiculous the entire plane sequence was. I remember this because at the time I didn’t quite understand why it seemed so absurd to him.

As I’ve documented in many of my previous Arnold reviews, I idolized Arnold like no one else on-screen. He was the ultimate movie hero to me in my youth, so when confronted with the CG-aided plane shenanigans in Eraser it never seemed implausible to me; it made perfect sense. He’s Arnold, of course he can open the plane’s door at 10,000 feet and rip a seat off the wall to throw into the engine so he doesn’t get sucked in when he jumps out of the plane to catch the parachute that just flew out the door. Duh.

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Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013)


Starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Robbie Jones, Brandy Norwood, Ella Joyce, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Renée Taylor

Directed by Tyler Perry

Expectations: Moderate.


There are those that liken the release of a new Tyler Perry film to the coming of a multitude of locusts, and so my interest was always somewhat piqued to delve into his films. I always figured that they couldn’t possibly be so bad as everyone made them out to be; that it had to be hyperbole. So after watching Temptation, the first Tyler Perry movie I’ve seen, I can definitively say that the naysayers are indeed bringing down wave upon wave of hyperbole onto Perry and his creations. One look at the Rotten Tomatoes page for this film says it all: the critic score is 18%, while 74% of users liked it. Judging on Temptation alone, Tyler Perry is clearly not making artistic, cinematic gems to dazzle the critics, he’s making populist entertainment for the masses that are looking for a good melodramatic fix. And boy, let me tell you, this one is full of melodrama.

Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is a therapist working at a millionaire matchmaking service, run by Vanessa Williams doing a bad French accent. I should note that while the accent is bad and somewhat grating throughout, it does lead to a fantastic moment of heightened melodrama late in the film that I just loved. Anyway, Judith is tasked with working with an Internet millionaire named Harley (Robbie Jones), helping him to develop a matchmaking website for the Williams’s service. He begins to seduce her, and as Judith is married to a great, but detached guy names Brice (Lance Gross), she responds. The setup is pretty simple, for sure, but as a melodrama it’s not so much about giving you unique, specific plot points as it is about giving you fun, heightened derivatives of formula and pulling out your raw emotional responses.

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