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A HARD RAIN Must Fall!!

My man, HALLENBECK, is BACK!!!!!! Yes, now for those of you that are unfamiliar with the legendary spy, Joe Hallenbeck, be prepared for (FOUL) language, (HARSH) criticism, and a pretty dang solid opinion. Of course it is his own opinion. And both he and I feel you should have your own. But beware Hollywood, Joe Hallenbeck is back on the beat and is one helluva reporter. Also Moriarty's review is beneath Joe's. And now the one, the only ... Joe Hallenbeck...

Forgive me Harry, for I'm about to sin. It's been 2 months since my last Test Screening Review. Although the movie that I saw tonight can't be considered a test screening "Technically" I was told it was still a no-no reporting on this film. The film I saw tonight over at Paramount Studios was a horrendous piece of shit called Hard Rain...I'm sorry, I don't know where that came from. What I meant to say was the embarrassment to film known as Hard Rain...Sorry. I don't know what's come over me. It's as if the devil himself has taken over my body and mind and is making me type up such blasphemus statements. I...I...I can't go on any further. This is just killing me. I apologize to that "Saint" guy out there if he's offended by me making fun of the way he writes those pathetic reviews of his. Who is this mysterious reviewer mocking a fellow spy, you ask? Well, I answered it a few seconds ago -- THE DEVIL HIMSELF!!! That's right, baby! I'm back! The Mighty Joe Hallenbeck has returned!!! I know there were alot of champagne corks a'poppin' when I announced my retirement from the Spy Game. The truth is I'm a lyin' son of a bitch that never left the game. I may not have written reviews, but I surely did my best getting the word out there as to which films kicked ass and which films can kiss my... To celebrate my return and Harry's B-Day(not to mention the ushering in of the Holidays), I, the Mighty Joe Hallenbeck will write 7 reviews for the next 7 days. I like to call it "The 7 Days of Hallenbeck." Yes, I know this sounds like a nightmare to most of you out there, but I've been told some people actually like my shit. So, to those of you who want to dare read what I have to my guess and continue. To those who don't...I need not explain.

Before I get into my review, I'd like to set up for you my frame of mind for the day. I was riding on cloud 9 since 8 am this morning. You see, 'twas at that time I received a most joyous phone call from a dear friend of mine. Over the tele, this chum of yours truly, related to me the news of Chris Pula's(former head of Marketing over at WB) shall I say...ass hitting the sidewalk departure after being kicked out of WB. What joy! What rapture! I knew he wasn't joshing because staring me in the face was a newspaper headline stating the same info. I guess someone over at WB finally saw what the hell was blocking that light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn't take a genius to see why WB had such a terrible year. True, most of the films they released were wretched, but a majority of them should have at least been able to open to decent BO. That's the job of the Marketing Dept. ... a job that wasn't being well-performed since Pula took over. WB revolutionized the way a movie was meant to be marketed(remember the first Batman?). Since Pula walked into those plush offices they have yet to produce a good, let alone decent marketing campaign. Is he the one who should be accused of WB down fall? They made shitty movies this year! However, it was up to him and his people to let the public know how "unshitty" these films were. I mean hell -- the man couldn't even open up a Robin Williams/ Billy Crystal comedy that was directed by Reitmen! How pathetic is that?! Since he joined WB, he managed to prove to me(and the world) that a wrinkle in my left ball sac has more talent than he. How someone of his "talent" got this far is beyond me. But, alas...rejoice for ding dong, the Pula is gone! Maybe now WB can get back on track and regain it's former glory. Ah...'tis great to receive a X-Mas present so early in the month.

And now, the moment you've all been dreading, I...THE MIGHTY JOE HALLENBECK, will review Hard Rain in only a way that I would dare do so(BTW, to all you unoriginal schmucks out there who have blatantly ripped off my review breakdowns I have one thing to say to you -- STOP FUCKIN' DOING IT!!!)...

The Plot - Lots of H2O flooding small town. An armored truck heist gone awry. Our hero escapes with mula. Bad guys chase. Guns fire. Water flows. Local Sherrif gets involved(is he good or bad?). Cute girl needs rescuing. People die(unfortunatley not the people who made the film). That just about covers this innane excuse for a plot. Sure, it sounds kind of cool on paper -- An action movie going on during a cataclysmic flood -- but wait til you see this opus. Let's first start with the writer(now, that's an overstatement).

The Writing -- Graham Yost has proven himself to be quite a good action writer(ie Speed and Broken Arrow). They had cool, gimmicky ideas and kick ass directors at the helm. However, if you look at the scripts themselves that look and sound as if they were written in crayon. No character development. Very little plot. Tremendously awful dialouge. And so-so action. Now, in the action department, Yost has been very fortunate to have DeBont and Woo take charge of that. They managed to take boring, cliched action scenes and make them exhilerating experiences. In this wretched excuse of a script, Yost manages to use every cliche in the book once again...only this time he didn't get away with it because the director didn't know the first thing about directing action.

The Direction -- Mikael Solamon is an accomplished cinematographer(and it shows in the look of the film). He's a very talented man who just chose the wrong script to direct for his first feature. If he would've chosen something more along the lines of a Film Noir we might have been in for a treat. Instead, he tries to invoke touches of Cameron and McTiernan(not to mention Johnny boy) and comes out looking like a second rate hack. The movie, as mentioned before, looks great. I can't imagine there ever being one moment during the shoot that wouldn't have brought a lesser men to tears due to the strain of shooting a flooded town at night. It must have been one nasty bitch of a shoot. Sympathy aside, I just want to say that while the action was there(and it's practically non-stop) after awhile(about 10 minutes) it gets boring. And, from the audience reaction, I can honestly say I wasn't the only viewer bored. Maybe if the movie had a more competent director it might have have been a fun ride. Unfortunately, in the hands of an amatuer like Solamon it plays out more like a quesy, tedious romp through It's a Small Underwater World Afterall.

The Acting -- Like any one in the film did much of that.

Christain Slater - He revives the same boring, unmemerable character he practically played in Broken Arrow(probably more of Yost's fault than Slaters). It's really pathetic when you come out of an action movie and the only thing you remember about the hero is that he was a male. Although, we'll see how true that is after Slater spends some time with his new cellmate Robert Downy Jr. I'm wondering who's going to become whose bitch? I'm betting on Downey becoming Slater's.

Morgan Freeman - You remember is ambiguous, boring performance in another POS action flick called Chain Reaction? -- Picture that character only this time wet.

The rest - Quaid, Driver, Betty White, Richard Dysart and every other bozo who worked on the film should be ashamed of themselves for excepting roles like those...especially you Betty. As a matter of fact, you should be forced to watch countless hours of The Golden Girls for doing such a movie. Shame on you!

The Music - Loud, obnoxious, and bombastic...even for action movie standards. The only thing postive one can say about Christopher Young's score is that it's good to see he hasn't fallen asleep at the recording session like he usually does(man, most of his scores are slow and boring!)

The Title - HARD RAIN. Man, how did they come up with this ingenious name? Here's my theory -- They had a list of 200 titles to choose from. They put them up on a wall and had a chimp exmaine each one. the chimp then did his bussiness then threw the discarded feces up against the wall. Wherever the largest clomp landed must have been where the title hard rain was written. To the person(s) who said yes to such a lame title do us all a favo and get neutered. The world certainly does not need your spawns running around after you decided to procreate. That's just a suggestion.

Ah, how I missed reviewing NRG screenings. The great thing is they thought they caught me. They can and will never catch the Mighty Joe 'cause I'm never the same person. One minute I'm a 6'8 black man...the next I'm a petite Indian woman wearing a viel and a red dot on my head. Of course, as always, I left them a little message stating I attended their little screening. Did you miss me guys? Well, have no fear because Hallenbeck's here! Oh, you better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout...I'm telling you why. Joe Hallenbeck is back -- IN TOWN!!!!

My quote for the movie: "Broken Arrow...just add water!"

Here's Moriarty's incredible evil plan to get into films and tell us the scoop is happening. So read on and enjoy...

"Master Spy Moriarity here. Well, Head Geek, I'm just getting in from a screening at Paramount of the upcoming HARD RAIN. Unlike most of the test screenings there, this one was actually in the very nice Paramount Theater. When I arrived on the lot with my henchmen in tow, we were directed to the wrong theater at first, where they were screening the new SNL inspired comedy (and I use that word loosely, I'm sure) A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY. Yep, an entire film about those guys who bob their heads. Pardon me while a severe case of the piss-shivers pass. We had to threaten the use of dynamite, but they finally steered us to the proper screening line.

Not long after we arrived and settled into our spot, there was a commotion midway back in the line. When I looked to see what it was, I was startled to see the fat lady from TOTAL RECALL -- you remember, the one that Ah-nold hid inside -- waddling up, talking loudly and making a scene. The NRG drones moved in to try and placate the obviously insane lady, which turned out to be a near-fatal error on their parts. The head began to slide open in segments, and none other than the Dread Joe Hallenback leaped out, twin guns blazing. He/She/It/They didn't look a thing like I expected, with his/her/their/its long/short/blonde/black/red hair waving in the surprisingly chilly night air. Joe hopped over the rapidly growing stack of bodies that were blocking the door, setting off a chain reaction. Next thing you know, everyone's charging the theater and grabbing seats.

I guess Joe didn't want to see ROXBURY either.

About the movie -- I thought it was okay. It wasn't the worst action movie I've seen lately (that would have to be THE JACKAL, the first inaction movie I've ever seen), and it wasn't the best. The problems are basic: there's no script and there's no real effort at characterization. Christian Slater plays Christian Slater. Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman. Randy Quaid plays a really nasty Randy Quaid. The trailer tells you all there is to know about the story: a town floods, there's an armored car robbery, Slater hides the money, and people shoot at each other.

So why didn't I outright hate the film? Because of the work by Mikael Salomon, the film's director, and the production design of the picture. Salomon manages to make an action film that doesn't feel like it's ripped off from other better directors (that's right... it's 100% John Woo-free), and he's got an appealing visual style that really makes a few of the set pieces hum. There's a jetski chase in a high school that I enjoyed, and I thought some of the gunfights were handled very well. The town itself is a phenomenal set. I'd like to have seen the water tank where all this was filmed, because it must have been massive. With the exception of an opening shot that is clever but somewhat fake, the illusion of the flood is handled very believably.

Overall, HARD RAIN is the kind of film that most people will see, enjoy, and forget five minutes later. More demanding filmgoers (like Hallenback, who laid waste to nine rows of people in his wrath over the film) should steer clear, since it won't do anything they haven't seen before. If I'd paid, I might have been more upset, but as a freebie, I thought it was entirely adequate.

Wow... I hope Paramount uses that quote in the advertising. "Entirely adequate."

Anyway, Harry, I hope to have more for you soon. Until then, I have a crime wave to manage. Take care. Moriarity out."

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