Archive for March 2018

“Tyler Perry’s Acrimony”–movie review   Leave a comment

Tyler Perry has a fertile mind whether it is producing, directing, writing various TV series hits on OWN cable or writing successful plays that he turns into even more successful movies and is so busy that at times you want to yell at him to slow down, take a deep breath and rethink what you are doing. In his TV series, he drives me crazy by repeating sentences/thoughts 3 times and having the characters say and do the same things 3 times so you start to wonder if he has a ‘thing’ for that number.

I never miss an episode of “If loving you is wrong”, “The have and the have nots” and “For better or worse”. What does all this have to do with his new “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony”? For a writer/director who knows how to put in cliff hanger after cliff hanger, who knows how to put a lot of soap and opera in the term ‘Soap Opera’, makes a number of beginners mistakes.  Where to start? The slow pacing of the first hour with way too many voiceovers, a lack of chemistry between the two lead characters whether as their younger selves (Aijona Alexus and Antonio Madison) or when older (Taraji P. Henson) and Lyriq Bent) not to forget that most people who know Taraji P. Henson from the TV series “Empire” will miss the sass that is as much a part of her as her walk. Let’s not forget the obvious studio shots that were false looking back in the 1950s like people walking in front of a screened background shot.

Tyler Perry, the writer, gives his actors some ludicrous lines to read not to mention his lead male character represents the emasculated man that makes many of the scenes laughable and the psychological reasons for what the female lead does what she does like dancing, cursing, crashing cars isn’t reasonably explained.

The best thing about this movie is the Nina Simone songs which really don’t fit into the screenplay but hearing her voice is always a plus.

I am a Tyler Perry fan and go to see all his movies—except for those ‘starring’ Madea—whether he is the producer, writer, director and/or actor but the only reason to see this is to listen to the women in the audience react!

 

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEtBhq5IRmY

Bravo–restaurant revisited review–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Bravo Restaurant collage

It has been awhile since I have been to Bravo, actually 6 years, and at that time I wrote “It being Allen’s birthday we had 3 desserts–like we needed an excuse–having the coconut cake ($8.50), brownie bash (($9.95) and lemoncello ($8.50) with all 3 not that good and overpriced”, which still holds true with the lemoncellonow $8.75.

Actually one of the disappointments this time was the service. Dirty, empty dishes, which were put near the end of the table, were ignored though the server passed the table a few times, refills of drinks were never offered, the busboy served the main courses getting them wrong (though we were also wrong in that case as we took each other’s plates by mistake.) We asked for a couple of more garlic rolls

Allen had the Amiriglia on linguini ($13.95) a salad and a soda ($3) while I had the shrimp with rigatoni ($13.95) served with an almost excellent mussels and clams soup and regular coffee ($2.95.) Both main courses were okay but nothing to rave about.

Allen, forgetting he had it 6 years ago once again ordered the lemoncello tart ($8.75) while I ordered a dish of half pistachio and half vanilla ice cream ($6.25)

The reason we came to Bravo was I found a ‘pay $20 for $40 worth of food’ at localflavor.com With tip ($10) and tax ($2.94) minus the $40 our check came to $11.79

With Bistro Mezzaluna just a few blocks away I would have preferred going there and will in the future as the service and food are better and lunch prices about the same.

“Midnight Sun”–movie review   Leave a comment

 

 Of the 7 movies, I have seen so far in March, the 2 best ones revolved around teenagers. The first “Love, Simon” is the first Hollywood production dealing with a gay male teenager coming out in high school and the reactions of his friends, schoolmates, males, females and his parents. It is a smart, thoughtful and touching film about someone ‘different’ that should be seen.

In the second film, “Midnight Sun” the main character is a straight teenage female who is also different in the sense she has xeroderma pigmentosum or XP, a very rare disease that makes her hypersensitive to the sun and has spent most of her life indoors being homeschooled and very little interaction with people, let alone other teenagers. Her mother died when she was 5, though I don’t recall if it was of the same disease.

Katie’s father is devoted to her and does everything he can to fulfill her life with both being aware it will be shortened no matter what care they take. Her best friend Morgan since childhood visits every day, and it is due to her that Katie finally meets Charlie who she has watched for years passing by her house and becomes the love of her young life.

“Midnight Sun” is a tearjerker and the screenplay by Kenji Bando and direction by Scott Speer tugs at the heartstrings manipulates the audience’s feelings, throws in a few laughs and in spite of a few missteps delivers the goods.

Bella Thorne as Katie is beautiful, obviously talented, has good chemistry with all the actors, especially with Patrick Schwarzenegger as Charlie. Yes, Patrick is the son of Arnold and though not as muscle-bound as his father was at the same age but he is better looking with definite model looks as one scene in his underwear will attest to. He does make an impression in his first starring role and could likely have a modest screen career.

Rob Riggle as Katie’s father does an excellent job and Quinn Shepard as Morgan has the ‘second banana’ role down pat getting the needed laughs along with the best friend empathy needed.

Though it is corny here and there and has a major misstep of making Katie a singer, the young leads are so appealing that you get caught up, not only in their romance but, their fight to get her home before the sun comes up.

It was recently said by 2—count them—two—friends that yes I may have lost my sense of humor as I’ve grown old but “Midnight Sun” proves that my tear ducts are still over flowering!

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TX6eK5hz6g

“The Death of Stalin”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“The Laughs come in jolts and waves with savage one-liners.”

Manohla Dargis New York Times

“Often Hilarious” Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

“A unique and hilarious British comedy.”

Mike LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

“Source of hilarity and it is hilarious.”

Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

 

“A complete bore! Did the above critics see the same movie I saw?”

GreatMartin

“The Death of Stalin” is set in the 1950s and the fight for power in Russia after the dictator’s death. Are you laughing yet? It supposedly is satire which implies irony or sarcasm and the director/writer, Armando Iannucci, tries everything from the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges slapstick to insult comedy, chaos, no attempt at Russian accents having various accents ranging from Brooklyn to London but getting very few reactions from the audience.

Iannucci is the writer of the much awarded HBO series “Veep” known for its comedy, irony, and sarcasm which it delivers with belly laughs, smiles, smirks, and humor while here he enlists 2 additional writers and the only smile/laugh I can remember is a crack about Grace Kelly!

The cast consisting of Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Adrian McLoughlin, Jeffrey Tambor, Olga Kurylenko, Rupert Friend, Jason Issacs, Paddy Considine among others deliver the expected performances with a little scenery chewing now and then.

Enjoy seeing people shot in the head, brains taken out of a head after the scalp is cut back and ‘fun’ things like that? Can you go another day without knowing that most good doctors in Russia were killed and that Stalin had lists of people to be killed?

Those answering ‘yes’ to any of the questions asked should probably go and see “The Death of Stalin”.

The only questions I am asking myself is have I lost my sense of humor as I’ve grown older or is funny and/or satire not what it was defined years ago?

 

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPpXFnHoC-0

Posted March 23, 2018 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

Being retired takes work!   Leave a comment

Posted March 22, 2018 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, Uncategorized

“Oh Lucy”–movie review   Leave a comment

 

“Lucy” opens with a crowd of people on a train station in Tokyo. Most of the people are wearing surgical masks and, as the train approaches, a man, after whispering ‘Goodbye’ in Setsuko’s ear, jumps in front of the train. Not a scream is heard and everyone, including Setsuko, go on with their lives, which for her means a dull job, living in a small apartment, obviously a hoarder and very much alone except for her niece.

It is her niece, Mika, who convinces her aunt to take over the English class she has been going and had paid in advance for which money she would lose unless Setsuko will give her the money and go to the class. Mika, for an unexplained reason, doesn’t seem to be able to turn to her mother while the sisters Setsuko and Ayako have had a falling out for years over something that is just brushed over and shouldn’t be.

Enrolling in the English class we meet American teacher John who teaches ‘American’ English like no teacher has ever taught it before and which he explains means ‘lazy and relaxed’. He puts a blond wig on Setsuko’s head after hugging her and gives her the new name of Lucy. In the class, she meets another student, Komori, who John renames Tom.

Very shortly, without giving any spoilers, the film goes from Tokyo to Southern California and goes into a completely different angle, at many points going off track.

Shinobu Terajima does an excellent job as Setsuko/Lucy showing her changes as the latter and, where she could easily be disliked, makes her likable along with being forgiven for many things she does.

Josh Hartnett as John is woefully underwritten but does what he can with the role as does Shioli Kutsuna who has a good turn as the niece once the film gets to California. Kaho Minami, as Setsuko/Lucy’s sister, is brittle, angry yet funny and, at times. Annoying as she should be. Though Koji Yakusho has a fairly small role at two points in the movie he delivers and seems the most comfortable of all the players plus what makes him the way he is certainly is explained better than any other character.

Director Atsuko Hirayanagi, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Boris Frumin, fumbles here and there, mostly when the film goes to California. There is a clumsy, unnecessary sex scene, too many flaws regarding character’s backgrounds and, possibly minor, the aunt and niece learn a lot of ‘American English’ much too quickly.

“Oh, Lucy” appears to be sold as a comedy but is definitely more of a drama. It is a quirky kind of film, certainly different and because of that worth seeing

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hNcFNf7CzQ

Changes   Leave a comment

And, yes, I do know how to spell mirror and off! LOL

Posted March 19, 2018 by greatmartin in HOME, Uncategorized

“Love, Simon”–a must see movie   1 comment

Love Simon at Muvico

“Love, Simon” is one of the best movies about teenagers in high school made for and about them, anyone whoever was a teenager and certainly adults of today. John Hughes made successful movies reflecting on teenagers in high school in the 1980s and though teenagers have some things in common in every generation the 21st Century highschooler is remarkably different.

Adolescents of yesterday tackled puberty, lack of confidence, secrets, parents, first loves, identity, independence, cars and popularity just as adolescents of today do but today they are attached to laptop computers and cell phones. Yes there are still the jocks, mean girls, dweebs, girls who doubt themselves when they can’t get boys to look at them just like the guys who can’t get a date.

What makes “Love, Simon” exceptional is that Simon is everything that others teens are but he is gay. Over the years I have read and heard thousands of ‘coming out’ stories and each one is unique. There are also many myths involving the process, one being that every parent accepts their children for who they are.

This movie is the first by a major Hollywood studio which centers on a gay teenager coming out with all the comedy, drama and romance that involves plus a few risks such as blackmail that can also happen. At 17 Simon is the friend everyone wants to have, the big brother a younger sister looks up to, parents every kid wishes theirs were and, yet, at 17, he hasn’t told anyone he is gay.

For those who can identify with Simon and those who may not know what someone who is ‘different’ goes through during their teens in high school I don’t want to say much more about the insightful screenplay by writers Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker and the direction by Greg Berlanti who handles an understated scene between Simon and his mother while all 3 have a few missteps like two characters having too much screen time plus taking up time on a school production of “Cabaret” which doesn’t advance the story nor challenge that a high school in Georgia would allow the show to be put on.

Nick Robinson is tall, thin, good-looking, average student and plays a very believable 17-year-old touching Simon while showing the awkwardness of a teenager trying to dance in a show or in his imagination and not succeeding. Jennifer Garner as his mother, Talitha Bateman as his sister are impressive and Josh Duhamel as his father is ‘adorable’!  (You have to see the film to understand how/why a grown man can be adorable.)

Alexander Shipp, Katherine Langford, Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Jorge Lendeborg, Drew Starkey, Joey Pollari and Mackenzie Lintz as friends and acquaintances of Simon are all very believable in their roles.

Logan Miller is obnoxious, too obnoxious, as a student who blackmails Simon regarding the latter’s love affair with an unknown Internet gay student calling himself “Blue”. Is Miller’s character written as obnoxious as written and directed or did the director not control him? Another annoying character is Tony Hale as the Vice Principal and makes me wonder if this sort of adult is as visible in many schools. An outstanding scene stealer, in a positive way, is Natasha Rothwell as a drama teacher.

An additional dividend for the audience is trying to figure out who “Blue” is through the screenwriter does through in a red herring regarding him!

“Love, Simon, is a must-see comedy/drama/romantic film that I hope is remembered 9-10 months from now at award time.

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykHeGtN4m94

 

Something different   Leave a comment

Posted March 14, 2018 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

“Loveless”–movie review   Leave a comment

“Loveless”, a 2018 Oscar nominee for best foreign language film, from Russia, could have, should have, would have been a powerful picture if the director, Andrey Zvyagintsev, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Oleg Negin, had an editor, Anna Mass, who could have reigned him and the cinematographer, Mikhail Krichman, with less is more. One too many scenes with a cell phone, have one scene with seeing snow through a window, have 3 more, be sure many scenes run 30 seconds to 2 minutes too long and throw in a few that do nothing but extend the movie’s running time and take away from the drama unfolding on the screen.

Necessary scenes at the beginning set up what takes place later. We meet 12-year-old Alexey (Matvey Novikov) as he overhears his soon to be divorced parents arguing and neither wanting custody of him. They are trying to sell their apartment. His father, Boris, (Aleksey Rozin) is a middle management desk salesman who works where divorce is a sin and could cost him his job. Meanwhile, he is living with his new, now pregnant, girlfriend, Marsha (Marina Vasilyeva) in her mother’s home. Alexey’s mother, Zhenya, (Maryana Spivak) owns a beauty salon and spends many hours with her new lover, Anton, (Andris Keishs), who, by the way, has a home I would love to live in! She is also strongly attached to her cell phone as both the director and cinematographer constantly, needlessly, show us her using it.

After all this is established we understand Alexey disappearing and his parents not even knowing it until his teacher calls to ask why he hasn’t been in school for 2 days. The film then turns into the search for the boy, mainly by civilian volunteers as it seems the police have neither the men, the money or the time to search for all the kids missing.

The search, led by Ivan (Alesky Fateev), takes up the major part of the film with, once again, too many long and repetitive scenes that undermines the suspense. There are many detours from the main story such as meeting Zhenya’s mother (Nataliya Potapova) Marsha’s mother (Anna Gulyarenko) plus a co-worker (Roman Madyanov) but we are always taken back to the search of the forests, buildings, rivers and surroundings. We are given a thorough lesson in what is involved in a search for a kid who may have run away or been kidnapped or met some disaster that no parent wants to face.

The basic premises of the marriage and the search for the disappearing boy are what makes the movie so interesting but there are one too many cell phone scenes–yes we get it that Russians are as tied to them as Americans and other countries are–snow scenes and, yes, too many sex scenes!

There is a lot of politics in the movie including the USA election in 2012 but the last shot of Zhenya jogging on a treadmill wearing a red sweatsuit emblazed with RUSSIA across the front went right over my head if it means anything.

“Loveless” will be an excellent movie when you can fast-forward the repetitive scenes and photography and slow it down each time–and there are many, yes, even too many—Anton’s house is shown.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h5GuecUU-Q

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