Archive for the ‘FILM REVIEWS’ Category

“Pain and Glory”–a must see movie–review   Leave a comment

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I have been a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar since 1983 when I saw his “Dark Habits” and have seen about 15 of the 20 movies he has directed.  This, without a doubt, is one of his best if for nothing else the writing and direction of a scene between Banderas and Julieta Mallo though this is just one of many scenes that grab and hold your attention. I defy you to take your eyes off the screen in the scene between  Asier Flores, playing the young Salvador Mallo, and Cesar Vicente, a laborer with artistic abilities, that provides another scene with the older Salvador, played by Banderas, bringing back the past.
Many of Almodovar’s films have featured and/or revolved around beautiful women with one being Penelope Cruz who in this film plays the young mother of Salvador but in this one it revolves around 4 beautiful men, including Banderas who grows better looking every day he grows older!
Talking about Antonio Banderas, there is no doubt in my mind he gives one of the best performances, not only of his career but, of this year. There are so many facets to this story of an old(er) man and his journey to where and who he is today and the actor deliveries in every scene. Whether in flashbacks or current day we follow him every step of the way and the complex life he has lead.
“Pain and Glory” is in many ways a perfect film but not an easy one to watch as there is a lot of pain and a little glory.
PS If for no other reason I will have to see it again and find out what I missed those first 15 minutes!

Posted October 18, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Lucy In The Sky”–movie review   Leave a comment


Was it titled “Lucy In The Sky” just so a few lines of the Beatles’ song could be sung? Maybe.
I hadn’t been to a movie theatre for 11 days and though I watch movies on TV it isn’t the same! My choices were “Jexi” which I would have liked to have seen but the schedule was wrong or “Joker”–NO WAY!—or “Lucy In The Sky”. I like Natalie Portman when I see her but I usually don’t go to a movie just because she is in it so off I went.
“Inspired by real events” the names have been changed—to use the title song?—and is based on a female astronaut attacking a lover who has been seeing another woman.
The picture starts off showing Lucy (Portman) in space, lost in thought and asking for just a few minutes more. After landing, and at the first opportunity, she signs up for another trip not comfortable on earth anymore with her husband (Dan Stevens). In a brief conversation they decide she will have another child after she returns from the next trip but she knows that will never happen and so the affair with Mark (Jon Hamm), another astronaut, starts. It is here the film goes completely off track.
Lucy looks, feels different, even states that she never felt so alive and instead of following why the change, what happens physically and mentally when you go into space, we get into the melodrama.
The script by Noah Hawley, who also directs, Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi misses the chance to approach a space movie from a different and interesting angle. Hawley’s direction does many  tricks with the camera to try and see Lucy’s big world out in space and the small world she has returned to only making the screen annoying.
Natalie Portman does fine as does  Dan Stevens and Jon Hamm but Ellen Burstyn is wasted, as is the title tune!
“Lucy In The Sky” is too long at 126 minutes to hold your interest but as your mind wanders what it could have been helps the time past.

Posted October 15, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Monos”–movie review   1 comment


For the past 19 years I have been going to a movie matinee on Friday, missing only 2, because in the back of my mind, for some stupid, unexplained reason that I know is not true, I think the world will come to an end. I wish I had taken that chance today.
I had a choice between “Joker” and “Monos”. I am a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix and don’t think I have ever missed a movie he has been in but I had heard about all the violence in “Joker” and I do not like seeing violence in movies no matter how phony I know it is but then I have never heard of “Monos”. I looked up the synopsis of the latter and it seemed ‘different’ so I decided to go see that movie.
When I got to The Classic Gateway Theatre I sort of smiled and, at the same time felt good about, to see that there were 2 fully dressed and armed policemen stationed at/in the auditorium that “Joker” was playing! “Monos” here I come.
After 102 minutes watching a group of teenagers running amok, supposedly guarding an American hostage, I couldn’t see how “Joker” could have been more violent, and “Monos” is one of those pictures that is so indecipherable I really want to ask you to go and see it and then tell me what it was/is about and what it is all suppose to mean? I came home and read a few critics reviews  and I still ahve that question!
I won’t even ask how and/or what that American is doing in the jungles of Columbia—I guess that is where they are because the movie was made there—but who are the kids and what are they doing there?
“Monos” is certainly a movie I don’t recommend but wouldn’t mind if you went to see it and emailed me what it was about!!

Posted October 4, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“Judy”–a movie review   1 comment

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Renee Zellweger does an excellent job as Judy Garland but, using her own voice, shows that there was only one Judy Garland! Judy Davis, in 2001, did a 4 hour TV story called “Life With Judy Garland: Me & My Shadow”, winning an Emmy, but lip-synced Judy’s voice and was more effective.
In “I Could Go On Singing”, Garland’s last movie, the screenplay did a much better job about a world famous singer showing the love for her children then this screenplay by Tom Edge based on a play by Peter Quilter. The flashbacks to Judy’s start and her treatment by the studio, especially during “The Wizard of Oz”, along with ‘appearances’ by actors such as Mickey Rooney, doesn’t add anything new.
More time spent with Judy’s ex husband, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) and Jessie Buckley, as Judy’s last assistant, Rosalie, would have added more to the story about her last days. Finn Wittrock, as Micky Deans, her last husband, for less than a year and rumored to be gay is given less attention but then another husband Vincent Minnelli, father of Liza and also gay, isn’t even mentioned. Darci Shawn, as young Judy, would make perfect casting as a young Liz Taylor.
“Judy” delivers one fine performance and a tearful last 5 minutes but instead of recommending seeing this I would recommend you seeing Judy Garland in “I Could Go On Singing” and Judy Davis in “Life With Judy Garland: Me & My Shadow”.

Posted September 27, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“Downton Abbey”–movie review   1 comment


There were two kind of people in the audience: those who have seen every, or almost every, 52 episodes of “Downton Abbey” and those who never saw it or, like me, only saw, maybe 3-4 episodes, over the 6 seasons it was on PBS.
You could tell people from the first category as they laughed at EVERYTHING Maggie Smith said, and did, funny or not, while those in the latter category might have smiled at one of her barbed witticisms but certainly didn’t laugh out loud.
This is a review looking at it as a stand alone movie while those who see it as an extension of the series most definitely would review it differently.
The screenplay by Julian Fellowes introduces between 30-40 characters with about as many story lines involving 2 or 10 of them. Anyone who is a movie goer can see where most of them are heading but a couple fail to pay off and a couple just fizzle out while a major one had me going, “So what’s new? Knew that from the moment they came on screen!”
The opening segment sets the direction of all the  lush photographic scenes and rich looks, in more ways than one, of the costumes, jewellery, and the settings both in and out of Downton Abbey.
The story revolves around the visit of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) who will be spending an evening at Downton Abbey, bringing their own staff of kitchen and servants which brings about a rebellion between the Royal’s and Abbey’s staffs offering about 5-6 story lines while there are many, some confusing, story lines regarding family members in all sorts of matches from mother and daughter to sister-in-laws.
There are too many actors/characters to mention all but, yes, Maggie Smith is a delight and the encounters between her and Imelda Staunton are master classes in acting. I have been a fan of Elizabeth McGovern since I saw her in 1981 in “Ragtime” but I have a feeling her role in the TV series was larger and stronger. I recognized a few actors such as Jim Carter but the one who really made an impression, and getting the biggest laugh, is one I am unable to put a name with the face even looking through the cast credits–possibly Brendon Coyle–playing one of the major Abbey servant’s.
While “Downton Abbey” is a good example of the genre it is not as memorable as “Howards End” or, my favorite, “A Room With A View”.  While the outdoor scenes are lush this sequel would have done better as a ‘made for TV movie’.
Am curious to hear from fans of the TV series as to what they thought of the movie.

Posted September 24, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

Ad Astra”–movie review   1 comment

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Being as nice as I can, and a Brad Pitt fan, I would not call this the worst movie of the year, though it is certainly a contender, let’s just call it the worst Brad Pitt movie ever!
Instead of making a large, long list of negatives like it is one of the longest 2 hour movies I have ever seen let me just tell you not to see it!

Posted September 20, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

“Hustlers”–movie review   1 comment

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Many years ago, when I was a kid, I use to dream of Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno doing a cabaret show together but now that I am a big kid I think of a cabaret show starring Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles. Where does all this come from? Watching “Hustlers” I thought of Lopez making a big splash in the movies when she starred opposite George Clooney in “Out of  Sight” and Beyonce doing the same when she co-starred in the movie “Dreamgirls” and neither did any more movies worthwhile.
Chita became a star playing Anita in “West Side Story” on Broadway and Rita won an Oscar for the same role in the movies. Chita would remain a big and much loved star on Broadway for the next 60 years while Rita became a star on television.
In any case, thinking about the 4 women was a diversion from looking at a movie that, while certainly glorifying a woman’s body, shows smart women ‘taking’ dumb rich men. It sort of looks like in spite of all having sad backgrounds, most being uneducated, what choice did women have except for pleasuring men whether stripping or giving them lap dancers while other men took most of the money they made.
This all takes place before the 2008 recession when men threw money around as if it wasn’t theirs and in most cases it wasn’t but then that recession came along and the women team up together to fleece the wealthy clients they still have, making thousands of dollars knowing the men are either married or would be too humiliated to report them to the police or still had enough money not to worry about.
After Lopez’s fantastic entrance doing a pole dance I lost interest in the rest of the movie possibly because the story of rich men being taken is so common place in South Florida that it seems to be in the paper and on television at least once a month if not once a week.
The performances, by Lopez especially, are all good while the direction by Lorene Scafaria keeps the movie going but her screenplay, based on a  2015 magazine story by Jessica Pressler, gets tiresome very quickly.
“Hustlers” is getting good reviews including talk about Lopez getting an Oscar nomination but I would rather see a ‘duel’ between her and Knowles or, even better, between Moreno and Rivera!

Posted September 17, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

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