Archive for the ‘MOVIE REVIEW’ Category

“Gotti”–movie review   Leave a comment

There are three reasons to see “Gotti” with the first being if you are a fan of John Travolta (I am), the second, if you are a fan of John Travolta and the third, is to see a performance rise above the script though as good as it is doesn’t quite save the film.

Upfront let’s just say that the film is not as bad as the critics who have been slamming it say it is or the 0% rating RottenTomatoes or MetaCritics give. “Gotti” reminded me of the many “B” movies that used to be shown on the lower half of double feature bill in movie houses years ago when you saw 2 movies for the price of one. They usually starred James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart blasting away with machine guns.

The main problems with the film are first of all the screenplay which is all over the place as is the soundtrack and the fact that it is based on John Gotti, Junior’s autobiography so one thread shows the love between father and son, the father grooming the son to become the ‘Boss’ while another shows how he became called the Teflon Don and at the same time showing different aspects of the life of a godfather in the mob, condensing all 3 “The Godfather” movies into 110 minutes of one film.

John Travolta shows what the film could have been if it had a good director, a better screenplay and an editor who cared about the final result. He is a good actor and even in some overly made makeup looks his ability comes through but not enough to save the movie!

In a way, it is worth seeing just to watch the cliché scene where one mobster shoots another 5 times and the latter gets up and runs away! Welcome to “B” movies.

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3cabEqPVTU

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

“The Misandrists”–movie review   2 comments

Watching “The Misandrists” it didn’t take 91 minutes to let me know this has to be the worst movie of the years or the decade but after all the time watching it now holds the title of one of the worst movies if not the worst! It is not so bad that it is funny nor will it become a ‘cult’ film even though it is about a cult!

It has some of the most atrocious acting ever seen in a movie and let’s not get into the lessons it tries to teach the audience, on a blackboard yet, or the awful male on male sex scenes they show in porn films. Did I mention the tired lines the women have to speak in various accents in various, awful costumes? Oh, by the way, let’s not skip the showing of the mutilation, the cutting off of a man’s penis! Aside from the last scene, there are only 2 men in the movie as it is basically about Lesbians banding together to get rid of men and that mutilation is one way of doing it.

The film has lesbians, transgender, gender fluid, pansexuals all being angry, confrontational and secrets. There is a side story about making a lesbian porno film to spread their message more as an excuse to show women having sex than to give examples of why women are so much better off without men.

 

This is a quote from the press release: “When an injured male leftist on the run discovers the remote stronghold of the Female Liberation Army — a radical feminist terrorist group whose mission is to usher in a female world order — one of the members takes pity on him and hides him in the basement. However, the man in the basement is just one of many secrets threatening to disrupt the FLA’s mission from within.” If only it was this interesting!!

“The Misandrists” is a film to see only if you are a masochist who likes really bad movies or doesn’t want to miss one of the worst films of the past 100 years!

Movie trailer  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXuoTe8ma1s

Posted June 17, 2018 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“Summer 1993”–movie review   1 comment

One of the major advantages of having a theatre like The Classic Gateway Theatre is that you get to see most of the independent films and will come across a stunner now and then but that is not the case with “Summer 1993”. Based on the true story of the director and screenwriter of the movie Carla Simon we follow 6-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas), upon the death of her mother and father, sent to live with her mother’s brother Esteve (David Verdaguer), his wife Marga (Bruni Cusi) and their 3-year-old child Anna (Paula Robles).

We watch Frida as she adjusts, or doesn’t, to her new life and how her new family adjusts or doesn’t, to this addition into their home. Unable to understand or vocalize her pain Frida lashes out in awkward, sometimes dangerous and, other times, bewildering ways.

I missed an important factor in the movie which is primarily explained in the title and the last 2-3 minutes of the film which became obvious about a few incidents that take place in the movie. I don’t usually give spoilers in film reviews and I won’t here but I am more surprised that I didn’t catch on to this.

In spite of that disclosure, I didn’t find “Summer 1993” interesting enough to recommend it though Laia Artigas as Frida gives a natural performance and you can feel what she doesn’t seem to be able to express.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watchv=0tZcRbyjqNU&t=8s

“Ocean’s 8”–movie review   1 comment

In 1979 Cindi Lauper sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and in “Ocean’s 8” they do and, as an added benefit, so does the audience. The first “Ocean’s 11” took place in 1960 and the remake in 2001 so it only took 58 years for the females to have their own caper. As the other Ocean films, this revolves around a heist, in this case of a diamond necklace worth over $150 million and, as in those films you really don’t have to follow all the ins and outs of the heist. Sit back, relax, enjoy watching the women, leave your logic at the door and don’t nick-pick at the holes in the story or wonder at some scenes that never would have been in the male versions.

All 8 women have a particular job to do regarding the heist though one who has not been recruited figures what is going on and joins in. The heist takes place at the Metropolitan  Museum of Art yearly Gala to raise funds where the stage, movie and social stars attend dressed to the nines and costumer Sarah Edwards does a great job of putting the stars in outstanding, mostly hug fitting, evening gowns. Aside from filming at the Metropolitan, we get to go into the Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman’s department store along with Cartier’s jewelry store including their underground vault. Also, there are famous people making cameos throughout the movie.

Regarding the stars, Cate Blanchett makes the biggest impression followed by a funny turn by Awkwafina and I wish she had loaned some of her playfulness to Sandra Bullock who gives a straight and unplayful performance which doesn’t belong in an “Ocean’s” movie. On the other hand, Helena Bonham Carter goes too far with her character. Anne Hathaway plays a vain movie star to the nth degree while Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and Rihanna all come through with just the right attitudes and performances.

Along with the women, there are two major roles by men one being Richard Armitage and the other James Corden The latter offers a few laughs as an insurance adjuster and the former as ‘eye candy’. The problem is that Armitage’s role/story in the movie is one that never would have been allowed in any of the other Ocean films with a woman being the eye candy and the aim of revenge.

Oh, one spoiler, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead but you find that out at the beginning.

“Ocean’s 8” is the second movie within 2 weeks, the other being “Book Club”, that focused on women being the stars and delivering the goods. In both, you know what to expect walking in and you aren’t disappointed but now it is time to give us a movie, or movies, starring casts of women where men are the followers or eye candy or are ‘just’ the husbands, boyfriends, etc.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFWF9dU5Zc0

“The Seagull”–movie review   Leave a comment

Annette Bening is one of those actors who will always draw me to a film while I am enjoying watching Saorise Ronan’s career and where it is going. Mare Winningham, Brian Dennehy and Elisabeth Moss are dependable actors always doing good work so adding these factors together I decided to go see “The Seagull” instead of “Adrift” which only had the appeal of Shailene Woodley.

I’ve seen some of Chekhov’s plays many years ago but never particularly liked or disliked him and this movie, with a screenplay by Stephen Karam, doesn’t sway me one way or another.

For a story about lovers, there is very little love. Irina (Annette Bening) a celebrated, insecure, jealous actress is in love with the much younger successful writer Boris (Corey Stoll) who falls in love with Nina (Saoirse Ronan) a want to be actress much younger than he is and has a budding writer, Konstatin (Billy Howle), Irina’s son, who, by the way, is in love with Nina and in turn he is loved by Marsha (Elisabeth Moss), a secret drinker, who is loved by schoolteacher Medvedenko (Michael Zegen). Did I miss anyone? Oh yes, Polina, (Mare Winningham) who runs the house and is married to Shamrayev (Glenn Fleshler) but is in love with Doctor Dorn (Jon Tenney) who is taking care of Sorin (Brian Dennehy) who is dying and is Irina’s brother.

“The Seagull” runs 99 minutes and that’s a lot of people and stories to cover and many are shortchanged but most have a minute or two, some more, to show what an actor can do with the time they are given. The most striking scenes are the ones between Annette Bening and Corey Stoll during a lover’s quarrel and another between her and Billy Howle as she attacks her son and yet holds the audience’s sympathy. Both Winningham and Moss get their moment with the former declaring her love for the doctor and the latter explaining why she drinks and is ‘mourning’ for the life she will lead. Brian Dennehy has a striking scene with Bening as he hits her where her insecurities lie. Bening and Stoll are the standouts of the cast while Howle is too ‘modern’ to fit in with the rest, going overboard in most of his scenes.

“The Seagull” is shorter than most films are today and, yet, seems longer as it tries to cover too much, too many personalities. Though you will do a lot worse than seeing acting of this caliber bringing their A game, I really can’t say yes to this film for an introduction to Chekhov and it might be cut too bare for those who are familiar with his play.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynGnOf0scl8

Posted June 5, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“Anything”–movie review   Leave a comment

The best, if not most original, line in “Anything” is said by the nephew Jack (Tanner Buchanan) of Early (John Carroll Lynch) when he says, “Love is Love” and that is what this movie is about.

There is the first love of a teenager, Jack, for a girl at school, the love between Early and his sister Laurette (Maura Tierney) and her love for her husband Ted (Christopher Thornton), the love between the drug addicts David (Micah Hauptman) and Brianna (Margot Binham) not to mention what might be the pivotal love story of Freda (Matt Bomer) and Early.

Early has just lost the love of his life, his wife, of 26 years, and is having difficulty dealing with the loss. His sister flies in from Los Angeles to their small hometown in Mississippi where he is an insurance salesman and talks him into coming to California and living with her, her husband and son, which he does. It doesn’t take very long to find out that Laurette is a controlling woman who, though she loves her brother, doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself from trying to control him.

Early has received a good settlement from the insurance when he wife died and he decides to sell his home back in Mississippi and to stay in Los Angeles but not live with his sister and instead gets an apartment in Hollywood much to her disdain because she would rather he live in a better neighborhood. She explains that she is worried about him living there alone but at the same time there is a sort of snobbishness that she has acquired since moving out west.

Early soon meets his next-door neighbor Freda and though they are very different in many ways both are lonely. Early stays in his apartment reading, drinking and reading old letters from his wife while Freda, being a transgender sex worker, having a life of being hurt both emotionally and physically, people leaving her, is not open to deep relationships. He is the soft-spoken quiet Southern gentleman while she is the sassy, wisecracking one who has seen it all. Slowly but surely she is won over by his kindness, the true love he had for his wife and his reaching out to help her while he, at first, while he doesn’t know what to make of this woman who has lead a life he can’t understand but sees her pain.

“Anything” is one of the first films that offer lessons to those who may be uncomfortable with the idea of transgender people or know little about it and there are one too many clichés but as Jack says, “Love is love” and that is what this movie is about.

Without spoiling the scene there is an interlude when Early invites his sister, brother-in-law and nephew over for dinner to meet Freda that is a roller coaster of emotions that offers a dazzling performance by Maura Tierney.

John Carroll Lynch gives a quietly understated performance that works perfectly opposite Matt Bomer who projects being a woman without overdoing it, holding back on the gestures but showing her warmth, delicacy and tenderness but also her strength. They both give stellar performances.

This is the second movie I have seen within a week where the leads have the chemistry that is rare in films and, like “Beast” I fear it will be gone and forgotten before people have a chance to see it as being an independent film it has sort of ‘snuck’ into town but “Anything” should be seen. It is, also, as “Beast” is, the debut of a new director, Timothy McNeil, who wrote the screenplay based on his produced play and he makes a few mistakes as most new film directors do, those ‘art’ shots, but it is an impressive debut.

(An observation: Matt Bomer has the ‘best actor’s eyes’ since Paul Newman!)

 

 

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4D39IVxzyw

“Beast”–movioe review   Leave a comment

During and after watching the movie “Beast” I had many thoughts and questions going through my mind such as am I getting weirder as I get old or are movies getting weirder? Why do first time directors, like Michael Pearce who also wrote the screenplay, feel that they have to show every ‘art’ shot whether it adds to the movie or not? Did he deliberately want those few bars of music so loud every now and then? Was I missing something with that music?

I feel anything I say will be a spoiler which I don’t like to give but I can say the main relationship in “Beast” is between Moll (Jessie Buckley) who was punished (I still don’t know how!) for stabbing a fellow student when she was younger with scissors and Pascal (Johnny Flynn) who may or may not be a serial killer of young women.

I was mesmerized by Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn’s acting and the chemistry between them. The closest I can equate them with is the pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “To Have and Have Not” for the first time. The romance between Moll and Pascal is a mix of tenderness, tension, exposed nerves, suspicions and certainly dangerous. There is no way they won’t hold your attention when they are together or even in the scenes where they are apart doing things alone or with other people.

I will say that her mother, played by Geraldine James, is the mother of all mothers and there is a policewoman, whose name I didn’t catch in the credits, who will have the hairs on your arms standing up.

There are scenes of animal cruelty, mainly towards rabbits, that turned me off but the scenes of the island of Jersey off the south coast of England will make you want to catch the next plane there.

If nothing else the performances of Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn should make “Beast” a big hit but I fear it will disappear far too quickly in the USA but you should make a point of seeing it before then.

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ro_jFX2oeA

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