Archive for April 14, 2017

Armageddon

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

As a massive asteroid hurtles toward Earth, NASA’s head honcho hatches a plan to split the deadly rock in two before it annihilates the entire planet, calling on the world’s finest oil driller to head up the mission.

What people are saying:

“Just when you think you’ve had it with this movie, there comes a farcical, rock ‘n’ roll sort of comedy sequence, or a hilariously goofy line.” 3 stars

“Yes, it’s big. It’s stupid. It’s also completely kick butt. A true adventure film, Armageddon takes you by the throat and won’t let go. For as silly as the script seems, I dare you not to be on the edge of your seat during the tense moments or touched by the admittedly sappy sentimentalism later in the flick. There are too many moments here that are full of sheer joy not to watch this again.” 5 stars

“Now I love movies, I really enjoy action movies, but this….Oh my! This IS one of the worst movies of all times. Mindbogglingly dumb, full of cliches and a meaningless ending. Why so many people adore this waste of time and money, I’ll never understand.
A typical Bay-affair. Still waiting for him to just release a movie with 90 minutes of just explosions!” 1/2 star

“Yeah, gotta go with five stars for this one. Yes, it unashamedly goes for the heartstrings, yes the song is cornball, and yes, it’s full of cliches and REALLY bad science. It’s also action-packed, full of humor, loads of fun, and if you don’t cry at the end, you’re probably not human. This one and Twister are my two favorite cornball ‘disaster’ movies.” 5 stars

“NASA decides to recruit and train a courageous group of drillers to save Earth from a large asteroid. A List movie stars-Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, and a great movie soundtrack “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. Despite the movie having a very serious plot, some characters provide comic relief including Rockhound, Bear, Lev Andropov, and Oscar Choi. One subplot is the conflict between Harry, Harry’s daughter Grace, and AJ (Grace’s boyfriend) which eventually gets resolved. This movie has great footage of NASA’s spacesuits, equipment, rigorous training facilities/program, control center, and space shuttles. It also has superb special effects of the smaller asteroids striking Earth, the team traveling through space to land on the asteroid, and the team on the asteroid. Once arriving in space, the team appears jinxed facing one unexpected challenge or tragedy after the next leading to the courageous climax of the movie that will make viewers cry. This movie has a strong plot and subplot, excellent character choices, is well written to touch the heart and emotions of viewers, and has amazing special effects making you feel like you are there with the team. Most people would not have enough courage to do what this team did in outer space to save Earth.” 5 stars

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The Fabulous Dorseys

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The rise to fame of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, brothers who achieved stardom as big-band leaders during the swing era, is depicted in this biographical drama. Despite early encouragement from their father, the Dorsey brothers must learn to overcome their sibling rivalry in order to achieve real success.

REVIEW:

When talking to a colleague of mine a few weeks ago, we go into a discussion about how most jazz artists were African American, especially the ones from the “jazz age”. This got me thinking, who are some of the non-black jazz artists from that time? First names that popped in my head were Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, both of which have had their own biopics. After some more pondering, I came to the name Tommy Dorsey who, along with his brother Jimmy, had big band known as The Fabulous Dorseys.

What is this about?

The rise and rise of the Fabulous Dorsey brothers is charted in this whimsical step down memory lane, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey play themselves in this vehicle for their excellent music. From being raised by their father who insists on them learning music, to the split that just saw their careers rise even further.

What did I like?

Jimmy. For someone who knows a fair amount of music history, especially jazz history, it brings me a great shame to let it be known that I am not that familiar with Jimmy Dorsey. I know a little of Tommy, mostly because he has a small part in one of my all time favorite movies, A Song is Born. With that said, it is good to get to know a little more about Tommy and some basics about Jimmy. From here, I can go and do my own research.

Development. As the film starts, we meet the Dorseys as kids trying to get out of practicing, but their father makes them do it anyway. This sets the stage for the work ethic that would make them the proficient players that would headline their own big bands in the future. The development of their characters was something that needed to be done correctly and the filmmakers seemed to have done a sufficient job doing so.

Sibling rivalry. Brothers fight. It is just going to happen, especially when they are as competitive and different as these two. Since they played themselves, I doubt that many facts were flubbed in certain pivotal scenes, such as the breakup that occurred on stage at a gig. I’ve always wondered what it was that drove a wedge between these two, and now I know.

What didn’t I like?

Love story. The Dorseys apparently had a singer with whom they grew up with. I don’t know how true this is, but she was a big enough influence on them that she not only made it into the film, but was also given a love story. Let me make this clear, Tommy and Jimmy, who both got married during her time on the road, don’t even get a mention of their wives, but this random chick gets to have an entire affair with the pianist.

Rushed ending. Most of the film is well planned out and decently paced. Then we get to the last 5 minutes or so and its as if the studio was about to run out of money and needed to put a nice ending on the film, regardless of where the plot was in regards to the story.

Montage. I don’t know about you, but when I watch a movie about a famous musician, rights be damned, I expect to hear their music! After Tommy and Jimmy have their breakup we are treated to a quick montage of their greatest hits. For the music fan, it is a huge letdown, because it could have been done better and we are short changed some great tunes. Perhaps this was another cost cutting measure? If so, cut some of the fat from the story and leave the music be!

Final verdict on The Fabulous Dorseys? I’m a huge fan of these old black and white films. This copy just happened to still have the screen pops, which really made it very authentic. With that said, there wasn’t anything about this made me super excited. Granted, I’m not a huge Jimmy or Tommy Dorsey fan, so that may be why this didn’t do anything for me, as opposed to The Glenn Miller Story. Do I think it would do anything for a casual movie fan? Given today’s society and their tastes, probably not, but there is an audience out there for this kind of film and they are the ones that will truly enjoy this the was the filmmakers intended.

3 out of 5 stars