Archive for the Drama Category

Spring Breakers

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on August 25, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” (James Franco) promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

What people are saying:

“If Michael Mann was to take a lot of hallucinogenics and shoot a Girls Gone Wild video, it might look something like this” 4 stars

“…this attractively fizzy pic may be a shock to the system for fans of teen queens Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, but remains pretty toothless titillation by its writer-helmer’s standards” 2 stars

“Korine’s story is a searing indictment of today’s hedonistic, nihilistic youth, and his script is loaded with sharp, telling dialogue that exposes the rotten moral cores of its characters.” 4 stars

Spring Breakers tries to be more than the typical party movie, and that is admirable, even if it doesn’t always work. The movie has a pretty strong social commentary and satirical vibe that is fascinating to watch. The characters are interesting enough and the standout performance in the movie is the one given by James Franco. I thought the movie starts off strong but really fizzles out at some point in the middle. The movie’s structure also feels somewhat repetitive at times and I was exhausted by certain parts of it. Some scenes like they’re a bit too over the top but I think it just comes back to the tone the movie is going for. It’s a movie made with a lot of energy and is unlike anything else this genre has seen before and for the most part its a good thing.” 3 1/2 stars

“I didn’t expect to hate this film as much as I did, I watched it not expecting much, and well…that’s exactly what I got! Sure the film looks good and the girls looked hot in their bikinis BUT! The acting was horrific apart from surprisingly.. Selena Gomez. I love James Franco but not in this movie, he looked stupid, was very repetitive ( in fact the whole film was) he sang a Britney Spears song and gave sexual pleasure to a couple of guns (very strange) All in all this has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen.” 1/2 star

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

What people are saying:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deftly balances black comedy against searing drama – and draws unforgettable performances from its veteran cast along the way” 4 stars

“McDonagh works way too hard to inject nearly every scene with his patented solution of acid wit and dark-roast comedy… It’s jarringly effective until it starts to feel like shtick, at which point it works only as a numbing agent.” 1 star

“While it’s a movie that keeps attention on the screen, it doesn’t feel authentic and insults everyone–police, minorities, and people with physical anomalies. The black actors were mere sidelines in a race vs bigot oriented theme, and I particularly disliked the treatment of the character played by Peter Dinklage, whose role in Game of Thrones gave respectability to dwarfism for the very first time in cinema. If you like superficial writing and PC, agenda based films- this is for you.” 1 star

“This movie is depressing. The characters are either racist, homicidal, lazy, disgusting, drunks, vigilantes, or idiots whose favorite word is some form of f**k. McDormand’s character is deadpan throughout the movie. This film paints the wonderful Ozark people as backwoods rubes not far removed from zombies. The tea and crumpet crowd will laud this mashup as a masterpiece. Unless you’re from either coast, avoid this one.” 2 stars

“Searing, sensitive and well crafted.This is the first time I have chosen to rate a movie here. Frances McDormand deserves all the accolades she has received for this performance, and Woody Harrelson continues to amaze me in how much he has grown as an actor since his time as affable Woody Boyd. What has made me choose to take a few moments to share with people that may be considering watching this movie/story is the craftsmanship of the film itself. There is a profoundly disturbing core to this movie. A family is devastated and many times people treat each other in despicable ways however the film maker (Martin McDonagh) finds subtle ways to show the underlying nature of both the main characters and supporting characters. Each may seem a cliche of midwestern stereotypes at first glance but they also have moments that show who they are. I could explain, but watch it and judge for yourself.” 5 stars

Below Her Mouth

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on July 30, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jasmine is a successful fashion editor living with her fiancé in Toronto. On a night out in the city with her best friend, she meets Dallas, a female roofer recently out of a relationship. Surprised by the confidence with which the two very different women connect, Jasmine becomes infatuated with the mysterious woman who is working with a crew on the house next door to Jasmine’s. The chance meeting soon turns into desire that ignites in Jasmine which she becomes more acquainted with Dallas which leads Jasmine to accompany Dallas to her low-rent loft where the two women soon engage in a passionate affair. As much as Jasmine struggles with her feelings over being sexually involved with another woman, she fears her tryst with Dallas might ruin her engagement with her fiancé should it ever become known.

What people are saying:

“Despite the female filmmakers at the helm, the film treads into exploitative territory, with the ratio of screen time given to writhing female bodies far outweighing that given to their unique experiences as gay or closeted women in the world.” 2 stars

“A sexually frank but narratively flimsy girl-meets-girl romance that never gets under its gorgeous characters’ amply exposed skin” 2 1/2 stars

“Though at times nakedly exploitative, Below Her Mouth is nonetheless a powerful drama about two people falling deeply in love; beautiful erotica doesn’t get much better.” 3 1/2 stars

“The movie was definitely sexy as hell but then the characters would speak and kill the mood. The actors were both really good with what they had but the dialog was a chore that I don’t think any actor could really pull off. I think the direction, the general plot, and the acting were all pretty solid and made for a good little indie movie, but the dialog was a bit stumbling block in my enjoyment of the film.” 3 stars

“The film is an unquestionably pornographic fantasy barely trying to pass as something other than masturbation material. Below Her Mouth‘s stiff acting and dialogue suggest a misguided Blue Is the Warmest Color influence reduced to the sexy aesthetics of lesbian sex but completely oblivious to that which actually animates the film’s impossibly beautiful, unbearably smooth, and perpetually horny bodies” 3 stars

The Temptations

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Told chiefly through the viewpoint of founding member Otis Williams (Charles Malik Whitfield), this biographical miniseries — based on the book by Williams and Shelly Berger — chronicles one of Motown’s most influential singing groups. But success, it seems, never comes without temptation as Williams and company wrestle with cocaine addition, booze, depression, envy and ballooning egos that threaten to destroy their hard-earned fame and fortune.

What people are saying:

“I have not been so emotionally involved in a television film in a long time,but along comes this charming,insightful,and wonderful film. The cast does a superb job. I never knew much about the temps, one of the greatest groups of all time, had so much strife and personal pain.This movie is an instant classic. I have a much better appreciation for their impact on rock and roll history after seeing this movie.” 5 stars

“A solid bio-pic that I’m hoping is handled better in the future.” 4 stars

“This is a sanitized “Hallmark” version or politically correct tale of the Temptations story. It’s enjoyable, well-acted, and well-directed. You can’t help but like this movie since the songs are wonderful and the characters are endearing. It would have been a better film at 2 hours – the extra 55 minutes wasn’t necessary. However, for Temptations fans, you’ll love the illusion that this movie is peddling, and it’s a story that makes us feel good about who they were and what they accomplished.” 4 stars

“One of the best music bios ever. I’m not even debating the artistic licenses that might have been taken. Insofar as a great story with awesome music and wonderfully recreated performances, this is tops. I’ve watched it twice over the holiday season and still am not sick of it!” 5 stars

“The TV movie story of the street-doowop to soul-superstar Temptations from 1958 to 1995 when bass singer Melvin Franklyn died. Strict historical accuracy is not what this film is about, but what is accurate is the reconstruction of the act and the music, which is what matters in a movie. The first half is full of vignettes of the (black) music biz in Detroit in the early Motown days, which is genuinely moving in a few places; and although the second half tends towards the schmaltzy, it’s good to be reminded of the seminal records that the group continued to put out after David Ruffin parted company, and of the way that members of a group that big have deeper bonds than most people, including their own families. It’s told from the viewpoint of Otis Williams, who is the only Temp to survive all incarnations of the group, so he naturally he tends to get an easy ride, but it does acknowledge (in the great end sequence) that the David Ruffin lineup was the best there could be. The scene where he and Eddie Kendricks sing to the punter in the supper club is a killer. Well worth the two-and a half hours running time, which is not something you can say of many TV movies this long. Better IMHO than Walk the Line, which was no turkey itself. If you love Motown, don’t miss it.” 4 1/2 stars

The Family Man

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 20, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jack’s lavish, fast-paced lifestyle changes one Christmas night when he stumbles into a grocery store holdup and disarms the gunman. The next morning he wakes up in bed lying next to Kate (Tea Leoni), his college sweetheart he left in order to pursue his career, and to the horrifying discovery that his former life no longer exists. As he stumbles through this alternate suburban universe, Jack finds himself at a crossroad where he must choose between his high-power career and the woman he loves.

What people are saying:

“Despite good performances by Cage and especially by Leoni, The Family Man is too predictable and derivative to add anything new to the Christmas genre. Also, it sinks under its sentimentality” 2 1/2 stars

“Leoni is a revelation. Vibrant and gorgeous, she plays her role of the determined mother in love with teasing, salty charm, providing just enough grit to save the film from Ratner’s slushy direction.” 4 stars

“A lovely side-by-side contrast of the ultra financially successful man of the world and the apparently commonplace, mundane life of the family man. This is beautifully done here in the sense that no particular weight is thrown in either direction — this is this and that’s that. The road not taken always has its mystery and allure. It is an open-ended presentation in the sense that the choice is not mutually exclusive. Thankfully, the family is not overly idealized. Also, ruthlessness in pursuit of wealth, as long as it is within the bounds of the legal and the ethical, does not make a person a heartless monster. This is a fairly balanced presentation of the material, emotional, and spiritual options available to us. It is up to the individual to find the right mix. ” 3 stars

“Cliches a plenty and obnoxiously long at 2hrs, but The Family Man is still a well made holiday vehicle elevated by the performances of Cage and Leoni.” 3 stars

“There’s not much similar with ‘it’s a wonderful life’ in this movie. There is a few moments of emotion , and the movie stays interesting. Basically a man, leaves his girlfriend, after college, to pursue a career, and he continues to pursue it for 15 years, and doesn’t return to his girlfriend. But, through an act of courage, to save others from a bad person, the bad person ends up being an angel, who tests people, who gives the man – a view of a life he could of had, a reality -all complete with kids and a job, and his college girlfriend -as his wife And he soon begins to realize- that he really doesn’t have everything he wants, and prefers this dream reality as preferable But comparing it to ‘it’s a wonderful life’ is no comparison, for it’s a wonderful life, is one of the best movies ever made, and this movie , only has occasional emotion. But, it is worthwhile.” 4 stars

The Homesman

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven mad by harsh pioneer life, the task of saving them falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank). Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a low-life drifter, George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones), to join her. The unlikely pair and the three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep) have offered to take the women in. But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territories marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat.

What people are saying:

“Swank and Jones, in particular, are a very good odd couple, playing saint and sinner, sometimes reversing the roles. What the directing side of Jones does best is to cede the spotlight to his star. He builds a strong platform for Swank to take on yet another woman who refuses to be bound by gender conventions” 4 stars

The Homesman is a dark, complex story of gender issues and changing conventions on the frontier, and in an era that sees this genre fading, Jones has made a Western winner.” 4 stars

“This unorthodox, sensitive western succeeds at conjuring starkly beautiful pastoral imagery as it tells the tale of three pioneer women who descend into madness. Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank plays a lonely farmer who transports these mentally ill women across the plains with a grumpy, whiskey-swilling anti-hero of questionable morals played by Tommy Lee Jones. The connection between these characters is awkward but interesting and the story is sufficiently emotional.” 3 stars

“Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman is an austere western which may please (I guess so…) some buffs for its setting but that’s unlikely to satisfy any entertainment required by any other audience. It is tragically slow-paced, and its shots, though occasionally beautiful, are as boring as they’re pale and unengaging. The kind of film you don’t want to see. I can’t believe that it’s the same guy that made the ultra-entertaining, fast-paced The Fugitve.” 2 stars

“Beautifully done but very unexpected, surprising, and challenging movie, sometimes difficult to watch. Hard to categorize. It takes place in the old west, but is not “a western” precisely in that there is only so much of the moral absolutism that marks those. And hardly a gunfight to speak of, either. On the other hand, if you think some of the best westerns are those about the closing of the west, of those who do not fit into the world, etc. then this is right there as a continuation of those themes of isolation, duty, and independence. I’m thinking Lonely Are the Brave, but also Bad Day at Black Rock, High Sierra, and so on. Ends not at all where you might expect it to — except in the strictest sense — and much of the power of the film is in how it gets to the end. Be careful reading too many reviews beforehand lest they reveal plot points or motivations without you discovering them yourself. ” 5 stars

Before We Go

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , on June 23, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Before We Go, the directorial debut of Chris Evans, follows the journey of two strangers stuck in New York City for the night. Starting as convenient acquaintances, the two soon grow into each other’s most trusted confidants when a night of unexpected adventure forces them to confront their fears and take control of their lives.

What people are saying:

“Slight and familiar but sweet enough for Saturday night, Before We Go is the umpteenth re-up of Brief Encounter, not that there’s anything wrong with that.” 4 stars

“Evans and Eve as actors get a passing grade, but Evans as director fails to find a thematic center worth sticking around to watch.” 2 stars

“I know it says “Romantic” but to me it was more than Romantic, it was about finding a friendship without being intimate. I loved the aspect that both Alice and Chris were there for each other. Two people that had never known each other detailing there most personal feelings. I am from a time that two people could fall in love without being intimate. Without giving away the ending had to be that way because even though she felt something for him she was still married. ” 5 stars

“A cliché but heartfelt romance movie. A good movie to watch with your significant other on a rainy night. The chemistry between the leads is apparent and for a Directing debut, Chris Evans gives a solid attempt at a slightly different take on classic Rom coms. If you do not enjoy long walking and talking scenes however, I would advise against this movie as this is a common story telling method throughout the film” 3 stars

“Equal parts drama and comedy, this one isn’t as predictable as you would think. I recommend it for a lazy rainy day or a before bed movie with minimal expectations. The two starts are both great. Good enough I would watch again.” 4 stars