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

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

Female Jungle

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on June 13, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Also known under the title The Hangover, this crime film follows Sergeant Stevens (Lawrence Tierney) as a detective who must clear his name when incriminating circumstances make him the prime suspect in a film-actress’ murder.

What people are saying:

“A muddled but diverting B film noir melodrama from cheapie American International Pictures. Future sex queen Jayne Mansfield, known as the blonde bombshell, made her acting debut, costarring as a nymphomaniac. Its attempts to be hard-boiled fall apart when it becomes apparent that writer Burt Kaiser couldn’t get a handle on the plot line, and instead lets the narrative get mired in too much silliness. It also suffers from a weak directing effort by Bruno Ve Sota and cheesy production values” 3 stars

“Rather lurid and somewhat boring.” 2 stars

Female Jungle is a fairly good and at times noteworthy low budget indie feature. Produced by star Burt Kaiser, who plays a down on his luck sketch artist with the longest 1950’s hair this side of Elvis, the film also features Lawrence Tierney, who sleepwalks through his role as a drunken cop trying to win back the respect of his sergeant by helping solve a murder mystery. Tierney’s career was entering crisis mode at this point thanks to his own drinking problem, and though he’s obviously trying his best here, it shows. The story is fairly feeble, but the fine cast–which also includes John Carradine, Attack of the Giant Leeches man Bruno Ve Sota, an unglamorous looking Jayne Mansfield, and Davis Roberts–is worth watching. For a poverty row cheapie the film looks quite good–a testament, perhaps, to the effective work of DoP Elwood Bredell, who always did good work with little money on ‘B’ classics like Man Made Monster and Phantom Lady.” 2 stars

“I’m not into old flicks from the 50’s and even the 60’s but still, I have to buy some to complete my collection. But it came clear after this one, I don’t like horrors from that era but crime stories I do like. The reason is very simple, they don’t use cheap effects. But still, they have to give you a special reason to watch them. This one still stands after those years due the perfect editing, what I mean is that they use single camera to make those flicks, so when you see a cut it’s been taken from another take. Mostly faults are visible in expression of faces or drinks that are for example empty and suddenly they’re full again. Another reason to watch it is to see sex symbol Jayne Mansfield in her screen debut. Already in some sexy outfit and as seducer. A strange life she had dying at age 34. All acting is well done, of course no nudity in it but the use of blood dripping from one’s hand is impressive for that era. When one is killed due gunshots, the close up and the blood running was also well done. It’s not a master piece but it surely is still enjoyable.” 2 1/2 stars

“Even allowing for the fact that it was a low budget, quickly made picture (like many film noirs were), this picture for me was more bad than good. First the bad, the film suffers from some stilted acting by the supporting players and so-so dialog. The film even manages a couple of moments of unintentional humor. It is about a murder that takes place outside a bar where an off duty cop is drinking heavily. The cop is played here by Lawrence Tierney (who looks more like his younger brother, Scott Brady, than he has in any other role of his I’ve seen). The cops on duty browbeat Tierney into helping out with the investigation. I did not understand why they expected Tierney’s character to help, he was off duty after all. Now for the good, after a few false leads and dead ends, the killer is revealed. I must admit, the killer’s identity was unexpected. I was fooled. The leading performers here are competent but the one person that really stands out, literally, is a young temptress played by Jayne Mansfield. It is easy to see why she ended up with a Hollywood career playing Marilyn Monroe type parts. This film was released as the second half of a double feature. That is where it belongs. The western it was released with, Oklahoma Woman, is a much better film.” 2 1/2 stars

Martian Child

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A recently widowed sci-fi writer adopts a 6-year-old boy to quell his loneliness. The catch? The kid claims to be from Mars. Dad’s dubious at first, but an odd series of events prompts him to wonder whether his son could be telling the truth.

What people are saying:

“Despite some charms, overt emotional manipulation and an inconsistent tone prevents Martian Child from being the heartfelt dramedy it aspires to be” 3 stars

“It’s off in many directions — false in its details, false in its relationships, false in its emotions — but probably the first and worst thing that needs to be said about it is that it’s also overlong and dull.” 2 stars

“A lot of critics and reviewers are putting this movie down because it is sentimental and predictable. Ok so this movie wasn’t edge of your seat thrilling – it wasn’t supposed to be. This is a sweet drama that will make you laugh and make you cry. The Cusaks are great as always and the little boy is adorable. If you like this type of movie, ignore the critics.” 4 stars

“As an adoptive parent I see so much truth in this movie. Bringing him into reality slowly was an awesome description of how to help a child from a traumatic background. Maybe it wasn’t a box office hit, but it definitely gives a picture of the difficulty of bonding with a kid who has been hurt by his birth parents.” 4 1/2 stars

“John Cusack continues his late-’00s slide in this spacey, whitewashed translation of a semi-fictional novella. Cusack, who never seems to make a film without his sister, plays a moody, depressed sci-fi writer who adopts a similarly introverted six-year-old as a way to move on from an intense personal loss. Following the formula to a tee, the two then struggle to understand each other for the rest of the picture before feeling their way to a generic happy ending, complete with montage. The film halfheartedly drops sporadic hints that the child might be from outer space as he so boldly proclaims, but never seems to completely commit to that direction. Instead, it’s content to just lean back into an easy, overplayed routine and let the chips fall where they may. Really, the narration is so passive it’s hard to imagine what it does stand for – even the shoehorned introduction of a love interest for Cusack (a heavily criticized change from the novella, in which the narrator is gay) is just lightly dangled across the screen before being tossed aside and forgotten. Bland, faceless and safe, it’s family-friendly to a fault.” 2 stars

Moonrise Kingdom

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.

What people are saying:

“Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best” 4 stars

“Phonies may complain that Anderson’s island of misfit toys is a retreat from the real world, but for pure-hearted adventurers who share the secret map,  Moonrise Kingdom is a joy that cannot be eclipsed.” 5 stars

“Since I couldn’t stay focused the first time I watched this, I decide to have it another go since it is Wes Anderson. Obviously the artistic ability Anderson possess is magnificent. The color design screams Wes Anderson style and I’ll always appreciate a well constructed and detailed set design. The undertones of a rough family life between Sam and Suzy made for a great plot line that should have been exploited farther. With the inclusion of the purposeful bland acting, this movie wasn’t for me. Having a low attention span keeps me from physically investing myself in the storyline, the slow pace is a taste I haven’t yet desired. I was excited about Bruce Willis and Bill Murray in this movie but sadly both of them had no character build, all of the adults in this movie had little to no characterization. This movie made me feel like everything was being hinted at with a little *wink* *wink*, but nothing was ever explained entirely. I applaud Anderson for steering towards more creative films but it requires a taste.” 2 stars

“This is a Fairy Tale. A lonely princess lives in a remote castle with her eccentric father and mother, the King and Queen, and three younger, equally eccentric, brothers. She spends time on the top of the castle looking through her telescope at the land around the Kingdom. One day she spies a handsome young prince and falls in love with him. He is with his regiment of hussars but feels alienated from them because of their emphasis on uniformity. He spies the princess and also falls in love with her. She escapes the castle and together they flee into the wilderness. The King, and local sheriff, and the hussars all search for them, only to discover that the lovers are about to be captured by a wicked witch. The hussars never much liked the prince because of his carefree attitude but the regiment has a code of never abandoning a trooper and they set out to save the Prince and his Princess…etc. etc. etc.” 3 stars

“I’m now a fan of Wes Anderson directed films and am going to rent another one for my next movie rental. I loved the colorful scenes and quirky story line. I’m reminded of Lemony Snicket when I watch this. It has that type of artsy, colorful, adventuresome feel. The love story was a wonderfully written sweet example of love that accepts the whole person, idiosyncrasies and all. You want to root for the young couple throughout the entire movie. There are unexpected twists at every juncture. The additional perk of a well-known supporting cast puts this movie over the top. I thought it was refreshingly different and very entertaining!” 5 stars

Cocktail

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

After being discharged from the Army, Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) moves back to Queens and takes a job in a bar run by Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown), who teaches Brian the fine art of bartending. Brian quickly becomes a patron favorite with his flashy drink-mixing style. Brian adopts his mentor’s cynical philosophy on life and goes for the money. He leaves his artist girlfriend Jordan Mooney (Elisabeth Shue) for Bonnie (Lisa Banes), a wealthy, high-powered executive. Brian soon must chose between the two, as he evaluates his options.

What people are saying:

“There are no surprises in Cocktail, a shallow, dramatically inert romance that squanders Tom Cruise’s talents in what amounts to a naive barkeep’s banal fantasy” 3 stars

“This vacant, misshapen film is basically an extended beer commercial that presents the world as a ludicrous place populated by sex-and-cash-and-booze-crazed zomboids. Cruise, meanwhile, comes off as a somewhat taller Spuds MacKenzie.” 3 stars

Cocktail is Tom Cruise fluff. No necessity to do a good job of acting just act like a jerk, I do not think that takes much acting for him. A film about drinking your way to the top somehow seems a little inane and this movie is inane. But if you like drunks and socialite harlots, snobby poets and elitists, as well as watching the mighty fall, then this movie is probably your martini.” 2 stars

“Coughlin’s Law: “Any thing else is always something better.” This film won Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay and Tom Cruise was nominated for Worst Actor…and that recognition is justified. This is not one of Cruise’s best roles, nor one of his better performances. He is adequate, as is Bryan Brown. The best acting in the film is by a young and beautiful Elizabeth Shue; and she is a joy to watch in this. The film was a big box office hit, which should tell you that it is at least entertaining…and it is. So watch it for its entertainment value and for a memorable performance by Shue. Don’t watch it, looking for something deep and meaningful…or even shallow and meaningful, for that matter. You won’t find it” 3 stars

Cocktail is frustrating to watch. It almost feels like this movie has nothing to offer other than annoying and unpleasant people arguing with one another. No one treats the other characters with any respect other than Elisabeth Shue, and her presence in the film just accentuates the fact that everyone else is unlikable. Plus I end up worrying about her because of all the awful decisions she makes for this one guy. The most notable thing that everyone remembers about this film is the flair bartending. Now I appreciate that Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown clearly do a lot of these tricks themselves, but they aren?t the greatest at it and flair bartending makes up a very small part of the movie. Most of the film is made up of depressing relationship drama that will probably end up with Tom Cruise?s character following in the footsteps of Bryan Brown?s character. They don?t do anything that makes sense with their choices for the future, and yet I think I?m supposed to be celebrating with them at the end. It?s a sad film filled with the worst kinds of characters. I?ll be happy to never watch it again.” 1 1/2 stars

Walt Before Mickey

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

This film is about Walt Disney’s early years. For ten years before the creation of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney struggled with, failed at, and eventually mastered the art and business of animation. Walt Disney worked in a variety of venues and studios, refining what would become known as the Disney style. This film captures the years 1919 – 1928, creating a portrait of the artist from age seventeen to the cusp of his international renown.

What people are saying:

“Few visionaries are as fascinating as Walt Disney, so it’s particularly frustrating that this drama is so uninspired. It seems more like an adaptation of a student’s book report than a compelling look at one of the most influential men of the 20th century” 1 1/2 stars

“The story is solid, but the screenplay is only partially effective, content to mope along with little joy or whimsy. And scenes resemble re-enactments more than meaningful human encounters.” 1 star

“Critics hated this flick – they hated the script, they hated the voice overs, they found it dull, didn’t appreciate the acting. Eh! The basic idea of the film is covering Disney’s initial 10 years. Good chance that there was a dull, plodding aspect to those years. The script was convincing and entertaining enough, I think, given the subject material. And I was sufficiently impressed with the actors abilities. Maybe I have a greater than average interest in Disney’s early years – but I did find it to be a worthwhile watch.” 3 stars

“To put it plainly, Walt Before Mickey was surprisingly disappointing. The acting occasionally felt like high school plays and the script skips to a new plot line every time it gets close to an answer. This results in many instances of flashing forward and never knowing how Disney continues to magically keep his business afloat. In the end, I find that I never got the answers that I sat down to find out in this film. Instead, I received interesting tidbits and a rough draft with crucial points missing entirely.” 1 star

“As a Disneyphile of sorts, there was no way I was going to miss watching this film on the big screen even though I had to travel two hours via the Interstate through Kansas to the Kansas City metro area (appropriately enough since that is where Disney started his animation company) to get to the nearest theater showing it. The trip was worth it for me personally, but the film itself may disappoint others. Its quality is uneven; it needs the sort of polish and texture that the Disney organization would be able to give it. Don’t expect something like  Savings Mr. Banks, the Disney film that dealt with Disney’s struggles to get Mary Poppins made toward the end of his life. While the story of Walt Before Mickey is itself engaging, and the plotting, pace and dialogue not all that bad, the editing is uneven, the cinematography is uninspired, and the acting is just this side of wooden and amateurish. However, Thomas Ian Nicholas saves the day, practically carrying the entire film on his performance alone. His acting is earnest and sympathetic to the persona of a young and struggling Walt Disney; and the character he creates is believable and likable. In the final analysis, the film will never win any awards, but it has a lot of heart and wins the approval of those, like myself, who wish to see Disney (and the Disney legacy) treated in the sort of fair, even-handed, and yet respectful manner he deserves.” 3 1/2 stars

The Canyons

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

While calculating young movie producer Christian makes films to keep his trust fund intact, his actress girlfriend, Tara, hides an affair. But a chance meeting thrusts them into a violent, sexually charged tour through the dark side of human nature.

What people are saying:

“Film noir, absolutely, although in mix of styles that mainly go back to the eighties Michael Mann movies. I don’t understand why anyone would be complaining about the acting, it’s minimal with a dash of natural. The awkward conversations could have done with a slower pace. S*x is the currency of power and trust is the currency of love of what people believe it is. That’s as far as this film goes thematically, it’s neither superficial nor deeply layered. The film starts and ends with shots of derelict abandoned places, like cinema theaters. The world as a rotten stage, and people playing sad parts. And still, this is a chill film, for when you don’t need to remember what you were watching the night before. ” 3 stars

“A tale of young, vapid, sexually insatiable Z-listers in Hollywood had the credentials to be deliciously awful fun but almost every time something tawdry (and potentially interesting) is about to happen, the film pulls its punches and leaves the action.” 3 stars

“This film was doomed from the start when they cast James Deen in the lead part as some kind of cool tough guy when he comes across as a wimp and a geek. He looks a lot like Anthony Weiner former politician from New York. Face the facts the only reason anyone rented this film is because they were told they would see Lohan nude. The most shocking thing about this film is that Paul Schrader directed it, why? This is really a story about nothing!” 1 star

“A perfect depiction of the underbelly of the entertainment industry & Hollywood. Actors doing anything for work, people saying they’ll do something when they never actually do…boring, sad, disturbing, and dull are the elements The Canyons combines perfectly into a raw and deeply meaningful film. Also, the best performance Lindsay Lohan has ever had. She’s better in this than in The Parent Trap, I’m not kidding.” 5 stars

“This fecal lump came & went out of circulation quickly and quietly, like a phart in an elevator. “James Deen” is cast strictly for “let’s get an Adult-film dude to give us some street cred” and he does the same eyebrow-lift & smirk schtick that got him a following among emotionally stunted hairy-palm dudes, which he learned at the Sasha Grey Academy of Fake Cool, and Lohan looks one OD away from the pearly gates. And that’s the good news. The script and acting are stillborn on the operating table. Schraeder’s got a track record that can afford him some mistakes, but this one will forever loom the largest and fetid on his resume’.” 1 star