Archive for Cliff Curtis

Blow

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Johnny Depp turns in a quietly powerful performance at the heart of this Ted Demme-directed drama as real-life coke smuggler George Jung, who rises from poverty to become one of the biggest drug dealers in America before his eventual downfall.

What people are saying:

“Johnny Depp shines in this amazing film. Depicting the rise and fall of real life coke smuggler George Jung, this film tells an amazing true life tale with the right amount of humor, drama and ultimately sadness. Not too many films can effectively make you root for the bad guy. The fact remains… Depp gives the right amount of sympathy and charisma to the character of Jung that it’s easy to forget his real life crimes and empathize with his decisions. At times inspirational and ultimately tragic, this movie is a winner on all levels. Look for a hysterical cameo by Bobcat Goldthwait. This film is a gem.” 5 stars

“Comes off like a flamboyant cartoon, another film about the deglamorization of glamorous people living it up in the glamorous world of drugs.” 2 stars

“Yes it’s cliche and yes it does appropriate from other movies, however it works. Depp commands the screen and the subtle plot and theme shift from ambition to o a more sentimental lesson – Blow, is still a thoroughly enjoyable ride.” 3 1/2 stars

“Blow is an excellent absorbing crime drama with a good cast. Depp is good, but his smaller bit players like the actress who plays his Mom or Diego or Paul Reubens are very memorable too. The movie paints the crime smuggler in a sympathetic light, which may ring false to some but ultimately its a well acted drama with a talented cast. Cliff Curtis and Emma Roberts were good too.” 4 stars

“Much better than I expected. Rather than over-glamorizing the life of a drug lord, it shows Jung to be just a regular guy. But a regular guy with an exceptional story. “Blow” reminded me not to judge people soley on their actions, because you never know what pushes people to do what they do. It really makes you feel for a man who, as a high-volume drug dealer with multiple arrests, would often be dehumanized. On a less emotional note, don’t let the R rating scare you. It’s mostly for the drug references & a prevalent use of the “f” word. Only one major sexual scene (which can be skipped without losing any of the plot), and little violence (none that’s graphic), especially for a film about drug dealers.” 5 stars

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A Thousand Words

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a literary agent who uses his ‘gift of gab’ to get various book deals, and he isn’t afraid to stretch the truth to get them. While he is trying to get a book deal from a New Age self-help guru named Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), the guru sees through his deceit and agrees to the deal, only to later deliver a five-page book. That night, a Bodhi tree magically appears in his backyard, with a thousand leaves. Dr. Sinja goes to Jack’s house and they both discover that for every word that Jack says, a leaf will fall off of the tree. When the tree runs out of leaves, the tree will die, along with Jack. In time, he finds that even written words count towards his limit; plus anything that happens to the tree will also affect Jack. When Jack tries to cut it down with an axe, an axe wound appears on him. When squirrels climb the tree, it tickles him. When a gardener tries to poison it with DDT, Jack gets high on the fumes.

With Jack forced to pick and choose his words, communicating with others becomes difficult and full of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings cost him two book deals, his job, and his wife Caroline (Kerry Washington). She walks out on him when she thinks his sudden silence is due to him not loving her anymore. When he tries to explain the tree to her, she doesn’t believe him. Only Jack’s assistant Aaron (Clark Duke) realizes he is telling the truth, and goes to Jack’s house to keep track of how many leaves remain.

With his life falling apart and the tree running out of leaves, Jack confronts Dr. Sinja and asks how to end the curse. The guru tells him to make peace in all of his relationships. With just one branch of leaves left, Jack tries to reconcile with Caroline, but she remains hesitant. He visits his mother (Ruby Dee), who lives in an assisted-living center and has dementia. She tells Jack, who she thinks is Jack’s late father Raymond, that she wishes Jack would stop being angry at his father for walking out on them when he was a kid. Jack, realizing that this is the relationship that needs the most mending, goes to visit his father’s grave. Jack expends the last three leaves of the tree with the words, “I forgive you”. With no leaves remaining, Jack suffers a heart attack and appears to have died. Jack’s cellphone rings, and it is Aaron. Jack, who is still alive, answers his phone. Aaron tells him that the tree’s leaves have magically reappeared and Jack can now talk freely again.

Jack and Caroline get back together, with Jack buying the family-friendly house Caroline asked for earlier, and the tree is in their front yard. He doesn’t get his job back (Aaron was promoted to Jack’s old position), but he writes a book about his experience, called A Thousand Words, and gets Aaron to make the deal (unfortunately for Aaron, his promotion caused him to be like Jack was, thus he gets his own smaller office tree.)

REVIEW:

I am a man of few words, so having to without communicating 1,000 words isn’t that big of a deal for me. Then again, I would have to stop writing e-mails, comments, and blogs, so that might be a bit of an issue. A Thousand Words gives us something that a few people have long wanted, a silent Eddie Murphy, but was that a mistake?

What is this about?

When he learns that his karma will permit him to speak just a thousand more words before he dies, fast-talking agent Jack must make every syllable count to make peace with his wife and his celebrity author client. But can he truly change his ways?

What did I like?

Success. Not since Boomerang can I remember seeing Eddie Murphy so in control, both in terms of his character and the film itself. Many people have been saying Murphy needs to get back to things that worked for him in the past. Perhaps this is a start. At least I hope so.

Sidekick. Clark Duke, in my opinion, is the next Jonah Hill. You can debate who is the bigger douche between the two, though. Here he is Murphy’s assistant and gets all the crap jobs that come with being an assistant, short of getting his coffee and wiping his ass after he takes a dump. He does all this without raising a fuss and, if one reads anything into the ending, it pays off.

Ruby. The great Ruby Dee plays Murphy’s mother who is in an assisted living home and suffering from dementia. While she may be a bit out there, she is still a sweet old lady and the love she shows for her son could not be any greater.

What didn’t I like?

Why? When Murphy goes to see the guru he comes across this tree and accidentally sticks himself with it. I suppose that is the reason it all of a sudden sprung up in his backyard and why he couldn’t say more than 1000 words (that number is never explicitly said). I don’t recall it being said why the tree has cursed him. As a matter of fact, they seemed just as lost as the audience was. If that’s not a bad sign, then I don’t know what is!

Voice and time. I read a review about this that questioned why you would take away Eddie Murphy’s voice. Truth be told, that is a valid question. Murphy isn’t necessarily known for physical comedy like say, Jim Carrey. Taking away his greatest asset was a big mistake. If that wasn’t bad enough, how about the fact that this was held in limbo for 4 years. The fact that they held it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It worked for The Cabin in the Woods, but this one should have either went direct-to-DVD, been released right away, or not been released at all.

Family drama. Films like this tend to have some kind of family drama. I’ve come to expect that, but they spread it on so thick that it changes the tone of the film. I lay that blame squarely on the beautiful shoulders of Kerry Washington. I hate to say this, but she drags the film down with her melodrama. I don’t know whether it is her fault or just the way her character is written.

A Thousand Words is not as bad as everyone seems to make it out to be, but the hatred people seem to have for this film is understandable. The plotholes that haunt this film are too big to ignore, though, as is the fact that it can’t decide between comedy and drama. I wanted to like this film, I really did, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I cannot recommend this film, but I won’t say stay away. Be warned, though, that this is not a great motion picture.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars