Friday, September 12, 2014
It is said that the longer a person owns a dog the more they get to resemble each other. In “The Drop” within minutes of Bob (Tom Hardy) finding a beat up puppy in a trash can, picks him up and holds him close to his face, the resemblance is already there. The hurt puppy’s eyes are reflected in the eyes of the man who just rescued him. This is a pit bull puppy who almost steals the movie away and yet defines Bob in many ways.
Rosco, as the puppy is named by Bob, is in the trash can of a waitress, who owns the house, named Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who may or may not know how the dog was in the garbage. After Bob confesses to her that he never had a pet, and doesn’t know how to take care of a dog, she volunteers to help him go shopping for the necessities and provides a love interest for Bob who is very slow on the uptake and in many other instances.
Bob is a bartender in a bar once owned by, and still named after, his cousin Marvin (James Gandolfini) until it was taken over by Chechens, who seem to rule the neighborhood, headed by Chovka (Michael Aronov). There are peripheral characters such as creepy Eric (Matthias Schoenaertas) who seems to have originally owned the puppy, has some connections to Nadia and boasts about murdering a man a decade earlier. There is also Detective Torres (John Oritz) who is more annoying than detective and Dottie (Ann Dowd) as Marvin’s sister who seems to have been added to pad out the movie which was originally a short story.
The acting by all, including Gandolfini in his last film role, is okay though Rapace seems just off key and until the end you don’t really see and/or understand what a great job Hardy does. I did try to catch the real name of Rosco who certainly deserves credit but didn’t see it.
As a Brooklyn gangster old fashioned thriller “The Drop” is slow getting to the revelation, which I admit caught me by surprise, but that was not enough to save the film.
Friday, September 05, 2014
Raise your hand if you know Errol Flynn and can name at least a dozen of his movies? Keep your hand up if you know what the phase ‘in like Flynn’ means and how it came about. Mmmm--not too many have their hand up and I suspect they are either over 50 or are film addicts.
Okay let’s ask about another actor--how many know who Kevin Kline is? Can you name the movie he made his debut in? Can you name the movie he won an Oscar for? Can you name the two shows he won Tonys for on Broadway?
I would like to think that many more know Kline as a world wide respected stage and movie actor but because he is basically scandal free I have a feeling more people knew Flynn who wasn’t scandal free and, in fact, had two trials broadcast on radio, television, the latter after 1950, the newspapers and magazines. Possibly because the Internet wasn’t around then he might be famous even today.
In “The Last of Robin Hood” Kevin Kline portrays Errol Flynn during the last two years of his life though Kline at 65 is older than Flynn by 15 years and is a lot thinner and neater looking. Due to alcohol Flynn was quite a mess in 1959 when he died.
When Flynn met, and seduced 15 year old virgin, Beverly Aadland, played by Dakota Fanning, did he know her real age? Was Beverly really in love with Errol or did his stardom blind her? Was her mother, Flo, played by Susan Sarandon, someone to do anything, including acting as a front for the old actor and her teenage daughter or was she the manipulative puppeteer pulling the strings, to get her daughter the fame she, Flo, has always wanted? Flo wrote a book, which the film seems to be based on, while Beverly never spoke about Flynn after his death.
Kline IS Flynn and could step into any role that the latter played on film and, as Flynn did, could play John Barrymore when someone is ready to give the latter his place in the sun.
Dakota Fanning seems miscast, floundering in the role, though it could be due to the directing and screenplay both done by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland who sort of treat her as an afterthought.
Though the film is about Flynn, and his affair with Beverly, Susan Sarandon takes the movie away from everyone involved and, probably, would have been better if it completely revolved around her as the directors/writers seem too timid to bring what was sensational world wide scandal to the screen.
The film takes place in 1958 and 1959 with excellent production values and, I sort of suspect, if you know the work of Todd Haynes, he had a hand in bringing that look together
Friday, September 05, 2014
“Love Is strange” could have, and would have, been an excellent movie. By no means is the movie a long one, running one hour and forty minutes, but seems much longer. Director Ira Sachs, who isn’t an amateur by any means, includes ’artistic’ scenes that aren’t necessary, which slows the movie down , instead of concentrating and telling a bit more of the two main characters stories.
Ben, (John Lithgow), and George, (Alfred Molina), could be any couple who have been together for 39 years. The film opens on the day of their marriage, which has separated them from being ‘any couple’, celebrated with family and friends. The two actors are completely believable in their roles from how they interact with and towards each other, warts and all. Unfortunately George teaches music at a Catholic school where they know about the couple but with the marriage George has made a public ‘statement’ and he is fired. Ben is retired and to get the movie going they are forced to separate, temporarily, after they have to sell their condo.
George goes to live with the two gay policemen, Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez, living on the floor below them who party, always have the TV going and play loud music while George likes peace and quiet. Ben moves in with his nephew, Elliot, (Darren Burrows), his wife, Kate ((Marisa Tomei) and their teenage son Joey (Charlie Tahan), the latter given a ‘red herring’ storyline. Elliot is very seldom home, Kate works from home and being a teenage Joey and his friend Vlad, Eric Tabach, want to be alone in the former’s room, where Ben sleeps in the lower bed of a bunk bed, though why, being an only child, there is a bunk bed is never explained. Ben is use to George always being there for him, to listen to him and fill the many needs he has.
As we get to feel the loneliness, the strain of living apart between George and Ben, we understand Ben’s saying, “Sometimes when you live with people, you get to know them better than you want/care to.” Through many small moments we get to know the deepness of the men’s relationships and, though on a smaller scale, the relationships of others.
There are no big dramatic moments in “Love Is Strange” on screen but two major developments take place off screen robbing the audience which would have added much more to the film than the 3 not needed artistic scenes.
The actors are all first rate but it is the natural performances of Lithgow and Molina that make this a film worth seeing. I am sure they will be remembered come award time. They make their small moments all seem meaningful, allowing us to get to know them as individuals and as a couple.
“Love Is Strange” is one of the better gay themed films but more than being a ’gay’ film it is a film about love between two people and is for all old married couples, young couples or singles who want to be just that.
Friday, August 29, 2014
A veteran actor in the lead with a newcomer as his ‘student? CHECK! Car chases? CHECK! Car crashes? CHECK! Cars blown up? Check! An enemy who is the hero’s friend? CHECK! Doubles crosses? CHECK! People having secrets? CHECK! A pretty woman or three? CHECK! Bodies pile up as movie goes on? CHECK! A lot of computer work? CHECK! A lot of cell phones used? CHECK! And then disposed of? CHECK! A female villain in a non-James Bond film dressed in black leather and made up severely? CHECK! CIA? CHECK! Russian bad guys? CHECK! A ‘hot’ sex scene between two young leads? CHECK!
Hey folks does this tell you that “The November Man” is a spy thriller? It is and for that reason alone leave your logic checked at the door and don’t ask any questions. Sit back in your chair and watch Pierce Brosnan, playing a less suave James Bond, shoot 10 guys, with guns, in a row without getting a scratch, though he does have a few scratches later on. His trainee, Luke Bracey, does the shower scene that Brosnon would have done 30 years ago while Olga Kurylenko is the 21st century idea of a femme fatale. Along the way are Mediha Musliovic, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton, Lazar Ristovski and others playing both sides of the fences. Oh yes, something added to spy thrillers now, there is a big fight and chase between two females.
“The November Man” is nothing you haven’t seen before unless you haven’t watched a movie in 50 years. It is a mindless, foolish, fast paced, enjoyable, yes enjoyable, movie to see over the weekend as you wait for the possible Oscar contenders start showing next month.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Our local AMC movie theatre has gone in a new direction having reconstructed the whole building. They are now offering dinners, snacks, desserts, sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc. all given to a server who gets your order, delivers it to you and then you pay your bill. There are plusses and minuses about the whole setup but I do see it becoming a very expensive proposition for a family going to the movies or even a couple on a date.
It is no secret that movie theatres make their money from the concession stands and not from ticket sales as most of the latter go to the film makers, distributors and studios. In many cases a soda and popcorn cost more than a theatre ticket but with these new food prices it will even be higher. If you want to get an idea of the food prices go to www.amctheatres.com/food-and-drink but remember they vary from theatre to theatre.
I wanted to 'try' out the new AMC--I liked the $7 admission on a Friday but you never know what a movie costs unless you check out the movie and performance schedule on the web. Depending on whether it is a matinee or evening, a PG or R rated film, a regular or 3D film the prices range from $7 to $14. The seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in in a movie house--the serving of food can be and is disturbing--also I would hate to see the line at the ticket window when busy--along with prices you have to select your seat before you get your ticket!!!
They have less auditoriums than they did previously, which means they are showing less movies and each auditorium has a lot less seats than they had so they are really depending on food sales to make the money. With the movie companies making less money because of the cut in the audience size I wonder if they have some deal regarding concession sales.
As I said I like the $7 ticket price on Friday for PG-13 films but since I don’t eat food in the theatre if the AMC is showing the same picture as the Gateway Theatre, and getting the lower price, I might go to the former BUT if they are getting a $9 price I will definitely go with the latter--which I will in most cases anyway as The Gateway Theatre is special to me.
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