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|Index||18 reviews in total|
I guess I cannot agree with the ratings here on IMDb every time.
For example I just saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World rated 8.0 then I seen this movie, Love Ranch only 5.3 -- and while the general public still seems to be in love with the youthful glee based in symbolic fantastic fake X-box gaming TRONlike facade of Scott Pilgrim, they seem to rank an incredible life scenario reality based movie, Love Ranch which is based on a couple in their sixties based on a true story, as it were borderline doggy do. Once again, I guess most movie goers would rather not handle the truth.
I must admit, when I was watching Love Ranch, I was reminded of the movie Papillon, in which they tried to fit a two week read into a two hour movie. I thought I was watching the same kind of movie making from a book being made into 2 hour script reducing it to bits and pieces of condensed scenes. But I guess it was merely a rushed screenplay and not a condensed book when I read about it on IMDb. I suppose part of the problem could have been the spontaneous direction in the seemingly rushed storyline.
Other than that I would give this movie with better editing and direction of script a 9 or 10 rating because the intense reality and grip of the characters like between Helen and the boxer. This was incredibly well done... may sometimes been kind of unbelievable, but in the end their impeccable acting crafts both pulled together a gripping story.
I think without a doubt it could and should have been handled better through production, but the movie itself is infinitely more meaningful than a teeny love triangular crap as in the movie I spoke of earlier.
All in all a great movie that needed to be nurtured a lot more to be made into a fantastic movie.
Over the years, I haven't agreed with a lot of the reviews on this
site, and this is the case with this movie. I just never bothered to
sign up to contribute until now, after just watching this movie.
The film starts out drab, with unsympathetic characters on dead end story arches, which is exactly how it fools the viewer. By the middle of the movie, you realize your notions about them and their journeys were wrong, and in the end, you know there's a reason the movie is loaded with high caliber talent.
And considering it's based on real events, it's all the more interesting and compelling.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
LOVE STORY is a peculiar movie. It is based on the true story of the
notorious Mustang Ranch just outside of Reno, Nevada, a brothel that
was world famous run by a couple by the name of Joe and Sally Conforte
who had chutzpah and an ongoing run-in with the IRS and the law in
bringing in boxer Oscar Buenovena as an addendum to their game of
wealth. The facts of the brothel's existence are true as are the
characters portrayed in the film, but a considerable amount of artistic
license as to dates and chronology of event were taken by writer Mark
Jacobson. The result is a strange conglomeration of a story, boring as
roadkill during the first half but awakening into a rather tender
melodrama in the second half. And it is worth the wait. Taylor Hackford
directs his wife Helen Mirren, and as we have come to expect, anytime
Mirren is in a film there is at least a modicum of fine acting.
The Confortes become the Bontempos for LOVE RANCH (aka Mustang Ranch of history) and Joe Pesci as Charlie Bontempo is an ex-con with a potty mouth who married Grace (Helen Mirren) 20 some years ago, and together they have built the world's largest brothel - the first legal one in Nevada. Grace at first is cheap and tacky, walking with a cane and constantly reminding Charlie of her importance: her character changes a it when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer by her doctor (Broadway singing star Harve Presnell in a tiny and last role; he died in 2009) . Charlie beds all the women who work at Love Ranch and Grace is aware of it. Grace befriends her 'staff' - Gina Gershon, Ling Bai, Taryn Manning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Elise Neal among others - and Charlie tends to the business of promoting the Ranch as well as taking chances with other projects, such as tempting famous Argentine boxer Armando Bruza (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) to move to the Ranch for training in preparation for a fight with (supposedly) Muhammed Ali. Bruza arrives and insists Grace be his manager and she reluctantly accepts out of a sense of being attracted to Bruza. Her girls, especially Irene (Gina Gershon) encourage Grace to live for the moment and give in to the desire for an affair with Bruza. Grace and Bruza do indeed find each other's soft core and fall in love. Bruza is prepared for a fight, but in the fight he staggers through the first rounds only to win by a late surprise knockout: Grace rushes Bruza to the hospital because of his unstable status and there she discovers Bruza suffered a previous brain injury years ago resulting the placement of a metal plate in his skull. This discovery and the events that it initiates bring the film to a tender but tragic end - on many levels.
The cinematography by Kieran McGuigan is splendid when surveying the beauty of the land around Reno but uncomfortably monochromatic through most of the rest of the film. The musical score by Chris Bacon (who has many fine credits for other films) is almost unbearably bad. Joe Pesci, made up to look very old, is in this viewer's opinion miscast: he rarely gets beyond being a screaming filthy mouthed moron. Helen Mirren transforms Grace from a tawdry Madame to a truly beautiful but tired partner for Charlie, opting to spend her few final days with one who can demonstrate his care for her. Sergio Peris-Mencheta manages to make his blustering character one of compassion and vulnerability.
In all this is a movie that, once over, seems well worth watching as the credits reveal all the facts about the destinies of everyone involved in the story. Get past the first half hour or so and you're in for a fine film.
The film has two sags: One very early on in Act I and another late in
Act II. In observing a small private audience that was viewing this
film, they were all very much engaged in the drama and the action
throughout, but they were nearly lost during the two sags. If it were
not for those, the film might have attracted a larger audience.
This is not the story of the Mustang Ranch, per se, but rather the story an ambiguous love triangle. (I am thoroughly aware of the Mustang Ranch story, and know Joe Conforte's attorney and best friend, Virgil Bucchanieri, quite well). For example, the film does not use the gimmick of trying to exaggerate the characters that inhabit the brothel, and resists the temptation of trying to replicate the exotica of the Star Wars bar scene.
The real test for a film with this class of story arc is the degree to which we care about the characters mid-way through Act II. Do we care what happens to them in Act III? I and the other audience members all agreed that we did and we shed the expected tears in a tense moment between the dreamer, played by Joe Pesci, and the determined pragmatist, played by Helen Mirren, in the penultimate scene. None of the central or supporting roles were in any way "cardboard" characters.
The production values were quite high and the number of technical errors were minimal (three errors with production sound that really should have been fixed in post plus a couple of continuity errors). Music was very subtle to the point of vanishing at times. There was no attempt at creating a photographic theme: it was all shot color-balanced at neutral without any exaggerated focus-pulls, odd camera framing or moves (but a lot of crane rentals were involved), Pro-mist filters, or too many magic hour shots. That is, the cinematography did not draw attention away from the drama.
The film resolves unambiguously with a shock ending that is well worth waiting for. My final test of entertainment value is: "Are there any scenes in this film that I will remember and repeat in my mind's eye the next day?" I would say that there are such scenes, and I therefore give this picture a 7 out of 10.
Something went wrong with this Taylor Hackford film which showed on
cable recently. It boasts a good cast and it is a story based on a true
story. The right elements should have come together to make this entry
worth watching. The culprit seems to lie in the screenplay written by
Mark Jacobson, which does not take advantage of the subject he was
The story of Grace and Charley Bontempo, the owners of the brothel in the Nevada desert, lent itself for a lot more than comes out in the story. The owners had apparently a good relationship, although it becomes apparent there was no love left between them as the story begins. Charley had been cheating on Grace with anyone of the prostitutes in the place. Grace, the brain behind the business, finds out about the cancer she had to deal with, something that evidently has an effect on her dealings with their business.
Charley, a first class wheeler-dealer, sees an opportunity when Armando Bruza, an Argentine boxer, he discovers with a potential to go places. Grace did not appreciate that Bruza will move to the Love Motel, as Charley wants. Bruza develops an affection for the older woman, who takes the plunge, falling in love with the boxer, something that will lead into fatal consequences.
The main reason for watching "Love Ranch" is Helen Mirren's performance. She makes a case for Grace, the jaded madam of the house of ill repute. At times she seems not to be comfortable with her character, the way the script asks her to play her. Joe Pesci does his routine of being a wise guy. It is fun to watch him utter those four letter words he spices his vocabulary with. Sergio Peris-Mencheta is Bruza, the boxer who fell for the older woman. Gina Gershon does not have much to do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Charlie' (Joe Pudgy) is a Reno brothel owner whose broken down whore of a wife 'Grace' (Helen Smirren) has cancer - but hooray! - she meets a virile South American stud who finds her interesting enough to sleep with, only Charlie doesn't like that, so he puts out a contract on Studley while Grace hits the road with her new beau where they end up on the Donner Summit trading war stories until Charlie kills Studley prompting Grace to turn over evidence to the FBI to get revenge on Charlie and then heading to prison where her cancer magically goes into remission and when she gets out of the big house, she starts up a new brothel and lives whoringly ever after at which point you will gladly turn off the movie if you haven't already hanged yourself from the rafters because this flick really sucks.
The thing that stands out immediately in "Love Ranch" is not the girls, not the 1970s clothes, but the amazing photography. Almost every outdoor scene could be the vista for a postcard. The story itself seems to drag in places, and then suddenly rush to a conclusion, with narration to tidy up the ending. The acting by Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci is terrific as expected, and a small scene with Harve Presnell a pleasant surprise. What is not a surprise is the tale of the Mustang Ranch on which the movie is based. It's tough to overcome the familiarity of a story often aired on cable over the last two decades. - MERK
Love Ranch is a fictionalized bio-pic, loosely based on the true story of Joe & Sally Conforte. The Conforte's were the first people to open a legalized brothel in the state of Nevada and for a while, became local celebrities, until it all came crashing down. It was an interesting story, following the lives of two people, that most of us don't know anything about. As for the film, while it over-dramatized a lot of the events, it really fails to make much of an impact. There are scenes that make these two look like gangsters, others that make them look like royalty, and several that just makes them look like trailer trash. The truth is that it was hard to really decipher the true character of these people and figure out what they were really like. I was mildly interested in the story, but what I really wanted to see was the return of Joe Pesci. Since retiring in 1999, Pesci had a cameo in one film, but this is was his first leading role since Lethal Weapon 4. For the living legend, it was as if he had never stopped, giving a terrific performance. The only disappointing thing was that they kept Pesci's classic, profanity laced tirades to a minimum, but other than that, he was really terrific. Helen Mirren on the other hands kind of annoyed me in this film. She's always been an amazing actress, but her performance was really all over the place. I guess it has to do with the emotional state of the woman she was playing, but to be honest I was very unimpressed by what I saw from her. While it was great to see Joe Pesci back on the big screen, the Love Ranch was really just a mass of confusion that was all over the place. It was nearly impossible to separate the truth from the Hollywood bull, when personalities and situations are changing so rapidly. If you love Joe Pesci, you won't want to miss his comeback, but the film that brought him out of retirement, really isn't anything special.
I sought this movie out on DVD because it's cinema release was negligible, and anything with Helen Mirren will have some merit. I can only imagine it's almost invisible release was due to the inability of the youthful marketeers to easily identify the box in which to place it, romance, thriller, gangster flic? For those of us who don't care about such trite labels, this is an interesting movie, characters with some depth, it's not really about goodies or baddies, or even right or wrong, it's a story, with some romance, some humour, some sex, some drama, great performances from stalwarts and what should have been a launch pad to international stardom for the young Spaniard...fear not Sergio, we will see you again. I liked it a lot and really recommend it to people who enjoy films about other people rather than machines and/or concepts!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Love Ranch is a great movie that is a combination of two movies in one.
That is, we get some comedy crossed with drama and romance! In this
movie, a married couple runs a legal brothel in Nevada, the wife
secretly falls in love with a man from Argentina, while her suspicious
husband senses trouble. I just watched this movie today, and I
certainly had a great time visiting this Love Ranch, instead of Love
Ranch, it should be called Laugh Ranch, because there are many laughs
to be seen in this film! The movie doesn't sound like much and paper
(and telling from the title), but when it is actually filmed and
watched, it turns out to be a great time! I was rather surprised to see
the low rating and number of votes on this site, because with so few
reviews and votes, it appears that very few people have seen this
movie. That's a shame, because they are missing out on a film that's
lots of fun! But anyway, when you watch Love Ranch, you will really be
in for a nice little treat, you will get two movies for the price of
After taking a break from acting for more than a decade, this movie features the long awaited return of one of my all time favorite actors, that man is none other than Joe Pesci! Joe Pesci's still got the talents needed to act, as his performance in this movie as Charlie Bontempo was a great one, not to mention a hysterical one as well! Helen Mirren also gives a very good performance as Charlie's wife, Grace Bontempo. It was so great to see Joe Pesci in his first major role since 1998's Letheal Weapon 4, as he is a great actor who can play a variety of roles. Like some of his other movies, like Goodfellas and Casino, his character in this movie is another one of his tough-guy like roles. Welcome back Mr. Pesci, we are all extremely glad to see you, we missed you during those twelve long years in which you weren't acting, so we are all extremely glad to have you back to starring in major roles!
Well all in all, it is SO great to see Joe Pesci starring in his first major role in over ten years. And I also had a very fun time watching this laugh-fest/drama/romance of a film! However, I must warn you, this movie is not for children, don't watch it unless you are age 15 or higher. But anyway, if you are old enough to watch it, watch it. Why? Because you will probably be laughing a lot! Granted, this movie is no Academy-Award-worthy movie, and it isn't one of the greatest comedy movies ever made, but nevertheless, it is very funny and filled with many, many laughs! So watch this movie, you will think that it is a funny movie with laughs in it. It is mostly worth seeing for the laughs, as well as Joe Pesci's hilarious and great performance! So all in all, while not one of the greatest movies ever made, it still is a funny movie that will most likely get you laughing when you watch it!
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