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2 grown daughters
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The Intern (2015)
In its television advertising The Intern is made out to be a comedy of some sort, perhaps a rom-com, maybe a dram-com, but anyway a light-hearted movie full of laughs.
It is not.
The Intern is just a lukewarm drama with a very few laughs. What a shame. It has a story line which is rich with possibilities for humor. It could have been filled with moments of laughter and enjoyment. Instead it marches (at a v-e-r-y slow pace) right past many, many chances for delightful byplay between and among its characters. Wasted chances and wasted time. DeNiro was repressed and restrained by the director, so much so that this powerful, spectacular actor adds little to the movie by his presence. Again, what a shame.
It's hard to sum up my disappointment with this movie. 3 out of 10.
I walked out after 1 1/2 hours!
This is *not at all* the movie they're advertising.
I expected a hilarious, raunchy romp. What I got started off gross, although not very funny, but then it slowed down. Before long it became tedious, with some touching scenes with the father, which carried it along for a while.
By the 1-hour mark I was willing to stay but waiting for it to end. Then it really started to drag. It's like somebody said, "Let's make a really, really bad imitation Woody Allen movie without the comedy or the genius."
When I finally just couldn't stand another minute I got up and got out. I knew it must be near the end, but it didn't matter. I did not care what happened to the two protagonists *in the least.* UGH! LEMME OUTTA HERE!
***SPOILER*** I don't actually have a spoiler, my whole review is a spoiler. The movie makers seemed to get desperate after the 1/2-way point. They threw in random scenes, apparently trying to spice it up, but oh, my, are they dumb.
Lebron James is a big surprise. He is good, and funny, and fresh. Tilda Swinton's prodigious talents are curiously wasted. Marv Albert, Chris Evert and Matthew Broderick must cringe at the very thought of what they had to put on the screen to get their paychecks.
Trainwreck is a very surprising huge disappointment.
St. Vincent (2014)
I've never done this before, but I'm rating this movie at 5 stars exactly. It is perfectly mediocre. The bad, boring, dull, predictable parts perfectly balance the good, nice, mildly heartwarming parts. Nothing more can be said of it than that.
I wish Bill Murray would stop proving how great an actor he is, and start having fun again. He's a lot of fun when he's fun. He's a genius at comedy, and a good actor. Give us the comedy, PLEASE! Just as I am not the 68 years of age my birthdate indicates (I'm actually about 22) so Bill Murray is not the 64 his birthdate says he is. To me he's about 25, but I'll bet he thinks more along the 22 line also.
So please, Mr. Bill Murray, stop acting your age! Give us some more funny! Please!
My First Mister (2001)
A great film, wonderfully written and acted
I never understood the appeal of Albert Brooks as an actor, until now! He and Leelee Sobieski are marvelous in this movie, and their chemistry and interaction make the movie a joy.
I watch it every couple of years, and I make sure to give myself a solid block of quiet time in which to enjoy it. It's that good. The dialog is witty and insightful. Once you get to know Leelee's character you pick up on her delightfully wry humor. She misses nothing about the world around her, but she keeps her rapier-like analysis of it all mostly to herself. Fortunately she comes to know some characters to whom she can reveal herself. It's all about intelligence and acuity, and she's lucky (anybody is) to make some good, smart friends.
I rate My First Mister a 10 out of 10, and I do not hesitate to recommend it to my friends, and to you readers.
American Gun (2005)
A political diatribe
Whenever Hollywood decides to "teach America what it should think" the result is a lousy movie. And this waste of time is really a lousy movie. Why sacrifice an hour and a half of your life being lectured to by a film, when you could just read a Handgun Control, Inc. leaflet and get just as much misinformation? But at least you can see this one coming a mile away. Sometimes Hollywood's elite moralizers sneak the message in without letting on that it's a "message movie." I really hate it when that happens. "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011), I think it was, ended with an endless lecture about personal choice and personal responsibility, taking a merely goofy movie right down the drain.
I can't recommend this one AT ALL. I'd give it a "0" but IMDb will only let me rate it a 1.
The Blacklist (2013)
Yes, off to a great start
James Spader is the most interesting actor in America, bar none. So casting him as the lead in this tense new drama was genius. Instead of the terrific Mary Elizabeth Winstead we get Megan Boone, a relative newcomer who has that same indomitable look and so far is up to the task.
Right now it's hard to figure if Spader's character is just out for himself or Doing Good For The World.
The action is bang-bang and first rate. The plot is slightly formulaic, but the evolution of the mysteries (and the glimpses we got in the pilot) seems to be high-caliber, high-concept and well executed. Lots of promise. I intend to keep watching! If you missed the pilot catch it sometime before Episode 2.
The only slip in the writing was a measure of unnecessary cuteness when the voice-over called Spader "the concierge of crime." Since the rest of the writing is excellent, let us hope this is the only gaffe.
Oh, and as usual they goofed the firearms action. An agent fires two shots from his automatic pistol and then it's empty with the slide locked open and the barrel exposed. Hollywood hires expert professional gun handlers, so why don't they take their advice?
Ray Donovan (2013)
Hoped it would be good - WRONG
OK, so it's a jumbled mess, far too convoluted and confusing to even try to take it seriously. But worse, it's mean-spirited. Nastiness in about every-other scene. No, make that two out of three scenes.
I'd hoped it would show us the talents of Liev Schreiber to advantage, and that he would carry the show along in an entertaining way. Instead he's a closed-mouth, terse, laconic character who is about as frozen as a Popsicle. He's a great actor, but in this show the director reins him in so tightly that his prodigious talents are wasted.
They surround him with a huge ensemble cast, the result being that we get about one total minute of this guy, two total minutes of that guy (chopped up in pieces throughout), and Elliott Gould mumbling Yiddish and stumbling around fully clothed in the surf. OY!
Wanting a good new series to watch, I pinned my hopes on Ray Donovan. I might better have pinned a tail on a donkey. It would have been more fun.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
I went to see an Oscar nominated comedy. I got a grown man punching his mother in the face with a vicious sweeping elbow and knocking her flat. I got the man's father pushing him down, landing on top of him and beating him with his fists, slapping him and screaming at him. Oh yeah, people in the audience were rolling in the aisles laughing. In every scene there was nothing but tension and conflict. I kept waiting for it to turn around, for the "good parts" to show up, but they never did. OK, here's a pleasant break, let's see what happens now. Oh no, this is worse than before. On and on like that.
You want to make a movie about mental illness, fine. You want to bill it as a heartwarming comedy, NOT fine.
The Debt (2010)
Sorry folks, but not much joy in this brief review. Ciaran Hinds is great, as usual, but there's little inspiration in the rest of the cast. Kudos to Jessica Chastain, who plays the young version of Helen Mirren. She's all that saved her half of the movie.
Shaky-cam, ultra-closeups and jagged, quick cuts are the sign of a director who says, "I don't know to create tension in a scene, I know I'm a buffoon when it comes to staging an action sequence, but maybe if I make it unwatchable, if they have to divert their eyes, nobody will notice." It's all in here and it works, you can't watch what should be the exciting parts.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop with the slowness of the movie. It's excruciatingly slow for long periods. I almost left two or three times but finally, after what seemed like forever, there was a twist which led eventually to a rather mundane ending.
The good parts, and there are a few including a slam-bang beginning, are too few and far between. The old Nazi, alas, is mostly squandered, with only brief hints of what could have been high drama.
I can't recommend this movie; I wish I had my two hours back.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Some Hollywood writer who's been burned at love decides, "Hey, if I have to be miserable, I'm gonna make everyone around me miserable too." Thus is born Crazy, Stupid, Love.
But to sucker the public into the theaters they have to market it as a rom-com, so the stars do the publicity tours and call it a wonderful, funny movie. Then you go see it hoping to get what's been advertised, but it soon takes a turn away from the nice, funny story it starts as and harps endlessly about infidelity, child porn, the futility of trying to get back together and the hopelessness of life.
Against all this negativity and depravity they throw in some really ham handed slapstick (the actors must have been embarrassed while they shot some of these scenes) and a cute kid, the boy who plays Robbie and steals the show, and some surprise twists. A twist is OK, it spices up a movie, but you know they're desperate when they put in another surprise twist, and then another one, and then another one.
And then they end it all with a lecture delivered by the leading man, whose embarrassment at delivering the lines seems to go beyond acting to reality.
I tried to give this movie a 3 rating because of the humor, which is good in places, but I just couldn't. On the IMDb scale of 10 it gets a 2.
There are Tragedies and there are Comedies, and if you are one of those people who likes Tragedy I guess you'll probably think this movie is OK. It's pretty much the opposite of a romantic comedy.