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Ed-Shullivan

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176 reviews in total 
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Madoff (2016) (TV)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A clear narrative account of Bernie Madoff's 64 billion dollar Ponzi scam, 3 February 2016
10/10

I was so pleased to hear that the A List actor Richard Dreyfuss (American Graffiti, Jaws, and The Goodbye Girl) signed on to play the U.S.A.'s biggest investment fraudster, the Ponzi scheme master, Bernie Madoff. From the beginning of the biographical film, Richard Dreyfuss narrates the Bernie Madoff biography and he walks us through his "modus operandi" how he conned so many smart and wealthy investors starting in 1960 when his accountant father-in-law introduces a young Bernie Madoff to his own circle of clients, as well as many elderly people who entrusted Bernie Madoff with their life savings.

Bernie's method of convincing investors to continue investing with him was to tell his clients that he was prepared to immediately cut them a cheque for their entire investment plus interest but then they would not be allowed to invest with him again. Madoff had his brother, wife and sons working in his firm and as the story progresses we really are left to wonder whether or not they knew anything about the Ponzi scheme, or did they just believe in Bernie Madoff the investment guru, who was their husband, father or brother.

Also agreeing to play in this non-sanctioned autobiography film "Madoff" are Blythe Danner as Bernie's wife, Peter Scolari as Bernie's brother Peter, Michael Rispoli as the behind the scenes book fixer, Charles Grodin as Carl Shapiro, Frank Whaley as a competitive broker named Harry Markopolos who figures out Bernie's secret method which is simply a fraud. Richard Dreyfuss's real life son Ben Dreyfuss plays the younger Bernie Madoff which makes it easier to believe the evolution of Bernie Madoff over the decades.

Slowly the film peels away each layer of skin one by one, on this onion and we get to see the real Bernie Madoff as the scammer that he really is and then how the S.E.C. (Securities and Exchange Commissions) closes in on him to eventually stop the bleeding and the U.S.A.'s biggest Ponzi scheme. Since the film was originally released as a two part story and it was deluged with commercial breaks I look forward to purchasing the DVD version and watching the film the way it should be seen, without any commercial breaks.

It is an excellent film with great insight into how easily thousands of investors were scammed for decades as long as the return on investments continued to be high and as Bernie would say "we need to continue to grow and find new investors". I give the film two thumbs up. Definitely worth investing your movie viewing time in, but not your money with Bernie Madoff who will remain in prison for his 150 year sentence.

Adam Sandler nails it! (no pun intended), 28 January 2016
8/10

This was an enjoyable film that is some 90 degrees right away from the comedic portrayals that Adam Sandler normally portrays. In The Cobbler Adam Sandler plays Max Simkin, a fifth generation cobbler continuing in his fathers footsteps, but working without any reward or passion. Max's father just vanished one day so Max stayed home to take care of his aging mom.

The films opening scene starts in 1903 in a tenement building in New York's lower east side. A group of hard working Jewish business men are being strangled slowly by their landlord for more and more rent money and so they need to figure out a way to understand who their landlord is so they assign the task to Max's cobbler grandfather to repair a pair of their landlords shoes with his magic manual pedal threader. The film then swings forward 111 years to when Max is running his grandfathers shoe repair business when he is threatened by a gangster to have his shoes repaired by the end of the day or deal with some violent consequences. As Max's bad luck would continue his threader machine breaks down so he is forced to use his grandfathers manual pedal threader and in so doing, Max's life changes forever.

I really do not want to give away the creative storyline in any way but suffice to say that Max develops an understanding of why his father and his grandfather before him always held on to this manual pedal threader. The writer/director utilized Adam Sandler's comedic and dramatic abilities to develop a character in Max Simkin, a fifth generation cobbler who stayed in his heritage original storefront in lower east side New York to grind away a living and take care of his aging mother since his father abandoned them.

There is a very unique and multi-cultural side to New York with a blending of the people who walk in to Max's shop each day that writer/director introduces us to through various scenes and a good musical score. There is also a group of first rate actors such as Steve Buscemi, Method Man, Ellen Barkin, Dustin Hoffman, Lynn Cohen and Melanie Diaz who support Adam Sandler in this charming film.

It is well worth a watch and I give it an 8 out of 10 rating.

34 out of 64 people found the following review useful:
Awesome pilot for the reboot! Wow oh Wow!, 24 January 2016
10/10

Scully says to Mulder "You want to believe, you so badly want to believe". Mulder responds "I do believe". This simple exchange between Mulder and Scully re-ignites that age old question..."Is their life on other planets and are there actual alien abductions of humans?" It was this intense exchange between the two main characters that draws you right back in to the success of the original 1993 ground breaking Science Fiction series. Are we witnessing a bigger conspiracy than the Manhattan project? What was the outcome of the Manhattan project? Was this the cause of the initial entry of aliens to earth that the government kept secret for the past 70 years?

There is so much information that Mulder and Scully are provided by the new rich guy Tad O'Malley (played by Joel McHale) that we the audience may start to believe that our own government is the biggest conspirator of hidden agendas and that the government would actually blame the cataclysmic outcome on our neighboring nations that would result in World War III. Or worse is there a global warming theory that has the elitist heading to another planet as the world is destroyed? I just loved that the great character actor Rance Howard was provided a part in the pilot episode as he divulges critical information to Mulder.

It is a great start for the re-boot. Too bad it will be limited to only 6 episodes.

26 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Awesome pilot for the reboot! Wow oh Wow!, 24 January 2016
10/10

Scully says to Mulder "You want to believe, you so badly want to believe". Mulder responds "I do believe". This simple exchange between Mulder and Scully re-ignites that age old question..."Is their life on other planets and are there actual alien abductions of humans?" It was this intense exchange between the two main characters that draws you right back in to the success of the original 1993 ground breaking Science Fiction series. Are we witnessing a bigger conspiracy than the Manhattan project? What was the outcome of the Manhattan project? Was this the cause of the initial entry of aliens to earth that the government kept secret for the past 70 years?

There is so much information that Mulder and Scully are provided by the new rich guy Tad O'Malley (played by Joel McHale) that we the audience may start to believe that our own government is the biggest conspirator of hidden agendas and that the government would actually blame the cataclysmic outcome on our neighboring nations that would result in World War III. Or worse is there a global warming theory that has the elitist heading to another planet as the world is destroyed? I just loved that the great character actor Rance Howard was provided a part in the pilot episode as he divulges critical information to Mulder.

It is a great start for the re-boot. Too bad it will be limited to only 6 episodes.

Spy (2015)
2 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Writer/Director Paul Feig tried too hard to push Ms. McCarthy's natural comedic talent, 13 January 2016
5/10

Mrs. Shullivan and I are huge fans of Melissa McCarthy's physical comedy in Mike and Molly, and we just adored her in the earlier 2000-2007 television series the Gilmore Girls. This feature film Spy has a super opening scene tantalizing the audience that we just may be in line for a blockbuster spoof of the James Bond films. The opening musical score was awesome and it looked like the film was off to a great start.

Melissa McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, who is the telecommunication officer assigned to assist special agent Bradley Fine played to perfection by the handsome and swashbuckling international FBI agent/spy Jude Law. But as Ms. Cooper likes to point out to her FBI boss Elaine Crocker played by Allison Janney Ms. Cooper is "technically" an FBI Field Agent having come first in her graduating class. The plot is simple enough, a war head atom bomb was unfortunately stolen by industrialist millionaire Tihomir Boyanov and when he is accidentally killed by agent Bradley Fine the bombs location is undetermined. Only through the intelligence gathering of the FBI's office telecommunication officer Susan Cooper, does the agency realize that the atom bomb is in the hands of the dead industrialist's daughter Rayna Boyanov, played by the classy, sexy and smart Rose Byrne.

As Rayna Boyanov knows the FBI agents who have previously worked in the field, the agency decides to allow Susan Cooper to go to Paris France and find the atom bomb herself. One agent though, agent Rick Ford played by action star Jason Statham follows Susan Cooper to Paris because in his own mind, he is even better than James Bond in the field and he believes the clumsy office technician Susan Cooper is just not up to the task of saving the world on her own.

Wow, the films first 30 minutes gave Mrs. Shullivan and I some anticipation of what was to follow. The film was off to a fantastic start with some great comedy, action, and a simple enough plot. The FBI agents needed to find that atom bomb before the USA suffered a catastrophe in the hands of the evil doers now led by the sexy Rayna Boyanov. Unfortunately the rest of the film was one silly action stunt after another and rarely was the camera lens not focused on Melissa McCarthy. As stated earlier, Mrs. Shullivan and I are huge fans of Ms. McCarthy's comedic talents, and she is a truly wholesome and beautiful woman to look at with a never ending array of facial expressions that just make an audience laugh uncontrollably.

I believe writer/director Paul Feig over utilized his star actress Melissa McCarthy in every single scene and the films intent on a James Bond spoof comedy would have been more enjoyable with a bit more balance of the supporting cast carrying some of the comedy as well. The cast was top notch, and Ms. McCarthy I cannot say enough about her, she is a terrific comedic actress. My only complaint was that Mrs. Shullivan and I found the movie started to drag on with agent Susan Cooper continually saving the day as she fumbled her way through one action scene after the next. We watched the directors version of the film, and not the theatrical release version. If you are not fond of hearing a barrage of cuss words and specifically, that little four letter word that starts with the letter "F" and rhymes with the word "luck" then you may want to stick to the theatrical version. We found the cuss words were also over extended as was Ms. McCarthy's star power.

Overall, it is worth a watch for the great 30 minute start to this James Bond spoof, and if you feel a desire to fall asleep don't say I did not warn you. Mrs. Shullivan and I would ask that Ms. McCarthy try and retain more control over the final cut of her future films. If I use an analogy related to food, any good restaurant cannot survive on just one great dinner, because consumers will get tired of the same taste in their mouth very quickly, even if that one meal is a great one.

I give the "SPY" a 5 out of 10 rating. Sorry Melissa, we hope your next film will be more balanced than this performance was.

An immoral character that is faced with a deserved ending, 13 January 2016
5/10

No doubt Harvey Keitel is an excellent actor and in Bad Lieutenant Harvey portrays a dirty cop which is right up his alley as an actor. The Bad Lieutenant's name is not important which is more of a symbolism that this bad Lieutenant's life is not important but rather meaningless. As the Lieutenant continues to drive around New York city supposedly representing the city of New York's police department fighting crime, the bad Lieutenant is actually spiralling further and further out of control by digesting a junkies dose of cocaine each day and drinking himself into oblivion by night.

The story evolves around a beautiful young nun who is raped in her Catholic church by two young men who attend the local school attached to the church where the nun is raped. As the investigation begins the nun is reluctant to incriminate the two young men who raped her. Instead, she enters the confessional and asks the priest hearing her confession to keep his oath of privacy and she will too by not telling the police who raped her as she has forgiven them already.

The bad Lieutenant is not as forgiving, but as he continues to steal from local grocery store owners, rack up insurmountable gambling debts with the local bookies, commit lewd acts with young teenagers driving without a license, and take drug stashes for his personal use from the drug dealers, the bad Lieutenant chases down the nun's two rapists. As his own life is spiralling out of control we the audience wonder how the bad Lieutenant will revenge the rape of the young nun.

This is not a story of redemption, but rather a story of a Lieutenant who has lost himself in the world of crime, drugs, and gambling and has lived the first 40 odd years of his life without fear of dying on the streets of New York. Harvey Keitel provides the audience with another strong performance but the story line itself is simply one dimensional and the bad Lieutenants repetitive bad habits and rants to the almighty Jesus or anyone else who will listen to him are quite frankly boring and lead the audience to the inevitable conclusion that the bad Lieutenant by title alone is not very good. I give the film a 2 out of 4 star rating for Mr. Keitel's strong acting, but I must say that writer/director Abel Ferrara's vision of a bad Liutenant in the city of New York's police force has been done many times before with better results than in this film.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Shades of becoming a good crime/drama television series, 8 January 2016
9/10

As momma always said... when you tell the truth you can always repeat the same story without repercussions since you don't have to remember any of the lies you may have otherwise told. In Shades of Blue you have an entire team of a police division involved in corruption. The two lead characters on this corrupt police team are Harlee Santos (played by super star Jennifer Lopez) who is a single mom raising her 16 year old daughter. Her daughter Cristina Santos (played by Sarah Jeffery) who is a cellist prodigy will require a substantial financial contribution to enrol in a private school for music prodigies. This is the main reason that mom and police woman Harlee Santos is part of a corrupt team of police officers. The team leader is Detective Matt Wozniak, played superbly by the legendary crime genre star Ray Liotta. Who can forget Ray's memorable performances in crime films such as Goodfellas, Narc, Identity and/or Cop Land. Ray has always been one of my guaranteed good performance actors and he is perfect for the part of the corrupt team leader Matt Wozniak.

With only the first episode televised at the time of my review it is a tad premature to evaluate how the main characters roles will evolve, and if the television series writers will lean more in the direction of a television crime series like The Shield, or with more of a strategic crime series as the multiple Emmy winning series The Wire.

I will say though that acquiring an elite director for the pilot series such as the seasoned director and producer Barry Levinson has kick started this series on a high note. Director Levinson has ensured we understand that Harlee Santos is a very busy cop and mom. Within the first 60 minutes in no particular order, we witness Harlee single handedly run down and handcuff a very quick and agile street thug, she sets up an alibi for a rookie cop who kills a low life drug dealer without thinking first, she deliberately smashes her daughters car up to back up an earlier alibi she created (remember what momma said about lies versus telling the truth?) for Detective Matt Wozniak, gets caught by the FBI trying to take a bribe form a bookie (who is an FBI agent) and Harlee still finds time to work out in a boxing gym both in and out of the ring with her boy toy trainer boyfriend (no surprise here). Whewww, Harlee accomplished all that in less than 60 minutes.

So we have a team of corrupt cops trying to do their job of protecting the good citizens of New York City and at the same time make a few bucks off the backs of the bad guys by skimming a little kick back in protection money. We have the FBI closing in on this team of corrupt cops who are now under surveillance, and we have the corrupt team leader Matt Wozniak trying to figure out who the snitch is in his own unit before the FBI closes in on them all and breaks up this happy little family of corrupt cops.

There is a lot going on in Shades Of Blue and I remain optimistic that with this stellar cast of Grade 1 movie and television stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Warren Kole and Lolita Davidovich the series will have a strong first season performance. Mrs Shullivan and I were impressed with the pilot episode. So far I will give the series a positive 9 out of 10 rating for the stellar cast, great directing and rich cinematography for a television crime/drama series pilot.

18 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Shades of becoming a very good crime/drama television series, 8 January 2016
9/10

As momma always said,... when you tell the truth you can always repeat the same story since you don't have to remember any of the lies you may have otherwise told. In Shades of Blue you have an entire team of a police division involved in police corruption. The two lead characters on this corrupt police team are Harlee Santos played by super star Jennifer Lopez. Harlee plays a veteran cop who is also a single mom raising her 16 year old daughter. Her daughter Cristina Santos (played by Sarah Jeffery) who is a cellist prodigy requires a substantial financial contribution to enrol in a private school for music prodigies. This is the main reason that mom and police woman Harlee Santos is part of a corrupt team of police officers. The team leader is Detective Matt Wozniak, played superbly by the legendary crime genre star Ray Liotta. Ray Liotta is one of my guaranteed good performance actors. Just think of the starring role he had in the crime films Goodfellas, Identity, Cop Land and/or Narc which were all good performances by Ray.

With only the first episode televised at the time of my review it is a tad bit early to tell how the main characters roles will evolve, and if the television series writers will lean more in developing the main characters in the direction of a television crime series like The Shield, or more in mind with the strategic crime series and multiple Emmy winning series The Wire.

I will say though the director of the pilot series is the seasoned director and producer Barry Levinson who has ensured we understand that Harlee Santos is a very busy cop and mom. Within the first 60 minutes in no particular order, we witness Harlee run down and handcuff single handedly a very quick and agile street thug, set up an alibi for a rookie cop who kills a low life drug dealer without thinking first, deliberately smash her daughters car up to back up an alibi she created (remember what momma said about lies versus telling the truth?) earlier with Detective Matt Wozniak, gets caught by the FBI trying to take a bribe form a bookie (who is an FBI agent) and Harlee still finds time to work out in a boxing gym both in and out of the ring with her boy toy (no surprise here) trainer boyfriend. Whewww, Harlee accomplished all that in less than 60 minutes.

So now we see we have a team of corrupt cops trying to do their job of protecting the good citizens of New York City and at the same time make a few bucks off the backs of the bad guys by skimming a little kick back in protection money. We have the FBI closing in on this team of corrupt cops who are now under surveillance, and we have the corrupt team leader Matt Wozniak trying to figure out who the snitch is in his own unit before the FBI can close in on them all and break up this happy little family of close knit corrupt cops.

There is a lot going on in Shades Of Blue and I remain optimistic with this stellar cast of Grade 1 movie and television stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Warren Kole and Lolita Davidovich the series will have a strong first season performance. Mrs Shullivan and I were impressed with the pilot episode. So far I will give the series a positive 9 out of 10 rating for the stellar cast, and the excellent directing and cinematography of the series pilot.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Definitely more for romantics than for us die hard Christmas enthusiasts, 25 December 2015
6/10

Mrs. Shullivan and I did like this film which we watched on Christmas Day. Having said that it is more about second chance romance for the two stars Connie Seleca and Randy Travis as well as a second chance to find a new family for a little 10 year old runaway boy named Wiliam and his dog.

The film does take place during the Christmas season with a touch of the buh humbug I don't believe in Christmas theme, but as any film which wants to touch our hearts will do, everything falls into place by the end of this romantic family oriented drama.

If you are looking for a touch of romance and second chances then watch this film. If you want a real feel good Christmas themed film then stick to the old reliables like White Christmas (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) or It's A Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed). I give A Holiday to Remember a decent 6 out of 10 rating. Mrs Shullivan enjoyed it as well.

The suspense is ever present with a conscious decision to exclude any gratuitous violence or sexual content, 22 December 2015
7/10

The Captive has more pluses than minuses so let me explain the pluses first.

Plus - The suspense is present from the very opening scene. Ryan Reynolds plays an independent landscaping contractor named Matthew Lane who adores his little girl, and never misses her figure skating practices, or competitions. His wife Tina Lane played by Mireille Enos is also much in love with her husband Matthew and their daughter Cassandra. When Matthew makes his regular weekly stop to pick up his daughters' favorite cherry rhubarb pie after her figure skating practice, Cass is lying down in the back of Matthew's truck when he goes in to the restaurant to pick up the pie. What happens next is every parents worse nightmare, and in reality there are tens of thousands of families over the past 50 years that have lived this exact tragedy. Matthew casually comes out of the restaurant, pie in hand, but his little Cass is nowhere to be found. There are no other vehicles in the restaurant parking lot, there are no other people in the restaurant other than the waitress. Poor little Cass has vanished into thin air. Who is responsible for this henious act?

We then witness the initial interrogation by the two lead detectives Nicole (played by Rosario Dawson) and Jeff (played by Scott Speedman) of the last known person to see little Cass, that person being Matthew Lane, her distraught father. Obviously any competent police force realizes statistically that kidnapped children usually know their abductors, and historically a good percentage of abductions (and the imminent murder of kidnapped children) are caused by the children's parent(s). So Matthew should have been a bit more cooperative with the detectives during that initial interrogation. Was he involved or not? We the audience are really not quite sure...and so the suspense continues.

Kevin Durand plays Mika, who is second in command to a major construction firm, and whose real passion is kidnapping little girls like Cass and exploiting them to pedophiles on the world wide web. His creepiness and intellect are ever present and the audience wonders if Cass will ever be free of her captor Mika, from her secluded basement dwelling in his home.

I also want to thank director Atom Egoyan for purposely excluding and gratuitous gore or sexual content related to pedophilia. Mr Egoyan obviously respects his audience and realizes that we the audience can conceptualize what poor little Cass is being exposed to over her 8 year captivity and presenting any sensitive scenes relating to pedophilia would not have added any value to his film. Thank you Mr. Egoyan for keeping your suspense film classy.

Minuses - The director, Atom Egoyan, uses a technique that other suspense films have used quite frankly, much more effective than in this film. The technique I am referring to is to flip the various scenes between current, and past time frames, to the point where it has a negative effect on the level of suspense and adds no value in explaining the initial capture of Cass that has now extended in to an 8 year unsolved kidnapping.

The two lead detectives played by Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman doesn't really work. Detective Jeff (Scott Speedman) plays more of an antagonist to Cass's father Matthew Lane as he has pre-determined his guilt in Cass's disappearance. The film never shows the two detectives Nicole and Jeff making any forward progress on Cass's kidnapping other than observing a more mature Cass soliciting new jail bait for her captor Mika, by befriending young girls on the web. In fact it is Cass's daddy Matthew who eventually determines who the kidnappers are.

Without giving away the ending it is a bit of a letdown. Although there are a few loose ends not clearly explained such as mom's housekeeping duties in a Niagara Falls hotel being monitored by the kidnappers as they leave Cass's mom Tina clues in the rooms that she cleans such as Cass's baby teeth, hair brush and figure skating trophy to witness Tina's distraught reactions to remind Tina her daughter is held captive.

Director Atom Egoyan should stick more to the reliable chronological approach to the films sequencing rather than his film style of switching between past and present timelines for various scenes. Overall though I give the film a decent 7 out of 10 rating as the main actors are all very good in their respective roles, the suspense is present regardless if some other reviews say contrary. It is not quite on the same level of Anthony Hopkins version of Hannibal Lecter in the superb film Silence of the Lambs, but your money will still be well spent by viewing The Captive. I give it a thumbs up.


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