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Star – Chadwick Boseman
Genre – Sports Biopic
Run Time – 128 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 18 Nominations
Amazon – £5.22 DVD £15.99 Blue Ray
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42 is the dramatized story of America’s first black Major League baseball player, Jackie Robinson, his shirt number for the Dodgers being 42. It’s a story I didn’t know and keen to learn and as Hollywood do the sports biopic so well I was looking forward to it. America loves their baseball movies and this one broke the record for highest box office opening weekend by a baseball movie. The previous record holder was The Benchwarmers (2006). The 42 box office didn’t reflect that with its budget of $40 million bringing in just $57million and, ironically its black themes chipping off its true story appeal, I guess. Its super handsome star Chadwick Boseman, no doubt, found a female audience.
Out of respect for Robinson, in 1997, baseball commissioner Bud Selig universally retired Jackie number, 42. The handful of players still wearing the number were allowed to keep it. As of the film's release, only Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees continued to wear 42 on a daily basis. Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season. As of 2014 (barring special requests or approval), no major league player will wear #42. The Dodgers and Robinson would go on to win the 1955 World Series.
• Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson
• Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey
• Andre Holland as Wendell Smith
• Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher
• John C. McGinley as Red Barber
• Toby Huss as Clyde Sukeforth
• Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese
• Alan Tudyk as Ben Chapman
• Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum Robinson
• C. J. Nitkowski as Dutch Leonard
• Brett Cullen as Clay Hopper
• Gino Anthony Pesi as Joe Garagiola Sr.
• Ryan Merriman as Dixie Walker
• T. R. Knight as Harold Parrott
• Hamish Linklater as Ralph Branca
• Brad Beyer as Kirby Higbe
• Jesse Luken as Eddie Stanky
• Max Gail as Burt Shotton
• Peter MacKenzie as Happy Chandler
• Linc Hand as Fritz Ostermueller
‘Maybe tomorrow, we'll all wear 42, so nobody could tell us apart’.
Brooklyn Dodgers team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) has a plan. He wants to break the color barrier and employ the leagues first black player. There is no law to stop that but there are no black players, even though black people make up a lot of the fans back then. His motives appear for profit but there are easier ways to make money in racially split America.
Ricky sends his scouts out to the minor leagues where black players are allowed to play and decides on second baseman Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs. Robinson’s journey is being followed and chronicled by black sportswriter Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), who also recommends Robinson to Rickey.
To ease him into the firestorm to come he signs him with their feeder club for the 1946 season, the Montreal Royals, on $600 per month and a $3,500 signing bonus. To celebrate he weds his beautiful girl Rachel (Nicole Beharie). But he is the only black player there and the racism soon starts, from the crowd and the team mates. It’s not pleasant.
He battles through the torment, and season, and does enough to get his contract with the Dodgers. Jacky has a bad temper though and they will taunt him into reacting so they can kick him out of the sport. Most of the Dodgers team soon sign a petition, stating they refuse to play with Robinson, but manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) insisting Robinson will play in the main team. But dark forces are at play and Durocher is suspended by Happy Chandler (Peter MacKenzie), the Commissioner of Baseball, for actions in his personal life, leaving the Dodgers without a manager to start the regular season. They are trying every trick to derail Branch Rickey.
Retired coach Burt Shotton (Max Gail) agrees to manage the team and tries to tackle the racism head on – on and off the field. As much as the players hate Jackie they know deep down he is there on merit and can play some serious ball, and that means they will win games as they slowly come around and climb the table. But it’s still a long battle ahead as the racist abuse still gushes out of the visiting crowd and the opposing teams, especially the Philadelphia Royals as the play-offs near.
I liked this one and as far as sports biopic’s go this is enjoyable and entertaining. Like I said the Americans are good at these. They love their sporting history, especially baseball, and respect it by bringing us these true stories to the big screen. America are the only country that can do good sports biopic’s to be fair, The Damned United the only decent one from the United Kingdom I can recall. And it’s a great true story to be told and Jackie Robinson an amazing man of courage and strength -im and can play some decent baseball.
Branch Rickey is Harrison Ford's first film role playing a real life character. He is getting old now and no longer the handsome action hero and playing dads and important old grey men from now on in. Four players from the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers were still alive when this film came out and two camoe: Tommy Brown, Ralph Branca, Marv Rackley, and Don Lund all involved in some way in the film to capture the mood back then.
The film has some artistic license to create tension and drama. While Robinson’s career with the Montreal Royals is not explored, Jackie Robinson was a hugely popular player with Montreal fans – both black and white - and after leading the team to the league championship it was noted: ..."probably the only day in history, that a black man ran from a white mob that had love, not lynching, on its mind." I’m guessing it was not too clever at the dodgers though. The film doesn’t really get too deep and political on that and remains a Disney style approach with the drama all about how Robinson deals with the racism, and eventually the team.
Chadwick Boseman in the lead is a seriously handsome dude on screen and going to be a huge star and the next Denzel Washington. Jackie’s legacy could not be in better hands. Everyone else stands back and leaves it to him with two dimensional turns to get the message across on just how terrible racism is, which we all knew. It would have been a stronger film for holding white America to account in the film back then but I guess those Trump rednecks wouldn’t go see it if they did make a smarter movie. But it’s a great story to tell and although not about sport so much there is a Hollywood ending to enjoy to round of an entertaining movie.
Imdb.com – 7.5 /10.0 (69,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 72% critic’s approval
Not that many.
-Behind the Scenes-
Cast & Crew talks about their movie.
San Francisco Chronicle –‘A dramatization of what Robinson did and what it required, 42 will not disappoint’.
The Mail –‘It's not easy to play a stoic, but Boseman anchors the movie, and when he smiles, 42, already such a warm story of such cold times, gets even brighter.
TIME Magazine: The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving’.
Time Out: ‘As a fond gesture to a country coming out of the dark ages, 42 is a good-hearted attempt at Robinson's story regardless of the historical realities it chose to gloss over’.
Film Comment Magazine: ‘I wanted to kick Ford/Rickey into next Christmas, and you can add the movie. Its corny triumphalism is barely bearable’.
Financial Times ;’Rousing climaxes, mostly well-earned, arrive every half-hour’.
Guardian: ‘This honorable and enlightening film pays due respect to Jackie Robinson -- a sports legend and courageous American hero’.
National Newspaper Publishers Association :’The Jackie Robinson story has always been more than deserving of a gaudy big-screen telling, and Helgeland is happy to oblige’.
Cinemixtape: ‘A hero without imperfections can be problematic. But Jackie's nobility is more than well-earned, and tarnishing it for the sake of balance would be churlish. Besides, there's enough evil at loose among the white characters’.
Maclean's Magazine :’Boseman gives a potentially star-making performance, while Ford, at 70, segues smoothly from firm-jawed action hero to elder-statesman character actor’.
Sacramento News & Review:’It comes with a smooth burnished period look, and it tells a smooth and burnished story. Helgeland has good intentions but not much new to say about a real-life hero who wears his nobility and torment mostly as symbols’.
Star – Jeremy Piven
Genre – TV Boxset > comedy
Run Time – 8 x30 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Series Awards – 14 Golden Globes
Amazon – £4.99 DVD £10.99 Blue Ray
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So series 8 and its all over for Entourage for me as the final disc was ejected from my DVD player. It’s been an enjoyable journey and starting to watch series one three years after it had wrapped up on HBO meant I had still to indulge in the show long after most had finished with it along time ago. I didn’t really know much about it when I discovered it in 2013 other than it was about Hollywood and had those knowing celebrity cameos in it when thy play an exaggerated version of themselves for laughs. It’s a sort of cross between Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Larry Sanders Show and if you liked those then you will get enough from this although Entourage clearly aimed at a younger male audience as there are lost of gratuitous sexy ladies and naughty bits in it. In fact it’s a fantasy of how we men think Hollywood and fame is and pretty much every sexy female extra in Hollywood used in the show. It’s way over the top. The reality may be very different as the moment famous people step out into and uncontrolled public situation it can go any way and they end up cowering in their homes or behind tinted windows in fear of that criticism. Tom Cruise can’t just go buy a paper or chill out in the park.
The basic set up is four guys – two brothers and the two childhood friends of- head to LA from Boston to help bubble permed Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) achieve his dream to be A-List movie star, and maybe get some fame to rub off on them, especially hot women. Vince brother Johnny is a B-Movie actor and is already set in Tinsletown. We picked up their lives in series one, just as Vince breaks big and the friends begin to enjoy the hedonism of Hollywood. It’s based loosely on the life of Mark Wahlberg and his crew of mate’s hellraising in their early days in Hollywood, the actor co-producer on the show.
Kevin Connolly ... Eric Murphy (96 episodes, 2004-2011)
Adrian Grenier ... Vincent Chase (96 episodes, 2004-2011)
Kevin Dillon ... Johnny 'Drama' Chase (96 episodes, 2004-2011)
Jerry Ferrara ... Turtle (96 episodes, 2004-2011)
Jeremy Piven ... Ari Gold (96 episodes, 2004-2011)
Rex Lee ... Lloyd / ... (79 episodes, 2005-2011)
Perrey Reeves ... Mrs. Ari (74 episodes, 2004-2011)
Debi Mazar ... Shauna (50 episodes, 2004-2011)
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Sloan (31 episodes, 2005-2011)
Rhys Coiro ... Billy Walsh (27 episodes, 2004-2011)
Beverly D'Angelo ... Barbara Miller (25 episodes, 2005-2011)
Constance Zimmer ... Dana Gordon (21 episodes, 2005-2011)
Vince is out of rehab and drug free and sober. He pitches a film idea to his friends about the Chilean miners, but is not well received amongst the boys and his obnoxious but loyal agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) killing it pretty early on.
Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) have split up, mainly because Eric refused to sign a ‘prenup’ , and took over Murray Berenson's (her father) agency with Scott's help to create the "Murphy Lavin Group". Ari is also apart from his beloved Mrs Gold (Perrey Reeves), going through an unwanted trial separation, but wanting to get back together. But Ari is devastated when he learns his wife is seeing a chef at a fancy LA eatry, Bobby Flay. Hurt, Ari begins seeing his old flame Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer).
It’s finally going well for Vince’s dufus brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), his new animated TV show, Johnny's Bananas, a potential hit in the making. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) has blown another business opportunity over a tequila franchise and then burnt down part of Vince’s house when he accidentally throws out his joint onto the drapes forcing the group to move into am expensive hotel.
Vince writes a script for the Chilean miner movie with help from tempestuous director and friend Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro). Billy thinks Drama would be great in the lead, rather than Vince himself, which Vince agrees to. He wants to make his big brother a star. Ari makes his agent and ex PA Lloyd (Rex Lee) the head of the TV department.
Turtle has a new idea to start a new company after he sells his stock from Avión tequila, selling East Coast Brooklyn ribs in West Coast California. Johnny begins recording Bananas with co-star and loud mouth Andrew Dice Clay (himself). Dice pushes Johnny and Eric to ask the network for more money but they turn him down. Staying true to his word, Dice leaves the show before it airs. Johnny is not happy with his replacement, director Billy Walsh. Show producer Phil Yagoda (William Fichtner) has to get Dice back on board or the studio will fire them all.
Vince meets with volatile producer Carl Ertz (Kim Coates) at Carl’s house. Ertz offers to produce the TV movie for Johnny, but in return wants Vince to star in the film Taxman. After realizing his mistake and feeling bad, Ertz runs off to the bathroom to get high and subsequently kills himself. After the shooting, Vince is required to take a drug test by his parole officer as there was cocaine in Ertz's house. Worried he will fail the test he has to risk a lot and cheat the LA cops.
Vince falls for beautiful Vanity Fair writer Sophia Lear (Alice Eve). He opens up to Sophia only for the article to call him an "insecure womanizer". Ari realizes that he might lose his share in the Agency he runs with a costly divorce and desperate to win his wife back to put things back together again. Eric has also not given up on Sloane.
The show stopped being really good about four or five seasons ago as the celebrity cameos dried up and the scripts got more soap opera and less smart but I stuck with it as I felt part of the journey and enjoy the characters, especially Ari Gold, one of the great TV characters of all time. Jeremy Piven is simply brilliant and although he is merely peripheral in the final two seasons his is still highly watchable.
Vince and the boys are still loveable on screen but deep down they know the series had gone on too long and the material had tailed off and so should have done no more than six seasons, the way Prison Break just went on and on. Interestingly the actors had no idea this was the final season until they saw the scripts for the final fairytale episode. Cleary typecast at this point there may not be life for them after the show as they had become soap characters for 8 years and did very little film work during that run. The door is left slightly ajar in the final scene for an Ari Gold style spin off though, the way they did with Braking Bad and the bent lawyer chap. Sadly a rather poor Entourage (2015) movie is all we have seen since..
There are funny and clever moments still but few and far between. You can sense the best writers have moved on and left to further their careers during the eight series and up to creator Doug Elin to park the ship in the HBO dry dock for decommissioning. It was rather sad for it to all ends as you got to love these guys and you know that there may not be much more of this clever and knowing style of TV where celebs send themselves up. But everything has to so to an end and this Hollywood fantasy had become exactly that. When you see a series drag on you understand exactly why John Cleese did just one series of Fawlty Towers. There is only really one great season in the total number of seasons you make.
Imdb.com – 6.1/10.0 (13,435votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 43% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 54% critic’s approval
=Hollywood Sunset: Farewell to Entourage=
A nice goodbye from cast and crew as they talk between themselves about the 8 years of a cracking show.
=Directors commentary on two episodes-
NY Daily News –‘"Entourage" heads into its final eight episodes starting Sunday night and to be honest, it's time’.
The Mail –‘Entourage looks as though it still has enough juice -- comedy, drama and Drama-wise -- to make its last season a keeper’.
Newsday –‘We've been here before, but there's pleasure in the return trip. It feels like a reassuring final season’.
Philadelphia –‘I can't disagree with those who insist the show passed its sell-by date a few years back, but it doesn't mean I'm not still fond enough of these guys to keep watching’.
Hollywood Reporter ‘-Look, you've had your fun, Entourage. Those viewers who thought the party got old? They don't need to hug it out’.
Slant Magazine –‘Without a compelling storyline since the fourth or fifth season, Entourage feels like it's stuck around this long solely out of habit’.
Red Eye –‘We shall see if the boys become men by the end of this eight-episode season. But I doubt it’
Star – Takeshi Takano
Genre – World Cinema > Martial Arts
Run Time – 114 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA/Honk Kong
Amazon – £3:14 DVD
Awards – 1 Win & 1 Nomination
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Three are three main types of martial arts movies. The historical epics with arrows filling the sky and Kung Fu masters walking on tree tops. Then there is the chop suey all kicking and dancing and often comedy film with one Dojo or village going up against the other. And finally the slick gun play and shiny suit and shade wearing down town Honk Kong tear up as the Triads go up against the Yakuza, Brother very much in the final category.
It stars Takeshi Takano. Anyone who enjoys Asian Extreme and martial arts movies will know of this guy, Mr Cool in the genre. I have seen quite a few of his films but this one I had missed from way back in 2001 and so picked it up very cheap on Amazon. This was Kitano's only film he made in America. In an interview, Kitano said that he did not like the final result of Brother and that he regretted his "Hollywood adventure", which was supposed to bring him a wider audience. As a result, Kitano said that he had no intention of filming outside Japan again. He never did. His screen style is between comedy and cool but not the way Jacky Chan and Bruce Lee did it, why guys like this cant break Hollywood.
Takeshi Kitano ... Aniki Yamamoto
Omar Epps ... Denny
Claude Maki ... Ken
Masaya Katô ... Shirase
Susumu Terajima ... Kato
Royale Watkins ... Jay
Lombardo Boyar ... Mo
Ren Ôsugi ... Harada
Ryo Ishibashi ... Ishihara
James Shigeta ... Sugimoto
Tatyana Ali ... Latifa
Yamamoto (Takeshi Kitano) is a brutal and slick Yakuza enforcer, whose boss was killed when he failed to protect the boss and whose clan has been defeated in a war with a rival crime family in Tokyo. The surviving clan members have a few options. They can join the winning clan, live with shame and distrust, or to die by committing seppuku, suicide by blade to the gut. Yamamoto, however, decides to leg it to Los Angeles along with his associate Kato (Susumu Terajima) to set up shop there.
In the City of Angels he seeks out his estranged half-brother Ken (Claude Maki), who runs a small-time drug business together with his local African-American friends. At the first meeting, Yamamoto beats up one of them up, Denny (Omar Epps), for hustling him on the street, neither knowing who each other are at that point.
Denny soon becomes one of the Yamamoto's closest friends as the bruthas and the two Yakuza get used to working with a gang with little discipline. Yamamoto decides to pick up where he left off in Tokyo and soon starts a turf war with the various South Central gangs for control of the drugs. His motley crew brutally attacks Mexican drug bosses and takes control of their territory downtown. They also form an alliance with Shirase (Masaya Kato), a criminal leader of Little Tokyo district, making their group even stronger.
As weeks turn into months Yamamoto and his growing gang emerge as a powerful mob, expanding their turf enough to draw the ire of the all powerful Italian Mafia. But Yama is getting bored in their now hugely profitable but increasingly dangerous business, spending his time with a girlfriend (Ryo Ishibashi) or just sitting silently thinking about stuff. It’s not the right time for him to lose focus as the Mafia ruthlessly strikes back, his gang hunted down one by one.
I’m a big fan of Kitano and so I’m going to watch his movies. This is not one of his best but wanted to see him have a crack at an American movie anyway. It’s extremely predictable on that score and America doesn’t really come into much as we stay in the LA ghettos as various bad guys get whacked in this cross genre shoot and hack em up. It has lots of subtitles and most of the hardcore violence was cut to earn a mainstream American cinema release back in the day. It hurts the film in my opinion. Asian Extreme should be Asian Extreme.
It presents all the violence in crisp and cool camera work that distances it from the mayhem and keeps it from becoming oppressive. A lot of fingers are chopped off. Kitano is magnetic on screen and indestructible and inscrutable as ever as others take the bullets. He has this constant grin on his face in most of his movies that it’s all a joke and not a lot of substance to his work and he is doing the same thing over and over again. It did a decent $15.2 million to date though which is good money for this type of hybrid film although the look and feel somewhat cheap at times.
If you enjoy the genre you will get enough from this and not too many of those subtitles to worry about. Jive talking bruthas versus shiny suit Asian killers in shads is good B-Movie fun and ethnic stereotypes galore. Because of the big cuts the best gore is absent (to excuse the pun) and not well disguised as a man goes into a building and the next frame there are dead bodies everywhere. But that’s not unusual in these types of crossover movies. We do get a good hari kari though. Apparently to get the most honor with the blade to the gut suicide the higher up the blade is pulled up to the chin the more posthumous respect and honor you get.
Imdb.com – 7.2/10.0 (19,324votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 47% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 47% critic’s approval
Quite a few. You can sense by these the director was not pleased with his film.
San Diego Times –‘Oh Brother’…
Washington Post –‘Just how many acts of self-inflicted finger amputations do I really want to see?
Chicago Tribune –‘For all its arty bloodshed, Brother is disappointingly hollow.’
New York Times –‘If the film had ended a couple of scenes earlier, on a touch that's a tribute to westerns and showdowns, Mr. Kitano would have finished things off beautifully. But that's a minor quibble’.
Film Scouts –‘A vital, stylish Yakuza pic, Kitano crafts a new world/old world, brother against brother epic battle straddling both sides of the Pacific’.
The Sun –‘Takashi has been considered a master auteur. Perhaps, but there's no art here, just violence’.
The Independent –‘If the yardstick for mob flicks is 'Goodfellas' (and it should be), then 'Brother' doesn't stand a chance. On its own, however, it is a stylish, colorful film’,
The King Billy is Northampton’s premium rock bar. In fact it’s our only rock bar. If you like Black Sabbath and Whitesnake while pretty much everyone else is listening to Adele and Ed Sheeran then you may end up here one day. I used to go once a month as a younger guy but the same people who went there when they were 18 in 1975 are still going there now at 65 and so not exactly a pick up joint. To say is an older demographic is an under statement, lots of sad long grey hair, pot bellies and bald spots to go with. It’s a biker bar to and one or two like to try and look the part and act tough with their leather waistcoats and chapter rockers but probably lawyers and engineers if the truth be told. But some of them have long since swapped there Harley for a mobility scooter.
It’s great for live rock bands and if you are big on the East Midlands metal scene you will gig here at some point. It’s not a big venue though and very tight when you try to enjoy the bands. You do not want to nudge and spill those biker’s pints! In fact the pub is not really designed for live music but has just ended up a biker bar over the years, the sweet smell of petunia oil and vapors flavoring the dry ice as big Dave tears into another riff. Half the bar area can’t see the stage although sometimes that’s not a bad thing as the bands are not young either but if you love the screech of a guitar and thud of bas and crash of drums and into the music you probably don’t care.
There is a pool table in the corner with a fag burns looking like satellite map of Vietnam bomb craters and you can’t get your cue in easy. There is a predicable juke box with metal galore and condoms are £3.00! There are TVs for Sky but it’s not that type of pub. They aint going to turn down the music to watch Spurs. Oh and the toilets are as rough as the clientele. As I say it’s very loud when the bands are on and lots of bumping and squeezing through to the bar and so not exactly a date pub. Again be careful who you nudge. To get to the bogs you have to pass the frantic moshpit of 16 year-olds with smurf rucksacks and mauve hair jumping around like lunatics to their songs.
If you don’t like rock music much but enjoy live music there are fewer earthy places to enjoy it. They do a rock covers night at other cleaner pubs in the town now and then so you may have a choice now and then. But rock music has always been under appreciated even though its one of the biggest selling genres in the country and, indeed, the world and not representative in the countries night life. The moody middle-class college youth have their melancholy indie and assemble in the Roadmender venue on mass and the working-class their tinny dance and R&B pop which is in every other pub. For me there is very little.
They do lots of real ales but the pub is town central so not cheap. Some of those beers will blow your head off – if the bikers don’t fighting over tattooed Big Berthas don’t. A pint of lager is around £3.00 and £3.60 a bottle. Service is as quick as you make it and the girls behind the bar not there for their looks but their music taste and the money. It’s a rock pub experience the same as it’s ever been in any other town but everyone just got older, including me. Your ears will be ringing like the till.
Star – Tommy Lee Jones
Genre – Western
Run Time – 122 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 6 Wins & 14 Nominations
Amazon – £3.00 DVD £4.73 Blue Ray
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I have seen a few westerns of late and they have all been rather good, this one no exception. Apart from the Comic book stuff it’s the only genre that is still consistently rolling out good stuff in Hollywood. Maybe because of its history in shaping the movies they respect the Western that little bit more. In fact I can’t recall when I have seen bad one and that’s all budgets and styles. .As long as you cast them well and stick to the winning formula the money seems to roll in.
The cast here includes three Oscar winners: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, and Meryl Streep; and two Oscar nominees: John Lithgow and Hailee Steinfeld. Tommy Lee Jones in a western is like Robert Duvall in western. These guys were made for it. It’s also the debut of Grace Gummer in her first major film role, Meryl Streep being her mother. How can you not like that line up?
Tommy Lee Jones ... George Briggs
Hilary Swank ... Mary Bee Cuddy
Grace Gummer ... Arabella Sours
Miranda Otto ... Theoline Belknap
Sonja Richter ... Gro Svendsen
Jo Harvey Allen ... Mrs. Polhemus
Barry Corbin ... Buster Shaver
David Dencik ... Thor Svendsen
William Fichtner ... Vester Belknap
Evan Jones ... Bob Giffen
Caroline Lagerfelt ... Netti Svendsen
John Lithgow ... Reverend Alfred Dowd
Tim Blake Nelson ... Freighter
Jesse Plemons ... Garn Sours
James Spader ... Aloysius Duffy
Its 1888 and the troublesome George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) has wronged again and a lynch mob are out for him. All alone with a noose around his neck he is rescued at the last by feisty independent Nebraskan farmsteader Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), who is about to take three slightly bonkers women cross country to salvation in Hebron, Iowa where a religious order sanitarium await her arrival. There and then she makes a deal with Briggs that she will cut him down and pay him $300 dollars on top of that gesture if he will guide her and a secure wagon to the safe haven of Hebron.
After a harsh winter, three women from the community began to show signs of mental instability due to the hardships. Arabella Sours (Grace Gummer) has lost three children to diphtheria, Theoline Belknap (Miranda Otto) kills her own child after a poor harvest puts her family at risk of starvation, and Gro Svendsen (Sonja Richter), a Danish immigrant, is shown to be in an abusive relationship with her husband and suffers a breakdown after her mother dies. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) calls for the husbands to escort the women eastward to Hebron but they either can’t wait to get shot of the women or simply not up to the task, why Cuddy has to take charge and hire Briggs as the Honesman.
And so off the two go with the women secured in the carriage. One or two are volatile so must be chained down as they wail and holler for the first days of the trip. Cuddy also has issues with depression and melancholy and so the trip not much fun with the lugubrious Briggs holding the reigns. But he knows the wild country and done this before so the right man to have by her side. They are likely to face Red Indians, bandits, disease, weather and shortages of water and food, amongst other perils.
As they press on the two grow slightly closer and the women improve to. The adventure, fresh air and open spaces seem to be doing them well. Cuddy insures Briggs stays the course by posting his $300 dollars to the destination post office but also looking for something for herself from the trip. She is an impressive gal and growing on the honesman. But can they put aside their differences to complete the arduous trip?
I enjoyed this and yet another western with a different tone knocking around on DVD. Its excellent cast and arid landscapes set the mood quickly as we explore the harsh lives of the early settlers, often out in the middle of nowhere and live and die on their harvest. Loneliness and so depression and mental illness was rampant.
Meryl Streep only cameos at the end so not a movie to enjoy her but Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank really on top form as the belligerent Wild West survivors, comedy and pathos aplenty. I’m never sure if Swank is pretty or not and so hard to interpret in movie roles but TLJ is great in Billy Bob Thornton mode. They light up the screen with their to-and-throw.
Entertaining wise it always stays engaging because of its more abstract Western themes and more than a feminist streak her from a female directed film. The men are generally all violent and sexist and the girls the victims. I guess it was like that back then. A skilled director can make their points on that by not being so polarizing.
As I say it’s a good ride for two hours and not too violent or cheesy western. Some critics say it tells the story of American civilization and you can kind of see that but for me just an original above average western that’s interesting, moody and engaging.
Imdb.com – 6.6/10.0 (23,937votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 81% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 68% critic’s approval
- Deleted scenes –
Not that many
-Behind the scenes-
Bits and bobs behind the scenes
Detroit News –‘If only things had started out on more solid ground and headed toward some sort of resolution. If only’.
Minneapolis Star –‘The film has more surprising turns than a honeycomb has bees. Absurdity and calamity collide without warning’.
The Mail –‘ If Tommy Lee Jones wants to become a great director of a dying genre, he cannot simply hope to mimic what the masters did. He must instead explore the meaning of each image he creates.
Kansas Star –‘The Homesman, Jones gives us a revisionist Western that defies expectations at every turn. It's a genuine art film in the vein of Aussie productions like The Proposition’.
The Star –‘It reminds us repeatedly of how fragile civilization was in the Old West’.
Chicago Reader –‘As the protagonists near their final destination, The Homesman offers a critique of civilization that's almost as pessimistic as its critique of frontier life, suggesting that in every corner of America there have always been more losers than winners.
St Louis Dispatch –‘Swank, an Oscar winner for "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby," is outstanding, getting to the essence of Mary Bee's pride and pain. And in the showier role, Jones impressively peels away layers of rambunctiousness to reveal George's humanity’.
Star – Gérard Depardieu
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 125 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA/France
Amazon – £11.33 DVD £16.96 Blue Ray
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The French seem to have no problem with mixing sex and politics in the way the British have a big problem with it, President Macron a great example, the bisexual (allegedly) 39-year-old believed to have had a two year relationship with male industrialists and seduced at 14 by his now 63-year-old wife, his then drama teacher. To put it mildly the French are as kinky as we are conservative. If they haven’t cheated on their wife and pilfered the public purse they don’t seem to be considered for high office. They are all at it.
The king of French infidelity was Dominic Gaston Andre Strauss-Khan, the former French industry minister and head of the International Monetary Fund who was famously accused of molesting a black maid in a New York hotel in 2011 and his lawyers later settled out of court for $1 million dollars (after costs) in a second civil trail after being arrested at JFK. All manner of conspiracy theories followed. Gérard Depardieu was the perfect actor to play the sex obsessed debauched Khan.
It turned out the maid was a hustler and working with organized crime but the damage was done and DSK was finished. Director Adel Ferrara decided three was a movie there and although not a biopic and DSk name not used in the film it’s thinly disguised account of the events to say the least. Following its release – to mixed reviews varying from high praise to outright disgust – Strauss-Kahn said he would sue for slander. His lawyer also complained that the film portrayed his then-wife Anne Sinclair as anti-Semitic. Ferrara even rented the house DSK was under house arrest in for authenticity in his movie. The film also failed to get a US cinema release because the uncut version was too gratuitous and debauched and the US sensors demanded cuts and so the director pulled it on principal.
Gérard Depardieu as Devereaux
Jacqueline Bisset as Simone Devereaux
Marie Mouté as Sophie Devereaux
Amy Ferguson as Renee
Paul Calderon as Pierre
Ronald Guttman as Roullot
Paul Hipp as Guy
Anna Lakomy as Anna
Natasha Romanova as Russian Yelena
Anh Duong as Livia
Pascal Yen-Pfister as Hotel Security Chief
Kathryn Lillecrapp as Bebe
Pamela Afesi as the maid
Monsieur Devereaux (Gérard Depardieu) arrives in Manhattan on big business and soon enjoying champagne, cocaine and expensive prostitutes in a likewise hotel with fellow business men. It’s not the sort of thing the head of the IMF should be doing in such a position. Back at his room to more Russian girls enjoy him and each other.
The next day he is ready to fly out of JFK but after his shower the sex obsessed Devereaux can’t resist his urges and forces himself on the black chambermaid and performs a sex act on her against her will. Maids in nice NY hotels often double up as hoars as its great access to rich clients. But she is clearly not keen and all but rape and after informing the hotel authorities and then the police Devereaux is picked up at the airport and thrown in a NY Prison cell, his one phone call to his wife triggering an international scandal.
Out on a one million dollar bail and on house arrest in Manhattan in a rented mansion for $50,000 a month he and his wife Simone (Jacqueline Bisset) are forced to spend time together to confront his sex addiction. She is extremely ambitious and only stuck with hi over the years for that reason. She knows about the hoar’s and the women but angry it’s out in the open now and playing the wronged wife to the full. But the lawyers will need her to be by his side or it will all go away as he will be in jail and the lawyers will clean him out for previous indiscretions as more and more women come forward.
It’s hard to really know why this film was made. It’s harder still to understand why it was made the way it was, unless the director has some sort of grudge against this guy as it is a real character assignation. The story is told around a witness for the prosecution would see it as the debauched and overweight politician grunts and slobbers like a pig around the women and prostitutes. The gratuitous sex and drug taking that opens the film goes on and on and it feels seedy and unneeded.
The flabby pot bellied Gérard Depardieu is a vulgar fat Brando type sight on screen and he knows it and also seems to have a grudge against DSK in the way that h plays this. It’s just a horrible ugly movie to watch and doesn’t seem to have any point. There are a lot of subtitles to as DSK and his family speaks in French. Also the director doesn’t even want to touch the conspiracy side of things which to m is the most interesting. We knew the French government was monitoring his calls in NY and we also know he was preparing to run for French President in 2012, which this trial quashed.
The maids take on things would also been worth exploring in the film to add another layer as the moment she found out who the guy was who molested her she was on one of her ‘five phones’ to her ‘associates’ to see how much money they could earn from the opportunity. Her asylum seeker boyfriend was in a Brooklyn prison and needed bail money. Is there a criminal network of African and Asian housekeepers all across America stitching up despicable rich guys? But instead we get the
Boring character study if an unlikable man. It’s just hard to recommend this as there isn’t much here and I’m sure a documentary on him would have been far more interesting.
Imdb.com – 5.4 /10.0 (2,866votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 76% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 71% critic’s approval
Chicago Sun Times –‘Few actors in the world are better suited to play a gluttonous pig than Gerard Depardieu, and I mean that in the best possible way one can make such an assertion’.
Los Angeles Times –‘This frank, unruly look at sex, privilege and power unfolds so much like real life that it proves an intriguing and strangely immersive experience’.
New Yorker –‘The movie packs a singular, agonized vision that seems entirely the director's own’.
The Film Stage –‘Welcome to New York is a bold, sometimes absurdly funny, and often-horrifying look into the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair’.
The Times –‘ Grunting and boarlike, Gérard Depardieu supplies a one-note rendition of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Abel Ferrara's peculiarly unilluminating "Welcome to New York.".
The Mail –‘Neither shocking nor illuminating, Welcome to New York comes off merely as hero worship of a terrible man who revels in his abuses of power’.
I used to love running. Most nights I would go out with my headphones and some rock music and bang out a quick 5 miles or an 8 mile jog. I was super fit and had resting heart beat of 47. I entered lots of events and represented my county of Northamptonshire. I even ran a mile comfortably under 5 minutes. I don’t run anymore though but the miles I have put in mean I am pretty fit for my age today. Most of the illness we are likely to get in old age come from not being fit in our middle years so I have some cache there. Today I enjoy long walks in the summer and autumn of 35k plus in the countryside once a fortnight and general walking, instead of driving, to stay fit. I do miss running though but I can’t do it without my music as they don’t make decent rock music anymore so I’m not motivated. One goes with the other for me. I was bored stiff running without music. In the London Marathon in 88 I had a walkman and 4 soft rock cassettes on me! I reckon lugging that chunky Sony around cost me ten minutes on my time but Whitesnake got m home.
Now, fair play to those who do still run for themselves or competition to keep fit but I was watching the girls ‘Race for Life’ fun run at our local park where they all dress up in pink and although a big field for the 10k there was not a lot of running going on. If that was a blokes race very few would turn up just to natter at the back of the field. The girls were looking at their phones and some even had a fag on! I think the women are missing the real point to this race that it should be about an actual training regime to get fit and so reduce your chances of getting cancer. Raising money for cancer research clearly helps but being slim and fit rapidly decreases the chances of women getting cancers and so helps a lot more. Obesity and physical inactivity are the real killers. Also, what many of the women in the field don’t realize that paying an admin fee for that race isn’t going to the charity; it’s going towards paying to run the admin and steward the event. You got the impression that a lot of girls and women do this one event a year to lift their guilt on not being that fit or for friends and family who have had cancer and do it all again the next year for the same reason, not a lot of training going on in between. It’s critical you train girls.
I was quite amazed to learn that 1-in-3 in the race never bother to handover the sponsorship money they were pledged to run for, the point of the race. Race For Life is the number one fundraising event in the UK bringing an incredible £51,521,000 last year alone but just imagine the number if they got 80% of the money? It would crack the £100 million! For some runners the amounts they were pledged were so small and, I guess, didn’t like asking for it and for others they simply didn’t bother whilst others clearly nicked it for their efforts. But the other 66% do raise good money, 300k an event on average for these countrywide Race For Life’s. I guess the fact the women don’t feel the pressure to actually physically run in these races is why they are so popular and the money pours in. So come on girls, let’s actually train for the race and tone up those bodies. Feeling and looking fitter makes you feel sexier and you know what that means!
Now the other issue here for me is Tesco sponsoring the event, a company all too willing to market fatty and unhealthy products to the same people trying to get fit. Breast cancer rates are much higher in western countries were they have more unhealthy food choices from glutinous hypermarket shelves. I’m a little cynical about Tesco’s motives here. Are they simply involved to plug their grub and get a tax break?
Where running is a bad idea is where people start - especially men - when they are in their 40s and 50s and clearly not in running condition. They jog along on concrete in tennis shoes and Lycra and look like a heart attack waiting to happen. Stick to your cycling lads. For me, with any arduous exercise, you must build up to it because if you don’t enjoy the pain early on you won’t continue. 26-28 is your peak running years and you can go as fast as your legs will carry you then but at 50 it’s never going to be fun for a beginner for at least 10 weeks. My friend the sexy ciao member moistbabe started running in her late 40s and doing 10ks now and in great shape with a toned body and lovely figure. She feels better in herself after following one of those running apps where you win medals for various times and then graduating to the local 5k park runs and then the organized 10ks. There has never been better time for women to get out there and run.
Running is cool because it makes a lot of parts of your body fit. You get a great ass, great legs and a flat tummy, if you are lucky. Your heart is healthier and your lungs improve quickly, second only to swimming for all around improvement. When you are fit and enjoy running your brain releases endorphins and that can be as good as sex for some people. For guys your sex life improves as not only are you more appealing to women and can stay longer in bed you double your sperm count, apparently. Nobody complains about that in the sack. It may increase your chances to have babies in your middle years to. When you are running and your breathings good and you have your favorite tunes on your IPod it’s nearly nirvana.
Genre – TV Box Set > Crime Drama
Run Time – 10 x 50 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Golden Globes – 2 Nominations
Awards – 1 Win & 13 Nominations
Amazon – £9.85 DVD £14.99 Blue Ray
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So Narcos, a Netflix big budget mini series about the life and times of a one Pablo Escobar, the world’s most notorious criminal. During Pablo’s peak his criminal empire smuggled an estimated $70 million worth of cocaine every week coming in at about $20 billion profits a year making him one of the richest men in the world. He is supposed to have spent approximately $3000 dollars a month alone on buying rubberbands just for his stashed money. He had so much money coming in he simply couldn’t find enough ways to launder it and so buried it around Columbia. The rats nibbled away at last 10 percent of it amounting to a loss of $2 billion each year. That’s up there with Labor Party wastage!
Playing Pablo here is Brazilian star Wagner Moura, who had to learn Spanish to take on the role. His mother tongue is Portuguese. This is a season one review and chronicles the life of Escobar from the late 1970s, when he first began manufacturing and selling cocaine, to July 1992, when he escaped La Catedral prison, a luxurious jail he was allowed to build for himself in a deal with the weak Columbian government to avoid extradition to America so to face trail there. The season explores the main events that happened in Colombia during this period and Escobar’s relationship to them. That epic story is told through the perspective of Steve Murphy, an American DEA agent working in Colombia.
Wagner Moura ... Pablo Escobar (20 episodes, 2015-2016)
Boyd Holbrook ... Steve Murphy (20 episodes, 2015-2016)
Pedro Pascal ... Javier Peña (21 episodes, 2015-2017)
Paulina Gaitan ... Tata Escobar (19 episodes, 2015-2016)
Juan Murcia ... Juan Pablo Escobar (19 episodes, 2015-2016)
Raúl Méndez ... César Gaviria (17 episodes, 2015-2016)
Jorge Monterrosa ... Trujillo (17 episodes, 2015-2016)
Paulina García ... Hermilda Gaviria (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Diego Cataño ... La Quica (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Julián Díaz ... Blackie / ... (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Joanna Christie ... Connie Murphy (14 episodes, 2015-2016)
María José Sanchez Real ... Manuela (12 episodes, 2015-2016)
Stephanie Sigman ... Valeria Velez (11 episodes, 2015-2016)
Manolo Cardona ... Eduardo Sandoval (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Juan Pablo Raba ... Gustavo Gaviria (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Richard T. Jones ... Agent DEA (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Mauricio Cujar ... Don Berna (10 episodes, 2016-2017)
Matt Whelan ... Dave Mitchell (10 episodes, 2017)
Jorge A. Jimenez ... Poison (9 episodes, 2015-2016)
Danielle Kennedy ... Ambassador Noonan (9 episodes, 2015)
We meet Escobar (Moura) when he first becomes involved in the cocaine trade in Colombia. Before that he was a well known black marketer in Medellin and moving trucks packed full of illegal goods like alcohol, cigarettes, and household appliances over the border to Colombia during a time when this was so not allowed. Here he – and we – are introduced to Mateo "Cockroach" Moreno (Luis Bravo), a Chilean exile in Columbia and amateur chemist, Breaking Bad style, who pitches the idea that they should go into business together, with Moreno producing a new trendy drug called cocaine and Escobar distributing it. The mark up is a hell of a lot more than TVs and radios!
They quickly expand beyond Moreno's small cocaine processing operation by building bigger labs in the rainforest and, using the expertise of Carlos Lehder (Tony Alveres), who moves their product in bulk to Miami through all manner of inventive disguises, where it becomes the choice drug of the rich and famous. But with cocaine's growth into the American market, accounting for a large flow of US dollars to Colombia and escalating drug-related violence in the US, the Americans decide to send a task force from the DEA to Colombia to take on the issue.
Blonde Miami local Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) is partnered with Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), an Americanized Mexican DEA agent who knows the lay of the land, to head the unit. The role of Murphy's task force is to work with the Colombians to put an end to the flow of cocaine into the U.S. But if thy can find a communist connection with the drugs it will increase the DEA budget big time. They need that budget.
Murphy’s teams arrival in Colombia is not an issue for Escobar yet as he has bigger problems, a chance for Murphy’s young wife Connie (Joanna Christie) to settle in. Pablo is at war with the M-19, a revolutionary group of guerilla communists, looking to overthrow the Columbian government. M-19 is looking for publicity and kidnap drug kingpins the Ochoa brothers', sister Marta (Maria Rodriguez) to achieve that. But Escobar seizes this opportunity to form alliances with other black-marketer criminals to establish a group called "Death to Kidnappers", the genesis of the Medellín cartel. Pablo, the self appointed leader, promise to recover Marta Ochoa unharmed and to prevent further kidnappings, and when he does his power grows again.
Escobar is now insanely rich and also has political ambitions to go with that fiscal power, as he desires to eventually become President of Colombia, the Medellin Cartel up and running. He is elected as a congressman through bribing the people with cash, but is made a mug of when proof of Escobar having criminal ties to the blooming drug industry is brought up in parliament and he is asked to leave in front of the nation. Escobar plots his bloody and brutal revenge as Columbia agrees with America to extradite the narcos to America to face trail. He will stop at nothing to overthrow President César Gaviria (Raúl Méndez) as the drug war begins with the Medellin cartel for the control of the country .
I enjoyed it to a point but I don’t think I will be continuing with season two. I have seen enough to know it’s nothing special. It’s violent but backs off the violent cool Breaking Bad stuff and takes itself too seriously. There is zero humor here. It reminds me the way Boardwalk Empire went for gloss over gritty.
There is some English narration to keep Netflix subscribers onside but there is far more subtitles than I expected, at last 70% of the ten episode disc. We also have gratuitous sex to pull in the adult punters but watching greasy fat drug dealers bonking stunning South American hoars and Bogota housewives is not that sexy though. Archive footage of the real Escobar and Columbia’s drug war is cut in to give it more clout although the acting always remains a little flat and so no character you can really pull for, even the handsome DEA agents. The biggest issue is how uncharismatic Escobar is on screen and obviously he is a major villain and you shouldn’t like him but you need some artistic license in a TV show. He is just a horrible man for ten hours. No one would like this version to become the man of the people he was. Every time a decent fun character arrives, because of the 15-year timeline to get through here, he or she is dead pretty quickly.
The history side is fairly accurate and indeed interesting. We have all heard of this guy but don’t really know the story. It’s actually quite extraordinary what he got up to and the real footage mixed with the drama tells that story well. There is a waver saying some of the characters and situations are made up or embellished but it feels accurate enough.
The big let down and, indeed, red flag, is you are not really into it after two or three episodes, for me, the true test of a good boxset. You have the key characters and locations by then and so it should be clicking. It doesn’t. Pablo is just not a nice guy in anyway here and so you simply don’t care for him, his family, his boys or even the American cops. But with series four fresh off the block someone likes it.
Imdb.com – 8.9 /10.0 (173,123votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 70% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentaries –
-Establishing the route-
The creator Carlo Bernard talks about his TV series
-The Columbian connection-
More behind the scenes stuff
-The Language Barrier -
It’s mostly a Brazilian production and so they al have to learn Spanish.
The Atlantic –‘It's a worthy effort, to be sure, but worthy doesn't always equal entertaining’.
The Sun –‘For some, Narcos will revive the most troubling TV depictions of Latinos as criminals and drug traffickers, despite the show's heroic efforts to humanize everyone involved’.
Screen Rant –‘Narcos' use of narration sometimes comes off more like the writers don't fully trust the audience. Viewers are being told what is important rather than being shown why it is important’,
New York Daily News –‘Narcos makes a chillingly persuasive case that the high-level drug biz isn't fundamentally different from most other business. Supply, demand. Risk, reward;.
Indie Wire –‘An unlikeable character, no matter the circumstances, remains unlikeable, but an unlikeable character trumps a bland blonde man whose position of authority appears to be his only really interesting character trait, no matter how much voice-over he utters’.
Boston Herald –‘This dramatization of the rise of Pablo Escobar into the most notorious and lethal drug kingpin of South America is nonetheless compelling, and the story moves briskly, making it a great bingeworthy treat’
Star – Tom Hardy & Tom Hardy
Genre – Crime
Run Time – 132 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 6 Wins & 10 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £7.00 Blue Ray
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There are a lot of romantic myths about the Krays; like that they were liked by the Eastenders and ’one of their own’. But, at the end of the day, if you are making big money as a criminal you are earning it off the community you operate in and extreme violence and fear the chosen method to get that money and so the community on side. It’s the movies who romanticize criminality, no on else. Sociopaths tend to end up as criminals or politicians and the Krays certainly that. But punters love to go a long with that anti-hero image and flock to see gangster movies, Legend (2015) becoming the highest grossing 18-rated British film of all time, surpassing Trainspotting (1996). Crime does indeed pay.
The Krays have been done before in movies, of course, memorably so by the Kemp boys from New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, scoring 6.7 on the Imdb. But Tom Hardy is such a watchable and exciting actor it was hard to resist watching him play both brothers in the 2015 film. Bizarrely this was not the only British film drama out in 2015 on the Kray Brothers, ‘The Rise of the Krays’ starring a host of unknown actors was also out on DVD. That would win at the prestigious Marbella Film Festival for Kevin Leslies lead role as Reggie Kray. These will not be the last films on Britain’s most notorious crime family.
Tom Hardy ... Reggie Kray / Ron Kray
Christopher Eccleston ... Nipper Read
Paul Anderson ... Albert Donoghue
Emily Browning ... Frances Shea
David Thwellis …. Leslie Payne
Colin Morgan ... Frank Shea
Chaz Palminteri… Angelo Bruno
Taron Egerton …Mad Teddy Smith
Tara Fitzgerald ... Mrs Shea
Nicholas Farrell ... Dr Humphries
Adam Fogerty ... Pat Connolly
Mel Raido ... Ian Barrie
Millie Brady ... Joan Collins
Chris Mason ... Ronnie Hart
Stephen Thompson ... Ronnie Bender
Sam Spruell ... Jack McVitie
We meet the Kray boys in the 1960s with their crime empire up and running and doing very nicely thankyou very much. Reggie (Hardy), a former boxer, is the pretty boy front of the gang and the twins have become an important and notorious part of the criminal underground in London.
At the start of the film, his twin brother Ron (Hardy) is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for insanity and paranoid schizophrenia. Reggie is not having that and uses threats to obtain the premature release of his brother, who is rapidly discharged. The two brothers are back on the streets together and pull their efforts to take control a larger part of London's criminal underworld.
One of their first moves is to muscle-in on the control of a local night club, using extortion, charm and brutal violence. At about the same time Reggie meets Frances (Emily Browning), the pretty sister of his driver Frankie (Colin Morgan), and they ultimately marry. However, he has to do bird soon after the honeymoon for a previous criminal conviction, which he cannot dodge this time, receiving a serious beating by the guards in the jail for his troubles.
While Reggie is inside Ron is in charge on his own and not taking his tablets, his mental problems, hidden homosexuality and violence leading the nightclub and other earners to be run into the ground. Ron has scared off most of the customers. On the first night of his release from prison, the two brothers have it out at the club over those losses, as brothers do. They are blood but Reggie knows deep down Ron will eventually destroy everything.
Things look up when the brothers are approached in London by Angelo Bruno (Chaz Palminteri) of a prominent Philadelphia mob family on behalf of Meyer Lansky and the American Mafia, to try to interest them in a crime syndicate deal. Eventually Bruno agrees to a 50/50 deal with Reggie to split London's underground gambling profits in exchange for local protection from the Krays. Ron is not to so happy and wants to chop em up and send them home in their suitcases.
At first, the deal is a real earner for the brothers but Ron's blatant violence and volatile behavior continue to expos the gangs criminal antics and finally gives Scotland Yard enough to go on, who open a full investigation of the Kray brothers, headed by Nipper of the Yard (Christopher Ecclestone). Can Reggie tolerate his brother’s madness for much longer?
Critic Benjamin Lee of The Guardian wrote a negative review of the film, giving it only two stars: a poster for British distributor Studio Canal displayed these, but placed them between the twins' heads, so that at first glance The Guardian appeared to be one of many outlets that had run four- and five-star reviews (until Lee himself pointed this out on Twitter).
I quite enjoyed this and the 2hrs and 12 minutes flew by. You can’t take your eyes off Hardy and his performance quite extraordinary on screen playing the two chalk and cheese brothers, the carrot and stick psychos. His resemblance to Ronnie is uncanny and the prosthetics spot on. Reggie, on the other hand, is every inch hunky Tom Hardy and bit too good looking for the real villain twin brother. I suppose Tom and the director decided they needed the twin brothers to be different for movie reasons and getting the audience on side. As I say there is no way they would like the real psycho’s. Liberties are taken in the film to make their lives palatable on film and one too many here. Despite being very open about his sexuality in this film, in real life Ronnie Kray kept it very private as he saw it as a weakness which could be exploited, which you can imagine. He still denied it to his death and no doubt what caused his psychosis.
Its $20 million budget was worth every penny and its look and cast right up there. Chris Ecclestone was underused as Nipper of the Yard though and so the cop’s role rather two-dimensional here because of, which took from the movie. It’s all about Ton Hardy and he nails it. The two Krays are in a lot of scenes together and clever how they do it. Emily Browning as Reggie’s totty is new name to me and sexy cut on screen. $40million back is good for a crime caper and no doubt did good business around the world as Tom Hardy has that pull - and you get two of him.
So yes, a good fun film for adults and grown up teenagers alike. It’s not suitable for younger as people get shot in the head and beaten with knuckledusters and clubs. The gangsterism is cartoon like and this more about glamorizing the myth than a new angle on the twins. But Hardy was so good as notorious criminal Charles Brosnan in Bronson that they had to have a crack at this, and they have succeeded as far as an entertaining film goes. Definitely on to catch on Film4.
Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (109,132 votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 61 % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 71% critic’s approval
Quite a few
Boston Globe –‘Watching Tom Hardy nearly upstage himself in the gangster biopic Legend makes for mesmerizing viewing. It's also an object lesson in how great acting can transcend a film's limitations’.
The Mail –‘The movie's a testament to the Krays' ability to get away with everything - for a while, anyway. But it's better evidence of Tom Hardy's ability to do just about anything’.
The Sun –‘An alarming botch of a biopic on top of being an all-round cheesy gangster movie’.
Washington Post –‘Legend is the best movie of the year if your idea of a great movie is watching one of our preeminent actors hamming it up for two hours’.
Reel Reviews –‘Legend seems like a movie Scorsese might have made if he wasn't paying attention - the elements are present but they are clumsily assembled and the outcome underwhelms’.
Toronto Sun –‘It's not short of thrills, the biggest of which is Hardy's double performance’.
Movie Freak –‘Legend really does waste the majority of its potential, Helgeland never tapping into the story of the Kray brothers in a way that is essential or lasting’.
A trip worth taking?
Star – Michael Cera
Genre – comedy
Run Time – 98 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Win & 4 Nominations
Amazon – £5.74 DVD £5.70 Blue Ray
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Inspired by a Chillan road trip and a fateful brush with a woman who called herself ‘Crystal Fairy’, director Sebastian Silva decided to make a movie about that experience. Chilean Silva bought us a really enjoyable film called The Maid and so when I saw this hybrid Chilean American film I thought I would. Anyone who has been backpacking or travelling will know all about these student type characters that get all hippy and out there away from mom and dad and university and so well recognize Crystal. They are rather annoying.
It stars Michael Cera, an indie comedy actor in the Jessie Eisenburg mould, who can pick some quirky movies. He is really good in Superbad and Nick and Norah’s Playlist and most known for Juno and Scott Pilgrim Saves the world but tailed off after Youth in Revolt. He decided to live with the Silva family in Chile for several months to prepare for his role in this one. I don’t know why as the role if pretty straightforward but he is obviously going a bit method as the good scripts dry up and Jessie Eisenberg gets the rest.
Michael Cera ... Jamie
Gaby Hoffmann ... Crystal Fairy
Juan Andrés Silva ... Champa
Agustín Silva ... Pilo
José Miguel Silva ... Lel
Sebastián Silva ... Lobo
Jamie (Cera) is a self-absorbed and obnoxious young American traveling around Chile and is keen to experience the mysteries of the San Pedro cactus, a local hallucinogen. He is going with his male Chilean friends Champa (Juan Andrés Silva), Pel (Agustín Silva) and Lel (José Miguel Silva) on the road trip. But at party on the night before the trip Jami meets a crazy American hippy girl called Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) and invites her on the trip. The other lads are not impressed
The car is almost full and the next day Jamie tries to wiggle out of meting her in the agreed place but Champa doesn’t think its right to let her down as she is relying on them, a local square in a small town that place where she has already upset the locals with her antics when they pull up to find her.
The New Age young and not that pretty woman - now dubbed "Crystal Hairy" after she strips off in front of them in the motel on the first night - is soon testing everyone's patience by her antics. But they are on a mission to take the San Pedro and here to enjoy themselves and soon trying to buy one of the locals, who grow them in their gardens for the same reason. But no luck so Jamie steals one and they had to the beach to partake in the ritual as they set up their tents and Jamie prepares the cactus juice drink. But will the plant have a psychotropic influence on them and chill them out and bring them closer together and actual get on with Crystal Fairy, who is naked again and not in need of any cactus to be out of her head.
You may think you have had an “amazing experience” backpacking in somewhere exotic but it may not be that amazing to anyone else and so not the sort of thing other people care about, especially people like me who has done the backpacking thing to death and no all about these annoying hippy types in the film. It does not make for a thrilling interesting film. It’s Danny Boyles ‘The Beach’ all over again for me.
Gaby Hoffman, not the sexiest of actresses, says she had no problem with her gratuitous nudity in the film thanks to growing up in a "naked house." She reminds me of some annoying characters I met traveling and some women you don’t want to see naked. Most of the dialogue was improvised by the actors or fed to them by the director just before a take and it shows, a very dialogue led movie and as shaky as the wobbly cameras in places. There are a lot of subtitles to tackle to.
If you don’t like the style of movie and caustic humor early on will not like the rest of it, a touch smug and not as clever and knowing as it thinks it is. Eating cacti is the sport of thing Beavis & Butthead do. There just isn’t the interesting little indie film here this thinks it is. Cera’s character is meant to be the annoying American abroad in the film but annoying anyway. It is over-the-top and spoils the film some as dos the ghastly Crystal Fairy. Cera is better than this but in real life Michael Cera was apparently an obnoxious irritant who blew coke in people's faces and so a lot like this character in his latest movie. That drug habit could be why he chose this movie.
I find it weird how some people can get money to make small films like this and a star ready to jump on board. There must be better things to spend it on. Its not bad film but it’s a nothing film in the end. The subtitles didn’t help and why it only took $345,234 dollars I guess.
Imdb.com – 5.8/10.0 (6,794votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 81% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 67% critic’s approval
Guardian –‘Stretches of improv with passers-by means the film can resemble one of those What the Director Did on His Holidays doodles, yet its breeziness is oddly warming: Silva's open to the elements in ways his blinkered protagonist only claims to be’
Daily telegraph –‘While never hugely memorable, it's funny and engaging in the moment’.
Financial Times –‘The film's effect, probably like that of the San Pedro cactus, is pleasant, dreamy, hippy-evanescent and very años sesenta’.
The Film Stage –‘Crystal Fairy is all about that uneasy destination: never in sight but always on the edge of perception.’
Boston Herald –‘Low-key, naturalistic and original, Sebastian Silva's study of two Americans finding their way in Chile is an often funny, always compelling journey that rings true’.
Movie Mezzanine -It's a messy film, but it hits more than it misses, sometimes landing on something emotionally resonant’.
The List –‘Silva fails to cook up anything more than unfulfilled potential in this half-baked movie’.
Star – Agata Trzebuchowskais.
Genre – World Cinema > Drama
Run Time – 90 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – Poland
Oscars – 1 Win & 1 nomination
Awards – 66 Wins & 83 Nominations
Amazon – £8.07 DVD £8.99 Blue Ray
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Over the years films about Jewish persecution have scored well at The Oscars, disproportionately so, almost out of encouraged compassion for the Holocaust if the truth be told. Hollywood is very Jewish. As you all know we are not allowed to forget that atrocity and rightfully so. These films are rarely the best of the year but often extremely powerful. Schindlers List remains my favorite movie of all time. Polish black & white film Ida is more of the same and the winner of the ‘Best Film in a Foreign Language’ category at the 2015 Oscars, alongside a nomination for Best Cinematography. It stars debut actress Agata Trzebuchowska, a beautiful blonde student with no prior acting experience. It needed someone with innocence of those times to make this work.
• Agata Trzebuchowska as Ida Lebenstein/Anna
• Agata Kulesza as Wanda Gruz
• Joanna Kulig as a singer
• Dawid Ogrodnik as Lis, a saxophonist
• Adam Szyszkowski as Feliks Skiba
• Jerzy Trela as Szymon Skiba
It’s the early 1960s and a young novice nun (Agata Trzebuchowska), known as Anna to her order, is preparing to take her final vows in rural Poland. But before she does she wants to spend some time to find out what happened to her family in the war. All she knows was she was left in an orphanage when she was a little baby and ended up a nun. To help her quest she looks up her only surviving relative, an aunt called Wanda Gruz (Agata Kulesza), who knows all about the Nazis and what went on in Poland
The first revelation from Wanda is Anna was born Jewish and her real name is Ida Lebenstein. From then on in the news can only be bad as they set out to the countryside to discover Anna’s parent’s fete. Wanda was a Polish resistance fighter and a colorful character, booze, men and jazz still her thing. Wanda knows her sister and brother-in-law were murdered by Polish citizens and it’s not long before they track down the killer, an old man on his sickbed who wants to confess to Anna. In the war the Poles were coerced to hand over the Jews for the death camps or lynch them and would often take the properties and the wealth of the families they killed, making it easy to track down both killers and killed in the future. If you were told by a military junta in charge it was OK to do that it’s amazing how many people did do exactly that. Some even enjoyed it.
As they move deeper into the country they learn more secrets and locate the graves of the Lebenstein’s. The time together with Wanda allows Anna to experience Wanda’s less ordered world as Ida sips the joys of boys, wine and dance halls. For Wanda the memories being dragged up are all too painful and for both women a journey that will test both their Catholic faith and whether they can continue their future paths...
I felt obliged to watch this because it won an Oscar, simple as. As I said it’s clearly not the best foreign film of that year but ticks all the arty and political boxes to win that Oscar. Last year the Son of Saul ticked those same boxes to win this category. Next year it my well be a hatrick. African, Muslim and Armenian genocide films tend not to have the same clout in Hollywood.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski pulled on his own background for the film script and locations. His Polish mother was Catholic, his father was Jewish, and he learned late in life that his grandmother had died in Auschwitz. The film and director drew some controversy on that mix with the inference in the film that most Christians had no problem handing over the Jews for the death camps or had no problem killing them in the woods to keep their farms and houses. In fact 40,000 Poles were executed for hiding Jews in Poland and I’m guessing a whole lot more didn’t get caught that were doing it. An accusation has been made that the Poles killed more Jews than Germans.
Ironically, despite playing a woman on the cusp of becoming a nun, actress Agata Trzebuchowskais is an atheist. That may have helped her aloof and impressive performance as a character unaware of her countries history and her family trees fete. Agata Kulesza as Wanda Gruz is also good and shooting the film in black & white really adds the appropriate atmosphere and bleak period feel to Eastern European Poland back then.
Art film and foreign movie fans will enjoy this as it’s what they like. As far as a movie experience goes its OK and watchable. It’s atmospheric over interesting end moody over involving but never dull, which often happens with these films. It has that classic 1950/60s film look and the coming of age themes and emotions explored through immaculate framed shots and visual metaphors are compelling.
It did OK in the box office for its contextual look and performance but the Oscar win made its profit, its $1.2 million dollars pulling back $11 million. As I say its not one of the best Oscar winners for this category I have seen but still solid European cinema. It’s on of these arty films you know what you are going to get by the cover. Sometimes I think I’m thee only person on ciao that watches foreign films on opinion sites.
Imdb.com – 7.4 /10.0 (38,875,votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 96% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 91% critic’s approval
-Behind the Scenes-
All in subtitles so worth a miss
Rolling stone – ‘Now that Paweł Pawlikowski's haunting Polish film has been nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, Ida is back in the conversation. Let yourself be enveloped by a modern cinema classic’.
The Mail –‘ Nestled within its sins-of-the-elders narrative is a faintly charming cross-generational bonding picture, pairing a worldly cynic with a young girl taking her last gasp of secular air before giving her life to the Lord’
Empire Magazine –‘Pawlikowski has a photographer's eye for composition, and every crisp, monochrome frame could be a postcard from Poland's tragic, turbulent past’.
Times UK –‘There is not a frame in this austere spiritual journey that isn't a thing of heartfelt beauty’
Independent –‘The silence used in Pawel Pawlikowski's award-winning, thoughtful and intense new film Ida is deafening’.
Movie Habit –‘ Deep undercurrents run beneath the simple surface’.
Star – OJ Simpson
Genre – Documentary
Run Time – 5 X 90 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Oscars – Won 1
Awards – 43 Wins & 28 Nominations
Amazon – £10 DVD £14.70 Blue Ray
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OJ Simpson “…I went to an inner-city high school. Our football team was terrible, but our fighters were good. We might lose the fourth quarter in the ballgame, but we'd win the fifth quarter after the game, the fight. It's called "the fifth quarter."
(O.J Simpson to Varity Magazine in 1990)
I was in Los Angeles at the time of the OJ Simpson murders and remember it unfolding on the TV in our Santa Monica backpackers, the Bronco chase happening around the start of the 1994 USA World Cup. I didn’t really know who he was other than he played American football back in the day and clearly a huge icon in America for both delirious black and white people to line the freeways cheering for the alleged double murderer as he held a gun to his head. As the days passed after he handed himself in it become clear he was at the crime scene on the night of the murders and the blood of OJ, his ex wife Nicole Brown and her alleged lover Ron Goldman all smeared on a glove found at the scene. No on else was in custody and so he quickly became number one suspect and so arrested for double murder.
The trail was set for November 1994 and would last nearly a year, taking three whole months just to get a jury in place as everyone knew the OJ story and so had some sort of prejudice, prejudice being the decisive factor in the case when it finally ended. There have been many documentaries, films and dramas about the OJ story but this is by far the definitive product, a must see and lengthy dissection of what really is America’s story, that of fame, wealth, race and that prejudice.
With a running time of 7 hours and 47 minutes, "O.J.: Made In America" became the longest film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award since, you guessed it, War and Peace (1966), and by a good 31 minutes. A few months after its Oscar win as Best Documentary, the Academy specifically outlawed "multi-part or limited series" to be included as nominees for the category in the future.
OJ and a whole lot of people………….
Who is OJ?
So disc one of many is very much the early years of OJ, from grinding poverty in the projects of San Francisco to be the running back football star of the University of California. This is where his fame grew, college team’s playing in front of 50,000 students or more there, the workshop for lucrative NFL contracts. ‘The Juice’ was most know then for an amazing 70 yard run, simply known as ‘The Run’ today as he weaved and powered his way through the whole opposition team like Lionel Messi meets JPR Williams, archive footage a plenty capturing many more of those grainy moments.
The firsts surprise fact revealed here in disc one was his father was actually gay and a well known drag queen act. Dad would die of AIDS in 1986 and only came out when he learned of his infection. OJ never spoke of it publicly as a big taboo in the black community. It’s also interesting to know that OJ briefly held the 4x400m word track record whilst on the athletics team at USC.
The Buffalo Bills would win him in the draft and very different place to racially diverse and reasonably tolerant California. It was cold in Buffalo and worse still the coach didn’t play a running game and so Simpson did not impress for 18 months until, that is, the coach got fired and the new guy did like the running game. OJ exploded into games as records fell. There was nothing quite like OJ running with the ball. Nobody had seen anything like it. He would eventually smash the seasons running record and complete 2000 yards in a regular season. These were impossible numbers.
Disc Two looks at his celebrity lifestyle and how his fame seems to transcend his race in the 1970s and 1980s America. Everybody loved the Juice, even when he cheated on his black wife with a white college girl named Nicole Brown, who he would eventually marry, of course. This is where the DVD starts to move through the gears as the race element takes over and OJ becomes a rather unique figure loved by all.
Disc three and the event. We know a lot of this stuff and really enjoyed the recent TV drama on BBC2 but we get to meet the real lawyers, OJ’s loyal friends and the angry families of the deceased to flesh it out some more. We also talk to the jury members (who wanted to talk) some 20 years on. Jury selection is big thing for trail lawyers there and it ended up, as expected, disproportionably ethnic. Both sides also accepted a disproportionate number of female jurors. From an original jury pool 40% were white, 28% black, 17% Hispanic, and 15% Asian, the final jury for the trial had 10 women and two men, of which there were nine blacks, two whites, and one Hispanic. At the start of trial, 12 jurors and 12 alternates were selected from a pool of 250 potential jurors. Over the course of the trial 10 were dismissed for a wide variety of reasons. Only four of the original jurors remained on the final panel to deliver the verdict. The prosecution felt women of any color would jail a man who bats women. How wrong they were.
During the middle of the trial a number of the jurors staged a "revolt.", after being sequestered for 101 days and not allowed to leave the hotel or watch TV in that time, 13 of the 18 jurors refused to enter the courtroom until they were granted a meeting with the infamous Judge Ito. Eventually, the jury returned with 13 members wearing black or dark-colored clothing in what was described as a "funeral procession’.
Disc 4 is the trial and fascinating some more as stat prosecutor Martha Clark recaps the reasons for her tactics and w s real footage of her implementing it in court. They were going up against black showbiz civil rights lawyer Johnny Cochran and had to be ready for the race card to be played. Clark chose a black lawyer on her team to be her number two to address the black jury. The evidence was solid OJ did it and everyone knew it. But the Rodney King riots were not yet out of black Americas system and however guilty OJ was the black jury may have other ideas. OJ denied the bloody shoe prints from the crime scene came from his extremely rare shoes, a shoe brand he denied he ever owned, shoes clearly shown on his feet at various previous film premiers.
If the trial had played out on the evidence then most experts, black and white, thought OJ would have gone down. But tapes of crime scene detective Mark Furman changed all that. He was secretly taped saying the N word and had made previous racist statements and that was somehow admissible in court. From that point on he was labeled a racist cop who may have planted evidence. Ethnic L.A knew all about racist cops and that meant the black jury could nail him on behalf of all of Americas racist cops by and yet another reason to free OJ. Furman’s life was destroyed after that and surprising he wanted to contribute to this film. The prosecution also fumbled the ball when thy asked OJ to try on the glove, which OJ made sure didn’t fit in court.
None of us will forget the look on OJ’s lawyer’s faces when they got him off. No one could believe it. The lawyer with the most bemused expression of all was defence council Robert Kardashain, who spawned those children, children who enjoyed her father’s fame thereafter and became the most famous and vacuous family in the world.
The trial had gripped America, and the world, and black jubilation across the county was widespread on his release, very offensive to some whites, and very hurtful to the Goldman’s. The news footage of African Americans cheering and whites crying put a huge red line across the American society. 75% of white’s thought he was guilty. 75% of blacks thought he was innocent. The deputy sheriff who had taken jurors to where they were released said all across the parking lot there were high fives and cheers and smiles and I heard it over and over "that was payback for Rodney King”.
OJ was free and all those involved in that trial and verdict gave their thoughts on the verdict two decades on in the film. The Goldman’s were incandescent with rage and launched a civil action, which they won, of course. The judge award $33 million dollars damages from the OJ Estate. But the Goldman’s wanted to destroy him and made sure they cleaned him out, including his most treasured sporting personal possessions. All those owed money took goods to the value, including his Heisman Trophy. They wanted his very soul.
OJ played on his ambiguous guilt and started to cash in on it. He got involved in a book called ‘If I Did It’, which cruelly explained how he would have killed them if he had done it. It was another blow to the Goldman’s. During the civil trial Close friend Ron Shipp said that OJ all but confessed to killing his ex wife and lover one time the friends were alone together.
“….I tried to leave there and OJ goes Shipp, hold on, they asked me to take a lie detector test, I told them "no." I said what'd you mean you told them "no"? and he says jokingly truthfully, I've had dreams of killing her and I said I'm out of here’.
OJ had fallen hard and no longer welcome in rich white Hollywood but a double murderer living freely there all the same as if nothing had happened, playing golf, going to the beach and still chasing girls, all too much. The white protests began. He was now talking like a black man and the street had returned to OJ and embraced by the black community once again. But the biggest twist was yet to come as he so desperately wanted those sporting possessions back and got up a posse when he heard some of them were for sale in Vegas by memorabilia trader Mike Gilbert. But it wasn’t the treasured stuff but OJ still wasn’t paying and wanted the stuff back anyway and it soon became a matter of principal, and then an armed robbery and kidnap as one of his boys had bought a gun and people were locked in the bathroom of a hotel room. OJ and company were arrested and the white judge and jury were ready for revenge. He got 33 years in total, somewhat symbolically one year for every million of that compensation and sentenced 13-years to the day he got off for double murder.
Marcia Clark – ‘Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding me? He walked away from a double murder?? I could not believe it”.
The context explained and the depth achieved over the doc's five discs is extraordinary,
particularly in the first and the final installments. I was gripped by this as much as America was the trial from the opening credits to the final arrest with OJ reassuring still in prison today when I finished it. Those 8 hours are extremely enthralling. There is not on ounce of fat here either.
We learn a lot of new stuff about the man - his life and the crimes, and the sycophants and friends around him. OJ the man is as fascinating as the Oscar winning documentary and a man who clearly feels money and fame scrubs out your skin color in America. His rich and famous white friend’s didn’t see him as black and OJ didn’t see him as any particular race just OJ race. Deep down every black person of note wants to be accepted by all colors and judged by their talent and personality, not skin color. Lots of black male sports people and celebrities will marry white girls as they somehow feel it makes them more accepted in the crazy privileged world of celebrity. The whit girls marry for money and they marry for racial status. Once Nicole divorced him for his violent rages and stopped dating black guys the resentment was there. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment attack because he saw her with a young white guy it was premeditated and brutal, graphic accounts of the attack not pleasant. Women are nearly always murdered by men they eventually reject.
One of the emotions I got from this I was not expecting was sympathy for the black community. It was never about whether he did it or not but how people feel when they suffer an injustice. White America felt injustice that he got off but black America was not getting injustice every day of the week since a very long time. The Black celebration of the not guilty vote was very much…now you know how we feel! It was extremely empowering for them. Rodney King was a crack head loser who deserved a beating but many innocent black Americans were getting those beatings off camera to.
So summing up this is a must see piece of television. It’s the type of TV you just don’t reach to turn off the remote and have a rest from it as you are totally engrossed in. I can see why OJ was who he was after watching this. He was athletic, handsome, and brilliant at his sport and a likable guy. Why would he throw it all away? I guess Nicole didn’t get the deal.
If you can’t get past the black community defending him after these brutal murders then this will go some why to resolve that. As I said. Some say this trail played out what modern America is really about in that money, fame and race are the only things that matter in America. Donald Trump is the turd resulting from that.
Imdb.com – 9.0/10.0 (9,964votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 100% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 96% critic’s approval
Entertainment Weekly –‘Extraordinary on so many levels, O.J.: Made In America transcends its stated subjects and themes. It's a withering critique of self-creation, culture making, and idolatry that speaks to everyone, regardless of race’.
CNN.COM –‘O.J.: Made in America feels like a master class on the nexus of race, sports, media and politics’.
The Verge –‘Edelman has crafted a structure that always seems to answer the viewer's next question without allowing the complicated themes or various narrative threads to become overwhelming’.
Cambridge Day –‘In its whole, it's a biting chronicle of the African-American condition over the past six decades’.
Sight & Sound –‘O.J.: Made in America will surely prove the definitive record of one exceptional African-American's spectacular rise and fall, a graphic illustration of how race, injustice and the pursuit of celebrity collided at the tail-end of the 20th century’.
The Mail –‘An aesthetic and comprehensive 7 1/2-hour documentary on an American hero turned bad’.
Star – Peter Kaye
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 4 x 30 minutes
Country – U.K.
Awards – 6 Wins & 6 Nominations
Amazon – £10 DVD £12.99 Blue Ray
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We all love Peter Kay or, at least, we should. He is no threat to the lads as he is fat and jolly and wont steel your girlfriend and to females they don’t worry about having to fancy him to like his act and TV show, a familiar trait with comics, females to. We laugh at them because they share our vulnerabilities and so entitled to exploit it for laughs. And Peter seems lovely chap to boot your gran would love to meet. His is the first working class comic I have seen that tells jokes that gets a middle class audience to turn out to his shows and pay actual money to enjoy. This is why he is top dog. It also helps that he doesn’t saturate our screens with his stuff every year and only tours or does TV stuff when he has something new and good to offer, Car Share no different. I also respect him for not taking the easy money route and doing bloody tedious and scripted panel shows all year!
Somewhat surprisingly Peter Kay didn’t write this show and was not asked to take the role; he was asked to look over the script, and, being very pleased with it, eventually wound up in the main role. I guess he made some changes to the script to make it his own as it has his signature scrawled boldly over it. Peter’s wonderful Bolton accent and unscripted corpsing alone makes it his own.
This BAFTA wining show also bought us the brilliant Sian Gibson, who plays the supermarket shop girl in the act of car share, an actress who had been working in a call centre due to it becoming difficult to get roles, the white collar factories, like supermarkets, the staple job for a particular social class. A lot of people you and me know worked in one of the other in their lifetimes and another reason why this resonates.
The basic set up here is an out of town Manchester supermarket issues a new car share scheme. Assistant Manager John Redmond (Peter Kay) and Promotions Rep Kayleigh Kitson (Sian Gibson) are forced to commute together every day. But will they get along? In season one they started to get along and maybe be more by the final episode and so would they find love in season two?
The chosen car they commute in is the really loved new Fiat 500L, chosen for the program because the dashboard was deep enough to mount the mini cameras used for filming. Unlike most television shows, the scenes in the car (virtually every scene in the series) are not shot in a studio but on the road driving around Grater Manchester as the actors delivered the lines on the move.
Sian Gibson ... Kayleigh (10 episodes, 2015-2017)
Peter Kay ... John (10 episodes, 2015-2017)
So John is quite happy to drive Kayliegh around and soft on her to as thy laugh and joke about work and life and sing along to the radio, as is Kayleigh soft on John but neither able to let each other know their feelings. In the first two episodes their route is different as Kay has moved to her sisters in northern Manchester (the series is actually shot in Altringham) and John Working out a new pick up place, annoying a cyclist on the first day. In episode two there is some drunkenness after a staff party when John is designated driver for Kay and her Irish friend Elsie (Peter Kay). In episode three Kay persuades John to take a day off work with her and visit the zoo and they accidentally kidnap a monkey, as you do. John is supposed to be at a work conference all day and Kay wants to throw a sickie to get to know him more away from work. In episode four Kay locks herself out of her sisters and so they are both late for work. Kay intends to take her chance and declare her love for John with a tactical mix tape.
We love this show and we all want Jon to love Kayleigh. We love the songs they sing along to in the car listening to that fictional radio station Forever FM. Its Not Chorley FM from Peter’s previous TV shows as there is now a real station called Chorley FM since 2006, named in tribute of the TV show. Fans of the show are calling for Now Music style CDs of the pop songs on the show to be released to.
The chemistry between the two is heartwarming and funny and anyone who has worked for a majority big blue collar employer will know all about the work romance in places like supermarkets. Most people have a relationship with someone from work in their life times and when I worked for Tesco’s there was a lot of love going on involving me. That type of full time job and community can quickly became your life and you work hard and drink hard and play hard with those people and you totally get the romance going on here. They are not the perfect couple but you don’t get to chose in banal and routine lives. We accept being with someone like us so we don’t have to talk about not being someone in life.
The acting is comic genius and I love the way Peter lets Sian Gibson have some great lines and ‘improv’ away. You can see Peter giggling away at her free styling talent. Romance often starts through friendship and humor as it builds trust between people and relaxes them and that comes across well here. If you like the same jokes you are bound to get on, right?
The sing along pop tunes elevate the joy the two find with each other from their boring lives in their little intimate capsule as we sing along with them. It’s mostly a two-header but other characters feature in the show, most prominently the hunky trolley guy who Kayleigh drawls over. But she can’t have a man like that. She has to have a man like John, the point of the show, I guess.
Imdb.com – 8.3/10.0 (2,654votes)
The journey is the destination.
Star – Jason Bateman
Genre – Drama>Comedy
Run Time – 93 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Wins & 4 Nominations
Amazon – £3.35 DVD £7.89 Blue Ray
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So an 18 rated movie about a kid’s spelling bee anyone? Yes, that’s what I thought. Well the likable and predictably safe actor Jason Batman thought Andrew Dodge’s promoted script would be ideal for his directing debut and so here we are. The screenplay was featured in the 2011 "Blacklist", a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. Well known actors in their 40s who direct tend to do it to get more control over their career and to work with better scripts, but also there to help get the film made through their name and
• Jason Bateman as Guy Trilby
• Allison Janney as Dr. Bernice Deagan
• Kathryn Hahn as Jenny Widgeon
• Rohan Chand as Chaitanya Chopra
• Rachael Harris as Eric Tai's Mother
• Ben Falcone as Pete Fowler
• Judith Hoag as Petal Dubois
• Beth Grant as Irene
• Philip Baker Hall as Dr. William Bowman
• Patricia Belcher as Ingrid
• Anjul Nigam as Sriram
• Michael Patrick McGill as Beet-Red Father
• Bob Stephenson as Bill Murhoff
• Steve Witting as Proctor
• Greg Cromer as Jeremy
• Ethan Dizon as Ricky Irvine
The rather obnoxious and uncouth Guy Trilby (Jason Batemen) has just caused mayhem at a kid’s spelling bee by entering it and winning it. He has done this before, chased off the premises with trophy and cheque in hand by angry parents, jumping in female reporter Jenny Widgeons (Kathryn Hahn) car, who is following his quest to be national spellingbe champion, this the final eliminator for the big televised event. She wants to know why exactly he would want to do such a thing. And so does Dr. Bernice Deagan (Allison Janney), the hound dog faced head of the National Spelling bee Association, trying to find another rule or tactic to ban him s the parents increasingly gang up on her.
On the plane to the finals he is very rude to little Indian kid Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand), who is on of the favorites for the big vent. Chaitanya is intrigued by this miserable man and tries to befriend him on the plane and, later, in the event hotel but not having it.
Guy is a misanthrope and doesn’t care about much and soon sleeping with the reporter to pass the time. But the kid is persistent and soon the two spending time with each other in the hotel and out and about eating takeaways and causing trouble, an opportunity for Guy to lead the favorite astray. But the little 10-year-old is as smart as Guy and as the rounds tick by its clear these two will be the last standing in front of the TV cameras in the final as Guy helps to accelerate that process by putting off follow contestants with all manner of devious tactics. But why is he doing this? The traditional TV host of the show, Dr. William Bowman (Philip Baker Hall), seems to have the answer.
As one critic cheekily put it - ‘The word "floccinaucinihilipilification" means ‘the action or habit of estimating something as worthless’, Guys third word in the semi final in the movie. And I kind of agree with him, as there really is no need for this movie to be. But it’s well written and delightfully caustic in places and so I got through it and I quite liked some of it. Who doesn’t enjoy adults swearing at kids? In fact who wouldn’t enjoy swearing at them!
Jason Bateman is a surprise in the lead role as he normally plays put upon decent guys who never keep the girl. But he just doesn’t care her and clearly getting that previous film cannon out of his system and so joyously let’s rip in Bad Words. The kid two-and-throw banter works well with little Rohan Chand, superb as the ubiquitous bright eyed Indian Asian spelingbee star with a twist to the under the thumb relationship of the pushy ethnic parents. When ever you see kids in real spellingbees or brainiac competitions on TV they do tend to be Asian. Learning facts is an equal playing field for all I guess and so anyone can excel, South East Asians kids by far the best performers in Western English speaking schools.
It’s worth a look if it pops up on TV but no on to pay a rental for or waste time on your movie package. It’s great to see Philip Baker Hall revive his quiz host role and unforgettable in Magnolia, of course, not to be confused with Rob Morrow from the equally brilliant film Quiz Show. Buddy adult\kid movies should stay in the kid’s genre for me though and always better with an outright Alpha male and cocky kid. The rather awkward lump Arnie Schwarzenegger would have been a lot more fun in this and I don’t need to draw you a picture. The audience certainly didn’t like Bateman erasing his lovably Arrested Development image and a movie that cost $10 million to make managed just $7.3 million back. It’s very much 3 – out – of – 5 stuff and not the sort of film I would want you guys drawing the curtains to on a warm summers afternoon.
Imdb.com – 6.7/10.0 (40,237votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 66% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com –57% critic’s approval
Just the one which begs the question why bother?
A lot of TV actors in this so thy do like to improve and mess around.
Bateman tries to persuade us his film is better than it is with his layered track.
Globe & Mail –‘The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross’.
Toronto Star –‘Almost unrelenting in its takedown both of an American institution and the country's obsession with victories big and small, Bad Words is more misanthropic fantasy than satiric fiction’.
The Mail –‘Trashy, ribald laughs in the Bad Santa vein, this marks Bateman's directorial debut; it's not much to look at, but at least he has the nerve to push the insolence, profanity, and brutal insult humor to its absolute limits’.
NY Magazine –‘The film is at its best when it's hovering aimlessly without any apparent purpose in the world of this embittered, misanthropic little man’.
The Film Stage –‘Chand holds his own opposite Bateman and steals much of the film with a deceptively ruthless cunning, hidden beneath the cutest, most innocent smile in the world’.
Cinemamix –‘The film's dialogue is so crude, its star so inherently - and paradoxically - likable, and its plot so lightweight that it essentially cancels itself out’.
The journey is the destination.
Star – Ryan Reynolds
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 108 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Wins & 3 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £19.00 Blue Ray
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At first sight this DVD has that look that it’s going to be a really cool conman flick with lots of twists, grifts and misdirection, Ryan Reynolds (the loud Canadian actor from the BT ads) and Ben Mendesohn dealt into the pack to rev it up some more. It turns out to be something very different.
It’s from director Anna Boden and writer Ryan Fleck and best known for the film Half Nelson with the other Ryan, Gosling, and loosely based on the 1974 film California Split by Robert Altman. It’s a melancholic and earnest low budget indie with the buddy movie feel of The Sting and mystery of Hard Eight. It also a typical Ryan Reynolds movie, his personalized number plate all over this.
• Ryan Reynolds as Curtis
• Ben Mendelsohn as Gerry
• Sienna Miller as Simone
• Analeigh Tipton as Vanessa
• Alfre Woodard as Sam
• Jayson Warner Smith as Clifford
• Robin Weigert as Dorothy
• Marshall Chapman as Cherry
• Jane McNeill as Kate
• Indigo as Dora
• James Toback as Tony Roundtree
• Jason Shaffette as Chuck
Compulsive gambler Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a frazzled looking guy from a life of throwing dice and tearing up track tickets and so skint again. At a local casino in Dubuque, Iowa, he meets confident and cocky Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), a young drifter come gambler, whilst playing Texas hold 'em on a low stakes table. Curtis wins a decent hand against Gerry, they get chatting and buys Gerry a premium glass of Woodford reserve whisky, and so a friendship begins. Hours later, Gerry runs into Curtis playing darts at a bar and returns the favor buying him a drink. Curtis explains his luck at cards is because he is free and simply doesn't care about winning or losing and just likes to play with no emotional investment. The two get smashed talking nonsense and Gerry waking up on Curtis's couch.
Gerry works in real state and not much good at that either and after another unsuccessful house showing the next morning. Gerry calls Curtis and they hit the dog track. They win big but Gerry is unwilling to walk away, and he quickly blows their winnings. They then drink in a bar and nearly get in a fight over a game of pool and then Gerry mugged in the carpark with a minor knife wound. Curtis later explains to Gerry that “Machu Picchu Time” is approaching, which is the phrase he uses whenever he leaves town, a drifter through-and-through.
The next morning, Gerry meets a waitress called Sam (Alfre Woodard) in a restaurant, where she asks Gerry to repay her the money he owes. If he doesn’t she will call up her buddy to “pay [Gerry] a visit.” He needs money fast. The chance to get that money comes quickly as Curtis proposes a trip down the Mississippi River, where they will gamble at several major cities, and ultimately play at a poker game in New Orleans with a $25,000 buy-in. Curtis agrees to stake Gerry with $2,000 to build up to the 25k, provided that Gerry takes them with his car.
On arrival in St. Louis they meet prostitutes Simone (Sienna Miller) and Vanessa (Analeigh Tipton), friends of Curtiss’s. Gerry wins some good hands on a riverboat casino and then loses the lot at the poker table when his full house is somehow beaten, blowing the $2,000. Gerry has to lie to Curtis, saying that he won $20,000 instead and is inspired to go to Little Rock to make amends with his ex-wife (Jane McNeill) and give her the money he owes. Curtis agrees to come along for the ride as the big game nears and their luck picks up.
Mississippi Grind is exactly that, a watchable but faintly baffling movie that, although well acted, has no real narrative and just ambles hopelessly along like Mississippi River and its two loser characters. It doesn’t seem to adhere to any conventional three-act screenplay structure and so could turn out to be anything. You stay with it expecting a big twist or two or maybe a big reveal or the double-cross sucker punch but it never really happens. All along you really don’t know what the film genre is going to turn out to be. Is it a conman film? Is Gerry the mark, is Curtiss the mark, or is Ryan Reynolds character the devil leading Ben Mendelssohn to his ultimate fete? Who knows.
I do find Reynolds a bit much on screen and a one trick actor actor in that he is too good looking and so doesn’t work hard enough on screen to win you over. He just flashes those charming blue eyes and away he goes. ‘Hey, I’m a Hollywood A-Lister perfect looking guy with it all so deal with it’. I’m sure he is a nice guy in real life but comes across the same in all his movies, why I struggled with Deadpool. He only took the film Buried so he could appear in evey minute of the movie he is that vain.
As I say the film is a real slow ride and never really adds up to something of note, a character study of men addicted to the freedom and fear of being single and alive the best description. Neither character really adds up to much though and you don’t care for them, where the movie falls down. You just can’t see these two guys being on the margins. Mendelsohn is good though and so worth watching for him alone. But as far as a film to catch to sit down to then a no for me and very much three out of five regular indie fayre. It’s gross of a paltry $130,876 proves no one sort it out or even promoted it.
Imdb.com – 6.4/10.0 (12,348 votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 89% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 77% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentary –
Fleck and Boden talk about their movie
Not that many
Apparently it had one.
Guardian –‘It is a watchable if faintly baffling movie, never anything other than well acted, conspicuously without allegiance to any conventional three-act screenplay structure’.
Independent –‘Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn floating down the Mississippi River to gamble and have fun. Should be entertaining, right? Well, it's more a grind than any kind of entertainment.
The Mail –‘.a meandering road movie through the byways of American characters who populate the card rooms and dice tables and racetracks, and an oddball buddy movie built on a chance encounter and an instant kinship between two losers gambling their lives away.
Livewire –‘A loose, funky character study of two guys who can only frame their station as "can't win" and "can't lose," and can't really imagine a life that's anywhere in between’.
Daily Telegraph –‘From its unshowy script on down, Mississippi Grind is content to rumble along as a character piece, keeping its storytelling loose and unpredictable, like a repeat flick of the dice’.
Little White Lies –‘The film earns major points for giving Ben Mendelsohn a proper, meaty character to tussle with, no longer psychotic second banana or madballs deus ex machina’.
New Yorker –‘The actors flaunt craft, the script lays on the folksiness with a trowel, and scenes of local color seem to come straight from a guidebook’.