Star – Al Pacino
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 106 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Nominations & 1 Win
Amazon – £5.00 DVD - £8.67 Blue Ray
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In 1971 John and Yoko sent a complimentary short note to up and coming British folk Steve Tilson, offering him some advice about how to deal with fame and life in general, if his talent came to fruition. But Steve never got it, or knew about that letter, until 2006, when an antiques collector rang him up to verify it. He couldn’t, of course, but quite a surprise for a man that never did become famous. Hollywood read this story and 8 years later made a movie about it, Danny Collins. But it wasn’t going to be about some ginger bearded nobody from Leicestershire, opting instead for the more Hollywood option of the letter being sent by just John to an ageing fictional pop star, Danny Collins, more Rod Stewart than Nick Drake, Pacino’s best and certainly most enjoyable performance for a while. This film will remind you why you like this guy.
Al, like DeNiro, and many of those Italian American A-Listers from the 1980s, hasn’t really done much of note since and we stopped watching their movies, mostly romantic comedies or mid range thrillers now as they refuse to play the characters they should be in their 60s and 70s, the dreaded avuncular old man roles. It must be hard to entertain the idea that you may not be a big star anymore. But for Danny Collins, Pacino did, at least, and earnt a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts, his 20th in total, with 5 wins to his name to date. But his only Oscar was back in 1993, Scent of a Woman, an apologetic one by The Academy for not giving him an Oscar for the previous seven nominations, including the Godfather trilogy, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, barnstorming performances in likewise movies. It shows you how tough it was to win gongs back then.
• Al Pacino as Danny Collins
• Annette Bening as Mary Sinclair
• Jennifer Garner as Samantha Leigh Donnelly
• Bobby Cannavale as Tom Donnelly
• Christopher Plummer as Frank Grubman
• Nick Offerman as Guy DeLoach
• Josh Peck as Nicky Ernst
• Fernando Colunga as Fernando
• Michelle Vieth as Selena
• Katarina Čas as Sophie
• Melissa Benoist as Jamie
• Giselle Eisenberg as Hope Donnelly
• Eric Michael Roy as Young Danny Collins
Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is a huge perma - tanned star with the Vegas mansion and showbiz lifestyle but living off past glories, just old enough to get away with throwing cool pool parties with lots of beautiful people and rock and roll enough to pop A-List drugs. But he hasn’t had a hit in 25-years and hasn’t written a new song in three decades but still making a great living by touring the back catalogue and hits to packed venues for the older crowd, his loyal fans, demanding he sing his hit song Baby Doll, and others. He is a likable guy and people still want to be around him, a beautiful young girlfriend (Michelle Vieth) and a loyal manager, Frank (Christopher Plummer), for all those years still by his side.
On Collins big 65th birthday bash at the mansion he receives a special gift from Frank, something Frank has been keeping secret for three months and champing at the bit to show him. It’s a brief letter from none other than John Lennon, sent to him 40-years ago with words of encouragement on keeping it real and complementing his talent when he was just starting out. Somehow it never got to him and Frank has bought it off a collector after verifying it. Danny loves the present and soon contemplating its meaning, then and now. Lennon obviously thought he was very good, no bigger compliment.
Soon after the party he discovers his girlfriend has a lover, who he is not really that bothered about, but can’t get the letters sentiment out of his head that he has wasted too many years not producing new music to the level of the songwriter Lennon knew him as. Its time for a late midlife crisis as Danny tells Frank to cancel the rest of the tour and ship his piano out to an obscure New Jersey hotel so he can start writing again. Frank, thinking its phase and will pass, agrees, Danny pitching up at the local Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey, much to the shock of the staff and pretty day manager Mary Sinclair (Annette Bening). He announces at reception he will be staying for a while and begins composing in his room.
Mary Sinclair: I'm sorry, are you on drugs?
Danny Collins: Currently or in general?
Danny is soon chating Marry up in his charismatic way but she knows it’s all an act but flattering in its own way. A bit of normality is what Danny is looking for in his life and hopes it will inspire his songwriting. Mary is impressed by the story of the letter, proudly framed and perched on his $35,000 dollar Steinway. Danny also wants to take this timeout to make things right with his son from his third marriage, Tommy (Bobby Cannavale), why Danny is really in New Jersey, Tommy’s wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) as equally surprised to see her famous father-in-law pitch up at the family home when her husband is at work. She is not looking forward to phoning the news to her hubby. But Danny has a lot of emotions to offload and so decides to spend the day with them to try and fix things.
I wasn’t really sure I would enjoy this but I did. Yes AP’s turn is very hammy and the film somewhat too nice at times but its joyous fun and you enjoy Pacino’s company, in full chest wig mood, Tony Ferrino style. The script is smarter than, and not as cheesy as, it appears and has a real heart to it. This is Pacinos most endearing turn for ages, reminding how engaging an actor he once was. He is only 5ft 7’ and so only suited to certain roles and that’s when his star shines and that sexy voice growls. The rest of the classy cast is mere window dressing. This is no real narrative of note here other than pursuit of the maudlin to draw an audience and so you need to enjoy it as a mood piece.
For its Pacino light $10m budget it lost money and bombed at $8 million. I’m guessing his core and more cerebral audience drew parallels with his character and how Pacinos career was living of past glories and gave this a miss. Tony Montono playing piano in Vegas? I had certainly not seen or hard of any publicity for this movie on TV or magazine ads. This is really the legacy of Blockbuster Videos’ collapse, a company that was quite literally the shop window for the film industry. Today people go to the movies to see the big blockbuster films and maybe watch the medium sized ones they missed on their satellite package. Very few people are looking for the smaller movies like this that are not signposted. I don’t have a movie package so have to trawl through top 100 lists online to find these films on places like Amazon Market place and buy them at under a quid, with postage, over two quid all in. I then flip them at CEX Exchange to claw a bit back. I’m not asking Pacino for a thankyou letter like the one John Lennon sent but it would be nice if Hollywood had physical high street rental somehow, other than the small range of films at the dusty local library.
So if you like a gentle sentimental tale with a charismatic lead and a middle aged romance or two then you will enjoy this. There is no real reason you should but it s just a nice experience. The kitsch Danny Collins ‘hits’ from the film actually featured on the movie soundtrack and Baby Doll sounding remarkably like Sweet Caroline. The suggestion was Danny Collins character was based on a cross between our very own Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow. Just take this film for what it is and you will enjoy it.
Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (22,432votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
-Behind the Scenes-
Pacino doesn’t contribute but the folk singer chap dos, the only interesting bit here.
Some Danny Collins tunes from the film, Steve Coogan style!
Little White Lies –‘Return to sender’.
Chicago Times –‘The story works because it's told like a catchy pop song that doesn't try to be more than what it is’.
The Baltimore Sun –‘What could have been a cheap piece of hackwork becomes a pleasing little trifle, thanks to its actors.
The Observer –‘Pacino delivers his best turn in a very long time, hiding the fact that he can't even carry a tune behind a magnetic presence that screams "star".
The Independent –‘Danny is a role tailor-made for Pacino at this stage in his career, one that enables him both to indulge in some very hammy scene-stealing, but also to show his character's vulnerability and essential decency’.
Cinema.com –‘Even if Pacino's singing voice leaves much to desired, his performance doesn't. Much like the film itself, it's all in the execution’.
Red Eye –‘There's undeniable humanity and gentle humor running through this tale of redemption’.
South China Morning Post –‘There is so much goodwill in Danny Collins that even its characters' struggles are made to feel frothy.
The Guardian –‘Pacino is good company, keeping his more mannered Pacinoisms in check, but none of it feels like a stretch for him.
I love watching movies so I go to the cinema on a regular basis. Vue cinema in Plymouth is situated within the Barbican Leisure complex.
Vue cinema in Plymouth is very expensive, the tickets are very expensive and the food and snacks are also very over-priced! they sell a range of snacks and food for people to share or just to eat by your self. They sell hotdogs, nachos, popcorn, ice cream and a variety of different chocolate and sweets. The sweets are around £3 a bag and the popcorn is around £5. They do sell 'combos' of different foods and snacks which is ok because you save a little money. Vue cinema sell a range of soft drinks and water. I have to say that the price of water is an absolute rip off; £2.55 for a bottle of water, I felt robbed after I bought that. Upstairs in the cinema there is a 'Ben & Jerry's' stand where they sell their delicious ice - cream.
They have recently put VIP seats in the cinema screens. The VIP seats are not much better than the normal seats , they are hard and black leather and they have arm rests that do not move. When I tried out the VIP seats I wish that I hadn't because I had a numb bum at the end of the film, it was also a pain because I couldn't put the armrest up and cuddle into my partner. I paid extra money to sit in these seats and we kept getting pestered to show our ticket to make sure we wern't in the wrong seats! The staff were very polite but it was just annoying having to keep getting the ticket out.
From my experience at Vue cinema, the staff have all been very friendly and helpful. I will go there again but I will make sure that I eat before I go or save money before I go so I can afford to buy food and drink there!
Prices of tickets at the moment are:
Adult - £7.80
Teen - £6.25
Student - £6.65
Senior - £5.90
Child - £5.90
The reason I have written (prices at the moment) is because I recently heard from a member of staff that they are going to put the prices up again sometime this year!
At 9:45am on a Sunday morning, with the exception of the concession stands, Vue cinemas are barren of staff and all payments must be made via card as the cash desks are closed. The self serve machines are clunky to use, the touch screen was out of sync with the cursor, tickets are displayed most expensive first fortunately they're simplistically laid out. Select the day of the film you want to see, followed by a film, a time, the number of people in each category and specify sets where applicable then insert your payment card and panic as a 20 second countdown commences but nothing more happens. For those of you fortunate enough to be under 4' tall there's a keypad attached to the card reader which requires you to input your pin but for those of us at the 6' height it just looks like a card reader. Fortunately there's a "try again button" and with some prompting from my seven year old accomplice we eventually succeeded in purchasing tickets.
The system also allows you to pre-book tickets for films several days ahead. You can also do this from the comfort of your own PC paying a surcharge for the privilege and collecting your tickets from the lobby machine upon arrival at the cinema.
The array of tickets on offer is surprisingly large with an array of discounts available. Prices start from 95p at 10am on a weekend or school holiday showing to an astronomical £9.85 each for adults watching 3D films on evenings and weekends. Unfortunately there is also a £1.55 per seat surcharge for a specified pre-booked faux leather seat with a wide armrest, leg room and a good view. The cheapskates are relegated to the sides and front of the auditorium where latecomers find themselves craning their necks to view the screen.
The lobby is spacious and amply stocked with over-priced sweets, popcorn and hot junk food. Toilets were clean and reasonably well maintained and there's plenty of free parking.
The Vue website http://myvue.com/ is extremely comprehensive and often includes some downloadable 2 for 1 offers as well as film times.
The last time at visited VUE in Plymouth I had quite the experience. I go to the cinemas at least twice a month but have never been treated like I was at Plymouth.
You can find VUE all over the country but I have only been to the one in Plymouth. They have up to 12 screens and show the latest films several times a day. They always have offers for all ages and are very generous when it comes to students and kids.
At the cinema you can buy food, drinks, snacks, sweets, ice cream and of course popcorn but keep in mind that it costs a fortune and maybe bringing your own is a better idea. The tickets you can buy either at the ticket counter if they are open or at the desk where you buy snacks. You can even buy them online and print them of at one of the ticket machine just inside the main doors.
Outside you can park for free. You can also choose from several different restaurants, so the VUE in Plymouth has definitely a good location. You can either walk there or drive, I prefer driving.
Inside everything is very organized and there are signs on show for everything so getting lost is not easy.
A few weeks ago I went to see 'The Imaginerium of Dr. Parnassus' which I have been waiting for a year to see. I had high expectations so I wanted everything to be perfect; it wasn't. The lights in the middle were left on and the first 20 minutes of the film I could barely hear what they were saying. Apparently there is a new law this year that the middle lights must be kept on during the whole time. They call it security and fair enough but I couldn't see the screen properly because I sat right under one of these lights. I complained. I didn't want my money back because of the new law but I demanded an improvement on the sound. Next time I went, I saw '9' and I sat almost in the far back and not under one of the middle lights. My friend did and he had to where his hat on to protect his eyes from the light. Is this what it has come to? Be able to see you sweets, see your knees and even the person sitting next to you like it was in the middle of the day.
Apparently they turn of the lights in Exeter according to one of the other people at the cinema who saw the same film as me, who also complained about the light. When I saw '9' the sound was perfect but I just can't get over this with the lighting. I complained once again and heard got the same answer, which I suspected. They treated me like I was stupid and didn't get security. Okay, I am a Swede but I have been speaking English since I was 8 years old. I understand security but that is what the lights on the floor is there for, at least what I thought.
I live in the middle of nowhere and Plymouth is the closest cinema but still takes 45 minutes with the car to get there. I will keep going there because in my opinion some films have to be seen at the cinema. I do recommend bringing a hat or a cap to see the screen better but maybe not if you are on a date. Maybe it is just me that finds this annoying and maybe it isn't but I will visit VUE again because I have to see Avatar at cinema when it comes out.
Vue cinema, Plymouth, is located on the Barbican Industrial Estate near Plymouth's Marina. The estate also hosts other really good venues such as Nandos, Oceana, Pizza Hut, a Gym, Frankie and Bennys and other bars/restaurants.
The cinema consists of 15 Screens and can seat upto 3315 people; I have frequented this cinema many a time whilst I was a student of Plymouth for 3 years. As you enter the cinema you confronted with a large ticket booth which is rarely used, past that and you get the large concessions bar where you can purchase a large selection of over priced drinks.
The concessions stand hosts a variety of food, drink and snacks. The vue, like many cinemas have a number of deals where you can purchase a hot dog and a large drink for £5.50 (for example) or popcorn and drink deals. The snacks selection ranges from nachos (with or without jalapenos), sweet, salted or toffee popcorn, popcorn, boxed sweets such as maltesers and revels, ice cream such as ben and jerry's, pic n mix and crisps. Drinks consist of coca-cola, fanta, fanta still, 7up, a slush puppy-type concoction, bottled waters, tea and coffee. All are grossly overpriced and is a typical example of the unnecessary prices 99% of cinemas offer today. Sweets are double what they are in a shop and no different, the drinks are 60% full of ice and the smallest size is pretty much a bucket. Almost all staff are trained to 'upsell' which is simply pushing on the 'deals' such as "would you like a large for an extra 10p?", most upsells are based around you thinking you have taken a good deal when all that has happened is you have paid too much for something you most likely wont even finish.
The seating is very good, with rows that are perhaps a little more steeper than your average cinema and the seats are all the same price. This is refreshing compared to places like the Odeon where you have to pay even more than the average price of £10 just so your neck isn't strained. I have been a few times just as a film is about to start and my group and I have had to go to the front of the cinema as there were no other seats, at the vue Plymouth, this hasn't been too bad considering how close you are the screen, other people may disagree though.
Another pet hate of mine at cinema's is the lack of regulation with staff and possible disturbers of the peace, yes I'm talking about annoying teenagers and their insistence to joke around and talk loudly during films. What annoys me even further is when cinemas are too scared to assert their authority and throw these people out. The Vue, Plymouth, however, I have not had one of these experiences and hopefully never will. This could due to luck but I would like to say that this is because of a good staff prescence - I have definately noticed when staff pop their head in on a film just to check the crowd are behaving.
The Vue, Plymouth, has many offers, the most popular probably being the orange Wednesdays where you can 2 for 1 when you text 'film' to 241. I have definately used this offer on a few occassions without a hitch. Another favourite of mine is using nectar points, it's around 1000 points to see a film at any time, any day at a Vue cinema and despite the staff being occassionally baffled we are usually able to use it now and again. It is also one of the best nectar offers in terms of value for money. There are also discounts for students (NUS card), servicemen/women, OAPS and kids.
All in all this is a pretty good cinema, no one can criticise the size of the place and i have never experienced a totally sold out night, suggesting there is plenty to accomodate everyone. The food is grossly over priced and should be illegal but then all cinemas do this and it beats the Odeon in price (around £6 per adult on a night without discount) and in even seating choices.
I've watched 2 films now in less than 2 months - Star Trek and Angels and Demons at the Vue cinema complex (formerly Warner Village) in Plymouth.
Vue has approximately 14 screens so there is normally something for all, and they do also have a Sunday morning performance for children at a very reasonable price - which parents will love.
I love watching films at vue, but ticket prices are high and it makes it difficult for many to justify compared to waiting 6 months and buying the dvd. I certainly like the sound effects and the comfortable chairs, but I certainly don't love the cost! I really don't know how people can afford to spend so much on drinks and popcorn, it's just not possible for many in the current financial climate.
In reality, the last film I watched at Vue cost me less than £6 for the 3 of us as we'd received 2 free tickets from Love Film, I'm not sure despite being my stepdaughter's birthday recently that we would have gone if we had to pay the full cost.
If you want to make it into a bit of a night out the venue also offers ten-pin bowling, Nanods, a nightclub, pizza hut, New Orleans and Frankie and Bennys or even a day with the National Aquaraium, Barbican and Hoe all in easy walking distance.
Vue cinema located in Gunwharf Quays is a great attraction to Plymouth.
It might be a bit pricey compared to other cinemas such as the Odean and ABC's etc but you certainly get what you pay for. It is centralised in the middle of Gunwharf stretches over the shops.
The entrance is at the top of an escalator with surrounding restaurants either side which makes it well located if you happen to turn up and see you have an some time to spare before the film and fancy a bite to eat.
It has a big fouya area after the ticket desk. The ticket desk is only open when the cinema is very busy otherwise you can just walk through to the food/drink counter to buy your tickets. They serve a variety of different foods and soft drinks like tortilla crisps with sauces, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, pick 'n' mix, hot dogs etc.
It has over 10 Different screens varying in sizes obviously for big releases and films that have been out for a while but are still being shown.
As you walk through to the screens you have windowed passage ways which overlook the shops in the surrounded areas which is a nice touch! The seats are very comfortable and you have a lot of leg room so you never find yourself fijitting during films.
Busy nights are obviously Fridays and Saturdays and also Wednesday for the buy one get one free deals on the Orange mobile network.
I don't think there is one bad thing i can really say about this cinema apart from the prices are more expensive than other places but as I said, you get what you pay for and definitely has a more upper class feel for it. I write this on helphound aswell.
I have to say, before Vue cinema came to Plymouth many years ago I had never even heard of Vue! It is one of two cinemas in Plymouth at present, the other one is small and traditional. Vue in Plymouth offers the audience a chance to experience modern day comfort and amazing graphics.
Location - it is situated in the inner city centre called the Barbican Leisure Park, and reachable by the main road and is about twenty minute walk from the city centre and about ten minutes walk from the famous historical barbican. This makes it ideal for tourists and people living here alike. I have to say, it is not very well sign posted so it is probably best to get someone to direct you, most people living in Plymouth would probably know where it is. This is because it is situated on a complex of Cannons gym, Megabowl, Frankie and Bennies resturant, Oceana nightclub and Old Orleans. Also just across the massive car park is a Pizza Hut. This means it is ideal for all other attractions - and you will never go hungry while here!
Prices - This has been a growing debate with friends of mine and probably other people have the same problem in other cinema's across the country with the credit crunch and price rises! I remember about two years ago for an adult it used to be £4.95 to go here and watch a film, it is now £6.90 monday to thursday after 5pm, or £7.65 on saturday or sunday. If you happen to not work during the day on a weekday it is £5.75 for an adult, this is again Monday to Thursday. If you have children it is based in the same way and varies from £4.30 - £5.75.
Facilities - when the cinema first opened I remember it seeming massive, but sadly we all grow up and things seem less "massive." The cinema is a 15 screen multiplex cinema, housing 3328 seats! When you walk in there is so much leg room, you won't get bad squashed legs no matter how tall or short you are! Each screen hosts huge floor to ceiling walls, that combine Dolby Digitial Surround Sound with with a really open and free feeling. This really is a key feature of the cinema - roomy and very dramatic sounds. This is especially good for those big movies, such as James Bond, Pirates of The Carribbean etc.
Orange Wednesdays - the 2 for 1 deal with orange every wednesday is very good value for money, it means that you can go to the cinema for half the price! If you are going to use this offer it is probably best to attend the Plymouth Vue in the daytime, because during the evening time you cannot get a car parking space, and often the showings of most films are few/sold out - which is most annoying/disappointing. This is particularly bad when it is raining and people have no where else to go. Best to be avoided really.
Staff - the staff are mostly always friendly, and often they are very young, some look like they haven't even left school! There has been one time when I was approached by a very rude person working there that was taking my ticket - but this was an isolated occasion.
Food/Drink - these can be quite pricey - so I usually take my own! I have never been "caught" as it were, and I am pretty sure alot of the staff are aware this happens. They have a selection of pick and mix, popcorn, drinks, malteasers, ice cream and slush puppies called Ice Blasts! Oh and they also do these nachoes which are quite expensive with the large being nearly £4.50 but they are lovely - quite cheap tasting but something nice about them!
Toilets - these are generally very clean, modern looking and nice smelling. Do not even venture into them around 7pm or after on a wednesday evening, because they are just terrible - no loo paper and some on the fall and busy with lots of people - best to be avoided these times!
The overall cinema is excellent, the sound system is amazing, and the quality of the viewing is always very good. A little pricey but you get what you pay for alot of the time.
Go here if you.....like great quality movies with amazing top quality state of the art sound systems, modern and airy feeling
Don't go here....on wednesdays!