Homeboy (1988) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Homeboy is a meandering and aimless film about a meandering and aimless man. That man is Johnny Walker, played by Mickey Rourke in another one of his signature ‘quirky’ roles. Walker isn’t so much a boxer as he is a drunk who likes to fight and those fights happen to be in a low-rent contest in front of other drunks. He may have had a once promising career as a pugilist, but those days are long past when we are introduced to the character. He now suffers from brain damage, though the film never makes it clear if this is from concussive blows or excessive alcohol consumption.
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The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) – Review

1 Star

The Bonfire of the Vanities is one of the most infamous misfires of the 1990’s. The behind-the-scenes antics of the production were detailed in juicy fashion by Julie Salamon in her best-seller The Devil’s Candy. That unflattering account of the tumultuous shoot is far more entertaining than anything in this adaption of Tom Wolfe’s darkly satirical novel. This soft-boiled adaptation never had a chance to succeed, but the result is a dull, confusing, and miscast picture. Bonfires ranks up there with the worst films of 1990.
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The Man from Left Field (1993) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

To call any Burt Reynolds’ movie a ‘vanity project’ would be missing the point, that’s exactly what they are intended to be. At least here, Reynolds gets a chance to work with his favorite director, himself. The Man from Left Field is a TV-Movie that was shot primarily on the star’s large compound in Jupiter, Florida. This eager to please feature is an often charming little story about a mysterious man, who literally appears in left field, that coaches a team of misfits into a little league all-star squad. I think there was a longer version of the screenplay at one point, scenes feel alternately rushed and over-long, and the Reynolds’ character’s back story is oddly missing.
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Sully (2016) – Review

3 Stars

The infamous U.S. Airways water landing into the Hudson River by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is the basis for the new film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks. Anchored by another tremendous performance in a career full of them, Sully offers a sobering, eminently worthwhile testament to Tom Hank’s ability to hold the screen. The movie is rigorous, serious and well-crafted, with Hanks employing only his economical emotional reactions and physical presence to craft another memorable role.
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Magic Mike XXL (2015) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

This sequel to 2012’s surprise smash hit, is a lesser film of quality in terms of writing and direction, while the polished abs of its males stars are on full display, the screenplay could have used some tightening up too. Magic Mike XXL is a ‘road movie’ and the film has it’s moments, but the loss of original director Steven Soderberg hinders the picture from reaching the heights of the first.
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We Are Your Friends (2015) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

The sheer charisma of the cast nearly offsets the banality of the plotting in We Are Your Friends. Obviously inspired by Trainspotting (visually), Boogie Nights (storyline), and Saturday Night Fever (introducing a musical phenomenon to the masses)–the energy level is kept high and the film doesn’t over stay its welcome, but the predictability of the script makes this one feel like it’ stuck on repeat. First-time feature Director Max Joseph shows promise with a clear understanding of visual language, smart editing choices, and interesting artistic flourishes.
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Purple Rain (1984) – Review

3 Stars

With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward.
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Disclosure (1994) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

One of top twenty grossing film from 1994, six of them were adapted from popular novels. Including the year’s highest grossing film, Forrest Gump. Amongst the big-screen book to movie conversions from literary heavyweights Anne Rice, Tom Clancy and John Grisham, Michael Crichton’s Disclosure holds it own in that fine company. In a particularly strong year for adaptions, Disclosure is surely the most lurid,trashy, and erotic of the bunch. Written by former movie critic turned scriptwriter Paul Attansio and directed with low-key professionalism by Barry Levinson, Disclosure is the second best movie made from Crichton’s literary canon.
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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) – Review

4 Stars

It has become commonplace in recent years to nonchalantly acknowledge (and dismiss) the substantial acting abilities of John Goodman. His ubiquitous appearances in supporting roles over the last decade have cemented the notion that he’s one of our country’s most under-valued talents. Perhaps, with the extremely strong work in 10 Cloverfield Lane, Goodman will finally get attention from the awards circuit.
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Fargo (1996) – Review

4 Stars

The Coen brothers successfully un-shackled themselves as America’s most under-valued filmmakers with the release of Fargo. Having been much adored in cult circles for their work on Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, and numerous other titles–the Coens finally achieved both critical and commercial success with this quirky crime drama that plays like the tonal antithesis of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The mixture of violence, humor and suspense has rarely been carried off with such ease and efficiency of plot.
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Crossroads (1986) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Walter Hill’s affection for blues music is evident in this supernatural road movie about a duo of blues travelers. The esteemed director has employed musician Ry Cooder to compose the score to nearly all of his films. Cooder, an accomplished bluesmen, has contributed a wealth of music to Crossroads, which is the film’s strongest point. The story wobbles as Ralph Macchio and Joe Seneca wander through the countryside looking for the devil. You have to give Crossroads points for combining elements of The Karate Kid, Honkytonk Man, and pop culture myth into an oddity that is always interesting, but not much worth all the fuss.
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Sunset Park (1996) – Review

2 Stars

How many of you knew that Cheers star Rhea Pearlman headlined a basketball drama about inner city high-schoolers on a losing team? This ill-conceived project has its heart in the right place, but it’s a bone-dumb exercise that is notable for its soundtrack and downbeat climax. Location lensing in and around New York City, as well as the world-famous Madison Square Garden, add a level of (much-needed) authenticity to this mildly enjoyable sports fable.
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Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – Review

2 Stars

After the sprawling opus Magnolia, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has pared his unique brand of filmmaking into a off-beat romantic comedy that’s not quite worth the talents of all involved. Playing like Anderson’s take on Kafka and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, Punch Drunk Love is an under-written piece that holds viewer’s attention because of the strength of Sandler’s central performance and the sheer wonder of what the next scene will provide. This is a slight film given gravitas through skilled craft and technical efficiency. It’s a strange journey into a world that can best be described as modern take on German’s cinematic expressionist movement. Anderson’s film is dark and frustrating, while simultaneously feeling incomplete.
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