Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham & Simon Kinberg
Story By: Michael Robert Johnson & Lionel Wigram
Cinematography By: Phillipe Rousselot
Editor: James Herbert

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, James Fox

In London, Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson captures the follower of black magic and serial killer Lord Blackwood that has already killed five women when he is near to kill his sixth victim. Blackwood is sentenced to be strung up and Dr. Watson attests his death. However, Blackwood mysteriously returns from the afterlife and Inspector Lestrade summons Sherlock Holmes to help the Scotland Yard in the investigation. Meanwhile Dr. Watson intends to get married of the gorgeous Mary Morstan while Sherlock is visited by his former lover Irene Adler that has a secret agenda.

 I should have liked this film, but the film is too big, too many action set pieces, Too many explosions. Not enough Mystery. It’s like everything has to be bigger and better like it’s some kind of sequel or Michael Bay movie with better style and some sensibility.

It’s not good enough for Sherlock Holmes to be a good detective but must also be tough by doing bare-knuckle fighting, being a master of disguise, and always having a weapon handy. Like a victorian era super spy.

Once in a while, we get to see how Holmes’ mind works with deductive thinking. While having a semi homoerotic relationship with Dr. Watson, Who he is jealous of because he is not only moving out of the house they share but also getting married. The case they try to crack involves a woman from Holmes past who is lively and almost as cunning as he is and at first the case seems based on the supernatural. Than along the way becomes more logical.

The chemistry between Downey Jr. and Jude Law seems false and more manufactured than it should and makes you wonder if Jude Law was insulted as being the natural-born brit and having to play the sidekick to the American actor taking over a notorious British character.

The film isn’t horrible and it’s nice to see what director Guy Ritchie can do with a sizeable budget, but as I said before everything feels overblown and like it goes out of its way to keep reminding you this is the NEW Sherlock Holmes.

The leads are both charming and mark Strong is a good villain and the film’s more interesting scenes are when he is on the screen or exploring his character and it’s a conspiracy.

While the film is a good popcorn film afterward you start to feel the fat and the grease and wonder why this movie really needed to be made. Again it’s not horrible it’s not bad either. It’s ok and has some things going for it, but the end feels unnecessary and unremarkable. It keeps your attention as any time the film seems to begin to slow down another action sequence pops up. Not always for a good reason, But for the most part everyone involved seems to be having fun.

Wait For Television



Directed By: Ant Timpson
Written By: Toby Harvard 
Cinematography: Daniel Katz
Editor: Dan Kircher

Cast: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Madeline Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Garfield Wilson 

A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.

This is a movie that will take you by surprise and keeps you guessing. Don’t expect a big change in your thinking type of film but more than a secretive kid in the corner who shocks you with his talents but still seems creepy. As each time you believe you have it figured out it adds something. A film best to go in blind. 

As one of the main desires of the film is to keep you off-center. So that you end up just as confused as the main character. The twists come not only from the plot but from the characters. Though the film does have a dark sense of humor. 

This is a movie that gradually adds things as it goes along and still Manages to stay small-scale. Even though at times the film seems to be going towards the supernatural or at least spooky. It still manages to stay somewhat believable though it has its quirks.

It also feels a little hipster-Ish when it comes to the main character and its Style. Even if it had a more pure demented heart. 

This film feels full of ideas and imagination that feels lost. As it more feels like an oddity that more belongs in a previous decade but is oddly welcome in this time period and quickly sets itself up in modern-day. Yet managing not to depend on so many modern-day conveniences.

Though ultimately it does leave you a little disappointed because as it keeps building towards bigger things and you expect something huge but after a while, it seems to calm itself and stop. Then You realize this is it and you kind of were hoping it would keep going.

It also feels like at times they are making it up as they go along and try to work more on characters than story. 

Have to wonder sometimes if Elijah Wood internationally goes after movies that leave him tortured and somehow mutilated after this and the film PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES.

Grade: C


Directed By: Dan Aykroyd 
Written By: Dan Aykroyd & Peter Aykroyd 
Cinematography: Dean Cundey 
Editor: Malcolm Campbell & James R. Symons 

Cast: Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Taylor Negron, Raymond J. Barry, Brian Doyle Murray, Daniel Baldwin, Valri Bromfield, digital underground 

A financier agrees to take the lawyer to her business meeting. On the way, they run a stop sign in a small town in the middle of nowhere and are arrested. But all is not as it seems: the courthouse and the “prison” are a maze of zany booby- traps and deadly contraptions. The antics of the captured couple as they try to escape from the mad judge and his bizarre family make up the rest of this unusual film.

This film should be a cult classic for all the craziness all around. That if someone remade it and could make it work it would be noteworthy. 

This is what happens when writer/director/ star Dan Aykroyd is let loose. As there are no Kenny if ideas all around and set pieces plus room for broad comedy. That stays outrageous and yet is never quite funny and ruthlessly mean-spirited. Though considering the cast this should be much better

Chevy chase seems like he just showed up and is discovering everything as if it was the first time. He seems uncomfortable and tired. As his behavior doesn’t Really match the Tone of the film. It’s bad enough but he seems like he is going to be the one who sinks it.

Demi Moore seems here to be the beautiful damsel in distress. Not to mention the eye candy. She seems more the big named co-Star female lead and a bombshell in her tiny wardrobe.

John candy seems more embarrassed. Like he only did this as a favor and a hefty paycheck. Dan Aykroyd seems to be the only one really into this movies wavelength and his character

The hip hop group Digital Underground comes out of nowhere to cameo and add an impromptu music performance.

The film comes off as a violent live-action cartoon. That literally has a cartoon-type ending. That is gruesome yet tries to stay somewhat light hearted

I am not the biggest fan of Chevy chase and once again seems on autopilot or not engaged. He actually hurts the film. As not being engaging or interesting. She is barely a character.

This film is grotesque even when it doesn’t need to be. It’s hard to believe. Especially with a healthy budget. Other than cast and elaborate set design and sets being built to the judge’s house.

Though should have known that other than the stars this film is Amy for mainstream audiences no matter how broad it plays.

This could have been salvaged artistically. If maybe a More experienced director took hold. Who also would have known to work on the script and make the film appealing in some sort of way. Not totally gross out the audience for a comedy.

This film plays like an extremely first draft. No one puts in any energy or excitement except Dan Aykroyd. Whose comedy can be a fun experiment (DOCTOR DETRIOT) crashes and burns (NEIGHBORS) or works with collaboration (GHOSTBUSTERS) here this was a doomed project that might have had a chance with a more gothic dark visual stylist like Tim Burton.

Can’t even give the film credit for being artistically weird it on another level it’s just sloppy. Even with an amazing production design by William Sandell. That is a messed up playground in hell all Its own. has the scope of a bigger film. Yet the mindset of a smaller one. As the film is pretty bad but inspired and original. 

The film is too dark to be so Goofy. It would have been more effective if allowed to go to a full R-Rated as it would feel more dangerous instead of the sanitized PG-13.

At least the film gave Digital underground a hit for the soundtrack. This might be one of the few successful things to come from this movie.

As well as the big screen debut of Rapper/Actor Tupac Shakur. 



Written & Directed by: John Hughes 
Cinematography: Matthew F. leonetti
Editor: Chris Lebenzon, Scott Wallace & Mark Warner 

Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly Lebrock, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr. Robert Rusler, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson, Vernon wells, Michael Berryman, Britt Leach, Wallace Langham

Two high school nerds use a computer program to literally create the perfect woman, but she turns their lives upside down.

This film is a nostalgic favorite for me. That still fills me with joy as I watch it. Even if as I get older I realize how thin the premise is. 

I would have to say out of the John Hughes canon this film seems to be his lightest weighted film. As this film just seems more of an escape for him and maybe his audience a film that you could just enjoy and not put any great thought into.

Though just as any coming of age tale. This one still has a lesson to teach about confidence and being yourself. Even if it takes wishes from a beautiful woman as a genie to do it.

This film is total wish fulfillment for teenage boys. As the heroes get all they ever wanted really. They work to a degree to get it but in the most fanciful way. So this film doesn’t come close to any of the realities of Hughes’s previous teen films. As it is more science fiction influenced. As part of the fantasy 

One thing that stays constant is the humor. The scenes feel like little skits of their own under the banner of a plot. With teen fantasies thrown in. In a movie where the plot could easily be made into a porn parody  

Early groundbreaking performance from bill Paxton as the older brother from hell. Though shows how distinguished a career he has had and as many iconic films and characters he has played. That this his debut is the most remembered and strongest.

The lust and desire the characters and audience has for Kelly lebrock are what also help the film. As the friendly yet ultimately unattainable object and character of desire. 

 Amazingly the film has nudity but not from her she stays clothed though scantily clad in only a few scenes. As their genie of sorts. Though then again as a fantasy. It makes her more desirable if she stays a mystery.

 It’s a shame she never really followed up with a film or role quite as memorable. Which for that generation and generations after who are fans of this fits her defining role. I am Sure also an early model for quite a few a dream girl. 

This film seems written for Anthony Michael hall as most of the film allows for his comedic facial expressions, double tales, and comedic bits. Especially in his scenes where he plays drunken. where he seems to be attempting his own version of the classic Richard Pryor Mudbone character.

This showcases that some of the film’s humor is racy by today’s standards and would be viewed as non-politically correct in quite a few scenes.

Mostly Due to language and what seems like a hallmark of John Hughes films of inclusion of minorities by having a scene where the character goes to the more urban side of town. That seems stereotypical but not as insulting as it could be. Except for a scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Which as a minor defense was only written by him. 

Learned the difference between a nerd and a dork. The Dork fast-talking thinks he is smoother and cooler than he actually is, Nerd is just smart and has trouble following social cues and finds interest in things that aren’t popular and more interested in science and other things to an obsessive degree. Where he feels he must dismantle it to understand it or at least examine to learn all they can. 

At the time I Looked up to Anthony Michael hall he was in all my favorite movies at the time. (Usually John Hughes ones) not to mention was more a movie star who was near my age. 

It seems like this film is almost like Anthony Michael hall’s audition for Saturday night love along with Robert Downey jr. Who were both cast members for one season. As he is given more to do comedically over the top here.

This film was one of my favorites from the 1980’s teen genre. As it was all more Commercial. As it has some themes of teenage life but is far less emotional and leans more towards fantasy 

At the time I was envious and Jealous of the fashion and cars in the film. It made me want to have them in the ’80s and looked forward to when I got older owning them. Especially a Ferrari. Still have a fascination with those cars. 

This film is a total of 80’s fantasy wish fulfillment. That works Escapist entertainment. It’s definitely Dated 

The story is Frankenstein mixed with a teen fantasy or more like a bride of Frankenstein. Almost like a long-form music video brought to life.

Bill Paxton co-stars in one of his breakout Roles and is truly a comedic highlight.

It has a moralistic lesson of bee icing in yourself as you had what you needed in you all along. As well as getting everything they want in the end.

Reminds you of the excess of the 1980s But still really enjoyable. One of my favorite films of the day watching it now see it’s a weakness but is more harmed by them in my deep-seated nostalgia.

Grade: B-  


Directed By: Joe Wright
Written By: Susannah Grant
Based On The Book By: Steve Lopez
Cinematography By: Seamus McGarvey
Editor: Paul Tothill

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Rachael Harris, Tom Hollander

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez’s good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers’ personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. Regardless, Lopez and Ayers must find a way to conquer their deepest anxieties and frustrations to hope for a brighter future for both of them.

The film is perfectly fine entertainment of a film that really doesn’t have a plot. Sure it’s a fascinating fact-based story that may have been better explored as a documentary or maybe even better reading about it, but the film leaves a lot to be desired as not much really happens. Except that it makes the main character feel better by discovering and trying to help a talented homeless schizophrenic. Which is pretty much the plot of the film.

Everyone does a perfectly serviceable performance. I really like Robert Downey Jr’s look. Jamie Foxx’s performance doesn’t really hit as hard. As it seems like his intention sure he is a spot-on mimic, but the performance seems exactly like that an act or impersonation in it’s not really ground in any sort of reality though it is based on a true story.

The film feels empty with no heart which is how the film feels. It tries to get you emotional in many scenes but fails to do so. The film plays like a contemporary movie that seems only made to try and be Oscar bait and a crowd-pleaser. Like the film THE BLIND SIDE only the latter seemed to know how to appeal to the masses this film seems more directed at a more artsy audience. That is why it feels so basic with artistic touches and indulgence.

Other than the two main characters we really never get to know any characters. This is especially daunting as the film has an established supporting cast. So we never get to know the past of the main characters as far as what they tell us. Like we know Steve, as played as Downey Jr., has demons but we only get hints at it. But in the film, we are supposed to believe he faces his own to help another person but other than having serious looks on his face and seeming vulnerable we never know exactly what he has to overcome.

The film also introduces a character who insists that Jamie Foxx’s Character needs to find god and religion, but the first time he suggests it he goes ape-shit. So when right before a recital he tries the same plan again it’s hardly surprising that he messes him up. If this was a traditional film he would be seen as a villain but here he is a normal supposedly intelligent side character.

I can see why this was held over for a few months. When it was thought at first to be Oscar bait then the studio watched the film and realized what a dud they had on their hands and held it for an anonymous release, that would be the best to just make a quick buck on the film.

The film just seems like it is desperate to pat itself on the back especially by including actual homeless people as characters and extras. That it feels false and like a waste of time.

I just hope Joe Wright picks better material for his next film to show off his talent rather than waste it on drivel like this that requires more of a workman-like director with not as much creativity.



Written & Directed By: Noah Baumbach
Cinematography By: Harris Savides
Editor: Carol Littleton

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Halley Feiffer, John Turturro, Cirian Hinds, Zane Pais, Seth Barrish, Flora Closs, Michael Cullen 

 A slice of family life: sisters, husbands, children, history, secrets, jealousies. Margot and her teen son, Claude, travel from Manhattan to her family’s Long Island home, occupied by sister Pauline, Pauline’s daughter, and Malcolm, the slacker Pauline will marry outdoors that week under a tree neighbors want removed. Backbiting marks family discussion, particularly between the sisters and in Margot’s cutting remarks to Claude. Pauline tells Margot a secret that Margot promptly tells Claude. Margot dislikes Malcolm and undermines him. She also has marital problems and a lover nearby. People are cruel, inside and outside their families. Is there a refuge for Margot or for Pauline? 

I don’t know if this is supposed to be misery/tragedy emotional pornography with some humor or not. As it is beautifully filmed with natural lighting, but when you are complimenting the filmmaking or certain technical aspects over the whole of the film or you just happen to notice and focus on that more than anything else. You know the movie might be in trouble.

I was looking forward to this film having loved his previous film THE SQUID & THE WHALE. Not to mention other films he has made before and since. This was his bug follow up project. Though I have to say this was a big disappointment really his first for me. It might be because he was following up a big success and his film would have to live up to it and it falls short.

I should have known when Nicole Kidman was cast in it. Not that she is a bad actress. Quite the contrary. Around this time and. Wrote She only seems to do independent films when she wants to be noticed m. As her career might be in trouble and she wants to prove herself to critics again (TO DIE FOR, FUR, RABBIT HOLE) she also comes off as icy onscreen so if she was looking to play different. She could have tried Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role in this film.

Unfortunately for her. This was not like the redirection Charlize Theron had with MONSTER. Here she plays such a bitchy unlikeable character, It’s hard to like anything about her unfortunately for this film other than the kids the same goes for almost every character in this film. Jennifer Jason Leigh is fragile, sympathetic and pathetic. Oddly enough though this maybe the best and funniest work ever by jack black at the time. It takes awhile to get ignited but You can see all the promise people have been saying about him. Though The uncomfortable nature of his relationship with the teenage girl in the film feels reprehensible and especially after the film tries to get us on his side. After that it seems pretty easily to detest his character.

The constant war their characters have with their neighbors could have gone on longer. Those scenes might have sped the move up. The way it stands the neighbors come off like a mix of the duckie boys from THE WANDERERS and The Bumpasses of A CHRISTMAS STORY. They seem to be dirty and mean instead of just mean like the other characters in this film. Who just have better wittier one liners and vocabularies.

Nicole Kidman is the main attraction here. As the film takes place more or less around her character. Even though she is only there for a wedding, but her arrival brings old family drama and her sister’s drama and problems with her fiancé to the forefront.

Of course Nicole Kidman stands out in this film as she all but consumes the film and takes it with her. As she is thebttile character everything seems to stem from her. Even when we try to get into the side stories of other characters they are usually all connected or come back to her 

This is also the moodiest if all of writer director Noh Baumbach’s films which usually are dramatic and go to dark places though usually manage to have a smile. While the film does have humor it seems to have a chilly mean spirited vibe throughout. Which again seems to stem from Nicole Kidman’s character

The film offers the actors plenty to play with and they all get room to shine a bit, but the film and screenplay are more focused on the character of Margot. Her name is in the title.

Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, & Jennifer Jason Leigh moved in together during filming because they wanted to perfect their roles as a dysfunctional family.

The film exists as an emotional melodrama where the overall mood is depression and just melancholy with some bits of humor. While most of the characters are intellectuals.

Jack Black gives an ok performance and much was made of his appearance in the film. Here he gets to play a character who is unlikeable and normal. Which is something that is rare for him. As now he seems more the master of cameo roles or kids entertainment comedy. Though with a kind of wicked streak enough that adults still find him funny. He seems to manage to have it all.

This seems more like a film devoted to the 1970’s and with a twist of the French new wave in presenting a kind of familiar story more emotionally but also with more cutting edge pizzaz.

The film is Not a complete failure. It tries to play more like a European film or at least seems to be inspired by them. Though this film among other does make me wonder why when a film Is depressing they call it realistic and natural. There are a few happy moments that feel like simple pleasure within but in these films it just seems to be more attention paid to the doom and gloom.

Cinematographer Harris Savides used old lenses and shot mostly in natural light to get the dim, ominous look of the film. The natural light and old lenses making the hues darker doesn’t cover up sub par material. This film just heavily is disappointing. It has It’s moments but not enough for the audience. You never know you might like it.

The film feels like an overblown second novel that has too much to prove. Like the first one wasn’t a failure so it feels bloated with self importance. Like the writer is trying too hard to prove themselves. As he wants to explain things yet also be vague enough to have the evidence read into more



Written & Directed By: Evan Morgan
Cinematography: Mike McLaughlin
Editor: Curt Lobb

Cast: Adam Brody, Wendy Crewson, Kaitlyn Chalmbers-Rizzato, Jonathan Whittaker, Kaleb Horn, Sarah Sutherland, Steve Gagne, Sophie Nelisse, Griffin Wardle 

A once-celebrated kid detective, now 32, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. Until a naive client brings him his first ‘adult’ case, to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.

This is a film best to go into blind but the title kind of gives you a hint.

This film helps you breathe a breath of fresh air. As it is smart but not pretentious, at times feels more like a book adaptation than an original film. 

It is original in the best ways. It never takes itself too seriously and while being a comedy for the most part at heart it is also a general mystery. That comes across as neo-noir

The film has more of a premise you would expect in a high concept comedy where a kid detective was basically broken by one case from his teens. Still, practices detective work in the same small town. But his life is a wreck and most of his cases come from teenagers for very simple tasks.

The film also gives a chance to show what happens to children we might prop up for a special ability in their youth that is squally reserved for adults, but what happens when they get older and that isn’t impressive anymore. It’s almost more expected of you or rather basic.

Once he actually is called in on a case of murder by the deceased’s girlfriend. We learn that this picturesque small town has an underground dark side. While grounding the murder and mystery deeper the more adults he talks to. Throughout he is mostly dealing with teens and trying to justify himself to others who once believed in him and now more pity him.

It’s an excellent character-based film that while wing a neo-noir and lacks a femme fatale. It does involve a female character. Who subconsciously haunts him.

By the third act of the film. We are pushed in a direction we never saw coming that actually deepens everything. We have seen before and while the film was running well before. The last act is what really raises the film and its Stakes. We are left with an aftermath that isn’t as clean-cut and tidy as we are used to.

The film shows that Adam Brody still can impress in a lead role. He is usually Relegated to supporting roles In Comedies. Here he excels even as a sad sack he is charming and likable. He really helps keep the film together especially as he is in most of the scenes.

The direction is light and crisp not so stylized that you would expect in a film like this. Which is what makes it’s darker moments so unexpected. 

The film would make a good double feature with the Teenage detective mystery BRICK. 

Grade: B+

HAM ON RYE (2021)

Directed By: Tyler Taormina
Written By: Tyler Taormina & Eric Berger
Cinematography: Carson Lund
Editor: Kevin Anton

Cast: Haley Bodell, Audrey Boos, Sam Hernandez, Gabriella Herrera, Adam Torres, Lori Beth Denberg, Danny Tamberelli, Aaron Schwartz, Dan Jablons

A bizarre rite of passage at the local deli determines the fate of a generation of teenagers, leading some to escape their suburban town and dooming others to remain.

This is a strange little movie that is a gem. As with anything strange and at times spare. Not to mention otherworldly seeming this can be seen as inspired by David Lynch

As it starts off like a young teen dazed and confused with an ensemble. Though as the film goes Along it gets stranger. Like a continuous dream filled with moments that bleed into one another in a perfect symphony

As at first, it seems like a hang-out movie before it becomes more of a mystery. That has plenty of little moments and detail that make it feel both awkward, yet believable and offers up some kind of fantasy. Even though there is no magic seen. The film feels magical in its own way. Even if there is no real trick to it.

As these kids seem to be going to a party that is a kind of party with a full lunch and dancing. Where a party game that seems like an almost spin the bottle where the kids pair off and go off 

Until it reaches a peak halfway through and after that the film pretty much deals with the aftermath. As it showcases how it affects the adults and other kids.

A third of the film feels familiar before slowly going off the rails into the weird where you wonder if it is going to just be an unorthodox view of the world through teenage eyes on the verge of adulthood that is hilarious and alienating 

As the film Goes from Light to dark at the midway point. That feels like a deep look I to suburbia and rites of passage before the second half where the film seems to explore loneliness of characters who seem trapped and disappointed as they come off as rejected and stuck there in the humdrum. 

The film comes across as timeless as its style and fashions are of the past but shows some modern technology and inventions of over the years

By the end, nothing is fully explained but it is open to interpretation. You could look at it as those who weren’t part of that passage of growing up 

Sort of being left behind and feeling a certain alienation as the others around them their friends have gone forth without them. Coupled up in a way and now they are alone. Like they are stuck in their youth. While others have gone off wherever but to something new and far away

It seems like the adults might also be either in Arrested development as they knew they were going and now don’t know what to do with themselves or that maybe they themselves are among those who never moved on and are stuck. Which would explain why they seem so much down in despair.

Even the other kid who is left behind. His mother took him to eat looks embarrassed as others look at her and him. Then she kind of abandons him. It can be seen as when parents realize that their child might not be popular or who they want them To be are embarrassed and here it is more physically abandoning rather than emotionally and spiritually. 

As at the end the girl left behind is looking. At the next generation of kids enjoying themselves. Not knowing what is coming in the future so enjoy themselves while they can. 

One of the joys of the film is a scene of the adults sitting around sad and then seeing cameos from Nickelodeon kid actors of the past cameo. As the film already feels like a demented fairy tale taking place in the THE ADVENTURES OF PETE AND PETE episode universe.

Though through it all it seems like there is mroe going on beneath the surface, it keeps you captivated.

Grade: B+ 

JACK (1996)

Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: James DeMonaco & Gary Nadeau
Cinematography: John Toll
Editor: Barry Malkin

Cast: Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Brain Kerwin, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, Adam Zolotin, Todd Bosley, Jurnee Smollett,  Michael Mckean, Don Novello, Keone Young, Seth Smith, Mario Yedidia, Jer Adrianne Lelliott

Because of an unusual disorder that has aged him four times faster than a typical human being, a boy looks like a 40-year-old man as he starts fifth grade at public school after being homeschooled.

This is a feel-good movie that feels at times too artificial.

A kids movie, more from an adult’s point of view that families will enjoy. That tries to capture the winsomeness of youth but reeks of sentimentality and a kind of contempt with an over the top earnestness. That works for the audience but feels pointed and over intellectual at times just to try to explain things in a plausible way. While taking itself too seriously.

It attempts to be a feel-good film so much that it feels like a cop-out or set up to watch Robin Williams be wacky with kids while supposedly being a kid. Letting him loose to be wild and showcase his improv talent while still playing a character convincingly.

If you are a fan or completist of his works then this film is great. As I can admit a favorable bias when it comes to Robin Williams performances. This feels almost like the greatest hits collection. As it shows his range fully in character. As this is a role seemingly written for him. So it is perfect casting with him is the lead being unpredictable and always having a certain playfulness. Though as you watch you get a sense that he is better than the material. Even as the movie is more or less built around him. 

While Francis Ford Coppola tries to make the material and the film more enriched then it is or deserved to be. As to not embarrass himself. Plus gives him the chance to work with Robin Williams. Though the film Still feels disappointing as he tries to bring tone and atmosphere to the material. Just as he did in his previous for hire film THE RAINMAKER.

The film tries to show the joy of youth and ends up coming off more obvious than anything. While some comedic scenes seem misplaced even though they are supposed to be in a kind of reality seem silly more than anything.

Child actor Todd Bodley does his similar oddball schtick he did in the movie LITTLE GIANTS. Though he used his talents better in the kids film LLOYD then here.

Bill Cosby plays a supporting role as a child psychiatrist that feels more like a special guest star and is filmed in a warm loving way. That set the time for his reputation more. That watching the film now is almost sad and scary knowing what we know and scars the movie a bit. In which his performance and character are some of the better things in it.

The film is an interesting contrast of the two comedians working together though mostly in dramatic scenes.

As towards the end the film takes a more dramatic and sad turn, but it also ends up being a life-affirming film for the whole family. As even in It’s More adult scenes it comes off as silly and innocent 

The film in the end is definitely a crowd-pleaser. That you can’t help but smile and giggle at least once or twice.

Grade: C

ST. VINCENT (2014)

Written & Directed By: Theodore Melfi 
Cinematography By: John Lindley 
Editor: Sarah Flack & Peter Teschner 

Cast: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Terrence Howard, Chris O’Dowd, Scott Adsit, Ann Dowd, Reg E. Cathey, Nate Corddry 

Vincent is an old Vietnam vet whose stubbornly hedonistic ways have left him without money or a future. Things change when his new next-door neighbor’s son, Oliver, needs a babysitter and Vince is willing enough for a fee. From that self-serving act, an unexpected friendship forms as Vincent and Oliver find so much of each other’s needs through each other. As Vincent mentors Oliver in street survival and otherworldly ways, Oliver begins to see more in the old man than just his foibles. When life takes a turn for the worse for Vincent, both of them find the best in each other than no one around them suspects.

The film is essentially a character piece that revolves around Bill Murray’s character. So your tolerance and enjoyment of the film will pretty much rely on how much you like Murray as an actor and performer. Though I’d be had pressed to think Of another actor in the role. As it seems built around his skills and personality.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and comes off the pretty basic essence of the mean, gruff character with the heart of gold. We get to see his selfishness and hidden acts of selflessness.

You can see why he took the role it’s offbeat and is a nice placeholder along with his other comedic character performances that are more melancholy and downtrodden, but still, manage to be lovable and you find yourself liking. Though the characters don’t beg for your sympathy or for you even to like them usually. They are just interesting and played apologetic where the character’s good qualities are only visible if you really are looking or present themselves a matter of fact when he thinks you aren’t looking. Plus it always looks like Murray is having fun.

Here he is comedic but more dramatic than he has been in a while and even tries a slight new york old-school accent. He actually seems to be putting in an effort and not coasting on his image and making it all seem like he is at ease.

Now while the direction and story are basic and familiar. The script does add a few original notes that don’t feel they’re just to be quirky. Making the film have an eclectic if not totally original voice.

As the film goes along though their characters other than the boy seem like small roles especially for noted actors to take. They eventually get at least a scene or two to shine in and add to the atmosphere of the film. Though really they are rather small parts for the actors of their nature. Though it might have been a chance to show off character acting chops. The fun and unorthodox at times nature of the screenplay and also the chance to work with Bill Murray.

It gives Melissa McCarthy a role in which she isn’t the lone main comedic voice and allows her to be dramatic and not as profane in her behavior. As essentially the straight man. For the comedic hijinks.

You know all the bases it has to hit, though you have fun along the way in the journey. It’s an unorthodox cookie-cutter type of film. It’s tasty and familiar, but only in different shapes than you are used to.

Even towards the end, it manages to make the audience tear up. Which I wasn’t expecting even though you know where it was going. It goes over a bit in telling us about the character and why he should be celebrated. Which the audience could really put together themselves. Yet it makes you not be able to resist and turn away

It’s a surprise rental, that can be fun. Though you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to see it. Unless you are a Bill Murray completist.

Grade: B-