CELEBRITY (1998)

Written & Directed by: Woody Allen 
Cinematography: Sven Nykvist
Editor: Susan E. Morse 

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Winona Ryder, Famke Janssen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gretchen Mol, Greg Mottola, Charlize Theron, Judy Davis, Douglas McGrath, Joe Mantegna, Andre Gregory, Sam Rockwell, Adrian Grenier, Michael Lerner, Melanie Griffith, J.K. Simmons, Famke Janssen, Becky Ann Baker, Issac Mizrahi, Anthony Mason, Kate Burton, Debra Messing, David Marguiles, Tony Sirico, Bebe Neuwirth, Patti D’Arbanville, Ingrid Rogers, Jeffrey Wright, Hank Azaria, Karen Duffy, Aida Turturro, Allison Janney, Donna Hanover, Celia Weston, Wood Harris, Donald Trump 

Lee Simon, unsuccessful journalist and wanna-be novelist, tries to get his foot in the door with celebrities. After divorcing his wife Robin, Lee gets to meet a lot folks of the rich and/or beautiful, partly through journalism, and partly because he has a script to offer. But life amongst those from out-of-this-world is hard, and his putative success always results in defeat. Meanwhile, Robin meets a very desirable television producer and takes the first steps in the world of celebrities.


This seems to be more of a moralistic take more than a character piece. filming in black and white the film does come off looking beautiful and Classic but just like the characters, it’s empty.

This isn’t a typical woody Allen film. This feels more aggressive and verbose than usual a bit more hardcore. Where you can’t tell if he is angry or trying to fit in with the cinematic trends and language of the time. As this film and DECONSTRUCTING HARRY have that in common. 

While we have the typical Woody Allen type surrogate lead character played here by Kenneth Branagh. Here he feels disposable and never quite makes a mark. As he is just one of the many unlikeable characters throughout the film.

The characters are all physically beautiful but seem to be grotesque internally. As it seems only the lead character seems to know better. As he constantly cheats on his wife as his profile seems to rise, but as he slowly gets his comeuppance his suffering wife seems to become famous herself and finds love and good fortunes. 

The film seems more like a commentary on modern life at that time. The nature of celebrity web tabloids. A kind of acid commentary on it all. While feeling like a tabloid itself how it jumps around from character to character and tale to tale. Though it also feels like with this film though not surreal Allen seems to try to emulate Fredrico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA to a degree. While it tries to feel like that movie it never quite rises to that level. 

Using the nature of having a lot of big names in his cast. They are here for a reason. While this little is a commentary the film seems scattershot and ultimately lost because it never seems to come to a point. Just cruelty  As the Lead and the movie goes on many misadventures on his way to trying to achieve being a great writer and screenwriter. He finds the romantic entanglements prove to be as artificial as the proper and the world he is trying to enter. Even if all are around him are supposed to be artists and of such depth and passion. Showing all to be more in the moment and inauthentic with a love of self More than anything. 

Falling in love with the image in which others see them and list after them. Loving their own image More than anything else. 

The most noteworthy thing about this movie is that it has Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Mirroring his TITANIC fame of popularity but this was filmed before that film’s release. So it seems like life imitating art. Though some of the films revolve around him, he isn’t actually in it much. 

While not a classic the film is admirable in it’s own ways. It is beautifully shot and tries to say something overall it just has a funny way of showing it. 

Grade: C

LA LA LAND (2016)

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Written & Directed By: Damien Chazelle
Cinematography: Linus Sandgren
Editor: Tom Cross
Music By: Justin Hurwitz 

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Rothe, Sonoya Mizuno, Valarie Rae Miller, Tom Everett Scott 

Aspiring actress serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and jazz musician Sebastian scrapes by playing cocktail-party gigs in dingy bars. But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

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THE REF (1994)

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Directed By: Ted Demme
Story By: Marie Weiss
Written By: Richard LaGravenese & Marie Weiss
Cinematography By: Adam Kimmel
Editor: Jeffery Wolf

Cast: Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Christine Baranski, Glynis Johns, B.D. Wong, Raymond J. Barry, J.K. Simmons, Vincent Pastore

an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandonded by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple’s blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they’re driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences, before he can be nabbed by the police.

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SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)

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Directed By: Sam Raimi
Written By: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi & Alvin Sargent
Screen Story By: Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi
Based On Characters Created By: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Editor: Bob Murawski 


Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, James Cromwell, Theresa Russell, Dylan Baker, Bill Nunn, Elizabeth Banks, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Becky Ann Baker, Willem Dafoe, Cliff Robertson 


Peter Parker has finally managed to piece together the once-broken parts of his life, maintaining a balance between his relationship with Mary-Jane and his responsibility as Spider-Man. But more challenges arise for our young hero. Peter’s old friend Harry Obsourne has set out for revenge against Peter; taking up the mantle of his late father’s persona as The New Goblin, and Peter must also capture Uncle Ben’s real killer, Flint Marko, who has been transformed into his toughest foe yet, the Sandman. All hope seems lost when suddenly Peter’s suit turns jet-black and greatly amplifies his powers. But it also begins to greatly amplify the much darker qualities of Peter’s personality that he begins to lose himself to. Peter has to reach deep inside himself to free the compassionate hero he used to be if he is to ever conquer the darkness within and face not only his greatest enemies, but also…himself

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THE MEDDLER (2015)

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Written & Directed By: Lorene Scafaria
Cinematography By: Brett Pawlek
Editor: Kayla M. Emter 


Cast: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Jerrod Carmichael, Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch, Michael McKean, Billy Magnussen, Jason Ritter, Casey Wilson, Megan Echikunwoke, Amy Landecker, Harry Hamlin, Robert Picardo, Shiri Appleby, Laura San Giacomo, Roger Arron Brown, Randall Park, Bill Fagerbakke 


An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.

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TERMINATOR: GENYSIS (2015)

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Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Laeta Kalogridis & Patrick Lussier
Based On Characters Created By: James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd
Cinematography By: Kramer Morgenthau
Editor: Roger Barton 

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courntey, Jason Clarke, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courntey B.Vance, Sandrine Holt, Otto Sanchez, Gregory Alan Williams, Byung-Hun Lee, Michael Gladis

The continuing saga of humanity’s war with the machines who are led by Skynet the artificial intelligence that decided that humanity needs to be eradicated. John Connor, the one leading the human rebels against Skynet, has a plan to attack Skynet but decides not to take part in it and opts instead to prevent Skynet from implementing it’s contingency plan

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