ROCK STAR (2001)

Directed By: Stephen Herek 
Written By: John Stockwell
Cinematography: Ueli Steiger 
Editor: Trudy Sharp 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Dominic West, Timothy Spall, Dagmara Domincyzk, Jason Flemyng, Timothy Olyphant, Matthew Glave, Michael Shamus Wiles, Beth Grant, Stephen Jenkins, Jason Bonham, Jeff Pilson, Zakk Wylde, Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick, Amy Miller, Rachel Hunter, Heidi Mark, Carrie Stevens, Carey Lassard, Kristin Willits 

The lead singer of a tribute band becomes the lead singer of the real band he idolizes.

This is a film built off of wish fulfillment and watching the life and fantasy most members of the audience dream of, sort of like those entertainment shows that show you the houses and yachts of celebrities to impress you even though you might never actually get a chance to actually see or experience it and better yet this is based on a true story.

So while the film is showing someone else living it up. It feels within arms reach for the audience. Like voluntary torture with a story. A real-life fairy tale with a moral to it.

It’s the old talented being careful what you wish for because you get what you want but you might not be prepared for what it entails and what you have to do to maintain it

An all-American dream movie that shows the dark side and in the end is a happy ending that lets the hero stand on his own Terms. Yet ends up feeling cheesy

Mark Wahlberg is strong. Here as the devoted fan and Everyman who won’t bend in his fandom and cover their songs but when he gets the chance to be part of them finds he has to constantly make compromises

He sees the dark side of stardom and the same type of doctoral behavior he had with his cover band he notices it’s the same way in the actual band

There are many scenes showing the access of rock-star life the lifestyle and legendary parties but also the toll they can take and how they can change you and practically make you a slave or zombie to it. Change who you are and who you are to people how flexible your morals can become

Jennifer Aniston is sexy but  the outfits they give her are made to be flattering but they also, unfortunately, show the limitations of her body and for some odd reasons  make her appear older than Her co-star

This is one of the folks that showed his appeal and has a prepared audience for his more Everyman appeal yet who they would want to Be. Watch him have good times and imagine themselves there.

This seems like a film that would have more of an impact when it is set more in the 1980s or even 90s to show how bloated that period of time was. Watching it now it seems to deliver more an obvious message as well as trying to be a kind of throwback that feels out of date and a satire with little to say about the time. Instead of just throwing in hooked jabs of Jokes

The casting of Mark Wahlberg seems ironic considering his past as an overnight music star as Marky Mark in his teens. So while his character here is in a different genre of music. You can’t help but think if he dealt with some of the same issues when he was a music star rapper.

Based on a true story it stays entertaining and funny at parts but seems to try so hard for something that is more of a minor tale. 

Though pretty much of ItMs time and more disposable back then. This film plays much better over time. Still ridiculous but more heartfelt. An earnestness of the modern era That is kind of missing in most modern films of these times. 

Grade: C+

SPENCER (2021)

Directed By: Pablo Larrain
Written By: Steven Knight 
Cinematography: Claire Mathon 
Editor: Sebastian Sepulveda 

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, Jack Farthing, Laura Benson, Wendy Patterson 

During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.

I will admit this isn’t usually my type of film or the type I will run to, but I am glad I watched this film as I am a fan of director Pablo Larrain and his movies. Though not really that invested in the Royal family.  This is the second film about them that I find myself surprised by how engrossed I am by films about them.

Deep down this film is about exploring being trapped in your own fame. That you knew might be coming but not the amount of scrutiny. Especially when the people who are supposed to be in this with you. Have decided to freeze you out also but expect you to represent them in your behavior.

As throughout, the film feels like a suspense-filled horror film. Where she is constantly under attack and wondering if each action is an attack. As we watch a woman trapped in everything: a marriage, a family, a palace, where everyone seems against her including the help.

So that even when seeming to have it all. The riches, the family, the fame still has their own fair share of problems, especially when it comes to a historic reign of a particular kingdom and family. Where she can never go back to when it was quite so simple. As of now she is ruled and trapped inside a kingdom. Where there is constant talk of survival. 

Where no matter what she does it is never quite good enough. So that she begins to rebel and seems punished even more for it. So we watch the character of Princess Diana breaking down. 

Kristen Stewart comes off as very theatrical at first. Where one doesn’t know if that is her playing character or her instincts. As she always comes off as performing more. Though eventually, she comes into her own. Not to mention those who knew Princess Diana say her performance is spot on. 

She looks photogenic throughout like a model. Though I have to say this is one of her best performances. As she comes into her own, especially in the second half of the film. The more off-center she is the stronger the performance gets. Fighting against no matter how much they try to contain her 

At first, that seems what the film will be built around but as it goes along. The film develops not only into a character piece, But a psychological thriller, a location horror film, and a diabolical thriller all in one that is very symbolic. As it also exposes the tradition of even the help and the standard they are held to. 

The film seems more structured, but free to experiment more than the director Pablo Larrian’s Previous biofilm of a real-life character at a particular point in their life that lets them reflect on their life and legacy at a crucial time in the film JACKIE about Jackie Onassis. 

Though based on real-life characters it’s still surprising when other recognizable actors pop up in supporting roles. They are impressive but jarring as it partially takes you out of the film. Luckily, they play the help. Where we as an audience can’t compare to faceless counterparts. 

The film sets an atmosphere and tone. While also showing immaculately designed production and camera shots. As the film is artistically filmed to be personal and yet as beautiful as a perfume ad that feels like the inside of a fashion shoot. 

Grade: A-