Friday, June 20, 2014

Jersey Boys

My ViewJersey Boys (2014)  R  The film tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks who become the bestselling singing group, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  There are so many things that are wrong with this movie.  First, this is a movie with songs, not a musical (even though it’s based on the long-running Broadway musical).  What I mean by that is, in a musical a character breaks out into song, usually to express what is happening or how they are feeling.  In this film, each song is done when they perform in front of an audience (state fair or Ed Sullivan show), or they are in a recording studio. The film is incredibly choppy, and the narrative between songs jumps around the timeline very quickly.  One minute one of the characters is happily married, the next scene his marriage is in trouble due to him sleeping around and his wife becoming an alcoholic.  The characters narrate the film while talking to the camera, which can work in certain films (like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) but in this film, it works to make the film slow down and rarely gives us any insight to what is happening. The film has an R rating, solely due to the language in the film.  It’s a film where the Mob is involved heavily with the band, but there is almost no violence or sex. There is an incredibly creepy moment in the film when Valli, trying to comfort his daughter, sings "My Eyes Adored You." Finally, while John Lloyd Young comes close to singing like Frankie Valli, he has no charisma on screen, something the real Valli had just standing on stage.  All more frustrating is, during the closing credits, there is a rousing musical number with the whole cast singing and dancing in the streets of New Jersey, showing the potential of this film. I wish someone creative, like Martin Scorsese, would have directed this film. Instead, it’s Clint Eastwood, who plays it too close to the vest and gives us a boring film with songs.  My Rating: Cable  Jersey Boys Website

Indiefest: The Grand Seduction (2014) PG-13  A small fishing village must get a lucrative business contract to escape financial ruin, but their odds are slim as a town doctor is needed to land the contract. The problem is they've been searching for years for a doctor, and no one has taken the bait. After the mayor skips town, resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) takes it upon himself to find his village a doctor. The town is able to get a doctor to come but only for thirty days, now they must convince him that this town is paradise.  This is a delightful film to watch, a kind of combination of Northern Exposure meets Waking Ned Devine. Taylor Kitsch (yes, that Taylor Kitsch) is perfect as the big city doctor that the town is trying to woo. Brendan Gleeson is brilliant as the fisherman who has a plan to save the town. This is one of those films that you will want to buy to watch when you need a laugh.  It's incredibly well done and a joy to watch.  My Rating: Full Price  The Grand Seduction Website

Forgotten FilmMurderball (2005)  R This is a documentary about a group of young men who are quadriplegics who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs.  The men are trying to make it to the Paralympics in Athens.  It’s a rough sport and the men in this documentary hold nothing back, whether talking about the injuries, their sex life or how they compete in a grueling, tough sport.  It’s an inspiring film that makes you appreciate life and all it has to offer.  My Rating: Full Price  Murderball Fan Site

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Dolphin Tale 2 (2014)  PG  I liked the first film, but it’s very hard to capture the magic twice.  Dolphin Tale 2 Website

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blue Ray)The Grand Budapest Hotel  (2014)  R  Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is one of the best concierges in the world, and he works at the famous Grand Budapest Hotel. He hires Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) as a lobby boy.  Now, Gustave and Zero are about to go on a great adventure.  An absolute joyride of a film that takes a Wes Anderson (the director) type of film and adds the Marx Brothers to it.  Fiennes is hilarious in the role of the stuck up, pompous concierge with a heart of gold. Revolori, as the “Lobby Boy,” perfectly works off of the energy of Fiennes creating great chemistry between them. An absolute delight of a film.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Grand Budapest Hotel Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Jersey Boys: pig wrangler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Life Itself (2013) R Documentary on one of my heroes, the Pulitzer Prize winning Roger Ebert.  Ebert was an incredibly talented writer who could make a film review seem like a work of a master artist.  Ebert was a flawed man, who battled many problems, but ultimately, he was a man who loved life.  I am guessing I will shed a tear or two watching this film.  Life Itself Website
Until Next Time!

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