Friday, June 12, 2020

The King of Staten Island

My View: The King of Staten Island (2020) R   Scott (Pete Davidson) spends his days getting high and watching cartoons, all the while dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist. His world was destroyed when his firefighter dad died, saving a family from a burning building. Now Scott’s world is rocked again when his mom (Marisa Tomei) begins dating Ray (Bill Burr), a firefighter himself, and Scott’s mom thinks it’s time for Scott to grow up. I enjoyed this film but boy I did not enjoy Scott as a character, and that is the point of the film. Scott is a self-centered 20 something man who feels more like he stopped growing up when his father died, stuck in a teenage mind. Scott lives off the kindness of his mom, played by the always brilliant Marisa Tomei, and seems to think that it is his God-given right to sponge off his mom. It takes a lot for Scott to change and to realize that maybe, just maybe he should grow up. The supporting cast does a great job, including Bel Powley as Scott’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, who somehow sees something in Scott that we can’t see at first and Bill Burr, as the firefighter who falls in love with Scott’s mom. The film is funny, and though the film feels a little long, it is an entertaining film about a guy that you might not like at first but just might root for in the end.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    King of Staten Island Website      Available for rent on participating on-demand services
My View:  Artemis Fowl (2020) PG   Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw) is a 12-year-old who comes from a long line of criminal masterminds. Artemis is on a mission to find his father (Colin Farrell), who has mysteriously disappeared. Artemis is about to discover that the world is full of surprises, including elves, dwarves, and fairies. I would love to read the book to help me understand what the heck I watched. The film is one long setup for a sequel. Almost nothing happens in this film, and when it does, it is met with a yawn. The dialogue is horrible, weak, and insulting, the plot is just plain stupid, and the characters are so thinly created it seems as you can see through them. I am guessing Disney thought they had their Harry Porter series, but instead it created a movie that starts out with a whimper and goes downhill from there. Please don’t waste your time investing in watching this film as I doubt another movie in the series will be made.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again      Artemis Fowl Website    The film is available for viewing on the Disney Plus platform.
My View: Da 5 Bloods (2020) R   Four former African-American soldiers (Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (Chadwick Boseman) and the gold fortune that they left behind. Spike Lee’s films are always an interesting experience, and this one has his handprints all over it. I just felt the 2 hour and 36-minute length as the film covers so many things that sometimes the main story gets lost in all the visuals that he puts on the screen. The film covers the effects of the Vietnam War both during the war and the scars of its aftereffects. Like a lot of Lee’s films, the movie breaks the third wall, as one of the character’s talks directly to the audience and Lee uses scenes from prominent Black people in history like Dr. Martin Luther King to make his point about the injustices that have been going on in this country since its beginning. I enjoyed some of the film, especially the action sequences, but the film was dragged down by too many ideas in too long of a film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Da 5 Bloods Website   The film is available for viewing on the Netflix platform.  
Indiefest: You Don’t Nomi (2019) Documentary on one of the legendary flops of all time, 1995s Showgirls. I had a little bit of a hard time with this film because I consider Showgirls one of the worst movies of all time and there are people, including two in this film (David Schmader, who did the DVD commentary on the film and Adam Nayman, who wrote the book ‘It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls’) who feel that the film is a misunderstood movie that should be appreciated. The film does have quite a few insights on why and how the film was made. Showgirls was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who gave us Robocop, Total Recall, and Basic Instinct and was written by Joe Eszterhas, who was paid a lot of money to craft the script after his hits, Basic Instinct and Sliver. A bit of warning, like Showgirls (which went for and got an NC-17 rating), there is a lot of nudity in this documentary. The film does a great job of setting up the scene of making the film, including the casting of Elizabeth Berkley, who up to the time of the film, was known for her role as Jessie on Saved By the Bell. The film was a huge bomb, and it ruined Berkley’s career, who was dropped by her agent weeks after the film was released. I would suggest that if you have interest in seeing this film, to watch Showgirls first, but I warn you, it isn’t a pretty sight.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee      You Don't Nomi Website     Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Arkansas (2020) R   Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and Swin (Clark Duke) are low-level drug runners based in the South working for a man they have never met named Frog. The boys start pushing the boundaries of their job, and when a deal goes wrong, Frog is out for revenge. This isn’t your ordinary crime drama, but you would know that as soon as you saw John Malkovich’s name in the credits. The film feels like a mixture of Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, and a little bit of Blood Simple thrown in. To say that Kyle and Swin are in over their heads would be an understatement when things start going wrong for the two. The film is funny, full of very strange characters and filled with a plot that takes quite a few surprising twists and turns. This is one of those films where the film does a great job of giving us a background of some of the main characters and how they got where they are at. The cast is excellent, including Vince Vaughn, Vivica A. Fox, and Eden Brolin, in a very amusing role as the love interest of Clark Duke’s character. Have some fun, and enjoy your time in Arkansas with Kyle and Swin.   My Rating: Full Price    Arkansas Website   Available for rent on participating on-demand services and in participating drive-in theatres.
Indiefest: Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl (2018)  Kate Nash, at age 18, rockets to fame, becoming an Internet sensation and then gets a big recording contract. However, life doesn’t always happen the way you think it does, and in this documentary is shows the struggle that Kate goes through when her label drops her and her luck goes from bad to worse. I will admit that before seeing this film, I didn’t know much about Kate Nash or her music, just that she is on the hit TV show GLOW, where she plays Rhonda Richardson, the British book nerd wrestler. After seeing this documentary, I am both a fan of Nash’s music and Kate Nash herself. The film gives us an up-close and personal look at a really tough time in Nash’s life, where everything seemed to go the wrong way for her. For fans of Nash and her music, there is plenty of concert footage, from both her early days and her more recent tours. Nash is a force of nature both on the stage and behind the scenes, and you will fall in love with Kate and her music.   My Rating: Full Price    Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl Facebook Page     Available for rent on participating on-demand services
Forgotten Film: The Stalking Moon (1968) G  A retired Army scout (Gregory Peck) takes in a woman (Eva Marie Saint) and her half-Apache son, not knowing that the boys father, a notorious renegade Apache is after them. I love westerns, but this is a western with a twist, it is also a suspense film. Peck is outstanding as the man who determined to protect the woman and her son with his life. The film builds to a great showdown and doesn’t disappoint.   My Rating: Full Price    The Stalking Moon Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Da 5 Bloods: Thai Art Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: My Darling Vivian (2020) Documentary on Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. This should be a blast to watch, and I can’t wait to see it.    My Darling Vivian Website
Until Next Time!

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