“The Laundromat”, starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, and directed by Steven Soderberg, is one of the new films on Netflix. It is billed as similar to “The Big Short” because it tells the story of how shell corporations out of Panama ruined people’s lives. Based on its pedigree this film should have been good, but that wasn’t so. Like “The Big Short” there is narration, done by Banderas and Oldman, but it is more annoying than informative. Slow and not compelling. The only thing I liked about it was a surprise at the very end. Normally when I don’t like a movie I say wait for HBO. For this movie, don’t waste your time.
It is not a good thing to be bored while watching a movie. Unfortunately it happened again last night while I was watching “Ad Astra”. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this film based on the previews, but decided to give it a try because I think that Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones are good actors. The story concerns father and son astronauts in the near future. The special effects are good, but the story line and acting are boring. I don’t think anyone spoke with any inflection in their voices. If this film had a pulse rate I would recommend electro shock! It’s such a waste of talent!
I saw three movies this past weekend. The first, “The Goldfinch”, was my least favorite. It’s the story of a boy who is caught up in a series of unfortunate events. The set up is kind of interesting, but then it goes south. Slow does not begin to describe it! The cast is made up of talented actors, but they seem to be sleep walking through the picture. Only Luke Wilson as the scum bag father shows any real emotion. The plot twists are interesting, but not enough to make me want to recommend seeing it.
I don’t usually give a scathingly bad review to a movie, but “The Art of Self Defense” deserves one. This one is a stinker! It’s an independent film with a very different plot, but it is slow, completely underplayed, and offensive to the sensibilities. Other than that it is fine. Jesse Eisenberg plays a 35 year old loser who, after being mugged, decides to join a karate club that is run by a guy who is stranger than he is. The club is kind of a cult. The story gets darker and more off-putting as it goes on and the ending is truly weird. The acting is dead pan and none of the characters are relatable. Jesse Eisenberg is at his most annoying and quirkiest. I not only wanted to ask for my money back, but also for the time I spent.
“Holmes and Watson” is the latest Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly comedy. It is their version of Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England. It has a few funny moments, but overall it is mediocre. If you really want to see a movie starring these two, I suggest streaming “Talladega Nights” or “Step Brothers”. Don’t waste your time on this one.
I have a new definition for disappointed: “The Front Runner”. How could a film starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons and written and directed by Jason Reitman be boring? And its subject was a piece of modern history that many of us lived through! Well, it was hard to sit through; I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Telling the story of Gary Hart, while he was running for president, and his affair with Donna Rice, it had the makings of a juicy, compelling film, especially in these tabloid times. First, Jackman did not have the charisma of a politician who was very popular. Second, the film is very episodic. In the end it was told with no oomph. Very disappointing.
“Sorry to Bother You” looked like an interesting and entertaining premise. A young black man gets a job as a telemarketer and becomes wildly successful when he uses his “white” voice. The usual happens; he changes when he starts to make money. Most of these things happen in the first half of the movie and they are funny, but there is a weird subtext to everything as a huge company is constantly advertised on T.V., billboards and everywhere the characters go. The second half of the movie is actually quite disturbing. It’s not the usual selling out story; it’s the ultimate selling out story. The huge corporation has a plan to exploit its workers in a very unusual and grotesque way. This is when the film falls apart. Instead of being an innovative comedy it becomes a surreal horror story. It is as if the filmmakers are trying to come up with a new “Get Out!” and they fail miserably. The best part of the film is the cast, especially the lead, Lakeith Stanfield. He plays the part as an innocent who is mesmerized by all that is happening to him. I do not recommend this film at all.
It is rare that a film gets a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but here is one that did just that. “Gotti” is the story of John Gotti, the Teflon Don. The film is obviously a vanity project for John Travolta, who is made up to look like the real Gotti. His wife, Kelly Preston, plays Mrs. Gotti showing the world that she can act hysterical and speak with a phony New York accent. It’s not that the film is so bad, but it is very choppy, almost like they filmed a bunch of scenes and then threw them together. I read that they went through four directors and it shows. This is one of those films to watch on a rainy afternoon when there is literally nothing else on T.V. Hard to believe that this is the star from “Saturday Night Fever” and “Pulp Fiction”.
It is a sad commentary on the state of the film industry when there very few good movies out on Memorial Day weekend. I realize that they all can’t be “Deadpool”, “Solo” or “Book Club”, but this is depressing. And with my Movie Pass burning in my pocket, what am I to do? So I went to see “Show Dogs” and am not proud to admit it. The premise is that a police dog must infiltrate a dog show in Las Vegas. It’s basically “Miss Congeniality” with a Rottweiler named Max instead of Sandra Bullock and without any of the wit, charm or writing. The human stars are Will Arnett, one of my least favorite actors, and Natasha Lyonne, who is usually edgy and funny. They cleaned her up so much that I didn’t[t recognize her for half of the movie. This is one of those movies to avoid. If you have a five year old to take to it you will be doing them a favor if you stay home and rent “Coco” instead.
I loved “Juno” when it came out ten years ago. Well written, well acted and beautifully directed it was a uniquely told story. The director, Jason Reitman, and writer, Diablo Cody, made another movie, “Young Adult” back in 2011, and it missed the mark. I thought it was tiresome and meandering. Their latest collaboration is “Tully”, the story of a middle class mother of three, including a new born, who is struggling to survive. A night nurse comes into her life and things change. Charlize Theron stars as the mother very realistically, with bags under her eyes and extra weight. The problem for me was that there wasn’t much to the story and other than the mother and the nanny, there was no character development. There is a twist at the end, but overall I was underwhelmed.