Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thoughts on The Mummy

For those of you that (for some bizarre reason) don't care for Tom Cruise, you might enjoy The Mummy because Tom Cruise is thrown around and knocked around quite a bit.

This film is a big budget version of Evil Dead 2 in a few ways. It is very funny (the fights with the mummies, the way Cruise gets his feet caught in them as he kicks them) and very over the top. Cruise does his Bruce Campbell impression for the mayhem scenes, and it works quite well.

The most over the top aspect though might be Dr. Jekyll who runs Prodigium, a corporation designed to combat monsters. The doctor has a wide eyed insanity even as he keeps his dark side (Mr Hyde) at bay; it is like Nick Fury is being played by the Hulk, and that could prove to be exciting moving forward.

The Mummy starts off as a film version of Uncharted, and this does not work. Cruise can play a selfish jerk (Magnolia, Rain Man) but he is off here as a thief of artifacts. He is much better as a noble man, that he becomes as the film progresses. There are few actors who could have sold that scene where he tells Jenny (his paramour) that he only helped her escape first from a crashing plane because he thought there was another parachute. The audience knows this is not true.

The actress who plays the Mummy is beautiful; there is a logic that moves the film forward, yet one cannot help but wonder if Ahmanet were just a bit nicer in seducing Cruise, maybe the film would have gone very differently. She is uncompromising though and does not let the guy run the show like Wonder Woman did (Chris Pine was the charismatic male savior in that, imo) plus love the way she paints her nails, wish my fiancee would do that. One problem I had with WW, worth mention, the film is so conventional, there is no chance for weirdness, ala Suicide Squad. This is not the problem with The Mummy.

There is an Evil Dead 2 and even Return of the Living Dead feel with The Mummy. But the film reminds me most of Bathory. The great horror-comedy, drama, crazy project that includes a blood bathing countess, roller skating monks and all manner of crazy. This is a film that every should enjoy on some level. It is broad (which bodes well overseas) and exceptionally entertaining.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I Saw American Graffiti Last Night

Last night, I saw a screening of American Graffiti at the Fox Theater in downtown Tucson. I had not seen the film in at least four years. I used to see it annually  at the State Theater in Modesto, CA. The film takes place in Modesto, CA 1962. The film came out in 1973 and every year Modesto has a Graffiti celebration with classic cars, cruising down the main streets and a showing of the film. It is great fun hearing locations and streets I have been around all my life mentioned in a famous film: G Street, McHenry, Turlock High School, Ceres Drive In, Modesto Junior College and Mel’s Diner (now a Velvet Creamery I think). Lucas is very famous in Modesto. Years ago, Modesto the beginning of McHenry Ave was renamed George Lucas Plaza. A bet of backstory on Lucas:

In 1962, George Lucas crashed his Fiat in Modesto. This car made him reevaluate his life in Modesto and eventually go to USC film school. “Where were you in ’62” was the slogan for the film. 1962 was obviously a very important year for Lucas but for the country at large it was the year before Kennedy was killed (Curt, played by Richard Dreyfuss, has a life goal of shaking Kennedy’s hand) and many teens were still basically innocent (One could watch Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply to get an idea of how innocent many young folks were around that period). Steve, played by Ron Howard,  as he is leaving for college in the morning, tells his girlfriend Laurie, played by Cindy Williams that he wants an open relationship so he can see fast college girls; she reminds him how timid he is  (he was afraid to kiss her the first time). Racer Milner, played by Paul Le Mat, gets a pre-teen he was saddled with, Carol, played by Mackenzie Phillips!, to go home by making a pass at her and scaring her. Carol talks tough for a while though. She reminds me of Lucy from Peanuts. She does everything short of calling a Milner a blockhead. Charlie Brown's quest for the redheaded girl sort of mirrors Curt's quest to find a blonde in a T Bird that he thought mouthed "I love you."Peanuts may be a minor influence. Rock in Roll (pre-surf music) is a major one.
The film is wall to wall songs being played on the radio. Sometimes in a way that seems to be direct sound, meaning when a character is inside the car, the music can be heard very well and when being at a distance from the car, the music is a bit hard to hear (usually, since filmmakers, buy songs to put in films, they are heard in all their glory but here songs trail off as people walk away from cars). Terry, the nerd character played by Charles Martin Smith, only notices the car he had parked is missing when he can no longer hear the radio. Sound is also used in a way that reflects character emotion

Steve and Laurie are at her final school dance. They are fighting about him leaving for college. She was prom queen so they are asked to do a spotlight dance. The band plays Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; the music is loud in the big auditorium (“I AM WITHOUT…WITHOUT MY LOVE”). Once Steve and Laurie dance for a bit and along reminiscing, the music gets quite, more intimate, the first hint that he will not go and they will end up together. As one can see from the lyrics I qouted, the songs themselves also reflect what characters are going through. When Curt accidentally sits on a Pharoah’s (a gang of local toughs) car “Aint that a shame” plays when Curt, from the backseat of a car, sees a girl in a T Bird  mouth the words “I love you” to him, “Why do fools fall in love” plays.
Speaking on the T Bird, Lucas loves machines. In Star Wars it is space ships in Graffiti is is cars. Graffiti is chock full of pretty shots of old cars. When Terry is given use of Steve’s car while he is  to be away, he states “I will protect this car til death do us part.” Death looms over Milner because of his racing ways but what can he do, he has the fastest car around. He has to race.Cars are a fetish in this film. When Debbie, a Connie Stevens lookalike played by Candy Clark, is spotted by Terry, who is driving Steve’s car, she only gets in because of the tuck and roll upolstery, she wants to touch it. Later when they make out in the back seat, she moans, “I just love tuck and roll upolstery.” When Terry is without his car, he cannot even get food at Mel’s Diner. All this being said about cars, unlike Star Wars, the heart of the film is its characters.
John Milner has the fastest car in town. He is being sought out by another driver, who thinks he is faster, throghout the film. A gas station attendant tells Milner, “You have been number one as long as I remember.”But Milner is very aware that you cannot be number one forever. He takes Carol to a junkyard where a lot of old smashed up cars are. “I’ve been lucky enough to stay out of the graveyard.” he tells her. At the end of the film, he faces the other driver. He wins when the driver runs off the road but it is not a victory he wants. “He had me!! You saw it,” he protests. He knows if he continues to race, he will die (this is a truly tragic character) and a title card at the end of the film tells us he died in 1964, killed by a drunk driver. Lucas has said that Milner represents the part of him that loved cars and wanted to stay in town hot rodding, since that part of Lucas died, I guess Milner had to.
Terry represents Lucas before he had a car when he saw himself as something of an awkward geek, the guy most likely to get pantsed by someone. The geek, as I alluded to earlier, gets the girl in this film. Debbie is my favorite character (and not because I met Candy Clark during Graffiti week ten years ago) she is a bleach blonde willing girl, not really a bimbo. She just wants to have a good time.“I bet you are smart enough to get us some brew,” she tells Terry at one point, leading to the films best comic moment as Terry gets beer during a store robbery. Debbie drinks with him; they miss around, and she stays with him as he loses the car and gets sick from drink, even asking for another date tomorrow night. 
Curt has a 2,000 dollar scholarship to go to USC, his character, Lucas says, represents the Lucas that left Modesto. Curt, for most of the movie, is looking for a reason to stay in Modesto, reluctant to leave friends behind. He listens, as does every main character, to the Wolfman Jack rock and roll show. Looking for advice and trying to shout out to the girl with the white corvette, he eventually seeks an audience with the Wolfman. Wolfman Jack is still played on 97.5 in Modesto. Kind of creepy to hear the old shows because Wolfman has been dead for almost 20 years. The Wolfman of the film is a myth (Star Wars was not the first time Lucas dealt with myth.). One character claims he is black and broadcasts from a plane. Another claims that he broadcasts from Mexico (that was true at the time BTW). In this film, he broadcasts in a remote part of Modesto. Curt locates him, finds out he is a not so young chubby guy (shades of the wizard in OZ). Wolfman does offer advance about going out and living though and shouts out to the girl in the corvette. She is another character stepped in myth. Is she married like some people claim or a prostitute like others claim? Curt will likely never find out. She will remain a wonderful romantic notion like the girl in the white dress from Citizen Kane.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Last Word (2017)

Mark Pellington (I Melt With You, Pearl Jam Jeremy) directs The Last Word. The only connection I see to this film and the rest of his filmography is a devotion to music and its transformative power. This is an actorly film. It was produced by Ms. MacLaine and her co-star Amanda Seyfried, both of whom own this film.
Harriet (MacLaine) is a cantankerous, strong-willed octogenarian, the kind of woman who realizes she needs help around the house but won't let that help do anything because they can't do it exactly as well as she can.

Though the film begins with stills of a young MacLaine, who usually played waifs, the character here is of the variety, MacLaine has been playing since middle age, starting with Terms of Endearment. 

She is  a reliable actress. There is no new shade to her here, but she does what she does very well. This is a successful star vehicle. The plot: Harriet, advertising genius, executive, mother, one time wife, is coming to the realization that not many people like here, and if she were to die tomorrow, her obituary might lack the omph that her actual life had. She enlists the help of Anne (the local obit writer played by Seyfried) to help her fashion a rest of life plan that will add a punch to her obituary.

It is worth noting that if an actor has a starring role in a film and is over 65, they very well could die in the film. I am not suggesting that Harriet will or won't die but the want to see older characters die on screen is totally lost on me. I would rather they all live unless they die for heroics or to serve the story meaningfully (think Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Eastwood in Gran Torino). Warren Beatty, Sly Stallone and Woody Allen have so far (more or less) avoided this fate on screen but most have not.

Anne and Harriet figure that there are basic tenets to a life that make a good obit and set about making sure those bases are covered. The most amusing one involves helping a stranger. She chooses, quite deliberately  Brenda (AnnJewel Lee Dixon) a foul mouthed independent little black girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Speaking of foul mouthed, the profanity in this film is surprising. It is consistent and seems to go against the usual wishes of an older audience. One joke about the term fuck bomb completely falls flat. Anyway, Harriet gives Brenda and Anne lots of good advice and some bad advice. She finds a worthwhile part-time job, reconnects with her ex and her daughter and makes piece with her successes and failure. 

Some of this stuff is profound. Her response to her daughter is priceless. Her conversation with her ex (played by Philip Baker Hall) is one for the Oscar reel and her speech to an after school program is instructive. There are too many subplots. I did not care about Anne's other ambitions. I did not care about Harriet's work life, though Joel Murray is wonderful as always. MacLaine has a half dozen films in development. This won't be her swan song, but if it were, it's true, mostly unsentimental & worth watching

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Problems I Had With Split (Spoilers)

M. Night Shyamalan's new film seems to be a hit, and I am a fan so I am happy for him.
I do not, however, think the movie is any good. Sure, it is well directed. The acting is fine, although I found McAvoy surprisingly one note; Betty Buckley is fantastic though, every bit comparable to Donald Pleasance's Dr. Loomis. There are great shots, like when the doctor comes to, but there are questions, the biggest one being, Why didn't the doctor invoke Kevin's name before letting the beast kill her?

There is also a glaring moral issue. Three teen girls are kidnapped by Kevin. One is a troubled girl looking for a ride home. The other two are seemingly spoiled girls yet they are crafty. The two girls are sexualized. They are kept in bar and in panties because they don't wear layers  I guess. The troubled girl wears layers. The clothes hide the fact that she is a cutter. In flashbacks, we learn that as a small child she had a very progressive supportive father who taught her how to hunt. Her uncle though molests her.

She seems like a strong girl, the kind that would not be afraid to tell her dad when something is wrong. Hell, she threatens to kill her uncle. But then her dad dies, and she is left in her uncle's care. The flashbacks lead us nowhere. I thought since Kevin will become a beast the hunting metaphor was supposed to mean something. Since we don't know if she tells the lady cop anything or we don't see her overcome anything to escape, she is given no catharsis or reason for the abuse subplot. She is left alive presumably because Kevin sees a fellow misfit in her, a cutter, someone not normal, a victim, which is actually quite far from the superman he is trying to become. The movie is sensitive to keep that character's clothes on but terrible in the way abuse is a go-nowhere plot point and the sexualizing of the other two when in reality he should respect the ingenuity of the other two as even if they are without obvious problems, they likely have strong inner-lives.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017: A Year of Going Out to the Movies

I think movies are still the most enlightening form of cheap entertainment.
Since I live by a few revival houses these days, I don't always go to see new
titles. But I do go once a week.  I am keeping track of the movies I see in a theater
as the theater is the optimal way to see a picture; it forces concentration and presents
the best sound and image experience. Sometimes the communal nature of the thing is
damn good too. I will keep track of all the titles I see on a Letterbox list instead of blog, but I am using my blog to keep track of this. 

The Hunger (1983) from Tony Scott (Seen at the Loft on 1/7/17  10PM)

Incarnate (2016) from Peyton Reed (Seen at the Gateway 12 on 1/9/17  735pm)

Bye Bye Man (2017) from Stacey Title (Seen at the Park Place 20 on 1/13/17  1125AM)

Split (2017) from M Night Shyamalan (Seen at the Park Place 20 on 1/22/17 1015AM)

Haxan (1922) from Benjamin Christensen (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/22/17  730PM)

The Shining (1980) from Stanley Kubrick (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/28/17  7PM)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) from Tobe Hopper (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/28/17  940PM)

Fright Night (1985) from Tom Holland (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/28/17  1110PM)

Green Room (2016) from Jeremy Saulnier (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/29/17  1AM)

Trick 'r Treat (2007) from Michael Dougherty (Seen at Loft Cinema on 1/29/17  240AM)

Return of the Living Dead (1985) from Dan O Bannon (Seen at the Loft Cinema on 1/29  410AM)

Cat in the Brain (1990) from Lucio Fulci (Seen at the Loft Cinema on 1/29 540AM)

Sabrina (1954) from Billy Wilder (Seen at the Cinema El Con on 2/5 2 PM)

Toni Erdmann (2016) from Maren Ade (Seen at the Loft Cinema on 2/11 7PM)

Allegiance A Fathom Event (2017)  (Seen at Park Place on 2/19 1255PM)

The Red Turtle (2016)  from Michael Dudok de Wit (Seen at Loft Cinema on 2/25 515PM)

Logan (2017) from James Mangold (Seen at Park Place on 3/5 815PM)

Kedi (2016) from Cedya Torun (Seen at the Loft on 3/17 1215PM)

Beauty and the Beast (2017) from Bill Condon (Seen at the Roadhouse on 3/20 1145AM)

The Last Word (2017) from Mark Pellington (Seen at Park Place 20 on 3/25 410PM)

Song to Song (2017) from Terrence Malick (Seen at the Loft on 4/8 2:30PM)

Your Name (2017) from Makoto Shinkai (Seen at Park Place Mall on 4/15 10:10AM)

Phoenix Forgotten (2017) from Justin Barber (Seen at El Con Cinema on 4/23 3:10PM)

Miami Connection (1987) from YK Kim (Seen at the Loft on 4/23 7:30PM)

American Graffiti (1973) from George Lucas (Seen at Fox Theater on 5/13 730PM)

Summer Wars (2009) from Mamrou Hosoda (Seen at the Loft on 5/20 10PM)

Boxing Helena (1993) from Jenifer Lynch (Seen at the Loft on 5/29 at 8PM)

Captain Underpants (2017) from David Soren (Seen at the Park Place on 6/2 at 1155AM)

Wonder Woman (2017) from Patty Jenkins (Seen at the El Con on 6/3 at 3:55PM)

The Mummy (2017) from Alex Kurtzman (Seen at Park Place on 6/9 at 9:10AM)

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017) from James Gunn (Seen at Roadhouse Cinema on 613 at 11AM)

Paris Can Wait (2017) from Eleanor Coppola (Seen at El Con on 6/16 at 1120 AM)

Monterey Pop (1967) from DA Pennebaker (Seen at Filmbar on 6/29 at 5PM)

2017 Cat Video Festival (Seen at the JCC on 7/1 at 730PM)

The Beguiled (2017) from Sophia Coppola (Seen at El Con on 7/4 at 155PM)

The Hero (2017) from Brett Haley (Seen at the Loft on 7/7 at 11AM)

The Zodiac Killer (1971) from Tom Hanson (Seen at the Loft on 7/22 at 930PM)

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) from Jim Sharman (Seen at the Loft on 7/23 Midnight)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mr. Beatty Has Made His Masterpiece (spoiler review)

This film is not a traditional bio pic. Beatty is too old to play Howard Hughes as Hughes was in 1958. The characters refer to Mr. Hughes as "very old." Beatty is playing a sort of alternative Hughes and liberties are taken. The events depicted in the story cover about six years. In life, these events happened during about a two decade period. This is not The Aviator that used a biography as its basis and stuck to it. This is something much better, a light film with serious concerns that fits the persona of Mr. Beatty very well indeed.

The film opens in the early 1960s as author Richard Miskind has written a book claiming that Mr. Howard Hughes has lost his mind and is at a press conference for the book. Hughes is expected to call in and debunk the claims of this book to avoid losing defense contracts and potentially have his business fall into the hands of conservators.  This is a nod to Clifford Irving who did write such as book. And the name Miskind is a take off of Peter Bliskind who wrote a somewhat unflattering book on Mr. Beatty. Mr. Miskind (played with a bit of menace by Paul Schneider) is seen earlier in the film hitting on one of the actresses  that Mr. Hughes has under contract. It was a smart move to make this character the Irving stand in and not add any unnecessary extra character. We already don't like this guy and want prove him to be wrong. It is sad that the bookends of the film hinge on if t Mr. Hughes is together enough to make a phone call. In a scene from the late 50's Hughes has to say the right thing during a congressional committee. Much of the film takes place in the late 1950's, a much less cynical time when we saw the good in these types of mavericks without looking for the warts.And, in the course of the film, Mr. Hughes will become a victim to all his warts, neurosis and fears.

There are touching scenes of Mr. Hughes trying to keep himself together. He is suffering from codeine addiction after plane crashes, as well as mental disorders. My favorite scenes: there is a scene toward the end where Mr. Hughes plays with a lamp, turning it on and off, looking into it. Much of the time he has been surrounded in darkness.  And the light and his smiling reaction is as if to say, what was all the hiding in the dark about. It is also one of the least vain scenes from a major actor, and one who is often accused of being vain. Another scene, Hughes flies in Raymond Holiday (a friend of his father's played by the great Dabney Coleman) to seek his advice on business matters. Hughes has just lost a major lawsuit and may have to sell his father's company. He is nervous and rambling and suggests that he and Raymond should go flying sometime, and Raymond, gently but firmly, tells him "I'm not sure you should really think about flying any more Howard. It is a devastating scene. A number of Warren Beatty films involve a man at odd. There is a disconnect between what he is and what he wants to be seen as. Bugsy saw himself as a family man and business maverick but became smaller in the name of lust. Bulworth started as a liberal dem and let special interests make him far more conservative. John McCabe thought he was a genius entrepreneur but had no business sense and was not the smartest person in the room. Sometimes Hughes is the smartest person in the room and is much admired ("I think Howard Hughes should be president" one character coos). Like McCabe, he is a comic figure as well as a tragic one. And this film has more than its share of comedy.


I don't mean to be negative, but are me living in Nicaragua now?

This is a question posed by Howard Hughes' drivers Levar Mathis (played by Matthew Broderick) and Frank Forbes (played by Alden Ehenreich) and eventual co-keepers after they are rushed to Nicaragua on a whim, and to avoid possible business catastrophe, by Mr. Hughes. The question gets a big laugh. After the intro, the story starts proper when Forbes picks up Marla Mabrey from the Hollywood airport. She has just won a talent competition in West Virginia, and is given a contract by Howard Hughes. 400 dollars a month plus a home. Mabrey is a songwriter and devout baptist. She travels to Hollywood with her mother (played by Mr. Beatty's lovely wife) who questions Mr. Hughes' motives. Hughes has a stable of 26 actresses that he keeps on his payroll. They are all there for a screen test for something (likely made up) called Stella Starlight. Many of the folks who have been there for a while still have not met Hughes.And there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what being under contract means exactly.This is a great comedy of misunderstanding. The first meet up between Hughes and Mabrey sees Marla prattle on about how grateful she is as  Hughes eats a TV dinner,completely ignoring her, then (hilariously) picks up a saxophone and starts playing (as a signal that he is about to get lucky). Marla, tougher than she seems, indicates to Mr. Hughes that if his reputation with woman was true, he would not have time to work on aviation (Mr. Beatty has made similar claims about himself and the 12,000 women he is alleged to have slept with; I would not have had the time). When Hughes meets Frank Forbes for the first time, Forbes tries to talk Hughes into real estate as Hughes goes on about venereal disease. Hughes repeats himself because he is losing it (I will leave this country and never come back. I...will leave this country and never come back), but these instances are seen as adding emphasis because we make allowances for the rich.  These confusions end up showing how much interest and slack people are willing to give a billionaire while they reside in his orbit. Another point of comedy misunderstanding, Hughes is unaware that his doubles look nothing like him

 Mr. Beatty has said that the film is about sexual mores of the 50s. That plays into it a bit and informs Frank and Marla's behavior as they meet and fall for each other and have complications from back home and in Hollywood. The biggest complication though is Hughes and his frenzied mind.  This is a frenzied film. The editing is quite unique, many scenes are often quick, bringing in just the necessary information to move to the next part. It is a marvel. Another marvel is how much I related to the film as a man who cannot have children.
Hughes describes himself as still more of a son than a father, which I found a touching way to characterize it. And I still miss my father (who died Christmas day last year) the way Hughes misses his How come you never talk about your daddy Frank? I could always tell my mother I loved her..but my father, I miss him. Hughes is obsessed with leaving a legacy and believes that this new thing called DNA allows your father to still be alive in you. As Raymond Holiday asks him Who's DNA are you going to be in Howard?
In an early scene, Hughes sees a small child and runs out of the room in horror. At first, Hughes' legacy seems to be his planes and his films.

Marla writes a song for Frank based on a kind comment he had made to her.

One day I told my friend I was terribly blue.
Was it far too late to do what I dreamed I could do?
He thought for a moment, then he answered.
He said, “The rules don’t apply to you.”
He said it very simply, and quietly too.
But as if there wasn’t any doubt at all that he knew.
He gave me a gift that I would treasure.
He said, “The rules don’t apply to you.”
In the movies we see, in the shows on TV,
And in anthems passionately sung,
There’s a message that you’ve got to keep believing in yourself,
But they generally mean, if you’re young.
It it written in the air, as it seems to be,
That we haven’t long at all to find our destiny?
I’ll always remember to be grateful
That the rules don’t apply to me.
I wouldn’t like.
The rules don’t apply.
The rules don’t apply to you.
When Marla drunkenly sings the same song to Mr. Hughes a few scenes later (Collins is the perfect drunk in this scene), Hughes looks deeply moved, but we don't know if he is moved because his film Hell's Angels is playing in the background or because the song speaks to him as the aging nutty maverick that he has become.
 After Marla sings Rules to Hughes, Marla throws herself at him, after Hughes gives her a ring and says they are basically married, and ends up pregnant. When she confesses this to him, he assumes she slept around. Much later in the film, after Hughes and Marla have lost touch, some kids run around his bungalow, and he seems happy to see them. He has moved his interest in legacy onto children.
It will take Marla bringing her son to Mr. Hughes at the end of the film to enliven Mr. Hughes into going on record the Miskind book is a hoax. Mr. Beatty took 15 years off to raise his children whom he obviously loves very dearly. The hero in the film is ultimately the child. If Love Affair was a love letter to his lovely wife and Bulworth was getting all his political ideals down and Town and Country was a comment on past behavior, Rules is a love letter to his children who are the most important thing in life.

With that in mind, I will speak a bit about the young people of this film, Frank and Marla.
Frank has a Murphy bed as Beatty did when he came to Hollywood. Marla comes from a deeply religious family in Virginia as Beatty did and was under contract as Beatty was. Warren's sister Shirley had met Hughes right away when she came to Hollywood.
The cast and crew are by and large friends of Mr. Beatty that he has used a number of times before. Mrs. Bening (Bugsy, Love Affair) is Marla's tough mother, Paul Sorvino (Bulworth) is a reporter. Oliver Platt (Bulworth) is a bothered executive in a hilarious sequence. All the actors are great; the cinematography is excellent as well. Beatty did not become Hughes but made Hughes Beatty, shrouded in mystery, sexy, smart, mysterious,  Hollywood obsessed long after the real Hughes was,  and yes...old. It is an achievement that obviously only he could have done and it blows any other portrayal out of the water because it has nearly 60 years of an acting persuasive acting persona behind it and fits among Beatty's and the (in general) very best roles.

These little details taken from life are as carefully planned as any of the glaces and banter that Frank and Marla share. We see two people falling in love on screen. There is a shot at the end of the film where Frank thinks Marla and her son have left. The camera falls back then moves forward in such a way that the audience knows Marla is still there, and Frank is just about to find her. It is a crowd pleasing scene that really could have used a crowd.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Boo a Madea Halloween: Like Ernest Scared Stupid with a lot of bad Language

Madea Halloween is the funniest Tyler Perry movie yet. It also contains elements that are different from his usual obsessions. No married woman is abused by her husband or has a sad sleazy past.
No one is particularly slut shamed, no man is an oaf. All that happens is teens want to go to a college party and one of the dads, Brian (Tyler Perry) needs to stand up to his daughter (one of the teens who is forbidden to go but goes anyway). There is a good moral here; a firm hand is necessary but does not have to include a switch (despite what Madea, Joe, Bam and Hattie might say).

The film should very much appeal to teens. I was in a theater with a few teens who laughed all the way through it. It could be a family film if not for Joe's language in most of his scenes.

He is not about calling his son a bitch and dropping the n work for surprising comic effect. Every scene Joe in is funny, particularly his confrontation with a clown.

Other comic highlight include Hattie's twerk, the hilarious church scene and a topless scene. I was really cheered up by this film. Weakness, most of the acting by anyone outside of Madea's circle is terrible, particularly the college boys. I will single out Liza Koshey as Aday though for giving a great sincere performance as the pastor's daughter. If I could make movies, I would cast her in a minute. Also, the film is too long by about twenty minutes and the ending really does not work. These are small quibbles as I have much praise for this enterprise.

Madea always has some one stay with her to learn a life lesson. It is often not by choice. A wife is abused and has nowhere to go. A woman is in jail with Madea. A couple is in the witness protection program at Madea's house...some of it is rather contrived. Madea, as she did with this film, should stick with teens, as teens are stuck at home and more or less have to listen without contrivance. And the issues will not be as overly dramatic as they often are in the adult world.  That being said...

The other idea I would try if I was Perry since Joe's profaneness was so funny in this film. Let's put him and Madea in a rest home, dealing with all the sex that is supposedly going on in those places and maybe solving some issue as old folks in rest homes, like teens have nowhere to go either.