Machete

Machete, an entire movie spawned from the spoof trailer from the Grindhouse double feature. This wasn’t as bad as a lot of the movies that are spin offs from small Saturday Night Live skits, but it was about what I expected. This is a very basic story of revenge. Machete the ex-Federale, played by Danny Trejo, is seeking revenge after his family was murdered and he was left for dead by drug kingpin Torrez, played by Steven Seagal (Above the Law, Executive Decision).

After seeing the Grindhouse double feature in the theatre, I really wanted director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) to take advantage of the campy 70s film techniques like scratches, pops, missing scenes, film going askew and things of this nature. That was non existant except for the credit sequence. Yes, the film stock hard a certain color about it giving it a nostalgic feel, but not near the fun Planet Terror was. To me the film never really took off the way Planet Terror of From Dusk Til Dawn did. The characters were a lot of fun though, with a fitting role for Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls, Georgia Rule). Robert DeNiro (Heat, Godfather  2, Taxi Driver) and Cheech Marin (Tin Cup, Up In Smoke) also have roles as well.

So, would I recommend this movie, it might be an entertaining film at home on a Saturday afternoon as a rental. Nothing special about seeing this on the bog screen.

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Analyze This

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Mobster Paul Vitti is having problems after surviving an assassination attempt. It just so happens that hit man “Jelly” has run into (literally rear-ended while driving) a therapist, Ben Sobel. Vitti shows up in Sobel’s office, and before the session is over, Vitti has a therapist. The only problem is, Dr. Ben Sobel is getting married and you never know when a mobster is going to show up and need a quick session. 

This is a wonderful comedy that plays off of the typical gangster cliches, to the point of  discussing who is Fredo in Dr. Sobel’s dream. A mobster in therapy just sets up nice for so many comedic opporotunities. Mob Boss Paul Vitti is played by Hollywood heavyweight Robert DeNiro (Best Actor Raging Bull, Best Supporting Actor Godfather II).  I am glad DeNiro didn’t stay typecast as a too tough crime character after playing in so many of those roles, because he certainly does play well in comedies, especially this role and as the CIA Dad in Meet the Parents. Deniro’s performance and facial expressions are absolutely great in this film, a real treat to watch.

Dr. Ben Sobel played by comedian Billy Crystal (City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally), and is a perfect match to DeNiro. Crystal is great at subtle lines,  very quick witted lines that are wonderful. The underated performance has to go to Joe Viterelli (Mickey Blue Eyes)who plays Jelly. He is the ultimate lovable thug.

This film is directed by Harold Ramis (Caddyshack), and is a much better representation of his work than the junk he spit out earlier this year in Year One. In all, this is a very entertaining film and is worth catching when you are in the mood for something light hearted that will make you laugh.Check it out for sure!

Once Upon A Time In America

Once Upon a Time in America

Everyone’s first thoughts seem to be to compare this film with the Godfather. Everyone knows Godfather I and II as great masterpieces in film history and as well they should be. But don’t cheat yourself out of seeing this film, because you would be doing just that, only cheating yourself.

Believe it or not, I have never seen the American cut of this film, which I understand was hacked and put into chronological order. I guess American studios don’t have that much faith in American movie fans to follow anything a bit different or actually thinking for themselves. Directed by Sergio Leone who was known best for the spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), directs this film. When taking in a film by Leone, just be ready for a drawn out, mood setting scenes which are very well crafted. Being drawn out isn’t a bad thing, just as the water pump knocks back and forth endlessly at the beginning of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a telephone rings for what seems 5 minutes, setting the mood, increasing tension and peaking curiosity.

Of course accompanying Leone is Ennio Morricone. (who also scored the famous and highly recognizable The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly score….you know you’re singing it in your head right now!) Morricone does the usual masterful almost haunting score for which he won a Golden Globe for. Leone and Morricone are a wonderful team and seems to be meant for each other.

This film stars Robert DeNiro (Best Actor Raging Bull) plays Noodles. The film follows his character and Noodles only knows one thing, never sell out your friends. James Woods plays his friend Max. Woods is wonderful as the flying by the seat of his pants, high strung friend. Joe Pesci (Goodfellas) and Burt Young (Pauly in Rocky) give good performances as well. And if you think you kind of recognize the little girl dancing in the beginning, you probably do know her. This is Jennifer Connelly’s (Blood Diamond, A Beautiful Mind) very first feature film.

This is a wonderful film, and I highly recommend it. I didn’t want to give too much away in this review, for those that want to see it. Remember Sergio Leone is a wonderful storyteller, but tells it his way at his pace, which just adds color and drama to his films. Settle in with a bucket of popcorn or some good red wine…this is good movie making!

Showtime

Showtime

After my wife is stressed out with all of life’s dramas, she requested a movie where she wouldn’t  have to think much. Showtime is what we came up with. Not a break through comedy by any means and the formula has been used before with Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Cop and others. Oh well, this movie still has its laughs and is still fun.

Robert DeNiro one of the iconic actors in film history seems to have a new niche with the comedy roles. Playing it straight for other comedians is often funnier than the other comedians themselves. Meet the Parents and Analyze This are a couple of good examples.

William Shatner (Star Trek) was a nice surprise letting the movie make fun of him and his TJ Hooker role. Eddie Murphy was, well, Eddie Murphy and over acted a bit as far as my tastes. But hey, that is what Eddie Murphy does. This is nice, short, no brainer fun.