Most of my Review Roundup! articles are home video releases that I got after they came out or online releases I took my time watching, but I’m doing something different here. The following three movies are actually big named movies hitting the theater that I either didn’t love or had issues with when I saw them. I’ll explain on the way.
The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s latest piece of cinema that’s currently in a limited theatrical release so it can receive award nominations. It then hits Netflix November 27th. The official synopsis: an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.
The Irishman is a movie I should absolutely love. I love gangster flicks. I especially love Marty Scorsese’s gangster flicks. This is about an Irishman who works in trucking. Heck that’s my dad. Even Robert De Niro’s wife’s name in the movie is Rene which is my mom’s name. This is a home run right? Not exactly, but I will go over the positives first.
Not only does the film have a fascinating story about a man the general public isn’t aware of and it’s directed by one of the best directors in the game, but the cast of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano and more is hard to top. De Niro plus Pesci is always good. De Niro plus Pacino is always good. Combine those three with a great supporting cast, Scorsese behind the camera with his trademark style and music and production value is pure gold. Oscar winner Steven Zaillian even wrote the script so it’s just ridiculous talent from top to bottom. These aspects of the film can’t be beat. I loved everything about the acting, the story, the production everything I saw besides one thing.
The runtime. The film is three and a half hours long. Yep, you read that right, three and a half hours long. That’s my biggest complaint without a doubt. At one point I got up to use the bathroom and there was still an hour and a half left in the movie. It was excessive to say the least. If it’s 2.5 hours, it’s a masterpiece that rivals Goodfellas. With Scorsese having more freedom working with Netflix, he took full advantage of that freedom and made an epic that might have been a better miniseries. In today’s world, it’s hard to sit still for 3.5 hours even with a film that overall I was enjoying. There are scenes that just aren’t necessary, a flashback to Sheeran’s time in the war, a hotel scene where Pesci and his wife meet De Niro and his wife at their room serves no purpose, and lots of other things that could have shaved the runtime down. It’s that excessiveness that makes a movie that should be a year’s best into one I’m nitpicking about because our attention spans are trash. But even with some de-aging technology that still doesn’t look great and a runtime of extremes, The Irishman is still a must see experience from one of the best directors going and an aging cast of master thespians. If you can catch it in theaters, do it, but if you miss it, see it on Netflix.
Next is A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood which hits theaters this week. I usually write up full reviews of new theatrical releases, but writing down what I thought of the film is difficult. Not because the movie is bad, but because I had such an awful experience at the screening when I saw the movie. The film’s official synopsis: Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.
I wasn’t going to review the film because I had a hard time paying attention to it. The man sitting behind me tapped his foot nonstop for the first hour of the movie that I had to turn around and yell at him to stop. The couple sitting in front of me talked throughout the movie and someone’s phone kept flashing in the theater. Yep, they had it sitting in their cup holder and that flashing thing some phones make kept going off in a pitch black theater. Add in other people talking and the foot tapper behind me singing and well, it was tough to sit through. And how sad is it that I was irritated at movie about Mister Rogers, but that’s what this world has come to.
As for the movie itself, what I can say for sure is that it’s not the film I was expecting. I knew it wasn’t a straight up biopic of Mister Rogers and I had heard Tom Hanks was more a supporting actor in it, but I still expected the film to be about Mister Rogers and it isn’t. It’s about Rhys’ journalist character Lloyd Vogel and his family. Fred Rogers is more the supporting storyline with Lloyd being the focal point. Lloyd is the one who shows growth and has the most character development. Lloyd is the one the story revolves around with him meeting Mister Rogers, being cynical about the man and wanting to find dirt on him and ultimately realizing Mister Rogers might be an actual Saint who opens Lloyd up to forgiving his dad and loving his family. Rhys is every bit the leading man of the film, but the movie wouldn’t work without Tom Hanks’ portrayal even with limited screentime. I wish I had a better experience seeing the movie because it feels like something I would like overall, but it was hard to concentrate with so much nonsense around me. For a better review from someone who had a better time watching it check out friend of The Nerds Templar Cinematic Essential’s review: http://www.cinematicessential.com/review-beautiful-day-neighborhood/.
Last we have Knives Out which hits theaters November 27. The film’s official synopsis: Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie in KNIVES OUT, a fresh, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. With an all-star ensemble cast including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell, KNIVES OUT is a fun, witty and stylish whodunit guaranteed to keep audiences guessing until the very end.
So if this is coming out next week, why aren’t I giving it a full write up? Because for the most part I have nothing positive to say about it. I’m not a Rian Johnson fan. Before you call me a Star Wars fanboy, I’ll tell you this, I hated Brick and Looper the films he made before The Last Jedi. Looper to this day, 7 years later, still pisses me off with that abomination of an ending that is 100% wrong and destroys the first two acts of the movie. The science is dead wrong and makes the story wrong. I won’t get into The Last Jedi, we all know how bad it is, so I almost didn’t even see Knives Out because of Johnson. I should have stuck to my guns and stayed home.
My biggest complaint about this film is the story itself. I’m the polar opposite of rich, trust me on that, but I’m already tired of mainstream movies made by rich (white) people talking about how bad rich, white people are. Earlier in the year we got Ready or Not, but that was more a tongue in cheek horror movie with rich, white people. This just blatantly says rich,white people are terrible which is hilarious because the majority of the cast are rich, white people along with the director. The rich, white patriarch of the family dies and his rich, white family squabble over his money and estate. But when they find out all of it is left to the one person of color associated with the family (his nurse), they threaten her with lawsuits and bring up the fact her mother is here illegally. Man, rich, white people are the worst. The crowd sat there laughing hysterically at these living, breathing tropes when in reality, it’s stupid, undeveloped characters with a story you can see coming a mile away.
If you can’t guess who the bad guy is, you weren’t paying attention. Nothing about the movie should be surprising. I love a classic Whodunit, but there’s nothing original or entertaining in this movie. I guessed right away who it was and even having a “twist”, you still know who it is. Jaeden Martell, who I think is one of the best young actors going, plays a character that is simply Johnson’s version of an internet troll. Johnson hated the backlash over his Star Wars movie so much, he made a character in this movie to showcase that. Martell’s character is a little Republican boy and of course Nazis are mentioned because you know, the internet likes using that term. Every family member says the nurse (Ana de Armas’ character) is from a different country because despite her being around for a while, learning her heritage is beneath them. Every character is a one dimensional stereotype of WASP-ness which makes it easy to guess the story especially when none of them are developed beyond their facade. I really should have stayed home, but the worst part is, the film will probably be somewhat successful with people seeing it and slapping each other on the back making them feel good about themselves at how bad these characters are and the “happy” ending that you’ll see coming as well.