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Paul Tyrrell (139 KP) rated The Rockford Files in TV

Apr 25, 2020 (Updated Apr 25, 2020)  
The Rockford Files
The Rockford Files
1974 | Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Classics
6
7.4 (14 Ratings)
TV Show Rating
James Garner and the Camaro (0 more)
It's the 70s dude!! (0 more)
Caravan dweller that's not a gypsy
Just like Colombo, this is easy watching stuff and Garner is great. Another 70s cop/private eye show, but they were all pretty decent
  
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Matthew Krueger (10051 KP) rated Maverick (1994) in Movies

Jul 14, 2020 (Updated Jul 14, 2020)  
Maverick (1994)
Maverick (1994)
1994 | Action, Comedy, Western
Play Your Cards Right
Maverick- is a funny entertaining western with action, poker and adventure. Richard Donner does it once again.

The plot: This film update of the "Maverick" TV series finds the title cardsharp (Mel Gibson) hoping to join a poker contest with an impressive payoff. In order to enter, Maverick must first put up a large cash sum. He scams hopeful contestants Annabelle (Jodie Foster) and Angel (Alfred Molina) in a preliminary card game to win the money he needs, making enemies of both players. While trying to evade Annabelle and Angel, the crafty Maverick realizes a cunning marshal (James Garner) is also on his tail.

Many cameo appearances by Western film actors, country music stars and other actors. Including Danny Glover, Hal Ketchum, Corey Feldman, Read Morgan, Steve Kahan, Art LaFleur, Leo Gordon, Denver Pyle, Robert Fuller, Doug McClure, Henry Darrow, William Smith, Charles Dierkop, William Marshall, Dennis Fimple, Bert Remsen and Margot Kidder.

Danny Glover's cameo appearance references Donner's Lethal Weapon film series starring Glover and Gibson as cop partners. Their meeting in Maverick sees them share a moment of recognition, complete with Lethal Weapon music, and as he leaves, Glover says Roger Murtaugh's catchphrase: "I'm getting too old for this shit."

Country singers also cameo including Carlene Carter, Waylon Jennings, Kathy Mattea, Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Vince Gill and Janis Gill.

Its a funny entertaining western. A must watch.
  
The Prom (2020)
The Prom (2020)
2020 | Comedy, Drama, Musical
5
7.5 (6 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Ruined by James Corden
The Prom is the latest film from Glee creator Ryan Murphy, adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name. It follows Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) who inadvertently causes her high school prom to be cancelled from wanting to attend with her girlfriend Alyssa (Ariana DeBose), in a school governed by a PTA that is very much against inclusion. Meanwhile on Broadway, four down on their luck actors (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden and Andrew Rannells) pick up on Emma’s story and decide to use it as a perfect opportunity to garner some publicity for themselves by showing their support.

The Prom is obviously a personal movie for director Ryan Murphy, after growing up in Indiana himself, but unfortunately he doesn’t quite manage to pull this off. The story has a very important message about inclusion and you can’t deny how powerful this is, but I don’t think it has been very well executed. Yes the entire film looks amazing, the colourful and flashy outfits look wonderful and add some much needed colour when the story moves from Broadway to Indiana. The songs too are good and toe-tappingly catchy, with ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ from Andrew Rannells being a particular standout for me, and I’d be lying if I said the glitz, glam and catchy songs didn’t make me smile. Newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman has a cracking voice and her performance here shows she’s definitely one to watch in future.

However this is where the positives stop. A large number of the songs sound the same and aside from the aforementioned ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ and the finale ‘It’s Time to Dance’, none of them are particularly memorable. The film is full of clichés and stereotypes and awkward dialogue and scenes – the cringeworthy and entirely unbelievable flirtation between Dee Dee (Streep) and Principal Hawkins (Keegan-Michael Key) is possibly one of the worst things I’ve had to watch in quite a while. The cast are obviously having a lot of fun with this and it shows in the musical numbers, but some of the characters and performances are entirely unlikeable. I know Dee Dee is meant to be a self obsessed narcissist, and Streep is hamming her up to the max, but she is a horrible character and I couldn’t abide her. Scenes with her that are meant to be comedic to me came across as awful and repulsive. Whilst she does improve over the course of the rather drawn out run time, I’m afraid the damage is done in the first 90 minutes. And I felt very sorry for Nicole Kidman, who aside from a Chicago-esque number, seems to have been entirely sidelined.

But the worst part of The Prom is the decision to cast James Corden as the gay male lead, Barry Glickman. What was Ryan Murphy thinking? I’ve never been a fan of Corden, but surely anyone watching this can see he’s a talk show host, not a Hollywood musical star? Not only is his American accent terrible, his performance is completely unbelievable and overly camp and outdated. How Andrew Rannells could bear to work opposite James Corden in this role when he could’ve shone as Barry I will never know. Had it not been for Corden, I probably would have liked this a lot more.

The Prom is a glitzy mash-up of old school Broadway and cheesy high school musicals, full of colourful catchy tunes, neat choreography and a powerful message, it’s just a shame the characters and some of the casting are lacking in the substance to make this anything better than average.
  
Arthur (2011)
Arthur (2011)
2011 | Comedy
8
8.0 (4 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Arthur Bach is a spoiled, boyish, alcoholic, New York City playboy with amazing hair and heir to the family business and fortune. He and his faithful sidekick Bitterman travel far and wide to have fun and drink. Well, Arthur drinks, Bitterman drives. He is also very dependent on his nanny Hobson who has been with him since he was born and still takes care of him. One day his mother Vivienne decides she’s had it with his antics, embarrassing her and the family company, so she gives him an ultimatum: either he marries Susan Johnson or he will be cut-off and have to fend for himself on the mean streets of New York City.

Though he doesn’t love Susan, he eventually decides to go along with his mother’s wishes and propose to her. But during this time he also meets the enchanting Naomi, an unlicensed tour guide of Grand Central Terminal who has dreams of being a children’s author. As the wedding day draws nearer and nearer, Arthur and Naomi grow closer and closer. Then tragedy strikes. How this affects Arthur could change his entire life. Does he marry Susan and keep his wealth but gain the world’s scariest father-in-law? Does he choose the mean streets of New York City to be with Naomi? Or do he and Bitterman jump into the Batmobile and drive off into the sunset?

This remake of the 1981 movie Arthur honored the wonderful story that many of us know and love from the original film while still possessing its own unique flair. I believe Dudley Moore would have been very happy with Russell Brand’s excellent performance as Arthur Bach (if you disagree, hold a seance and prove me wrong). Helen Mirren does an amazing job as Hobson and she pretty much owns any scene she is in. Nick Nolte & Jennifer Garner were great as Burt (world’s scariest future father-in-law) and Susan Johnson (Arthur’s total-10-on-the-L.A.-scale) fiancee. Last but not least, I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of: Greta Gerwig as Naomi (Arthur’s love interest), Geraldine James as Vivienne Bach (Arthur’s Mom) and Luis Guzman as Bitterman his faithful sidekick and chauffeur (though I do wish Luis would have been given more screen time). The film definitely kept the audiences attention from start to finish but we were all laughing so much that I have to see it again to hear the jokes that I missed the first time.

If you were sober when you saw the original movie you probably remember the key parts of the story line but if not then this movie will seem like an entirely original movie to you.
  
Sinister (2012)
Sinister (2012)
2012 | Horror
9
7.2 (25 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Sinister is a movie that surprised me. I love scary movies, but most of the time it is the pure humor that I find in what people think is scary these days that makes me love them. I figured I would walk into this movie and leave in the same mood I always do. Laughing about how many people jumped in the theater because of what happened on screen. But, this time, I was one of those people. For the first time in over a decade I found a scary movie that downright creeped me out and made me jump. Not just once, more several times.

Sinister opens with old super-8 footage of a family of four being hung from a tree in a rather unique way. The movie is set in a small town in Pennsylvania where Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke; Training Day, Daybreakers) and his family (wife, daughter and son) are moving into a new house. Ellison is a true-crime writer, who hasn’t had a best-selling book in 10 years. His work in the true-crime field did not garner him any favor with the local law enforcement, and the Sheriff in particular would rather see him leave. Shortly, we realize that the house the Oswalt family has moved into the same house that the family in the opening scene lived in, this family is the basis for the book he is writing, and the house is also where they were murdered. This is unbeknownst to the family, except for Ellison himself.

Ellison finds a box in the addicts that is labeled home movies, and it contains several reels of super-8 footage. This footage helps him realize how and why the family from the opening scene were murdered, and their murders spanning from the late 60s to present day. Even more daunting, his discoveries as he moves forward in his investigation place his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

I am a firm believer that a film’s score can make or break a movie, despite how good the story is. Sinister did not fail in this department. With haunting melodies littered throughout the movie, and excellent timing by all punctuations, this film will definitely have you tense at exactly the right moments. The one bad thing I can say about this movie, and it was really more of a distraction than a bad thing, was Ethan Hawke’s voice. His voice seemed unnaturally deep compared to my experience with him in his previous roles, a thought which was echoed by many of my fellow critics in the theater. Overall, though, the movie was fantastic. With two interesting cameos in the movie, and a great little role for James Ransone (Inside Man, The Next Three Days), a relative known, and stellar acting from Ethan Hawke, this is a definite must see. Especially for date night, if you’re significant other is into scary movies that is.
  
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
2013 | Comedy
Back in the early 1980s, a young boy who found himself without friends and tormented by bullies was about to have an unexpected and life-changing experience. Alone on his birthday, the young boy opens his one gift from his mom and is delighted to find a magic kit and instructional video by reknowned magician Lance Holloway (Alan Arkin). His early attempts at magic gain him a new friend and the two become inseparable through their love and practice of magic.

Flash forward, and the two friends are now all the rage in the world of magic. Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carrell), and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), have packed their theater night after night with a dazzling mix of music, showmanship, and magic. Not only does this keep their boss (James Gandolfini) happy, but it allows Burt to enjoy all of the perks of being a Las Vegas headliner: fame, fortune, and women.

Ten years later it’s a different story for the two friends. While they still have a very popular show, creative differences between the two have arisen and Burt has become a very pompous and self-centered individual. He treats those around him with utter disdain and has driven off numerous assistants due to his behavior. The latest to join his group is Jane (Olivia Wilde), whom Burt sees as nothing more than a person to assist on stage to make him look good, and to succumb to his charms after the show. When a new street magician named (Jim Carrey), starts to become garner attention with his new and shocking routines, Burt and Anton’s routine is suddenly looking very stale in comparison. Anton devises a new trick to be played out in public that he hopes will propel the duo to a fresh and hip image, but sadly things go horribly wrong and the best friends have a bitter falling out. Literally.

Burt attempts to go on with the show alone, but his ego will not allow him to acknowledge the fact that Anton was a big part of the show and that the act depends on both of them. With his career suddenly over and with no money, Burt hits rock bottom and must find a way to regain his former glory. In doing so he will have to reinvent himself and undergo a magical transformation of his own.

The movie is an absolute delight and is so much more enjoyable and funnier than the trailers imply. Carrell has pulled off his best movie since “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, and infuses Burt with a likeability and sense of wonder despite his narcissism. Buscemi and Arkin are great in their supporting roles and Carrey seems to be enjoying every minute of playing the film’s bad guy as he gives a performance that while restrained when compared to some of his more over the top roles works very well with the ensemble cast.

The film is an unexpected find as it is a comedy that does not pander to base humor to get laughs and instead uses situational comedy and the characters to tell a charming story sprinkled with some solid laughs along the way, especially in the final moments of the film.

http://sknr.net/2013/03/15/the-incredible-burt-wonderstone/