Matt Damon and Michael Douglas star as Scott Thorson and Liberace in the film nobody wanted to make (because it’s “too gay”), Behind the Candelabra. They finally found a home for their picture at HBO, bringing life to the story of the piano playing legend and Thorson, who wrote the book from which the movie is adapted.
As you may have gathered from the quick movie review affix, I don’t have much to say about Behind the Candelabra. It’s a good movie, but I wouldn’t say it’s great. It’s more of performer’s movie rather than the combining all of the elements of film all together and doing something unforgettable. Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are wonderful in the starring roles and I gained new respect for Scott Bakula and Debbie Reynolds, but Dan Aykroyd is barely in the movie and just distracted me, and Rob Lowe looked so freakish that… yeah, that distracted me, too.
Anyway, the story just didn’t grab me, so to speak. It held my attention, but I wasn’t especially invested in what happened to Scott Thorson, and I think that’s what was missing here. It’s a good flick, but not great; I’m giving Behind the Candelabra a 8 out of 10.
I’d swear I’ve seen a “my parents are magic” movie before, but I can’t seem to remember when. However, Merry In-Laws has Cheers alumni George Wendt and Shelly Long, so I thought this could have potential.
“We don’t know what’s happening here, either.”
A lot of these made for TV Christmas movies are ripoffs of other movies and Holiday Spin is no exception, except that I’ve never seen a ripoff of Save the Last Dance before. Read the rest of this entry
“Look, mommy! I’m making Santa Monsters!”
Holiday Switch isn’t as “Peggy Sue Got Married” as Comfort and Joy is, but it’s in the same ballpark: it’s another, “What if I had this life?” sort of stories with an actress from 80s TV. This time, we get Charles in Charge’s Nicole Eggert, who was very popular amongst the boys in my sixth grade class. Read the rest of this entry
Former The Facts of Life all-star Nancy McKeon (she was Jo) is the lead in Comfort and Joy, a made for TV Christmas movie that has two major problems: Read the rest of this entry
UPDATE: Look, even Lifetime knows Christmas in the City is a dud. The above video is the closest thing I can find to a trailer for this flick.
Last night, we watched the new for 2013 TV movie Christmas in the City and it’s… ya know, par for the course, I guess. It’s flawed but not boring and it feels as though many of its screenplay issues come from a producer’s story directives. Here are four items that I think came from a producer and made a bad situation worse. Read the rest of this entry
You know who I like? Dean Cain. I’ve been mentioning him a lot lately – the dude just keeps popping up. You know who’s another person that exists? Jodie Sweetin. She played Stephanie on Full House… and in retrospect, I’m not sure if that or Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was more realistic. Anyway, they’ve both teamed up to bring us Defending Santa, and by ‘teamed up,’ I mean Sweetin is almost entirely absent from the second and third acts of the movie. Read the rest of this entry
I don’t know why we keep doing this to ourselves. I guess we keep thinking that the made for TV Christmas movies stink because they’re cheap, but I guess we didn’t learn our lesson when we watched Fred Claus, because this Deck the Halls movie sucks just as much!
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What can I say about Fred Claus? Well, it sucks… but given its user ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, you already knew that. Perhaps I should ask “What can I say about Fred Claus that you don’t already know?” Not much, so this is going to be a quick one. Read the rest of this entry
I’ll be straight with ya – I liked The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I liked the first one, too. Sure, the movie is close up and hand-held camera heavy (and the idea to back light the kisses gave us a nice clear shot of spit being shared between two young lovers), but at its essence, it’s a good story. That being said, I recommend that anyone who is a fan of action, adventure, visuals and performance check out these movies. I’m giving Catching Fire a 9 out of 10.
But, that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun at the movie’s expense. Read the rest of this entry
Christmas Cupid is, essentially, a comedic retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which is something I’m sure everyone has seen a million times before. (Most notably done via Scrooged starring Bill Murray, which I’ve never written about before… we’ll have to get to that this year!) All you really need to know is that this movie has some decent performances, the story isn’t terrible because it’s based on Dickens and the film drags a bit – it’s lazy and mediocre, but I’ve seen worse Christmas movies… A Nanny for Christmas… don’t think I forgot about you. Read the rest of this entry
As a concept, the Star Trek reboot gives old school fans like myself the opportunity to see something new and old at the same time while the general tone presented by J.J. Abrams makes the film accessible to a new audience. Sure, he might have over done it from an action standpoint, but I think his Star Trek flicks do, for the most part, please all of the people all of the time.
I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but I will say that I’m not sure that the new audience for this movie will have as much fun as the old audience. If you’re familiar with the TV show and movies from the original cast, there is a lot of fun to be had here, but the new audience will still be greeted with a bunch of spectacular visuals, effects and an entertaining story, even if some of it seems silly… although some moments of the movie that seem ridiculous to the new audience are probably favorite moments of old audience… again, this movie walks the line and I think it does a great job of pleasing both masters, but I could see how some people at the bottoms of the curve might be frustrated.
I really only have two questions about the flick: why, exactly, is this movie called Star Trek Into Darkness? I guess it’s metaphorical darkness… I guess. I suppose a few characters we meet in the movie go into darkness… or perhaps it’s referring to what’s coming as a consequence of these events… Ultimately, I think this title was chosen by Abrams just because it sounds mysterious – it’s that’s how that guy rolls. My other question: since when can a big ship like The Enterprise enter a planet’s atmosphere? I guess it’s just my inner dork coming out, but that’s always been a Star Trek no-no.
Overall, I liked the movie very much. I’m neither a fan or hater of Abrams directing style: it has its bad points (not enough wide shots, too much hand-held, too much lens flare, too many crash zooms), but the guy clearly has a talent as a story-teller, so that really evens out anything that bothers me about his visual style. The special effects are fantastic, and I was able to see this in IMAX 3D, so I got to see everything up close and personal. (A quick note on the IMAX 3D: the image was nice and clean and didn’t suffer from any blur or 3D darkness, but the 3D itself wasn’t especially compelling.)
If you like Star Trek or just a fun time at the movies, I recommend you give Star Trek Into Darkness a chance. If you’re an old school Star Trek purist, then you were probably disgusted by the first one and won’t even consider seeing this movie, so I won’t waste your time… except to say that Darkness is better than the first one. I give Star Trek Into Darkness an 8 out of 10.
I’m trying to squeeze in all of the best picture nominees before the Oscars – I’ve already seen Lincoln, Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook and yesterday, we saw Argo, the latest joint from Ben Affleck, who is not nominated for Best Director or Best Beard, and he really should be nominated for both. Read the rest of this entry
As we’ve already done with Star Wars, we’re going back to Middle Earth for the prequel trilogy to The Lord of the Rings and this time, we’re going to have more fun with The Hobbit. I got started on the trek last Sunday with An Unexpected Journey.
Like Arthur Christmas, Steve Guttenberg is about to become Santa Claus because his Dad is retiring – and, like The Santa Claus 2, he has to get married. And, like the lesser known Finding Mrs. Claus (oh, I’ll get to that one!), he has to go out to the real world to meet a bride because… humans and elfs don’t breed? I guess. It’s fair to say that Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus isn’t the most original movie
So, Armin Shimerman (Quark from Star Trek) is the elf in charge of getting Steve Guttenberg’s Nick hitched, and he furnishes him a list of potential fiances, who all happen to live in southern California. We never get to meet any of these women as characters, but Nick quickly dismisses them all and meets Crystal Bernard (you know, she played what’s her name on Wings) and she casts him in a commercial that her advertising agency is working on for a big new client. Anyway, Guttenberg works his ass off in this movie as reminder to everyone that he can actually act and continually does a hilarious "ho ho ho!" sort of laugh every once in a while just to remind the audience that he’s Santa Claus. There’s an ENDLESS amount of product placements in this movie, although coke and pizza hut are the most obvious and overall, the movie is nothing special. I give it a 5 out of 10.
Tia Mowry faces off against cardboard cutout villain Tori Spelling in The Mistle-Tones, a somewhat self-aware comedy that is billed as a musical but is completely and totally not a musical in any way. I know, the trailer says it’s a musical in the first five seconds, but it’s not a musical. They never sing as a means of communication or about the plot and never spontaneously break out into song – they’re always rehearsing for a singing showdown that will determine who will perform at a mall on Christmas Eve. Some of the arrangements of Christmas classics are impressive (particularly The Twelve Days of Christmas – this is one of the few renditions that didn’t make me want to stick a fork in my eyes), but at times, it’s just a bunch of people singing in unison, which was an odd choice. There are a few bits that don’t make much sense – like where the hell did that parade float come from? And I guess some of the other oddness is Christmas magic… Also, you can smell the Glee all over this flick, and not in a good way.
Anyway, settle down with a few spiked soy nogs and remember that Tia Mowry has a smile that can’t be matched and forget that her life goals are sorely misguided (now have another spiked soy nog) and check out The Mistle-Tones, which I’m sure ABC Family will be running into the ground today and tomorrow. I give it a 6 out of 10.
If you watched the trailer, then I’m sad to report that the graffiti alien didn’t make it into the movie. Too bad – he’s cool looking!
Any-who, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Men in Black 3. I don’t remember a thing about the second one, and although this one was very similar to the first movie, it had enough quirks to keep me interested. Will Smith is totally lovable as usual, and although I would have preferred to have more Tommy Lee Jones in the movie, Josh Brolin is excellent and does a kick ass Tommy Lee Jones impression. The movie is worth a watch for that if nothing else, because he nailed it: the voice, the facial expressions, even the subtle things we all do in between words, the sounds we make… Brolin was all over it.
The story is interesting, even if it’s full of paradoxes (some on purpose, some because I imagine producers were like, “Ugh, are you still writing? Just have Will Smith punch somebody already!”), but it was still fun. Don’t think to hard, enjoy the performances and the emotion between the characters, and I think you’ll have a good time with Men in Black 3.
The first ten minutes (or so) of Arthur Christmas was fun! I loved seeing how Santa would operate in a modern world with an ever-expanding population. After that… it’s just a bunch of loathsome characters who all seem to be British but can’t find England. The only character I liked in the entire movie was the elf that wrapped presents. Otherwise, the flick is a disaster of a road movie during which the characters seem to get more and more detestable as they keep running into the same brick wall. It’s a boring trip with people you come to hate more and more with each passing minute. (There’s nothing fun about the Santa family using the elfs as a labor class – particularly since the elfs don’t seem to need the Santa family to accomplish the task of getting children Christmas presents. And that’s just the tip of the North Pole Ice Berg… Santa doesn’t know the names of the reindeer? Seriously? What an asshole. Oh, and I have no idea what the point was of them losing the reindeer one by one – it just made me feel like they didn’t really give a crap about them, because that plot thread didn’t really end up being of import as it wasn’t the lack of reindeer that did in the sleigh… blah.)
I see what they were trying to, but it just didn’t work. I give it a 3 out of 10.