Category Archives: matt damon

Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra ~ I remember Liberace from my childhood. I remember him from the 1966 “Batman” TV show (in syndication, I’m not that old), where his appearance as villainous twin brothers equaled the series’ highest rated episodes. Such was the power of Liberace. He was not only a fabulous piano player, and a faaah-bulous showman, he was a huge star, and a serious draw when it came to stage and screen. When Liberace was on TV, for various reasons, you had to see it, and his stage show, whether in Vegas, New York, or LA, it was always a sensation.

While it wasn’t talked about back then, I think everyone knew Liberace was gay, it was oddly accepted he was different in that way. Liberace was wholesome entertainment. When I heard HBO was making a movie about him, I feared the worst. Especially after recent hack jobs on Phil Spector and Alfred Hitchcock. HBO knows how to make quality television series, but the folks who make their movies are out of control.

When I heard it would be about Liberace and his last lover, Scott Thorson, I knew it would be another smear piece. Thorson’s book of the same name was a memoir in much the same vein as Mommy Dearest.

Then I heard about the casting, and I was intrigued. Michael Douglas as Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson. Wow. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing, they pull it off, they pull it off mind bogglingly well. When I see a flick with a big name star, if I can stop calling them by name, and believe they are the character, that’s impressive to me. For instance, Meryl Streep and Mel Gibson are always Meryl and Mel to me, but here, this was Liberace and Thorson. The actors’ performances are stunning.

True or not, those performances are scarred by the outrageous and flamboyant story. It may have happened that way, and they may have worn those clothes, but the absurdity of the situations take away from the quality of Douglas and Damon.

It also doesn’t help that the rest of the cast is filled out by comedians and actors doing their crazy best. Rob Lowe, Dan Ackroyd, Scott Bakula, and Debbie Reynolds, among others, are at their insane peak, equal to Douglas and Damon.

Should you watch it? Definitely. Behind the Candelabra is both time capsule and freakshow, and most importantly a manic showcase for the actors involved, and nowhere near the usual trainwreck we have gotten recently from HBO Films.

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Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet Two ~ I read a synopsis in the newspaper of this movie well after I had seen it. The synopsis made sense, a hell of a lot more sense than the film itself, and I wish I’d read it beforehand. Maybe Happy Feet Two should have had a narrator, or one of those long scrolling intros like in Star Wars – if only to remind the writers what it was about, because it felt like they were forgetting every ten minutes.

This was a sore disappointment as the original was so good and so emotional. It’s almost as if director and co-writer George Miller had forgotten everything about the first Happy Feet. When the film is on point, it’s about Mumble (Elijah Wood) having fatherhood troubles, but oddly enough, based on his coloring, as opposed to his size, Mumble isn’t even an adult yet. I guess it’s a trademark thing, but it was very distracting.

I liked the addition of P!nk and Common, but couldn’t help wondering where Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy were. Hank Azaria manages to be more annoying than Robin Williams here, a feat to be sure. Although, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon come very close to taking the annoying crown as krill who have very little to do with any of the plots, sub or otherwise.

There are several other annoying and seemingly pointless subplots thrown in as well as a baseball bat beating of ecological messaging, which even the thoroughly green first film didn’t do. The music and the CGI animation are still top rate and worth seeing, but all the other little irritating stuff ruined the flick for me. I also didn’t care for the original songs. I couldn’t help but think that when “Glee” started doing new music over covers, they jumped the shark.

Wait for DVD or free TV, it’s not worth the theatre experience. Except if you want to see the cartoon before the movie, then definitely put out the cash. It’s a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes classic, “I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat,” featuring Sylvester and Tweety, that was originally done for a record back in the 1940s – so it has Mel Blanc and June Foray’s voice work – and animated with today’s technology. This is amazing, the movie not so much.

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The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau ~ This is one of those movies that I really wish I didn’t know the premise of before I started watching it. The on-screen electricity between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt at the beginning of this flick is marred by knowing that their relationship is doomed. It made me sad that the bulk of the movie would be about them trying to get together and stay together while others pull them apart – when what I really wanted to see was them together and watching their romance bloom. Perhaps it’s something we can see when and if they are paired in another film, because they have chemistry, and it is sadly wasted here in this non-romance.

Now that is not to say this is a bad movie, it’s not, it just doesn’t play well with the abilities of the actors. Damon is good, Blunt is good, but they could have been great. The movie is scifi, not romance, and it’s based on the classic scifi story “Adjustment Team” by the late Philip K. Dick. The premise is that our lives are predetermined by Fate, and maintained by agents of Fate. If we veer off course, these agents step in and make sure all goes to plan. Damon and Blunt are not meant to be together – and it rolls from there, hilarity ensues, and the action begins.

Again, it’s no romance, more like another Bourne movie with a supernatural edge, but it’s good. John Slattery from “Mad Men” does a suitable imitation of that role as the leader of the ‘adjustment team.’ I also like team member Anthony Mackie, and it took me a while to figure out where I know him from. He’s been in the background of a million different things, nothing major, but I think he’s someone to watch.

All in all, it’s not a bad scifi flick, even though it quickly disintegrates into an action flick. Defnitely worth a watch, worth a rental or a pay-per-view. Good premise, good acting, and you just can’t beat Dick. Behave. You know what I mean. And watch out for the men in hats.

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