Category Archives: rob lowe

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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The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying ~ When Ricky Gervais is on, he’s really on. And I think it really helps that he co-wrote and co-directed this. Sadly it just doesn’t come together as well as it should.

The premise of a world where no one lies gets old rather quickly when it’s just two people alone, but blossoms in the voiceover narrative and with other actors in the mix. And that just about covers Gervais’ and Jennifer Garner’s first date. It’s a bizarre mix of Liar Liar and What Women Want that never lives up to its potential. And of course, unlike those two films, this one is somewhat funny.

There are lots of guest stars and intriguing cameos like Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louie CK, and of course Barry from “Eastenders.” The ads within the movie for Coke and Pepsi are hilarious, as is ‘The Sad Place for Hopeless Old people.’ Sorry, it’s funny because it’s true.

When lying is invented by Gervais’ character halfway through the movie, it’s not as funny as it should be – but rather heartwarming, and I’m not sure that’s what was intended. The humor only lasts for a few moments before turning into one of those “Saturday Night Live” skits that never ends. Much of this film feels that way sadly.

The Invention of Lying has the same trouble that most of Ricky Gervais’ films have – that schizophrenia of trying to be a drama with comedic overtones when it should just be a comedy. Too much philosophy and not enough jokes. Worth watching, but it could have been much better.

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View from the Top

ACTING FOR EXTORTION

A Film Review of View from the Top

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This film is rated T. What does T stand for? T is for Terrible. And Transparent. And Tedious. And Totally predictable. Do I really need to say more?

View from the Top stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Myers, Mark Ruffalo, Candice Bergen, Christina Applegate, Rob Lowe and Kelly Preston. Besides this movie what do they all have in common? Gambling debts? Alimony payments? Child support? Nope. I expect blackmail. Someone who wanted this piece of dreck, this waste of celluloid, made had something on each of them and was blackmailing them into being in it. It is the only answer. Either that or they all have bad judgment in reading scripts if they read it at all.

And then what is up with the music? Between the hodgepodge of 1960s, 70s, 80s and current music and the bizarre sense of fashion it’s nearly impossible to peg a time frame when this piece of crap film is taking place.

Finally why is Gwyneth Paltrow trying to destroy her career? Someone needs to organize an intervention, and quick.

And yes, I know the trailer is in Spanish. It’s just a tiny bit funnier that way…