Category Archives: robert deniro

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook ~ You might have noticed its been quite a while since I posted about any movies currently in theaters. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been out to a movie. Tonight, after dinner with good friends we haven’t seen in a while, we decided to hit a flick last minute. I wanted Die Hard or The Hobbit, but the ladies settled on multiple Oscar nom rom com drama Silver Linings Playbook.

What a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know all that much about it beyond the noms for best picture, best actor Bradley Cooper, best actress Jennifer Lawrence, best supportings Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, and best director David O. Russell. Surprisingly all of the noms are well deserved, some might not win, but all well deserved.

Based on the book “The Silver Linings Playbook” by local teacher turned novelist Matthew Quick. That alone lends credibility to the locale of the flick – Philadelphia, as well as the passion for Eagles football so important to the story. That story has bi-polar Patrick (Cooper) trying to repair his life and get his wife back, even though she’s moved on while he was in a mental hospital. Enter Tiffany (Lawrence) widowed and equally flawed, trying to get him back on his feet.

Cooper and Lawrence are no strangers to Oscar, and recently she has gained serious genre cred as Catniss and young Mystique. I think Jennifer Lawrence’s best years are ahead of her, and right now she’s better than most other actresses her age. I loved her here. DeNiro and Weaver are just as good as Cooper’s parents. The whole film is full of terrific performances, including Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham of “Boardwalk Empire,” Anupam Kher, and believe it or not, a completely non-annoying Chris Tucker.

This was a great flick, I definitely see a couple (at least) Oscars coming its way this weekend, but let’s face it. It’s no Die Hard. 😉

The Late Night of Jimmy Fallon

I’ve never really been a fan of Jimmy Fallon. I mean, I don’t hate the guy, but then again I’ve never laughed my ass off at him either. He’s probably a really nice guy, just not a really funny guy. After years on Saturday Night Live” he’s got a shot at ‘real’ stardom taking over for Conan O’Brien on “Late Night” while Conan moves up to “The Tonight Show” in June. I tuned in for the first two nights and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

Fallon seems genuinely nervous throughout the first night’s monologue, and taking on an always-difficult interview like Robert DeNiro is a bloody baptism by fire – but he made it through pretty well. It was obvious that Fallon was much more comfortable with Justin Timberlake than DeNiro. Maybe he should just have friends on? And if he was really smart he would have gotten Justin to really sing. Although Van Morrison was nice too. Good demographic reach with the variety of guests.

Bits like “Lick It for Ten” and “Target Demographic” and *sigh* “Space Train” may have seemed traditionalist for “Late Night” but I don’t think it worked for Jimmy. He keeps trying to be other folks, and he should just be himself. Funny or not, I know he’s much cooler than he’s coming off so far. Fallon needs to find his own groove, preferably something he is comfortable with, because so far he doesn’t seem very comfortable with a lot going on here.

On the second night, the monologue was still shaky, but saved when Jimmy threw it to The Roots for a brief musical interlude. There’s no doubt about the fact that he has the hottest house band on Earth backing him up. He just needs to use The Roots for more than ‘slow jamming’ the news. Sharing a bit more of the spotlight with them could never hurt the show. They kill with the opening and closing themes. I would watch the show, just for them.

The Facebook status updates were not only hilarious but hip and different from what anyone else is doing out there in the talk arena. And Jimmy seemed to be having fun with it, good for his comfort zone. And he was certainly less nervous than Mayor Bloomberg. The ease continued with Tina Fey. Yeah, definitely, dude, just interview your friends, it works for you. It’s a vibe similar to Johnny Carson back in the day, in my opinion. Make it casual and make it just chatting with pals.

I had much the same regret about Jon Bon Jovi that I had about Justin Timberlake the previous night – why didn’t he sing a whole song? Can you imagine the ratings bump that would have been? Santigold was no slouch, she was trey cool, but come on, if you have Bon Jovi, make him perform. Make him sing the way he made Tina dance.

Speaking of ratings, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” apparently did quite well so far, and I think that’s a good thing. Jimmy Fallon on his Twitter insists that the show will only get better, and honestly I don’t doubt it. It’s gotten twice as good in only two nights. I know I’ll be watching.

15 Minutes

IF ONLY IT WERE JUST FIFTEEN MINUTES…

A Video Review of 15 Minutes

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Probably Andy Warhol’s most well known contribution to pop culture is his quote, “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” It’s also the thrust of the movie 15 Minutes written and directed by New Jersey native John Herzfeld who also did 2 Days in the Valley and a whole slew of movies for TV.

Two Russian criminals on a murder spree in New York decide to film their exploits for tabloid TV to get ‘their fifteen minutes’ thus living out the American dream. Played by Karel Roden and Oleg Taktaarov they are almost like a murderous east European Abbott and Costello.

On the side of the angels this time are the critically invincible Robert DeNiro as a media savy cop and Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen, Saving Private Ryan) as an arson investigator. They do their best to contrast each other and sometimes it works.

Rounding out the cast Kelsey Grammer actually has me believing him as a tabloid TV reporter and I hate “Fraiser.” He’s good herewith a surprising foul mouth. Perhaps if he dropped a few F bombs on “Fraiser” it might be worth watching. It is always great to see Avery Brooks as he should be seen – out of Starfleet uniform. Look for David Alan Grier as the mugger in the park. It’s one of his funniest bits in years. And don’t miss Rosanne’s cameo as Jerry Springer.

15 Minutes is extraordinarily ultraviolent, definitely deserving of an R rating. It is an excellent “Columbo” type mystery in places. The relationship between the criminals is a bit disturbing to say the least. DeNiro and Burns do some of the best detective work this side of “Profiler” but none of this can save this film.

It’s just too long. The movie never seems to end. If only it were just fifteen minutes long it might be worth it.

Showtime

“COPS” FROM HELL

A Review of “Showtime”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

“Cops” on the Fox Network is one of my favorite shows, I rarely miss it, even in syndication. It literally began the reality television rage we’re currently in and still can’t be beat by its competition. The show is an endless source of entertainment, any given episode will have family fights, drunks and fun in trailer parks that’ll make your home life seem tame. Who can forget the singing homeless woman who thinks she’s married to the cop? The attempted suicide who wants to bring his houseplants along in the ambulance? The masturbating transvestite trucker? Or, my fave, the vampire purse snatch victim with the childhood photos?

Showtime wants to be “Cops” soooo bad.

It’s a buddy cop movie in the vein of a Lethal Weapon or a Stakeout with the added bonus of a television camera crew following them around. Robert DeNiro plays a wannabe Dirty Harry who is hooked up with aspiring actor/cop Eddie Murphy. Rene Russo is the television producer out to make a hit TV series out of this. It’s like rehab for actors who can’t pick a good script.

Speaking of the script, it’s co-written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the duo behind the WB’s hit series “Smallville.” There’s no hint of that talent here in Showtime.

DeNiro must’ve taken quite a financial hit when his Tribeca offices were destroyed in the World Trade Center disaster to be taking roles like this. Murphy, who has never been known for his ability to pick appropriate roles, ends up playing the same character he plays in all his films – Eddie Murphy (dude should’ve stuck to stand-up). And Rene Russo? Rene Russo made The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (also with DeNiro), nothing more need be said.

We do get a few good scenes with William Shatner playing himself trying to teach the cops how to look better on camera a la “T.J. Hooker” but that’s about it. Not worth the rental.

Reprinted from Project: Popcorn at:
http://www.whitevioletpictures.com/popcorn