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Drama

A family man (2016)

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SummA Family Manary

“A family man” is about a headhunter whose life revolves around closing deals in a a survival-of-the-fittest boiler room, battles his top rival for control of their job placement company — his dream of owning the company clashing with the needs of his family.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA/Canada

Cast :
Max Jenkins : Ryan Jensen
Gerard Butler : Dane Jensen
Willem Dafoe : Ed Blackridge

Director :
Mark Williams

My opinion on “A Family man”

“Cancer is not a negotiation, Mr. Jensen.”

In “Olympus has fallen” and “London has fallenGerard Butler took care of the president of America and fought against a whole battalion of terrorists. In “A family man” Dane Jensen (Gerard Butler) has to fight other demons. On the one hand there’s his hectic and energy-hungry job as headhunter. A job he lives for and that keeps him occupied for at least 70 hours a week without exception. And on the other hand there’s his charming wife Elise (Gretchen Mol), his son Ryan (Max Jenkins) and daughter Lauren (Julia Butters). A warm family that never lacks anything thanks to Dane’s efforts. On a materialistic level that is. Because each and every one of them craves for the presence of a husband and a father figure. Dane may be physically present but in reality he’s always busy with his work. This results in displeasure and frustration. Dan always acts like a businessman. When Ryan seems to gain weight, he reacts pragmatically. He just gets up at an inhuman hour to go jogging with his son.

A Family Man

Yep, it’s again about that dreadfull disease.

The psychological pressure increases when Dane’s boss Ed Blackridge (Willem Dafoe) announces that he’s thinking of a well-deserved retirement and passes on his position to the person who can present the best annual figures. You don’t have to be a Nostradamus to predict what effect this has on Dan. And then it turns out that Ryan’s overweight is not because of playing “Assassin’s creed” for hours while enjoying loads of snacks. It’s a swollen spleen due to a severe form of leukemia that causes his waistline to increase. Most viewers (including myself) will start rolling their eyes and shake their heads. Not again another sentimental story with that horrible disease as a central theme and the inner conflict certain people will feel. In this case it’s Dan who has to find the right balance between his competitive job and the welfare of his son. And he comes to the realization that no compromises can be made or illegal tricks can be used in such a way that the aggravation of the disease can be avoided.

A Family Man

Karma is a bitch.

The message is crystal clear after a while. The whole karma and “What goes around comes around” principle is really emphatically emphasized. It’s all about that moment when you realize that you shouldn’t take everything for granted and you start realizing what’s really important in life. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan decided to convert to the monotheistic religion of the Sikhs and move to India to live there as righteous Punjab. The transformation from unscrupulous, senseless workaholic into an insightful family man whose priorities suddenly changed completely, was enormously predictable. But despite that predictability and cheesiness, I couldn’t resist to look at the rest of this über-emotional tearjerker.

A Family Man

Syrupy sweet.

In terms of content it was perhaps very syrupy sweet and not very original. But in terms of interpretation I can only respect Gerard Butler whose acting-past is richly filled with action-rich roles where an elaborated character wasn’t really required. As King Leonidas in “300” and Mike Banning in “London / Olympus has fallen” he only had to be fearless, ruthless and determined. So no complex feelings and character traits. The implausible wasn’t due to his acting performance, but due to a reasonably weak script. The most eye-catching and praiseworthy acting is for Max Jenkins who, despite his young age, delivers an admirable performance. Ryan was portrayed realistically by this young boy. The rest of the cast took care of the no less important roles, but they weren’t not so explicitly in the spotlight. Gretchen Mol as the disgruntled wife (but on the other hand she was in a privileged position thanks to the well-payed job of her husband). Alison Brie, the ravishing rival of Dan. Willem Dafoe as the single, tyrannical CEO whose life was only focused on making loads of money. And Alfred Molino in a modest role as an unemployed engineer at age, who only serves as a toy in Dan’s head hunter’s game.

A Family Man

Shoes aren’t tasty. I know that now !

I am not a hypersensitive type or over-sentimental, but when a drama with this kind of subject doesn’t not touch me or moves me, then something is wrong. Either it’s totally unbelievable or it’s so predictable. I’m afraid the movie just follows a well-known path without deviating, so that it has little interesting to offer. Towards the end, I said to my wife: “If that little boy wakes up now, I’ll eat my shoe. Never knew that shoe soles were so chewy.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

Crime

The Untouchables – A Retrospective Look

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I watched this in honour of Sean Connery who sadly passed away the day before. It must be 10 years since I have watched this, and I had forgotten how brilliant it actually was.

What is often overlooked with ‘The Untouchables’ is just how emotional it is in parts, from Ness (Kevin Costner) meeting the mother of a girl blown up by a cafe bomb to the touching climax between Ness and Stone (Andy Garcia). It is a film that is genuinely upsetting to see the end, you would be quite happy to spend more time with these people.

It is also undoubtedly a film about friendship and that is where the late great Sean Connery stands out from the cast. As supposedly past it beat cop Malone, he strikes as a man of lonely isolation, just trying to get through every shift alive. He is at first suspicious of Ness but soon warms to what Ness is trying to achieve and there the bond between the two starts. Malone’s relationship with Stone gets off to a less auspicious start but by the end of the film, the relationship produces one final emotional wallop that we all deeply feel. Throw in accountant Oscar Wallace, played for the comic relief by Charles Martin Smith and we have four disparate men bonding over their end goal, to catch and see justice brought again crime lord Al Capone, (played with menace by Robert DeNiro).

There is so much to admire here, some of the setpieces are simply astonishing, the stakeout and subsequent battle on the Canadian border are sensationally choreographed, and a homage to the Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin is nerve shreddingly executed. The violence is brutal and shocking at times and as stated previously the deaths are graphic and in one particular case deeply moving.

Kevin Costner was a star on the rise at this point, with big hits like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Dances With Wolves,’  ‘JFK’ and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, he is excellent as the clean-cut family man Ness. A young Andy Garcia is impressive as the sharpshooting Stone, but this is Connery’s film. It’s an exceptional performance filled with guile, wisdom and what is apparent from the get-go, anger. He would win an Academy Award for this film and few could argue against it.

Its an incredibly neat and tidy film, it never outstays its welcome or gets too bogged down in courtroom showdowns. It’s gritty and powerful and a reminder of just how good an actor and phenomenal screen presence Connery was. It doesn’t get much better than this.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Sir Sean Connery 25/8/1930 – 31/10/2020 – A true screen icon

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Comedy

On the Rocks (2020)

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You know what’s great about her?
She doesn’t talk. She just listens.
That sounds perfect for you.

 

Life is full of unexpected turns. As an 18-year-old, I rented the adult cartoon “Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle” just for fun. Probably because of the titillating vamp on the cover, lying naked on a huge platter and carried by figures that looked like penises. No one could suspect that a voice actor in this cartoon would become one of my most popular actors. If there’s one comedian who manages to make me chuckle without any problem, it’s Bill Murray. Like in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. Or the incomparable film “Groundhog Day”. However small his role may be in a feature film, he always manages to create an unforgettable scene, such as in “Zombieland” for example. Put Murray in a horror, and his typical way of acting makes it a completely different experience. Just watch “The dead don’t die” and you’ll know what I mean. In short, a versatile actor who takes a film to a higher level with his contribution.

 

 

Lost in Translation.

This year I came to the conclusion that I had never seen the movie “Lost in translation”. A film directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of) with Bill Murray and the very young Scarlett Johansson in the leading roles. Even though there was something slightly comical lurking beneath the surface of this film, the subject matter was far from comical. A film about two individuals who are right in the middle of an identity crisis. A film about love and loneliness. Loneliness not only because of the life situation they both find themselves in, but also because of the fact that they are in a country where they don’t understand the language, culture, and general way of life. Two lost souls who discover, sense, and encourage each other. I admit, I was moved after seeing this masterful film. Finally, after a long time a film that rocked my socks off. A thought-provoking film that’ll resonate for a pretty long time. Yes, some movies do that to me.

 

 

A wild search for the truth.

And then 17 years after the release of this magisterial film, we get a renewed collaboration between Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray. “On the Rocks” is not as magical as “Lost in Translation“. But somewhere deeply hidden it does have points of contact with the latter. Here, too, Laura (Rashida Jones) is in the middle of a crisis. Both in terms of her marriage and her writing career. The suspicion that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) just pretends to have lots of work since starting his own company, just to cover up an affair, grows stronger. And writing a new book isn’t easy either. The day she tells her father Felix (Bill Murray), a charismatic wealthy art dealer with an untameable flirtation habit, about her suspicions, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the case with full dedication. Before Laura realizes it, she is embroiled in a wild search for the truth.

 

 

Murray nails it.

On the rocks” isn’t such a depressing and melancholic story as “Lost in translation“. There’s more humor in it. How another mother at school tells Laura every morning about her love life. The interesting facts about human behavior and the evolution of relationships between men and women Felix tells about every time unexpectedly. The wild chase in a “not so suspicious-looking” red, noisy convertible through the streets of New York. Perhaps it’s rather light, uncomplicated humor. Still, it’s subtle at the same time. The chemistry between Laura and her father feels unforced and authentic. And this won’t come as a surprise: Bill Murray nailed it once more. He demands full attention every time he comes into the picture. His characteristic acting and the way in which he can charm random people with his smooth talk is simply superb. And it’s not just the female population that falls for his smooth-talking. The way he manages to turn a police officer’s mood from being reprimanding to being helpful is just sublime.

 

One more time.

“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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