Given the fact I was born in the early 80’s I’ve always had a soft spot for 80’s and 90’s movies. Don’t get me wrong here. There are a lot of good movies made today but there is just something special about that era of cinema and it’s a bit lost today with all the viewing options and places to get entertainment.
With the start of the Major League Baseball season days away, I decided to get a couple of good Baseball movies in. I haven’t watched Bull Durham in a few years so I was due.
Released in 1988, the synopsis of the movie is a highly-touted prospect, Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) is a talented young pitcher for the Minor League Team, the Durham Bulls. He’s green and needs some guidance to get to “THE SHOW” so the team trades for veteran Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) to help bring the youngster along. Two guys in two different points in their career must co-exist and not kill each other. Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), is a baseball fanatic who catches the eye of LaLoosh while he’s in Durham. She also catches the attention of Davis, but with drastically different intentions. LaLoosh and Davis struggle to get along with Davis being the grizzled veteran trying to teach LaLoosh the ropes while contending with LaLoosh’s ego. Davis is trying to balance all of this while also fighting with father time in his own career and where it is headed. An era of time in these people’s lives plays out for our entertainment.
This is one of my top 2 or 3 baseball movies. The amount of comedy balanced with the drama and love story is one of the better cinematic accomplishments I’ve ever seen. There are so many memorable scenes and quotable lines from this one. I still call people “lollygaggers” thanks to Skip. Costner was in his prime at this point and plays his part to perfection. Robbins had done a lot of TV but outside of a role in Top Gun, hadn’t done anything major so as far as I’m concerned, this was his breakthrough role. Somewhat of a “Southern Belle”, Susan Sarandon was arguably as sexy as she’s ever been and was a fantastic casting decision.
There’s not a whole lot I can say about this movie without somewhat ruining the funny parts or the story, so I’ll leave it with this:
Baseball is the core of the film, but you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy it. If you’ve never seen this classic, enjoy it now before the “Boys of Summer” take the baseball fields in a few weeks. It will help get you primed for the upcoming season.
Artemis Fowl: Confusing And Chaotic With Good Looking CGI
Who do you think you are?
I’m the next criminal mastermind.
I’m afraid you need to be as intelligent as “Artemis Fowl” to understand and keep up with this movie. What a confusing chaos this was. I get it that they are looking for a sort of Harry Potter successor and already started drooling while thinking of the box-office with every new sequel. But they should have spread this single movie over a number of sequels because now you cannot make heads or tails of it. Let me remind you that I don’t know the book series written by Eoin Colfer, on which this film is based. Let alone read one of them. A kind of introduction of the characters would have been helpful for the uninitiated viewers. And that’s a big difference when you compare (and there will be a lot of comparisons) this Disney film with the Harry Potter films. Even if you hadn’t read one of the Harry Potter books, you were sucked into the wonderful story about this mini wizard from the start. All the leading protagonists were carefully introduced and gradually you got to know them, appreciate them, and quickly one of the leading characters became your favorite. With “Artemis Fowl” you better keep focused because before you know it you have missed a whole storyline and a number of important characters. The amount of facts and things of importance is so immense that it’ll make you dizzy.
The making of “Artemis Fowl” on its own deserves a motion picture.
It also took an awful lot of effort before the film could be released. The film rights were bought in 2001 by Miramax Films (in the middle of the fantasy film period when Potter and Frodo ruled). Next Disney announced in 2013 that they were going to make the film in partnership with The Weinstein Company. The creation of this feature film was very different from what had been expected. First of all, you had the disappearing trick of some directors. Then there was the Weinstein affair with Harvey waving his wand too much apparently. Next came the disgruntled fans and last but not least the Coronavirus. In the end, it was decided to stream the film on the Disney + platform instead of screening in the cinema. For sure this was the best decision they could have ever made. No one would be inclined to watch it in the cinema after reading a few reviews. Unfortunately, the revenue from Disney + platform subscriptions is not enough to bear the price tag of a sloppy $ 125 million.
The acting wasn’t impressive.
What else went wrong besides the fact it’s a very confusing story? Well, to be honest, I wasn’t really charmed by the characters themselves. Artemis Fowl Jr. (Ferdia Shaw) is an annoying kid without any charisma and totally insensitive (A kind of MIB version of Richie Rich). A deadly serious little brat with an attitude. Admittedly, his intelligence is lightyears beyond normal and he obtained a series of diplomas at a very young age. Plus he comes from a wealthy family and probably took everything for granted during his young life. The magic of a film doesn’t only depend on the magic of the story itself, but also how amiable the main characters come across. No one could resist the charms of Harry Potter (I know. There’s the comparison again.): that poor little fellow living under the stairs, with his roguish smile and lightning bolt on his forehead. I really didn’t find Artemis that charming. And even the more famous actors made little impression. Colin Farrell had a depressed and sulky expression throughout the film as if he already saw the potential for disaster. Judi Dench was actually the only one to stand out in her green leather fairy outfit. But that was more because of the charismatic nature of her character Commandant Root. And Lara McDonell looked adorable as the brave fairy Holly Short. You also had a centaur who could join Milli Vanilli. The dwarf Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad), who also took on the role of narrator at the same time, who’s actually not a dwarf and resembles Rubeus Hagrid. And there was even the suggestion David Bowie was an elf (Talking bout humor). That’s about it what I can remember from all personages. In general, however, the performances were not impressive or grand.
There’s also something to be said about the footage. They’ve put a lot of energy into it (maybe a little too much) and the film is packed with generally good-looking CGI. But a film about fairies, trolls, and dwarfs, who live in an underground hidden world, must look fairy-like and enchanting to me. They’ve decided to create a futuristic-looking fairy world full of flashy vehicles and modern buildings. And stuffed with a bunch of extras, busy decors, and an infinite number of props that you’ll need an extra pair of eyes to take in all the wonders. But don’t panic. This magical place is soon abandoned. Most of the film is set in the residence of the Fowl family. And there you can expect even more CGI (slightly less well developed). Perhaps it was quite an exaggeration when you consider the number of special effects. The only thing that impressed me was the jaw joints of Mulch Diggums.
No sequel needed for me.
No, I’m not a new fan of “Artemis Fowl” and I don’t feel the urge to discover the books. All in all, I found this movie version confusing and chaotic. I sometimes had the feeling that I was watching a new episode of “Kingsman” for young viewers. I didn’t fully understand the principle of the time bubble and was amazed bout how Artemis could unravel everything so quickly (But yes, extremely intelligent. Right?). Maybe me being a grownup has something to do with it. I guess youngsters will like it. Although, I think my two kids, who aren’t real book readers and never heard of Artemis Fowl, will be lost after 20 minutes. A re-watch might help better understanding the whole thing. I imagine fans of the books were very curious how Fowl’s world would look like on the silver screen. Anyway. I won’t wait for the sequels of this vague film. To put it mildly, I think the movie “Artemis Fowl” is a perfect fit for the current summer vacation that has become a disaster due to COVID-19.
My rating 3/10
Come to Daddy: A Quirky, Somewhat Strange Thriller With Very Aggressive Scenes
I once accidentally kicked a guy’s ear off.
I didn’t mean to, but the fucker flew off.
I could see right into his skull.
Elijah Wood always makes for pleasant surprises. In terms of his choice of films, you cannot say that he plays it safe. His choices are always fairly quirky. I kind of compare him to Daniel Radcliffe. Another actor who doesn’t thrive on the worldwide success he achieved by playing one well-known character for most of his life. So too Elijah Wood who will be associated with Frodo forever and ever. Apparently they also have a common interest, namely that of deceased persons. Where Radcliffe played the role of a corpse in “Swiss Army Man“, Wood is stuck in this film with an embalmed corpse. Anyway, “Come to Daddy” is a macabre, dark, and slightly humorous film.
Trendy, fashionable DJ meets foul-mouthed dad.
When I looked at the movie poster, I immediately thought of “Happy birthday to Me”. Not that “Come to Daddy” looks like a purebred slasher. But the fork Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is holding on the cover, will be used in an ingenious, yet painful way. Norval is an eccentric, trendy DJ with Elton John in his circle of acquaintances. Stylish, contemporary dressed with artistically and strategically placed tattoos. A trimmed Freddie Mercury mustache. And a hairstyle as if it was styled using a soup tureen. Everything indicates that Norval is used to a high-society life and that the journey through the forest with a thumping wheeled suitcase behind him doesn’t really belong in that life. When he finally arrives at the beach house (which, according to Norval, resembles that of a flying saucer from the 1960s) and meets his father Brian, whom he hasn’t seen for years, it turns out that the latter is completely the opposite. Foul-mouthed, fairly brutal, untidy appearance and persistently topping a glass with liquor or wine. No picnic for Norval who recently renounced alcohol. Before he knows it, his smartphone (a limited edition in gold, designed by Lorde) sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, while his dad tried to take a selfie. The tone has been set.
Comedy-Horror. Not my fav combination.
“Come to Daddy” is a difficult movie to place. On the one hand, they tried to add a humorous note here and there. Although subtle black humor that won’t be enjoyed by everyone. On the other hand, there’s indeed a horror vibe that gets quite gory. Again, I’m not really such an avid fan of the combination of horror and comedy, because usually both genres feel incomplete. And to be honest in this movie as well. The humorous part wasn’t really funny (with only a rare chuckle). And I also found the horror part rather light-hearted. There’s no doubt that it has a high thriller content. And it’s certainly not a straightforward story. You could even say that they were a bit too lavish with the number of plot twists. But the absurdity in the story (such as a motel that is fully booked with visitors to a swingers convention. Who comes up with such an idea?) knows no boundaries. The insane and intimidating behavior that slowly evolves into a kind of “Cape Fear” aggression. The officer on duty and his belching. The coroner and the fact that Norval suddenly has a dead man in the house due to lack of space at the morgue. The nightly terrifying sounds. Norval’s discovery and the unveiling of the entire mystery. The motel-happening. It just keeps going on. Fortunately, I love an absurd story now and then.
It surprised me.
Elijah Wood is simply magnificent as the extroverted and fairly arrogant Norval. Someone who doesn’t realize what a dire situation he’s going to find himself in. And also doesn’t know that his entire life story will be shaken thoroughly. That’s how the viewer will feel as well. Shaken up. During the first part of the movie, you wonder which direction the story will go. But once the plot reveals and the story accelerates, both in terms of tempo and frantic action, hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride. And it’s worth it. “Come to Daddy” is a quirky, somewhat strange thriller with very aggressive scenes and full of insanity. Revealing too much isn’t recommended. Best to start watching this movie without knowing too much, such that the experience will be decidedly surprising. Recommended.
My rating 6/10
A Good Woman is Hard to Find: Shows Us The Harsh Realities Of Life
Just let sleeping dogs lie.
The moment you see Sarah (Sarah “The Lazarus Effect” Bolger) turning the house upside down while looking for batteries for her non-working vibrator and hear her say “Thank you Jesus” a little later with visible relief, it seems as if she’s a completely different character than the woman who came into the picture at the beginning of the film. Admittedly, a woman who still mourns her recently deceased husband. But then without blood splashes in her face and on her body. After seeing “Becky” only recently, “A good woman is hard to find” is yet another revenge film in which a desperate woman takes a thorough revenge on those who made her life a living hell. Not that she suffered physical injuries. But the murder of her husband and the way in which she is treated by society makes sure that it’s best your not going to stand in Sarah’s way. Those who do will experience the painful consequences.
Only a few unrealistic aspects.
The only thing I found a bit unrealistic was the constant apathy and misogyny displayed here. Never thought there were so many rude, insensitive and tactless people in the UK. A shop assistant who treats Sarah like a utensil and makes use of a fairly sexist language. A psychologist who shows a lack of tact. But especially the way the police treated her was totally implausible to me. Even if the activities of the deceased husband were not too kosher, that doesn’t mean that this widow should be treated in such a low-minded, condescending way. And while the drug gang is notorious in this district who don’t treat annoying individuals in a gentle way, it seems as if they are unknown to the local police.
“American psycho” in the UK.
In any case, “A good woman is hard to find” has a more realistic character than, say, a film like “Becky”. The bleak and hopeless situation Sarah finds herself in. The gray slums in Belfast, Ireland, where drug trafficking is rampant. Lawlessness seems to be a standard in this social neighborhood. And the revenge actions can also be called quite brutal. And at the same time more plausible than in other films. When Sarah goes to the local hardware store and starts purchasing a whole arsenal of working tools, you can expect nauseating scenes. Not that it’s explicitly portrayed. But the background noise and slow-motion images leave nothing to the imagination. Immediately I was thinking about “American Psycho”.
Harsh and realistic flick.
Although “A good woman is hard to find” is a fairly conventional thriller that doesn’t deviate from the standard rules of the genre, there are still some elements that make the film rise above average. There’s the admirable acting of Sarah Bolger. A woman who has to deal with the loss of her husband on the one hand and then realizes that he actually lived a different life. The impetus for the rising violence can be traced back to petty thief Tito (Andrew Simpson). Stealing a load of drugs, belonging to the local drug lord Leo Miller (Edward Hogg), and using Sarah’s house as an alternative storage place, he forces Sarah to defend herself as a determined lioness. Also, those two roles (Tito and Leo) are played properly. And finally there’s the film technical aspect. Solid image quality. “A good woman is hard to find” is in all respects a dark and depressing film that shows the harsh reality of life in a hard and realistic way. An intense trip, as it were