Movie Review: Uncle Drew

As far as movies I have seen about basketball over the years, the best one by far has always been “White Men Can’t Jump”, released in 1992. White Men Can’t Jump hit all the marks, including great basketball action and a very funny and good story. Its impossible to believe that its been 26 years since this very good movie was released.

As far as the new movie “Uncle Drew”, I was impressed with most of the basketball scenes, but the story had too many road trip diversions and not enough good story and basketball. I was most impressed with the acting of NBA star Kyrie Irving who showed not only his incredible ball handling skills and the fact that he can act too. By far the best line in the movie was when Kyrie said twice “You will miss 100% of the time, if you never take a shot”. The actress Tiffany Haddish is also in this movie – and her career is exploding lately. Considering she was living in her car trying to make it in show business, she is a very lucky person. I thought this film was a good family movie with an average story and some humor but could have been more memorable. I give Uncle Drew a marginal recommendation.

Movie Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

It was very hard to see the message or even the reason for the new movie “Sicario: Day of the Soldado – other than its a sequel to the much better original Sicario, released in 2015. For me, I thought the message was, “when you are dealing with terrorists who are willing to blow themselves up along with hundreds of other innocent people, then any thoughts of fair play and humanity when we fight people like this are out the window”. When you deal with animals who are willing to murder innocent people with suicide bombs – you have to be ruthless and this part of the message I agreed with.

Unfortunately this movie degraded from something that started out to be a promising insight into Terrorism into the kidnapping and transporting a young Mexican teenage girl played by Isabela Moner. Too much of this part of the story dominated this film and was too long and at times boring. The good part of this movie was the acting and presence of Moner who should have a very bright future in movies.

Some of the scenes of terrorists blowing themselves up were well done as far as the horrible special effects, but it was unnecessary to be that graphic showing what something like this would look like at close range. The acting of Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro I thought was as good as the last movie, but nothing that stood out. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie are an anemic 60% and I would have rated it about 45% because the story mostly went nowhere and had no real message. For these reasons I do not recommend this movie.

Movie Review: Gotti

Getting a zero on Rotten Tomatoes is a rare occurrence and the new movie “Gotti” starring John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, currently has a zero rating. I do not agree with this film getting a zero – something 25% would be more appropriate with less cruel reviews. When you consider the amount of time and years of planning it must have taken to make this movie, there is no way anyone can say that it is a zero. Making movies and writing a great screenplay are both extremely difficult things to do, and in the case of Gotti, the problem is simple; horrible screenwriting and film editing. As far as the disconnected scenes in this movie, its almost as if they decided to film all the scenes in any order and then when it was time to combine all the finished scenes, they threw them into the air like sticks and then just pasted it all together wherever they landed. There are few things about a movie that are more annoying than a story that is badly told and does not make any sense. For Gotti, the story lines are not explained, what is going on is not explained in many cases, characters come and go without any idea of who they are and how they are connected. However, in the end I thought the acting of John Travolta was good. Good enough to guarantee that the movie did not get a zero rating.

When I found out that Gotti received a zero rating, I immediately thought of the fact that this movie was in the planning stage for several years and then the weeks and months that went into making it and how cruel the critics can be. Just for the effort and acting this movie is a 30% – well below average but not a zero. But why make a movie about a murderer and a gangster like Gotti? Why show so many actual films from the 80’s and 90’s of people in the streets of New York City and Brooklyn defending a person like this?

This movie could have been substantially improved by just showing the scenes in sequence and adding some obvious additions to the story so you at least know what is going on. A director like Martin Scorsese could have turned this movie into something very good or great, but unfortunately when the wrong people are in charge, the end result is a movie like this.

This movie should be missed but could have been good. Unfortunately too many obvious mistakes were made.