Movie Review: Stan and Ollie

In 1937 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the number one comedy act and movie actors in the world. Unfortunately Laurel and Hardy were at the top during a time when movie companies like Paramount, Warner Brothers and MGM signed all of their actors to contracts and those contracts guaranteed that the company made a great majority of the money generated by the movies produced. But the actors and screenwriters never got a fair share of the money they generated from their talent and creativity. This kind of financial injustice meant that Laurel and Hardy both had constant money problems and had to travel on the road to make money all the way up to the year 1953 when they went on their last tour in England. This last tour in England represents about 80% of this film and it shows many of the acts they did on stage together before Oliver Hardy’s heart problems, brought on by his weight, forced the end of Laurel and Hardy’s long collaboration.

Amazingly, Stan Laurel was married 5 times and Oliver Hardy was married 3 times – and one can only guess that the reason for this were the long hours and traveling away from their many wives that was large part of their careers as world famous comedy performers. Laurel and Hardy made over 150 movies together and even after Hardy died in in 1957, Laurel continued to write movie scripts for both them up until his death in 1965, refusing to ever work with anyone else. Laurel and Hardy had their problems and arguments, one big one was depicted in this film, but this was inevitable due to so many years working together and the pressures of show business.

This movie stars John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy and Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and both are outstanding in their roles. John C. Reilly’s facial and body makeup to play Oliver Hardy was about as good as any makeup I have ever seen in any film. Reilly has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Oliver Hardy and he will also receive an Academy Award nomination as well. The Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Stan and Ollie are a very high 92% and I agree with this rating as well as strongly recommend this film.

Movie Review: Glass

In the history of movies, one could easily argue that the best ending for any film ever made was “The Sixth Sense”, released in 1999. The Sixth Sense was both written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and this one movie that he created 20 years ago has been both a curse and a blessing for his career. Its a blessing because of the greatness of the storytelling and screenwriting and a curse because The Sixth Sense was so well made that following it for Shyamalan has been close to impossible. In fact Shyamalan after hitting such a huge home run in 1999 has made some bad movies over the years, in an ongoing attempt to reach the heights of the Sixth Sense. Shyamalan has never been able to make a movie as great as The Sixth Sense, but in my opinion, in terms of a great story and incredible ending, “Unbreakable” released in 2000 was close. Despite all of this, you cannot help but be extremely impressed with Shyamalan’s dedication to both screenwriting and directing his own movies considering all the trial and error, failed ideas, failed scripts and hard work it takes to create any movie. Shyamalan even mortgaged his entire house to make one movie several years ago and could have lost everything if the movie failed. Making movies is a gamble for everybody involved and then add the critics who can be both cruel and extremely wrong a great deal of the time.

The new movie “Glass” is Shyamalan’s attempt to bring Unbreakable and the good movie Split, released in 2016 together in a final trilogy, that according to Shyamalan he planned from the beginning. Unfortunately, Glass is a bad movie, with an ending that was muddled and made very little logical sense. Perhaps Shyamalan was trying too hard to end the trilogy with a huge ending and following two good movies and wanted a surprise ending that based on the crazy story idea was just not feasible. This story unites the star of Split played extremely well by James McAvoy – who is great at split personality acting, and the two actors of Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis inside of an insane asylum.

Their doctor is played by Sarah Paulson who tries to convince all of them that they are not super hero’s although it seems that Bruce Willis character has no business being considered the same as the other two, who are clearly insane. There are several scenes with Anya Taylor-Joy who was one of the victims in the movie Split, where she is in close contact in front hospital personal with the dangerously insane character played by McAvoy, even hugging and holding hands with him. What was Shyamalan thinking there, big mistake in my opinion because no young woman would go anywhere near this guy. She could have been killed instantly and this is just one of many things that make no sense in this film.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie is a pretty low 35% and I agree with this rating, because Glass misses the mark in so many areas – starting with any of it make enough sense to recommend.

Movie Review: Replicas

The problem with all science fiction movies like “Replicas” is that you have to forgo any level of common sense to buy into the plot. For instance, there is technology that might be doable 500 or 1000 years from now, but people are driving around in cars that are from today. There is software and AI with a user interface that uses holograms – extremely far fetched and unnecessary for this story. At first the idea is to transfer the contents of a human brain from someone who has just died into a the computer brain of a robot, only to change all of this later in the movie to transfer the contents of one human brain into another human brain – a completely new and much higher level of technology. This idea seemed like it came out of the 30th re-write when they realized that having robots that were the cloned children and wife of the scientist Will Foster, played by Keanu Reeves would not make any sense. For the sake of the audience, you cannot change the technology of a science fiction movie on the fly to make up for mistakes in the screenplay. There is a level of far-fetched for this film that gets idiotic very quickly and it has happened many times before with other movies like this one. Like most Hollywood Science fiction movies, Replicas degrades into a formulaic series of chase scenes and an ending that was even more outlandish than the rest of the story.

The actress Alice Eve plays Keanu Reeves wife and I thought that the acting was overall good in this movie. The car accident that caused the death of Will Foster’s entire family was rather intense and hard to watch and you cannot help to think how anyone would survive losing their entire family in a car accident.

It is no surprise that this movie has a very low 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the reasons are all the same – its just too ridiculous and does not make enough sense to be a viable and intelligent science fiction movie. For these reasons I cannot recommend Replicas.