Movie Review: Yesterday

For so many screenwriters who have writers and idea block, a ridiculous premise in the new movie “Yesterday”, “a world wide 12 second power failure creates a new world that excludes the Beatles (and several other things)”, definitely open up a huge number of new ideas for new screenplays. Like so many time travel and science fiction movies like this one, the audience must suspend all levels of common sense before you can appreciate the story and possibilities that follow.

The beginning of this story defines the real life of a struggling singer Jack Malik, played very well by Himesh Patel and his schoolteacher manager
Ellie Appleton also played very well by Lilly James. The world sees the end result of successful singing careers but we all never see the years of struggle and misery it takes to ever have a remote possibility of success in any part of show business. This movie does a great job of showing a young singer who is tired of the bad gigs and no money and is about to give up all hope, before the miracle happens and he becomes the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles.

I thought that this entire idea was rather risky, because it mixes Romantic comedy with science fiction and the power failure premise is so ridiculous. Once this miracle where some of the greatest songs ever produced are slowly reintroduced to the world, where can the story go from there with a satisfying conclusion? I also though that Lilly James, even though she is very good in her role, was miscast as the eventual love interest of a character played by Hamish Patel, as they just did not look like they could ever be involved romantically.

The best part of this movie is the appearance of Kate McKinnon, who in my opinion has finally gotten the movie role that shows that she can be very funny, by doing nothing other than showing up. She had just about all of the best moments in this film. There are several other funny and ironic moments in this movie that worked very well, especially when the story shows about 4 other things, other than the Beatles that also no longer exist in this new altered world.

The Rotten Tomatoes critics are wrong with their 60% grade for this movie, that I thought was at least a solid 80%. I highly recommend Yesterday.

Movie Review: Pavarotti

The new Ron Howard documentary “Pavarotti” is about the late Luciano Pavarotti, arguably the greatest Opera singer of all time. This film is a collection of many home movies about Pavarotti’s life that collectively show what it is like to be a world wide prolific performer. The good parts are the world wide fame, love of the fans and money. The bad parts are the lack of privacy, with your life played out in Tabloids, living your entire life on the road from one depressing plane flight to another hotel in another city, almost never being home or being able to spend time with your family. All of this takes its toll, both emotionally and physically. The old expression, “be careful what you wish for”, comes to mind.

During this documentary there are many film clips of Pavarotti singing different Opera’s, mostly in Italian. One cannot help but be extremely impressed with Luciano’s dedication and years of hard work learning to master so many lyrics and accomplishing so many high notes; mostly as they called it in the movie, “The high C”.

There are recent interviews with many of Pavarotti’s relatives throughout this movie who comment on his amazing talent, his generosity with so many charities, his triumphs and mistakes throughout his life. Pavarotti died of Pancreatic Cancer in 2007.

This movie is very well received with the critics, with 88% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. I highly recommend this documentary.

Movie Review: Anna

The biggest problem with the new movie “Anna” is the chronological jumping around, easily the worst I have ever seen. Its 3 years ago, its 6 months ago, its 6 months later, its present day, its 3 years ago again, then its 3 months from now. I lost count on the number of scene transitions that involved flashback story telling, that at this frequency will never work for any film. At some point, a screenplay should be re-written to reduce flashback story telling so that it makes sense to any audience, not increase it to this extremely annoying level. There is nothing wrong with telling a story in chronological order.

This movie stars newcomer Sasha Luss, Luke Evans and respected actor Helen Miren, who could not have read this script before taking the part.

There are great similarities to the movie “Point of no Return” starring Bridget Fonda, released in 1993, with Ann Bancroft in the Helen Miren and Gabrielle Burn in the Luke Evans role. The idea is the same, take a disaster woman who happens to be attractive and turn her into a contract killer. Point of no Return is a far better movie than this one.

There are a number of very good hand to hand combat scenes in this movie, including one in a restaurant that was very impressive. With all movies like this one, with one highly skilled martial arts character and so much gunfire, the fact that nobody can easily kill one person with so many guns, is always ridiculous. I would appreciate more realism as opposed to one woman who is built like a high fashion model taking out 25 men armed with weapons.

I agree with the low 26% rating for this film on Rotten Tomatoes and do not recommend this movie.