Movie Review: Black and Blue

The critics are saying that the new movie “Black and Blue” is a story we have seen before, about crooked cops, drug pushers and some very bad people who live in the some the worst areas of New Orleans. What the critics have missed is that when the production is very well done, like this one is, it doesn’t matter that we have seen some of this before.

The unusual aspect of this violent and realistic police drama is that the entire story centers around police cams that by law, are all placed in the center of the jersey’s of all police officers. Due to the many incidents involving police officers over the years, including too many illegal shootings, police h cameras provide evidence that can convict or exonerate someone in court.

This story involves a young female police officer, Alicia West, played very well by Naomie Harris who not only witnesses a murder, but also records the murder on her police cam. The rest of this film is about officer West trapped in a very dangerous part of New Orleans, fighting for her life and trying to bring the film evidence to a part of the New Orleans police department that is not corrupt. I am surprised by the low ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, because this film was well done and well acted, including actor Tyrese Gibson, who plays a local shop owner who gets caught up in helping Alicia West bringing the recorded video to justice.

I give Black and Blue a solid 75% rating and once again, the critics are wrong.

Movie Review: Western Stars

The movie “Western Stars” is a concert given by Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patty Scialfa in a barn somewhere in the American Northwest. This movie is not only for die hard Springsteen fans because even if you are not a fan of Springsteen, its impossible to not respect many years of dues that he has paid, and his talent as a singer and song writer. There are about 15 songs in this relatively short movie with each song preceded by some scenes in the countryside, narrated by Springsteen previewing each song. The cinematography showing the scenery of the American West is very well done. I thought all of the songs Springsteen sang during this movie were very good.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Western Stars is a very high 90%, my rating is about 75% mainly for my respect and appreciation of Springsteen, who is now 70 years old, and his impressive career.



Movie Review: The Current War: Directors Cut

The people who lived in the dark days of 1880 did not even have light or electricity and it is hard to imagine a world like this, 140 years ago. Human kind has advanced so far in 140 years that anyone who lived in those times could never have imagined what has happened in a relatively short a period of human history. Someone had to invent generators, electricity and the light bulb and essentially the 3 inventors responsible for the inventions that changed the world were Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

The movie “The Current War” is not only about these amazing inventions, but also about the ruthless political and personal war between Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla over the use of AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current). Edison was the inventor of Direct Current and Tesla invented Alternating Current and eventually collaborated with Westinghouse to compete against Edison to light different cities over a 12 year period. The conflicts and “current war” between these 3 men went on until 1892 when AC eventually won the war. All of the conflicts could have been avoided if these 3 men forgot about their ego’s in favor of what was best for the world based on the cost of providing power and light. AC was always considered cheaper but much more dangerous than DC.

Unfortunately, Edison spent much of his time during this current war by trying to discredit AC, telling the press it would kill many people and even at one time held a demonstration to the press, where he electrocuted a horse; just to prove the dangers of AC. This movie does not paint a positive picture of Thomas Edison and how he handled himself during this stressful period. Eventually AC was used to electrocute a man on death row and unfortunately the first time this was used, it did not work effectively and the poor man had to be electrocuted several times until he died.

The problem with this film, pointed out by a number of critics is how erratically the story was told, bouncing between different scenes too quickly and not explaining enough about what was going on within each part of the story. This film is a very good account of an important time in history, but the story telling could have been done much more cleanly and efficiently. For this reason, I agree with this part of the criticism of this movie. It is also rather suspect that this movie was produced in 2017 and has not been released until October 2019, the implication here is that much work was put into re-cutting this movie long after shooting was completed.

I recommend this movie for its excellent account of an important time in history, but I do agree with the critics about the erratic story telling and give The Current War a mild recommendation.

Movie Review: Lucy in the Sky

In February, 2007 there was this extremely strange story about a female NASA Astronaut, Lisa Novak – who in a fit of jealousy drove across the United States to Orlando Florida to confront her former boyfriend and his new girlfriend. She took many items in her car with her on the cross country trip, including diapers so she would not have to stop, to improve her time for the trip. What is most interesting about this story, diapers aside, is that nobody would expect a highly educated and intelligent Astronaut to do anything insane and irrational like this, that included spraying her former boyfriend with pepper spray. It is well known that NASA Astronaut’s are chosen not only for their high level of intelligence, but also for their ability to stay calm within any extreme situation, making this story from 2007 that much more shocking. The question then is, is this story interesting and strong enough to make a movie about it, 12 years later? Unfortunately the critical consensus is no. There are some good ideas here, including the fact that any human being can crack under extreme stress or work injustice, but there is not enough story here to keep an audience interested for two hours.

“Lucy in the Sky” stars Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm, two very well known and bankable stars who took this movie most likely because they were impressed with the work of director Noah Hawley in the TV Series Fargo, which has been outstanding. Unfortunately, this is one film that should have been made as a documentary produced for Netflix or Amazon and never a major movie release.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Lucy in the Sky are extremely low at 22% and the movie has been released in very few theaters, most likely due to the very low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. My rating is more in the 50% range, agreeing that the movie is not good, but it does not warrant a rating of only 22%. This one should be skipped.

Movie Review: Zombieland: Double Tap

The logline for “Zombieland”, released in 2009 and the sequel, “Zombieland: Double Tap” are about the same. “A story about some friends after a zombie Apocalypse, who try to survive by running from and killing zombies, with some humor, camp and sarcasm mixed in”. The problem with both of these movies is, we have all seen many zombies being killed and zombies eating people and the humor is not strong enough to rescue either one of these movies.

This sequel to Zombieland, released 10 years after the original, is about the same as the original and I was surprised that they made a sequel but did not add anything new or special to this version. This movie stars all of the original cast members, Jesse Eisenberg. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone,
Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray – who makes an appearance at the end of this movie.

The end of this film has one of the new trends in the industry where the audience thinks the movie is over, but its not, with this one having an unnecessary scene involving Bill Murray, who was killed in the first film. Once a movie is over, the audience wants to stand up and go home, but far too often, we have to stand up, wanting to leave, but we are forced to see one last scene that most of the time should never have been added. I hope this practice ends, because it does nothing more than annoy the audience. With some other movies, some last teaser scenes are shown long after the ending credits start, a good example being the recent “Hobbs And Shaw”, released this summer. I happened to see several of the “end of film teasers” for this movie by accident, while waiting for the start of another film. Why is this done? I have no idea.

Like with the last Zombieland this one fails with its most important ingredient, its just not funny enough. I agree with the anemic ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of 67% and I do not recommend this film.