The new movie “My Spy”, streamed on Amazon Prime is one of those forgettable films, because its so much like so many other stories about Spies and undercover Police that we have all seen before. For this film, nothing stands out as different or groundbreaking.
My Spy stars wrestler/actor Dave Bautista, who has been in more than a few movies the last few years – most of them about the same. Time will tell if he can create a movie career, anything close to the huge success of Dwayne Johnson, who has made many movies the last 15 years.
The story of My Spy is very similar to “Stakeout” that was released in 1987, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez. It is so similar that the only real difference is the 9 year old girl involved Sofie, played by newcomer Chloe Coleman. She steals this whole movie, mostly during the scenes where JJ, played by Batista, who is a CIA agent, become friends – even to the point of Sophie bringing JJ to school with her, for show and tell of all things. Considering that JJ is a very experienced CIA agent, most of these bonding scenes with a 9 year old girl, do not make much sense. Sophie’s mother Kate is played by Parisa Fitz-Henley and eventually becomes the love interest for JJ, which is also the same plot line of Stakeout.
The bonding scenes between JJ and Sophie take place during the middle of this film, and are mostly not compelling enough to keep a person interested in watching. There are several moments where this film refers to other action movies of the past, including even “Raiders of the Lost Arc” at the end where JJ and a terrorist are fighting in front of a plane. Also at the end of the movie there is an attempt at humor, trying to make fun of action movies where the hero is walking forward, and something explodes behind them. I thought this was an interesting idea, but not enough to save this movie.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for My Spy are a low 51%, and I agree with this rating and do not recommend this film.
Most Will Ferrell movies seem to follow the same pattern of, somewhat funny is some places, not in others, not funny enough, and in the end the result is the same; another movie not good enough to showcase Ferrell’s comedic talents.
The new Netflix comedy, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is unusual because of the many musical acts that occur during the many singing contests that all start in Iceland. This film also has some scenes of horrific death and gore after several people are blown up on a boat, something unexpected in any movie attempting to be funny. An Icelandic accent is also not funny enough to stand on its own and unfortunately a good percentage of the jokes fall flat.
This movie also stars Rachel McAdams, in her second comedy role since “Game Night” in 2018, as Ferrell’s “sister or not sister” Sigrit; another running gag in this story that does not work. Ferrell plays Lars who has spent his whole life trying and failing to get respect from his father Erick, played by Pierce Brosnan. Singer Demi Lovato has several cameo’s in this movie and unfortunately towards the end of this film, she returns in scenes reminiscent of “American Werewolf in London” – and this is an additional attempt at black comedy, that also does not work in this story.
I agree with the relatively low 58% opinion polls on Rotten Tomatoes and do not recommend this movie.
“Glengarry Glen Ross” is perhaps the best example of ensemble acting in movie history. Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce and Alan Arkin star in this production that represents some of the best acting of their entire careers. The story is very simple. Desperate salesman who would do almost anything to rip people off by selling them bad or non existent real estate properties. All that matters is the sale, not the lives ruined, money stolen from decent hard working people. People like this are always able to rationalize and justify stealing money from people, with lies, misdirection and trickery. “Well, they fell for it”, and they all sleep well at night. What this amazing film does better than anything is remind us that people like this really exist. The acting in this film is some of the finest ever filmed, including a speech by Alec Baldwin at the start of the film (see below), that is arguably the greatest single performance in his entire career.
This movie is one pathetic scene after another, of desperate salesman cold calling sales lead after lead. They lie to their customers, promising them something that is either not true or does not even exist. They desperately try to close real estate deals in order to win a Cadillac Eldorado with no regard with the crimes they are committing. The central story stars Al Pacino who lies his way into the trust of one of his main leads, played by Jonathan Pryce – who later has a bad case of buyers remorse after talking to his wife. The end of this movie with Al Pacino desperately trying to lie his way out of losing a deal and Jack Lemmon, trying to hang onto his life is some of the best acting in this entire movie.
David Mamet wrote the screenplay for this great film based on his play. The dialogue is loaded with epithets and complex rapid fire back and forth which is how people like this talk in real life. The best part of this movie is the dialogue, that is some of the best I have ever seen.
Glengarry Glen Ross was released in 1992 and is one of the best films of its kind ever produced. I agree with the 95% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and I give this movie my highest recommendation.
“Da 5 Bloods” is director Spike Lee’s latest movie and has been released on Netflix. The story of Da 5 Bloods is very simple. 4 black Vietnam veterans decide to return back to Vietnam to find the remains of their friend who was killed – so he can be buried in the United States. They also want to find millions of gold bars that they found and buried, while in duty in 1969. From the beginning, I thought that this story was flawed because looking for any metal object in the jungles of Vietnam – considering the tens of thousands of land mines, is something that would never be worth the risk from the beginning. A metal detector, like the one the men were using to find the gold, would have no way of detecting if the metal was gold or a land mine that would blow you up.
Overall, I was surprised by the relatively mundane and uninteresting story here very unlike Spike Lee’s movies about racial injustice. Throughout this movie there are scenes of the 1960’s and 70’s that also include Martin Luther King. The one standout in this movie is actor Delroy Lindo, who gives an outstanding performance, probably the best acting opportunity in his entire career. I agree with the IMD ratings of 6.9 but not with the Rotten Tomatoes of 92%. This is just an average film and I give it a very mild recommendation.
The new movie “The King of Staten Island” is the first mainstream and highly advertised movie released since the Pandemic, that can only be seen on demand. As an avid moviegoer this is the first time I have paid 20 dollars for any newly released movie; much less seen it for the first time at home and not in a movie theater. As we have heard so many times since early March this year, these are very unusual and strange times.
The King of Staten Island stars Pete Davidson as Scott Carlin, who lost his father at age 7. Pete Davidson’s father was a fireman who died during the September 11 tragedy in 2001. This movie, directed by Judd Apatow is loosely based on Pete Davidson’s real life, with the difference in this story being that Davidson’s character wants to be a tattoo artist and his father was a fireman, but died in a fire and not on 911. Overall the acting of everybody in this film, especially Pete Davidson was outstanding. In the case of Davidson, it was very hard to realize that he was actually acting in this movie, because his time onscreen seemed so real – the best sign of a good actor. Marisa Tomei was very believable as Davidson’s mother Margie, who never married after her husband died and also has a daughter, played by Apatow’s daughter Maude Apatow. All of us wonder what it must be like to get a huge inside boost into the lucrative profession of acting, mainly because you are related to someone who is very powerful in the industry.
Even though this film is mostly a comedy there are many dark moments, mainly related to Scott’s difficulties in getting past the tragic death of his father, that is also true of Pete Davidson’s real life. There is a scene at the start of this movie, where Scott is closing his eyes while driving on the freeway, playing some kind of Russian roulette with his car. There are suggestions that Scott’s many tattoos might have to do with trying to distract himself from his emotional pain with physical pain. Davidson’s many friends, his mother and even his grandfather are in this film, making this production a large family affair – rare at this level for any mainstream movie.
The King of Staten Island is very typical of all Apatow movies with solid comedy mixed in with drama. I disagree with the 69% rating for this film, with my opinion closer to the 80% range. I recommend The King of Staten Island, even despite the high 20 dollar price tag.