Netflix Movie Review: Blonde

The only upside of the new Netflix movie “Blonde” is the realization that 60 years after Marilyn Monroe died, she is still relevant and producers are still making major motion pictures about her tragic life.

A childhood with no father and a mother who wound up in a mental institution, it is a fluke – even despite Monroe’s movie star looks, that she ever wound up as one of the most famous actresses in the history of film. The problem with the new Netflix biopic “Blonde” is that we all already knew about Marilyn Monroe’s tragic life – all this movie does is tell a well-known depressing story very badly. The other problem with Blonde is that the star of this movie Ana de Armas gives a performance so strong that it would have been nominated for an Academy Award – were it not for the fact that this movie is so bad. Like Whitney Houston, Marilyn Monroe did not have the thick skin necessary to deal with the harsh critics and constant pursuit of the paparazzi. It was her delicate personality that led to Monroe’s tragic life, drug use, and 3 divorces.

There is significant nudity in this movie by de Armas and at least one scene that was extremely inappropriate, considering the important aspects of Monroe’s tragic career. Monroe was married 3 times, the last marriage was to Joe Dimaggio and yet there was no mention of Dimaggio in this film – yet another major flaw. For some other odd reason, this film changes from black and white to color in several areas, adding another major annoyance that prevents this movie from being a respected biopic of Marilyn Monroe’s life. This film is also way too long, clocking in at 2 hours and 46 minutes – for a movie that should only be about 2 hours long.

The critics are unanimous across the board – giving very bad reviews to this film with low 42% ratings, with the IMDB ratings a very low 5.6. For me, it took several attempts to get through this mess, watching different parts over several days. Unfortunately, this one is a big miss, despite de Armas impressive performance.

Movie Review: The Gray Man

In the history of Netflix – which has been having its share of problems with its stock this year, no movie has ever cost more to produce than “The Gray Man” – 200 million dollars. There is nothing small about this film, or nothing that seems like it is not a top mainstream movie production. The special effects are spectacular to the point of wondering how they were able to pull off such dangerous stunts. The fight scenes are as impressive and dangerous as I have ever seen.

The acting from the 3 main stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Billy Bob Thornton is outstanding throughout this 2+ hours. However despite all of this positive news about this very good action movie and the fact that it cost 200 million dollars to produce, the critics on Rotten Tomatoes are only giving this a 50% rating. Once again, the critics are dead wrong, because this movie deserves a 75% rating just for the hard work that went into some of the most amazing action scenes ever filmed. There is one scene where it seems like large part of a European city is destroyed by car crashes, buildings exploding, mixed with non stop gunfire.

It is true that we have seen most or all of this kind of film before, but adding up all the positive points, this movie is a must see, with at least an 85% rating. The concept of taking someone from prison or about to go to prison and training them for the most dangerous work within the CIA is a concept that has been done in the past – most notably with Bridget Fonda in “Point of No Return”, released in 1993. Sometimes just being different can be a bad idea, IF being different results in a ridiculous story, like too many movies have been doing lately. The upside of this film is that everything was very well done and believable.

I was most impressed with the highly intricate and choreographed fight scenes with the 3 main stars, de Armas, Evans and Gosling. It looked to me that there was a high probability of a major injury for all 3 of them, because no matter how hard you practice and prepare, there is always something that could go wrong. Considering the money, fame and incredible jobs these A list actors have, they also have to take the risk of possible major injury or death, just to make a movie.

In terms of a great action movie this one ranks very near the top and I give it a strong recommendation.

Hulu Movie Review: Deep Water

While looking at IMDB today, I was amazed to discover that the new Hulu movie “Deep Water” is the first movie Adrian Lyne has directed since 2002 with the very good film “Unfaithful” that starred Diane Lane, in her best movie role and Richard Gere. Lyne has directed several movies about marriage and infidelity including “Fatal Attraction” in 1987 and “Indecent Proposal” in 1993. I noticed in most of these movies there are no attempts to mislead or trick the audience, no off the wall twist and turn or and overly surprising ending. This is also true of Deep Water, that stars Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas – which is both a good thing and bad thing about this story.

De Armas plays Melinda who is not only an alcoholic and chain smoker (here we go again), but also a serial cheater – flaunting her many affairs in front of her husband Vic, played by Affleck. Throughout this entire film, several of the men that Melinda is having affairs with are turning up dead, including even a drowning during a nighttime pool party. The mystery is, who killed these men? Is it the obvious choice or someone else? I appreciated the straightforward-no-trickery-moving-making ideas here, but unfortunately this led to a rather unsatisfying ending and at times a too boring 2 hours.

The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are a way too low 38%, because the acting and directing are very good. My rating is about 70%, with a moderate pass. Once again I wonder what it must be like to be Adrian Lyne, waiting 20 years to direct another movie and get ratings this low. Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas had a relationship during this movie, but unfortunately broke up because they lived too far from each other.