Movie Review: A Man Called Otto

In the movie “Boomerang”, released in 1992 and starring Eddie Murphy I remember thinking at the time, that Halle Berry (in one of her early roles) was probably just about the most attractive woman to ever appear on the screen. Some four years later, Berry mentioned that her favorite sport was Baseball, referencing her current husband David Justice in the very good movie “Executive Decision”. About a year later, who would have guessed that Halle Berry was in her garage with her 2 dogs sitting in her car trying to commit suicide because the man she thought was the love of her life was divorcing her. It was only because of her two dogs that Berry decided against ending her life almost 26 years ago.

The new and very good movie “A Man Called Otto” is about grief and loss at the level that Halle Berry experienced in 1997 and the main character in this movie Otto, played very well by Tom Hanks, also tries and fails to kill himself several times in this film. The reason for this is that Otto also lost the love of his life and suicide was his own personal solution while failing to cope with the tremendous pain of losing the one person in this world who he thought was the only one for him. Probably the greatest pain in this world is the pain of the loss of a long-term life partner or the person that you think is definitely the love of your life. Some of us find ways to move on, others of us turn to alcoholism, and others turn to suicide like Otto and Halle Berry.

Otto’s unbearable grief manifests itself with episodes of extreme anger towards everyone who lives in the townhouse development he lives in. He wants everything to be perfect, for people in his neighborhood to follow the rules and even to be fairly treated in his job. Even though for all of us, working for other people in too many cases can be too much about injustice and never enough about fairness.

Over time, through a family that moves across the street in Otto’s development, Otto slowly learns that relationships with other people and a sense of purpose in helping others can for some of us, be one solution for unbearable grief. I thought the slow, long-term relationships that Otto maintains throughout this story are the best parts of this film, causing Otto to transition from the bitter and angry man he understandably is, into someone who actually cares about other people. It is his sense of purpose and friendship that helps Otto move forward from his extreme pain. Otto’s life story is told through flashbacks showing Otto’s relationship with his wife from when and how they met, and through all of the tragedies they lived through. All of this is very well performed, highly emotional and at times, hard to watch.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a way too low and insane 68% and are once again, dead wrong. With this movie – because of its powerful message and storytelling is a solid 90% and a strong recommendation.

Movie Reviews: Moonfall

“Hollywoodize” is a word I have tried to popularize at various times during the life of this movie blog, now over 7 years old. Hollywoodize is when a good idea or story is considered not marketable enough or not “special-effects” enough, that some of those in charge of greenlighting the script are afraid that it might not make enough money. They think that showing an exciting trailer will get people into the theaters, no matter how idiotic the story is.

In the case of the new movie “Moonfall”, the idea about the Moon crashing into the Earth is new and very unique but unfortunately, they threw the kitchen-sink at this story dumping on so many stupid ideas and story twists that the entire movie is too deeply mired in absurdity. For a story involving the moon slowly degrading its orbit and crashing into the Earth, the only idea that would work logically or scientifically is a huge asteroid hitting the Moon with enough force that it slightly changes the Moon’s orbit causing environmental catastrophe on Earth. Then the challenge for the screenwriter would be to come up with brilliant scientific ideas where scientists on Earth figure out some way to fix this giant problem. I am sure the writers thought of this originally, but then thought – this is not nearly marketable enough for the Trailer.

For Moonfall, that has no less than 3 screenwriters, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen, it turns out that the moon is hollow and an alien race has some kind of a world inside the moon and tiny Artificial Intelligence creatures that fly like swarms of bees. I have seen swarm of bees in space special effects in a previous Star Trek movie, so they probably thought to save money, “lets reuse the swarm of space bees software from a few years ago”. The explanation as to how these AI creatures are degrading the Moon’s orbit or why, was never fully explained. The alien people who live inside the Moon are also never seen – probably due to budget cuts.

As far as the characters in this bad movie, starting with a scientist who works as a fast food restaurant, played by John Bradley, an astronaut turned head of NASA, played by Hale Berry and another astronaut, played by Patrick Wilson who are all eventually hired to save the world, using – believe it or not – an old space shuttle that has been retired to a museum and defaced by graffiti due to the world-is-coming-to-an-end-riots. The chain of events in this film, where Hale Berry goes from being an astronaut to the head of NASA, and an unemployed scientist, who works at a fast food restaurant, is added to the Space Shuttle crew, could be the stupidest I have ever seen within any science fiction or action movie. It seems the 3 writers of this screenplay worked separately and then later tried to combine their work into a mess of illogic that all who see this movie will be glad is finally over. The actor Michael Pena plays the husband of Wilson’s x-wife and his part in this movie is getting some people to Colorado – where much of the secondary part of this bad story seemed to only be about filling out 2 hours of time.

As an aspiring screenwriter, like so many others, I have always been continually amazed at how much money and time has been thrown at bad movies like this one. There is nothing good here, nothing that makes sense or enjoyable to see, other than maybe a few special effects that seemed to be taken from other space movies, including even Gravity, released in 2013. This is a total waste of two hours. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie are a very low 41% with IMDB an equally low 5.5 and I agree with these ratings, with mine around 25%. Miss this mess and see any other science fiction movie instead.

Netflix Movie Review: Bruised

Like many people who are fans of normal boxing, that has rules, 16 ounce gloves, a referee and long standing history and traditions – it will always be hard to understand why so many people seem to like MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Athletes can kick each other in the head. When a person is knocked down, the other fighter and leap on top of them, and continuously punch them in the head. In other scenario’s one fighter can almost strangle the other fighter into either submission or unconsciousness. One can only wonder how many fighters have died in the ring or are permanently brain damaged. So did boxing all of the sudden become either too boring or not violent enough? Women seem as prevalent in this sport as men and again for most of us, nobody really wants to see two women in a ring almost killing each other.

Recently on a talk show, Halle Berry who directs the new Netflix movie “Bruised” admitted she has always Recently on a talk show, Halle Berry who directs the new Netflix movie “Bruised” admitted she has always been a fan of MMA – for reasons unknown, and this is the reason why she decided to both act and direct this pretty bad movie. Every scene is dark and depressing with the main character (a former women MMA champion, Jackie Justice played by Berry) mired in an abusive relationship with her former manager. Jackie is reunited with her young son from a previous relationship, who refuses to talk(perhaps because the young actor was embarrassed be in this film). The payoff is Jackie’s comeback after years of inactivity, with the rest of this movie just filler until the final championship fight. Who really cares about yet another Rocky-like-clone-payoff-in-the-end ripoff?

The Rotten Tomatoes average reviews for this bad MMA movie is a correctly low 57%. Miss this mess and see any other boxing movie.