Last weekend we saw almost three movies, but time has not allowed me to preview them for you until now…
Friday night: “Gangster Squad” – the projector kept messing up and the teenagers running the place could not fix it. It would run for a few minutes and then like freeze, start, freeze, start, freeze – totally blowing the flow, man! We left and received two free tickets for another movie or a different viewing of this one. We decided not to go back for this one. Just too predictable, too gangsterish. The cast probably enjoyed wearing the vintage costumes and make-up and acting tough. Did not work for us.
In 1949 Los Angeles, crime is rampant thanks to Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), a brutal mob boss, who thinks the town is his. Police Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) gives permission to Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to form a secret squad and run Cohen out of L.A. O’Mara asks Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who at first refuses, as well as two others. Wooters changes his mind after Cohen’s crew kills a friend of his. Then a fifth guy butts his way into the no-badge squad. Emma Stone plays Cohen’s girlfriend Grace, who doesn’t mind Wooter’ attention. The squad decides not to kill Cohen, because he would just be replaced. They decide to kill his business interests instead so that the mob will steer clear of L.A.
Rating: 2.8 out of 5 stars.
Saturday afternoon: We watched Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” which was actually pretty good, Overlooking the ridiculously over-the-top shooting, where you could almost see the wires yanking people backwards as they were being shot, and squirting blood, it was quite interesting. I liked the plot and damn good acting by Jamie Foxx, Leo DeCaprio, and Christoph Waltz…
Dr. King Schultz (Waltz) is a former dentist turned polite bounty hunter. He buys Django (Foxx) from a couple slavers because he can point out three killers with a large bounty. With Django’s natural shooting ability, Schultz also plans on training him to be his deputy.
When Django was sold, so was his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), and they were separated. She was named Broomhilda because their previous owners were German. Plantation owner, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), bought her and Django eventually leads Schultz to the plantation with the aim of taking her away. Schultz and Django present themselves as rich buyers of fighting black men, and even Django is treated with respect, as had no other black man on a southern plantation.
Candie’s old slave butler, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), sees that Broomhilda knows Django and tells Calvin, who is quite put out…I thought Foxx made an excellent cowboy.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Sunday afternoon: We went into San Antonio to see “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was freaky and funny and well done. (We hope Bradley Cooper does not waste anymore of his talent on those trivial weekend bachelor/Vegas/Asian potty movies.) “Silver Linings” deserves its nominations…
Former teacher and mental patient, Pat Solitano (Cooper), moves back in with his parents, Pat, Sr. (Robert DeNiro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). It doesn’t take long to figure out that Pat’s problems come from his upbringing. Senior is a jerk and mom is a wincing mouse with good intentions. Older brother, Jake (Shea Whigham), is the successful one of whom dad is quite proud.
Pat’s main focus is getting back together with his ex-wife, who has a restraining order against him. One of his friends, Ronnie (John Ortiz), and his wife, Veronica (Julia Stiles), set him up with Veronica’s crazy sister, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Pat and Tiffany discuss the drugs and medications they have been on and begin an unusual relationship, which turns quite sweet.
There are also notable performances by Chris Tucker as Danny, one of Pat’s loony friends, Anupam Kher as psychiatrist Dr. Cliff Patel, and Dash Mihok as Officer Keogh, who keeps finding Pat in places he shouldn’t be…I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie again. Funny, quirky, and touching. Congrats to writer/director David O. Russell and screenwriter Matthew Quick.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.