Category Archives: Movie score 6.5

The Polka King

This is the story of Jan Lewan, polka ponzi scheme perp.

Jack Black plays Jan, and he does a good job of it, along with the rest of the cast in their roles. The best character would be Jan’s mother-in-law, although she is portrayed as a grumpy curmudgeon which she probably wasn’t so much in reality, but it was good for a few laughs.

There are a few fictional elements added to the story for comedic purposes, and the real reason for Jan being skivved in prison was fabricated, but the rest of it seemed accurate when compared to the documentary at least.

Jan was involved in the film, mostly by chatting with Jack Black on Skype about his life story, and Jan joined him during recording of the soundtrack. Jack also worked with the Jan Lewan orchestra. Jan fully endorses the film.

If you are interested in real-life stories of polka intrigue then this is worth a watch as it is quite accurate. As a stand-alone film it is just average.

Date watched: January 26th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2018: 7

Whitney: Can I Be Me

This doco about Whitney (whose music I absolutely loathe) is by English filmmaker Nick Broomfield (he made the excellent The Leader, His Driver and The Driver’s Wife and Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer) which is the main reason for watching, as his films in the past have been great, and I thought it was an odd choice for him to make this, being an official doco. Overall it was actually quite badly filmed and put together but was quite gripping as well, mainly because of watching Whitney and her total loser husband Bobby Brown, spiral out of control.

Date watched: 12th October
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 59

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

James and I watched this last night after a toss up between watching this or Return of the Jedi.

The last time we watched this was in December 2013, you can read the review for it here. My opinions of the film have not changed much, but I would add that some of the dialogue was diabolical.

It was a big improvement over the previous two episodes though, and had some pretty good action scenes.

Only 33 days to go until Episode VIII.

Date watched: November 11th
Score: 7
Film count 2017: 126


Kind of interesting but gets boring then picks up towards the end even though it’s totally predictable, but it looks good and the actors are ace, especially Michael Sheen as an android. It does justify the nastiness which happens to Jennifer Lawrence’s character though, it pretty much says it’s OK to stalk people and ruin their lives, they will come around in the end. There has been quite a backlash to it’s creepy premise.

Laurence Fishburne got $20M for about 20 minutes of screen time. He took the money pill.

Date watched: 17th October
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 55

The Miami Story

Mob crime even back in 1954 seemed to be bad enough in Miami that even the film studios got in on the action.

The film starts off with a narrator, who talked in a very authoritative voice throughout the film, explaining that crime in Miami was pretty bad until the city decided to mop up crime. We then meet an actual U.S. Senator sitting behind his desk telling us that crime in Miami is a thing of the past because of the fine job the cops and good citizens of Miami are doing to rid the place of Tony Montanas.

“Crime is a thing of the past here in Miami!”

The story starts off with the assassination of two Cubans as they stepped off a flight from Havana.

A bit excessive with the tomato sauce!

We then meet Tony Brill, a dirty nightclub owner who the city want to arrest because of all the illegal stuff he is doing, but is too crafty to make a mistake and get busted. He has a pretty good scam going, and with the help of his right-hand man is raking in the dough, and has plenty of pretty ladies. He was the guy who ordered the killings of the Cubans as he thought they were moving into his territory.

Tony Brill (no nickname)

An ex-convict, with the most excellent name of Mick Flagg, was a real savvy dude in the world of crime until he went straight, is coerced by a group of influential citizens of Miami into taking down Tony and his organisation for once and for all. With the help of the police and a posse of Cuban henchmen he sets about his plan, which of course is cunning, efficient, and involves a dame or two. Of course there are a few problems he has to overcome such as the kidnapping of his son by Tony, but with quick thinking and pure brawn he saves the day and gets a new wife out of it all.

Mick Flagg and son.

Overall the story was pretty standard but moved along nicely and had a few 1950’s style thrills. The acting was a bit wooden, along with the direction and cinematography. But, it was only 75 minutes long, and it was interesting to see 1950’s Miami which seemed to be quite a happening and prosperous place even back then.

Date watched: June 29th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 73

Man in the Attic

I wanted to get back to watching old films, so when perusing on YouTube for anything Bette Davis I came across this 1953 film starring Jack Palance.

The story follows Jack’s character who is a mysterious professor who is suspected by his landlady to be Jack the Ripper. The story loosely follows actual events, but there is no horror in this at all, it is just a mystery story.

Mostly this is pretty tame stuff, but Jack’s creepy performance made it fun to watch. Good ol’ Jack…

That’s about it really.

Date watched: May 13th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 65

Suicide Squad

I had time for one last film on the flight, so I chose this one.

And again, the reviews were pretty harsh on this, yet I found it to be reasonably watchable. There was plenty of CG, although at times it was so busy that I had no idea what was going on, and it didn’t help that it was dark a lot of the time. The story too was messy and didn’t make sense at times, I guess that is what happens when turning a comic into a film.

I also had problems accepting some of the characters. One character named “Captain Boomerang” was chosen for the Suicide Squad because he was gnarly with a boomerang… hmm, OK. That was all he could do, no other super-duper powers, and he didn’t use his boomerang all that much. He of course was an Aussie, so he said Aussie things for comedic purposes.

The Joker was a bit lame too, and wasn’t in it as much as he should have been. Jared Leto as we all know overdosed on the method acting. I have never been a fan of method acting, not that I know much about acting, but it seems to be a bit absurd. Here is a story I always remember:

Dustin Hoffman has long been known as one of method acting’s most earnest exponents. A showbiz story involves his collaboration with Laurence Olivier on the 1976 film Marathon Man. Upon being asked by his co-star how a previous scene had gone, one in which Hoffmann’s character had supposedly stayed up for three days, Hoffmann admitted that he too had not slept for 72 hours to achieve emotional verisimilitude. “My dear boy,” replied Olivier smoothly, “why don’t you just try acting?” (Hoffman subsequently attributed his insomnia to excessive partying rather than artistry).

Despite the criticism I found this a reasonable watch, not as bad as it is made out to be, and like Independence Day: Resurgence it is just silly fun.

Date watched: April 6th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 56

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