Movie Review #863 GREEN BOOK.
This year’s Best Movie Oscar winner is an excellent essay on separatism based in 1962 deep south of America. Having not 20yrs before defeated the last of Nazi anti-semitism, America still struggles with its own racial issues as New York club bouncer Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga is hired to drive African-American concert pianist ‘Doc’ Don Shirley through a two month tour across locations sure to stir southern sentiments.
Tony is on the edges of the mob & the Doc a musical artisan who doesn’t fit in to either the black or white worlds so with the Driving Miss Daisy reversal, the initial friction continues to parlay, exacerbated by Tony’s uncouth outlook sparring with the Doc’s refinement.
But, as with all Hollywood buddy outings, events transpire to bring the chaps together, both saving each other’s bacon a few times and finally understanding why each is as they are.
The symbolism of the green book in the title is quite subtle and not a key fixture of the proceedings however when Doc experiences a number of other prejudices, it’s brought nicely into perspective.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are both superb in the lead saddles, the former particularly effective as an Italian slouch while Ali is reminiscent of Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem in Coming To America. And the music is to die for; a beautiful blend of classical and jazz nicely rendered on piano, cello & double bass.
As thought provoking as it is entertaining, for me it’s a 9/10.
Movie Review #3965 STAN AND OLLIE.
Sentimental biopic based on Laurel & Hardy’s final tour of the UK in 1953. Well past their heyday, the chaps are booked on a tour that sees them barely reaching half concert hall capacities while chasing a movie deal that will hopefully put them back on top.
Usual partner tensions arise amidst quarreling between respective spouses with the inevitable parting of ways and subsequent reconciliation pretty predictable. John C Reilly and Steve Coogan were I thought great in the lead slots and based on the latter’s portrayal of Stan Laurel, it’s easy to see where Michael Crawford might have got his Frank Spencer from.
A bit tedious to in parts and somewhat verbose when perhaps a more straightforward approach might have sufficed.
Nevertheless quite entertaining for this critic who would p*ss himself laughing at the antics of these two in the old black-and-white featurettes playing before the Saturday afternoon movie matinee. 7/10
Movie Review #7532 COLD PURSUIT.
Just when we thought yet another Liam Neeson ‘special set of skills’ has an outing, this black comedy shows up.
Coen-esque with a dash of Tarantino on top, it’s violent but not overly so as everyone’s favourite Irish leading man is a Colorado snow plough driver who’s only offspring manages to get himself entangled in the local drug scene.
Working his way up the chain of command, dispatching thugs as he goes, Mr Neeson finally homes in on the top guy which is where things start to go a bit awry. Add a local Indian tribe as an opposing drug arm plus a local bushy tailed policewoman into the mix as well as a pro hitman and the chain of fortuitous events culminate as expected in a major blood bath in the snow.
I like Liam Neeson as an actor and he carries off this dark comedy well by playing it quite straight, leaving the comic turns to a few key scenes and a few one liners from unexpected sources. Surprisingly entertaining and a pleasant deviation from that expected despite the copious quantities of bad guys dispatched.
Does build nicely towards the end and leaving early will screw the whole thing. 8/10.
Movie Review #7321. THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD.
Peter Jackson continues with his WWI love affair with this documentary film using digitally restored and colourised footage. The result is quite spectacular and almost looks like a modern day re-enactment except that it’s not.
Starts and ends with original variable speed, black-and-white takes for contrast and while the background soundtrack is a modern day overdub, the commentaries along the way are not. Content is raw and uncompromising, showing the stark brutality of a war that for the first time was not fought according to Queensbury Rules.
We also get a full frontal reminder that these were men with lives, dreams and aspirations like any of us, not merely images on 100 year old film while their treatment upon demobilisation was nothing short of disgusting.
Forget all other WWI docos you might have seen, think you’ll find this one trumps them all however I’m not going to rate it as it seems inappropriate to associate it with entertainment.
I also understand that Mr Jackson’s next project is another doco job around the final years of The Beatles, will certainly be looking forward to that!
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since being mesmerized by the giant screen, the darkness that went on forever & the infernally uncomfortable seats + having to stand for God Save the Queen, I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism. My favourite movie of all time is Schindler's List, one of only two movies I've ever cried in (the other was Bambi when I was 6!) & I'm a sucker for a damn good comedy; Dumb & Dumber, The Hangover & Death at a Funeral stand out. I'm also a musician and work in IT. I have 4 grandchildren who also seem to enjoy their movie excursions with grandad. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.