Monthly Archives: September 2015

Rat A-Tat Tattler

Black Mass - SWith “Black Mass,” Warner Bros. continues its tradition of their classic gangster movies from the ‘30s and ‘40s by depicting the rise and fall of real-life South Boston crime lord James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and gives Johnny Depp one of his best performances.

Beginning in 1975, “Black Mass” traces the events of Whitey’s rise to power and eventual fall through the 20-year alliance with childhood friend and fellow ‘Southie,’ FBI agent John Connelly (Joel Edgerton). Returning to Boston, Connelly wants to make a name for himself and rise through the ranks of the FBI by stamping out the Italian mafia influence of the Angiulo family in the North End. He reaches out to Whitey’s brother, Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) to meet with Whitey and get the secret street information that will bring down the Angiulo family. Billy, now a Senator, can’t be involved with his criminal brother but cryptically says if Connelly’s looking for Whitey, Whitey will find him. Continue reading

That Smarts

The Visit-SIf you’re waiting for M. Night Shyamalan to deliver the power punch felt in his first feature film “The Sixth Sense,” you’ll have to wait a little longer- his new horror film “The Visit” feels almost like a backhanded slap in comparison. While the film’s intentions are good, it suffers from its own misdirection and its sting and impact quickly fade.

I like Shyamalan or any director with style and smarts behind what they’re doing. However, with “The Visit,” his good intentions betray him. Employing the hand-held camera/found footage technique used in horror movies like “The Blair Witch Project,” Shyamalan legitimately uses this technique to deliver the surprising twist/payoff so many of his fans have come to look forward to and expect. However, in using this technique solely for the sake of the twist, he undercuts the plausibility of the story to such a degree that even the novelty of its unique perspective can’t reap the visual scares or surprises you’d think would be in store. Continue reading

The letter ‘S’

GrandmaThis review is brought to you by the letter ‘S.’

If there were three words I’d use to describe Paul Weitz’s film “Grandma,” they’d be smart, sarcastic and sensitive. They’d also be the words I’d use to describe Lily Tomlin, a comedienne I’ve loved for 50 years who plays the title role of “Grandma”. Elle Reid is a woman who embarks on a road-trip journey into her past to secure money for her granddaughter Sage’s (Julia Garner) abortion in the course of a few hours’ time. Because I grew up loving Tomlin’s work and what I liked so much about “Grandma” seems to be rooted in ‘S’ words, I figured I’d have fun telling you about how much I liked this movie by stealing from the TV show I grew up watching- “Sesame Street.”

Sesame Street & Saturday Night Live: The first time I saw Lily Tomlin was in 1975, the first season of Saturday Night Live. In SNL’s first season, Jim Henson’s Muppets had their own skits and I remember Tomlin hosting (having gained fame for her work on Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-In” portraying characters like the precocious, rocking-chair bound child Edith Ann who spouted outrageous stories ending with the tagline “That’s the truth” and also just coming off of her Academy Award nomination for supporting actress in Robert Altman’s “Nashville”) and hugging a Muppet at the end of the skit. From that moment, I liked Tomlin and wanted to know more about her. Continue reading