REVIEW: ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Starring

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog)
Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys)
Timothy Olyphant (Santa CLarita Diet)
Julia Butters (American Housewife)
Austin Butler (Arrow)
Dakota Fanning (Ocean’s 8)
Bruce Dern (Freaks)
Mike Moh (Inhumans)
Luke Perry (Riverdale)
Damian Lewis (Homeland)
Al Pacino (The Devil’s Advocate)
Brenda Vaccaro (Supergirl)
Nicholas Hammond (Stealth)
Samantha Robinson (Cam)
Lena Dunham (This is 40)
Harley Quinn Smith (Yoga Hosers)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)
Rebecca Rittenhouse (The Mindy Project)
Rumer Willis (Return To Sender)
Clu Gulager (Feast)
Martin Kove (The Karate Kid)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Kurt Russell (The Christmas Chronicles)
Zoë Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Michael Madsen (Species)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Quentin Tarantino (Planet Terror)
Maurice Compte (Power)
James Marsden (X-Men)
Townsend Coleman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)In February 1969, Hollywood actor Rick Dalton, star of 1950s Western television series Bounty Law, fears his career is over. Casting agent Marvin Schwarz advises him to make Spaghetti Westerns, which Dalton feels are beneath him. Dalton’s friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth —– a war veteran who lives in a trailer with his pit bull, Brandy —– drives Dalton around because Dalton’s alcoholism has resulted in multiple DUIs. Booth struggles to find work due to rumors that he murdered his wife. Actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski, have moved next door to Dalton, who dreams of befriending them to restore his status. That night, Tate and Polanski attend a celebrity-filled party at the Playboy Mansion.Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)The next day, Booth repairs Dalton’s TV antenna. He reminisces about a sparring contest he had with Bruce Lee on the set of The Green Hornet, resulting in Booth being fired. Charles Manson stops by the Polanski residence looking for Terry Melcher, who used to live there, but is turned away by Jay Sebring. Tate goes for errands and stops at a movie theater to watch herself in The Wrecking Crew. While driving Dalton’s car, Booth picks up a hitchhiker, named Pussycat. He drops her off at Spahn Ranch, where Booth once filmed Bounty Law. He notices the hippies living there (the Manson Family). Suspecting they are taking advantage of the owner, George Spahn, Booth insists on checking on him despite Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s objections. Spahn dismisses Booth’s fears. Booth discovers that Steve “Clem” Grogan slashed a tire on Dalton’s car; Booth beats him and forces him to change it. Tex Watson is asked to deal with the situation but arrives as Booth drives away.Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)Dalton plays a villain on the pilot of Lancer, and strikes up a conversation with his eight-year-old co-star, Trudi Fraser, a committed Method actor. Dalton struggles with his dialogue. After having a breakdown in his trailer, Dalton delivers a performance that impresses Fraser and the director, Sam Wanamaker, bolstering Dalton’s confidence. After watching Dalton’s guest performance on an episode of The F.B.I., Schwarz books him as the lead of Sergio Corbucci’s next Western, Nebraska Jim. Dalton takes Booth with him for a six month stint in Italy, during which he appears in two additional Westerns and a Eurospy comedy, and marries Italian starlet Francesca Capucci. Dalton informs Booth he can no longer afford his services.Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)On the evening of their first day back Dalton and Booth go out for drinks, then return to Dalton’s house. Booth smokes an acid-laced cigarette and takes Brandy for a walk. Tex, Susan Atkins, Linda “Flower Child” Kasabian, and Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel park outside in preparation to murder everyone in Tate’s house. Dalton hears the car and orders them to leave. Changing their plans, they decide to kill Dalton after Sadie reasons Hollywood “taught them to murder”. Flower Child drives off, deserting the other three. They break into Dalton’s house and confront Capucci and Booth, who recognizes them from Spahn Ranch. Booth orders Brandy to attack, and together they kill Katie and Tex and severely injure Sadie. Booth is injured in the altercation. Sadie stumbles outside, alarming Dalton, who was listening to music on headphones, oblivious to the mayhem. He retrieves a flamethrower – a souvenir from one of his movies – and incinerates her. Booth is hospitalized, Sebring engages Dalton in conversation, and Tate invites Dalton over for drinks.The ending leaves you wondering “What if…” over and over again, questioning what reality would look like if these fictional characters of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth actually existed. And I think that’s when I realized how perfect the title was: it’s a humorous, fairy-tale (although not completely violent-free) ending to the tragic fate of Hollywood in the 60s…

REVIEW: STAND UP GUYS

Starring

Al Pacino (Devil’s Advocate)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
Julianna Margulies (Ghost Ship)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Katheryn Winnick (Bones)
Vanessa Ferlito (Death Proof)
Addison Timlin (Depraved)
Lucy Punch (The Wedding Video)
Keone Young (Crank)
Bill Burr (Zombeavers)

Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken, and Katheryn Winnick in Stand Up Guys (2012)Doc (Christopher Walken) picks up his old friend Val (Al Pacino) from prison. At Doc’s apartment, while Val is in the bathroom, Doc approaches him with a gun but does nothing. They go for coffee and Val says he wants to “party.” They go to a brothel but Val cannot perform, so Doc and Val break into a pharmacy and steal several bottles of drugs. Val overdoses on Viagra, has sex with a whore named Oxana and they go to a club. Val takes some of the other drugs to get a buzz. Two thugs approach them, apparently for nothing, and they leave. Val passes out in the car and Doc considers killing him again, but takes him to the hospital.Al Pacino and Christopher Walken in Stand Up Guys (2012)The nurse they see is the daughter of their old friend Richard Hirsch, who tells them he lives in a retirement home. Thereafter, they go to a local diner where Val correctly guesses that Doc is to kill him. Doc says he’s been given until 10 a.m. to do the job, or else he will be killed as well. Outside, they steal a car and they go to get Hirsch, who had once been their getaway driver. Hirsch (Alan Arkin) gets behind the wheel and into a highway chase with the police. When asked what he wants to do next, Hirsch says he’s never been with two women, and they go back to the brothel. Hirsch gets his threesome, but says he feels guilty despite being a widower.Christopher Walken in Stand Up Guys (2012)After they leave, they hear sounds coming from the trunk. They find a naked woman named Sylvia, who was kidnapped by men who raped and kidnapped her. Sylvia tells them where the kidnappers are. Val and Doc go inside and subdue the men. After tying everyone up, Sylvia comes in with a baseball bat for her revenge. Back at the car, Doc and Val find that Hirsch has died. They break the news to Nina, who helps the two bury her father at the cemetery. Doc and Val return to the diner, where the young waitress is revealed to be Doc’s granddaughter Alex. Doc makes a phone call to Claphands (who ordered him to kill Val), begging him to show Val mercy. Claphands reveals that he knows about Alex, and that he will hurt her if Doc doesn’t complete the job.Doc writes a letter to Alex, puts his apartment keys inside the envelope, then pins it to the wall of the diner. Walking down the street at sunrise, Val spots a church and he goes inside to give a priest his confession. Next, they break into a tailor shop, where they try on suits. Two thugs working for Claphands (who approached them at the club the night before) interrupt them, pestering Doc to get the job done. Doc and Val shoot and wound them both. They both put on new suits and prepare to face the reality of the situation.  Alex enters Doc’s apartment and looks around. Doc calls her from a payphone and tells her the sunset paintings were inspired by her and has her retrieve a shoebox full of cash which he saved for her future. He tells her he loves her but that she might not see him for awhile. Doc and Val walk down the street; Doc has decided he can’t kill Val, so they decide to go kill Claphands. They open fire on his men and his warehouse and the camera pans over to the sunset which Doc painted.“Stand Up Guys” is a fun and great movie, which offers 95 minutes of great entertainment. If not for the good story, then the movie is well worth watching for the three stars of the movie.