REVIEW: DIRTY GRANDPA

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
Zac Efron (Bad Neighbours)
Aubrey Plaza (Life After Beth)
Zoey Deutch (Ringer)
Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Jason Mantzoukas (The Night Before)
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Stargate Universe)
Adam Pally (Don’t Think Twice)
Henry Zebrowski (Heroes Reborn)
Mo Collins (Mad TV)
Danny Glover (2012)

Jason Kelly is a lawyer who works for his father. Jason’s grandmother dies, and after the funeral, his Army veteran grandfather, Dick, asks Jason to drive him to Boca Raton, Florida. Jason is getting married to his controlling fiancée, Meredith, in one week, but decides to take his grandfather anyway.On the way there, the two meet Jason’s old photography classmate, Shadia, along with her friends Lenore and Bradley. Dick and Lenore are instantly attracted to each other. Dick tells the girls that he is a professor and that Jason is a photographer. They all go their separate ways, but Dick convinces Jason that they should meet the girls at Daytona Beach, Florida, because Dick wants to have sex with Lenore. The two go to a golf course, where Dick flirts with two women.At Daytona Beach, they meet up with the girls and the girls’ friends, Cody and Brah, whom they compete in beer jugging. That night, a drunk Jason, wearing nothing but a Hornet fanny pack, parties and smokes crack cocaine that he gets from a drug dealer named Pam. He steals a motorcycle and wakes up the next day on the beach. During an awkward FaceTime with Meredith, a boy grabs the fanny pack and takes it off; his father suspects Jason of being a pervert and calls the police, who promptly arrest Jason. Dick bails him out, and the two visit Dick’s old Army friend in a nursing home. They meet the girls again and enter a flexing contest with Cody and Brah; when they lose, Dick alters a T-shirt cannon to fire a beer can at the winning duo, hospitalizing them and stay at their place. After Dick reveals to Jason that he was a member of the Special Forces, the two go to a nightclub with the girls. Dick gets into a fight with some men after they bully Bradley for his homosexuality. The next day, Jason goes to a protest with Shadia and she tells him that she is leaving soon and going to live on a ship for a year.That night, Jason plans on telling Shadia who he really is, but before he can, Cody does an online search on him and tells Shadia that Jason is already engaged. Jason then gets caught with drugs and is thrown into jail again. The next day, Dick bails him out and tells Jason that his real reason for the trip was to convince Jason not to go through with the wedding. Jason leaves Dick and drives back home. During his wedding rehearsal, Dick hacks into the computer system, revealing embarrassing photos of Jason during the party. Jason says that he cannot marry Meredith, who reveals that she had an affair. He, Dick, and Pam use Pam’s ice cream truck to catch up with the bus that Shadia is on as she is leaving. Jason and Shadia kiss, and he gets on the bus with her. Dick goes to his house in Boca Raton and finds Lenore there waiting for him, and they have sex. Dick and Lenore get married and have a baby, and Jason and Shadia are named the godparents.Robert De Niro is also awesome on the role all throughout. I also really liked the supporting characters, especially Jason Mantzoukas as a drug dealer who had me laughing every time he was on screen. Sure this movie isn’t nowhere near a comedic masterpiece and nor is it trying to be. It is a fun ride from beginning to end, and despite all the clichés, the jokes are what make this ride worth it.

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REVIEW: CITY BY THE SEA

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
James Franco (Spider-Man)
Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
William Forsythe (The Rock)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
John Dorman (Gotham)

Vincent LaMarca (Robert De Niro) is a veteran New York City Police Department detective, whose criminal father had been executed for murder, after a child whom he had kidnapped was killed. Vincent has had to live with this stigma hanging over his own reputation, and history begins to repeat itself when his own son, Joey LaMarca (James Franco), a junkie, becomes involved in a drug-related killing. Joey suddenly comes to the attention of Vincent’s current girlfriend, Michelle (Frances McDormand), who was unaware that he even had a son, and she can not understand why Vincent is unwilling to help him.Joey’s girlfriend Gina (Eliza Dushku), who is struggling to stay sober for their infant son Angelo, comes into Vincent’s life, asking him to save Joey. She later abandons the child, leaving him with Vincent. Joey gets deeper into trouble when the local drug enforcer, Spyder (William Forsythe), kills Vincent’s cop partner Reg (George Dzundza). Reg had been helping Vincent to clear Joey’s name, but Joey is blamed for his murder. As his fellow police officers search for Joey as a suspected “cop killer,” Vincent decides to set aside his self-imposed isolation, and to help save his son’s life.City by the Sea is a must see for De Niro fans and a good watch for anyone into gritty dramas

 

REVIEW: BORN TO WIN

CAST

George Segal (2012)
Robert De Niro (Machete)
Karen Black (House of 1000 Corpses)
Paula Prentiss (Catch-22)
Héctor Elizondo (Last Man Standing)

The film follows Jay Jay (Segal), a former hair dresser who has become a drug addict. He lives his new life by doing deals for Vivian (Elizondo) from time to time. One day he meets Parm (Black), a free spirited girl. The two fall in love. Jay Jay’s drug habit grows, and he soon resorts to robbery. On the threat of arrest, he works alongside two dirty policemen by becoming a narc, and reports on his former fellow junkies. Yet, as the movie continues, Jay Jay sinks deeper into turmoil with feelings of self-hatred.228ef8fbe7b518dcfdaaa2da3ff6f5f9This isn’t a great film and it isn’t superbly directed. It’s a bit hard to watch at times due to a grainy transfer and bad audio. But it’s reminiscent of Al Pacino’s “Panic in Needle Park” so far as it presents a realistic, gritty, depressing vision of junkies operating on the streets, and how miserable your life can become by resorting to drugs (mainly heroin). A good, rewarding picture

 

REVIEW: MACHETE

CAST

Danny Trejo (Bullet)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Jessica Alba (Sin City)
Steven Segal (Marked For Death)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Don Johnson (Born Yesterday)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Daryl Sabara (John Carter)
Ara Celi (All My children)
Electra and Elise Avellan (Death Proof)

Mexico: Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federal and his younger partner are on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl (Mayra J. Leal). During the operation, his partner is killed, the kidnapped girl stabs him before being killed herself, and Machete is betrayed by his corrupt Chief to the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal), who kills Machete’s wife and implies that he will kill his daughter before leaving him for dead.Three years later, a down-and-out Machete roams Texas, scraping by on yard work. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that corrupt Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract after Booth threatens to kill him if he does not.Machete trains a rifle on McLaughlin from a rooftop during a rally, but before he fires he sees one of Booth’s henchmen aiming at him. The henchman shoots Machete in the shoulder, the latter then shoots McLaughlin in the leg. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin’s secure border campaign. By setting up Machete as the gunman, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator, who is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration.An injured Machete escapes capture by Booth and is taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds, escaping once again from Booth’s henchmen at the hospital. Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior to find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), aka Shé, the leader of an illegal immigrant aid movement known as the Network, recruits Padre (Cheech Marin), his “holy” brother. To take revenge on Booth, Machete kidnaps Booth’s wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), after “starring” in an amateur adult film with them. He also collects evidence from Booth’s house linking McLaughlin and the Mexican drug lord in a major drug trafficking deal. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him. Elsewhere, Booth, who is revealed to be working for Torrez, hires a hitman, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini), to assist in the hunt for Machete.Booth and Osiris kill Padre in his church by nailing him to a cross, but do not find his own wife and daughter. Unbeknownst to Booth, the church has cameras. Through the CCTV recordings, the news of McLaughlin’s corruption and faked assassination is eventually aired on national television. Infuriated, McLaughlin kills Booth and heads back to join Torrez to kill Machete. In order to eliminate the people who double-crossed him, Machete gathers the Mexican Network and leads them to the base of the border vigilantes, led by Von Jackson (Don Johnson). During this confrontation, the Mexican illegals triumph over the border vigilantes. Jackson tries to escape, but Luz shoots him in the back of the head. Machete fights Torrez and stabs him. April shows up wearing a nun’s habit after escaping from the church and shoots McLaughlin after figuring out that he has killed her father.McLaughlin, injured, manages to escape, but he is later killed by the last remnants of his own border vigilante group, who mistake him for a Mexican. Ultimately, Machete meets with Sartana, who gives him a green card. They kiss and ride off into the night. The closing credits announce further adventures for Machete.Machete is a funny action movie and a film that Danny Trejo perfectly fits into. The story follows the style of B- movies, with exploitation and ultra-violence, but has a cast that is a constellation of stars. A must see.

REVIEW: ANALYZE THAT

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
Billy Crystal (Monsters, Inc)
Lisa Kudrow (Easy A)
Joe Viterelli (Shallow Hal)
Cathy Moriarty (Casper)
Joyce Brothers (Spy Hard)
John Finn (Cold Case)

Near the completion of his sentence in Sing Sing prison, Paul Vitti’s life is threatened by assassins and corrupt guards while incarcerated. He starts singing showtunes from West Side Story to get the attention of Ben Sobel, who previously hung up on him while attending his father’s funeral. The FBI calls in Ben to see if Vitti is really insane. This appears to be the case, and the FBI approves Ben taking Vitti out of prison, into his own custody, for further therapy. On their way out in Sobel’s car, Vitti reveals that he faked it. Needing some therapy himself after his father’s death, a grieving Sobel talks Vitti into finding a regular job (as requested by the FBI). Vitti attempts to find a legitimate job (he tries a car dealer, a restaurant, and a jewelry store), but his rude manners and paranoia only complicate things further. This ends up in him getting fired each time.At the same time, Vitti is told by de facto boss Patti LoPresti that the Rigazzi family wants him dead. He responds to this by telling the Rigazzis that he is “out” and seeking a new line of employment. He eventually finds employment working as a technical advisor on the set of a Sopranos-like mafia TV series. Meanwhile, FBI agents inform Sobel that Vitti has his former crew back together, and may be planning something major. This rouses Sobel’s suspicion, and he visits Vitti. Both get caught up in a car chase with Rigazzi hitmen, which ends up with Vitti escaping. The FBI blames Sobel, and gives him 24 hours to locate Vitti.After locating Vitti (through Sobel’s son Michael, who is now working as Vitti’s chauffeur), Sobel discovers Vitti is planning a big armored car heist with LoPresti as a partner. He attempts to intervene and talk Vitti out of it but Vitti proceeds and Sobel is forced to go along as well. The crew ambushes the armored car with smoke grenades, and lift it over a fence in the midst of the confusion. They extract $20 million of gold bullion, but LoPresti’s thugs take over, revealing themselves to actually have been working for Rigazzi. Sobel, in a fit of anger, beats one of them and Vitti’s men take care of the rest. They use the gold bullion to frame the Rigazzi family, leaving three Rigazzi goons locked in the armored truck suspended from the crane. This leads to the arrest of the entire Rigazzi family, and in turn, prevents a mob war. Sobel meets with Vitti and Jelly near bridges on the New York waterfront, and they part ways again as friends, singing another West Side Story showtune together.MCDANTH EC005The film is pretty funny and worth seeing, but doesn’t really offer us anything new. This is forgivable, though, because Crystal and De Niro are entertaining enough to carry the picture. Overall, I’d recommend it — it’s funny and watchable and the two leads are very good.

REVIEW: ANALYZE THIS

CAST

Robert De Niro (Joy)
Billy Crystal (Monsters, Inc)
Lisa Kudrow (Easy A)
Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale)
Joe Viterelli (Shallow Hal)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Tony Darrow (Goodfellas)

Mob boss Paul Vitti narrates a brief history of the Mafia: in the wake of Albert Anastasia’s death, the dispute over who among Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino and Joe Bananas will ascend to mob supremacy results in the Apalachin Meeting in upstate New York. The meeting is raided by the FBI, and the Mafia does not call a summit again until the present day. Vitti and his consigliere Dominic are discussing the upcoming meeting and the Mafia’s present-day problems. However, just as Dominic warns Vitti to look out for Primo Sindone (an up-and-coming Mafia Don who wants to be capo di tutti capi), gunmen drive past and kill Dominic.Psychiatrist Ben Sobel is dealing with his own problems: his son from his first marriage listens to his sessions, his patients are not challenging enough, and his wedding to Laura MacNamara is coming soon. Sobel unknowingly rear-ends a car belonging to Vitti and the trunk opens, revealing a man bound and gagged inside, which Sobel and his son do not notice because they are arguing. Jelly, one of Vitti’s made men, takes the blame, but Sobel gives Jelly his business card in case he changes his mind about compensation.During a meeting with his crew, Vitti suffers a panic attack and tells Jelly that he needs to see a psychiatrist, but it has to be kept a secret and Jelly recommends Sobel. Vitti visits Sobel, claiming his friend needs therapy. Sobel impresses Vitti enough to want to see him whenever necessary. Sobel goes to Miami for his wedding and Vitti, Jelly and the crew follow. Vitti explains he has been suffering from erectile dysfunction and Sobel suggests the source of the problem might be stress.The next day Vitti has another panic attack and requests to see Sobel. Vitti explains his history with his father to Sobel, who thinks this might have something to do with Vitti’s problems. The wedding is interrupted when an assassin is killed by one of Vitti’s thugs. Sobel confronts Vitti and argues with him until he becomes angry. Sobel suggests he resolve his anger issue by calling Primo Sindone and telling him how he feels. Vitti phones Primo and starts by telling him how he feels but ends up threatening to kill him.Sobel and his family return to New York, where they find a fountain in their garden, a gift from Vitti. The FBI arrive and request Sobel inform on Vitti, but he refuses. He changes his mind when the FBI play an altered tape in which Vitti apparently reveals his intention to kill Sobel (Vitti had actually said he would kill anyone who harmed Sobel). Sobel wears a wire to his next meeting with Vitti, but throws it away when he learns that Vitti saw his father murdered when he was a child. Sobel thinks he can help Vitti, but Vitti, informed that Sobel was working with the FBI, takes him to a secluded place to kill him. Sobel and Vitti get into an argument, and Vitti cries when reminded of his father’s murder. Just as this occurs, two hitmen sent by Sindone arrive to kill Vitti, but Jelly kills them both as Vitti is on the ground sobbing. Vitti apologizes for planning to kill Sobel, and the two reconcile.The day of the meeting arrives, but Vitti has another meltdown. Jelly interrupts Sobel’s wedding, requesting Sobel attend the meeting as Vitti’s consigliere. Sobel is initially nervous, but his self-confidence grows to the point that he begins to patronize Primo until Primo finally pulls a gun on him. Vitti arrives, ordering Primo to stand down and announcing he knows a traitor in his own family killed Dominic, but will not seek revenge and instead retire from the Mafia. Once outside, a standoff ensues between Vitti’s and Primo’s men, during which Sobel accidentally takes a bullet intended for Vitti. The FBI intervenes, the mobsters are arrested, and Sobel is taken to the hospital. Sobel visits Vitti in prison and Vitti thanks Sobel for his help before informing him that Primo Sindone was recently found dead. At home, Sobel dances with his new wife as Tony Bennett (as a favor from Vitti) serenades them.https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTY5NTIxNjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY1NTIyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1501,1000_AL_.jpgA complete comedy farce. Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal are both great fun and so is Joe Viterelli as De Niro’s hilarious security guard Jelly. It is extremely amusing.

REVIEW: ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES

1

CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Madonna (Dick Tracy)
Jimmy Fallon (Factory Girl)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Ron Crawford (Home of Angels)
David Bowie (Labyrinth)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Robert De Niro (Red Lights)
Adam LeFevre (Jungle 2 Jungle)
Snoop Dogg (Training Day)
Penny Balfour (Flawless)
Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Erik Per Sullivan (Malcolm In The Middle)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)

2

In the year 1960, protagonist Arthur lives with his grandmother Daisy in a quiet farm house on a dirt road, in a small rural community in Northeastern Connecticut (based on Sterling). His grandfather Archibald has recently gone missing and he sees little of his parents (who are away looking for work). Daisy entertains Arthur with stories of his grandfather’s adventures in Africa, featuring the tall Bogo Matassalai and the minuscule Minimoys, of whom the latter now live in Archibald’s garden, protecting a collection of rubies. Arthur becomes enamoured of a picture of Selenia, the princess of the Minimoys. When Daisy receives a two-day deadline to pay a large sum of money to a building developer named Ernest Davido, who plans to evict the two, Arthur looks for the rubies to pay off the debt, and discovers various clues left by his grandfather. He is met in the garden by the Bogo Matassala, who reduce Arthur to Minimoy size. From the Minimoys, Arthur learns that they are in danger from Maltazard, a Minimoy war hero who now rules the nearby ‘Necropolis’, after corruption by a weevil, by whom he has a son named Darkos.3

Arthur, reflecting his legendary British namesake, draws a sacred sword from its recess and uses it to protect the Minimoys from Maltazard’s soldiers; whereupon Sifrat, the ruler of the Minimoys, sends Arthur to Necropolis, with the princess Selenia and her brother Betameche. En route, they are attacked on two occasions by Maltazard’s soldiers. In Necropolis, Selenia kisses Arthur, marking him as her husband and potential successor, and confronts Maltazard alone. When Maltazard learns that she has already kissed Arthur and thus can no longer give him her powers and cure his corruption, he imprisons all three, who discover a Minimoy form of Archibald. Thereafter Arthur and his grandfather escape and return to human form, with little time to spare before Maltazard’s flood reaches the Minimoys. With the help of Mino, a royal advisor’s long-lost son, Arthur redirects the flood to Necropolis; whereupon Maltazard abandons Necropolis and his son, and the water ejects the rubies above ground. Archibald pays Davido with one ruby; and when he tries to take them all, the Bogo Matassalai capture him and give him to the authorities (scene deleted in the U.S. edition). The film ends with Arthur asking Selenia to wait for his return, and her agreement to do so.

Arthur and The Invisibles
The film isn’t flawless. Jimmy Fallon’s Betameche, while surely popular with the film’s younger viewers, at times borders on the unbearably annoying; while the casting of forty- eight year old Madonna as Princess Selenia seems a little odd. Her performance is perfectly adequate, but in effect she spends most of the time flirting with a schoolchild. Strange. But the gems in Arthur and the Invisibles far outshine any minor negatives. Mixing live action with CGI could quite easily look messy and unconvincing but, quite simply, it works and while there’s always a danger of such a tale descending into saccharine sludge, thankfully that doesn’t happen. Arthur’s quest is a joy to follow; it deserves to be anything but invisible.

Arthur and The Invisibles