“CITY ISLAND” = 9
Stars Andy Garcia as a Bronx jail guard secretly aspiring to be an actor, from which many lies and complications evolve within his uninspired family life.
Finally, a movie high on drama and low on action, without herky jerky cameras, unending special effects, computerized graphics, explosions, gunfire, karate kicks, monsters, blood and guts. With plenty of humor injected, I wouldn’t know whether to call this a romantic comedy, a family tragedy or a simple drama mired in New Yorkese, mixed with loved, struggle, ego, and the never ending quest for truth.
Imagine, being a career jail guard, then learn that a young inmate hoodlum is actually your biological son from a wistful affair of another era. The secret must be kept.
I’ll say no more. Arguably the best acting performance of Garcia’s career.
You won’t hear much about this picture. It’s a deep story with real-life characters that will probably flop at the box office because it doesn’t appeal to the youth mentality which today’s movie industry thrives on.
See it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head, especially at the ending scene.
“ROBIN HOOD” = 7 ½
If you’re expecting the traditional swashbuckling character which was made famous by Errol Flynn, trapezing through the forest, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, evading the Sheriff of Nottingham, forget it. This is an entirely new take, but it was surprisingly good.
Russell Crowe plays 12th century Robin, an archer with King Richard’s crusades who bolts from the mainstream in search of integrity in war, and the defense of his country from French invaders. All of which takes place within a well-acted drama by such actors as Cate Blanchette (Marion), Max Von Sydow, (Sir Walter Loxley), William Hurt and Crowe, who performs credibly, as usual.
Most interesting is the epic nature of the scenes, authentically depicting warfare methods, weaponry and living conditions as it was in the 12th century. The producers must have hired virtually thousands of extras for the battle scenes which, to my pleasing, were not over played.
No Oscars here, with the possible exception of set and/or costume design.
“IRON MAN II” = 3
Nothing close to the original Iron Man which had a decent story blended with special effects and the heroic character played by Robert Downey Jr. In this sequel, the director/producers relied on selling a film which is 90 percent graphics, special effects, monsters and clashes of titans which get so old after the first hour, I felt like walking out for the second hour…and should have.
The bad news, is that this picture will probably break some box office records, which means it’s especially entertaining for the young crowd…which the industry relies on for survival.
But if you’re over 40, save your money. It’s not even worth a rental.