A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW:  By Marshall Frank    “NO TIME TO DIE” – 6.0

In a word:  S0S

 (“Same old…uh…stuff”)

This review can be summed up in two words: — James Bond–. That says it all. That’s all that matters.

As I began writing the review, I thought about researching more background data; actors, directors, scenery, violence, travels to foreign lands, or casting the right proportioning of whites, blacks, males, females, bullets, bombs and car crashes. After all, it is a James Bond movie.

Was there anything new, unique, exciting or daring? Probably. I’m still mulling that over.  It’s tough to answer when the question asks for anything “new.”

What about the plot?  That’s an important item in creating storylines. Plot?

What plot? There was no plot. Somewhere in the dialogue, the actors posed as allies and/or villains, making sure there are at least two gorgeous, gun-toting women among the pack. But the basis for the story was as clear as a London fog. In truth, the movie was a carbon copy of other James Bond movies, just an excuse for blasting more sprays from guns, bombs, crashes, and violence in general.

For film buffs who have always loved James Bond, they will enjoy this movie about as much as they enjoyed the twenty-four previous Bond movies because it is close to a carbon copy, offering lines, scenes, characters and French Horns for background music, so we can pretend we saw a new movie.

Was it done well? Actually, yes. About as good as any other.  But I’d suggest future Bond releases be titled by the numbers: “26th Edition” – “27th Edition” — “28th Edition” — and so forth.

As Bond actors are concerned, Sean Connery still remains in a world by himself. 

I give this movie a 6.0 out of 10.

No Time to Die (2021) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW:“DEAR EVAN HANSEN” – Frank Rating :  5.0

In a word:  So-So

This story could have been a great film, because it focuses on the trials and tribulations that young teens and some adults as well, struggle with while trying to be accepted by others. Or, they find a deep, dark hole somewhere because they simply cannot connect with desired friends. Often, such victims are prescribed mood and psyche medication for symptoms, as does the main character in this film.

Evan Hansen, the main character, is an anxious, isolated high-school student who aches for understanding by others. Rather, belongs amid the chaos and cruelty of the social media age of which he does not welcome. He soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery when a letter he wrote for a special exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son had taken this own life.

The story becomes more complex when two factors merge, lest I say clash, one about a struggling, unwanted teen (played deftly by Ben Platt) and two merging families which include Class A actors, Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.

That’s where the movie slows like crashing into a wall, making time for thirteen songs, not only sung intermittently by Platt, but also by other actors. That might have worked well on a Broadway stage production, but not so much in a movie.  After we were forced to listen at the sixth, seventh or eighth song, I was ready to walk out.

It was only after doing more research, that I learned the show had been an award-winning musical at various venues through the country since 2015.

Had the music been melodic and pure, it may have made a difference, but in fact, most of the songs were repetitious and not very melodic. That’s an opinion by a lifelong violinist who I know.

Found in Wikipedia’s summary:

     “The film’s handling of its source material, particularly how the Broadway version’s stagey aspects mixed in with the movie format, was generally not well-received. Few critics felt the transition from stage-to-screen was successful.”

But the basic story is worth telling. I hope, in five or ten years, that Hollywood would remake the movie and stick to a script only, because the purpose of the film is important and not well-adapted to the combination of drama and repetitive song productions.

I give this movie a 5.0 out of 10.

 

Dear Evan Hansen (2021) – IMDb

Dear Evan Hansen (film) – Wikipedia 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW -“CRY MACHO” – Author Rating  – 8.5

In a word:  Engrossing

Though flawed in a few scenes, this is a good movie and far less complicated than most in modern times. For movie goers who rely on death-defying heroics, blood gushing, untold fights, Karate kicks, guns blasting, screaming, daredevil stunts, female breasts or the repetitive use of the “F” bomb, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE.

Based on a novel by N. Richard Nash, “Cry Macho” stars one-of-a-kind actor, Clint Eastwood who plays Miko, an over-the-hill rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder who, in 1978, accepts a job from an ex-boss in Texas to bring the man’s 13 year-old old son home and away from his alcoholic mom who lives in Mexico. But there’s more to the story. Crossing rural Mexico  (via cars and horses ) on their way back to Texas, the unlikely pair face several unexpected and challenging obstacles. The world-weary horseman may have found his own sense of redemption by developing an unintended relationship by teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.

Simple, but deep.

The story tears at the heart in several aspects, to and including an unanticipated tender romance between the washed-up cowboy and a Mexican lady, though the two cannot speak the same language.

The real phenom is the man named Clint, who at age 91, not only plays the lead role, he also serves as screenwriter and director. Though challenged in some scenes where we can detect his fragility, we cannot escape the admiration so many have for witnessing such a high achiever who knows no limits.

Also admired, is the performance by the young actor, Eduardo Minett, age 13, who plays Rafo. Amazingly, the boy’s constant and closest pet is a rooster that is always in the boy’s company, like brothers. The following is an excerpt from the script, which I dare to include in this review:

Rafa:  His name is Macho, like me. Very strong rooster.

Miko: Whatever.

Rafa: What’s wrong with that?

Miko: Guy wants to name his cock Macho, it’s okay by me.

Clint Eastwood has performed in over 60 movies, and won numerous awards, including two Oscars for Best Director. I doubt he’ll be retiring any time soon.

I give this movie an 8.5 rating.

Cry Macho (2021) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “RESPECT” – 9 out of 10

In a word:  Breathtaking

It’s all about the life and troubled times of the “Queen of Soul” ArethaFranklin, who died at age 76 in 2018 from pancreatic cancer. Without question she was a powerful influence on pop music throughout her life, starting at the tender age of eight. 

Born in Detroit in 1942, Aretha’s life was dominated as a child, and her early adulthood, by an overbearing preacher dad, adroitly played by journeyman actor, Forest Whitaker whose obsession to keep Aretha attached exclusively to the church did his child more harm than good.  

Nevertheless, her world of music blossomed while greedy promoters and agents tried to selfishly navigate her career. Two of them enjoyed short marriages with her until she had enough from the moochers.

Much like other detailed bios of people famous in entertainment, Aretha had her share of darkness behind the scenes, which eventually were stained with the abuse of alcohol. 

Of particular interest, being a mid-level musician (violin) who never accepted “soul” before, I became more fascinated with the sounds than ever before, finding myself involuntarily moving to the rhythms.  Boy, could that woman sing. 

I never knew that Respect was her greatest selling song title of all time, right behind 
Amazing Grace.

Trivia time: This movie was in the works for 4-5 years before it hit the silver screen. Aretha Franklin personally selected Jennifer Hudson to play the role of young Aretha. Miss Hundson, has already won one supporting Oscar for her part in Dreamgirls in 2006. Also, this was the third movie starring Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker together as a father and daughter. By the way, Aretha was the first women elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. 

I found a few flaws in the settings, particularly with autos that didn’t match the period. 
I thought the youngster who played child version of Aretha was not convincing. Most of the acting was otherwise very good, particularly the primary actors. Aretha’s two
backup singers were seemingly as good as Aretha herself. As it turned out, they were her sisters.

I’m sure much was omitted about her array of personal struggles. But the basis for her incredible musical life was abundantly provided. It sure moved me. 

I give this movie a 9 out of 10.

I had to attach this link, which is the 1967 sound of Aretha and her back-ups singing Respect. It creates involuntary body motion. Believe Me

Enjoy:
Aretha Franklin – Respect [1967] (Aretha’s Original Version) – YouTube 

Respect (2021) – IMDb  

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “STILLWATER” – 9.5 out of 10

In a word: Intense

This is a powerful story which intensifies as the movie captivates for 2 hours and 30 minutes. No doubt there will be Oscar nominees, most significantly earned by Matt Damon who won his first Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” in 1998. In this film, Damon plays a middle aged, “Bill,” a rugged down-and-out, blue-collar construction worker finally trying to get his life in order. In an effort to try and resolve old wounds, travels to Marseilles, France where he visits his adult daughter who is serving prison time for her role in the death of her girlfriend five years earlier. She begs his assistance in finding that she is truly innocent.

The goal becomes an obsession.

“Bill” meets a local French woman, the mother of a 10 year-old girl (Maya)who will help him with translating French to English as he goes about searching for clues and suspects, that the police hadn’t followed. Naturally, the young daughter pleads sorrowfully with her dad to help earn her freedom from the horrors of prison life. As could be imagined, “Bill” runs into a myriad of sordid people in the city, one of whom is a likely suspect. “Bill,” meanwhile, moves in with his single French translator where he establishes a warm and loving relationship, not only with the woman, but with her child daughter, Maya. A first-time movie role, the child actress is played wonderfully by French actress, Lilou Siauvaud, aged 10.

I’ll not reveal those segments which offer a unexpected ending. To be sure, this is a classic movie for viewers who love to be immersed in dramatic effect. The actors are superb across the board, and the director a first-class movie maker

I predict there may be likely Oscar nominees as follows:
Matt Damon, as “Bill.”
Comille Cottin, the woman translator and mother of Maya
Lilou Siavaud, the little girl Maya.
Director: Tom McCarthy (A former Oscar winner for “Spotlight”
(2015)

I give this film a 9.5 out of 10. Very few flaws and they didn’t really matter.

Stillwater (2021) – IMDb