A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW:
“TWELVE MIGHTY ORPHANS” – 9.0
In a word: Heartwarming
This! … Is a good movie. If you appreciate great scripts based on true stories, good acting, and a plot that’s all about trials and tribulations, destitution and tenacious efforts toward nearly impossible odds, you’ll find it all in this film.
The story is based in an orphanage for children in Fort Worth ,Texas, circa 1938 where rough and tumble kids were rejected by troubled parents, or had no parents at all, making up the student body. Hostile attitudes and depression prevails amid all the boys and girls, while the crusty, and sometimes brutal, management by the institution leaves much to be desired.
Recruited from a school/orphanage in another region, a teacher and football coach named Rusty Russell, (played by Luke Wilson) gives up a privileged position elsewhere to teach and coach a rag-tag, undisciplined football team that couldn’t score against any team, yet win. While seemingly unable to keep up with the standards of traditional schools, and against all odds without necessary resources, Mr. Russell instills a new sense of optimism in his young players who ultimately bond into shape as a competitive team. Their plight became a national story and inspiration to others among the downtrodden.
Acting is a bit corny in spots, but who cares, it was a true series of events brought together by real people about unexpected accomplishments sparked by renewed attitudes of students and teacher that brought them together, becoming desperately needed families for the boys in order to overcome the odds.
When the film is over, I urge people to remain in their seats to see the rolling credits that subsequently reveal the actual players/students from that era and their remarkable lifetime achievements that followed. None of that could have happened if it were not for the persistence, courage and dedication inspired into those kids by a coach who convinced each one of them they had value and to never give up. The common denominator between the orphans and the coach can be summed up in one word: Love.
Yes, I dropped a couple of tears. They were well-earned.
Also starring in the film, was Martin Sheen, playing the school doctor who supported the new football coach, to the chagrin of the upper staff of the institution. In a brief scene, we can find aging actor Robert Duvall amid the crowd, but with no speaking role or discernable character. The appearance of his name and persona in the credits, I assume, was intended to draw folks to the theater.
I would give this movie a 9 out of 10.
A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW
“THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD” – 0 +
In a word: Junk
Because this movie was so bad, I feel compelled to inform readers and friends to save their time and money on a motion picture that has to be among the crappiest of all time. It could be that the film may have improved after the 35-minute mark, but by then we’d had enough.
The plot doesn’t matter, because the story is lost in all the chases, high-jumps, fights, acrobatics, noise, and endless doses of mass shootings while ensuring that every sentence in the dialogue includes the “F” bomb, even when it makes no sense whatsoever. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” (2013) supposedly holds the record for non-stop “F” this and “F” when the word was used 715 times. Otherwise, that was still a decent movie with a compelling story. “Hitman’s” has no compelling story, it’s just pure shoot-em- up crap, laced with bad acting and an immense offering of excruciating, bombastic noise.
Class A actors like Samuel L Jackson, Selma Hayek, and Ryan Reynolds (the stars) must be in dire straits to allow themselves to appear in a Class F garbage film like this. Consider, also, these are actors among the Hollywood elite who, as most of Hollywood’s power houses adamantly support stricter gun control, while making millions from appearing in pro-gun, mass killing scenes – for entertainment. The hypocrisy is sickening. Why would such highly acclaimed and very rich actors sign contracts to be a part of film garbage?
I’d write a short comment about the plot, but there wasn’t any.
I know nothing about the director, Patrick Hughes. Nor shall I if ever if that name appears again.
It’s no wonder the current trend in movies is to stay at home.
I give this movie — based on 35 minutes of tolerating the “Junk,” my first ever rating of – “0”
A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW:
“QUEEN BEES” – 7 out of 10
In a word: Entertaining
Is there a potential Oscar here? Not really, but this is truly a delightful story about aging and social interaction between men and women having reached the eventual decision about living in an assisted living facility among other “old” people.
The cast is a wonderful make-up major-league stars of years past, including Ellen Burstyn, an elderly widow, playing the central character (Helen) who had to stubbornly move out of her damaged house temporarily after it had been seriously damaged in a fire. Friends and family all encouraged Helen to stay in an Assisted Living facility for a month or to until the home was repaired. Though reluctant, she agreed.
Ellen finds herself surrounded by new and caring friends trying to convince her to become a resident. Though she rejected them all at first, she eventually meets another aging male resident (Dan) with whom she warms up and develops into an interesting relationship. That character is deftly played by James Caan (remember him in Godfather and Misery?)
As the audience immerses into the pangs of love, we found ourselves in the heart of a genuine “tearjerker” feeling what the characters felt, and realizing fun, love and deep emotions are not an old-folks occurrence reserved only for the young and middle-aged. Besides sentiments, we see a lot of spunk, of various descriptions, from these marvelous actors, including: Ann-Margaret (80), Jane Curtin (73), Christopher Lloyd (82) and Loretta Devine (71). Burstyn and Caan are 88 and 81 respectively.
This is not a movie to be compared to the listings of Academy Awards. But it is hugely entertaining, if not a bit silly in spots, while it sends out wonderful messages, that love and devotion can be found anywhere, anytime, if you’re up for it. One never knows.
I give this movie a 7 out of 10.
A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” – 8.0
In a word: Captivating
If you are a nitpicker about correctness and accuracy, don’t see this movie. There are plenty of opportunities to think “Gotcha” in scenes that were a bit over-the-top for plausibility.
But if you go to movies to be entertained and impressed with spectacular edge-of-your seat visual effects, and some pretty good acting, then this was worth the ten bucks paid at the big screen theater. Actually, it’s worth seeing at the big theater as the 50” home TV screen won’t provide the same spectacular effects.
The first half plods along with scenes that stimulate curiosity. The second half is one death defying action after another. There are many aspects to the story, here’s one synopsis from an on-line viewer:
“Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smoke jumper who’s perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She encounters 13 year-old Connor (played by Australian actor, Finn Little), a skittish boy who’s bloodied, traumatized and on the run all alone in the remote forest after watching a horrible, spectacular murder. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she’s unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.”
The special effects are outstanding. The killers, who are actually dirty cops, are relentless in their goals to kill and kill more, to save their corrupt butts. How the director (Taylor Sheridan) and his staff managed to shoot scenes that are virtually in the heart of massive raging forest fires, is a mystery.
If the “F” word bothers you, don’t see this picture. And yes, there is rampant violence. While Angelina Jolie remains one of Hollywood’s prime beauties, this film shows us she is a seasoned actress as well. But the real surprise is Finn Little, the little boy who faces horrors and challenges one could not conceive of. A great young actor indeed. We’ll see more of him.
Minus over-the-top implausibilities, this was a captivating picture. I would give it an 8.0 out of 10.
A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW
“Here Today” – 10.0
In a word: Mah-velous
(as a Billy Crystal might say)
There have been a number of movies of late which address the plight of those who suffer from the onset of dementia. While the undertones of such stories are naturally sad and gut wrenching, Here Today offers a welcome slate of belly-laugh humor that only someone with the gift of comedy like Billy Crystal could offer.
Crystal plays the role of an aging comedy writer over many years, successful and admired in motion pictures and theater. Events in his early life left him struggling with feelings of guilt and remorse, yet he always managed to have audiences rolling in the aisles (so-to-speak) from his natural gift of humor, even in the worst of times.
Living alone, a long time widower, he gradually finds himself perplexed by forgetting the right words to say, recalling details about important matters, remembering why he walked into a room, or frequently repeating himself. Finally, he agrees to seek professional attention.
While Billy Crystal’s character is the primary role, he meets a black songstress who becomes fascinated with his humorous nature, as they eventually evolve into the closest of friends. Played by journeyman performer, Tiffany Haddish, she almost steals the show from Crystal with a powerful, gregarious performance borne of love and compassion. It would not be surprising if she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Crystal is certainly the focus of this film, but there are also several sub-stories that add to the setting that directly and indirectly affects his spirit. But even in the most depressing of moments, this comic genius still keeps the audience undecided whether to laugh or cry. The movie is not meant to be a comedy, but it is anyway…sorta.
While the acting is excellent among by all the performers, so is the director which happens to be Billy Crystal as well.
Seniors in the movie theater may likely ponder the possibilities that some of us might one day be in the same situation as Crystal’s character. Yet, we can still continue to enjoy life, if we have our loved ones as part of the package.
I give this movie a 10.0 rating. There was nothing to criticize.