October 25, 2013, - 3:50 pm

Wknd Box Office: All Is Lost, The Counselor, Enough Said, 12 Years a Slave

By Debbie Schlussel

Only one good choice among the new movies at theaters, this weekend. Actually it’s a great choice. (I did not see Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. Why? Obvious reasons.)



* “All Is Lost“: Absolutely terrific. One of the best movies I’ve seen this year. This is the smart man’s “Gravity” (read my review). It’s got a similar story, although in a different atmosphere, but the person struggling to survive is much smarter here.

And there’s much less dialogue. Whereas Sandra Bullock talks non-stop and does everything wrong in “Gravity,” Robert Redford’s character (who is a nameless solitary man) says almost nothing and does everything right. Yet, both are trying to stay alive in challenging atmospheres that threaten to end their lives. The most dialogue is about two or three lines uttered by Redford at the beginning of the movie, reading aloud some sort of good-bye note to family.

I thought I would find this movie boring and slow because of the lack of dialogue, but, in fact, the movie was riveting and I was on the edge of my seat the entire way through. The movie is spectacular, both in story/plot and visuals. Its attention to detail is terrific

Redford plays a man who is alone on his sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. He wakes up, one morning to the hull of the ship filling up with water. A stray cargo container that has fallen off some ship (and contains “Made in China” athletic shoes) crashes into the sailboat and creates a giant, gaping hole. (I wondered if the cargo container was meant to be symbolic of “Made in China” products crashing our economy and creating a giant, gaping hole in America’s future.)

The rest of the movie shows Redford’s travails and triumphs as he attempts to repair the hole and survive, with all of the odds against him. I’m making it sound far less interesting than it is. It’s actually a great adventure and really a great movie about the human will to survive (“Never Give Up” is the movie’s tag line). Despite all the disasters and horrible conditions, Redford remains ever calm and calculating, using his brain and know-how to stay alive.

While young kids won’t get this, you can take your teens to see this movie (but don’t complain to me that I didn’t warn you about the one F-word in it). Don’t let Redford’s lefty politics keep you from seeing this fantastic movie. And I recommend you see this in the theater, as it won’t have the same effect at home on video.

I highly recommend “All Is Lost.”


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Counselor“: More disgusting, violent garbage put out by Rupert Murdoch.

Extremely pretentious, absolutely disgusting, and very violent. This is yet another one of those time bandits. It robbed me of two hours of my life I’ll never get back. The movie is very high style–expensive, gaudy, flashy clothes, cars, and jewelry (and even a pair of pet leopards–or tigers, I forget which and don’t really care). The movie is long, slow, and boring.

It’s also very bloody. There are a beheading, point blank gunshot murders, bodies in tanks, and–at least this part one could enjoy watching–Brad Pitt gets murdered with some mechanical wire device strapped around his neck that keeps squeezing.

Cormac McCarthy, at age 80, should probably get out of the business. This is his first screenplay that made it to the big screen and doesn’t come from one of his novels. It should be his last. The conversations in the movie are pretentious and absurd. Nobody talks like that. And the movie tries too hard to be both philosophical and a Quentin Tarantino movie. It stinks at both.

A lawyer (Michael Fassbender), whose name we are never told (he’s merely called, “Counselor”) needs money. So he decides to go in on a drug deal with clients and friends of his (including Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt). The drugs are smuggled from Mexico through a southern border town in tanks in tanks carried by truck. But there is a complication, the drug deal goes bad, and the lawyer gets blamed for it. The lawyer knows he will have to flee, lose everything that’s important to him, and be in fear for his life forever. The same goes for his friends and clients.

Oh, and did I mention the dumb feminist angle in all of this? The person pulling all the strings and getting all the money–while screwing all the men over and getting them killed–is Cameron Diaz (who is a terrible actress, not believable in this movie, and who hit the wall about 13 years ago). Yay, grrrrl power! Diaz, who wears all kinds of fancy, flashy post-modern style clothes and jewelry (and very ugly silver-white nail polish) is just awful in this movie. I almost think this movie was made so that she could show us her breasts (which are laid out in one scene plus about two millimeters of her nipple). And so that she could masturbate on the front window shield of a fancy sports car in an incredibly sleazy and unintentionally very comical scene. This is after she tells her boyfriend (Bardem), “I’m going to f— your car.” Classy. That’s all anyone will be talking about with regard to this incredible joke of a movie.

A complete waste of time and extremely obnoxious. I hated this.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Enough Said“: I had mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, it’s mostly light and very funny. But then it gets slightly melodramatic and sad for my taste. Also, I could have done without the main character, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who plays a mother of a teen daughter, advising her daughter’s teen friend that she should have sex with some random guy. Um, nice parenting. I did like that the movie made fun of left-wing female poets and how intolerant and base they actually are. And I liked the movie’s slight commentary on the deviant, all-too-casual sexual behavior of teens today.

Eva is a masseuse and divorced single mother. She is about to lose her teen daughter to college and her daughter’s classmate and friend is a little too close to Eva. Eva and some friends go to a party hosted by someone in the publishing industry. While there, she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet, who hires Eva to massage her. Eva also meets Albert (James Gandolfini in his last role), who asks Eva out on a date.

Soon, Eva becomes good friends with Marianne, who constantly, snobbishly attacks her ex-husband. Eva also becomes romantically involved with Albert, who talks about how his ex-wife treated him terribly. Eventually, Eva puts two and two together and realizes that Marianne and Albert are divorced from each other. But Eva doesn’t want to tell either of them that she knows the other because she thinks it’s too awkward and too late. But Eva and Albert’s relationship is poisoned by Marianne’s attacks on her ex.

The movie presents several ethical dilemmas, and it’s definitely entertaining. But, as I noted above, I could have done without the slight, brief, melodrama, as well as the horribly irresponsible parental “advice” from Eva to her daughter’s friend. This would have been a TWO REAGAN movie but because of that, I give it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

* “12 Years a Slave“: This movie has a very clear agenda, as do many others like it which focus on slavery, racism, and so on, this year. It’s a well-done race-baiting movie. Read my complete review.


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14 Responses

Thanks for reviewing these, Debbie. I might go see “All” based on your review plus the fact that it doesn’t have Tom Hanks in it.

DS_ROCKS! on October 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

“All Is Lost” does sound like a winner, despite starring the ancient Libtard Redford (whom I used to like in films like “Jeremiah Johnson” and of course “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” (dates me, huh?). Sounds like if you enjoyed “Castaway,” you’ll get into “All.”
Seems that about 1 out of every 10 movies coming out of Hollyweird these days is worth seeing; all the rest, crapola or at best, to be seen on Redbox DVD at the cost of about $1.00.
Thanks for your reviews, Debbie, and we do appreciate that you must waste so many precious hours viewing the dreck just to find that one gem!

jc15 on October 25, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I will not pay a dime to see Redford.

pat on October 26, 2013 at 1:40 am

I saw Redford for the first time in “Brubaker” back in ’82 and I was shocked at how he made sure he was always at or near an exact 3/4 profile in every shot and his hair was impeccably feathered, styled with tailfeathers in the back that were professionally “musssed” to perfection in every scene: from shoveling dung as a prisoner to being the spit-and-polish reformist warden. His hair and profile were always the same. Quite distracting after a while.

It was like he did the whole movie while keeping one eye om himself in a mirror. I’d never seen any actor quite like that and I watched out of morbid curiosity for about 2/3 through until I couldn’t stomach any more and I finally walked out.

I’ve since never seen another movie that had him in it.

DS_ROCKS! on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 am

DS Rocks I recall some years back Redford saying he would forgo the obligatory face lift in favor of ageing gracefully so maybe he’s changed. One hopes Based on DS’s recommendation will watch out for this one as for Hanks in Captain Phillips.
Hanks. I used to like watching Hanks’ movies until he played the role of Charlie Wilson. I couldn’t bear to even look at the trailer for that movie as at the time of the events portrayed in that movie I remember watching the news footage of the CIA running weapons to the jihadists through Pakistan and thinking for heaven’s sake don’t those idiots realise what they are doing: i.e. teaching the jihadists they can defeat a superpower, don’t they realise the lessons will rebound on the US? Such was the legacy of Brzezinsk’s anima towards the Soviets as a result of his childhood experiences in Poland that he thought stirring up a hornets’ nest in the middle east was a price worth paying to bring down the Soviet Union, it has gone but the price is now being payed. To see an actor of Hanks’s then stature play that role in that movie celebrating US naivety on the one hand and embarrassing over confidence on the other when the results were already becoming apparent indicated something was wrong with his judgement and his later roles in those dreadful Dan Brown movies only served to underline it. I may be able to bring myself to watch him again but suspect I shall wait until it is out on DVD.

Bronson on October 26, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Yeah, sometimes a movie might be compelling enough for me to watch it even if it has someone in it that I loathe. Robin Williams in “Fisher King” was on ethat comes to mind. I saw it because Terry Gilliam is a favorite director and Williams’ performance was very good.

    DS_ROCKS! on October 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I know that Debbie said not to let Redford’s politics get in the way of seeing “All is Lost” but sadly, I just can’t do it. I cannot let this man trash everything I hold dear in his publicity interviews for this film, and then turn around and give him my hard-earned money. He makes me ill.

MIGirl on October 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm

FYI, Saturday Night Live just did a parody of “12 Years a Slave” called “12 Days a Free Man.” As usual, it was pretty “meh.”

Debbie called attention that she is being beaten over the head with slavery/white guilt movies all coming out at once. Here in the New York City area, the hot thing is for a 19-year-old black person to go into Barney’s or Macy’s, buy a ridiculously expensive $2,500 handbag, get questioned, and then sue the store for five million dollars.

This is America, and people of all religions and colors should be able to make purchases. Still, all these stories now, all at once? Is this a set up? How many 19-year-olds buy thousand-dollar handbags? Does anyone really believe that a store like Macy’s is a hotbed of racism? Or Barney’s, that is working on a new line with Jay-Z?

Why the constant racism themes in 2013? Is it because we have a failing president who happens to be black? Why didn’t we have these stories and movies when George W. Bush was president for eight years?

Barry Popik on October 27, 2013 at 3:35 am

DSR, your mention of “Brubaker” made me laugh. I always liked that movie but your opinion of it was spot on and it makes me laugh that I never noticed it. Good on you. I’ve never been a big Redford fan so I guess I wasn’t watching it like a teenybopper in heat or I’d notice all those glamour shot set ups in not so glamourous situations. LOLOL! Did you like “Brazil”? I know it’s wicked long but for some reason I really like that film…and I have seen the longest version which feels like it goes on for days.

I agree with Barry P. About the “Barney’s” shakedowns. If it works for the Moooooslims I guess the chagrined Urban crowd wants a piece of the pie they don’t deserve. Life is unseemly in 2013.

I really enjoyed the reviews. Especially on “The Counselor”. Guess Gina Gershon passed up the demeaning role taken on by silly Cameron Diaz. Gina Gershon loves to take on roles that smash any dignity she may have had into smithereens. Quentin Tarantino is hard to take in real life but nobody can copy what he does with films. He’s got a true gift.

The depiction of the pretentious Libtard poet in that Gandofini movie reminded me of the role of an author of the same ilk in “Happiness” played by Lara Flynn-Boyle (before she put her face in a Cuisinart). Now that movie isn’t for anyone…it’s very, very raw and disgustingly crass (which turned me off) but I did love the savage misanthropy of it as a whole. Jon Lovitz’s small role in the beginning is one of my favourite acting scenes of all time. He was so raw and believable it just gets me every time. Never expected that from HIM!

Skunky on October 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

Debbie was spot-on with her review of The Counselor. The movie sucked big time, and the dialogue was the worst part of it. The movie was also put together in a disjoined fashion and it did not have any flow to it (bad editing), it was like you came into the middle of a movie from the very beginning. As far as Diaz not having any acting talent, I agree, but neither did any of the other actors in the movie. Michael Fassbender has no acting skills, and Javier Bardem was slurring and mumbling his lines all the way through the movie like he was sucking down codeine cocktails by the gallon. I would suggest never watching it, but if you feel the overwhelming need, wait until it comes out on video.

King David on October 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

FYI, the term “shop-and-frisk” (shop + stop-and-frisk) was recently added to my etymology dictionary. Yes, I also include Al Sharpton’s terms. (He didn’t coin it.)

Ultimately, this “agitation theater” strategy backfires. Macy’s and Barneys raise their prices to pay for this legal attack. Their prices become more unaffordable for blacks and Latinos to shop there. Fewer blacks and Latinos are hired by the stores and fewer get raises. The political agitators win; everyone else loses.

Barry Popik on October 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm

In fairness to Redford, he did direct and narrate A River Runs Through It.

skzion on October 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

My wife and I don’t go to movies very often. There is just so much trash… so, Saturday morning I read your review of Redford’s film, All is Lost. I completely disagree with his politics but it did sound like it would be a good film. I agree with your recommendation, it was thought provoking, the minimalist intrusion of sound track helped focus on the immediate. I really enjoyed the closing scene. It was very, very thought provoking! Did he die? Was he in fact rescued in the nick of time? When you see a really well made film you wind up talking about it all the way home! The ending kept bothering me and as I thought about it something came to mind. The American author, Ambrose Bierce wrote a short story about an incident during the Civil War. It was called An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge. The story involves a man who is to be hung as a spy. When he is hung the rope breaks and he falls into the water and is able to make an escape and return to his family. Only what really happened is that he really was hung and in the seconds before his death he imagined that he escaped and was able to embrace his wife and family. All is Lost is very similar! I believe that the man,in spite of having fought so hard, drowned. The hand reaching down to pull him to safety was a fantasy. One last grasp at hope. yes, Four Reagans for All is Lost!

Roy Patterson on October 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I watched the Counselor last night, Hor-eeeeeeeble. Boring, I kept waiting for it to get good, especially with a decent cast like that, it never happened. I thought it to be a fake wanna be gangster film. The Carmen Dia seen was weak. Bad film, I’m mad at myself for not checking here first, lol. wah wah.

Big D on November 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

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