March 13, 2015, - 4:35 pm

Wknd Box Office: Cinderella, Run All Night, ’71, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

By Debbie Schlussel

Well, the new movies at the theater this weekend are getting better (relatively speaking), so Spring and Summer must be just around the corner.



* “Cinderella“: When I first heard about this Disney project, I thought, “Again?! Do we really need yet another ‘Cinderella’?” But, actually, after seeing this, the answer is, “Yes.” This was just fantastic, from the beautiful costumes and sets to the acting to the computer generated images and effects. Everything about this was terrific and charming. And, for once in all of these years I’ve been reviewing movies, there is finally a prince in the Cinderella story who isn’t an effeminate, bumbling dope. The prince in this one is principled, courageous, and masculine. The movie is great, wholesome fare to which to take the entire family. Even the adults will enjoy this.

You know the Cinderella story, so I need not repeat it here. This is true to the real fairy tale. And the acting is terrific, especially that of beautiful newcomer Lily James in the title role. The costumes and jewelry are just terrific–incredibly beautiful, especially evil stepmother Cate Blanchett’s clothing and bejeweled accoutrements. The pumpkin carriage is magnificent. If the costume and set designers for this don’t win Oscars, it’s a crime. Then, there is the lizard man, who is one of the coachmen. He looks exactly as I would have imagined a lizardly human to look. The prince’s viceroy, the “Captain,” British actor Nonso Anozie, is a doppelganger for former NFLer Warren Sapp (minus the prostitutes). Helena Bonham Carter looks better than she has in years, here as the fairy godmother.


Nonso Anozie; Warren Sapp

Several in the PC-crowd are upset that Cinderella/James is too thin, and I thought they were going overboard. But when I saw the movie, her waist is shockingly tiny during the ball scene. I doubt, though, that this will make America’s girls want to be anorexic. Our problem is too many overweight children, not too many who are too thin. And the movie makes clear that the women in this age wore corsets, which did give this effect in real life. I guarantee this won’t cause a whole bunch of girls to run out and buy corsets. Nobody seems to be concerned that the Kartrashians are already pimping corsets.

Director Kenneth Branagh did a terrific job here. A great, fun movie. See it with your whole family or enjoy it alone. It’s just beautiful and well done all around. There is an animated “Frozen” short before the movie begins.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Run All Night“: This was much better than I expected, but far too violent and bloody for my taste. It’s not for kids or even teens in my view. Still, I found it to be edge-of-your-seat entertainment from beginning to end, full of suspense throughout. It features a few bad actors as actors: Islam-pimp Liam Neeson, who proudly espouses gun control, but made this violent, gun-filled movie; neo-Communist Ed Harris, who sat on his hands when the late, great anti-Communist director Elia Kazan received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar; and Muslim, racist rapper Common. I loved it when he got his. And I liked that the movie did not glorify Neeson’s character, a burnt-out, friendless, mafia hit man, though I was troubled that you tend to root for the guy in this movie, given the story line.

The story: Harris heads an Irish mafia family in New York. Neeson, his lifelong friend, was also his lifelong personal hit man, killing many innocents. Neeson’s son, Joel Kinnaman, is honest and straight and, therefore, has disowned his father, Neeson, and kept him out of his life. But, one night, Kinnaman witnesses Irish mafia chief Harris’ son commit murder, and the son tries to kill Kinnaman. Just as he’s about to kill Kinnaman, Neeson shoots the mob boss’ son. Harris, the mob boss, tells Neeson that he (Harris) will now make it his goal to murder Neeson’s son and Neeson, himself. So the estranged mob hit man and his honest son are stuck that night trying to escape the Irish mob, corrupt cops on the take from the mob, and a professional hit man (Common). Like I said, it’s non-stop action and suspenseful stuff.

The ending is predictable, but it’s a tight thriller and pretty well-crafted, but for the excessive blood and killing. But nobody said the mob is populated by saints and those dedicated to saving lives. Rated “R” for several reasons, including extreme violence and language. 74-year-old crypt-keeper Nick Nolte, looking every bit of his 94 years, makes a cameo.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “’71“: This movie is about a British soldier who gets left behind in the middle of violent Belfast, Northern Ireland. He’s being chased and kidnapped and shot at repeatedly, all over the place. Meanwhile, the Brits are looking for him, as well as rival Irish Catholic factions and undercover police who are really working for and collaborating with the British. Very bloody and violent, especially a scene where we are shown–at close range–strangers sewing crude stitches on the soldier without anesthesia. Um, no thanks. Wasn’t sure what the point of this movie was, even though it’s billed as a thriller. And while it was thrilling at times, it was also a dry bore at others. I wish there would be a movie that would depict the IRA and their real-life partnerships and exploits with the PLO and the Sandinistas. This ain’t it. Also, about a third of the time, I needed a translator to understand the quick clips of working-class Irish cockney.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken“: This was mildly entertaining but you and I have seen this movie a zillion times: lazy people who don’t want to work for a living cook up a scheme to kidnap a rich dude for the ransom and get rich quick. Except that it never works. I learned this as a little kid when my parents took me to see “Benji” and the kidnappers didn’t get away with the money then. At least in that movie, we knew that Benji helped foil the bad guys. In this movie, they never really tell you much about how police nailed the real-life kidnappers who snatched Dutch beer magnate Alfred Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), other than a postscript that an anonymous tip was phoned in to police. Instead, this is more of an exercise in frustration–we watch the kidnappers grow ever more frustrated that their ransom demands have been ignored. Plus they do a bunch of dumb things and are constantly feuding. This isn’t a relaxing movie. If I need to see people fight and become frustrated, I’ll go watch family court. It’s free, and more intense.


Watch the trailer . . .

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22 Responses

hope you’re not watching these movies on boot leg

Dan on March 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Debbie is a professional movie critic, dude.

    And “Cinderella” indeed looks better than what I’d think. The CGI mice look really cute.

    However, I take umbrage with the white “Prince Charming.”

    Disney wins some kind of awards for “diversity” in its programming, so why didn’t they use an actor of color as Cinderella’s beau?

    How about Will Smith – was he considered or asked for in this role?

    DS_ROCKS! on March 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Don’t think there were to many mixed marriages back in the days of Knights and Ladies-In-Waiting. Why not make Cinderella a lesbian – really dude!

      MRobs on March 16, 2015 at 11:35 am

Cool. A movie I can take the little ones to.

Occam's Tool on March 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

I love Sir Kenneth B, but do we really need yet another Cinderella? I love Sir Kenneth, but to get my fix of his work, I’d rather watch My Weekend With Marilyn or A Month in the Country again. He is a great actor and director and needed the paycheck obviously. The point of my post. No matter how good this version is, can’t Hollywood come up with new ideas instead of constantly rehashing old ones? Do you know that Tim Burton, yes Tim Burton is directing a live action remake of DUMBO! Poor Dumbo, don’t you cry baby mine, nothing can be better than you in your original animated glorious original form. This is why I will continue to see mainly indies with the occasional Gone Girl, Kingsman or American Sniper thrown in. Indies may be bad too, but I would rather see something original. The actor in 71 Jack O’Connell is supposed to be magnificent in the role and won a BAFTA for rising star so i’ll see that. BTW, I’m not only a lawyer and proud Zionist, my undergraduate degree is a B.F.A. in Film Production/Film History from the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU Film School). I know something about film.

Susan on March 14, 2015 at 10:18 am

    my undergraduate degree is a B.F.A. in Film Production/Film History from the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU Film School). I know something about film.

    What’s your point – that you can catalog a lot films? The Internet does that in entirety at the touch of a key.

    You can study art your entire life, but no university can teach taste (or talent), and taste is a meaningless entity.

    I more often than not disagree vehemently with Debbie’s opinions on her reviews, but she provides the invaluable service of accurately reporting liberal bias, agendas and fallacies that are asserted in so much cinema. When they start teaching *that* in film school, then I’ll be impressed.

    DS_ROCKS! on March 14, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Well, I know that the folks over at NYU teach that there is only one way to look at political questions. I guess they also teach that there is only one way to look at films or cinema (highbrow for movies).

    Little Al on March 15, 2015 at 7:27 am

      And film history? I can see what they teach about film history at NYU. In polite generic language, down with the dead white males. Everything is a continuous line towards more and more progress. The old isn’t something to be remembered and cherished, it is just something out of date to be improved upon (if you can even understand what they’re saying and get past all the meaningless jargon.)

      Little Al on March 15, 2015 at 7:51 am

For the last few years Liam Neeson plays the same character in every movie that he is in—a gravely-voiced American badass who is a force to be reckoned with. The problem is that Neeson is a seventy-plus (real age versus his “movies” age) and is vastly out of shape (they have to shoot him from the shoulders up, from an upward perspective, or they layer him down with a lot of clothing). Even with his recent face lift this isn’t believable. What a sad statement for modern cinema in that they cannot find any younger male actors who are masculine enough to carry such roles.

King David on March 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

    There are male actors that can fill the “masculine” role. Just not many that can, you know, “act” all that well.

    Not that I am insinuating that Neeson is a great actor. He fills the role he is in, as you have stated it has become repetitive, fairly well.

    The brain trust in Hollywood is very lockstep. Working outside of the box isn’t what they do. That’s why examples such as Chris Pratt’s “surprise” quality in the Galaxy movie was rather refreshing. A chance for an actor to give a fresh take on his career rather than get pigeonholed. This is why I am never too harsh on actors and other artists that want to experiment, even if it means doing a 180 from whatever it is that initially brought them to our attention.

    Now, forward! More Hollywood repetition and remakes on the way! STAT

    PitandPen on March 15, 2015 at 2:12 am

Neeson and Harris, two of the most wretched, pompous, anti-freedom actors working today will never receive a cent of my money.

Kent on March 14, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Sue sounds like a movie snob like me. One just has to know a good flick when they see one rather than have studied it in college. American films mostly suck because American Proles are dumbed down & into the Kardashian Skankerrhea. I’ve known that since I was 12. I’ll never forget a metal-head who wore black jeans with question marks all over them giving me the stink-eye when I exclaimed that one day. Don’t blame me because Yanks love crap films!

That “Cinderella” looked VERY good when I saw the commerials @ the gym (I don’t have TV) and I expected more since Branaugh was behind it even though I am not a fan of his (his ex-wife & her “wife” were just rated the most insufferable “luvvies” in the UK…big-noting Libtards loving Socialism without having to live as a socialist “prole”. Yeah, that’s the ticket!).

I loved the “Separated @ Birth” snaps even though I don’t know either of those dudes. I’m more fascinated with un-related twins than related twins. I just geek-out to it.

I really wanna see “Cinderella” now! I love that the Prince is not a fembot! Smart chicks want a real man not a nagged out ponce!

Happy Ides of March y’all! “Jesu Christi Domine, Et Tu Brute”… 😉

Skunky on March 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    American films mostly suck because American Proles are dumbed down

    Absolutely true, but this doesn’t preclude major producers/studios from putting their own imprint on what gets released, even if it’s just a great movie that doesn’t test well. Case in point, I was at dinner with a group including a renowned director on Friday and he said that Dreamworks/SKG management and the director of the movie flop “How To Train Your Dragon 2” (both openly gay) purposely ignored analyses and tests that revealing the gay character would hurt sales.

    In fact, the line that alludes to the character’s homosexuality is pretty subtle, but SKG and DeBlois *concertedly* belabored the point in the media for no other reason than to assert their gay agenda and what they thought America “needed” to hear and its children needed to learn.

    It was nothing but arrogance by those parties that they didn’t care about the repercussions because they’re all financially set for life and could care less that the flop (70% less than projected) was the straw that broke the camels’ proverbial back causing SKG to recently close its animation division and put some 500 American workers and artists in the unemployment line.

    But I digress – the point is that the overriding factor in viability of overseas sales. And great “art” doesn’t play in Pyong yang.

    Movies are dumbed-down by necessity for Malaysian and Chinese markets. No need for clever dialogue, acting or plot when explosions, sexy Americans and revenge storylines are virtually the only things that sell.

    DS_ROCKS! on March 15, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Susan, I’m curious why you find that Indie films are particularly “new.” It seems to me that they are too often derivative and predictable.

skzion on March 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Pray tell us please – what exactly is a so-called “neo-Communist”?

Greg on March 16, 2015 at 9:02 am

The movies need someone like Clint Walker in the movies but they would not hire someone like him as he is CONSERVATIVE and manly.

Fred on March 16, 2015 at 9:10 am

Don’t knock NYU Cinema Studies. It just so happens that I’m getting my PhD there and my thesis concerns Cinderella Films and Class Consciousness in the American Dream. Tuition is running me about $50,000 a year, and it’s going to take me about 4 years to get my degree–but it will be worth it. Do you realize that there are about 50 different film versions based on the Cinderella story? I’ve performed an extensive statistical analysis utilizing minimal dummy variables correlating mountains of demographic and sociologic empirical data to each of these filmed versions that demonstrate persuasively how these different versions of Cinderella reveal what our society has become.

Ralph Adamo on March 17, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Ralph, what’s a “minimal dummy variable”? (I’m wondering about the term “minimal,” not “dummy variable.”)

    skzion on March 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Well, i’ve only had one film course so perhaps I cannot enter this discussion. I have one comment on the Dragon2 story above.
I have wondered why there are so-o many more homosexual characters and encounters in movies and TV than in real life (well, my life anyway). All shown to be positive and it gets graphic as do many sex scenes in modern entertainment. Re:gay actors on interview. The tendency of gay entertainment figures to “flirt” and make childish comments about their desires is repugnant to me (and would be considered sexist-not to mention very un-pc-if made by straight men toward women).
I’d be just fine without the gay men or encounters in movies. I’d be just fine with masculinity featured as what it is – a positive.. I’d be just fine with traditional families shown now and then. All this is why I value DS’s movie reviews. They are usually spot on and so very helpful.

Crazycatkid on March 17, 2015 at 8:49 am

“neo-Communist Ed Harris, who sat on his hands when the late, great anti-Communist director Elia Kazan received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar”

I saw that awards show and still refuse to watch any movie that features that dirtbag Harris.

Jim on March 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm

“Irish Cockney”? What the heck’s that?

Mike B on March 20, 2015 at 8:41 pm

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