April 3, 2015, - 3:51 pm

Wknd Box Office: Woman in Gold, Furious 7, Danny Collins

By Debbie Schlussel

Well, the movies are getting semi-better ahead of the big movie season in May.

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* “Woman In Gold: I enjoyed this entertaining legal thriller based on real-life history. Read my complete review of the movie, about a Holocaust survivor’s fight to get back the paintings the Nazis stole from her family.

FOUR REAGANS
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* “Furious 7“: This latest installment of the Fast & Furious movies is much better than the last one. The story is a little bit confusing and entirely ridiculous, but nobody goes to see these movies for a story or a plot, so my review is based on this movie delivering what you’d expect of it: non-stop action and car chases, very cool special effects, and entirely amazing (and not believable) stunts. On those, it delivers, though it’s kind of ridiculous: cars parachuting out of planes and landing on Caucasus Mountains roads with barely a scratch (ditto for the Furious 7 characters driving those cars); an exotic car driving high above Abu Dhabi through three sky scrapers; etc. Although star Paul Walker (read my expose on his “charity”) died before finishing filming of this movie, it’s hard to tell. His lookalike brothers provide side glances and distant shots, and there is a tribute to him at the end, showing shots from his previous Fast & Furious stints.

I didn’t need to see multiple shots of women’s rear ends right in my face (though that is often a Fast & Furious staple). And I had misgivings about the movie’s promotion of the Arab Muslim Gulf as a hip, happening place where anything goes. This is, after all, the same Abu Dhabi in which people have been arrested and sent to jail for making out on the beach. On the other hand, the scene in which a Jordanian prince is celebrating his birthday complete with bare-assed women and alcohol is accurate. They are hypocrites who preach one thing to their fellow Muslims and to us, but then do the opposite. Sadly, that point wasn’t made in this movie. Instead, Black star Tyrese comments about how much fun he’s having at the party, and that he’s come up with a new word, “Blarab”–short for Black Arab. I have an older, more accurate name for Black Arab: SLAVE, ‘cuz that’s what they are in most of the Arab world. It was nice, though, to see the Fast & Furious gang outsmart and beat up all the Arab Muslim bodyguards, many of them wearing hijabs, and ruin the Jordanian prince’s birthday bash.







The “story”: the Fast & Furious crew are terrorized by Jason Statham (the tired, old “former special forces assassin as bad guy” narrative), whose brother they put in the hospital. They are trying to fight back and stop him, when they are approached by a mysterious pseudo-governmental operative, played by Kurt Russell. He says he’ll help them if they help him get back a computer programmer/hacker and her program, “G-d’s Eye,” which can help the government find anyone using everyone else’s cellphone microphones and cameras. They agree, and the chase takes them to Azerbaijan (the Caucasus Mountains), Abu Dhabi, and back to Los Angeles. It bothered me that in at least one scene, a police car is blown up (and its passengers and driver likely died) in the wreckage of their fight with Jason Statham. It’s supposed to be no big deal.

In any event, the movie delivers on what Fast & Furious movies promise: lots of fast, cool, expensive, luxury cars, lots of action and amazing stunts, and little in the way of story.

TWO REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Danny Collins“: I had mixed feelings about this movie. I hated the main character, rock/pop star Danny Collins, played by Al Pacino (plus listening to Al Pacino sing is like hearing lambs being beheaded–very disturbing). Also, I think John Lennon is an overrated nothing, and this movie makes him into some sort of inspirational god, which I didn’t like. And the movie was a little too melodramatic for me. But it was entertaining and moves along. And the plot was slightly interesting.

The story: Collins is a pop star a la Neil Diamond (his big hit, “Hey, Baby Doll” sounds a lot like “Sweet Caroline”). He’s old and his fans are aging and very old. He’s very rich but hates that he got rich from singing commercial pop song drivel that he despises. He started out as a more soulful singer with folk song-esque sound. Collins is also a pig, with nothing to like about him. He’s a cokehead and a drunk with several ex-wives and a current girlfriend who could be his granddaughter. (I could have done without the gratuitous shot of the woman completely naked with just a little soap covering her vaginal area.)

For his birthday, Collins’ manager (Christopher Plummer) presents him with a letter from John Lennon to Collins. Collins had never seen or been aware of the letter before and is suddenly inspired to change his life. It’s not clear why. The letter merely tells Collins that Lennon likes his songs and would like to talk to him about possibly helping him. It includes a phone number. That’s it. Nothing that inspirational, not that the love-in leftist dope addict has ever done anything too meaningful.

So, Collins decides to stop doing drugs and moves to a Hilton in New Jersey, where he has an adult son, in whose life Collins has never been. We learn that the son (Bobby Cannavale) is the product of a backstage sex session Collins had with a groupie and that the mother of this son kept the news from Collins. When Collins found out he had a son and tried to connect with him by contributing money and so on, the mother refuses and blocks all efforts. Because that’s the case, it’s hard to feel bad for the mother and even more difficult to understand the son’s anger at Collins. Ultimately, though, Collins and his son reconnect, and the movie follows Pacino’s attempts to make up for the past and to connect with people at the Hilton (including the manager, played by Annette Bening).

The movie has its funny lines and moments, and, like I said, it’s entertaining and engrossing. But I just hated the Danny Collins character so much, I just didn’t really care what happened to him and whether or not he betters himself. And, frankly, he lived up (or, rather, down) to my expectations anyway. So, I’m not sure what the point of this was. I don’t think I’d pay ten bucks to see this.

ONE MARX
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Watch the trailer . . .

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6 Responses

Enjoyed the reviews!

I have never seen ANY “Fast & Furious” movies and I hope I can endure life on this planet w/out breaking my record. If not for the enduring franchise, most (if not all…excluding Statham) of the “actors” would not have a Hollyweird career. Especially the stroppy Michelle Rodriguez. Oh, and if you believed that she and the very handsome (and just as troubled) Zach Efron had a fling, you don’t understand that Lezzers hate penises and dig chicks. That was a fake “affair” if there ever was one. Some are more obvious than others, right Hugh Jackman? 😉

And I second DS’ thoughts on John Lennon. My least fav Beatle. But with all things I am luke-warm about there are always exceptions (I like “Mind Games”, “Jealous Guy” and other solo songs of his). Ringo used to be my favourite but now I think it’s Paul followed closely by George Harrison. And I love the Beatles solo efforts waaaaaay more than the group songs (other than “Abbey Road” which is brilliant). Viva la 70’s!

I liked DS’ commentary on “Danny Collins”. That’s the way the skanky world turns in 2015. I enjoy the acting of Bobby Cannavale. He’s got good chops. The gist of the movie should be men like sex and women, no matter what Feminazis tell you can be foolish when they think they can play the game men do. And in the end innocent children suffer greatly and the “women” are fronting and being foolish all along. SMH.

Skunky on April 3, 2015 at 4:14 pm

CHAG SAMEACH ! ! !

John Robert Mallernee on April 3, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Just seeing a promo shot of Al Pacino dressed like a sleazy lounge lizard is more than enough to keep me away ..

Jack on April 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

I am glad Hollywood keeps putting out trashy movies. Look at all the money I am saving by not going and paying to be offended. No more Gene Kelly, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, Rita Hayworth, Gene Tierney. Shame.

Fred on April 4, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Too funny … As I read your set-up DS for Al Pacino’s character…Danny Collins, it’s very similar to his own life…how many girlfriends? How many children? Loved him in FRANKY & JOHNNY 1994 release?? But he has not aged so gracefully in his liberal Hollywood world. Pity that! And forever typecaste after the Godfather franchise.

Blessings for a Happy Pesach and Happy Easter as well. Jesus will be here soon…amen.

Skurtz on April 4, 2015 at 8:57 pm

Woman in Gold not available at my home town theater. The others, I couldn’t care less.

Occam's Tool on April 6, 2015 at 12:00 am

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