Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA, Billy MacLellan, Araya Mengesha, Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath, Aleksandr Pal, Humberly Gonzalez, Edsson Morales, J.P. Manoux, and many more
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Genres: Action, crime, (and some comedic moments)
Synopsis: Hutch & Becca (Odenkirk & Nielsen) and their two kids are the idealized image of the upper middle class family. The audience watches Hutch get pushed around, patronized, an unvalidated in a number of scenes. One scene in particular, where he’s pistol-whipped by home invaders, stops his teenaged son from hurting one of them, and then lets them go convinces you that this guy is a wimp that bears the brunt of the world’s bullies. Our impression of Hutch drastically changes when we see him defend a woman being harassed by a gang of nasty adult men on a bus. What Hutch doesn’t realize is that these men are connected with the Russian mob whose boss, Yulian Kuznetsov (Serebryakov) in the city is one badass that will stop at nothing to give Hutch some payback.
Impressions: I was quite impressed with “Nobody,” especially Odenkirk and Serebryakov. The hand to hand combat scenes are as good as any in a John Wick or James Bond movie. I like how the film cultivates a series of twists. You really don’t know what’s coming next.
Etc.: filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; from imdb: Based on an idea by Bob Odenkirk, who dealt with a home invasion himself by trapping the trespassers in the basement. He was frustrated with how the authorities dealt with the situation and had thought about how he would take the matter into his own hands if he “was a badass.”; lots of good trivia at imdb
Awards: 1 win and 2 nominations
Mr. Church (2016)
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Britt Robertson, Natascha McElhone, Xavier Samuel, Lucy Fry, Christian Madsen, McKenna Grace, Natalie Coughlin, Madison Wolfe, Lincoln Melcher, Kathleen McMartin, Sara Shearer, Kelly Lester, Aileen Burdock, Michael Leone, and many more.
Director: Bruce Beresford (who also directed Breaker Morant)
Synopsis: The story begins when Marie (McElhone) and her young daughter, Charlie (Coughlin as a child; Robertson as an adult) begin receiving the cooking services of Mr. Henry Church (Murphy.) Murphy was the cook for a married man who recently passed away. Before he died, the man put money into an account for Mr. Church to cook and provide medical financial for them for six months, as we quickly learn that Marie has cancer and only expected to live for six months. Yet Marie, under the care and healthy meals cooked by Mr. Church, lives six years and counting. The relationship between Charlie and Mr. Church is rocky at first but over time becomes a bright spot in both of their lives. At some point, Mr. Church stops being an employee and becomes a part of the family.
Impressions: Every other movie I’ve seen Eddie Murphy in he’s a comedian. It took me a little time to get used to seeing him in a serious role. It was extraordinary to see how well-developed Mr. Church’s character was, especially in light of the story, which seemed more about Charley. Charley as an adult, in retrospect, narrates the film, and I think it works well. I liked the characters, the dialogue, which is fairly sparse except for Charley. The sets and costumes are very well done. Great jazz-infused soundtrack. I’d love to see Eddie Murphy do more serious roles. Have the kleenex handy.
Etc.: filmed in Boston and Los Angeles; Samuel L. Jackson was originally chosen for the lead role but was later replaced with Eddie Murphy.
Awards: 3 nominations
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicholas Hammond, Samantha Robinson, Kurt Russell (who also narrates) and many more.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genres: Action, comedy
Synopsis: Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) is a leading man on the wane, forced to play “villains who lose” on TV shows. Cliff Booth (Pitt) is Rick’s stuntman but as the story opens is also his chauffer as Rick has lost his driver’s license. Rick also happens to live on Cielo Drive, just next door and down the hill from where Roman Polanski (Zawierucha) and his very pregnant wife, Sharon Tate (Robbie) are staying with friends. The story loosely follows the Tate-LaBianca murders done by Charles Manson cultists but spins the story just a little differently.
Impressions: The film has been called Tarantino’s love letter to L.A., and I can’t argue with that characterization. It’s a time capsule of the 1960’s L.A. There is a lot of driving around in a nice convertible with the radio always blasting out what I’m guessing are actual taped broadcasts. The music rocks as it always does in Tarantino films. DiCaprio and Pitt bring these two fictional characters to life. The sets are meticulously put together. The support cast is par excellence. Tarantino knows how to set tension and frame humor to get the most out of both. He’s the maestro and he knows how to play us, the audience, very well. Brad Pitt’s shirtless scene on the roof is worth the price of admission. Warning: some scenes of intense and disturbing violence (also an Q trademark.)
Etc.: budget was $90million, with cumulative worldwide gross of $374million+; from imdb: Bruce Lee’s line about Cliff being pretty for a stuntman was suggested by Burt Reynolds during a script reading. Tarantino said “had the line not been Burt’s, it never would’ve made it in the film. Brad doesn’t like characters pointing out how good looking he is. But because Burt suggested it, how could he say no to including it.” lots of great trivia on this film at imdb
Awards: 138 wins and 379 nominations