Friday, November 8, 2019

Dr. Sleep

(Spoiler Alert!)

A follow up to The Shining by Stephen King. Young Danny Torrance has grown into an adult Obi Wan Kenobi- I mean, Ewan McGregor, and put the horrifying events or his childhood at the Overlook Hotel with his insane dad Jack from 40 years earlier behind him. Well, sort of.

Dan takes job as orderly with hospice patients, and rediscovers his inner “shining.” He teams up with a young girl, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) who also possesses the gift. And together they set out to stop a group of weirdos called the True Knot, led by the beautiful Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) who kill gifted kids and suck their spirit and shine from them like addicts snorting cocaine. It keeps them immortal. At least until 13-year old Abra (cadabra! Oddly enough, Abra loves magic tricks! How ironic!) shows up to ruin the party.

The novel was very good (I am a huge King fan) but a bit hard to follow, whereas the movie is very easy to keep up with, especially if you remember the events of the Shining film. Dan and Abra end up back at the long-abandoned Overlook hotel, where they will encounter ghosts from the past and have a final showdown with Rose in an action-packed finale. Good stuff.

Five Stars!

-Michael Buffalo Smith

Terminator: Dark Fate

What an appropriate title! Dark Fate. Let me just say from the outset that it has been literally decades since I felt so let down by a movie. Just let me begin by pointing out the good parts of the film It’s not going to be easy, but I will give it a whirl.

Arnold Schwarzeneggar returns for a relatively minor role and the rehabilitated, married with children terminator now called Carl. The 72-year old sports a short beard and a new attitude. Arnold is fun to watch, even in the quagmire of this hot mess of a movie. Also, the special effects are cool, although we gave seen most of the “liquid metal” stuff as far back as the T2 movie.

In James Cameron’s newest film, Sarah Conner is back (a 63-year old Linda Hamilton) and is teamed up with a girl named Grace (Makenzie Davis)– a part human, part cyborg from the future who is sent back in time to keep the evil Rev-9 terminator (Gabriel Luna), from killing a young Mexican girl named Dani (Natalia Reyes) who somehow alters the future if she lives. Sound familiar? That’s because Dark Fate is exactly like the first two Terminator movies, only altered to conform to our precious politically correct world, where racial diversity reigns supreme and feminism is at an all-time high. The first part of the movie is set in Mexico and everyone is speaking Spanish with English subtitles. Don’t get me started. I HATE subtitles! How can I enjoy the moving picture show if I have to try and read the words quickly before they move on?

I’m all for equality and women’s rights, but this is just too cliché.
For example, this boldly stated dialog:  "You are not the mother of some MAN who saved the future. You ARE the future."  Not to mention the mostly STUPID one liners! Sara using the famous Arnold line, "I'll be back." Later, they have Arnold saying, " I won't be back." Sheesh. I sure as shootin’ hope not!! He starts to put on his famous Terminator sunglasses, looks in mirror and sits them down. He’s a new man. Yawn.

Did I mention they kill off John Conner five minutes into the movie? You remember John, the boy whose future life was so important it was the whole basis of the franchise? Killed off, just like that. Suddenly the first two (excellent) Terminator movies are obsolete I guess.

Somebody in Hollywood needs to learn that if you are going to do a sequel, or several sequels, that’s fine, but they have to be at least as good as the original! This movie should have been terminated. Can someone time travel back a year and tell James Cameron to stop before he starts?

One Half of a Star (I’m being generous)

-Michael Buffalo Smith

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dolemite is My Name

Dylan was so right. “The times they are a changin.’” These days, Hollywood’s biggest stars and producers are creating movies for TV on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Some of the best shows and movies I have seen this past year have been on Netflix! Now superstar comedian Eddie Murphy has hit the small screen (where he started, on Saturday Night Live) with this true story of Rudy Ray Moore, the comedy and rap pioneer who rose from obscurity after becoming inspired by a lopud, talkative, homeless man who is always carrying on about a character called “Dolemite.” This leads Rudy to develop an alter-ego and he himself becomes Dolemite, the trash talking, obscene, kung-fu fighting would-be action hero who became a Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Starring alongside Murphy are A-listers Mike Epps (as his best friend, Jimmy) , Keegan-Michael Key (as a lofty playwright) and Wesley Snipes (as an established film star), with smaller roles handed in by Snoop Dog and Chris Rock.

Murphy is still as funny as he ever was, and he manages to offset the humor with a few touching moments in tribute to the real-life Rudy, who overcame huge odds to create his own low-budget movie that launched his career. The movie is set in the 1970’s, and the fashions, hairstyles, cars and music will bring a smile to the faces of any of us who came of age in that decade. There are some hilarious moments in the film, to be sure.

The movie gets a hard “R” rating for nonstop pervasive language, sex and graphic nudity. Think Richard Pryor or Redd Fox. It’s not for everybody, but as for me, I found it very entertaining.

Four Out of Five Stars

-Michael Buffalo Smith

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

(2 Hours 40 minutes)

Quentin Tarantino can do no wrong. Much like the Coen Brothers, his movies are always great, and among my all-time favorites. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood only adds to his legacy. I just love his writing and directing, and the way he uses elements from ‘60’s and ‘70’s pop culture and music in his films. He uses cuts and skips to create the feel of the old drive-in movies. His eye for details adds yet another layer to the story. We see DeCaprio’s character on the cover of TV Guide, MAD magazine and other publications.

This one takes place in Hollywood during the ‘60’s, with Leonardo DeCaprio as a former superstar actor Rick Dalton who is no longer on the A-list. Brad Pitt is his constant companion, stunt man, and assistant Cliff Booth.  

Margo Robbie (Harley Quinn) is excellent as Sharon Tate. Not to mention hot! The movie is filled with actors portraying celebrities including Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips; Steve McQueen; Lulu; Roman Polanski; Squeaky Fromme; Bruce Lee and more, all blended into this alternate universe story of the Manson gang and the Sharon Tate story. In this universe, Sharon Tate lives.

Bruce Dern is at his best as real life character cranky old George Spahan, whose Alzheimer’s prevents him from remembering old friends. He owns the Spahan ranch where all of the Manson following hippies have moved in and taken over, but he could care less. He just wants to sleep.

When the hippies break in with the intention of killing, Brad Pitt’s character Cliff kicks ass big time, and unleashes his pet pit bull on the intruders to top it off.

The star-studded cast also includes great performances from Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning  and Al Pacino as well as Luke Perry in one of his final roles before he passed away. Damon Harryman (Justified) portrays Charles Manson for the second time, also playing the mad man in an episode of Mindhunter earlier this year.

Best line in the movie. “Don’t cry in front of the Mexicans.” See the movie and you’ll agree. Tarantino has another hit to go along with Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Django Unchained and the others.


-Michael Buffalo Smith

Dr. Sleep

(Spoiler Alert!) A follow up to The Shining by Stephen King. Young Danny Torrance has grown into an adult Obi Wan Kenobi- I mean, ...