Archive for Robert Duvall

THE GODFATHER 2 :: DRAMA :: 054

Posted in Classic, Crime, Drama with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/01/2018 by joycereview

The Godfather II (1974)

Let the hating begin! Keep in mind that I still think that The Godfather II is a fine movie, and though 7 is well under the high marks of 9 and 10 (as many would mark it), I feel that most of this is based on popularity and the crowd/fan effect. The Godfather (1972) has one of the highest rated scores of any film on IMDB at 9.2. Rightly so, as Francis Ford Coppolla and writer Mario Puzo are geniuses. What happens at the end of that movie, as young Michael takes the reigns, leaves you clawing for more. How will Michael move forward? Will he be able to fill his father’s shoes? (Even) What’s the background of the Corleone family? You get this, in a film that runs for 3 hours and 22 minutes – let’s say 3 and 1/2 with a potty break.

Pros

Let me tell you first what I loved. The beginning, at least the first 15 minutes was as fascinating as any film I’ve seen. We see a young Vito Andolini as he loses his entire family at the hands of Sicily’s Don Francesco. Not only are we shocked right off the bat, but we instantly remember his words to Johnny Fantana, “A man that doesn’t spend time with his family isn’t a real man” and understand why he said it.

Part II gave us the return of the original cast (minus a few, obviously) thus allowing for a feeling of continuity and continued excitement. It also gave us brilliant performance by Robert De Niro, playing the future Don in his late 20’s-early 30’s. The element that most impressed me was that not only was over 90% of De Niro’s dialogue in Sicilian, but he spoke it well (per an Italian source).

Lastly, the symbolism was wasted on me. From the very beginning we have the image of the chair, the image of young Vito detained at Ellis Island, and the image in our minds of the mature don from the first film.

Cons

What detracts from the well-intentioned and overly ambitious script is based largely on structure. Though the film is able to replicate the mood of the first, the flashbacks to 1958 disrupts the narrative and because of the weight of both, leaves you wondering … why this isn’t just two separate films? There are also scenes that seem rather pointless, like the Michael’s actions in Cuba (with quite a bit of footage on the rise of Castro) and Vito’s aid to an elderly widow so she’s not evicted.

Although it is a fine film, it is not without its holes. It certainly doesn’t have the weight, quotable lines, and tight storyline as The Godfather gave us. Besides the murderous intro, the “kiss of death” and the revenge of Vito Andolini… there really isn’t enough in the 200 minutes of film to keep your revitted. But that’s just me!

What did you think and was there anything you think I missed?

Perhaps you think I’m wrong?

Tell me why!

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Trailer:

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FOUR CHRISTMASES :: COMEDY :: 029

Posted in Comedy, Drama, romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/25/2009 by joycereview

It’s Christmas Eve… Santa’s probably airborne (he usually gets an early start) and come Christmas morning, everyone should have something in their stocking.  Now, if I were one of those “snippy” critics, I would reference here that those that worked on this movie shouldn’t expect Santa’s good graces.

Let me say from the start, that I have a fondness for Vince Vaughn.  Truth-be-told, I didn’t like him in the beginning; not because he was a bad actor or anything, but because he seemed like a bit of a wise-guy.  One of those guys that always had a witty come-back and who you’d wish would just be “normal” for once.  But he’s someone that has really grown on me, and has turned into someone I look forward to seeing time and time again.  If it weren’t for him, this movie would barely make a track!  Four Christmas barely comes across with 5.

Here’s the “bear” bones-

Brad (Vince Vaugn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) look to be the modern version of the perfect couple; lovingly self-centered, but getting all that they want from their relationship (for now).  Under the ruse of charity work, Brad and Kate escape the family obligations and the ensuing stress of the holidays by flying to Fiji; only to discover that the flight is cancelled due to heavy fog.  To make matters worse, a tv reporter and camera shows up and exposes their failed getaway.  Four Christmases in one day can be trying for anybody, but with Brad and Kate, the secrets, humiliations and the physical abuse might more than their relationship can handle.

When watching this movie, I kinda wished I had a lower I.Q. just for the fact that it would have boosted my enjoyment of it.  While it certainly had its fun moments (which was inevitably caused by Vaughn’s comic leadership), and gave us the split family dynamic rather than just the one, crazy household, it sank on the basis of character.

Comedy works best when the laughs are allowed to well up from within the material, the situation, and/or the nature of the character.  It isn’t a 10-year old child ,with his boney fist posed at your defenseless face, asking “What’s my name bitch?” that makes the scene funny- it’s the reaction of Vince Vaughn, who undoubtedly channels his emotions from the “near rape” scene from Wedding Crashers, and who’s pitched pleads of mercy are both hilarious and real.  If it weren’t for Vaughn’s brilliance, that scene would have been completely wasted on me.  The supporting cast, however, if not saved by or made funny by Vaughn, falls silent.  Reese Witherspoon did a decent job, even though her wrestle-mania in the “jump jump cage” was a immature and needy.

Screen legends Sissy Spacek, Bobby Duvall and Jon Voight provided a bit more (name) weight to the film, but only propped up it’s status to a movie like,  Meet the Fockers. One line from Duvall (who played Brad’s biological dad), was quite side-ripping though;

Boys, I don’t want to speak ill of your mother on Christmass, but she’s nothing but a common street whore.

I long for a Christmas movie that will take the place of my beloved National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but I’ve yet to find it.  Vaughn could be my next Chevy, if only he had his Eddie… and Jon Favreau, you’re not him.  Owen Wilson is a terrific comedic partner but we’ll just have to see what the future holds.  For me, something like that would surely make my Christmas wish list!