larrys3

IMDb member since September 2012
    Highlights
    2015 Oscars
    Highlights
    2013 Oscars
    Lifetime Total
    1,000+
    Top Reviewer
     
    IMDb Member
    8 years

Reviews

The Booksellers
(2019)

Mixed Bag Here
One if these documentaries that can be quite fascinating one moment then quite dull the next. So, for me, a mixed bag here.

Gives an inside look at the seldom seen world of antique booksellers and collectors in NYC.. The film also offers a little more optimism about the field being carried on by out younger generation, although the modalities will be most different.

For those viewers that can get through the, at tines, stodginess, the doc does offer some good rewards.

Uncut Gems
(2019)

Sandler is Terrific Here
Adam Sandler's portrayal of a compulsive gambler is a masterwork, and the movie is the best focus on that subject since the classic 1974 film "The Gambler", starring James Caan.

But don't expect any let-up from the continuous dark and frenetic storyline.

Saint Frances
(2019)

Not My Demographic
Although this film was definitely not made for my demographic, I'll write some observations.

I felt the movie had its moments, and Kelly O'Sullivan, who wrote the screenplay and stars in the film, clearly has talent. However, the numerous graphic scenes of menstrual blood and post-abortion results seemed done more for shock value than anything else. Also, does feminism have to mean men are harshly shut down because they want to express their feelings? Or should a man in the park who has just saved the child you are responsible for be barked at, ignored, and allowed to slip away without a thank you?

Overall, just wish the warm and touching aspects of the final 20 minutes of the film had been incorporated more into its first 1 hour and 20 minutes.

This movie reminded me of Jenny Slate's 2014 film "Obvious Child", which as I recall I didn't like very much for very similar reasons.

USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter
(2019)

Riveting Documentary
Just saw this on PBS, and found it to be a riveting documentary which was extremely well presented.

Contains archival footage, compelling testimony of some of the survivors of this WW ll naval disaster, modern day attempts to locate the ship at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, along with investigations as to what exactly happened and who was really responsible for this tragedy.

For those who like this kind of film, I can highly recommend it.

Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer
(2019)

Interesting Look at the Tabloid's Long History
An interesting look at the National Enquirer's decades old history, with its ups and downs along the way. The film illustrates how the tabloid publication often used unethical methods to get their stories and how a grain of truth can be stretched to its limit. But the doc also covers how the Enquirer can lead the mainstream media to some stories with intense investigation, like in the O.J. case.

The movie also describes the "catch and kill" policies, directed by owner David Pecker, beginning with the California Governor's race of Arnold Schwarzenegger and ending with the current occupant of the White House.

To note, there were no subtitles on my DVD copy but I was able to access them through the closed caption option on my remote.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!
(2017)

Eye-Opening Documentary
In this eye-opening documentary, Morgan Spurlock strips away the curtain to reveal the monopolistic and dishonest practices of the chicken industry in particular, but also the fast food industry as well.

The film made me angry at times, but it also can be sad, funny, informative, and always engaging. I never knew a lot of the things that were revealed here and I found many of them quite fascinating.

Bulletproof 2
(2020)

Very Lame "Comedy"
Lame humor and storyline throughout.

Bloody violence, nudity, and very crude language.

Not worth your time or money.

2 Graves in the Desert
(2020)

Just Awful
Don't waste your time or money on this horrific and nonsensical film.

It becomes a cliche to say that a movie is the worst of all time, but this has to be one of the worst I've ever seen. Excruciating to even sit through it all but I did finish it so I could write this review.

As you might expect, plenty of violence and crude language throughout. Not that it would matter here, but there were no subtitles on the DVD.

Temblores
(2019)

Guatemalan Drama
Set in Guatemala, Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager) faces a crisis in his life when he reveals to his family that he is gay and will be moving out to be with his male partner Francisco (Mauricio Armas Zebadua).

Pablo's wife Isa (Diane Bathen) gets the courts to issue a restraining order against him so he cannot see his two children. She eventually will threaten him that unless he enrolls in a gay conversion therapy program in their radical religious church, she will take the children to America.

Overall, I thought this drama was solidly acted with realistic characters, as well as ably written and directed by Guatemalan filmmaker Tayro Bustamante.

Complicity
(2018)

Well Presented Drama With an Ambiguous Ending
Chen Liang (Yulai Lu) is a young illegal immigrant in Japan, who has come over from his native China looking for a better life. When he realizes how difficult it is to obtain gainful employment, he pays for a new ID and becomes Liu Wei.

He's eventually hired at a soba restaurant by the shop's owner Hiroshi (Tatsuya Fuji) who is a master soba chef and willing to teach the young man the intricacies of preparing soba, while Chen will perform other functions as well,like deliveries and working to clear tables etc.

Chen begins to blend in smoothly with his Japanese environment, even meeting a female friend Hazuki (Akasaka Sayo) on a delivery, who's an artist and ironically looking to go to Beijing to further her studies.

But Chen's pretense of who he really is begins to shatter when he loses his wallet at a dance club and runs away rather than face the police, where Hazuki goes to report it. Soon, the authorities will begin to close in and Chen and Hiroshi will both have to make decisions for their futures.

This a quiet film for the most part with solid acting all around, and marks an excellent feature debut for Japanese filmmaker Kei Chikaura. My one criticism would be the movie's ambiguous ending.

Round of Your Life
(2019)

If You Like Faith-Based Films
This faith-based film can be uplifting with some humor mixed in amidst tragedy. But it is filled with stilted dialogue, platitudes, and a very formulaic and predictable storyline.

So if you like faith-based films--enjoy. But it's not my cup of tea.

Vsechno bude
(2018)

Partially Effective
Twelve-year-old Hedus (Jan Frantisek Uher) and fourteen-year -old Mara (Tomas Mrvik) embark on a road trip across the Czech Republic in a stolen Audi. Seemingly coming from neglectful homes, they'll be faced with plenty of adventures and misadventures along the way.

We quickly learn that this tale is being told in flashbacks, as Mara is relaying it to the police in flashbacks. Thus, the film will continually switch back and forth to past and present.

The humor here can be quite crude and even shocking at times. I will differ from most of the pro critics that I've read, in that I only found some of the outrageous comedy was truly effective, while the rest just didn't register with me as being so, even falling into mean-spiritedness with an underlying sadness.

Overall, the film, directed by Olmo Omerzy with a screenplay from Petr Pycha, can be an outrageous and crude road trip by two Czech boys which pulls few punches, but which I found only partially funny.

The Proposal
(2018)

Bizarre Documentary
While this film received outstanding reviews from pro critics, I found it to be one of the weirdest and most bizarre documentaries that I've seen in quite a while.

When Luis Barragan, considered by any to be the most acclaimed Mexican architect of all time, died in 1988, his personal archive and his architecture remained in Mexico, but his professional archive which contained thousands of drawings, negatives, models, was sold. This would include the intellectual property rights of Barragan's archive. The buyer was Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the Swiss furniture maker Vitra, who, rumor has it, bought it for his fiance at the time Federica Zanco. They would marry and the archive was moved to Switzerland, was named the Barragan Foundation and Federica became the director, as it would become shut from the public.

Enter Jill Magid, the narrator, director, and person who appears on screen mostly in the film, who was a devoted follower of Barragan's work. She begins to stay at the Barragan home, now a museum, and learns the details of the Barragan professional archive transfer some 2 decades before. Majid feels that corporations should not control and "hide away" artistic properties such as Barragan's.

Thus begins a long series of letters sent between Magid and Federica, which to me came across as "dancing around the subject" without being honest enough to spell it out. This is followed by Majid getting the Barragan family together for a presentation where she proposes a partial removal of Barragan's ashes for reasons the viewer is not told till near the end of the doc. The family approves, and Majid gets the local Mexican government's approval, so we get to see the box of ashes removed and 525 grams are taken out.

When we discover what's going on and how the ashes are used for an eventual proposal, I was completely turned off by this whole scenario. Overall, all the hidden agendas and manipulations in this movie left me rather angry that I spent all this time viewing it.

Unga Astrid
(2018)

Powerful Drama But Wish it Was More Than a Partial Biopic
Set mostly in the 1920's in Sweden, this partial biopic of Astrid Lindgren (nee Ericsson) focuses on her life from her mid-teens through her twenties. Showing potential as a writer and possessing a natural ability to spin stories to her siblings, Astrid's life is soon consumed though when she begins a relationship with her much older boss, has a teen pregnancy eventually giving birth to a son, and thus has to face the harsh realities of what that means in moralistic rural Sweden at that time.

Perhaps we'll get another film some day illustrating how Astrid went on to become one of the most acclaimed children's story writers in the 20th century, but although offering us up some hints with her undying love for her young son this isn't the film. I was reading that a 2017 survey found Lindgren's books, highlighted by her "The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" series, would culminate in her selling 165 million books, translated into 95 languages, thus making her the 4th most translated author of children's books in history.

Overall, the pacing of the movie is most deliberate and some scenes can certainly pull on one's heartstrings, as we watch Astrid struggle but persevere in her determination to be with her son and overcome, as mentioned, the harsh realities of life and society of that time. But with August's superb acting supported by an effective and seasoned supporting cast, I thought the movie was certainly worth a watch for its powerful drama.

Unga Astrid
(2018)

Powerful Drama But Wish it Was More Than a Partial Biopic
Set mostly in the 1920's in Sweden, this partial biopic of Astrid Lindgren (nee Ericsson) focuses on her life from her mid-teens through her twenties. Showing potential as a writer and possessing a natural ability to spin stories to her siblings, Astrid's life is soon consumed though when she begins a relationship with her much older boss, has a teen pregnancy eventually giving birth to a son, and thus has to face the harsh realities of what that means in moralistic rural Sweden at that time.

Perhaps we'll get another film some day illustrating how Astrid went on to become one of the most acclaimed children's story writers in the 20th century, but although offering us up some hints with her undying love for her young son this isn't the film. I was reading that a 2017 survey found Lindgren's books, highlighted by her "The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" series, would culminate in her selling 165 million books, translated into 95 languages, thus making her the 4th most translated author of children's books in history.

Overall, the pacing of the movie is most deliberate and some scenes can certainly pull on one's heartstrings, as we watch Astrid struggle but persevere in her determination to be with her son and overcome, as mentioned, the harsh realities of life and society of that time. But with August's superb acting supported by an effective and seasoned supporting cast, I thought the movie was certainly worth a watch for its powerful drama.

Dronningen
(2019)

Powerful & Disturbing Drama
Set in Denmark, this is a powerful drama which contains a number of highly graphic and explicit sex scenes.

Trine Dyrholm is terrific in her portrayal of Anne, an icy and headstrong partner in her own law firm, who crosses the taboo line and seduces her troubled stepson Gustav (Gustav Lindh), eventually leading to the most tragic of consequences.

Overall, a most engrossing drama, directed by May el-Toukhy, but one has to be willing to weather its most disturbing elements.

If the Dancer Dances
(2018)

Rather Fascinating
Although dance is not my forte, I found this documentary, directed by Maia Wechsler, to be rather fascinating.

It centers on the re-staging of the revered dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham's presentation of RainForest, originally performed in 1968. This difficult work will be produced by former dancer and now choreographer Stephen Petronio and his Dance Company, with assistance form 3 former members of the Cunningham troupe.

For me, the body movements of the Petronio Company's dancers were just amazing and rather stunning, as they prepared and rehearsed for this special performance, to be given at the Joyce theater in NYC. Thus, in the film the viewer is given an inside look at the meticulous detail that has to be given alongside the talent of the dancers to create such a production. We also get to learn somewhat about the dancers' themselves especially the two leads Gino and Dava.

I'm sure this documentary isn't for everyone, but, as mentioned, I became quite engaged with it from the start.

To note: there are subtitles but they are rather small.

Before You Know It
(2019)

Just Doesn't Work
For me, this dramedy was just painful to watch.

Towards the end, there were some honest moments, but it was way too long a slog to get there.

Overall, I'd say one to avoid.

Mine 9
(2019)

Offers Realistic Acting & an Air of Suspense
This low-budget indie offers realistic acting and an air of suspense throughout.

Set in the Appalachians of West Virginia, the film, written and directed by Eddie Mensore, centers on the Salvia Mine #9 and the crew of coal miners, led by their crew chief Zeke (Terry Serpico). He's so concerned about the increasingly hazardous conditions at the mine that he has called the government safety agency MSHA about them.

However, before they can investigate a methane gas explosion and a cave-in has trapped the miners miles below the surface. The movie depicts their desperate attempts to survive with only dwindling oxygen supplies.

Overall, the film gives us some idea of the tremendous dangers the miners face each day and their tenuous relationship with the owners of the mines and the government agencies. To be honest, I felt that there was too limited details of how the mining companies seemingly cut corners to make profits, at the expense of the safety of their workers.

As the credits roll, some real-life veteran miners describe why they put themselves in such a hazardous and grueling work environment each day.

Maze
(2017)

Engaging
Some may regard this movie as too slow-paced, but I thought it had enough suspense and tension to keep me engaged throughout.

The acting from the 3 leads Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, and Martin McCann was quite solid, and the film was ably written and directed by Stephen Burke.

In some ways, the movie reminded me of the 1963 classic "The Great Escape".

Bennett's War
(2019)

Predictable Yet Uplifting
Predictable and formulaic yet uplifting and heartfelt.

Michael Roark stars as Marshal Bennett, a former motorcross champion, who tries a comeback after suffering a horrific injury as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan. Allison Paige, Ali Afshar, and Trace Adkins add well to the mix in supporting roles.

Overall, the movie is not going to win any Academy Awards but I found it engaging and entertaining.

Tarde Para Morir Joven
(2018)

Quiet & Character Driven Film Set in Chile
Not for those seeking an action flick, as this is a slow paced, quiet, and character driven film. It's set mostly in rural Chile, in the 1990's, in a commune-like community, and as Christmas and the New Year approaches.

There are ensemble characters here but the focus seems to be on Sofia (Demian Hernandez) and Lucas (Antar Machado). Both are teens, with Sofia struggling emotionally as she longs to move and live with her absentee mother in another town, while testing her early sexuality with an older man. Lucas meanwhile , pines for Sofia, is an aspiring musician and appears to have an alcohol problem.

The atmospherics here really put you amidst the community, where music and singing are highly regarded even as the population struggles with sources of water and electricity.

Overall, if one has patience there are some engaging storylines and characters here, but I never felt the movie was as engrossing as it might have been. Also, I wasn't thrilled with another ambiguous ending when the commune was threatened by a possible disaster.

Holy Lands
(2017)

Just Doesn't Work
In my opinion, this is the type of movie that should have worked a lot better than it did.

With seasoned fine actors like James Caan Tom Hollander, Rosanna Arquette, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers one would think that even more so. However, the characters here are too superficial, the thematic elements often fall into melodrama, and there are a number of scenes that are just head-shakingly bad.

For example, Caan's character, the cantankerous Harry, who as you probably know by now has moved to Israel to run a pig farm, has not heard from his daughter (Efrat Dor) for a little while as she's traveling to meet him at the farm. So when she finally shows up, what does he do? Hug her:? No! He slaps her hard across the face. Huh? Other than that scene, there's no other traces of Harry being abusive physically.

Overall, there are some moments that work here, but for the most part I thought the film came across as frustrating, even annoying and just didn't work.

Rojo
(2018)

Maintains an Air of Suspense
Set in the 1970's in Argentina, this psychological thriller maintains an air of suspense throughout. Superb performances by Dario Grandinetti and Alfredo Castro, along with excellent writing and direction from Benjamin Naishtat.

Overall, I wasn't really thrilled with the ending here, but was very much engrossed in the film and interested as to how it was all going to turn out as the drama deepened.

Gangbyeon hotel
(2018)

Some Positives & Negatives
I've seen some of Hong Sang-Soo's films and from the ones I've viewed this one has many of the same characteristics. Very deliberately paced, with often enigmatic and awkward dialogue and characters. But there is a certain fascination and honesty about his movies which I find difficult to put into words.

This film is shot in black and white and mostly keeps the male and female characters separated except for some interactions. There's some humor interspersed among the dramatic moments and some of life's truisms are offered up as well. However, I didn't like the ambiguous ending here at all.

See all reviews