30 May 2016

Richard III (McKellen)

Richard III 1995
  • Director: Richard Loncraine
  • Based on the play by William Shakespeare
  • Cast: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Wood, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter, Edward Hardwicke, Adrian Dunbar, Dominic West, Tim McInnery, Bill Patterson
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ian McKellen – Vicious, King Lear, Extras, Stardust, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, David Copperfield, Richard III, Cold Comfort Farm, Six Degrees of Separation, The Ballad of Little Jo, Macbeth, Othello
    • Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right, Being Julia, American Beauty, Mars Attacks!, Postcards from the Edge
    • Jim Broadbent – the Harry Potter films, Another Year, Filth, The Young Victoria, Vera Drake, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Topsy-Turvy, Little Voice, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Richard III, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life Is Sweet, Black Adder, Brazil
    • Robert Downey Jr – Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows, Sherlock Holmes, The Soloist, Zodiac, Fur, A Scanner Darkly, Good Night and Good Luck, Gothica, Black and White
    • Nigel Hawthorne – Amistad, Twelfth Night, The Madness of King George, Gandhi, The Tempest, Holocaust
    • Kristin Scott Thomas – My Old Lady, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Contre toi, Elle s’appelait Sarah, Nowhere Boy, The Other Boleyn Girl, Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime, Keeping Mum, Gosford Park, The English Patient, Angels and Insects, Richard III, Four Weddings and a Funeral
    • John Wood - Chocolat, Longitude, Jane Eyre, The Madness of King George, Orlando
    • Maggie Smith – My Old Lady, Hotel Marigold 1 and 2, Downton Abbey, the Harry Potter films, The Quartet, Becoming Jane, Keeping Mum, Ladies in Lavender, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Gosford Park, David Copperfield, Tea with Mussolini, The First Wives’ Club, Richard III, Sister Acts 1 and 2, A Room with a View, Quartet (1981), Oh What a Lovely War, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    • Jim Carter – Downton Abbey, My Week with Marilyn, Cranford, Creation, Modigliani, Ella Enchanted, Bright Young Things, Shakespeare in Love, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Brassed Off, The Madness of King George
    • Edward Hardwicke – Love Actually, David Copperfield, Elizabeth, Titus Andronicus, Holocaust, The Onedin Line
    • Adrian Dunbar – The Hollow Crown, The Crying Game, Morse, My Left Foot
    • Dominic West – Testament of Youth, Mona Lisa’s Smile, Chicago, 28 Days, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Surviving Picasso
    • Tim McInnery – Hustle, Othello, Longitude, Notting Hill, Black Adder
    • Bill Patterson – Creation, Amazing Grace, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Retold, Bright Young Things, Sunshine, Hilary and Jackie, Auf Wiedersehen Pet
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen:  Several times. Now 29 May 2016      

       Shakespeare works no matter what era he’s place in. This time it’s a kind of fascist England with Ian McKellen as the charismatic and vicious Hitler/Richard.
       It’s an ingenious concept, brilliantly executed, performed to perfection by the British crème de la crème cast (oddly the three American actors, though good in other films, are all weak in their roles here).
       It’s raw, bold, unmerciful but charming, gruesome and glittery. Liberties are taken in showing things only related in the play. Usually it works but not the unnecessary wedding and love scene between Richmond (the soon-to-be Henry VII) and young Elizabeth. The most unfortunate cut from this long play is the role of Margaret, such a great character, but a couple of her important lines are spoken by the magnificent Maggie Smith as Richard’s mother.
       The play grows with every reading, this film with every viewing. It’s so much better than the Olivier version (though it too had its moments).

7 ½ * of 10

  
Read more in my book Shakespeare Calling – the book

Richard III (Olivier)

Richard III 1955
  • Director: Laurence Olivier
  • Based on the play by William Shakespeare
  • Cast: Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Norman Wooland, Laurence Naismith
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Laurence Olivier – King Lear, Sleuth, Oh What a Lovely War, Spartacus, Hamlet, Henry V, Rebecca, As You Like It
    • Ralph Richardson – Oh Lucky Man, Oh What a Lovely War, Doctor Zhivago, Exodus
    • John Gielgud – Elizabeth, Hamlet, First Knight, Morse, Prospero’s Books, Arthur, Gandhi, The Elephant Man, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Oh What a Lovely War
    • Claire Bloom – The King’s Speech, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, The Life and Death of King John, Cymbeline, Red Sky at Morning, Charly
    • Norman Wooland – Barabbas, The Guns of Navarone, Hamlet
    • Laurence Naismith – Romeo and Juliet, The Fugitive, Camelot, TV series
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen:  Several times. Now 28 May 2016      

       To start with the positive: the colours are splendid. If there were film prizes for best colour this would win them all. The sets are all quite magnificent. The shadow work is impressive and there are some amusing details as well as moments of drama. The two boys do convincing performances (more than the stars) and I like Buckingham (Richardson), Catesby (Wooland) and Stanley (Naismith).
       But.
       There is so much about this film I don’t like. To start with the melodramatic/chirpy 50’s film music irritates from the start as does Richard’s shiny fake black pageboy wig.  The acting is mostly hammy. Bloom’s swooning, weepy, vampy submission is not worthy of her acting skills. While some of the best scenes of the play are cut – most notably the ones with Clarence and his murderers, and all of the magnificent Margaret – others are drawn out, slow and boring.
       And what of Olivier? Well, Shakespeare’s villainous Richard is witty and charming and utterly convincing both as a lover and a scheming murderer, which is why he gets away with his villainy. Olivier’s Richard is shrill, camp, smug, flippant and slimy. His death scene is embarrassingly bad. Olivier has made undeniably great contributions to British theatre but he is overrated as a Shakespearean actor.
       The film is visually beautiful, visually exciting, but heavily weighed down by its flaws. A pity. It’s one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but not one of my favourite Shakespeare films.

2 ½ * of 5

  
Read more in my book Shakespeare Calling – the book


Stardust

Stardust 2007
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Based on the book by Neil Gaiman
  • Cast: Ian McKellen (unmistakable voice), David Kelly, Kate Magowan, Melanie Hill, Charlie Cox, Henry Cavill, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Mark Heap, Rupert Everett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Clare Danes, Joanna Scanlan, Mark Williams, Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ian McKellen – Vicious, King Lear, Extras, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, David Copperfield, Richard III, Cold Comfort Farm, Six Degrees of Separation, The Ballad of Little Jo, Macbeth, Othello
    • David Kelly – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Waking Ned Devine, The Comedy of Errors, Fawlty Towers
    • Kate Magowan – 24 Hour Party People
    • Melanie Hill – Merlin, Crocodile Shoes, Brassed Off, Spender, Auf Wiedersehen Pet
    • Charlie Cox – The Theory of Everything, Downton Abbey, Stone of Destiny, The Merchant of Venice
    • Henry Cavill – Man of Steel
    • Nathaniel Parker -  Merlin, Flawless, Inspector Lynley, Bleak House, Othello, Frost, Hamlet, Morse
    • Peter O’Toole – Troy, Bright Young Things, Murphy’s War, The Lion in Winter, Lawrence of Arabia
    • Mark Strong - The Eagle, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria, Flashbacks of a Fool, Stardust, Sunshine, Sunshine (1999), Fever Pitch
    • Mark Heap – Endeavour, Friday Night Dinner, Good Omens (voice), The World’s End, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, About a Boy, Kiss Me Kate, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
    • Rupert Everett – To Kill a King, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare in Love, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Madness of King George, Dance with a Stranger
    • Michelle Pfeiffer - Dark Shadows, Batman Returns, White Oleander, I Am Sam, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Thousand Acres, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, Dangerous Minds, Wolf, Age of Innocence, Love Fields, Frankie and Johnny, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liaisons, Married to the Mafia, The Witches of Eastwick
    • Clare Danes – The Hours, Les Misérables, Romeo + Juliet, To Gillian on her 37th Birthday, Little Women
    • Joanna Scanlan – Testament of Youth, The Invisible Woman, In the Loop, The Other Boleyn Girl, Notes on a Scandal, Kinky Boots, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Jane Eyre
    • Mark Williams – Hustle, Harry Potter 1-7, Merlin, Tristram Shandy, Shackleton, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith, Shakespeare in Love
    • Robert De Niro – Extras, 15 Minutes, Flawless, Great Expectation, Jackie Brown, Marvin’s Room, Cop Land, Heat, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Awakenings, Stanley and Iris, Brazil, Deer Hunter, New York New York, Taxi Driver, Hi Mom
    • Ricky Gervais – Life’s Too Short, The Invention of Lying, Extras
  • Why? Enjoyed it the first time
  • Seen: Once before. Now 27 May 2016      

       Everyone needs a fairy tale now and then. This is one of those evenings.
       In this story we have a nerdy son of a fairy mother (he doesn’t know that) who is returned as an infant to our world, to the lovely English village called Wall, on the other side of which the king lies dying while the sons vie for the crown. We also have three weird sisters, actually witches. We have a fallen star in the shape of a lovely young woman. And because this is a fairy tale, we have a unicorn.
       It’s fun but a bit normal until Robert de Niro and Ricky Gervais make their appearance and raise it to an entirely higher level. De Niro is a drag queen pretending to be ruthless Captain Shakespeare of a flying ship crewed by – well, they know all about him and support him faithfully. Gervais is a sleazy, cheating fence who at offers he considers too low responds with his classic, ‘Are you having a laugh?’
       The music is so much like that of The Pirates of the Caribbean that it’s almost plagiarism, and the flying ship and sword fights add to the P of C feeling. A plus, in my eyes.
       It’s humorous and entertaining all the way through. And it is such a happy ending.
       Sometimes we need that.

3 ½ * of 5


23 May 2016

Like Crazy

Like Crazy 2011
  • Director: Drake Doremus
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston, Finola Hughes
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything, The Tempest, Brideshead Revisited 
    • Anton Yelchin – Fright Night, Terminator: Salvation
    • Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games, Winters Bone
    • Alex Kingston – Lost in Austen, Croupier, Crocodile Shoes
    • Finola Hughes – I recognise her but I don’t know from where
  • Why? Jennifer Lawrence, good reviews
  • Seen:  22 May 2016      

       It’s very romantic. Two young people fall in love. She is from England, he is a native of LA where they meet in college. Alas, they must part. Visa issues. But that’s too tragic so she decides to defy the visa laws and stays. Oops, bad decision. When she goes back to England and then tries to return to the US they won’t let her in.
       Can love survive the separation?
       That’s what the film is about. You know how it is when you have friends who are newly in love and they’re all absorbed in each other and you wish they’d get past that stage so that they can be normal and interesting again? That’s sort of how I feel watching this. It’s well acted and there are a few strong moments but it’s really hard to care. Jennifer Lawrence deserves much better, as do they all.

2 ½ * of 5


Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975
  • Director: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
  • Based on book: sort of…
  • Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Graham Chapman – The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    • John Cleese – all of the above and The Day the Earth Stood Still, Die Another Day, Harry Potter 1-8, Third Rock from the Sun, The World Is Not Enough, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, A Fish Called Wanda, Clockwise, Silverado, The Taming of the Shrew, Fawlty Towers
    • Eric Idle – The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    • Terry Gilliam – Jupiter Ascending , The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    • Terry Jones - The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    • Michael Palin – The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, A Fish Called Wanda, Brazil
    • Connie Booth – Fawlty Towers, 84 Charing Cross Road
    • Carol Cleveland – The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  • Why? Monty Python
  • Seen:  21 May 2016      

       How can we not have seen this film before? For Monty Python and Camelot fans it should have been a must-see long ago. Well, now we’re seeing it.
       We start laughing before it even starts. What’s with the faux Swedish subtitles and moose jokes? We have to pause the DVD to keep up with them.
       Then it starts. Poor Arthur, nobody cares that he’s King of the Britons. He runs into long-winded nit-picking ornithologists and rebellious communist agitators in the first ten minutes, then so it goes. He manages to gather a straggling gang of knights for his Round Table (too bad they only have pretend horses) and they get an order from a curmudgeonly God to go find the holy grail.
       Let us remember that this was made in the 70’s when ridiculing everything was a bit innovative. This is Monty Python after all. They’re just lads with a quirky imagination having a laugh.
       Sometimes we laugh with them. Sometimes it’s just nonsense. Which, I suppose, is the point.
       There is some classic Monty Python humour but as a whole it’s thin.

2 ½ * of 5


The X-Files Fight the Future

The X-Files Fight the Future 1998
  • Director: Rob Bowman
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, John Neville, William B. Davis, Martin Landau, Mitch Pileggi
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Gillian Anderson – The Fall, Great Expectations, Tristram Shandy, Playing by Heart, The X-Files
    • David Duchovny – Things We Lost in the Fire, Return to Me, Twin Peaks, Working Girl, The X-Files
    • John Neville – Spider, Sunshine, The Fifth Element, Little Women, Billy Budd, The X-Files
    • William B. Davis – The X-Files
    • Martin Landau – Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Mission Impossible,  various TV series
    • Mitch Pileggi – The X-Files
  • Why? In the X-Files box
  • Seen:  20 May 2016      

       We’ve just finished watching Season 6 and now our friend JS tells us that this film comes between Seasons 5 and 6. OK, we’ll back up a bit.
       I do not love The X-Files. But. Something about it keeps us going. That something is two somebodies: Scully and Mulder.
       I’m not going to start this review with snide remarks about the historical inaccuracy of the intro. The X-Files tend not to be completely realistic. I have to stop being a stickler for realism. I’ll just sit back and watch the film. 
       It’s exciting. It has Scully and Mulder in it. What more can one want?
       Martin Landau, for example. Always a plus. A glimpse of London. Ah, London. Conspiracies. Aliens. Scary cornfields.
       And an almost kiss!
       I don’t love The X-Files. But this is actually The X-Files Deluxe. It’s silly. Of course it’s silly. But it’s exciting. And it’s Scully and Mulder. Who cares that nobody explains how they are rescued from certain death in the Antarctic and are suddenly back at FBI headquarters in Washington DC? I don’t.

3 * of 5


16 May 2016

The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey 2014
  • Director: Lasse Hallström
  • Based on the book by Richard C. Morais
  • Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Helen Mirren – Brighton Rock, The Tempest, The Queen, Calendar Girls, Gosford Park, The Pledge, Some Mother’s Son, Prime Suspect, The Madness of King George, Mosquito Coast, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ex Caliber, As You Like It, O Lucky Man
    • Om Puri – White Teeth, East Is East, Wolf, Gandhi
  • Why? Helen Mirren
  • Seen:  13 May 2016      

       Once in a while (read: altogether too often) I go mad and order a whole lot of DVDs on the net. This film was among the latest harvest.
       A surprise film with Helen Mirren is a good way to spend a Friday evening.
       A family of cooks flee violence in India and try running a restaurant in London. But it’s cold and wet and the vegetables have no soul so they try their fortune in France. But in France they don’t eat Indian food. They have food of their own.
       It’s a mix of Hotel Marigold transported to Europe, Le fils de l’épicier and Chocolat.
       The father – against the protests of all the children – buys a derelict restaurant just opposite a Michelin starred restaurant run by Helen Mirren in a French village. He’s bound to fail.
       And you believe that? Come on, this is a feel good movie.
       Mirren is an arrogant tyrant and an evil rival and papa declares war. There’s romance, beautiful French landscapes, sensuous food, what more can one ask for? A little racism and an about face by Mirren who becomes the Indian family’s ally helps. Friendship ensues where enmity had reigned. Papa needs some convincing but all ends happily.
       I have nothing against feel good movies, I watch them all the time. I like food as much as anyone. And Helen Mirren is always good.  But I never watch cookery programs and alas, this film is a little boring. It’s not Hallström’s or Mirren’s best film but gourmets might enjoy it more than I did.

2 ¾ * of 5



A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down 2014
  • Director: Pascal Chaumeil
  • Based on the book by Nick Hornby
  • Cast: Toni Collette, Pierce Brosnan, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Sam Neill, Rosamund Pike
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Toni Collette – Dead Girl, Mental, Fright Night, Little Miss Sunshine, In Her Shoes, The Hours, About a Boy, Changing Lanes, Hotel Splendide, The Sixth Sense, Velvet Goldmine, Muriel’s Wedding
    • Pierce Brosnan – The World’s End, Mamma Mia, The Ghost Writer, Seraphim Falls, Die Another Day, The World Is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies, Dante’s Peak, Mars Attacks, Golden Eye
    • Imogen Poots – Filth, Jane Eyre, Age of Innocence, 28 weeks later, V for Vendetta
    • Aaron Paul – Veronica Mars, The X Files
    • Rosamund Pike – The World’s End, An Education, The Libertine, Die Another Day
  • Why? Nick Hornby. One of his best books. The cast is good too.
  • Seen:  8 May 2016      

       Suicide. In Hornby’s hands it’s bound to be bitter sweetly funny.
       Martin (Brosnan) and Maureen (Collette) vie for a jumping position on a tall building in London on New Year’s Eve. While they awkwardly introduce themselves to each other, Jess and JJ also queue up to jump.
       Right. It actually is funny. They all end up off the roof (via stairs, not jumping), in Martin’s car in a rain storm. Don’t ask. It works.
       They tell each other their reasons for suicide. Martin is a celebrity whose life has been ruined by notoriety. Maureen: ‘helpless situation.’ Jess – unhappy love. JJ has a brain tumour.
       Of course they’re all screwed up. Of course they wander through the black night together. Somehow Jess talks them into promising not to commit suicide until Valentine’s Day.
       Truth be known, I don’t remember the details of the novel so the twists and turns are unexpected.
       Their pain is real. The humour is…funny. They’re going to help each other find their way back to life. Right?
       Nick Hornby’s books make very good books. They also make excellent movies. Especially with a cast like this one. Collette and Poots raise it to

4 * of 5





9 May 2016

The Railway Man

The Railway Man 2013
  • Director: Jonathan Teplitsky
  • Based on book by Eric Lomax
  • Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeremy Irvine, Tanroh Ishida, Hiroyuki Sanada
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Colin Firth – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The King’s Speech, Genova, Then She Found Me, Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, Girl with Pearl Earring, My Life So Far, Shakespeare in Love, A Thousand Acres, Fever Pitch, The English Patient
    • Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole, Australia, Nine, Margot at the Wedding, Fur, The Interpreter, Birth, Cold Mountain, The Human Stain, Dogville, The Hours, Birthday Girl, The Others, Moulin Rouge, Eye Wide Shut, Practical Magic, Batman Forever, Billy Bathgate
    • Stellan Skarsgård – Mamma Mia, Melancholia, Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Arthur, Dogville, The Glass House, Dancer in the Dark, Amistad, Good Will Hunting, Breaking the Waves, Den enfaldige mördaren
    • Hiroyuki Sanada – Sunshine, East Meets West
  • Why? Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman
  • Seen:  7 May 2016      

       Years after the war veteran Eric Lomax falls in love with and marries a nurse he meets on a train, Patti, but he is haunted by memories and hallucinations from his time as a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp in the Burmese jungle. As Patti becomes more and more puzzled and alarmed, Eric’s behaviour becomes more bizarre and violent. She appeals to his friend and fellow veteran Finlay to tell her what had happened so that she can help him. Finley is also traumatised by what he, Eric and others had experienced but he tells her. In flashbacks we see how the British soldiers are forced through slave labour to build the railway leading to the bridge over the River Kwai through the deadly jungle. Lomax, a railway enthusiast, is part of the resistance and sabotage team. He, Finley and two others are caught with a contraband radio and tortured.
       Back in the present it is discovered that the Japanese interpreter who was part of the torture team is now leading guided tours of the camp and the railway. The consequences of this discovery are tragic and dramatic.
       It’s not the kind of war film one usually sees. It’s about the individual cost of war, the demons that plague the victims and survivors, the haunting of what Finlay calls the ‘ghost soldiers’. It’s about responsibility, criminality, lies, atonement, revenge, retribution, guilt. It’s about the degradation and the survival of the human spirit.
       It is quiet and intense and brutal. And profoundly human. ‘Some time hating has to stop.’

4 ½ * of 5




Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys 2014
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Michael Lamenda, Erich Bergen
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Christopher Walken – Romance and Cigarettes, Catch Me If You Can, Sleepy Hollow, Blast from the Past, Suicide Kings, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Batman Returns, Sarah Plain and Tall, The Deer Hunter
    • Vincent Piazza – The Sopranos
  • Why? London nostalgia
  • Seen:  5 May 2016      

       A couple of years ago we saw this musical on stage in London for the only reason that it was available on a day and at a time when we could. I was never a Four Seasons fan, especially after the Beatles arrived, but they’re part of history. And the musical? Well, musical in London = fantastic no matter what.
       Thus the movie. Christopher Walken is a plus. But you know what? I really don’t like the 50’s. Or mafia movies. Half an hour in it’s a bad Sopranos wannabe with bad music. In spite of all the tough-guy macho talk it lacks the edgy sharpness of the London musical.
       After a draggy first hour of this gang being small town nobodies they whiz their way through fame and fortune right into their downfall. It gets dramatic at times but never gripping. I just can’t care about these guys.
In London the cast had us on our feet, dancing and singing the songs, loving them and forgetting that we were never Four Seasons fans. The film…well, Christopher Walken is always good.
Some musical films live up to their stage counterparts. Sadly, this one doesn’t.

2 ½ * of 5