Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, & Gisele Bundchen Star!

 DATELINE: Bad Bad Bundchen

 bad bad bundchen.jpeg

Mrs. Tom Brady Did It!

Hail a Taxi in a New York minute! This is a must-see movie classic.

Well, okay, it isn’t exactly Citizen Kane.

However, the 2004 movie called Taxi impresses in so many ways. First, its cast includes Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, and Giselle Bundchen. Unlikely and perfect casting?

Yes, the future Mrs. #TomBrady is in her movie debut with third billing. There is not even a hint of “Introducing….” She is the star. Having a billion bucks can do that.

She is top of the game as the villain, a tall model-type bank robber, heading a gang of shoot’em up women. What? You were expecting Anna Magnani in Open City? It’s enough to convince us that, if she teamed up with Tom Brady, for a movie career, we’d have another Burton and Taylor, or at least a potential Laurel and Hardy.

The movie is about a New York cabbie with a penchant for speeding (Queen Latifah in her patented sassy tough girl role) and an inept New York copper (Jimmy Fallon with a run-off at the mouth speed).

Luc Besson directs and writes this stuff to guarantee there is plenty of car-crashing action. He is the Fellini of the urban circus movie. Yeah, we give this one 8 and a Half.

If you expect to see Downton Abbey, you took a wrong turn at Antonioni’s Blow Up. Gisele rivals Vanessa Redgrave here.

We mainly stayed agog during the entire film because it is fifteen years old, and the three principal stars look exactly the same today. They have not aged one whit. #Latifah, #Fallon, and #Bundchen just stepped out of The Time Machine.

Who among us can make that claim? You might start to wonder where the Fountain of Youth is located in Central Park. Is it Tom Brady’s avocado ice cream that tells us the proof is in the pudding?

Yes, the cute strawberry blonde playing Jimmy Fallon’s mother is that Viva Las Vegas girl and Elvis co-star, Ann-Margaret. Talk about ageless

This movie is a Manhattan cake-walk.

Origins of Lone Ranger, Tonto, & Silver

DATELINE: Hi-ho, Hi-yo!

tonto  Jay Silverheels

When you tie together the first 3 episodes of the 1949 TV show The Lone Ranger, you have an early TV movie. Indeed, some years ago, the producers edited these extraordinary moments into a short film. Sometimes it is called Enter the Lone Ranger, or Origin of the Lone Ranger.

The latest edit is called The Lone Ranger Story, answering all your questions, according to the narrator.

You have to guess which one of the six Texas Rangers is, in fact, the one who survives a terrorist attack by a Manson-style gang. You never see his face until he dons the mask. He cannot put on the mask until his face heals.

On top of that, he will presume to be dead, making an empty grave for himself. He is a ghostly vision of revenge against lawlessness. He rises from the dead after three days in a near coma.

His faithful companion, Tonto, bleaches his hat white as a symbol of his new identity. He cuts a mask from the vest of the Ranger’s dead brother.

You see him crawling to a spring to save himself, but only when his childhood friend Tonto appears is the Ranger likely to survive to another day. As the narrator states: “He was a fabulous individual.” He was indeed a walking fable.

In case you forgot, the Masked Man is rich: he owns a silver mine—and takes his payment from that. He also casts silver bullets: another symbol of justice, never to be used on another person. He will hand them out like calling cards. He wears Tonto’s ring around his neck.

And, to finish the silver motif, he finds a white stallion of great indomitable spirit with whom he bonds. Hi-yo, my goodness!

The film is old, simplistic, and utterly charming with the exciting William Tell Overture as a musical background. Clayton Moore’s baritone is authoritative, and Jay Silverheels is the ultimate in noble savage. The horse ain’t bad neither.

What a treat from the thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again. Oh, you, Kemo Sabe.

Westworld 2.6 Goes to Hell

DATELINE:  Westworld 2.6

  who's Arnold? Who’s real?

You have now entered Robot Hell in Westworld’s Season 2.

The dirty little coward Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has shot the Jesse James Western story into a moldering grave. You can’t tell the guests from the hosts without a scorecard, and staff may be just as confused as the audience.

We may be wondering after 2.6 just who the true villains are. Those who were rotten for the entire series show too much heart as we come to a climax. And, those Dopplegangers from Shogun World are gone, thank heavens. However, we are seeing William (Ed Harris), head honcho of the Westworld operation having a change of heart.

Since no one ever really dies in a Jonathan Nolan series, we know everyone will return in some shape or form. You can probably expect that there are host versions of everyone, and you can’t tell them apart without one of those fancy tablets Elsie (Shannon Woodward) plays like a Chopin nocturne.

If there is a theme here, it is that pursuing a dream is the stuff tragedy is made of. Bernard, or is that Arnold, dreams of returning to the past, or is it the present?

The more the storylines change, the more they remain the same. We know that guests and hosts are converging on the Pearly Gates of the grande finale of season 2.  What we don’t know is how hell-bent they are to have a Last Supper.

In this episode we see one robot “crucified” with spikes by uncaring humans in an effort to learn what is truth. Good centurion Luke Helmsworth stands by in growing horror, as Nolan unravels his gospel according to a Person of Interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Great White Hope

DATELINE: Rocky & Jack Johnson

pardon us

We are always delighted to see movie history made, whether it’s an archeological dig looking for the lost set of Cecil B. DeMille’s silent Ten Commandments or joining Kenneth Anger looking for Hollywood dirt.

So, this week we had the spectacle of President Donald Trump giving a pardon to long-dead, champion black boxer Jack Johnson, a turn-of-the-century victim of racism. He was convicted of committing the Mann Act, taking a white woman across state lines for sexual purposes. It was the moral equivalent of taking a knee at an NFL football game.

No, Trump did not offer Colin Kaepernick a pardon. Wait a hundred years for that.

Sylvester Stallone has made it a personal cause to have Johnson exonerated with a presidential pardon. Barack Obama never did the trick, but Donald Trump was Johnny on the Spot, ready to offer a pardon when he heard Obama dropped the ball.

So, hungry for anything to keep the news off his soon to be pardoned family members Don, Jr., Ivanka, and Kushner, the often-labeled racist president invited Stallone to the White House for the big pardon.

Ken Burns who directed a 2004 documentary on Jack Johnson also was a no-show.

No one told Stallone or dumb-bell Trump that a pardon infers guilt. And those who accept pardons usually accept their guilty role. Oh, well, let’s not quibble.

We also thought it interesting that Trump is the Great White Hope to pardon black athletes when he wants to throw them out of the country for exercising free speech.

No, the man who made a career out of playing Jack Johnson, James Earl Jones, did not show up at the pardoning ceremony.

The star of the Great White Hope on Broadway and movies, was conspicuous by his absence.

Kinky Puss’n Boots

DATELINE:  A Really Big Shoe

 kinky boots Kinky-Dinky!

Kinky Boots may kindly be called an old-fashioned character drama. The difference is that it’s about drama queens in men’s shoes. It was later turned into a smash stage show, but the 2006 version is one of those working class British angry young man movies (except the young man dresses like a woman).

The two characters in juxtaposition are, first, the son of a shoe factory heir facing bankruptcy for making traditional footwear for men when disposable sneakers are the rage.

The second young man likes to wear high-heels and becomes a cabaret star in drag shows.

Under normal circumstance, you almost would expect the two men to slip into each other’s loafers at some point. Thank heavens, Kinky Boots keeps us in our own lanes and avoids any moments with glass slippers.

Joel Edgerton is the scion of shoemakers who learns that market niche for men’s boots with stilettos is high end. He meets Chiwetel Ejiofor in a career-busting role as Lola, the giant man in glitter. They kick up the story. Chiwetel also sings us a torrid version of “Whatever Lola Wants.”

Unfortunately, to walk a mile in one man’s shoes, or high-heels, may be a stretch too far. The movie makes its points early and often but keeps on giving us more. The climax on the runways of Milan for shoe biz is too much glitz for our own good. Hero and audience fall flat.

Lessons in what defines masculinity and manhood are made a few times too many. It’s always hard to figure out British men anyhow since, to American eyes, they all look ready to put on a feathery boa and dancing shoes.

Westworld 2.2, Better Off Dead?

DATELINE:  Reunion, or Bring Yourself Back Online

Barnes & Simpson

Ben Barnes and Jimmi Simpson

The second episode should have been first. Westworld 2 was better the second time around.

If jumping across timeframes becomes easier with practice, we should have seen this coming first. Flashbacks highlight the episode to before the start of “Westworld” as a land of fantasy for rich players in which the prototype robots party in Contemporary World, our time.

We even see Ben Barnes again, killed by evil William at the end of the first season.

Everyone dead from last season is alive again through the miracle of backstory. We even see the young Anthony Hopkins flash by and hear his voice, warning the real Bernard/Arnold about his creations.

Ed Harris and his young self, Jimmi Simpson, seem far more explanatory this season and especially in this episode. We are even given the multiple level chess game of seeing flashbacks within flashbacks. It’s as if Joe Mankiewicz at his greatest Hollywood style had been reincarnated in android version Jonathan Nolan.

Yes, Westworld returned to the thrilling days of tantalizing its core viewers, as the ultimate tease mystery.

To see Dolores in modern times, given insights by her creators, lends understanding to the revolution of robots in Westworld.

A few stories even briefly cross before future episodes will give fans more insights: Thandie Newton and her beau automaton Rodrigo Sandoro meet the strong-willed Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden.

Will they meet again? Don’t know where, don’t know when.

Jeffrey Wright’s real person (not his later robotic self) figures only in the opening. His future scenes of the previous episode remain inexplicable at this point.

Story arc of the first episode, less interesting, was completely missing this week—and the meat of the sadistic monster hosts dominated the proceedings. We may not fully understand where this is heading, or who will return again, but Nolan and his partner Lisa Joy have produced an intriguing series, season two

Shakespeare Undone: Cymbeline

 DATELINE: Clashing Cymbeline

cymbeline

King Cymbeline and Step-son!

Michael Almereyda is known for putting the modern spin on the old stuff. To call Shakespeare’s secondary play, Cymbeline, a lost masterpiece in the trailer is a tad misleading.

We must ask, ‘what have we got here?’

Updates of Shakespeare are always a fad, and Michael Amereyda provides us with a Sons of Anarchy version of Shakespeare’s lesser Brits versus Romans story.

Alas, Shakespeare was already making a parody of his earlier work, Romeo and Juliet, in this late career tale of young love.

Putting a secondary Shakespeare play into an American biker setting is guaranteed to drive biker fans crazy in five minutes, and Shakespearean purists to the remote control in 10 minutes. No one will stick around for the standard blood bath we know is at the end of Shakespeare’s dramas and histories.

Watching this one is like viewing those delinquents in West Side Story as they do ballet down the mean streets of East Harlem in a different Shakespeare update. It is slightly ridiculous.

We are always sympathetic to American actors who try Shakespeare. This film avoids showing you the actual Shakespearean dialogue in the trailer. It may be a rude shock to the unwary fans who tune in.

We commend every American actor in the movie for managing to use their skateboards and smart phones and still spit out the Shakespearean language. The cast is marvelous: Ed Harris plays King Cymbeline, John Leguizamo as an unfortunate aide, Ethan Hawke as a notable enemy, the lead Anton Yelchin is Harris’s step-son.

We suspect there are English majors who have read a dozen Shakespearean plays but never this one. So, we are pleased that Almereyda has made it available and semi-watchable. The plot is incomprehensible, because we can hardly root for drug abusing violent Hell’s Angel bikers versus corrupt and ruthless police.

If done with British actors, the whole thing would look like something out of a gay leather movie, which American boys Anton Yelchin and Penn Badgley have their parts.

We might never see another version of Cymbeline other than this movie. For that we are grateful, even as many other fans head for the exits. We stayed till the end.

 

Gronk Filming Movie in Atlanta

DATELINE: New England Media Out to Lunch
Tatum, Gronk, Kyrie on the Set.
Boston sports media is in a panic because Rob Gronkowski has not shown up for the voluntary team workouts for the New England Patriots.
According to Boston sports media, this gives credence to the notion the Gronk is thinking about retiring from professional football.
All of the reports are incomplete and suggest he may be holding out for money.
All these reports are incorrect.
Gronk has permission from the team to be on location for the movie. He is willing to risk his voluntary bonus with the Patriots for practicing in order to advance his film career with a major movie role.
Rob Gronkowski is presently in Georgia,  filming a major motion picture called Boss Level. the film stars Mel Gibson, and Naomi Watts. Principal photography has begun, and casting of extras occurred last week. Gronk has an important role in the  film.
The story concerns a retired special ops soldier who must relive the last day of his life, sort of like Groundhog Day Meets The Terminator.

The Shape of Water-Logged

DATELINE:  Oscar Goes Glug Glug!

glug glug  Missing the Black Lagoon

Who would have envisioned Creature from the Black Lagoon winning Best Picture of 1954 for director Jack Arnold?  Yet, the wet creature won for its director in the Shape of Water in 2018. How the world has changed into a monster mash.

Guillermo del Toro may be too full of bull with his latest movie. His Gill Man takes place on the heels of the original Creature tale, circa 1960, and likely is meant to be a homage sequel. A real sequel followed in 1955.

This amphibian man is called a ‘god’ more than once, in case you don’t understand the ending.

The film is subtly anti-American, with its sympathetic Soviet spy as one of the few likeable characters.

Of course, you have Octavia Spencer in a key role, which always elevates a movie to a higher standing. Michael Shannon has apparently cornered the market on despicable villains who are sexist, racist, and anti-disabilities. And, we always perk up when Nick Searcy (from Justified) makes an appearance.

As for the Creature, swimmingly played in a wet suit by Doug Jones, we are treated to a Fred and Ginger dance number in one dream sequence. Indeed, the film is rife with clips of old movies—from Betty Grable to the Story of Ruth.

Yes, you will find Bob Denver as Maynard and Mr. Ed as the Talking Horse in a couple of clips. No wonder this struck a nerve with aging Boomers.

Alas, the overdrawn sex scenes seemed superfluous and almost tacky to the point of meanly excluding a younger audience.

The film wants to play off the King Kong-style romance between monster and damsel, but the paws of Del Toro are around the heroine’s throat all too often.

Meant to move us with its horror fantasy, we were simply antsy.

 

Tom Brady Not Ready for Prime Time

DATELINE: The Arrogance Game

Rodin's thinkerThe Thinker, Fan-Version

If you are among the throngs (yeah, millions for defense, but not one fan for tribute) who await the final episode of the Tom Brady self-congratulatory TV series called Tom Versus Time, you have to wait longer.

It appears Tom and his producer Gotham Chopra have to scrap the final episode and come up with a new one. They finished the series with Tom winning the Super Bowl. Reality bites. His team lost, though he came close to pulling it out, but horseshoes is not football.

You may see a pattern of arrogance in the series that denotes Tom Brady as a wise, old philosopher, on the lines of another problematic Bostonian, Henry David Thoreau.

Gotham Chopra self-admitted their problem with a statement that puts a smiley face emoji on the situation. “Everyone keeps asking me about Chapter 6 of ‘Tom vs Time’ and when it’s going to be ready. The truth is we had a plan, but unconsciously, it was tied to the Pats winning the Super Bowl and, when that didn’t happen (congrats, Eagles!), I felt like we needed to pause and recalibrate.”

Yeah, losing’s a bitch. Having to re-interview Tom Brady for an hour to find bon mots is not pleasant. They had to re-calibrate Tom’s happy-go-lucky philosophy with a reality check. That’s the unfortunate side of “reality TV.”

Chopra ends his emoji apologia with: “So, Chapter 6 — ‘Coming Soon!'”  It sounds like the next chapter of Batman.

We actually would like to see the pre-Super Bowl, arrogant, mad-as-a-hatter Tom Brady. but that episode will be lost forever to history.  Please Note: we said  hatter, to all you haters who have trouble reading.

New Book of Movie & TV Reviews

 “A compendium of enormous balderdash and overwrought and underthought insights!”

Mal Tempo, Long Time Ago book consultant

                                                    kindleredcarpet

If you enjoy Ossurworld’s movie and television reviews, with their unique and odd insights into what’s really happening in your favorite movies, then you are in luck! 

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews collects the best of the blog reports in one place for easy access and reading.

The books is available for smarter readers, both in e-book and print formats, from Amazon.

If you want the perfect time-killer, Red Carpet Tickets is your ticket to ride. 

Ossurworld’s blogs on movies (& TV streams) select only films that you can and should devote time to watching. Bad films are rarely considered for examination. Bloated budgets, ridiculous acting, and skimpy budgets, will not hurt a film’s chances if something intelligent is presented. Ossurworld will let you know.

You can find Ossurworld’s new book online by simply clicking on this blue highlight!

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews.  (This blog is a self-serving, commercial, and otherwise blatant attempt to win your appreciation of our mini-labors of Hercules.)

CGI Removes Kevin Spacey from Upcoming Movie

DATELINE:  All the $ in the World

 oops, not so fast     (Remove the name please.)

Ridley Scott has announced he will replace Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in his already filmed movie, All the Money in the World.  Its trailers already released with Spacey will be revised.

This is a new wrinkle: replacing an actor in a film without bringing in the rest of the cast, re-shooting dozens of set scenes, or otherwise delaying the project much.

Through the miracle of computer generated effects, the face of Christopher Plummer will be overlaid atop Kevin Spacey, creating an entirely new character’s image in scenes the rest of the cast never filmed. Their reactions in the script will be to the original actor, now erased.

The notion that actors and their roles are now subject to recasting at any point may change the direction that films take. Imagine: you can take an older film and remove a bad performance with another actor’s impersonation.

Spacey has been deleted because of his detriment to box office, no other motive can be found. To insure the movie will not be judged on the foibles of Spacey, someone else—namely older and safer Plummer will suffice.

We doubt that Spacey will replace himself with another face in his TV movie Gore, now shelved.

No matter that this bit of casting likely improves the entire film because Plummer will play the grandfatherly Getty, a billionaire cheapskate who didn’t want to pay the ransom for his kidnapped grandson.

Through the magic of computer effects, we can see a plethora of bad actors taken out of the role after working and being paid. If the director finds his original choice was not so good, he may re-cast with impunity.

Directors may now take advantage of some hot young star and replace the original with a new face for reasons of finance, politics, or just box office.

We expect to see the resurrection of James Dean or Marilyn Monroe in a new move when their heads are placed onto other bodies. It’s around the corner, movie fans.

Kevin Spacey’s World Revisited

spacey

DATELINE:  Recanting Our Blog

Additional charges against Kevin Spacey have now come out of the closet, increasing the validity of the original accusation.

What is tragic here is that he has just finished a movie called Gore about Gore Vidal that now will never be released by Netflix, and is considered “shelved.”  That is a fancy way to bury the film. Few decent films are shelved. Of the dozen or so shelved movies that were starring famous actors, most were deplorable messes. The Spacey film could have been interesting and high quality.

The movie had a juicy subplot concerning Leonard Bernstein and Rudy Nureyev. It might have rivaled the Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra for sheer tabloid appeal. It may be in limbo for the foreseeable future.

In a blog this week we offered a mild defense for Kevin Spacey against sexual harassment allegations, implying one charge was not enough for a generalization. Now we have heard there are multiple incidents.

During the course of the week, these additional charges have cropped up and caused Spacey’s talent agency to drop him entirely. The crew of his series House of Cards called the studio situation “toxic,” owing to Spacey’s behavior.

Various people who worked on the show felt Spacey was running amok. The specific details of Spacey’s alleged behavior are sordid. As a result, Netflix is totally canceled the sixth season of the House of Cards—and have withdrawn from the film project.

What remains distressing to us is that a film in post-production, namely Gore, about the life of writer Gore Vidal, produced and starring Kevin Spacey, may never be aired. What a miscarriage of creativity. Post-production means the film was in editing for final review.

What a shame and catastrophe for all of those who work so hard on the production. We think of actor Douglas Booth, a wonderful new star, whose performance may be lost.

This perhaps it is the biggest tragic result of the charges against Kevin Spacey. But we can will lose the opportunity to see another documentarian approach to Vidal. We doubt he would have approved of the movie in any case, when it is produced by a man with some reprehensible charges against him.

Kevin Spacey Pilloried: Trial by Social Media

DATELINE:  Accusations

Darrow Spacey

We must be in a new era of McCarthyism, Toto.

We are not fans of the Kevin Spacey Netflix series House of Cards, believing from the beginning that the British version was superior.

However, we are a little distressed at the latest trend. Netflix has suspended the Spacey series because of one young man’s allegation that Spacey accosted him over a decade ago. It seems like punishing everyone associated with the well-known actor.

Not even Clarence Darrow could likely spin Spacey out of this mess.

Corey Feldman seems to be doing something similar, collecting money based on his alleged victimization. Feldman is raising a public hue and cry about sexual predators—and asking for $10 million to fund his docudrama and personal life.

Who knows what the truth is? Is Feldman shaking down the goodwill of fans? Is Spacey’s accuser looking for free publicity?

We used to think we were in a country where you were innocent until proven guilty.  Court rooms and evidence are no longer required. Perhaps the US of A was never that country of ideals.

If a charge is made against you, you are immediately guilty, and castigated in social media. You can muster no defense; you can bring no supporting evidence. And in a situation where it’s your word against accuser, you’re dead dead dead.

Even if the accusation is recanted or disapproved, the taint will remain. There is no deodorant for being labelled a child molester.

We have no idea of whether Kevin Spacey committed an attack or seduction on a 14-year-old boy long ago. It seems strange to wait 14 years to complain about it. Perhaps it’s true Spacey cannot recall such an event—especially if it never happened, or is lost in an alcoholic haze.

However, there are benefits for the victim. Now the recipient receives great sympathy from a community looking for victims to support; he probably will be offered a bunch of roles and recognition in his acting field for bravery.

On the other hand, Kevin Spacey’s career may be in shambles. Having his hit series canceled or suspended is not a good sign of the future.

But times have changed. You will be judged today on yesterday’s actions by today’s standards. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Kevin Spacey charged with pedophilia or Robert E. Lee on a charger on a pedestal.

Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold?

DATELINE:  Free e-Book

kindlemoviegold

How often is there a free lunch in America?

This weekend may feed your movie-fan soul with a variety of film commentaries from the blogs of Ossurworld.  The latest book is called Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold? We suspect you may find both present in the digital pages.

Yes, the collected reviews are now together like the Musketeers: all in one convenient place for your perusal.  And, for the next few days, the cost is NOTHING!

Ossurworld likes Hollywood history, and this time he has put together recent reviews of classic movies he re-watched in 2017.

Amazon has a special feature for those who like something for nothing and believe you may actually receive more than you might bargain for.

If you want to know how to pick up Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold, just follow this highlight to the book-page to download. The offer is limited to a few short days–and dusk falls earlier as your Trick or Treat experience comes down the pike.

 

 

 

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