Kathy vs. T.K.’s View of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – Rated R – 2 hrs. 41 mins.

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“Expertly crafted from its first frame to its last, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is Tarantino’s finest use of screen time to date!”  Kathy Kaiser – MatineeChat.com

 

This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser and is SPOILER FREE

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – Rated R – 2 hrs. 41 mins.

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Quentin Tarantino

STARRING:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, and Bruce Dern

As we visit LA circa 1969, the television and film industries are in the midst of big changes, as TV and film Star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) becomes fixated on his fledging career.  When Rick’s stunt double, and bff Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) steps in to help Rick navigate his way, as they find that their fictional lives on screen, are about to intersect with the reality of their everyday lives…

I rate Once Upon A Time In Hollywood a DEFINITE MUST SEE ON THE THE BIG SCREEN!

Yep, all the hype about Tarantino’s 9th film is totally warranted, as it basks you in the nostalgia and vibe of days gone by.   Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is definitely Tarantino’s finest use of screen time to date, as he manages to embody all the sights, sounds and ambiance of movie making, into one expertly crafted ode to Hollywood.

From his creative genius in casting Pitt opposite DiCaprio, to selecting the beautiful and equally talented Margot Robbie to play real-life actress Sharon Tate, to his slew of supporting cast phenoms who brought fabulous performances to this joy ride too –  Tarantino manages to extract exceptional performances across the board, creating a truly masterful tale every step of the way.

I was also amazed by the way this film effortlessly entwines fictional characterizations with the harsh realities of its depicted “era in time“, as it literally manages to exude frame after frame of sometimes intense, yet other times hilarious moments onto the screen.

Coming from a person who either absolutely loves Tarantino’s work (Django Unchained, Inglorious Bastards), or refuses to ever sit through them again, (Kill Bill, The Hateful Eight), Once Upon A Time In Hollywood totally enticed me this time around, with its perfectly developed characters, and expertly constructed storyline.  Once again Tarantino’s innate masterfulness for infusing his fictional mindset, with real-life events, makes his latest creation seamlessly flow in a way, we may never see again.

But with all the accolades that I will continue to bestow upon this incredible creation even after I release this review ~ I would be remiss if I didn’t share too ~  that I felt there were a few scenes that beckoned to be edited, as they seemed to drag on a bit too long, taking away some of the finesse for those particular depictions on screen,  But, even  with the acknowledgment of those few slight flaws for me, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is still my favorite film for 2019 so far…and make sure you stay put until the credits are through, as you don’t want to miss the last frames of this f-ing fabulous film!

 

This humble opinion is brought to by you T. K. Edwards

ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD – Rated R – 2 hr. 41 mins     

Director:  Quentin Tarantino

Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

NO SPOILERS BELOW

ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD is Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film and just like the rest of his films, it doesn’t disappoint, but I am one of the very few people that does not agree with most fans when it comes to this movie being his best film to date.  There is absolutely NO WAY it is better than PULP FICTION!!! I think this is a perfect example of how the hype for an upcoming movie has made it “more” than what it truly is. I love all of Quentin’s movies and they’re all special in their own way, but to say this one is the best of the bunch is wrong in my humble opinion.  That being said, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD does deliver on the following: cast performances, costumes, story, soundtrack, and direction. It’s hard to pinpoint why I’m not as taken with ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, but if I was forced to really look at why it doesn’t reach as high on my Tarantino list as his other films I would have to say its because the length of the film is so long.  There are moments in this film that are not necessary to drive the story forward. They seem to be there only for the sole purpose of playing more music and to see people driving in cars really fast. You shave off some of that time and I would bet you dollars to donuts that this movie goes up a few notches on my list of Tarantino movies. No more negative, I hate negative comments when it comes to a film that I really enjoyed.  Let’s talk about something fun instead like the star studded cast because that was my favorite part of ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD. I’m going to begin with Margot Robbie. She does a great job of being both innocent and true to a real-life person that suffered such a horrific fate. Her performance is an extremely sweet tribute to Sharon Tate and I think she would’ve been very pleased with the way it turned out. Moreover, Margot is eye poppingly beautiful.  You cannot take your eyes off her when she is on the screen and that has to do with not only her beauty, but the late 60s early 70s clothes she wears. As for our other two leads of this film, Brad and Leo are amazing together. Their chemistry is phenomenal, and they just jump off the screen. It’s surprising they have never worked together before, but I guarantee you this will not be the last time they do. It can’t be. They’re just too damn good. Both of them are hilarious and if I’m allowed one minor spoiler, for the first time since 1993, I got to see one of my favorite Brad Pitt characters of all time…Floyd from TRUE ROMANCE made an ever so slight appearance through Brad’s acting at the end of this film.  It’s brief. It’s probably not intentional. I may be the only one that notices it and it’s only a few lines and a small giggle, but Floyd returned, and I loved it. So, thank you Brad and Quentin. As for Leo – he is a movie star, plain and simple. The guy just gets the job done every time and the audience walks away being satisfied. It’s incredible to see just how far he has come throughout his career and he just keeps getting better and better. It’s definitely a high compliment when Martin Scorsese even says Leo rejuvenated his career as a director.  The guy is 100% acting gold and I love watching all of his movies.  My suggestion for ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD is to go see it in theaters.  I will warn you, it’s very long and does take awhile to get you hooked, but it’s still worth going to see in theaters.  Until next time, thanks for reading.

P.S. – Stick around during the credits for a Quentin Tarantino Easter egg credit scene.

 

COLUMBIA PICTURES’ ESCAPE ROOM OFFERS A CHANCE TO ENTER TO WIN A MILLION DOLLARS!

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COLUMBIA PICTURES’ ESCAPE ROOM OFFERS A CHANCE TO ENTER TO WIN A MILLION DOLLARS – Want a chance at winning a million dollars?! Columbia Pictures’ Escape Room movie is giving YOU a chance to use your puzzle-solving skills and a chance to enter to win a trip to Los Angeles and a shot at $1,000,000! And don’t miss the new movie Escape Room, only in theaters January 4th! In the Escape Room Movie Million Dollar Challenge Sweepstakes, gamers, horror fans, and puzzle   solvers alike can enter an immersive digital experience at EscapeRoomMovieChallenge.com. To survive all three (3) 360° movie-themed escape rooms you must solve a series of puzzles utilizing clues and custom interactive riddles. Survivors will be able to enter for a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles, go through a real escape room, and have a shot at $1,000,000! NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR PUZZLE COMPLETION NECESSARY.

See the Official Rules at EscapeRoomMovieChallengeRules.com.

Escape Room is a psychological thriller about six strangers who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must use their wits to find the clues or die. Their secrets hold the key. Uncover the dark truth that connects them all. Directed by Adam Robitel. Produced by Neal H. Moritz and Ori Marmur. Screenplay by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik. Story by Bragi Schut. About Sony Pictures Entertainment Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additionalinformation, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.

 

Review of WHITE BOY RICK  – Rated R  – 1 hr. 50 mins

White boy RIck

This humble opinion is brought to by you T. K. Edwards

WHITE BOY RICK  – Rated R  – 1 hr. 50 mins

Director by:  Yann Demange

Cast:  Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bel Powley, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, Piper Laurie

Based on the true story of a teenager that becomes an informant for the FBI and later gets a life sentence in prison for dealing drugs.

THIS SEGMENT DOESN’T CONTAIN ANY SPOILERS

WHITE BOY RICK was a good movie, but I don’t know if this was a story that needed to be told.  It reminded me of the movie BLOW starring Johnny Depp. Both films are entertaining and both are about their main characters getting involved in the drug world and how it ultimately ruined their lives.  We keep seeing these drug dealer movies that are based on true stories and they all have one thing in common with each other, which is they try to make you sympathize with these characters that lose everything at the end of the movie.  Umm, no. I won’t do it. I can’t do it. Dealing drugs and committing crimes may seem glamorous on the silver screen, but in “real life” it’s not. It’s the easy way through life and that easy way comes with a price and that price is jail or prison.  Here’s a movie showing you how this person got to where they were at and although they may be a nonviolent criminal, they are still a criminal. Am I supposed to be upset that the drug dealer is never going to be able to see his daughter again because he got caught breaking the law?  Once again, my answer is “no”. There are no “good drug dealers” and “bad drug dealers”, there are only DRUG DEALERS (lol). Back to WHITE BOY RICK and the performances in the movie. Once again, Matthew McConaughey pulls out a great performance as a down on his luck trashy “redneck”, but we’ve seen this from him too many times before (GOLD, TRUE DETECTIVE, MUD, LARGER THAN LIFE).  McConaughey plays this character just as much as he plays the Rom Com leading man, that’s always leaning on his leading lady in the movie posters (Seriously, if you want a laugh, put the following movie posters side by side: FAILURE TO LAUNCH, HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS, FOOL’S GOLD, GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST). The other leading actor in WHITE BOY RICK is Richie Merritt who plays the character Rick Wershe Jr. aka White Boy Rick.  This is his first movie and his performance is well above average for someone that has never been in a single movie before, but unfortunately it is wasted on a story that is less than solid and reminiscent of all the other “based on a true story” drug dealer movies that have been made. WHITE BOY RICK is not a movie I would recommend you go to the theaters to see, nor is it one I would tell you to watch at home either. You could watch it at home if you really wanted to, but I’d just recommend you watch BLOW instead.  Until next time, thanks for reading.

P.S. – There is no post credit scene.

Equalizer 2 – Rated R – 2 hrs 1 min.

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Equalizer 2 – Rated R – 2 hrs 1 min.

Director: Antoine Fugua

Cast:  Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders and Melissa Leo

There is No Equal

Four years later and Denzel Washington has his first ever sequel.  In 2014, “The Equalizer” blazed across screens and gave moviegoers a genuine “superhero” who lives by a specific code and looks to get revenge for those who cannot do it themselves.  “The Equalizer 2” picks-up some time after the events of the first film.  Robert McCall (Washington) now lives in a small apartment complex, working as a Lyft driver; taking care of small time issues for strangers.  Ranging from solving international problems to small-time assaults, no crime is too miniscule for righteousness in the eyes of Robert.  This time around, we are given a more in-depth look into his OCD cues and how it affects his daily life; embodied-beautifully, much to the credit of Washington’s performance.  However, he is called to help his friends, Susan (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) as tragedy strikes.

Needing help to solve and hunt-down his revenge, Robert must reconnect with some friends from CIA Black Ops-past, including Dave York (Pedro Pascal).  As the stakes are raised, Robert has to dive deeper into his past and confront his own demons in-order to avenge those he loved.  The first film packed an impressive punch; bolstering action, brutal violence, and a tale filled with revenge.  This time around, “The Equalizer 2” focuses more on the intimate lifestyle of Robert McCall.  Here is where we’re met with the overreaching-but-interconnecting storylines that don’t always seem to connect.  While one of the segments is very heartwarming, it is seldom visited throughout the film and seems like an after-thought addition.  I also felt that the action was toned-down this time as well.  There are a few fun action set pieces, but they are few and far between.  As for the characters, the returning characters are charming but the new ones offer little to the film and its story (and are far too stereotypical).  Luckily, watching Robert’s intense skillset and his brutal punishment is still a blast!  While there aren’t nearly as many bad guys to take care of this time around, the ones that do meet their unfortunate demise at his hands certainly are left wishing they never crossed his path.  At 121 minutes, the film is a bit shorter than its predecessor but it takes longer to get the ball rolling as well.  The film builds on some elements of the original film with precision, but bloats it with other various side stories and characters that just don’t add all that much to the story.

“The Equalizer 2” celebrates violence, but much in the same way the original film (and series) did.  Good versus Evil.  Good will always triumph and in impressive fashion; showcased by Robert’s cool, calm demeanor and how he calculates every move he makes.  Robert McCall is a superhero, one with no super powers but an incredible set of skills.  Though it is a small step-back, “The Equalizer 2” still has plenty of charm and wit to entertain both returning and new viewers alike, but hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Robert McCall!

3.5/5  ~ Tony Mosello