Tag: Music

Danny Collins

Danny Collins is a movie that sort of just sneaked into theaters. It wasn’t heavily advertised, it didn’t have more than 1 screening, and I honestly had never heard of it.

I might have even watched it when it came out, if it didn’t come out against Insurgent. Come on. Teen high school dystopian dramas > everything, am I right?

My biggest concern for this movie is actually Al Pacino, once a great actor, now a guy in a lot of bad movies, like Jack and Jill and Stand Up Guys. He is becoming a bit of a box office turn off for me, just like Robert De Niro. For the most part, they seem to be just showing up to do their scenes and not putting any heart to it, getting their easy pay checks. That is the one thing I will mostly look for in this film. Can Pacino try harder?

This guy fucks.

Danny Collins (Pacino) used to be a big star. He was wildly famous in the 70s, with lyrics that compared to John Lennon and he was on top of the world. Now, 40 years later, he is still rich and famous and touring, but playing all of his old hits to old fans and kind of just going with the motions and never giving it his all. Huh, sounds a lot like something I talked about not to long ago.

Either way, his long time manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) let’s him know for his birthday that he found a 40 year old letter, written to him by John Lennon that never made it to him. A letter that basically would have changed his life and told him that money and fame aren’t everything. Well fuck, now he is old and feels useless. But there is still a chance. He should just leave his young cheating wife (Katarina Cas), check himself into a hotel and no longer worry about music but instead worry about his life.

So he is going to live in a Hilton hotel, to constantly hit on their manager (Annette Bening), and try to hook up the main receptionist (Melissa Benoist, who is in everything now) and the main valet (Josh Peck). But that isn’t his main goal, no of course not! He actually has a son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale, who is in everything now), whom he has a rocky relationship with. So he wants to fix that up real soon before someone dies and ruins it all. This means he also will have to befriend his wife (Jennifer Garner) and finally meet his granddaughter (Giselle Eisenberg).

Good. A man with a mission. A man who might go back to money fame drugs and playing for old people if he can’t fix his real life before it is too late. Also featuring Brian Smith as a booty call, and Nick Offerman, who has like, a minute of screen time only at the start, but looks cool enough to mention in this review.

At least the casting department got something right. Cannavale could totally be Pacino’s son.

There you go Al Pacino! If you play a part that in some way mirrors your own career for the last five years, you might put some effort into it!

From Pacino I saw passion and I saw an actor who cared about playing his character. Great! And his own enthusiasm made me enjoy the performance and overall, enjoy the movie.

I thought the relationship aspects between Collins and his family felt realistic and avoided tons of cliches. The most unfortunate part about the family was Jennifer Garner though, who had a character that didn’t do a whole lot in the film, so it felt odd for someone of her talent to be used in such a way. This happens a lot with the mom role in films, for whatever reason, but since they had her, one would guess her role would be more substantial.

I was also very impressed with Bening, playing a hotel manager or something. She was able to pull off the professional/dealing with a huge celebrity/not caring about said celebrity really well. And of course, Cannavale was great for many reasons as well.

Danny Collins, a movie that I was afraid would be a bad VH1 made for TV movie, ended up having quite a few strong characters and a unique enough plot to really enjoy. Based loosely off of a real story, but I don’t care about that story, so I didn’t feel like talking about it.

3 out of 4.

Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of

I don’t care who you are. Where you’re from. What you did. You know the fucking Backstreet Boys.

The biggest boy band technically of all time. Not by number of members, but by album sales. Yeah, bigger than N’Sync, even though some of their members may be more successful now. And some of them branched out into other fields.

Hell, the Backstreet Boys have been making music since their decline from fame. Sometimes as four people, but now back again as the original five. Now they are making their own music, making their own decisions, not being owned and operated by a label. Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of is about their renunion, their past, prepping for a 20th anniversary as a band, and more. They are showing us all they have to give. They are showing us when they were larger than life and when they were an unknown group of kids.

But now, Backstreet’s back.


Technically I wasn’t super interested in a Backstreet Boys documentary. It seems strange to come out so late after the fame, but maybe their contracts and stuff wouldn’t allow them to be frank about anything. For most of these recent musician/tour documentaries, they aren’t very different. Mostly happy moments of the artists with fans, filled with concert performances in between behinds the scene footage. Usually a token sad moment or two to make you cry (The Katy Perry one was legit super sad). But they are all marketing by the record companies to increase sales for the movie, for concerts, and for CDs.

Is that what this one is? Sure. Kind of. If people realize they have newer music, they might seek it out. But at the same time, they opened up a level at a level I have never seen before in a concert based documentary. The members speak like real people and argue and multiple F-bombs are thrown around. They also go to all of their home times to tell stories of their lives before the band and see old teachers/friends. Some members have to deal with not being up to par with their younger selves.

They also get to talk openly about their starts in the band, the good and the bad. The bad is public knowledge, sure, thanks to lawsuits and bad contracts, but it seemed refreshing to talk about how shitty their label and managers were, and how manufactured they were early on.

This documentary also doesn’t have a lot of filler of just the band performing songs on their 20th anniversary concert. They have some at the end, during the credits. And sure, we get some very old footage of singing and footage of them making songs for their latest album. But a lot more of this documentary is spent dealing with the five individuals and just them, for the most part. No Aaron Carter.

Comparing this documentary to the other music based ones, I would say this one is better. Yeah. I want it that way. And it was definitely a step up from a VH1 music documentary. I was worried it would feel like Behind The Music, but again, way better.

Fuck N’Sync and fuck Justin Timberlake for leaving them.

4 out of 4.


It feels good to be out of my weeks of Oscar/award related movies. Now I can watch anything I want! Shitty comedies, shitty sex comedies, shitty sex romance movies, shitty dramas. Literally, the sky is wide open.

So many shitty movies I had to ignore for weeks!

But instead I watch Rudderless because it was requested of me. Sure, I saw the cover once and wanted to watch it. Why not do that before the shit storm.

The only thing that can scream out “indie” more than this scene would be a couple of gay cowboys.

Sam (Billy Crudup) has hit rock bottom. He has been living on a boat, a drunken mess, for the last two years. You see, his son (Miles Heizer) died as a result of a campus shooting, and his life kind of crumbled.

But things change a little bit, just a bit, when he is given a lot of his son’s journals and cds. Turns out he was writing songs and recording demos of his feelings. The material was really good, emotional, dark, and all sorts of just real.

Looking to get over his death, or honor it in some way, Sam plays one of his songs at an opec mic night. It is met with mixed reviews. But Quentin (Anton Yelchin) loved it. He worshiped Sam and his song writing playing and wanted him to do even more and put more out there. He kind of wanted him to start a band.

But that is weird. Sam is old and living on a boat. He can’t start a band with young kids. His life is a wreck. Even if he has a full notebook of material. I am uncomfortable.

Also with Selena Gomez, Kate Micucci, William H. Macy, Laurence Fishburne, and Ryan Dean.

Don’t worry, she only has like, two scenes max. Completely forgettable.

Another movie I can’t describe well without giving it all away or making it sound like shit. My bad.

Because in all honesty, I friggan loved it. All of the music, all of it (except maybe the last song) was enjoyable. The bringing together of the band and creating a sound, it was great as well.

I can’t say normally I am a fan of Crudup’s work, but he was tolerable as the lead in this film. Yelchin was really good, but I always enjoy him. Also, this might be Fishburne’s best role in years and he was just a side character.

William H. Macy did a fantastic job his first time directing a film. He told a powerful story, full of good music and good conflict, about a hard to discuss subject. Reminds me a bit of Beautiful Boy, but of course more music.

4 out of 4.

One Chance

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for. A comedy biopic about the life of Paul Potts!

What? You don’t know who Paul Potts is? I mean, come on, he is… uhh. Shit. I never heard of him either. This is a real story? I just thought it was a comedy about a guy wanting to sing Opera and people getting in his way.

So this guy got famous for winning Britain’s Got Talent, which is the first iteration of that show, and thus the first ever winner. I guess that makes him special? Sure.

One Chance is a reference to the show being his only opportunity to make it big and stop selling cell phones, and I guess the name of his first album.

And who can really hate a sad clown?

Before Britain’s Got Talent, Paul was just a fat kid in a choir. He sang like an angel, typical of kids, and got beat up for it, also typical for kids. Yet somehow into his early adult life, Paul (James Corden) was still getting beat up by local yokels every once in awhile. Bunch of savages…

Well, things are about to change. A girl he was talking to on the internet is coming over to visit! Julz (Alexandria Roach), and she was a real woman! Internet success! His job as a cell phone salesman is okay, but the manager (Mackenzie Crook) is inept. Either way, they like each other, and he just recently won a talent competition for cash. This will let him travel to Venice and take a real Opera class and maybe meet the Pavarotti.

I have been told this Pavarotti is a real big Opera name.

Either way, he does good there too. Performing with Alessandra (Valeria Bilello), he is able to earn a chance to perform for Pavarotti. But the theme of this movie and his life is that something goes wrong.

Paul is hit with injury after injury, with some freak accidents, to always take his career steps back before he gets his next “One Chance.”

Then you know, eventually Britain’s Got Talent does something.

His parents are played by Julie Walters and Colm Meaney.

Oh shit, he wins! Surprise!

Once he auditions for BGT, the movie quickly recaps that he wins and becomes famous, tours, sings for the queen, and then end.

Huh? What? But how did fame change him? We don’t get much of that story. I guess being a success isn’t as interesting?

One Chance is an incomplete biography that is comical in nature, in that bad things keep happening to him. Unfortunately, while watching it I could help but wonder who the hell care? Knowing how he got famous, and knowing that it was produced by the same people who did BGT, it just feels like an awkward advertisement to make their show seem relevant.

“See? We are awesome. We saved him!”

Yeah. Who cares?

A guy who is unlucky does not on its own an interesting movie make. I don’t know if James Corden was actually singing, but it didn’t seem like it, and felt pretty awkward.

I feel like this film could have been a lot better, but after viewing, the trailer makes for a much more enjoyable and time saving option than the film itself.

1 out of 4.

A Late Quartet

Hey, did you read my review of Quartet? Probably not. Well, long story short, it wasn’t good.

I also noted my confusion over thinking it was a different film, called A Late Quartet. Realizing there were two different films of similar themes and titles around the same time cleared up all my confusion. It totally isn’t my fault I thought they were the same thing, but I will take the blame like a real pseudo-anonymous internet person.

Practice makes Perfect
It is dvdsreleasedates.com‘s fault, I swear! I am innocent!

The Fugue Quartet is a pretty big deal. That is two violins, a viola, and a cello, for you music noobs out there. For those music experts, they are also a made up quartet, so don’t go looking for them. They were made decades earlier, and have been kicking ass for a long time.

But poor Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), the quartet’s founder and cellist. But he is developing Parkinson’s disease, so his playing days and living days are both soon to be over. After telling the group, certain issues and drama arise, which can break apart the very fabric of the group.

Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Juliette (Catherine Keener), second violin and viola, met via the group, fell in love, got married, and had a daughter Alexandra (Imogen Poots). Well, Robert is thinking about asking the group if the two violinists can split shift their duties, apparently a big no no in music groups. Even worse, his wife thinking the other dude is better than him.

The other dude being Daniel Lerner (Mark Ivanir) a very talented violinist, who they get to also teach Alexandra some tips while she finishes high school. Unfortunately, he decides to give her a different, extra tip.

Can they find a replacement for Peter? Can love survive the marriage or the strange agely different affair? Can Daniel let Robert play some better violin? WILL THE EARTH CRASH AND BURN FIRST? Why is Wallace Shawn in this movie?!

They are about to perform? MY BODY IS READY!

What happens when you take four incredible actors and make them act in a movie? You get good acting! Okay, I never heard of Mark Ivanir before, but he was just as vital and good in this movie as the other big three.

For Christopher Walken, he is still in tons of movies, but it seems more often than not they are making him play a joke version of his actual self. It gets kind of annoying, and you can tell he isn’t trying too hard. In this film, he gets to play a real role and act, and does it well. He had a very emotional moment near the end in particular.

Philip Seymour Hoffman had to play a man realizing he isn’t the best, and that everyone around him knows it. He doesn’t want to be the best second violinist in the world, he wants to lead the group darn it.

Catherine Keener had an amazing scene with Imogen Poots, mother to daughter, and it was so shockingly realistic, it hurt me so.

This movie lets classical music be the back drop and score, making it a bit fancy. It also created an atmosphere making the viewer feel as if they have known the group their whole lives, instantly knowing everyone personally.

More importantly, it shows the group playing music as well. Quartet didn’t really show the people singing. Obviously the actors didn’t play the songs themselves, but it looked like it. We didn’t just get a big tease for a grand show, and then you know, not get it. Fucking Quartet.

3 out of 4.