Licorice Pizza (2021)

Licorice Pizza is a 2021 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film stars Cooper Hoffman, Alana Haim, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie and John Michael Higgins.

The film takes place in the San Fernando Valley in 1973. 15-year old Gary Valentine prepares for his high school picture day, when he notices 25-year old Alana kane, a photographer’s assistant and starts a conversation with her. She rejects his advances, but then later meets him for dinner and the two begin a friendship. Gary goes to auditions and appears in a variety show with Lucy Doolittle, when Gary’s mother says she’ll be in Las Vegas when she is supposed to take him to New York, Alana chaperones him instead. On the plane, Alana meets Lance, one of Gary’s co-stars in a Doolittle film, and the two start dating. but they break up after an awkward dinner with Alana’s family.

Gary starts a waterbed business with Alana as an employee and assistant. While selling beds at an expo, he is arrested on the suspicion of murder but is released soon after. When Alana decides she wants to try acting, Gary introduces her to his agent, who gets her an audtion for a film starring Jack Holden, directed by Sam Harpoon. After her audtion, she goes with Holden to a local restaurant, which Gary and his friends as well as film director Rex Blau, are paying for. Blau convinces Holden, a motorcycle lover, to recreate a stunt on a local golf course involving a jump over a firey ramp. A wasted Holden brings along Alana but she falls off the bike during the stunt. Gary runs to her to make sure she isn’t hurt while Holden performs the stunt and wreck the motorcycle, though he is unharmed.

Gary, Alana, and Gary’s friends deliver a waterbed to Jon Peters’ house as a gas crisis starts to take over the country. An irritated Pters leaves ro see a movie, but not before threatening to murder Gary’s family, specfically his brother, if they ruin his house. After setting up the bed, an upset Gary floods the house before leaving with Alana. They’re later flagged down by a furious Peters, whose car has run out of gas. They drive him to a gas station but when they arrive, he threatens a customer. Alana and Gary leave him behind. Gary stops and attacks Peters’ car, but they end up running out of gas too. The waterbed company ultimately fails because of the gas crisis.

Alana starts to work on the Joel Wachs mayoral campaign. Gary briefly joins her, but after overhearing that pinball has ben legalized in California, he decides to open an arcade. The two cut ties after an argument, where Alana pretty much calls Gary immature and he calls old in revenge. As Gary prepares for the opening of his arcade, Alana is invited to have drinks with Wachs that night. She gets to the restaurant and learns Wachs is gay after being introduced to his partner Matthew. He asks her to take Matthew home as a beard, despite Matthew’s obviously hurt feelings. Afterwards, apologizes to Matthew and they share kind talk. She goes to Gary’s arcade, but finds him gone, as he has gone to look for her.

This film has a sweet story, but the age gap is beyond weird, him being fifteen and she being twenty-five, but at least Paul Thomas Anderson doesn’t make it pedophilic, unless you count him seeing her boobs and them kissing, but at least there is no sex between them. But the fact that she is a woman hanging out with immature teenage boys is also weird. It’s like you want to jump in the movie and tell her to get some friends her own age. At times, Alana seems like a mother figure to Gary and other times, she seems just as immature as him mand his pals. Gary does eventually become very mature and a businessman and you are proud of him. Alana, makes poor decisions throughout the film, like wearing a bikini and heels to sell waterbeds at the grand opening of Gary’s waterbed company. Cooper Hoffman (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son) and Alana Haim (of the band Haim), both of whom have never acted before this film, do fantastic jobs in their rolls as Gary Valentine and Alana Kane, definitely Best Lead worthy.

There are some things about this film that have stirred controversy, like the age gap between Gary and Alana, the fake Asian accent used by Jerry Frick, John Michael Higgins’ character can be seen as racist, the fact she never wears a bra and you can tell and the fact a fifteen year old boy becomes a businessman.There is also a couple of scenes that deal with anti-semitism. All of this controversy might make some people uncomfortable and/or offended.

The acting is great and the story would’ve been better if several things had been changed like the ages of the two main characters, the underage-ness of Gary running businesses and slight racism. The soundtrack is great, although Bowie’s “Life on Mars” doesn’t fit. The costumes are spot on 70’s, although you get see Alana’s nipples a lot, same as the cars and decor. I just wish the band Haim would have recorded a song for the movie, since they do often have a sort of Fleetwood Mac sound to them.

Overall, a very good, not outstanding film. They focus too much on Gary and Alana’s relationship and Gary’s business ventures and not enough on each others lives outside of that. I thought it was going to be more about Gary trying to become an actor and win over Alana as well, so that was a disappointment. I like the indie feel of this film and the era. This is better than most Paul Thomas Anderson movies, but not his best. I was so excited to see this one and when I finally saw it, it was not nearly what I anticipated. Good cinematography, excellent acting and awesome soundtrack, but that is practically all. 18+ 3.5/5

House of Gucci (2021)

House of Gucci is a 2021 American biographical crime film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the 2001 book House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed by Sara Gay Forden. The film follows Ptrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), as their romance blossoms into a struggle for total control over the Italian fashion brand Guicci. Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino also star. 

In 1978, Patrizia Reggiani is a young, pretty Italian woman working as an office manager at her father’s small trucking firm. At a party, Patrizia meets Maurizio Gucci, a law student and heir to 50% interest in the Gucci fashion house through his father Rudolfo. Patrizia forcefully pursues the awkward Maurizio. Rudolfo warns him that she is only after his wealth and tells him that he will disinherit him if he marries her. Maurizio chooses Patrizia over his relationship with Gucci, leaving the family. Patrizia and Marizio marry and he takes a job at the Reggiani trucking company. 

When Patrizia gets pregnant, she sees her child as a way for family recognation . She slips it out to Maurizio’s uncle Aldo and he is delighted by the news takes them in. Maurizio reconciles with his very ill father shortly before his death and Rudolfo writes him back into his will, but forgets to sign the papers, sending the Gucci shares to him before he dies. Patrizio falsifies his signature, giving Maurizio 50% interest in the company. 

Patrizia starts to invent a scheme to take a powerful interest in Gucci by taking Maurizio’s uncles Aldo and Paolo’s shres. At a family ski trip, Patrizia senses that Maurizio is having an affair with a family friend and consults a psychic for help. Maurizio asks for a divorce and says he also is going to take away her shares in the company. Many illegal events happen after she is dropped from Maurizio’s life and the Gucci brand, prompting her to devise a plan with the psychic to hire hit men from Siciliy to trick Maurizio and shoot him. 

You don’t have to be rich, a fashionista, or even a fashion designer yourself to enjoy this movie. The acting is equally superb from all the main stars. The soundtrack is awesome with a great mix of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s hits. The constumes and makeup is outstanding as well. Parts of the film are very slow and not much time is spent on the tiral of Patrizia and Pinna the psychic, just facts on the screen mostly. I was affraid the actors wouldn’t get the Italian accent right, but most of them did, except for Jeremy Irons whose accent was a mixture of Italian and British. 

This a really long movie at two hours and thirty-eight minutes and seemed like it wasn’t going to end. I did find myself a bit bored at times, wishing certain scenes would get over with. Some scenes are dragged on, like Aldo and his birds, just show he has them and move on, it’s not that important to the overall story. So much of the film seemed a bit soap opera-ish, like an Italian version of Dynesty, making it not as entertaining as Ridley Scott intended. For a film of a highly talented cast, I was expecting an exceptional motion picture, but got far less. Not worth spending money to watch on the big screen that’s for sure. 

The acting, fashion and music are the only things really good about this movie, so those award nominations will be well deserved, but not Best Picture or Best Director. Save yourself time and money and just read the book on audio, because the film is not as good they make it seem. 18+ 3/5 

 

Last Night in Soho (2021)

Last Night in Soho is a 2021 British psychological horror film directed by Edgar Wright and starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Michael Ajao, Diana Rigg and Terrence Stamp. It is the final film appearances of Rigg and Margaret Nolan, who both died in 2020.

The film follows Eloise “Ellie” Turner, who loves the music and fashion of the Swinging Sixties and dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Her mother, who was also a designer, killed herself when Ellie was a child. Ellie occasionally sees her mother’s ghost in mirrors.

Ellie moves from her rural house in Redruth, Cornwall, to London, to study at the London College of Fashion, where she has trouble fitting in with the other students, especially her stuck up roommate Jocasta. Only John, another student, is sympathetic towards her. Unhappy in the dorms of the school, Ellie moves into a bedsit in Goodge Place owned by the elderly Ms. Collins.

That night, Ellie has a vivid dream where she is carried back in time to the 1960s. At the Cafe de Paris, she sees a brave young blonde woman, Sandie, ask about becoming a singer at the club. Sandie begins a relationship with charming teddy boy manager, Jack. The next morning, Ellie designs a dress inspired by Sandie and discovers a love bite on her neck.

Ellie has another dream in which Sandie auditions at a Soho nightclub, arranged by Jack. before returning to the same bedsit that Ellie has rented. Inspired by these dreams, Ellie dyes her hair blonde, changes her clothing style and gets a job at a pub. She is approached by a grey haired man, who recognizes her resemblance to Sandie is not living the life she had wanted and Jack begins to pimp Sandie to his male business partners. Ellie begins an investigation after discovering in a dream that murders have taken place in the bedsit and soon discovers that the owner of the place she is renting from has a dark past and that she may or may not be the real Sandie.

This film is equal parts intense, twisted, bizarre and disturbing. The combination of putting present day London and 1960s London together is ingeniously done, combining the fashion and music of today’s Britain to the fashion and music and to what it was in 60s, along with the two stories clashing together as one and at times separately. The soundtrack is great combining both sixties and 2000s hits, the fashion is fantastic, everything Sandie and Jack (others from the 60s) wear is beautiful and spot on with the time period, making the film both gorgeous and thrilling at the same time.

Thomasin McKenzie does a good, not great job in the film as Ellie Turner, but was not the best fit for the role. Anya Taylor-Joy is outstanding job as Sandie , Matt Smith is equally outstanding as Jack. Terrance Stamp is good as Lindsey, the grey haired older man who stalks Ellie at the pub, I just wish he had had more lines in the movie.

The film seems to jump into the wickedness almost too quickly, not really building up much beforehand. You do learn how Sandie meets Jack, but you learn too fast, so that part is bit rushed, making it seem like she becomes nightclub star and he becomes her boyfriend and pimp overnight, which is impossible. The story is almost all intensity and too much of it takes place in the 60s world and not in the present day. Also, the film towards the end, stretches the horror factor too far, making the landlady into the overdone insane character, which at first you think is Ellie.

If the director would’ve spent equal time in both eras, stopped the overdoing of the weird towards the end and cast a better actress for Ellie, the film would have been fantastic. It is still entertaining, but I don’t see it winning any best picture awards or Palme d’Or at Cannes. But both Taylor-Joy and Smith deserve awards for their performances. 18+ 3.5/5

The Last Letter From Your Lover (2021)

The Last Letter from Your Lover is a 2021 British romantic drama film directed by Augustine Frizzell, base on Jojo Moyes’ 2012 novel of the same name. It stars Felicity Jones, Callum Turner, Joe Alwyn, Nabhaan Rizwan and Shailene Woodley.’

It modern time, Ellie Haworth, who recently broke up with her long time boyfriend, has to write an article about the recently deceased editor of her paper. Finally getting passed the archivist Rory to access the editor’s archive, she finds a letter to someone called “J,” from “Boot.” Affected by the emotional feelings between the mystery couple, Ellie becomes determined to know the indentities of the couple and how their love story had ended.

In the mid-1960’s, wealthy socialites Jennifer Stirlng and her husband Laurence travel to the French Riviera for a summer vacation. Foreign correspondent Anthony O’Hare comes to interview Laurence at a dinner party. Jennifer overhears Anthony insulting the Stirlings and their indulging lifestyle, causing Anthony to apologize to Jennifer. Anthony invites the Stirlings out to eat the next day, but Laurence is taken away on a sudden business trip, leaving Jennifer and Anthony to spend the summer together until he returns. They start to write letters using pennames “J” and “Boot.” Neither act upon their blossoming chemistry, until Jennifer impulsively tries to kiss him. When he turns away from her, she runs away. Days later, a letter penned by Anthony comes to her, coaxing to her to meet him at Postman’s Park in London. They start a crazy affair, spending time together where can be safely with him.

Romantic drama films involving affairs have been done time after time, some are very well done, others, not so much. This one is different, as is a story within a story, taking place in present day London and 1960’s French Riviera and London. It can be rather slow at times, making it a bit boring, but it never passion, in the today or past settings. There are many really good things about this film. All the stars are equally fantastic in their roles, the soundtrack, cinematography and costumes are all fabulous, fitting film perfectly.

I used to not be a big Shailene Woodley fan until I saw her in this movie and my opinion instantly changed, except I’m not sure whether she’s supposed to be British or not like her two lovers, as her accent is very weak if is supposed to be. She looks beautiful every second of this film, unlike most of her roles where she plays a tomboy. Her looks are very Jackie Kennedy-esque. Woodley has proved she can take on much deeper roles and is far past Divergent, the series that made her a household name.

This movie has the feel of a Bronte, Austen, or Woolf novel and reminds me a bit of the book and film Atonement, which is also a story within a story and features an affair, the only thing is, Your Last Lover probably won’t be nominated for any major awards, as the story is a bit unoriginal. Jojo Moyes is a modern day Austen meets Bronte. She knows how to write romance and stir emotions, maybe not quite as good as her influences, but not half bad either. This story takes you on journeys from the age of the mini-skirt to modern time and does it so well, not spending too much time in either world.

There film is so deep and full of emotion, both good and bad. So many critics are panning this movie, but they don’t see it for its true art. Yes, they spend a lot of time showing Jennifer (Woodley) and Anthony (Turner) making out and making love, but that is really one of the few bad things about this movie. It can be slow at times, like I said as well and maybe there are bit too many affair films, but that’s all. It is still great film otherwise. Don’t let the bad reviews deter you from watching this one.

18+ 4/5

Top Feminist Films Part 2

60. Faces – 1968

61. A Smiling Madame Beudet – 1923

62. 3 Women – 1977

63. Drowning by Numbers – 1988

64. Street of Shame – 1956

65. Women Without Men – 2009

66. Entre Nous – 1983

67. The House of Sand – 2005

68. Sweetie – 1989

69. Girls Town – 1996

70. The Children’s Hour – 1961

71. Ukraine is Not a Brothel – 2013

72. Bhutto – 2010

73. Kadosh – 1999

74. Klute – 1971

75. Real Women Have Curves – 2002

76. Lovely & Amazing – 2001

77. A Taste of Honey – 1961

78. He Named Me Malala – 2015

79. It’s a Girl! – 2012

80. Medea – 1988

81. After Tiller – 2013

82. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle – 1994

83. A Case of Rape – 1972

84. Girl Rising – 2013

85. The Apple – 1998

86. When We Leave – 2010

87. Everlasting Moments – 2008

88. Stella Dallas – 1937

89. Camille – 1936

90. Tangerine – 2015

91. The Sleeping Voice – 2011

92. The Invisible War – 2012

93. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry – 2014

94. RBG – 2018

95. Adam’s Rib – 1949

96. Harper Valley PTA – 1978

97. The Burning Bed – 1984

98. Working Girls – 1986

99. The Watermelon Woman – 1996

100. Offside – 2006

Classic of the Week: Broadcast News (1987)

Broadcast News is a 1987 American romantic-drama film written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks. It stars William Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter. The film follows the story of a television news reporter who has emotional breakdowns every day, a picky yet genius reporter and their charming but significantly inexperienced rival.

This film is does a great job at showing how the daily life of a TV news station. It doesn’t shy away from showing the good and not so good of being in the TV news world. It does it so deeply, letting learn all about different the professions, but it also has many other elements too. It has drama, humor and romance. Although this is considered a romantic comedy as well as drama, it isn’t super mushy gushy like so many romantic films. The different elements are all executed with the right amount of each genre.

This movie shows how life throws curve-balls sometimes and that sometimes life can be great. Although the story is about a news station, they don’t focus too much on the reporting, because they reveal not just their working world, but the main characters life outside the studio, how they live, their love lives, etc. Jane is portrayed as a spunky and socially awkward, yet assertive in her work type character, a female warrior type that was rarely seen in movies and still rarely seen today.

This film is serious at time but not too serious serious like other movies about TV news stations (Network). It has drama and depth as well as charm and humor, though much of the latter. All of the acting fantastic. This isn’t the most exciting movie, but it’s far from boring. Each character is unique and they are intertwined in some ways until the end.

The ending may or may not turn out the way you want it too, but is the beauty of film making, to leave it up to viewers to have their own opinions. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer and get angry, because this movie bring out all emotions and does it so brilliantly, not many films today can do that. The casting is perfect, the cinematography is excellent, as well the story. This is motion picture has many different things going on, which may confuse some viewers.

This is a story of not just a news station, not just the reporters lives, but of working life, love and friendship. The characters may get mad at each other but they always have each other’s backs. You also really feel like you are there at the station in those scenes. Some critics may say this film has a bit of a sitcom feel to it, but they are wrong in my opinion.

The character of Tom Grunick (Hurt) can be a tad stiff and self absorbed with being successful. Jane Craig and her breakdowns from stress do get a bit old and make you want to tell her to get a therapist. But that doesn’t make them bad characters, just a a bit annoying, but it doesn’t make the film less enjoyable. With it’s drama, it’s small percentage of humor and romance, it is one that can enjoyed over and over.

This film is so smartly written and directed, that so many news related films haven’t come close to the brilliance of this one. A truly fantastic movie with different stories that make it truly one of a kind. 18+ 4/5

Soul (2020)

Soul is a 2020 American computer animated fantasy comedy drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers. The film stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alicia Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove and Angela Bassett. The movie follows the story of middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who tries to reconnect his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his start as a jazz musician.

This is definitely one of Disney’s darkest and deepest films. The main themes of this movie are death, afterlife, finding purpose and the meaning of life. These themes were executed well, though far from perfect. Too much time is spent in the “Great Beyond” and “Great Before” (AKA Heaven) with the soul creatures, a lot of mature themes, is quite slow much of the time and just really depressing until the end. I like the message of finding purpose, but the rest are heartbreaking and almost sacrilegious.

The animation is phenomenal, as well as the soundtrack that both Jamie Foxx and Trent Reznor composed. I found myself both bored, a bit offended and appalled at times and not really entertained by this film at all. Being a Disney and Pixar fan I was hoping to really like this movie like majority of critics and viewers, but I really didn’t. The story seemed push religion, philosophy and psychology, to the brink at times to offensiveness. With an all-star cast and production companies, you’d expect an outstanding motion picture, though like I said I didn’t care much this one.

I’m all for a black lead character, but this film seemed to do like so many films and do black against white, like when 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), an unborn white girl switches body with Joe (Jamie Foxx), it just feels really uncomfortable and a tad racist by some of the remarks made the two lead characters. There’s lots of adult humor, talk about death, souls and the meaning of life and finding your spark. Young children will not understand this movie at all. Just the fact Joe is killed within the first 10 minutes, is not the message you want to send to kids. Yes, kids do need to learn about death and all, but not like this.

You can do a film about death and the meaning of life, without it being so dark and not going quite so deep into these subjects. Even a family movie can use these themes and not confuse and/or frighten children. I’m sorry but Disney took this one too far. The best scenes to me aren’t in the “Great Beyond,” which the most of the movie’s setting, but when Joe’s playing music. I’m just dumbfounded that this story ever got green lit. Yes, Disney has a percentage of darkness in all it’s films, but it’s usually not for the majority of the movies’ runtime.

I wish the movie had focused more Joe’s own life rather than his adventures with 22. More about his childhood, education and things like that would’ve made it more fascinating. Overall, this film had me scratching my head as how this ever got made and why people love it so much. A movie that is pretty blasphemous and heavy-hitting and very sad. I guess you can call this Disney’s “Anti-Disney” film. Whether you believe in afterlife and heaven or not, it’s blatantly obvious what they were going for here. I’m all for pushing the boundaries and a little controversy, but don’t sell it for kids.

Overall, the animation is spectacular, so is the soundtrack, but I really didn’t enjoy this film much at all, it was lacking far too much and kept me scratching my head. While I normally cry at Disney movies, this one didn’t do that to me, like it did the others I watched it with. Conservative Christians may or may not like this movie. At the same time for older children, it will give grown-ups an opportunity to talk about God, Death, help them find their “spark.” Younger viewers will be bored and confused, as this movie is very complex in the themes and there are two different settings.

Do I hate this film? No. But do I like it? A little bit. Maybe Pixar’s next film will be more exciting and not offensive. Nice try guys, but you struck out on this one. 10+ 2.5/5

Music (2021)


Music is a 2021 American musical drama film directed by singer-songwriter Sia. It stars Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler and is Sia’s directorial debut. The movie follows Zu, a freshly sober drug dealer who becomes the sole gaurdian of her half-sister Music, a teenage non-verbal autistic girl.

When I first read about Sia making this film, I was excited, as I am on the autistic spectrum myself. I also love Sia’s music and was eager to this movie. After reading and hearing all the controversy, I was still willing to give it a try, so I tried to watch with an open mind. There are very few good things about this film and lots of bad. I applaud the music, the choreography and Sia for her idea, but the idea wasn’t executed well at all. It is supposed to shine a light on autism and instead does not. It stereotypes and shows scenes that are actually harmful to autistic people, like the restraint scene and the flashing lights and loud music, that would cause an autistic to have either a meltdown, panic attack or seizures. The fact the main character is unaffected by the brightness and loudness is the complete opposite of a person on the spectrum.

This film doesn’t educate neurotypicals (as they’re called in the autism world) about autism (particularly non-verbal), it instead paints a world with a combination of stereotyping and falseness. Yes, all people on the spectrum are different, but this like a picture painted by someone who knows very little about the disabilities. I know the actors and actresses were just doing as they were told to, so no fault to them. This is all on Sia and screenwriter Dallas Clayton, who created what they thought would be a masterpiece, but instead it is just a horrible piece that should’ve never been filmed in the first place. The mere fact that Sia worked with Autism Speaks, a charity trying to cure autism, is bad too, as there is no cure.

Kate Hudson does a good job in her role as Zu. Leslie Odom Jr. is the stereotypical gay African American, but is just okay in his part. Maddie Ziegler does mediocre in the title role, but I believe that isn’t necessarily because she’s not autistic, but because she needs more experience at just acting alone, instead of dancing and acting combined like she normally does. She was just going by what she saw in videos and movies and tried to reenact what she saw.

So many people criticize Sia for not casting an autisic actor or actress for the lead part, and although it would’ve made it more realistic if she had, non-disabled people can play disabled characters like Leonardo DiCaprio in What;s Eating Gilbert Grape, Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, it has to be done right like these films. Research has to be done extensively and I believe both Sia and Dallas Clayton did very little of.

Overall, I loved the music and the parts of the story, but didn’t really enjoy this movie. I was mostly bored, confused and offended throughout watching. I wanted to like it and prove people wrong about the controversy, but hated for the most part. I now get the criticism, the disgust and hatred towards this film. All the good reviews are mostly from neurotypicals who don’t know much about the autistic spectrum, if at all, they just see the art of the film, not the story, cinematography and art combined.

Whether you’re on the spectrum, have another disability(ies), or not, do not bother watching this film. It is offensive to the max and boring, even the song and dance scenes are mediocre at best. Sia should be ashamed of this piece she calls art. It’s not art, it’s garbage. I don’t know how anyone can like this movie or even make it through the first 20-30 minutes without being appalled. This is a cringe-worthy pile junk that just seems thrown together fast and called a motion picture. Nothing carefully curated to be the least bit realistic. Wow! Just Wow! 13+ 1.5

Classic of the Week: A Taste of Honey (1961)

A Taste of Honey is a 1961 British film adaptation of the 1958 play of the same name by Shelagh Delaney. The film is directed by Tony Richardson, who also directed the play on stage.

The film follows a teenage girl named Jo and her mother Hellen as they moved their few belongings across Manchester on a bus. Jo’s mum is an alcoholic who becomes engaged to a much younger and wealthier man. Jo meets an older fellow who works on ships and they eventually fall in love and and have sex, before having to set sail. He assures he’d be back soon, but never comes back. She ends up moving into a ramshackle home with a gay friend and finds out she is pregnant.

This film is so realistic, you almost feel as if you’re watching a documentary and not something fictional. The acting is great from all the main stars, but much of the movie is so slow, it’s boring. This is an extremely depressing film as well, mostly just sad scenes and a few somewhat happy ones. Although the acting is superb, the main characters are all hard to like. Helen is a heavy drinking, money spending and self centered lady, Jo complains too much and ends up with a baby as a teen, Jimmy is far too nice at first, then gets Jo pregnant and leaves, Helen’s fiancé is a jerk and hates Jo and Geoffrey (Jo’s roommate) is not too bright and far too sweet.

Even though this a a rather dull film, it is still relevant in this day in time with today’s “Teen Moms,” only without much of the trash that’s seen on TV and in movies. This movie is raw and straightforward. It shows the life of a teenage mother who is forced to decide wether to have the baby or not.

I cannot imagine this story ever being a stage production, because it was hard to sit through much of this film without yawning. Despite this, it is a powerful learning tool in the life of a teen parent and the struggles they go through. There is not one ounce of humor or glory, only short lived romance and much extremely heartbreaking scenes. This movie was controversial fr the time, being the use of single mothers, homosexuality, inter-racial kissing and underage parenting. It was banned in several countries, despite bing a critical success and award winner.

If you want a movie about underage motherhood that’s more uplifting try Juno. If yo want want a serious one on the subject, try this one, you’ll either love it or hate it. You’d think with such a strong message and raw storyline, this film would have been better to me, but I was thoroughly bored throughout. The writers and directors could have done a better job with this piece. 18 & up 3/5

Classic of the Week: Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

 

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Drugstore Cowboy is a 1989 American crime drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, based on the autobiographical novel by James Fogle. It stars Matt Dillon,  Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham and William S. Burroughs. At the time the film was being Mae, the source novel was unpublished and later published in 1990, by which Fogle had been released from prison.

The film follows Bob Hughes who leads a group of drug addicts in the 70s – his wife Dianne, best friend Rick and Rick’s teenage girlfriend Nadine- traveling across the Pacific Northwest, robbing pharmacies and hospitals to help their drug addictions.

This film has an indie feel to it and takes you into the life of a crew of drug addicts and dealers and does it so well. Parts are very slow, so the film is boring at times, but you get to take a trip into a life of drug related crimes and health issues. Every single character is both alike in their dope obsession bot also very different. Matt Dillon is great as Bob Hughes the ring leader of the bunch, Kelly Lynch is equally great as Dianne Hughes, his wife. James LeGros is excellent as their best friend Rick and Heather Graham does a fine job as his girlfriend Nadine.

This film stakes you for a long dope filled ride into a an intense world of drug addiction, theft and drug dealing. The characters are so addicted the most feed their habits all the time and in order to do that, they must beg, borrow and steal. At first, they are very clever at being sneaky and stealing the drugs and hiding them, but then they are eventually caught and sent to prison.

This movie is filled with of course with drugs and substance abuse, crime, homelessness, money issues and illnesses. It is done quite well, although much of the movie is a bit boring. Some scenes have .little or no dialogue, but it fits the story. There is nothing exciting about this film at all, it is one horrible event after another.    Despite being rather dull in some scenes, the acting is fantastic, the soundtrack perfect, but the cinematography is rather dull so much of the time, making it seem like a cheap documentary, rather than a drama movie. I guess this was got make it seem more realistic, although it is an independent film. This is only Gus Van Sant’s second film.

This isn’t the most engaging film. In fact, I found much of it to be very dull, almost to the point of nt wanting to continue watching it, but it does get better not outstanding but a lot better. But what do you expect from a movie based off a book with this story? Not a musical that’s for sure.

Overall, this movie is very good, but not great. For a story like this, I was expecting a bit more action. There is violence is some parts, but much of this film just plain slow. They spend too much time in one setting in some scenes. I wasn’t expecting a wildly entertaining motion picture, but definitely not one that bored me nearly to sleep at times. Great plot, well done film. Adults only 3/5