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"DISAPOINTING, BUT STILL MOVING LOVE LETTER"

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 11 September 2009 05:05 (A review of Bobby (Full Screen Edition))

by Dane Youssef


Emilio Esztevez's "Bobby" celebrates not only one of the greatest political icons to die before his time, before he had the opportunity to live up to even a fraction of his potential, but a seven-year effort to get it on the big screen.

Esztevez is not as renown in the business as his father and brother are. Nor does he have such a sparkling track-record. Let's be honest. Most of the man's movies (paticularly those made after "The Mighty Ducks") borderline on unwatchable. But hey, what about "Rated X"? I heard good things. Somewhere. I don't remember where exactly...

But just because a man has a few "Battlefield Earth" and "Catwoman"-like stinkers on his resume doesn't mean he's totally incapable of putting out anything at all decent. I know we love to skewer a star when they're down. But let's give a poor guy an even shake...

Because of Estevez's experience in the biz, as well as his family's, "Bobby" is chock-full of big-name walk-ons. Yes, it's good to be able to employ the best and biggest names in the business, but I don't know if it nessicarily works here. There are so many familiar faces that pop up like a Jack-In-The-Box and then disapear just as quickly, that it's kind of distracting.

They're all not on camera long enough so that we see the characters, not actors playing a role. We keep getting the feeling that all we're looking at is super-star after supers-star just here to do some temp work, have fun, do a favor and pay respect to a great political icon.

There are so many storylines buzzing in and out in such a condensed amount of time that so many of them feel under-developed (and even pointless at times).

There are some really intriguing ones, yes, but there's also too much that just feels like filler. They're not around longe enough to make us really think or care about them.

There is no accomplished actor in the plum role of Robert Kennedy (a wise desicion on Esztevez' part)--Kennedy appears as himself in archive footage; newsreels and voice-overs. There is an enourmously talented and renown cast for "Bobby," but no real head-liner.

This is an ensemble vehicle, in the tradition of the late Robert Altman's films. Like every ensemble vehicle, the star is the subject matter--RFK himself.

The lives he touched, the inpact he made, many of the goings-on during the time... that appears here. But too briefly. Like an extra that just blends into a massive crowd or a beige wall. Where are they? You want them to stand out, you want more.

As for it's much-touted heavy-hitter cast: Joshua Jackson (who worked with Esztevez in "The Mighty Ducks" films) isn't really given much of anything to do as as Kennedy's campaign manager.

Christian Slater is one of the best working actors out there today, but any schmuck standing in line at "Hot Dog On A Stick" could have done as good a job as he's allowed to do there. Hey, maybe some of that trademark reptillian-like demeanor of his might have helped. He's a racist, but he's as interesting as plain white-bread. Heather Graham is equally ineffective (has she ever given a really great perfomance?)

Ashton Kutcher thankfully sheds his tired "Kelso" scthick as a spiritual drug dealer who introduces to LSD. He wears glasses, has long mop-like hair and a scruffy beard. This is good. We're looking at the character, not Kutcher. Lately, Kutcher has been trying to evolve past the dim-witted prett-boy roles in stupid throw-away rom-comedies. He seems to be in very serious danger of becoming just another flavor-of-the-month like so, so many, many other before him (and after him). With roles in movies like "The Butterfly Effect" and now "Bobby," there may be hope for him after all.

William H. Macy and Starone Stone are some of the best out there. Here they play a married couple who have a rather ugly secret, but the whole thing is under-written. Esztevez' should have kept working on this. It's a nice sub-plot, but their story is thinner than two-ply toilet paper. And we want more.

Lawrence Fishburne almost steals the movie as a veteran cook who works at the Ambassador. He has a deep philiosophical mind and some theories on the way the world is... and how to survive in it. How to make it yours. He sounds so insightful, like an older, seasoned veteran not miles away from Kennedy himself. He talks about how anger is toxic and his admiration and love for Dr. King and how it hurt when King was gunned down.

Legendary Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins appears as the elderly doorman who won't just flat-out retire because the boredom and feeling of uselessness gets to him. His role is pretty unremarkable, although he brings the same grace and dignity he does to pretty much any role he's in. It's nice to see him away from his "Hannibal Lecter" repitore. And "Bobby" is a vast improvement over Ron Howard's putrid steaming green Christmas diarrea log, "The Grinch."

Director Esztevez and Demi Moore appear together as a couple for the first time in Esztevez' nearly unwatchable "Wisdom," which contained none of what was promised. Or anything else worth seeing. They have some worthwhile moments as a showbusiness couple, especially Moore is what's some of the better work she's done in a while. And it's one of the few sub-plots that work.

The only true stand-outs here are Lawrence Fishburne, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Everyone else seems is just coasting. Because they're all just distinguished veterans, we want them to make an enourmous impact. The kind where the scene and line becomes a legendary
moment and is quoted ad nauseum. But each shot just shows big-name marquee headers doing what just about anyone could have done. Maybe the fact that all these big names are dropped will draw them in.

I do applaud Esztevez for not just hiring some celebrity impressionist to play Bobby--like De Vito did for his "Hoffa." No two-bit actor can ever forge the man. So Kennedy actually appears at himself technically the whole time throughout (except of a few scenes where Bobby's right there with the actors, but we never get a good look, of course. That feels... respectful.

But does it work? The most crippling flaw in "Bobby" is that because of the contemporary faces and their underdevloped characters and underwritten scenes, we're never convinced we're back there during that fatal day. And when RFK walks through the door, onto the stage... we're never really convinced that he's in that room at this moment. RFK and the little people never seem to exist within the same time and reality.

Throughout the whole film, I was aware that they were just using old footage of Bob and the entire cast--er, members of the Ambassador were cheering facing a camera crew.

There are some moments that alone make Bobby worth seeing: A scene where a deception is going on and is revealed--we see the victim's tears and pain, a converstaion that takes place in a kitchen that really stays with you, two suited buttoned-down campaign volunteers who volunteer to embrace something more have than Kennedy, the reporter dying to see the senator in the flesh. All storylines that could have really packed a wallop if they're were written a little more. Was Esztevez on a schedule?

But there are a few too many which are just limp which leave you feeling Esztevez should have pumped them up or simply scrapped them altogether. Maybe leaving them in the bottom drawer and hauling them out the next time he wants to make a movie. As it is, this proudly stands as the best film Esztevez has come out with in over a decade. And it is a sometimes really touching tribute to a man who deseves it. For whatever reason you want to check it out, watch it, afterwards light a candle for Good ol' Bob.

In the end, what truly makes this a movie to see is the passion. The passion that Esztevez has for Bobby and has had ever since dear Emilio actually came in contact with him when he was but five years old.

"Bobby"'s finale (yes, that is the correct phrase) comes to no surprise, but what is so astonishing is how much such an act can still touch us as if we are actually there and then. It helps give the film more of an impact than everything leading up to it did.

What matters really is not when or how Kennedy left, but that he was there. Now that he's gone, it's sad how much it says about us how much we need him now...


NOTE: This review is dedicated in loving memory for Robert Francis Kennedy, the man who at the time was America's last chance after his brother and Dr. King went the same way. Despite this film's shortcomings, I still believe it succeeds as the ultimate swan song FOR BOBBY... FOR RFK... FOR ONE LAST CHANCE... FOR THIS COUNTRY...


by Dane Youssef


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"A DISAPOINTING, BUT STILL MOVING LOVE LETTER"

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 11 September 2009 05:04 (A review of Bobby)

by Dane Youssef


Emilio Esztevez's "Bobby" celebrates not only one of the greatest political icons to die before his time, before he had the opportunity to live up to even a fraction of his potential, but a seven-year effort to get it on the big screen.


Esztevez is not as renown in the business as his father and brother are. Nor does he have such a sparkling track-record. Let's be honest. Most of the man's movies (paticularly those made after "The Mighty Ducks") borderline on unwatchable. But hey, what about "Rated X"? I heard good things. Somewhere. I don't remember where exactly...


But just because a man has a few "Battlefield Earth" and "Catwoman"-like stinkers on his resume doesn't mean he's totally incapable of putting out anything at all decent. I know we love to skewer a star when they're down. But let's give a poor guy an even shake...


Because of Estevez's experience in the biz, as well as his family's, "Bobby" is chock-full of big-name walk-ons. Yes, it's good to be able to employ the best and biggest names in the business, but I don't know if it nessicarily works here. There are so many familiar faces that pop up like a Jack-In-The-Box and then disapear just as quickly, that it's kind of distracting.


They're all not on camera long enough so that we see the characters, not actors playing a role. We keep getting the feeling that all we're looking at is super-star after supers-star just here to do some temp work, have fun, do a favor and pay respect to a great political icon.

There are so many storylines buzzing in and out in such a condensed amount of time that so many of them feel under-developed (and even pointless at times).


There are some really intriguing ones, yes, but there's also too much that just feels like filler. They're not around longe enough to make us really think or care about them.


There is no accomplished actor in the plum role of Robert Kennedy (a wise desicion on Esztevez' part)--Kennedy appears as himself in archive footage; newsreels and voice-overs. There is an enourmously talented and renown cast for "Bobby," but no real head-liner.


This is an ensemble vehicle, in the tradition of the late Robert Altman's films. Like every ensemble vehicle, the star is the subject matter--RFK himself.

The lives he touched, the inpact he made, many of the goings-on during the time... that appears here. But too briefly. Like an extra that just blends into a massive crowd or a beige wall. Where are they? You want them to stand out, you want more.


As for it's much-touted heavy-hitter cast: Joshua Jackson (who worked with Esztevez in "The Mighty Ducks" films) isn't really given much of anything to do as as Kennedy's campaign manager.


Christian Slater is one of the best working actors out there today, but any schmuck standing in line at "Hot Dog On A Stick" could have done as good a job as he's allowed to do there. Hey, maybe some of that trademark reptillian-like demeanor of his might have helped. He's a racist, but he's as interesting as plain white-bread. Heather Graham is equally ineffective (has she ever given a really great performance or does she just seem to be phoning it all in, no matter what the Hell she's in?)


Ashton Kutcher thankfully sheds his tired "Kelso" scthick as a spiritual drug dealer who introduces to LSD. He wears glasses, has long mop-like hair and a scruffy beard. This is good. We're looking at the character, not Kutcher. Lately, Kutcher has been trying to evolve past the dim-witted prett-boy roles in stupid throw-away rom-comedies. He seems to be in very serious danger of becoming just another flavor-of-the-month like so, so many, many other before him (and after him). With roles in movies like "The Butterfly Effect" and now "Bobby," there may be hope for him after all.


William H. Macy and Starone Stone are some of the best out there. Here they play a married couple who have a rather ugly secret, but the whole thing is under-written. Esztevez' should have kept working on this. It's a nice sub-plot, but their story is thinner than two-ply toilet paper. And we want more.


Lawrence Fishburne almost steals the movie as a veteran cook who works at the Ambassador. He has a deep philiosophical mind and some theories on the way the world is... and how to survive in it. How to make it yours. He sounds so insightful, like an older, seasoned veteran not miles away from Kennedy himself. He talks about how anger is toxic and his admiration and love for Dr. King and how it hurt when King was gunned down.


Legendary Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins appears as the elderly doorman who won't just flat-out retire because the boredom and feeling of uselessness gets to him. His role is pretty unremarkable, although he brings the same grace and dignity he does to pretty much any role he's in. It's nice to see him away from his "Hannibal Lecter" repitore. And "Bobby" is a vast improvement over Ron Howard's putrid steaming green Christmas diarrea log, "The Grinch."


Director Esztevez and Demi Moore appear together as a couple for the first time in Esztevez' nearly unwatchable "Wisdom," which contained none of what was promised. Or anything else worth seeing. They have some worthwhile moments as a showbusiness couple, especially Moore is what's some of the better work she's done in a while. And it's one of the few sub-plots that work.


The only true stand-outs here are Lawrence Fishburne, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Everyone else seems is just coasting. Because they're all just distinguished veterans, we want them to make an enourmous impact. The kind where the scene and line becomes a legendary
moment and is quoted ad nauseum. But each shot just shows big-name marquee headers doing what just about anyone could have done. Maybe the fact that all these big names are dropped will draw them in.


I do applaud Esztevez for not just hiring some celebrity impressionist to play Bobby--like De Vito did for his "Hoffa." No two-bit actor can ever forge the man. So Kennedy actually appears at himself technically the whole time throughout (except of a few scenes where Bobby's right there with the actors, but we never get a good look, of course. That feels... respectful.


But does it work? The most crippling flaw in "Bobby" is that because of the contemporary faces and their underdevloped characters and underwritten scenes, we're never convinced we're back there during that fatal day. And when RFK walks through the door, onto the stage... we're never really convinced that he's in that room at this moment. RFK and the little people never seem to exist within the same time and reality.


Throughout the whole film, I was aware that they were just using old footage of Bob and the entire cast--er, members of the Ambassador were cheering facing a camera crew.


There are some moments that alone make Bobby worth seeing: A scene where a deception is going on and is revealed--we see the victim's tears and pain, a converstaion that takes place in a kitchen that really stays with you, two suited buttoned-down campaign volunteers who volunteer to embrace something more have than Kennedy, the reporter dying to see the senator in the flesh. All storylines that could have really packed a wallop if they're were written a little more. Was Esztevez on a schedule?


But there are a few too many which are just limp which leave you feeling Esztevez should have pumped them up or simply scrapped them altogether. Maybe leaving them in the bottom drawer and hauling them out the next time he wants to make a movie. As it is, this proudly stands as the best film Esztevez has come out with in over a decade. And it is a sometimes really touching tribute to a man who deseves it. For whatever reason you want to check it out, watch it, afterwards light a candle for Good ol' Bob.


In the end, what truly makes this a movie to see is the passion. The passion that Esztevez has for Bobby and has had ever since dear Emilio actually came in contact with him when he was but five years old.


"Bobby"'s finale (yes, that is the correct phrase) comes to no surprise, but what is so astonishing is how much such an act can still touch us as if we are actually there and then. It helps give the film more of an impact than everything leading up to it did.


What matters really is not when or how Kennedy left, but that he was there. Now that he's gone, it's sad how much it says about us how much we need him now...


NOTE: This review is dedicated in loving memory for Robert Francis Kennedy, the man who at the time was America's last chance after his brother and Dr. King went the same way. Despite this film's shortcomings, I still believe it succeeds as the ultimate swan song FOR BOBBY... FOR RFK... FOR ONE LAST CHANCE... FOR THIS COUNTRY...


--For Bobby Forever, Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"FOR THE CHILDREN..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 04:04 (A review of Kids/The Rules of Attraction)

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.


In Ellis' book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.


Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.


Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.


"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.


By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.


--For The Children, Dane Youssef



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"IF THIS IS THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 04:03 (A review of Rules of Attraction)

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.

In Ellis'es book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.


Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.


Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.


"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.


By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.


Anyone out there know what Avary is up to now?


--Feeling A Little More Educated, Dane Youssef




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"IF THIS IS THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 04:03 (A review of The Rules of Attraction)

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.


In Ellis'es book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.


Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.


Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.

"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.


By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.




--Somewhat Following The "Rules" Himself, Dane Youssef


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"IF THIS IS THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 04:02 (A review of The Rules of Attraction [Region 2])

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.

In Ellis' book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.


Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.


Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.

"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.


By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.


Anyone out there know what Avary is up to now?


--Somewhat Following The Rules Himself, Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"IF THIS IS THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 04:02 (A review of The Rules of Attraction)

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.

In Ellis'es book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.

Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.

Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.

"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.

By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.

Anyone out there know what Avary is up to now?


by Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"IF THIS IS THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE..."

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 03:59 (A review of The Rules of Attraction)

. Some characters are kinda fun, but it feels too much like Avary is indulging himself too much to dig a little deeper into these characters.

In Ellis'es book, they let us get inside the characters. Right into their heads in a way we did in "Memento." A more style like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and insider feel like "Memento" I think would have been a better approach.

Still, Avary is a stylist first and foremost. He gave "PF" and "KZ" it's hyper-kinetic juice. So it's not a bad movie, not at all.

Still, it is commendable, if not a lot more. For a great inside feel of these characters heads, read Ellis’s novel. For a wicked orgy-rush film with a college backdrop, check out Avary's film.

"Rules of Attraction" is worth a look any way you cut it.

By the way, last I heard Avary was working on... Oh yeah, another Ellis novel.

Anyone out there know what Avary is up to now?


by Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"A DREAM ABOUT... THE STRANGEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE"

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 03:52 (A review of After Hours)

by Dane Youssef


"WHAT A WEIRD NIGHT... OR WAS IT ALL A DREAM...? IT FEELS THAT WAY AFTER ALL..."


"After Hours" is a surrealistic experience. It's also one of Scorsese's lesser-known gems and as far as I'm concerned, everything the man has so much as ever sneezed on is a gem. I know that sounds very sad and slavishly faithful, (but keep in mind that the man has a great reputation for spinning cinematic gold with about everything he does). I know I sound like some kind of medication and therapy, but to that, I simply ask you all: Has the man ever made a bad movie?

Many have complained that pretty much all of his movies are kinda the same. "Mean Streets," "Raging Bull," "Casino" and "Taxi Driver."

Griffin Dunne is Paul Hacket, a computer programmer who is just going through the motions and has an empty social life. He strikes up a conversation with a nice lady named Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) at a local restaurant over a novel they've both read. Words are exchanged. So are looks. She seems interested. He's hooked.

And from the split-second he gets into that cab, the nightmare begins. The cab blows like mad through the busy streets of downtown SoHo. And after his transportation money literally goes out the window, so do Paul's chance of getting home. He has no idea how deep he's in. At first, it just seems like he's the victim of some bad luck.

He encounters a lot on those dark streets after hours. Unpleasant night owls, severe misunderstandings and eventually the next thing he knows, poor Paul is running for his very life.

He encounters a lot on those dark streets after hours. Unpleasant night owls, severe misunderstandings and eventually the next thing he knows, poor Paul is running for his very life.

Now many of you may be asking, "Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is a thriller? Is it a horror show?" Yes.

It's... it's like a dream about something that really happened to you. It all plays out like a dream about "the strangest night of my life...." And everyone's had that one long, weird night where they were stranded somewhere.... just stuck. No money, no ride. And all the weirdos and sickos all come out from their hiding-places.

"They only come out at night," as they say.

I don't want to give too much away because this is a movie where surprise after surprise. There's a whole domino effect here as everything leads to a big final act where we fear for Paul and his safety, and our own. Because it feels like we have become Paul.

The movie features a first-rate all-star cast. Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Tommy Chong, Linda Fiorentino Teri Garr, John Heard, Cheech Marin, Catherine O'Hara, Dick Miller, Will Patton, Robert Plunket and Bronson Pinchot.

This is the most surprising thing to come from Martin Scorsese. Scorsese has been somewhat pigeon-holed as a director, making usually historical bio-pics about true-life Jewish/Itallian Immigrants growing up in the Bronx and embarking on a life of crime. Always operatic, always rich with detail. "A Night In SoHo" is the arrival of a new Scorsese. One who shows a frightening "what if?" story in the Big Apple involving anyone with a big-city nightlife.

If it wasn't for Scorsese's name in the credits, you'd never guess he was at the helm. You'd never imagine in a million years he ever had anything to do with the project. He uses a quiet, subtle feeling the movie has when it's... "too quiet" and the pumped-up feeling during the more intense dramatic scenes.

Scorsese is a master of suspense, mood and timing. The fact that the Academy continues to pass him for an Oscar time and time and time again is not only annoying. It's downright offensive. We all know too damn well that the Academy bases Oscars all on politics. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Scorsese has played by all the rules. His films are very well-made and intellectual. They have a graceful operatic feel to them. They are often all-too historically accurate bio-pics.

And it uses it. Every actor is perfectly cast. Everyone is allowed to stand out in a big way without being too contrived or too cartoonish to be real.

And Scorsese, who's name stands for quality above all others, makes the most of it.

Joseph Minion's screenplay (which he collaborated with Scorsese on) is used for all it's worth. All the characters are quirky, colorful, yet realistic. The dialog is smart and honest without being too unnaturally "screenwriter-ishly clever."

And 9 out of 10 New Yorkers who see this movie will smile and nod, "Yep. That's NYC at night to a T." Everyone else will be sure to avoid New York like a severe audit. Most people who live outside New York fear the city and plan never to go there.

I imagine this movie will do a lot to complete the trend.

My only real complaint is that Minion should have gotten more credit for his original and winning screenplay. He should have gotten maybe a few more nods from other academies, I'd never seen anything so intriguing and elaborate before. It's not just new. It's smart, fresh, well-crafted and all-too believable.

I know the American Academy would give an Oscar nomination to a film like this, but that's almost a sign of it's greatness. Scorsese gives it a realistic, yet outrageous feel and knows how to let the suspense draw out and build skillfully and Joseph Minion has written himself a little bitty treasure. I just wish he'd write so much more.

Still, this is a home run on every account. I say this and mean it: YOU ALL MUST SEE THIS MOVIE. Ask for it by name: "After Hours."

Thanks for reading....


by Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"A DREAM ABOUT... THE STRANGEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE"

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 10 September 2009 03:50 (A review of After Hours)

by Dane Youssef


"WHAT A WEIRD NIGHT... OR WAS IT ALL A DREAM...? IT FEELS THAT WAY AFTER ALL..."


"After Hours" is a surrealistic experience. It's also one of Scorsese's lesser-known gems and as far as I'm concerned, everything the man has so much as ever sneezed on is a gem. I know that sounds very sad and slavishly faithful, (but keep in mind that the man has a great reputation for spinning cinematic gold with about everything he does). I know I sound like some kind of medication and therapy, but to that, I simply ask you all: Has the man ever made a bad movie?


Many have complained that pretty much all of his movies are kinda the same. "Mean Streets," "Raging Bull," "Casino" and "Taxi Driver."


Griffin Dunne is Paul Hacket, a computer programmer who is just going through the motions and has an empty social life. He strikes up a conversation with a nice lady named Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) at a local restaurant over a novel they've both read. Words are exchanged. So are looks. She seems interested. He's hooked.


And from the split-second he gets into that cab, the nightmare begins. The cab blows like mad through the busy streets of downtown SoHo. And after his transportation money literally goes out the window, so do Paul's chance of getting home. He has no idea how deep he's in. At first, it just seems like he's the victim of some bad luck.


He encounters a lot on those dark streets after hours. Unpleasant night owls, severe misunderstandings and eventually the next thing he knows, poor Paul is running for his very life.


He encounters a lot on those dark streets after hours. Unpleasant night owls, severe misunderstandings and eventually the next thing he knows, poor Paul is running for his very life.


Now many of you may be asking, "Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is a thriller? Is it a horror show?" Yes.


It's... it's like a dream about something that really happened to you. It all plays out like a dream about "the strangest night of my life...." And everyone's had that one long, weird night where they were stranded somewhere.... just stuck. No money, no ride. And all the weirdos and sickos all come out from their hiding-places.


"They only come out at night," as they say.


I don't want to give too much away because this is a movie where surprise after surprise. There's a whole domino effect here as everything leads to a big final act where we fear for Paul and his safety, and our own. Because it feels like we have become Paul.


The movie features a first-rate all-star cast. Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Tommy Chong, Linda Fiorentino Teri Garr, John Heard, Cheech Marin, Catherine O'Hara, Dick Miller, Will Patton, Robert Plunket and Bronson Pinchot.


This is the most surprising thing to come from Martin Scorsese. Scorsese has been somewhat pigeon-holed as a director, making usually historical bio-pics about true-life Jewish/Itallian Immigrants growing up in the Bronx and embarking on a life of crime. Always operatic, always rich with detail. "A Night In SoHo" is the arrival of a new Scorsese. One who shows a frightening "what if?" story in the Big Apple involving anyone with a big-city nightlife.


If it wasn't for Scorsese's name in the credits, you'd never guess he was at the helm. You'd never imagine in a million years he ever had anything to do with the project. He uses a quiet, subtle feeling the movie has when it's... "too quiet" and the pumped-up feeling during the more intense dramatic scenes.


Scorsese is a master of suspense, mood and timing. The fact that the Academy continues to pass him for an Oscar time and time and time again is not only annoying. It's downright offensive. We all know too damn well that the Academy bases Oscars all on politics. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Scorsese has played by all the rules. His films are very well-made and intellectual. They have a graceful operatic feel to them. They are often all-too historically accurate bio-pics.


And it uses it. Every actor is perfectly cast. Everyone is allowed to stand out in a big way without being too contrived or too cartoonish to be real.


And Scorsese, who's name stands for quality above all others, makes the most of it.


Joseph Minion's screenplay (which he collaborated with Scorsese on) is used for all it's worth. All the characters are quirky, colorful, yet realistic. The dialouge is smart and honest without being too unnaturally "screenwriter-ishly clever."


And 9 out of 10 New Yorkers who see this movie will smile and nod, "Yep. That's NYC at night to a T." Everyone else will be sure to avoid New York like a severe audit. Most people who live outside New York fear the city and plan never to go there.


I imagine this movie will do a lot to complete the trend.


My only real complaint is that Minion should have gotten more credit for his original and winning screenplay. He should have gotten maybe a few more nods from other academies, I'd never seen anything so intriguing and elaborate before. It's not just new. It's smart, fresh, well-crafted and all-too believable.


I know the American Academy would give an Oscar nomination to a film like this, but that's almost a sign of it's greatness. Scorsese gives it a realistic, yet outrageous feel and knows how to let the suspense draw out and build skillfully and Joseph Minion has written himself a little bitty treasure. I just wish he'd write so much more.


Still, this is a home run on every account. I say this and mean it: YOU ALL MUST SEE THIS MOVIE. Ask for it by name: "After Hours."


Thanks for reading....


-- Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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