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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “VICE” – 8

“VICE”  –  8 OUT OF 10

In a word:  Propaganda

     This is a political film scripted and performed in such a manner as to stir hatred, bias and animosity toward the right wing, particularly during the Bush II administration which, according to the movie, was run by the strong man behind the president, the Vice-President, Dick Cheney. If you are a hard core conservative, you will hate the movie. If you are a hard core liberal, you will love it.

     Bear in mind, “propaganda” is not always false. Defined, according to Webster, it means:  “Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.”

     To be fair, some of the implied and/or direct criticism of the Bush administration is deserved, particularly the invasion of Iraq and the resulting death and destruction to the Iraqi people, not to mention 4424 Americans killed and over 30,000 more injured. That doesn’t include another 120,000 estimated dead among Iraqis.

     I usually consider myself moderately conservative in most political issues, but I was definitely unconvinced back in 2003 when the Iraq war was initiated by the U.S. using the suspicion of mass destruction weaponry as a

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THE MULE” – 7.0

The Mule” –  7.0

 

In a word:  Disappointing.

     Clint Eastwood is one of the all-time great directors in Hollywood, especially with movies like Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven. But this was no Unforgiven.

     It could be that attending any Eastwood movie is much like going to see Spielberg or Scorsece’s work, we have high expectations. Eastwood creates those same expectations, which is why this film does not rise to those usual common Eastwood standards.  Then again, what should we expect from a movie great who is approaching ninety years old.

     In the movie, Clint Eastwood plays Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job by some swarthy young drug dealers that simply requires him to drive and haul shipments and do nothing else. Unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does so well that his cargo increases with each journey. Meanwhile, the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (played by Bradley Cooper). As his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “GREEN BOOK” – 9.5

Green Book – 9.5

In a word: Captivating

This is the best movie I’ve seen this year, by far. It has already garnered a dozen or more cinematic awards in North America. No doubt, big guns like Oscar and Golden Globe are awaiting their turns.

It’s a rarity these days to walk out of a movie feeling all the emotions encompassed within the human persona; love, hate, class struggles, heartbreak, racial divide, musical excellence, gangsterism, New York culture, historical culture, (1962) and much more.

Story line is set in 1962: When tough guy Tony Lip (portayed by Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive high-class Dr. Don Shirley (portrayed by Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from New York City into the Deep South for two months, they must rely on “The Green Book” that guides them to the few establishments safe for lodging for African-American travelers in southern states. Confronted with racism and danger, as well as plenty of humanity and humor, they are forced to set aside differences to survive on the journey of a lifetime.

We

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “NOBODY’S FOOL” – 2

Nobody’s Fool” – 2 out of 10

In a word: Trash

I’ve enjoyed many of Tyler Perry’s films, but he may one day be remembered by putting out a piece of garbage, like this film.

The story line is good enough, with a young successful woman in need of a love life and torn between two or more men who can fill that vacuum. Then, her foul-mouthed sister is released from prison after five years, only to enter the scene with a barrage of filthy dialogues, overacting the N words, and MF words, and many filthy phrases and nuances unnecessary to the message.

Overacting is the key here among all the characters, with gyro antics and silly repetition among all, which reflects mostly on the director who is Tyler Perry.

Here is one sample comment from an amateur fan posted on on IMDB.com, which sums it up:

Let me preface this by saying I am a HUGE Tyler Perry fan. I adore his movies. This one was just a mess. It had its funny moments but not enough to keep my attention. The acting was terrible.”  

There are plenty more like that, all of which echoed these same

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME” – M. Frank

Can You Ever Forgive Me   -7.5

 

In two words: Author Alcoholic

 In a rare non-comedic role, Melissa McCarthy shows the dramatic side of her talents by playing a down-in-her-luck author, Lee Israel, who sadly finds herself on the outs with her literary agent, her publisher and everyone else who avoids her like a rotten smell, other than her cat. Set in New York City in the 1970s and 80s, where she lives in a ramshackle, filthy apartment, there’s hardly a scene in the movie where McCarthy is not sipping on a glass of Scotch.  She had been a successful author once, profiling numerous celebrities like Tallulah Bankhead, Katherine Hepburn, Estee Lauder and others. Now she’s barely able to get past the alcohol induced writer’s block. 

       On the edge of being evicted by her landlord, coupled with a number of other debts, Lee stumbles on a an easy money scheme to deal with selling bogus documents signed/written by other famous authors of the past, often worth anywhere from $50 to thousands, depending. She established a friendship with a gay man, interestingly named “Jack Hock,” another down-and-out drunk drug user played by Richard E. Grant, where they share a few laughs

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: A STAR IS BORN – 8.5

A Star is Born – 8 .5

In a word: Captivating

     This is a great movie, with superb acting and an ample supply of modern-age music which, for some, could have been moderated a bit to allow for more appeal to all audiences.

     First a question: What does Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga all have in common? They all played lead roles in a smash movie titles “A Star Is Born.” (1937, 1954, 1976 and 2018) This might well be considered the best of the lot. (Until the next rendition sometime in the mid 2050s)

     While the plot is basically the same in each film, (down and out show-biz fellow discovers a future star)  I cannot imagine better acting in the lead role than what Lady Gaga gives us in her first major film. She is virtually intoxicating, not only for her dramatics, but her music, which is not only singing, she renders the epitome of bridging modern rock with classic love songs. (I’ve never heard La Vie En Rose sung better) Gaga realistically crosses the gamut of raw emotion from learning that she is truly beautiful and vastly talented, as deeply imparted by a smitten

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “WHITE BOY RICK” – 7

WHITE BOY RICK – 7

 

In a word:  Depressing.

     If you are adverse to a barrage of bad language, plus graphic violence, do not see this movie.

     Set in Detroit around 1984, this is a deep, dark film giving us a vivid peek into the underworld of drugs and dealers, depression, dysfunction and misery.

     Mathew McConaughey deftly plays the role of a struggling single father of two teens, one a female junkie who lives in the streets and the other, Rick Wershe Jr., age 15, who spends most of his miserable life interacting with dopers and thieves in the hood, often the only white person in the mix. This was during the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

     Wershe Sr. sells guns illegally to make ends meet but soon attracts attention from the FBI. Federal agents convince his son, Rick Jr., to become an undercover drug informant in exchange for keeping his father out of prison. When young Rick gets in too deep, he finds himself seduced by the lure of easy money and becomes a drug dealer himself.

     This is based on a true story which comes together at the end, which I will omit for this article.

     McConaughey is

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