Monday, April 6, 2015

Wknd Box Office: Woman in Gold, Furious 7, Danny Collins

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Woman in Gold, Furious 7, Danny Collins

By Debbie Schlussel
Well, the movies are getting semi-better ahead of the big movie season in May.


* “Woman In Gold: I enjoyed this entertaining legal thriller based on real-life history. Read my complete review of the movie, about a Holocaust survivor’s fight to get back the paintings the Nazis stole from her family.
* “Furious 7“: This latest installment of the Fast & Furious movies is much better than the last one. The story is a little bit confusing and entirely ridiculous, but nobody goes to see these movies for a story or a plot, so my review is based on this movie delivering what you’d expect of it: non-stop action and car chases, very cool special effects, and entirely amazing (and not believable) stunts. On those, it delivers, though it’s kind of ridiculous: cars parachuting out of planes and landing on Caucasus Mountains roads with barely a scratch (ditto for the Furious 7 characters driving those cars); an exotic car driving high above Abu Dhabi through three sky scrapers; etc. Although star Paul Walker (read my expose on his “charity”) died before finishing filming of this movie, it’s hard to tell. His lookalike brothers provide side glances and distant shots, and there is a tribute to him at the end, showing shots from his previous Fast & Furious stints.
I didn’t need to see multiple shots of women’s rear ends right in my face (though that is often a Fast & Furious staple). And I had misgivings about the movie’s promotion of the Arab Muslim Gulf as a hip, happening place where anything goes. This is, after all, the same Abu Dhabi in which people have been arrested and sent to jail for making out on the beach. On the other hand, the scene in which a Jordanian prince is celebrating his birthday complete with bare-assed women and alcohol is accurate. They are hypocrites who preach one thing to their fellow Muslims and to us, but then do the opposite. Sadly, that point wasn’t made in this movie. Instead, Black star Tyrese comments about how much fun he’s having at the party, and that he’s come up with a new word, “Blarab”–short for Black Arab. I have an older, more accurate name for Black Arab: SLAVE, ‘cuz that’s what they are in most of the Arab world. It was nice, though, to see the Fast & Furious gang outsmart and beat up all the Arab Muslim bodyguards, many of them wearing hijabs, and ruin the Jordanian prince’s birthday bash.

The “story”: the Fast & Furious crew are terrorized by Jason Statham (the tired, old “former special forces assassin as bad guy” narrative), whose brother they put in the hospital. They are trying to fight back and stop him, when they are approached by a mysterious pseudo-governmental operative, played by Kurt Russell. He says he’ll help them if they help him get back a computer programmer/hacker and her program, “G-d’s Eye,” which can help the government find anyone using everyone else’s cellphone microphones and cameras. They agree, and the chase takes them to Azerbaijan (the Caucasus Mountains), Abu Dhabi, and back to Los Angeles. It bothered me that in at least one scene, a police car is blown up (and its passengers and driver likely died) in the wreckage of their fight with Jason Statham. It’s supposed to be no big deal.
In any event, the movie delivers on what Fast & Furious movies promise: lots of fast, cool, expensive, luxury cars, lots of action and amazing stunts, and little in the way of story.
Watch the trailer . . .

* “Danny Collins“: I had mixed feelings about this movie. I hated the main character, rock/pop star Danny Collins, played by Al Pacino (plus listening to Al Pacino sing is like hearing lambs being beheaded–very disturbing). Also, I think John Lennon is an overrated nothing, and this movie makes him into some sort of inspirational god, which I didn’t like. And the movie was a little too melodramatic for me. But it was entertaining and moves along. And the plot was slightly interesting.
The story: Collins is a pop star a la Neil Diamond (his big hit, “Hey, Baby Doll” sounds a lot like “Sweet Caroline”). He’s old and his fans are aging and very old. He’s very rich but hates that he got rich from singing commercial pop song drivel that he despises. He started out as a more soulful singer with folk song-esque sound. Collins is also a pig, with nothing to like about him. He’s a cokehead and a drunk with several ex-wives and a current girlfriend who could be his granddaughter. (I could have done without the gratuitous shot of the woman completely naked with just a little soap covering her vaginal area.)
For his birthday, Collins’ manager (Christopher Plummer) presents him with a letter from John Lennon to Collins. Collins had never seen or been aware of the letter before and is suddenly inspired to change his life. It’s not clear why. The letter merely tells Collins that Lennon likes his songs and would like to talk to him about possibly helping him. It includes a phone number. That’s it. Nothing that inspirational, not that the love-in leftist dope addict has ever done anything too meaningful.
So, Collins decides to stop doing drugs and moves to a Hilton in New Jersey, where he has an adult son, in whose life Collins has never been. We learn that the son (Bobby Cannavale) is the product of a backstage sex session Collins had with a groupie and that the mother of this son kept the news from Collins. When Collins found out he had a son and tried to connect with him by contributing money and so on, the mother refuses and blocks all efforts. Because that’s the case, it’s hard to feel bad for the mother and even more difficult to understand the son’s anger at Collins. Ultimately, though, Collins and his son reconnect, and the movie follows Pacino’s attempts to make up for the past and to connect with people at the Hilton (including the manager, played by Annette Bening).
The movie has its funny lines and moments, and, like I said, it’s entertaining and engrossing. But I just hated the Danny Collins character so much, I just didn’t really care what happened to him and whether or not he betters himself. And, frankly, he lived up (or, rather, down) to my expectations anyway. So, I’m not sure what the point of this was. I don’t think I’d pay ten bucks to see this.
Watch the trailer . . .

“Woman In Gold”: Charming, Funny, Touching Movie About Nazi-Looted Art & Getting It Back

By Debbie Schlussel
Helen Mirren should win the Oscar for her portrayal of Maria Altmann in “Woman In Gold,” which debuts in movie theaters today.

Whether or not you are into art or history, you will likely enjoy the charming, witty, funny, and touching movie about the real-life Altmann’s fight to get back her family’s beloved painting, stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust. And, as a practicing attorney, I don’t usually say that movies get it regarding the ups and downs and legal niceties of the courts. This movie does that and more. It’s a thriller, a slice of history, and a study in a nerd–lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who courageously steps up to the plate–risking everything to do what’s right.
Altmann came from a prominent, wealthy Austrian Jewish family during the Holocaust. She and her opera singer husband escaped and ultimately settled in Los Angeles, but her parents and all of their belongings were taken from them. Among those was a famous painting by renowned artist Gustav Klimt, entitled “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” The painting, featuring gold paint, is also known as “Lady in Gold.” Adele, the woman in the painting, was Mrs. Altmann’s aunt, and Mrs. Altmann wants the looted painting (and four other looted Klimt paintings owned by her family) back. But Austria and the Austrian gallery that possesses the painting want to keep it. Lawyer Schoenberg is a struggling young lawyer with a new family. He is the grandson of Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, and his grandmother and Mrs. Altmann were best friends. At first, he is resistant to taking the daunting case–fighting a foreign government and its army of lawyers, potentially all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (which is where it ends up). But he takes the case and risks and nearly loses everything to pursue it.
Mirren and Reynolds are great in this movie and they have terrific chemistry in this platonic love story. Her portrayal of a feisty European Jewish woman displaced by the Nazis reminds me of many such women who were friends with my Holocaust survivor grandparents and went to our synagogue. A de-glammed, nerded-up Reynolds is almost unrecognizable and he definitely does well in capturing the nerdy, studious, hungry, underdog lawyer in his portrayal.
The movie flashes back and forth between the past–at the beginning of the Holocaust–and the present, during Altmann’s and Schoenberg’s legal fight, which takes them back and forth to Austria, where they are helped by a young Austrian journalist. The movie makes much of Mrs. Altmann’s old age and that she may not live to see the outcome of her legal fight. And that is clearer in real life. Helen Mirren is 69 years old, but Altmann was nearly 90 when her litigation was resolved.
The flashbacks in the movie accurately capture the attitude of Jews like the Bloch-Bauers. They were JINOs–Jews In Name Only. As wealthy, secular Jews, they mistakenly thought they were part of Austrian high society. They really had little to do with the Jewish religion and were in denial that the Nazis would target them like the other Jews. In fact, as they watch their Jewish friends and neighbors being beaten, humiliated, and otherwise brutalized by the Nazis on a Saturday afternoon (which is the Jewish Sabbath), Maria’s father insists on playing his treasured cello, as he does every Saturday afternoon. As Maria’s uncle–the husband of the woman in the Klimt portrait–warns, they must all leave. When Maria’s father finally faces the music, it is too late for him.
This movie is entertaining, educational, and well done. I wasn’t bored for a second.
Nazis are the betes noires of Hollywood liberal elites, as they should be. I doubt, though, that in 40 years Hollywood will have the courage to show others fighting for the property that the modern-day Nazis–Muslims–looted from them all over the Middle East. I also doubt the courts will find in their favor.
Watch the trailer . . .


New “Fast & Furious” Flick an Infomercial for Phony $3.4 Million “Muslim SuperCar”

By Debbie Schlussel
Is “Furious 7,” the new Fast & Furious movie, a paid infomercial for the so-called “Arab SuperCar”? It appears so. And that’s in addition to the movie’s pimping of anti-Israel Abu Dhabi, where couples have done jail time for making out on the beach, as a permissive, glamorous playground.
The Muslim Lamborghini Rip-Off Pimped by “Furious 7″ . . .

Video: Not Much Under The Trunk: The Ultimate Car for the Ultimately Inadequate Man . . .

“Furious 7″ was this past weekend’s predictable runaway winner at movie theaters in the U.S. (with an estimated $144 million take) and around the world (with an estimated $384 million take). In one of the movie’s biggest and most unbelievable stunts, stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel drive an expensive red sports car through three some of the highest floors of three skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi. Before that happens, though, Walker goes on and on about the car, that it costs $3.4 million, that there are only seven of the cars made in the entire world, and so on. The car looked like a Lamborghini rip-off with Batmobile influences. On my way out of the theater I asked several men who’d attended the screening if they recalled what kind of car it was. Nobody could say.
So, when I got home, I did some research. And it appears that the whole scene–and Paul Walker’s lines in the script having verbal orgasms over this car–were paid product placement by Arab Muslims wishing to establish their sports car as the “Arab [in this case, translation: Muslim] supercar.” The name of the car: the Lykan Hypersport. The Muslims are trying to tell us they can outdo Ferrari, Lamborghini, and so on, and the car has the Arabic version of the number 7 hidden throughout its design (see video below). But some of the features on which the late Paul Walker pimps us in the movie, might not even exist, including the car’s alleged “holographic center display.”
I don’t know about you, but cars aren’t the first thing I think of when I think of the Muslim world. Jew-hatred cartoons and TV shows, beheadings, and IEDs are more of what immediately comes to mind (and more likely what they have in mind). And speaking of Jew-hatred, the Lykan Hypersport’s maker, W Motors is based in Israel-boycotting Dubai. The company’s owner bills it as “the premier Arab Developer of High Performance Luxury Sports Cars.”
More about the pretentious “Arab Supercar”:
It’s a car you’ve likely never heard of before: The Lykan Hypersport, an extremely limited, hyper-expensive supercar. How limited? Just seven examples. How expensive? A mere $3.4 million.Dubai-based W Motors, the company that builds the Lykan, calls itself the first Arab supercar company. Founded by Lebanese-born Ralph Debbas [DS: full name, Ralph R Debbas Sari El Khalil], the W is dedicated to the kind of super-ultimate luxury that only folks with oil-sheik money can dream of.
Inside is where things get really nutzo. As in, seats-stitched-with-gold-thread nutzo. And claimed-holographic-center-display-that-may-not-actually-exist nutzo. And that’s just a part of it. We’re talking a 24-hour concierge service offering on-call engineers and “flying doctors” to cater to the needs of yourself or your car, anywhere in the world.

No word on exactly how much W Motors paid to get this intense marketing push of sharia luxury sports cars in the script of “Furious 7.”
Again, I’m not too concerned that the Arab Muslims are going to be giving Detroit’s Big Three auto companies or the major luxury sports car outfits a run for their money. The Arab and Muslim worlds have only perfected five things: hate, extremism, intolerance, mass violence, and hypocrisy.
But despite what the well-paid Fast & Furious gang wants you to think, none of these is a “luxury supercar.”
This “Furious 7″ trailer, which ran during the Super Bowl shows the Lykan Hypersport “driving” through skyscrapers:

By the way, the Gulf State Muslim Arabs did own Aston Martin at one point, as I pointed out on this site (and they drove it into the ground). And the Saudis tried to manufacture their own line of cars, which didn’t really go anywhere. That’s the track record. Terrorism and bombs, on the other hand, they are very successful at.

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