Casino Jack (2010)
One Line Description: A political lobbyist’s attempts to build an empire are thwarted by accusations of corruption and fraud.
“Based on a true story”, Kevin Spacey plays the lead role, Jack Abramhoff, to perfection. There seems to be a certain kind of character that he is just great at, and yet I don’t love any of his movies, and most are one time watches for me. His partner is played by Barry Pepper, who has always been one of my favorite “second-tier” guys. Spacey’s character is attempting to use money obtained from lobbying to buy a casino boat in Miami. There is plenty of politicking and backstabbing at work here. It was definitely an interesting look into how even more messed up politics and lobbying are than most people would even think. Worth a look.
One Line Description: The story of the 1970s racehorse who won the Triple Crown in record breaking fashion.
Another “based on a true story”, film, this one from Disney. The world of horse racing has always intrigued me, and the story of Secretariat has always been at the top. After setting a Kentucky Derby record, Secretariat went on to win the Belmont Stakes by more than 30 lengths, setting a course record that hasn’t been broken. He also ran negative splits, meaning he ran each subsequent leg faster than the previous. It’s an amazing story. Unfortunately this movie failed to capture any of that. Possibly because it was made by Disney, possibly because it was just poorly written or directed, but this movie lacks any sort of flow and chemistry. It feels very thrown together and for the most part did nothing to present the actual story in a respectable fashion. I would not watch this one again.
Brothers McMullen (1995)
One Line Description: Three 20-something Irish brothers navigate life and love in Long Island, New York.
The directorial debut of Edward Burns, this movie screens mid-’90s. I used to think that the styles of the ’80s were so bad, and the change between the ’80s and ’90s was a lot more drastic than the change between the ’90s and ’00s. This movie proves otherwise. The horrible hair and clothes make this movie feel much older than it is. Connie Britton plays Burn’s sister-in-law, but other than that the cast is mostly unrecognizable. The movie has a very Reality Bites feel to it, which makes me think that these types of moves in the early ’90s were all the same. Not a bad movie, and likely much better 15 years ago, but still nothing here that makes me scream “must see.” It felt a little low-budget too (which it probably was). I recommend Burn’s slightly more recent relationship fake documentary Sidewalks of New York instead.
Robin Hood (2010)
One Line Description: Another re-telling of the famous legend, this one is an origin story of sorts.
I was plenty amped for this Russell Crowe-led epic, but never made it to the theatre. Now that I have seen it, I am thinking that I probably made the right decision. I didn’t realize that this was more of a “how it began” story, rather than a more traditional telling of Robin Hood. I think had my expectations been more properly calibrated, I would have enjoyed this movie a whole lot more. That being said, it was good. The love story did not get in the way, but it wasn’t as absent as in, say Gladiator. The action scenes were good, but not great. Overall it was an OK movie, but definitely left me wanting more. It clearly setup room for a sequel but I haven’t yet heard it’s happening. I might watch it again to see if it’s better with expectations set, but I wasn’t thrilled the first time around.
The Switch (2010)
One Line Description: A neurotic friend must tell his friend that her young son is actually his after he switched her sperm donor’s specimen with his own.
Yikes. Always good not to go into a Jennifer Aniston comedy with any sort of expectations, but this one was rough. The hope that Jason Bateman would save the day were definitely not met. The fact that Aniston wouldn’t have noticed that her son had all the traits of her best friend of many years is still a little baffling. Bateman’s inability to tell her the truth, even after they had been apart for years just dragged the movie on. Horrible flick. I was glad when it was over.