Showing posts from October 20, 2019

Review: A Star is Born

A professionally successful but personally destructive country-rock musician (Bradley Cooper) hooks up with a star on the rise (Lady Gaga). They become romantically and creatively involved, but eventually Cooper’s demons get a hold of him. Sam Elliott plays Cooper’s no BS (much) older brother, Andrew Dice Clay is Gaga’s salt-of-the-earth dad, and Rafi Gavron plays a slick British manager who attaches himself to Gaga.

Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut and assumes lead actor and co-writer duties with this 2019 version of the classic story of a doomed relationship between two musicians. Despite much critical and commercial success, I think Cooper does a pretty terrible job both behind and in front of the camera and not much else goes right, either. Yeah, let the hate mail flow. It’s me against the world again, I guess.

Co-scripted by Will Fetters (“Remember Me”, “The Lucky One”) and Eric Roth (writer of the much better films “Forrest Gump” and “The Insider”), this is a horribly c…

Review: Willie Dynamite

Roscoe Orman is the title braggadocios pimp looking to outmuscle all other competition. Unfortunately, opposition from a fellow pimp (Roger Robinson) whose request of forming a syndicate of pimps is rejected by Willie, and the meddling of a former hooker turned ambitious social worker (Diana Sands) manage to make things tough for Willie. Also making it difficult for Willie? His loud and boastful overconfidence and cold-blooded nature towards the girls he makes money off. Willie’s kind of an idiot, at the end of the day. A somewhat violent and dangerous one sure, but an idiot all the same. Thalmus Rasulala plays the square Assistant DA who is the main squeeze of Sands, whilst Joyce Walker (as the poorly treated Pashen), Juanita Brown and Marcia McBroom are among the increasingly discontent working girls. Alan Weeks (“Truck Turner”) has a cameo as a photographer.

Having a more moralistic, dramatic side to it than a lot of other Blaxploitation films, this 1974 film tends to do better wit…

Review: Three the Hard Way

Racist evil bastard Jay Robinson and his mad scientist cohort Richard Angarola plot to rid the world of non-whites by poisoning the water supply in three major US states with a drug that only affects non-white citizens. When big ‘ol Jim Brown loses a friend, he calls in favours to his buddies Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly as they attempt to put a stop to the evil scheme before it’s too late.

There were quite a few blaxploitation team-ups over the years, during and after the era itself, but none of them managed to get all of the titans in one film: Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree, Ron O’Neal, Isaac Hayes, Jim Brown, and Jim Kelly. “Original Gangstas” probably got closest, but even that one left a couple out. The other thing about these team-ups is that they rarely resulted in an overall good film. This 1974 action-drama from director Gordon Parks Jr. (“Superfly”) is a near-miss as most tended to be.

Although the music score by Richard Tufo (something called “Demented”, co…