Week in Review 12/20 – 12/26 Part 2

In Part 1, I reviewed recent movies released to dvd, Redbox, and streaming services like Amazon. But since I watched other movies on DVD from my personal library, I save those tidbits for reviews Part 2 ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are my reviews for Mixed Nuts, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Silverado, and The Quick and The Dead.

photo imdb.com

Written and directed by Nora Ephron, the story centers around a suicide hotline called Life Savers over the course of evening during Christmas time. Hilarity ensues. Watching my mom watch this movie is also fun because she laughs so hard and says “I love this part.” or “This character is so funny.” before a scene even starts. She cracks up knowing what’s to come.

Steve Martin plays Philip, the operator of Life Savers. He’s “good” on the phone but not so much in person. It’s six days before the New Year and he’s received an eviction notice for the business. His employees don’t know and he doesn’t know how to tell them or where to get the needed money. Madeline Kahn plays Mrs. Munchnik, a very uptight and judgmental employee who is also very good as handling suicidal callers. Rita Wilson plays Catherine, another employee who wears her heart on her sleeve, is in love with Philip, and sees the good in everyone. Juliette Lewis plays Gracie, a young pregnant woman with the gift of make-over’s, who pushes a stroller everywhere for practice, and who is in a constant argument with her boyfriend Felix, played by Anthony LaPaglia. Dressed as Santa, Felix is a hot head and when he displays his commitment to Gracie by waving a gun around, someone gets shot, and changes everything. Liev Schreiber rounds out the main characters as transgender Chris who manages to find out the address for Life Savers and shows up for companionship. The rest of the cast includes Adam Sandler, Robert Klein, Rob Reiner, Garry Shandling, and Steven Wright. There is a lot going on here with the many plot points and characters coming and going; however, it’s funny as well as silly and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Liev Schreiber’s character Chris needs her own movie or at least more scenes. A cast with great comedic chemistry. Watch the trailer below:

photo imdb.com

The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite version of this timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the life changing night before Christmas adventure reminding him the meaning of Christmas. I love the Muppets. Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jerry Juhl, and directed by Brian Henson, the story revolves a miserly old man who “bah humbugs” everything, has no love in his heart, and has to be shown the true meaning of Christmas by ghostly visitors of his past as well as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and What is to come. In this version, Scrooge is masterfully played by Michael Caine who brings another level to the classic character. While there are other humans cast in supporting roles, the bulk of the characters are Muppets which basically play themselves playing these characters. Kermit as Bob Crachit, Miss Piggy as his wife, The Great Gonzo as the Narrator, and Rizzo the Rat as his side-kick. Plus, all the wonderful Muppets as townspeople. I love this movie. As a matter of fact, I was looking for it a couple of weeks ago to watch and realized my only copy was on VHS which I packed away in storage. Imagine, well you don’t have to imagine- I’ll tell you, I was so excited when I saw the dvd at Bi-Mart, I squealed in the store and threw it in the cart ๐Ÿ™‚ At that moment, I didn’t care if I received any gifts this year, I was set. Watch the trailer below:

photo imdb.com

Co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and Mark Kasdan, directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and released in 1985. Silverado is a classic western story of four gunslingers on their way to Silverado where they confront some bad guys and bring justice to the town. Lawrence Kasdan grew up watching westerns and always wanted to make one. He thought the mid-80’s was the perfect opportunity since no one was making westerns at the time. He was right. He wrote the story with his brother and filled it with everything a western needs: gunslingers, bad guys, injustice, women to fight for, and hope for a better life. Filmed in New Mexico, the landscape was a character itself and the weather was frigid and harsh. The all star cast includes Kevin Kline as Paden, a gunslinger with a heart and an eye for what’s right. Scott Glenn as Emmett, a gunslinger with an impulsive younger brother, Jake, constantly needing bailing out of jams played by Kevin Costner. Danny Glover as Mal, a gunslinger coming home to his parent’s land and a few surprises. These four guys are not welcomed along the way and team up to make things right. Bad guys include John Cleese as Sheriff Langston, Brian Dennehy as Cobb, and Jeff Goldblum as Slick. Linda Hunt plays Stella the Barkeeper, Lynn Whitfield plays Rae– Mal’s sister, and Rosanna Arquette plays Hannah.

The classic western visuals: close-ups, shots of horses hooves clopping in the dirt, guys falling off balconies or rolling down the stairs, moments held a tad long for effect, the twirling guns, the perfect shots– they’re all here. It’s a wonderful homage to the western genre. I did have one plot point stick out as not making sense and being unnecessary. Rosanna Arquette’s character Hannah loses her husband while traveling by wagon train. Initially, Kevin Kline’s Paden takes an interest to her but then he “passes” her on to Scott Glenn’s Emmett as someone he should settle down with. Then, when Emmett leaves Silverado, he also leaves Hannah with Paden. As I reflected this subplot, it occurred to me her character was unnecessary or at the least played by a relative unknown actress without the silly love triangle mess. Anyhoo, it’s a classic. Watch the trailer below:

photo imdb.com

Written by Simon Moore and directed by Sam Raimi. Released in 1995. A classic western, with a kung-fu style, focuses on a female gunslinger who comes to town to confront the man who killed her father. Sharon Stone plays Ellen, a gunslinger out to avenger her father’s death. Sharon Stone is gorgeous with no make-up, dusty, ratted hair, and the constant scowl. She doesn’t need a lot of snappy one-liners to choose from, which is good because the writer only gave her a couple to repeat throughout the movie. She’s a expert shooter but every time the town’s bullish leader Herod, played by Gene Hackman, shows up, she turns into a cowardly goo mess. This disappoints me. She’s tough. She proves herself to be a good shot. But it’s all a facade. She’s not tough at all. Ellen befriends Cort, played by Russell Crowe, an ex-con turned preacher no one likes, and joins the gunslinger tournament hoping to kill Herod for killing her father. In the meantime, Herod’s son, the Kid, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, makes his presence known about town and tournament with his quick draw and pretty boy looks. There are plenty of bad guys in town all signed up for the tournament which promises a whole lot of money to last man standing. Except Herod, the town bully, has rigged it over the years so he ends being the winner every time.

This movie is fun to watch as it mixes the western genre with some classic kung fu shooting styles. Quick edits from one set of eyes to another and quick edits closing in on shooters like classic kung fu battles while keeping the classic western landscape shots, horses running, and gun fights. Raimi brings some of his horror expertise here with gaping holes left in bodies allowing the sun to shine through and such. If it wasn’t for the lack of confidence written into Stone’s character (Ellen comes through in the end but there’s a brief plot twist.); it would be a favorite. The script could’ve worked as written, the characters could’ve stayed as written, but I would’ve liked the movie a lot more if Ellen was allowed to be tough through and through. She’s a gunslinger after all. There’s no crying in gunslinging. Until you’ve been shot anyway. Watch the trailer below:

Well, that’s all there is for 2019! Thank you for joining me and I’ll be seeing you next year ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo Jeannette

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