Tag Archives: drugs

AMY (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

AmyAmy Winehouse, a dynamic song writer and jazz and pop singer, found dead from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, is documented in this sad but clear story of her brief life and career. I’ve formed a strong and definite opinion of Amy’s life and reasons for her early demise. “Amy” was quite painful to watch, especially after reading that her father (Mitch Winehouse) was protesting the film because he felt it made him look bad and also, at times, showed Amy in a bad light. I found his words hard to believe. In the documentary, her mother admitted she was unable to handle Amy with a simple no when needed. The film brilliantly showed times when Amy acted up as a small child, needing guidance and discipline and her mother (Janis Winehouse) giving up and giving in to Amy’s pressure tactics. I would say Amy was one of those special children, overactive, or what we call a “D” child. Hard to control, aggressive and in need of a disciplinarian. I felt watching her story that her parents were ill equipped to handle her. At 16 years old Amy and a friend had their own flat. That says a whole lot right there. As Amy got older and more popular with more responsibilities, she became more withdrawn from adulthood and was handling her life in a way most adolescence without proper training would.  Adding booze, drugs, sex and a “I don’t care” attitude on top of everything just for the fun of it.  Friends and family tried to intervene but she didn’t really want their help.  She was in and out of rehab but she attached to mates who kept her where she didn’t want to be, even marrying Blake Fielder who really aided in bringing her to rock bottom by introducing her to drugs.  She actually served as a gravy train for a few family members who looked out for themselves instead of Amy.  When she started to grow up, it was really too late, she was unable to deal with all the problems she had created for herself which included bulimia, drug addiction, alcoholism and depression.

“Amy”, the documentary, captures the very heart of what she was about, which is an amazing person and a true musical genius.  “Amy” has already won 25 awards and is predicted to win more, including Oscar.  It’s hard to get it out of my head and I am so sorry for this loss.  Amy Winehouse had a gift that put her up there with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan and Tony Bennett, who she made her last album with, in terms of uniqueness and talent as a song writer and singer.  This documentary is worth the time to see — no one is bigger than substance abuse — it will bring you down to your knees!  It’s best not to get started, it’s best to treat it like a venomous snake bite for which there’s no coming back.

[AMY is nominated for Best Documentary Feature]

 

 

LUCY (2014) – My rating: 8/10

LucyI really loved this Sci-fi, futuristic movie.  Lucy who is a student in Taipei, is 1 hour and 28 minutes of non-stop action.  Scarlett Johansson was beyond  eye candy.  After forcibly becoming a drug mule, carrying  a leaky bag of synthetic drugs containing CPH4 (a substance produced during pregnancy),  in her stomach, Lucy instantly starts using the more than normal 10% of her brain.  Going further than mankind has ever known, Lucy goes out to seek revenge on the crew responsible for her abduction and illegal smuggling as well as transportation of drugs into the streets using unwilling subjects.  This movie is slick, fast, action packed and sexy.  I thought the movie was too short but very effective, so time well spent.  Morgan Freeman played college professor Norman who gave us powerful information regarding the nuances of the brain’s capacity.  The special effects were pretty good but nothing new.  See Lucy on the big screen or wait for the DVD.  You won’t see too much difference in the two.

OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013) – My rating 7/10

OutOfTheFurnaceThe best thing I can say about Out of the Furnace is Woody Harrelson who played notorious Harlan DeGroat, a drug addicted gangster who ruled in the Appellation Mountains and Christain Bale who played Russell Baze, a steel worker that’s down on his luck.  Their performances were outstanding.  Other than that, it was pretty much down hill.  This movie was oh so slow — even the music seemed slow except at the end when Pearl Jam’s “Release” permeated the screen.  There were no happy endings and no real message that I could determine.  The story takes place in North Braddock, Pennsylvania’s  steel mill  country and in the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey.   The plot is basically about Casey Affleck’s character, Rodney Baze (Russell’s brother) who goes missing after he agrees to take a dive in DeGroat’s bare knuckle fighting event to even a debt between Willem Defoe, who plays Bookie, John Petty, himself and DeGroat.  Russell who lost his woman (Zoe Saldana) to Chief Wesley Barnes, played by Forest Whitaker, decided to go rogue while looking into Rodney’s disappearance.  This movie presented many questions for which I didn’t get many answers.  In fact, I had to read up on Out of the Furnace to find the truth.  I recommend Out of the Furnace on DVD if you have some time to kill, it’s interesting at best!

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THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS THAT PRETTY MUCH TELLS THE WHOLE MOVIE — IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, STOP HERE — DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!
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Scene:  One night, Russell slams into a car backing out of a concealed driveway.  The camera zooms in on what appears to be the lower, lifeless half of a child’s body.  We know Russell had at least one drink before starting his journey home.

Question: Why is Russell in Prison?

Answer:  The child and the driver died in the car crash and Russell was arrested for a DWI.

 

Scene:  The movie opens with Russell and Lena (Zoe Saldana) in a loving relationship, playfully laughing and tossing around in their bed.

Question:  Why hasn’t Lena been to see Russell in prison considering how much she loved him?

Answer:  She left him for Chief Wesley Barnes.  One can only assume she thought this would be a more stable life — she also is pregnant by Barnes.

 

Scene:  John Petty reiterates the deal between  himself and DeGroat — (Rodney takes a dive which evens any debt between DeGroat and Petty).  DeGroat reluctantly agrees.

Question:  Why did DeGroat kill Petty and Rodney after the fight?

Answer:  You have to guess at this one because it’s not clear — I think he may have felt threatened by Rodney’s fighting skills.

 

Scene:  Russell larges two bullets in DeGroat.  While limping away, Russell makes a final shot from about 60+ feet away from DeGroat.  DeGroat falls.  We see no movement.  Chief Barnes is standing behind Russell shouting “don’t do it”, “put the gun down”, “let me make this right”.

Question:  Is DeGroat dead?

Answer:  Yes!

 

Scene:  The last scene shows Russell sitting in his dining room reflecting.

Question:  Did the chief not arrest Russell for murder?

Answer:  No he did not!

 

I was able to find out these answers via research, not the movie!

 

I’M IN LOVE WITH A CHURCH GIRL (2013) – My rating: 6.5/10

ImInLoveWithAChurchGirlI had hoped for a lot from” I’m in love with a church Girl” but…  If you’re going to show gangsters reformed, especially of their own accord, you have to get your facts straight and it has to be believable.  Whether it was due to a low budget or bad directing, this movie was corny, unconvincing and unbelievable.  If the addicting game of drug dealing were that easy to get out of, why do most stay in till death or life in prison?  I’m not saying it can’t be done but on the level this firm deals, it’s highly unlikely.  Additionally, who allows the DEA to work 24/7 on a potential drug bust that will only yield a couple of small fries?  In a time when there’s no money and eveything from education to jobs are in jeopardy, what budget is allocated for a low level drug bust using high level surveillance equipment?

A former drug dealer, Les Montego, meets a girl, falls in love and risk everything to keep her and out of respect, he doesn’t sleep with anyone, including the girl he’s in love with, pending marriage.  That’s unrealistic for the characters in this life style.  They tried to show some of the struggle in keeping this kind of committment, but it just wasn’t convincing.  I wish with every fiber of by being that it could and would be this way, but all in all, this movie was wrapped up too tightly in a nice, neat unbelievable  package.  At times, some of the transitioning seem amateurish.  Cute movie but unrealistic.  Casing Ja-Rule Atkins was brillian as he came off as believable as one could possibly be under the circumstances.  Steven Baldwin as a DEA cop didn’t prove to be tough enough for a DEA position and Adrienne Bailon as Les Montego’s girlfriend was very believable.  Check it out on DVD!

IRON MAN 3 — My rating: 8/10

IronMan3Every critique of a movie is actually the opinion of the “critiquer” or the person doing the critiquing.  Having said that, I feel it’s okay to further interject with a personal opinion about certain actors portraying a character.  Iron Man 3 is the subject of this critique.

For a long while, I had given up on one of my favorite actors.  Writing him off to the wilds of drugs and too much partying.  Just when it looked as though he was about to cancel out of society, a remarkable thing happened.  As he had fallen, he got back up for the umpteen time.  Only this time, he stood tall and continues to do so.  Even though I don’t know Robert Downing, Jr. personally, I am so proud of his achievements.  In a strange way, he reminds me of Johnny Depp.  His larger than life personality and aura brings a uniqueness to every character he plays.  I believe he is up there on genius status.  He is brilliant to watch and quite pleasing to the eyes.

Iron Man 1 and 2 were so good, I didn’t want either to end.  I gave each a 10 out or 10 rating.  Iron Man 3 was also good, however I felt there was much to much destruction.  Too many scenes had us witnessing building after building being destroyed.  It really became tiresome.  The “one man’s revenge” thing has also been overdone.  Somebody has run out of fresh ideas on how to come up with a scenario that renders a good plot for evil vs. pretty good.  I know the Iron Man idea is a fantasy, however there are a select number of  folks who sometimes convince themselves that this might be possible somewhere down the line.  Therefore, some semblance of normalcy would be appreciated.  Suffice to say, I didn’t like this third sequel as much as the first and second films but I liked it enough to rate it 8 out of 10.

[IRON MAN 3 is nominated for Achievement in Visual Effects]