Tag Archives: george

GREEN BOOK (2018) – My rating: 8.7/10

Green Book is an American comedy-drama, based on a true story about a tour of the Deep South in the 1960s involving a classical/jazz pianist and a bouncer who served as a driver and bodyguard. Green Book is directed by Peter Farrelly, the screenplay was also written by Farrelly along with Brian Hayes Currie and Nick Vallelonga, which is based on interviews with the pianist, the bodyguard and letters written to the bodyguard’s wife. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, informally called the Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers, written by Victor Hugo Green to help Blacks find safe havens, i.e., motels and restaurants, throughout the segregated South that would accept them. This is a worthwhile movie!

Green Book revolves around African-American classical and jazz pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian-American bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.  In 1960, New York City, bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga is searching for new but temporary employment after the nightclub where he works has been closed for renovations. Eventually Tony gets an interview as a driver for someone called “Doc”. Their first encounter does not go well, as Tony’s flippant, uncultured behavior clashes with Doc’s sophisticated, reserved demeanor. The concert tour is for eight-weeks through the Deep South with plans to return home on Christmas Eve. Tony is hired after a second encounter and referrals from friends. A car along with a copy of the Green Book is given to Tony by Doc’s record studio.

They begin the tour in the Midwest before eventually heading further south. Tony and Doc clash over their differences, as Tony feels uncomfortable being asked to act properly, while Doc is disgusted by Tony’s habits. Regardless, Tony finds himself impressed with Doc’s talent on the piano, and increasingly disgusted by the discriminatory treatment Doc receives by the hosts when he is not on stage. After a bar incident leads to a group of white men threatening Doc’s life, Tony rescues him by threatening to pull a gun on them. He instructs Doc not to go out without him for the rest of the tour. Throughout the journey, Tony writes letters to his wife, Dolores Vallelonga (Linda Cardellini) and kids. Don coaches him to write more beautiful prose, which deeply moves Tony’s wife. Tony encourages Doc to get in touch with his own estranged brother, but Doc is hesitant; Doc says that he has become isolated by his professional life and achievements.

Green Book is a sensitive, touching story that is tactfully told.  I can’t say enough about how brilliant the acting is and how well the film was directed.  The 60’s was an extremely hard time for Blacks given their suppressed value and lack of respect offered by their white counterparts.  I was reminded of a taunted past and the elimination of many Blacks and Whites who fought the good fight.  This simple relationship between 2 men on opposite sides of the race divide, brought together by unprecedented circumstances  is truly a story EVERYONE should see.  I laughed, cried, stood up and clapped and sulked in my heart at every turn of this touching film.  There are many lessons to be learned from Green Book as the film tries to tell it all.  There are some incidents that will take you church and some that will take you to jail.  See Green Book by any means — it’s truly a winner in my book.  Check it out!

[Green Book is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing]


RAMPAGE (2018) – My rating: 6.5/10

Rampage is a science fiction movie directed by Brad Peyton, and is loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Midway Games.  It is the third collaboration between Peyton and Johnson, following Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and San Andreas (2015).  I really didn’t expect much from this film — the trailers looked like a children’s movie as well as the same old thing we’ve come to ignore.  I have much to say about Rampage and  it isn’t all good. Basically, Rampage is about a primatologist who must team up with an albino gorilla to stop two other animals from destroying Chicago.

Rampage starts with Athena-1, a research space station owned by a gene manipulation company called Energyne, which is destroyed after a laboratory rat mutates and wreaks havoc. Dr. Kerry Atkins (Marley Shelton), the lone surviving crew member, is ordered by CEO Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman), to retrieve research canisters containing a pathogen.  The escape pod eventually imploded, causing debris to spread across various locations in the US; a canister in the Everglades is consumed by an American crocodile as well as exposure of a pathogen to a gray wolf in a forest in Wyoming.

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), a former US Army Special Forces soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit, works at the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, a wildlife preserve. He befriends a rare albino gorilla named George, whom he saved from poachers. Davis communicates with George using sign language and gestures, and George shows Davis that he has a sense of humor. At night, one of the canisters crash-lands in George’s habitat, exposing him to the pathogen.  George grows considerably larger and more aggressive over a short time. Davis is contacted by Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), a genetic engineer, who explains that the pathogen was developed by Energyne to rewrite genes on a massive scale.

Dr. Caldwell was hoping to advance CRISPR research as a potential cure for disease but discovered that Energyne planned to use it as a biological weapon. Meanwhile, Claire and her brother, Brett (Jake Lacy), fired Dr. Caldwell and sent her to prison on false charges for attempting to expose them.  The exposed animals go on a

I think you get the gest of this film, as I am stopping here to talk a little about the quality of Rampage.  The plot is simple and lends itself to a younger audience but the acting was seriously flawed.  Claire and her brother Brett tried hard but just couldn’t pull off the whole villain thing.  Their lines were so corny that I felt as though I watching a Saturday morning adventure project for kids.  The special effects were pretty descent but not the best I’ve seen.  Adding to the corny dialogue was their attempt to come off gangster like, which they never pulled off.  Also, there are some questions about the logic or lack of.  Dwayne Johnson is making movies so fast, that I’m afraid he’s going to acquire a rep for grade B films with bad acting.  I’m truly a fan but lately, I’ve been disappointed with “The Rock” and Disney.  The mutated animals reek havoc, making Rampage somewhat exciting but ridiculous.  See this one on DVD/Blu-Ray, you’ll probably be happier with your choice.