“Uncut Gems” is a crime thriller directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein. The movie is well done, kudos to Josh and Benny for working with Adam Sandler in this serious drama, which Adam is not known for. “Uncut Gems” is a fantastic film!
In 2010, an earthquake-like eruption occurs at a mine operated by Ethiopian Jewish workers. During the commotion, two miners retrieve a rare and valuable, black opal embedded in a large piece of rock. Two years later, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) who runs a jewelry store in New York’s Diamond District, finally receives a package containing the opal, which he plans to auction off at an estimated $1M. Howard is struggling to pay back gambling debts, particularly $100K to his brother-in-law, Arno (Eric Bogosian), who is also a loan shark. His private life is split between his employee and mistress Julia (Julia Fox), and his estranged wife Dinah Ratner (Idina Menzel), who has agreed to give Howard a divorce right after Passover. One day, Howard gets a visit to his shop from Basketball player Kevin Garnett. Kevin becomes obsessed with the opal and insists on holding on to it for good luck at his game that night. Howard reluctantly agrees but requests that Kevin loan him his 2008 Championship Celtics ring as collateral. Kevin agrees, and shortly after Howard pawns the ring and places a bet on Garnett’s game that night.
“Uncut Gems” is Adam Sandler at his best. His character and brilliant performance parallel that of Gary Oldman in “The Professional”, fast-talking and fast wheeling and dealing. His mood-swing was no swing because he was consistently in crazy mode throughout the entire movie. It was refreshing to see a real change of pace film that you might even believe. You will be astonished by the shenanigans that go on in the life of this highly addicted con artist, which leads me to why I am so upset with the Academy for not giving Adam an Oscar nod. Maybe the movie wasn’t traditional Oscar material but Adam’s performance was certainly worth a nod for Best Actor. Additionally, the film received critical acclaim, for its screenplay, direction, Adam Sandler’s performance and Darius Khondji’s cinematography, receiving much of the praise. “Uncut Gems” was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2019 as Sandler also won for Best Actor. He also won Best Actor from the St. Louis Film Critics Association. “Uncut Gems” has become one of A24’s highest-grossing releases, having made $44 million. On the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 270 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. BTW: Kevin Garnett played himself, his performance was outstanding. I encourage all adults to see this movie. Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged aaron, adam sandler, Arno, Beni Ratner, Benjy Kleiner, Demany, Dinah Ratner, Eddie Ratner, Elline Goldfarb, Eric Bogosian, gary, Gooey, Howard Ratner, Ida, Idina Menzel, Jacob Igielski, John Amos, Jonathan Aranbayev, Josh Ostrovsky, judd hirsch, Julia, Julia Fox, Keith Williams Richards, Keren Shemel, Kevin Garnett, Lakeith Stanfield, Lana Levitin, Lexus, Marcel Ratner, Mike Francesa, Nico, Noa Fisher, noah, phil, pom klementieff, Ruth, Sahar Bibiyan, Tommy Kominik, UNCUT GEMS, Wayne, Wayne Diamond
Knives Out is a murder mystery written, produced, and directed by Rian Johnson. Described as a modern take on the whodunit, the film follows a family gathering gone awry, after the family patriarch’s death leads a master detective to investigate. I looked forward to seeing this film and it did not disappoint.
Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his family to a party at his mansion to celebrate his 85th birthday. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran (Edi Patterson) finds him dead, apparently having slit his own throat. An anonymous figure hires private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. Blanc is accompanied by Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) throughout the investigation. Blanc learns that Harlan had alienated many of the family: he had threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson) for having an affair; cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s (Toni Collette) allowance for stealing money meant for Megan (Katherine Langford) his granddaughter’s tuition; fired his youngest son Walt (Michael Shannon) from his publishing company and cut his lazy grandson Ransom (Chris Evans) out of his will. Harlan’s daughter Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), Harlan’s mother Wanetta who is affectionately known as “Great Nana” (K Callan) and Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) are all still in Harlan’s favor.
Knives Out is a typical “who done it” film cleverly put together by Rian Johnson for the modern viewer. I thought this ensemble cast was brilliant as was their story. Clear and comprehensible, the pieces were placed coherently and fit like a glove. If you’re looking for a good brain teaser, Knives Out is your cup of tea. Most of the family had a motive to murder Harlan but only one did it. Find out when you see Knives Out! The film received critical acclaim, particularly for its screenplay, direction, and acting, and has grossed over $132 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film received three nominations in the Musical or Comedy categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor for Craig, and Best Actress for de Armas. Check It Out!
[KNIVES OUT is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Screenplay — Totaling 1 Oscar nomination]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Alicia Cabrera, Ana de Armas, Benoit Blanc, chris evans, christopher plummer, daniel craig, Detective Hardrock, Detective Lieutenant Elliot, don johnson, Donna Thrombey, Edi Patterson, Fran, Harlan Thrombey, Hugh Ransom Drysdale, Jacob Thrombey, Jaeden Martell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Joni Thrombey, joseph gordon-levitt, K Callan, katherine langford, Knives Out, Lakeith Stanfield, Linda Drysdale, M. Emmet Walsh, Marlene Forte, Marta Cabrera, Megan "Meg" Thrombey, michael shannon, Mr. Proofroc, Mrs. Cabrera, Noah Segan, Raúl Castillo, Richard Drysdale, Riki Lindhome, Shyrley Rodriguez, Toni Collette, Trooper Wagner, Walter "Walt" Thrombey, Wanetta "Great Nana" Thrombey