“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
A Star Is Born is a romantic musical drama produced and directed by Bradley Cooper (in his directorial debut) and written by Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters. This film is a remake of the 1937 film of the same name. It marks the third American remake of the original 1937 film (which starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March), after the 1954 musical (starring Judy Garland and James Mason) and the 1976 rock musical (with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson).
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) performs at sold out concerts but has a serious drinking problem, which he hides from the public (“Black Eyes”). Jackson’s main support and manager is his older brother Bobby Maine (Sam Elliott) who is always there for him. One night, after preforming a show, Jackson has his driver drop him off at a bar so that he can continue to drink. There he witnesses Ally (Lady Gaga), a singer/songwriter perform (“La Vie en rose”). Ally also works as a waitress with her friend Ramon (Anthony Ramos), while moonlighting as a singer at a drag bar. Amazed by her talent, they have a drink together and Ally reveals that she has never pursued a professional career due to being told that she has a big nose, something Jackson admits that he finds attractive and they share songs together.
He drops her off at her home where she lives with her widower father Lorenzo (Andrew Dice Clay) who runs a driving service with his friends. Jackson asks Ally to come to his show that night, but she refuses even when her father insists that she go. She eventually changes her mind and takes Ramon with her where Jackson asks Ally to sing on stage with him. After some hesitation, she relents and is praised on social media (“Shallow”). Jackson has Ally perform at several concerts with him and they slowly begin to form a relationship (“Maybe It’s Time”).
A Star is Born is an intense love story of two singers of which one of them is an alcoholic. I cannot say enough about the performances of Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott. I was memorized by Clay’s performance as Ally’s father. It was the first time I’ve seen him in a serious role. Bradley Cooper was more than convincing as a hopeless, love sick, drunk. I was also surprised at his singing abilities. Lady Gaga was her usual kick ass singer self. It was worth seeing the movie just to hear her sing. A Star is Born was totally believable and very entertaining. I loved this movie and shout out kudos to Bradley Cooper, what a debut. The story gets very deep and shows the ups and downs of an alcoholic as he tries to change his life around. A Star is Born is well worth your time and money to see it. Check it out!
[A Star is Born is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Song and Best Sound Mixing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, Uncategorized
Tagged a star is born, alec baldwin, ally, andrew dice clay, anthony ramos, bobby maine, bradley cooper, brandi carlile, carl, dave chappelle, don roy king, emerald, gail shangela laquifa wadley, george noodles stone, greg grunberg, halsey, jackson maine, lady gaga, lorenzo, luenell, lukas nelson, marlon williams, michael harney, phil, promis, rafi gavron, ramon, rebecca field, rez, ron rifkin, sam elliott, william belli, wolfie
There’s been a lot of anticipation about Unbroken. My grandson told me that Unbroken was going to change his life, he called it an inspirational movie. The talk of his high school is “Unbroken will teach you courage and inspire you to new heights”. After seeing the movie, I agree it’s inspirational and much, much more. This movie didn’t get a Best Picture nod or anything that shows off the acting and director abilities. I grant you some scenes were a little drawn out but overall, Unbroken which is based on a true story, was entertaining as well as heart rinsing, interesting and intense. Unbroken was directed by Angelina Jolie who, in my opinion, did a fantastic job. Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini (Jack ‘OConnell) who was an accomplished distance runner, earning him the nickname “The Torrance Tornado.” Eventually he qualified for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Louis surprised everyone when he came in 8th place, setting a record for speed in the final lap of the 5000 metres race, running it in 56 seconds. After joining the Armed Forces, Louis ends up on a search and rescue mission when his plane, along with 4 other soldiers, lost 2 engines causing the plane to crash somewhere in the Pacific. After 47 days at sea, floating in a raft, only Louie and fellow soldier Phil (Domhnail Gleeson) survived the shark infested waters, with little to no food and quite weakened. However they were captured by the Japanese Navy and brought to a POW camp. Eventually, the two men were separated into different camps and Louie’s torment began. Mutsuhiro “Bird” Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara) was in charge of the camp and was jealous of Louis because of his Olympic Athletic status. You’ll have to see the movie to learn of the hell Louis was put through. This movie is worth seeing by any means you can see it. Very well done. Kudos to Angelina Jolie for a job well done.
[UNBROKEN is nominated for Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged angelina jolie, domhnail gleeson, jack o'connell, japanses navy, louis zamperini, mutsuhira "bird" watanabe, olympic athlete, pacific, phil, pow camp, takamasa ishihara, unbroken, world war 2