THE AFTERMATH (2015)

May 28, 2015

aftermath Greetings again from the darkness. Watching someone whose life has crumbled due to guilt, grief or drugs makes for an uncomfortable movie to view, but when one character has been crushed by all three, it results in the ultimate downer. Director and co-writer Tim McCall subjects us to life in the proverbial gutter – despite lead character Sonny’s distorted hope.

Sam Trammell (“True Blood”) plays Sonny, a messy drug-addict living in a seedy motel and rummaging through the underbelly of his town. Sonny is trying to arrange a face to face meeting with his estranged wife on their wedding anniversary, so that he can apologize for his behavior during the marriage and during marriage counseling. The problem is that she won’t return his calls, and her family understandably blocks his efforts to make contact. Heck, seems to only own one shirt and he’s not even sure what day it is!

His plan involves stealing the necklace he bought for her during better times – when he owned a business and they had a beautiful home in the suburbs. He later pawned the necklace, which leads to the burglary. Of course, as viewers we quickly gather that his efforts are without hope, though we assume it’s due to his disgusting appearance and inability to stay clean.

Sonny’s wife is played by Trammell’s real life girlfriend Missy Yager, and Vanessa Ferlito (Grindhouse: Death Proof) has a key role as a tough lady who recognizes an opportunity when she sees it … an, though this could never be mistaken for a nature documentary, she teaches us a difference between farm geese and wild geese. But this is Sam Trammell’s spotlight much like Trainspotting belonged to a young Ewen MacGregor. He tears into the not-so-sympathetic Sonny with abandon and a total lack of ego.

Director McCann and Mr. Trammell team up for a gritty and grimy look at the tragic fall from society of a man who made mistakes and refused to own up to them. Filmed in Alexandria, Louisiana, the title describes what we see (outside of the flashbacks), and the musical choices are very fitting – especially Marian Anderson’s “Poor Me”.  Don’t expect joyful moments or a story of redemption … life isn’t always like the movies.

 

 

 


STAND UP GUYS (2013)

February 3, 2013

stand up Greetings again from the darkness. Any movie lover with a sense of history has to get at least a little excited hearing about a star vehicle featuring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. These three screen legends together prove the adage … worth the price of admission. And that’s a good thing, because there is little else that works for this movie.

The movie unfolds like a tribute to its three stars. That’s not a compliment. First time screenwriter Noah Haidle and character actor-turned director Fisher Stevens simply lack the chops to provide material worthy of the cast. So we get Pacino doing a Tony Montana growl and A Scent of the Woman dance; Walken doing his deadpan delivery and even a quick little soft shoe; and Arkin falls back into his half-crazed,moment-seizing act. What we don’t see is a story line that pushes any of them to a “wow” moment.

Pacino plays Val, and we meet him on the day of his release after 28 years in prison. He’s picked up by Doc, his old partner in crime, or crime partner if you prefer (played by Walken). There are a couple of not so secrets twists that try to keep it interesting, but the best part comes when they spring their old driver Hirsch (Arkin) from his nursing home and oxygen mask.

stand up4 The night on the town allows for plenty of female interactions: a brothel run by Lucy Punch, a nurse played by Julianna Marguiles, another brothel visit, revenge for a female victim played by Vanessa Ferlito, and multiple chats with a young diner waitress (Addison Timlin). Unfortunately, this big night also provides entirely too much consumed alcohol, numerous penis jokes, an extended (so to speak) Viagra sequence and attempts at laughter thanks to hyper-tension and insurance co-pays.

The old guys do their best to uphold the code from the good ol’ days – both as gangsters and actors. It’s just inexcusable that the script wasn’t improved to take advantage of this talent. Despite that, there was a certain sense of nostalgia that proved enjoyable watching these guys on screen together.

SEE THIS MOVIE IF: for no other reason than the nostalgia of seeing Pacino, Walken and Arkin on screen together.

SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you don’t share my sense of nostalgia and prefer movies that have a script worthy of the cast and your time

watch the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NApJNjPTqZs