Tag Archives: Michael Caine

Now You See Me – “Movie Magic.”

Now You See Me 

Now You See Me

Directed by Louis Leterrier, 2013

John:  There are three types of movies. 1) Thought-provoking ones that often end in an unexpected way to throw the meaning and significance of the theme on the shoulders of the viewer. Think Ingmar Bergman…Felini.

Spanky: We wouldn’t waste our time on these, right John? Continue reading


INCEPTION—“What Went Wrong?”

Is this the way to "Inside John Malkovich"?


Inception, Christopher Nolan, director, 2010

The GOOD: Movies are shared dreams so why wouldn’t a film about them be interesting? 

The BAD:  Unless, of course, DiCaprio had to continually explain what was going on to (audience stand-in) Juno.

The BUGGY: What’s with the ski troupers firing automatic weapons? Are they looking for a James Bond movie to be in instead?  Continue reading

The Weather Man

Gore Verbinski, 2005


HOOK:  What can we learn that will make a difference in life? Really.


STORY: Nicolas Cage plays frustrated Chicago weather man David Spritz whose storm is still brewing after a painful separation from his wife, Noreen (Hope Davis). When he gets the chance of a new job on a national TV show in New York, he sees it as an opportunity to sort the rest of his life out too—reconnect with both his kids and his Pulitzer Prize-winning father (Michael Caine).


GOSSIP:  Cage is said to be producing a Liberace biopic, in which he will star as the flamboyant pianist. Does everyone want to play gay these days?


JOHN: I really liked this film. Cage has played hang-dog before, but this cloudy comedy zeros in on what that really means. His scene in the car with Michael Caine (as his father) is genuinely moving. There are no easy answers, but we have lived with these characters long enough to see their relationship to each other is enough of one. What I really enjoyed was the use of Chicago as the location. Sure the weather is quirky, but more than that the city has always had a built in inferiority complex that mirrors Spritz’s.


GO, GO, GO (3 GOs out of 4)


SPANKY: More like looking out the window on a rainy day. If you’ve seen Cage in Adaptation, a far better film, and Michael Caine in anything, there is nothing new here. The ambivalence John points to in the plot also describes the audience. Why would anyone watch this if the message is “shit (and weather) happens”? We go to movies to get something we don’t in real life, not more of the same. Even at its best weather is a weak metaphor, and here it is not at its best. “Hang dog,” my ass.


“TWO PAWS DOWN” (NO BARKs out of 4)


KEEPER: “No one throws things at me anymore. Maybe because I’m wearing a bow and arrows.”


Hit the target?

Hit the target, Asshole.


The Dark Knight, director, Christopher Nolan, 2008


HOOK: Toy action figure as Hamlet.


STORY:  Sub-plots within sub-plots, an epic rivaling the presidential primaries in media hype—though John McCain is quite believable as Barak Obama’s butler, Alfred. Don’t worry there’s plenty of noise and Heath Ledger as terrorist is worth the price of admission. Batman should appeal to males who feel ineffectual, impoverished and lacking in personality and to women who fantasize about all men wanting them or their being rescued. Meanwhile it’s OK to torture prisoners, aggrandize politicians who are all image and assign those who want to do right to outlaw status.



John sees in The Onion (his source for news) that Maggie Gyllenhaal is replacing Katie Holmes in every movie, including ones she has already completed. Just think what awe-inspiring depth Gyllenhaal will bring to the soon to be released Mad Money.


JOHN: Christian Bale seems to think acting depth means staring off at the distance; meanwhile Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman provide credibility doing what they’ve done in every movie for the last 50 years. Ledger is as good as anyone can be adding nuance to a comic strip villain. And that’s my gripe, Nolan Brothers; you were brilliant with Memento why are you saddling yourself to a franchise that is so limited no matter how good or bad? Oh yeah. I forgot. Money!


GO GO (2 GOs out of four)


SPANKY: Hey, what happened to Robin? I hate it when they ignore the sidekick. Why is he back in the closet? Christopher Bale is like that one kid in high school Algebra class who paid attention. Just a little too serious. And Maggie Gyllenhaal is as sexy as dry dog food. I like the stuff about citizen surveillance and sanctioned torture. I hope you kids in the audience are paying attention. And people of Chicago, congratulations. You have finally out- gothamed Gotham. In summary, you can take the character out of a comic strip but you can’t take the comic strip out of a character. Too much trying to fit everything in, not enough real drama. Too much darkness pretending to be depth.


“TWO PAWS DOWN” (2 BARKs out of four)


KEEPER: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”