FlixChatter Review: Café Society (2016)

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Café Society is director Woody Allen’s latest film about old Hollywood – or sort of. Set during its golden age (30s, 40s), its main protagonist is Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), a naïve young New Yorker looking to make his way by moving to Hollywood to work under his uncle Phil (Steve Carell in a wooden performance), a high powered Hollywood agent.

Leaving a loving Jewish family in New York, which includes his mother Rose (an excellent Jeannie Berlin) and a gangster older brother (Corey Stoll), Bobby arrives in LA, and taken under his uncle’s wing. To help him get acclimated to his new surroundings, Phil tasks ‘Vronny’, his secretary (Kristen Stewart) to show him the sights. Before long, a romance ensues and some rather complicated triangles come into play.


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is watchable at best, with Vittorio Storaro’s gorgeous photography, its glamorous ensemble cast (Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Sheryl Lee) and Allen’s trademark impeccable pacing. However, the cast is mostly sidelined to the rafters.

Aiming seemingly for that classic, light, airy romantic comedy – the likes of Twentieth Century (1934), but without it’s creative punch and slapstick. It’s peppered with cynicism throughout, perhaps to intrigue a moviegoer discussion into the imagined realities of love and romance in the Hollywood jet-set. But it all feels a bit hollow and ultimately, forgettable.

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Perhaps Allen’s point is to stress the emptiness of the rich Hollywood life, but it’s hard to care for any of the main characters who don’t evolve much. It does feel a bit like Allen doing a monologue on Hollywood, love and death to himself. But that in itself, unfortunately, does not make a great, or even a good film.

The one redeeming quality about the film are the scenes with Bobby’s immediate family, which were too few and far in between. The family dynamic offered the most effective comedy throughout and reminded me bits and pieces of 1987’s award winning Moonstruck.

In the end, the Dofmans were the only characters I could sympathize with. And by film’s end, Bobby was most definitely not even a part of them at all.

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So what do you think of Café Society? Let us know what you think!

FlixChatter Review: Ant-Man (2015)

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Marvel has been dominating the box office with their superhero flicks for almost a decade now and it’s inevitable that they’re going to bring out some of the lesser-known superheroes to the big screen. Even though it’s not well known to non comic book readers, Ant-Man movie has apparently been in development for many years. For anyone who’s been following the movie business, you’ve probably read the development dramas of this movie, from director Edgar Wright leaving the project to script changes and so on.

Personally I didn’t know anything about Ant-Man, the idea of a superhero the size of an ant just sounds too silly to me and didn’t really care about the movie version. Fortunately, the movie was very entertaining and I don’t mind seeing it again.    AntMan1AntMan2

After being released from prison, Scott Lang (perfectly-cast Paul Rudd) is trying to go straight because he wants to spend more time with his daughter. Lang was sent to prison because he tried to do the right thing, but in life doing the right thing doesn’t mean you’re going to be appreciated. He met up with is buddy Luis (Michael Peña) who tells him that he’d found a new gig that will make them a lot of money. Lang declined the offer because he wants to find an honest job but because he’s an ex-con no one will hire him. So after couldn’t find a steady job, Lang finally agreed to listen to Luis’ gig. According to Luis’ sources, there’s a house that belongs to a retired old man who’d stashed away some valuable items in his safe. All Lang has to do is break in and take whatever is in the safe and they’ll be rich.

Unfortunately when Lang got into the safe, all he could find was a weird looking suit, which he took. The suit and the house belongs to a man named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Pym has been following Lang for years because of his skills as a thief. He and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) are trying to break into a highly secured building and they need Lang’s help. Unlike other Marvel’s superhero flicks, the scope of this film was quite small and the whole plot is actually a heist rather than a full-blown superhero story we’re use to seeing. We still get to see the usual hero learning to control his new power and so on. But the tone of this film was definitely on humor and lighter side and I’m glad they went that route.

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All the performances by the actors were great, I mentioned that Rudd was perfectly cast and he truly embody this character. He’s charming, quick witted and you want to see him succeed. Instead of the usual hero whose motivation to save the world was because he lost something important to him, here Lang is just a guy who wants to do the right thing and see his daughter. Douglas was also great as Pym, he has the same amount of screen time as Rudd, I didn’t want to talk too much about his character because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who wants to see this film.

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Lilly played the tough female lead and I thought she did a good job; I’m so glad the filmmakers didn’t make her into another damsel in distress type. Of course in this kind of movie, there’s always going to be the token minority/comic relief character and here I thought Michael Peña was very funny. Some of the jokes didn’t work but most of them had the audience laughing. The villain in the film is played by Corey Stoll, even though they tried to give him some motivations as to why he’s evil, he’s still a one dimensional bad guy.

This is still a Marvel comic book film so they need to show us some big action sequences and director Peyton Reed delivered on that end. I was surprised because his background is mostly in comedy but I thought he did a great job of staging the cool and kind of inventive action sequences. If you’re on the fence about seeing this film in 3D, I highly you seek it out in that format. Once Lang became the Ant-Man, the film showed some really eye-popping 3D effects.

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I didn’t really have any expectations for this film and I’m glad I saw it because it’s very entertaining and a lot of fun. In fact, I think this maybe the only comic book film from Marvel that the whole family can enjoy. Color me impressed.

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So have you seen Ant Man? Well, what did you think?