FlixChatter Review: ENTOURAGE (2015)

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When Entourage aired on HBO from 2004-2011, I used to watch it religiously. In fact, I thought it’s one of the best shows on TV at the time. But just like most great shows, the last couple of seasons just went downhill. Nevertheless, when the producers announced that a film version was going to come out right after the show ended, I can’t help but get excited about it.

Unfortunately it took them 4 years to get the film to the big screen and now the boys are back. For those who’ve never seen the show, it’s loosely based on the show’s producer Mark Walberg’s early career in Hollywood. It celebrates and at the same time, mocks the excess life style of the celebrities and filmmakers in Hollywood. The show’s also well known for its famous cameos from celebrities, athletes, musicians and filmmakers. Even A-list directors such as James Cameron and Martin Scorsese appeared on show.
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The film picks up just a few weeks after the show ended. Ari (Jeremy Piven) is now running a big Hollywood movie studio. Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his best pal/manager Eric “E” (Kevin Connolly) are now single again. Vince’s brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) is still trying to make it as an actor even though he’s well into his 40s. While Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) became super rich after he started his liquor business with Mark Cuban. Since Ari is close with Vince, he offered him to star in his first big tentpole picture for the studio. Vince said he’ll do it only if he can direct it too; this of course made everyone nervous since no one knows if he can direct a film or not. The story then jumps 8 months ahead and Vince’s film is almost done, but he’s yet to show it to Ari because he needs more money to finish the visual effects.

In order to get more money, Ari has to go to Texas and beg the studio’s co-financier billionaire businessman named Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) to write him another check. McCredle is not happy because he’s invested a lot of money to the studio and he’s yet to see his returns. Vince’s new film will make or break a lot people’s careers, including Ari’s. McCredle will give Ari more money only if his spoiled and obnoxious son Travis (the unrecognizable Haley Joel Osment) likes the movie. This creates a problem because Ari has yet to see a single frame of Vince’s film.

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This kind of storyline would’ve been great had the filmmaker stuck with it, but unfortunately the rest of the movie is all about the boys’ usual shenanigans. I don’t want to see another lame storyline of Eric having more girl issues, Drama embarrasses himself again and Turtle trying to get laid with a hot chick. And the supposed star of the show, Vince, didn’t have much to do throughout the film. Why didn’t they write up a story of Vince’s struggle to make his first film and the responsibilities of directing a tent pole picture? That would’ve been a great story to tell; unfortunately this film’s just a longer version of the bad TV episode from the show.

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The only saving grace for this film was Jeremy Piven’s performance, I’m glad they made him the lead. The rest of cast were fine, I mean they’re so comfortable with their respective characters that no one could screw up. Pretty much all of the familiar faces showed up in this film and of course the endless cameos.

Most fans of the show will probably love it but for me it’s quite disappointing. It has so much potential but they’ve decided to just make another bad episode, just two hours longer.

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Have you seen the Entourage movie? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: Last Vegas

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Hollywood seems to love making movies about bachelor party and here we have another one. Instead of having a bunch of young actors going to Vegas and behaving badly, this time we have a bunch of older actors going to Vegas and behaving like their younger selves. Four men in their late 60s who’ve been friends since childhood decided to go to Sin City and have a crazy bachelor party. After a brief flashback scene introducing to each of the characters, the film fast forwards to present day where each of them are now way past their prime.

Sam (Kevin Kline) is now retired and living in Florida with his wife of 40 years; Archie (Morgan Freeman) is living with his son and daughter in law and he’d just had a stroke; Paddy (Robert De Niro) is living alone, still mourning the death of his late wife. One day Billy (Michael Douglas), who’s still a bachelor even though he’s almost 70 years old, called them up and said he’s going to get married to his very young girlfriend, she’s in her early 30s. Billy it seems is the most successful of the bunch, he lives in a beach house in Malibu and is a head some big investing firm and oh yeah he also dates a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. Seems to me Douglas was playing the older version of Gordon Gekko but a nicer version of Gordon. Archie and Sam suggested they throw him a bachelor party and meet in Vegas. Billy agrees but he wants everyone to go, apparently he and Paddy have lost touch and haven’t spoken to one another in years. Archie and Sam said they’ll talk to Paddy and convince him to go.

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Once they arrived in Vegas, they ran into a pretty lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen), who works at a crappy casino. Right away she caught the attention of the men, Billy and Paddy seems to be quite fond of her. There’s a little love triangle plotline that involves these three characters that I won’t discuss here but I thought it worked out well and wasn’t as clichéd as I predicted. They also ran into a young punk at the casino (Jerry Ferrara, Turtle from Entourage), at first you think he’s the antagonist but later in the movie, he became sort of a sidekick to these men.

Each of the actors got their fair shares of screen time, Kline and Freeman looked like they had a blast in their respective roles. The movie focuses mostly on the friction between Billy and Paddy and I thought Douglas and De Niro did a great job of playing those roles. With a movie like this, you’d think these actors would just show up and earn an easy paycheck but they looked like they’re having a great time and we the audience believe that they’re friends for real.

Director Jon Turteltaub whose last three movies were big-budget action spectacles, the always fun National Treasure films and the awful looking The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; went back to his comedic comfort zone and crafted a fun film. Nothing was over the top in the movie and he kept the pace moving fast. There’s not a laugh out loud moment in my opinion but there’s enough humor in the movie that kept me entertained for 90 minutes.

If you’re a fan of any of these talented actors then I think you’ll enjoy this movie, think of it as a PG version of The Hangover and the fun vibe of the Ocean’s movies. It has some clichéd moments but they’re well-executed.

3 out of 5 reels


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What do you think of Last Vegas and/or the cast here?