Tagged: Ric Reitz

Last Vegas

Summary: Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 6th February, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Screenwriter: Dan Fogelman

Cast: Aaron Bantum (Young Archie), Roger Bart (Maurice), Bre Blair (Lisa), Diana Boyle (Madison #2), Josh Cohen (Jimmy The Greaser), Robert De Niro (Paddy), Michael Douglas (Billy), Michael Ealy (Ezra), RJ Fattori (Young Paddy), Jerry Ferrara (Dean), Morgan Freeman (Archie), Christie George (Taylor), Joanna Gleason (Miriam), Noah Harden (Young Billy), Curtis Jackson (himself), Kevin Kline (Sam), Romany Malco (Lonnie), Dawn Marie (Brandi), Julie McGee (Stacey), Keith Middlebrook (Chris), Richard J. Mooney (Ira), Janay Oakland (Madison #1), Redfoo (himself), Ric Reitz (Neil), Stephen Scott Scarpulla (Danny The Greaser), Ashley Spillers (Elizabeth), Mary Steenburgen (Diana), Olivia Stuck (Young Sophie), Phillip Wampler (Young Sam)

Runtime: 105 mins

Classification:M

OUR LAST VEGAS REVIEWS & RATINGS

David Griffiths:

It does come as a bit of a surprise that Last Vegas has arrived on our screens with such little fanfare. The main four cast members have won six Oscars between them and normally a film with the calibre of Douglas, De Niro and Freeman would have the whole world talking. However, the fact that Last Vegas is a comedy seems to have scared off a few cinema goers. True, De Niro has made some bad comedies over the years but the inclusion of Morgan Freeman here should scare away any of those fears, because let’s be honest Mr. Freeman just simply doesn’t make bad films.

The film itself is a little like The Hangover with geriatrics. There was a time when Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) were inseparable – they stuck up for each other and protected each other no matter the consequences. However, over the years geography has separated them while Billy and Paddy have also had a massive falling out because Billy didn’t show up to Paddy’s wife.

Now Billy is about to be married and has decided to head to Last Vegas for the bucks party of all bucks parties beforehand. He easily gets Archie, who wants to escape his protective family and Sam who has been given a free pass by his wife to fool around, to agree to the trip however the same can’t be said for Paddy. Paddy’s arrival those soon causes more problems when he and Billy soon find themselves both attracted to someone else – the beautiful singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen).

Director Jon Turtletaub and screenwriter Dan Fogelman have tried to make Last Vegas a little different to most comedies out there. Instead of making this a full out debaucherous affair the pair have worked hard in creating some characters that are easy to care for while trying hard to push the fact that being old doesn’t have to be boring and that friends are supposed to stick together no matter what.

This does work throughout the film. The laughs come along steadily and while they may not be kind of moments that will make you laugh out loud they will at least have you chuckling which is more than can be said for a lot of other films around at the moment. The serious storyline though will railroad the film for younger audience members though who expect a film set in Las Vegas to be full of sex and nudity.

As you would expect these seasoned professionals certainly don’t disgrace themselves when it comes to the acting stakes. Given the light nature of the script the likes of De Niro, Kline and Douglas just seem to glide their way through on auto-pilot. Morgan Freeman once again reminds cinemas goers that he is capable of pulling of comedy with ease, while credit must be paid to Michael Douglas for so many ‘younger women’ jokes being written about his character despite the fact at the time he was married to the much younger Catherine Zeta-Jones. Given that role was originally written for Jack Nicholson some touchy actors may have asked for that to have been re-written after it mirrored his real life, but to his credit Douglas soldiered on and part of the fun of the film are the jokes leveled at him.

Sure Last Vegas is not a roll-around-in-aisles-with-laughter style comedy, nor is it a film that will earn Freeman, De Niro, Douglas or Kline another Oscar but this is still a likable film that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages.

Stars(2.5) 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(2.5)

IMDB Rating:  Last Vegas (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Last Vegas′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #67 for our full Last Vegas review.

Trailer:

Broken City

Summary: In a broken city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) seeks redemption – and revenge – after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure, the mayor (Russell Crowe). Billy’s relentless pursuit of justice, matched only by his streetwise toughness, makes him an unstoppable force – and the mayor’s worst nightmare.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th March, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Allen Hughes

Screenwriter: Brian Tucker

Cast: Sharon Anglea (Amber (voice), (Michael Beach (Tony Jansen), Justin Chambers (Ryan), Kyle Chandler (Paul Andrews), Ambyr Childers (Mary), Russell Crowe (Mayor Hostetler), Griffin Dunne (Sam Lancaster), , Shawn Elliott (Raul Barea), Frank Forunato (Body Man Kevin), James M. Jenkins (Jimmy (voice)), Chance Kelly (Murdock), Natalie Martinez (Natalie Barrow), Barry Pepper (Jack Valliant), Reynaldo Piniella (Bolton Teen Alex), William Ragsdale (Mr. Davies), James Ransone (Todd Lancaster), Ric Reitz (Mitch Rappaport), Alona Tal (Katy Bradshaw), Britney Theriot (Valerie), Luis Tolentino (Mikey Tavarez), Mark Wahlberg (Billy Taggart), Jeffrey Wright (Carl Fairbanks), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Cathleen Hostetler)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification:MA15+

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Broken City’ Review: 

While they might not be everybody’s cup of tea, sometimes it is nice to sit back and enjoy a good story that centres around political espionage and fraud. While ‘Broken City’ promises to be this years ‘Arbitrage’ it isn’t quite up to scratch.

‘Broken City’ begins with New York Police Department Detective Billy Taggert (Mark Wahlberg – ‘Ted’, ‘Contraband’) being found not guilty after he guns down a rape suspect, the ‘not guilty’ verdict is largely hated by the population who believes that Taggert should be charged with murder. While Police Commissioner Carl Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright – ‘A Single Shot’, ‘The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete’) decides to stand Taggert down he finds a fan in Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe – ‘Les Miserables’, ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’) who congratulates him on his work.

Time passes and now Taggert is dating actress Natalie Barrow (Natalie Martinez – ‘End Of Watch’, ‘The Baytown Outlaws’) who is the rape victim’s sister and he is running a Private Investigation company with the help of his assistant Katy Bradshaw (Alona Tal – ‘Powers’ TV’S ‘Cult’). With the company running at a loss Taggert jumps at the opportunity when Mayor Hostetler hires him to investigate his wife, Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones – ‘Side Effects’, ‘Playing For Keeps’). But while Taggert believes it is a simple case of Cathleen is having an affair with Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler – ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Argo’) he soon finds himself engulfed by a deadly game of politics and corruption.

While director Allen Hughes (‘The Book Of Eli’, ‘New York I Love You’) has the sense to make sure that this film doesn’t become your stock standard action film just because one of the supposed modern day action stars, Mark Wahlberg, is the leading man, you can’t help but feel that Wahlberg’s presence does indeed taint the film. Inside ‘Broken City’ is a great story waiting to come out but it is like Hughes knows that Wahlberg will be ripped to shreds if it comes down to an acting duel between himself and Crowe so instead he chooses to dumb the script, the result is a film that offers a little bit of suspense but nowhere near as much as it needed.

The cast are also badly let down by the weakened screenplay. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kyle Chandler are dangerously underused while Jeffrey Wright is horribly miscast as the Police Commissioner, it is a strange casting decision and one that leaves an actor in a role that he certainly isn’t believable in. Also distracting is Crowe’s bad wig and tan which is too much of a distraction not to be noticed.

‘Broken City’ does offer up the occasional twist and turn but sadly the script is a lot tamer than it should be.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Broken City′: Check Episode #23 (available 8th March) of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Broken City’. Please also check Dave Griffiths’s review of ‘Broken City’ that is available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 3/5

IMDB Rating: Broken City (2013) on IMDb

Safe Haven

Summary: When a mysterious young woman named Katie washes up in the small North Carolina town of Southport, she is determined not to make personal relationships. That is, until she meets Alex, a kind-hearted widowed store owner, struggling to raise his two children. When Katie feels herself falling for him, she must choose between familar safety and the perils that come with love. Based on the acclaimed novel by Nicholas Sparks.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th February, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

Screenwriter: Leslie Bohem, Dana Stevens, Nicholas Sparks (book)

Cast: George Dawe (Lt. Blakely), Daniel Cochran Donovan (Mr. Feldman), Josh Duhamel (Alex), Julianne Hough (Katie), Mimi Kirkland (Lexie), Noah Lomax (Josh), David Lyons (Tierney), Cullen Moss (Police Officer Bass), Robin Mullens (Maddie), Juan Piedrahita (Jr. Detective Ramirez), Mike Pniewski (Lieutenant Robinson), Ric Reitz (Police Chief Mulligan), Cobie Smulders (Jo), Red West (Roger), Irene Ziegler (Mrs. Feldman)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Safe Haven’ Review: 

Romantic dramas are always designed for woman and poor men dragged along to see them have to sit them and get bored, right? Wrong! Author Nicholas Sparks seems to have been on a one man mission over the last few years to change that very perception. Certainly his film ‘The Notebook’ seemed to affect men more than woman and now he has delivered ‘Safe Haven’ a film that is a romance at heart but also features a suspense/thriller storyline that is guaranteed to impress film goers of both sexes.

Based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel of the same name ‘Safe Haven’ starts with young Katie (Julianne Hough – ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Footloose’) desperate to find a bus anywhere as she seeks to escape from Detective Tierney (David Lyons – ‘Save Your Legs’, ‘Swerve’), who highlights her as a murder suspect. Katie jumps onto the first bus she can get onto and soon finds herself in the small coastal town of Southport (in North Carolina) where she decides she can hideout.

Katie quickly finds a house and a job and she plans to try and keep herself as ‘out-of-sight’ as possible, but that plan fails as she soon as her next-door neighbour Jo (Cobie Smulders – ‘The Avengers’, TV’S ‘How I Met Your Mother’) while she finds herself drawing closer to the local shopkeeper, Alex (Josh Duhamel – ‘Movie 43’, ‘New Year’s Eve’) and his two children Josh (Noah Lomax – ‘Playing For Keeps’, TV’S ‘Mad Love’) and Lexie (Mimi Kirkland – newcomer). But no matter what Katie tries to do with her life she soon discovers that you can’t just run from your past.

Director Lasse Hallstrom (The Hypnotist, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen) does a great job making sure the romance and suspense genres flow together brilliantly in this film. OF course he is helped out by a wonderful script that not only sees a great set-up of characters but also delivers a powerful twist that comes out of nowhere, although be warned before this occurs those who love a good crime thriller may be questioning some of the things that are happening but the twist answers everything.

The other thing that the screenwriting team have done so well is create characters that are believable and more importantly ones that are easy to care about. While there are a lot questions you want to ask about Katie early on she is still likable, while Alex and his kids never put a foot wrong so you certainly don’t want to see anything happen to them.

‘Safe Haven’ also gives the cast an amazing chance to show what they are really capable of. In Hollywood Julianne Hough is known for her singing and dancing but her she plays a dramatic role with ease and she makes the perfect couple with Josh Duhamel who shows that he more than capable than just fighting large robots in ‘Transformers’. Aussie David Lyons (who most would remember from ‘Sea Patrol’ also does a sensational job in a testing role, while youngster Mimi Kirkland does enough to suggest that she is one of the most talented child actors going around.

This is one romantic drama that is certainly worth the price of admission and is proof that when a film is done right in this genre, it can work really well.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Save Haven′: Check Episode #20 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Safe Haven’. Dave’s other review of Safe Haven can also be read on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 4/5

IMDB Rating: Safe Haven (2013) on IMDb