Brando at his best

Unfortunately, there are only two nights left to enjoy Marlon Brando week at Cinema du Parc.  Luckily, there are still two screenings of the Redux version of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece Apocalypse Now (1979) starting tonight at 8pm.

3575, Park Ave.
Montreal (Québec) H2X 3P9
T. 514 281-1900
F. 514-373-7728

Apocalypse Now is one of the few movies on which so much has been said that it would be embarrassing to add to the already exhausted discussion.  The movie, and Brando’s performance in it, speaks for itself:

But if you’re looking for a reason to see it for the 100th time, you can try counting the record number (394) of editing mistakes.  I’ll see how many I can find when I enjoy it in a theatre for the first time.


Suits (2011-)

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Creator: Aaron Korsh
Starring: Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle, Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres.

Oh Suits how I miss you when you’re not on TV.  In its second season, this USA network series (or Bravo for us Canucks) is easily my favourite legal drama in a few years.  The pretext isn’t standard fair but it isn’t original either: an unbeatable lawyer hires a genius renegade kid as his intern, and though he never went to law school he is masqueraded as a Harvard Law graduate. Together, Mike Ross the kid with the big heart and Harvey Spector, the wild card with the big ego, form a dynamic duo rife with super-hero wit.

What I like: The courtroom is never the focus of each episode.  The cases are prominent but it is watching the minds of these two eccentric and exceptional individuals, Ross and Spector (played with warmth and energy by Patrick J. Adams and subtle depth by Gabriel Macht respectively), that is the real draw.  Their rhythmic banter doesn’t hurt either, which is not just an adjunct but actually offers real insight into the characters.  The supporting cast is equally engaging starting with the villainous Louis Litt, played with brilliant humility, aggravation and self-conscious scheming by Rick Hoffman.  Sarah Rafferty plays Harvey’s assistant Donna with contagious confidence and the matriarch of the firm, Jessica Pearson, is played with elegance and cunning by Gina Torres.  Despite its levity, for me, the writing and casting are near flawless.

What I don’t like: At some point during the show Donna’s cleavage became more important than her character.  At times everything fits together too perfectly, the clothes, the looks, the gorgeous people, the dialogue, the crimes but I recognize that this isn’t exactly Law & Order.

My rating: You have time to catch up while I count the days ‘til this mid-season hiatus is over.  Do it!

Metacritic: Season 1: 60%, Season 2: 73%

IMDB: 8.9

Post Season 2 Notes:  Great news, Season 2 did not disappoint! The final four episodes were some of the best I’ve seen.  On a sad note, Suits has come to a close all too soon and we will have to wait until summer for Season 3 to start.  Boooo!

City Island (2009)

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Director: Raymond De Felitta
Writer: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait, Ezra Miller & Dominik García-Lorido.

It’s always a pleasure to come across a movie I have never heard of, never read a review and can therefore approach it with zero expectations, other than a verbal recommendation.  That was the case with Raymond De Felitta’s gem, City Island, about a dysfunctional family whose patriach, a corrections officer and aspiring actor, who brings home a convicted criminal to atone for his past.

What I liked: De Felitta’s attention to character detail.  Even if, at times, those details seem to overreach there is something charming and realistic in the execution.  It is one of those stories that is so over the top it just might be true.  Andy Garcia’s performance is charming, sympathetic and authentic.  It is nice to see him carry an every-man with grace and humility.  It is also nice to see Julianna Margulies outside her comfort zone and she does well disguising herself in this role as a woman who feels she’s losing her husband.

What I didn’t like: Emily Mortimer’s Molly is, I imagine intentionally, kept at a distance in order to guide our sympathies but I often found her unlikeable.  The climax is formulaic to family dramas but, again, the execution made it cathartic and endearing.

My rating: Enjoy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
IMDB: 7.4

Red Lights (2012)

Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Writer: Rodrigo Cortés
Starring: Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver & Cillian Murphy

Red Lights is a thriller unequal to its cast.  The movie, about a skeptical professor who challenges paranormal claims, never develops its characters or scenes enough to engage the audience in any visceral way.  Rodrigo Cortes’s script and direction show signs of merit and promise which makes it all the more disappointing that it never crescendos into anything masterful.  The casting and performances save this movie from the shelf but even Cillian Murphy as Tom Buckley, desperately searching for answers and Robert De Niro as master psychic Simon Silver, can’t create the tension intended for a suspense thriller.  Even the music falls flat in setting up eerie scenes.

What I liked: The ending is more powerful than the movie which is a little satisfying.  Cillian Murphy’s charged performance is commendable even if Cortés lets his accent slip from time to time.

What I didn’t like: I can’t imagine Cortés is happy with the result of this film compared to what it must have appeared on paper to get the likes of Weaver and De Niro to sign on.  However it’s possible he let his vision get away from him.

My rating: Stream it.

Rotten Tomatoes: 17% (top critics)
IMDB: 6.2