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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Arkin’

Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

“GOING IN STYLE”   My rating: C 

97 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

The story told in “Going in Style” — three disgruntled old codgers rob a bank — has the makings of a fine movie.

We know this because of the original “Going in Style” starring George Burns, Lee Strasberg and Art Carney.  I saw it just once when it opened in 1979, but the film’s seamless blend of comedy and end-of-life seriousness has hung strong in my memory for nearly four decades.

Minutes after watching the new “Going in Style” its memory already is fading.

Which is a shame, given that it features three Oscar-winning actors — Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman — whose combined thespian power should be enough to power a battleship.

Oh, there are flashes of genuine emotion here, but they are fleeting, buried under cheap laughs, grotesque improbabilities, and the jittery pacing of short-attention-span filmmaking.

Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Arkin) are Brooklyn neighbors and longtime workers at a steel plant.  Retired for a decade, they’re still best buds.

But getting old isn’t for sissies. The bank is taking the house Joe shares with his daughter and granddaughter.  Willie is dying of kidney disease.  Albert is terminally grumpy.

The final blow comes when their old employer is bought by a European outfit that closes down all American operations and terminates the pension fund upon which our protagonists rely for their survival.

After 50 years of living honest American lives, the three are indignant at this turn of events.  They decide to get even by robbing the bank overseeing the dismantling of the pension fund. That it’s the same institution foreclosing on Joe’s house only makes revenge that much sweeter. (more…)

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Diane Keaton, John Godoman

Diane Keaton,  farting dog, John Goodman

“LOVE THE COOPERS”  My rating: D+ 

97 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

In “Love the Coopers” the dysfunctional family holiday movie gets big-name treatment. The results are exceedingly unlovely.

It’s not just that director Jessie Nelson’s Christmas-themed comedy tries to shock us with raunch and cynicism before going all squishy soft in the last reel.  Lots of pretty decent films (“Bad Santa,” “Home for the Holidays,” “The Family Stone”) have assumed the same trajectory.

It’s that Steven Rogers’ screenplay is so blatantly unfeeling, cobbling together standard-issue ideas and characters for a sort of Pavlovian-inspired emotional release.

“Love the Coopers” (the title invokes memories of the inexplicably beloved “Love, Actually,” and like that earlier film gives us several interlocking stories) takes place mostly in a picturesque suburb outside Pittsburgh PA.  Here quaint homes, a steady snowfall and lush woodlands evoke a Norman Rockwell atmosphere.

Emotionally, though, there is no peace in the valley.

For starters, after 40-some years of marriage Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman, Diane Keaton) are calling it quits. They will break the news to their assembled clan after “one last perfect Christmas.”

Happy holidays, everybody.

Several plots eventually meet around the Coopers’ dinner table.

Daughter Eleanor Cooper (Olivia Wilde) is so reluctant to see the rest of her family  that she settles into the airport bar for some fortification. There she meets Joe (Jake Lacy), a soldier on leave who is charming despite being a Republican.

In an agonizing montage Eleanor and soldier boy engage in a comic ballet on an airport moving sidewalk. It is so gosh-awful “cute” theaters should lay in a supply of insulin.

(more…)

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