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Jersey Boys Review


OK

Music-lover Clint Eastwood adapts the long-running stage musical for the big screen with mixed results: it recounts a terrific true story but has an uneven pace. It also fails to put the events into any kind of context in the period, which leaves the achievements of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons feeling isolated from the rest of the music industry of the time. So it's difficult to engage in much of what happens.

In 1951 Newark, Frankie (John Lloyd Young) works as a barber's assistant, hangs out with a mafioso (Christopher Walken) and sings in a band with his pals Tommy and Nick (Vincent Piazza and Michael Lomenda), troublemakers up to all kinds of scams. But it's when they added songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) to the band that things begin to take off. Working with ace producer Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle), they release three No 1 singles in a row: Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like a Man. And their fame grows from there. But Tommy's money problems eat away at the band's unity, and Nick begins to think that he's had enough.

Oddly, there the story of the Four Seasons feels dragged out to sustain a two-hour 15-minute film. The narrative is fractured and episodic, with long stretches in which nothing happens that hasn't been portrayed in every other musician biopic. Eastwood directs the film like a serious period epic, draining much of the colour from the screen while concentrating on shades of grey and brown. But the real problem is the script, which never manages to build up any momentum. Big events pale in interest next to the fantastic music, while a confusing flashback jumbles the timeline unnecessarily. And occasional scenes are narrated by the actors straight to camera, which is extremely distracting on a film screen, especially when Nick stops singing and starts chatting to us in the middle of the band's iconic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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Marshall Brickman - Jersey Boys New York Special Screening held at the Paris Theatre - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 10th June 2014

Marshall Brickman
Marshall Brickman
Marshall Brickman

Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman - 3,000th performance of 'Jersey Boys' on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre New York City NY United States Thursday 7th February 2013

Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman
Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman
Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman

Sleeper Review


Excellent
Pound for pound and minute for minute, Sleeper may just have more laughs in it than any other Woody Allen movie. The unabashed '70s flick has a cryogenically frozen Miles (Allen) waking up after 200 years to find that the future is a mess -- well, sort of -- and that everything he knows is wrong. (Sample update, when a future historian shows Miles a video of Howard Cosell talking, he says, "We weren't sure at first what to make of this, but we developed a theory: we feel that when people committed great crimes against the state, they were forced to watch this." Miles agrees.)

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Annie Hall Review


Essential
The Woodman's finest hour, in this bittersweet love story between a die-hard New Yorker and a midwestern ditz, about what it really takes to make a relationship (or two or three) work. Woody Allen is at his best as an actor, and Diane Keaton has never had a better role. What makes Annie Hall so much fun, though, is the cameos -- from Paul Simon to Jeff Goldblum's one liner (On the phone: "I forgot my mantra!"), it's a complete send-up of the 70s. Best is Christopher Walken as Annie's psychotic brother.

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The Manhattan Project Review


Excellent
What kid doesn't want to build a nuclear bomb? This fantastic journey follows a teen (Christopher Collet, long since retired from acting) as he discovers a plutonium skunkworks in his suburban backyard, proceeds to steal some of it, and build his own nuclear weapon to enter into the science fair. It's a wild ride and tons of fun, with comedy, genuine tension, and lots of geeky science fun. Highly underrated... watch especially for Cynthia Nixon as Collet's love interest -- about 15 years before she'd hit it big on Sex and the City, with a far, far worse haircut.

Manhattan Review


Very Good
After taking a fresh look at the DVD of Manhattan, it's apparent that this isn't Woody Allen's greatest film. However, it is easily his most beautiful, with breathtaking black & white vistas of the titular city set to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." Too bad Allen's lusty, pedophilic tale of lust (over Mariel Hemingway, no less) doesn't hold a candle to the scenery. Still, worth watching. The sound is optional.

Manhattan Murder Mystery Review


Excellent
OK, I like New York. Unless you're from the city, or have ever lived in it, you probably hate it. But, as the opening song of Manhattan Murder Mystery states, Woody Allen happens to like New York. Because he likes New York so much, almost every movie that has him in it, including, although it isn't quite revealed until the end, Antz completely takes place in the Big Apple. A couple, Manhattan and Manhattan Murder Mystery, have even taken their titles from it.

Woody Allen fans shoot me here, but I've never seen Manhattan. Going from Manhattan Murder Mystery, though, you might wonder if he's playing to the stereotypes. Playing to the stereotypes is my only complain in this bizarre mystery about a next-door neighbor's plans to murder his wife. It takes the easy punches at New Yorkers. But, hey, with a place that has as many people in need of electroshock as New York does, can we blame him?

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Jersey Boys Movie Review

Jersey Boys Movie Review

Music-lover Clint Eastwood adapts the long-running stage musical for the big screen with mixed results:...

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