I AM MORE OF A “don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” type of guy. As long as the item is meeting my expectations/needs, then I am fine with it. If you recall in one of my recent reviews I said, “Just because something is new does not make it better.” This is true to me based on the multiple examples I have experienced while buying replacement items. When my refrigerator finally stopped working I had to buy a new one. The salesperson had all these reasons why the newer refrigerators were so much better than mine. I originally asked if mine was fixable which led the salesperson to go into their sales pitch for the newer models. Granted, the ones I looked at were nicer looking, brighter inside and had a variety of shelf configurations I could adjust depending on what I needed to store inside. After I came to the realization that the cost to fix my old fridge would be better spent on buying a new one, I chose one similar to what I had and had it delivered. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with my new refrigerator; but for some reason it does not seem I can fit as much food into it as my old one did. MY PHILOSOPHY CAN BE EASILY APPLIED to movie remakes. If you look back at the reviews I did of movies that were remakes, you will not find many that were favorable. Just last week the film Little Women I reviewed was an updated version; it was one of the worst remakes I had seen in a long time. For the life of me I could not understand how the studio looked at that remake and thought they made a good picture. It makes me wonder where are the writers who have an original idea for a story? Honestly, I do not fully understand what the reasoning is behind the decision to do a remake of an established movie. Remember, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken; why would a studio want to take a well-known, classic film and do a remake of it? If the bar is already set up high, what are the studio’s chances of having a success? Maybe it is an economic decision, where if the 1st movie was successful then the new one has a built-in fan base. I do not have the answers, but I must tell you everything I just said about remade movies does not apply to this romantic, musical drama. HAVING BEEN TOLD SHE WAS NEVER good enough Ally, played by Lady Gaga (Machete Kills, American Horror Story-TV), had no reason to believe famous music celebrity Jackson Maine’s, played by Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook) comments about her. There was only one way to show her. With Sam Elliott (The Hero, I’ll See You in my Dreams) as Bobby, Andrew Dice Clay (Blue Jasmine, Pretty in Pink) as Lorenzo and Anthony Ramos (Mobsters and Men, Patti Cakes) as Ramon; I was stunned with this being Bradley’s 1st stint as a writer and director. His direction was simple and pure which was a beautiful compliment to Lady Gaga’s expressive face. Acting was in top form from everyone, but I do have to say I forgot Bradley was playing Jackson Maine; he was that believable. Doing all the singing live was a brilliant decision because it added a vibrancy to the scenes that truly made them stand out. Now there were a few slow spots for me, but they were just a minor distraction that I did not mind much. This is the 4th time this story has been done in movie form and I believe this not only can stand on its own, but it shines the brightest.
3 ½ stars
Tucked in the middle of the block between several small storefronts was a small independent movie theater. It was only 4 blocks away from where I grew up. I found my love of movies in this little theater with its freshly popped popcorn and assorted candies, that sat in a glass case that was partially held together with thick black tape. There was a period of time where I could be found every Saturday afternoon at the theater’s matinee showing. I had no understanding of what it meant to be a “B” movie back then, but I was exposed to all types of feature films. From killer robots to dogs saving their masters to family road trips in a long trailer; I loved every one of those movies. Looking back at those films, today they would be considered campy. They bring a nostalgic, fun flair from a different time to mind. In this action thriller sequel, writer and director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) was looking to create the look and feel of a classic “B” movie. Danny Trejo (Heat, From Dusk till Dawn) reprised his role as the unstoppable Machete. In this installment the President of the United States enlisted the help of Machete to take down an arms dealer who was determined to destroy life on this planet as we knew it. With the help of Miss San Antonio, played by Amber Heard (Zombieland, Pineapple Express), Machete would first have to cut through an assortment of villains hell-bent on killing him. The fun part in watching this bloody crime film was seeing the variety of celebrities who agreed to take part in the cheesy story. For example there was Sofia Vergara (Four Brothers, Modern Family-TV) as machine gun packing Desdemona and musical artist Lady Gaga as the ever changing La Camaleon. Where I enjoyed the first film, even with all of its blood, violence and fresh campy quality; this movie took its uniqueness and beat you over the head with it. All it seemed to do was replay the same joke over and over, only with different characters. After a short while I did not find it funny anymore or very creative; I became bored with the nonsense. There is nothing wrong in making a parody of a genre of movies; but the idea needed to be expanded upon. In the case of this film trying to be a “B” movie, the “B” stood for bad. There was a flood of blood and violence throughout the film. If you see this movie, stay through the credits.
1 3/4 stars