Archives for category: movie reviews

For the first time in more than two decades, I sat down and watched “The Color of Money” (1986). Wow. It really holds up. Really. It’s not about billiards. Or Tom Cruise channeling Charlie Sheen. Or Paul Newman’s pornstache and tinted glasses. It’s a character study on gamblers, con artists, what motivates them and what brings them down. Pure Scorsese. Newman recreates his Fast Eddie Felson character from “The Hustler” (a 1961 classic), but you don’t need to have seen it to enjoy this one. And it’s nice watching Cruise play an actual character instead of Tom Cruise Action Hero.

The devil is hiding everywhere. It seems police procedurals are, too. Ostensibly an exorcism/horror flick, “The Seventh Day” (2021) sets up more like a detective story. The wizened veteran with a cross to bear (so to speak), is paired with a talented rookie who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Find-the-bad-guy (and we’re talking about the baddest bad guy of all) hijinks ensue. Was the suspect framed? Is there a dirty cop involved? Substitute priests for police and you’ve got this middling Guy Pearce effort pretty much figured out. It has the audacity to foreshadow a franchise in the epilogue.

Improv comic Paul Reubens spent several years honing a character called Pee Wee Herman, a man-child in a too-tight glen plaid suit. He appeared on Letterman, developed a cult following and was eventually able to parlay the character into a feature-length film that has also become a cult classic. “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” (1985) is an oddball comedy in which Pee Wee engages in elaborate acts of whimsy that eventually pirouette toward punchlines. The jokes are esoteric but the talent behind the scenes (Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Phil Hartman) somehow keeps you caring about one dude’s search for his bicycle.