#Goodfellas – Review – #ThrowbackThursday

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Goodfellas – Budget of $25 million – 2 hours and 25 minutes

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Henry is the child of an Italian mother and an Irish father.  They are both hard working people but Henry doesn’t admire them.  He admires they guys he sees outside his window.  They are mobsters and they are lead by Pauly.  Pauly is a big guy that is known to move slowly because he moves for no one.  Henry admires the respect everyone in the neighborhood gives them. He wants that respect too.  So he gets a job at Pauly’s shop and works legitimately for a while.  But is not long before he starts stealing, fighting, and committing arson.  Soon, Pauly connects Henry with Jimmy and Tommy.  However, when Henry beats a charge without ratting out the crew, he becomes a Goodfella.  While he can’t be a Made guy because of his heritage, he will always have the respect and loyalty of the crew.  But when Henry breaks the rules, respect and loyalty go out the window.

Based on Wiseguys by Nicholas Pileggi, this is the movie that told the mobster story in a different light (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  By showing the glitz and glamour of life as a mobster, it’s easy to see how people get sucked into easy money even as children.  But this story stands out because it’s not told just through the eyes of Henry.  It’s also told through the eyes of Karen, his wife.  People often wonder about the women who fall in love with mobsters, gangsters, and killers.  She puts all the cards on the table.  From their first date to him wooing her to seeing him be violent, she fell deeper in love with him.  This movie doesn’t have Tommy Gun shootouts or crazy chase scenes.  Its slow pace sets the tone and allows you to get to know each and every character intimately and let the story unfold naturally.  This is a classic to watch.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone takes a beating sometimes – Henry

I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with you. You wasted 8 aprons on that guy. We gotta toughen the kid up – Pauly

Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut – Jimmy

By the time I finished meeting everybody, I thought I was drunk – Karen

That’s what the worlds coming do. How you like that – Tommy

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The #WizardOfLies, #SeducedByAStranger, and more – TV Reviews

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Table of Reviews

Wizard of Lies – Review

The Wizard of Lies – HBO – 2 hours and 15 minutes

Wizard of Lies

After reporting on the story since the day it hit the news, Diana Henriques got the first in-jail interview with Bernie Madoff.  As they sat, he started his story with the day his sons came into his office and question the bonus check’s release dates.  Normally, it is given in February but Bernie was writing the checks in December.  Bernie stated, “He wanted to make sure everyone was ok.  He wanted to take care of everybody”.  He and his sons, Mark and Andrew, went home and sat down with their mother.  It was then that Bernie told everyone the truth.  The money was gone, the business was a Ponzi scheme, and he lost $50 billion.  Bernie wants to take some time and get things in order before turning himself in.  But after Mark and Andrew speak to a lawyer, they learn that stolen money being distributed is a crime and knowing their father was doing that was a crime.  So, they turned their father in and cut off communication with their mother.  As news of Bernie’s crimes and his victims hit the mainstream news, the family is falling apart and the world is turning against them.  The Madoff family will have to make a personal decision without their lifeguard Bernie to save them.  Once everything is said and done, Bernie only has one question, “Am I a sociopath”.  Well, is he?

Based on the book, The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana  B. Henriques, this movie sets itself apart from the others by focusing on the downfall of the family (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  While another movie focused on the “how he did it”, this one focus on the family’s aftermath.  Ruth starts to question her self-worth because she didn’t know how to do things without assistance, she had no real friends, and she didn’t have a job. Mark became obsessed with the coverage and Andrew tried to get back to normalcy.  Another heart-wrenching angle was the story of Madoff’s victims.  They recounted the moment that learned their money was gone.  Some in a fax, while others got phone calls in nursing homes.  The score for this film deserves an award (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  The frantic music playing, as Bernie attempts to get more money from investors when his biggest clients cash out, brings you a true sense of panic.  The downfall of The Wizard of Lies is you only watch this movie from the performances. You know the story.  You don’t learn anything new about the Madoffs in any way.  This is good for killing a few hours on great performances.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

That is his talent and his curse – Diana

I want my life back – Mark

My father’s dead to me – Andrew

Behind you is not the place to be – Frankie

We’re not rich people. We’re humble people – Bernie

Well we’re still here – Ruth

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Seduced by a Stranger – Review

Seduced by a Stranger – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Seduced By A Strange

Dana Hale is tired of constantly moving and begs her father Martin to change his life so she can be a normal kid.  She wants to go to school, participate in a community, and meet a nice guy.  Everything is going smoothly at her new school when Dana meets Charlie.  Charlie is a nice, athletic young man with a sense of humor.  When Charlie asks Dana and her father to home to his home to meet him and his mother Dana, she agrees.  Once the parents meet, Martin and Dana reveal they have met and had coffee.  At first, Dana and Charlie are confused but Charlie accepts that his mom likes Martin.  On the other hand, Dana is worried.  In the past, Martin was a con-artist that wooed ladies and stole all their money.  Dana believes Martin will fall into old habits, ruining her normal life and her relationship with Charlie.  Martin promises he has turned over a new leaf.  While on their second date, Dana and Charlie are having a good time until someone runs over Dana’s bike on purpose.  She warns her dad that someone may be onto him.  Martin knows that he left everything in the past but when Dana describes the car, it’s the same one that tried to kill him.  Martin better watch out, because his past is coming for him; it has a gun and a broken heart.

Congrats, Lifetime made a movie without any bratty teens.  Dana and Charlie are mature, funny, and the anchors of their family.  Also, this movie will have you nervous for the stalker.  As she walks around Martin’s home and almost gets caught several times, you will be on pins and needles.  And the cinematography of Sloane’s anger is magnificent.  When she sees her symbol of love being given to another woman, flames ignite from the fireplace behind her and the slowly zoom on her face as it changes.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorn.  Sloane is the right mixture of crazy and sweet.  You can see something is off but she is just so nice.  While the climax is a little drab, the overall movie is great.  So sit back and watch

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I tend to give compliments instead of insults. First impressions and all – Martin

Yeah, proves I didn’t steal it – Charlie

So the ice is officially broken – Dana

Straight to hell I would imagine – Andre

Ripping someone’s life apart bit by bit is a delicate process – Sloane

No regrets. Just concerns – Julie

So you’re the girl who stole Charlie’s heart – Liz

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Mommy Dead and Dearest – Review

Mommy Dead and Dearest – HBO – 1 hour and 30 minutes

Mommy Dead and Dearest

On June 15, 2015, Gypsy Rose Blanchard walks into the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office in Waukesha, WI and surprises officers by doing two things. First, she walked. Everyone in town believed she was suffering from muscular dystrophy and was wheelchair bound. Second, Gypsy conspired with Nicholas Godejohn to kill her mother Dee Dee. Dee Dee for years had been by her daughter’s side as Gypsy battled cancer, muscular dystrophy, asthma, mental retardation, and a host of other ailments. Police and everyone who knew the two didn’t understand why Gypsy would want Dee Dee killed, but once they knew Gypsy could walk, they started to investigate. They learn that Dee Dee’s deception fooled family, friends, strangers, and even Gypsy. Once the investigation is done, no one pities Dee Dee but can they trust Gypsy?

This is a sad case of long-term torture and abuse that leads to love and a murder. You will not only be astounded by the complicit doctors and nurses, but you will also be amazed by the generations of liars in this family. For years, Dee Dee scammed people for homes, trips, and money by faking her daughter’s illnesses. But the sickest part, she made Gypsy believe she was sick too. Now Gypsy knew she could walk but she believed she had cancer, along with all the other ailments, and Gypsy didn’t know her real age. But as Dee Dee doctor shopped, only one doctor saw through her lies.  But he knew he wouldn’t be believed. It is heartbreaking how many people failed Gypsy.  But after being raised by a compulsive liar, do you believe Gypsy can end her family’s legacy with murder?

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Honestly, she asked me too – Nick

How do you kill your own mother – Rob

I just went on blind faith that a mother knows best – Gypsy

I had a big doubt about the whole thing from the beginning – Dr. Flasterstien

Her momma was an insane compulsive liar – Kristy

An evil person I would say – Bobby

If it didn’t go her way, she would see to it that you would pay. And did we pay a lot – Laura

Flush that in the toilet – Claude

She wants to get out. Not gonna happen. Let her dog take care of her – Dee Dee

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The Good Nanny – Review

The Good Nanny – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

The Good Nanny

Clint and Summer are celebrating their engagement when the carpet is pulled from under them. Summer suffers a miscarriage but never knew she was pregnant. While at their engagement party, Clint introduces Summer to his boss Travis and his wife Lily. Before the night is over, Lily ask Summer to be her interior designer and Monica (Summer’s best friend) to be her daughter Sofia’s pediatrician. Both agree to help for the sake of Clint’s job. When Summer comes over to do measurements, Lily is called away.  So Lily asks Summer to watch Sophia.  Summer, confused and surprised, says ok. Summer overhears the Sophia talking to someone named Sasha. After looking through the room, Summer surmises that Sasha is an imaginary friend. Once Lily comes home, she asks Summer to be Sophia’s nanny.  Summer says yes because she will be getting an interior designer’s paycheck to be a nanny. Summer is quickly bonding with the girl. But when Summer learns that Sophia sleeps with a knife, has burns over her arms, and says her parents don’t lover her, Summer will do anything to protect Sophia from Lily and Travis.

This movie is not what you expected. And that is awesome. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you are thrown a curve ball. This young actress takes creepy to a new, yet fun, level. It hard to know who is telling the truth, because everyone is lying about something. You want Summer to save the child, but does she really need to be saved? Or is she the dangerous one? This movie is a fun mystery with lots of twist and turns. So sit back and watch this movie with your full attention. DVR it so you can skip the commercials. It’s worth it!

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

What? Is this thing going to get more attention than me now? – Clint

I’m ok with a little untraditional here and there. But I draw the line at maternity gowns – Summer

Thanks, it was not easy coming back. Let me tell you – Lily

Sasha’s shy. She doesn’t trust you – Sophia

You interested in a nightcap – Travis

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#TheComedian – Review

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The Comedian – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 59 minutes

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The Comedian
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Jacob “Jackie Burke” Berkowitz is a former TV star of Eddie’s Home, but now he does small shows as a standup comic. Even though his TV days are over, fans often call or chant “Eddie”. He wants to separate from his past persona and be a respected comic, but when a heckler goes too far for his webisode, “Standup Takedown”, Jackie loses it. He originally gets community service and a fine. But then Jackie doesn’t apologize, in a matter that the plantiff likes, he gets 30 days in jail. Once out, Jackie learns from his manager, Miller, that he is viral and people are scared to hire him. During his community service, Jackie meets Harmony. Harmony – recently dumped – is serving community service too. Harmony and Jackie connect. Jackie asks Harmony to attend his niece’s wedding. Harmony asks Jackie to meet her father, Mac. Mac is an “Eddie” fan and Harmony thinks meeting Jack would be a great birthday gift. Jackie is happy to find a woman as open and raw as he is, but when Harmony tells him she is moving to Florida, he is hurt. He has to stay to finish his community service and rebuild his career. With big obstacles in their way, they must find their way back to each other and both need to find peace.

Mheh! Even with several heavy hitter performing stand up routines, this comedy is just ok. The comedy is crude and rude but worth a few chuckles and “oohhhs”. DeNiro tries to put on a strong performance but with a sad script. Leslie Mann plays the same role she always does … so nothing special there. This movie felt too long and the comedy is just average. The “Jackie” and “Harmony” characters don’t make a true transition in life by the end of the movie. Just wait for Redbox.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

Sweetheart, I’m from Alabama. How you think we got the fence painted – Brett Butler

Keep it fun, light, and positive – Jackie

I don’t laugh at no one, so that way everyone feels equal – Miller

I was right? Jesus I was kidding – Jimmy

Having dinner with me is not a gift. I want a gift too – Mac

That’s gonna be extra – Jackie

What did you get the celebrity discount – Harmony

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#HandsOfStone – Review

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Hands of Stone – Budget of $20 million – 1 hour 45 minutes

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Hands of Stone
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Roberto has grown up with less than nothing during the long ongoing battle over the Panama Canal. Roberto only had 2 teachers in life, Chaflan (a neighborhood guy that taught the kids how to survive) and Plomo (his trainer). However, Roberto’s manager, Carlos, knows that throwing punches won’t be enough to get to the big leagues, so he calls Ray Arcel and ask him to come out of retirement to train Roberto Duran. Arcel is known for making champion with is style of training. Only a few people outside the boxing world know that the mafia has threaten Arcel. After surviving a previous mafia hit, the mafia agrees to let Arcel live if he never makes another dime from boxing again. To keep his agreement, Arcel trains Roberto for free. Roberto is unmatched in the ring and is elated to represent his country. Then, he learns that President Carter signed a treaty to give the Panama Canal back to Panama. Although most are happy, Stephanie, Roberto’s wife, points out that the treaty won’t take place until 1999 … or in 20 years. She believes that America will screw Panama and Roberto must find a way to embarrass the United States in 1979. She tell Roberto he must beat their Golden Boy and Boxer of the Year, Sugar Ray Leonard. Throughout the movie, Roberto beats poverty, Leonard, but most of all himself. So, how can Roberto defeat himself and win at the same time? You will have to see this movie to find out.

The actor’s portrayals of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran are spot on. Both actors have closely followed their fighting styles and out-of-ring personas; and it shines brightly in this movie. Based on the book, Hands of Stone: The Life & Legend of Roberto Duran, this movie doesn’t glance over Roberto’s flaws (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). It is an honest look into a complex man who came from nothing, could not read, and had an incredible ability to fight but struggled with his pain to become one of the greats. The fight scenes could use more impact and the friendship between Leonard & Roberto could have been explained better. With that, this is a good matinee movie, but leave kids at home. And be prepared for subtitles.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars

Of course. I bought it. – Roberto Duran

I’d rather live in fear – Ray Arcel

Hookers are cheaper and don’t cause this much problems – Carlos

It’s my rules, this time – Sugar Ray Leonard

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