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Amanda Glam
home : features : amanda glam
December 1, 2021

10/15/2021 2:24:00 PM
Amanda's Picks

Amanda Glam
Entertainment Writer

Cry Macho
I’m happy to share that Spotlight Theatres has taken over the former B&B Theatre in Venice and all is well. On my visit I saw familiar staff, the theater was clean and bright and the ticket prices were lower. They are working to bring more food options and the bar will be stocked again soon. And of course you will be watching your movie in a renovated theater with great sound and the world’s most comfortable and (optionally) heated recliners.
I was there with my friend Marshall to see Cry Macho, the latest film by Clint Eastwood, bless his heart, still cranking out movies at 91. But bless his heart, Clint the actor might not be the best choice for Clint the director.
In Cry Macho, (PG-13) Clint directs himself as a grizzly/crotchety Mike Milo. We learn in a lengthy opening speech by Mike’s boss Howard (Dwight Yoakam), that Mike is a former rodeo star who got injured, lost his wife and son and hasn’t been particularly reliable. He’s continued to work as a horse trainer even though he could have retired 20 years ago. After Howard goes on and on informing the audience all about Mike, he fires him.
One year later Howard comes back to Mike and asks him to kidnap his teenage son from his crazy ex-wife in Mexico City. Because when you want to kidnap your son from your crazy ex-wife, you ask the really old guy you fired for incompetence. Mike owes his ex-boss so he grumbles and heads to the border.
Not only is the ex crazy, she’s rich and drunk and surrounded by bodyguards. After telling Mike to take her son off her hands because he’s a gambler, thief and cockfighter, she makes a cringe-worthy pass at Mike, who respectfully declines.
Mike finds young Rafa (Eduardo Minnet) and convinces him to return with him to Texas and sure, he can bring his rooster Macho. What happens along the way? Everything you’d expect. They are harassed by the police, their car is stolen, there’s a car chase etc. Mike buys a sweater and people call him gringo. He throws the kid out in the middle of the road. Mike meets a woman closer to his age (only 40 years younger). He saves a goat. The rooster saves him.
There is some really nice scenery in Cry Macho and uh, not so much else. Go back to the movies, but not for this.
Cry Macho: 1.5 Stars (out of five)

The Many Saints of Newark
I was a big fan of the HBO series The Sopranos. While it was a bit violent, the saga of crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his family was exceptionally written with masterful acting.
The Many Saints of Newark (R) is The Sopranos’ origin story. The movie opens in 1967 in Newark where we meet a young Tony, his high-strung mother (Vera Farmiga), and younger versions of many of the characters in the TV show. But the focus is on Tony’s uncle Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), a charismatic and volatile crime boss who Tony idolizes.
Young Tony soon morphs into slightly older Tony played by Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini. When he’s not stealing the answers to geometry tests or beating up the ice cream man, he’s not a bad kid. Just misunderstood. You would be, too, if you had to deal with this family and their shenanigans.
Dickie has a lot on his plate, with all the mobster stuff and the wife and mistress who used to be his stepmother and Ray Liotta playing his dad and uncle. Yes you read that right. Ray Liotta is twins.
Saints also explores the racial divide of the era, from riots in Newark to the rise of a Black numbers gang and the bigotry experienced by Black Americans who moved into white neighborhoods.
It’s all fun until the movie commits one of Amanda’s cardinal movie sins. A character does something absolutely idiotic in the name of moving the story forward. It is so ridiculous that if I was in a movie theater instead of watching it on HBO MAX, I would have yelled “Oh, come on” at the screen.
The Many Saints of Newark is entertaining, if slow at times. The young Gandolfini holds his own in an excellent cast. The narration by Michael Imperioli who played Dickie’s son Christopher in the series, is effective in reminding us that Tony grew up to be kind of a bad guy But there are just too many characters and too much going on to get invested in any of the characters and I’m not sure if viewers unfamiliar with the series, would enjoy the movie without the backstory. It’s free on HBO Max until October 31.
The Many Saints of Newark: 2.5 Stars (out of five)

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