Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Movie Review for “Two for the Money” (2005)

Three for the no show!

This film features Al Pacino (Walter Abrams) and Mathew McConaughey (Brandon Lang) with supporting roles from Renee Russo (Toni Morrow) and “Entourage’s” Jeremy Piven (Jerry).

“Two for the Money” is based on the real life sports handicapper Brandon Link. Brandon Lang’s career ending knee injury puts him working the 900 lines as a part time sports handi capper. Brandon somehow has an 80% winning record because of his access to players. This percentage captures the eye of Walter Abrams. Walter Abrams runs a successful sports handicapping cable show in New York. He wants to groom Brandon to take over his business. And Walter will do anything to get Brandon to think like him.

Walter marks Brandon as John Anthony. John Anthony is the eccentric no nonsense sports handicapper that has an 80% lifetime record on football games. So the gambling degenerates use John Anthony’s advice and win. Of course when things fly south all hell breaks loose. Trust no one! Utilizing the father and son relationship Walter tries to play one last hand.

This movie is too long and has too many dead ends. Al Pacino fans will enjoy his performance, as always. Matthew McConaughey’s women or men fans will enjoy the many shirtless, weightlifting scenes that bring nothing to the film. Kudos to Jeremy Piven of “Entourage” for making his character sizzle. The script is lacking substance and direction with a predictable outcome.

I usually don’t review bad movies but this one cost me some hard earned cash. I can’t recommend seeing this film at the movie theatre. Any price at the box office will not cover the performances, script and sports handicapping business. If you are a fan of the actors, wait for the DVD to come out. If you want to know “how to” handicap games flip a coin. The biggest laugh was from Long Duk Dong “No more yanky my wanky, Donger need food!” revisited.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Black Cloud (2005)

Building blocks or stumbling blocks?

This DVD has two filming debuts, Rick Schroder (Lonesome Dove, NYPD Blue) as director and Tim McGraw as actor. Both are good debuts. The script was also written by Rick Schroder.

“Black Cloud (2005)” is about the personal struggles and triumphs of Navajo boxer Black Cloud. (Full name) Black Cloud (Eddie Spears) faces racism from the local residents and city police near the Navajo rez. Local Sheriff Powers (McGraw) knows about the personal struggles of the Navajo Nation people. And he sees Black Cloud as a survivor, so he gives Black Cloud the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his troubles. The only outlet Black Cloud has is boxing. Boxing keeps Black Cloud out of trouble. Trouble is so easy to find on the rez. When an Olympic scout (Peter Greene) sees Black Cloud fight on the boxing under-card of an arrogant Olympic hopeful Rocket Ray Tracey (Pooch Hall), he sees Black Cloud making the Olympic boxing team. But will Black Cloud personal demons get the best of him? Black Cloud’s father is alcoholic and has constant parties at his house. So, Black Cloud seeks out his coach and mentor, Bud. (Russell Means)

Black Cloud’s girlfriend Sammi (Julia Jones) has a son by rodeo circuit, white bull rider Eddie. (Schroder) When Eddie tries to reunite with his ex, Sammie, Black Cloud’s anger gets the best of him and he opens a can of whip ass on Eddie. Will this put an end to his Olympic shot?

The character relationship and dialogue could have been developed more. The background, relationships and why Black Cloud does not trust the white man were not explained thoroughly. A lot of the stereotypical Native association is utilized like alcoholism, trust, mysticism and poverty. But this is the first time I’ve seen Native Hip Hop in a film. The typical hard partying and attitude came along with it. Native Hip Hop has been actually infiltrating and influencing the younger generation on the rez for many years. Whether that is good or bad can still be debated.

The film shows the beauty of the Navajo Nation rez located at the four corners. Rick Schroder utilizes boxing coach Jimmy Gambin (Rocky, The Champ) to train the boxers. The boxing elements in the film are action packed and realistic.

Recognizable Native actors include; Nathaniel Arcand (Jimmy), Saginaw Grant (Grandpa) and Branscombe Richmond (Peter). “Seinfeld’s” Wayne Knight makes a special appearance as the special favor, white power monger Mr. Tipping.

Rick Schroder (Little Ricky in Silver Spoons) utilizes his experiences from acting and growing up in the entertainment industry to help with filming. The DVD shows his potential as a director, but his script writing on this film could have been more polished. Will the financial risk of movie making leave Schroder high and dry in the future?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TV shows not to be missed.

The race is on with the New Family edition of "The Amazing Race"


There are only two episodes of the Iraqi war series "Over There."


"Rome" ends its run on HBO.


Check out these shows before it is to late. Maybe DVD?