Rated R for frontal nudity, drug use, graphic sexuality and pervasive profanity
The Boys Are Back For A Bawdy, Big Screen Adventure
Entourage went off the air in 2011, after enjoying a phenomenal, eight-year run on the HBO Network, thanks to its refreshingly-authentic take on cutthroat world of Hollywood. That semi-autobiographical TV series revolving around the irreverent alpha-male antics of a fictional movie star and his posse was inspired by the life of its executive producer, Mark Wahlberg. Directed by the program’s creator, Doug Ellin, this eagerly-anticipated, big screen version more than lives up to its legions of loyal fans’ high expectations, between the bawdy, locker room banter and the trademark misogyny we’ve come to expect from the unapologetic bad boys at the center of the story.
Fortunately, the original cast has been reunited, starting with Adrian Grenier as matinee idol Vince Chase. There’s also Kevin Dillon as his big brother, Johnny; Jerry Ferrara as his chauffeur, Turtle; and Kevin Connolly as his manager, Eric, aka E. Besides that tight-knit quartet of BFFs from Queens, Vince’s agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) and Ari’s former, long-suffering assistant, Lloyd (Rex Lee), are among a number of other popular characters reprising their roles.
The picture basically unfolds like an extended rap music video. Think, a decadent celebration of materialism and conspicuous consumption shot against a variety of lavish backdrops littered with a smorgasbord of scantily-clad, fantasy babes who ostensibly exist at the pleasure of powerful males.
At the point of departure, we find each of the protagonists embroiled in relationship drama. Newlywed Vince is eager to have his recent marriage annulled, while playboy E reluctantly attends Lamaze classes with his pregnant, ex-girlfriend, Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Turtle is hoping to last a half-minute in the ring with MMA champ “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, which is the only way she’d agree to a date. And Johnny comes to regret sexting with a virtual stranger when TMZ gets a hold of the embarrassing video.
Flamboyant Lloyd is planning an elaborate gay wedding featuring glass dildos as centerpieces, and he wants his ex-boss to give him away to fiancé Greg Louganis. Trouble is, Ari is now a studio exec, and he’s obsessed with his first picture, a $100 million production being directed by Vince that’s already way over budget.
Never taking itself seriously, all of the above is played purely for laughs, including a profusion of fleeting cameo appearances by celebs as themselves: Pharrell, Warren Buffett, Mike Tyson, Common and Gary Busey, to name a few. For example, Liam Neeson is greeted by the feckless foursome at a traffic light with, “Hey, Schindler, leave no Jews behind,” you’re left wondering, what the heck just happened?
Vintage Vince and company having tons of testosterone-fueled fun whether being titillated by bimbos or just roaming aimlessly around L.A. in a classic convertible.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 105 minutes
Bass Clef Bliss
Drama House Productions/BKLYN2LA Productions
African-American Mother And Son’s Adjustment To Autism Chronicled In Inspirational Biopic
Before Terrence Partridge turned two, his parents first noticed an arrest in his development of age-appropriate social skills. In fact, he actually started regressing soon thereafter, as words he had already been using began to disappear from his vocabulary.
But it would still be a couple more years before they would receive the devastating diagnosis that their son was autistic. Unfortunately, the marriage would not last, as is so often the case with families touched by this affliction, and the burden of raising Terrence alone would end up falling entirely on his mother Therese’s shoulders.
Since early intervention can be critical in a kid’s prognosis, he was lucky she committed herself to giving him the love and support of even more than two parents. And she resolved to become an expert in autism, since it can manifests in myriad ways, making what might be a viable protocol for one child, totally inappropriate for another.
In Terrence’s case, he exhibited an early interest in music, being among the 1 in 10,000 people blessed with perfect pitch. His attentive mom recognized his talent which she proceeded to cultivate with the help of Louise Titlow, his trombone instructor. Under his patient teacher’s tutelage, the boy blossomed into a promising prodigy to the point where he would one day play in San Diego’s New Youth Classical Orchestra as well as jazz in a combo led by trumpeter Gilbert Castllanos.
Louise modestly explains away her student’s seemingly miraculous achievements with, “All it takes with Terrence or any autistic child is a little bit more love, a little more time, and a little more faith.” Perhaps of greater significance is her further assertion that, “He can be an angel of healing self-expression through music, and heal others as he’s uplifting himself.”
Directed by Patrick Scott, Bass Clef Bliss is an alternately heartrending and uplifting biopic chronicling the tight bond between a mother and son as together they confront an assortment of daunting challenges associated with autism. Scott makes a most impressive debut here, as he oh so delicately balances the access he was afforded to his subjects’ daily lives with their plausible concerns about personal privacy.
Besides focusing on Terrence and Therese’s trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs, this informative documentary features a cornucopia of facts and figures about autism, courtesy of both experts and anecdotal evidence. Did you know that in 1985, 1 in 2,500 babies developed the disorder, and that today the number is about 1 in 68?
Thus, autism is now, effectively, universal in nature which makes a labor of love like Bass Clef Bliss certain to resonate deeply with any spiritually-inclined soul compassionately attuned to other than self.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 70 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening June 5, 2015
Insidious: Chapter 3 (PG-13 for violence, profanity, frightening images and mature themes) Haunted house prequel finds Lin Shaye reprising her role as a clairvoyant who reluctantly employs her psychic powers to help a teen (Stefanie Scott) being terrorized by a powerful, paranormal entity. Featuring Leigh Whannell, Dermot Mulroney and Dylan McDermott.
Spy (R for sexuality, brief nudity, violence and pervasive profanity) Fish-out-of-water action comedy about a desk-bound CIA analyst (Melissa McCarthy) who volunteers for active duty to avert a global crisis after the colleague (Jude Law) she has a crush on goes missing overseas. With Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, 50 Cent, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale and Miranda Hart. (In English, French and Italian with subtitles)
Charlie’s Country (Unrated) Australian drama about an aborigine (David Gulpilil) who heads for the hills to escape the encroachment of white civilization on his simple, but idyllic life in the bush. With Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford and Wayne Anthoney.
Doomsdays (Unrated) Pre-apocalyptic comedy following the misadventures of a couple of slackers (Justin Rice and Leo Fitzpatrick) with a penchant for squatting in unoccupied summer homes in the Catskill Mountains. Supporting cast features Brian Charles Johnson, Jenny Bradley and Laura Campbell.
Freedom (R for violence) Antebellum Era drama, set in Virginia in 1856, about a runaway slave (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who makes a break for freedom in Canada with his family via a secret network known as the Underground Railroad. Co-starring Sharon Leal, William Sadler and Phillip Boykin.
Hungry Hearts (Unrated) Psychological drama about a newlywed couple (Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher) whose marriage is suddenly tested by the birth of a baby when the wife becomes inexplicably obsessed with nutrition and cleanliness. With Roberta Maxwell, Al Roffe and Geisha Otero.
Love & Mercy (PG-13 for mature themes, drug use and profanity) Musical biopic chronicling The Beach Boys’ singer/songwriter Brian Wilson’s (John Cusack) battle against mental illness with the help of a shady psychotherapist (Paul Giamatti). Featuring Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Jake Abel Dee Wallace and Kenny Wormald.
The Nightmare (Unrated) Medical documentary chronicling cases of sleep paralysis, a frightening condition plaguing thousands of people who find themselves unable to move while trapped between the dream and waking worlds.
Patch Town (Unrated) Sci-fi fantasy about a toy (Rob Ramsay) who, after being abandoned by the mother who’d adopted him, decides to confront the evil corporation that manufactured him. Featuring Zoie Palmer, Julian Richings and Scott Thompson.
A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (PG-13 for disturbing images and brief sexuality) Episodic absurdist comedy revolving around the trials and tribulations of a couple of peripatetic traveling salesmen (Nils Westblom and Holger Andersson). With Viktor Gyllenberg, Lotti Tornros and Jonas Gerholm. (In Swedish and English with subtitles)
Police Story: Lockdown (Unrated) Jackie Chan stars in this crime thriller, set in Beijing, as a police captain who will stop at nothing to save the long-lost daughter (Jing Tian) he hasn’t seen in years. Support cast includes Ye Liu, Yiwei Liu, Tao Yin and Wei Na. (In Mandarin with subtitles)
TestamentOf Youth (PG-13 for mature themes and disturbing images) Adaptation of Vera Brittain’s (Alicia Vikander) coming-of-age memoir recounting her service as a nurse in London during World War I while awaiting word about the fate of her brother (Taron Egerton) and fiancé (Kit Harington) fighting on the front lines. With Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson and Hayley Atwell.
Wild Horses (R for profanity and violent images) Crime thriller revolving around a Texas Ranger (Luciana Duvall) who reopens a Missing Persons case implicating a wealthy rancher (Robert Duvall) in the mysterious disappearance of a local boy. Cast includes James Franco, Josh Hartnett and Angie Cepeda.