B.J. Cleveland

MOVIE REVIEWS (by proxy)- B.J. Cleveland Dishes About “Colossal” & “Their Finest”

OK, I’ll admit it. I haven’t seen a movie in a week. Well, OVER a week, since I’m being honest. Sorry, but an extended Easter break and my kid’s 13th birthday made it impossible to get anything done. Even now, I’m listening some obnoxious kids’ show blasting from the other room and it’s Tuesday. WHY ARE THEY STILL OUT OF SCHOOL???

Anyhow, I haven’t seen any movies but my friend, B.J. Cleveland has.
B.J. is a local actor who…
Wait, that’s an understatement. To understand how truly awesome B.J. is, you need to read this quote from The Dallas Morning News:

“B.J. Cleveland is legendary…one of the most talented and versatile talents in town!”

This is why I brag about knowing him. Anyhow, B.J. was alternately cheering and moaning about the movies he saw this weekend, so I asked him to write some reviews for me. I told him that I only needed a few lines, featuring his sparkling wit, and THIS is what B.J. wrote. No one can EVER accuse this man of half-assing anything.
Find out what B.J. is currently working on by clicking HERE, then read his reviews below.

COLOSSAL – starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell

In the first minutes of the film, a young Korean girl desperately searches for her doll during a fierce electrical storm which reveals a frightening, monolithic creature who could possibly stomp her to death. That’s the last exciting thing that happens in this movie. COLOSSAL turns out to be a colossal bore.

Anne Hathaway executive-produced this science-fiction-comedy, which is directed and written by Nacho Vigalondo (the famed director of nothing you have ever heard of). But as a producer, she obviously didn’t watch the dailies (an end-of-day showing of that afternoon’s filming). Her character is so annoying and loathing that after 30 minutes, you just want the creature to step on HER. But…the creature IS her. Confusing? Sit through 2 hours of this so they can explain the ridiculousness of it in the last frames. It’s GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets GODZILLA with a moment of TRANSFORMERS mixed in for stupid measure.
If this still intrigues you, then I made it sound better than it is.
The CGI was obviously handled by a Spielberg reject with an affinity for ’50’s creature-features. They are so bad they’re good but unfortunately, there’s not enough of them.

AnnHath smirks and giggles her way through most of her drunken lines, like a guest appearance on a bad episode of GIRLS. She also has this annoying habit of scratching her scalp, which her character mentions is a nervous tick. I’m certain it’s from wearing that scabies infested wig she bought at Yolanda’s Hair Emporium in South Dallas. If you like AnnHath in bangs, rent THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA when it was sort-of cute. Jason Sudekis brings the picture up a notch by playing the good ole boy next door from Ann’s childhood. His is the only character who takes any kind of interesting turn, but I’m not sure if it’s for the worse or better. He does have fun briefly being a Transformer. Wonderful character actor Tim Blake Nelson isn’t given much to do, other than be a barfly with the rest of them. One hopes he’ll make a purposeful return but, alas, it’s not to be. Newcomer Austin Stowell is pure naive eye-candy, and that’s OK.

The most empathetic characters are the people of Korea who are stereo-typically relegated to running and screaming and pointing as the creature dances and destroys their city. I mean, come on. Aren’t the Koreans dealing with enough right now without having to suffer the Wrath of Hath?

I guess I should give this movie a D for Disaster. I want Jason Sudeikis to have some sort of career after SNL though, so I give it a C-minus for a Colossal mess.

THEIR FINEST – starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy and Jeremy Irons.

In the stale spring of pre-summer blockbusters, a film has blossomed to take your heart: THEIR FINEST. And it is.

If you loved the Oscar nominated film BROOKLYN (same producers) or just love movies in general, you’re bound to fall for this period film ABOUT the art of making them.

The year is 1940, Britain. Whilst the nation is being attacked by Hitler and his troops, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. They need “a woman’s touch”, so a branch of the government hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) to spiff up the female dialogue and point of view. It’s still very sexist, but a tough cookie female producer pulls her through. Her artist husband looks down on her job, but she quickly gets noticed by charming lead scriptwriter, Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on a slim news item starring pretentious fading movie star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.

The film within the film is all schmaltz and sometimes hilariously cheeky, but circumstances around it are not. You are constantly reminded of the precariousness of each person’s life and work. Spoiler alert: there is heartbreak. Beautifully shot and directed, you are swept into the cruelty of war’s devastation and personal loss, and fascinated by each authentic piece of wardrobe down to the lined nylons. But stiff upper lip, folks. There is lots of humor as well, in this valentine to film-making in general.

Gemma Arterton (Quantom of Solace) is pitch-perfect as Catrin, who suffers her own losses while saving the film and career of the hilarious Bill Nighy (Love Actually). If this were Oscar bait season, Nighy would certainly catch a Supporting nod for his egocentric former matinee idol who clings to any compliment dangled his way. His last scene and exit is a master class in acting. Handsome Sam Claflin (Me Before You) is both nemesis and teammate to the young female writer and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see where that relationship is headed (turbulent, taunting, and terrific). The supporting cast, too numerous to mention, are full of familiar faces from British sitcoms to Downton Abbey, and give even the minor characters depth and warmth. Stalwart Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons even jumps into the fray as a government official, rooting for the film and it’s romantic entanglements.

Don’t let this movie fade from view. Take a chance on it. If you love the cinema, love history, love the Brits, and tire of over produced car crash movies, then keep calm and carry on to THEIR FINEST.

Find tickets to see Their Finest by clicking HERE and, if you still want to see Colossal (really?) by clicking HERE.

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