Eventually, everyone in the living world will have forgotten Last Vegas. A 2013 comedy flick led by four ageing stars needing to bank a quick check to pay off whatever hip replacement, alimony settlement or elephant’s foot walking cane holder is needed that week. All that will remain are whispers of such a film existing, one that can feature incredible, Oscar-winning talents shuffling around the gambling capital of the world. Wrinkled faces throw a bachelor party and at their tender age, “party” is closer to a round of scrabble and some Benadryl before walking around the small gardens of Vegas. What cannot be expected from this ensemble under the watchful eyes of director Jon Turteltaub, is quality.
Accidental uncovering’s of conspiracy and crime brings about the essential core of Coma. Healthy patients are given strange complications and shipped away to some strange and distant institute. Surely, there is more to this than meets the eye. Michael Crichton directs a paranoia-induced cast through those late-1970s aesthetics with confidence. But confidence does not always equate to quality. While these performers are confident in their abilities (and its director confident in his own), Coma has the intrigue, the desire, and the surprising ensemble necessary to work a chilling little horror. But this is far away from the message Crichton and Robin Cook embed within their writing. What they set out to say and what they end up doing are two different hurdles, neither of which are vaulted with much confidence.
If the Robert Zemeckis of the 1980s could see what he would morph into only four decades later, he would naturally seek out to destroy this terrifying beast that dared to stand where a good man once lingered. Romancing the Stone isn’t much of quality, the ego-trip of producer and leading man Michael Douglas as obvious as the day is long, but having such a man at the centre of it all, colliding into Zemeckis, was a good enough draw. With Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito added to the mix, there was a chance – a slim, slim chance – that Romancing the Stone could be of value.
With ego-centric shoulders bustling through the drab offices of New York, there, festering at the core of it all, is a goldmine for filmmaking. It should not be surprising that, especially in recent years, there are more than a handful of films set within these harsh, stinking stock rooms. Wall Street, from the mind of Oliver Stone, indicates a change of pace from the usual attempts Hollywood have made, cracking through the moral lessons and presenting a voice and set of characters who are bloodthirsty and conniving until the bitter end. Are there better representations of Wall Street than Wall Street? Yes. Jungle 2 Jungle and The Wolf of Wall Street show the embittered corruption, but Stone is the first to showcase how a corruption of power does not always lead to consequences.
Before glitzy, high profile biopics of superstar singers and songwriters became the norm for Hollywood, director Steven Soderbergh set out to pick apart several years from the very busy, interesting life of piano player Liberace. I’m not all that familiar with the work of Liberace, all I know is he played piano and had an extreme fondness for chandeliers. That alone is more than enough background information that you need for Behind the Candelabra, which documents Liberace’s six-year relationship with Scott Thorson.