Tag Archives: Andy Garcia

Bent

Bobby Moresco is trying to make “bent” happen. “Bent” is the new word for crooked cops, apparently, and writer-director Morsesco cannot bear the thought that any of you don’t know about this super cool slang, so he half-assed a whole movie around the concept and put it on Netflix so that you can ultra hip and not embarrass yourself in front of potentially crooked cops.

Anyway, Danny (Karl Urban) is a cop who watches his buddy cop get shot during a deal gone wrong. Or something like that. The first 10 minutes of this film are needlessly confusing. But that’s still preferable to the last 86 minutes, which are just bad. And that covers the entire 96 minutes!

Danny, disgraced and off the force, decides to lead his own private investigation into MV5BM2NlMjdjMmYtNDYzMi00NDU0LWI3NGItZTlhMTg1ZTQ0NzFmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzEzMjg5NjA@._V1_what went wrong. So he does that thing where he circles the date on the calendar and his heart is filled with revenge lust and he has a beard so you know he’s morose and broody. His mentor (Andy Garcia) is more concerned for his love life and maybe his personal safety, and both of those might be threatened by a mysterious government agent (Sofia Vergara).

Karl Urban is a good actor and Sofia Vergara is a bad actor (she doesn’t even fall convincingly!) but none of that matters because the script is so terrible it forms an opaque force field over the movie that feels pretty darn impenetrable.

The thing is, it does honestly at times feel like the whole script is built around just saying the word ‘bent’ a lot. A lot. Some stuff does happen but it’s pretty worthless. Can you hear my disappointment oozing through the screen? It’s so generic it offends me. It’s immediately indistinguashable among the offal of its genre. The twists and turns are painful.The love interest is painfuller. The dialogue is painfullest.

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The Las Vegas Chronicles: Ocean’s 11

When Danny Ocean (George Clooney) puts together his 11-man team of thieves to pull the ultimate heist, he’s got some iconic Las Vegas locations in mind: the Bellagio, The MGM Grand, and The Mirage.

The main action takes place at the swankiest of the hotels, the Bellagio, home of those famous fountains. The Bellagio gave the crew unprecedented access, and even closed down their valet parking during filming, forcing even the high rollers to use underground parking (egads!). When Julia Roberts makes her entrance, it’s  down the beautiful staircase in the Bellagio Conservatory but no, you can’t recreate that scene, because the stairs were soon torn down to make room for a spa wing. The biggest stars all stayed at the Bellagio too, and gambled during their down time. George Clooney says Matt Damon won the most money, while Damon insists it was Brad Pitt. The only thing the whole cast agrees on is that it was George who lost the most: he managed to lose an astonishing 25 hands of blackjack in a row.

We’re writing about movies set in Las Vegas this week because that happens to be where we’re hiding out. It’s often called sin city, and I can only assume that sin is gluttony. Las Vegas is home to some of the most fabulous eateries in the entire world. You could easily find a different 12-course, $1200 meal every night of the week, or, alternatively, you could do all-you-can-eat shellfish for $12.99. Brad Pitt’s character is always taking advantage of Las Vegas’s fine foods – in one scene where he’s spying on Julia Roberts, his character is eating shrimp cocktail, and filming went on long enough that Pitt ended up eating 40 shrimps, which is maybe not all you can eat, but definitely more than you should.

In the movie, the script called for the blowing up of hotel New York, New York. However, in the wake of 9\11, it was thought that this image would be too disturbing, and a fake hotel, the Xanadu, stood in. The Xanadu never exited but it was planned to be Vegas’s first mega-resort in the 1970s. Disputes over sewage disrupted plans and it was never built.

And how can we talking about Vegas without talking about Elvis – or talk about this movie without mentioning the song that was remixed and used so successfully? Producers wanted to stay away from the obviousness of “Viva Las Vegas” so they used Presley’s A Little Less Conversation instead, giving it a modern mix. It soon found traction on the radio and became a hit, decades after it was originally recorded. The King is alive and well.

Ocean’s 11 closes with that shot in front of the fountain. The characters saunter away a little mournfully, one by one – a shot that had to be orchestrated for the movie and wouldn’t be possible in real life. They had to drain one of the fountains so the guys had somewhere to go. In the original Ocean’s 11, the men walked away from the Sands casino, which is where many members of the rat pack were performing at the time (in fact, most of the movie had to be filmed in the mornings since the guys sleep in the afternoon, perform at night, get hair and makeup done in the wee hours, and show up to set as the sun rose). Sammy Davis Jr. was not allowed to stay on the strip with his cast-mates and had to be shuttled to a “colored” hotel, and this man was a bona fide player and Vegas mainstay. Sinatra had to appeal to the casino owners for special dispensation to break the colour barrier. How’s that for some warm and fuzzy Vegas nostalgia?

 

We’re traipsing around Vegas this week, so be sure to follow our adventures on Twitter (@assholemovies) – shenanigans guaranteed.