Going in Style

Posted on April 6, 2017 at 5:31 pm

B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug content, language and some suggestive material
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Mostly comic peril and violence, issues of aging and illness
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: April 7, 2017
Date Released to DVD: July 31, 2017

Copyright Warner Brothers 2017
Copyright Warner Brothers 2017
Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin are such a dream team that we almost forget how weak this remake of the 1979 George Burns “Going in Style” is. It is always a pleasure to see these old pros, and in this heist story the real theft is every scene they are in from anyone else in the cast.

As in the original, which co-starred Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, it is the story of three old guys who rob a bank. This time, the script by Theodore Melfi (“St. Vincent,” “Hidden Figures”) leverages the post-financial meltdown Trump era animosity toward banks and big multi-national corporations that consider the pensions they promised their long-term employees as just another stream of revenue to redirect to investment bankers and CEOs. Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman), and Albert (Alan Arkin) are not just proving that experience and wiliness will triumph over youth and overconfidence; they are a new version of Robin Hood, seeking justice for the little guys.

The men are all retirees from the same manufacturing company, which is moving all of its operations out of the United States and cancelling all pension plans. Joe, whose daughter and granddaughter (Joey King) live with him, has had to stop making the mortgage payments that tripled after his rate went up, and his home is in foreclosure. Willie’s dialysis is not enough any more and he will die if he does not get a new kidney. When Joe’s meeting at the bank about his mortgage is interrupted by a bank robbery, it looks like a way for him to solve his money problems.

The three leads give it their best, and there is simply nothing better than that. Their enjoyment in each other and in the chance to have some fun as the movie’s heroes is palpable. And it is a joy to see the still-lovely and very game Ann-Margret as a grocery store clerk with a crush on Al. “SNL’s” Kenan Thompson and Siobhan Fallon Hogan are bright spots, but the gifted Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, Josh Pais, and Peter Serafinowicz (“Spy”) are vastly under-used in one-dimensional roles. This especially disappointing from director Zach Braff (“Garden State”) and screenwriter Theodore Melfi, who seem to think that their only choice here is to make a thinly imagined, tiresomely formulaic, numbingly predictable story. Topical references notwithstanding, the movie is more outdated than the 1979 original.

Parents should know that this film includes armed robberies, guns, serious illness, marijuana, drinking and drunkenness, some strong language, sexual references and non-explicit situations.

Family discussion: What did each man find the most persuasive reason to rob the bank? What was the most important advice they got?

If you like this, try: the original version with George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, and “Tower Heist”

Related Tags:

 

Comedy Crime DVD/Blu-Ray Family Issues Remake

Where You’ve Seen Them Before: Cast of “Going in Style”

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Copyright 2017 Warner Brothers

The remake of “Going in Style,” like the original, is about a trio of retired men who rob a bank, with all three characters played by acting legends. This version stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin, all Oscar-winners with decades of brilliant performances. And the co-star is one of my all-time favorites, Ann-Margret.

Morgan Freeman: Best remembered as Red in “The Shawshank Redemption,” Hoke in “Driving Miss Daisy,” and God in the “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty,” and the deep, rich-voiced narrator of films like “March of the Penguins,” Freeman won an Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby.”

Michael Caine: His breakthrough role was in 1966 as the ladies’ man title character in “Alfie,” and he has delivered iconic performances in everything from period drama (“The Man Who Would be King”) to literary adaptations (an Oscar-winning performance in “The Cider House Rules”) to Alfred in the Batman movies. His distinctive voice and Cockney accent have inspired many imitators.

Alan Arkin: He won an Oscar for playing a raunchy, drug-addicted grandfather in “Little Miss Sunshine,” and his other great performances include a confused Soviet submarine captain in “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!,” an isolated deaf man in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” and a cynical Hollywood executive in “Argo.”

Ann-Margret: Her most iconic roles showcased her fiery hair, creamy skin, flashing turquoise eyes, gorgeous figure, seductive purr, and the unmatched energy and flair of her dancing, but she showed her ability with dramatic roles in “Carnal Knowledge” and the television film “Who Will Love My Children?”

Related Tags:

 

Actors For Your Netflix Queue Movie History Where You’ve Seen Them Before

TCM Star of the Day: Ann-Margret

Posted on August 12, 2015 at 3:11 pm

The Star of the Day tomorrow on Turner Classic Movies is Ann-Margret. Her most iconic roles showcased her fiery hair, creamy skin, flashing turquoise eyes, gorgeous figure, seductive purr, and the unmatched energy and flair of her dancing. She was still a student at Northwestern when George Burns discovered her and introduced her to his friend Jack Benny. One of her first television appearances was on Benny’s show. She was not yet glamorous, but she could already command the audience.

In this screen test, she took an old standard and made it sizzle.

The greatest shade of pink in the history of film is the outfit she wears in her signature musical number in “Bye Bye Birdie.” The conventional wisdom that redheads shouldn’t wear pink was irrevocably shattered.

The Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie” centered on the relationship of the songwriter (Dick Van Dyke, repeating his Tony-award winning role) and his long-suffering girlfriend. But Ann-Margret was so sensational that the movie was reoriented to focus on her role as the starstruck teenager.

Some of the other cast members who had appeared in the stage show were not happy. In the musical number “How Lovely to be a Woman,” the humor is supposed to come from the contrast between the lyrics about being old enough to be “the one they’re whistling at” as she changes from her school clothes into a ratty oversized sweater, jeans, and knee socks. But the real contrast is between her pretending to be a teenage slob when she is already a ravishing woman with endless female allure. Paul Lynde, who played her father, said, “They should have retitled it ‘Hello, Ann-Margret!’ They cut several of my and the other actors’ best scenes and shot new ones for her so she could do her teenage-sex-bombshell act.” Indeed, the movie opens with Ann-Margret against a black screen, almost exploding out of the film. She became an immediate superstar.

Her other signature role was opposite the only male musical performer who could match her electricity: Elvis Presley, in “Viva Las Vegas.”

On a television variety special, she appeared with the only female musical performer who could keep up with her: Tina Turner.

By this time, she was a superstar who could spoof her own image by appearing in “The Flintstones” as “Ann Margrock,” singing a lullabye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0NZYjvWLzc

She was a gifted dramatic actress, best shown in “Carnal Knowledge.” She was also wonderful in the middle age love story “Twice in a Lifetime,” a warm and heartfelt performance opposite Gene Hackman, and she rose above the soapy story as chorus girl who married into a wealthy family in “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.” She earned a Golden Globe for a heartbreaking role as a dying mother who had to find homes for her children in “Who Will Love My Children?” Twelve of her films will be shown on TCM tomorrow, including “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Carnal Knowledge,” and “Tommy.” The next time they salute her there will be another film to add to the list — she has just announced she will be joining the cast of the remake of “Going in Style,” co-starring with Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman.

Thanks to Kristen Lopez for including me in the Summer Under the Stars blogathon!

Related Tags:

 

Actors Film History For Your Netflix Queue

Viva Las Vegas

Posted on January 5, 2009 at 7:20 am

A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: Social drinking
Violence/ Scariness: Mild peril
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: 1964

Happy birthday, Elvis! In honor of The King’s birthday this week, we present one of his best movies, the delirious Viva Las Vegas, co-starring the combustible Ann-Margret.

Elvis plays a race-car driver named Lucky who meets a spirited girl named Rusty. For once he has a co-star who is as dynamic a musical performer as he is. It includes classics like the title tune and saucy duet “The Lady Loves Me,” plus a sizzling Ann-Margret dance number. And a car race! Just the thing to start off the new year.

Related Tags:

 

Classic DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week For all ages For Your Netflix Queue Musical
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik