If it's crap ... We'll tell you
And why couldn't they have made this 25 years or so ago when Kim Cattrall was super-hawt? When I was in love with her as the other girl with green eyes in "Big Trouble in Little China"? The answer is, because it would defeat the point of "Meet Monica Velour" that features the aging actress (who seems to be making a career at this point out of pointing that fact out) as a washed up, once famous porn star. Enter into her sad, broke-ass life, Tobe (Dustin Ingram), a slightly less irritating Napoleon Dynamite type, who drives his dilapidated hot dog truck far from home to sell it to an artist with a nostalgia fetish (the film's magical mystical black man, Keith David), and to go see Ms Velour's appearance at a ghetto-ass strip club in the middle of nowhere. Feeling bad for the kid when he gets beaten up after mouthing off to some loud rednecks at her show, she reluctantly ends up taking him under her wing. Dealing with an abusive ex-husband, being a single mom, and encroaching poverty have beaten her down to near hopelessness, and the last thing she thinks she needs is this single-minded nerd hanging around, but Tobe's earnest admiration for her ends up rubbing off (literally at one point) and she sees for the first time in awhile that maybe the future doesn't have to be so dark after all. All in all, this is one of the grimmer and grungier 'feel good' movies I've seen in awhile, it never really manages to be funny, and Ingram's Tobe is a formulaic Jon Heder clone (who knew that would ever be 'a thing'?), but there's a genuine and sweet heart to the film, and Cattrall, still sexy as hell at 55, puts in a convincing and engaging performance. I mean, I don't know if I'd pay for a VIP dance or anything, but I'm definitely slipping a fiver in the g-string.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Meet Monica Velour [Blu-ray]
WIN WIN (Blu-Ray and DVD)...Guest Review by LEON
There's gotta be a SAG rule in Hollywood that every character who's an middle-aged, overweight, lovable schlub must be written for Paul Giamatti and he gets first refusal. Or maybe every director enters a lottery HOPING that Giamatti will say “yes”. Either way, director Thomas McCarthy hit the 'Giamatti-jackpot' in scoring the actor for the lead character in his movie. As Mike Flaherty, a struggling small-time lawyer, family man and wrestling coach, Gimatti elicits instant empathy from the audience, even when he uses legal maneuvering (and outright lying) to do a really despicable thing. As a staunch fan of 'Breaking Bad', I'm already familiar with the territory of cheering for a 'good guy who does bad things'. Only with Mike Flaherty, there's no question he's got a good heart, and when he cheats an senile old man into a retirement center instead of the house he owns, it somehow doesn't seem all THAT bad. It looks like Mike could get away with it, no harm/ no foul...until a teenage boy named Kyle Timmons (Alex Shaffer) shows up with the intention of living with his grandfather. Yikes! What begins as a story of one man desperately trying to hide his dirty secret from his family and the law, becomes a tale of of how a troubled teenager, but one gifted with a special ability, becomes a part of the Flaherty family and everybody's life is touched. It sounds cliché to read but McCarthy has proven himself to a master of this genre with his previous films like 'The Station Agent', 'The Visitor' and as a writer on 'Up'. It doesn't hurt that the cast also includes Amy Ryan, Jefferey Tambor, Melaine Lynskey and notably, Bobby Cannavale, as a character with a similar obnoxious charm to the one he used to steal almost every scene in 'The Station Agent'. The big surprise here is Schaffer, who despite having come from nowhere (this is his first acting credit), perfectly pulled off the typical sullen, non-verbal teenager who despite his laconic demeanor, can pull at your heart with just his expressions. You come to enjoy the development of the relationship between Alex and the Flaherty family so much, that it hurts to remember Mike's deeds from the beginning and imaging the impending fallout when that dangling sword inevitably drops. Again, what sets this movie apart from a number of ham-fisted attempts at this genre is how it plays out with all the complexity of real life and the avoidance of easy answers. 'Win Win' is an apt title.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Win Win [Blu-ray]