Recliner Reviews | Don’t miss Pacino in top form in ‘Danny Collins’

Annette Bening and Al Pacino star in “Danny Collins.” Tribune News Service photo.
Annette Bening and Al Pacino star in “Danny Collins.” Tribune News Service photo. TNS

“Danny Collins”

Al Pacino makes a comeback of sorts, taking on the role of an over-the-hill singer, living off past glories. Collins has become a Vegas-caricature of Neil Diamond when he receives a letter John Lennon wrote to him 40 years ago that he never received. The letter sets Danny adrift and alters his life.

The story is loosely based on real-life folk-singer Steve Tilston. Whatever the case, Pacino steals back some of his old magic. Annette Bening loses herself in a role of an every-woman. The understated/overlooked Bobby Cannavale does a nice job in a reserved role.

Once again, Jennifer Garner’s star status works against her, but we shouldn’t hold that against her. We should hold her whiny delivery against her instead.

Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” and “Last Vegas”) continues to get better at weaving complicated dramas. Every scene or conclusion doesn’t work, sometimes it’s just too tidy, but it’s good to see Pacino in top form – worth a watch.

“What We Do in the Shadows”

This film asks important question like: What would it be if four vampires lived together in an apartment? Filmed in a documentarian-style, it’s like MTV’s “Real World” for New Zealand bloodsuckers.

Instead of being kings of the night, these guys argue over the bills and chores. They are sloppy and silly and unintentionally hilarious. The movie is written, directed and stars Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi.

Clement has been all over the place lately – from his acting to his comedy band, Flight of the Conchords, to his DirecTV commercials as a talking horse.

The film features most of New Zealand’s young, male, comedic actors traipsing around in old clothes and lampooning every vampire trope used cinematically for the last 85 years. It’s a whole lot of fun and worth a watch.


Writer/director Sam Esmail likes to make things complicated. This is his first-feature film, and it’s a love story, but not just a regular love story.

No, this is two love stories happening at the same time in parallel universes, between two versions of the same people – confused?

You shouldn’t be. Esmail lets it all play out like tires spinning in opposite directions on the screen, from strange beginnings to lovely ends. Justin Long plays the guy in the relationship and Emmy Rossum (Esmail’s real-life girlfriend) plays the girl.

Rossum is more than up to the task, and Long surprises with his quirkiness and edgy wit. This out-of-time romance is refreshing; to see vignettes and meaningful scenes spin a story together isn’t unique, but it’s distinct enough to make this one burn bright and sparkle at times – worth a watch.

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