STATEN ISLAND SUMMER (2015)
Teen sex and party comedy tells the story of best buds Danny (Graham Phillips) and Frank (Zack Pearlman) who work as lifeguards at the Great Kills Pool Club. It’s the last weekend of summer before both must leave for college and the two plot with the rest of the lifeguard crew to throw one last big bash at the pool, before saying goodbye. Now they have to overcome all kinds of obstacles to get the party going and get laid before it’s off to school.
Directed by Rhys Thomas from a script by Colin Jost, this is a very routine teen comedy with all the clichés and tropes present. There is some amusement to be had, but it would rather be vulgar than clever and sometimes it seems to be a bit of a Staten Island in-joke, so those not familiar with this borough will feel a bit left out. There are jokes about drugs, sex and the usual bodily fluids and if that is enough than one should find this an amusing distraction. Those looking for something fresh and with a bit more wit in with the fart jokes than it probably won’t satisfy. At least there is plenty of eye candy with Ashley Green in a bikini as a love interest, Gina Gershon as a hot-to-trot MILF and the ladies may enjoy John DeLuca’s guido lifeguard Anthony. An OK flick though nothing special.
PREY FOR ROCK & ROLL (2003)
Obviously, a movie with Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo as female rockers already has a built in appeal and it’s too bad the film chooses to wallow in the darker aspects of the rock scene, as well as, some tragic melodrama, for us to fully enjoy it. Story is from a play by Cheri Lovedog who co-wrote the script with Robin Whitehouse. It focuses on Jacki (Gina Gershon), a bi-sexual rocker who’s just turned 40 and wonders if her all-girl rock band Clamdandy will ever make it out of the bar scene. That’s about it story-wise. Along the way we are treated to all the rock clichés and some dreary smatterings of beatings, rape and even a tragic death as Jacki tries to decide if it’s time to do something new with her life. As directed by Alex Steyermark the film already tries too hard to be a ‘rock’ movie but, then wallows in the scenes of drug abuse, abusive relationships, rape, death and even the traditional ‘screwed by a record label’ sub-plot. Despite Gershon giving Jacki her all and equally good performances out of de Matteo, Lori Petty and Shelly Cole as her band mates, the material is too familiar and too dreary to make this really enjoyable and lacks the energy in it’s few music scenes to overcome that. Also stars Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Marc Blucas as the ex-con brother of Cole’s Sally. The film is far more depressing than it is entertaining.
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (2014)
OK comedy/drama has aging hipsters Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) struggling with getting older and maybe having missed out on some of the important things, such as kids. They meet a pair of younger hipsters Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) and decide maybe they don’t have to act their age as Josh and Jamie collaborate on a film project. Things get weird as Jamie comes up with a potentially successful documentary idea while Josh’s has been languishing in development hell for ten years. Directed and written by Noah Baumbach this flick can be funny and sentimental at times but, can also be cliché and a bit pretentious at others. The story of an aging character/characters falling in with young people and not acting their age has been done to death and the filmmaking angle only adds a slight deviation from this. The outcome of that is fairly predictable as are the conclusions the characters come to. There are some good performances across the board but, the film never really rises above pleasantly mediocre.