In September, I finished binge-watching Justified (completing the final three of six seasons), which took a huge bite out of my movie-going activities. This was also the month that all of my current TV favorites came back on the air, which also lobbied for my entertainment time. My college friend David Kiser breezed into town, and the two of us enjoyed dinner at Genghis Cohen on Fairfax, followed by a Groundlings comedy show. At the end of the month, I flew up to San Jose to see a stagings of Sweet Charity, Fiorello! (which my friend Jay produced) and Broadway by the Decade: Songs of the 1930s (hosted by Jay). A very fun month—but only two movies. Hoping to make up for it in October.
BLACK MASS (2015)—To showcase the true story of Whitey Bulger, a mob boss and frequent murderer, Johnny Depp takes off the silly pirate costume and transforms himself into Bulger. Not only that, he’s actually acting again! How cool to see him giving a shit again after accepting so many insipid roles in garbage like The Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the awful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He’s very good in this chilling tale of the sociopathic gangster and the FBI agent who tries to shield him from justice. (8)
THE VISIT (2015)—M. Night Shyamalan gets his umpteenth chance at a comeback, and tries to do so by tackling the “found footage” genre in this story of a couple of kids traveling to visit the grandparents they’ve never met before and encountering numerous troubling goings-on. There’s almost enough here to prevent this horror movie from becoming a total waste of time, although it’s extremely predictable and entirely too farfetched. Someday the Night man is going to give us another movie as thought-provoking and frightening as The Sixth Sense, but once again, this ain’t it. (6)