Review of "Danny Collins (DVD)"

published 17/01/2017 | thedevilinme
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"Pacino's swansong"

Danny Collins (DVD)

Danny Collins (DVD)

Star – Al Pacino
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 106 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Nominations & 1 Win
Amazon – £5.00 DVD - £8.67 Blue Ray
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In 1971 John and Yoko sent a complimentary short note to up and coming British folk Steve Tilson, offering him some advice about how to deal with fame and life in general, if his talent came to fruition. But Steve never got it, or knew about that letter, until 2006, when an antiques collector rang him up to verify it. He couldn’t, of course, but quite a surprise for a man that never did become famous. Hollywood read this story and 8 years later made a movie about it, Danny Collins. But it wasn’t going to be about some ginger bearded nobody from Leicestershire, opting instead for the more Hollywood option of the letter being sent by just John to an ageing fictional pop star, Danny Collins, more Rod Stewart than Nick Drake, Pacino’s best and certainly most enjoyable performance for a while. This film will remind you why you like this guy.

Al, like Deniro, and many of those Italian American A-Listers from the 1980s, hasn’t really done much of note since and we stopped watching their movies, mostly romantic comedies or mid range thrillers now as they refuse to play the characters they should be in their 60s and 70s, the dreaded avuncular old man roles. It must be hard to entertain the idea that you may not be a big star anymore. But for Danny Collins, Pacino did, at least, and earnt a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts, his 20th in total, with 5 wins to his name to date. But his only Oscar was back in 1993, Scent of a Woman, an apologetic one by The Academy for not giving him an Oscar for the previous seven nominations, including the Godfather trilogy, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, barnstorming performances in likewise movies. It shows you how tough it was to win gongs back then.


===Cast===

• Al Pacino as Danny Collins
• Annette Bening as Mary Sinclair
• Jennifer Garner as Samantha Leigh Donnelly
• Bobby Cannavale as Tom Donnelly
• Christopher Plummer as Frank Grubman
• Nick Offerman as Guy DeLoach
• Josh Peck as Nicky Ernst
• Fernando Colunga as Fernando
• Michelle Vieth as Selena
• Katarina ÄŒas as Sophie
• Melissa Benoist as Jamie
• Giselle Eisenberg as Hope Donnelly
• Eric Michael Roy as Young Danny Collins


Plot

Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is a huge perma - tanned star with the Vegas mansion and showbiz lifestyle but living off past glories, just old enough to get away with throwing cool pool parties with lots of beautiful people and rock and roll enough to pop A-List drugs. But he hasn’t had a hit in 25-years and hasn’t written a new song in three decades but still making a great living by touring the back catalogue and hits to packed venues for the older crowd, his loyal fans, demanding he sing his hit song Baby Doll, and others. He is a likable guy and people still want to be around him, a beautiful young girlfriend (Michelle Vieth) and a loyal manager, Frank (Christopher Plummer), for all those years still by his side.

On Collins big 65th birthday bash at the mansion he receives a special gift from Frank, something Frank has been keeping secret for three months and champing at the bit to show him. It’s a brief letter from none other than John Lennon, sent to him 40-years ago with words of encouragement on keeping it real and complementing his talent when he was just starting out. Somehow it never got to him and Frank has bought it off a collector after verifying it. Danny loves the present and soon contemplating its meaning, then and now. Lennon obviously thought he was very good, no bigger compliment.

Soon after the party he discovers his girlfriend has a lover, who he is not really that bothered about, but can’t get the letters sentiment out of his head that he has wasted too many years not producing new music to the level of the songwriter Lennon knew him as. Its time for a late midlife crisis as Danny tells Frank to cancel the rest of the tour and ship his piano out to an obscure New Jersey hotel so he can start writing again. Frank, thinking its phase and will pass, agrees, Danny pitching up at the local Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey, much to the shock of the staff and pretty day manager Mary Sinclair (Annette Benning). He announces at reception he will be staying for a while and begins composing in his room.

Quote

Mary Sinclair: I'm sorry, are you on drugs?
Danny Collins: Currently or in general?


Danny is soon chating Marry up in his charismatic way but she knows it’s all an act but flattering in its own way. A bit of normality is what Danny is looking for in his life and hopes it will inspire his songwriting. Mary is impressed by the story of the letter, proudly framed and perched on his $35,000 dollar Steinway. Danny also wants to take this timeout to make things right with his son from his third marriage, Tommy (Bobby Cannavale), why Danny is really in New Jersey, Tommy’s wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) as equally surprised to see her famous father-in-law pitch up at the family home when her husband is at work. She is not looking forward to phoning the news to her hubby. But Danny has a lot of emotions to offload and so decides to spend the day with them to try and fix things.


Results

I wasn’t really sure I would enjoy this but I did. Yes AP’s turn is very hammy and the film somewhat too nice at times but its joyous fun and you enjoy Pacino’s company, in full chest wig mood, Tony Ferrino style. The script is smarter than, and not as cheesy as, it appears and has a real heart to it. This is Pacino's most endearing turn for ages, reminding how engaging an actor he once was. He is only 5ft 7’ and so only suited to certain roles and that’s when his star shines and that sexy voice growls. The rest of the classy cast is mere window dressing. This is no real narrative of note here other than pursuit of the maudlin to draw an audience and so you need to enjoy it as a mood piece.

For its Pacino light $10m budget it lost money and bombed at $8 million. I’m guessing his core and more cerebral audience drew parallels with his character and how Pacino's career was living of past glories and gave this a miss. Tony Montona playing piano in Vegas? I had certainly not seen or hard of any publicity for this movie on TV or magazine ads. This is really the legacy of Blockbuster Videos’ collapse, a company that was quite literally the shop window for the film industry. Today people go to the movies to see the big blockbuster films and maybe watch the medium sized ones they missed on their satellite package. Very few people are looking for the smaller movies like this that are not signposted. I don’t have a movie package so have to trawl through top 100 lists online to find these films on places like Amazon Market place and buy them at under a quid, with postage, over two quid all in. I then flip them at CEX Exchange to claw a bit back. I’m not asking Pacino for a thank you letter like the one John Lennon sent but it would be nice if Hollywood had physical high street rental somehow, other than the small range of films at the dusty local library.

So if you like a gentle sentimental tale with a charismatic lead and a middle aged romance or two then you will enjoy this. There is no real reason you should but it s just a nice experience. The kitsch Danny Collins ‘hits’ from the film actually featured on the movie soundtrack and Baby Doll sounding remarkably like Sweet Caroline. The suggestion was Danny Collins character was based on a cross between our very own Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow. Just take this film for what it is and you will enjoy it.

RATINGS


Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (22,432votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval

Trailer

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772288/videoplayer/vi343846681?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Special Features

-Behind the Scenes-

Pacino doesn’t contribute but the folk singer chap dos, the only interesting bit here.

-Album-

Some Danny Collins tunes from the film, Steve Coogan style!


Critics

Little White Lies –‘Return to sender’.

Chicago Times –‘The story works because it's told like a catchy pop song that doesn't try to be more than what it is’.

The Baltimore Sun –‘What could have been a cheap piece of hackwork becomes a pleasing little trifle, thanks to its actors.

The Observer –‘Pacino delivers his best turn in a very long time, hiding the fact that he can't even carry a tune behind a magnetic presence that screams "star".

The Independent –‘Danny is a role tailor-made for Pacino at this stage in his career, one that enables him both to indulge in some very hammy scene-stealing, but also to show his character's vulnerability and essential decency’.


Cinema.com –‘Even if Pacino's singing voice leaves much to desired, his performance doesn't. Much like the film itself, it's all in the execution’.

Red Eye –‘There's undeniable humanity and gentle humor running through this tale of redemption’.


South China Morning Post –‘There is so much goodwill in Danny Collins that even its characters' struggles are made to feel frothy.

The Guardian –‘Pacino is good company, keeping his more mannered Pacinoisms in check, but none of it feels like a stretch for him.
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Comments on this review

  • elfbwillow published 11/02/2017
    Excellent :)
  • euphie published 25/01/2017
    e :o)
  • GeorgieH1994 published 19/01/2017
    Great review :)
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Product Information : Danny Collins (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Classification: 15 years and over

Video Category: Feature Film

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s): Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale

EAN: 5030305519124

Production Year: 2015

Main Language: English

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