What do you get when you take three Oscar® winning powerhouse actors like Al Pacino, Christopher Watken and Alan Arkin and put them together with the wrong director? Utter failure. Oh, I’m sure some critic will be nice and give Stand Up Guys something higher than two stars out of respect for the cast, but he’d be putting his readers in jeopardy of wasting their time – Not even worth watching on TV.
Director Fisher Stevens, known for his comedic acting, has several documentaries and short films under his belt as a director. Unfortunately, he was not able to ignite his powerful cast. Instead he created the worst film I’ve seen in some time. Stevens is a great actor in his own right, but might want to leave directing to others. Although, I will give him credit for bringing Allison Timlin on board to play Watkins’ granddaughter.
Broken City was another star-studded waste of time. It broke my heart to watch Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg play characters in a story that couldn’t get off the ground. I partially blame director Allen Hughes for this broken film, but mostly because I know his talent from the movie The Book of Eli. This thriller lacked the intensity and bored the audience to the point of discussing Crowe’s hairstyle over the weak twists in the story as they exited the theater.
The Book of Eli was officially directed by the Hughes Brothers (Allen and Albert), so it might be possible they make a better team than individual directors. Outside of his television work, I believe Broken City was Allen’s first solo directing gig.
Stand Up Guys and Broken City are two films that are worth missing in the theater and on TV. But for most, the names will still draw them into wasting hours of time in hopes of enjoying the talent, regardless of the story or poor direction.