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AL PACINO STARRING IN DANNY COLLINS

year: 2015 rating: ***
The difference between mainstream and arthouse cinema is in the first, you’re supposed to either like or hate any character upon introduction, and in the latter it should take about half the movie before deciding upon if he or she is worth frowning on, smiling at or applauding over. So DANNY COLLINS is a cross between both: you'll like the title character right off the bat because he’s Al Pacino, but you’re supposed to feel a tad guilty since he’s very flawed and… all that jazz. 

Loosely based on the true story of a musician who received a note from John Lennon that changed his way of thinking, COLLINS has a difficult-to-believe premise: that Al Pacino would not only be taken seriously as a music icon, but he'd be a recognizable legend in that regard. With dated bubblegum ballads liken to a Barry Manilow and the voice of McGruff the Crime Dog, we never really hear our man sing – just long enough to know the music is fluffy enough to not take as seriously as we’re supposed to take a musician who wants to be taken more seriously, like John Lennon, whose long lost letter puts Danny in a belated mid-life crisis: quitting a lucrative tour and holed up in a New Jersey Hilton, he flirts with an age-appropriate woman while patching holes with his estranged (and annoyingly stubborn) blue collar son. That’s it in a nutshell.

With an overindulgence of melodrama ranging from drugs to disease, COLLINS gets a bit too syrupy for its own good. But with nine Lennon songs making up for the lack of any proof that our schlock rock star is legitimate, and a few moments where Pacino provides a speck of that old magic, it’s a decent two-hours spent. Of course don’t expect THE GODFATHER yet be thankful it isn’t JACK AND JILL.  
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