Wednesday, February 24, 2016
1. Ryan Reynolds - To be honest, I'm not really a Ryan Reynolds fan. I never have been. He's not a great actor and I don't think he's hot at all. I think he just has a really great manager and publicist; somehow he was thrust into the spotlight without really deserving it. That's not to say that I haven't liked some of his films. Actually, I like most of them; I just find him "meh" in all of them. The first film that made me think differently was The Voices, which I saw at the end of last year. Reynolds was actually fantastic as a likable murderer. It was the first time I felt like he was attempting something different. And maybe this is his specialty - a likable bad guy. After all, Deadpool is certainly not your typical hero. He's an asshole, who is concerned with seeking revenge - not the usual "saving the world" superhero. As Deadpool, Reynolds is absolutely his very best. Perhaps it was his enthusiasm and investment in the movie itself, but he just really goes for it and it's a perfect performance.
2. Valentine's Day - Has there been a marketing campaign *this* good in recent years? Because nothing comes to mind. It's nothing short of genius. First, I feel like I've been hearing about this movie for YEARS. Second, they made an adult movie (rated R) and clearly marketed it as that. Third, they gave it a release date of Valentine's Day. This may seem odd, but when you think of the intended audience (adults), how do you make up for the "loss" of the teenage audience? You make sure that it is advertised to all adults. Capitalize on the Valentine's Day date movie. The odd part, though, is that it actually is the perfect Valentine's Day movie. It is a love story more than anything else, and it is romantic. It's also hilarious, which is always a good choice for a date movie.
3. The "game changer"? - There has been a lot of attention placed on the success of Deadpool and what it all means for the future of superhero movies. I don't really think it's going to change much. It's not as innovative as people are making it out to be. There have been several superhero movies that focused on humor (most recently Guardians of the Galaxy), and there have been ones that are rated R (Kick-Ass). The success of the movie is simply because they made a great movie. The pace was incredible, the dialogue was smart, the story was interesting, the characters were fully-developed and best of all (what is usually missing), the villain was a strong part of the story. Actually, no, the best part is definitely the jokes. It's joke after joke and 99% of them are hilarious. It's meta without being annoying or repetitive. It's vulgar without being offensive. If it has a flaw, I didn't see it.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
1. For the love of movies - I feel like this movie was specifically made for movie lovers; People who have studied film, worked on film sets, screenplay writers & readers, or just self-taught cinephiles. I don't know if an average moviegoer audience will fully embrace the old-school film techniques, or the silliness of the dialogue, or the abrupt but classic Hollywood dance sequence. I think it's just perfect. I love the optimism, along with the combination of black humor, subtle humor, and laugh out loud humor. It all works incredibly well, and had me smiling through the whole thing. I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up on my Top 10 list of 2016 (and it's technically the first movie I've seen so far this year, so hopefully this is a fantastic start to a great year for movies).
3. The star - In watching the trailer, or just looking at the cast list, one would assume that the "star" of the movie is George Clooney, right? Well, it's not. Also, the other bigger names, like Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill are in two or three very small scenes. The "star" in my opinion is Josh Brolin, but even more important, the scene-stealer is absolutely Alden Ehrenreich. He's fantastic. Every scene he is in, is a highlight of the movie. I think it must be a difficult thing for an actor to pretend to be a bad actor...I mean, it goes against every natural instinct. He's definitely the memorable character of the movie, which is a huge compliment considering the A-list actors involved. Tatum was also a stand-out, mostly because he nailed that dance sequence and the comedic ending of the movie (two things he excels at: dancing and comedy. Please stop giving him action movies).
Thursday, February 11, 2016
1. Jennifer Lawrence - I like Jennifer Lawrence, just not usually in David O. Russell movies. I think she received way too much credit for Silver Linings Playbook (Cooper carried that movie full-force), and she was the weakest link in American Hustle. However, I think Lawrence shines in this movie. Oscar nomination worthy? NOPE. But, still much better than her previous collaborations with O. Russell. She seems more reserved and mature in this role than in her previous efforts. The performance isn't as "showy", except at the very end, which is so bad it almost ruins everything. I don't think that's her fault, though. I blame O. Russell on that atrocious ending.
2. David O. Russell - There has been a definite shift in O. Russell movies. I admit, I miss the days of Three Kings and the absurdity of I Heart Huckabees. I think part of his problem lately is definitely the casting. It's like he's stuck on repeat and it's getting really boring. His current obsession with Lawrence is insufferable; He doesn't even put her in parts that are right for her. I also believe that his films have been a little more serious in theme, and his biting sarcasm has been toned down. However, he is still an incredible filmmaker and storyteller. Anyone could have made a biopic about Joy, but O. Russell created a story involving fact-based events with a sense of dazzle. It has his signature stamped all over it, and that's a great thing.
3. Everything else - It's very telling that I saw many people (mostly men) writing this movie off as "the mop movie", as if the subject matter is instantly dull. In reality, it's the story of Joy Mangano, an incredibly successful businesswoman/inventor, who created items that changed the way "home-makers" (who, even in this day and age, are mostly still women) cleaned and organized their home. She came up with an idea that would make her life easier, and busted her ass to get it made and into the homes of millions of people everywhere. If you don't find that fascinating, then I don't have words for you. The style of the movie is also a highlight. It's not as obvious as American Hustle (which was still perfect for that story), but it feels genuine of that time period. There are several negative aspects of the move - the pace is a little too slow, the editing is choppy and distracting, and as stated above, the ending is ridiculous (there is nothing worse than a strong female character, after getting burned by humanity, deciding that chopping off her hair will solve all of her problems). So, in the O. Russell canon, this is probably one of his worst films - but I don't really think that's an insult. It's still better than 90% of the crap out there.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
(*spoilers*) I wasn't really aware of what this movie is about. I just knew it was a Woody Allen film with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. That's enough to excite me, but unfortunately, this movie is really bland. Allen tends to go through phases, for me, of super highs and super lows. With this, To Rome with Love, and Magic in the Moonlight, I'm afraid he is on a super low (I'm ignoring Blue Jasmine because I'm not sure that movie would have been as good without Blanchett's sublime performance). So, here is why I hated this movie: 1. Emma Stone is no Scarlett Johansson. That would usually be a compliment coming from me, because I'm not a fan of Johansson. However, I think she's excellent in Allen's films. He brings her to life. He has the opposite effect on Stone. She is usually so charismatic and adorable onscreen. But with this and Rome, she is almost unbearably boring. 2. The romance is unsettling. She falls for her (older) professor, essentially choosing him over her more "appropriate" boyfriend. I think this is supposed to be seen as a mistake, but they set the boyfriend up as a jealous, insecure asshole from the very first scene, so honestly, he needed to be dumped. I think some women do tend to fall for more "damaged" guys (no, I don't understand the psychology behind this), but this guy is a psychopath. It should be called Psychotic Man and the Irrational Woman who Falls for Him. 3. This man is a GODDAMN PSYCHOPATH. Allen has definitely written immoral characters before, but usually there is a motive, or at least an understanding to character actions. This guy is not only self-destructive and narcissistic (both common Allen character traits), but he plans a murder of someone he doesn't even know based on the words of a stranger. That's psychotic. And, here's one reason I enjoyed this movie: Parker Posey. The end.