Wolf of Wall Street-A Movie Review

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Feb 122014
 

wolfofwallstreetThis is the true story of the outlandish rise and non-stop pleasure-hunting descent of Jordan Belfort, the New York stockbroker who, along with his merry band of brokers, makes a gargantuan fortune by defrauding investors out of millions. Belfort transforms from a righteous young Wall Street newcomer to a thoroughly corrupted stock-pumper and IPO cowboy. Having quickly amassed an absurd fortune, Jordan pumps it back into an endless array of aphrodisiacs: women, Quaaludes, coke, cars, his supermodel wife and a legendary life of aspiration and acquisition without limits. But even as Belfort’s company, Stratton Oakmont, soars sky-high into extremes of hedonistic gratification, the SEC and the FBI are zeroing in on his empire of excess.

In Theaters: December 25, 2013; MPAA Rating: R (for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence); Genres: Drama, Crime, Biopic, Adaptation; Run Time: 2 hours and 59 minutes

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writing Credits: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau, Margot Robbie, Jon Bernthal, Cristin Milioti, P.J. Byrne, Ethan Suplee, Kenneth Choi, Jake Hoffman, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Barry Rothbart, Danny Abeckaser

Me and Lay watched this movie at the AMC Regency 20 in Brandon. The theater was less than half full, yet amazingly a couple had to sit in our row, and talk through the entire movie, and the woman had to fire up her cell phone screen from time to time. (And these were adults.) Continue reading »

Captain Phillips – A Movie Review

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Oct 182013
 

Captain Phillips Movie PosterCaptain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is – through director Paul Greengrass’s distinctive lens – simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

In Theaters: October 11, 2013; MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance abuse); Genres: Drama, Adaptation; Run time: 2 hours, 13 minutes

Director: Paul Greengrass

Writers: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (based upon the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea” by), Stephan Talty

Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, Catherine Keener, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson

Wow, just Wow!  This is definitely the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. Me and Lay went to see this last Saturday, and I’ve gotta tell you, it rang as true story-telling. Continue reading »

Perks of Being a Wall Flower – A Movie Review

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Oct 292012
 

Movie Poster for The Perks of Being a WallflowerBased on the novel written by Stephen Chbosky, this is about 15-year-old Charlie (Logan Lerman), an endearing and naïve outsider, coping with first love (Emma Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs. The introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who welcome him to the real world.

Release Date: September 21, 2012; MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens); Genres: Adaptation, Drama

Direction and Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky

Cast: Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Patrick de Ledebur, Johnny Simmons, Brian Balzerini, Tom Kruszewski Nina Dobrev, Nicholas Braun, Julia Garner, Ezra Miller, Tom Savini, Emily Marie Callaway, Paul Rudd, Chelsea T. Zhang.

We saw this movie this Saturday night. Lay wasn’t too keen on it, and I was kind of indifferent, but it was the only thing that interested us at all. Boy, and I glad we went. Lay loved it, and I can safely say it’s the best film I’ve seen this year. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

The way this complex, yet straightforward, story unfolds is beautiful and sad, sometimes all at once. While it has its funny moments, it also manages to go through dark topics such as homosexuality, drugs and death. Stephen Chbosky handles his story very well. It’s never forced but rather it flowed nicely and carefully.

The direction was perfect, and the cinematography gorgeous, especially the scenes where the camera overlooks the skyline of Pittsburgh and during intimate scenes between the characters. You could not get anyone better to direct it other than the author himself because this is his book. This is his vision so he knows exactly how it goes in his head and we can see throughout the film, just how much his vision has truly come alive. The result is both engaging and satisfying.

Same thing with the writing. The dialogue is very honest and beautifully well written. Not just the writing but the overall tone of the film reminds me a bit of John Hughes’ work. Adapting an epistolary book into a film is incredibly challenging but Mr. Chbosky did a fine job of translating it into a film.

The musical score is done by Michael Brook, and he did a very good job. The soundtrack is awesome. Along with Mr. Chbosky, Alexandra Patsavas, who’s also the music supervisor for The OC, did a great job of picking out the songs and treated it as if it were a mix tape.

Logan Lerman did a masterful job as Charlie. His performance blew me away. He did such an amazing job portraying the embodiment of Charlie through his expressions, his emotions, his movements, everything! So perfectly cast. The last 10 minutes of the movie alone is awards worthy because it really shows how talented he really is.

Emma Watson did a great job playing Sam. She is beautiful and charming. The second standout of the film is Ezra Miller. He plays Patrick, a gay character who’s not afraid of who he is and Ezra portrays him amazingly well. He steals every line and scene he’s in, becoming the comic relief. But even so, Patrick has his own personal problems and this is where Ezra Miller proves once again just how great of an actor he is. The one concern I had with the film is that I would have expected a gay student in the ’90s to experience much more harassment at school than was evident here. Having not read the book, it is possible the character, as presented in the book, was less flamboyant, so maybe not as “out.” None of that though is a reflection on Miller’s performance. He created the perfect character.

Everyone else in their supporting roles all have their moments. Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth was hilarious. The rest of the cast: Kate Walsh and Dylan McDermott who play the parents as well as Joan Cusack who plays Charlie’s Doctor were all good, despite having little screen time.

What makes the cast so special is the chemistry. Everyone got along so well and you can tell that they’re very comfortable with each other and you feel convinced that these people are really friends. It was absolutely perfect.

I love this movie. It’s amazing. It has a great script, great cast, it’s well-directed, awesome soundtrack and undeniable strong performances. I haven’t yet read “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower,” (but I sure plan too now), so I can’t comment on how faithful the adaptation was, but this is one of the best coming of age movies I’ve ever seen.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)
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Argo – A Movie Review

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Oct 282012
 

ARGO Movie PosterThe true story of the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis–the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Release Date: October 12, 2012; MPAA Rating: R (for language and some violent images); Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Comedy, Drama; Run Time: 2 hours.

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Taylor Schilling, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina,     Zeljko Ivanek, Titus Welliver.

Lay and me saw this movie last weekend. Continue reading »

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

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Nov 062010
 

What’s a 16-year-old boy doing playing music and table tennis with adult psychiatric patients – on a school day? It’s kind of a funny story… It’s @5:00 AM on a Sunday in Brooklyn. Craig Gilner is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth ward is temporarily closed – so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby, soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protege. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle, who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia. With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him by the adult ward’s staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.

Genres: Comedy, Drama and Adaptation; Release Date: October 8th, 2010 (limited); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language.

Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan

Directed by: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

We went to see this a couple of weeks ago at the movie theater. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is an aptly titled film. It’s just a story, and it’s kind of funny. It’s more drama than comedy, and although it was slow, they really did drag me into the story. It stars Keir Gilchrist as Craig, a teenager who thinks about killing himself and seeks help. He finds help at a psychiatric ward.

Is Zach Galifianakis a doctor or a patient? Like Robin Williams in the beginning of “Patch Adams”, he blurs the line well. Here he delivers the same off-beat humour that we have come to expect from him. I was also quite impressed with Emma Roberts who plays a love interest for our teenage hero. They were all well written characters, and I found it very appropriate that they kept Roberts’ reasons for being in the psych ward concealed.

Lay did not like the movie, but I’ll never have it at the top of my list, it was  a decent and worth the time to watch.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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It's Kind of a Funny Story

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on It's Kind of a Funny Story
Nov 062010
 

What’s a 16-year-old boy doing playing music and table tennis with adult psychiatric patients – on a school day? It’s kind of a funny story… It’s @5:00 AM on a Sunday in Brooklyn. Craig Gilner is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth ward is temporarily closed – so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby, soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protege. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle, who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia. With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him by the adult ward’s staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.

Genres: Comedy, Drama and Adaptation; Release Date: October 8th, 2010 (limited); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language.

Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan

Directed by: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

We went to see this a couple of weeks ago at the movie theater. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is an aptly titled film. It’s just a story, and it’s kind of funny. It’s more drama than comedy, and although it was slow, they really did drag me into the story. It stars Keir Gilchrist as Craig, a teenager who thinks about killing himself and seeks help. He finds help at a psychiatric ward.

Is Zach Galifianakis a doctor or a patient? Like Robin Williams in the beginning of “Patch Adams”, he blurs the line well. Here he delivers the same off-beat humour that we have come to expect from him. I was also quite impressed with Emma Roberts who plays a love interest for our teenage hero. They were all well written characters, and I found it very appropriate that they kept Roberts’ reasons for being in the psych ward concealed.

Lay did not like the movie, but I’ll never have it at the top of my list, it was  a decent and worth the time to watch.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
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The American – A Movie Review

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Sep 062010
 

As an assassin, Jack is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara. Jack and Clara’s time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.

Genres: Romance, Thriller and Adaptation; Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.; Release Date: September 1st, 2010 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexual content and nudity.

Starring: George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Paolo Bonacelli, Violante Placido, Irina Bjorklund

Directed by: Anton Corbijn

Do not let the trailers fool you, there is about 10mins total of action in this film. The bulk of this film is long shots of Clooney, coming to grasp with his life and going about completing his last job. Most “one last job” movies are high-energy action flicks driven by a veteran actor playing a character with a troubled history, but Anton Corbijn’s “The American” operates as a character-driven mood piece, a precise and quiet visual portrayal of a man trying to quit his dangerous profession who is constantly haunted and pervasively paranoid.

Way different from the Clooney-led thrillers of the ’90s, “The American” broods under the Corbijn’s precise visual style. Those expecting Clooney’s return to suave criminal mastery will find themselves waiting and waiting for this film to pop. It doesn’t. There is no mêlée of Bourne-style assassin-chasing amid the hillside towns of the Italian countryside, so for many, shots of Clooney doing push-ups and putting together a rifle will become tedious. In fact, I would have taken his rifle from him and used on myself if I’d had to watch one more scene of him driving out of the village through the country-side.

I couldn’t make any sense out of this film. I swear there is no story whatsoever. The George Clooney character appears. He is involved in something shady. He is very quick on the trigger, both with his concealed snub-nosed automatic and with his lovely female companions. But why he does what he does remained a mystery to me. He seems to be working with an organization and he speaks over the phone from time to time with someone who might be his boss, or might not. There is some lovely photography, and lord knows there is nobody more photogenic than the star here, but if you can figure out what is going on and why, then you’re way ahead of me.

The landscapes are breathtaking. The action is sparse with more of a dread sense than any real kind of action. But then again, this film presents the life of an assassin more the way it probably is. Not a lot of flash, just a lot of looking over your shoulder, day-to-day mundane mixed in with an occasional beat of action.

In regards to the performances, they are solid. George Clooney proves his worth as an actor yet again with his portrayal of this tormented, cynical man of few words. Violante Placido is also very effective as the girl. Thekla Reuton is icy and more than scenic in her performance as the in-between person working with Clooney. Paolo Bonacelli is compelling as the priest whom Clooney befriends, and Johan Leysen is chilling in his moments as the mysterious person who always answer his phone with a gruff “Yeah?”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 3.00 out of 10)
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The Blind Side-A Movie Review

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Jun 182010
 

Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Biopic and Sports; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: November 20th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references.

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Lay and me watched this as a download a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see it more than he did, and I enjoyed it more than he did.

The Blind Side tells us an inspiring story in the kindest way, which along with competent performances and good intentions, ends up bringing us a nice entertaining time.

The first thing I appreciated on The Blind Side is the absence of cheap sentimentality. Besides, the message from the movie is shown on a natural way, because it is filtered into the sober narrative.The Blind Side does not pretend to plunge us into the sordid reality of the North American social system, and it even finds moments of humor into the racist comments from some hateful characters.The main attraction for many people before watching the movie will undoubtedly be the acclaimed performance from Sandra Bullock, which made her win an Oscar.Did she really deserve it? I tend to think she did not, but I definitely enjoyed her work.

The problem with this film’s detractors is that they see this as more than the literal story of a rich Southern woman who helped a black youth with no hope for a bright future rise up and become an NCAA football star, and later a player with the Baltimore Ravens. I suppose this movie does fictionalize the true story a great deal and punch it up so that it is a quintessential “Feel-Good Hallmark Movie of the Year” (TM). Still, do not forget that it is based on a true story… it really happened. I think it is supposed to be an inspirational story for those with little hope of achieving big things with their lives; by the same token, it is also possible that “The Blind Side” became a book and movie because it was a rare occurrence, something that does not usually happen in this world.

In a big degree, Bullock repeats her classic routine of adorable mischievous, but on this occasion, she seasons it with a subtle intensity which brings weight and honesty to her character.I truly think this is one of the best performances from her career, and not only for the emotions she generates with her development, but also because she feels much more credible than the uncountable harebrained women she usually embodies in romantic comedies.

The fails I found on this movie is that some funny moments feel a bit forced, and that it turns a bit artificial near the end.

In summary, I think I can recommend The Blind Side with confidence, because it is a movie which fulfills with its intentions of inspiring, entertaining and even bringing us a slight lesson of humanity in order to appreciate everything we have a little more.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Precious – A Movie Review

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Mar 152010
 

Precious Movie PosterClareece “Precious” Jones is an overweight, illiterate African-American teen in Harlem. Just as she’s about to give birth to her second child, Jones is accepted into an alternative school where a teacher helps her find a new path in her life.

Genres: Drama, Adaptation and Teen; Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.; Release Date: November 6th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language.

Starring: Mo’Nique , Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, Sherri Shepherd

Directed by: Lee Daniels

We watched this movie on DVD Friday night after seeing Alice in Wonderland and having a quick dinner. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I was up for watching this movie, as I knew it was a very dark tale. To my surprise, this movie was neither as painful nor depressing as the subject matter would imply. In fact, director Lee Daniels’ treatment alternates so fluently between realism, social uplift, and episodes of fantasy that the end result is as much enthralling as it is emotionally draining. First-time screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher does a solid job adapting the 1996 source novel by Sapphire, “Push”, but the strength and honesty of the cast is what makes the film.

We’re now all pretty familiar with the story of Gabourey Sidibe, an untrained actress, cast in the title role. She is able to elicit empathy by giving herself completely to the character, and when Precious breaks down from the weight of yet another seemingly insurmountable development, Sidibe gives the scene a halting honesty. She was definitely deserving of her Oscar nomination. Paula Patton gets to play the Sidney Poitier role of the elegantly transformative teacher, interestingly named Blu Rain, but she gives the too-good-to-be-true character a real sense of passion. As Mrs. Weiss, Mariah Carey brings an audacious toughness to her smallish but pivotal role.

And I see why Mo’Nique got her Oscar. She provides the film a perfect performance. I don’t know where she pulled up those emotions, but she nails Mary with a fury so startling and realistic that it’s impossible to trivialize the source of her villainy. She never compromises the hardness in her character, and her self-justifying monologue is an impressive piece of work.

The cinematography captures perfectly the dark grittiness of the home and street life the author and screenwriter wanted to portray. Each scene managed to pull me more and more into the story, and you can’t help but start to root for Precious and the others in her class who come to give her more of a family than she’s had at home.

It’s still not a fun film to watch, but it’s worth watching to see real struggles portrayed in such an authentic story by excellent actors who nail their parts.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Frost/Nixon – A Movie Review

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May 252009
 

Frost Nixon Movie PosterFor three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost’s team harbored doubts about their boss’ ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation’s greatest disgraces? Or would Frost confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who’d built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego and reserves of dignity — ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth. Frost/Nixon not only re-creates the on-air interview, but the weeks of around-the-world, behind-the-scenes maneuvering between the two men and their camps as negotiations were struck, deals were made and secrets revealed… all leading to the moment when they would sit facing one another in the court of public opinion.

Genres: Drama, Adaptation and Politics; Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.; Release Date: December 5th, 2008 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for some language.

Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Toby Jones, Matthew MacFadyen

Directed by: Ron Howard

A posting a couple of weeks ago by a friend on Facebook reminded me that I had failed to write a review of the movie Frost/Nixon which Lay and I watched as an Amazon download nearly a month ago.

Kudos to Peter Morgan for his skill as a writer and Ron Howard’s ability to take a story based on real events and a widely known outcome. Howard has created a compelling “what will happen” drama (as he did with Apollo 13) that succeeds as a film.

This is a film based on a play that neither felt trapped in staginess nor weakly expanded with just the stage dialogue delivered exactly but in a variety of locales. Morgan gets a lot of credit here. What is so impressive about Morgan’s work is that in adapting his own play he didn’t try to force his already successful stage-play onto a film director – he has wholly reworked it from beginning to end and yet retained all the gravity and drama that the play elicited. If you saw the play everything key is here and yet you can feel the difference – the pacing is changed, the power achieved in different ways. The staging capabilities of a Hollywood production enables Howard to gussy up this event with such accoutrements as the luxury suite of a 747, Nixon’s seaside villa at San Clemente, and the impressive, downright menacing sight of a presidential motorcade. As the train of glittering, dark limos approach the Nixon friend’s house where the interviews were shot it feels like a battalion of tanks.

For this Howard also deserves credit. To have filmed the play as it was would have been disastrous on film – one long two-hander scene after another, duelling narrators. Howard knows when we need quick cuts, when a long drawn out piece that worked on stage needs to be reduced to a couple of lines and a post-scene reaction, and when he needs to hold with a scene and let it play between the two leads. This happens in several impressive moments in the latter half of the film.

For some this might constitute the films biggest flaw however. Morgan and Howard can’t escape the fact that in the final stages of the film it is the head-to-head scenes of Frost and Nixon that are key and they must stay with them more. This is necessary, but it sadly means that the supporting players, so well established and broadened out to expand the scope in the first half, fall be the wayside. A superb Toby Jones as Irving ‘Swifty’ Lazar, Matthew Macfadyen as John Birt and always reliable Oliver Platt as Bob Zelnick all but disappear and only Kevin Bacon and Sam Rockwell play any significant role beyond the two leads in the final stages. This is a shame.

Frank Langella and Michael Sheen are superb, as they were on stage, and Langella will take a lot of beating for the Oscar this year. There are many moments here when I was so involved I forgot I wasn’t watching the real Nixon. It’s not that he looks that like Nixon but he is so real you believe it completely and have to remind yourself you’re watching an actor. Frank Langella morphrd more successfully into Nixon than his physicality would otherwise permit. Michael Sheen as Frost already seems to look and sound like his character, and the blue blazer outfits add the final touch. Langella’s performance on camera brims of with melancholy, aggression, and self-pity; Michael Sheen’s as frost glitters with a muted, hysterical cheer mixing childishness and fear.

Platt is reliably Platt. Bacon is also his typically understated solid presence doing a lot with little. Toby Jones is fantastic in a small role – instantly memorable; and Rebecca Hall builds on a series of strong performances. But in the supporting cast it is Rockwell that stands out. Sure, he has the most to do but he is completely in this role, he manages to sink into the role which is something he rarely does. He matches the skill he showed in Lawn Dogs and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind here and it is great to see him back at his best.

I thoroughly recommend this film.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
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Mar 082009
 

blindness_poster.jpgWhen a sudden plague of blindness devastates a city, a small group of the afflicted band together to triumphantly overcome the horrific conditions of their imposed quarantine.

Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Thriller and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: October 3rd, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for violence including sexual assaults, language and sexuality/nudity.

Starring: Don McKellar, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Alice Braga

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles

I was struggling with myself while deciding if I wanted to watch this movie, so we rented it and watched it Sunday night. It wasn’t getting good reviews but I decided to go ahead and make up my own mind after seeing it. Most of the reviewers are right, this is something different. It makes us look at ourselves in a different way. Yes, at times it is intense, but maybe that’s why some people don’t like it. You have to be able to think of civilization in a different life.

The underlying story shows us just how tenuous is what we call “society/civilization,” and how quickly it could break down.

Now, its not perfect, it probably ran about 15-20 minutes too long and there were times where you lost a little focus. There were a lot of parts of the story that just didn’t seem to make any sense, and it seemed to resolve itself just a little to simplistically, but its was unique, and enjoyable in its own way. Don’t forget, if the whole world did go blind, it wouldn’t be very pretty. It’s not something to take the kids to, but not a bad choice for adults.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
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