Sunday, March 27, 2016

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Intern - I liked this movie. I'm not sure I fully understood the point of it, but overall, I was invested in the characters and it has a cute story. It could have been a lot better if they focused more on De Niro's character instead of Hathaway's towards the end, but I guess they wanted to show the impact that these characters had on each other. I think Hathaway's character is extremely problematic. I don't think the writers really understood her character - she's supposed to be a high-powered boss that her workers tip-toe around, but she's extremely likeable. She's kind, smiles all the time, and is passionate about her job. It's like the writers didn't know how to write a strong, professional woman that people can relate to; so they wrote a really sweet character but had the surrounding characters act like she's a terrifying person. It's really odd. The meanest we see her is when she meets De Niro's character. And she's not really that mean; she's just oblivious to his experience and possible helpful knowledge, and sees the retired intern program as more of a hassle. It's sad how ageist our society has become, and also really scary that this movie made me feel so old and out of touch. Her company makes me want to throw up. She rides her bike through the office, her assistant wears a shirt with colorful foxes on it, there is a personal masseuse on-site. Seriously, how is any of this professional? As far as the whole retired intern program goes, it's actually a fantastic idea (as long as they are compensated well). De Niro does a great job of showing his frustration with being blown off, but still trying to maintain his composure and prove his worth. Sure, the role is beneath his talent, but he gives it his all. The movie starts to go way off-track when it focuses on her personal life and she becomes the generic "crazy" woman (checking her husband's phone, complaining about her worst fear of "being buried alone" - um fuck that, I wish that was my worst fear). She does have a GREAT theory about the current state of men, and their consistent growing nature of not growing up, that has quickly become acceptable. Having just recently stepped back into the dating world it BLOWS MY MIND how many guys in their mid-30s still live with their parents. I'm sorry, unless you are caring for a sick parent, there is no reason for you to live with them. And I don't buy the whole "the economy is bad" thing, because some of the guys I encountered drove BMWs, so no, they don't have money issues. They have growing up issues. Anyway, I've gone off-topic (surprise, surprise). I think I was expecting a terrible movie, and it was far from that. There are several great moments, and THE BEST PART, Renee Russo! I just adore her.

2. Spectre - I would describe myself as a "casual" Bond fan. I've seen every single movie, but none of them really stand out to me. I'm definitely more of a fan of the Craig era - I loved Casino Royale (still my favorite Bond), but I didn't even think Quantum of Solace was bad. I mean, in terms of Bond movies, it's one of the better ones. And, I'm going to say something super crazy, but QoS was better than this movie. I was so super bored through the ENTIRE movie. The pre-title sequence is usually the best; and this one was a snore. The title sequence was visually spectacular, but combined with that absolutely *horrendous* Sam Smith song, it was hard to not press the fast-forward button. This is the first of the Craig era Bond movies that I didn't see in the theater, and I am really glad. I think it would have made me even more aggravated at its mediocrity. The only positives that I have are the casting of Monica Belluci. She is STUNNING and it's a pretty big step to have a woman over the age of 35 in a role like this. I can't even highlight Christoph Waltz's performance because it was almost too perfect. Just a little bit too "on the nose" for him; it became a caricature version of a villain. I think I'm just ready for a new Bond; and yes, I vote Elba.

3. Brooklyn - Sometimes I get really cynical when I hear/read impossibly high praise for films. This and Carol seemed like they were going to be movies that were really pretty to look at, and obviously well-acted, but not really movies that I thought would have an impact in my mind. I was right. I definitely liked this movie more than Carol, and to be clear, both are, in fact, very well-made movies. However, I just don't connect with this story. And even though the story is very specific in its tale of Irish immigration into Brooklyn, I think it's meant to be a universal story of leaving home and becoming an adult. It's a lovely story - tragic, hopeful, complicated, but it's all so....obvious. I'm a huge fan of Saoirse Ronan, and I think the reason the film received most of the praise is because of her soulful performance. It's a performance that she will be remembered for, but I don't think she'll have any problem topping it. She will be an Oscar winner some day (in the very near future). I was really nervous that Emory Cohen would ruin the movie for me, as he did with The Place Behind the Pines (one of the worst performances in film history. I'm not even exaggerating), but he wasn't terrible in this movie. Ronan's performance pretty much outshined everyone else enough that there really wasn't even room for anyone else. I mean, I didn't even realize that was Domhnall Gleeson, until the movie was over. He just fades into the background with the rest of the cast. I guess my biggest problem is with the story itself - the idea that a person needs to find another person in order to find happiness is just a depressing way to live, in my opinion. The fact that her life doesn't "begin" until she finds romance just makes my mind fast-forward to her future unhappiness and regret for not finding her own happiness first. So, for me, I think this "romantic story" is sad. The last scene, though, with Ronan, confident in her decision, leaning against that wall, is just perfection. Stunning imagery that was smartly used as the poster.

4. Sisters - I was really looking forward to another Fey/Poehler movie project. I'm a huge fan of Baby Mama. I seriously cried with tears of laughter for almost the whole thing. I was hoping for the same hilariousness, but I really didn't laugh that much with this. I still liked it, for the most part. And I did laugh hysterically at one thing, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I liked that they switched up the casting with Fey being the "mess" and Poehler being the one with her shit together (I don't know why, but the other way around seems more natural). However, they didn't really push the envelope with either character - they were pretty generic and dull. The party was really sad; even when it was supposed to seem legit. I could have done without the rest of the SNL cast; especially because I don't find any of them funny (except Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch in minimal skits). The movie felt really long, and like an episode of an early 90s family comedy (pick any from TGIF). I just expected something raunchier, bolder, and definitely funnier. Also, I will never sympathize or relate to women like this - women who have literally everything handed to them, and yet still complain about their lives. I just don't get it.

5. Room - The last movie to destroy my soul this bad was, rather fittingly, Short Term 12. It's a big coincidence that Brie Larson stars in both. It's not like they have any other real connection, except that they are small movies about deep emotional distress. I really fell apart from the first scene in Room and I just couldn't recover. I cried for the entire movie and I didn't even know this was possible. Usually, I take this time for reflection and write down just how much I connect to these types of stories, but I'm just not emotionally strong enough to reflect right now. However, aside from this connection, I genuinely think this movie is brilliant. I'm adding the book to my "to read" list, because the story is simply stunning - it's so full of hope and wonder, which is virtually impossible with the subject matter. Larson is brilliant, as she was in Short Term 12, but the obvious star is Jacob Tremblay. I don't usually agree when child actors get nominated for Oscars, because I feel like sometimes it's just a fluke, as opposed to actual acting, but I don't think this is the case here. He should have been nominated, he definitely earned it and he should have won. I don't care how long Leo has been waiting for the statue, he should have just handed it over to Jacob. There is really nothing else left to say, which is weird (who would have guessed I would have more to say about The Intern?), but it's not because there aren't things to say (I could praise every second of it), I just don't want to put my mind through the distress again. So, I will just say that it's a must-see film - a beautiful, unforgettable, near perfect movie that everyone needs to experience for themselves. As the poster states: "see it and be transformed". Needless to say, this is my favorite movie of 2015. I don't think that will change, as I've now seen most of the critically acclaimed ones.

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