Saturday, October 25, 2014

St Vincent

Bill Murray pulls out all of his tricks but leaves his smarm behind in St Vincent. If he was hoping for recognition from the Academy for the role of his life, this might be it. Murray has a tendency to be smug and trite in a lot of his acting. He has it in his comedy, too. But this time, his quirks are suppressed and tempered by the excellence of his young co-star, a rather serious but game little boy played by Jaeden Lieberher. Some actors should never act with kids, and probably Bill Murray is one of them. But since Murray seems to understand that this is a great child actor and trying to out act the kid would NOT be a good idea, it seems to work.  Of course, you know how it will turn out because it is as formulaic as it can get. After the first 10 minutes, you could write the story- but not the script. The script is funny is just the right places. And it is a tear jerker near the end for all the right reasons. Never mind how this would have played out in real life- you don't go to movies to see real life. (You go to see documentaries and then feel depressed about things that will never affect you).  I highly recommend this movie despite the predictability. You'll get a nice touch of Melissa McCarthy as the sad mom and a very entertaining Naomi Watts as a Russian "lady of the night".   I do think it is worth 3 stars.  And after it, go rent Millions- that's an even better  movie.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Brad Pitt is the rugged tank commander who heads into the heart of Germany in the final months of the war with his rag tag team of survivors a tank named Fury,  and a newby 19 year old recruit who was only trained to type 60 words per minute in training. The movie is about the intricacies of the camaraderie of war when people who are unalike until they are forced to change into soldiers. It runs long, but is never boring. Because it is war, it is violent. And every time you are having a moment of relief, the war picks up and savages every one again. Men have fought wars since the dawn of man. Suddenly, we live in an era where many Americans think of war as unnecessary- which will never happen as long as there are humans who can convince others to follow their malevolent schemes. But in the meantime, I wonder how the men in the theater felt about what they were seeing. It isn't as if WWII was that long ago. I am one generation away from it. It is hard to believe that humans can destroy one another as persistently as they do- but they do. I am not sorry I saw it, but it is not for the people who don't think about what they see. I congratulate Brad Pitt for doing a WWII movie that feels more real than Saving Private Ryan did. And I look forward to his wife's efforts with Unbroken. I hope people feel the horrors the Japanese perpetrated on other humans. They deserved what they got. It is a somber reminder of the cost of war.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gone Girl

I once had some great advise from a creative writing teacher. He said "when you write your story, make sure you can see it on the movie screen". That was the feeling I got the whole time I was reading Gone Girl (2 years ago thus making this movie an almost record breaking novel to movie release).  The book is a page turner. In it, I grew to dislike both characters. I never pictured Ben Affleck as Nick in my mind. Too smarmy, too smug, too arrogant, too boring to watch- it is all over his natural physiognomy. And yet, Affleck makes it work. Somehow, he almost makes me like him. His wife, Amy, is played by the very lovely and believable Rosamund Pike (Bond girl, Jack Reacher girl) who, at 37, looks all of 24. She is absolutely crazy in this movie, and despite her pretty but also bland face, she manages to use her crazy eyes to convince us of her insanity. She is very believable. I think that Neil Patrick Harris is woefully miscast as Desi. He just isn't weird and creepy enough. The best role is that of flamboyant lawyer, Tanner Bolt, played by a wonderful Tyler Perry. I hope he gets a best supporting nomination. He is great and made for the role. Why do we get so entertained by flamboyant lawyers?? If you've read the book, and really you should, then you will know everything that happens. The deviations from the plot are so minor (especially if you read the book 2 years ago )you won't even notice them. It is a long movie, violating every rule of the flickerchick's movie guide, but it is worth it. Go see it.