Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category
Posted by christopher on February 21, 2011
Runtime: 91 minutes
Plot: Boy meets girl. Girl has an adult son. Son hates boy.
Cyrus, flat out, was an incredible movie. A movie that makes you want to buy it, which sadly in this day and age is quite a compliment–for me at least.
Cyrus follows John, played by John C. Reilly coincidentally, his love interest Molly, played by Marisa Tomei or MT as I often call her, and Cyrus, or Jonah Hill / Jo. Hill for the layman. I jest of course, hopefully awkwardly, which is the embodiment of this film: awkward dramatic comedy. John is depressed having been divorced for now seven years; the epitome of a bachelor with an unkempt house, pizza everywhere, masturbating in bed with half an ass hanging out while listening to rave music. I’ve been there if you can’t tell. I digress. John meets Molly. Molly gives John purpose and happiness. Unfortunately, Molly has an adult son who is not too fond of John, lashing out in a rather devious, demented manner. And cue the laughter.
Cyrus was a miserable joy to watch. And by that I mean that it was truly entertaining, genuinely funny, but incredibly awkward, causing me to many times cringe at the situation unfolding. I’m generally reserved and try to avoid uncomfortable, confrontational situations. Cyrus does the exact opposite pursuing those difficult moments fully while maintaining its comedic sense.
The acting and writing were wonderful. Reilly embodies the everyman, the ‘you’ if you’re a male. He has a wonderful ability to deliver scenes and dialogue slightly off, but fitting given the context. Many times in Cyrus, and other films as well, he spaces the words just so that they’re not fluent but they’re fitting; he does so at times where the character is caught off guard and as you’d imagine is scrambling for the appropriate words. Tomei is emotionally true to her character. She clearly begins with a hardened wall of emotion based on some painful past relationship, but ultimately gives in as you would expect, opening to the kindness and sexiness–joke–of J.C.R. I invariably fell in love with her. Jo Hill is demented and dastardly and the true carrier of the comedy in the film. His uber serious, straight faced moments without question keep the film engaging and funny. Even the minor characters add comedic depth to the film. Specifically I’ll note Matt Walsh, who plays the husband-to-be of John’s ex-wife. His character is reminiscent of the character he played in Old School and at the same time the character played by Craig Kilborn: the dick new husband who you hate but always stands out because of it.
The filmography stood out to me as well. It has a slight touch of the live, candid camera fell but it’s subtle enough to not disgust, unlike some tv shows I know of. The zooming and refocusing of the camera within the frame and scene specifically called out to me in this point. I’m fond of this because it embraced me as a viewer, increasing the believability of the scene as if I were witnessing it play out truly.
Without a doubt, Cyrus should not be overlooked. It’s tight, has incredibly comedic range, and maintains a touching degree of emotion.
The Man in the Iron Mask
Posted by will on January 7, 2011
Runtime: 132 minutes
Plot: The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?
This is the movie loosely based on the 1939 same-titled film, also loosely based on a tale from Alexandre Dumas’ d’Artagnan Romances which, this story in particular, is loosely based on the real L’Homme au Masque de Fer, a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669. Yet, you probably remember it as that box-office success with future-star Leonardo DiCaprio who was coming off absurd amounts of outrageous triumph from his role in Titanic from the previous year. The mid-90’s prepubescent 14-year old girl in you probably remembers this as the movie with not one but two Leos (!!!).
What you might not remember is that The Man in the Iron Mask is a predictable, plodding film that has a few recognizable faces (Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Peter Sarsgaard, and Hugh Laurie to name a few) but nothing much to offer other than a little splash of action and adventure, awkward cuts of romance, a reunion of the O.G. Musketeers, and did I mention … two Leos?
After forgiving the campy dialogue, ridiculous slapstick elements, and slow forming story, the thing that was most cringe-worthy, I found, was the stiff and unforgiving acting. And, to top off your cocktail of misery, it seemed the poisonous effect was contagious throughout the cast. To think, the person who put the most life in his character was Gérard Depardieu (the only actual Frenchmen out of the four Musketeer actors), the oafish, drunken, STI-riddled boor. While the other three played up their hackneyed roles (the converted Jesuit priest who can still kick some ass in the name of the Lord, the mourning patriarch who was wronged by the king, and the distinguished military hero who is now under employ of the Man), they do so with such uncertainty and stiffness I couldn’t decide if particular parts of the movie were either painful or laughable (painfully laughable / laughably painful?).
And back to Leo. Both of them. Re-watching this film after a number of years, and seeing a good portion of Mr. DiCaprio’s body of work, this certainly was not his best effort. I mean, who could blame him? He was playing not only dual roles, but dueling roles as well. There is one thing I have noticed, from a personal standpoint, and this movie only helped to reinforce it. Leo has this particular and distinct vocal tone and inflection that he seems to always employ, whether he’s playing a con artist, historical megalomaniac, Rhodesian mercenary, or literary figure of tragedy … he always sounds the same, regardless of flavor of accent. While, my judgement is that he is a very, very talented actor, I always have a hard time blurring the line between him and whomever he is playing (because of his voice particularities). You might as well replace the “DiCaprio is …” perceptions with the “DiCaprio as …” realities in my judgement.
Off the tangent and back to the film. For what it’s worth, which is not too much, The Man … is certainly, in some small measure, entertaining (mindlessly, almost) but a very dated work that doesn’t hold a lot of potential as something you want to re-watch. But then again … it is two Leos.
Julie and Julia
Posted by benjamin on November 29, 2010
Runtime: 123 minutes
Plot: Julie, the food blog vs Julia the food creator.
For those that know me well, you undoubtedly know that this is not my first selection for a movie to enjoy during the Holiday break. Romantic movies are not my strong suit but when those around you are feeling ill, you go with whatever their heart desires.
Julie and Julia is the story of one woman’s food blog chronicling her journey through Julia Child’s cookbook. The movie could have easily been split into two films: Julie and Julia…get it? Each side is telling the a biographic journey into food, sometimes from completely opposite sides of the room. Of the two sides of the film’s story, the one of Julia Childs is easily my favorite. This has more to do with the actress portraying Julia than that which is portraying Julie.
Meryl Streep is the epitome of what ever actress and/or actor should strive to become. She becomes every role and everyone wants to see her become someone else. Playing Julia Childs is no different. She had her minor nuances spot on and many times I forgot I was watching someone portraying Julia. Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less. Amy Adams did what she could with her role as Julie, but its hard to really stand out when Mrs. Streep is on the set somewhere.
There isn’t much more that I can speak of within this movie, but I wanted to point out Stanley Tucci, who is an actor that many know by face but just don’t know by name. I’m quickly enjoying seeing him appear on screen regardless if he is with Meryl (The Devil Wears Prada) or without (Easy A). Here’s looking for his next appearance in Captain America.
Posted by will on October 19, 2010
Runtime: 112 minutes
Plot: At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt’s husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral compass, she becomes especially close to Edmund, Thomas’s younger son…
Obviously, this was not exactly my ideal movie. At first, after reading the brief description that is imprinted on the Netflix sleeve, I more or less dismissed this as a period piece, perhaps along the lines of The Other Boleyn Girl, the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth, etc. But, y’know, when there are two parties with very differing cinematic tastes, where our cross-over in our Venn diagrams is itty-bitty, there are compromises.
Unlike our unfortunate yet brief taste of Much Ado About Nothing, Mansfield Park was somewhat a nice surprise. First, if you go in with the preconception I had, that being this is a dramatic, romantic “Mr. Darcy … Mr. Darcy …” type movie, well, you will be a little surprised. This is straight up your typical romantic comedy. Made even more apparent once our heroine, Fanny Price, begins to break the fourth wall early in the film.
Apparently loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel with the same name, the plot plods along as Fanny must decide between two lovers (that’s so 17th century) while fighting her own internal desires. It has the classic trappings of your modern-day rom-com without the fluff (dopey sidekick best-friends, animal scenarios, slapstick mishaps) which in some ways, is refreshing.
Thrown in are moral conflicts addressing the issue of slavery and plantation ownership, specifically in Antigua. Of course, our oh-so-wise star is against the issue and becomes aghast when she discovers her uncle and cousin’s improper conduct while abroad. The thing that irked me the most about this film was how everything was tied up in such a neat package. Especially when we were informed that the Lord Thomas dropped all of his interests abroad and invests in tobacco (who is going to be picking that tobacco?). While it wasn’t a major issue (think along the lines of a tertiary plot), and slavery was and still is a problem, to toss that out in such a dismissive way rubbed me the wrong way.
But, of course, you want to hear about the romancing, the passion, and the courtship. Well, all of that is old hat. If you have seen it in one movie, you have seen it all before. I find rom-coms rarely push borders but this one did give it a good shot.
If you want a slightly refreshing take on what is becoming in this modern era of movies, an old standard, then certainly give this movie a peak.
Posted by will on July 11, 2010
Director: Anne Fletcher
Runtime: 108 minutes
Plot: A pushy boss forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada
In a sense, romantic comedies are prefabricated euphoria. I think this is why I hate them (the opposite, desired effect).
The Proposal has been sitting in our Instant Queue for quite awhile. It took me a Saturday of boredom to finally relent to watch it. And, well, actually it wasn’t half bad.
First, let me state I really don’t care much for Ryan Reynolds. Nor Sandra Bullock (the Queen of Rom-Coms?). Couple this acting ensemble with my least favorite genre and I was expecting a train wreck.
While the story is one in the same (sticky situation goes sour, turns into “real” romance, everyone wins) with its special twist (overworked Canadian facing deportation, forces assistant into faux engagement, hijinks ensue … in Alaska), it wasn’t a bad way to spend an hour and a half. Maybe my tastes are becoming more mature, in-tune with the American standards, or lowering. Either case, the film was entertaining.
Reynolds and Bullock have some pretty good chemistry, although, you should definitely have low expectations for this type of film. As an aside, most people probably thought Betty White is the highlight of this movie. As for me, it just comes across as gimmicky (sorry, America). I promise I just don’t hate old people.
Update for Benjamin’s Secondary Review:
For all that know me, I am not a fan of any and all “chick flicks.” I can probably count on one hand the number of romantic comedies that I have actually enjoyed. Therefore, it should come as quite a surprise that I actually chose to go see this movie over The Hangover. The main reason was the feeling that The Hangover was starting to get the over-hype treatment with me.
Overall, I’d say I was quite pleased with The Proposal. It’s nothing more than your simple “can love find its way” moving picture. You throw in the lovable Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, add some crazy Betty White, and the laughs will begin to appear.
The story is simple. Crazy, work first boss Margaret is being deported back to Canada until she forces her assistant to admit that they are getting married. The threat of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison cannot qwell Andrew’s commitment to his boss and the possibility of a huge promotion. Man you have to love the American business world. First step in committing this fraud is to tell Andrew’s parents and of course his father who wants him to just take over the family business. Oh no…conflict….
Betty White steals the show as the crazy grandmother but Ryan and Sandra are entertaining in their own right. There are times when the movie gets too serious for how it starts, but it passes in time. Make certain you stay after with the credits for the funny post interviews with the Immigrations officer.