Howdy children, how beeth everyone this fine day? Another 10 days or so have passed and another slew of films have hit the big screen, so as time is ticking by, let’s get started with the latest ones.
I remember reading the reviews of A Most Dangerous Year (El Año Mas Vioento) at its US-release late last year and feeling happy that a film was being made that was NYC-based and dealt with the teamsters and drama during the working-class movement of changing New York in the early Eighties. Whenever someone can capture my fave city in a light of an era gone-by, an era that made the city what it is today, I get excited to see the product. When I read the cast list of up-and-comer (plus star of the next Star Wars film) and Latino actor Oscar Isaac with Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo, I thought triumph. When the title and trailer of a film leads you to concrete an image of a film, perhaps ideas are better left to suspension of disbelief.
As I watched the movie, I neither felt as if I were watching a film that was dangerous or a well-done telling of that dangerous year of ‘81. To be honest, it all felt as if this was a nicely made but only half-done telling of a story director J.C. Chandor thought up while bobbing on the high seas with Robert Redford in last year’s All is Lost. While the story involving the NYC oil business and the robbery of main character Isaac’s company by armed arses is fun to look at cinematically, the film simply falls flat in making the viewer truly care or identify with the characters. Chastain is wasted but looks nice in her early Eighties outfits, but this would have been best saved for Starz or Cinemax, honestly. ##
Moving on then, and since we’re seemingly dealing with cinematic fare this week that may have been best served on the small screen, let’s switch over to J.Lo and Aidan Shaw, uh I mean, John Corbett. There was a time when I thought that Ms. Lopez was going to push her talent beyond her dancing, singing and that amazing derriere and do something meaningful with her acting abilities. Panned or not by critics about 15 years ago, I still think U-Turn is a cinematic gem. She followed that with Soderbergh’s Out of Sight and The Cell, and one would have been hard pressed not to think she would go on to solidify herself as the one-to-beat on the indie/bigger fare scene. The she jumped On The 6 just before the millennium and she went down the the ‘pop star who does rom-com’ route. Sigh. Then, came the crapfests with Affleck followed by the never-ending damsel in distress roles. This new film, The Boy Next Door (Obsesion) is the next one by the Jlo Glow, but good Lawd, whatever acting talents she has are squandered unnecessarily with a flimsy script and crappy acting…though I must say Kristin Chenoweth was a nice surprise! Still…meh! #-1/2
And now for the heartstrings film of the month - Pride. And just by the title you know it’s either an animated Dreamworks flick about a group of rascally lions or a somewhat indie film about gays. I’ll let you think ponder that for a moment.
Pride (Orgullo) tells the true story of a group of gays and lesbians who banned together to pledge their solidarity for the miners during the mid-Eighties British Miners Strike. They raised money and awareness for repressed miners, most specifically in Wales, who were literally being threatened (and worse) by the government to be starved back into submission and work. When this London alliance of gay/lesbian activists continue supporting the miners’ rights despite the anger, fear, fights and drama that this causes, the entire movement of solidarity unites groups of people who never would have crossed paths. Alas, empathy prevails. The film is rife with clichés and typical trite shite, but it’s a nice breath of fresh air after the aforementioned films! ###
Finally today, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (El Hombre Mas Enfadado de Brooklyn) brings us another in the series of spring films that carries with it a large cast of characters, this time with the late Robin Willians (R.I.P.), Mila Kunis (again!), Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, Oscar nominee Melissa Leo, even James Earl Jones. It’s an ensemble any director would want to work with, and it’s also a display of Williams’ incredible diversity as an actor. That flame is gone now and that really is a true sadness. The film deals with the expectancy of life, literally and figuratively, and the way the story melds the characters, if formulaic, is done in an incredibly entertaining way at the start…and then it turns incredibly beyond formulaic, as if striving to summon the energy of Woody Allen and failing to do so rather quickly. This piece, my dearests, is yet another one best saved for a VOD recording or film rental evening. Take that from a Brooklyn Boy! ##
Have a great weekend and stay dry and warm! Peace. L