Geeky Cinephile Musings…
I don't pontificate, I blather.

SAG Awards screener heaven

It’s that time of year again!!

Not the holidays, ya consumerist.  AWARDS season, ya consumerist!!!

And thus begins the march of the “for your consideration” paraphernalia.  Which means it’s time to start micro-reviewing again!! You may remember last year’s season, when I was actually on the SAG nominating committee (read MILLIONS of “for your considerations…”  It was glorious!).  And if you don’t remember, there’s no time like the present! Oh, and p.s.–many of the films referenced here are reviewed there.

This page will be updated as I watch, but you won’t get notifications of the updates, cos unfortunately that is just not how wordpress works.  So! You’re just going to have to will yourself into being pro-active enough to keep visiting this page.  Last year’s reviews will give you reading material while you wait.  And please, comment away!! If you disagree, say so! If you think I’m God, feel free to say that too! After all, that’s just you speaking the truth.

First up…Dallas Buyer’s Club!!

1. Dallas Buyer’s Club: (DVD screener) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner.  Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee.

So Matthew (Sorry, but he’s gonna be Matthew in this post.  McConaughey is just too fucking long and complicated to keep typing) has been really showing us his inner Laurence Olivier over the past two years.  He’s practically screaming for recognition as more than just “that guy with the drawl from Dazed and Confused,” or “that guy that got arrested playing the bongos naked.”  Oh, calm down, I’m just kidding.  He’s certainly done some good work in the past, but he’s never really been taken super-seriously until last year, when the film viewing public experienced a Matthew McConaughey bombardment of Killer Joe, Magic Mike (oh holy Jesus), Paper Boy, Mud, and Bernie, all during one awards season.  (All of those were reviewed last year, by the way.)  This year he comes out swingin’ with his sharp portrayal of Ron Woodroof.  Woodroof is the unlikely hero who, in the ’80s, gave a big ol’ fuck you to the FDA and the pharma-assholes who dictate to us how we should heal ourselves, all based upon the illustrious and compelling evidence of their profit/loss reports.  Yes, you can perhaps see this is a topic close to my heart.  But enough of that.  In short (as mini-reviews tend to be–natch!), the performances from both Matthew & Leto are very good, Garner is fine, the story is told capably…and yet…nothing about this film really stands out for me.  I am not sure what I expected, but I guess I expected more than this luke-warm reaction.  It’s entirely inexplicable at the moment, but nevertheless I’m trusting my gut.  I’ll keep thinking about it and update if I make any discoveries.

2.  Blue Jasmine: (DVD screener) Starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin.  Directed by Woody Allen.

Wow, oh wow, this was an unsettling film to watch.  I owe this entirely to Blanchett.  The supporting cast, as is usually the case with Allen films, was astounding as well, but Blanchett’s performance is the showpiece here, and she really delivers.  Being a lover of the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which Blue Jasmine is loosely based on, I was pleased to find that the film delivers the same sort of mixed-up feelings to the viewer–it’s so satisfying in a completely unsatisfying way to hate and root for a character so vehemently.  You want it all to work out for these fragile people, and yet you also feel like they don’t deserve it.  Except for Baldwin’s character.  He’s a dick that deserves all that he gets.  Blanchett is already getting Oscar buzz, and seeing as how she was robbed back in 1999 (don’t even get me STARTED on that path), I think a Best Actress Award is something I’m sure we can all agree she is due.  One issue here that my fellow film bloggers at Filmbalaya noted when Blue Jasmine first came out–why does everyone have a thick New York City accent, despite being from San Francisco? It’s a bit odd, and it definitely took me out of the film from time to time.  Bottom line, see this, if you haven’t already.

3.  August: Osage County: (DVD screener) Starring: Every Fucking Major Actor In the World.  Directed by John Wells.

Okay, okay, sorry for the lack of cast in the header.  So I’m just gonna list them here: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch (yay!), Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, and Misty Upham. Whew!

I will state my opinion of this film in one, simple, succinct line: What a fucking BAG over the head.  I say this with no judgment, except upon the marketers and the media.  EVERYWHERE you look you see the same theme for this film: It’s darkly hilarious!…A delightful black comedy…darkly comedic!! Bitingly funny!!

BULL. FUCKING. SHIT.  I am throwing the bullshit flag right here, right now.  And yes, I am vehement.

This was a WONDERFUL film.  The acting was absolutely SUPERB…except for Ewan McGregor, who really should just never do an American accent ever again.  The dialogue was cutting, raw, and real.  Darkly comedic it is NOT.  There is not a single, amusing thing whatsoever in what these folks are doing to one another.  And if you’re about to post a comment that says I’m being too sensitive, check yourself before you wreck yourself.  I thought Spanking the Monkey was darkly hilarious, and that was a movie about a depressed guy who has sex with his mother.  THIS. MOVIE. IS. NOT. FUNNY.  It is a gut-wrenchingly poignant drama.  And that’s okay!!  But hell… If I’d have paid money to see this movie, walked in thinking I was seeing a rather dark comedy about families not getting along, and walked out feeling the way I felt after the viewing–namely like I’d been run over by a tractor–I would have felt more than a bit ripped off.  And critics are only perpetuating this! Do a google search and you’ll see what I mean.  I think people are calling it darkly hilarious because they’re desperate to find any moment of levity to lift the HEAVY weight of sadness from the plot.   To sum up, Julia Roberts is back (we’re seeing some Mystic Pizza personality here), Meryl is absolutely on fire, Benedict Cumberbatch is heartbreakingly clueless and beaten down, and I fucking loved this film.  Sorry I’m cursing so much.

4.  Enough Said: (ITunes download from the Weinstein Co.) Starring: (the adorable, sadly late) James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Tracey Fairaway, & Bono’s daughter,   Directed by Nicole Holofcener.

Like the title, there’s not really that much to say here.  It was a nice film, James Gandolfini was like a big teddy bear that I just wanted to reach through the screen and hug, Toni Collette spoke in an Australian accent without anyone really commenting on it (take the hint, Ewan), and I was mildly entertained.  Nothing ground-breaking.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character was both incredibly hard to root for (i.e. insecure to the point that she ends up hurting others, super wussified, and utterly lacking in her own personality) and incredibly hard to watch.  She is quite obviously not accustomed to close-ups, and the moronic and overwrought facial twistings are really, really annoying.  I blame that a bit on the director, who should have maybe tried to rein that in a bit…or stick to 3/4 shots…Overall, meh.  Fine for a quiet evening on the couch.

5. American Hustle: (DVD Screener) Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Amy Adams’s bare chest, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K. Directed (& Co-Written with Eric Singer) by David O Russell.

Well folks, this was the golden nugget I’d been waiting for.  Man, oh MAN I love what my SAG dues will get me–namely kick-ass films for “free.”  If only they would’ve given me Django Unchained last year!! Sigh.  Alas, alack.  But on to the hustle.  First off, I’ll get right down to the brass tacks and say that I really enjoyed this film.  It’s funny, it’s slick, Christian Bale is heartbreakingly vulnerable as Irving Rosenfeld, and Amy Adams totally deserved that Golden Globe she got the other night.  I was really worried at first because Jennifer Lawrence kept getting all the initial hype, and quite frankly, although she does an excellent job, Amy Adams really was the standout for me in this film.  And Bradley Cooper’s perm.  It should win its own award.  My only beef (which isn’t really a beef, but more of…um…let’s say a soyburger morsel) is that it seems that although Russell is really coming into his own, I am noticing that he’s losing that razor-keen darkness that his films used to carry.  They were always adventurous, humorous, witty, and unexpected…but they were always laced with cyanide.  I don’t really know if we’re getting that Russell anymore.  Any takers on this one? Comment away!

And now…for my first picture of this blog…the incomparable Amy Adams…

Miss Adams, if ya nasty!

Miss Adams, if ya nasty!

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