In 1977, the world at large was introduced to a beautiful and bright eyed 19-year-old girl in the science fiction/fantasy saga known as Star Wars. There were many beloved figures in that film and the subsequent sequels, prequels, and even cartoons, but to many, none shown so bright as a star than Carrie Fisher. Today, December 27th, 2016, that starlight has vanished when, after a heart attack just a few days ago, she passed away.
Like many of you, and myself, this will be a heartbreaking affair. Not only did we love Carrie Fisher and her work, but have grown up knowing her as Princess Leia. There are a few things about her work that some forget to acknowledge and even admire. As I was not born yet, but raised on the Disney Princesses, I had an idea of what a Princess should be. Looking back at the Star Wars films as an adult, Carrie Fisher and the writers had already re-imagined what a Princess should be and absolutely what they could be.
I don’t have many words as this is a close loss of an actor as I’ve seen in a while and at the age of 60, Carrie was relatively young. I do want to draw your attention to a few things that Carrie loved and cared about over the years and perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of her as a person.
Her latest book, The Princess Diarist, which can be purchased here, show another side of the actress we all grew up loving. Carrie’s struggle with addiction and mental illness made her respected in the acting community as she was willing to speak open and honestly about what so many of us have have struggled with through the years. I believe her having the courage to be self-deprecating and share her pain is something that should be admired. She was an active advocate of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and if you feel the need to share something with the Princess you loved, go there are donate so that so many can benefit from their, and her, support.
Other than her charities and causes, Carrie Fisher had a few true loves in her life. One being her daughter, Billie Catherine Lourd, who actually had a brief cameo appearance in The Force Awakens. Then there was Gary Fisher, her pet dog who was there with her everywhere she went and stayed by her side til the end. And when she took Gary as her date to the premier of The Force Awakens, it was a love that all could see and easily identify with due to their own love of their pets. I’m sure we will all mourn for her, but pet parents will know that Gary, who has his own Instagram page, will be particularly lost without his mother.
There are not many things left to say about the great Carrie Fisher, but I hope that you were able to learn a little more about the person behind the Princess who stole our hearts so many years ago. You will be missed Carrie Fisher and we here at IWTMM thank you for your contribution to film and to society as a whole.
I honestly had a real plan for this article. It was going to be a week long event in which we had guest writers discussing things like #OscarsSoWhite, how terrible the panel is due to ridiculous rules, eligibility, and voting, but I just can’t seem to care enough about the award show to make a real effort at posting something profound.
In lieu of an article about how awful the Oscars have become (and pretty much always have been), I’m going to go over some of the major categories and see if we can find something of interest somewhere among them to talk about.
Academy Award for Best Actress
First off, I really don’t like the fact that we still distinguish between “Actresses” and “Actors” via gender. They are all actors and should be treated as such. In my opinion, we should really put Jennifer Lawrence (nominated this year for the movie Joy) up against Eddie Redmayne (nominated for his (her?) performance in The Danish Girl) or Matt Damon (nominated for The Martian). If you’ve seen Joy, you know it’s no where near the caliber of her past performances (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, etc.), but it’s still a well put together movie and for her part, she does everything right and again, showcases an immense amount of talent.
Anyway, there are other actors (yes, screw the word Actress) that are nominated as well, here is a quick round up:
Cate Blanchett, in Carol Aird, as Carol
Brie Larson, in Room, as Joy “Ma” Newsome
Jennifer Lawrence, in Joy, as Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling, in 45 Years, as Kate Mercer
Saoirse Ronan, in Brooklyn, as Eilis Lacey
IWTMM’s Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence
Of course it has to be Jennifer Lawrence. Everyone loves her (she is really seemingly charming by all accounts) and if the panel even recognized any other actor’s name in that pile, then I would be surprised. Just give her another one, let her trip on the stairs or her dress *cue laughter* and a “surprised” winning speech.
IWTMM’s “Who Should Have Won”: Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Seriously, you’ve likely seen Mad Max: Fury Road, the other nominations, not too likely. If you have (or even if you haven’t), Charlize Theron kicks so much ass in two hours than all the “Action Stars” of the 80’s combined. I totally think she should go all Kanye West on the Winner.
Academy Award for Best Actor
I believe they add, “in a Leading Role” to this title, but I don’t really care (that’s going to be a theme during this whole article). Let’s take a look at our powder-white nominees:
Bryan Cranston, in Trumbo, as Dalton Trumbo
Matt Damon, in The Martian, as Mark Watney
Leonardo DiCaprio, in The Revenant, as Hugh Glass
Michael Fassbender, in Steve Jobs, as Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, in The Danish Girl, as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener
IWTMM’s Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio
Leo has been passed over for this award in four separate years. They skipped a year between nominating him so it didn’t look too suspicious, but I believe DiCaprio has been thoroughly snubbed. It likely doesn’t make any difference to him. Did you see what he got to do in The Wolf of Wall Street?
I mean, come on, you think Leo cares? Does he want to win, probably, it’s seemingly a big deal to these Hollywood types. But if a little gold statue is more important than the millions he rakes in for almost every film he does, then I really think the “art” in film is moot.
Academy Award for Best….
You know what, I really don’t give a crap. The Oscars are horrible. The monologue is obnoxious and no matter who wins, someone is going to be upset. I don’t even have enough apathy to finish this article.
IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Director: Adam McKay for The Big Short
IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Picture: The Big Short
Seriously, I don’t care. The Big Short was a phenomenal movie with excellent actors, a horrifying reality, and was honestly both entertaining and filmed very well. It’s on the “Unicorn List”. It’s both entertaining and “Critically” acclaimed. So, for my money, it’s going to come out the winner, but I really don’t care. The whole thing is just a big Hollywood circlejer…….
…..and that’s all I have to say about that. At least I get to see Zootopia next weekend.
There is a lot of potential for a review of Deadpool. We could have had him personally write the review and us having to fight him for control over the keyboard (which, honestly, wouldn’t have ended well for Manchicken and I), we could have tried to write the review in the style of the film, or we could have just thrown some Fourth Wall breaking nonsense together and called it a day.
Deadpool is not your typical Marvel Superhero film. Sure, the film’s plot was done with the typical origin story, but with this character, I actually believe it was somewhat necessary. In the case of Wade Wilson, I believe that the general public had no knowledge of his existence outside of the brilliant marketing campaign put together by Fox and Ryan Reynolds himself.
Ah hum. And no matter what I can say about this film, it’s all about Ryan Reynolds. The man who single handedly took the crap given to him from Gavin Hood, David Benioff, Skip Woods (Director and writers of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and likely 20th Century Fox’s evil lead, Jim Gianopulos, (depicted below in his true form), and made sweet sweet lemonade out of fetid lemons.
From showcasing some of the character’s fighting abilities in the failed prequel to X-Men, endlessly campaigning for the film, somehow being first to showcase “leaked” footage from a 2011 proof of concept to this film on Twitter, and appearing in countless ads and other marketing stunts, including an amazing “self help” video advocating “Touching Yourself” to look for testicular cancer, oh, and actually staring in this record breaking R-Rated film.
It’s very rare that studios are comfortable releasing R-Rated films. Mainly because it really kills their chances at getting all that sweet allowance money from the coveted 13-16 year old demographic. I imagine Fox did everything they could to try and make this film PG-13, but both Reynolds and director Tim Miller (this was one hell of a wide-release debut) lobbied as hard as they could for the film’s essence to be maintained. Even when they had to lose $7 Million from production at the last moment, they came through and took away the previous release record for an R-Rated film (previously held by The Hangover Part II). With an opening weekend of $135M in the US (way more in other territories), it not only blew those records away, but it kicked some major studio butt by becoming Fox’s largest opening weekend (stealing it from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith).
Don’t know what Fight Club has to do with it, but, I’ll roll with it. Anyway, for not being a fan of Deadpool in the comics (I’m more of a DC guy), I enjoyed the heck out of this film. The most common thing I hear people say about it is that it was “fun”. I think that is a fantastic way to describe Deadpool, but I believe there is a better one: Original. And I really worry, just like director James Gunn that filmmakers are going to learn a completely different lesson from Deadpool. While I’ll be the first to advocate for more R-Rated films in wide release as well as less serious comic book films (sorry my dearest Ben, I’m looking at your Batman vs. Superman).
As Gunn worries, Deadpool’s success will only mean more of the same. Yes, we loved Deadpool, but we didn’t love it just because it broke the Fourth Wall,
had gratuitous amounts of violence and blood, or even was extremely funny in pretty much every way. Unfortunately, that’s what Hollywood is going to take away from Deadpool. The trope of “comedic-ultra-violence” will hit screens (hell, I’d pay to see more blood while Wolverine with the gloves off his claws rips through the entire cast of the Brotherhood of Mutants). Why lie? We’d all watch that…but then we’d get fatigued again and they would just be another brand of superhero films. The magic from Deadpool would be lost in the sea of uncharacteristic actions taken by notable heroes.
I was thinking of Spider-Man creating nooses for the bad guys but sure, Kevin Smith can laugh at us.
Apart from Reynold’s obvious passion for the character and the film in general, his supporting cast are taken along for the ride. Not a single one of them miss a beat as the Merc with a Mouth goes on one killing rampage after another (sometimes even turning the camera away when it could get too bad), makes self-referential humor, or even decides the film needs Colossal ball punching. That last part is literal. Needless to say, the supporting actors look like they’re having as much fun as the audience and can hardly keep from laughing in almost every scene.
Slow-motion action is nothing new. Both Wanted, Kingsman, and the granddaddy of them all The Matrix all had variations of the fight choreography in Deadpool. There was something special about the ultra-violence depicted on screen, but even displays such as Watchmen and the first two Terminator films had copious amounts of ultra-violence. In my opinion, the two directors who have pulled off action as well as that in Deadpool are Timur Bekmambetov (Director of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Matthew Vaughn (Director of Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service). There are scenes in Wanted and Kick-Ass that still make me cringe when I think of them.
Okay, well, I did cringe at Green Lantern, but that wasn’t the point. In general, others have done what Deadpool has done, but I think their real trump card here was the internal dialogue from Wade. In fact, several sequences are shot in such a way that Deadpool is actively telling a complete story while dealing out death to anyone who was foolish enough to continue fighting after the first few bullets didn’t put him down. Again, as I said, it all comes back to Ryan Reynolds.
Something I don’t often cover in movie reviews, but applies here, is the musical score. Horror films utilize the score to create tension and unless you are watching a film with the name “John Williams” or “Danny Elfman”, you’re not likely to notice the score. Deadpool was an interesting case. The 1990’s Hip-Hop vibe and general zaniness of the music flaring with the action is one impressive bit. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there was a moment in the film where an action movie trope was exploited for a gag that had the theater in stitches.
There was only one flaw in Deadpool’s otherwise stellar story, action, and acting was the villain. Unlike *spoilers* President Underwood up there, I don’t know why Marvel, Fox, or Warner Bros. have not been able to produce a good villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Did he set the bar too high? It’s been almost 10 years and we’ve seen squat in a fully formed villain. All I want is someone that has a reasonable scheme, no mystery casting (we all knew he was Khan), and can act worth a damn. I was however impressed with Gina Carano in the henchmen role which is her best role since she played “Crush” on the revamped “American Gladiators” during the 2008 Writer’s Strike.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
Deadpool is an instant classic in the superhero genre that has become saturated. Perhaps all we needed was a little bit of passion, humor, and debilitating ultra-violence injected straight into our veins to wake up from the action films that major studios have been peddling too us lately. They’re going to have to seriously up their game because not only is Deadpool a blast to watch, but it’s original without having to resort to filming the whole movie with computers. Just go see this movie, you won’t regret it…unless you bring your children. The explanations you’ll have to endure on the ride home will be harrowing to say the least.
Guillermo del Toro is essentially the George R. R. Martin of film. Not only are his films usually to die for, but they don’t come along all that often. His largest gap came between Pacific Rim (more on that later) and Hellboy 2 which was seven years. I’ve only been reading Martin for the past few years, so I’ve had ample time to catch up with the A Song of Ice and Fire series and its respective show, Game of Thrones. That doesn’t really give me any right to complain, but I want this story to be finished ASAP. We don’t want any Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time Series) shenanigans occurring.
Crimson Peak comes after a mere two year gap from Pacific Rim, which is a good time between films I believe. We were quite excited for this film if you recall. This was the only true “Horror Movie” I felt that would be released this October. I mean it had freaking Loki in it and the director of Pans Labyrinth! How could this fail? I’ll tell you how it did: it just wasn’t scary. It wasn’t a horror film at all.
The film was shot beautifully and looks gorgeous on an IMAX screen, but there just was a lack of scares here. Sure, there were plenty of terrifying looking ghosts with top of the line CGI, but they didn’t get beyond “creepy”. All of that is fine. I didn’t need to have my heart thumping in my chest at all times or watching for the next jump scare, but I was hoping for a little bit of goose-flesh.
The World Guillermo del Toro (GdT from here on out) presents is bleak, full of suspicious characters, motives and of course a wide-eyed female protagonist played by Mia Wasikowska, who has been missing from major cinema since Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. In both roles, she plays the intellectual type who is misunderstood by others. I was happy that she didn’t fall into all of the classic horror movie tropes, but again, this wasn’t a horror film, so I don’t know how much credit I can give to her.
Lastly Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain act as brother and sister in this tale. I’ve already sung the praises of Jessica Chastain for her role in The Martian, but Tom Hiddleston, that’s not fair to audiences. GdT and Loki? That’s just an audience trap. Hell, I imagine most people went to see this film just because Mr. Hiddleston’s name was attached to the project. It didn’t fool me as I know who I want:
Other than the actors gelling really well, Hiddleston with his charm, Chastain continuing to stretch her acting roles, along with Mia playing much the same part she did in Alice, there isn’t much meat on this film’s plot bones. Perhaps I expected too much and it didn’t meet my expectations, but I left with a shrug.
Some grievous mistakes GdT made in this film: where were the Jaegers? Seriously, there is nothing that can’t be solved with a Rocket Fist to the face or a good slicing from a seemingly forgotten about sword. If a ghost had taken down one of those bad boys, I sure as hell would have been more frightened.
While mentioning Pacific Rim and its glorious robot on monster action, I have to ask, where was Ron Perlman? How could you not find a single roll or line for him to deliver? I mean for goodness sake, you kept Charlie Hunnam as the “would be hero” but you couldn’t let Hellboy do what he does best and destroy the paranormal? I just think the film would have been elevated had it contained Giant Steampunk Mechs and Gentleman Hellboy.
Don’t get me wrong, it was well written, directed, and acted, but there was just so much false advertising here that I only feel comfortable calling this film “spooky”. When is the last time something “spooky” raised the hair on the back of your neck? Yeah, First Grade when someone yelled “Boo” at you…
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
This is not a scary movie no matter how the advertisers attempted to spin it. Sure, beautiful, creepy scenery, gore, talented actors and a usually superb director, but just nothing to rave about. Either Netflix, Hulu, or Redbox will be your best bet on this one. Lower your expectations and you might get something “creepy” instead of just “spooky”.
Now I’m not blaming e-commerce for anything. I’m blaming us lazy humans, but you know what? That’s OKAY! Be as lazy as you would like to be and enjoy all the benefits modern society offers you. I sure know I do. Hell, I work for an e-commerce site and I couldn’t be happier. Today’s rant (I think I’m supposed to review a movie too) isn’t about e-commerce business changes, but just setting the scene for a cute movie with two very likable and talented actors.
The Intern quickly showcases the best case scenario for retirement. Well, the best case scenario for any man is actually being Robert De Niro, but since we don’t have any Malkovich like shenanigans available, we’ll have to settle for retiring, hopefully, as his character does. Ben (De Niro’s character) has no serious health issues, a beautiful home, airline miles to go anywhere, and showcases some pretty badass tai chi. Of course there have to be holes in his life: he lost his wife and has the general feeling of something missing in his retired life. Enter the “Senior Internship Program” for a successful e-commerce apparel company.
First of all, it was a damn delight seeing De Niro act in a manner different from his typical roles. There wasn’t the silliness of Meet the Parents, stress of Silver Linings Playbook, or even the early hard ass years of Goodfellas. He just plays the man everyone wishes were in their life. If this is anything like De Niro’s real personality, then he’s one of the best humans on Earth.
Next we have Anne Hathaway being quirky, cute, and solid as ever. I really enjoyed her character as she definitely showcased powerful women in the workplace without her having to result to being evil. It was so refreshing to see, I almost missed the fact that the filmmakers were actually trying to make her an intolerable busy mess without a heart, but I guess Miss Hathaway just can’t be an awful person for very long. Hell, she even went and made a sentimental Catwoman and that’s a tall order. Or maybe I was just distracted by her performance. Eh, whatever it was, her acting clearly bucked the writing she was given.
It’s really the pairing of the two actors that works extremely well in this film. Not only does the whole movie revolve around a traditional businessman working with an e-commerce tycoon, but it’s really excellent to see the more experienced De Niro play off the younger Hathaway and vice versa. There is no other way this could have come about with the premise of the film, but they certainly gelled together well and, for the most part, holds this entire movie together. That and an amazingly hilarious scene with De Niro and three other young interns taking on a ridiculous “heist-like” adventure.
There is also a lot of commentary on the changes to modern society. Women as executives, men as house-husbands (favorite line: Hathaway’s character corrects De Niro with “They prefer ‘Stay-at-Home-Dads'”), open workplaces, everything “vintage” being cool (De Niro’s briefcase) and typical young men and women having no clue how to interact outside of academia. It’s a real motif throughout the film that explains how all these twenty-somethings went to amazing colleges and have incredible degrees or something, but De Niro’s character has to use his old school experience and charm in order to clean up simple messes. I get it, guys dress weird nowadays and women are unfortunately relegated to lesser positions in the workforce, but you don’t have to beat me over the head with it in every scene.
The film has a beautiful core story and an excellent pairing of main characters, but throws in an extra sub-plot that doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the movie. I really feel those scenes took away from an otherwise great experience. Basically, I just wanted to see more of Hathaway and De Niro and I don’t believe anyone would argue with me on that.
True to form in most soft comedies these days, there are no real stakes here. Other writers might have taken darker chances with some of the characters and pushed the line on the weaker sub-plot, but frankly I’m glad they didn’t do that. It was fine as it was, but really it’s just harmless and relaxing cinema.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
De Niro and Hathaway are a pair that should do everything they can to work together more often. It’s a perfect date movie. Even a family will enjoy this one. It’ll make everyone laugh and you’ll enjoy the vast majority of the film, regardless of a oddly placed sub-plot. Check it out on Blu-Ray or Digital. It’s an enjoyable viewing.