Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Now Playing: Dallas Buyers Club

Matt McConaughey… when did he grow up?  Dallas Buyers Club has some of the best character performances I’ve seen in quite some time.  McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof and Jared Leto’s Rayon were truly a revelation – what these two men did to their bodies (they must have been on a subsistence diet for at least a month) is one thing; it was their expressions and emotion that took it to another level.  Leto was almost unrecognisable!  Everything (his walk, his voice, his makeup, his stature) was just perfect.

The story was compelling too and one that I think I knew, but didn’t really understand.  The privatisation of our health is such a disturbing trend.  I found it fascinating that things like “buyers’ clubs” could even exist, without it being outright illegal.  I have always found the North American pharma-industry to be unnecessarily biased against homeopathy.  DBC illustrates how Big Pharma hates things like vitamins and peptides, because they’re fairly accessible and easily made into generics.  Can plants and vitamins cure cancer?  No.  But can they make people more comfortable?  If the answer is even sometimes yes, what’s the problem?

Since the duration of the movies takes place in the late 80’s, there’s a parallel story about the AIDS epidemic and the societal implications of such a disease.  The cast of characters playing out that drama is also compelling.

All in all, a great movie.  4 out 5 stars.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Now Playing: American Hustle

Next up:American Hustle.  So, this is my favourite contender, thus far.  The acting - with all four categories covered (poor  Jeremy Renner, left out in the cold) by Bale, Adams, Cooper, and Lawrence - is just stellar.  Really incisive.  I'm amazed by the ability that Bale has to completely transform himself.  He's pretty distinctive, with his nose-mole, his lisp, and his funny jawline.  And yet, I see no Batman or Machinist or American Psycho.  Impressive. 

The storytelling is gripping, too, with twists and turns and laughs along the way.  You really don't know where you or the characters will end up.  I can't think of a flaw in this perfectly-paced movie, so I'm going out on a limb: 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Now Playing: The Wolf of Wall Street

Getting down to Oscar business!

First up is Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, a sordid tale of greed, excess, and filthy lucre that only could have happened in real life.  If it had been made up, people would have said that it was too over-the-top. At the helm: Leonardo DiCaprio, who left everything on the screen.  I'm not sure there was anything else he could have done to sell this character.  The ensemble cast is good too, with Jonah Hill being surprisingly grown-up, but they're all after-thoughts.  It's worth watching for Leo alone. 

It is a bit long in the tooth, clocking in at 180 minutes; and while there may be enough nudity, laughs, and suspence to get you  through it, you may feel the need to shower directly afterward.  4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Oscar noms

Poppets.  I cannot even tell you how far behind I am in getting through the 2014 Oscar Nominations.  Granted, a significant portion of the list only came out in the last month, but still.  The good news is that there's a lot of overlap between all the major categories.  Without further ado:

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity (the ONLY picture I've watched...sad)
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

And I'll need to watch Blue Jasmine and August: Osage County to cover off the Best Actress category.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Now Playing: 47 Ronin

Keanu Reeves made a movie.  If you know me at all, you know he's the star attraction at the Man Farm.  So, of course, I watched it.  And you know what?  It was decent.  I could have done without the Courtly Love story, but the action was good and the story was actually well-told.  It also had Rinko Kikuchi playing a deliciously evil witch.  She was fun and the melding of dress with dragon was quite beautiful.  Halloween costume!  Should you watch it?  Probably not unless you like either Keanu or Kung-Fu.  Fortunately, I like both.  An easy 3 out of 5 stars.