Entries tagged with “Rachel McAdams”.


I confess that I was waiting for such a movie for quite a while. It’s so long since I have seen a comedy that made me laugh without being stupid, with characters I could care about without falling into melodrama, with a story interesting to follow and no super-persons involved. Game Nightwritten by and directed by and succeeds to be all these and made me spend some of the most pleasant couple of hours in a cinema theater recently.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2704998

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2704998

 

The characters of the story are quite recognizable for many of the viewers. They are young mid-class professionals in today’s America, whose lives is centered around the hobby of playing all kinds of rather innocent society games. Never falling on the bad side of vice, the gaming passion defines their way of life with funny moments – like proposing marriage in riddles – or doubtful impact when concerning their decision or even capability of bringing children to life. When games and real life become entangled and the game in game situation turns to be more real than realistic the characters become involved in a turmoil of events where physical integrity and even lives are at risk, and viewers become part of the game. Same as the heroes on screen we know that the bullets cannot hurt (too much) the good guys and the blood spilled by them is just ketchup. The script authors just added one layer between fiction and reality, and this layer turns the film into a combination of surrealistic action movie and situation comedy gags – a few of them novel enough to extract some extra laughs.

 

(video source Zero Media)

 

The excellent cast feels good on screen and you can feel that they had fun making this movie. A special note should be given to the lead actors and who add personal chemistry to their comic talents, and to , a young comedian who constructs the role of a nerd cop with a soul in  manner that lets me expect some more fun from him in the future.

If you look for good entertainment where neither the characters not the viewers are considered stupid – Game Night should be the choice.

 

Director Tom McCarthy authored a very interesting first film in 2003 (The Station Agent) and then his career seemed to go adrift into ‘OK movies’. Now he hits gold with Spotlight which does not differ much in directing style from his other films, but just gathers a number of very favorable factors into proving that you can get a Best Film Academy Award even taking the ‘OK approach’ (in a ‘dry’ year as 2015 was).

 

source http://trilbee.com/reviews/spotlight-2016-movie-review

source http://trilbee.com/reviews/spotlight-2016-movie-review

 

Let me start with the positive things, and there are many of these. One first condition to hit gold at the Academy Awards is to run one of those big American stories, that play well with the concepts and heroes of the nation. Investigative journalism and people who make the news are the main theme and the heroes of the film, and on this respect ‘Spotlight’ follows a tradition that starts with ‘Citizen Kane’  and continues with films like All President’s Men and Zodiac. The story that is investigated by the ‘Boston Globe’ ‘Spotlight’ team in the movie is the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and the cover-up of the phenomenon and of its dimensions by the Church institutions but also by the town authorities, judicial system, community leaders. It’s an explosive subject which to some extent continues until today. The ‘based on real events’ factor works well here because we know that the implications and ramifications of the problem continue until today. The writers and producers of this film chose to use the real names and tried to remake the true story as close as possible to the facts, places, characters.

 

(video source Movieclips Coming Soon)

 

The other strong attribute of this film is the accurate rendition of the ‘yesterday’ atmosphere to the smallest detail. The story happens between 2000 and 2002, this was so close and yet so far from many points of view. Acting is also very precise, although the homogeneity of the team makes the characters indistinguishable from a moral stand point of view. It’s like I missed an element of hesitation, of fear of consequences – the story looks not like what it happened but like the way the heroes told the world it happened. Sure, , , , and do all fine jobs, and I also liked how many of the supporting actors entered into their smaller parts.

I do not believe however that ‘Spotlight’ would have won the Best Film Award in another year. It lacks the sparkle that make the big movies we remember over the years. It may also be the last important movie in his genre. As printed journalism melts down and the multi-channel TV news and the Internet take over, the public relies less and less on this kind of journalism.  People have easy access to much more information, they can change easily allegiance to any channel of news on TV or Internet, they need to make the choices by themselves. ‘Spotlight’ may be the cinematographic requiem for the kind of journalism it describes.

 

I went to this film against all my instincts. I had read already (some of) the bad reviews but I was hoping they were wrong. I so much admire some of the previous works of Brian De Palma (films like ‘Scarface’, ‘The Untouchables’, even the first ‘Mission: Impossible’) and I was hoping that all these critics got it wrong, that they missed the hidden quality of the cinema making of the master. Unfortunately they were all almost right.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1829012/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1829012/

 

I cannot really tell where ‘Passion’ starts to fail. Some of the problems are certainly with the script which tells a story of corporate corruption where guilty passions between the execs at the top slide almost inevitably towards murder. It starts like a corporate intrigue movie, it becomes later a crime story with touches of thriller, and it plays all the time with the soft erotic genre. All is however so superficial! I never succeed to get in touch with the characters which seem to oscillate between attractive and very attractive, evil and very evil. Eventually the whole story seems to long, and the 1h40 min of screening rather seemed to me like 2h40 min.

 

(video source CineFix)

 

It’s not that all good things we know about Brian De Palma’s film-making are missing.  The camera moves are always right and they compensate with the focus and clarity the rather conventional setting. For a few moments in the final there is suspense in the air, but the ending is unnecessarily complicated and with too many twists (looks like two or three alternate endings without adding thrill, maybe these were alternate endings and the director could not decide which one is to be cut out). If the mix of large windows with panoramic landscapes of Berlin and London and the so conventional background music would have been a little more exaggerated I could have even suspected that they hint to parody, like in the Tarantino movies, but I am afraid this is not the case. Is the film supposed to be ‘sexy’? I am afraid it’s just cool like in cold. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace are very good actresses who have already proved that they can carry very complex and interesting roles, here they do OK sketchy performances, much less than I expected.

If you do not admire Brian De Palma you do not have any special reason to watch this film. If you admire him – as I do – you have the dilemma of whether to watch one of his worst films.  Brian De Palma made a few very good films we all remember and a few less good we would rather forget. ‘Passion’ belongs to the later category.  Maybe what is missing is exactly the Passion. The passion but also the patience for making good cinema.

 

What a difference three years make when it comes to telling stories and newspapers and journalist. By the time it was made State of the Play took the plot of a BBC series and carried it over the Ocean melding the story of a newspaper team with big corporate and government conspiracy and congressional corruption, all in a well-paced thriller wrapping. Today it looks more like an elegy to the profession of investigative reporter, to the good old methods of traditional journalism. If the film was made today not only many of the technical details would have been different, but also the focus may not have been that much on the printed press. It may have been the journalist helping the blogger and not the other way. Almost as director Kevin Macdonald after having made a movie about The Last King of Scotland made afterwards a movie about the last great investigative journalist. State of Play is not a bad film, but it does not raise to hights either, and the good parts end by being not exactly the ones planned by the director and producers.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0473705/

 

The story starts with a double murder and an apparent accident that seem unconnected excepting the fact that they are reported by the same newspaper (a reverence to and quotation of the Washington Post of the 70s, actually the Watergate hotel is one of the settings in the film), although we well know things will change soon. They do indeed, as the subway accident which leads to the death of a Congressman’s assistant and the street shooting that opens the film get together in an intrigue that seems to implicate the politician (Ben Affleck) who is investigating a big corporation involved in the private security services oversees while managing an affair with his assistant. While the corruption and sex scandal story develop the focus shifts to the investigation of the news team and especially to the people behind it.

 

(video source blacktreemedia)

 

The thriller part of the story is reasonably well written, but brings really nothing new. It is more the characters in the newspaper redaction that catch the attention, their methods, the way they balance the duty to expose the truth with their personal feelings, the attitude towards their profession. Russell Crowe is quite convincing as the investigative reporter whose actions walk on the thin line between professional duty and personal feelings like friendship and emotional involvement. He is also a low-tech guy, slightly out of touch not only with the technology but mostly with the morals of the day. Rachel McAdams supports well Crowe as the young blogger who grows with the case, while Helen Mirren as the Chief Editor is as royal as ever and made me regret that her role was not more consistent. I never was a fan of Ben Affleck‘s acting skills and I did not become one after seeing this film.