Cheadle, Linklater and…Atencio?

I realize my title is like that old Sesame Street game “Which of these directors doesn’t belong?” Read on…

A frenetic schedule forces me to do a threesome here, if only to preserve reading time for The New Yorker and Theresa Rebeck staring at me as I type.

Miles Ahead, directed by Don Cheadle took a very long time to settle into a story, reminiscent of The Big Short. Hopefully this isn’t a trend, but I do wonder if it’s a symptom our society’s over stimulation. Perhaps movie makers are like us common folk, almost needing to hover for a bit before focus can even begin.

At any rate, I enjoyed the film and post writing, need to look up a fact check of the flick. The New Yorker review intimated woe over fabricating incidents when there are so many actual events to depict.

Even though I’m a sucker for Ewan MacGregor and he’s adorable as a fumbling rock and roll reporter, I’d say Miles Ahead is an easy wait for Redbox or Netflix.

Second on the list and deserving of an equal amount of tepid level exuberance is “Everybody Wants Some” by Richard Linklater. A great line I overheard on Doug Benson’s podcast “Doug Loves Movies” is “I don’t want to see any movie that doesn’t take 12 years to make.” Meaning, it’s tough to come out with anything awesome after your release a tour de force like Boyhood.

An irony of this viewing is that I went with my son (his movie choice; also offered was Elvis and Nixon) for my early Mother’s Day ‘celebration’ since he was home momentarily from NYC. Ironic because the movies sole purpose (plot-wise) was the hunt for tail on a Texas college campus in the early 80’s.

The movie was a pleasant stroll down memory lane for me, but the film lacked many stand out actors or actresses. Two who were a smidgen impressive were Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell. Powell is due to my bias for the smart philosopher in any crowd, and Russell (omg!) in looking him up just now realized he’s Kurt Russell’s son. Russell plays the stoner with a surprise (I won’t ruin it for you) and does a great job as the grass fed Carl Sagan fan.

Last and last but not least is Keanu. Hey, if it’s a Friday night and I’ve absorbed a full day of middle school children’s emotions, capital E, a good laugh out loud silly comedy is better than a gin and tonic. And Keanu, written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens (directed by Peter Atencio) was just what the filmtender (as opposed to bartender) served. Often VERY funny with certain stupidity and corn woven in, basically a longer Key and Peele skit.

Clouds of Sils Marie, ‘CirrEus’ clouds that is

I liked Clouds of Sils Marie and was glad that yet another trailer was deceiving. It’s not a shallow Black Swan- cut throat theater actress pic, but more like a dramatic theater like performance; a mountain made slowly with layers of sedimentary rock. In fact, when a dark screen title Part Two popped up, I thought ok, Part Three must be where the showdown happens.

What little I’ve read of reviews (I try to avoid due to spoilers) critics definitely all concur, as do I, that Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart have tremendous individual stage presence and their chemistry together felt real as well. Doug Benson had joked on Doug Loves Movies that the only small highlight was a skinny dipping scene where Juliette strips to reveal an old school throw rug, while KS remains in underwear…which may be true, yet in the time of Avengers saltines, us deeper folk like a hearty piece of bread.

While there is something sad (as a woman clinging to youth myself; re. longer Samsonesque hair) about JB’s husky legs and asexual haircut, I do respect, even envy, her confidence. KS, on the other hand (mirroring the theme of the film) displays her femininity and youth on subtly natural terms, which I also respect. And doesn’t she have the market cornered on brooding female characters that perky Emma Stone could never pull off?

So, on a rainy afternoon, or even a sunny one if you have to watch your sun intake like me, see Clouds of Sils Marie. It’s a complex and thought provoking film.

Chris Rock Linkedin Endorsements

I love Chris Rock. I loved his recent SNL opening monologue where he said (and I paraphrase) that he wouldn’t go in the new Freedom Tower (former World Trade Center site) if Scarlett Johansson was naked lying in a plate of ribs. I love that he called Ben Roethlisberger the original white Cosby. I love his edge and would endorse him for stand up comedy writing as one of my TOP FIVE. Preceding him would be Louis CK#2, my recent fixation with Tom Papa#5, Doug Benson#4 (because I Love Movies), Jon Stewart #1, and Bill Burr#6.

What’s that you say? That Chris Rock#3 plus that list equals 6? Well, that’s part of the screenwriting wonders of Rock’s Top Five, where he and his posse name their top five rappers of all time. A cute conceit, yet it’s just one of the many semi random non-flowing elements of this film.

The story just wasn’t believable simply because Chris Rock has a comedian face. Meaning, his big beautiful eyes are always on the search for his next punchline, so when he wants to deliver any kind of dramatic response, it’s just seems contrived. And the story writing, well? Again, as with Horrible Bosses Two, at the very least Rock gives hope to aspiring screenwriters. Formula is not hard to write; the Hispanic aunt who loves Cosmo explicit magazine articles, the ‘hoes’ who want their money from the pimp like comedy show promoter, the diva girlfriend/star of reality show. Two dimensional characters are not the sign of genius.

And speaking of characters, I like Rosario Dawson and fell in love with her performance in Rent long ago. However, she delivers her lines quicker in this film than a side effects announcer in a Flomax commercial. her entire spiel about Cinderella, an important set up for the movie, was delivered machine gun style and tough to take in at the pace it was delivered.

Back to my Linkedin endorsement: Your stand up Mr. Rock, that I highly endorse and consider you in my top five!

Campaign Bumper Sticker 2016

Miles Teller

Saw two accomplished films this weekend, one a doc Citizenfour (Laura Poitras) and one of fiction, Whiplash (Damien Chazelle).

Citizenfour is basically cinematic voyeurism; watching a man’s last few days of freedom. While I disagree with Leonard Maltin’s hyperbolic review “has Hitchockian suspense”, I will admit it held my interest despite ‘knowing the ending’ so to speak, that Snowden remains an exile in Russia. And here’s where I want to step on the thin ice and say, hooray for Snowden, a man of principles…yet the skeptic in me thinks, can our government be THAT corrupt? Can a man simply exposing Obama’s transparency as an opaque farce, really be stripped of his passport and free citizenship? Yikes.

But I say Snowden for President as a man of true integrity. But believe me, the whispering dissenter chirps, “Can a world power exist without infringing on privacy to protect its citizens?”.

Which leads me to my presidential analogy that Miles Teller, at least in this role, (and at the risk of tying Maltin for hyperbole), is the most sincere and dedicated person on Earth. And while I’m at my electoral picks, let me propose J.K. Simmons as Secretary of State because he’d tell any bullying totalitarianism to bend over and kiss their inhumane arses goodbye. And for good measure, let’s throw in Paul Reiser as Press Secretary with his realistic chagrined father portrayal. Whiplash is a fantastic film worthy of viewing and award nominations. While I won’t discuss plot points in my pledge to tell no spoiler, I will say if the movie’s end had been a hair shorter, it’d be absolute perfection.

P.S. I’ll be posting this on every blog, but soon my website name will change to something shorter and easier to type after the new year…still pondering domain names…stay tuned.