Vice directed by Adam McKay (Academy Award winner for The Big Short) recasts many of the same Big Short actors (Bale and Carell) in this solidly entertaining movie about Dick Cheney.
No doubt, the real Cheney is an A Number One Villain, but McKay plays fair enough for most of the movie allowing him to be at least a good husband and father.
Much like Big Short, Vice is an excellent history teacher, with snappy visuals and a compelling narrator that keeps the movie rolling at a 2018 fast paced clip. Jesse Plemons plays the narrator role which could have been easily drowned out in a cast with Bale, Carell and of course, one of my faves Sam Rockwell, here as a too skinny version of George W., (more on Rockwell in a sec). Plemons drew me (and the rest of the audience) in with mystery and intrigue. Mark my words that this guy’s got big potential.
But of course, the piece de la resistance is Christian Bale (cue angels singing) who I’ve been a sucker for since The Fighter and adored equally (comb over and all in American Hustle). You know you’re sexy when you can make Cheney seem appealing. Bale’s my number one pic for the Oscar.
Sam Rockwell made a decent George W. capturing his naive innocence and sheer desire to redeem his reputation with his dad. Steve Carell is also a wonder as Rumsfeld. He really has become a lesser Jimmy Stewart at this point. I really thought he was deserving for Fox Catcher, so let’s hope he gets another role of that caliber soon. Right now unfortunately he’s suffering from the Welcome to Marwen taint.
Amy Adams is a solid actress who I feel slightly sorry for her due to the Emma Stone/Saoire Ronan Young Gal’s Steamroller that seems to be hogging many roles. She’s awesome as Mrs. Cheney and proof that women can be just as cunning and power hungry as their male counterparts.
My only quibble is the post ending clip which is a tad pandering. We get it, Republicans of recent history are cut throat idiots. I personally didn’t need a video that further divides us. We need to come together.
For many reasons, I love the 70’s. It’s partly the drop dead beautiful music (Elton John‘s Rocket Man, George Harrison‘s What is Life!), partly that I was a little girl obsessed with the adult world (10 at the time of the King-Riggs match), and partly due to the moments of spectacle (like the aforementioned tennis match and another off the top of my head- Evel Knievel). These days, everything has become a spectacle and consequently, very few things are that amazing.
At any rate, Battle of the Sexes was good. Emma Stone, good. Steve Carell, great. But because the real people are so damn cool, I’d prefer to see a well executed documentary rather than people playing them. Which goes back to corroborate my love of that decade.
Probably the most extraordinary part of the film is the back story of Billie Jean’s sexuality and that she was one of the first people (at least of that era) that had to finally be courageous enough to live the life she truly wanted. Although according to Wiki, she didn’t actually get divorced until 1987, but perhaps the movie, which led me to believe he knew at 1973 that Billie was a lesbian, stayed married for practical purposes.
An interesting sub-plot was the nutritional advisor Rheo Blair who Bobby Riggs employed to help is stamina. Fred Armisen of SNL and Portlandia portrayed the man, and unfortunately, his appearance reminded me of Louis CK in Trumbo and here I’ll invoke another tennis legend in Fred as actor choice, “You Can’t Be Serious!”. Even more strange, ther’s no wiki page on this dude. Try it, all you’ll come up with his his own website-Nutritionist to the Stars! I expected some Brian Wilson psychiatrist type scandal bringing this guy down eventually. Hmmmm, a mystery.
So, Battle of the Sexes a good walk down memory lane, but not as spectacular as the spectacle of the genuine articles.
I have added a link at the end of this blog about the pros and cons of the INTP Myers-Brigg Personality type to peruse if psychology interests you. As I navigate new opportunities and major choices of where to live and work in South Florida, I realize more and more how difficult it is for me to make decisions.
This theme fits perfectly with Woody Allen’s latest “Cafe Society” since the protagonist’s conflict longs for the ‘one that got away’. Jesse Eisenberg plays the latest version of a younger Woody Allen character; a personification of frayed nerves, twitch and anxiety. His love interest Kristen Stewart, is equally ver klempt between the purity of Jesse’s love and a long standing affair with a married man (Steve Carell in a very maudlin role, meaning a 2-d character, impotent in range).
The good news is Eisenberg and Stewart have chemistry, even with writing that’s a little predictable. Another positive aesthetic note: Kristen Stewart’s costuming, for those who love 30’s fashions was divine.
The road not taken is a universal theme that will never become extinct. The grass always looks greener on the other side, yet once there, we all know that it usually isn’t much different. Being such a planner (both short and long term) has always been my way of wrestling and ‘winning’ against the unknown. Since moving here to Florida, I have lectured myself on simply taking one day at a time. Perhaps had I developed this patient zen earlier in life, my whole destiny may have been different. But would it have been better?As I navigate new opportunities and major choices of where to live and work in South Florida, I realize more and more how difficult it is for me to make decisions.
The Big Short is worth seeing foremost due to Steve Carell’s evolution as a serious actor which is an absolute thrill to observe. Christian Bale’s chameleon expertise commands the entire screen with Popeye arms and a penchant for hard rock. Ryan Gosling’s solid as a smarmy dude, his only misstep ever being the ridiculously violent Only God Forgives. And Brad Pitt? He’s become the new Redford, like Wonder bread: sturdy, but maybe a bit bland.
So I’ve revealed the chink in the armor, The Big Short is not perfect. The jittery camera work’s bothersome and celebrities offering the common man’s explanation’s overly cute. The voice over narration is additionally bothersome. That being said, the sickening truth of the big banks plus the mega acting ensemble make the movie still enthralling.
So out goes The Gift from my top ten and in goes The Big Short.
I was skeptical about Foxcatcher, partly because I couldn’t hide from reviews that claimed the screenplay was thin.
Thank goodness I sometimes take these reviews with a grain of salt, as Foxcatcher contains a very well written story and fabulous performances by Steve Carrel, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum.
First, the most unique aspect of the script is the silence. As my son, quipped afterward, “Thank God we didn’t have popcorn.” I loved the stillness of the film, not only for added suspense, but also for the oppressive spirit that is inherent in rural areas (I know, having worked in one for 29 years).
Steve Carell is over the top, the penultimate moment of his career. Please Steve, don’t ever do another Anchorman EVER.
Mark Ruffalo, probably the most perfect human male on the planet (against fracking, survived a brain tumor, lives in my neck of the woods, born in good hearted Wisconsin. mother’s French Canadien), is equally wonderful.
Channing Tatum, along with Ruffalo, had to learn very difficult wrestler’s choreography. I learned that wrestling requires near gymnastics like talent, which shows my novice depth knowledge of the sport.
Definitely in my top five movies of the year!
As a reminder, coming soon in 2014, my new domain name which is getroxy.xyz