Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Fighter" - in theaters

I spent a lot of time giggling with my sister during this movie, because the sisters of Irish Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) are some of the most ridiculous creatures on Earth, both in physicality and behavior. Horrible, I know, but movies are supposed to be entertaining though, no?

"The Fighter" revolves around Micky trying to make it into the boxing world. He's had some fights in the past that haven't exactly been to his advantage, mostly because his mother, Alice (Melissa Leo) and his brother Dicky (Christian Bale), have been persuading him to fight for the money, even if it meant getting his ass kicked.

The film is really about the relationship between Micky and Dicky, as Dicky tries to relive his glory days through Micky. He too was a boxer, but then he became good friends with crack, and everything went down the toilet. Alice is oblivious to Dicky's drug problem, and only sees what's good about him. In the process, she ends up overlooking the fact that she's also Micky's mother.

Amy Adams is so bad ass as Charlene, Micky's girlfriend in the film. She's a bartender who lost her high-jumping college scholarship because she partied too hard. What's great about her is that she doesn't take any crap from anyone, including Alice and all 4 million of Micky's sisters. She is also fully in Micky's corner, which is something that Micky's depends on. In fact, Micky has quite a few people who are truly looking out for his best interests, even when his mother and brother are not. The viewer is able to see how Micky was able to carve out a sort of surrogate family for himself when he couldn't depend on his own.

The performances in this movie are spectacular. Mark Wahlberg is all stoic and hard working as Micky in contrast to Dicky's drug-induced, narcissistic mania. Christian Bale is winning every award out there for this role, and it's well deserved. He is trans-formative in the role and it's great to see those award-givers taking notice. The other standout is Melissa Leo as the matriarch of the Ward clan, who tries hard to be there for everyone, but in the end, is really there for no one.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. Great performances, crazy family drama, and some good boxing all combine for an entertaining night at the cinema.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"The Tourist" - in theaters

I saw a lot of movies while I was home in Michigan over the holiday break, so you'll see several posts in the next few days as I get caught up.

Let me start off by saying how I don't understand how this movie got so many Golden Globe nominations. I mean, seriously Hollywood Foreign Press? Did Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp sleep with ALL of you to score those nods? I'm just wondering.

While I was sitting through "The Tourist", I wasn't always entirely sure what was going on. The story revolves around Elise (Jolie), an apparent socialite who is being watched by the authorities because of her involvement with a now notorious thief and tax evader whose name I can't remember. But this guy, let's call him Tom, sends her a note with instructions to get on a train and pick out someone who has his build and befriend him. The point of this is to make the authorities believe that this "tourist" is really the Tom, and hence Elise and Tom can go off while the tourist pays the price. The tourist that is picked is Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a math teacher from the Midwest on holiday in Italy.

The film goes on from there with Jolie semi-seducing Johnny Depp so that he checks into a hotel with her, escorts her around town, blah blah blah. And of course, not only are the authorities searching for Tom, but also so is the criminal that he stole from. All in all, there are a lot of people trying to shoot him.

I think this film tried to be too many different things, and in the end, it didn't work out. It tried to be romantic, but let's face it: seeing Johnny Depp in a "normal" role was just too weird. Not to mention that there wasn't a ton of chemistry between the two leads. It tried to be an action movie, but it didn't allow Angelina Jolie to kick ass. I was sitting there the whole time thinking, "When is she going to drop kick that guy across the room?" It also tried to be a buddy action flick, which failed miserably. Again, if Depp had a sword in his hand, it might have been a different story.

My favorite character was played by Paul Bettany, who was the Interpol officer assigned to find the illusive Tom, and he took his job seriously to the point of obsession. I always enjoy Paul Bettany and think that he gets the short end of the stick at times. Remember how he was Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale"? Quality shit.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 5. Maybe it'll improve on second viewing, but I really don't intend to find out. So if you see this movie, see it for Paul if nothing else. Because Johnny Depp as normal doesn't really work.