After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Holy Shit! Bradley Cooper can act! I honestly had no idea. Everything I’ve ever seen him in prior to this movie, he’s always delivered a minimalist performance where he seems to be doing little more than acting like himself. But, here he delivers a nuanced and fleshed out character that isn’t just interesting, but funny and touching as well. Honestly, all the acting in this film is fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver are all top notch and make the film work but I knew THEY could act. Cooper caught me a bit off guard.
As I’m sure you’ve read from the above synopsis, this is a film about mental illness and the long term effects it can have on life, love, and finding your place in the world. As generalized as that description can sound, it describes the experience of watching the film perfectly. David O. Russell does his best work since Three Kings here. He has always been a visionary director that uses interesting characters to help round out a detailed and oft-kilter world. But, here is a film that is more about emotion than rational thought. Cooper, De Niro, and Lawrence all have their mental illness vices. De Niro is obsessive compulsive, Lawrence lost her husband and has thrown herself to any man sexually who will make her forget her pain, and Cooper has constant fits of rage stemming all the way back to an incident where his wife was unfaithful. Each of them is looking for their own “Silver Lining.”
That makes for an interesting premise and certainly Russell is adept at weaving the tale but it’s the interaction between the characters that makes this film special, particularly the believable chemistry between Lawrence and Cooper. Their relationship builds over the course of the movie, not from some lame chance meeting like all of the predictable romantic comedies. They have very little in common except for one thing: they both have no filter between their brains and their mouths. This makes for some funny and unpredictable dialogue that is completely original.
I’ll admit that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. A lot of film goers like their neat and tidy films that ride off into the sunset. While this film is far from a negative experience, it doesn’t dare to think that these people are cured. It just lets them find their silver lining within their imperfect existence.
The Life of Pi
Based on Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, this coming-of-age tale recounts the adventures of Pi, an Indian boy who is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with only some zoo animals for company.
Rating: 9 out of 10
This is the kind of movie you watch for the first time and say: I really need to watch that again
And I can’t wait to see it again. I was lucky enough to see this in the theater in 3D, which I generally can’t stand, but this is by far the best use of the technology ever in any film. Ang Lee deserved the Oscar he recieved for best director. I knew it wouldn’t win best picture — it’s not that kind of movie that typically does — but it is still wonderful. It’s the kind of movie that leaves you questioning, wondering and thinking about a couple days after you see it.
In it’s simplest form, it is a coming-of-age story about a boy who loses his family, but it takes so many beautiful and challenges twists with gorgeous cinemetography and visuals. It is a love story, a story about faith, family, ideals and challengs.
And I never mentioned that 90 percent of it takes places on a tiny boat at sea with a boy and a tiger. If you can make that an incredible film, well, you have some serious directing chops.
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