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.
Posted in Brian, Movie review, Movies
Tagged Academy Award, Bradley Cooper, David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Nominated, Robert De Niro, Rom Com, romantic comedy, Silver Linings Playbook
Moving to a new town proves even more stressful for a teenage girl when she learns that the house next door was the site of a double murder. But after making friends with the victims’ son, she realizes there may be more to the story.
Rating: 5 out of 10
This is a decent little suspense movie. I thought it was going to be a total teen flick, like Jennifer Lawrence did with “The Hunger Games.” But it was slightly better. Not great, but OK.
New girl moves to town, there’s a creepy kid at the end of the street and they become friends. She’s intrigued by him, he’s mysterious, sensitive and they develop a friendship and romance. But things start going awry. He has a sad past, his sister killed their family and he still lives in that house. But dark clues start to bloom up around him.
The movie’s really not all that bad, but it suffers from a majorly slow period mid-way through the film and the ending is a little predictable. Lawrence is very solid as the lead, and she’s a talented actress who has great range. But in the end, this is a forgettable flick.
Posted in Commentary, Entertainment, Entertainment News, Movie Camp, Movie review, Movies, News
Tagged action, Action Thrillers, Cinema, Elisabeth Shue, entertainment, Film, horror, House at the End of the Street, Jennifer Lawrence, movie review, murder, mystery, review, suspense, The Movie Bros, The Movie Brothers, thriller
In this exciting prequel to the X-Men series, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) — the future Professor X and Magneto — are best friends dedicated to harnessing their powers and promoting the education of fellow mutants during the turbulent 1960s. The duo works together to stop a powerful adversary that threatens mankind, but their ideological differences drive them apart and turn them into ferocious enemies.
Rating: 8 out of 10
It’s amazing how popular and influential the Wolverine character can be. That characters’ inclusion in the original X-Men series caused a lot of the others to be largely ignored. Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Iceman, and many others were barely glazed over, much less explored in any satisfying way. In fact, Wolverine was such a popular character that Fox gave the green light to a $150 million budget for his own film and origin story. So, with “X-men First Class,” and no Wolverine to be found (except for maybe the quick funny cameo), how would an X-men film fare?
Well, it turns out to be the best in the entire series. A lot of the credit for that goes to director Matthew Vaughn ( Kick-Ass, Stardust) who makes sure action never comes at the expense of plot and character development. Each of the primary characters in the X-Men First Class are perfectly cast and fleshed out in a way that makes us care what happens to them. I remember when I watched the first 3 flicks in the series that I thought they were all well-made films but none ever engaged me enough to truly care what happened to any of them. The effects were great, the action was great, and the plots were decent. However, many other comic book films made since have caused me to ignore them. The first two Spiderman films, “Batman Begins,” “Dark Knight,” and the Hellboy films are all better. I suppose the difficulty with the X-Men series is that it never truly lended itself to a two hour movie format. There’s just too much back story, too many characters, and too big a world to explore that it’s impossible to explain it all, especially to the non-comic book readers. That’s where “X-Men: First Class” gets it just right. It takes a step back and allows us to slowly get initiated into the world and character relationships to the point where all the other films will make a lot more sense. Is it on par with the greatest comic book films? No, but it’s a lot of fun and works even for those that have never opened a comic book.
Posted in Commentary, Entertainment, Entertainment News, Movie review, Movies, News
Tagged action, Action & Adventure, Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy, adventure, comic boko, comic book, Comic Book and Superhero Movies, comic book movie, comic book movies, Fantasy, hero, heroes, James McAvoy, January Jones, Jason Flemyng, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Magneto, Marvel, Marvel Comics, Michael Fassbender, movie review, Movie reviews, Nicholas Hoult, Professor X, Rose Byrne, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, science fiction, The Movie Brothers, Wolverine, X-Men, X-Men First Class, Zoë Kravitz
I have a bit of interest in this new addition to the franchise, which I was never a huge fan of. When you have as many superheros as you do in X-Men, it’s incredibly hard to wedge them all into a meaningful story.
OK, so this screenshot looks a bit corny.
The first X-Men was a solid flick, though a bit corny with sooooo many heroes, villains, and a plot that had to be forced between character development. The sequels were just plain awful. However, with this prequel they have a chance to go back to square one, develop only the truly meaningful characters, introduce us to some new ones, and give the franchise a much-needed lift — along with all its fans. They can also strip down it’s over-the-top glitz, costumes, weaponry and vehicles because none of that exists yet. This could be a refreshing comic book movie. It’s directed by Matthew Vaughn, who directed “Layer Cake,” “Stardust,” and “Kick Ass” — all movies I very much enjoyed. The film is set for a June 3 release, and could be the best comic book film of the summer — going up against “Thor,” “Captain America” and “Green Lantern.”
Posted in Commentary, Entertainment, Entertainment News, Movie review, Movies, News
Tagged comic book, comic book movies, James McAvoy, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, X-Men, X-Men First Class
In this noir drama set deep in Ozark territory, resilient teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) goes on the trail of her missing drug-dealing father when his absence jeopardizes the safety of their family. The deadbeat dad has a critical court date pending, and Ree is determined that he make it — despite the objections of the insular Dolly clan. Director Debra Granik’s unflinching drama won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Rating: 8 out of 10
I used to work in Glens Falls, NY, so I wasn’t too surprised by some of the utter redneck, white trash lifestyles so accurately portrayed in this film. However, if you haven’t spent time in the poverty-stricken rural areas of America, this film has some powerful imagery and situations that may surprise some or may remind you of people you’ve met and places you’ve been.
We follow Ree Dolly, a 17 year old taking care of her younger brother and sister, along with her mentally ill mother, through some disturbing scenes of drug dealers and criminals associated with her father. It’s a simple premise — a girl looking for her missing father because if he misses a court date, the family loses their home.
The film moves patiently, wrapped around an outstanding performance from Lawrence. We see the old tires and broken tractors with weeds growing around them, dirty, worn toys lingering in the yard and a tone of speaking heard only in these parts. There is not looking down the nose at these people. It is an honest portrayal of some of the uglier parts of our country we don’t often see or speak of, which is why I found it so engaging. Don’t be surprised if this gets a best picture Oscar nomination.
Posted in Commentary, Entertainment, Entertainment News, Matt, Movie Camp, Movie review, Movies, News, Uncategorized
Tagged commentary, crime, Debra Granik, drama, Film, Film Noir, Grand Jury Prize, Jennifer Lawrence, movie, movie news, movie review, Movie reviews, movies, mystery, noir, Ozark Mountains, Rednecks, review, rural poverty, Sundance, suspense, The Movie Brothers, Theater, thriller, Winter's Bone