Entries tagged with “The Other Guys”.

It's hard to become champ with a crackhead in your corner.

2010 was a pretty terrific year for movie lovers.

The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, The King’s Speech, True Grit and The Other Guys were some of my favorites. I recently caught two surefire Oscar favorites– The Fighter and Black Swan. Both are must-sees for any serious film lover.

In The Fighter, we see a tale that’s been told many times: the palooka beating the odds, trusting in himself and succeeding. But, this film based on true events throws in some interesting twists– a family that loves and manipulates so hard it’s crushing, and the perils of being trained by a crackhead.
Christian Bale is phenomenal as the washed-up older brother/trainer to Mark Wahlberg’s battling boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward.

Bale’s “Dickey” lives in his past glory days and deludes himself with dreams of rising again to be a serious fighter and contender. Until then, he has the crack pipe and his little brother to keep him occupied. The boys have an overbearing mother played by Melissa Leo, in a performance sure to get an Oscar nod. Mom is not only the matriarch of the family, she schedules upcoming bouts and manages her brood of fighting boys and doting daughters. Leo and Bale are a potent one-two punch (witness the scene in the car with the two singing).

Throw in killer performances by Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg, and you have a film best described by our firstborn son as “it’s hard to imagine a better sports movie.” Yes, yes it is.

Director David O. Russell really delivers the goods here; the pacing, camerawork, cinematography and performances are all terrific. That said, I cannot forgive Russell for the wreck that was I Heart Huckabees .

Ballet gets very, very frightening.

The other move that should not be missed is Black Swan, a film just under two hours that will haunt you for a long time to come.

While we’ve all seen many boxing tales, we probably can’t name many gripping ballet flicks. Enter Black Swan, a movie that’s part beauty, part beast, and has the creepy edginess of Psycho throughout.

Oscar, meet Natalie Portman, shake hands and get to know each other. She’s a lock.

Portman shed 20 of her unslightly pounds for the role of Nina Sayers, and she delivers a heavyweight performance as a dedicated-innocent-living-at-home-with-mommie-pursuing-perfection- ballet dancer. Her performance as an actor and dancer are believable, beautiful and incredibly disturbing. Director Darren Aronofsky never lets up with the tension and intrigue of this compelling thiller. No matter how much you think you don’t like ballet, I defy you not to be interested in this film. Of course, some hot sex scenes can spice up any story.

The supporting cast is superb. Barbara Hershey as Nina’s long suffering artistic mom, Mila Kunis as Lily, the back-tatted beauty in the company who is either Nina’s friend, enemy or a frienemy, Winona Ryder as Beth Macintyre, the fading ballerina star and Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy, the driven and manipulative ballet company artistic director.

I can say no more about the movie aside from this: Swan Lake scares me. See this film. Here’s a ballet film that keeps you on your toes. (Could I get a rimshot, here? A rimshot, please! Rimshot?!)

The Fighter and Black Swan are two great stories of finding strength from within in decidedly different ways. Between the two films, they’ll easily garner a dozen to a dozen and a half well-deserved Oscar nominations.

See them and see why.

A buddy film where the buddies hate each other. Sweet.

This summer, the temperatures have averaged two degrees cooler than hell, so everyone is looking for reasons to get out of the heat and into the cool. Here’s two flicks worth the money to get you into your nearby air conditioned cineplex: The Other Guys and Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

Both of these movies are extremes, meaning you’ll love them or hate them. This is as art should be.

If you like your comedy silly, sophomoric and played straighter than an arrow lying on the Nebraska plains, The Other Guys fits the bill.

In one tidy package you have the quintessential spoof of the buddy cop film genre. The opening car chase alone is worth the price of admission with Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne (don’t call me ‘The Rock’) Johnson in hot pursuit. But this is just the appetizer.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play partners, the twist is Wahlberg detests Ferrell. Their captain is Michael Keaton (remember when he used to be bigger than Tom Hanks?). Keaton is terrific. I’d forgotten how great his comic sensibilities are and it’s nice to see him back trotting his comedic chops.

Ferrell is pretty subdued for Ferrell– his character is an accountant. The real gem is Wahlberg who plays it so straight one wonders if his face was epoxied to keep from busting a gut.

I’m not saying anything else except if you’re looking for a nice diversion from your Mensa meetings, this is it.

Love is never as easy as you'd think it would be, is it?

As for Scott Pilgrim vs The World, well, it failed miserably in its opening weekend and Hollywood insiders are predicting this could be one of the great bombs of recent history. What a pity if it turns out to be true.

This film directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz) is completely fresh. I’m not familiar with the graphic novel comic books the film is based on, and I generally don’t care for geek fare, but this movie entertained me throughout. The graphics, the writing, the music, the risks it takes are all bold. I imagine the sensibilities will be too much for some people and that they’ll leave after the first 20 minutes. Bye bye.

But if you’re intrigued, if you’re looking for something out of the norm, this is the cheese.

Yes, Micael Cera plays the typical Michael Cera role, but he makes sense for this character. He’s a slacker bassist in a band and has been searching for love and coming up snake eyes for a long time. He confused, complex, sincere and insincere– just like a real live human being.

The movie’s got action, adventure, a great soundtrack, laughs, terrific effects, Canadian cityscapes and angst galore.

If this bombs at the box office, I suspect it will kill on DVD. See it while you can on the big screen. It’s well worth coming out of the heat to see.

See both films. They’re a couple of the better movies so far this year.