Art knows no gender. That does not mean, however, that a female artist is going to get the same respect/reception that her male counterpart will.
The 2014 film, Big Eyes, tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams). In the early 1960s, Margaret was a divorced single mother who was trying to get by via her art. She is soon swept up off her feet by Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). After marrying Walter, Margaret continues painting. What she does not know is that her husband is claiming that the work is his. In doing so, he is getting attention for both the success and failure of the paintings.
When she finds out the truth, she knows that she has only one option. Reveal the truth and rely on only herself to get by.
Directed by Tim Burton, this film falls very securely within the theatrical vision that audiences have become accustomed to. Adams and Waltz are perfectly cast. My problem is that I quickly got bored. Within a half hour of watching this movie, I felt no need to continue on. I hate to say that I was bored, but there is no other word to describe it.
I liked this movie. It has the charm of the original with enough buildup to keep the overall narrative going. What makes it stand out from the first film is the subtle history lesson that the audience may or may not be aware of.
Politics is not known to be a clean or ethical business. While some may claim that they are getting into politics to serve the needs of the people, their actual reason for getting into politics is not quite as transparent.
The new movie, Vice, is the story of Dick Cheney, who serviced as Vice President under George W. Bush. The film starts in early 1960’s when Cheney (Christian Bale) is a drunken ne’er-do-well. After flopping out of college, he is working, but spending most of his time in the bar and getting into fights. His longtime girlfriend, Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum: clean up his act or their relationship is over. The film then moves forward in time as Cheney climbs up the political ladder and he and Lynne go through the motions of marriage and parenthood. His job with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) will eventually lead to the job of Vice President while George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) serves as President. Along the way, he makes many decisions, some which may be seen as unethical.
Writer/Director Adam McKay is not known for dramatic films that have a political edge. But with Vice, he is able to create a film that succeeds. This success comes down to the slightly unorthodox narrative and the lead actors who disappear completely into their characters. This disappearing act, especially by Bale, could lead to multiple awards come next year.
Sometimes, when life throws us a curve-ball, we can only think quickly and hope for the best.
In Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a middle-aged governess who has just lost another job. The agency who has found her work in the past is not so quick to find her a new position. With no other way out, she steals the information of a new client and presents herself as the new social secretary for Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), an actress and nightclub performer. Delysia is juggling three men: Nick (Mark Strong), the owner of a night club, Michael (Lee Pace), who plays piano for Delysia and is ready to marry her at a moments notice and Phil (Tom Payne), a young theater producer who is eager to cast her in his newest production.
While juggling all of that, Guinevere has caught the eye of Joe (Ciarán Hinds), a fashion designer. Will Delysia choose from one of her three boyfriends and will Miss Pettigrew be unmasked for whom she truly is?
Set during World War II, this film is the perfect modern screwball comedy that was a staple of the movie going experience in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Amy Adams channels Marilyn Monroe as a goodhearted, but not all there actress who does not know what she wants. And of course, there a couple of 1990’s Austen leading men, which always makes a film that much better.
The science fiction genre can be pretty predictable, like any genre. Especially when it comes to alien invasion narratives.
In the new movie, Arrival, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a doctor whose specialty is languages. When 12 mysterious flying objects land around the world, she called to learn their language and help to figure out what their purpose on Earth is. Recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), Louise joins a team that includes physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).
While trying to learn the alien’s language and figuring out how to communicate with them, Louise is also dealing with the death of her daughter.
Based on the short story by Ted Chiang, this movie has been hailed by the critics as one of the best movies of the year.
What I liked about this movie was the strong female lead in Louise and the fact that it was a science fiction film that dealt with real human actions and emotions as opposed to shlock. I also appreciated the message of our shared humanity and how important it is to get along with each other simply because underneath it all, we are all human. While it was not, in my opinion, everything that the critics stated, it was a heck of a lot better some of the movies that have come out this year.
There is something about good food that brings people together.
The 2009 movie, Julie and Julia is about food and how it brings people together.
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) dreams of being a writer. But, like many writers, she has a day job. In post 9/11 New York City, Julie works in a call center speaking the survivors of the attack. To create a balance in her life, Julie decides to try to recreate every recipe in The Art Of French Cooking within a year. She documents her progress on her blog. In 1950’s Paris, Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is an American housewife who is taking French cooking lessons at the Le Cordon Bleu. The classes lead her collaboration on a cookbook, which she hopes to sell to other American housewives.
This movie is interesting because both main characters take a chance. Julie’s attempt to recreate the recipes and documentation of her progress will lead to her success. Julia who is looked down upon for wanting to become a cook, eventually becomes a success. Taking a chance is never easy, but the results are well worth it.
A young woman, usually a princess, has met her prince or is on her way to her prince. But there is usually a witch or another barrier to their happily ever after. They usually take themselves very seriously.
In 2007, Enchanted, the good people of Disney satirized themselves.
Animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is on her way to her happily ever after with Prince Edward (James Marsden). But Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) will do anything to prevent Giselle’s and Edward’s union. Giselle is banished from the magical, musical world that she knows and find herself in gritty, complicated New York City where true love does not always win out in the end.
Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) is a divorce lawyer raising his young daughter by himself. He is practical, realistic man who takes Giselle home. He also has a girlfriend, Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel), whom he is trying to propose to. Giselle begins to have feelings for Robert and understand that love is not as simple as she thought. But with her fairy tale prince searching for her, she has to decide what she wants: the simple, predictable happily ever after or the ever questioning, complicated real world?
I’m not a huge Disney fan. But the fact that this movie satirizes and respects Disney earns my respect. I liked the character’s journey, especially the ones that come from the animated world and have to learn that life is not so simple.
What can I say about Man Of Steel? Other than its brillant and every comic super hero film from now on should have Christopher Nolan invovled with the production.
Man Of Steel completely reboots the Superman myth, starting with the last days of Krypton and the confrontation between Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and General Zod (Michael Shannon). The film then takes the audience to Earth with Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) having flash backs of his childhood while attempting anonimity. Daily Planet reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is investigating a series of UFO related incidents and the myth that this mysterious man has been helping people in their hour of need.
The movie is very good. Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent is a breath of fresh air, revitalizing the Superman mythos with renewed energy. Adams as Lois Lane is both traditional and modern in her portrayl of Superman’s other half. Rounding out the cast is Laurence Fisbourne as Perry White with Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent, Clark’s human adopted parents.
My only critique is that the fight scenes could have been cut down by a few minutes. Other than that, the movie was incredible and I hope to see a sequel in the next few years.