Tag Archives: Christian Bale

Vice Movie Review

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.

I absolutely recommend it.

Vice is presently in theaters.

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Throwback Thursday Part II- Swing Kids

Being an adult is full of difficulties. Sometimes, as adults, we have to make choices in life, and deal with the consequences, whatever they maybe.

In 1993, the movie, Swing Kids was released. Taking place in 1930’s Germany, the story revolves around a group of young men who love American swing music and British fashion. But as the Nazis begin to tighten their grip, they find they must make tough adult choices.

Peter (Robert Sean Leonard) and Thomas (Christian Bale) are best friends.  Their way to relax and unwind after a long day is to go the swing  clubs and dance the night away. But American swing music is banned in Germany. After being caught by the police for theft, their punishment is to attend classes on the new regime. Peter is confused about the new rules while Thomas seems to have no problems fitting in.

Is this movie the greatest ever made? No. But the story of becoming an adult and making tough choices is timeless. And the music and dancing are totally cool.

 

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The Times Are A Changing-Hollywood Is Not

Bob Dylan once wrote that the times are changing.

While the times are constantly changing, Hollywood seems stuck in the film stone age.

A new film adaptation of the Exodus will be premiering in December. Exodus: G0ds and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Rhamses.

Am I the only one who thinks Hollywood is still colorblind? Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale are good actors, but they are Caucasian. Personally, I don’t think it would have hurt to have a more diversified cast. Prince of Egypt, even though it was an animated film, the characters were not all Caucasian.

I think we can give some allowances for Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments.

But that was then and this is now. It’s time to expand Hollywood’s horizons and let us see more diverse actors on screen.

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Throwback Thursday Part II- Little Women

Little Women, for me as a reader, was a rite of passage. I was introduced to the March sisters at a young age. A precursor  of my addiction to classic literature by female authors in the 18th and 19th centuries, Little Women holds a place in my heart.

There have been several film adaptations of the novel. The most recent big screen adaptation was released 20 years ago.  Inhabiting the lives of the March sisters are Trini Alvarado (Meg, the sensible eldest sister), Winona Ryder (Jo, the tomboy who wishes to be a writer), Claire Danes (Beth, the homebody) and Kirsten Dunst / Samantha Mathis (wild child Amy). Rounding out the cast is Susan Sarandon as Mrs. March, Christian Bale as Laurie, Gabriel Byrne as Friedrich Bhaer and Eric Stoltz as John Brooke.

I like this movie. It’s true to the book while not sacrificing cinematic quality. This movie is good and still holds up after 20 years.

I recommend this movie.

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Still The King Of New York- My Thoughts On Newsies after 22 years

Imagine if you will, The Bell House, a non-nondescript bar in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn in the summer of 2011. It’s Friday night, the patrons are having a drink, unwinding after a long week. They are adults, mostly women in their 20’s and 30’s. They are educated, mature and grown up.

Then the movie starts. It’s Newsies, the 1992 Disney movie musical starring a very pre Batman Christian Bale as Jack Kelly. Newsies is the story of the newsboys strike in New York City in 1899. Jack Kelly is the unlikely leader of the boys who are fighting for their rights as employees.

Imagine, this group of educated and mature adults,  returning, if only for a few hours, to their childhoods, singing along to a soundtrack that has been part of their lives for nearly two decades. Premiering on April 10, 1992, Newsies was not well liked among critics at that time.   But the critics are not always right.

I’ve loved this movie for over 20 years. To be honest, it is bit flawed. While we all know that Christian Bale is an incredible actor, when it comes to the singing and dancing, Gene Kelly, he is not. But there is a heart to this movie, a genuineness. It speaks to everyone who sees themselves as the little person, who believes that change is impossible.

It is a little corny at times and a tad predictable, but it is a Disney movie.  Despite all of that, it is still Newsies and it is as good as it was back in 1992.

 

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