barney's-version

I don’t hold with shamans, witch doctors, or psychiatrists. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or even Dickens, understood more about the human condition than ever occurred to any of you. You overrated bunch of charlatans deal with the grammar of human problems, and the writers I’ve mentioned with the essence.
—  Mordecai Richler, Barney’s Version
When a child is born, I once explained to the kids, some dads lay down bottles of wine for them that will mature when they grow up into ungrateful adults. Instead, what you’re going to get from me, as each of you turns sixteen, is a library of the one hundred books that gave me the most pleasure when I was a know-nothing adolescent.
—  Mordecai Richler, Barney’s Version

Here are a bunch of random reviews of films I have seen lately. Hope you find something you like. :) I would love to hear what you thought of these films as well of course!

Water For Elephants - This is a really beautiful film. I was completely captivated and moved by it. I have to say that as someone who works on film and tv sets, I can really REALLY become disillusioned by it all - it’s hard for me not to notice the tech aspects in movies and so on, I almost always get taken out of the story… but there were scenes in this film where I was literally like sitting there with my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t audibly gasp, I mean it really had me hooked.  It was totally not what I was expecting which was a predictable, slightly lame love story with a circus backdrop. Visually it is stunning but I was more fascinated by the performances, especially Hal Holbrook and Christoph Waltz. Waltz’s character was complex, I absolutely loved that he wasn’t just the textbook bad guy - his relationship with his wife (Reese Witherspoon) wasn’t the stereotypical “sweet girl in a bad marriage” story either, I was so impressed by that and it just made me so much more invested in these characters. Also, I’m a sucker for any “old person looking back on their life” movies so I was like crying hysterically by the end. Just fantastic.

Barney’s Version - This is one of those movies that doesn’t really have a specific plot, it’s just about someone who’s had an interesting and eventful life. I LOVE films like this and this one was no exception. Barney’s Version spans over the lifetime of Barney, played fantastically by Paul Giamatti. Honestly, I was blown away by his performance. I always think he’s great but in this one I was truly wowed. This movie is a great showcase for all the actors though, most notably Dustin Hoffman (Barney’s father) and Rosamund Pike (Barney’s third wife). It’s another old guy looking back on his life movies and like I said, that just gets me. 

Spooner - This was a cute, indie, unassuming little love story about a 29 year old used car salesman (Matthew Lillard) who’s parents are making him move out of their house once and for all on his 30th birthday. He meets a girl just in the nick of time and we have a movie. I enjoyed it being a big Lillard fan - it’s his movie, and he gives a great performance. Outside of that, this isn’t a must see, but it’s worth checking out.

Waiting For Forever - This is an odd, off-base movie about a guy (Tom Sturridge, who looks like he was trying to copy Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon for this performance but unfortunately does not have a quarter of Depp’s charm) who never really grew up after his parents died when he was 10. He’s kind of stuck at that age, in love with the same girl (Rachel Bilson) who was his best friend at the time he lost his parents. He hasn’t spoken to her in years, but has been following her around the country. He means no harm, he’s just completely messed up. He can’t be bothered with normal things everyone worries about, such as where they will live, how will they make money, etc. He just kind of travels around juggling for spare change in the same cities his long lost love is in. It’s really a very sad film, and done correctly, it could have been quite good - but this was just all over the place. About ¾ths of the way in, I finally liked where the plot went. Despite what I said about Tom Sturridge earlier, when he isn’t trying to be too weird, he does play the childlike innocence of his character well during the crucial moments of film. Two incredible actors, Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins, are just kind of thrown in there for some tearjerker scenes, but they make the film worth seeing. 

African Cats - Wow, this was just so incredibly beautiful and fascinating to me. If you find animals/nature interesting in the slightest you will be captivated from beginning to end. It’s like a real life version of The Lion King. Also, I assume they have the best techology available because I don’t know how they slipped in and out of these areas without the animals noticing the cameras and attacking them. The close-ups could not have been sharper and it just amazes me. Disney is just so flaw free. Spectacular.

Insidious - I’d call this a supernatural thriller, not a horror movie. It goes a bit deeper and into other realms (literally) of horror than most haunted house movies. If you know me, you know I like anything that’s different in a world where so many movies are the same, and it was nice to hear an explanation I’ve never heard before as to why these people were being haunted. I thought the cinematography was great and the music was, at times, very effective. Some of the things that were supposed to be scary I just found to be ridiculous, but there was a lot of genuine creepiness as well. There’s a scene where the mother (Rose Byrne) is being haunted by the ghost of a child and I found it to be absolutely pitch perfect whereas a lot of the other scenes where they show ghosts were a little overdone and ended up not being scary as a result. I thought the entire conclusion of the movie was a bit underwhelming - I can’t explain this without giving stuff away but I thought they completely blew it there for awhile - until the last few minutes where I was like WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!!! which is pretty much the best reaction a scary movie can pull out of me. I hope there is a sequel.

Super - I went back and forth from hating to loving to hating to loving this movie and on and on and on. It’s funny, I laughed out loud a lot. Sometimes out of pure shock. I love dark comedies, but this one just gets so fucking ridiculous as it goes on that in my opinion the end isn’t even really worth watching. You can’t take the pulse of this film, it’s too all over the place, it tries to be too many things. I didn’t really like the beginning or the end, but there are a lot of great scenes in the middle. It’s odd that actors like Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon would take these roles - Liv is just kind of there as the damsel in distress, Kevin plays your typical “bad boy” character, and they are both far too good to play such lame roles. Ellen Page, however, completely steals the show so if you’re a fan of hers, you’ll love all her scenes - she really went for it.

Something Borrowed - I barely know what to even say. The story is, there’s Rachel and Darcy who have been best friends forever. Rachel is secretly in love with Dex, but never does anything about it - not even when Darcy starts flirting with him like mad one night, leading to a 6 year relationship and eventual engagement. Soon after, a semi-drunken night leads to Rachel and Dex sleeping together, which escalates to them having an affair and expressing their love for each other, all while not saying a word to Darcy who is planning their fucking wedding. Am I supposed to root for these two cheating assholes? Just because they’re setting it up like Darcy is a flaky, selfish lush and Rachel is a sweet, smart, innocent girl who’s a little too late in finding the love of her life, i’m supposed to be waiting for infidelity to win in the end? I don’t think so. ALL OF THAT SAID, if you can just ignore all of that, we’ve got a bunch of pretty people in some pretty hilarious situations. I laughed throughout. The best part is John Krasinski who is given the best lines. Don’t take it seriously at ALL and it’s cute enough to watch in your PJs on a Wednesday night.