Even while I worry about Lonergan's cinematic prospects, his film makes me optimistic about the state of the medium. I picked it for this symposium not because I foresee a litter of other Margarets in the future, but because of the happy fact of its existence.
The Twilight franchise has a reputation for lacking subtlety. The choice between a shirtless werewolf boy-man (Team Jacob) and a sparkling vampire (Team Edward) has thus far been the series’ major cultural contribution.
In this follow-up to Marshall’s similar ensemble romcom from 2010, Valentine’s Day, a bedridden Robert De Niro’s dying wish, croaked out of the side of his mouth in the manner of his Flawless stroke victim, is to be allowed onto the roof of his New York City hospital so he can see that precious ball drop one last time.
“I had progressed from being a person with a literary vision to being someone with a visual vision,” he told Kevin Jackson. “And with that film I tried to back off, I tried to suppress my new literacy.” The result of this suppression was a film of bland visual ambition without a balancing surfeit, or even modicum, of ideas, wit, or poetry.
The early buzz on Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, which follows the titular talk show host on his 2010 Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour, was that it revealed a meaner, bitterer Conan, overwhelmed and lashing out at close colleagues.
The “Delicious” of that grotesquely awkward title is Dean O’Dwyer, a paraplegic Angeleno living out of his car who DJs under the name Delicious D. Thornton, himself wheelchair-bound with a broken back, plays D as a mostly unlikable cauldron of resentment and self-pity. He has reasons to be surly.
I guess it’s interesting to note that the biggest difference between this perfectly well made and completely superfluous third sequel and its now-fifteen-year-old source material is the degree to which the principal characters are film-literate.
It hadn't occurred to me that there's no real suspense in this movie following a few early revelations, but you're right, Adam. And I felt a little embarrassed for the talky Lincoln Lawyer when it resorted to some precisely timed live rounds to awaken snoozing viewers.
The early teaser of True Grit that played before last summer’s Inception presented staccato shots of glowering cowboys raising heads and six-shooters from the shadows, cocking them at quivering defenseless victims, and muttering cryptic macho dialogue.
His choice to tackle this fictionalized story of Nevada’s notorious Mustang Ranch, the state's first legalized brothel, marked a chance for him to reconnect with Devil's Advocate sleaze, but Love Ranch’s tameness and sentimentality hints that the 65-year-old, whose most recent movie was 2004's Ray, is softening.
There's a genuinely touching movie here—Evets’s excellent performance and his character's nervous breakdown and possible redemption through forgiveness and rekindled affections—but the layers of padding that contain it end up overcushioning its impact.