Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook, 2012
Directed by David O. Russell

Pat has just been released from a mental ward after spending 8 months there. A full grown man, Pat is sent to live with his parents under court orders, and set to take medication and go to therapy. While Pat is happy to be out, all he wants to do is see Nikki, his wife. But no one will talk about her, or let Pat see her. Pat has become an optimist, a true believer in "silver linings". So he tries to better himself, physically and intellectually for Nikki. But then he meets Tiffany, another girl with problems. And when she offers to deliver a letter to Nikki, Pat ends up making a deal with her, to dance with her at a local dance competition, something she's always wanted to do.

I read the book, by the same name, by Matthew Quick back in the winter in anticipation for this film. Having only read the summary of the film IMDB gave me, it sounded funny, and tracked down the book at my local library. And of course, it was such a phenomenal book. It was hilarious, and real, slightly cliche, but original at the same time! The only hindrance to reading a book and falling in love with it as that you'll expect the movie to be the book and sit through it being like "why did they change that? what was the point of that?"

Thus is kind of what happened upon seeing Silver Linings Playbook over the weekend. However, I will not talk too much about the pointless changes they made, the movie was still incredibly well done and well acted and funny.

I have never had a lot of hope in Bradley Cooper. He's never acted in anything to really give me much confidence in him as a serious actor. When I saw he was cast in SLP, I was a little "meh" about it, but got over it. Having now seen the movie, I'll say for the first time something I didn't think I'd say: "Bradley Cooper really impressed me in this movie!" He really captured Pat so well. He gave him the right sensitivity, but balanced with enough wit and humor to make him real. His emotional scenes, mostly the ones with him having breakdowns and slowly descending into hysteria, where wonderfully done. I'm really impressed with him!

Also, Jennifer Lawrence was not someone who I'd have cast. Tiffany is supposed to be in her 30s in the book, and supposed to be (if I remember correctly) Veronica's older sister, not younger. However, upon seeing her acting in this film, it's so clear why Lawrence was cast. She really captured Tiffany. Tiffany could've easily been some sort of cliche character with not a lot of depth, but Jennifer Lawrence was able to give her depth and humor, but also that we were able to sympathize for her. Additionally, I had been nervous that the age difference between Lawrence and Cooper (15 years difference, by the way) would be really weird. But Cooper was able to seem much younger (I already didn't believe he was 37 when I just googled his age), and Lawrence seemed much older than her mere 22 years.

I could easily keep going on the acting in this film. Robert De Niro gave Pat's father depth, and played him so well. Jacki Weaver was also great and was a nice addition to the cast.

Overall, the movie was well made, the script was well written and it was cute, quirky and funny. It has bits for everyone. It has romance for rom-com fans, Jennifer Lawrence (for Hunger Games fans, and  for the guys), Bradley Cooper, football, dancing, and humor. It's an unconventional romantic comedy that David O. Russell only could've done.

While I need a second viewing to really believe in this film as a film, and not keep thinking about "why?" when they changed things from the book, it was a really great movie.

Jennifer Lawrence will definitely be big competition for Leading Actress, and seems to be the current front runner. Robert De Niro is also expected to make it into the top 5. While I'd love to see Bradley Cooper get some love for his role as Pat, we'll see whether this will happen. This film is almost gauranteed to make the Best Picture Nominations, having won the People's Choice Award at TIFF. Will also probably crack into the Adapted Screenplay nominations and could swipe into Director, anything else is really up in the air.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom, 2012
Directed by Wes Anderson

Again, it's been a while since I've posted! I watched this movie twice last week but was thrown up from writing this review until now because I got engaged over the weekend! Woohoo! I'd say thats a pretty legit excuse not to write up a review right away! Anyway, here is the review for Moonrise Kingdom!

Moonrise Kingdom is the story of a young girl and a young boy who fall in love and, hating the lives they have at home (or at khaki scouts in Sam's case), run away together, and the small island town scrambles to try and find them, throwing everything topsy-turvy.

Moonrise Kingdom is a quirk of a movie. While I had heard of it before, most of what I knew was that all the hipsters on their blogs and tumblr dressed up as Sam and Suzy for Halloween. And that all the gifs on tumblr told me was that Sam says "I love you but you don't know what you're talking about" to Suzy. And something about them being "married".

Overall, I was expecting something extremely quirky and hipster. Which is more or less what I got.

However, I found the movie extremely endearing, and extraordinarily cute. Sam Shakusky is an adorable little boy, Suzy such a pretty girl. Scout Master Ward was hilarious, and Bruce Willis's character was so un-Bruce Willis. Yes, the movie was highly quirky and weird, but it was my kind of humour and stuff I really appreciate. Dopey kind of humor.

This movie was also quite well acted. The boy playing Sam Shakusky was really great. And of course with the star-studded adult cast, you can't go wrong.

And what I appreciate is that Wes Anderson gave the two young kids depth, and problems. Suzy is being thought of as "a very troubled child" by her parents, lashes out at kids at school, and hates her parents. Sometimes she steals library books to make her feel better. Sam's parents died a long time ago so he's been in and out with foster homes, but never really fitting in with anybody. The movie was not simply artificial and shallow, but most of the characters had problems and they had a bit of depth to them, which is what makes this movie so good.

Upon first watch of this, I wasn't a huge fan. I found it a little dull, and not quite what I was expecting (though I wasn't sure what to expect either). I picked up the movie a second time 2 days later and watched it with my mum, and found I enjoyed it a lot more, knowing what was coming and what to expect.

While Moonrise Kingdom is a charming film, I don't see the potential of Best Picture in it. If it were nominated I'd probably do a fist pump and laugh a lot cause such a quirky hipster movie that not everyone likes is up, but I just don't see that happening. It's biggest category will be in Original Screenplay, in which I think this has a good chance of not only being nominated, but I wouldn't be surprised if it won (though does have the strong competition of Django Unchained).