Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Ides of March

In case you haven't heard, there is a lot of Oscar hype over The Ides of March. I personally think it's just because this has been such a bad year for movies in general. Many of you may be of the mind that the Oscars only ever like stupid movies that no one watches, and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I would personally like to encourage you to watch the movies that are Oscar-worthy this year. Don't complain about no one watching them if you are one of the ones that is not watching them. With that being said, I went to watch this movie because I wanted to see whether it really was Oscar-worthy. The cast is obviously star-studded, and, with Clooney directing, it promised to at least have a brain. The Oscar hype set my expectations high.

The trailer made it clear that there was some kind of something that was going on behind the curtains with The Ides of March, but I must say that I was surprised at how much this changed things. I thought this was just going to be a simple story. Turns out, I was very very wrong. I certainly didn't see all of the twists and turns coming. The plot is very complex and really shows how screwed up politics can be (In case you didn't know, they don't always tell the truth). There were a few awkward moments in the film, but, overall, it was complex, original, and fun.

Best Scene: There is one giant twist in the movie that sort of lights ten billion small fires. I obviously won't tell you what happens, but it's pretty cool.

The cast of this film was amazing. It was very hard for me to find glitches as far as the cast is concerned. Clooney did a great job of directing, but he did an even better job of letting the rest of the cast take the spotlight. The movie wasn't really about the presidential candidates, but rather the people behind the scenes. I am a huge West Wing fan, and this movie is kind of like the drama of that entire series rolled into two hours. If you are pretty dumb in the area of politics, you might think these characters a bit dramatic. Unfortunately, politicians have many secrets and plenty of drama, so do not be fooled. Phillip Seymour Hoffman redeemed himself after a horrible performance in Moneyball, and Paul Giamatti was great as well.

Best Character: Ryan Gosling was brilliant as Stephen Meyers, a smart, savvy, young campaign manager. It wasn't obvious in the previews, but Gosling is THE main character. I rarely think that the main character does a good enough job to be recognized, but Gosling did phenomenal.

Worst Character: The only character that seemed out of place was this random intern that they threw into the end of the movie. I think she was supposed to be a symbol of how easily people can be replaced, especially in politics. I'm not big on having to interpret what's going on in a movie, so I didn't much care for that.

This was one of the most unpredictable movies that I have seen in a long time. Also, it has been a while since I have seen a performance as good as that of Ryan Gosling's, in a lead role at least. The problem is that I didn't get an Oscar feel while watching. If you haven't noticed, 2011 has been a year lacking in Oscar-worthy movies. I think people are just so anxious to see a good, smart film that they got all worked up over this one. Don't get me wrong, it was very good, but I don't think it deserves an Oscar nom. It did not greatly exceed my expectations, but it didn't disappoint. If you like politics or know nothing about politics, go watch this movie! You will either be entertained or learn something or both. I give The Ides of March 3.57 out of 5 stars.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Great Expectations: October 2011

The three movies that I am most excited about, in order of release date:

The Ides of March (October 7th)

Margin Call (October 21st)

In Time (October 28th)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


From the first time I saw the preview for 50/50, I knew that I would love it. I love funny movies with a serious storyline, and that's what I expected from 50/50. Seth Rogen is rather hilarious and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very good actor and, in the preview, it looked as if they would compliment each other quite well. There is no doubt that cancer is a sensitive subject for many, so I was very interested in seeing how they would balance the funny and serious moments throughout the film.

50/50 had a weird vibe about it in the beginning. I didn't quite feel the emotion of the serious moments until about half way through, but, looking back, I can see how that really mirrored the emotions of Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). There were some very very funny parts, but I felt like the movie was more serious than funny overall. There was a little bit of a relationship story going on with Adam, and I felt like the approach to that was very good as well. To know that this was based on the real life story of one of Seth Rogen's friends really made me get more attached to the characters. It really was very real, and I felt like this could seriously happen to me, which had me really anticipating knowing the end of the story.

Best Scene: I don't want to give anything away, but there were two scenes that almost made me cry. One is when Adam is about to have surgery, and one is when he is driving Kyle's (Seth Rogen) car. I won't say anything else, but be on the lookout for these scenes, if you go watch the film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a phenomenal job playing Adam, but, regardless of the actor, the character was really easy for me to connect with, being a guy in his 20s. Unfortunately, I kind of thought that Kyle and Adam were not exactly the ideal friends for this kind of movie. Adam seemed completely alone for the most part, when I expected Kyle to kind of be the guy that supported him throughout. This relationship matured toward the end of the movie, but it still wasn't what I expected. Nevertheless, Seth Rogen was hilarious as usual. Anna Kendrick was a good addition to the film, and I think they gave her just enough screen time. Adam's mom, played by Angelica Houston, was really a great character that helped you get even more attached to Adam and his problems.

Best Character: Alan and Mitch, played by Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer, really were a phenomenal, unexpected addition to the cast. They were older men who went through their chemo with Adam, and the friendship among the three of them was really neat to watch.

Worst Character: Rachael, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, was really the only bad part of the entire film. The character was necessary and really made for an interesting story, but I don't think Howard did a good job at all. It was very awkward when she was on screen.

This was a GREAT movie. I have only cried during two movies ever in my life, but this one had me as close to tears as you can get. There is no way that a young person could watch 50/50 and not be affected by the story. The cast was brilliant, there were some hilarious parts, and the story was real. I don't know what else you could ask for in a film. I could not imagine going through what this guy did, and I really hope that I never have to. I keep trying to imagine myself in his place, and I just can't make myself. If you want to appreciate life more, go watch this movie! I give 50/50 4.2 out of 5 stars and warn you to grab some tissues.