Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! Today I’m also doing a detailed review of “The Proposition,” for Hanspostcard’s Movie Draft which will be posted separately so be looking for it.
Starring: Steve Carrell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Brent Sexton, Will Sasso, C.J. Wilson, Kevin Maier, Tom Key, Charles Green, Alan Aisenberg, Topher Grace, Matt Lewis, Vince Pisani, Kurt Yue, and many more.
Director and Writer: Jon Stewart
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: Steve Carrell and Rose Byrne play two campaign managers who study candidates in key locations and offer to help fund and run their campaigns. Steve’s character finds an icon of virtue farmer in rural Wisconsin and convinces him to run against the small town’s long-time mayor. Byrne decides to turn it into a high dollar competition and backs the mayor. The farmer becomes a commodity and his daughter turns Steve’s head while at the same time he’s building sexual tension with his Byrne’s character. The ugliness of politics plays itself out in gory detail.
Impressions: Fast-paced with high brow humor that is best understood by someone who understands the game of politics (which I don’t.) It’s a fun movie even without understanding the finer points. Carrell is brilliant as always, as is Chris Cooper. Good support cast with several cameos of known faces.
Etc.: filmed in Santa Clarita, CA and Rockmart, GA
imdb trivia: Partially inspired by the 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, where the Democratic and Republican parties and groups supporting them spent more than $55 million combined – the most expensive House Congressional election in U.S. history.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino, Matthew Lillard, and many seen very little.
Director: Steven Belber
Genres: drama (imdb says comedy but not)
Synopsis: Set in NYC, Tobi (played by Stewart) is the omnisexual older Julliard dance teacher that has a nice apartment where everything is arranged just-so. He’s flamboyant and funny and happily invites Gugino’s character and her husband to interview him at his place. When her husband, soon to be revealed as a police officer currently suspended for using excessive force, starts getting brusque with Tobi, the real reason for the visit is revealed. What plays out afterwards is an exploration of past exploits and missed opportunities.
Impressions: I really liked the way this started out, as I’m sure Tobi’s character did, as he enjoyed talking about his world travels with a dance troupe and some of his exploits; but from the moment the hostile husband (played by Lillard) got going, the enjoyment flew out the window. With Tobi “on trial” for the decisions he made, his defensiveness was uncomfortable. I like Patrick Stewart and Carla Gugino, but Lillard was a little too intense. Not to say his character shouldn’t be, but he played it a little too strong in my opinion.
Etc.: LGBTQI+ friendly; imdb trivia: This movie was based on Stephen Belber’s play of the same name, which premiered on Broadway in 2004 (starring Frank Langella as Tobi, Ray Liotta as Mike, and Jane Adams as Lisa.)
Awards: 1 nomination
Retaliation (2017) (original title Romans)
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Janet Montgomery, Anne Reid, Charlie Creed-Miles, Alex Ferns, Kyle Rees, Josh Myers, James Smillie, India Fowler, Deborah Rock, John Whitby, Michael Chapman, and many more.
Director: Ludwig Shammasian, Paul Shammasian
Synopsis: Bloom plays Malky, a man who was repeatedly raped by a priest as a child and whose mother refused to believe him. In a twist of fate or a subconscious choice, his job is to demolish old churches and he and the crew he works with are demolishing the church where his abuse happened. He’s in his 30’s now, still living at home with his mother but has a very nice girlfriend who works at the local pub. He and his girlfriend have ongoing struggles mainly because Bloom’s character has serious trust issues. He’s able to cope with life for the most part – until the unthinkable happens. The priest that left many years before, the one who abused him, is coming back to take over as priest at the new church. This throws Malky’s world into a tailspin.
Impressions: I very much liked seeing Bloom play a serious role, which he did with great skill. Not an easy part to play! I really liked how this movie laid out the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse and how upstanding members of the community have both access to kids and the protection of their positions in the community. It shows how trauma is compounded when a parent doesn’t believe a child. It shows the long-term effects of abuse when the trauma is not processed. I would recommend this especially for any man who has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse or for the loved ones of one who has.
Etc.: UK film, filmed in London; warning: some disturbing sexual scenes and dialogue; disturbing scenes of violence/self-harm
Awards: 1 win
Jay & Silent Bob Reboot (2019)
Starring: Alphabetically: Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, Fred Armisen, Diedrich Bader, Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio, Melissa Benoist, Marc Bernardin, Jason Biggs, Aparna Brielle, Adam Brody, Jeff Chase, Ming Chen, Walter Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Ernest O’Donnell, Brian O’Halloran, Scott Schiaffo, John Willyung, Tommy Chong, Keith Coogan, Chelsey Cole, Eric Carrasco, David Dastmalchian, Rosario Dawson, Treshelle Edmond, Shannon Elizabeth, Nick Fellinger, Dan Fogler, Kevin Foster, Ralph Garman, Ben Gleib, Mickey Gooch, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Jericho, Val Kilmer, Robert Kirkman, Leah Knauer, Jason Lee, Justin Long, David Mandel, Joe Manganiello, Andrew McElfresh, Jason Mewes, Logan Mewes, Kate Micucci, Jordan Monsanto, Redman, Brian Quinn, Donnell Rawlings, Jesse Rath, Joseph D. Reitman, Jake Richardson, Craig Robinson, Stephen Root, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Molly Shannon, Frankie Shaw, Virginia Smith, Andrew Singer, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Donald Smith, Grace Smith, Harley Quinn Smith, Karrueche Tran, James Van Der Beek, Alice Wen, Chris Wood, AND many more! (I usually don’t list this many of the cast, but I don’t think I’ve seen this many known names in a film before.)
Director and Writer: Kevin Smith
Synopsis: Jay & Silent Bob have a legal battle where a production company has stolen their names and plans on shooting some of a new movie at a Comic Con in Hollywood. They decide to take a road trip there to disrupt the filming. On the way they pick up some extra passengers and find adventures along the way.
Impressions: As I mentioned in the cast section above, the sheer number of cameos in the movie are astonishing. It’s worth seeing for this alone. I reviewed the Bill & Ted Reboot last week. Comparing Bill & Ted with Jay & Silent Bob, there is no comparison. Jay & Silent Bob is enjoyable and lively and funny and organic, with Bill & Ted wooden and packed with sterile CGI.
Etc.: filmed in New Orleans, LA, and New Jersey; there is a ton of trivia at imdb; WARNING: LOTS OF SWEARING!!!!!!
Awards: 1 nomination
Not posting a trailer as the only ones I could find are saturated with swearing. You may go to youtube and watch one.
Loving Vincent (2017)
Starring: Douglas Booth, Josh Burdett, Holly Earl, Robin Hodges, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Helen McCrory, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aidan Turner, Saoirse Ronan, Joe Stuckey, James Greene, Martin Herdman, Bill Thomas, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk, and many others.
Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Genres: animation, biography
Synopsis: The movie is a joining of live action and animation, where it was filmed by live actors but then painted over, frame by frame. The story starts one year after artist Vincent VanGogh’s death. The “layabout” young adult son of a postman who became friends with Vincent because of all of the letters written back and forth between Vincent and his brother, Theo is asked by his father to do a special favor. The old postman has a letter Vincent wrote to Theo that was never sent and he wants his son to hand-deliver it to Theo. So begins the young man’s journey to deliver the letter. Along the way he learns about Vincent — the way he lived, and the way he died — and is changed in the process.
Impressions: The whole movie is a work of art and visual eye candy. The acting is good, it is a murder mystery of a kind that may or may not get solved by the end. Very good casting. It brought VanGogh’s life into greater perspective for me. I watched the special feature where Booth, who played the son, was interviewed about the film. His learning and growth over the time of the filming had a similar effect on him as it did upon the character he played on his journey.
Etc.: filmed in London and Poland; imdb trivia: Each of this movie’s sixty-five thousand frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as Vincent van Gogh, created by a team of one hundred painters.
Awards: 22 wins and 52 nominations
Quote from the movie (by Vincent):
What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.
The White Tiger (2021) netflix
Starring: Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra, Vedant Sinha, Kamlesh Gill, Sandeep Singh, Tilak Raj, Satish Kumar, Harshit Mahawar, Mahesh Pillai, Rajinder Singh Pancharia, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vijay Maurya, Sanket Shanware, Balvinder Singh Baryah, Akshay Sharma, B. Shantanu, Swaroop Sampat, and many more.
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Genres: drama, crime
Synopsis: Gourav plays Balram, a poor younger son of a poor family living in a small village in India. It shows how the “legal gangsters” prey upon every villager and live luxurious lifestyles by their extortion. Balram sees that there are two kinds of people: the ones with the big bellies and the ones with the small bellies. He wants to escape the multi-generational poverty of his fate and sees being hired as a driver for the gangster as a way to escape. Balram is bright and he is enterprising and finds a way to make it happen. Not long after he moves to the big city with his boss, where things take a more sinister turn for him.
Impressions: I very much liked seeing the “insider view” of India, where it seems like a world of extremes, where so many have so little and a few corrupt and heartless people are calling all of the shots. My heart went out to Balram, who has the highest ambition and unflinching loyalty that seem to get him nowhere. It hurt to watch how he was treated!
Etc.: based on a NYT bestselling novel; imdb trivia: “While Balram is being evaluated for his driving; Ashok’s brother, The Mongoose, states that he will be offered 1500 rupees for a month and 2000 rupees beyond 2 months. In U.S. $, that is approximately $37 (events based in 2007) with a 33.4% raise to $48”
Awards: 1 nomination