AN EX-HITMAN [Keanu Reeves] comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as its bullet-riddled playground, John Wick is a fresh and stylized take on the assassin genre. Here is another instalment of John Wick’s many legendary feats.
I WAS NOT A devotee of Roger Ebert, but Life Itself makes me wish I’d paid more attention to a career that transversed more than five decades.
IN HIS LATEST FILM, “Locke,” British actor Tom Hardy plays the role of a construction manager. From this one may deduce not only a job description but an identity. Ivan Locke is a man who constructs, and Steven Knight’s screenplay concerns a carefully and well-constructed life as it rapidly deconstructs in real time.
ENTIRE NATIONS have now banned the film Noah. In the United States, Christians are unhappy with a Hollywood movie that substitutes, for the all-knowing and all-mighty LORD God Almighty, a distant, Pagan deity known vaguely as “the Creator.” Aronofsky’s Noah, an emo environmentalist with a too-voguish commitment to veganism and animal rights, is widely denounced, as is the film’s non-biblical (if not anti-biblical) theme – that human sin is against Mother Earth, not God, and that redemption must be found through earth-friendly living.
MONTREAL DIRECTOR Jean-Marc Vallée first got my attention with the excellent French-language film C.R.A.Z.Y.. Now he’s taken his notoriety to a new level, with Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto.
THERE’S A STORY about Mike Dubue of the Hilotrons that goes something like the following:
Mike plays a gig in Ottawa. An ex-girlfriend is in the audience, and she loves the show. So she takes out a scrap of paper and writes WOW, hands it to Mike. When he reads it, it’s upside down: he thinks it says MOM. Well now Mike’s freaking out, because he’s got his ex-girlfriend pregnant and he has no idea what he’s going to do.
The story ends with laughter, the imagined scenario having been a case of simple miscommunication. But these things do happen, and if you’re Llewyn Davis – the principal character of the latest Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis – they happen a lot.
THIS PAST week news arrived of a forthcoming Mel Gibson project, a Warner Brothers “biopic” concerning the life of Judah Maccabee. The announcement provoked the inevitable outrage, an example of which is Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who stated the proposed film is akin to “having a white supremacist portray Martin Luther King Jr.” The analogy however is founded, even if understandably and legitimately enough, not upon logic but rather emotion. Considered on logical grounds alone, Gibson’s fitness to portray sympathetically the life of a guerilla war hero and anti-secular reactionary religious fundamentalist is beyond question.
LET US BEGIN by acknowledging the obvious, that the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love is light and pleasant, adult fare but hardly a work of depth or of high seriousness. Its architecture is thoroughly of a Shakespearean cast, in which a main plot is complemented by and interweaved with two sub-plots. A moment arrives when the characters and their dramatic trajectories, hitherto discrete, collide one with another to calamitous effect. Things fall to pieces, and from this seeming state of irreparable chaos order is reinstated. This narrative arc, from social order to disorder and back to order once again, with no lasting harm done, is the essence of Comedy.
Continue reading “Crazy, Stupid, Love and the Comedy of Middle Aged Failure”