Currently browsing the "Bryan Cranston" tag.

Review: The Upside

The Upside is a good movie. But it’s an American remake of a better movie called The Intouchables. So I’m in a bit of a conundrum. My preference would be that everyone see the 2011 French indie, but I know that’s a big ask. So if you’re not inclined to see the superior version – or you’ve put it on the list of ‘movies to rent someday’ – then go ahead and check out The Upside, primarily to revel in the comedic and dramatic acting chops of Bryan Cranston. He plays a quadriplegic billionaire, Phillip Lacasse, who hires a recently-paroled ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart) to be his caretaker. Phillip figures Dell is the only candidate for the job who is irresponsible and reckless enough to let him die. 

Review: Isle of Dogs

What a fun movie! I don’t think Wes Anderson has made a film I didn’t like, so that’s no surprise, but the creative choices he made in this one are even more entertaining than usual. The story takes place in a town in Japan and all the humans speak untranslated Japanese, except for some public occasions where there is a simultaneous translator. Only the dogs speak English, voiced by a veritable A-list cast. (Bryan Cranston, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, and many more) The only thing that’s clear is that Mayor Kobayashi hates dogs (cat lover!) and he’s determined to rid his town of every last one, exiling them to a garbage covered island. But human hero to the rescue! Kobayashi’s 12-year-old nephew/ward Atari goes in search of his beloved pooch and uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels.

Arty Chick’s Middleburg Festival Download

What a great festival! It’s my first year at Middleburg, now in its 5th year, but I was truly impressed by their  selections. It’s a small festival, as yet pretty unknown, but not for long, I suspect. In all I went to 14 films in just over 3 days. It was exhausting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Films included here are: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ; Mudbound; Last Flag Flying; Faces/Places; I, Tonya; In the Fade; The Divine Order; Lady Bird; Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold; Meltdown; Loveless; Darkest Hour; The Other Side of Hope; and Hostiles.

Trumbo

Trumbo is set in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s during the Red Scare, when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was convinced that there were Commie spies planting propaganda in movies, and a lot of once bright careers were destroyed as a blacklist kept them from getting any work. The film centers on Dalton Trumbo, one of the highest paid screenwriters in town who begins the film at the height of his career. But after refusing to testify in front of the HUAC, he’s sent to jail and once released has to find creative ways to continue his craft. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays Trumbo, and his Oscar-worthy performance elevates a less than exciting script.

Argo

I’m always a bit wary of adding to the hype and expectations of any movie that generates “Oscar buzz” before Halloween. But I really liked Argo. A lot. Enough to tout it for Best Picture and Best Director consideration. It’s one of those movies that has everything going for it. Good story. Good characters. Good pacing. And a solid mix of drama, humor and intensity. It’s like watching All the President’s Men meets Apollo 13.

The plot is preposterous – and that’s why it works. The story is based on actual events that were kept classified for nearly two decades. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried – unless perhaps you work in the intelligence community. Kinda makes you wonder what crazy covert ops we’ll find out about 20 years from now.

Drive

What happens when a Hollywood action flick collides with an artsy indie? You get Drive, a movie that will either crash and burn at the box office or earn a cult following, particularly among fans of Pulp Fiction or maybe The Sopranos.