You never could trust Shamu, now could you?
The story itself centers on a penniless man down-on-his-luck (Matthias Schoenaerts) and his fateful encounter with a beautiful young woman (Marion Cotillard) who ends up losing her legs in a horrific accident at a marine park.
Going into this movie, knowing it’s from the French and knowing it’s about a complex relationship between two human-beings, will have you think many happy and lovely things. However, the words “lovely” and happy” do not fit with this film at all and is instead, every bit of sad, depressing, and dark as there is to be seen. Being a movie that’s sad, depressing, and dark doesn’t necessarily make a film that I want to watch on a Lazy Sunday when my thoughts are already upsetting as it is, but it still does make a flick that I want to see when I’m in the right-mood for it, right?
Well, watching a depressing movie when you’re sort of feeling down in the dumps, isn’t always the best-option, but in my case, I thought it was and I was actually pretty wrong. I went into this flick expecting to be sad, especially after I had such a shitty night as it was (didn’t get lucky, not at all), and I ended-up coming up pretty happy. Did I get to see some of Ms. Cotillard in all of her finest glory? Yes, but that’s not the point, the point is that the flick definitely won’t bring your hopes-up, but it will have you look at things around you in a more clearer, happier-way, than maybe before you hadn’t before. It’s not like watching a movie about two people’s lives that are pretty sad as it is, won’t make you feel better about yours, but watching a movie that pokes at the idea of making yourself happy by realizing that it’s not so bad out-there and that you can always make things better for yourself, in terms of situations or surroundings, definitely resonates with me, especially, after a crappy night. I’m sorry that I keep going back to it, but it’s the truth: my night blew and this flick made it a bit better, so what else can I say?
Director of A Prophet, Jacques Audiard brings a very down-beat sense of style that shows the utter horrors of life that some of these people descend to, but also the beauty of it as well that may have you looking at the glass half-full by the end of this. For instance, there’s a big-contrast between two of the very-different worlds out there when you take into consideration what these characters actually do for a living and how they make it that way. Schoenaerts’ character part-takes in a life where all he does is fight and fuck, and that’s the way he lives it, despite being a pretty shitty father and almost never knowing how to actually handle the nonsensical-acts that his 5-year-old son does. The scenes with this guy are pretty brutal, especially since all of his fights feel real and are as bloody as you are going to see any, other UFC fight for the rest of the year. Probably doesn’t help that we have less than 2 weeks left of the year of 2012, but still, if you need a quick-fix of bloody-fights, check-out the scenes from this movie and your need will probably be cured. Just don’t watch the rest of the movie, or you just may have the need for jumping off of a bridge.
Whereas Schoenaerts’ character’s life is filled with utter sense of grit and ugliness, Cotillard’s is filled with happiness and light, even if she seems to be the one who has it worse. She finds it really easy to look on the bright-side of things, really quickly after her incident happens and you see how she comes to terms that she’ll never get her legs back, she’ll never be able to swim with the Killer Whales again, and she’ll never be able to walk again on her own, two feet. This is a beautiful-aspect of the flick that rarely comes out, but when it does, it hits you hard and very well, and doesn’t feel cheap in the least-bit. What’s even more surprising is that the two most touching scenes of the whole movie is one that’s played in absolute silence, and another one that’s played to the track of Katy Perry’s “Firework”. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it isn’t and it’s a real surprise that at the end of the flick, this is the one track that may be stuck in your head long-after. Next time I hear that track, I’m going to be thinking some weird, weird things, man.
And if we were to be talking about what really makes this flick work as well as it does, it is in-fact, Marion Cotillard’s character and the performance she gives for her. Cotillard, as we all know, is a beautiful woman that has the look and grace of an old-school, leading-lady that took the men by storm, and the audiences rushing to the cinema’s to see them. However, all that beauty and grace is rarely ever showed here and instead, is used to cover-up the fact that this character is pretty damn drab to look-at. Definitely not the type of Cotillard we all know and love to stare-at (Am I right, men?), but she uses that to her advantage and gives-off a performance that says so much, without saying anything at all. Just a look of her face tells you exactly what’s going through her mind, at that case in-point and there’s a couple of scenes that really have you feel this girl’s pain, sadness, but also, her out-look on life and how positive it gets over time. Cotillard is getting a lot of looks and praise for this performance, and as she should, mainly because it’s the first time I have ever heard her speak in her native-tongue, and also, because she’s not afraid to get down and dirty with her characters, no matter how damn gorgeous she is.
Also, special nods go-out to whoever did the CGI on her legs and made it seem like she really did lose them. Honestly, I kept-on staring at them in every scene she was in, just to see if I could spot a mishap or fake-spot in the film, but I just couldn’t find it. We can get a legless Marion Cotillard right, but we still have yet to master the art of motion-capture performances and not having every character with the dullest pair of eyes?!? Step up your game, Hollywood, the French are finally picking-up for a change.
Even though Cotillard definitely steals the show in this one, Matthias Schoenaerts doesn’t do such a bad-job for himself, neither, but definitely comes-off like the weakest-link out of the two, mainly because his character is so lame and unlikable. I get that there are people out-there in the world who shouldn’t be parents, shouldn’t have responsibilities, and shouldn’t be trusted as a nice, knowing human-being, but this guy is just downright idiotic. Throughout the whole 2 hours (and it’s a pretty long 2 hours, may I add), the guy never seems to do anything right or nice for anybody around him, except for maybe giving Cotillard the D, whenever she wants it and whenever he feels like it giving it to her. And seriously, that’s debatable because there even comes a point where he just seems to be playing with her heart and emotions, and how dare ye do that to one Marion Cotillard?!?
He’s not a nice guy, he definitely stands up-there pretty high in the ballot for “Worst Daddy Ever”, he takes happiness in beating the shit out of guys, he doesn’t like doggies (what is wrong with this man?!?), he definitely has an anger problem, and the only type of pleasure or good-deed he does for people to make them feel better about themselves, is when he’s banging chicks and I think that’s just about it. I feel bad for Schoenaerts because underneath this dry and distasteful character, there lies a pretty solid performance that’s more fully-realized than the arch for this guy, but it never comes-out and just feels more like the type of movie that shows-off the gal for being the stronger and smarter-one of the two, not the muscle-bound freakazoid known as the male species.
The relationship between the two that begins, is what really kept me watching the flick but whenever the focused away from it, or got off-track and decided to throw in a bunch of manipulative moments where it would toy with both character’s emotions and decisions, then the flick began to lose me and my interest. Their relationship seems to be strictly about sex and making the other person happy, with little to no repercussions involved whatsoever. It’s a nice change-of-pace to see that in a flick and to see that handled so seriously, because as we all know, Hollywood hasn’t been able to do that for the longest-time (*cough* Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached *cough*) but it all starts to fizzle-out and become exactly the type of item Hollywood loves to shove down our throats. The relationship between these two works because it feels believable and understandable no matter how fucked up their lives may be, but by the end, it all becomes conventional, obvious, and a tad dull and starts to feel like the French-version of a Nicholas Sparks novel that just so happens to have Killer Whales, sex, nudity, violence, and lots of skinny-dipping. Sounds like the type of book I want to read before a screening, not something I want to see, watch, and wait-around for for over 2 hours, waiting for it to get to the point.
Consensus: Cotillard’s performance and what she does with an ultra-complex character is really why you should see Rust & Bone, but if you decide to go and see it for more, you may or not be disappointed by the lack of any, actual emotional-attachment this flick may have to you and your life, or the fact that the flick starts off so damn promising, only to fade into what we should expect from Hollywood’s sappy, Nicholas Sparks-adaptations. Except this time, it’s got subtitles. Yay! Not only is there sappiness involved, but reading as well!
Also, while you’re at it, check out a podcast I did with a couple of fellow bloggers of mine where we talk straight-up movie ish, especially in terms that it’s Christmas time! Yay! Go on over to http://asyouwatch.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/episode-xvii-sunshine-2007/ and let me know what you think! Thanks!
A better remake of that shit that came out 6 months ago.
This rom-com chronicles the relationship of two busy singles, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis), who agree to include sex in their friendship — minus the emotions and commitment. But things get complicated when Dylan (inevitably?) falls for his gal pal. Patricia Clarkson co-stars as Jaime’s hip mom and Woody Harrelson plays Dylan’s practical confidante, who advises him to man up when he pursues the newly dating Jamie.
After seeing No Strings Attached, I really knew that rom-coms have gone down the tubes pretty quickly and then when I heard they were basically doing the same premise to a different film I thought well it is probably better than that crap I just mentioned. But this is way better, way way better.
The best thing about this film is that this is some real funny stuff here that actually had me laughing more than I expected. The banter is all-over-the-place but the jokes and one-liners are quick, sharp, and fast and as raunchy as they may be at times, will still have you cracking up many times. I’m not saying you will be on the floor dying of laughter but a lot of LOL moments will happen.
You would also expect a film like this to be completley dumb and just tell silly jokes with a romantic subplot but director Will Gluck, who directed Easy A, knows how to keep a film going with a bunch of jokes, bunch of sex, and actual smart writing that fleshes out almost every character well. There’s a lot of raunchy sex stuff to be seen here but it’s balance with some sweetness that actually worked and has you smiling more.
The problem with this film is that the whole time it’s sort of starting to make fun of all of the rom-com cliches we all see just about every week, but it eventually falls victim to it’s own satire. I didn’t understand why they did that because what I thought was actually going to be a sort of different and smart rom-com just ended up playing out like I should have imagined in the first place.
Another problem with this film was the emotional weight this film tried to carry which seemed a little too far-fetched for me because it almost seemed like the script was relying to heavily on these emotional moments to show some more heart to these characters, when you can just have these two talk about their lives and understand them even more and actually keep you laughing rather than just feeling odd with these sappy moments.
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are the real show to watch here because I have to say without them, this film wouldn’t have been as believable. JT and Jackie…ehrrrr…I mean Mila seem like they are buds and have this instant chemistry that begins as soon as they meet each other and continues on and on throughout the whole thing. They play off one another so well that the banter between the two is just constant and adds so many more laughs to each of their scenes than I expected. Great performances from these two and the chemistry that they have together seems so perfectly-well executed.
The whole rest of this ensemble is just amazing as well. Patricia Clarkson is Jamie’s MILF mom that is sexy but funny as anything and takes over the screen every time she’s on, which it seems like something that she does so now often; Woody Harrelson is just downright gay but hilarious as Tommy; Jenna Elfman is pretty good here as Dylan’s cool sis; and Richard Jenkins could have been funnier as Dylan’s dad, but still adds a lot to his character. There’s a lot of other great faces that you’ll see here and there such as Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, and a very funny cameo from Shaun White of all people.
Consensus: Friends with Benefits is a funny, good-written, and well-acted rom-com that actually uses it’s two leads perfectly as their chemistry holds the whole film until the film itself succumbs to the cliches that lie within the genre. But in the end I guess it’s all about how the film gets from point A to point B is what really counts.
Once again, another romantic comedy about people boning without feelings.
Emotionally unencumbered and sexually satisfied, friends with benefits Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) have an open relationship that suits them just fine. That is, until those pesky little things called feelings enter the picture.
So it seems like romantic comedies have started to lose the spice they once had, so Hollywood has decided to bring it back with romantic comedies about casual sex. Love & Other Drugs hit last year, and was OK, now this, and then apparently there is some summer film with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis coming out called Friends With Benefits. Hollywood can’t get enough sex.
I don’t mind chick flicks sometimes, as long as they keep me entertained, and at least give me something to look at. This right here is not one of those chick flicks, mainly because the script is terrible. Right from the get-go, you know how this is all going to turn out and everything but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact that the screenwriters thought by looking up Urban Dictionary sex slang terms, they could bring a lot of humor. They try so hard to be funny, that at times I actually forget what was supposed to be funny and then I got that awkward feeling I rarely ever get while watching films, comedies especially.
There is also problem here because too many times does the film not know where to actually go with its tone. There are times where this film steps into some pretty raunchy stuff, like a “tunnel buddy”, but then will be try to be really cute with it’s little love story, and this just struck me as a little strange since I didn’t know what to think of this comedy as.
The cast is at least alright here. Natalie Portman does a fine job as Emma because she can be cute, sweet, but also very funny, and sort of mean altogether. Portman is a joy to watch and although this is crap compared to Black Swan, she still at least brings that general likability to her character. Ashton Kutcher is OK as Adam, and although I was expecting him to be worse, I still didn’t fully believe his performance here. However, the script really did let him down as it did with almost everyone else in the cast. There are some nice little bits here and there from the likes of Ludacris, Lake Bell, Greta Gerwig, Mindy Kaling, and Olivia Thirlby. The real problem with this cast is Kevin Kline as Adam’s dad, Alvin, who is just so cheesy sometimes, and such a dick that I had no idea what his reason to be in this film was in the first place. Also, a lumber-jack looking Cary Elwes shows up as Emma’s boss, and probably has about 3 lines the whole film, which was pretty unneeded the whole time.
Consensus: The cast tries their best with whatever they can do, but the script brings No Strings Attached down way too many notches, with it’s bad jokes, and very mushy romance that isn’t very appealing. Rent Love & Other Drugs instead.