Seriously, somebody send the zombie apocalypse to Nicholas Sparks house.
Julianne Hough stars as a reclusive young woman who arrives in a small North Carolina community. She has a secret kept inside of her but soon, she gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. However, that secret of her’s comes back to cause some real, real trouble. Oh dear, I just hope they end-up together at the end! I sincerely do!
Typically, in a normal-year where everything goes smoothly (except for 2012 when we all died, right?) we usually get the privilege of taking whatever loved-one’s we have with us at the time out to either a dinner, a movie, or a combination of the both. And then, for the lucky ones especially, you go home, and you get it on with that loved-one, all to the sweet and glorious tune of Marvin Gaye. Oh, by the way, this the special day we all call “Valentine’s Day” and like this (*cough* Hallmark *cough*) holiday that only comes once a year, we also get treated to a new Nicholas Sparks adaptation that just makes the girls swoon, the men dream of what could possibly happen when they go home tonight, and the critics just want to pluck their eye-balls out with forks. Oh, what a special day for all of us indeed.
When you see a movie like this, you know what you have to be getting yourself into. A bunch of romantic fantasies posing as characters, somehow meet, fall in-love, but find the hard consequences that usually come-along with finding that special someone in your life. That’s pretty much the same-shit here, except this time, Nicholas Sparks is really stepping out of his comfort-zone. Do you know why? Because now, instead of having a sappy romance blossom, there’s actually a mystery behind one of these characters and the suspense just gets to you as you have no clue what’s going to happen next. Are they going to fall in love? Will that one person get caught? Are they going to survive? Does anybody have a life-threatening disease? Fuck, does anybody care?!?!?
I get that this movie is calling-out my name and begging me to come and see it because let’s be honest: I’m 19-years-old, I’m a dude, I’m single (ladies?), I’m a movie-critic, and I hate sap. So, basically, this movie is not meant for me. However, for the crowd that it is for, I know are going to eat this shit up because it has everything they might possibly want with material like this, except even more than they can chew. Does that make it any good? Hell no! But that’s just me talking. The crowd that will probably venture-out to see it and the boyfriends that get forced by their lady-friends, will enjoy it and have no problems. But I’m not them, and that’s where this movie lost me.
Every time I see these types of movies, I always try to go into them with a bit of skepticism, but I also try to expect just a bit more and hope that it could quite possibly be the sleeper I’ve been looking for all of my life. About 20-minutes in, I knew that this movie was not one of those sleepers I have been waiting for, but at least it’s pretty. Even though director Lasse Hallstrom really seems to be on auto-pilot here and not doing anything to improve this story in the least-bit, at least he still shows that he has a flair for beautiful-scenery that fades-in the background nicely with all of the crap going on with the script and acting. Yeah, it’s a pretty gorgeous-looking movie, but you can only stare at the background so much. Eventually you got to pay attention to the story and see what the filmmaker has to offer to ya, and that’s the real pain this movie inflicts on you.
Almost anything and everything you expect to happen in one of these movies: happens. But what makes this movie worse than all of the others, is that it tries so hard to be suspenseful and tense with it’s cop-mystery subplot, but just ends up being terribly over-the-top, and outrageous. I’m glad that Sparks at least tried his darn-near hardest to give me something more to chew-on than just watching a bunch of a really good-looking people fall-in love and play with my hand-cream, but this is terrible. It’s so stupid and unintentionally hilarious, that even the people I was with started laughing at. And they were all 18/19-year-old girls, aka, the demographic for this shit. Something tells me this movie won’t be able to slide-by like all of the other failures to cinema in the past have, but I haven’t even touched base just yet. Oh no, no, no. It gets worse, my friends and family.
The movie tries so damn hard to have us tense, to have on-the-edge-of-our-seat, and to have us so surprised by what we are about to see, that it doesn’t have just one plot-twist by the end, but two. Even though I’m tempted to, I have morals and I won’t spoil the twists for you people out-there who are just quivering with excitement for thing, but let me just tell you that the first one is absurd and could almost be taken as a joke. Then again, that twist doesn’t mean jack-shit compared to the second, and final twist that this flick decides to long-dart at us with full-force. Seriously, I want to give it all away and just save you from the pain and agony of seeing this shit, but it’s bad. It’s so stupid, so insane, and so nonsensical, that I left the theater with a huge smile on my face, yucking all-over-the-place. Hey, the whole movie may have been shit, but at least I left with a wider-smile than half of the other people I saw this with. So, in the end, I guess I do win, after all.
Aw, who the hell am I kidding! I fucking lost, and so did Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel! I have to be honest, Hough was okay as this runaway gal that tries to find herself and find love in a new, but small town. The reason being: she’s pretty, has charm, and looks sexy as hell when she’s in her bikini. For the dudes, it’s a treat on the eyes, but then there’s Josh Duhamel to ruin everything with his non-stop, shirtless body that makes it’s own appearance about every 5-minutes. I’ve never been a fan of Duhamel, as I’ve always felt like he was just trying too hard to be cool, funny, or the guy every dude wants to be, but he just isn’t. Instead, he’s sort of a d-bag that knows he’s hot shit, and more like the type of guy you let sit at the bar, try to hit on bitties, all in hopes to get lucky by the end of the night. The difference between Duhamel and the imaginary-dude I’m talking about, is that Duhamel probably gets the bitties, whereas that dude is just left at the end of the bar, at the end of the night, and staggers home drunk and all alone. And no, I’m not talking about myself. I get all the ladies I want. So fuck you, Josh Duhamel!
Consensus: For the audience that Safe Haven has in mind, this will probably be the next best masterpiece since the days of Hanks-and-Ryan. However, if you aren’t that audience and actually want a meaty-story that you believe in and are entertained by, then just stay home, watch the Notebook, and dream of one day being the man that Ryan Gosling is and always will be. That, or just jerk-off. The choice is up to you.
1 / 10 = Crapola!!
And I thought people in my family were crazy.
The film takes a look at a married couple with Nick, played by Peter Falk, while well-meaning, is too gruff and authoritarian for his own good, while his wife Mabel (Gena Rowlands) is highly sensitive, expressive, and emotionally volatile. Or is the word unstable?
Now, for the most part, I’ve never been declared mentally ill, nor have I ever had to live with a person that was mentally either but I can only imagine what kind of hell it is after seeing something like this. I mean everybody’s a little crazy, but this chick is actually crazy.
Writer/director John Cassavetes is a dude, get ready for it, that I have never seen a movie before and this marks my first viewing of his. It’s crazy (pun-intended), I know but I can easily say that this guy really does know how to a film a regular story, in no special way, and make it compelling the whole way through. There isn’t much of a plot/plot structure here but it pretty much leans on Cassavetes dropping us right into the middle of an insane family crisis happening right in front of our eyes. Minute-by-minute, they are falling apart and everything starts to get more and more wild as the day goes by, and it’s filmed in no special kind of way which is what I liked most about this flick.
Since a lot of this movie revolves around these two and their crumbling relationship, the film is pretty much up-in-their-faces the whole time and makes it seem like this is actually happening with no special flair or beauty to it. It’s just straight-up ugly, just the way real life is. God, how amazingly simple indie flicks used to be without trying to be “too indie”.
The other reason that most of this feels very realistic is because the dialogue here, doesn’t even feel like it was written by anybody. It seems like it was just came up with on the spot with these actors, and rather than rehearsing what they were going to say or do next, it seems like they just got out there and went with whatever was on their mind next and went with it. This brings the story to some very uncomfortable and unpredictable places as time goes on and it gets harder and harder to watch even though you know it’s only a flick. I’m sure that there probably was an amazing script underneath everything here, but it almost felt like it was non-existant and that’s something that Cassavetes and his cast pull off very, very well.
My main problem with this flick was that I think the story gets a little too barbaric at times. Without giving too much away, the story starts to get more and more depressing where we see Nick have to take over the family himself and it shows that he obviously can’t hold the family up as much as his wife could. I didn’t mind this part because I thought it was a great look at sexual politics and how a male and a female both work differently when it comes to raising children, but Nick starts to get a little too crazy for my liking and I started to think that maybe this dude should have gotten his ass kicked at one point. The guy has obvious stress from the fact that his wife is a craving lunatic, but he really gets crazy and it’s almost to the point of where I wonder why somebody didn’t do something an why somebody didn’t just hold him down and tell his ass to relax. Somebody who hasn’t seen this movie probably will have no damn clue what it is that I’m talking about but if you have seen the movie, you may know what I’m talking about. I know it’s supposed to show how stress can affect a certain someone, but it bothered me that all of the people around him didn’t really do much to him and did more to his crazy wife.
Regardless of how I felt about his character, Peter Falk was still pretty damn good as Nick, the mentally sound husband who may not be as normal as people may think. This guy has obvious stress from marrying such a loon and you can see all of the stress coming right out of this guy’s eyes. He has to practically watch his wife, someone he has known and love for so long, pratically become a stranger to him and fall apart as the seconds go by. It’s a very rough and tough role for somebody to play, but Falk pulls it off very well and I’m surprised to see that he didn’t get any type of nomination for this performance.
However, as good as Falk is, he still doesn’t hold a candle to Gena Rowlands, playing his crazy wife. I haven’t really seen Rowlands in much other than her bit performance in The Notebook (good performance there, too), and watching something like this, makes me wonder just why the hell I haven’t seen her in much else. This is probably some of the best acting I have ever seen and she absoloutely nails what it’s like to be crazy, wild, and not-all-that-there in the head, but also be somebody who isn’t a bad person or bad mother by any stretch. She’s just a chick that’s very effed up in the head, and Rowlands plays this perfectly from start-to-finish. I don’t know if I’m getting much emotion out here through text, but you really have to see what Rowlands does with this performance because she can do mentally ill, better than most people that are actually declared “mentally ill”. The best thing too, is that she doesn’t feel like she’s hamming it up or over-acting in the least bit, she seems like a genuine person that really wants to do right, but her mind takes her somewhere else and it’s very sad to see.
Consensus: A Woman Under the Influence is pretty much a standard story that’s done perfectly with writing that feels natural, a direction that makes you feel like you’re watching a real life story play out right in front of your own eyes, and the two performances from Falk and Rowlands, that are as heartbreaking as they come people.
Look at that face! Honestly, would a face like Bradley’s lie to you?
Bradley Cooper stars as Rory Jansen, a struggling writer who happens upon a lost manuscript in a weathered attaché case. After he decides to pass the work as his own, he finally gets the recognition he so craved for but he soon has to face his actions when the original author (Jeremy Irons) comes to him.
After I got the chance to meet the writers/directors of this flick, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, I found out that it took them over 12 years to finally get this piece off of the ground. So, think about that: this script has been in writing since 2000 and you would think that with such a long time to be revised, edited, and perfected that we would sort of have a masterpiece on our hands, right? Sad to say this, but I don’t think 12 years were worth waiting to see this story. Great guys, though!
Needless to say, Klugman and Sternthal have definitely made a very ambitious film that people will either hate or love due to the approach. The whole framing device starts off with one older guy, reading a story about this young writer who steals this other piece of work, which in and of itself is a story about a man and the love he found in post-WWII Paris. Judging by what you read there, you could probably say that this flick is either way too pretentious for it’s own good. And I would probably say that you are right but it is very interesting to see where and how these stories come together. The whole idea of whether or not these stories reflect fact or fiction come up plenty of times throughout the whole movie and they offer some pretty interesting questions you may have about this film once it’s all over in it’s brief, 96-minute run-time.
But as interesting as this film could be with it’s clever premise and general idea about what’s real and what’s not, the material never fully comes off the page (pun intended). I can definitely see why so many people were ready to buy-out this script around Sundance last year because all of the plot’s happenings and ideas seem a lot more subtle and hidden when you’re reading it. But the problem is, that once you get it on-screen, it comes off as a bit flimsy, especially when you have a bunch of the scenes revolving around a dude just typing away on his type-writer. Trust me, I love writing, I do it almost every day, and I can’t get enough of it, but there is nothing exciting or tense about watching somebody do that. There’s plenty of that here, along with some cringe worthy lines where Bradley professes to himself that he doesn’t really know who he is anymore, and that this whole guilt-trip about him taking over somebody else’s work is getting to him too much. Didn’t see that plot-device coming at all…
Speaking of that, what the hell was even the main message behind this whole movie in the first place? It seemed like Klugman and Sternthal wanted to say how stealing other people’s work is bad and will weigh heavily on your conscience, but do they not realize that this is a known thing ever since the days of 5th grade where kids had to start writing their own papers? It’s fine to talk about something that has already been talked about before but the idea of a guy stealing another person’s work, only to find out that it is terribly wrong, does not do much for me as it may have for Klugman and Sternthal. I wonder how many papers of their’s was sent back with a big “F-” due to stealing other people’s works.
If there is somewhat of a saving grace to this flick, it probably has to be the cast that does everything in their power and will to save this muddled story from going to shit. Bradley Cooper has a very strong presence in the lead here, even if a lot of the stuff he is called to do consists of him staring off into space, looking like he’s just done something completely and terribly wrong. He did, and we get that right from the start but we didn’t need to keep on being reminded every 5 seconds whenever the guy looks sad. Zoe Saldana is fine as his beau, and brings out some great drama in a role that seems so empty and shallow once you think about why she is in the story.
The only real bad acting I could find in this flick was Dennis Quaid’s as Clay Hammond, the old dude who’s reading Bradley’s book in the beginning of the movie. Firstly, the whole story with him and Olivia Wilde comes off as terribly random and stupid and does practically nothing for the movie. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just the fact that he’s getting older and seems a lot creepier, but the way Quaid phrases a lot his sexy lines to Wilde (who is 30 years younger than him, mind you) makes him seem like he’s doing a very bad impersonation of my dad when he tries to talk to me about girls. If you don’t know my dad, you won’t really get the joke but just think of those awkward dads that always try to talk to you about the ladies, then you’ll get my drift, hopefully.
Once Jeremy Irons comes into this flick, then everything else bad with this movie sort of just disappears because of what this guy can do. Everybody knows that Irons can play a sly mother-humper as if it was nobody else’s business and he does that perfectly here, while also being able to add some true depth and emotion to a character that isn’t the film as long as you’d like to hope. It also probably helps that his whole story about him and his lover in France was perhaps the most emotionally-invested part of the movie I had and reminded me a bit of The Notebook in a way. Not saying that I was insanely giddy by that fact but at least it was something that kept my eyes on-the-screen and not on my cellular device.
Consensus: Even with some smart ideas and good performances from the ensemble, The Words still never seems to come full-circle with it’s story or it’s intentions. Instead, it just features barely little or no thrills, and offers nothing new to what it has to say about the act of plagiarism and the guilt that comes over a person after they commit it. Well, other than it being bad and you shouldn’t do it.
Hans Landa vs. Edward Cullen: imagine if this was handled by Tarantino.
Taking place in the Depression Era veterinary medicine student Jacob (Robert Pattinson) joins a 2nd-rate travelling circus and falls for the star performer (Reese Witherspoon). Christoph Waltz plays her husband, August, a dangerous paranoid schizophrenic animal trainer who is as mean to his wife as he is to the circus creatures.
With all of this talk and hype about how director Francis Lawrence may take over the sequel for The Hunger Games, I thought what better way to know what you’re going to get yourself into than to check out his latest work. No, not I Am Legend, even though I wish it was.
I never read the best-seller that this is based off of (probably because it wasn’t written by Elmore Leonard) but I can definitely tell just by watching this flick, that it was probably one hell of a read with the story they have here. The story itself takes place in 1931, and it sort of feels like a film that could have been made around that time as well. This reminded me a lot of the old-Hollywood movies where there are little or no explosions, heavy violence, heavy cussin’, or CGI for that matter.
The cinematography, costumes, and set-designs also brought me back to the time of where things were harder to get and the people were a lot more sad than usual, but in the end, an honest works pay was still an honest works pay. It’s just a straight-up, old-fashioned, love story that almost played in the same reign as countless other flicks like The Notebook and Seabiscuit and rather than just telling another generic, love story that offers nothing new or original, we get something that is at least interesting to keep your eyes glued onto.
However, there were some obvious things that seemed to bother me especially when it came to the casting here. I really do want to like Robert Pattinson, I really do. I think beyond all of that Twilight shit he gets thrown onto him, somewhere lies a very talented actor that is ready to just branch-out at any second, but keeps on getting roles that just seem to put him in the same exact boat as he was back in 2008. Pattinson’s role here as Jacob (irony!) comes off more bland even though it’s obvious he is trying his damn near hardest. It’s not like watching this guy is brutal by any means, because he’s definitely a tolerable actor, it’s just that this role seemed like they needed a man but got more of a boy instead. Maybe in a couple of years down the line once he has a whole bunch of experience with some roles, Pattinson might be a forced to be reckoned with, but for now, I think he has to safely rely on Cosmopolis. For now, anyway.
Another piece of casting that didn’t quite work like I would have wanted it to was surprisingly Christoph Waltz as the angry circus-owner, August. I loved him as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, as did everybody else including the producers who pretty much give him the exact same role, but instead of killing jews, he was killing circus animals. This is a huge bummer considering that this guy doesn’t really disappear into this role at all and just gives a character that is a little bit too menacing for his own good. Yeah, he’s supposed to be a bad guy that looses his temper very quickly and easily, but this guy is so damn sinister and effed up in the head that I couldn’t buy him once as a guy that owned a circus with a bunch of fun-loving animals, or even buy him as a guy that wouldn’t kill every person that worked for him either. Waltz is good with this role, as you would expect, but this guy was just a little too mean for his own good and definitely took me out of his character’s believably more and more as the film went along.
Believe it or not, the cast member that actually finds a way of coming out clean throughout the whole flick is actually Reese Witherspoon as both of these dudes’ object of affection. She’s sexy, cute, and has a lot of charm to her that seems to work and make you realize why she is so damn irresistible and beautiful. Still, her chemistry with Pattinson is a bit lacking but I guess that’s another problem we have here with the casting.
Actually, the one performance that really t0ok me by hold was Hal Hollbrook here, who plays the older version of Jacob in the scenes where it’s just him talking to a fellow circus-worker. Obviously, you can’t compare 25-year old Pattinson to 86-year old Hollbrook when it comes to acting, but Hollbrook’s performance as a sweet, heart-broken old man comes off as one of the main reasons this guy is such a damn good actor and one that deserved a lot more screen-time here.
Consensus: Some of the casting and chemistry may be off, but Water for Elephants is still a flick that brings you back to the old-Hollywood days with a sweeping romance, some fine-looking scenery, and a romance that we can actually care for rather than just rolling our eyes at.
First Ryan Gosling saves her, now Channing Tatum does. Lucky ass chick!
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star as Paige and Leo, a recently married couple whose lives are devastated by a
tragic car accident. When Paige loses all memory of her relationship with her husband, Leo vows to do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with him all over again.
Ever since ‘The Notebook’ came out, studios have been gunning for that one flick that can make as many chicks and dudes (yes, admit it, guys) cry as that one did. Sadly, none of them have even came close. But I guess it took one-half of that film and a dude that can shake his ass off to come the closest to surpassing.
Director Michael Sucsy doesn’t really bring much new to this whole weepy and romantic drama genre that we all have seen done for the past 6 years, but it’s the writing and premise that makes it work. The premise is definitely something that seems like it was adapted right from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but it’s actually based on a true-story and it’s that genuine feel that made me believe in some of the more melodramatic moments. But then for all we know ‘Dear John’ and even ‘The Last Song’ could have been based on real stories, but then again, those films don’t quite have as much as this flick does.
The writers obviously aren’t doing too much to this premise to change it up and make it all of a sudden become something like a cross between ‘Memento’ and ’50 First Dates’ but it still has its cute moments that are always backed up by some funny ones as well. The film takes itself seriously but never too seriously to the point of where I wanted there to actually be some sort of fun here. There is a little playful and joking feel to it which made it a lot more easier to actually stay in this film and laugh every once and awhile, rather than cringe at all the cliches. And woahhhhh crap, did I mention the cliches!??!
The film is very predictable, corny, and cheesy which may sound kind of weird considering I just got done praising elements of it but there are still those eye-rolling moments that started taking over the flick. There was a pretty good amount of time where this film seemed to actually be working well for me but then when the started getting into the more weepier montages/moments than the film started to lose my interest. Then again, this is the sort of stuff that many, many ladies will swoon over and the guys will sort of just be left in the dust, but that’s usually expected with these types of films.
One of my biggest problems with this film was that with a premise like this, there could have been so many different themes and messages that this film could have explored on its own but instead, just talked about briefly and left up in the air. One of the most important themes of this film was how people change over time which is evident in how Paige first started off as this yuppie, rich-girl then changed to this hip, and funky fresh Chi-town gal. This was pretty cool to see in a film that showed a person in two different ways since this happens in real-life but instead of actually giving that topic any type of insight whatsoever, the flick just skates over it and leaves it hanging. Pretty disappointing but I guess I was just expecting a little bit too much from a Tatum-McAdams love flick.
Rachel McAdams is given a lot more of the showy things to do in this flick as Paige, but she does a good job with it all. She goes throughout the film all confused and whatnot, so when she starts to actually show two different sides of her, it seems believable but then again she is sort of playing the same character that she did in ‘The Notebook’, except she’s forgetting things at an earlier age. Since McAdams is basically trying to piece together her whole life, it’s up to Channing Tatum as Leo to pick the slack up and give a good enough performance to actually have us follow his character, which he does. Tatum does a good job at keeping this performance believable, subtle, and very relaxed to where he didn’t have to do anything all that emotional but even when he does, it seems realistic. Both of them also have a good chemistry which is another reason why this romance, as well as this flick works in more ways than I expected.
The supporting cast is also pretty good. Sam Neill is great at playing that sinister and smarmy character he usually plays as Paige’s daddy; Jessica Lange plays her mommy and doesn’t do much until this little, dramatic monologue where she lets her true emotions out and it’s a really good scene mainly because Lange is able to pull off scenes like this; and Scott Speedman is good as the ex-fiancé of Paige, but damn does he need to lay off the hair gel!
Consensus: The Vow features plenty of those predictable, cheesy, and utterly sappy moments that occur in these types of romance flicks but with a fun script, good performances, and some nice touches to the whole formula itself, there’s a lot more to keep your mind off of this stuff and just focus on the romance at-hand.
Brings me back to the grand days of when all my middle school teachers were smoking crack.
Transcending age and race, an improbable friendship between crack-addicted educator Dan Dunne (Oscar-nominated Ryan Gosling) and streetwise middle-schooler Drey (Shareeka Epps) may lead them to deliverance — or destruction — in this powerful urban drama. After Drey finds Dunne feeding his habit in a locker room, she becomes a conduit for a life-changing lesson.
When it comes to talking about great, Indie dramas, with power, this film should be the first to come into discussion. The thing with this film, is that it was sort of like The Wrestler for 2006. It never got any real exposure in the movie theaters and the only reason it got a sense of some buzz, was cause it’s leading actor was nominated for an Oscar. I wish more films like this got the certain exposure like many crap-fests hitting number 1 in the box-office. But, oh well, I still loved the hell out of this.
The best thing about this film is that it’s honest. You don’t see drugs as being a great and happy thing that makes you feel free, you see what it does to your mind, and most importantly, the people around you. There are many scenes you can see that Dan just totally alienates the others around him cause he has that urge for the drug within him, and its shown as an uncontrollable thing.
The one thing about this film that will really keep viewers riveted and watching, is that it is very unpredictable. There’s always a sense of danger with these characters, because of their surroundings and the things they do. Many scenes, and I do mean many, could have just gone in the wrong place, but instead they go one place, that we never imagined would have happened, and we are just amazed by how perfect it actually is.
Most of the film is all about the theme’s all these people face in everyday life. People in this film, as in real life from who I know, face the problem of making every-day grown-up friends, and knowing what they want with their future. This film shows that in a huge sense, because both of these characters feel a huge sense of pain and hurt, and through their relation of the same problems, they find ways, to somehow heal one another. Not a lot of things are shown in this film, such as when Golsing’s getting high, most of the time you just sort of know it, and just use your mind for a lot of the scenes, and don’t just know, because the film is basically telling you. That sort of restraint that this picture has brings out so much to offer about all of real life’s hard ships.
If there was any problem I had with this film, was that there was one scene between him and his family, that could have just been perfect. It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it was somehow missing the one little ingredient that would have made it the most powerful thing of all.
When it comes to my favorite actors of all-time on any list, Ryan Gosling is always mentioned. Yeah he’s good in Lars and the Real Girl, and the one everybody knows, The Notebook, but this is the main film that shows off his talents as a true bona-fide actor. Every single scene he is just perfect, note-for-note, and everything about him feels genuine. You look at this character every scene, and just see a troubled young man, that has problems with his life, mostly due to the fact, that his drug addiction is what’s killing him. He is a messed-up guy, but Gosling makes him likable with his likable act that he has with many great and powerful scenes with his students. I still wonder how an actor, like Gosling, can look at a script, and basically be like: “I can do this, and make an Oscar nomination”. But that’s the thing, he doesn’t even look like he’s trying too much, it just comes to him naturally. I wish there was more ways I could express my praise for this performance, but in other words, it’s just a great performance.
But must I not forget Shareeka Epps, who if she keeps on going, has quite the career ahead of her. Her performance is heart-felt, true, and troubled, just how the perfect child-star acting performance should be. Her and Gosling create this genuine chemistry that, will turn some heads, but will ultimately leave you affected. Another one of my favorites, Anthony Mackie, is powerful here as well, providing a lot of great character moments for him, and although isn’t the most important one, his character still works, mostly cause Mackie is that good.
Consensus: Half Nelson is one of the most powerful films of the past decade, with brutal honesty, as well as true feelings, about hope, friendship, growing up, and drug addiction. Every note here is hit perfectly, mostly due to the performances from the cast, especially the spot-on Gosling.
With Dear John coming out, this just had to be done.
Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands).
This film since the time it came out has had chicks all over the world, just crying their eyes out saying “I love this movie, it’s so sad and romantic”. For me, I never wanted to buy into this crap, but I did, and I’m actually glad I did.
Now when it comes to melodramatic romances, this film is pretty high up there. I mean there are plenty of times where I was reminded of some of the other great Romance stories, and this film does it very well. The film is a tearjerker and at some scenes I did get a bit emotional, not totally, but a bit. Just the general romance between these two and how they still are able to love one another, actually makes this film worthwhile.
While most of the movie is set in the 1940′s and gives you a feel for that era, I felt some of the language and actions were a little bit anachronistic — nothing major, but just enough to occasionally break the illusion (such as a very Joan Rivers-like finger down the throat gesture. Perhaps they did this in the ’40′s but it seemed out of place whether it truly was or not.)
The problem with this film is that it is a very predictable and obvious story. I mean the constant flashbacks kind of pissed me off cause they gave away the ending to the story which would have kept me wondering till the end what was going to happen to these two. Also, though it doesn’t matter to me in some movies, the score in this film just didn’t feel right. There were little pieces that could have been a lot more emotional if given the right type of movement within the music, I don’t know it’s just me though.
Much of the praise goes to the chemistry between its two stars. Gosling as always is great, and shows that he can play those toned-down roles like the back of his hand. But the best here is Rachel McAdams who much to my surprise here is given such a difficult role that calls for a lot of changes and emotion, and mostly on every note she hits it very well. Their love feels real by the end of the film and not just because the film is trying to tell you that, is cause when they talk they talk like real people.
Consensus: Though it has an obvious predictable story with an over-done score, The Notebook features enough emotional depth, and wonderful chemistry to keep me entertained throughout this sappy tearjerker.