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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Madison McKinley

The Other Woman (2014)

Some dudes just have all the luck. Except for the part about getting caught. Yeah, that sort of blows.

Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a wealthy, middle-aged lawyer who thinks she has met the man of her dreams in the form of Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). What she thinks, though, is different from the reality. See, Mark is hiding a bit of a secret that he’s actually married to his spunky housewife Kate (Leslie Mann) who accidentally finds out what is going on between the two when Carly unexpectedly shows up, knocking on their front-door. Though Kate is upset with this shocking piece of information, she decides to not let her husband know that she knows, and instead, devolves a game in which she and Carly will spy on him and try to take him down with everything he’s got, just in case the two get a divorce. However, while spying on his every move in Miami, they stumble upon another girlfriend of Mark’s – this time, a lot younger and in the form of Amber (Kate Upton). Amber, like the other two, is clearly upset and distraught with what to make of this new info, but also like the other two, decides that it’s time to teach dear old Mark a lesson about screwing around way too much.

In other words: Girl power!

So yep, anytime you get a movie that boasts a female-dominated cast, more than likely, it has to do with the fact that a dude screwed up something. Better yet, the dude screwed most of them over. Which, I can’t complain too much about because spouses do cheat on other spouses, but it just sucks that the only types of mainstream, female-centered movies we’ll get to see have to feature a member of the male gender, doing something reprehensible that allows the ladies to have something to talk and yell about; without just getting a movie in which women want to be women, and live it up like no tomorrow, guys are optional!

Some nights, this is me. Usually Fridays.

Some nights, this is me. Usually Fridays.

However, what’s even worse is the fact that this is the type of movie we get when Hollywood decides to give a project all the big bucks it needs to be completed.

Which is very strange considering that this is coming from none other than Mr. Nick Cassavetes, the son of John, a man who was always known to do movies on his time and dime, regardless of what others think they wanted to see or throw some shillings out to see. That man just made movies because he wanted to and he loved the art, whereas his son, as much as I hate to say it, doesn’t really have that going for him. That’s not to say the dude’s never made a bad movie (the Notebook is probably the only Nicholas Sparks-adaptation I can actually fathom), but it is to say that when your dad is that much of a legend for something like making small, independent-movies, to go on and make big, mainstream rom-coms drab-fests like this, sort of seems a bit like wasting good-genes, eh?

Then again, my dad’s a correctional officer, so it goes to show you what I know!

Anyway, like I was saying about this movie and it’s director, it’s a shame that Cassavetes got stuck with doing this (I hope), but it’s an even bigger shame how much of this movie just does not add-up. First off, it’s just not funny. It’s that clear and simple. The movie tries to be all about the wacky situations these gals get into and how they all play it off so awkwardly, and it rarely ever got a giggle from me. Especially not from when Leslie Mann was doing it because, bless her soul, she tries so damn hard to make this material funny and her character likable. But I just could not get past all of her non-stop rambling and yelling, as if she was in one of her own hubby’s movies, where he would just let her run wild with whatever script he sort of laid-out, and tell her to “stop” when he felt was necessary.

But Nick Cassavetes, clearly isn’t Judd Apatow. Not because he can’t seem to tame the lion that is Leslie Mann, but because he doesn’t seem to have a single piece of comedy in his directing-repertoire whatsoever. Sure, maybe I giggled a few here and there, but they were nothing where I felt like this movie needed to be seen. And heck, if you want anymore clarification as to why I laughed a bit and it didn’t matter, it was because most of the laughs came from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka, the same guy whose playing the dick that cheats on everyone except for his right-hand in this movie.

So yeah, when the person you have made-out to be the bad guy ends up getting more laughs than two female stars who are known to be funny whenever they see fit, then you know your movie has problems.

Even worse is when you realize that your movie wasted Kate Upton. And NO, I’m not saying that because we don’t get one-million shots of her half-naked body, running down a beach in a bikini like all us guys so obviously wanted, but because she seems to actually have some charm and spunk to her. But, like I said before, she’s wasted on a bunch of gags that involve her looking at either Diaz or Mann, nodding her head, smiling and laughing. There’s even a part in which she dances risque, but I won’t bother you with any of that right now….

"All I'm saying is that if we're going to split the bill, we have to decide who got the most food. And to be even more honest, I barely even had a sip of that wine."

“All I’m saying is that if we’re going to split the bill, we have to decide who got the most food. And to be even more honest, I barely even had a sip of that wine.”

Okay, moving on.

As for Cameron Diaz, a gal I’ve never been a fan of, I have to say, is given the worst character in this whole movie. Diaz tries and tries a billion times to make this Carly woman likable in the least bit, but she just is not. I get that she’s supposed to a snobby, know-it-all, super-serious Sally, but after awhile, I felt like she was so stern and tense that I didn’t know if she could ever fall in love with anybody, let alone have sex as many times as she does with one guy. Diaz has some of her comedic-timing still with her, but it seems like she’s starting to really fall-off-the-radar by picking bad roles, or, when she does pick interesting roles, gets saddled with having to hump a car.

Yup, that’s a sight one will never, ever forget.

Consensus: The three leading-ladies are charming and beautiful as always, but the Other Woman doesn’t give them much to do except giggle, perform terrible, grade-school-like pranks and get drunk a lot, without really giving us a chance to identify with any of them, except that they want revenge on the same guy, for sort of the same reasons.

3.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

I'm sorry. What we're you saying again?

I’m sorry. You were saying?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and a whole lot of money. Oh my!

Meet Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio): He’s a womanizer, a drug-addict, a go-getter, a hard partier, and most of all, a full-fledged billionaire, and this is his story. We follow Jordan through his early days as a licensed stock broker on Wall Street, where he learns of the ins and the outs from a seasoned-pro (Matthew McConaughey), but eventually, finds himself out of a job and inspiration for life once the stock market crashes. From there, Jordan finds another job in which he’s still working the stocks, however now, he’s found a way to rip people off, and benefit from the extra cash money he has flowing in by the weeks, and then by the days, and then it’s by the hours, and sooner or later, it’s by the minutes of each hour, of each and every single day. So basically, Belfort discovers a way on how to keep on getting richer, and best of all, how to keep on partying and living life until you can’t no more. Sooner than later, though, the FBI starts snooping around and that’s when Jordan begins to find himself backed into a corner that he may not be able to get out of, or one that he may be able to, but will have to take those nearest and dearest down in the process.

Most of you can probably tell by now, but I’ll say it anyway: This movie is a freakin’ blast. Yes, it does clock-in at 179 minutes (that’s near-three hours for those of you counting at home), and yes, it features countless acts of debauchery in which drugs are consumed, women and their body parts are fondled, Big Bens are thrown high up in the air and the “f word” is used more times than it ought to be, but if you can stick through all of this and keep the blood pumping, you’re going to find yourself having one of the best times at the movie theaters.

Was it all politically correct to call it "midget tossing" back in the late-80's/early-90's?

Was it politically correct to call it “midget tossing” back in the late-80’s/early-90’s?

Just exactly like I did, and here’s why.

It’s not easy to make a film about a bunch of stockbrokers that are knowingly ripping people off, in hopes of gaining a heftier wallet and more gifts to bring to the parties, in which we don’t actually hate them and instead, actually rather loathe them, but with all of the movies he’s made in the past (including this), Martin Scorsese has proved himself to be more than up to the task, and then some. Scorsese is approximately 71-years-of-age, but this movie does not show an old man working inside of his comfort-zone, nor one who seems like he can just get as much enjoyment from the spoils of this movie, as much as his subjects in his movie are. Nope, instead, Scorsese continues to find more and more ways in which he can try something new, or, for lack of a better term, never slow down.

When I said that this was a movie that clocked-in at nearly-three hours, most of you probably ran for the hills and never looked back; but what I didn’t say was that it was a near-three hour movie that never, not for a single second, slows down. Sure, there are some moments where we see Scorsese let go of his style and just let his ensemble do the speaking for him, but it’s all Scorsese, all of the time, and it never lost its sense of energy that made it such a blast to watch for its first five minutes of being on screen, let alone it’s 2-hours-and-59-minutes. And needless to say, some of it could have definitely been chopped-down and even taken-out, but with what Scorsese himself has here, it’s pure dynamite by how quick, fun and energetic everything is, without taking a brief moment for silence or to catch your breath.

In other words, if you can’t handle a near-three hour movie that never cools its brakes, you may want to look elsewhere, because once Marty and the rest of his gang get this bus going, they aren’t stopping and it makes you feel like Scorsese himself may never, ever quit making movies. And I would have no problem with that whatsoever, because if he shows us, so late in the game, that he can still hang with the best of them, get moving when he needs to, and also be able to keep his blood-pressure at a reasonably healthy rate, then we don’t need anybody else other than him. If he’s going to keep on branching out and trying new things, then who needs someone that could be, “The Next Martin Scorsese”. It would surely be nice to get someone else who can master the art of the multiple over-head narrations, or the constant zooming-in camera movements, but as for right now, at this moment in time, I’m fine with Marty Scorsese sticking around for however long he damn well pleases to. I just hope that he continues to make movies as exciting, entertaining and hilarious as this.

But everything that I’m saying about Marty, and how he seems to still be open to new and cool things to play around with, could be said for his cinematic muse, Leonardo DiCaprio. Anybody who has ever followed my blog and knows my history, knows that I am a huge and adoring fan of Leo, and he did not disappoint me a single second here. Heck, in fact, I’d say that he surprised the hell out of me here, showing that it is possible for somebody who’s nearing-40, and who has already shown his talents as an actor, to still shock us by letting us know that he’s capable of doing more than just yelling, emoting and being upset; in fact, just like he proved with his Oscar-worthy performance last year in Django Unchained, he can actually be quite funny and steal the scene from some of the most charming, and spirited screen-presences out there.

Women, AMMIRIGHT?

Women, AMMIRIGHT?

Not only does Leo get show his lighter-side with Belfort, in terms of making wise-cracks and just being the lovable, handsome devil that knows what to say, and when to say it, he also gets to branch-out a bit and pull-off some really impressive scenes where it’s just him, and him alone. There’s the one scene that everybody seems to be talking about in which Leo begins to feel the side effects of decade-old Quaaludes, and begins to fall limp in every part of his body; almost to the point of where he’s practically dragging himself and crawling to his car. It’s the scene that everybody seems to be talking about, and with good reason: It’s funny, it never ends (in a good way), it’s probably the quietest scene in the whole movie, it’s bizarre and the best of all, it shows us that even somebody like Leo DiCap, the same guy who has been taking serious-role-after-serious-role for a good chunk of his career, can handle something like “physical comedy”, and pull it off with perfection. There’s even a couple more scenes where he’s getting the rest of his stockbrokers all locked, cocked and loaded for whatever it is he wants them to do, whether it be getting richer or throwing down a sweet-ass party, and he absolutely owns each and every one of them, showing us, once again, that if you give him character, you give him a drive, you give him a capable director and you put a camera in front of his face, he’s going to make some magic happen and absolutely over-power everybody else around him.

That’s why, when you look at an ensemble as wide and as fun as this, you really do have to give a whole bunch of credit to somebody like Leo for never letting this movie loose, because his shoulders are the ones in which this flick solely rests its fate on. While everybody here is charming, fun, crazy and anything else but boring, he’s the guy who keeps the train on its tracks, making us realize that these were in fact, real people, who screwed over real people, just like you or me. Though Scorsese may never seem to go any further than “look at all these rich guys and all the debauchery acts they’re committing”, the movie is still a powerful indictment on the fact that these were guys who messed our economy over, and we’re the ones who had to pay for it. It sucks big time, and even though this movie has a good time getting itself away from that fact, we’re still the ones who have to suck it up and move on with our lives, while they are the ones who get to live freely and still be able to do what they want.

Sucks, I know, but it’s all in the name of a good time, right?

Anyway, needless to say, I’ll be pulling for Leo to land his Oscar this year, as I do every year, but let’s face it: He’ll be lucky enough to nab a nomination. Which blows, because he’s so electrifying here, you’ll wonder what else he’s got in-store for us and whether it will be back to his old ways of playing the same old,”troubled and tortured smart guy role”, or if he’ll continue to surprise us and show that he’s got more in his tank than what we know of? I don’t know what side he’ll most likely lean towards, but what I can is that Leo will definitely keep on being one of the best working today, and one that proves to me, as well as to everybody else, time and time again, that nobody can steal the spotlight away from him. Nobody!

Yeah, I’m a bit of a Leo DiCap fan boy. Deal with it.

"Hey, Judd? Seth? Yeah, I've moved on to bigger, and more critically-acclaimed things. Sorry, guys."

“Hey, Judd? Seth? Yeah, I’ve moved on to bigger, and more respected things. Sorry, guys.”

Like I was saying before though, Leo may own this movie, but he isn’t the only that’s actually “good” in it. Jonah Hill is a laugh-out-loud riot as the equally as demented and sick buddy of Jordan’s, Donnie, who starts to show some pretty dark shades to his character as time goes on; Matthew McConaughey appears in about two or three scenes early on in the movie and is a whole box of fun, even giving us some insight into the person that Jordan himself aspires to be, and most likely, will be once he gets his paychecks in order and balance; Rob Reiner is a welcome-presence to see back on the screen, this time, playing Jordan’s dad who handles all of the money, and doesn’t like to ask questions about where it comes from and what it’s for, but still somehow can’t get away from being just a little curious; Jean Dujardin shows up as a Swedish bank-owner that Jordan doesn’t particularly like, but does business with to keep the feds off of his ass; and speaking of those feds, Kyle Chandler plays the FBI Agent whose leading the whole sting-operation against Belfort and his trusty band of misfits, and somehow forms a nice rivalry between the two, despite only having about two scenes together where they actually do match wits.

Oh, and last but not least, Margot Robbie is as perfectly-suited for this Scorsese flick, as much as she’s easy-on-the-eyes, because while she does definitely get full-on naked at various times, she never feels like an object that’s an easy stepping-stool. She can hang with the big boys and she proves that she won’t be taken advantage of, even when it’s clearly obvious that all Jordan wants her for is a nice fuck and a gal to watch over the rest of his family, as well as his empire, just in case he just so happens to be gone for a short while. She’s what every man in the world wants: Smart, brass, good-looking, and a fire-breather in bed, but also the same type of girl that won’t put up with your shit, no matter what. In other words, each and every one of my ex’s. Damn them all!

Consensus: Running on a near-three hour time-limit may take some viewers away from spending time with the Wolf of Wall Street, and the excessive amount of drugs, sex, crime and violence that it depicts, but those who are willing to, will find themselves rewarded with not only one of the most entertaining flicks of the year, but also one of the most impressive that shows us that neither Leonardo DiCaprio, nor Martin Scorsese are down for the count and might just have a few more hits left in them.

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

Cheers indeed, Leo. Cheers indeed.

Cheers indeed, Leo. Cheers indeed.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!