Come To The Cabaret (Movie Thoughts: Mainstream)

Probably the most interesting part of thsi movie is something that went viral in social media. It’s a photograph (or a series of photographs) of a naked Andrew Garfield walking all over Hollywood Boulevard. I mean, way to entice an audience, right? It seems like a genius idea about social media – having something go hog wild on social media.l

If only the film was more interesting – a sort of morality tale about the pitfalls of social media obsession, Andrew Garfield stars as ‘No One Special,’ an internet sensation who loses himself in the process. His character starts out as a little bit of an eccentric, and turns demonic by the end.

Garfield is great. He commands the screen and is on his element here – over-the-top, vulnerable, magnetic. I really do think he is a fantastic actor who can play any role, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off him here (While watching the film, I just thought of a perfect role for him – the Emcee in Cabaret)

The film is a little bit of a snooze, though. While the script is serviceable, it doesn’t really say much beyond what is obvious. But see it for Garfield’s performance. That made it worth my while.

You Take My Breath Away (Movie Thoughts: Breathe)

One-Sheet-600x889Andy Serkis directs ‘Breathe,’ and it’a obvious he loves the subjects of the movie, which tells the story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, respectively)   Robin Cavendish is a disabled hero of sorts, he accomplished a couple of breakthroughs  in the paraplegic world, and certainly should be looked at as a hero. Paralyzed from the neck down because of polio, the couple broke barriers by being the first patient to survive at home, as these people were treated like lepers during that time. The story is pretty straightforward and largely predictable and you get the feeling that you have seen this movie before. Both Foy and Garfield are more than competent, and while that is good to make the film just a notch above ordinary, it also seems kind of disappointing. Garfield, for example, is saddled with a script that does not give him much to do, and I can just imagine another film wherein he shines more in the same exact role. This is one of those films that makes you feel good, but at the same time doesn’t make you feel anything at all.

I Saw The War (Movie Thoughts: Hacksaw Ridge)

hacksaw-ridge-new-posterI feel dirty. After the final scene in “Hackshaw Ridge,” I saw on screen the dreaded four words I thought I would never see; “Directed By Mel Gibson.” You see, I pride myself as never having seen any of his movies – no Braveheart, not even What Women Want. I despise him – he is misogynistic, homophobic, an anti-semite. Had I known that he directed this movie, I would have stayed away from it. But Andrew Garfield lured me – he is one of my favorite young actors working today, and wanted to see how he would tackle his role here.

And it’s a great role – the story of Desmond T. Doss, the conscientious objector who was awarded war medals. His achievement stems from the fact that he got these medals by not even touching a gun while in combat. He worked mainly as the troop medic, and saved seventy five lives while at Hacksaw Ridge, in Okinawa, Japan. he did it because of his religious beliefs – he is a Seventh-Day Adventist. It’s a remarkable story, and I was deeply touched by it. Garfield is fantastic, and perfect for the role – his sinewy build highlights Doss’s achievements, and he plays it with august tenderness. His performance forms the heart of this piece.

But the violence here was too much for me. I spent a big part looking away from the scene during the battle scenes, which was relentless. Yes, war is horror, for sure, but most times, I felt it was way too much blood and gore for my taste. And the heavy-handed religious slant, I was going to say, was a turn off, but now that I realize that Gibson directed this, I want to say, how am I not surprised.

Do I regret seeing this? Yes I do, because it kills me that I supported one of the biggest bigots in Hollywood. (Can I just say I did it for Andrew?) But it happened, and now I just need to do penance – maybe donate money to Planned Parenthood, or something else that Gibson despises.

99 Problems And A Home Is One (Movie Thoughts: 99 Homes)

99-HOMES-movie-poster1“99 Homes” opened last week, and I had wanted to see it. I dis nto, and I notice that this week my local theater has it at two screenings a day. That’s a shame, because this movie, is one of the best I have seen this year. Written and Directed by Ramin Bahrani, it tells teh story of how people were screwed over  during the explosion of the mortgage bubble about five or so years ago, and tells the story of these people, whose homes were foreclosed, and were left to dry both by the banks, and the government. It also explores how material things shape our life decision, how it eviscerates our morals, and how far we are willing to go to be “safe” in this world. Michael Shannon plays Rick Carver, a real estate mogul who prey on families who have foreclosed homes. Andrew Garfield (Dennis Nash) plays a father whose home was rendered to the bank, and Carver is the one who facilitates their exodus. In a twist of fate, Nash starts to work for Carver, and gets caught in his business practice. Garfield is excellent here: sensitive, vulnerable, and even when caught in the devil’s temptation, conveys morality and integrity. Shannon is cunning and devious, but he never plays it as a caricature. At times, you even take his side when he says “Never get emotional with real estate.” (I agree with him – never get emotional with anything) they play ff each other excellently, and I hope this bodes teh way for both their careers. (Didn’t I just rave about Shannon for his portrayal in “Freeheld”?) I was more pleasantly surprised with Garfield, since I never paid attention to his Spiderman things, so I had little exposure to what he can do. This is the kind of movie that will make you think, will make you react. I highly recommend this movie : it’s a thriller without being slashy, it’s violent without blood or physical force. Look for it – it’s worth the search.