Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tag: Rachel McAdams

Disobedience (2017)

Title: Disobedience
Rating: R
Directed by: Sebastián Lelio
Written by: Sebastián Lelio, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Based on the novel by: Naomi Alderman
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola
Release Date: 4/27/2018
Running Time: 114 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
The film follows a woman (Rachel Weisz) as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams). Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Special thanks to Rhonda for this submission


Game Night (2018)*

Title: Game Night
Rating: R
Directed by: John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein
Written by: Mark Perez
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris,
Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti, Michael C. Hall, and Kyle Chandler

Release Date: 2/23/2018
Running Time: 100 minutes

Official Site
IMDb
Buy on Amazon

What did you think of this film?
Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks, arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So, when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this “game”—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be.

Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had…or, it’s game over.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? Yes

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Are There Any Extras After The Credits? Yes

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Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+63 rating, 125 votes)

Memoriam: In Memory of John Bernecker

Special thanks to Frank for this submission


Doctor Strange (2016)*

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Title: Doctor Strange
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: C. Robert Cargill, Scott Derrickson and Jon Spaihts
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton
Release Date: 11/4/2016
Running Time: 115 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

A story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Yes

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After Credits? Yes

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Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+156 rating, 194 votes)

Note: Driving while distracted can be hazardous to you and others on the road. Please drive responsibly.

Memoriam: In Memory of David Stapleton

Was seeing Doctor Strange in IMAX 3D worth the cost?

Spotlight Review – 3.5 out of 5 Stars

SpotlightPoster
We haven’t had a good film about journalism in what feels like decades. A part of the reason for this is that people don’t have the same level of respect for the media that they had in the past. Before internet culture, people saw reporters and journalist as the intelligent heroes in All the Presidents Men and The China Syndrome, using there intellect to bring out the truth. Nowadays, it’s hard not to see the media as it’s shown in the once thought to be preposterous world of Network. TMZ, Fox News and CNN live on shoddy reporting that exploits tragedies, rushes stories before finding facts and generally manipulates the viewers. Modern mainstream media has become so bad that people go to more comedic shows for actuals news. It says something when the best movie about reporting that I’ve seen in years was Nightcrawler.

So while there are several flaws that keep Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight from being perfect or even great in my mind, I can at least understand why this film will be a huge breath of fresh air for audiences and reporters alike. After duds like Truth and True Story, we have a movie that gives a truly heroic portrait of journalists and the steps they take to research a story and affect the culture surrounding them.

In 2002, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery) decided to begin a secret investigation into sexual abuse involving Catholic priests in the state of Massachusetts. They originally believe there to be five priests that have been covered up by the church but the list of people expands as more investigating is done.

I think one of the few things people will agree on with this movie is its intelligence. The movie tries to really explore every nook and cranny of how the story was handled. You get to see all the details from them talking about choosing this subject in a board room to them going back to work after publishing the story in there paper. You watch them go through thousands of pages looking for guilty priests and you see the conversations they have with lawyers, friends, victims and sometimes even the perpetrators in the hopes of finding out more information. The movie is about capturing all of these little things that they had to do in order to release this story and if anything, the movie gives you a new found respect for the work journalists go through.

What’s impressive about this movie is that you would assume that it would be relatively boring to watch for two hours and ten minutes. I was suspicious about a movie being made about the subject in the first place and it didn’t help that before Spotlight I saw Truth, an ungodly long and boring movie about the news.

To be honest, I was a little bored near the start of the movie. Not a lot of things were happening and I was worried that the film would be like this for the rest of its running time. But as the story develops and they gather more information, the movie becomes faster and more thrilling until it’s suddenly over. Now having seen the entire movie, this is one of the rare times where I compliment a part of the film for being boring. This transformation from slower, more atmospheric storytelling into non-stop information is a creative and accurate representation of what it was like for the people who were working on this story. In the beginning, there might be a lot of dead ends and useless clues. But all it takes is for a few of these tiny clues to piece together for you to start picking up on bigger and bigger material to work with.

Besides its sheer competence when it came to handling the story, Spotlights biggest hit is in the overall message it tries to give. What this movie tries to heroize is a rarity in modern pop culture. The heroes in Spotlight aren’t big, larger than life super heroes who save the day with over the top action scenes and gigantic speeches about how what they do is the right thing. The heroes in Spotlight work on the bottom floor, they take the bus to work and they spend their nights researching in libraries. They create answers and they help victims with their quiet intellect. And after hundreds of hours of perfecting until they have something they can give to the public, they rest and then there back on Monday, sitting at their desks finding out about a new topic they can give to the world. It isn’t pretty or filled with stirring speeches. But at the end of the day, the smart, quiet people are the ones who get results and create change.

It’s so easy to make a movie that tries to glamorize heroism and shows a hero as being someone who does the biggest thing or says something the loudest. Current mainstream news certainly seems to believe this. You can’t turn on Fox News these days without finding some new thing for them to get angry about without providing any evidence. But real journalism and being a real hero looks like Spotlight, it’s slow, detailed and calculated. It’s quiet, silent figures performing a thankless job not in the hopes of achieving accolades or honor, but a beautiful outcome that can hopefully in some small way inch us towards a better future for everyone around us. Stanley Tucci excellently portrays Michael Garabedian, an attorney for sexually abused children that helps the Globe with their case. At the end of the movie, he shares a brief moment of kindness with Mark Ruffallo’s character and then he goes right back to his job in a small room helping two kids who were sexually abused. I think that quietly devastating sequence is the heart of Spotlight.

That’s not to say the movie is a perfect delivery of that theme. In the process of showing the creation of the article in the most accurate and complex way possible, it sometimes doesn’t create the same level of standards for its characters. I hate to talk about real people like this because I have to assume there all good people but in the case of this movie I found many of the main characters to be underwritten. The smaller characters like Garabedian and the abuse victims are very well written because they are more blatantly showing the subject matter but I think the movie gives a lot of exposition to everyone who worked on the Spotlight team and it makes the movie more distant and cold. The movie spends so much time giving them information to tell the audience that they don’t have that much time to reveal anything about their personal lives or even some of the tiny quirks that they might have.

I honestly can’t tell you anything about Ruffalo and McAdams’ characters beyond the fact that they’re reporters. The movie tries to make them more calculated to show quiet heroism but it goes a little too far and it created a distance between me and the main characters. I shouldn’t feel like I’m waiting for the supporting characters to show up but that’s how this film felt to me. In one of the weakest scenes in the movie, Ruffalo desperately tries to breathe life into an absolutely one note character in a rant that no doubt will be shown at next year’s Oscars ceremony. I have nothing against him as an actor but it was painfully obvious how he was trying to add things that weren’t there for the most mediocre character in the movie.

I also found Thomas McCarthy’s direction to be perfectly fine but nothing to write home about. It’s not at all a poorly made movie; it’s well edited and it has great cinematography. At the same time, McCarthy doesn’t add the extra kick to this movie that could’ve turned it from good to outstanding. He does a competent job with spotlight but that’s it, he does a competent job. He does give any nuances, quirks or originality to the screenplay and he doesn’t seem to have any real vision besides just shooting the movie. The music is repetitive, generic and distracting which is something that can seriously damage a movie in my eyes. McCarthy doesn’t show any creativity with this movie and I don’t think he gives Spotlight anything that couldn’t have been done by another filmmaker.

Spotlight is a film that’s much easier to appreciate than enjoy. I respect the accurate portrayal of journalism and the way it advocates for smarter, less reactionary reporting. I think the movie tries to present a unique perspective on what it means to be a hero. Unfortunately, I think there are too many things in the movie that I found to be middle of the road. The story is great but the main characters are forgettable. McCarthy’s direction is fine but he doesn’t give the movie any of the heart or soul it needed to take it home. Spotlight is very competent and simply going down a checklist, this is a movie that seems to do everything right. I just feel like the movie lacks a heart and an intimacy that’s necessary for me to fall in love with it.

Rating:(3.5/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 11/25/2015

Rating: R

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Screenplay by: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Spotlight (2015)

SpotlightPoster

Title: Spotlight
Rating: R
Directed by: Tom McCarthy
Written by: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and John Slattery
Release Date: 11/6/2015
Running Time: 128 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Note: “If you have been affected by these issues or want to support investigative journalists and their work go to spotlightthefilm.com


Southpaw Review – 2 out of 5 Stars

SouthpawPoster
Predictable is a term I happen to use a lot on this website. I think it’s a complaint I can use for the majority of mainstream films from the romantic comedy to the found footage horror movie. It’s worth mentioning to these movies credit though that when I use this phrase I usually don’t literally mean that the entire film from start to finish was totally predictable. Most of these movies I have that criticism for at least have one or two things they add that make them at least a tad original. It’s rare that a find an actual movie where I am able to call every single plot point before it happens. The latest boxing drama Southpaw has the distinction of being one of those rare occasions. Aside from an as expected fantastic performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, every aspect of the movie is contrived and uninspired. The movie tries to get the audience to cry and feel moved but it ends up trying to such a hollow, ridiculous degree to do this that there were some scenes where I couldn’t help but laugh at how pathetic and lazy it all felt.

If you got a quarter for every part of this synopsis that seems clichéd, you’d probably have enough money to just rent The Fighter instead. All I have to say is the name of the main character for you to know what type of film this will be. The name of our hero is Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal). The movie makes absolutely sure that you know this wasn’t some odd coincidence. It does make you wonder if the sportscasters cracked up delivering such golden lines as “Hope is back” and “Hope wins”. Anyways, Billy Hope is greatest fighter in the U.S. and he gets the support he needs from his also orphaned wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) as well as his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). On the verge of retiring, his wife is accidently shot and killed during a fight between Billy and his rival Miguel (Miguel Gomez). A downward spiral leads to him losing everything including his daughter after she gets taken away by child protective services. To get his daughter and go back on to the right path, he receives training from a washed up fighter (Forest Whitaker) so that he can go up against Miguel for his dead wife.

This is one of those movies where the logic is that everything has to be dark and gritty every second for it to be taken seriously. Not a single joke is cracked in the film and every conversation and every action that takes place in the film feels there just to bully the audience into having a reaction. The movie is just scene after scene of the writer betting himself that he can’t put the main character into a worse situation. Do you think it’s his low when his wife dies? Nope. Do you think it’s his low when he’s taking cocaine and threatening to kill his best friend? Nope. Do you think it’s his low when he loses his house? Nope. It’s come to a point where the movie transforms its protagonist into a prop that other characters can hit around in the name of eliciting something out of audience members. Maybe a few of these moments would feel moving or unforgettable if it was thrown in with character development or an interesting story but it’s just scene after scene of these manipulative moments and it ends up feeling more ridiculous than edgy. 12 Years a Slave and Prisoners are two very dark dramas that I love but these films still make room for wit, complex themes, fascinating characters and compelling stories. These movies understand that for dark aspects like slavery or child abduction to mean something, you have to revolve these things around something that is relatable and sympathetic. Southpaw only understands the dark visceral scenes in these films and then it decides to play that stuff on repeat for two hours instead of featuring any of the other stuff that made those films so great.

His name isn’t the only thing about him that feels hacky. Rid of the nuance and intensity of Gyllenhaal’s performance, Billy Hope is about as unrelatable as protagonists go. As I mentioned above, Hope is a punching bag (pun totally intended) who’s just there to get beaten up by life so that the audience can cry. Besides these loud and jarring moments, we never see any charm or evolution in him as he moves on. The movie tells us that we’re supposed to be watching this big transition but the movie presented his change and his backstory with so little authenticity that it’s challenging to feel any sense to root for him in the final fight. Forrest Whitaker plays the stereotypical coach whose a washed up eccentric with a heart of gold and Rachel McAdams is the wise, angelic wife whose just there to die in the first quarter of the film. Miguel is nothing more than a one note 80’s style jock character who’s given nothing. You’ve seen these characters hundreds of times before and the movie gives you no reason to see this as anything bigger than that.

Hope’s daughter Leila takes the cake though for the most contrived character. I would call the films attempts to make her look like anything more than an object to emotionally manipulate the audience pathetic but they’re frankly non-existent. I dare you to find one scene in the film where she isn’t being used painfully obviously to cry or scream or basically be the films equivalent of blatantly punching you to get a feeling out of you. There is this scene in the film where Leila tells her father that she wishes he’d died instead of her mother just because he doesn’t want her to watch a fight he’s going to be doing. It’s such an out of place moment that perfectly captures the forced grittiness of the film and the shamefully emotionless manipulation done through the daughter that I couldn’t help but openly laugh in my theater. I can see how one of the moments with her could work if it was mixed with some points of humor or at least normality with the character but if every scene is her slapping her father or praying at her mom’s grave it all ends up feeling like this shameless joke. In a film of forced, uninspired aspects, the father-daughter relationship was by far the worst.

The film so far seems like the worst drama you could end up watching and you may be wondering why I’m not going any lower with the score. The easy answer to that is that for some inexplicable reason, a set of amazing actors took a look at this script and decided it would be a great idea. Jake Gyllenhaal has quickly proven himself to be one of the best actors working in cinema today. His part in Nightcrawler should be remembered for decades to come. For a bland as the character is, Gyllenhaal gives the part everything he can give it in one of the best performances of the year so far. He takes his nothing part and he breathes life into it and makes Billy Hope feel like a real person for a few moments. The scene where he is reacting to his wife’s death is a little devastating mostly because of how much passion he has. For what it’s worth, this movie at least proves that at this point Jake Gyllenhaal can add heart to even the worst films.

In a film where he also didn’t have to try very hard, Forest Whitaker is also really impressive and he manages to make the trainer to Billy Hope the most well rounded person in the film. I’ve seen Whitaker half ass it in some recent films so it’s pleasantly surprising to see him taking this weak part and making the most out of it rather than simply not giving anything when it’s an uninteresting part. Mostly due to their talent, the moments between Whitaker and Gyllenhaal are hands down the best moments in the film because they’re the scenes where the film feels the most sincere because they’re being carried by the talent of the actors.

As is, Southpaw is bad on almost every level in terms of how to write a screenplay. This film is scene after scene of stock, melodramatic moments that feel cheap and insincere. The movie is a joke otherwise saved by the talents of the actors on board and it should have no problem being quickly forgotten. I’m happy to say we have found this year’s first Oscar failure.

Rating:(2/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 7/24/2015

Rating: R

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Miguel Gomez and Naomie Harris

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Screenplay by: Kurt Sutter

Southpaw (2015)

SouthpawPoster

Title: Southpaw
Rating: R
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Kurt Sutter
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Oona Laurence
Release Date: ReleaseDateGoesHere
Running Time: RunningTimeGoesHere

Official Facebook
IMDb

Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Memoriam: In Memory of our Friend James Horner

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission


Aloha (2015)*

AlohaPoster

Title: Aloha
Rating: PG-13
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone
Release Date: 5/29/2015
Running Time: 105 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Yes

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After Credits? No

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About Time (2013)*

AboutTimePoster

TITLE: About Time

RELEASE DATE: 11/8/2013

RATING: R

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

What did you think of this film?


Official Site

Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? Yes

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After Credits? No

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (0 rating, 2 votes)

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission


Passion (2012)

PassionPoster

TITLE: Passion

RELEASE DATE: 8/30/2013

RATING: R

The rivalry between the manipulative boss of an advertising agency and her talented protégée escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder.

What did you think of this film?


Official Site

Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission


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