Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stammering to an Oscar

Remember Tropical Thunder and Robert Downey Jr.'s character's advice about how not to play a role?

Well, Colin Firth as George VI may not go "full retarded" but he does go full stammerer and in doing so creates an incredibly sympathetic depiction of a King uncomfortable with his new position in the world.

Equally up to the task are Geoffrey Rush, in an incredibly restrained performance, considering the way he has been "Aargh"ing himself through the Aught's as Barbosa in the Pirates movies, and Helena Bonham Carter as the long suffering wife. Her character actually holds down the movie in the first half hour, but then she disappears for stretches and when she comes back onscreen, I immediately noticed how much her absence harms the film.

If you have seen the therapist patient movies in the past that have done well at the Oscars--

or this clip from Ordinary People then you are familiar with what will happen and the struggles that the patient and therapists will experience. None the less, it still makes for an enjoyable and powerful bit of cinema.

The real question is this: is the film the best movie of the year? After leaving the theatre, I would have to say no. It's well done. It's well acted, but it's not the best and probably shouldn't deserve the Oscars that are going to come its way.

No doubt, Firth will win for best actor, but if you really want to see an incredibly powerful performance--watch him in last year's A Single Man and really see what he can do.

His performance is just devastating.

Another take on Cop Out

Take a look at this perspective on Cop Out.

Cop Out? More like Crap Out

I consider myself a Kevin Smith fan, having taught a number of classes on his films and Clerks and Chasing Amy are regular features in my screenwriting course. As is this clip.

In addition, I am a huge fan of Bruce Willis. I started watching him on Moonlighting and I continued to follow him at the movies, including Die Hard.

You would think a combo of Smith and Willis would make for a solid film, even more so when they are doing a cop film, but it was not to be.

What was the problem? Well, to begin with Tracey Morgan is a huge problem in the film. He is so over the top that half the time I couldn't even understand what he was saying. It's great to be enthusiastic, but c'mon man, enunciate so we can hear your lines.

Next, Tracey Morgan dressed as a cell phone.

Need we say more. It's a tired old gimmick and we know how the chase sequence is gonna play out.

In addition, Willis looks bored out of his skull.

How long did I last? 3o minutes before turning it off. When I took a look at what the film was supposed to be about I found 0ut that there was some baseball card that they were supposed to get back. A baseball card? Where was the baseball card? For a full 30 minutes there is no discussion of a baseball card. What about Syd Field's rule of a plot point at the end of the first act? What happened to creating a compelling narrative?

All was missing here.