Posted in Movie Monday

A ‘Match’ Made in Netflix Heaven

Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?

It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.


Match movie poster with Patrick StewartNetflix suggested the movie Match. As soon as I saw Patrick Stewart was in it, I said YES! I love that man, since his days as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve admired a lot of his work since then, too. The fact that Match is based on a play also intrgued me — I love theater and I love drama. This movie is dramatic, and funny, and sad, and serious, and utlimately so human.

Match, which also stars Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard, tells the story of a Tobi (Stewart), a Juilliard professor who’s interviewed by a woman and her husband for her dissertation on the history of dance in 1960s New York. It becomes increasingly clear, though, that there are ulterior motives to the couple’s visit.

The movie mostly takes place in Tobi’s apartment and through dialogue between the three. Some people find a movie like that boring — I am not one of those people. Some of my favorite movies are mostly dialogue — like Before Sunrise or Tape, which also was written by Stephen Belber, the writer of Match. I’m fascinated by human interaction, the need for connection, and the lengths to which we go to achieve it and also to sabotage ourselves from getting it.

Match is about: a man looking for a phantom, one he has let dictate his life and choices; a woman looking for the freedom and joy she once experienced; and an older man who cut himself off from the world and thought he was OK with it, until he discovered that he was actually missing out, a lot. It’s a lovely work, and Stewart is hilarious, real, and vulnerable.

If you have 90 minutes and want to spend them mostly in Tobi’s upper Manhattan apartment — and inside the characters’ heads and hearts — check out Match, an affirming, heartfelt, human story with lots of giggles and good performances.        (3 stars out of 4).

I love my life. I regret my life. The lines eventually blur, and it’s just… my life. ~Tobi

Match


Movie Monday is my extremely infrequent movie review series. Click the Movie Monday tag or category to read more reviews.

Posted in Movie Monday

Liked This Downey Downer

Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?

It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.


 

the judge

The Judge

Let’s just start with the obvious. Any movie with Robert Downey Jr. is awesome because he’s Robert Downey Jr. I can’t think of one thing I’ve seen him where he disappointed me, unlike some other actors who started in the 1980s (Cusack, I’m looking at you). He’s a really good actor. REALLY. And watching him in scenes with Robert Duvall was like watching a master class. If you think of not seeing this flick, see it for the two of them, as Peter Travers said in Rolling Stone (and I agree).

The story mostly revolves around Hank (RDJ) and the Judge (Duvall)’s father-son relationship, misconceptions, misunderstandings, hiding behind hurt/anger/pain. It’s emotional and I thought it was true-to-life. The other people in the cast — Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, and others — were good, but I found some of the story unnecessary and clichéd. Hank and his old girlfriend reminiscing felt especially old and worn out. There was even a scene of Hank and the Judge arguing with the threat of a tornado outside — wind blowing, them huffing and puffing through their most intense argument. After the storm, they began to lay the groundwork for understanding. That imagery has been done a million times, movie peeps. My only other complaint: twas a wee bit too long.

I’ll give it 2.5 stars out of 4. If they had cut the length and the cliches, and focused more on just RDJ and Duvall and it would have been a 4. Great actors, compelling emotionality that could have been overwrought and ruined by less capable performers. And still, it’s better than the three Oscar-nominated flicks I’ve seen this year — Birdman, Whiplash, and Boyhood (btw, is Boyhood over yet???).

(In case you’re new, I catch everything on DVD and am about 6 months or more behind everybody else).

Robert Downey Jr in The Judge in Metallica Shirt

If for nothing else, see it for RDJ in his old Metallica shirt. Go back with him briefly to the 80s, then watch him own the courtroom scene with his dad circa now. Amazing.


Movie Monday is my extremely infrequent movie review series. Click the tag or the category to read more reviews.

Posted in Movie Monday

Oscar Catch-Up Plus

Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?

It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.


 

I’m getting ready to start my writing for the day and wanted to grease the wheels a bit. It’s kind of like doing Fingerpower and running my scales before practicing my piano pieces. Also, I used to talk about movies occasionally on my old blogs back in the day (the mid-aughts). Mr. Roger Ebert and I agreed most of the time. I called him my movie soulmate. I’ve been lost without his guidance and have sat through many a crappy flick… But I’ll soldier on.

Today! I’m offering Movie Monday. In an effort to at least have a clue what some people are talking about (albeit months later), I re-signed up for Netflix. That’s right, I’m Netflixing again.  No, I don’t stream. I’m old school — one DVD at a time. So far, I’ve watched a few Oscar contenders from this past year. Let’s review:

First, there was Boyhood, a movie for which I had high hopes that were quickly dashed. I still hadn’t forgiven Richard Linklater for the real-life-like topper Before Midnight on the fantastically romantic Before Sunrise and Before Sunset trilogy. After Boyhood, he has one more strike before he’s out.

Follow the same cast and the same boy for 12 years, shooting a week a year until it’s done. Cool concept. And normally, I love his way of showing simple moments, conversations, the space in between, the passage of time. Speaking of time passing, is it over yet? The movie is almost 3 hours long; unfortunately, it felt like 12 years. It also felt like every other movie about growing up as a boy with all the typical cliches. Show me the story that ISN’T about that same kid and I’ll be impressed. Surely, not EVERY boy grows up the exact same way.

Then there was Birdman, the best movie ever, according to some critics. Was it good? Yes. The best ever? No. Some people I know didn’t even get that it was supposed to look like it was shot in one take, so if your concept was really important, Mr. Director, you may have missed the mark a bit. Michael Keaton was awesome. I just didn’t really care for the story, which was somewhat mediocre and has been told a zillion times. Are we in his head? Is this really happening? Point of view, schmoint of view. And I’m getting tired of meta — you know, a movie tells a story about making a movie, the play within the play, etc. Somebody! quick! Just tell me a good story without that or a gimmick!

I decided to get off the Oscar train and checked out Chef, an indie flick that was lauded by critics and features a food truck, which is all the rage these days. Cute teddy bear Jon Favreau gets crushed on by Scarlett Johansson AND is the ex-husband of Sofia Vergara because, sure. Pretty food pics, though, but I can see that in Neil Patrick Harris’ Twitter feed. The story: bad father/husband finally does what he loves and stops being a d*ck. Boring.

I’m back to Oscar contenders with my next-up flick: Whiplash. It features the long-laboring-before-being-recognized J.K. Simmons, who I’ve loved in many things. I hope this movie knocks my socks off. Or maybe I’ll have to consider knocking off my Netflix subscription again.

For Ebert’s sake, aren’t there any more really GREAT movies?

 

welcome to meOH! I almost forgot. Nerd alert! You can watch movies FREE through Hoopla. I saw Welcome to Me THE DAY IT OPENED IN THEATERS on my computer. Behold the power of my library card! Seriously! I put in my card info and the movie streamed for free. I was happy, too — if I had paid $14, I would have been a wee bit miffed. It was good, but not great. It was sad. I’ve heard it described as a dark comedy. It had comedic moments, but I wouldn’t call it that — it was more dark than funny. But I applaud anything that tries to tell a unique story. This did that. And the cast was chock-full o’ talented people. So check it out… literally… through your library, fo’ free! (Click here: Welcome to Me. You’re welcome!)