Tag: jennifer lawrence

MOVIE REVIEW | X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A silly little comic book movie, about people with silly super powers, running around in silly costumes.”

 X-Men 1.jpg
“You are all my children, and you’re lost because you follow blind leaders. No more false gods. I’m here now.”

While the DC movies make insane money at the same time as absolutely everyone talks about how much they suck…  While Spider-Man continues to get re-booted roughly every seven minutes…  While the Marvel universe grinds its way to swallowing cinema as we know it…  While all of that happens, the franchise that started it all bubbles away, never standing out, but never going away either.  If hundreds of millions of dollars of blockbuster can be a quiet achiever, the X-Men series is just that.  And it’s here to remind us all once again that it exists, before being lost in the dust of whatever Marvel rolls out next, with X-Men: Apocalypse.

A decade after the world learned of the existence of mutants via the climactic events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s the 80s, and all of our heroes and villains are laying low.  Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X (James McAvoy) continues to nurture young mutants and teach them to control their powers at his school for the gifted, aided by original student, Hank McCoy, AKA Beast (Nicolas Hoult).  Meanwhile, bad guy Eric Lehnsherr, AKA Magneto (Michael Fassbender) works anonymously in a Polish steel mill.  While reluctant hero and mutant poster woman Raven, AKA Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is a mercenary with a heart of gold, saving young mutants from things like slavery in underground fighting pits. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Joy (2015)

Joy 1
Never speak, on my behalf, about my business, again.

In the last half a dozen or so years, David O Russell has specialised in a very specific kind of prestige movie.  They’re dark but funny, dramatic but silly, gritty but quirky.  It’s worked well for him, with The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle all cleaning up at the box office and when it comes to award nominations.  It seems like it’s a formula he’s sticking with, because he’s back with another movie that ticks all of those boxes with Joy.

It’s the 80s and Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) is living a pretty shit life.  Her house is overrun by her soap opera addicted, shut in mother (Virginia Madsen as Terry), her deadbeat ex husband (Edgar Ramierez as Tony), her grandmother (Diane Ladd as Mimi) and her two young children. Things get even more stressful when her father (Robert De Niro as Rudy) returns to live in the basement after being kicked out by his second wife. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Serena (2014)


“It’s a hard place this world can be. No wonder a baby cries coming in to it. Tears from the start.”

Jennifer Lawrence is possibly the biggest female star in Hollywood at the moment.  Bradley Copper’s right up there on the A-list as well.  And, they’ve made two hugely successful movies together already in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.  So to assume another team up would be something audiences want to see seems reasonable.  Which is why I should have heard a lot more alarm bells when I first became aware of Serena.  A Lawrence / Cooper joint that was made a couple of years ago, kept on a shelf, then barley released now with a whimper.  But, I liked the source book and I like the stars, so I ignored those warning signs and went in with hopes high.

It’s the Great Depression and George Pemberton (Cooper) is doing his best to chop down every single tree in North Carolina before the government seizes his land for the then-new national parks project.  In Boston for some political glad handing, he meets Serena (Lawrence), a woman who has made it in the man’s world of logging and timber.  Immediately married, they return to North Carolina where a young employee of Pemberton’s (Ana Ularu as Rachel) has given birth to his love child.  Serena makes it clear that Pemberton’s past is no concern of hers, unless it in anyway gets in the way of her plans for their future. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | American Hustle (2013)

David o Russell has always been an interesting film maker, but his career was pretty rocky for a while there.   Early movies like Flirting With Disaster found appreciation over the years, but are still mostly unseen by the masses.  Then there were leaked videos of onset screaming matches with his cast, and a lost movie that was shut down multiple times before disappearing all together.  But a few years ago, something happened and David O Russell became a bankable, Oscar nomination regular.  First the Fighter, then Silver Linings Playbook, and now a movie that seems like it’s sure a thing for a few categories, including Best Picture and Best Director, American Hustle.

Christian Bale is Irving Rosenfeld, a small time con man who falls in love with his new accomplice, Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser.  Unfortunately, he’s already in a loveless marriage with Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence).  Even more unfortunately, Irving and Sydney get caught in an FBI sting by Bradley Cooper’s Richie DiMaso, that leads to working for the feds, trying to take down bigger targets, including Jeremy Renner as small town New Jersey Mayor, Carmine Polito.

Once the many balls are in the air, the multiple plates are spinning and various wheels are in motion (trust me, the complex, but never convoluted, story really does deserve that many metaphors), American Hustle plays out as an amazingly effective combination of drama, action, suspense, mad capped caper and broad comedy.  And Russell really deserves all the credit for making these conflicting tones work with each other, instead of collapsing into a big mess.

A lot of American Hustle is about lies people tell to others.  But even more of it is about lies people tell themselves just so they can survive.  Irving knows his comb over isn’t fooling anybody, but he tells himself it makes a difference because running a confidence scam is all about having confidence.  Richie knows he’s a substandard agent living a substandard life, but he tells himself he’s smarter than everyone else around him, hoping that one day he might actually believe it.

While Carmine might not be lying about doing everything for the good of his New Jersey constituents, you can see him tyring to justify his actions to himself as much as to anyone else.  And as Irving’s bored and otherwise clueless housewife, Rosalyn is the only one completely self-aware of all their lies, internal and external, even getting a nice little rant about how we all tell ourselves whatever we need to just get through the day.

I’ve read a few comparisons between this movie and Goodfellas.  And while American Hustle never attempts the real darkness of Scorsese’s masterpiece, I understand the link.  The most obvious being the multiple character voiceover and meticulous period setting.  But it’s more than that.  A lot of the camera work, music choices and editing also make me think Russell has seen Goodfellas more than a few times.  I don’t want that sound like I’m saying he ripped off Scorsese.  I think it’s more of a respectful homage.

Bale, Adams, Cooper and Lawrence were all nominated for Oscars the last time they were in David O Russell films, and even though I think Bale, Cooper and Lawrence should all get another shot with American Hustle, I’m not sure if they will.  The Academy really has a stick up its ass when it comes to great comedic performances.  And even though they all get deep, dramatic moments too, they made me laugh way too many times for the prestige-addicted Oscar voters to give them a chance.

American Hustle
Directed By – David O. Russell
Written By – Eric Singer, David O. Russell