Tag Archive: robert deniro


Has DC figured it out? It’s starting to figure out DC has figured out its lane…

Every movie is its own thing (like most comic books). Some silly, some over the top, some stories great metaphors…

I’ve heard about the allusions to Taxi Driver and the King of Comedy for awhile, now that I’m seeing this trailer…

I’m intrigued. I’m definitely intrigued.

We shall see…

Bobby!

 

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Always the low key ones you have to watch for when you find their passion bucket.

This made me smile quite a bit…

 

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Maybe my most memorable L.A. birthday was at Kate Mandellini’s. Probably would have been the regular spot if it still existed.

Anyway, pretty much everyone I know was pissed we didn’t get to be in attendance at the ‘Heat’ screening they had at the Academy.  DeNiro, Pacino, Michael Mann, with a Q&A moderated by Christopher Nolan.

Good Lord…

The Academy was nice enough to post a few clips for us.  Here’s one about the most iconic scene.  I thought what they said about rehearsing was really interesting too.

Enjoy!

 

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My theme for my ‘sermon’ this week was pettiness.  The results will become visible in due time, but things are going my way right now.  Power corrupts all of us (let’s get that out of the way), but when it comes to slights, it’s just interesting to see where we all fall along the scale of ‘I will not be the one to break the peace we’ve made here today’, and ‘I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, just my enemies.’

So, on that note…

Enjoy!

‘American Hustle’

 

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Don’t know if it’s the best film of the year, but I get why everyone is into American Hustle.  It’s fun.  It’s a lot more fun than most of the ‘serious’ stuff that gets promoted for awards season.

As the opening title card suggests, the film is loosely based on the well known ABSCAM stings the feds used to bring down power players in the 70s.  The story of this film centers around the con artist played by Christian Bale, who in true Method form (fist pump) put on a ridiculously amount of weight and even developed a serious (a little too serious) slouch for his character.  He partners early on with Amy Adams’ character, who also reinvents herself as a con artist…

Amy Adams…I think the first time I noticed was as the innocent in another con film (ironically), Catch Me If You Can.  And over time, she’s done well picking parts that use her sexuality but remind you she’s a true actress as well.  I say that to say that forever I’d see her in something and say, ‘Not that long ago, Julianne Moore would’ve played that.’  And the costume design (the only Oscar lock in my opinion) goes a long way, but in this film, HO. LY. CHRIST.  She’s not ‘kind of doing a young Julianne Moore thing’ anymore, she just took her dirty heels and grinded them all in Julianne Moore’s couch.  Amy already arrived, I’m just saying that comparison is done now (at least in my mind).

Everybody in the cast delivers.  The current It Girl, Jennifer Lawrence, pulls her weight to no surprise (figured she was in the story more, but her character turns the story a couple of times).  The homie Louie C.K. has a nice supporting role as the put upon boss of Bradley Cooper’s character.  And even though I knew he has a scene, I was still very happy to see one of my all time favorite actors do a nice cameo to further the story.  Not ruining it if you don’t know who I’m referring to.

I think the film wants to be GoodFellas… but there were a few places I thought I could have been tighter.  But still, solid film, all the way around.  Worth seeing.

 

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Today let’s look at the performances up for top Wingman this year.  The nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are…

  • Alan Arkin in Argo
  • Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Who Should Win: Only one of the nominees in this category actually plays the title character in the film they’re nominated for.  So why is Hoffman not in the Lead category?  Much better chance of winning (we’ll come back to that later this week).

Who I Want to Win: At this point in the game, there’s maybe…5 people left in the Game who I ‘might’ get starstruck by meeting.  And Bobby is one of them.  And to be fair in the context of his career, the most pleasant part of DeNiro’s performance was seeing him have something to do and not just show up to collect a check.

Who Will Win: Let’s keep the wide open theme of this year’s awards going and say this is where Lincoln gets some love.  Not the only major award it will win I imagine…

Tomorrow, back to the ladies…

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Usually it’s hype to say things are wide open, based off of the nominations though, it might be more true this year.

Let’s start with who the Gold Guy sent on the Walk of Shame this morning: DiCaprio (Django), Affleck (Argo), and Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) were all considered locks.  No disrespect to those who were nominated, but frankly I’m as shocked as everyone else they didn’t get invited to the dance for Best Supporting Actor and Best Director respectively.  Their films are all recognized but damn; so that was the inspiration for this post’s title.  We do have a serious film geek collection of movies this year.  I hope the Academy isn’t putting all the pressure for ratings on Seth McFarlane…

That said, when I look at the ‘major’ awards, I see a ton of familiar names: Denzel, Spielberg, Hoffman, DeNiro and Day-Lewis.  Only one of those names I thought gave possibly their best career performance, but we’ll have that argument another day (reward for this year’s work vs. ‘lifetime achievement’).

Back to the film geek point, nine Best Picture nominees this year.  Again, speaks to this being a year without a ‘Titanic’; it also means things can get real interesting real fast when (theoretically) the vote can be split nine ways.  Not a math major obviously, but it seems like you could win Best Picture this year with a very small percentage of the overall vote.  So, could be looking at another ‘Crash’ type year when that last envelope is opened, just putting it out there…

Alright, as far as we’re concerned in this space…I’ve given you 3 reviews, 2 more for sure coming Sunday and Monday, so I owe you 4 more before the show.  That’s doable.  Don’t know yet if I’ll be doing previews with Mr. Thomas like we’ve done in the past, but we shall see.

Have a good weekend.  Mamba out.

 

Silver Linings Playbook

 

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Ending the week with another potential ‘award film’.  Silver Linings Playbook is a love story, but where are two main characters are extremely effed up to say the least.  The guy (played by Bradley Cooper) is coming out of a stint in an institution after a violent end to his marriage. The girl (yet another great feather in the still very young cap of Jennifer Lawrence) is a widow who hasn’t completely moved on from the circumstances of her husband’s death.

This film moved in a lot of different directions in my opinion.  A few minutes of a classic ‘sins of the father’ story, where we get Robert DeNiro being an actor again; stretches of ‘boy meets girl’ which is the meat of the story; and (where I thought the film was strongest) some long stretches in the first and second act that tackle the great dilemma of when, internally, you know you got it for somebody else but you didn’t get or haven’t emotionally gotten to the closure of your last relationship.  Is there even such a thing as closure or is that really a Hallmark/Hollywood thing that’s completely made up?

The film isn’t bad at all but I wasn’t head over heels for it.  Like I implied a lot going on.  My take away (which I already knew) is that Jennifer Lawrence is going to have as long of a career as she wants doing whatever she wants to do.

Have a great weekend!

Hugo

 

I went into Hugo with literally no expectations.  It was a Scorsese picture, but definitely not a typical “Martin Scorsese’ picture.  It’s a 3D film (bleh) but Hugo is a complete family film (by far the best use for that technology in my opinion).  I came out of Hugo not overwhelmed, but pleasantly surprised that the film I thought I walked into 5 minutes in, morphed into something more ambitious by the time I walked out.

An orphan boy lives in a train station and keeps the clocks tuned.  He’s constantly at odds and on the run from a local shopkeeper (played by Ben Kingsley) who accuses him of theft, and a beat cop (played with subtle humor by Sasha Baron Cohen) whose trying to send him straight to the orphanage.  The story of how these various men (and others) relate to and are connected to each other is charming, and another tribute to the master storytelling ability of Scorsese.  Like any of us have doubted that ability for the past 30 years!

Without giving away the plot points that I didn’t know about walking in, I will say it’s interesting to wonder if this is the direction Scorsese may be going next.  The Departed got him his Oscar but to me that’s not even among his top 3 crime films; recently he’s done more documentaries which are nice change of pace pieces.  Is ‘Marty’ going to take a cue from his buddy DeNiro and start doing more family friendly fare?  Hmm, don’t know how I feel about that but I guess we’ll see.

Regardless Hugo is a nice film that at the moment seems to be stuck in a year (or an awards season at least) of several high quality films.  I guess we’ll see where it lands…

Honorable Mention

One of the side effects of being in the house so much lately is catching up on movies on TV/DVD.  One of the films I caught maybe should have been on my 25 Most Important Black Film list from a couple years ago.  Maybe.

Regardless, I’m not changing the past, but will give this a film (and maybe others down the line) an honorable mention.

Men of Honor is based on the true story of the first African-American diver in the Navy.  Starring Robert Deniro and Cuba Gooding Jr, Men of Honor is a formula film that shows you why there is a formula.

On to the tale of the tape…

Relevance: The previously mentioned storyline makes it more than relevant.  You toss in the black director (George Tillman Jr. of Notorious and Soul Food), and you have yourself a black film boys and girls.

Legacy: It’s definitely a family friendly film and very rewatchable.  As I talked about the film with one of my fellow film geeks, the question was raised, “Was this Cuba Gooding Jr’s last good lead performance?”  Discuss.

Craft: You have two Academy Award winning actors.  One of the beauties of Men of Honor is how DeNiro and Cuba Gooding Jr. (both of whom know how to show out) let the story be the star of the film.  Score one for Tillman here.

Crossover: Even now, Men of Honor isn’t what people think of when they say ‘urban film’.  It was distributed by a major studio and top billed by one of the greatest actors of our lifetimes.  In many ways, it’s the type of ‘urban film’ Hollywood would love to recreate.

Apollo: While the climax of the film (Breashear earning his way back into active duty) would be the obvious choice, I’d say the scene where he earns the crew’s (and audience’s) respect by taking his diving school final (and passing even though he gets sabotaged) is great melodrama.  It seems somewhat implausible but hey, that’s why they’re called movies.

On that note, more later…