Tag Archive: robert downey jr


‘The Judge’

JUDGE, THE

Robert Duvall is nominated this year for playing the title character in this courtroom drama.  The strong patriarch with three sons with different personalities, a death on a fishing boat, Robert Friggin Duvall; impossible not to draw comparisons to ‘The Godfather’.  I’d still like to see Duvall, Robert Downey Jr, and Vincent D’Onofrio in an ‘epic’ family drama (this one has a smaller budget and gets a little melodramatic at times).

Quick backstory here is RDJ is a hotshot Chicago defense attorney who is pulled back to his small Indiana hometown to defend his father (Duvall) on a murder charge.  Another completely unfair but can’t help it reference is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.  Everything in this film is building up to the courtroom showdown between Downey and Duvall.  It pays off in my opinion.  With Gene Hackman in retirement, this is a nice potential bookend to the career of one of our great American actors.

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I was flipping through the channels last night when I came across Tropic Thunder again.  I remember before the film came out and I saw stills like the one above and I thought, “Man…..”  It was a bold move, but in context it’s a sharp satire – a (white) Method actor so committed to his character he feels entitled to tell his younger (authentic) black co-star about ‘our people’.

I use that lead in to talk about the new ‘revision’ of Huck Finn that everyone is talking about.  I’m not going into copyright law, which is the ‘why can someone change Mark Twain’s work?”  That could be its own post.  Do I get why the N-word has been taken out?  Yes, of course I do.  Do I completely agree with it?  Well…

The phrase that keeps ringing in my ears is “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  Even if I find the name Nigger Jim grating, Mark Twain put it in there for a reason.  True to the time and voices of his characters?  Historically accurate?  Comedy? Satire?  Racism?  If you think the glass is half full, you see a politically correct edit.  If you’re cynical (as I am), a different word comes to mind: censorship.  And if we’re talking censorship, three things you have to consider are: 1) who has the authority to censor, 2) what’s their agenda and 3) where does it stop?  And that is one hell of a slippery slope.

Just my two cents.

 

In a company town like this, there is no shortage of screens to see films, old and new.  I get out to the Landmark once in a while, the Grove is still nice just because of the shopping center that surrounds it.  From a purely film geek, filmgoer experience, I will always have a soft spot for the Arclight.  It was one of the first theatres to offer reserved seating (meaning almost no more last minute runs or someone sitting where you wanted to sit arguments); the Hollywood location is fairly centrally located (Sunset and Vine) which has led to many wistful Friday and Saturday evenings pondering how the hands of fate had conspired to place me in the position I was in.  The Cinerama Dome has a history of its own, which I won’t fully go into here.  But that location has hosted and continues to host its share of premieres and special events. 

I caught at the Arclight the re-issued versions of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (still the only time I’ve seen the two classics on the big screen).  I was in the midnight screening of The Dark Knight there; even watching at home doesn’t duplicate the initial chills from watching the opening logo sequence in a completely full auditorium that’s hushed in revered silence.  I was also in the midnight screening of Iron Man, where before the lights went down, Robert Downey Jr. himself thanked the crowd for coming out (and putting him back on the A-list).  Only in Hollywood right?

Well…yeah.

Sherlock Holmes

 

Sherlock Holmes is the latest character to get a ‘reboot’ for today’s generation in an attempt to start a new Hollywood franchise.  And in this case…I think they got it right (as a film, the box office will decide if it becomes a franchise of course).  Robert Downey Jr. continues to make all of us who are fans of his immense talent look good for hoping he would conquer his demons (personally I’ve been a big fan of his since Chaplin).  As the title character, Downey plays into the best parts of his own persona (a possible genius internally who looks like a simpleton on the outside) to headline a fun, ‘could/should this have been a summer release?’ movie.  And in my opinion, the action may be a wee bit too slow for the summer, but it’s perfect counterprogamming right now (even though that didn’t stop Downey from getting a Golden Globe nod here).  Jude Law is pitch perfect as Watson, used here as the sensible more down to earth member of this Dynamic Duo, and Rachel McAdams still has one of the prettiest smiles in Hollywood and is perfectly charming as the love interest.

Even the story of the film feels right, a ‘supernatural’ villain who comes back from the dead to terrorize London.  But that’s not possible right?  I don’t know how ‘rewatchable’ this film is,but it’s fun for the audience to play along with Holmes and try to figure out how certain things happen in the story.

So a fun film for the holiday season in the middle of the more serious stuff that’s popping up with awards season also in full bloom.  Nice if you just want some good old fashioned Hollywood ‘junk food’.

The Soloist

 

soloist

He’s a clown, he’s one of the funniest fools in Hollywood, but movies like The Soloist remind you that Jamie Foxx can really, really act.  This film was originally supposed to come out during awards season; we got a long way to go to get to award season 09 but Jamie’s performance here could easily be one of the better ones I’ll see all year.  It’s always a tricky thing in film to portray someone who is ‘mentally ill’; the medium gives you a lot of leeway in how you portray it, but at the same time if it comes off too cute it can feel patronizing.  I won’t spoil the device used here; I will say I thought they handled it well.

Part of the ‘point’ of the movie seems to be to highlight the plight of the homeless (especially here in Los Angeles).  My second apartment in LA was downtown, so I have my fair share of stories, some funny, some not.  Growing up in the Midwest, homelessness wasn’t something I really had any experience with.  At least not on a mass scale.   I’ve always been sensitive to how delicate life is though; you just don’t know what God has planned for you.

I have a feeling this movie got pushed back because the studio didn’t feel Downey or Foxx had a snowball’s chance in hell of mixing it up with Heath Ledger and Sean Penn last year during the awards push.  And they were probably right.  That doesn’t mean this isn’t an interesting movie about a very real, modern day issue though.

Best Supporting Actor

 

downey

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role are:

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk”
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

What might happen: (chuckling to myself…)

Who will probably win: Hee hee hee…

Who I’m cheering for: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA