Tag Archive: steve carell


‘Battle of the Sexes’

 

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‘Battle of the Sexes’ sits in a weird spot.  It’s a fun movie while not a straight up comedy; it covers a serious topic while also not being too heavy handed about it.  I think that’s why I enjoyed a lot of its individual parts more than I liked the movie as a whole.

Emma Stone puts another notch in her ‘serious actress’ belt, playing feminist icon Billie Jean King, at the exact moment in time when multiple stars were aligning.  Professionally, women’s tennis players weren’t even being offered half of what the men were making (in terms of the purses of major championships), and Billie Jean King was in the center of rectifiying that wrong.  On a more personal level, Ms. King was ‘married to a good man’, but her desires were being awakened in another direction (Alan Cumming is brilliant as the gay costumer who sees the writing in the wall before Billie Jean is ready to fully comes to terms with it, privately or publicly).

Steve Carell is equally great as Bobby Riggs.  Movies are made a year out, but even with unpredictable outcomes in real life, it’s interesting to watch Carell play Riggs as this showman/hustler who doesn’t seem to completely believe the things he says publicly, but he knows its what his benefactors want to hear, and he knows it will make headlines.

Not a Hall of Fame movie per se, but a story that surprisingly hasn’t been captured as a movie until now.  Worth seeing for the performances alone.

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Who Should Win: While I normally feel meh about ‘career achievement’ awards, Julianne Moore is a respectable choice, with no shame given to Amazing Amy and Reese Witherspoon.

Who I’m Cheering For: As a man, I’m still too terrified to vote for Rosamund Pike.  I’m kidding.  I’m cheering for Julianne Moore. (looking over my shoulder…)

Who Will Win: Julianne should provide one of Sunday’s feel good moments.

Here are the nominees for Best Actor:

Benedict Cumberbatch – the Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – the Theory of Everything

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Who Should Win: One last time, this is one of those years were a strong case could be made for all five of these guys.  Carell for going so far outside of his known wheelhouse, Redmayne for his physical commitment, Cooper just for being nominated three years in a row (as Josh Lucas puts more pins in his Bradley Cooper voodoo doll).  This feels like the extremely rare year where a ‘comic actor’ will be respected for giving the best performance.

Who I’m Cheering For: Umm…really?

Who Will Win: Hate to say it, but my gut says Bradley Cooper…

‘Foxcatcher’

 

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Very sad and disturbing, but all in an entertaining way.

Like the other nominated movies that are ‘based on a true story’, you can Google the real people and get all the broad strokes and facts of this story.  The beauty of the dramatization in Foxcatcher is in the deadly three way relationship between the Schultz brothers (played by Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum), and their sponsor John Du Pont (a worthy Oscar nomination for Steve Carell.)

A brief setup of the film: the Shultz brothers are world class wrestlers.  David is the elder, the All-American hero with a pretty wife and two lovable kids.  Mark has also made a name for himself, but has forever lived in the shadow of his older, more popular brother.  In walks creepy heir John Du Pont with dreams of sponsoring the 1988 Olympic wrestling team, and away we go…

What everyone is talking about with this film is one of our great funny men playing the ‘loser’ card not for laughs but for villainy.  Like all three dimensional heels, there’s a degree of sympathy built into the story (and why is there always a domineering, disapproving mother, in this film played by Vanessa Redgrave?).  All that said, when we get to the end (which you probably know going in), it’s still a really heartbreaking conclusion.

Not a story to watch for ‘fun’, but one of the year’s better films I have to say.