“I haven’t worn a condom in a while, but I think that went pretty well.”
Best line ever.
Surprisingly, I did not have high expectations for Smart People. The trailers and previews made it look slow-paced and the characters seemed a little narcissistic. After about ten minutes into the movie, all of my preconceived notions were thrown out the window.
The characters in Smart People are funny, but not conventionally funny. It is a very witty, dejected humor, which I happen to appreciate; however, after one woman walked out of the theatre complaining that the movie was too wordy, I don’t know if everyone will relate to it as I did.
Dennis Quaid stars as Lawrence, a misanthropic English professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His character is grouchy and petulant, but in a very endearing way, if that makes sense. I was completely irritated by him in the beginning, but Dennis Quaid has a way of tugging at my heartstrings. I don’t know how he does it, but watching him stand alone in the rain broke my heart just a little bit. Lawrence is also the hated father of his son, James (Ashton Holmes), and is merely tolerated by his daughter, Vanessa (Ellen Page), who is slightly more empathetic to him.
The main plot of the movie centers on Lawrence’s awkward developing relationship with his doctor, Janet (Sara Jessica Parker). As a widower, Lawrence hasn’t had much female interaction in a while, which makes for some pretty unforgettable and very awkward funny moments. While I liked Sara Jessica’s character, I also feel that if she could play a character without a hint of Carrie (Sex and the City) in her, I would die of shock, and this character is no exception.
While director Noam Murro’s intention is to have this main plot in the foreground of the movie, Ellen Page (Vanessa) and Thomas Haden Church (Chuck) quickly steal the show, as their quasi-incestuous relationship becomes the backbone of the movie. Chuck, Lawrence’s adopted brother, is a down-and-out salesman who has come to mooch off of his brother for the umpteenth time, and Vanessa is his Young Republican, perfect SAT score, Stanford accepted daughter. The dynamic between these two is amazing, and if it hadn’t been for them, Smart People would have fallen flat after the first half hour. One sarcastic zing after the other mixed in with a little intellectual fodder is the their relationship in a nutshell.
The point of Smart People, however, is NOT the plot. If anyone is disappointed by this movie, it’s probably because they don’t understand that. The focus of this movie is the characters and the dialogue, and in that respect it is totally successful. Smart People is not your common dysfunctional-family movie; it is much more relatable and more intelligent (made obvious by the title).
If the name David Ayer is anywhere in a film’s credits, it would probably be safe to say the theme of the movie is going to revolve around corrupt cops. In his new film Street Kings, the director hands over the writing responsibilities (even after he did such a great job with 2005’s Harsh Times) to a trio of screenwriters who fail to understand the meaning of multilayered characters.
In the last seven years as a writer, Ayer has given us Training Day, Dark Blue, S.W.A.T. and Harsh Times, the last of which he was credited as both a screenwriter and first-time director. Now, in his sophomore film, Ayer’s lands some solid punches with the boys in blue, but doesn’t give us enough depth from the main and supporting characters. In Training Day, he transformed Denzel Washington into a crooked LAPD detective, a role which landed him his second Academy Award of his career. He also gave us an incredibly unique character study with Christian Bale as an ex-Ranger turned police officer in Harsh Times, one of the most overlooked performances of that year.
In Street Kings, the story follows LAPD vice detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves, who has come along way in the acting department since hamming it up most of his career), a trigger-happy cop whose on the right side of the law, but likes to do his job more like a renegade instead of a police officer. Think Russell Crowe’s Bud White in L.A. Confidential, which was also written by James Ellroy. Basically, he’s the jury, judge, and executioner.
When Tom uses his brute techniques to wipe out a couple of Korean kidnappers, he is thrust into the L.A. limelight as a heroic cop moving up in the ranks. Although his commanding officer Capt. Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker) likes the way he does his job, others, like Tom’s former partner Terrance Washington (Terry Crews), let internal affairs know there’s a guy on the force that isn’t exactly on the up and up. Now internal affairs officer Capt. James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) is watching Tom’s every move, which, of course, makes Tom want to confront his ex-partner for ratting him out.
During the confrontation, which takes place in a local convenient store, Tom and Terrance find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time as they are ambushed by two masked gunmen who fill Officer Washington’s body with machine-gun ammo before Tom even knows what’s happening. But with the history between the two officers, Tom isn’t in the most ideal place, especially with Capt. Biggs asking questions.
Capt. Wander and the rest of the department, however, quickly step in to clean up the mess. “We can’t afford to lose you,” Wander tells Tom. “You’re the tip of the spear. Who’s going to hold back the animals?” Thus, corruption begets corruption and so on as Tom attempts to steer clear of Capt. Biggs and search for Terrance’s killers.
Unintentionally funny at times, Street Kings is a complex story with unrefined characters. With an entire cast basically playing bad or dishonest cops, there’s no real sense of conflict even between the cops and the thugs in the ghetto. And what fun can be had when everyone is on the same team? Even with semiautomatics, the story sputters in the film’s final anticlimactic act and quickly turns from complex to comical.
To catch you up in case you are a few days behind, dumbass/shitty filmmaker Uwe Boll heard about an online petition that was started to get him out of Hollywood, so dumbass/shitty filmmaker said that if the petition got to 1,000,000 people (now currently at 167,016), he would quite making movies. The next day, dumbass/shitty filmmaker made a video and put it online saying how great of a filmmaker he is and completely blasted Michael Bay (calling him “fucking retared”), Eli Roth (for “making the same shitty movies over and over again”) and George Clooney. Eli Roth responded by saying that the dumbass/shitty filmmaker gave him the greatest compliment ever, but Michael Bay’s retort was a bit longer:
“I find people who rant like that – calling shit about both me, and George Clooney – comes from someone screaming because he is not being heard. He is obviously a sad being. When you ask ‘do I care?’ Not in the slightest.”
Please go HERE to sign the petition to get the dumbass/shitty filmmaker out of Hollywood.
I love posting things about Zooey. She’s beautiful, talented, and has good taste in music. Zooey’s now joining forces with another beautiful and talented actress that is known to go all out in movies, Chloey Sevingy. The both just signed on to star in Divorce Ranch. It’s set on a ranch in Nevada and takes place during WW II. Sevigny will play an actress with a six year old who comes to the ranch to marry a rich dude. Deschanel, the She of She and Him, will play her cute assistant. I know I don’t have to stress how cute Zooey is, but I like typing it.
If the sweet tag line(s) doesn’t hype you up, maybe the poster will. The Spirit will give Frank Miller his directorial debut of Will Eisner’s comic masterpiece of the same name. It stars Gabriel Macht as a dead detective who comes back from the grave to take names and kick ass. His mother fuckin’ nemesis will be played by the one and only mother fuckin’ Samuel L. Jackson. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Paz Vega and Jaime King will be thrown into the mix as whale. The Spirit is scheduled to open January 16, 2009.
I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently Sir Ben Kingsley gets down and dirty with the skinnier Olsen twin, Mary-Kate, in his new film The Wackness. This has been buzzing around online for sometime now and it’s finally premiering here in Dallas for the USA Film Festival. I will be seeing it. Kingsley is the shit. Enjoy the photos!
Mr. Brandon Routh has not done anything noticeable (except get married. Congrats!) since Superman Returns and I was afraid he was going to get stuck in that “typecast” thing where nobody wants to hire him because he made such a believable Superman and couldn’t sell anything else. Well, today Routh has hopefully axed that by signing on to star in Dylan Dog where he will play “a penniless nightmare investigator who defies the whole preceding horror tradition with a vein of surrealism and an anti-bourgeois rhetoric. The true monsters in many of these stories are human beings.” Confused yet? Shooting begins this summer in Toronto and Kevin Munroe will be the man behind the lens.
Source Bloody Disgusting
Screen Gems is giving Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma a new make over. Emme, will be very similar to the original story but will give it a “hip-hop musical reimagining.” This will include 15 songs and dance numbers, take place at an inner-city high school, and center on a step brother and step sister. Screen Gem’s Clint Culpepper told Variety that he came up with the idea after watching Lil Mama’s Lipgloss music video. Screen Gems hired Tyger Williams (Menace II Society) to write the script.
I’m certain I’ll never see this, but if they do what they did for Stomp The Yard, they’ll have another hit on their hands.
PS Picture vandalizing by Rob Angells.
Hollywood Reporter reports a report about. Ok, let me start over.
Hollywood Reporter reports that Jeffrey Dean Morgan has joined Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst in Andrew Jarecki’s All Good Things. The movie follows “a scion of a real estate (Gosling) who falls for a beautiful girl (Dunst) from the wrong side of the tracks, who disappears. Morgan will play a down-and-out detective who tries to uncover the truth.”
I’m really stoked to see the talented Mr. Gosling play another bad guy (Murder By Numbers). After seeing Half Nelson, he will always be a badass in my book. Always. Now Kirsten Dunst is another story…
Morgan, who could easily pass as Javier Bardem’s stunt double if his career doesn’t pan out, can be seen next in Zach Snyder’s Watchmen.
Here’s the first of 12 video journals that will premiering on the 6th of every month for Zach Snyders (300) EXTREMELY highly anticipated graphic novel adaptation epic, Watchmen. There isn’t any footy from the film, but it gets you inside looks on the set with interviews and other cool stuff.
Head over to ComingSoon and peep it!
Also, thanks to GATW reader Ryan Ellis for linking me to this.
The marketing they are doing for The Dark Knight is beyond brilliant. Clowns around L.A. protesting Harvey Denton, who is running for District Attorney turned Two-Face, posters vandalized by The Joker. So much stuff that I cannot keep up with it, but I did catch this.
Today, Warner Bros. posted an online video of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) speaking in defense of Mr. Dent and the jokers trying to smear his name. Watch and let me know what you think!
[flashvideo filename="https://gordonandthewhale.com/videos/tdkdawes.flv" /]
There will be Blood
Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’Conner, Dillon Freasier
Directed by: Paul Thomas (but he will always be P.T. to me) Anderson
Synopsis: Loosely based on the novel by Upton Sinclair. There will be Blood centers of the driven oilman, Daniel Plainview, whose greed allows him to build a great fortune, while sacrificing his humanity and destroying lives in the process. Along with a compelling story, the film also contains great visuals and a stirring score. Received Oscars nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director; Daniel Day Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for this film. READ THE REVIEW HERE
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Starring: John C. Reily, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows,
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Synopsis: This Parody of music bio films was produced and co-written by Judd Apatow. The movie tells the story of fictional music legend, Dewey Cox, as he climbs from his poor roots to be one of music’s biggest stars. READ THE REVIEW HERE.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Starring: Alex Etel, Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, Brian Cox
Directed by: Jay Russell
Synopsis: A lonely boy discovers a mysterious egg that hatches a sea creature of Scottish legend.
Starring: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley
Directed by: Franck Khalfoun
Yes, this movie was actually released to theaters, but barely. This thriller about a woman being pursued by a killer on Christmas Eve in parking garage had a very short and relatively unknown run at the theaters in November.
Lion for Lambs
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford
Directed by: Robert Redford
Synopsis: Injuries sustained by two Army ranger behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman (Cruise), a journalist (Streep) and a professor (Redford). READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Joaqin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly,
Directed by: Terry George
Synopsis: An accident that involves the death of a young boy greatly alters the lives of the boy’s Father (Phoenix) and the vehicle’s driver (Ruffalo)
Resurrecting The Champ
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Kathryn Morris
Directed by: Rod Lurie
Synopsis: Up-and-coming sports reporter (Hartnett) rescues a homeless man (“Champ”, Jackson) only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away. What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ’s story and escape the shadow of his father’s success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
When I write about someone, I sometimes start off the post with “you know so-and-so, he/she has done this, this, and that, etc.” to give you an idea of the good work that has been done. With director Uwe Boll, I’m going to slightly tweak that.
Uwe Boll is the man behind the destruction of many popular video game film adaptations. House of the Dead, Bloodrayne 1, 2, and now 3, all of which you probably never heard of and hopefully haven’t seen. Trust me, the man sucks behind the camera, is trying to gain fame by declaring war on Steven Spielberg (read about it HERE), and will now soon be biting his tongue.
Fearnet sat down with him and spoke to him about the online petition that has been made to get him out of hollywood. It’s already be signed by 47,911 people, and Boll has been quoted stating that he will leave the directors chair if the petition reaches 1,000,000 people. Friends, let’s contribute to this million mark. Sign petition HERE.
Start chomping on that tongue dude.