Tag Archives: Daniel Day-Lewis

Inherent Vice Review, A Pretentious Bore of a Comedy

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Inherent Vice

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, and Eric Roberts

There was a time that I thought some directors could do no wrong. I’ve held directors up a pedestal, praising the genius of their work but they gotta fail at some point. Right? When walking into Inherent Vice I was slightly optimistic, I love Paul Thomas Anderson but didn’t like the book at all. It is sad to say that the book didn’t translate well to screen. Anderson returns to a time that he captured so well in Boogie Nights and to a genre that he loved with Punch-Drunk-Love. In a way he combines both of those movies, the strange comedy mixed with a period piece, and tried to adapt a book that was never meant to be adapted. I question the love for this movie, to me it is more a love for Anderson combined with the stubbornness to admit that he isn’t the perfect director everyone thinks he is.

The movie begins with Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) receiving some troubling news from his ex-flame Shasta (Katherine Waterston) about a conspiracy to send billionaire Micky Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) to an insane asylum. Not long after receiving the news both Micky and Shasta disappear without a trace. Doc is the prime suspect but he takes it upon himself to find out what has happened to his ex and her new boyfriend.

After I finished watching this movie, it immediately reminded me of The Counselor and that is in no way a good thing. The Counselor was a movie that used nonsensical dialogue to further the plot, only leading to a convoluted and disappointing ending. Inherent Vice is exactly the same way to me. The dialogue is overwritten to the plot that you completely forget what that began talking about. It is all about these interactions.

Labelled as a “comedy” is a bold statement. I found very little to laugh about. There were certainly funny and entertaining scenes scattered throughout the film but when you add in all the extended scenes of talking about nothing it’s really not effective. Josh Brolin’s character Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen provided most of the laughs. At one point he barges through Doc’s door and smashes it completely as he walks in. I found that amusing. I give a lot of credit to both Brolin and Phoenix for excelling in their roles and their presences elevate the movie slightly.

The supporting cast was mostly wasted. Outside of Josh Brolin and Martin Short, no one was utilized to their fullest potential. The 5 minutes that Short was in was exciting and fun and I credit to his zany performance. The female characters are worthless as well. The film is narrated by an unknown female character that isn’t even explained. She pops in and out of the movie as if she had an important role. For the longest time I believed she was just a voice in Doc’s headed. Shasta was an interesting character who is given two big scenes to shine. She mostly opened the story and closed the movie. The longest she was in the movies was an extended nude scene that leads to her telling the audience about the horrible nature behind her recent relationship. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things but fells a little exploitative.

There are certain things that I could praise about this movie. Paul Thomas Anderson is a director who understands the process of filmmaking. He takes on new and daring things and Inherent Vice still falls into the category. He knows what he wants and he gets it. The camerawork is absolutely great. He is always moving his camera in interesting ways and makes for a visual experience. The first scene where Doc talks to Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) is the essential visual of a noir film. The score is also effective but slightly too much in certain scenes.

I keep going back to this but everything in this movie felt pointless to me. The interactions between characters and the story itself. What could have been a good movie turned out to be a very disappointing entry into Paul Thomas Anderson’s career.

Grade: D+

Lincoln and the Ratification of the 13th Amendment

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Lincoln

Directed by: Stephen Speilberg

Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Fields, Tommy Lee Jones

As the Civil War continues to rage, America‘s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Don’t get me wrong this is a fantastic movie and probably Stephen Speilberg’s best film in years but there where some parts of this movie that just kept dragging the movies pace down to an incredible halt. From the trailers I was expecting something along the lines of War Horse, showing more of the Civil War under Lincoln’s administration but boy was I wrong. The movie itself is pretty much just the 13th amendment becoming and amendment and not much else except a deep and more character driven story of Lincoln and the man that he was during the last few months of his life. Now on to Daniel Day Lewis, who I thought was incredible in There Will Be Blood and pretty much anything that he does, tackle the role of Lincoln and I can safely say that I do not see an ounce of Lewis but so much of Lincoln that it is uncanny, he lives and breathes as the fateful 16th president. His performance is so lifelike that I am not surprised to hear that he is the frontrunner for the Oscars and right now his performance is the one to beat. There are some actors who play the same character over and over again but when it comes to Lewis every performance is different and brings life to the character no other actor can. When I saw the trailer and heard the voice I was questioning the movie but after watching the performance I couldn’t see it any other way, and the voice is apparently historically accurate so kudos to Lewis on that.

When it comes to the rest of the cast both Sally Fields and Tommy Lee Jones did fantastic jobs, Jones did steal most of the scenes that he was in but I don’t think his performance was a good as most critics say that it is. The cinematography was superb and really captured the times that the movie took place and never felt out of place, there where shots that were really long but they really added to the enjoyment of the movie. I have to say this but to me Speilberg has gotten somewhat sentimental in his later years but this is the first time in a long time that he really moves past that and actually made a quality film that I felt did delve to much in sentimentality.

 

Overall I think this is by far one of the greatest movies so far this year and definitely should be seen before the end of the year.

10 out of 10

 

 

Lincoln trailer which looks void of vampires and actually looks good

Up until now I was never really looking forward to Steven Speilberg‘s Lincoln. Sure Daniel Day-Lewis is certainly going to be one fantastic Abe Lincoln, which is a good thing looking at the other movie based on our 16th president that came out this year. After seeing this trailer I know that it is going to be a pretty good movie, maybe a slight like last year’s J.Edger, with another fantastic performance by one of hollywood best actors today. I know for certain that I will be seeing this movie now that I have seen some footage and I’m confident it will likely be an Academy Award nominated movie.

DreamWorks has announced that the film “will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.”[8] According to Spielberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s entire book about Lincoln’s presidency is “much too big” for a film, and said that the film will focus on the last few months of Lincoln’s life (similar to The Passion of the Christ), the ending of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War. Spielberg said that “what permanently ended slavery was the very close vote in the House of Representatives over the Thirteenth Amendment – that story I’m excited to tell.” Spielberg plans to show “Lincoln at work, not just Lincoln standing around posing for the history books…arguably the greatest working President in American history doing some of the greatest work for the world.”[9]

Screenwriter Tony Kushner has said that he worked on the script for six years and that he was very interested in “the relationship of Lincoln to the abolitionist left” and that Lincoln’s “incredible ability to finesse very, very treacherous political circumstances and continue to move the country forward, I mean, to lead the country forward in the midst of the most horrendously difficult period in its history, I think, is breathtaking and awe-inspiring.”[10]

In Team of Rivals, Goodwin describes the following episodes of the final months of Lincoln’s life in detail:[11]