Silver Linings Playbook: Bipolar Meets Commitment Issues

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

DIRECTOR: David O’Russel

STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, Chris Tucker

GENRE: Romantic Comedy-drama

YEAR: 2012

COUNTRY: United States

Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.’s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn’t take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the “silver linings” in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. He finds there are certain instances where he doesn’t cope well, however no less so.

Every single one of us is at least a little fucked up mentally. Obviously some people have worse conditions than others, but deep down there’s something tweaked within all of us – it’s part of the human experience.  And that’s what makes Silver Linings Playbook, the new movie from writer-director David O. Russell based on the novel by Matthew Quick, such an impressive piece of filmmaking: the lead character is described is an undiagnosed bipolar locked up after a violent attack, but his recovery and the sometimes cockeyed support he gets from his loved ones only exposes the fact that none of us are anything close to what could be described as “normal.”

Following intensely serious roles in “Winter’s Bone” and “The Hunger Games,” it is such a joy to see yet another facet to Lawrence’s talent. She’s already demonstrated a maturity beyond her years, but “Silver Linings Playbook” allows her to let loose and have a little fun while still maintaining a dramatic integrity.

On the flip side, Cooper gets a rare chance to show his dramatic side. The early scenes in last year’s “Limitless” (in which De Niro also played a father figure to him) were always the most interesting – when he’s shaggy and paunchy and depressed, before he takes the pill that makes him Bradley Cooper. There’s a mania to his performance here as his character strives to convince himself of his capacity for happiness, but also a raw dark side.

The romance is the point of the movie, but as this plays out, it lessens the comic potential that had been banked up so steeply at first: as so often in the past, it’s more rom and less com. We know Pat will transfer his affections – of course he will – and the first inklings of this strange possibility on Cooper’s damaged face are entertaining to behold. The actual shift itself, however, and the new emotional maturity in Pat it implies, are fudged. But Russell’s storytelling, pacing and audience reaction control are muscular and surefooted. This is a date movie that doesn’t offer the sophistication it thinks it does, but is as enjoyable and good-natured as the genre requires.

PROS:

  • Jennifer Lawrence performance.
  • Robert Di Niro performance.
  • Bradley Cooper performance.
  • Character relationships.

CONS:

  • Too much romance.
  • Not enough balance between romance and comedy.
  • Gives us the bare minimum.

SCORE: 6.5 / 10

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X-Men Days of Future Past: What is No Longer Canon?

Hello everybody! Today we have the latest film in the X-Men franchise, X-Men Days of Future Past.

X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

STARRING: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Fan Bingbing

DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer

GENRE: Superhero

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United Kingdom, United States

Sentinels, robots that were created for the purpose of hunting down mutants were released in 1973. 50 years later the Sentinels would also hunt humans who aid mutants. Charles Xavier and his X-Men try their best to deal with the Sentinels but they are able to adapt and deal with all mutant abilities. Charles decides to go back in time and change things. He asks Kitty Pryde who can send a person’s consciousness into the person’s past to send him but she can only send someone back a few weeks because if she sends someone back further it could harm them. So Logan decides to go back himself because he might be able to withstand it. So Charles tells him that it’s Mystique who’s responsible because when she learned about the Sentinels she sought out Bolivar Trask the man who created them and killed him. She would be caught and studied and her ability to change was somehow added to the Sentinels which is why they can adapt. Logan must go to the younger Charles and ask him to help; problem is that he was despondent at that time and without his powers because he took a drug which allows him to walk but takes away his powers. Logan is also told to find Magneto. This film has the same well-crafted flow of most of its predecessors, the same (often) noble superhero exploits and electrifying spectacle, the same (subtle) plugs for tolerance and human evolution. It has a recognizable struggle between Professor X and his longtime friend/nemesis Magneto. As their younger selves, the two metaphorically arm wrestle once again over the good and evil in the hearts of men.This X-Men incarnation, however, also boasts the elusive and curious element of time travel. It’s an inclusion that gives the comic-book-based romp an even more sci-fi, Matrix– and Terminator-like feel. With ticking-clock urgency we jump back and forth between the past and the future to see how each alternate world’s events unfold and how actions will impact the present. The right choice made long ago, after all, might just erase evil decisions, give the dead new life and change a universe for the better.

Most of the mutants in the future are little more than action figures. They fight with glorious displays of power, but you won’t learn a thing about Blink (Fan Bingbing), who is like a human version of the game Portal, or Warpath (Boooo Stewart), who tracks people, or something.  The run of Marvel Studios films has conditioned us to expect a strict sense of continuity from one film to the next. The X-Men movies, however, tend more to live in the moment, disregarding hardcore continuity rules in order to tell whatever story is at hand. From time to time Days of Future Past is intent on dealing with some continuity questions created by previous films. But once this film is over, serious trainspotters might spend weeks talking about a few issues.

One thing bugs me about the ending, and to reveal the problem would be a spoiler. I’ll say simply that the end of this film nearly invalidates the emotional victories of at least one other movie in this series. The trade-off? A gain that is significant in a certain sense, but raises questions when considered across the span of the X-Men series.

PROS:

  • Awesome flow.
  • Main cast performances.
  • Ticking clock urgency.

CONS:

  • Non-essential characters get limited character development.
  • Continuity rules.
  • Ending.

SCORE: 7.5 / 10

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Oscars 2014 Round-Up: Gravity Big Winner 7 Awards

Hello everybody! I just wanted to share with you a quick round-up of who won the 2014 Oscars last night.

 

BEST PICTURE

American Hustle                                          Gravity

Captain Phillips                                            Her

12 Years a Slave                                          Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club                                    Philomena

Wolf of Wall Street

WINNER: 12 Years a Slave

BEST ACTOR IN LEAD ROLE

Christian Bale – American Hustle

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

WINNER: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

 

BEST ACTRESS

Amy Adams – American Hustle

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Judi Dench – Philomena

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

WINNER: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

WINNER: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb,Nebraska

WINNER: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O. Russell, American Hustle

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

WINNER: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine

Frozen

The Wind Rises

WINNER: Frozen

 

BEST FOREIGN FILM

The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium

The Great Beauty, Italy

The Hunt, Denmark

The Missing Picture, Cambodia

Omar, Palestine

WINNER: The Great Beauty

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle, Eric Singer and David O. Russell

Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen

Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

Her, Spike Jonze

Nebraska, Bob Nelson

WINNER: Her, Spike Jonze

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

Captain Phillips, Billy Ray

Philomena, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

12 Years a Slave, John Ridley

The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter

WINNER: 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Book Thief

Gravity

Her

Philomena

Saving Mr. Banks

WINNER: Gravity

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Alone Yet Not Alone, from Alone Yet Not Alone

Happy, from Despicable Me 2

Let It Go, from Frozen

The Moon Song, from Her

Ordinary Love, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

WINNER: Let It Go, from Frozen

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Grandmaster

Gravity

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

Prisoners

WINNER: GRAVITY

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

American Hustle

The Grandmaster

The Great Gatsby

The Invisible Woman

12 Years a Slave

WINNER: The Great Gatsby

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Act of Killing

Cutie and the Boxer

Dirty Wars

The Square

20 Feet From Stardom

WINNER: 20 Feet From Stardom

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

CaveDigger

Facing Fear;

Karama Has No Walls

The Lady in Number 6

Music Saved My Life

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

WINNER: The Lady in Number 6

 

BEST FILM EDITING

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

12 Years a Slave

WINNER: Gravity

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Dallas Buyers Club

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

The Lone Ranger

WINNER: Dallas Buyers Club

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

American Hustle

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

Her

12 Years a Slave

WINNER: The Great Gatsby

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Feral

Get a Horse!

Mr. Hublot

Possessions

Room on the Broom

WINNER: Mr. Hublot

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)

Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)

Helium

Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)

The Voorman Problem

WINNER: Helium

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

All Is Lost;

Captain Phillips

Gravity

The HobbitThe Desolation of Smaug

Lone Survivor

WINNER: Gravity

BEST SOUND MIXING

Captain Phillips;

Gravity;

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Inside Llewyn Davis

Lone Survivor

WINNER: Gravity

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

The Lone Ranger

Star Trek Into Darkness

WINNER: Gravity

 

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music for me to review, drop me a comment! Remember: Like Media In Review @ https://www.facebook.com/MediaInReview?ref=hl Follow Media in Review @ https://twitter.com/Media_In_Review.