Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film directed by Marielle Heller. The screenplay is by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name. Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the true story of a writer who has fallen on hard times and turns to illegal methods of making ends meet. This movie has flown way under the radar, as it appears to have been looked on as the book Lee Israel wrote in the movie. I’m so glad I got to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? it’s truly a block buster in it’s own right.
**** SOME SPOILERS ****
Following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is struggling with financial troubles, writer’s block and alcoholism. Because her agent Marjorie (Jane Curtain), is unable to secure Lee with an advance for a new biography, she is forced to find another way to make money. Lee lugs a ton of heavy books to a pawn shop for books but can only get $2.00 and some nasty attitude for all her effort. Further, her beloved cat is sick and needs medication. Lee decides to sell a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to Anna (Dolly Wells), a local book dealer in order to cover her expenses.
While at the library conducting research about Fanny Brice, for a novel she’s planning to write, Lee happens upon an actual letter from Ms. Brice folded in the book. She swipes the letter and offers to sell it to Anna, who can’t give much due to the letter’s lack of interesting content. That’s when Lee begins to forge and sell letters by deceased writers, playwrights and actors, by embellishing them with juicy, intimate details that command a higher price. Anna, who is a fan of Lee’s writing as an author, attempts to initiate a relationship with her. Lee being very private and unfriendly most of the time, rejects the relationship with Anna.
When one of Lee’s letters written by Noël Coward raises suspicion for its unguarded discussion of his sexuality, she is blacklisted by her buyers. Unable to sell the forgeries herself, she has her new best friend, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) sell the letters for her. While Lee was away attempting to enhance her forgery business, she trusted Jack to take care of her apartment and her cat. Upon her return, she ends their relationship after finding her apartment trashed and her cat dead. Later Jack and Lee are served with a court summons by the FBI for forgery.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is based on a true story and presents a nice change and a nice rest from all the action movies. There are times when you think Lee is going to do something predictable, then surprised when she does something totally opposite. Although I’ve told much of the story, I’ve also left out much of the story. Melissa McCarthy has given a fantastic performance if not her best performance. She is completely believable and convincing as the writer, Lee Israel. Richard E. Grant was absolutely brilliant as Jack Hock, a friendly gay man with a secret. I was thoroughly entertained and learned a thing or two about the world of authentic letter buying. For me, this movie is what going to the movies is all about. Excellent story — Brilliant acting — Check It Out!
[Can You Ever Forgive Me? is Oscar nominated for Best: Actress, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Agent Solonas, Alan Schmidt, andre, anna, Anna Deavere Smith, Arlene, ben falcone, Brandon Scott Jones, can you ever forgive me?, Christian Navarro, Craig, Dolly Wells, Elaine, erik laray harvey, Glen, Gregory Korostishevsky, harry, Jack Hock, Jane Curtin, Joanna Adler, Kevin Carolan, kurt, Lee Israel, Lloyd, Marc Evan Jackson, Marjorie, Mary McCann, melissa mccarthy, Michael Cyril Creighton, Nell, paul, Richard E. Grant, Shae D'Lyn, Stephen Spinella, Tim Cummings, Tom Clancy
Vice is a biographical comedy/drama written and directed by Adam McKay. It is the second theatrical film to depict the presidency of George W. Bush, following Oliver Stone’s “W” and the third collaboration between Bale and Adams, following The Fighter and American Hustle. The plot follows Cheney in his pursuit to become the most powerful Vice President in American history. All I can say is, this film is brilliant and well put together and true.
**** SOILERS ****
Vice is narrated by Kurt (Jesse Plemons), a fictitious veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and opens with Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) along with White House officials responding to the September 11 attacks. The film then flashes back to Wyoming, 1963, where Cheney finds work as a lineman but struggles with alcoholism, which led him to drop out of Yale. After a traffic cop stopped Cheney for driving while intoxicated, his wife Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) convinces him to clean up his life, using powerful verbiage and ultimatums. The film then flashes forward to 1969 when Cheney finds work as a White House intern during the Nixon Administration. Working under Nixon’s economic advisor Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), Cheney becomes a savvy political operative as he juggles commitments to Lynne and his two daughters Liz (Lily Rabe) and Mary Cheney (Alison Pill). While working at the White House, Cheney overhears Henry Kissinger (Kirk Bovill) discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Richard Nixon (himself on film), which revealed the true power of the executive branch. Rumsfeld’s abrasive attitude leads to a suddal detachment between the two men from Nixon that worked in their favor; after Nixon’s resignation, Cheney rises to the position of White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford (Bill Camp) while Rumsfeld becomes Secretary of Defense.
After Ford is voted out of office, Cheney runs to be representative for Wyoming. After giving an awkward and uncharismatic campaign speech, Cheney suffers his first heart attack. While he recovers, Lynne campaigns on her husband’s behalf, helping him to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Reagan Administration, Cheney supports a raft of conservative, pro-business policies favoring the fossil fuel industries. Cheney next serves as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) during the Gulf War. Outside of politics, Cheney and Lynne come to terms with their younger daughter Mary coming out as gay. Though Cheney develops ambitions to run for president, he decides to retire from public life to spare Mary from media scrutiny.
During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Cheney becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife Lynne raises golden retrievers and writes books. A false epilogue claims that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy in the private sector and the credits roll, only for the film to continue. Cheney is invited to become running mate to George W. Bush during the 2000 United States presidential election. Recognizing that the younger Bush is more interested in pleasing his father than attaining power for himself, Cheney agrees on the condition that Bush delegates “mundane” executive responsibilities like energy and foreign policy to him. As Vice President, Cheney works with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, legal counsel David Addington (Don McManus) and Chief of Staff Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk) to exercise control of key foreign policy and defense decisions throughout Washington.
I especially enjoyed Vice because I am sort of a political junky. I th0ught Vice was well thought out and outlined Cheney’s agenda as close to the truth as possible. For those who are not that political, Vice was easy to understand and delivered it’s message for all to process. 44 year old Christian Bale had to gain 40 pounds for the role of Cheney and was barely recognizable. I’ve provided a picture of the transformation from Bale to Cheney — now that’s dedication. I think Vice is worth seeing, you will learn a lot of not so good historical events such as the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq, caused by Cheney. There is also a monologue at the end of the film you wouldn’t want to miss. Vice will probably be nominated for an Oscar. Check it Out!
[Vice is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Supporting Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Film Editing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged adam barley, aidan gail, alex macnicoll, alfred molina, alison pill, amy adams, antonin scalia, Bill Camp, cailee spaeny, christian bale, colin powell, colyse harger, condoleezza rice, david addinton, dick cheney, don mcmanus, donald rumsfeld, eddie marsan, edna vincent, fay materson, frank luntz, george tenet, george w bush, gerald ford, henry kissinger, jesse plemons, jillian armenante, joan, joseph beck, justin kirk, karen hughes, karl rove, kirk bovill, kurt, lily rabe, lisa Gay Hamilton, liz cheney, lynne cheney, mary cheney, matthew jacobs, naomi watts, paul perri, paul wolfowitz, sam rockwell, scooter libby, shea whigham, stefania lavie owens, stephen adly guirgis, steve carell, trent lott, tyler perry, vice, violet hicks, wayne vincent
Welcome to Marwen is a drama directed by Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the script with Caroline Thompson. It is inspired by Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary, Marwencol. This movie follows the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man struggling with PTSD who, after having his memory erased from being physically assaulted by Nazis, creates a fictional village to ease his trauma. The film was a box office bomb, with projected losses running as much as $60 million. Still, I was excited about seeing this movie — while it didn’t thoroughly satisfy my overall enthusiasm, I loved the brilliant special effects and thought the acting was superb.
Welcome to Marwen begins with a World War II warplane, piloted by a doll-like figure, hit by enemy fire and forced to crash land into a ditch. The pilot’s shoes have burned up because of the forced landing. While canvasing the area, the pilot finds a pair of women’s high heel shoes, which he decides to wear. The pilot is confronted by doll-like German soldiers, who taunt him after discovering he is wearing women’s shoes. The Germans threaten to emasculate him, but are killed by a group of doll-like women who come to the pilot’s rescue.
Shown in flashback, it is revealed that the doll-like figures are actually modified Barbie dolls photographed by Mark Hogancamp/Cap’n Hogie (Steve Carell), who has created a model village named Marwen (later renamed Marwencol) to help him deal with his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss from an attack some time earlier by five men after he unwisely told them about his fetish for wearing women’s shoes. Mark fantasizes that the dolls are alive and act out in scenes, which he photographs. The dolls correspond to people that he knows in real life: himself as the pilot; female friends as his protectors; and his attackers as Nazi soldiers. A green-haired doll named Deja Thoris (Diane Kruger) is a witch who prevents Cap’n Hogie from becoming too close to any woman, sending the women far into the future. Deja Thoris herself represents the pills which Mark takes to relieve his pain, to which he has become addicted.
**** SPOILERS BELOW ****
Mark has a court date to make a victim impact statement at the sentencing of the men who attacked him. After being initially reluctant to appear in court to confront his attackers, Mark is finally convinced to make an appearance at the hearing by his lawyer Demaryius Johnson (Conrad Coates) and Roberta (Merritt Wever), who is a sales clerk at the hobby store where he buys dolls for his village, but flees the court when he imagines the defendants becoming Nazi soldiers and shooting at him. Judge Martha J. Harter (Veena Sood) reschedules the sentencing hearing for the same day that Mark’s photographs will be shown to the public at an art gallery.
Mark falls in love with a woman named Nicol (Leslie Mann) who moves into the house across the road. He then buys a doll named Nicol to represent her. The doll Nicol, is in love with Cap’n Hogie and they get married. In real life, Mark proposes marriage to Nicol, who tells him that she just wants to be his friend. Mark takes Nicol’s rejection very hard and contemplates suicide. Mark imagines Nicol being shot by a Nazi, who in turn is killed by Cap’n Hogie and brought back to life.
Welcome to Marwen is a very interesting movie. After a tragedy, art reared it’s head in the creation of a Nazi village, represented by Barbie dolls. The fact that Welcome to Marwen is based on a true story makes it one of the most imaginative films I’ve seen. The special effects were absolutely brilliant and Steve Carell’s performance was convincing and showed a side of him you would otherwise rarely see. Welcome to Marwen is a fascinating movie that wheels you into a world of fantasy yet truth for Mark Hogancamp. While I don’t think this movie is for everyone, I highly recommend it for its art form and enlightenment. Check “Welcome to Marwen” out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged alexander lowe, anna, cap'n hogie, caralala, carl nikolai witschl, conrad coates, deja thoris, demaryius johnson, diane kruger, Eiza González, elsa, eric keenleyside, falk hentschel, friar, gwendoline christie, hauptsturmfüher ludwig topf, janelle monae, judge martha j harter, julie, kurt, larry, leslie mann, leslie zemeckis, louis matt o'leary, lt benz, mark hogancamp, marwencol, merritt wever, neil jackson, nicol, roberta, rudolph, rudy patrick roccas, siobhan williams, stefan, stefanie von pfetten, steve carell, stevie, suzette, the belgian witch, veena sood, vern, welcome to marwen, wendy, werner
Ant-Man and the Wasp is categorized as a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Peyton Reed and written by the writing teams of Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari. Ant-Man and the Wasp focuses on retrieving Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm. I truly liked the original film, Ant-Man, so I was psyched about seeing the Wasp officially added to the series. I only have good things to say about Ant-Man and the Wasp — it was fun!
Janet van Dyne / Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer) shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile, successfully disabling it but becoming trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm for 30 years. Her husband, Hank Pym / Ant-Man (Michael Douglas) raises their daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), by himself, believing that Janet is dead. Years later, former criminal Scott Lang / Ant Man (Paul Rudd) takes up the mantle of Ant-Man and discovers a way to both enter and return from the quantum realm. Pym and Hope begin work on repeating this feat, believing they may find Janet alive. Lang and Hope also start a romantic relationship and begin training to fight together as Ant-Man and the Wasp, until Lang secretly helps Captain America during a skirmish between the Avengers in violation of the Sokovia Accords. Lang is placed under house arrest, while Pym and Hope go into hiding and cut ties with Lang.
— SPOILERS BELOW —
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – (2018)
Two years later, Pym and Hope briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm. However, Lang receives an apparent message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. Despite only having a few days left of house arrest, Lang decides to call Pym and share the message. Hope kidnaps Lang, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). Seeing the message as confirmation that Janet is alive, Pym and Hope work to create a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve Janet. Hope arranges to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), but Sonny realizes the potential profit that can be earned from Pym and Hope’s research and double-crosses them. Hope fights Burch and his men off, until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman, Ava Starr / Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Lang tries to help fight off this “ghost”, but she escapes with Pym’s portable lab, causing Pym to reluctantly visits his estranged former partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) for help locating the lab.
From this point, the adventure goes to unimaginable places. The special effects are fantastic as well as the performance of each actor. The plot is also excellent, as there are several stories happening at once. The twist and turns are great and will have you on the edge of your seat. Overall, I really enjoyed Ant-Man and the Wasp. Although it was technical most of the ride, it was understandable. This movie is appropriate for all ages and is well worth your time and money to see it. 3D is nice but not necessary to enjoy the film.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged abby ryder fortson, ant-man, ant-man and the wasp, ava starr, bill foster, bobby cannavale, cassie, catherine starr, david dastmalchian, elihas starr, evangeline lilly, Ghost, hank pym, hannah john-kamen, hope van dyne, janet van dyne, jim paxton, jimmy woo, kurt, laurence fishburne, luis, michael douglas, michael peña, michelle pfeiffer, paul rudd, randall park, riann steel, scott lang, sonny burch, walton goggins, wasp