Irresistible is a political comedy written and directed by Jon Stewart. The film follows a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town. Irresistible was released during the COVID-19 pandemic and cost a whopping $20 bucks to stream right into my family room. Despite the inflated cost, I thought the movie was decent.
Irresistible opens with a successful Democratic campaigner, Gary Zimmer (Steve Corell) in despair due to the results of the 2016 election. One of Gary’s colleagues shows him a viral video of Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) reprimanding the mayor in a speech regarding the undocumented immigrant population who lives in his conservative hometown of Deerlaken, Wisconsin. Gary decides if he can run Hastings as the Democratic mayoral candidate in the next election, he can convince the American people in the heartland to vote democrat in the next presidential election. After arriving in Deerlaken, Gary soon meets Hastings and his daughter Diana Hastings (Mackenzie Davis) and pitches his idea. Hastings initially declines considering himself more of a conservative and having no real interest in politics, but later relents and agrees to run under the condition that Gary runs his campaign.
Despite the fact incumbent, Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton) is being funded by the Republican National Committee, Gary and Hastings must come up with new and innovative ideas to counter the endless money the RNC has to spend on the campaign. Gary has to depend on Democratic donations from elsewhere enabling him to upgrade their campaigning methods.
Irresistible turns out to be quite exciting and funny. Of course in order not to spoil the movie, I will stop here except to say that there is so much more to Irresistible than you can figure out. It’s not predictable and you will probably never see the end coming. The film has many familiar comedians like Debra Messing and C.J. Wilson to liven up the plot. I think this movie is a much needed comic relief in this time of tragedy and upheaval. Irresistible was initially due to be released theatrically in May of 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic happened, which caused Focus Features to release the film on video, on-demand, and in limited theaters, June 26, instead. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “a soft political satire”. Irresitible is available via most cable carriers, Prime Video and Itunes. DVD release is scheduled for September 1, 2020. Check it out!
Posted in CURRENT MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Alan Aisenberg, Babs Garnett, Brent Sexton, C.J. Wilson, Captain Ortiz, Chris Cooper, Christian Adam, debra messing, Diana Hastings, evan, Faith Brewster, Gary Zimmer, IRRESISTIBLE, Janet De Tessant, Kurt Farlander, Lowell, mackenzie davis, Marine Colonel Jack Hastings, Mayor Braun, michael, Natasha Lyonne, Nick Farlander, rose byrne, steve carell, topher grace, Will McLaughlin, Will Sasso
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
The Big Short is a brilliant piece of film work. To keep excitement, interest and focus on financials from so many different perspectives for 128 minutes in not easy. The Big Short played like a well oiled machine. Each player was like a detective unraveling a case and there were many players. In 2005, Michael Burry (Christian Bale) noticed the US housing market was very unstable because of subprime loans based on high risk, providing very few returns. He predicted that the market would collapse around the second quarter of 2007 but he also realized he could profit from the situation by creating a credit default swap market that would allow him to bet against the housing market. He went to several banks and successfully sold his idea. However, his clients felt he was wasting their money and demanded that he cease all activities plus return their money but Burry refused. As tempers heated, Burry placed a moratorium on withdrawals, which made his investors even more angry. The market did indeed collapse as Burry predicted and he produced 489% profits from his plan.
Trader, Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) hears of Burry’s actions so he decides to put his own plan into something call the credit default swap market. In turn Hedge Fund Manager, Mark Baum (Steve Carell) joins Vennett. Together they discover the collapse is being further perpetuated by the sale of CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) that are pretty much worth nothing but dishonestly AAA rated. After attending the American Securitization Forum in Las Vegas, Mark finds synthetic CDOs have now entered into the market, which will render the market completely helpless at the banks’ expense, so he decides to go through with the credit default swaps to make a bundle for himself while the economy goes belly up.
Two young investors, Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) discover a paper by Vennett that leads them to become involved with the credit default swaps. Because they fall short of an ISDA, they had to turn to a friend and retired banker, Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to help them pull off all they would need to be successful in this endeavor. Together they attended the mortgage securities forum in Las Vegas and made lots of deals. The two were never happier to make deals that would result in making them super rich but bring the economy to its knees at the same time. Rickert wasn’t happy but didn’t pull out either. Brad Pitt’s performance was phenomenal.
The Big Short is a fast moving film that really says it all when it came to the endless financial corruption that ran rampart during the end of the Bush Administration. I don’t feel anyone paid enough for all the crime that happened. So many innocent people lost everything and some even lost their lives. The Big Short really told it like it was. The acting was fantastic. I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind getting upset at how easily these guys manipulated the US economy.
[THE BIG SHORT is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Film Editing and Adapted Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged ben rickert, brad pitt, CDOs, charlie geller, christian bale, finn wittrock, isda, jamie shipley, jared vennett, john magaro, mark baum, michael burry, ryan gosling, steve carell, the big short
Weird is as weird does and Foxcatcher is weird. The tone is set so dark that it was hard to know what happy was. Foxcatcher which is based on a true story has emerged as an Oscar contender. I’m not very familiar with the sport of wrestling however after seeing Foxcatcher, I realized it was not really about wrestling but about the pressures of life and the impression most of us would like to leave on our parents. Steve Carell brilliantly plays the wealthy John DuPont who has a passion for wrestling. His desire to own a team that would take home the gold during the 1988 Olympics, brought him to a relationship with Mark and Dave Schultz played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, respectively. Both are world renowned for their wrestling talents and had already won gold for the 1984 Olympics. The acting was fantastic as this was Steve Carell’s first serious actor endeavor which awarded him a Best Actor nomination. Vanessa Redgrave played Jean DuPont, mother to John. With a cast like this, you can’t go wrong. Kudos to Foxcatcher’s director, Bennett Miller, who must have had some difficultly keeping this movie as strange as it is. The twist is even stranger and if you don’t know the story, you will never see it coming. Foxcatcher held my interest and was enlightening.
[FOXCATCHER is nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Directing, Original Screenplay (Writing), Best Makeup and Hairstyling]