Tag Archives: Marisa Tomei

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Film Review

Oh, a new Spiderman? Oh how *yawn* novel. I’m not a fan of Spidey… while I loved the jigsaw I had as a child and the cartoon, I’ve generally found the films to be pretty uninspiring. Yes, they may be fun with a whole heap of action and whatever, but jeepers, Peter Parker is so annoying.

Anyhow, I kind of hoped being part of the new Marvel Universe of films it might be a bit better. Maybe it was. Tom Holland was pretty decent in his role, and it was awesome to have Marisa Tomei as Aunt May (and a splash of Donald Glover is always nice) but the best thing for me by far was Michael Keaton as Vulture, with just a bit of a pop-culture nod to his recent role in Birdman.

I guess I’m happy enough that Spiderman is in this universe, but I don’t think he’ll ever be my fave.

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The Ides of March (2011) Film Review

the Ides of March

The Ides of March is a film about politics and power, focusing on those behind the scenes –  the campaign managers and interns who are working on the primaries. My understanding of the primaries comes from movies, TV and NPR podcasts, and I believe that the way it works is that the race for President is essentially between two people – a Democrat and a Republican. The primaries are how they decide who those two people will be – the various candidates campaign and then a caucus of the people from that party vote, and eventually someone is picked. There’s way, way more to it than that – for example, this film is set in Ohio, and that is apparently open voting, which means both Democrats and Republicans (and I suppose everyone in between) votes in the primaries. Look, ok, I don’t really know. All I know is, there is a lot of money in it, and the candidate who gets the most votes from delegates then goes on to campaign in the race for President.

Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is second in charge to Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) on the primary campaign of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). Meyers is a believer – he plays clean, he is honest, and he believe that the liberal views of Morris can really make the world a better place. During the Ohio campaign, a series of events happen that rob Meyers of his naivety and leave him difficult choices.

About three-quarters of the way through this film, I was trying to figure out what Meyers would do next. I felt that things were hopeless for him, but I was unsure whether I even cared. I decided I did, and was then trying to work out what paths he had left open – what was his goal and how would he achieve it. Then I wondered about whether I was enjoying the film or not. During films, I don’t usually think this much – or at least, not consciously. If I am aware that these are my thought processes, is the film not engaging me? This is why I can’t decide if I liked it or not – because I was just so conscious of the script and trying to dissect it. Writing this now, I realise I did enjoy thinking this way during the film – especially because it wasn’t predictable.

My main criticism was that the character of Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood) was very under developed. I didn’t believe the choices she made, or the manner in which she made them. For me to believe that Meyers would react in the way he did (I’m trying very hard not to put in spoilers) I needed more about Stearns. She just seemed like an unfulfilled character, and given her importance in the story, the film could have explored her more.

As a director, I think Clooney shows a particular penchant for the eyes. Perhaps it’s because his are just so gorgeous, or perhaps it’s because Gosling is able to convey a lot with a subtle lift of an eyebrow. There was an awful lot of eye and eyebrow acting in this film.

It’s got a strong cast with the usual wonderful performances from Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giatmatti and Marisa Tomei. Clooney himself was a much smaller part in the film. I used to think he was a terrible actor – gorgeous, but terrible. That’s changing – between this and The American (which I did not like, but Clooney’s performance was very strong), I think there may be more to him than a charming smile.

As far as films about power and politics are concerned, I would recommend Wag the Dog (1997) and Primary Colors (1998) first, but the Ides of March certainly captures the filth of politics and power.

The Ides of March was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.

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Crazy, Stupid Love (2011) Film Review

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Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is devastated when his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) asks him for a divorce, seemingly out of the blue. He moves in a nondescript apartment and spends his nights sitting alone at a local bar moaning about David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), the man his wife slept with. Ladies man Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) takes pity on him and helps him to reinvent himself, but all Cal wants is his wife and family back. Meanwhile, Jacob meets a woman that makes him question his life choices, Cal’s son is in love with his babysitter, and the babysitter is in love with Cal. It’s a complex series of plots, and that hasn’t even gone into half of it.

I make no apologies of my love of the performing of so many members of this cast; Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Bacon; even Marisa Tomei has a hilarious role. Plus, the film is so well-structured that I did not pick the twist and I thought it was a doozy. It’s not an easy film to watch; there are elements that are like an emotional car crash, but it’s just wonderful.

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The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) Film Review

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Matthew McConaughey  plays Mick Hailer, a lawyer in Hollywood who plays hard and defends nasty, nasty criminals. He’s a smooth talker and has a reputation for getting the guilty off. Then he gets the case of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a very rich young man who has been accused of beating a prostitute. But, as he investigates, he comes to believe that his client is guilty and capable of a lot worse.

This film has an awesome cast – William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston, and so many more. But a good cast wasn’t going to save it. I just didn’t believe the emotions that McConaughey’s character was supposedly feeling. Ryan Phillippe was surprisingly good – I say surprisingly, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything he’s done before, so I didn’t have any reason to think that he wouldn’t be good. But the way he switches from playing the innocent victim to the evil control freak was pretty impressive. Still not enough to save the film.

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