a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Channing Tatum’

“Jupiter Ascending” is Fun. It’ll probably make millions

Jupiter EddieI’ve never been an out-and-out Wachowski Bros. geek. “The Matrix” was OK, but it didn’t rock my world. And the sequel, then the three-quel just got worse and worse. But they in no way prepared me for the indecipherable “Cloud Atlas”, but I sat through the WHOLE thing, thoroughly befuddled beyond belief. And wanting to leave at every edit.

So going into “Jupiter Ascending” ONLY because Oscar front-runner Eddie Redmayne is in it, I wisely decided to check my brain at the door, and just enjoy whatever little there might be to enjoy in the over-the top visuals,Redmayne’s performance, and Channing Tatum in IMAX 3-D. And you know something? I actually did.

The audience was laughing, it’s true, and they left chattering and smiling. It was a packed press house, and yes, Virginia, there is STILL a vast audience for empty-headed, eye-popping extravaganzas, which “Jupiter Ascending” really is. And I predict it will make millions.

There’s really nothing like it out there right now at the Mega-plex, and the whole thing is so damned enjoyable, that I don’t see it effecting anyone’s career negatively, especially not Redmayne’s. He’s actually demonic as hell as Balem Abrasax(gotta love that name. I’m sure it’s an anagram for SOMEthing.) and actually scary when he needs to be.

A vampirish villain-to-end-all-villains just when you thought there was nothing new under the villain sun. And Redmayne acts the hell out of the cheesy/hilarious dialogue he’s given. He has the daunting task of having  to top all those super-colossal special effects, and y’know something? He DOES!

He INHALES all his lines in a very deep basso voice we’ve never heard him use before. And when he gets upset at his useless underlings, he starts SHRIEKING like, well, like a screaming queen. Which is what he is playing.

He does it so well, and the Wachowskis(one of whom, Lana, is the only transexual filmmaker turning out features to the tune of $175 million budgets) really seem to be having the time of their lives blowing up everything and turning everyone into aliens. And y’know what? It was good ole fashioned pop-corn fun.

And the Academy is not going to hold this against Oscar frontrunner for Best Actor Redmayne. He’s got a supporting role. It’s Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis(she’s Jupiter, he’s the hero)’s names and faces who are on the billboards. The Academy is not going to see a film like this for the unwashed masses.

And his Stephen Hawking is a hero, and a heroic acting achievement in “The Theory of Everything” that I’m sure is going to sweep the BAFTAS the day after tomorrow.

The Academy Voters aren’t going to see a movie like this. And Redmayne is such a delicious, memorable villain, they’ll applaud his range and his ability of make lemonade out of, well, y’know.

And the Wachowskis will be laughing all the way to the bank,

Disappointing Oscar hopeful “Foxcatcher”

Foxcatcher 2

I was soooo disappointed in "Foxcatcher", a film that has been touted as an Oscar hopeful since its debut at Cannes, and followed by TIFF, and the NYFF. But I was just not on board with this film. Bennett Miller, who directed "Capote" to great acclaim and netted an Oscar for the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a director I admire. And though he directed the baseball saga "Moneyball", he has a penchant for tackling gay themed projects.

Which he is doing once again here with "Foxcatcher." Except that he isn't. He's totally de-gay-ed a VERY gay story, ripped from yesterday's headlines about Henry E. Dupont, the very rich and very weird scion of the Dupont family. They had so much money, Henry basically felt he could buy anyone or anything.

And he was gay, although you'd never know it from this incredibly closeted movie. I mean, how can you take the homo-eroticism and also the homosexuality out of this, what should have been a Big Gay movie? Except that it's not.

If you think wrestling in and off itself is exciting, which I don't, you might like this movie. But Henry DuPont was clearly a predator, creating this camp of muscle-bound young men, who he was purportedly training for Olympic wrestling.

Everyone thinks that comedian Steve Carell is going to get an Oscar nomination for his cold, rabbity portrayal of DuPont. It's true he's almost unrecognizable with this humonguous fake nose. He also attempts a monotonal speaking voice for DuPont, which is irritating. OK. So he's not relying on his comic chops. So?

So what do we get?

What he gives us is just a two-dimensional creep. Not the three dimensional one that Jake Gyllenhaal is currently essaying so well in "Nightcrawler." Gyllenhaal's Nightcrawler is obsessed with things that actually are depicted in the film. Money, power, violence, fame,tabloid television.

Dupont is obsessed with men and what's missing is the gayness. It's so toned down, repressed, if you will, that it seems that DuPont is totally in the closet, which he wasn't.

You think wrestlers are hot? In this film, they are cold.And so is the whole film.

"Foxcatcher" is the most unsexy movie imaginable. You can't do what is essentially a gay movie and leave the gayness out of it. I mean, c'mon! It's 2014 already!

And as the plot reveals, or rather, doesn't reveal that DuPont is super obsessed with one wrestling hopeful Channing Tatum( who BTW is turning in the really stellar performance here ), to the point that he moves him on to his estate which is called Foxcatcher. And yes, they do have horses and presumably hunt foxes. His domineering mother, Vanessa Redgrave, who is totally wasted here, with one mere scene of dialogue, is a formidable presence clearly. And Mrs. DuPont does NOT approve of her son's zealous pursuit of the sport of wrestling. She calls it "a low sport" and wishes Henry would stop importing all these young wrestlers to the grounds of their estate. She wishes we would, well, catch foxes at Foxcatcher, and not healthy young male wrestlers, everyone a beauty.

I guess we’re supposed to draw the parallel that he collects handsome athletic young men, the way that his mother collects horses.

Of course, this doesn't end well. And based on a true story, the events, when they at last unfold AFTER TWO HOURS, are baffling rather than revealing. Or tragic. As they should've been.

The only scene that approximates what may have been an homosexual affair is where DuPont and Channing's character snort cocaine together on DuPont's private plane.

The violence that in the end ensues is totally shocking in that it makes no sense with what we have seen before.

Mark Ruffalo, as Tatum's smarter, married brother is also wasted pretty much here. Which is a shame. But then so is Redgrave.

So what we are left with is a very cold, remote film about this weird rich guy that makes no sense.

Miller tried this de-gay-ing thing, too, with "Capote" but in that case it worked, because Truman Capote was sooooo gay, no matter how toned down you made him, he was still VERY gay.

Do we need another portrait of a gay psychotic? Well, I for one was looking forward to this film, given its' festival hype. But I was severely disappointed. It shed light on nothing. It's a gay film for straight people in that case. Maybe straight people will think that SUGGESTING DuPoint's sexuality was enough. To me it was just a big cop-out. I expected more from the talented Bennett Miller than a lot of tense, conversational scenes that illuminate NOTHING.

Gay people are going to be very disappointed with this closet of a movie.

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