Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PCP - I Finally Watched Fargo

Thanks for dropping in on CRAPOLA.  In an earlier post in the PCP section here, I wrote about the 15 movies I was most embarrassed to have never seen.  My goal is to work through the entire list this year and write about those movies.  The first movie from the list that I had the opportunity to watch was Fargo.  Like many of the movies on the list, I actually own Fargo, I just never had the time to get around to watching it.  I bought the movie strictly based on the fact that it was critically acclaimed and that I was likely to enjoy it.  Let's find out if I had wasted my money or time on the movie, shall we?  Warning - very mild spoilers ahead.

Fargo - 1996, Rated R.  98 minutes.  Starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, & Peter Stormare.  Written & Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen.  My rating:  can be found at the end of the review, as it is more complicated than just X out of 10.

Fargo is a crime caper from the Coen brothers, the same guys behind No Country For Old Men, the recent True Grit remake, and another film from my list of 15 movies I'm embarrassed to have not watched - The Big Lebowski, amongst other films.  Fargo came out in 1996, but it is set in the 1980s, and it takes place in Minnesota and North Dakota (mostly Brainerd, Minnesota despite Fargo, (ND) being the title of the movie), so everyone has the customary accents associated with that region of the country, which I actually found grating after awhile.  (Aw Jeez, ya, sooper, you betcha).  The film stars William H. Macy as Jerry Lundegaard, a car salesman who decides to have his wife kidnapped for ransom, since his father-in-law is loaded, but doesn't share the money with his son-in-law.  He plans on splitting the ransom with the criminals he hires, the extremely talkative Steve Buscemi and the extremely quiet (in this role at least) Peter Stormare.  Unfortunately for all 3 of the criminals, they're all extremely inept, and the plan unravels and spirals in violence as the criminals are chased by pregnant policewoman Frances McDormand.  The movie is extremely linear, with almost next to no plot twists or mystery at all.  The viewer has everything laid out for them, there is nothing for the viewer to solve or investigate or interpret for themselves, they just get to sit back and enjoy the movie.

Read the rest of the review after the jump!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

PCP on DVD - Ryan Gosling 3 pack

Hi everyone, thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA.  Today I'll be doing reviews of 3 movies starring Ryan Gosling that I recently had the pleasure of watching on DVD:  The Ides of March, Drive, & Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Gosling is one of my favorite actors working today.  He first came to my attention in an incredible independent film called The Believer.  If you haven't seen that, you have to, his performance in that movie is scary good.  In The Believer, he plays a neo-Nazi who is really a secret self-loathing Orthodox Jew.  It’s really an incredible performance.  He disappears in to his roles like a true chameleon.  In the 3 movies I’ll be reviewing today, he plays 3 wildly different characters and each was a joy to watch.  He’s definitely my favorite 30 something actor working today.  It’s hard to believe he got his start in the same class of talent on the Mickey Mouse Club as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, & Christina Aguilera, but he was on that show with the 3 of them.  I wonder if they’re still friends?  But anyways, on with the reviews!

Crazy, Stupid, Love – 2011, Rated PG-13.  118 minutes.  Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell; Emma Stone; Julianne Moore; Kevin Bacon, & Marisa Tomei.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is an interesting film.  It’s part romantic comedy, part black comedy, part drama, but all entertaining.  Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are parents whose longtime marriage has hit the skids, and Moore is asking for a divorce.  Carell moves out and drowns his sorrows at the local bar, where ladies man and total player Ryan Gosling takes pity on him and teaches him the ways of the force.  Gosling turns Carell into a player himself, and it leads to Carell hooking up with Marisa Tomei, while Moore is shacking up with Kevin Bacon.  In the meantime, Gosling has fallen hard for a girl (Emma Stone) and is giving up his player ways in an attempt to actually build a relationship.

There are a few additional plot twists and links that I am leaving out of the film description, because I do not want to give away any spoilers, but the film in a nutshell is very entertaining.  Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have great chemistry together, and Gosling is great as the ladies man, playing a character completely against his normal type when he is in romantic roles.  Carell is subdued as a character, very subtle and not over the top like his boss on The Office.  Marisa Tomei is also great in her supporting role, her second scene in the film is hilarious.  Near the end of the movie you get hit with a nice twist that changes a lot for the main characters (and that I didn’t see coming because I wasn’t looking for any twists, but in hindsight it was subtly obvious) and it was that surprise at the twist that I think sold this movie for me, that plus the solid performances.  The film overall works rather well and it is pretty entertaining.  Definitely one of the better romantic dramedys I’ve seen in awhile.

Read the rest of the reviews after the jump!