It's that time of the week: Theater Thursday! Today I'll be reviewing The Fighter & Country Strong. That's right people, I don't stick to one genre here...I'll watch almost anything.
Director: David O. Russell
Based on the true story about the Ward family
Top Billed Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, & Amy Adams
Mickey Ward is an (almost) washed up fighter who's brother has taught him everything he knows. The story follows Mick as he struggles to make his final comeback and make peace with his family.
* Excellent acting...everyone in this film really went all the way for their roles. Christian Bale was transformed and Amy Adams definitely shed her Enchanted persona. The accents were very well done...not that I really know what a Bostonian should sound like, but I do know that everybody sounded the same and it was flowy & cohesive.
* Cinematography was really cool...it felt like you were in the moment. It wasn't all that epic, but neither was the movie. The shots fit with the times and they fit with the scale of the story.
* I thought the locations were really well scouted and planned out. I never once "doubted" that I was watching something from the 1980s (actors aside, of course).
* The sisters...oh the sisters. Every time these ladies came on screen, I cracked up. I'm not sure how intentional that was on the Casting Department's part but it made me happy. Such a rough looking group.
* The accents were great but some of the delivery was not. I understand the dilemma here, I do...do you go for the most accurate accents or do you go for what your audience can understand? I guess they chose accuracy.
* Though it was understandable, I felt that the movie was kind of slow. We go through so much with this family and it takes a LONG time to get to the "payoff".
This movie is rated R and rightly so. I think Christian Bale was probably saying the F word in his sleep...pretty much every other word out of his mouth was some form of cuss word.
Strong language aside, this movie is about a fighter and is, therefore, full of violence. Most of the violence is within the confines of the sport, but it is pretty brutal at times.
Drug use is a prominent theme in this movie, Christian Bale's character spends most of the movie in a rather high state.
Finally, there is some sexuality in the movie so be prepared. It's nothing really graphic and really mild compared to some other films out there today.
Overall, the main thing to be prepared for is the language...if you feel the need to vomit every time you hear a four-letter word, you might not want to attempt this one. Especially not after dinner. Viewer beware..
For the most part, I really enjoyed this movie and I look forward to seeing what awards it receives. 3.5/5 stars
Director- Shana Feste
Writer- Shana Feste
Top Billed Cast- Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester, & Tim McGraw
What is this movie about? Well, early on in promotion, we were told it was the come back story of a country music singer. This is not really the case. Really, this is just the sappiest country song ever written...in movie form. Just so you know.
* The soundtrack is catchy. REALLY catchy.
* Tim McGraw did more acting than his previous films...I guess this is a pro?
* It was filmed in/around Nashville..even when it "wasn't". I enjoyed trying to figure out if I recognized any of the extras or locations used. Yea for local films!
* Gwyneth Paltrow did quite well at portraying drunk.
* First and foremost: Animal Cruelty. That's right, people, I went there. One simply can NOT raise a baby quail in a box with no air holes. It will die. Not to mention the fact that we never see them feeding this chick and it only gets limited amounts of sunlight. Oh, and my favorite part, leaving it in a bar and never letting the viewers know what becomes of it. Way to go people, way to go.
* Costumes... I know we live in Nashville, and I know this was a movie about a country singer..still where in Nashville can you walk into a bar (non-themed, of course) and find every ONE of its occupants wearing a plaid shirt. Where?
While we're on the subject of costumes, what in the world is up with Kelly Canter's concert choices? This isn't Katy Perry or Lady Gaga...this is a country music singer. It's really impractical for one to attempt to do a concert in a skirt that constantly needs to be pulled down...we all saw it, Gwyneth, it happened. Over and over and over again.
* Who was supposed to be in charge of watching this very "famous" country music super star? They sure did a crappy job. There was barely a scene where she was where she was supposed to be and only one scene that I can think of in which she was in the right place and of sound mind. Great job, wranglers, great job. You would think that if you keep having to pull the "recovering" alcoholic from bars that you might not let her off on her own so much. Guess I'm wrong there.
* Audio. I don't like concerts....why? Because you can't hear anything being said. You will not see me at the Justin Bieber movie for this very reason, among others. So, when half of your movie has a concert in the background and yet you put important dialog in the foreground it makes it difficult to hear and understand if you don't dim the music.
* The singing...or rather, Leighton Meester singing. I know they all did their own singing and props to them for that. My issue doesn't lie in the vocals, it's with the performances. Leighton did a poor job lip-syncing with feeling for the first half of the movie. You know how it goes: Record then lip sync/really sing but lightly during filming. It just looked like she was mouthing the words and didn't look at all like she was actually singing. I want you to trick me into forgetting that your voice has been digitally enhanced.
* Cinematography was really cheap and cheesy. I lost count of how many "ok and pull in close...tighten in on his/face...hold it right there" shots there were. It was a lot.
* I understand, again, that this is a movie about a country music SINGER...however, I really got tired of hearing the same songs over and over and over again. They didn't even vary between verse and chorus, it was literally the same lines of the same songs over and over again.
* This might be one of the poorest written movies I've seen in a long time...and I watch a LOT of cheesy movies. I'm not quite sure what about it made it so bad, it just was really weird. We were left with a lot of questions with the big one being: What on earth happened to the last 2 hours of my life?
This movie is rated PG-13 and in the majority of the movie, the main character is very drunk. There is a lot of focus on infidelity and other sexual themes. Viewer beware..
Overall this movie was just laughable...and not in the right way. The story was just really odd and quite depressing. I felt like the one aspect of it that was resolved wasn't an aspect that I went in wanting to watch. I felt cheated and annoyed. Gwyneth Paltrow did well in her role, so I suppose that's the upside. It just wasn't the heartwarming story I went in thinking I would be watching. Definitely not on par with The Blindside (not that that movie was perfect, by any means). 2/5 stars..and that's being generous.