Tag Archives: Margo Martindale

Cinema Dispatch: Downsizing

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Downsizing and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Alexander Payne

Every year, there’s usually one movie that starts off getting quite a bit of Awards buzz (mostly due to its cast and filmmakers) that eventually pivots all the way back to being an absolute train wreck once the critics get a chance to see it, and it’s usually not due to a genuine lack of talent on anyone’s part.  More often than not, it’s misguided or something happened in the production that forced corners to be cut, so the badness of these kind of movies tend to be UNIQUE compared to the drivel that usually comes out during the rest of the year.  Last year the winner of this prize was Collateral Beauty that tried SO hard to be a heartfelt and charming tale despite ostensibly being about people acting like total monsters towards someone with emotional issues, and word has been circulating that this is gonna be that film for 2017.  I thought the trailers looked good as does its interesting premise, but I’ve been burned by good trailers before (*cough* Mother *cough*), so I’m hoping for the best but will keep my guard up just in case.  Are the critics right about this film being wholly unable to live up to its lofty ambitions, or is this one of those few instances where the popular consensus will shift once it gets screened for the masses?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Paul (Matt Damon) who’s a simple man with a ho-hum job living a ho-hum life with his ho-hum wife (Kristen Wiig) in his ho-hum town of Nowhere-ville.  He’s looking for something to spice up his life and to give him a renewed sense of meaning (by which I mean he wants to buy more stuff), so he starts to entertain the idea of him and his wife Downsizing.  What is Downsizing you may ask?  Well it’s a process by which a human can be permanently shrunken down to a fraction of their normal height and then move to a community of similarly shrunken people.  Since things cost less when they are smaller, that means that Paul’s meager life savings can let them live as kings for the rest of their lives in one of these communities, so he eventually makes the leap.  However, his wife doesn’t go with him (balking at the last second) and he’s basically back where he was before; miserable and looking for ways to be happy.  Through his ongoing life in Tiny Town (also known as Leisureland) he meets with a goods trader Dusan Mirkovic (Christoph Waltz) as well as a Vietnamese protestor who was Downsized against her will named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) that seem to be much happier than him and might just hold the secrets to helping Paul find what he’s been looking for.  Can Paul find a shred of happiness in his sad pathetic life?  What doors with Dusan and even Ngoc open for Paul that will help him on his journey?  Wait, so we have this HUGE premise about people being shrunk down and living in corporate run micro-communities… and we’re focusing on some sad white dude the whole time!?

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HE’S NOT EVEN THE MATT DAMON THAT PUNCHES PEOPLE!

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Cinema Dispatch: Table 19

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Table 19 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

Table what now?  Has anyone heard of this movie before like a week ago?  Hell, did anyone see a trailer of this or is its target audience people who couldn’t see Beauty and the Beast because it was sold out but made the effort to get out of the damn house anyway so are going to see something else?  I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty niche market to go after!  Well just because no one has heard of the damn thing doesn’t mean it’s a BAD movie.  Hell, Shawshank Redemption was a HUGE flop and now it’s one of the most beloved and overexposed films of all time!  Okay, so this probably isn’t gonna be THAT good, but maybe it’ll still manage to be rather enjoyable.  Let’s find out!!

The table in question refers to a table at the wedding reception, and the nineteenth one is the LAST table in the hierarchy of wedding guests.  While all the important people are at the first few tables and all the REAL guests are in the latter ones, the ones who were invited but weren’t expected to show up were placed at the TABLE OF INFINITE SHAME!!  The guest list includes the brides former babysitter (June Squibb) which seems kinda mean spirited, a couple who worked with the one of the dads of the married couple many years ago (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson), a family member who screwed someone out of A LOT of money (Stephen Merchant), and… some teenager (Tony Revolori).  Honestly, I don’t remember why he’s even there in the first place, but his shtick is that he’s horny all the time so maybe he’s on hand to fill a cliché quota.  ANYWAY!  There’s still one more person at the table.  The best friend of the bride (Anna Kendrick)!?  SAY WHAT!?  She’s ALSO the former Maid of Honor and is personally responsible for the seating arrangements!?  As it turns out, there was a major falling out, particularly in regards to the brother of the bride (Wyatt Russel), and while she ultimately decided to still go, she’s stuck with the losers and rejects who probably resent being considered losers and rejects.  Will shenanigans inevitably ensue now that a Molotov cocktail of resentment has landed at the table with people who pretty much have nothing to lose here?   Just what exactly happened between our heroine of sorts and the happy couple’s family?  WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO TO THE WEDDING CAKE!?

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“We’re all in agreement.  The cake had it coming, and we will never speak of this again…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by Garry Marshall

Seriously.  It’s not funny anymore Garry Marshall.  Whoever’s paying you to do this or whoever has your family hostage NEEDS to be stopped.  For the third time in a damn row, Garry Marshall is trying to rip off Love Actually by taking the formula and centering on other holidays that seem to be chosen at random.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the next movie is about Arbor Day and Julia Roberts plays a tree in it!  So is this one just as bad as the rest?  Yes.  Yes it is.  No point in giving you false hope.  Let’s just get this one over with…

The movie is separated into four stories.  Jennifer Aniston has to deal with the fact that her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman and they are both dazzeling the kids with fun trips, junk food, and rock concerts while she’s at her house doing everything else for them.  Jason Sudeikis is a widower whose wife passed away about a year ago and he’s still dealing with the grief while trying to raise his two daughters.  Britt Robertson is a woman who’s raising her infant daughter with her boyfriend, but she also has her own demons to work out as she has never met her birth mother who is an HSN host played by Julia Roberts.  And finally, KKate Hudson and Sarah Chalke play sisters who have married people their parents would not approve of (an indian man played by Aasif Mandvi for the former and another woman played by Cameron Esposito for the latter) and they are no longer able to hide this fact from them since they have made a surprise visit.  Each of these stories are loosely connected by the fact that some of the characters know each other as either friends or in a professional sense, and we follow our heroes as they learn to get over their problems, make up for mistakes they’ve made, and become better people in the process.  Oh and there’s a holiday in here… I guess.

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“Holy hell!  Is… is this what the rest of my career is gonna be like!?”     “Yep.  Welcome to the old ladies club.”     “BUT I’M ONLY TWENTY SIX!!”     “Yeah, and I’m only thirty seven.  It’ll get easier after a while.”

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