Marriage Story: Review

As I get older as a movie fan, I have come to hope that once a year, a new movie will come out that I will like above all the others released. All I want is to be able to say “this was “the best” or “my favorite” of the year” and not be in doubt about my favorite. Last year without question I felt A Star Is Born was not only my favorite, but I strongly felt it was the best movie of the year.

While the year is not over, and there are many more films for the year to see, I feel very confident that I’ve seen what my favorite movie of the year is. At the time of this writing is the best movie of the year with Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.

I remember thinking after my first viewing of A Star Is Born last year that it had been several years since a movie made me feel so much all at once, and yet just a year later I see a film that has undoubtedly equaled that, if not eclipsed last years’ experience.
Marriage Story takes you down the road that Nicole and Charlie’s haven chosen when they decide to divorce. They both share demanding careers as well as one son named Henry. They start out trying to be as accommodating and supportive of each other as possible by going through mediation.

The mediation process soon crumbles, and Nicole heads to L.A. with Henry to begin working on a T.V. series while Charlie continues to direct theater in NYC. Location ultimately becomes the most significant and most contentious point of the divorce. Nicole quickly finds herself in the hands of a high priced L.A. divorce attorney while Charlie is struggling to keep up with his ever-growing career that is soon moving to Broadway. Charlie continues to try and stay close to his son and be as accommodating as possible while not giving up.

The emotion and realism that is woven into the film through Baumbach’s script and the actor’s portrayals are nothing short of a perfect storm. The look and feel are truly timeless, and you could be watching Kramer Vs. Kramer or a John Cassavetes film because the story and characters are so paramount that you can’t help but fixate your attention on them.

Marriage Story takes you through the heartbreak and frustration of the ending of a marriage and how it truly is like a grieving process. Just as you feel you’ve chosen sides and defined the enemy, something shows the other side of the tale from the other party.

When it is all said and done, you are left heartbroken and just grateful that everyone made it through unscathed, and you get the genuine feeling that everyone will be ok and taken care of, which is all we can ask for in life anyway. I haven’t gotten as good at predicting awards, at least winners, as I used to be. Still, I would be genuinely dumbfounded not to see this film get nominated all over its possible destinations because its just too good not to recognize. Marriage Story is a movie that, at the end of the credits, I always will say to myself, “It’s because of movies like this, that I love movies!”

Joker: Review

I have been a vocal critic of the comic book movie genre for a few years now, but I will admit that I was highly anticipating Todd Philips and Joaquin Phoenix’s collaboration for an origin story of the most famous and to this day, most terrifying villain, The Joker.

The film simply titled, Joker, is a haunting imagining of how someone with such a demented mind could become so powerful and have such a loyal following of citizens. The incredible thing that Todd Philips was able to do was make you not only sympathize with the disturbed man, Arthur Fleck as he becomes the most notorious villain ever created but how you have almost zero sympathy for those that we have always known as the heroes and martyrs in the Batman stories.

Arthur Fleck has been raised by his single mother and has continued to develop serious and disturbing personality traits. While he desires to live a normal life and at times even fantasizes about it, he is a victim of his mother’s own delusions and a society that is quick to cast him out. It doesn’t take long for Arthur to give into his demented thoughts and feelings and almost over night he becomes a symbol for all those what been put upon by society and shunned by the privileged.

Everything about this film is set up to make you feel uneasy and even nervous. Todd Philips has painted a masterpiece within every shot of the film. The casting choice of Joaquin Phoenix could not have been more spot on either. With Phoenix we fear the character of Arthur Fleck and can feel his change come within him inside our own selves.

It has often been said that many times comedians make great dramatic actors because they tend to have such a darkness inside themselves. Todd Philips has proved that the same apparently is true for comedic screenwriters and directors. Joker is a far cry from his side-splitting comedy of films such as, Old School and The Hangover trilogy. Philips does manage to have comedic moments in the film, but they are so dark at one point I got a dirty look from someone because I laughed at a moment that was a seriously dark turning point in the movie but just one sight gag I couldn’t help be realize the comedy affect Philips was aiming for. Award season is right around the corner and while I don’t expect Joker to pile on the awards, I do expect for Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Philips to load up on nominations and take home a li

Robert De Niro’s Best Of The 1980’s

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By the time 1980 hit, Robert De Niro was a true star in Hollywood, in every sense of the word. He had multiple Academy Award nominations under his belt. He had teamed up with Martin Scorsese and started a legendary partnership. Some of his greatest success was yet to come.

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5. Once Upon A Time In America
De Niro was at a point in his career where working on projects he wanted to and working with anyone he wanted was no doubt his choice. De Niro was the first person cast in Sergio Leone’s final film. He had enough clout to have input on many aspects of the film, including his fellow cast members. It would receive mixed reviews, but as time went on it has become a more respected and even definitive film.

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4. The King Of Comedy
A rather dark comedy directed by, once again, Martin Scorsese, makes for another great De Niro performance. His portrayal of Rupert Pupkin is torturous and almost painful. A comedian who so desperately wants in on show business he stalks his idol, late night talk show host, played by iconic funny man Jerry Lewis. De Niro’s methods were in full swing and his ability to draw out great performances from fellow cast mates really came through.

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3. The Untouchables
Having made a name for himself playing mafia gangsters and gangster types lead Brian De Palma to cast him as the most notorious gangster of all time, Al Capone. Being as method of an actor as possible, he became Capone right down to the underwear. He would again receive an Oscar nomination for a spot on portrayal.

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2. Midnight Run
A more straight up comedy, Midnight Run was a popular a more of a box office success than the 3 previous film. De Niro proved he could play straight up comedy alongside other great comedic actors, including his co-star, Charles Grodin. It is unmistakable that De Niro put his whole talents in the film, adding to the character and really making it his own. It is still a popular film and often showed movie all over TV and there is no doubt in my mind that De Niro has quite a bit to do with that.

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1.Raging Bull
The Scorsese/ De Niro teaming would prove its most prolific to date when Scorsese would come out of his comfort zone with a sports film, all at the urging of De Niro. De Niro is even often credited with saving Scorsese’s life by visiting him in the hospital after a cocaine overdose. By urging him to make the film and get back to work is what brought him straight. It would prove valuable on all fronts as De Niro would win a best actor Academy Award and the film would go down in history as one of Scorsese’s best and one of the best of all time.